Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy 18th Birthday, Kath!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, dear Katherine!
Happy birthday to YOU!

Eighteen years?  How did that even happen?  You continually bless our family with your quiet presence and love for those around you.  You typically have a little next to you, be  it a sibling or cousin, and they're usually making plans for what they are going to do with you....even if it's just hanging out in your room and dancing.  
As you head off to college, remember who you are, and what your goals and dreams are and that you are loved just for who you are!    

Love you,

You probably would have preferred the cowgirl pic, but these were my favorites.  

Some of your favorites.....littles, horses and blue skies.  

Happy 18th!   
Even if you're technically an adult, you'll always be our little girl!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Happy 12th Birthday Annika!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, dear Annika!
Happy birthday to YOU!

My sweet #3 have grown up so much this year.  You'll probably be taller than your sisters, but shhhhhhhh, we won't tell them that!  You still love to compete with your brothers, considering you're surrounded by them, but love to cook and bake and your nose is ALWAYS stuck in a book.  

I love you!


An older pic but a favorite.  
Hanging with the boys.  

Mmmmm ~ dessert in France.  Could life get any better? 

Decorating a cake ~ the only thing you like more than eating sweets is making them.  

Max knows your lap is always available, even on your birthday! 

Happy 12th, Annika!  

Friday, July 21, 2017

Easter 2017

I have no words, as Easter seems like years ago at this point.  So, without further ado, I'll have to remember with pictures!


While making dinner I hear the doorbell ring.  Walking to the door, I could see no one.  My kids know not to ring the bell unless there is an emergency, but I peeked out anyway.  There was little Max peering up waiting to be let in.  I didn't even know he'd made a break for it. I unlocked the door and let him in.  As he walked by he said super cheerfully, "Hi Mom!" just like he'd been on a long trip. Calvin moment, for sure.

Eric at dinner, "Dad, would you consider allowing me to go the dance even though you said I couldn't?  All the girls are going to be really disappointed that I'm not there."
Shannon replied, "Where exactly do you get your feedback?"

Eric showing Shannon the GoPro video of his epic sledding crash.  The video is very clear that he broke a brand new sled despite denying it.  He also swore.  I've decided all my boys will wear GoPros til they move out.  The incriminating evidence would save us a lot of debating.

Upon realizing who Melania Trump is, Josh exclaimed. "Whoa! Really?! That pretty of a lady for, um, well, uh, well, not a very handsome guy?!"

Nickles, "Mom! I need to go to work with Dad so  I can get some money so I can buy a yo-yo!"

Later, practicing with said yo-yo, "Mom! Watch my trick!" as the yo-yo flies back and hits him in the head.  "I've almost got it down.  Sometimes it just does that."

The best April Fool's prank was pulled by Annika.  She made a fake puddle of milk, placing it on the computer keyboard with a tipped cup next to it.  Shannon arrived home from a hike, telling us all about it when he noticed the cup.  Jumping from the kitchen to our desk in a single leap while uttering a couple swear words, he realized he'd been fooled!  Naturally, we were all there to witness it!
But he who laughs last laughs best.
When all the kids went to sleep, Shannon waited for half an hour, then went down and woke them up for Sunday Mass....eight hours early.  The kids weren't super excited about that one!

Dom, "Hey Mom, you know that guy on shark week...the one who talks real cool and says he's a dancer? Well, can you get me a computer program like Katherine and Eric have for learning German so I can learn how to talk like him?" 
(For reference, Dom was talking about Craig Ferguson) 
"Um. Probably not, Dom. I don't think they have Rosetta Stone for a Scottish accent."

Making his case to keep a kitten we'd picked up for a friend and get rid of our older cat, Nickles said, "Mom, we need to get rid of Bella.  She's rude and she's gained too much weight."

 Clothes shopping with Dom, "I like brown pants, because when they get muddy you don't HAVE to wash them. Wait! These undies...they don't have backs." 
As we walked past a rack of sketchy women's underwear....the fact that they were in Marvel comic designs must have piqued his interest because typically he is completely unobservant.

Dom thought he'd take his paintball gun back to MI. "Because it would keep me and Drew busy the whole time." 
I told him he could take the gun or clothing. 
He's thinking it over 🤔

Typically, Nickles bounds up the steps in the morning and when asked how he slept he responds with a, "Terrific!" or "FanTAstic!" or some similar expression.  One morning he drug himself up the stairs and when I asked him the usual he replied, "I slept terrrrible."  
Snuggled up next to me on the couch struggling to wake up, he told me about his dreams, "Mom, I was chasing a giant frog last night and it kept getting away and then I landed on the floor."
~Across the room Dom starts giggling~
"That's not nice, Dom!! YOU were there too!" Nickles fired back.
It must have been pretty realistic if Nickles thought Dom would remember being in his dream!

Nickles hands smelled terrible from seashells the kids brought home from France. After I made him wash his hands he said, "Thanks a lot, Mom. Now my hands smell like flowers. Boys are NOT supposed to smell like flowers."

"I do eat a lot, but I don't get fat, BUT I DO get heavy," random Nickles statement.

Discussing a family friend who has a severe medical diagnosis Eric asked how long the individual is expected to live.  Nickles pipes right up, completely seriously of course, "Until she dies, Eric."

Who knew I was folding laundry for TWO superheroes?! 

I don't even know what this picture was about, but it makes me laugh.

The End ~

Monday, April 17, 2017


A couple months ago Shannon asked if I wanted to go for a road trip.  This is not a typical last minute offer, so I was suspicious.

Our boys had been begging for a dog.  I had told Shan that's all I wanted for my birthday, knowing he would be more likely to buy one for me than for them.  We had been haunting the local animal shelter, but Shannon had threatened divorce if we arrived home with some random mongrel.  While I realized it was an empty threat, he knows me and how I can cave when the kids really want something and he wanted me to know he was serious ;o)

So while we looked at every mutt at the pound, Shannon was researching breeders, finding a yellow lab he liked and that was fully trained.  While I loved the idea of a dog, he knew my follow-through with training would be terrible and we'd have a renegade on our hands.  We headed to Idaho late that Saturday, arriving home the next night with Carbon. 

He has been an awesome addition to the family.  And the training......worth his weight in gold!  He's so smart and shows such a natural aptitude towards birds that I'm even thinking it may be fun to begin bird hunting.  Shannon probably wasn't banking on a bird hunting wife! But certainly he'd be a willing hunting partner.    

We wound our way through a magnificent mountain pass into a remote area of Idaho.
No cell reception for a day was a blessing of its own. 

Carbon is thinking, "WHAT happened to my simple little life? These kids! There's so many!"

But they all soon became fast friends ~
When Max needs a snuggle, we can find him in the laundry room
with his blankie and Carbon.  
It's ridiculous.

Whenever we're hiking, Carbon is racing from boy to boy, 
occasionally rousing a grouse from the underbrush.  
Dom has big plans of finding a female and starting a 'dog farm'....
not something Shannon is super excited about. 


A year or so ago I was at event where I ran into an old friend.  She has two children a little older than Kath and Michaela.  We visited a while, catching up on family and one another's lives.  Let me preface, I do NOT believe that having a large (ish) family is for everyone.  Heck, many a day I'm not even sure it's for me!  But it is what Shannon and I felt called to through prayer and it is where we're at now.  I try to avoid sounding as though a large family is the only correct parenthood path, but we sure have received a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle input that a small family would have been a responsible choice.    
Toward the end of our conversation, this lady mentioned they would be heading to Arizona for a month or so to golf and play in the sun.  "How fun," I responded, "the desert is so pretty in the winter!" 

And then her response, "If you had not had so many kids, you could be doing this sort of thing."

A hundred sassy responses were on the tip of my tongue, but didn't escape (thank you Holy Spirit).  
"I love my children.  And I love having a full house, as crazy as it can be," were my only words.  

The entire conversation will randomly come to mind, often during more delightful moments of parenting.  

As Shannon and I trudged up our driveway sledding hill one day this winter, he whispered, "Look what you created." And I thought of my friend....could her heart be aching that she was unable to have more children or that they had chosen not to?  I'll never know the answer, but I do whisper a little prayer when I think of her.  
And I DO know that we are blessed and I'd never send any of these guys or gals back! 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Whitefish Ski Vacation

We spent several days in Whitefish skiing and relaxing.  Shannon has never been a real skier, but he took to the hill like a regular ski bum.  He was all fresh powder and steep hills and soaking in the hot tub sipping a little vino in the evenings.  The mountains are majestic.  They're often hidden by clouds, but we were blessed with two sunny days and the sun peeking out occasionally even when it was cloudy.  Over 300 inches of snow have fallen this year so the skiing was amazing....apparently the best it's been in over 30 years.

The funniest moment involved Eric.  We met up with our friend and realtor, Rick, and he asked if any of the older kids wanted to take a couple runs with him.  He headed off a ledge to make a run through some moguls with Eric hot on his tail.  Rick turned around a mogul, while Eric was apparently taking a more Point A to Point B approach to the bottom.  It was an epic crash, caught on the GoPro for all posterity!  Eric is no longer a little guy ~ we were incredibly grateful no one was injured, especially Rick!

What a blessing to spend some days away from work and school, simply enjoying one another.
Thank you, Shannon, for making this happen!

Skiing amongst the clouds

A good portion of the time was spent in the fog, 
but the snow was totally worth it.

Learning to ski in the driveway.

A statue of the Sacred Heart is located at the top of one of the runs in honor of all World War II vets.  
The founders of the resort saw many such statues as they fought in Italy during the war.
They thought it would be nice to have such a place in the mountains of Montana.
Sadly, the statue has been the center of litigation over the past years as the Freedom From Religion Foundation has found fault with its placement.  
Thus far they have been unsuccessful and I pray that it stays that way. 
There are so many places that have been stripped of all forms of faith; This statue was a lovely reminder that Jesus holds us each close to His heart and He is always watching over us.
And if a person doesn't feel that's a rather groovy statue anyway....
so ski on and peace out, man! 

Shannon thought it appropriate that his littlest skiers had a picture by this sign.'s a fitting description.

Blue skies and sunshine, baby!

Lunch time!

Helping Momma prepare dinner.  

My favoritest favorite....some days :o)

Mom joined us for a day ~ nothin' like Grandma rippin' up the slopes.

All bundled up ~

Michaela and I finally ditched Daddy and slipped off to the hilltop cafe for some cider ~

My girls and the snow ghosts!

My favorite memory is skiing down the hill and having my seven children (Max hung out at the daycare) zoom around me.  Because who has seven children and who has seven children who will ski with their parents.  And who has olders willing to hang with the littles....and be cool with it.  As they flew by, I was so blessed by their health and generous souls.

Til next year...because we are definitely going back!