Please Stay Tuned for the Following Important Announcements . . .

Hey guys! It's been a while, huh? House stuff, book stuff, school stuff, kid stuff . . . it's all been keeping me pretty busy. But it felt like time to share an update with you, the good and patient people of this blog.

1. Ya know how when you're a Catholic mommy blogger and you say you have an announcement, everyone just assumes you're pregnant? Well, I'm going to go ahead and reinforce that stereotype.

Yep. Baby number nine is due July 4th. I'm about nine weeks along. The kids are super excited about their new little tiebreaker.

2. In related news, I'm NOT going to make my book deadline. Le sigh. I decided to spend the first half of my supposed-to-be-writing-a-book time remodeling the house instead. And, really, I can't regret that. I'm really happy with how upstairs turned out, and it's contributed greatly to my emotional well-being that at least PART of the house looks in reality the way all of it looks in my imagination.

Once summer was over, I tried to be responsible and made myself quit house stuff cold turkey, even though my closet and the husband's office and the chapel aren't done. I was booking right along on the, um, book all through September and October and I am happy with it as a first draft, but I know it needs a lot of polishing and a few more important chapters. I had five weeks to finish it. But then, at the end of October, I sat silently weeping at our homeschool parkday, after a crazy misunderstanding between moms about where the kids should stand to give their saint presentations . . . and I figured I should probably stop by the Rite Aid on the way home. Because there is only ONE reason I cry. And it ain't long distance phone service commercials.

So . . . two lines. And here we go again!

I've been hanging in there with pretty regular-for-me fatigue and nausea. But when your business model depends on you only needing four or five hours of sleep and now you need nine or ten . . . something's got to give. And the kids are louder than the book, what with wanting to eat and learn and be driven places. So the book is still in a very first-drafty stage.

My editor has been very understanding. Perhaps this sort of issue isn't unheard of at a Catholic publishing house? I'm thinking I just need a good solid month with it once I get over the barfy part, which is usually right at twelve or thirteen weeks for me.

It's kind of killing me to miss a deadline. But I'm trying to have some perspective. Better a few months late and coherent, right?

3. Also big news, also related . . . Betty and Bobby started "regular" school with Jack.

I started homeschooling pretty reluctantly, and only because I didn't think we had another good option. But I grew to love it and truly appreciate it as a part of our family culture. I really never intended to homeschool the kids all the way through though. We always hoped we'd eventually be able to move closer to a school we could feel good about.

And we did! But when we asked Betty and Bobby over the summer whether they wanted to start at St. Monica Academy with Jack, they didn't. They wanted to stay in their homeschool group, with their friends, and keep schooling in the way they were used to. With the move, we decided not to push it, but figured they'd start next year.

But they've both been involved with activities in which they've met kids from their classes at the school, and we were all finding that five kids in five grades, plus a preschooler and a toddler made for really packed days. I signed them up for a bunch of online classes, figuring that would lighten my load, but really it just made our schedules crazy and meant we couldn't go on field trips. 😭

So, when I mentioned it to them again and they were interested this time, we figured we'd start them in January. But when I asked the school they said start them now! So . . . we did.

It's been good. They're having fun. I'm back to a manageable school day that can be done before naptime. We can go on field trips. And I still have a seven and a nine-year-old at home. Yay!

The high school is having an open house on December 7th. If you're in the area, come check it out!

4. This one isn't going to make ANY sense given the previous three announcements, except that we already had it planned and I'm no quitter. We went camping in Zion and Bryce Canyon, Utah for Thanksgiving again! (Here's the camping last time. And here's the fashion blogging.)

My parents didn't get to come with us last time and wanted to. So we made plans to do the whole trip again. The boys were in a tent, and we had two little one room cabins with heat and electricity and wifi. So, it wasn't ALL that rough.

It was cooler than two years ago, and snowier! But it really was comfortable hiking weather, and *I* was plenty warm in the cabin at night. And there was only SOME barfing.

So, here's a photo dump for ya (don't worry, none are of that last part).

And Lulu had her third birthday two days after Thanksgiving! (Can you spot the three blurry mule deer in the background?)

4. Last announcement is that I have no announcement about what's happening with the blog. I miss it. I miss you guys. But I don't know when I'll be back. I can't say I'm taking any particular amount of time off, because I'll continue to pop up here when the mood strikes and time and other commitments allow.

Thanks for being so awesome. And have a very blessed Advent!