Saturday, September 28, 2013

A New Little One

It's a tiny, wee kitten!

Yesterday, our kids came running in the house, telling me that our small cat, Katie Belle, had a kitten. Katie has been grown for a few years, and had lots of male "callers" during that time, but she's never had any kittens. We have just assumed that she is infertile, and not able to carry kittens.

So when the kids INSISTED that there was a new kitten in our backyard, I was pretty skeptical. But when they proclaimed that the kitten was MOVING, I went to check it out.

Our little Katie Belle cat is a good mama.
 Sure enough, there was a tiny, wet thing crawling around in Katie's bed with her. But Katie was really anxious, going in and out of the bed, leaving the kitten alone. I could tell that she didn't like where her bed was, so I grabbed an old towel, and picked up the bed and moved it right next to the house. I put the towel underneath her and the kitten, and moved Katie's food and water right next to her bed.

She is never far from her tiny kitten.
When I touched the kitten, it was very cold, and still wet. That made me worry a bit, but after I moved the bed, Katie settled in and sat right down on top of her new little one! I could tell that she finally felt more secure and could get down to the business of nursing.

We don't know yet whether it's a boy or a girl, but isn't he/she adorable?
We waited for more kitties to come, but there was just the one, sweet little kitty. The kids are over the moon with excitement, and Bonny (Katie's owner) has been very attentive to both their needs.

It's so fun to have a new little one at our house!

Love, Mama Rachel

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Excitement and Exhaustion

Excitement! (And Exhaustion.)

Yes, there's always a lot of excitement-- and yes, even exhaustion-- around here on a constant basis.

New House

In case I haven't mentioned it, we moved to a new house in the middle of June. It is quite literally a HUGE blessing. I have friends I've known for years who have lived in this neighborhood and in the same house plan, and I still pinch myself to think that OUR FAMILY gets to live in a home as big and beautiful as this one. It even has a BASEMENT, which is rare and hard to find here in AZ. (They dig pools, but not basements... It's a mystery I've never been able to understand about this place.)

It's a six bedroom, 3 bathroom home, complete with a food storage room, a BIG basement family room, and a garage. Our back yard is small, but with so much room inside, that hasn't been an issue. There's a park down the street, lots of tree-lined biking paths, and even a couple community pools. We already know several people in the ward who are part of our homeschool group, and we hold our weekly homeschool group classes in our new house, as well as in a few other friends' homes on the same block.

Yeah, we are sacrificing more money each month to live here, but I feel so blessed! We still really miss our friends and ward family in Chandler-- that still feels like our "real" home-- but we're settling in here and are enjoying the indoor space we now have.


July, August, and September are full of birthdays and craziness. We've had a bit of breathing room the last few weeks before our baby turns one in the middle of October. Now I can post some birthday pictures!

Brennan is now legal!

Ronan, in his new racecar-driver suit,
 made courtesy of Morganne and Granna

My handsome husband:
We celebrated our 21st anniversary in mid-August!

Lliam has been working out, and I think he likes his new weight set!

I am now in my last year before the big 4-0!
(Playing with a 1940's hair-do)

Our Bonny got one BIG present for her 15th birthday, and she loves it!

Excitement and Exhaustion

Last, but not least, I got a BIG surprise in August. I never thought I would have the blessing of bearing a dozen beautiful, healthy children, but now it seems I get to be blessed even more...

We are now expecting a new little one-- our number 13-- sometime near the end of April. My guess is that it's another little girl, but we shall see! 

I am humbled... and tired... and excited! What a blessing it is to be a Mother in Zion!!! I am amazed at how much love and trust the Lord has given me. I obviously still have MUCH more to learn! I will do my best to be the mother my Father in Heaven wants me to be.

But first, I will probably take a much-needed nap...

Love, Mama Rachel

Friday, September 20, 2013

Time Passing

I can't believe that September is almost over!

Usually here in the land of The HEAT, we all wish that September and October would hurry and pass, since it doesn't cool off until Halloween. When everyone else is talking about putting on sweaters and watching leaves change color, we're clinging to the hope that today's temperature will NOT climb over 100 degrees.

But since we'll be doing the happy dance in January and February, no worries...

It's just that amidst all this quick passage of time, my babies get swept up and think that they have license to get bigger.

Oh, no way! 


"Why, Mama?"
It's just not very nice. Not at all.

Pretty soon my little Davy might be as big as this kid:

Brennan helping Eryn be reverent

Pinning the Eagle pin on his mother! Oh, Happy Day!

Okay, we need to see pictures of all the other cute people around here, too...

MacKenna is now 7 going on 16. *gulp*

Avalon with her typical BIG smile!

Ronan caught a big one at the lake by the park!
(And he put it back, too, of course.)

Bonny blowing out 15 candles!

Gavin, even at 13 years old, still loves babies.

Our Snow White (aka Grayse D.) passed out on the floor, again.
(Where's the apple?)

Card Games for FHE with
Lliam, Dierdre, Avalon, Ronan, Gavin, and Grayse

I'll just leave you with this little video of how grown up our Davy is. He's become quite the Little Man.


Love, Mama Rachel

Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review: Blackmoore

{Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions presented in this post are my very own. ~Mama Rachel}

I was excited to have the opportunity to review this book! There are so few books written by modern authors that I enjoy, and so I was looking forward to finding something new to read that is also clean and uplifting.

I wish I could honestly say that my high expectations were met, but unfortunately, being a frequent reader of classic literature has probably spoiled me.

One of my pet peeves of modern, historical fiction is that most, if not all, of these stories are inundated with modern sensibilities that simply did not exist in the past. Of course, I know the reason that the writers of today make this choice, (I believe it's an attempt to help modern readers "relate" better to the characters and their world) but I have not been able to find a way to keep it from ruining the reading experience for me, personally. I subscribe to the school of thought that says that in order for modern readers to understand the past, they need to be immersed in it, rather than expecting the past to change to meet their understanding.

Examples of how the book's modern lens distracted and disappointed me:

  • The heroine ogling her romantic interest's body. More than once.
  • How difficult it was to relate to, understand, or even LIKE the heroine.
  • The outlandish actions of the heroine's mother, knowing that she never would have been tolerated in society at that day and age.
The author is a fine writer, but the story was also fairly disjointed, and it did not hold my interest. I had to FORCE myself to return to the book several times.

Unfortunately, after reading this modern take on a historical romance, I feel the need to read an Austen novel, or something by the Bronte sisters. I honestly cannot recommend that my readers waste their time reading Blackmoore-- immerse yourself in a wonderful classic, instead!

Love, Mama Rachel

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Eagle, Waiting, and Stepping Back

An Eagle

We weren't sure it was going to happen or not, but we are so happy and relieved that our Brennan chose to finish earning his Eagle Scout Award. (In fact, he turned his papers in 2 hours before his 18th birthday! Yeah, we think it may be a record!)

At his Eagle Court of Honor, we showed a video of him and his life and experiences in scouting. I'm very proud of him for following through and finishing because he WANTED to-- not because his parents made him do it. Even if it was in just the nick of time! ;-)


This same boy has ALL his mission paperwork in, and so we WAIT. And WAIT. And WAIT. It's been 3 and a half LONG weeks, and still no call. Yes, I am impatient. In fact, I am the one that keeps bugging my boy to check the mail, and then I watch him out the window to see if he brings back that elusive, mysterious, WONDERFUL, big, white envelope.

I will update the blog as soon as we know WHERE and WHEN!!!

(Hmmm... I wonder if the mail is here yet...)

My boy-- SOON.

Stepping Back

I did something very difficult, yet wonderful; with regret, yet relief.

I'm not teaching Shakespeare.

{What did you say???}



After making all my lovely plans for a new curriculum and approach, after training other moms how to teach it, after getting all my ducks in a row, and then getting VERY sick...


I hit my brick wall, and found that I could not do it all. (Shocking, I know.) I had to choose between being in charge of our homeschool group this year, or teaching Shakespeare. (*sniff*)

And so, I chose duty over passion.

It's good for me. And I have a great deal of PEACE about the decision. And two other moms stepped up to take on my class of 32 students!!! (Sorry, guys.) Usually the classes are smaller, but I like to teach big groups, so I let a lot of kids in. (Oops.)

These women are SAINTS.

So while I have a twinge a sadness, I also feel so relieved and happy.

Heavenly Father is teaching me lots of good, important lessons this year. There are beautiful things on the horizon, and I will get there, eventually. 

I'm excited to see what the future holds!

Love, Mama Rachel