Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Note To Anne

When you hide a flashlight in your bed at night, and make enough noise that Mommy comes in to tell you to be quiet, don't pick that moment to turn the flashlight on under the covers.


Winter In Spring

All Friday afternoon we got freezing rain and sleet. Everything was coated in a thick layer of ice. Then by Friday evening it mostly turned to snow. We were on the edge between ice and snow so we didn't get the huge amounts of snow like some areas of Kansas (28 inches!). It snowed and snowed and Saturday morning when we got up, it looked like it had stopped. That however, was temporary, as it began to snow heavily again, continuing all morning. Our grand total was about 7 inches of snow.

Brrr! Doesn't this picture make you cold? Saturday afternoon, while the twins and Joseph were napping, Dan and Catherine went out to play. You know that sled I bought last month while it was warm? Well, it got put to use on our lone hill. It may not be a giant hill, but it was exciting for the kids.
After the rest of them woke up, I got them all bundled up in their snowpants and coats and hats and mittens and scarves and boots. Whew! Dan helped them all go sledding down the hill. Joseph thought it was great fun to lay on his tummy and slide, slide, slide. Here they are, heading back to the front of the house. The wind was so strong and cold they couldn't sled for long. Dan got a workout pulling the kids around on the sled. The boys are catching a ride this time. Notice the ice-encrusted trees. Beautiful.
Safely out of that frigid north wind, Joseph had to stop and taste the snow. Mmm!
Dan had rolled up a huge ball of snow for the bottom of a snowman, so the kids set to work adding more snow and smoothing it out to make it round.
Joseph decided he was going to watch from the sled, so Catherine brought him a hoeful of snow to play with.
Meanwhile, Dominic kept disappearing, and finally one time when he reappeared, I asked him what he was doing. He said, "Picking icicles!" Here is what is left of the one he was currently munching on. Hey, that's a cheap snack!
Then they all helped roll up the middle section and the head, and here Dan has just put on the head. And one arm. He had to go on a hunt to find another stick for the other arm.
And here is Mr. Snowman! Dan outdid himself on this one, I have to say.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayers Needed Please!

I would like to ask you all to pray for my mom(Janet's mom)as she has just found out this week that she has breast cancer. Luckily, it seems that they have caught it at an early stage, so it should be very treatable. She'll have to have surgery in a couple of weeks, followed by 5-6 weeks of radiation. Please pray for a successful surgery and minimal side effects from that and the radiation. And for a complete cure of the cancer. Thank you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's A Crazy, Mixed-Up Day!

Well, I was all set to change the picture up there in the header because it was spring, getting warm around here, grass was growing, flowers were blooming, and the snowy picture just didn't seem to fit anymore. It has been exciting to watch everything come up and out this year, as it is our first spring here in this house.

But hold your horses because Winter has come back with a vengeance. As I sit here typing I can hear the little ice pellets hitting the windows. We are currently getting what you could call a "wintry mix." Some of the windows are completely iced over and what looks like snow outside is just a covering of these little ice balls. The kids are going crazy and jumping up and down at the windows. Well, they were earlier, right now they are napping. It is bizarre to look out and see all the green grass and green plants covered with this icy mess. The poor little flowers are all bent to the ground and dying, if not dead aready.

Later on today, this stuff is supposed to change into snow. Oodles and oodles of snow. The forecast is calling for an inch or more of actual snow today, 6-10 inches tonight, and another 4-6 inches tomorrow. Now, if you live up north, you are laughing and saying, is that all? But here, that amount will be more snow than we've had all winter. And to top it off, 3 apple trees that we ordered over the internet showed up today. The poor mail carrier was honking the horn as she pulled in the driveway so I could meet her at the door (oh yeah, I didn't have to get out to the mailbox today!). So tomorrow morning, as planned, Dan will be out planting those trees in the holes that he has painstakingly prepared for them. Not!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small Successes - 10

1. I took the time to cut out heart and flower shapes for iron on patches for several of the girls' pants with holes in the knees. Then when Catherine scribbled all over hers with markers, to "decorate" them, I didn't get mad.

2. I haven't forgotten about not eating meat on Fridays in Lent. Yet. I guess I shouldn't speak too soon!

3. I got all of the mittens and warm hats put away. But, I think that may have backfired because now we are forecast to get 6-10 inches of snow over the next few days. Which is weird because that would probably be more snow than we have gotten all winter. I thought I had chased all the snow away when I bought a sled last month. (Talk about getting looks when you buy a sled when it is warm outside.) Maybe now the kids will get to use it.

To read more small successes, go to Faith and Family Live!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Book Review: "Mountain Miracle, A Nativity Story"

I was intending to write this review before Christmas, but then something called life happened. So, in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, here it is! My review of "Mountain Miracle: A Nativity Story," by Alvaro Correa, LC. Of course, I had to reread the book and this time I read it to the kids. Meaning mostly Catherine. It was a little long for the rest of them(94 pages) and not enough pictures to keep them interested. Catherine liked the story though and she is 5. Older kids could easily read it to themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story which takes place in a mountain village in modern times, but still has kind of an old world feel to it. The main characters, Martin and Beth, are to play the parts of St. Joseph and Mary in the annual living nativity scene which takes place after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Early on Christmas Eve day, Beth comes up with the idea to find a real baby to play the part of baby Jesus, and Martin helps her in her plan. All of the babies in the village are unable to take the part for one reason or another, but Beth and Martin receive some divine aid when the Holy Family stops by to help. The whole village feels the miracle though most of them do not realize that Mary (Beth) is holding the real baby Jesus.

I found this a heartwarming tale and I think it would make a neat little Christmas movie done in cartoon style. Up there with The Little Drummer Boy. The faith of the children and the villagers is told in a simple, natural way. The description of the Midnight Mass was reverent and meaningful, and the priest in the story is shown in a very good light. The interactions of the children with the Holy Family were very poignant and wonderful. The only negatives in the book were a couple of glaring typos and one instance where the same scarf was called blue on one page and white on another and the picture showed it white. Okay, I know that was a minor little thing, but it bugged me. :)

Overall, I would recommend this book, especially as an Advent read-it-to-your-kids kind of book. I think it will become an annual read for us!

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Mountain Miracle - A Nativity Story. I just saw on their website that this book is on sale right now!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Murphy's Law for Moms, #21

No matter how many times you disable the web capability on your cell phone, somehow your 21 month old knows just how to enable it whenever he gets a hold of that phone, even though it would take you 5 minutes to figure it out.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Know You Have a Bunch of Little Ones, #14

You know you have a bunch of little ones when someone at the store asks you if you have quadruplets.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wild Kingdom, The Country Version

Last Saturday afternoon, when we were in Victoria, we were in the backyard playing with the kids, and Dan decided he wanted to take the kids over to see this old windmill we could hear eerily creaking in the wind. Luckily, I decided to go along because boy, did we have a little adventure.

We set off from the backyard, went across the neighbor's backyard and all the way to the back to a barbwire fence. Dan told us that he and his brothers used to go that way all the time when he was a kid to get back to the family farm land. Dan held up the barbwire and the kids stooped under it, then he and I carefully held it down and stepped over. Then we were confronted by a maze of the wildest, wickedest thorn trees I've ever seen. The trees were short so there were thorns everywhere. These thorns were 2-3 inches long, and in fact Dan's brother had used some of the thorny branches to make a crown of thorns, which I had previously seen and marvelled at. Between all the thorns and the poop all over the ground, we picked our way through the obstacle course.

As we started walking through a wooded area, we saw a deer run by a ways off, followed shortly after by another deer. The kids were able to see them and got all excited. We made our way down a steep hill to the creek and found a way across. Then we walked on a level path for a while and were just starting up a very steep hill when we heard a thud, thud, thud, thud. We looked up and there about 20 feet above our heads were 2 enormous horses that had just come to a stop at the top of the hill. Needless to say we were a bit surprised and Dan said hurry, go back.

We quickly walked back towards the creek and went to a different section to get across. Before we could find our way across, Dan spotted a squirrel on the other side. It was on its back with its 2 front paws still clutching onto the small branch that had evidently recently broken off the large tree above. At first I thought it was dead, but then we could see it was breathing. (That's one way to get the wind knocked out of you!)

I glanced back down the path and there were the horses walking down after us. They didn't look mean, but when you have 4 little kids with you, it is not prudent to wait around and find out. I said, "Dan, the horses are coming." You should have seen him spring into action. He was holding Joseph already, so he grabbed Catherine and leaped across that creek quicker than you could say squirrel. Speaking of squirrels, you should have seen that squirrel come to life when Dan came leaping across the creek. The poor thing was floundering around, trying to get to its paws and run away.

So there I was with the twins, on the same side of the creek with the horses, who were moseying along in our direction. They were starting to freak out (the twins, not the horses) and I grabbed them by the arms and we jumped across the creek and scrambled up the hill.

So here they are, the wild and dangerous horses that we ran away from. Don't they look scary? :) Of course, if you only weigh 25-40 pounds, a 1000 pound horse looks pretty scary up close. And when you are the mommy and daddy of those little 25-40 pounders, those big horses look like they could do some damage if they wanted. That crevice in the middle of the picture is where the creek is located.
Here we are, safe and sound after our wildlife adventure, looking at the horses from the other side of the fence.
And now I think we'll go relax in the Club House.
And no, we never did make it to that windmill, which continued eerily creaking in the wind!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Whenever We Go Out, The People Always Shout"

Do you let your kids sing while you and they are shopping? I do, unless they are getting loud or obnoxious. Or both.

Last week, I was at Walgreens with the kids and they starting singing "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt." Up and down every aisle. I was mostly just ignoring it and finally they seemed to run out of steam. I noticed a senior citizen lady behind us in the aisle and she was just beaming. When the kids stopped she said, "I remember that song!" And she proceeded to sing it to the kids. The whole song. They just looked at her and their little faces seemed to say, "Who are you and why are you singing our song?"

And now, I dare you to leave without having that song stuck in your head!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That's Our Joseph!

Here is a picture of Joseph at the playground. Oh, he was so proud of himself being able to walk over the bouncy bridge. Okay, so the kids love stickers and they like to stick them on themselves. One day, I came out to the kitchen and there was Joseph sitting on the desk chair with, not stickers, but stamps, stuck all over him. New stamps. Unused stamps. Yikes! Luckily I was able to salvage them. No, I did not stop to take a picture of him. And yes, he got mad when I took the stamps away from him and put them somewhere really high.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Five Years Ago

Joseph Balthaser Brungardt, Dan's father, died on this day 5 years ago, after a battle with leukemia. Our little Joseph was named after him as they share the same birthday, May 23.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Thoughts on Miscarriage

As many of you know, I used to have a medical practice before Catherine was born. Part of my time as a doctor was spent at a local crisis pregnancy center providing sonograms and/or medical consultations for the women who came in. I did this until the twins were about 4 months old. Since that time I have provided my services to look over the sonograms that the sonographers do there. They send me the pictures on a flash drive and I review them.

Well, since the miscarriage I had been reluctant to look at the sonograms on the flash drive, but finally last week, I couldn't put it off any longer. I plugged it in and pulled up the pictures and began to look. There was a baby at 10 weeks, the number of weeks at which I miscarried, the size of baby I should have seen when I went for my sonogram. The woman's due date was only a couple of days different from mine. Then, I saw a baby at about 16-17 weeks, the size my baby would have been if I was still pregnant. It was a bit difficult to look at the pictures, and I cried a little, but it was good too, because I almost felt like I was looking at pictures of her.

Then, early this week, I got a little package in the mail. I've mentioned the Morning Light Ministry before, but I have to talk about them again. In this package, which they sent free of charge, were some blessed mementos for our Mary Joseph. Included was a pretty little white crocheted cross, a white baby rosary, some prayer cards, a tiny miraculous medal, and a divine mercy medal. On the back of the divine mercy medal it says, Jesus I Trust in You, which is the prayer I kept saying the week I was waiting to find out what was happening. They also put in a little handmade plush heart, which I plan to turn into a Christmas ornament for our baby. Then there was this bifold card in there from HLI which had a picture on the front of a real baby at 6 weeks along (it was from an ectopic pregnancy), the same age at which Mary had quit growing. So now I feel like I have a picture of her. All of these things are going into my pretty memory box. I am so grateful to have these things in memory of her. I won't ever forget her, and I don't want to forget. In fact, I think I will wear the divine mercy medal to remind me to ask her for prayers.

Mary Joseph, Pray for Us.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Doctor Girls

One morning, the girls got out the doctor kit and went to work on the sick ones: Oh, on closer inspection, looks like we have 3 bears, one dog, and a baby. Guess that makes them more veterinarian!

And yes, they all got shots!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Fun Place To Read

Joseph loves to read books. Sometimes he'll sit on the floor by the bookshelf and look at books for 20-30 minutes straight. But, on this day, he insisted on taking a book outside: Hmm, I seem to remember doing the same thing when I was a kid.