Striving to live life faithfully. From self involved artist focusing on everything but GOD to the opposite in a decade. Catholic, wife, mom to 7 sons, & writer.

I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here
Play dough and Being Made

Play dough and Being Made

There are just two of us today in our twelve passenger van making the 5 minute drive to preschool.  At 8:20am it is already a day busy with an agenda ready to sweep me away.  Hidden two rows back safely buckled into his car seat I hear my 4 year old ask in a way that is so very 4 years old: “Mommy when was it that I didn’t exist?” 

I pause not expecting such a profound question amidst my personal push to get him to where he needs to be this morning.  I am used to being peppered by him with the likes of “Mommy can I watch Power Rangers again?  I really love Power Rangers.” and his most recent ploy to watch more TV, “Mommy electronics are the only thing that will make me smile.”

That little voice in the back seat belonging to my oh so very boy-with-older-brothers-and-desperately-trying-to-keep-up stopped me and my agenda in its tracks.  I let his question settle on my soul for a moment.

Trying to remember the exact phrasing of this surprising question for future reference yet wanting to give him an answer, I did the math and got back to him with a very straightforward yet to me somehow unsatisfying “Oh about 5 1/2- 6 years ago.”  He then offered up “Yeah, it was a really really long time ago.”



Once he was back from school we spent the afternoon sweetly playing with some newly made play dough.  I rolled out the dough spaghetti style and shaped it into the letters of his name, one all upper case, one all lower case, and then his nick name in all lower case per his request.  We found the cookie cutters that I often find missing (typically out on the job with Kevin for his after school cooking classes) and he made jaguars that he cut out and dotted using his fingers to dimple each one.  One daddy jaguar and then many many baby jaguars that he made using a mini giraffe cookie cutter.  We counted them each time he added another baby, honing his new counting skills.

This was not a typical afternoon for us.  I usually have to rev myself up after putting his 3 year old and 1 year old brothers in for a nap to play with him.  It is at a time of day that I am ready for a little down time.   Earlier today though I had made a play dough making promise to distract him from his desire to watch TV.  Too many kids have had sick days lately at our house and the TV had been on a lot to appease those poor peaked souls, it was an easy distraction from their ailments and Mr. 4 year old had benefited.  It was time to scale back.

So we measured and scooped and cooked our new play dough into existence and for the first time in forever I sat and played with play dough.  I remembered being a little girl and my own 4 year old play dough joy and thought:  “How is it that I am 44?”.

…It’s been three months since I’ve written anything here.  Life has been busy and I just haven’t sat still long enough to capture and draw out my thoughts…  I’m taking the time tonight.

There was something just so peaceful about this afternoon.  It felt like when I would hang out with my mom, with no real agenda, when we would just be together.  It could be over a cup of tea, sitting on the bed in her room, painting our fingernails, cleaning out her closet.  Any simple moment when we were side by side.  Those moments were like gold.  Just like today.

The anniversary of my beautiful moms’ passing was Saturday.  It’s been 17 years, forever ago…  and yet like yesterday. My love for her will never pass away…

I hear my precious and precocious 4 year old sons’ bright voice asking me:  “Mommy when was it that I didn’t exist?” It’s a question I remember thinking about as a young girl and being totally confused by.  How could the world exist without me?

Tonight he continued his thoughts from this morning talking about our cat Rosie and how he was sad that she was our cat before he lived and he never got to hold her.  Oh how he is slaying me with these thoughts.

“Mommy when was it that I didn’t exist?”

I think my best honest answer to him would be “I can tell you the years, but now that you are here, I can’t imagine there not being a you, even though I remember it, I can’t imagine it.”

Just like my mom, just like me, just like you, the question isn’t when did we not exist, but that we do.

With love from Vermont and this busy house of nine,.



7 Quick Takes:  It’s Autumn in Vermont Edition

7 Quick Takes: It’s Autumn in Vermont Edition

Here’s my 7 Quick Takes on what’s been going on around here lately…

1 — Fall kind of slid right by no matter how hard I pulled at it’s coat tails begging it to stay!  I did manage to take a few photos before the splendor fades into the winter…

I LOVE milk weed seed pods. It started in my somewhat suburban childhood. I remember a milk weed plant across the street from my bus stop, just before the “swamp” a wetlands wild sort of area for our densely populated sea side town. How excited I was when our property was scattered with milk weed too! Now I get to watch it from green new sprout to flower to pod to bursting! Bursting is still my favorite :)


Our chickens having a grand ole time for themselves outside their coop pecking at bugs, worms, apples fallen from our trees that we have yet to clean up…


My Vermont “roller coaster view”. I caught this photo just as the colors were passing. So glad I took the time to stop and take a photo.

2 — ~P turned one this month and has been building his walking skills over the last 2 weeks.  He can pretty much walk halfway across the livingroom now.

~P looking like a big boy at a scouting Haunted Harvest outing last weekend.

3 — Halloween costumes for 9 and a husband who sews, need I say more?

4 — The miracles of toes in boots.

Something so simple as wearing a pair of boots with socks… I haven’t worn these boots in 4 years, but this week I put them on. I’ve had a rash on my left foot (mostly on my toes), a sort of eczema all this time and just couldn’t deal with the heat having my foot in a boot for extended periods of time. So I avoided it as much as possible and wore less constricting boots. I’ve been wearing these all week. It truly feels like a miracle. Even if my rash kicks back up, I’ll take this reprieve and enjoy it. Thank you God for this small blessing.


It’s the very last few days of Down syndrome awareness month and I realize I’ve been pretty silent over here about it.  So I will use #4 and #5 to describe a little bit how Down syndrome affects our life today…

5 — I’ve been working super hard to up the ante on my sign language knowledge to help accelerate ~G’s communication skills.  Just seeing and doing the sign for a word seems to help him connect it and often he will attempt to say the word after trying to sign it.  He turns 3 in February and will age out of Early Intervention services (speech, fine motor, gross motor, etc.) and will get his services through the school system after that.  We have our initial meeting for the transition next Friday.  Nervous and excited for what comes next for him.

6 — A few pictures of ~G being his awesome little self:


Life is good!



Just hangin’ with my bro’s…


Loving being in my family…

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, Down syndrome is really no big deal around here.  It doesn’t enter into the conversation often.  All folks have there challenges and ~G is no different.

7 —  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been writing lists of gift ideas and am trying to get on track (minimizing the gifting to less numerous presents that end up being more thoughtful) so I can enjoy the season and put it’s focus on the amazing birth of our savior.  If that’s where you are at too then right now is the perfect time to place your Christmas orders for a cross necklace from Little Lisa Studios.  My Mustard Seed Cross and the The Lord is with Thee Cross designs are designed by myself and hand painted by me too!

Ha was that quick?  I’m not sure.  Thanks for hanging in there through all seven!

Check out some more quick takes from other bloggers at

From the last vestiges of autumn in Vermont,



Walking On Water

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Learning to Fly…

Learning to Fly…

One of my sons asked me a few years ago what would I choose (if I had the opportunity to be gifted with a super power) Flying or Invisibility?  Without thinking I immediately chose flying.  The son who asked me chose invisibility and went on to state his elaborate case for his choice.  But hisContinue Reading

When Life Gives You Currants…

When Life Gives You Currants…

These are the July weeks when our currant bushes strain with fruit begging to be picked.  Kevin planted them 6 years ago at a time when I hardly knew what a currant was.  We have red currants which are tart and about the size of a medium small blueberry and we have black currants thatContinue Reading

Hidden Shoes and Lego’s Up the Nose…

Hidden Shoes and Lego’s Up the Nose…

Last summer I spent weeks researching and designing an entryway storage system / mud room that would work for our family of 9.  We had fast outgrown the set of hooks we had been using and had nothing in the way of shoe and boot storage.  Basically we piled all of our shoes by theContinue Reading

When You Take the Mini Out of Minivan, You Get a Van.

Our hopes were dashed a week and a half ago when the seemingly perfect used 12 passenger van we found at a local dealership fell from our grasp.  But thanks to many moving parts including the future sale of our minivan, we are up and running with this: Yup, our circus just got a wholeContinue Reading

7 Quick Takes ~ Chicks, Painting When Not Pregnant, Etc.

1.  My husband brought these home yesterday: We have 3 hens and one rooster and now apparently 5 baby chicks.  We had “talked” about possibly getting some chicks, but I didn’t really know it was imminent, till it was. 2.  The NEED (my prerequisite) for these new chicks to have a home other than ourContinue Reading

Courage and Thanks and Know He is Near.

Courage and Thanks and Know He is Near.

Yesterday morning we got up early to get ready to participate in the Memorial Day parade for our town.  We have two Cub Scouts in our family at the current moment and the Cubs traditionally ride on a float in the parade.  Kevin who has the role of Cub Master was up till 12pm theContinue Reading

Jesus, Heroes, Marathons, and Us…

Jesus, Heroes, Marathons, and Us…

When I was a child, I remember being in school and having the question “Who is your hero?” presented to me at various times.  It seems like an easy question, but I always had a hard time with how I should answer.  Do I choose my parents?  But the question always seemed to beg lookingContinue Reading

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