Sunday, March 29, 2009


Gabriella walked into my room last night and asked......
"Mom, where are my bwown pants?"

I looked at Noah and said "She's not supposed to be asking THOSE kind of questions until she is at least 10!" ;)

Friday, March 27, 2009


Neana and I have a joke that sometimes the thrift store calls our name. Usually when we listen and go when we get there we find *just the thing* :)
Today was such a day. Manny, Ella and I decided to go for a walk, and since it is more fun to walk *somewhere*, I had a hunch we should walk to the thrift.
And I was rewarded!
Not only did we find the Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer for 2.95$, we also got some other nifty things.

Yes, it's taking everything I've got not to cut those bangs. ;)

Wood animal sewing cards. Perfect for the 6 and under set. (and sheepish 12 yo's :)
A large bag of colored Popsicle sticks, and little do-dads to glue on them. I've been finding these melamine trays lately at Target or the thrift store which are terrific for a myriad of things; sorting cusineaire shapes, putting said do-dads in when crafting, painting, even eating! :) I can't claim this as an original big idea, it's too Montessori.
A magnetic board with clock/calendar/and then a daily schedule. Included are tons of little bricks with *events* on them that we all got a big bang out of putting on the schedule. :)

Grand total. $16.19 ( and that included two, matching, brand new Transformers for J/M. All the planets must have been aligned today. NO FIGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It figures.

I WOULD find a Pampered Chef apple peeler/corer/slicer at the thrift store right AFTER we peeled and sliced 2 boxes of apples by hand. ;)

Daybook, the week in retrospect :) March 23, 2009

Outside my window . . ....cloudy, but it has been a decent weather week. At least not bitterly cold if not actually warm. ;)

I am thinking..........about how to do better.

I am thankful for. . .I happened upon a 70$ food processor at Target marked down to $17.48 because it wasn't in a box. It works, but how well, I don't know. I really needed a new one. (It's awesome! Made a batch of hummus with it for lunch and it worked like a charm!) Getting half off a Greenfield Village/HFM rides for being a home-skooling teecher. Yay!

From the schoolroom. . George, Jax and I have embarked on a study of plants. The littles and I made shamrocks yesterday for St Patrick's Day ( only a week late ;) Good lesson on the Trinity, it seemed to *stick* with Jed. The field trip to the MSO yielded a fruitful discussion of instruments and orchestra related components. I was inspired to get a copy of "Peter and the Wolfe" from the library for further emphasis.

From the kitchen . .yesterday- tortilla soup and chicken wraps. I can't seem to find a good tortilla soup recipe. This one was a good soup, but not sure it was what I was looking for. Got a load of apples from Randazzo's for $2.00 so we've been making homemade applesauce with good results.

I am wearing . . black sweats and light blue fleece.

I am creating . . .too much cleaning to do to add creative projects this week.;)

I am reading and watching . . .Ena; Spain's English Queen

I watched:


Entertaining if not any great cinematographic feat. ;) It was mildly reminiscent of "Out Of Africa" (the theme-anyway-
rich,cultured lady comes to a barren wasteland, butts heads with the dashing local, falls in love with said barren wasteland AND dashing local etc etc) but it had a few other hokey elements and that is where the comparison ends.

Of course anything with Hugh Jackman in it is, well, er, um, entertaining. ;)

The Duchess

I was interested in this because I read her biography. I read some reviews so I had no great expectations, but it did win the oscar for best costumes and I am a sucker for a period drama.
It was ALL over the place and none too faithful to the real story. I don't know that anyone can really figure out the real story anyway, but in trying to make sense of it, this one scrambles the brain.
Yes, gorgeous costumes and awesome tour of some grand architecture in England. Note to filmmakers- the "historical women were opressed" theme is REALLY played out. We get it! Let's move on to a new topic. ;)

I am hearing . . .bird's chirping. Imagine that.

Around the house. . .Just trying to catch up on severely neglected housework.

One of my favorite things. .

We all ( well, the 6 youngest and I) went to the MSO on Wednesday. Ella was enthralled and keeps commenting how much she liked the *jumic* ( her dyslexic way of saying music :) :) I think sometimes she has SO much to say she just gets things out however they can get out so she can verbalize it. LOL!

Manny and Jed were a bit squirmy to say the least ( Manny, especially ;) But I had a birdseye view of the crowd below us from where we were sitting and got a chuckle out of all the little boys squirming and writhing in their seats. Fortuitiously, it only lasted an hour. ;)

What did we do this week. . .Dentist on Monday. MSO and Naomi's first Summit soccer game on Wed ( they tied!) It was at an indoor soccer establishment and the first time the littles had ever been in one. They were completely gaga over it. Dyl joined a co-ed indoor soccer league but the games are too late for me ( 11:00pm??) Working on travel arrangements to get Mr. Z home the beginning of May. Naomi has to serve refreshments for the Confirmation this Saturday and has a job babysitting cute little Winston. :) A call to the city looks promising for using the park near our house for graduation celebrations. Another call is needed.

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .Gabriella with bear and cute sweater Aunt Becky got her for Christmas.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daybook, March 16th 2009

Outside my window . . ....the promise of more nice weather. Yee-haw!

I am thinking..........about Dyl's graduation party already. Ironically, our house can accommodate a good number of people but our backyard is pretty small. And Dyl's such a sporty guy and so are his friends, it seems the focus should be on having a good volleyball net, basketball, and other sports-type things that just won't fit back there.
I guess a park is the obvious answer but which one? The wheels are turning.

I am thankful for. . . lately, I am thankful that my husband has a flexible schedule ( most of the time) and for Dyl.....both of them drive people around quite a bit. I just can't imagine my state if it were me having to do it all. :)

From the schoolroom. . got our new books, which induced Jed to want to do schoolwork on Saturday. :)

From the kitchen . .I made some granola for the first time in a long time. I know a lot of people make this regularly, so I'm not claiming it is any great culinary feat, but the kids really enjoyed it.

Tried "Salmon Chowder" made from leftover salmon. I thought it tasted a bit fishy, but Tim really liked it.

I am wearing . . gray sweats and orange and white hoodie.

I am creating . . .more curtains. always curtains. :) Why can't I just leave well enough alone?

I am reading and watching . . . Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale Gillian Gill

Passing Strange - This is actually about a famous geologist who lived a secret life as a black man. Even though he was Caucasian. I'm not sure how he pulled that off ( doesn't look at all African American). I guess I will find out.

I watched:

The Innocents

Many years ago I read a collection of Henry James short stories. "The Turn of the Screw" was included in that.

I am not one for scary stories ( or movies,for that matter) and I'll admit, I didn't know what it was about when I started , but it has always stuck with me as one of the most frightening tales I've ever read. Not in the way you think of most "in your face modern thrillers", much more subtle.

So, when I saw this DVD at the library I was intrigued. It was made back in the early 60's and done completely in black and white. Since I knew what it was about, I didn't expect to be too scared. ( I was right :), although I can imagine someone who didn't read the novella, would be. Very. ;)

It was a very well done movie. Great acting and interesting presentation. The only downside is that there was an undercurrent of *weirdness* I don't remember from the book. I looked up some information on the movie and found the screenplay was 90% written by Truman Capote. Enough said. ;)

7 Days in September.

A video diary following several New Yorkers experiences in the week during/after 9-11. I don't know if I didn't pay attention or there just wasn't much said in the media about how people who actually lived in the city were dealing with it all, but this was an interesting take on it. Pretty engrossing.

I am hearing . . .silence right now. :)

Around the house. . . burned out yet another shop vac. I don't know why our old one lasted for years but now we can't seem to keep one going for more than a couple months. Probably because I insist on vacuuming the whole house with it.

I get a certain perverse satisfaction crawling about on my hands and knees with that thing and sucking up all the debris. It does such a GREAT job, much better than any vacuum we've ever owned ( and we've owned quite a few of those, as well).

I'm pleased to say I've got about 10 bags to put out on the curb today for the Kidney foundation. I'm in a ruthless, get rid of things, mood. Although the rest of the house has suffered. For sure.

One of my favorite things. . .the kids getting to play outside ALL AFTERNOON. Good for their little souls. :)

We went to the park yesterday afternoon and I guess the rest of the city did, too :) I love when people around here collectively celebrate the nice weather.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . .today we need to get all Naomi's soccer paperwork done, which includes getting something notarized. erg. Graduation meeting tomorrow, dentist on Thursday,* the* sale is Saturday.

Of course this is a big *Saint* week for us, St Patrick and St Joseph, so we'll be having corned beef sandwiches, green jello and green koolaid on Tuesday :) Maybe we'll save St Joseph celebrating for the weekend. ;)

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Red Wings

The Joe Vrazo's waiting for take off.
The girlies.
His nicer side. And Dyl.
NWA ( Noah with attitude)
Aly and Nathan
Tim was on cloud nine. ( maybe literally) w/Jax
Hangin' at the Joe. (Noah, Dyl and Jay)

A hearty thanks to Neana for these pix! ;)

Today's funny....

Manny, running down the stairs with one of our "mini" wedding photo albums.

"Look mom, it's you and Zak!"

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quick Takes Friday

1. When you've had a rough day there is nothing like walking into the kitchen and seeing bags of food. Lots of food. Already prepared food- even better!
Dyl went to Fr. Val's funeral/lunch and Fr. Ben sent him home with the leftovers. What a thoughtful man. ;)

2. High five to Sissy for making the Summit Varsity Soccer team!

3. Talked to Zak last night for the first time in awhile. He went on a retreat in the Smokey Mountains for spring break. He said he was homesick. Sniff.

4. Little boy and maternity clothes almost completely sorted & washed. ay yi yi. I still can't get over how on earth I have collected this much stuff. My only guess is that I just kept throwing it up in the attic without really going through it after each baby because I was short on time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;)

5. On that note I'm very pleased that the Kidney Foundation is stopping by on Monday. :)

6. I liked this article: :)

Caring for Your Introvert

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren't caring for him properly.

7.Thought to ponder:

"Good temper should be cultivated by every mistress, as upon it the welfare of the household may be said to turn; indeed, its influence can hardly be over-estimated, as it has the effect of molding the characters of those around her, and of acting most beneficially on the happiness of the domestic circle. Every head of household should strive to be cheerful, and should never fail to show a deep interest in all the appertains to the well being of those who claim the protection of her roof. Gentleness, not partial and temporary, but universal and regular, should pervade her conduct; for where such a spirit is habitually manifested, it not only delights her children, but makes her domestics attentive and respectful; her visitors are also pleased by it, and their happiness is increased. "

Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management (Chpt 1)

Monday, March 9, 2009

excitement of the day.......

Today we took a stroll up to the Montessori park near our house. The littles and I went to the playground, George and Naomi were trying to play soccer on the soggy field ( we tried going to George George, but it was closed due to flooding).

Jackson rode my bike up a bit later. My bike. My brand new thrift store bike. ;) Grrrr! He parked it over by the soccer net, which is the usual drill when we go to the park.

Of course Manny decided after about 15 minutes that he needed to go to the bathroom. Usually they have a porta-potty, but not this time of year. And it wasn't the type of potty-going that you could send a little boy over to a tree to accomplish.

So, I started packing kids into the stroller and heading towards home. Just as we were starting up the path we heard Jackson and Naomi yelling. I looked over toward them and saw a young man in dark clothing riding away on my bike!!!
The nerve!

Of course we were all shocked and didn't know what to do. So I do what I always do when I don't know what to do. Call Tim. :)
I thought maybe he would call the police, but no, he grabbed Noah and jumped in the van.

Noah called about 10 minutes later and asked for a better description of the kid and the bike ( I guess he never paid much attention to it ;) He said "I think we've got him" and hung up.

Sure enough he and TIm chased him at least 2 miles down Gratiot. He eluded them several times but finally made the fatal mistake of going in a parking lot he couldn't get out of and was cornered. Thankfully, he dropped the bike and ran off ( you never think about the what-if's in situations like this until afterward).
My heroes.

Although, thinking about it afterward, I am sad. Why all the ruckus for a dumb bike? What kind of desperation makes someone steal a bike in broad daylight when the owner is 100 feet away? Maybe he needed it more than I. (Probably he needed it more than I).

Thankfully, the little kids weren't too traumatized. As Jed likes to live life ala Adventures in Odyssey, his comment on the way home was "This is EXCITING!". ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Quick Takes Friday

1. Today's numbers........58-60. Degrees, that is. Detroit Zoological Park here we come!

2. We got a late start on our walk yesterday. So late, in fact, the moon was out by the time we were heading home from the park. :) The little boys were engrossed with it.
"Mom, the moon is walking!"
"Mom, the moon is running!" :)
We stopped at a stop sign and Manny said, as we started walking again, "Come on, moon, let's go!"

4 year olds and 6 year olds. What cuteness.
Although I said to Noah today, "Maybe 16 is about the time you might want to think about not being cute anymore."
Tongue. In. Cheek. ;)

3. I put a pair of pants on Manny today that I could have swore he wore last week with no problems. Today they looked about 2 inches too short. He's really not that far behind Jed size wise. I guess he'll be another Vrazo giant. ;)

4. I can't even bear to write what our heating bill was last month. I am thankful Tim takes care of the finances and shields me from the harsh realities most of the time. I guess he felt compelled to mention it this time as an incentive for the family to keep those doors closed. Tightly.
Where the heck does the gas company get off charging these ridiculous rates? ;)
Suffice to say, it's no wonder they are finding people frozen in their homes this winter.

5. Our parish is having a MOM 2 MOM sale. I got the bright idea to sign up for it. Naomi wants to raise some $$ to play on her soccer team and I thought if I could get her to do the bulk of the work, she could have to proceeds.
Yesterday we got started. 8 bins of little boy clothes brought down from the attic. And that is only up to size 3T!
I often look about in dismay at the large amount of *stuff* we have. It is even too much for a family of 12.
And who do I have to blame but myself? I am the main perpetrator if not the only perpetrator ;).
I guess this is a step in the right direction, but it is far more emotionally challenging than I thought.
Finding little playsuits Al wore! How could he have ever been THAT small? I think he could use them for socks on those size 15 feet. ;)
The infamous Zak sailor suit. The little green rain coat Dyl wore in Sweden. Jed's bear hat. I haven't even gotten to the little girl clothes yet. ( Don't worry, I AM NOT selling any of those items! :) :)
Deep breath.

6. On that note I am pleased to say I did, in the end, resist temptation yesterday. I was at Big Lots picking up a few things and since I was alone, and a thrift store is right next door, I couldn't resist the temptation to stop in. :) I also didn't resist the temptation to put about 5 items in my cart. But I did stop and think about each thing. And I decided we didn't need any of them. And I walked out empty handed. Thanks God, I needed that.

7.Thought to ponder.

"He is not fooled by our pretensions of adequacy. He knows full well that in the human condition, weakness is universal. It is normal. It is par for the course.

Gracia Burnham "To Fly Again"

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Full of gems

The End of Solitude

Solitude isn't easy, and isn't for everyone. It has undoubtedly never been the province of more than a few. "I believe," Thoreau said, "that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark." Teresa and Tiresias will always be the exceptions, or to speak in more relevant terms, the young people — and they still exist — who prefer to loaf and invite their soul, who step to the beat of a different drummer. But if solitude disappears as a social value and social idea, will even the exceptions remain possible? Still, one is powerless to reverse the drift of the culture. One can only save oneself — and whatever else happens, one can still always do that. But it takes a willingness to be unpopular.

The last thing to say about solitude is that it isn't very polite. Thoreau knew that the "doubleness" that solitude cultivates, the ability to stand back and observe life dispassionately, is apt to make us a little unpleasant to our fellows, to say nothing of the offense implicit in avoiding their company. But then, he didn't worry overmuch about being genial. He didn't even like having to talk to people three times a day, at meals; one can only imagine what he would have made of text-messaging. We, however, have made of geniality — the weak smile, the polite interest, the fake invitation — a cardinal virtue. Friendship may be slipping from our grasp, but our friendliness is universal. Not for nothing does "gregarious" mean "part of the herd." But Thoreau understood that securing one's self-possession was worth a few wounded feelings. He may have put his neighbors off, but at least he was sure of himself. Those who would find solitude must not be afraid to stand alone.

I grew up in the 60s and 70s, the age of television. I was trained to be bored; boredom was cultivated within me like a precious crop. (It has been said that consumer society wants to condition us to feel bored, since boredom creates a market for stimulation.) It took me years to discover — and my nervous system will never fully adjust to this idea; I still have to fight against boredom, am permanently damaged in this respect — that having nothing to do doesn't have to be a bad thing. The alternative to boredom is what Whitman called idleness: a passive receptivity to the world.

But the great age of boredom, I believe, came in with television, precisely because television was designed to palliate that feeling. Boredom is not a necessary consequence of having nothing to do, it is only the negative experience of that state. Television, by obviating the need to learn how to make use of one's lack of occupation, precludes one from ever discovering how to enjoy it. In fact, it renders that condition fearsome, its prospect intolerable. You are terrified of being bored — so you turn on the television.

What does the contemporary self want? The camera has created a culture of celebrity; the computer is creating a culture of connectivity. As the two technologies converge — broadband tipping the Web from text to image, social-networking sites spreading the mesh of interconnection ever wider — the two cultures betray a common impulse. Celebrity and connectivity are both ways of becoming known. This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible. If not to the millions, on Survivor or Oprah, then to the hundreds, on Twitter or Facebook. This is the quality that validates us, this is how we become real to ourselves — by being seen by others. The great contemporary terror is anonymity. If Lionel Trilling was right, if the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Completely enthralled with friend Katherine
Insists on getting herself dressed and picking out her own outfits.
A little grumpy at times ( aren't we all?)
Likes to have fun with brother.
Is good buddies with Noah ( they have the same color hair!)
Enjoys a good drink every now and then.
Wishes mom would just cut her bangs, doggone it!
A bit of a drama queen
Our Ella.......

I'm not entirely sure I would characterize it like that.......

Jed walked in the family room this morning and found me cuddled up on the chair. I guess it is unusual for me to be there at that time of the day ;) so he asked what was the matter.
"I don't know, my throat is kind of sore and I just don't feel great" I said.

"Well, remember when I WAS SICK?"
" I barfed all over this step!!!!"
"I really hit the jackpot!"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Two little boys................

were very excited to get a package in the mail today.

but maybe not so happy to have a photo shoot. ;)

THANK YOU PAPA AND MEEMAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daybook March 2, 2009

Outside my window . . Just. TOO. Cold.

I am thinking . . .I am troubled by the latest news from Washington that the current administration will rescind the protections to medical workers who won't do certain procedures because of their own moral convictions. What will become of my pro-life, Catholic OB/GYN? I shudder to imagine.

I am thankful for. . .sweet family times. We had a nice day yesterday. We ALL went to mass together. We ALL went to the cemetary to visit grandma and grandpa V. We ALL went out to lunch. Then we lost a few due to work commitments. :)

We then went to the library with the rest and onto St Cyril where the homeschool kids put on a production of "The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe". Very cute.

From the schoolroom. . .George and Jed are steaming along and finished several of their books already. So I placed an order this weekend for new. Lots of great finds at the library yesterday!

From the kitchen . . .we had homemade chicken noodle soup, crusty sourdough rolls and homemade whole wheat carrot cake yesterday for dinner. A comforting meal for a cold day.

I am wearing . . .navy sweats and a light blue with navy trim fleece pullover.

I am creating . . .more curtains. always curtains. :)

I am going . . Dyl's last game is tonight. Really his last game, he is a senior and his Panther Basketball days are at an end :(. He and a fraction of the family will go to his tournament in Mt Pleasant this weekend.

I am reading and watching . . . I started a book on Florence Nightingale last night .

"Women Saints" by Kathleen Jones. Very thought provoking.

Didn't watch much of anything this weekend. :)

I am hoping . . .it will warm up enough this month to go to the zoo. The littles are buggin'. :)

I am praying . . got a good list going.

I am hearing . . .silence.

Around the house. . . gave the house a good clean on Saturday. I was in a *why bother* funk all week and paid for it :)

One of my favorite things. . . Jed came sauntering into the kitchen on Saturday with a lovely black cross on his forehead. I guess he wanted to keep the Ash Wednesday look going. :) It looked pretty authentic, but I have no idea where he got the ashes?

(Edited to add--he told me it was grease from Noah's bike. Is that not boyish ingenuity? LOL!

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . nothing out of the ordinary. I'm thinking of trying to sneak in a visit to Cranbrook, but maybe that ought to wait until next week.

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .More oldies. Little Noah ( with cuz Vangie--his texting BFF) and baby Manny :)


As always, don’t forget to pop by Peggy’s and see the other entries for this week’s Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A visit with Grandpa

This morning I decided to make a carrot cake. I found a recipe using whole wheat flour last week and have been trying to find the time to bake it. I woke up early and had some free brain space, so I got started. But then the three littles woke up. How do they know? :)

Jed immediately asked why I was making carrot cake. I said I thought it sounded good ( I don't say I think it might be a healthy treat, because that would go nowhere).

He immediately chimed in that Grandpa likes carrot cake.

Well, there it is. The reason.

This week marks the one year anniversary of our beloved Grandpa John's passing.

It still seems surreal. I often forget that he isn't here. I still have to think about it. "Oh---yes, he is gone."

Today we made a trek over to the cemetary as a family. It was a mind numbingly cold day and very blustery, too. I kept the little ones in the van. He often said while he was in the throes of his last illness that if it would just get warm he could get better. If it would just be spring. I guess

we all feel that way sometimes.

We miss you Grandpa.

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.