Friday, April 29, 2011


Despite the craziness of Holy Week, brought on by my own decision to take on too many home improvement projects while the kids were off school, Easter was still a glorious day.

Easter began for us on Saturday night. Joseph wanted to attend the Easter Vigil again (it has become a tradition of sorts) and since Kevin went with him last year, I was elected to go this year. Kevin stayed home with the children who would implode if they stayed up til midnight and then spent the entire next day eating chocolate bunnies.

(I will eventually post a photo of) the fire that lit the Easter candle. We all gathered here with our candles to process into the church. I'd love to add photos of the baptismal font that Father John built, all 30 baptisms, Father Steve standing on a chair to light the candles behind the altar (we all laughed - the guy is already six foot eight!) and the joy I felt sitting through the Mass with Joseph and our young neighbors Christina and Maria. While we're at it, I wish cameras could capture how moving it is to hear Stephanie sing the litany of the saints. What a night! What a savior we have to celebrate!

After a midnight snack of sandwiches, shrimp, and delicious fruit, we all went home and went to bed with the resurrection on our hearts.

And woke up to Easter baskets!
I'm happy to say that I refrained from buying so much candy as to guarantee diabetes by summer. But there was enough, and the kids were all thrilled with their choco-bunnies, Mike & Ike's, and pool-themed gifts.

After I ran to the Mayers to hide the zillion eggs for the after-Mass hunt, we dressed up and took a family photo on the couch before Mass. At Mass, Joe had altar server duty and the girls both sang in the choir - it was bizarre to sit with just one child! (Though Grandma Noela joined us, too.)
After Mass, it was lots of kids and baskets in the Mayers backyard. Here's the whole group, minus John, who shies away from large group shots.
Back to our house for the potluck. Yummy ham, lots of marvelous side dishes, and, oh! - a wild and crazy confetti egg fight. This was compliments of my fabulous friend Andrea. The confetti eggs are a tradition in her family and she provided 36 of the well-decorated little suckers. The kids (and adults) had a blast breaking them over each other's heads. Here is Joe dashing out of the bathroom, where he had chased Christina and covered her and the entire commode in shiny confetti.
Here is a tiny sample of what my floor looked like at the end of the afternoon. The entire first floor of our house, minus the guest room looked like this. No joke. Praise the Lord for the broom and the vacuum cleaner!
To prove my cheery disposition despite the crazy confetti mess, and despite the fact that she broke an egg over my head right before this was taken, here is photographic evidence that Andrea and I are still friends.
It was fun to have a neighborhood lunch gathering to celebrate Jesus. And Easter season is just beginning. Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Holy Week Upholstery

Leading up to Easter, I didn't have enough to do with filling eggs for the big hunt, ironing Easter outfits, and cleaning the house for a party - so I figured it was a good time to reupholster our dining room chairs.

We bought these chairs in Hanford in 2004. I loved the white fabric, but purposely inspected their design for ease of reupholstering. At the time I had two children and knew the fabric wouldn't stay white for long. Call me a prophet.

Seven years later, these suckers were WAY overdue for a makeover.
I think the cran-grape juice stains make them especially lovely. If I were a guest, I'm not sure I'd even want to sit on a chair this disgusting. (No one needs to ask what kind of forward thinker would buy white chairs with children in the house. I have no answer. Except they were so pretty!)

On about Wednesday night of Holy Week, Kevin unscrewed the seat cushions from the chair frame and I sat on the couch with a screwdriver and some pliers and got to work removing the old fabric from the chairs. Between the black "under-cover" (not sure what else to call it) and the fabric itself, there were roughly 150 staples per chair to be removed. And they didn't come easy. I had a cramped, blistered hand and very sore muscles by the end of the night, and was only half done. I spent about two or three hours the next morning finishing the job.

At this point, I thought the hard part was over. Now I got to use the fun staple gun and be done in a jiffy, right? I pulled out the staple gun we inherited from my step-dad and shot the first staple. It only went half way in to the wood seat. After a desperate and annoyed phone call to my husband, he reminded me that the gun was "about ninety years old" and suggested I hammer in the staples the rest of the way. No freaking way was I going to hammer 900 staples. So I called our neighbor Derryck, who has a very well-outfitted tool collection and works as a high school teacher, so he was home on Spring Break. He sent over his stapler. Shot the first staple. It only went half way in. You might think I was over-reacting if I told you I burst into tears and ran screaming into the closet where I suffered a full nervous breakdown. But what you might not know is that I was functioning on very little sleep since I was working nights on what I think I might start referring to as "The Great Ceiling Plaster Project of Holy Week 2011." Home improvement projects have a way of not going entirely right, so home improvement workers have a way of falling apart emotionally from time to time.

This is staple gun loser #1:

This is staple gun loser #2:
By a wonderful turn of events, my father stopped by shortly after my nervous breakdown and casually said, "Well, hey, I have a staple gun in my car. Let's try it."

The "Little Staple Gun That Could," despite it's size, accomplished the feat of shooting the staple through the fabric and into the solid wood seat. (And here we insert the Hallelujah chorus. It's not just for Easter.)

No longer did my stack of chair cushions look so daunting.
I used the old fabric swatch for a pattern and got to work.

Almost a thousand staples later, I had six beautiful new chairs, only a slightly arthritic hand, and huge respect for people who carry staple guns in their cars.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Toy Stories

Following are some photos I took of my daughters' toys in various "situations." Sometimes I'll come across their play and I'm taken aback, to say the least. I wonder where they get these ideas at the same time that I laugh out loud. I've recently gotten smart enough to capture their "creativity" with my camera. What follows are the results. The toys and dolls are exactly as I found them. The captions are mine.

Rhinoplasty? At such a young age? What kind of mother....?

"Yes, they're a little large... but they keep me warm up to my thighs."

The student body is sufficiently diverse. They even have a grizzly bear.

"I always feel so smiley when I've been to see Jesus!"

In urban areas, it's often hard to find a good saddle shop. In a pinch, masking tape will do fine. Just have the stable boy be the one to remove it.

Dolphins are terrible drivers. Even if it's a shoe car... just don't let them behind the wheel at all if you can help it.

Efanie was soooooooo glad to not be the only one in second grade with an unusual name.

While the Infant Stunt-Riding course is less than popular, there is the occasional newborn who knocks your socks off with her talent.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still on the Floor

Star Reporter: Much time has passed since your last blog post. Are you still sleeping on the floor?
Me: Yes.

Star Reporter: And how's that goin'?
Me: It hasn't been as difficult as anticipated. A few weeks ago, I removed the memory foam topper I was using and replaced it with a sleeping bag. Much less comfortable, but it beats a bed of nails. If there has been any lesson, it is that I can get by with less than I have. Nice to be reminded of that. We'll be sleeping on the floor at my brother and sister-in-law's during an upcoming visit, and that's just fine and dandy. Couple months ago, I might have been nervous about my comfort and annoyed at not having my bed with me.

Star Reporter: Excited to approach the end of Lent?
Me: Yes and no. Of course I look forward to the joy and celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. But this has been a VERY rich spiritual time for me. Thankfully, that doesn't have to end when Lent does, and many of the disciplines I've attempted will continue. Hooray for that!

Star Reporter: What has been most fruitful?
Me: I can't answer that. Jesus could. Let me know if He clues you in. But I certainly have gained a lot from my reading of the Diary of St. Faustina. Man oh man, that woman loved Jesus. Every word I read of hers brings out a strong desire in my whole heart to love Jesus more. I'll do anything. Well, almost anything. The theme of suffering is STRONG in the life of St. Faustina (and in the lives of all the saints I've read about) and I am daily trying to understand what that looks like for little old me. I resist the level of suffering that Faustina endured, and yet I can hear a call...

Star Reporter: Speaking of suffering...
Me: It is all around me, but mine is so minimal. So I can pray a lot, praise God for that. This very day, I have news of a friend beginning chemo for stomach cancer; my god-daughter desperately needs a new liver; and another friend is suffering through severe emotional turmoil. Still, in the midst of it all, there is the light of the Lord of Lords, and it is the most amazing light. I pray so hard for that light to shine in their darkness. (I suspect, actually, that they might see the light more brilliantly than I do right now.)

Star Reporter: So... you haven't been blogging, but things are okay?
Me: Yes. Jesus is alive and He is the hope of the world and of my life.