Monday, August 4, 2014

Flying Under The Radar

Wow! It has been a very long time since the last Classically Catholic blog post. I have been reading more than writing lately. Honestly it has been kind of nice keeping a low profile and flying under the radar for a while. Here is a recap of the past few months….

May was chaotic as the college crowd came home, exploded all over the house  dropped off their gear, and headed off to work in the Blue Ridge Mountains for the summer.

It was a quick turnaround, but they didn't head out before Giordan produced his annual summer movie:

Shortly after the college crowd headed to camp, the house was restored to some semblance of normalcy. Then we headed to the Lone Star State.  My sister and her husband hosted a Memorial Day Bash in true Texas style. Never a dull moment at the Hacienda.

 Can't beat live music...
Lively Chicken Fights in the pool,
And live crawfish.
Of course the crawfish were better after the big boil. 
The excitement continued after the party, because Dear Sister sent us home with a living summer project.
More about that later.

The next whirlwind for the summer was the 
never-ending All-Star tournament circuit.
They finished dirty and exhausted, but they also finished champions. While the guys traveled every weekend, Regina and I mostly chilled around the house. We read, and painted….
(and no, this isn't anyone I know. Just an exercise from an oil painting book to help me get past the flat cartoon look of the Madonna and Child painting that I hope to master in the distant future).
 (See- flat and muddy looking. One day though!)

In between painting sessions I put together a do-it-yourself home retreat. Thanks to some fabulous, old Fulton Sheen videos, I was able to wrap my mind around some of the mysteries of the faith with renewed enthusiasm. Any of his videos or publications are worth the time to view. I look forward to his canonization in the near future. 

Next on the agenda was a girls' weekend getaway.  Gina and I invited Grandma to join us on a road trip back to Texas. We had a peaceful weekend floating in the pool and canning tomatoes. *Learning a lot from my younger sister about canning and dehydrating. Trouble is that my garden doesn't produce like hers. So I am also learning a thing or two from her husband about soil amendments.

Finally it was time for my baby girl to join her brother and sisters at camp. It was her first year as a junior counselor. Then, I was the lone female in a house with 2 restless boys. It rained and rained and rained. Thank heaven for back to back VBS at two different churches.

I also had an opportunity to fill in for an audiologist at my ENT's office for 3 weeks. They call it work; but after homeschooling, keeping the house in order, and the kids under control, it was more like a dream vacation. I love my kids- but a break is a break, and this one came with bonus pay. I am pretty sure the boys needed a break from this mama, too. Grandma stepped up to take the boys out for some summer fun. Putt putt, summer movies, and lunch dates with grandma = happy grandsons.

Gina should be home tonight- and I fully expect her to sleep nonstop for the first two days home in her comfy bed. Then the college kids should be arriving within the week for a short stay before moving into their new apartment. We will rearrange to accommodate everyone and just deal with the chaos for the fabulous short time that we can all be together. How I have missed having a full house! Late night conversations, laughter at the dinner table, and hugs all around. I can't wait. It will all happen so quickly- then back to the homeschooling grind.

How did you spend your summer?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Swinging Birthday

Birthdays have been pretty low key around here lately. We tend to host special events for landmark years such as first birthdays, hitting double digits, becoming a teenager, turning 16, 18, or 21.  Otherwise, a family dinner with a special dessert is the usual routine. There are enough of us to make quite a party on our own.  However, when Gina, the Queena, turned 15, she suggested that after Latin Mass in the city, we take the family party to the WWII Museum for swing dancing lessons. Who could resist?
Even Uncle Nick was in.

 The Birthday Girl danced with her Father.
 She danced with her sisters and her brothers.
 And she smiled the entire afternoon.
 Especially when the entire crowd sang "Happy Birthday" to her. Wonder how they knew ;)

 Fun for all ages!
And it is free every Sunday afternoon in the summer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Critter Relocation Program

The garden didn't produce very well this summer, and when it did, our friendly neighborhood critters helped themselves to the fruits. After trying all sorts of opossum and raccoon deterrents we finally decided to trap the critters and relocate them to a wooded area several miles down the road.
Turns out the opossum is a fan of cupcakes and the raccoons like cantaloupe.  Lucky for us they didn't care for cucumber or watermelon. We were able to harvest an abundance of each.

With a pepper here and there.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Precious Preschoolers

Never thought you'd see me in the early afternoon school carline, did you? Well,  I couldn't resist an opportunity to pick up these two cuties every Monday and Friday for a play date at Mia's house while their mom is at work.
Their uncles think it is a fine idea as well.
My knights in school uniforms love a good sword fight on a sunny afternoon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Holiday At The Halbert's Hacienda

  Fourth of July weekend was done in a big way, as is everything in Texas. My sister and brother-in-law hosted a first rate barbeque and seafood boil with all the fixins. We feasted on huevos rancheros,  burgers, jambalya, red beans and rice, eggplant parmesan, boiled crawfish and shrimp, guacamole with chips, sopapilla cheesecake, homemade ice cream, and of course, apple pie. (Next stop- the gym)
 Thirty six was the eventual head count, and everyone had an amazing time. 
I floated around in the pool until the volley ball competition began. Unlike my dear brother, the thrill of spiking a ball for the winning point does nothing for me. I watched from a safe distance as the game heated up.
A bonfire with a firework show followed after sundown.  No room for s'mores in my overstuffed tummy, so I hit the shower.  The diehards held out for a midnight swim which was unfortunately cut short by a second "sunset." Apparently the mysterious orange glow in the distance was caused by smoldering embers that blew into a dry wooded area and ignited a secondary fire. After much excitement, the exhausted fire fighting swimmers retired for the evening.
After mass on Sunday morning, my sister headed over to the chicken coop to send us home with fresh green and brown eggs. 
We almost came home with an incubator set up to start our own homesteading project, but decided to wait until the next trip. My mom wasn't too thrilled about the souvenirs I was already going home with, especially since we were traveling in her relatively new car. 
Besides, our coop has yet to built. Better get started if we plan to hatch chicks in August.
Not bad for a morning's work.
Next stop was the hay field, to stock up on my sister's secret recipe for a fabulous Texas sized garden.
Composted chicken manure!
Now this is the score that made my day! Dear brother, the volley ball player, was not impressed. But my girl Gina was right there with me, eager to help.
I am sure you can imagine how thrilled Mom was about this one. I made certain to seal the fertilizer in a five gallon bucket, then bagged up another 20 pounds in a hefty bag that fit nicely in the cooler.
I don't think I will even tell her that we brushed down the donkey to collect a bag of shedded fur to put around the perimeter of the garden to keep the opossum family away from my corn.
My mom was antsy to hit the road, so I forgot to get a cutting from this gorgeous oleander to transplant. So much to do, and a weekend just isn't long enough.  Good thing we will return in August,
to attend my god daughter's Reveal.
Will she have a girl or a boy? So much excitement. 
I cannot wait to return.
Thanks, Rene and Myron, for such great hospitality.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Solar Powered Mia

We had the grandkids for a couple of days last week since the oldest was out of school for Mardi Gras break (perks of living on the Gulf Coast- a week off for Mardi Gras instead of a day off for President's Day). Luckily the gloomy skies parted long enough for all the kids to get outside for a while. I don't think I could have survived being trapped in the house with 6 boys for much longer. I don't think they could have survived captivity with a sunshine-deprived Mia for another minute.

 When the grandtwins went down for afternoon naps, I enlisted their big brother to help me with a winter project. The diagrams were labeled with ABCs and 123s- perfect for Kindergarten-level teamwork.  Construction was completed within an hour; then the real fun began. The twins woke up to join us for the dirty work.

We planted tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, green beans, cucumbers, and petunias in starter pots; then lined the shelves of our new greenhouse.  It was a rewarding afternoon in many ways.  Mia was able to recharge; the boys were able to look at vegetables in a new light (they can be a little picky at the dinner table), and our Senior resident was able to enjoy studying her literature and physics lessons through LSU colored glasses.
I lined the "floor" with topsoil and grass seed, hoping that we could rejuvenate this muddy lawn before spring. KT suggested that we move the greenhouse around to grow grass in a checkerboard pattern, just for interest.
One lone brick rests in the center so I can lean inside with a watering can, without crushing the baby grass when it comes in.
We ended the day by picking some carrots and sugar snap peas to steam for dinner.  There is something about picking your own veggies that makes them taste better to a 5 year old.

A chilly breeze chased us inside at dusk, and the temperature dropped to 27 degrees that night. Great timing, wouldn't you say?  And I have been recharged for another day.

New Page for New Issues

In an effort to maintain focus, a new page has been created with emphasis on promoting the Culture of Life and exposing the Culture of Death in our society. Share your take with us:
Classically Catholic Current Issues - Culture of Life and Death.