January 15, 2011

Wisconsin Winter Wonderland

I love living where we live.

Not only do we have beautiful snows, amazing scenery, and an abundance of wildlife. But we have the PACKERS!

We're ready for the big Packer-Falcon playoff game tonight. We'll have curried shrimp dinner before the big game, and then we'll settle in with our full tummies for the big hurrah.

You don't think a quick prayer for the Pack would be sacrilegious now, do you?
Kathleen and Andrew enjoy the last minutes of daylight as the sun approaches the horizon.
Kathleen and Andrew in the back yard.
Marguerite practices her Packer touchdown.
She even says "touchdown!" when her hands go up. (Okay, she says "tu-duh.")

An Ode to My Hubby

Joe and I get buried in the daily grind of school and work and parenting and to-do lists. And it's not often, certainly not often enough, that I reflect on Joe and the many reasons I am so happy I married him.

With our sixteenth anniversary quickly approaching, it seems only appropriate that I thank Joe for all the things he does—for me, for our children, and for our family as a whole.

  • Joe mows the lawn. Always. I've never mowed the lawn in all the years we've been married. He often has one of the kids on the tractor with him, just because they like being with him.
  • Joe takes out the garbage. Always. Unless he's out of town, Joe always manages the garbage. No easy feat with our long driveway.
  • Joe plows the driveway. It's Joe's thing. He plows, he shovels. Bless his heart.
  • Joe plunges toilets. We have toilet cloggers in this house, and Joe always takes on these icky jobs.
  • Joe fixes kids' toys. The pile of toys-to-fix might get big on his desk, but he always gets to the toys and makes them well.
  • Joe does Cub Scouts with William. I've never been to a meeting. It's a Dad-William thing. How cool is that? Lucky boy, that William.
  • Joe picks up the slack when I have a migraine. Fortunately, the migraines are much fewer than they used to be, but when one comes on, watch out. I'm out of commission.
  • Joe leads us in family prayers in the evening, and often helps put the kids to bed.
  • Joe attends Knights of Divine Mercy and St. Thomas More Society meetings, making him a better man, and setting a faithful example for all of us.
  • Joe gets in there and plays with the kids—really plays with them. Board games, baseball, volleyball, target shooting activities, bonfire stories, science experiments, model construction, and general rough-housing.
  • Joe attends music recitals and sports events and does a whole lot of driving to and from extracurricular activities.
  • Joe cut out regular golf-playing years ago to spend more time with the family. What a guy!
  • Joe works all week and then enjoys cooking on the weekends—so much so, that my cooking duties are fairly limited to weekdays. 
  • Joe takes the time to teach our children. Although he does not do the regular, formal instruction in our homeschool, he is the impromptu dinner-table educator. Conversations with Dad around the dinner-table usually involve science or history. He engages the kids and makes them better people.
  • Joe makes tough decisions and has even turned down lucrative client opportunities which were not compatible with his faith.
  • Joe's a tough-love kind of dad, and while he might ruffle some kiddie feathers, the kids always know what's right and wrong, thanks to Joe.
  • Joe puts his wife, his kids, and his Catholic faith first. The examples of this are innumerable. He is my hero. I don't know what I'd do without him.

I didn't touch on everything. How could I? Love, and the service and devotion that comes with love, cannot be boiled down to a tidy little list. This list is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the amazing Joe.

I love you, Joe! Happy (almost) sixteenth anniversary!

Here we are, sixteen years ago.
Joe, doing his thing, plowing our big ol' driveway.

January 4, 2011

New Year's Day

In a break from tradition we celebrated New Year's Day, rather than New Year's Eve with the Daniels this year.

We had so much fun eating and socializing and eating and gifting and eating and running after kids and eating some more...that I completely failed to break out the camera.  Thank goodness for Claudia who got a couple shots that captured the New Year's new one-year-olds.

The first shot below was taken at the Daniels' on New Year's Eve of 2009/2010 when Joseph and Marguerite were infants, just a few weeks apart in age. The second shot was taken on New Year's Day this year. Joseph and Marguerite, newly-turned-one, are now toddlers. What a difference a year makes!

Meredith & Elizabeth with babies, Joseph & Marguerite, last year. 
One year later, and look how they have grown!
Joseph & Marguerite—You've come a long way in one year!

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Friends invited us for a family New Year's Eve party, with the promise of "banging pots and pans at midnight."

The little kids latched onto this message and, getting it just a little wrong, went around for a week telling everyone that they were invited to our friends' house to "break pots and pans at midnight."

Bang, break... What the difference?

Happy New Year!

The banging, breaking midnight crew.

January 2, 2011


It happens every year over the holidays...

I fall hopelessly behind, barely stay on top of the laundry (who am I kidding—I slide right off that laundry mountain), pull out frozen pizza with ever-increasing frequency, and run myself ragged getting from one holiday event to the next from Christmas straight through Epiphany.

It's all good, really it is. I wouldn't have it any other way. We have a great time over the holidays, and who really cares if the laundry suffers and the meals are weak? (Okay, I care, and it makes me edgy, but we're not going there.)

In any event, I clearly need to build in a solid minute or two a day for unwinding during the holidays. Yes, every mom needs a minute or two to herself, don'tcha think?

Perhaps I should take my cues from Therese and Marguerite, two girls who clearly know how to put up their feet.