Piggyback Rides

Piggyback 1

Piggyback 2

Piggyback 3

Published in: on February 18, 2014 at 7:47 am  Comments (1)  
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What I Did This Weekend

(Which is why I had to push so hard late last week, so I’d be ready to drop it all and go…)

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“Date night for couples: French Bistro.” We were in charge of preparing (most of) the salads.

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And we learned a lot about how to get a steak to cook properly (hint: hot pan!). And who doesn’t like flaming cognac?

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Sunday morning, we went to church here:

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(How’s that for a sense of scale?)


There was a reeeeeeally annoying 1/4-second delay with a tinny buzz in the sound coming from some side speaker in this gartantuan basilica…at least, that’s what I thought it was, and I was composing a “you might want to know” email to the staff in my mind and wondering if that would be presumptuous, even if I do have a music/liturgy background, when I realized what I was hearing was the bleed-through from the extremely old man sitting next to us, who had his audio aid turned up too loud. After that, I was able to tune it out.

After Mass we walked around a bit and I took a spin through the gift shop. Look what I found on display!

My book

Then it was bikes in the park and Star Trek: Into Darkness on the way home. (Loving what they’re doing with those characters.)

While the kids stayed home with grandparents and did this…
kids at playgroundAnd this….

Wkd Away 355 smallAnd relaxation was had by all. Except the grandparents, probably. :) But you can’t begin to imagine the noise level and chaos when we arrived home last night to this:


And now it’s time to go plant those irises sitting beside the door…they’ve been there for over a week as it rained and rained and rained and rained and…well, most of you have been through it too. :/

Published in: on June 3, 2013 at 7:30 am  Comments (4)  
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Wordless Wednesday: leaf time


Published in: on November 7, 2012 at 8:13 am  Comments (4)  
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Help Us Choose Michael’s Six-Month Portraits!

Let’s talk kids’ portraits today, because after yesterday we need a change of focus. Right?

Show of hands: do you love or loathe going to get your kids’ pictures taken? I loved it for a while, but the process got frustrating–policies and procedures in those department store studios are a pain in the neck, and after Julianna passed beyond the baby stage, it got very difficult to get good pictures of her. They would never snap the picture at the right time. I wanted to grab the clicker out of their hands. Plus, I want outdoor pictures.

So we started borrowing a DSLR and taking our own portraits, and after a couple years’ worth of product research (and a whole lot of saving), we bought one . (It’s a Canon Rebel T3i, in case you’re wondering. Love it. Love.It.)

Michael’s six months old now, and I snapped about two hundred shots on Saturday. And today I would like you to help us choose his official portrait. So (are you bracing yourself for some serious cuteness?):

Exhibit A: Just before he decided to eat grass


Exhibit B: Swimming and Smiling on the Kitchen Floor


Exhibit C: Lovin’ the Picnic Blanket

So, now you vote. (Won’t you? Pretty please?)

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 5:12 am  Comments (8)  

Spring Makes Me Happy

The smells, fruity and heavy and spicy, and the colors–oh, the colors after the rains have passed through, when everything seems sharper, like the difference between an old point-and-shoot and a brand new DSLR.



And my favorite blossom of all:

Published in: on May 9, 2012 at 4:41 am  Comments (8)  

Special Exposure: Pixie and Pixie

Look who got a big girl bed this weekend!

It was quite the adventure, involving two trips to the store (we thought we had a mattress in the closet, so we bought a box spring. And upon assembly, discovered we were remembering backward) and throwing it together after bath, before bed. Julianna was so excited. “De-beh!” she shrieked, pounding Tink with one finger, and with a little repetition, we got as close as “Tee-beh”.

It was the first time in, uh, her LIFE, that we didn’t have to come in and put her covers back on her during the night. And now, coming into that room just makes me happy.

She even consented to share with Alex…briefly.

 Speaking of Alex…today is his 7th birthday! How many happy birthdays can we get in the combox for him? :) :) :)

special needs wordless wednesday

Published in: on April 25, 2012 at 7:04 am  Comments (11)  
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A Photo Day

Today is the first day of Triduum, and I am beginning to wind down blogging toward the holiest days of the year. Palm Sunday was supposed to be a crazy-busy day, with me traveling to observe an NFP class in the afternoon and attending a novels group meeting in the evening. It turned out both got canceled, and thrilled with the unexpected ability to be spontaneous, I said, “Let’s have a picnic and a hike!” (Disclosure: I use the word “hike” loosely. We do have four little kids.)

I begin with a picture of me, because it’s the only one that got taken. The photographer has to work to make sure she appears in the family photo album occasionally. :)

I love this next picture. Christian and I had engagement pictures taken on this bridge, from this angle.

Generally when we come to the state park, it’s in the winter. Don’t ask me why. I don’t think I’ve ever been there with the wildflowers in bloom. It was so beautiful. I have better pictures of the wildflowers, but I love the tree in this one.

Heading toward the rock bridge…I’m not sure if Julianna  found the view or the climb most inspiring. :)

A couple of closeups I love: Christian reading an interpretive sign to Alex (gotta love a guy wearing a Snugli)…

…and how can you resist this adorable face? (So–does he look like mommy or like daddy? People can’t decide.)

The back side of the rock bridge:

 Nicholas wasn’t feeling very photogenic that day, but he gets so many pictures taken of him, I’m not going to feel guilty that I didn’t manage to get a closeup of him to share this one time.

It was a perfect way to start off Holy Week…as a family.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 6:36 am  Comments (3)  
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In The Background

There are too many pictures on my computer. Digital photography has absolved us from wasted money and resources. So now we’re profligate with our picture-taking, knowing we can delete whatever isn’t worth keeping.

Except we don’t. At least, I don’t. I can’t bear to part with them. For instance:

Last night I set out to cull the photos of Michael’s baptism. At first blush, I thought it would be easy: there were eight to ten pictures of every part of the ritual, and a couple dozen of our family. But as my finger paused above the “delete” key, my breath caught. Not at the foreground. At what was happening in the background.

There was this one: my godfather kissing my little sister’s forehead.

And this one, in which Alex’s expression as he holds his cousin’s hand is absolutely priceless:

Sometimes the surprise is in the action, but off-center, and not what you were taking a picture of, like this absolutely adorable moment between Christian and Julianna:

Sometimes the person behind the camera (my cousin Becky, in this case) realizes what’s going on and actually focuses in on it:

The camera captures something pretty profound in these pictures: while we’re distracted paying attention to the main stage, there’s a beautiful, complex world of other relationships playing out in the background, spinning threads that weave us all together and give depth to a world that will always, no matter how old and jaded and crusty we get, be able to surprise us.

(Linked to Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus)

Published in: on January 18, 2012 at 6:43 am  Comments (5)  
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A Test For My Readers

So here’s the test, to see if my boys really do all look alike, or if they can be distinguished in their baby pictures. Are you ready? Leave me a comment and tell me which one you think is Alex, which one is Nicholas, and which one is Michael. And tomorrow I’ll leave you the answers. ;)




Well, what do you say? Willing to take a stab at it?

Published in: on December 28, 2011 at 5:32 am  Comments (19)  
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A Visit to Hannibal

After yesterday’s manifesto, I think I owe you something light and fluffy. Like pictures of a family trip.

We’re really not in the “family vacation” age range. The idea of forking over a bazillion dollars to go someplace and be stressed out and miss nap times and have two of the kids not remember one bit of it a few months from now just isn’t appealing. So instead, we’re trying to come up with some day trips.

First stop: Mark Twain Cave

My sister brought up the idea of Hannibal several weeks ago, and we thought it sounded like a good idea. But Alex knew nothing about the literary phenomenon that is Tom Sawyer, so we trekked to the library and found an easy chapter book that told the story. Most of it, anyway. At the start, he was lukewarm about the whole thing. But by the end he was begging for extra chapters and asking, “When we go to the cave, I want to see where Injun Joe’s hand came around the corner with the candle!”

No sooner had we entered the cave than Miss Julianna started signing “toilet.” “No way!” I said. “You’re gonna have to hold it.” I knew that was a bad idea–the tour’s an hour long–but what was I supposed to do, make the tour wait? Catch up? In a cave? Uh, right. Next thing I knew, I had a growth attached to me. A whining growth.

The part Alex was dreading came in what they call the Grand Avenue. Having been there before, I knew they were going to turn all the lights off on us, and I didn’t want him blindsided by the fact, so I warned him. It almost derailed the visit, but I remained firm and promised him that I would hold his hand all the way through. I kept that promise, but it was quite a bit difficult considering my “growth.”

By the time we left Grand Avenue, we had filtered from the front of the group to the very end of it. (That’s me you’re seeing there at the back.) Just as we started into the bottleneck passage at the end of Grand Avenue, my darling daughter went, “Euch…blech…HURL.” And threw up down my back.

Mind you, we were 250 feet underground, at the back of the tour group in a protected environment that they are worried about preserving. And my daughter just threw up all over it.

Ah, parenthood.

But Alex got to see where Injun Joe’s hand came around with the candle…so that made it all okay.

Second Stop: Lover’s Leap

One bathroom stop later, Julianna was feeling much better. It was getting close to lunchtime, but we drove up to Lover’s Leap to get a view of the Mississippi River.

Third Stop: Picnic and Post-Lunch Exercise Regimen

We headed downtown for the rest of the day and had a lovely picnic lunch, which was interrupted by none other than Tom and Becky!

Afterward, we headed up to the lighthouse, a climb of 244 steps. Our children were rock stars and did the vast majority of the upward climb themselves. By now, we were pushing nap time, so holding our breaths, we went back down (much more quickly, because we carried the little ones most of the way) and sat down for ice cream. Then it was time to go see the historic buildings: Mark Twain’s boyhood home, etc. That was interesting, but not very photogenic, so I won’t share any there. Then it was a two-block walk to the museum, which was a lot of fun for the kids.

 (I love that picture.)

Fourth Stop: The Train Store

And following the museum, how could we help giving Nicholas the thrill of his life? We went to a toy train museum right on the corner up the hill from Mark Twain’s house:

At 4:15p.m., napless, we loaded the car and headed for home. We stopped at Pizza Hut for dinner, and I’ll just close with perhaps my favorite image of the entire day:

Published in: on June 29, 2011 at 5:33 am  Comments (7)  
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