"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fort Abraham Lincoln

Here are some pictures from our Wednesday adventures at Fort Abraham Lincoln.

We toured the reconstructed home of General George Custer and his wife Libby, which included some of their personal effects. The tour was conducted in the first person by one of the General's "privates," which the kids found very entertaining.

After the tour, we spent some time exploring the bunkhouse (above) and the mess hall. We also visited the commissary, had a picnic lunch, and played freeze tag.

Next we toured the Mandan On-A-Slant Village where we heard the story of White Wolf, a Mandan chief who was born there and later traveled to Washington with Lewis and Clark. We also explored some reconstructed earth lodges (above).

Finally, the kids spent some time climbing the blockhouses at the Fort McKeen infantry post.

I enjoyed the views of Fort Lincoln and the Heart and Missouri Rivers.

The Baby enjoyed the wildflowers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Subscribe Now

Some of you, mostly family members, have complained that I am not on Facebook and it would be easier if one didn't have to remember to check my blog regularly for updates. Well, I didn't join Facebook (yet), but I did try to make it easier for you. If you go to the bottom of the right column, there is now a link where you can subscribe to my blog. Click on the link and you will be prompted to enter your e-mail address and a verification word. Once you do that, you will be sent an e-mail. Click the link in the e-mail to activate your subscription. Then, each time I post something, you will be sent an e-mail, so you don't need to remember to check back regularly anymore! Happy subscribing.

Housing Update

For those of you who don't know, here's a summary of our housing search so far: We've looked at nine houses; I've really liked two of them.

The first one we found on our visit in early June. It had everything on my list and I was very excited. I've never found a house that had everything on my list: a large yard, an attached two-car garage, a mudroom/laundry room/quarter bathroom that opened to both the garage and the backyard, an eat-in kitchen, a formal dining room, a fireplace, space for a schoolroom on the main floor, a master bedroom with its own bathroom, 3 additional bedrooms, two additional bathrooms, space for a library/family room, space for a chapel or oratory, space for the girls to practice dance and for our elliptical, and ample storage. There were two drawbacks: First, it needed some major cosmetic work. It was decorated in the latest and greatest sixties: foil wallpaper, pink toilets, lavender tile, old carpet, etc. But this was not a big deal for me -- cosmetic stuff is the easiest to fix. The other drawback was it was a little out of our price range -- not a lot, but enough that I would be required to keep working full-time. So we decided to wait and see if the price would drop.

It sold last weekend.

I was bummed. very bummed.

We looked at five more houses this week. We found a beautiful old house near downtown, near our (hopeful) parish, and near some families we've already met. It is a house with a lot of character -- maple and oak floors, beautiful woodwork, stained glass windows. It has a lot of space. It has a lot of potential. We looked at it a second time yesterday and are coming to realize it may have a lot more potential than actual. The major problems appear to be the windows, the plumbing, and the electrical. Those are major problems. We were advised to offer half of what they're asking in order to be able to make these major updates. The house is over 100 years old. It also has a garage that needs to be bull-dozed and rebuilt.

Oh, well ... the search continues.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Daybook - July 27, 2010

Outside my windows... is a huge deck.

From which I get to look at this ...

... and this.

I am listening to... the dryer -- I've never had first floor laundry before!

I am thinking... about the five houses we looked at today, specifically one of them. It's an older historic home, with large rooms and beautiful woodwork. It's close to the Cathedral parish, which seems like a good fit for our family. It is old, though, and the basement and attic would need to be finished. But there is enough space to live in without finishing these areas for the time being. Any opinions or good advice on buying an older home?

I am thankful for... all the wonderful people we've met already. Saturday night we attended a young adults gathering sponsored by the Cathedral parish (I guess we're technically still "young adults"). Sunday we hosted an informal gathering of some other new hires at the University and their families, which included many children. My own children were delighted with their new playmates. (And so was I!)

I am hoping and praying... that we find our new home sooner rather than later, and that we can come up with what we need for the down payment.

From the kitchen... we've been doing a lot of grilling since we got here (on that fabulous deck!).

From the schoolroom... Yes, I should probably start thinking about the new school year soon and ordering books and supplies.

I am creating... order in our temporary home.

I am reading... Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina. I also need to track down a copy of One of Ours -- I was in the middle of it when we moved and I had to return it to the library.

Noticing that ... I like a house with a lot of rooms and a lot of space.

Around the house...
most everything that I am going to unpack here is unpacked. There is ample storage for the rest of the boxes and bins.

One of my favorite things... warm summer days and cool summer evenings.

Pondering these words ... from Willa Cather's Shadows on the Rock:
Fears for the sick and old so far away, sorrow for those who died last year -- five years ago -- many years ago, -- memories of families once together and now scattered; these things hung over the rock of Kebec on this day of the dead like the dark fogs from the river. The cheerful faces were those in the convents. The Ursulines and Hospitalieres, indeed, were scarcely exiles. When they came across the Atlantic, they brought their family with them, their kindred, their closest friends. In whatever little wooden vessel they had laboured across the sea, they carried all; they brought to Canada the Holy Family, the saints and martyrs, the glorious company of the Apostles, the heavenly host.

Courageous these Sisters were, accepting good and ill fortune with high spirit, -- with humour, even. They never vulgarly exaggerated hardships and dangers. They had no hours of nostalgia, for they were quite as near the realities of their lives in Quebec as in Dieppe or Tours. They were still in their accustomed place in the world of the mind (which for each of us is the only world), and they had the same well-ordered universe about them: this all-important earth, created by God for a great purpose, the sun which He made to light it by day, the moon which he made to light it by night, -- and the stars, made to beautify the vault of heaven like frescoes, and to be a clock and compass for man. And in this safe, lovingly arranged and ordered universe (not too vast, thought nobly spacious), in this congenial universe, the drama of man went on at Quebec just as at home, and the Sisters played their accustomed part in it. There was sin, of course, and there was punishment after death; but there was always hope, even for the most depraved; and for those who died repentant, the Sisters’ prayers could do much, -- no one might say how much....

Inferretque deos Latio
. When an adventurer carries his gods with him into a remote and savage country, the colony he founds will, from the beginning, have graces, traditions, riches of the mind and spirit. Its history will shine with bright incidents, slight, perhaps, but precious, as in life itself, where the great matters are often worthless as astronomical distances, and the trifles dear as the heart’s blood.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Tomorrow we are visiting Fort Lincoln. We are also going to check out one of the houses we saw today one more time with my in-laws and the kids. I'm still only taking it a day at a time.

Some picture-thoughts I am sharing: from the Lewis and Clark Riverboat pizza cruise we took last night. 

For more daybooks, visit here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

We made it to North Dakota. We got wireless today and I'm back online.

Here's the view I get to enjoy every evening while we continue our house search. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

Friday, July 2, 2010

(Not So) Quick Takes - Volume 10


Yes, friends, we are still alive -- barely, some days, but alive. And happy. Today, I am so. very. tired. Which is why I'm sitting here blogging instead of packing boxes. Plus, it's too hot to pack boxes. Anyway ... here's a brief look at what we've all been up to the last month.

--- 1 ---
The Baby

The Baby had many "firsts" this past month.

her first time using a fork

Although she promptly took the food off the fork ...

... before putting it in her mouth.

She has since managed to put the fork with the food on it into her mouth.

her first time riding one of these spring-y things
(What do you call them anyway?)

her first time sliding

her first time swinging like a big girl

her first time swimming (or sitting) in a lake

and, at long last, her first steps!

At almost sixteen months of age, The Baby is my latest walker. Her Father's Day gift to Daddy was her first steps. (I think she didn't like the way the grass felt on her legs when she was crawling in it!)

(I have some great video of her first steps, but I can't figure out how to get it easily from iPhoto to Blogger. Blogger tells me it's uploading video, but it never stops. Help anyone?)

--- 2 ---
The Boy

The Boy also had a first in June -- his first time riding a bike with no training wheels.

The Boy also spent a very. hot. week. at Sports Camp. He played basketball.

He played baseball.

And he played soccer (more good videos that I can't post). for three hours every day.

He slept very well that week.

--- 3 ---
The Girls

The Girls spent their favorite week of the summer at horse camp again.

They also attended Young Irish Musicians Weekend.

And they competed at the Twin Cities Feile.

The Younger Girl got to wear a new (to her) solo dress for the first time. She earned two firsts and three fourths!

And The Older Girl got to spend some time with her best friend from Milwaukee. She earned four firsts and a second.

--- 4 ---

My life for the last month has revolved around carting The Kids to the above events, working, and packing, packing, packing for our big move. There are boxes and dust bunnies everywhere -- sorry, no pictures.

--- 5 ---

My DH has been working diligently on his dissertation. I've heard more positives than negatives lately. We're all cheering him along. Go, Daddy!!! Say a prayer, please, for a November defense and a December graduation.

--- 6 ---
The Family

We have been to the zoo. Our highlights this trip were playing at the great play area, watching the prairie dogs, and observing the bears wrestle.

We have been to the beach. (I tried to upload a few pictures, but I think I've reached my quota for this post because Blogger won't let me!)

We have been to Bismarck looking for a house. No luck yet. Another prayer please?

--- 7 ---
The Future

The Older Girl and I leave on Sunday for Orlando where she will be competing at Nationals for Irish dance.

When we return on Wednesday, we will have three days to spend with my brother and sister-in-law and my newest nephew.

The following Wednesday is moving day!

Maybe I'll be back here before August ... but, then again, maybe not!

Happy summer!