Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year/ Happy Birthday!



Happy New Year to all our dear friends and family...

We will be reaching midnight three hours before many of you, and many of you will ring in the New Year right along with us!
We just want to you all to know how much we love you all and pledge to pray for you in the coming year.
It is such a great Blessing to have so many wonderful people scattered all across the country.

We hope to see many of you this year. I want to make this a year of connection. I want to do much better at staying in touch and staying in prayer for you all. I hope that as we go through our joys and trials in the coming year, that we will all be a part of each other's stories.

Happy Birthday Dear Dad!!!

And tomorrow is special for another reason. It is the day my Dad was born.

Yep, in with the New Year, and he has been avoiding Father Time ever since!

Thank you God, for dad, for his life, and for the blessing of his renewed health.

I have been so blest with a wonderful couple of very special parents.

I pray that this year for them will be one of Joy and Grace. (and that they sell!)




Our Visit with Lucy...


Lucy came to visit on Sunday.
She was here until this morning and boy did we have fun!

She danced...

Played with the bugs...

Walked after John...

And in Grandma's shoes....

She is a little sweetie and was so much fun!
She kept the boys laughing and busy. She kept Grandma guessing...

Thank Heavens for little girls!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas!


May the birth of Jesus fill your heart with childlike joy .


For all our friends and family: video

Today was really a wonderful day!


Starting with Mass last night, which was very sweet and special, and continuing with Blessings of family and fellowship.

Brendan had hoped... and he got his Nerf Vulcan.

John had asked for an MP3 player.

Paul was happy....He got the Marvel stamp collection that he wanted!

The Camera is for all of them. School projects anyone?

Trying to figure it out...
Yes, Johnny and Nina got the boys a Heavy Bag to beat up! They are thrilled and it's going to be great for exercise during the cold winter months!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lilly in the box!

Lilly has been here entertaining us while Nina works.
She is so much fun and keeps us laughing! I need to do a lot more video!
Here is just one clip.

video

Monday, December 22, 2008

From Barbara's Blog

This will resonate with all of the dear families in our world that we admire and love.
GOD BLESS YOU!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today's Accomplishments...



For a vacation Wednesday, we sure got a lot done!
John has been learning beading and Rosary making from a very nice woman from our Parish.
She is spending an hour a week working with him and he is really enjoying it!
She is very knowledgeable about beadworking, stones, and gemstones. She makes jewelry, but her specialty is Rosaries. John became fascinated with her work at the Christmas Bazaar and so we set up some sessions.
His very first attempt at a gemstone Rosary is this one, made of semi-precious Sodalite stone. He chose the crucifix and a Benedictine centerpiece. He is getting very good with the pliers and working the wire. He did this in about five hours. We went and picked out the stones on Monday, he had a lesson on Tuesday, he started it last night, and he was done this afternoon!
He wants to start another right away.

Our other big accomplishment is getting the tree up.
I got it out and set up this afternoon, and the boys decorated it after dinner.
They are SO ready for Christmas!

Tomorrow we have to shop because we are having company for dinner. Our Friend Mark is in town, working with Tim and Sim. We usually try to get together for dinner when he is here.
I also want to mail the West Coast gifts so that they have a chance of getting to the family before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grandma's Gift

I was going through photo albums and found these pictures of my Grandma Maggie in this apron and the Quilt that my Mom made out of it after Grandma died. That quilt really means a lot now. Paul sleeps under it every night. I think about how much Grandma loved cooking and baking and taking care of her family. It is a legacy that I want to carry on. My mom did, and I have a rich tapestry of memories of family meals, recipes and traditions. I still have many of Grandma's cookie recipes, written in her own handwriting, and several favorites that mom gave me that I use on a weekly basis. The Pumpkin Bread that I bake every Christmas has become a traditional gift to many of my friends, and now some of them are using the same recipe. Women are so blest to have the Blessing of other women, past and present. God Bless all of you!



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Monday, December 15, 2008

Over the Weekend...

This past weekend was one of abundant quality time with wonderful people...for all of us.

Tim and I are hard-pressed to find ourselves at ONE social event in the space of six months. Friday and Saturday provided three.

Friday evening Tim and I had the opportunity to attend two different parties.
The first was the annual office holiday party at the Battelle building in Aberdeen. It was very nice and very well planned, with a caterer and a huge tree and live string quartet. Sounds rather posh, but everyone was having a really nice time visiting and it was all very comfy and relaxed. I even got my first tour of the building. Not that Tim would have denied me a tour, but they are pretty tight on the security, and it is a bit of trouble.
A very nice gentleman, who is apparently the manager of Tim's group, offered to take me around the building. He was very thorough and descriptive. It was nice to get a visual of the place where Tim spends so much of his time. Tim has a great office space, which he shares with "Sim" his simulator buddy and a whole bunch of gadgets that he is working on. Upstairs there is a huge "cube farm" and there are quite a few labs and such for the research types.
We visited with several of Tim's co-workers, and then we had to say "good-bye" so that we could go to the TORCH Parent's Night Out at the Weber's.

Now, lest you feel sorry for the boys while we were out having fun socializing, they were home with Danielle Hoppel, who is 13 and one of their favorite people. They hardly need a babysitter, but it is so nice to find someone so responsible AND fun!
She was regaling them with the most amazing and creative stories. Brendan said that his stomach hurt from laughing so hard. They were still telling me about the tales she made up this morning...

So anyway, we went to the Weber's house, which was all decorated for Christmas, and enjoyed the nicest time with many of our homeschooling friends.
Paula and Chris Hoppel were there, (Mark, their older son was home with their other kids), and about six other couples and some moms whose husbands were unable to come. We had some great food and so much fun visiting! Dan Weber came up with a game that involved Christmas Movie Trivia, and we all had fun answering the questions.
We had to get home to relieve Danielle, but we were just ahead of Paula and Chris, so they picked her up and took her home.

Saturday night was another nice evening out at the home of one of Tim's co-workers, Sharon.
She has a beautiful house on Rumsey Island, down near Joppatown. Most of the people from Tim's office were there. These are people that we have known for almost ten years, through SAIC and now Battelle. It is really nice to have a chance to catch up on how everyone is doing. The kids are all growing up and people have grandkids or kids that are in college. Quite a history and kind of like a family.
The boys were with Danielle again, so they were entertained...something about Pooh and Tigger and Christopher Robin blowing up the Hundred Acre Wood...Sounded like Calvin and Hobbes meet A.A. Milne...
Yesterday we went to Mass, and then John and I went for a bike ride down into town while Tim took Brendan and Paul up to the church to work on the video system.
It was chilly but very sunny, and we had such a nice ride. It was nice to be able to ride with John because he is at an age where he is very reliable on the road, and he can manage a longer distance. We had so much fun!
We are both paying for it today though...those kitchen chairs are hard!
I'll add some pictures later.

This week we are taking school easy and pretty much on Christmas Vacation. We do have piano each day, and I have some Science shows that I want them to watch. It's funny, today while they were "on vacation" John spent a whole bunch of time on the computer doing a powerpoint project, he also worked on an art project, Brendan and Paul were building with Legos and doing some other computer research of some sort, and it just seemed like they learned so much today without even trying!

Paul came running through the room with his jet a couple of minutes ago, saying "This is your captain speaking, just wanted to let you know that there is really someone up here. We will be doing some barrel rolls so that we can beat another plane onto the airstrip." Totally oblivious to the fact that he is cracking me up!


Anyway...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wisdom from Winston...



For a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. - Sir Winston Churchill

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Feast of The Immaculate Conception


THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION:
GOD'S GLORIOUS WORK

AT length, on the distant horizon, rises, with a soft and radiant light, the aurora of the Sun which has been so long desired. The happy Mother of the Messias was to be born before the Messias Himself; and this is the day of the Conception of Mary. The earth already possesses a first pledge of the Divine mercy; the Son of Man is near at hand. Two true Israelites, Joachim and Anne, noble branches of the family of David, find their union, after a long barrenness, made fruitful by the Divine omnipotence. Glory be to God, Who has been mindful of His promises, and Who deigns to announce, from the high heavens, the end of the deluge of iniquity, by sending upon the earth the sweet white dove that bears the tidings of peace!

The feast of the Blessed Virgin's Immaculate Conception is the most solemn of all those which the Church celebrates during the holy time of Advent; and if the first part of the cycle had to offer us the commemoration of some one of the mysteries of Mary, there was none whose object could better harmonize with the spirit of the Church in this mystic season of expectation. Let us, then, celebrate this solemnity with joy; for the Conception of Mary tells us that the Birth of Jesus is not far oft.

The intention of the Church, in this feast, is not only to celebrate the anniversary of the happy moment in which began, in the womb of the pious Anne, the life of the ever-glorious Virgin Mary; but also to honor the sublime privilege, by which Mary was preserved from the original stain, which, by a sovereign and universal decree, is contracted by all the children of Adam the very moment they are conceived in their mother's womb.

Read more here...

St Nicholas Feast Party

This post is a bit belated due to a computer glitch.
Friday, the 5th, was a really nice day.
Since the next day was St Nicholas feast day, and it was First Friday, some of the moms in our TORCH group decided to put on a St Nicholas Feast Day party.
It came off really well.

There was so much wonderful food! The older kids had a great time playing outside, and the younger ones played games, like a coin toss into the Chimney, and identifying their shoes, while blindfolded, to receive chocolate coins from St Nicholas.They also did crafts indoors. It was a really chilly day!
There was also a special story time with Mrs Bowers.
We were very Blest to have the use of the hall at St Agnes.
It was a special time of fellowship and sharing the Blessings of our Faith.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

O Come, O Come Emmanuel...


Here are a few pictures of our Advent traditions.
We have been doing most of these things since the boys were very young. It is so neat to watch them become more and more aware of the beauty of Advent as they grow up.
We always start slow with the decorating. Of course on the First Sunday of Advent we set up the Advent wreath for the table. I have started using scented Pillar Candles, because we can use them every night at dinner, and after Christmas there are still a couple left and I put them around the house as a reminder that the gentle joy of Advent is now the glorious joy of Christmas.

We get out our Jesse Tree. This isn't the traditional version. I made a felt evergreen tree when the boys were little and we made felt symbols for each of the days. I got a guide online and it has an image and a few verses from the Bible that lead us through Salvation History. It is so neat to see them getting more and more out of the whole story.
Each morning they take turns putting up the images and I read the passage from the bible. By the end of the season we have the whole story on the tree.

We also have this Advent calendar. We got it from John's Godmother years ago and it is a favorite. The numbered doors have little compartments behind them and inside are wooden pieces with magnets attached. The picture is on a metal background and they can fill in the Nativity scene over the season.

This year we have a new addition. I originally got it for the little girls, but John put it together for me (hence the camel drinking from the Gold Goblet) and Paul has been having a great time moving the figures all over. He thinks as he plays though, and he has been coming to me for two days with interesting thoughts about what it must have been like in that barn.

I will be pulling out a few more things each week.

Advent is supposed to be a quiet, reflective time. We are preparing, not celebrating yet. We spend time thinking and praying about ways that we can show our love and gratitude to God for His incredible gift to us at Christmas.

The King is coming....
Prepare ye the way.

An Even Better Idea...

I am joining this effort...
Care to join me?

A Very Cool Idea!



Wish I played something this well, but I am definitely going to attend the performance. Can't wait to see how it all comes together.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ThanksGiving With the Cookes


Here is a photographic tour of our Thanksgiving here in Allegany County, with Laura, Andrew, Lucy and Phoebe.
We arrived in Frostburg last night after a LONG drive in lots of traffic. It was all good though. We got here safe and sound and the boys started in playing with Lucy as soon as they walked in the door. They LOVE their nieces.
We got going early the morning so that we could get to Mass. It was such a nice Mass and Lucy was such a good girl!
The boys were dying to get out in the snow so they put on their snow clothes and went out to have a snowball fight. Andrew put on his snowpants and he and Tim took them all up to the park to play in the snow. They ended up building a HUGE snowman and Andrew took some great pictures.
Laura and I stayed here and worked on dinner. Lucy went down for a nap, and she wasn't really ready to wake up when she got up, so she took a nap in the sling while Laura cooked.
Then while when Andrew got back she slept some more...
The turkey was roasting away in the roaster, and we made the Mashed potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Green bean casserole, Rolls, Jello, and more...Lucy was a great help...she loved the appetizers!

we put dinner on the table and it was a lovely spread, especially with the Franciscanware that Grandma Maggie used to use.

Andrew had a hand in carving the turkey, but we took the knives away from him....
The meal was a success and even the boys liked some of it. They did eat most of it though.

Lucy knew where HER dinner was!
After dinner the kids all piled onto the couch to enjoy some downtime. Lucy was so happy with her uncles...
Stay tuned for the next chapter....
Cookie Bake '08