Christmas Day

Christmas suspense was building. This little watcher kept a tree-side vigil patiently:


Well, mostly patiently.


We enjoyed Christmas music from family musicians old:

and new:


One of the best parts of the day was a father-son Jingle Bells duet. Alexander has been taking clarinet lessons for about three months.


Keeping time:img_1981

Little brothers-my favorite.

Daniel and Dominic sweethearts. Joseph is not amused.



Grandparents visited:


Dominic and Claire love to play ‘puppysitting’


Landon won the originality award for wrapping presents for himself:img_6610

Merry Christmas!



   I’ve let milkweed grow in my garden for four years, and this is the first year I have anything to show for it. This week I found not one, but three monarch eggs attached under the leaves, so I brought them inside. Many of the younger boys have not seen or don’t remember the butterfly life cycle, so I’m excited that they can watch the little miracle this summer.  Dominic and the other boys could not believe how small the caterpillar was when it hatched.

(Mom says to tell you that this is bedhead.)

IMG_3308 IMG_3309 IMG_3311

Peach Crisp

Last weekend, there was a peach festival in town.  Or rather, a very long line of vendors calling themselves a peach festival. It sounded interesting, so my Mom took all of kids and me to see what it was like. There were bouncy castles, snow cones, brand name washcloths and baby clothes-seemingly everything but peaches.  It was rather a disappointment, but fortunately, right before we left, we found one booth selling peaches. We brought home two bags, and they were going to get moldy fast, so Maria helped me cut them up to make a peach crisp.



  • 10 cups of peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Combine all ingredients and pour into the largest baking pan available.


  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter

Combine 1st three ingredients, then cut in butter.

It was delicious, and Dominic approved.IMG_3276




These pictures are from the Fourth of July (was that almost a month ago already?). I’ve never been able to take pictures in such dim light before, so I was really excited about the way these turned out. The camera is a little tricky to manage at an aperture this wide open, so some of them are a bit out of focus, but the moment is captured nevertheless.  Here, Dominic gets help from John to hold a flaming fire sword.





This one of Joseph is the best photo only lit by a sparkler: IMG_3064


Daniel also loved waving around fire at the end of the stick:IMG_3024


Odds and Ends

Hello, everyone!  Monday I had my wisdom teeth taken out, and the surgery went really well, but recuperation has felt really slow.  I’ve been existing on a pretty much liquid diet, and I’m only just beginning to get back to regular foods. I’ve had enough milkshakes and pudding to last me a year!  Also, everyone around the house can’t wait for me to talk better again.

All that sitting around has had me searching for things to do.  I went through some recent photographs and found ones from several events from the last couple months:

Alexander and his friend from my ballet class’ recital dance at the end of May.  They danced to ‘Danse Macabre’.


May and June brings a bunch of birthdays: Claire’s first:



Daniel’s fifth:

Alexander’s tenth,


Dominic’s third,


and Joseph’s eighth.


Joseph also got to receive his First Holy Communion


Probably the first photo of our entire family together (including Claire):IMG_2114




Pure Delight

I am so happy I had my camera out at the perfect time to capture this expression! Dominic was so thrilled about his momentary triumph of climbing onto the table.


In Which I Heave a Sigh of Relief

Whew!!!! I just made it through my first set of midterm tests. Finally, I can breathe!

Lots has happened in the last few weeks. I have finally gotten the swing of college time management. The two commandments: Thou Shalt Study Hard on Weekends if Thou Wanteth to Survive, and Thou Shalt Not Ever Fall Behind in the Reading.

The biggest difference that I have had to adjust to in college is that homeschool can maneuver around life events. If I catch a cold and don’t feel well, I still have to make sure to do homework and attend class. Johnathan had his appendix removed ten days ago, and
I spent a night in the hospital with him. I didn’t get all of my reading done that day, and it took me several hours each evening for the next four days to just catch up.

Life is moving fast at home as well. It seems to race by now that I am not around for a good chunk of the day, and I end up missing out on major happenings around the house. I glanced in the small aquarium where we keep our two little frogs one evening. “Oh!” I cried. “One is missing!”

“Oh, yes, didn’t you know?” Mom said. “He died about two weeks ago.”

Clare is making great strides in her skills. She is sitting up almost perfectly for long stretches of time and pushes herself up onto her hands and knees. She hasn’t crawled forward yet, but she can really move backwards.

Dominic is going through the language explosion, and frequently surprises me with his vocabulary. Because I haven’t been around as much to hear him speaking, it catches me off guard when he says something that sounds like it came out of a three year old. He also knows his colors and almost all of the letters and their sounds, thanks to a Leap Frog movie.

A Better Way to Learn Ride a Bike

Young children everywhere have been cheated.

Little kids around the world have anticipated the removal of training wheels with unneeded dread and apprehension. They have unnecessarily suffered scraped knees and bruised elbows as they try to ride a big kid bike. There is a better way.

Why should we teach children on beginner bikes that they can lean left or right onto a training wheel? Will they not simply fall over the first time they mount a real bike? Wouldn’t it be better to train them to sit upright? The answer is yes, and the tiny Strider bike does this by giving children the experience of balancing on a bike without training wheels or pedals.

Daniel has been the first of the boys to use the Strider, and it didn’t take long for us to see how wonderful it was. All last year as he pushed himself forwards with his feet, he learned to balance, and soon he lifted his feet off the ground to glide short distances.

He is now too tall for the strider, so we brought him home a larger bike with pedals. He could balance on it immediately, and it only took him an hour to figure out the pedals, and he was riding all over in less than an afternoon. No falls, no injuries, no trauma. He only just turned four at the end of May, and he beat Johnathan’s record for learning to ride by almost a year. (John learned the summer he turned five.)



Now it’s time to start Dominic on the Strider! Who knows, maybe he’ll be riding a bike by the time he’s three!