12, My Favorite Number

Look! A baby in a paper hat. I mean really, we are just begging for you to look at our blog with that kind of lead picture.

Hello! Jackie here (gasp, I know). Today Joel and I celebrate the 12th anniversary of when Joel proposed to me. In a wheat field. With roses and the morning sun just rising. It was romantic, and gushy, and perfect for us.
Joel sent me a sweet text to celebrate (he remembered people, and it really was sweet), and I thought the mediocre dinner I prepared didn’t quite say “I really do love you” enough. So, I am posting this in the last minutes of the day:
happy day to us babe!

Oh those babies.

These were some of our engagement pictures. My roommate Monica was such a good sport to humor us and take them. My mom was such a good sport to let us put the photo on the right in the “Wichita Eagle” as our engagement announcement. (Remember when people did that?)
(Also, remember film cameras? I had to get these photos out of an album and scan them in! We are such a lazy society.)

Also, I realized I have a bunch of cute pictures on my phone that other people should really see.

These were from the fair: cousins joined us for a fun evening at the carnival. Grandma loved seeing the kids’ entries.

My dad and Paschal spending some chill time together. And Grammie and Papa being as patient as saints at a Zelie (the dictator) tea party.


Filed under Uncategorized

Another Year of… Family Movie Night!

8 random thoughts before I get to this year’s list of movies we’ll be watching together this year.
-The Goonies! This is the year I finally get to watch The Goonies with the boys!
-And the Sandlot!
-I think the first draft of this list had over 60 movies. It was tough to trim it down.
-As always, Common Sense Media was so helpful in choosing which ones to see this year, and which one’s to wait on.
-If I were as purposeful about all the other aspects of parenting as I am about movie selection, we would be golden.
-My lack of spontaneity could be a genuine criticism.
-I did not see “It’s a Wonderful Life” until I was 20. I loved it enough to put it in my all-time top 10 list a few years later, but haven’t watched it again since. Curious to see how it holds up.
-I would love suggestions for movies Zelie would love with strong female protagonists.

Family Movie Night 2016-2017 Season

The Sandlot
Finding Nemo
The Goonies*
Oliver and Company
The Boxtrolls*
Wallace and Grommit: Curse of the Were Rabbit
Fantastic Mr. Fox
It’s a Wonderful Life
Rise of the Guardians
The Nativity Story
Tale of Despereaux
Night at the Museum
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones*
Alice in Wonderland (j)
Mulan (a)
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (z)
Iron Giant (x)
Searching for Bobby Fisher
Castle in the Sky*
The Adventures of Milo and Otis
James and the Giant Peach
The Jungle Book (2016)*
The Sound of Music
Scarlet and the Black *
The Secret Life of Pets
Rookie of the Year
Captain America: The First Avenger*
Finding Dory

Before my boys can watch the Nazi-fighting hero on the right, they need to watch the Nazi-fighting hero on the left (and Maria von Trapp-not pictured :)

Before my boys can watch the Nazi-fighting hero on the right, they need to watch the Nazi-fighting hero on the left (and Maria von Trapp)


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Summer Shenanigans: An Update in Photos

I was getting envious of everybody’s Colorado vacation pictures. But then, Friday night we had our 2nd Annual Board Game Extravaganza, and it was bigger, better, and even more epic than last year. We took this picture. And now YOU’RE the one who is totally jelly. Don’t deny it. You are. Even if you don’t realize it, it’s there, subconsciously. Trust me. My cousin Sam is really the Godfather of strategic board gaming in our family, and with him attending this year, we were able to create dual towers, complete with 7 Spiel des Jahres winners! It was glorious. And ditto on all the nice things I said about these young men last year. I wish them godspeed on their endeavors this upcoming semester. P1016595

Xavier will be joining us soon in our board game tribe of geeks, but this summer he really got into puzzles. He probably did this 300 piece 50 states puzzle at least 5 times throughout July. He’d finish, take it apart and start right over again. Funny kid. It has been fun seeing his “big kid personality” emerge more and more this summer.


Zelie’s big July news is that for her birthday she got a kitten, who she has named Dot. I always thought it would be fun to have a kid open a present and a new pet be inside, and it did not disappoint. All the kids just flipped out with excitement.


Almost as exciting was the birthday present Gus gave her. He came to Jackie a few months ago and said, “I really want to get Zelie her own pink bb gun for her birthday.” He paid for it with his own money and was very proud to give it to her. It was really sweet watching him teach her how to use it. Here is Gus and Zelie, on their 6th birthdays.


Lots of fun family culture plan time this month, but the pictures below are from one of our more memorable misadventures. Aunt Connie and Uncle Tony sent these inflatable body bumper balls, and we laughed. A lot.


We’ve enjoyed a lot of fun time in the pond this summer. Zelie especially has been a little fish, and she can now swim out to “the island” without any help. One day the kids were laughing and playing and the afternoon sunlight was shining through the splashing water. God is good.


And what photo update post would be complete without a pudgy PacMan picture? I could make a pie graph of our summer, and “Staring at Paschal Being Cute” would occupy a considerable slice for all of us. It has been a great summer.



Filed under Uncategorized

When You Want to Be Inigo Montoya, but You Realize You’re Vizzini

Act 1.
So we decided to kick off the Catholic Community Cinema Society with the most quotable movie of all time: The Princess Bride. Seriously, what other movie even comes close to its impact on pop culture references? Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail is the only one I could think of. Can you imagine how many jokes you would be clueless about if you hadn’t seen this movie? Can you imagine what it would be like to be at a wedding and not know why people start chuckling when someone says “Mawwage. Mawwage is wot bwings us togeder today”?

I still remember the feeling I had watching this movie the first time. Because the first half hour is AWESOME. I love the device of the bedtime story. The grandson interrupting at the kissing. The grandfather reassuring him at the shrieking eels. But then you get to the swordfight, and it is really an impressive scene. Inigo is so suave, so cool, his repartee with Westley so effortless. That classic line. I wanted to be Inigo Montoya. Everybody does, right? Quick survey!

So that survey, is just one of many delightful ways you can participate in the CCCS. I would love for you to comment about what you think of this movie, and I will post links to my cohorts Mary Big Hair and Simple Mama when they get home from their respective vacations.🙂

Act 2.
Just a few weeks ago, I saw a podcast over at Catholic Stuff You Should Know that caught my attention. It was called My Name is Inigo Loyola. I don’t know if I would have taken the time to listen to it if Princess Bride wasn’t already on my mind, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. It was all about St. Ignatius of Loyola and his daily practice of Examen. I’ve always known that a daily Examination of Conscience is a great spiritual practice, but I’ve just never stayed dedicated to it. But as the priests discussed it, I was very intrigued and I decided to try it out, in connection with our Cinema Society. There are 5 steps- forgive my Latin spelling here:
1. Gratiam-Start by saying what you are grateful for right now.
2. Lumen-Ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you so that you can see your soul as God does
3. Examen-Ask yourself, “Has my life today glorified God, or have I glorified myself?”
4. Dole-Express sorrow for your sins
5. Propone-Propose a plan of improvement for moving forward, it can be something small or big that you will accomplish or work on

So, I started doing that 3 times a day, once in the morning, once after lunch, and once after dinner. And it has been one of the best parts of my summer. I love the structure it gives to my day, kind of checking in with God every few hours to see how I’m doing. The propone step has really helped me to stop procrastinating (as much) about some projects I need to get done around the farm.

I figured that I could watch the movie and write something inspiring about the call of Catholic men to be like Inigo Montoya and Inigo Loyola and battle for Christ.

Act 3.
Then I watched the movie. And I realized that the character I identified the most with was not Inigo Montoya, but Vizzini, the short, balding bully constantly yelling abuse. This was not a pleasant realization. It started off as amusement. Wallace Shawn gives such an indelible performance. As often as “Inconceivable!” is overquoted, it was his other lesser-known lines that cracked me up. My favorite this viewing was “And YOU: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed, IN GREENLAND!?” But then I started to think, “Wait. This reminds me of someone I know. The way he’s shouting at Fezzik to climb faster when Fezzik is obviously doing his best on a very challenging job. Who does that remind me of?… ”


“Oh… it’s me.”
For weeks I’d been praying to see myself as God sees me, and here it was, on film. When I lose my patience with my students and lecture them to do better. When I get that look of frustration on my face and harrangue my kids. When I dismissively scoff at someone else’s opinions-YOU’D LIKE TO THINK THAT, WOULDN’T YOU!?

Ugh! I’m totally Vizzini! And prior to this, it was easy to dismiss my villainy because I’d focus on my better Inigo actions, or even envision myself as Westley nobly saving the day. But as I continued to do the Examen, I’ve realized that over the last few years, I’ve actually become more and more Vizzini-like.

Screenshot (39)


So, I end this post with a problem identified and hopeful about a solution to remedy it. I would like to apologize to the people I have Vizzinied. And on this day, which just so happens to be the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, I am going to work to continue doing battle with this trait and seek guidance from above in being more patient and a better listener.

I really mean it.



Filed under Uncategorized

God Provides

Image-1 (1)

When you lead with photos like that, the rest of the post is bound to be downhill from there. But life is good here in Kingman. All things being relative, after a June spent almost completely at the grain elevator, our family is enjoying completeness this July. This week we hosted our 4th of July family reunion, then baled hay with my brothers and brother-in-law, and kicked off Totus Tuus at our parish. I’m back to reading bedtime stories (we just started The Toothpaste Millionaire) and Packy really likes going on a walk every night around 8. And today he put on the smile show that we captured some pictures of. The kids are soooo enamored with him. And it makes my dad heart very full to see Jude or Gus go up to him when he is starting to fuss, pick him up, and try to console him. Packy is multiplying the love here. We are blest.

Last summer, Adoration Under the Stars ended up being one of my favorite memories. So this year, I took Jude, Gus, and my godson, John. Again, it was wonderful, amazing, beautiful, powerful, sustaining, so many more adjectives. My experience that night was so intimate and personal it doesn’t quite seem like the blog is the right forum to tell you about it. But ask me in person, and I’ll try to share those moments that I don’t want to forget. It made a big impression on the boys. If you live nearby, definitely think about coming next year-its always the Wednesday after the 4th of July at St. Joe, Ost, though it truly feels like an evening outside of time and place.

and one more time:
Image-1 (1)


Filed under Uncategorized