Flashback Friday

Traditional Weddings, Stockpiling, and Visitors

We’ve had a rather busy August with two Traditional Latin Mass weddings, a Solemn Pontifical Latin Mass with Cardinal Burke, four different sets of visitors, and tomato canning.

Solemn Pontifical Mass

The Solemn Pontifical Mass was prior to Cardinal Burke’s illness and subsequent hospitalization. (I understand he’s out of the ICU, by the way.) The boys served this Mass, along with many others. The following photo is a shot of them lining up afterwards for professional photographs.

Cardinal Burke is, of course, in red in the middle. (I’m having problems with some of my photos transferring correctly, if any of these are blurry, I apologize.)
My boys after the Mass chatting with their friends.

Traditional Latin Mass Weddings

The Traditional Latin Mass weddings we attended both took place in Wisconsin, in parish churches, where as I mentioned before, our bishop hasn’t sanctioned any restrictions as of yet. (May God have mercy on us and may the next pope issue a Summorum Pontificum II, striking Traditionis Custodes to the trash.)

The weddings were beautiful. If you’re interested and own a 1962 Missal, you can find the exact ceremony complete with prayers and readings on page 1597.

Here’s a shot of one of the TLM weddings. Beautiful beyond words.

Gardening, Canning, and Stockpiling

August has also been a busy month with gardening and canning. My poor mother endured countless phone calls as I attempted this arduous process on my own for the first time. In the end, she drove five hours to help me with the salsa. May God bless her!

My mom, me, and all the girls

The boys helped too.

We ended up with about 80 quarts of tomatoes, pasta sauce, and salsa. I am very thankful to be done. I wonder how those heroic women of long ago managed it all?

We’ve also gone berry picking, but as I don’t know how to make jam, we just froze them, after we ate a few pounds.

I didn’t even wash them. I was just too tired. I figured the place was organic, and that was good enough for me.

And for Stockpiling…here is a shot of my 2021 Winter Stockpile:

The jars are 3 deep.

Yes, I’m gathering food once again for the winter. I mentioned last fall a few of my reasons for doing so. This fall, there hasn’t been a food shortage, but I still think it a prudent thing to gather supplies for the winter. After all, if one has the space and time, can it hurt? We eat it all anyway.

I hope this last bit of summer is going well for all of you. I’m also hoping things will slow down with the routine of school and that I’ll be able to write a bit more here.

Happy Friday!

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday–Epiphany Edition

How was your week? This last week has been wild and busy for our household. So, I thought I’d do a Flashback Friday. It’s been awhile.

  1. Last Wednesday–the 6th–was Epiphany. Did you celebrate? We did, and it began on the 5th with the traditional blessing of salt and water at St. James the Less Catholic Church. If you’ve never attended this traditional blessing, you’re missing out! The prayers are beautiful and powerful, especially the exorcism prayers. If you’d like more about it, click HERE wherein Fr. Zuhlsdorf shows pictures from his church and explains the ceremony.
Getting set up at St. James for the blessing. The servers are organizing everyone’s water and salt. We brought 4 gallons of water and 2 containers of salt to use throughout this coming year.

The above photo shows the water and salt that families brought in to be blessed. They will use this water throughout the year to bless their homes and their children. The salt can be used likewise, and in cooking.

2. Of course we went to Mass on Epiphany Day too. Then afterwards we had friends over for a meal and then later, we prayed the traditional blessing of the home while my husband chalked the front door with blessed chalk, which our parish provides. (If you’ve never done this, it’s not too late! Click HERE for more information.)

Inside of our front door. You’ll notice that the first two numbers and the last two numbers are the current year. The three middle initials stand for the Magi, separated by crosses.

3. Also on the evening of Epiphany, our family chooses a new Saint of the Year. This is just a custom that we’ve done over the last ten or so years. In short, everyone is supposed to prayerfully pick a saint to submit to the hat. My husband invokes the Holy Spirit and asks Him to choose a saint for our family. Then I draw one from the hat.

Last year was St. Miguel Pro, which one of my sons had submitted. This year? The Holy Family, which one of the Little Girls had submitted. She afterward explained, “Well, I wanted Jesus, Mary, AND Joseph, so I put in the whole Holy Family.” And the Holy Family it is!

We’ll invoke the Holy Family to pray for us all year long, especially at every meal.

4. Did anyone eat anything interesting over these holidays? We’ve been eating dove lately, as our boys are making use of their Christmas pellet guns.

It’s not bad eating, really. Chop it up and saute it in olive oil with garlic and onion. You can’t go wrong.

5. I caught the Little Girls playing with toothpaste again. Seriously, this is a problem. I had to clean it up off the bathroom floor and counters. But I guess it makes for good soup or whatever the Little Girls are serving up in their restaurant.

Caught her red-handed. Notice the measuring cup of toothpaste? What I want to know is, what happened to the toothpaste that was obviously IN the cup?? Did someone eat it? Gross.

6. Lastly, dear Readers, Paul is scheduled for another surgery this Monday. If you think of it, remember him in your prayers. He’s doing well, but the swelling in his spine has grown to alarming levels, and we’ll need to experiment with another shunt that can hopefully manage the fluid in his brain better.

7. Oh, but I can’t leave you on a negative note. If you need a bit of encouragement, read Psalm 139 which begins, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me…you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” It’s so beautiful. We are meant to live here and now, and God will never leave us; He is great and powerful and reigns forever!

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: a Silent Retreat & a Birthday

How did your week go?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. I recently returned from a silent retreat in South Dakota.  This is a picture of Sts. Isodore and Maria Catholic Church where I did the majority of my holy hours.  I snapped this shot as I was pulling up last Thursday evening, for as you know, phones are verboten during a retreat, so I couldn’t take any more pictures.

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2.  Who needs a phone during a retreat anyway?  Even if one were to say to me, “But, but, but I need my phone for an alarm clock and to look at my sweet breviary apps.”  I’d still say nope.  We all know that screens do something to us.  The constant scrolling with endless options are tiring.  Rather, you might consider saving your money and buying this and learning how to use it.  Flip some pages.  Be uncomfortable.  And as for an alarm…where I went on silent retreat, they had old-fashioned alarm clocks in our private rooms, and they had cheap watches for sale in their book store, should you not have one.

3.  There is a misconception about silent retreats.  Some people are inclined to think it like a vacation.  Let me tell you, it is not.  It is work; it is a labor of love.  My spiritual director recommends scheduling 5 holy hours during the day, wherein one prays before the Blessed Sacrament.  This is in addition to Mass and Confession.  Then there are other devotions one may want to do–Stations of the Cross, Rosary, ect.  Not to mention fasting in some sort of way.  No, it is not a vacation.

4.  But it is worth it.  We may not always be faithful to God, but He is always faithful to us.  He loves us dearly and sees our little sacrifices.  He is quick to stoop down to His little ones and hold us, should we want Him to.  If you’re thinking of a silent retreat, just schedule it and go!

5.  And lastly, the Eldest had a birthday this week.  She turned 13, and I finally have a teenager!  (Her birth story from 13 years ago is HERE.)

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And here she is, modeling her new watch, given to her by her grandparents.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Maria!

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: The Grass & Garden Edition

I haven’t done one these in awhile, so here we are.  Welcome to Flashback Friday to those of you who are new to the blog.  This is where I look back on my week and offer a few trifling thoughts.

  1. I am just downright thankful for having grass in the yard.  Yesterday the wind was whipping 40mph and for once, the dirt wasn’t swirling around the house.  If you’ll remember, this is what my yard looked like on June 4th:

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Oh, the dirtiness of dirt yards!  Oh, the agony of planting grass!  Oh, the endless dirt and mud flung into the house by carefree children!

2.  As it is, on September 4th, our yard now looks like this:

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Yes, it’s still patchy in spots, but seriously, it looks great.  It’s a vast improvement anyhow.

3.  And that’s my garden in the center there.  From far away, it looks perfectly respectable too.  But don’t be deceived by those delightful flowers.  Shall we take a closer look?

4.  Here are my tomato plants and onions:

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Tomato plants are on the left.  Onions are in the middle.

All six of my tomato plants are lying on the ground.  That’s because the wind whips them over, and I’m too lazy to walk out there and right those wire cages.  In my defense, I did attempt to stand them upright a few times at the beginning of summer, but those weak things just toppled back over with the slightest breeze.  Likely this is all my fault to begin with, as I ought to have stuck those wire cages deep into the earth, but I guess I didn’t.

Now the onions…that is just not my fault at all.  They look like they’ve been trampled on by a circus parade, and it’s true; they have been.  My 3-year-old and the tornado-wrecking-toddler play in there all the time.

Then there’s this:

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Notice the dead-looking sticks in the foreground?

See this dead-looking bush?  Yep, I guess I don’t know how to transplant rose bushes very well.  It was an offshoot from my grandmother’s rose bush, and I killed it.

Now this rose bush isn’t just any rose bush.  It happens to be descended from a my great grandmother’s original rose bush, which her mother brought from Norway to Elis Island, and then finally to South Dakota over a hundred years ago.

That dead-looking thing is my 3rd attempt at planting it.

5.  But all is not lost.  Even if my garden is a bit unruly and unproductive, I’ve always got the children’s garden.  In fact, they’ve been selling me their produce.  I bought a lovely cucumber the other day for 60¢.  (I thought that I had planted my own cucumbers, but alas, none came up.)

6.  In case you’re wondering, this growing-of-gardens business is what we call Science in our household.  Or Biology.

7.  Lastly, though, I’ll have you notice that my zinnias and marigolds are handsome.  I planted them from seed that I had collected last year.

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Zinnias and Marigolds.  See that bushy looking thing behind the zinnias on the right?  Yeah, what is that?  It was supposed to be cosmos flowers, but there are still no buds.  And no sign of any to come.  And as I do live in the Arctic North, those things better hurry up because it’ll likely freeze next week.

Happy Friday!

Christ-Like Minimalism, Flashback Friday

Minimalism & Sceptic Pumps

  1. Yep, it’s Thursday.  But I have a busy day tomorrow and would like this post to go out today.
  2. I was recently interviewed by Mrs. Laura Gardner for her company’s blog.  The topic was Minimalism.  If you’re curious click HERE for it.  All the photos in her article are from my home.

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    Like this one.  It’s my living room.
  3. I want to highlight the book she mentions at the beginning of her article.  This book was life-changing for me.  If you need a little kick in the behind to get rid of some of your stuff, then read THIS.  It’s Fr. Thomas DuBay’s Happy Are You Poor: The Simple Life and Spiritual Freedom.
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  4. Man, this book is tough to swallow.  But it’s true.  Your exterior surroundings are a reflection of what’s going on inside you.  One ought to live, in his words, “Gospel Frugality.”  (I have a long, long way to go.)  This is the key, however.  I like DuBay’s phrase – Gospel Frugality – because it suggests something that “Minimalism” doesn’t.  In short, it means that God cares how you live.  And unless you get that, you’re not going to simplify your life.  Or your possessions.  (And no, it doesn’t mean living in squalor with zero possessions.)
  5. This week our sceptic pump went out.  That was exciting.  Actually, the pump probably gave way some time ago, but we didn’t know it.  We thought maybe a kid shoved something down the toilet in the basement, as that toilet wasn’t flushing properly.  We shrugged it off and told everyone to use the upstairs toilet, hoping to get around to having it fixed sometime in February.  Well, then my husband noticed that the water level was much higher in the furnace room drain.  Then the upstairs toilet wouldn’t flush fully.  Then my husband investigated and discovered that the sceptic tank wasn’t draining because the pump wasn’t working.
  6. Do you have any idea how big of a disaster this might have been?  Imagine the nastiest fecal matter you can.  Imagine the stench.  Imagine it inches deep all over your house!  Oh praise God for observant and inquisitive husbands!
  7. In case you’re wondering, the matter has now been resolved.  We have a new sceptic pump, and everything is functioning properly.  Deo gratias.
  8. How was your week?
Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday on Saturday

In spite of all the Church Scandal, life goes on.  How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. I was spoiled rotten on Thanksgiving Day.  I barely had to make anything – just frog-eye salad.  And we feasted like kings and drank good wine.  God is very good to us.  And I have the best in-laws ever.
  2. The other day The Eldest was dancing around with Little Sister when, SMACK!  Little Sister’s eye met a chair.  Grandma added purple eye shadow to the other eye to balance things out.  And then we took a picture of her because she’s still so cute.  Can you guess which eye is injured and which is fake?

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Ah!  They’re putting make-up on me!

3.  The 2019 Calendars from Tan Publishing are out.  Last year they had a calendar featuring monks brewing beer and drinking wine.  For example, here’s this month’s picture from 2018:

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Can you read the quotation in the bottom righthand corner?  It’s a Medieval German saying.  “Drink wine, and you will sleep well.  Sleep, and you will not sin.  Avoid sin, and you will be saved.  Ergo, drink wine and be saved.”  Hilarious.

Anyway, this year I’ve noticed that Tan has a 2019 calendar titled, Defending Christendom.  You bet I’m going to order it.  Click HERE to see it at Tan.

4.  As yesterday was Black Friday, I will offer a gift idea for lego-loving children.  A friend of mine sent me a link to this.  It’s the Last Supper built with legos.  We don’t own it, but we do own this one, which is Fr. Leopold’s Mass, and it’s great.

If any of you do own the Last Supper lego kit, drop a line below in the comments.  I’d like to hear if it’s a good set.

5.  And finally, do you live anywhere near the Bismarck/Mandan metropolitan area?  If so, come experience the Mass of the Ages, otherwise known at the Traditional Latin Mass, this Sunday at Christ the King Catholic Church in Mandan, ND, at 11:30am.  I’d love to meet you!

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Tumbleweeds, Voles, & Saints

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

I’ll bet you don’t have these.

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Check out these mammoth tumbleweeds.

While I’ve been busy unpacking the house, the children have been busy chasing tumbleweeds.  Then they like to stack them along the trees rows to provide further protection from the wind and enemies, who might be seeking to destroy their forts.

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The wall of tumbleweeds extends down the lilac row to the left.

While our new home does not have the quantity of trees that the old place offered, the children are still satisfied with its meager three rows of lilac, ash, and ponderosa pine.  We’ll plant more in the spring.

Some of you may be wondering how Strider is adjusting to his new home?  Well, this morning, he caught and ate three voles.

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Here he is with Vole #2.

He likes to drag them up to the back deck and wait at the patio door for us to see.  Then he eats them.  The children love this.  And I call it Biology Class.

Yesterday was All Saints Day.  My children dressed up for it.

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I’m not really sure what saints they are.  I think there’s a couple Benedictine monks.  Maybe a discalced hermit?  And a knight-saint – Saint Louis King of France?

And lastly, I offer an article that David Clayton wrote earlier this week.  I appreciate his points about Satan and Halloween.  (I suppose because we have chosen to keep our eye on All Saint’s Day and not Halloween too.)  There is an especially poignant quotation from a Russian Orthodox Bishop that I encourage you to read.  Here’s part of it:

Can you honestly think—you who gaze at and touch the holy icons in your home and in our temples, and know that the saints are present with you, and that you are drawn into their holy lives—that to be willingly surrounded by images of the demons (however childish and infantile their representation) will not also affect your heart, and your children’s hearts, and draw them closer to powers that none would call holy?

Click HERE for the whole article.

Finally, remember to pray for the dead today on All Souls Day.  And listen to Mozart’s Requiem.  It’s a Mass for the dead, which would originally have been composed for the Extraordinary Form.  It’s beautiful.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Snowing Already?!

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

1. Dear Readers, I just want to let you know that it snowed here the other day.  Yep.  Those of you living in warmer climates, eat your hearts out.

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It wasn’t as bad as this photo from Wikimedia Commons, but this is how I felt.

2.  So, in honor of the first snow day, our household blasted Christmas music.  I know that some of you may consider this as near heretical behavior, but I ask you, what else ought one to do when it snows in the beginning of October?  I can’t play Louis Armstrong’s When You’re Smiling, because I ain’t smiling.  But I can play It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Bing Crosby, because it is.

3.  We took the children down to South Dakota, where it’s supposed to be warmer, to visit my parents.  They’re in the middle of harvesting soy beans and corn.  It’s a lot of fun riding around in combines.

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Here are some of my children standing in the corn, waiting for their combine ride.

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My dad and the children.

4.  We also took the children to Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls.  Ever been there?  No?  It’s beautiful, especially if you attend the 9:15 am Mass when the Men’s Schola chants.  Be.You.Ti.Full.

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Cathedral of St. Joseph.  Now this is how you build a church.  Click HERE for more photos.

5.  We’re still moving and getting closer to The Day.  Next week we should close on our house and move into a new one.  Some of you may be wondering if it’s been a difficult last few months?  The answer is, yes.  For one thing, I haven’t had access to all my stuff for a good four weeks, as we’ve been packing.  Just where did I put that book on St. Dominic that my daughter needs for a speech?  Oh yes, I remember, in a box…

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Back to School!

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. We’re back into another academic year.  Two of our children are attending a Catholic Montessori School, three are being homeschooled, and the remaining toddler and baby are just. plain. busy.  How do I get it all done?
  2. With a lot of grace and a Good Schedule.  I haven’t quite finished tweaking my new schedule, but when I do, I’ll put it out there for you glance at.  Sometimes it helpful to see what other mothers are doing.
  3. I saw my first weasel the other day.  It was running across our backyard and made for a group of pine trees.  The thing that really stood out was it’s black-tipped tail.  I wish I could have snapped a picture of it.

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Here’s a picture I found on Wikimedia Commons.  Note the black-tipped tail.  The one we saw was about as big as our cat, Strider.

 

4.  My twin boys love serving the Traditional Latin Mass.  Last Sunday I snapped a shot of them holding the torches during the Eucharistic Prayer.  (I know, I know, I should have been praying and not grabbing my phone.  But this just isn’t something one gets to see every day.  In fact, most people never get to see a TLM around here.)

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My boys are the two in the middle.  The beautiful thing about this Mass is the amount of boys wanting to serve.  You can’t see them, but there are three other servers kneeling in choir.

5.  Our house finally sold!  If everything goes well – inspection, etc. – we’ll be moving in October.  We’re very excited about this, as we found a beautiful place to move to that will fit our large family and our large van.  Miracle.

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Biology 101, Firemen, and Donuts

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. Yesterday we caught Strider as he was finishing up his breakfast.  So we don’t know what he actually killed.

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Here he is.  Just a blood spot and a tail left.

I guess he doesn’t like eating tails.  So we had a little Biology 101.  What rodent has a white tail?  It looks a little thicker than a mouse or vole, but what?  A rat?  Doesn’t that tail look a little short for a rat?  We don’t know.

2.  Then there’s this, which we almost missed.

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I am sorry the quality is poor.  It’s the upper teeth and snout of whatever poor creature fell into Strider’s path.  Yuck.  Just yuck.

3.  Remember that Ditch Fire we had a week or so ago?  Well, the Fire Chief invited the boys out to the station for a private tour.  So I asked my father-in-law to take them, and he did.  They all loved it.

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These firemen are awesome.  They put all their gear on just for the boys.

They even let the boys get in their trucks and spray their hoses.

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Grandpa was secretly jealous of this part.  He wanted to spray the hose too.

4.  Someone drove by and knocked our mailbox over.  Bummer.

5.  It was the Feast of the Assumption last Wednesday.  So after Mass, we went to the local donut shop and ate donuts.  Besides the normal kinds of donuts, they had oreo cookie donuts with chunks of oreos on the frosting and donuts made to taste like snickers candy bars.  The animal cracker donuts with pink frosting were a hit among my girls.

 

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Ham, Again?

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine.

  1. Someone once gave me a good piece of advice: Never, ever talk about or show pictures of bowel movements on your blog.  Now, this is sound advice, and I had every intention of following it.  Until this happened:

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Yes, that is poop running down her leg.  She apparently doesn’t mind and is having a good time.

2.  When my 4-month-old did this, I had two choices:  1.)  I could sit down and cry.  Oh, the agony of cleaning up this mess!  Or, 2.)  Go, get the other children, and show them just what their baby sister did and have a good laugh.

I did the latter.  This is real life, after all, and it’s messy.  (The older children thought it was hilarious, until I had them scrubbing onesies and seat holders.)

3.  Someone else also gave me another really good piece of advice:  Never, ever share stories or pictures of your children that could potentially embarrass them when they are older.  Mea culpa.

4.  Sometimes on this blog I show pictures of what I’ve cooked for dinner.  This week, I’m not going to show you because we had ham three nights this week.  Yep.  Baked ham the first night.  Bean and ham soup the second night.  And noodles and ham the third night.  We’re out of ham now.  Maybe we’ll have hot dogs tomorrow night.

5.  I’m rereading G. K. Chesterton’s Everlasting Man.  Here’s a sample:

“The very fact that a bird can get as far as building a nest, and cannot get any farther, proves that he has not* a mind as a man has a mind...But suppose our abstract onlooker saw one of the birds begin to build as men build.  Suppose in an incredibly short space of time there were seven styles of architecture for one style of nest.  Suppose the bird carefully selected forked twigs and pointed leaves to express the piercing style of Gothic…Suppose the bird made little clay statues of birds…”

His point is that we’re different than the animals – gloriously different, in that we create.

*My emphasis.

 

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Pull-ups & Kiddie Pools

How was your week?  Here are a few highlights from mine:

  1. The boys have been doing daily pull-ups on the swing set.  The other day, they challenged me to a contest to see who could do more.  I lost.  I mean, I lost big time.  I couldn’t even do one.  They made me start from a dead hang, and I couldn’t even pull myself up halfway.

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The twins can do six.  I was impressed.

2.  Speaking of pull-ups and other impossible things, apparently it’s impossible for my children not to put things in their mouths.  Do you remember how my son swallowed a penny a few weeks ago?  Well, my 2-year-old girl decided to do that too.

But now that I have experience with the matter, I’ll have you know that I completely kept my cool.  I observed her for a whole five minutes before I gave up.  The first minute she cried.  The second minute she started wriggling around again.   The third minute she was off playing.  And the final two minutes I just watched her from afar.  She’s fine.

3.  It’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

4.  Since the temperature rose above 80 degrees the other day, I thought I’d check out the kids’ pool in the backyard.  (This is what you do, when you live nowhere near anything cool, like an ocean.)

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It was a bit tricky trying to float on their little floaties, but I managed.  Does my neck look red?*

The children were so excited that I was joining them that they even promised to not splash me so that I could read.

And what was I reading?  Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate.  Mitford was one of Evelyn Waugh’s friends.  He even proofread her stuff for her.  But this book was marginal.  Waugh is a wayyyy better writer.  (If you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, pick up Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.)

Notice the brown water in the pool?  Yuck, huh?  But that’s just because the sandbox is a few feet away, not because, well, you know.

5.  The prairie roses are in full blown.  They are the best smelling flower in the whole wide world.  They also happen to be our State Flower.

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The children keep a fresh supply for me on the table.

*I’m afraid that floating around in the kids’ pool makes me a Red Neck, if you know what I mean.