By | Posted December 30, 2012

Posted in Advent, holidays, pictures | No Comments »

In an attempt to preserve memories while I can, I am randomly updating in little pockets of time.  Advent was fine.  Not as spiritually profound as I would have liked, but not a total disappointment.  In the end, we lit the candles all but five days and sang and prayed together.  We celebrated St. Nicholas, St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Immaculate Conception.


DSC_6801 We read almost every single night.  Really read.  My poor kids haven’t seen a bedtime before 9 in a month.  All in the name of reading.  I love our books though.  They are truly wonderful.  We have three baskets full of Christmas reading that I bring slowly out so the kids aren’t completely overwhelmed the first week of Advent.  My favorite find this year was definitely Marta and the Manger Straw.  When I hear a child say, “I remember this one, I love it.”,  well, it makes me heart swell.


This year we counted down Advent by adding a tree to each window in the dining room.  The windows looked really cool from the outside as we added a new tree each day.  We had simple plans for each day, including one that was just a day of rest.  We made our Advent candles, baked, made cards for our cousins and spent a lot of time talking about what Christmas really means.

The first Sunday of Advent, our priest talked about four things: wait, prepare, rejoice and proclaim.  Baby Hulk still talks about those four things.  During our week to rejoice, we decorated the house with the exception of the tree.




For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we visited one of our favorite places: the grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes.  I love this place.  It’s peaceful, beautiful and makes us reflect on our faith.  The boys have their favorite spots and each tried to pull Sunshine to different areas to show her.  St. Bernadette is one of those saints that speaks to me.  (And although we’re not focusing on the Way of the Cross right now, the boys refused to leave without first stopping at each station.)




And would any holiday in this house be complete without Snoopy?  The decorations in our home go one of two ways: Snoopy or nativity scenes.  I love Snoopy, my kids love Snoopy and he makes us smile.  The kids watched the movie complete with their Snoopys by their side.



We celebrated with Grandma and Grandpa Zierlein with a brunch.  The boys also opened their gifts from them that day which was nice.  Opening a ton of gifts on Christmas day is so overwhelming for the kids.  They can hardly appreciate anything they receive.

For all of the stress of this season, Christmas Eve was so relaxing.  Surprising since I hadn’t grocery shopped for our Christmas dinner, had two last gifts to purchase (no clue how that happened since I’ve been done for three weeks!) and Lance had an allergic reaction to dye which had me picking him up and leaving his car on the other side of town.





I have been wanting to decorate the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve for years.  And the anticipation for the boys was pretty intense.  Goose topped the tree with our new angel.  He made sure everyone knew it was his turn this year.  And Sunshine, well she missed decorating the tree, but was pretty happy with the results.





Trulucks was amazing as usual.  The kids behave really well while there.  How I wish they acted like they were at Trulucks every time we went out to eat.


And the there was Christmas…which I guess is a post for another day.

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Happiness Is

By | Posted December 28, 2012

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Finding my four year old reading one of the books I picked out especially for him.

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A tradition worth starting

By | Posted December 28, 2012

Posted in friends | 2 Comments »

Last night we had dinner with Lance’s oldest friends and their families.  It was a fun night and something we need to do more often.  Especially without the kids.  We’re pretty lucky that all the kids get along despite not seeing each other more than once a year or so.  Funny thing, to me at least, is the fact that Goose calls Clint and Shea “mom’s Aggie friends”.  Does this mean their kids call me the Longhorn friend?

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The Spirit of Christmas

By | Posted December 27, 2012

Posted in Christmas, holidays | No Comments »

I don’t know a more generous person than my father.  As a child I remember shopping sprees at the toy store so we could deliver the gifts to the child’s wing at MD Anderson.  He still does it.  He spends a lot of money to buy bikes and gifts to those that don’t have money for extras like Christmas gifts.  And today, he invites the grandchildren to go along so that they too can remember that we always help those in need.  I often wonder how much he would spend if he were a millionaire.  I think he would put people to shame.

This year, Snax and I helped pick out gifts.  Snax was pretty sweet about it showing my dad which gifts were best.  We all went last Sunday to buy bikes and drop them off at a church.  Even Sunshine got into the act.

Later, I read Marta and the Manger Straw, a new find this year and a sweet, sweet book.  I talked to Baby Hulk and asked him to tell me what he thought about the day.  He decided grandpa was like Marta.  And he is.  I told him I hoped he always remembered this tradition.  To remember that we always help others even when its hard for us because we can never outdo God in generosity.

We also took the kids caroling at my friend Ray’s house on Christmas Eve.  My friend has cancer, a spiral break from a broken leg the week of Thanksgiving and his liver doesn’t seem to be working properly.  It breaks my heart to see him.  The kids were surprised at his appearance.  He loved their singing, and we were able to bring hope to what has been a difficult year for him.

When Lance prayed at Christmas dinner, he spoke of hope that came from the newborn child.  I can think of so many people that need hope in their lives.  I pray that our actions bring hope alive for them.

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By | Posted December 26, 2012

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Never in my entire life have I been so exhausted.  Ever.  Babies not sleeping through the night have nothing on my life.  I’m not sure what it is and why I can’t get a handle on it, but I am spent.  And honestly not relaxed these days at all.  I’ve missed two birthday posts for my kids, have yet to blog one thing about what we did during Advent and have been somewhat of a grouch.

At confession last week, I arrived for the service that started at 7 late.  Like at 8:30.  They were packing up the place.  Where were all the sinners?  In the end it turned out fine, I had a great confession with a super priest who had some great counsel.  When I told him that I didn’t think life was supposed to be this way, he agreed.  I did manage to discuss some of the things that have been on my chest and rant a bit as well, always nice for me.  Especially when the person tells you that your feelings are justified.  

So yes, I’m a bit frustrated about life: some minor…kids that don’t mind (although is this really minor?!), people who don’t make the bed when I want them to do it…some large…hard times for people, selfishness that I see all the time, a child who refuses to check his work and a teacher I am sure is wasting our time at school.  There is a lot of sadness out there right now.

Then I think of my sweet boy’s words about St. Michael upon giving a medal to a young man leaving for boot camp.  “St. Michael will protect you always, he is fighting for you, to keep you safe from harm because he knows God loves you.”  The innocence as he said these words brought tears to my eyes as well as the mom of that young man.

Again, this same boy prayed in mass and wished with all his heart that those children could be back with their parents.  He prayed for those parents and even for the soul of the madman.  That is the boy I raised.  And that is who makes me proud.

Another child wrote the following about what it means to be Catholic during Christmas.  He’s in kindergarten.  And his understanding of Christmas and what it’s about is awesome.  If you can read his writing, you can see that he writes better than most 3rd graders and why I think his time in school thus far has been a big effing waste of time.  Because let’s be clear, no other child in that room writes like that yet, and no, he didn’t learn that at school.  (I can’t seem to get past that bitterness no matter how often I confess it, can I?)

Everyone says I need time for myself, and maybe I do.  I know few people who could handle being with Snax all day long without going crazy or possibly resorting to spanking.  I have yet to do either except maybe come close to losing my mind.  I’d like to blog more, not because I have anything profound to say, but because I have a lot of pictures and memories I’d like to preserve for us.  In the end, I know I have a good life.  Now I’d like to start appreciating it.

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Wishing you…

By | Posted December 25, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Peace on earth, most especially with your loved ones.

Christmas Eve dinner at Trulucks, a Zierlein family tradition.

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A Milestone

By | Posted December 7, 2012

Posted in birthday, Family Life | 2 Comments »

Last weekend my family celebrated my Aunt Mary’s 100th birthday.

Yes, 100 years.

She is 98 years older than Sunshine.

It’s hard to fathom.  Yet it is so beautiful to think Aunt Mary has lived this long.  She is very important to our immediate family, especially my father.  When I was young, I remember the long drive to Brady to visit her and my other aunts as well as my mom’s parents.  They all lived in Brady, Texas.  It wasn’t a very exciting town, but we knew we were loved there.  Today, she lives with my father.  He and my mom take care of her.

She loves sweets about as much as Lance and I do.  She has an amazing collection of miniature tea sets.  Her favorite saint is St. Cecilia, whose feast day is on her birthday.  And purple is her favorite color.

We’re extremely blessed to have her in our lives.  All the boys are sweet with her, but one in particular is pretty loving.  It makes my heart happy.  I think it’s kind of cool that my kids are able to say they know someone who is 100 years old!

Happy Birthday, Aunt Mary.  Do whatever the heck you want.  You have certainly earned it.  I love you!


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On the feast of St. Nicholas

By | Posted December 6, 2012

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The kids woke up to gold coins at breakfast to signify St. Nicholas’ generosity and new pj’s.  And of course, books.

I used to buy the boys matching pj’s, but it appears those years have passed.  In fact, I could only find pj pants this year for Goose, Baby Hulk and Squirt.  Squirt scored big time this year.

Personally, I would love to just celebrate St. Nicholas and skip Santa, but Lance won’t allow it.  That’s fine, the best presents still come from me.  And this year, I’ve drawn the line with that elf.  He has flown the coop and won’t be coming back.

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One Week

By | Posted November 25, 2012

Posted in Advent, Liturgical Year, Spiritual Life | 3 Comments »

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  It was a wonderful day with family and friends.  A great day to reflect on all the gifts we have.  During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we spoke a lot about what we were grateful for, no Facebook updates for me, but we shared a lot as a family.  And really, it’s a perfect way to start this next season.

The season of Advent.  That time in between Thanksgiving and Christmas…

My goal is to intentionally live the Advent season.  And for me, that means taking things as slow as possible.  Which means we didn’t decorate a thing over the weekend.  In fact, I still have a few decorations from Thanksgiving around the house.  And no judgement on those that have decorated.  I know I’m in the minority here.  Heck, last year, my tree didn’t go up until about three days before Christmas.  While my BF had her tree and outside lights up Friday afternoon.  It’s what people do to get into the spirit.

For me though, I need time.  Time to prepare my heart.  My home, that’s easy, I’m good at the cleaning part.  It’s my heart that needs the work.  So I’m planning on using Advent to clean up so to speak.  There will be evidence in the house that Christmas is coming, we’ll have our Advent wreath as well as the Jesse Tree ornaments from last year.  I’m also making an Advent Calendar for the kids with “things to do” each day of Advent.  Things like make Christmas cards, read a new book, go to a Christmas play or look at the lights.  Simple things everyone does to enjoy the season.

And slowly, by the third Sunday of Advent, the rest of the decorations will start appearing.  And finally, the last week of Advent, we’ll decorate the tree.

So I have a week to plan things like the calendar, make my new wreath, make any new Jesse tree ornaments and make sure I have the readings down.  And then to organize our books.  I’ve found a few new ones to add already.  So many people wrap one book for each day, not us.  My kids wouldn’t understand the concept of just one book.

I also have a week to purge, both my home of things we don’t need as well as my heart.  I am preparing for Him.

Looking back, 2012 wasn’t the kindest year to my family…city sewer pipe problems starting in January seems like nothing now…but as I was going through pictures to find for the card this year, I saw so much joy.  And not just the vacations, but joy in the everyday life we live.  I want to bring that joy back into our home and not allow certain sorrows or hardships to taint things.  I want to think of that joy daily.

So I’m all about preparing this week.  Getting my domestic church in order the best I know how.

One last thing…I love that my kids are so confused by all the Christmas stuff out right now.  They really know their seasons and to them, it just isn’t time yet.  Of course, a lot of this is me, but I also think it’s all the nature and seasonal learning we did last year.  I’ve tried to explain how most people think and that they are just getting into the spirit, but BH won’t even let us listen to Christmas music.  Not until December 1st!

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Not My Kid

By | Posted November 18, 2012

Posted in Goose | 3 Comments »

The other afternoon, Goose tells me “mom, I get three trips to the treasure box this week because…”.  Honestly, I wasn’t listening because I hate the treasure box.  Just more crap for me to capture and throw away without him noticing.  And he notices when his stuff goes missing.

Later I went over his work and he pointed out a sheet of paper and commented this is the one I was talking about earlier.  When I wasn’t listening.  I asked for the story again.  Turns out the teacher forgot to give him a worksheet when he left early the day before so she had him complete the work that morning.  She gave him a 100.  Then he noticed that he missed one, moving his grade to 83.

So he got a trip to the treasure box for honestly.

Seriously, who the hell is this kid.  I’d like to say I’m proud, but really, he should know better.

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