Yesterday was such a day! I’ll take you on a ride through the busyness.

5:15am: drag myself out of bed, there’s never enough sleep around here. Coffee, prayer, bible study, plan my day.

6am: I wake up the kids and start trying to figure out what to make for lunches. Realize I need to go to the store. Homemade lunchables it is! Jay works on lunches while I grab a quick shower. Put Lily in the shower so I can put her hair in a bun for ballet tonight. There won’t be time later.

6:45am: Ben and Tessa leave for school, our carpool kids arrive, three girls aged 7, 9, and 11. Max and Lily go to play with their friends and I have to keep reminding them to get ready for school.

7:15am: Everybody in the car! Time to drive to school. They all sing Frozen songs the whole way.

7:45am: drop kids off at school, pray the rosary on the way home, Gus and Molly complain about not having Frozen songs to listen to anymore.

8:20am: Back at home. More coffee, a little breakfast, fold some laundry.

9-11am: Work on new layout for my Circling Jericho blog. Molly and Gus play and fight in the family room. Brief breaks for reading a book and fetching drinks and snacks.

11am: Slap some makeup on to try to look presentable, realize I forgot to moisturizer so it looks all blotchy. Oh well, it will have to do, James is watching the kids so I can go to Adoration for a little while! (20 minutes in Adoration.)

12pm: Pick up lunch on the way home. James has cleaned the kitchen! Yay! A good friend who is also a realtor comes over to catch up and talk about our moving plans. We had a very nice visit and resolve, like we always do, to not let it be so long before next time.

2:15pm: My friend leaves, I realize that I should have been packing some snacks, but now there is only time to change a diaper, send Molly to the bathroom, grab some granola bars, and run out the door to pick up kids.

2:45pm: Both kids sacked out in the car, I guess I’ll go through the pick up line to buy a few more moments peace.

3:20 Lily gets in the car just as Molly is starting to wake up. We drive to the other side of the parking lot and park, we have to wait for Max while he goes to tutoring. Gus stays asleep even after I move him out of the car. Lily and Molly okay in the grass.


3:40pm: Realize that we should be driving away right now instead of waking across the campus to pick up Max. Oops. Things are about to pick up speed.

4:00pm: Driving away from school, finally. I drill the kids on what will happen when the get home. Max will get himself a snack and get his boys choir folder, Lily will change into her ballet uniform while I make her snack, Molly and Gus will NOT take their shoes off.

4:25pm: I make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone (gluten free bread for Molly, of course) and pack some coloring books and crayons while telling Max to pick up a couple of water bottles. I realize that Lily’s ballet uniform is filthy.

4:35pm: Out the door and back in the car.

5:05pm Arrive at boys choir 5 minutes late. Drop Max off. Drive towards ballet studio.

5:10pm: Construction zone.

5:25pm: Arrive at ballet in the nick of time! Lily goes to class, I try to coach Molly and Gus into eating their sandwiches as neatly as possible without the help of a table, with reasonable success.


5:45pm: Sandwiches are done, time to color.


6:00pm: Coloring is boring, time to climb on chairs and run in circles. A lot.

6:30pm: Lily is done, time to get back in the car. Drive to Tessa’s friend’s house to pick her up.

7:10pm: Arrive at Tessa’s friend’s house, Molly has to go to the bathroom, drag the whole crew into the house, then round them up again. Finally head for home.

7:20pm: Construction again! I told myself not to take this road, but apparently I’m too tired to override my autopilot.

7:40pm: Home at last. Now all I have to do is get the required bedtime snack (I hear that refusing a bedtime snack is some kind of child abuse.) give medicine, brush teeth, police the shower times, put pajamas on them, and get these hooligans to stay in bed. Ben and Tessa both are helpful.

8:10pm: They’re in bed at last, not asleep yet, but in bed. I work on the website a little more.

9:30pm: Let Ben use the computer, get ready for bed, set the coffee maker, read until…

10:30pm: Go and let the cat out and make sure the computer is off and locked. Finally time to sleep.


Happy Anniversary Nana and Papa

44 years ago yesterday a couple of grade school sweethearts got married.


They were so young, so in love, and willing to put together a life that would impact so many. They had 8 children, including opening their home and adopting 2 and raising one grandson as their own. They have helped their children through good times and bad, through heartaches, weddings, moves, home repairs, baseball games, choir concerts, and so much more. They have seen the addition of 26 (is that the right number? It’s hard to keep track!) grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren (so far!).

Last night, at Peter and Lindsey’s house, we had a party to celebrate their love and legacy.

James played music for everyone, letting his brothers and sisters help out.

Ben did a few songs as well. Molly, Lily, and Max each had their shot at the microphone too. And Philip shared a few of his songs with us.

The kids played, the fire blazed, and we were all blessed to be there as a family.

Happy Anniversary Barb and Jim!

Hello 2013!

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a good long time, so I’m just going to jump right back in here and share a little about the few whose pictures I could grab today.

Tessa is getting busier by the day, she’s 10 (and three quarters!) and is such a joy. She helps around the house, cares for her siblings, reads and discusses books, enjoys fun movies, and even lets a little of the pre-teen surliness come through at times. She played volleyball this fall and was recently accepted to her school’s Honors Choir.

Max is a busy Lego fiend! When he is not masterminding a new lego creation, he is playing Lego Lord of the Rings on xBox. He’s recently become a pro at foosball, and loves to stay up late reading. He turned 8 at Christmas and is feeling much more grown up now.

Molly is three, which is the same this as saying that she is at the advanced level of being two. She is a feisty thing, willing to beat up either Lily or Max to get what she wants. She is a regular on the time-out bench. But when she turns on the charm, she is the sweetest little girl you ever met. She loves just as fiercely as she plays. She is smart as a whip too, Lily is teaching her how to sound out words and she recognizes most numbers.

Lily is 5 and sweet as can be. She has a tender heart and gets her feelings hurt easily. She is reading now and loves to write letters to people. She wants desperately to play piano like her big siblings. Lily has lots of friends and is always busy playing with her dolls.

Gus is trouble on wheels, only without the wheels. He is 14 months old and has figured out that if he makes a mess in one place, I have to clean it up and then he is free to get into something bigger in another place. If the dishwasher is open, he goes straight for the knives, if the bathroom door is open, he goes straight for the toilet, if the bunk bed ladder is left out, he climbs straight to the top. He eats lego bricks, throws food on the floor, and can melt your heart with one hippo-toothed smile. He loves to be held, even at his staggering 25 pounds. He knows lots of sign language but the only words he really uses are hot, turtle, and NO. He takes two twenty minute naps a day and wakes up almost every hour at night. And I still think he is the cutest, snuggliest baby boy ever.


Ben is 15 and getting a little bored with family life. He gets a little stir crazy at times even though he likes to have fun here with us. Old enough for big, complicated chores, he gets leaned on a little too much, but I am so grateful for his help. He’s in his third year of Latin and is always working on his music – at least when he isn’t watching netflix or playing xBox. He always has some fascinating new facts to share with us.

Paisley has been around the house more over the holidays and it has been nice to have her. She’s working full time (and then some!) at Lancome and that keeps her hopping! Today she grabbed a nap on the couch, yesterday she took the younger kids to the park for more than an hour!

James is 20 and still living at home. He’s working hard at a few jobs.  Right now he is working the sound for masses at our church and playing a few gigs around town. He recently got a truck and is enjoying having a little freedom without having to ask for rides.

Posy is 17 and in the middle of her senior year of high school. She is always busy. She volunteers with the youth group, works at Cousin’s subs on the weekend, and is trying to keep her grades up and apply for colleges.

Jay and I are just trying to keep everyone fed and clothed and out of trouble! This crew keeps us hopping!  Happy New Year!


A New School Year

I had so dreaded the summer.  We weren’t going to go anywhere, and my husband was going to be out of town a lot, so I was facing cabin fever with not much help with the little kids.  But oh my, was it different than I anticipated!  I set a flexible schedule for our days, with some planned time out of the house.  I structured my mornings around coffee and bible study and threw in a little exercise for good measure, and darn if it wasn’t about the best summer I have had yet.


And now it is over.  Back to school for most, first time to school for Lily, and days at home with just two babies for me.


Our transition into school was a bit tough this year. It was dragged out for three weeks.  The first week one school started.  The second week the other two schools started, but one had half days all week.  The third week all three schools were on normal schedules, but there were school meetings almost every night.  Now we should be on normal school time and we are adjusting as unsmoothly as we normally do.  The house is a mess, the toddlers are crabby, and the calendar changes faster than I can let everyone know.


Anyway, here is a brief update on the crew:

-Paisley: Working for Lancome and loving it!  She visits at least once a week just to spend some time with us.

-James: Working at Cousins Subs, running sound for masses at church, and playing music around town.  He’s a busy guy these days and he seems to be thriving.

– Posy: A senior this year!  She scaled back her work hours at Cousins Subs to the weekends so she can focus on her studies and college applications. She’s driving a long distance to school each day and still finding time to spend with the little girls for combing hair and doing nails.

– Ben: A Freshman in the same school as Posy.  He is thriving in his 3rd year of Latin, interested in his studies and facebook.

– Tessa: 5th grade sweetheart.  She can’t really be called one of the “Littles” any more in our household.  She is shouldering more responsibility around here and made the volleyball team at school.

– Max: 2nd grade!  Max would play piano 24 hours a day if we let him, stopping only for a break to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos.

– Lily: Kindergarten girl!  Lily is loving school and seems to be doing very well there.  Since she turns 5 this month, she will attend kindergarten at her preschool this year and then kindergarten at the older kids’ school next year.  I think it will work very well.

– Molly: Every bit a 2 year old.  Molly is still the family firecracker.  Most prone to scream in both happiness and distress, she lets you know how she feels.  She misses Lily and loves to “help” me around the house.

– Gus: 10 months, still not sleeping.  Gus is walking well and starting to pick up a word or two and some baby signs.  He doesn’t use them frequently though, so you always find yourself asking, “Did he just say…. ?”  He’s also huge (for a Groft baby), weighing in at 22 lbs.  We joke that God made him big to protect him from Molly, who only outweighs him by about 3 pounds and loves to sit on him.

– Jay: is working hard at both jobs, and praying for cooler weather.

And I am just trying to stay one step ahead of this crew and their needs, their meals, and their mess.


So Happy New (School) Year!  I hope it will be just as blessed as the summer was!

A Friday in the Life: one picture an hour (or so)

Today I am going to try to take a picture or two each hour and give a snapshot of the whole day.  Forgive the pictures, please, most are just quick shots with my phone.

7am. Coffee and kindle. Yes, I really do have that much cream in my coffee, it’s not just a trick of the light.


8am. Kids playing in the family room I cleaned last night. It’s so much easier to play when the floor isn’t a minefield!


9am. Finish the great backpack hunt, laundry is moving along, Now kids are on to Kinectimals.



9:30. What’s this wet stuff falling from the sky? And in the daytime too!


10am. Still raining! Lily’s turn on xBox. Molly following Posy around.


11am. Posy leaves for work, the desert rats play in puddles!

12pm. James plays piano. Peanut butter sandwiches for everyone.



1pm. Tessa reads the kids a pre-nap book while I nurse Gus to sleep.


2pm. Molly’s still napping. The kids are taking turns with Gus while I fix and arrange the bookshelves.


3pm. Sew buttons on two pair of James’s pants. Then off we go to Costco!

4pm. Finally made it to the store. Settled on Safeway since it took us a full 45 minutes just to get shoes, go potty and get out the door. Thus, there is no picture for 3pm. But by 4, we were busy at the store. I forgot ice, as usual.


5pm. Gus naps while I make dinner.


6pm. Dinner is done, time to clean up and get ready for company!


7pm. Molly has been coughing that tell tale cough all day and has been prone to melt downs. Time for a breathing treatment while she plays on my kindle.


8pm. Swim time.

9pm. Saved the best for last!  Friends are here and the music is flowing freely. We finish up with Mumford and Sons done by Jay and sons. Jay and max are on the piano, Ben on mandolin, and James on guitar.  Poor video quality, I know, but hang in there after the first minute and the sound gets a little better (and Molly stops drumming.)

Jay and Sons play Mumford and Sons


Happy New Year 2012!

The new year began for me with picking up kids from the family New Year Party.  But then came sleep in a toasty bed.

New Year Morning

In the real morning (not just counting when the clock turns to AM) I found the little ones (mostly) happily coloring and keeping (mostly) quiet while the older kids slept in.

Around the lunch table, we toasted the new year with sparkling cider and a “Please, let it be better than 2011!” and everyone shared their resolutions.

Molly: Nurse
Lily: Say a Hail Mary Every Day
Max: Be more careful to be neat in his seat work at school
Tessa: Pray a decade of the Rosary every day
Ben: Run more
Posy: Get a job
James: Purposeful practice of his music, eat healthier
Jay: Go on a date night once per week (I like that one!), keep his truck cleaner
Me: Read 12 books (1 per month – or more if possible), and blog more

Last year I tried the Picture a Day challenge and didn’t last very long with it.  This year I am trying a more modest approach with a goal of 2 picture based blog posts per week.  I think that will be much more doable.