Watching the birds, in which I do not actually have a picture of “bird watching”

first we had to make it out of our own yard... leaves are such fascinating things
first we had to make it out of our own yard… leaves are such fascinating things

Last week, or, well.. hold on… let me think…. Friday after Thanksgiving, so two weeks ago (?), anyway, recently Zachary was bouncing off the walls. I mean, almost literally. He has had super crazy amounts of energy since everyone left after Thanksgiving dinner. So this particular Friday I took him out for a little walk around the block. I thought it would help burn off some energy (it didn’t).

Regardless, we wandered around, climbed the curbs, looked in on people working in their gardens, jumped off steps, and saw the birds.

must be like the big kids and walk along the fences
must be like the big kids and walk along the fences

I wished I could have captured that moment on photo – the birds. He was SO captivated by them. I didn’t get a chance to. It passed so quickly before he was on to something else. I was a little bummed for a second, before I realized that it’s OK. I don’t need to capture everything. Sometimes I think I just need to observe. I need to just see the wonder in my child’s face. Or be amazed at birds in flight… Just. Because.

Fast forward a few days and I broke my phone (it was already on its way out, but I pretty solidly completed its journey). And that caused me to not be able to carry my pocket camera with me (hello glass shards) and snap photos of every single tiny thing that caught my interest. Again, I pretty clearly heard God saying “give it up, you don’t need to document it, you just need to pay attention WITHOUT your phone”.

so long big tree
so long big tree

I’ve remedied the phone situation, and then I found myself with a new dilemma. To allow FB back onto my phone. Now, I know my tendency with having FB accessible, I will scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll…. I’ll ignore tasks that need doing; I’ll spend “just three more minutes” only to get off twenty-seven minutes later. So I’ve decided for the time being to not allow it’s presence anywhere on my phone. Which means, I’m not even linking my other social accounts (mainly just Instagram) to it. {I may reevaluate after Christmas, but we’ll see when the time comes.}

The first day or two was really hard. I was literally anxious about it. But… then… it eased up. You could say, I {sorta} got used to not checking in all the time. I still like to check in, but as I have no option but to use the real computer, which is “harder” to get on, it’s just not as big of an issue. (Because, I can’t actually scroll FB mindlessly on my computer. I just can’t. Doesn’t work for me.)

jumping (he's recently started counting himself down - super cute!)
(he’s recently started counting himself down – super cute!)

So, all that long-windedness to say that while this Advent isn’t going exactly how I thought it would, I am kind of glad that I’ve gotten some pretty clear nudges to take a few steps back… To enjoy reading books with my kids and not worry about having my phone within arms reach… To go to the park and actually leave my phone in the car… Yes, there are times I’d like to remember, but I may just have to stop and to watch the birds and keep the memories in my heart.

someone's flowers
someone’s flowers


Since I’m not planning to be posting my pictures to FB and I know I’ve got family who follow me there especially for the purpose of seeing the kids, I’m going to make an effort to start putting my “weekly photo’s” posts back up. So, you can look for those, hopefully on Saturdays. 🙂


thinks he will be helping
thinks he will be helping


Country Kids

Advent ~ week 2


Good Thursday evening folks. Just a quick little check in with how our Advent has gone this past week. I’m joining in the Theme Thursday #holylens linkup (link at the end of the post), so those photos are spread throughout. {If you’re not familiar with #holylens, it’s a daily photo prompt based on the daily readings from scripture ~ search it out on Instagram or FB}


Our St Nicholas Day celebration went off just fine. The kids kept reminding/asking me when/if it was *THE* day yet, so I had a hard time forgetting. We usually do real simple: Shoes out by the fireplace and in the morning they have a candy cane, some chocolate gold coins (however I can split one of those mesh bags evenly, usually 3-4 pieces) and a new Christmas-y book to continue building our collection. This year I decided to also give them their ornament at this time.


Some real moments for your enjoyment:
* Zachary’s book didn’t come (ordered too late… still waiting for it to arrive)
* Karl’s book did come (but not until today, Thursday… I wrapped up a library copy for him to open)
* None of the ornaments were completed. Three of them are now, and Zachary’s will be done as soon as I sit down and finish it.

Note for next year: Order the books before November.

And that’s about it. I usually have a picture book of St Nicholas Stories, but I forgot to get one from the library.


As far as daily happenings in the Advent reading department, we’re doing them as we’re able. I try to read at least one Christmas-y book per kiddo out loud. Sometimes they get in a few more. We’re also reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which I’m loving (I’ve read it numerous times), but I’m not sure if the kids are getting anything out of it. They do sit quietly and listen though.


Prayer while lighting the candles:

O God, as light comes from this candle, may the blessing of Jesus Christ come to us, warming our hearts and brightening our way. May Christ our Savior bring life into the darkness of this world, and to us, as we wait for his coming.

I don’t remember where I found this one, but when I first said it last week it was on a morning where I was… shall we say…. more than a little grumpy. And my heart was definitely in a cold spot, but I said the prayer and it was like a little shining light of hope, that we can make it through the hard days.


Very briefly, I just barely made it to Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The options for our parish were lunch/nap time, dinner time, or bed time (in Spanish). If I wasn’t pregnant I would have ventured to take the kids by myself, but I just can’t handle them all for even a short service. Anyways, I found a “bilingual” Mass at another parish and made that one after rushing through a few things.

I felt so weird being there, because most everyone was Spanish. But I just keep thinking there had to be a reason for me to be there. It was a beautiful service. I had never been to a regular Spanish Mass (been to Easter vigil and a few weddings), but this was different. I was really able to see a lot of love for Our Lord. Especially when Father held up the Body and then the Blood, he just held it up, and people began praying in tongues. Now, I don’t have the gift of tongues, and I have rarely seen it outside of a Charismatic (non-Catholic) church, but I just felt, if ever there was a moment for the Holy Spirit to come upon people, why not THAT moment? Felt chills for sure.


Have a blessed third week of Advent folks!


Linking with Micaela @ California to Korea {also if you’re on Instagram check out #holylens, or feel free to do so on FB} and with Like Mother, Like Daughter

#holylens for Theme Thursday

I mentioned yesterday that I had a few more thoughts on Advent. Mainly that translated to what I’m doing for Advent personally. The honest answer is not much. I had a devotional or two that I was planning on working my way through, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

One thing I have been trying to make a priority is to get the daily Scripture readings done (I use the Blessed is She devotions, sent to my phone because it’s super easy and the devotions are not so full of theological profoundness that I can’t keep up at 6:00AM – not to say there isn’t a place for those profound thoughts, but my little brain has a hard time keeping up so early…)

Anyways aside from that I’ve been participating in Abbey’s Holy Lens project, mostly on instagram (but here’s the link to the FB group page if you’d like to jump in over there.).

I *try* not to overthink the whole thing, but sometimes I do… I love the idea of finding a simple everyday moment or thing that turns my attention to Our Lord, and usually causes me to remember what was read in the readings for the day.

So, without further ado my #holylens photos so far this week:


For stopping.. or slowing down as may more often be the IRL case of this particular sign… But a sign nonetheless that this is the season of waiting.



It’s a book – there are words – I didn’t have any “great insight” for this prompt



I’m pretty sure this was a prompt last year, and I’m pretty sure I used this same plant. It’s the only one I can even remotely see the roots of. And I like the new shoots coming off one of the older ones.

“root of Jesse” and all that.



Honestly don’t remember what any of the scripture readings were on this day (so I had no tie in), but we had a full breakfast and were very satisfied with it.



All day, I thought the prompt was stone {*shrugs shoulders*}. I just have this image of everything resting on the rock that is Jesus and I hope to be reminded of that as I daily step over these little rocks that are in our driveway.


Linking with Micaela @ California to Korea {also if you’re on Instagram check out #holylens, or feel free to do so on FB}

Week one of Advent ~ a p,h,f,r post

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Testing… testing… 1.. 2… 3…

This thing still work?

Ok, good. Been a little while since I’ve posted anything other than strictly photo posts. And, well, actually I guess this post is a photo post too, but maybe it’ll be just a little more than “here’s a picture – have a nice day” type of post.

It’s a good thing Advent is a season of waiting and preparing for the feast of Our Lord’s Nativity because if I had to have everything done as of Nov. 29 I’d of failed. I’ve really been thinking of doing a little bit more in, say, the decoration department, on specific holy days/feast days (For example: decorate the tree on Gaudete Sunday). But, nothing is set in stone there, or organized in my mind, so we’re just kinda winging it over here and trying to not do too much at once.


phfr advent 1

This is going to be our Christmas Tree this year. It stands maybe 3ft tall. It’s propped on a coffee table pushed against a window in hopes that Z. (age 13 months, and totally into everything toddler-ish) will not do too much damage to it.

The story of this tree: It was pulled out of the basement at the apartment we used to live at (about five years ago). Before that it had sat in said basement for a few years and before that I don’t know… It used to have functioning fiber-optic lights (which stopped spinning last year and died completely this year). It also used to have a strand of normal colored Christmas lights, which also stopped working this year. So…. I took off the old regular lights (which were clipped on???) and restrung it with the white lights. {I guess this could fall into the “real” category}

Anyways, at night it looks nice. And once we get all the ornaments on I’m sure it’ll look just fine 🙂

phfr advent 1-7

Oversized wreath, adding cheer to our living room. Thank you Jesus for friend’s daughters wanting to earn a few extra dollars by helping out around the house and who are willing to straddle radiators and tables and put screws in the wall the old-fashioned way (with a screwdriver).

I think I may put a few decorations on it, but… I don’t know yet. I’m enjoying just looking at it for the time being. Also, it’s “real” evergreen so it adds a nice Christmas-y smell.


phfr advent 1-3

This week I started “circle time” in our homeschool. This is a loosely formed idea about spending a chunk of time first thing in the morning doing literature reading, Scripture reading, memory work… things like that.

So far we’ve managed to get to our read-aloud book all days and we’re set to finish it tomorrow (which is good because I’ve run out of library renewals). But this set aside time first thing after breakfast has really helped to get the mornings going and it’s also allowed us a chunk of time to spend reading our Christmas picture books.

Last year, I was disappointed that we didn’t really get a chance to read them as much as I wanted to, but this year we’ve already made good headway in getting to books on the stack.

This time has also allowed us to do our other Advent countdown things:
* Tony Wolf Advent Calendar (this one on Amazon) the kids LOVE it. This is also filling in for our Jesse Tree this year. I guess it doesn’t technically fall under Jesse Tree category, but I’m finding myself needing a break from trying to make that happen this year.
* a seek and find Advent devotional for kids that I’ve had for a few years, but never used. So we’re trying it this year.
* {Ideally} we’d be including our Names of Jesus countdown chain (idea from Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings) The chain is made, and hung up… and that’s as far as we’ve gotten. But it doesn’t seem like it would take much time so we may do a few double-up days to catch up.
* {Ideally} we’d be doing the Advent calendar that my mother-in-law mailed to the kids. It’s pictured at the end of the post, but I just found it again today after it fell out of the school shelf… oops… so tomorrow!  😉

phfr advent 1-5

We’ve managed to get our candles made and put in a wreath. Most breakfasts and dinners we  manage to get it lit. And I’ve been doing a verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel…. some of the time. Other than that we haven’t managed to do any other prayers or devotionals around the wreath. Although, again, I did just come across a few things I printed out last year… so maybe soon?


I don’t know if I have any “funny” Advent photos yet. And other than Zachary insisting that ALL Christmas books remain on the floor: At ALL Times… I don’t really have any funny stories just yet.


Definitely lots of Real.

phfr advent 1-4

Empty hooks waiting for stockings over our fireplace (and under our Little Oratory – which bonus: is MORE clean now than it was last week)

Also, should be noted that we still only have five hooks up, even though last year we had six stockings (?) and I’d love to add a new hook for the new baby. So… more hooks needed. Soon. Because one of the things I planned on doing on a specific day was hanging the stockings on St Nicholas Day. Just seemed like a good idea…

phfr advent 1-6Errrmmmmmm…… Our Nativity will be going here.

Just as soon as I get the rest of Thanksgiving stuff cleared away.

{Note Advent Calendar waiting to be used}


I have a few other Advent-y thoughts that I’m planning on {much more briefly} jotting down tomorrow. So until then.

Also I’ll put the link in for the Like Mother, Like Daughter {phfr} post in the AM.

Reading with the littles {Advent/Christmas edition}


So, we’ve recently checked out WAY too many books from the library. Mostly Christmas related, but some others. This post is mostly just to highlight our favorites as a way to remember next year which ones we like. 🙂 Maybe you’ll find some new favorites too!

I’m going to loosely try to group them, but it feels a bit hodge-podgy in my mind at the moment. And, yes, I realize some of these feasts have passed, but I didn’t get a chance to write up a post on those specific books before, so they’re just being included here.

~ St. Nicholas ~



The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Anselm Grun
The Miracle of St. Nicholas (Golden Key Books) by Gloria Whelan (probably one of our favorites!)
A Gift from Saint Nicholas by Carole Kismaric
The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas (Phyllis Fogelman Books) by Marianna Mayer (love the illustrations in this one!)
Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert
The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (15th Anniversary Edition, with Bonus Cookie Recipe and Pattern for St. Nicholas Christmas Cookies)(not pictured) by Aaron Shephard

 ~ Our Lady of Guadalupe ~

The Lady of Guadalupe by Tomie dePaola
(I know there are many other books out there about Our Lady of Guadalupe, I just haven’t read most of them and they aren’t available at our library, so this is all I have for the time being.)

~ St. Lucy/Santa Lucia ~

Hanna’s Christmas by Melissa Peterson
Kirsten’s Surprise (American Girl (Quality)) by Janet Shaw


~ Christmas Eve ~

The Farolitos of Christmas by Edward Gonzales
‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
(both of these are primarily in English with Spanish words scattered throughout)
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (kiddos were super excited to see this one! They love Strega Nona and Big Anthony)

~ Nativity ~

All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root
One Winter’s Night by Leo and Diane Dillon
We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting
Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene

 ~ Other Christmas-y/Giving Books ~

The Elves and the Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd
Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story (Picture Puffins) by Gloria Houston
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Barry, Robert (2000) Hardcover by Robert Barry


That concludes this week’s edition of “library finds” (something I hope to make a regular feature here on the blog).

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