Future Pianist


All the kids seem to have picked up music as a major part of their personality. I sometimes wish I could get just a little less music around here. If Molly pursues it like the others have, this picture will be a great one to share later on as well. Thanks to Posy for taking the picture. She is adding photography to her myriad talents.

Here is one more for the day, Molly looks like she is really concentrating on the music!


Mexico Mission Appeal

For the last several years my older kids have gone on mission trips to Mexico with their youth group and school.  The trips are arranged and made under the guidance of Amor Ministries.  These trips have been life changing for Paisley, James, and Posy, giving them real experience with helping people and a real understanding of the poverty that some people live in.

On one of these Mexico mission trips, the group travels to Mexico, sleeps in tents, and spends their days building one to two houses for local families.  They eat and work next to the family and others in the community there, and they especially enjoy playing with the kids.

Here are some photos of Posy’s trip last year:

Framing the house
Posy's Mexico Pictures

Taking time with the kids – Posy likes to get the kids to teach them some Spanish.
Posy's Mexico Pictures

Filling in the walls
Posy's Mexico Pictures

The Family gets the keys to their new home
Posy's Mexico Pictures

Stocked with supplies
Posy's Mexico Pictures

This year, due to budget cuts in the church, the kids have to personally fund a larger part of their trip.  For Posy, this means coming up with $350 (which covers car travel, food, and her part of the building supplies) before the time of her trip in mid-February.

We need your help.  We will be holding a yard sale on the 22nd of January and could use your stuff to sell, or would love to have you stop by to shop.

Monetary donations are tax deductible and any amount will help.  Checks can be sent to:
Ss Simon and Jude Catherdral
6351 N 27th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85017

Please put Posy’s name on the memo line for the credit to go towards her Mexico Mission.

Finally, in her own words, here is the appeal that she wrote and was featured in our parish bulletin:

Last year I had the two of the most moving experiences in my life so far. These experiences were my first two Missions to Mexico with the Ss. Simon and Jude Youth Group. We built two houses in November (’09)and one in February (’10), for families in need, with Amor Ministries. I was nervous for my first mission last November, and I really did not know what to expect. But when I got there, even though the work was hard, I found it easy to work with a smile on my face, because I knew that I was using my own two hands to do the work of God. Then, on the next mission in February, as we were working on the house, the family from the November mission found us and came to say hello. The thing that I will never forget about this is that they still remembered my name. I wasn’t just the young high school girl that I am every other day of my life, who is not-so-good at math and decent at writing research papers. I was a girl who helped to change the life of a family; the life of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Finally I understand what it means to live out my faith and to show my faith through my actions. This year I am asking you to help my fellow teens and I as we go to Mexico once again. We all know that budgets are tight at the moment but every cent, every prayer, every donation is one that will be very appreciated.

Please consider supporting Posy for this mission!  Thank you!

Project Week

Ben's project week diorama Ben's project week diorama

Project week in my older children’s school is a week where they make you homeschool.

The week after Christmas break, the kids have another week off, where each grade has a specific and HUGE assignment that they need to complete that week, and they need to log their hours worked on it so that we can justify it as a school week.  It meant that instead of getting my house in order after Christmas, we made multiple library trips and had to monitor their activities every second so they would get even close to done.

Posy had to work up a 10 minute (minimum) presentation on Charles deGaulle. That was pure torture.  Ben had to create a diorama of and animal habitat, write an outline, and give a 5 minute (maximum) presentation on his animal. He had to have 5 sources. Unfortunately he didn’t pick an animal with easy to find sources on like penguins, hummingbirds, or kangaroos. No, he picked a North African Jerboa, which has about a half a paragraph saying the same thing in about 3 books in the world.   Of course building the diorama was the fun part.  The outline and research? Notsomuch.

And in case you are wondering, when I took that first picture, I got, “Really mom?!?”  Then he sat down and gave me a nice smile.  That stuff on the plate is paint.

Kids update, Early 2011

And now to catch you up with the rest of the family!

Paisley and James are navigating early adulthood’s bumpy waters, neither one took us seriously when we told them we weren’t paying for college or a car and now they have to figure those out on their own.  But they are around a lot and still love to be with the little ones and spend time with the family.  So for all their mistakes, they seem to have the basics of family love figured out.  Paisley lives about 5 miles away and is over often.

Posy (15) has been paying attention to how things have played out with P&J and is working very hard in school and hoping to get scholarships.  She is even saving for a car.  She works hard with the youth group (and has a bit of fun there too), sings in the choir for the evening Mass, and is planning to go on a mission trip to Mexico in February.

Ben (13) is a comedian, we switched his school this year and it was perfect for him.  Praise God!  He is blooming in his new environment.  He has great friends, good teachers, and is smarter than is good for him.

Tessa (8) is a sweetheart.  Every week several people come up to me and tell me how she went out of her way to brighten their day or say something nice.  She really knows how to lift people’s spirits.  Around the house, though, she can be a bossy little know-it-all.  But it really is just because she wants things done properly in the best way for everyone.  We’re working on more diplomacy around here.

Max (6) lives on his own little musical planet.  He has learned most of the beatles songs inside and out, he figures out songs on the piano, and he loves to play video games.  We have to limit his screen time because he gets very emotional when he has had too much.

Lily (3) is a firecracker and a half.  She is outgoing when she wants to be, never plays with toys, is always in my face about something and is FINALLY weaned.  She was recently diagnosed with asthma as well and is finally not coughing at night.  She and Molly are inseparable.

Molly (1) my fussiest baby by far.  She has been a bit of a puzzle medically, with allergies, reflux and asthma, all sorted out except the asthma.  She seems to be verbally delayed, but has very good receptive language skills and excellent sign language.  So for now she tested out of services.  She also won’t eat solid foods.  She is smart as a whip, and stubborn as a mule.  She is a serious baby, and saves her smiles for when she really means it.

This crew keeps me hopping every day, running people here and there takes up most of my time, and laundry and cooking take up the rest of it.  But we have a great family and James was recently quoted by our priest in a homily about large families.  He said something to the effect of there is always enough love to go around, and even if they don’t have the stuff they might want, the love multiplies and keeps everyone happy.

Our older kids like to be around the younger ones and will spend time with me and my husband on purpose.

So I have a feeling that somehow, we will all make it through this alright.  🙂

Posy’s Family Poetry Assignment


Small, smiley, cute, wanting to move around
Loves our cat and dog, mirrors, and Peek-a-boo
Who needs to learn to swallow baby food
Who fears not seeing mama
Who wishes she could crawl.

Ambivalence, hungry, loud, energetic
Loves Thomas the tank engine, show-tunes and the outdoors
Who needs to potty train
Who fears diaper rashes
Who wishes he could go on an adventure with the Little Einsteins.

Pink, silly, curly haired, all girl
Loves to read, sing, color, and play the violin
Who thinks she needs more books and craft supplies
Who fears being alone in a room at night
Who wishes she was a princess.

Ticklish, stick-thin, creative, funny
Loves fish sandwiches, the wii, and comedy
Who needs to gain weight, and stop procrastinating
Who fears being tickled
Who wishes he could be a snack-a-tarian.


I am a family photo;
With faces big and small.
A smile. A blink. A “not ready” face.
I sit in your house, un-looked at, untouched.
Dust is collecting on my broken frame.


The sky grows darker.
Both laughter and sorrow fades.
The family sleeps.

Random Thoughts on a Monday

After looking at the calendar this weekend I realized there are no free days left at all until after Easter. I need to find it somewhere inside of me to be super-organized.

Posy is one step ahead of me. I was looking at the giant piles of undone laundry last night while prepping the kids for bed. I told Posy to go and round up a uniform skirt (clean or dirty, it didn’t matter) for Tessa, because I knew that Ben had clean uniforms. She informed me that she had made sure there were skirts for Tessa when she put the clothes in the dryer. How many 13 year olds can think ahead like that even for themsleves let alone for someone else.

I made it to the first of four sessions of the parish mission today. Well, I kind of made it. I got there right on time if it was starting at 9:15. But it had started earlier. And it was in the Church instead of St Bridget’s Room like it usually is. SO it probably wasn’t appropriate for Max to be eating his cheez-its and drinking juice. Oh well, I’ll be better prepared tomorrow.

Lily had her first try at playing violin yesterday. She watched all through Tessa and Max’s lesson intently, so Dasha put the violin (Max’s 1/16th size) against her shoulder to see what her response would be. She immediately turned her head and sucked on it. Okay, so maybe she is not a prodigy. Yet.

We introduced Max to Star Wars. C3PO is now known as Seepah-wee-ah-doh. R2D2 is just plain R2D2.

I have dinner planned up to (but not including)Thursday and I even have all the groceries to make the stuff. Go me!

What a Week!

This week:

  • Jay was out of town for three days.
  • Posy had pneumonia, and missed the whole school week, poor baby was so sick!
  • I spent 9, count them NINE hours on the phone with tech support trying to fix a very stupid problem on my computer. Thank the Lord it is FIXED!
  • Today I get a new grown up adventure, something I have never tried before: getting my car emissions tested with baby and toddler in tow. I am waiting for Lily to get sleepy so she will hopefully snooze through the whole thing.

This was a good week to practice being thankful for things in my life.

Family Picture, Christmas 2007

Christmas Greetings from the Groft Zoo! Things are crazy around here as always, but here is a brief update about what we have been up to.

Paisley – A senior at Bourgade this year, she is looking forward to turning 18 in March and moving out to begin living the college life. She is working two jobs right now as well as keeping her grades up. She directs two children’s choirs and is working at a skateboarding shop. In her free time she shops and hangs out with her friends.

James – 15 now and itching to be 16 and drive! He is active in the youth group and continues to make trips a few times a year to help build houses for the poor in Mexico. He plays bass, guitar, and piano as much as he can, and has been performing monthly at an Art Walk downtown.

Posy – Nearly a teenager! She will be 13 in February. Posy loves to help people, she is always at her Nana’s helping her out, and she is invaluable around here. She works very hard in school to keep up her grades. She loves to read and hang out with her friends. She is involved in two choirs, one with her Grandpa and one at our parish.

Ben – 10 years old and always has his nose in a book! He has a wonderful imagination and way with words. He is always a joy to be around. He started band in school this year and is playing the trombone.

Tessa – started Kindergarten this year! She is so grown up and is definitely all Girl! She loves to play dolls and house and has discovered arts & crafts. Her favorite activity right now is coloring. She loves to give her creations to anyone she cares for. She recently began violin lessons.

Max – turns 3 on Christmas Eve. He loves to talk, although his lisp makes him hard to understand sometimes. He is very loving and very much a little homebody. He also began violin lessons with Tessa. We were blessed to find a lovely teacher who is working patiently with both kids.

Lily – the newest Groftling. Lily is now 3 months old, she was born on September 14, delivered by her daddy because the midwife hadn’t yet arrived! Thankfully the midwife arrived only a few moments later. She is a beautiful baby who loves to be swaddled and snuggled. Her siblings all adore her.

Jay & Jenni – Jay is working hard testing tanks and every spare moment Is taken up by singing. He is putting together a CD and hopes to have it out early in 2008! Jenni stays home with the kids and tries to keep the peace and keep the house from being condemned. She sews, scrapbooks, and reads when she can but those times come seldom with a tiny baby in the house.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! May you be blessed and safe in the coming months!