Tuesday, December 22, 2020


    Well, hello friends! Looks like I'm back to blogging after a 5.5 year hiatus! And, boy-howdy! How much life changes in just 5 short years! And, we've added 3 beautiful faces to the family picture. 

How about a bullet-pointed recap? OK!

  • Sadly, on January 9, 2016, my wonderful father passed away. We all miss his larger-than-life presence, his unrivaled generosity, and his unconditional love. If you think of it, please say a prayer for the repose of his soul and for my mom.
  • In May, 2016 we sold our home of 15 years in Illinois and our 2nd oldest, Joe, graduated high school.
  • In June, 2016, Kyle and I and all 7 kids moved to the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia! And we LOVE it!
  • That move spurred some unplanned choices, such as homeschooling our grade-school age kids. We also love that! Who knew? (Spoiler: not me)
  • In October of 2017, we finally sold our lakehouse in Michigan. But the memories remain always with us.
  • In 2018, our firstborn, Killian, graduated Ave Maria University with a degree in Accounting and our oldest daughter, Maeve, graduated high school.
  • 2018 also brought to a fruition a lifelong dream of Kyle's and mine: a trip to Rome and Paris!
  • But, the best thing that happened in 2018, was the birth of our first GRANDCHILD: Mason!!
  • 2019 brought us the beautiful wedding and marriage of Killian and Catie. What a blessing!!
  • 2019 also saw us become the owners of a laundromat as our "side gig". 
  • Not all was terrible in 2020: Will celebrated his 2nd official Leap Day birthday (but chronological 8th birthday!) over international waters, as our family traveled to Ireland! We joyfully invited Maeve's college beau, Sean, to tag along. (And, if you can survive 10 days in a 9 passenger van driving all over Ireland with our family, you're either really committed or you should be committed!)
  • And, since homeschooling grade-schoolers was proving too easy for me (hahahaha!), I decided to homeschool Jack for his senior year of high school. It looks like Eamon will be "graduating" to Mom's homeschool high school next Fall, as well.

    That just about sums up the major changes in the lives of our family, but I am sure my kids would tell me that I forgot a few. Mostly, I wanted to bring everyone up to speed and crank out a post to "just get it over with". I'm really looking forward to sharing more of our family life and my thoughts here again. And, as always, if you have any questions or post ideas, drop them in the comment box. 

Merry Christmas! Glad to be back! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 Quick Takes: A Jumble

Linking up with Kelly for 7 very jumbled quick takes today...

1) Monday, I took 5 of the kids with me to Michigan while Kyle and 2 of our gainfully-employed offspring stayed at home. Where they got nearly an inch of rain in 24 MINUTES. 

After 3 days of steady rainfall.

It was record-breaking.

The storm sewers couldn't keep up, streets flooded massively, and drained into basements.
Specifically, OUR basement.

Kyle, Joe, and Maeve spent all of that night pumping out water and trying to furniture off the floor.

2) But, they worked quickly: no furniture was lost, the water was kept to only a couple of inches, and they cleaned and sanitized everything. Truly, it was nothing short of miraculous and I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband and awesome kids!

3) Meanwhile, I met up with Dwija for a lightning-fast shopping trip to Hobby Lobby where this happened:
We are never NOT mature when we hang out together. 

4) Those of us in Michigan spent all of Tuesday swimming, playing Bags, shooting bows and arrows, and eating. Then, we all passed out.

5) We came home on Wednesday evening and Kyle saved the day (again!!) by bringing home pizza for dinner!!! 

6) Yesterday was our 21st wedding anniversary! We had decided to keep it low-key and it ended up being exactly what we needed. Every Thursday, there are free concerts in Millennium Park's Jay Priztker Pavilion...
After listening to some very cool artists called Mother Falcon, we strolled over to The Bean (a.k.a. Cloudgate)....

And, then on to dinner at the Park Grill. 

The weather was a 75 and breezy. The music was fun. The setting was world-class. The food was delicious. And, the company was my most favorite person in the world. 
Happy Anniversary, sweetie!!! I love you forever!!

7) Our realtor for the lake house is hosting an Open House there this Sunday from 1-3PM. The house next door to ours is also up for sale and having an open house, so it's the perfect  way to see 2 great properties all in one day. Please spread the word and, if you're anywhere in the Midwest, consider making a day of it and check out our awesome lake!!(http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/19534-Lakeshore-Dr_Three-Rivers_MI_49093_M41482-43972)


Friday, June 12, 2015

7 Quick Takes: The Sibling Edition

Joining the hilarious Kelly for another episode of 7 Quick Takes...

Ah, Summer! 
The season which gives parents an abundance of time to observe their offspring in an unstructured and relaxed environment. (Translation: Dear Lord, please send an angel to drag my teens from their beds before dinner and then takes my younger kids on many amazing field trips so that I do not have to hear the fighting. Amen and amen.)

But fo' rilly rills, I do love summer and I love having all my kids under one roof for a few months. Sometimes, they like it, too! 
With that said, here are 7 quick-ish examples of how my 7 kids are dealing with this season, so far:

1) Killian. Thanks to college schedules, he's been on break the longest. A couple of weeks into his break, he had his previously scheduled shoulder surgery (Bankart repair) and will start physical therapy soon. This is the first summer since he was 13, that he hasn't worked and we can tell it's driving him a little crazy. He and Joe are "leveling" in size and maturity and I love that they hang out together so much!
2) Joe. Joe is gainfully employed at the same silk-screening company he worked at all last school year. He is a night owl and really resents when Maeve goes out for a late-night ice cream run with her aunt and "forgets" to invite him and Killian. This occurred again last evening and Joe expressed his displeasure in a letter which he read to Maeve upon her return:
"Dear Maeve Sophia Dempsey,
I am writing to you today to express my utmost and deepest disappointment and anger towards you and your decisions, regularly neglecting to either invite or perhaps forward an invitation to Killian and I to accompany yourself and one Kathleen Regina Shea to procure delicious frigid air products. I request your most immediate and expedient deliverance of an invitation, either from you or one Kathleen Shea, with the liable consequence of failure being the possibility of an abrupt termination of your sentient animation.
Your Deeply Offended Brother, 
Joseph E. Dempsey"
Joe likes ice cream, I guess...

3) Maeve. Maeve obviously ignores her brothers' eloquent threats and is busy teaching an art class twice a week and babysitting on the weekends. Between times, she works on developing new looks for her and Faith.
She also had a pretty darn good freshman year (she's the one in the front middle in orange and blue):

4) Jack. At 12, he's finally realizing the full potential of his ability to sleep through any kind of chaos. Other than shooting hoops in the yard, he is spending epic amounts of time reading any book that Joe recommends and trying his hand at cooking meals for the family. He "moved up" from grade school to middle school last week and left behind a beloved teacher.
His boating skills are probably the best in our family, too.

5) Eamon. How do you know you're dealing with a Montessori kid who has never received homework? He's the child who is jumping up and down with joy over the "homework" his speech therapist assigned him to practice over the summer. (It's not "summoe" anymore; it's "summerrrrrrrr"!) He has also perfected his layup, slam dunk and 3 point shots. 
He made his first communion at the end of April and every Sunday, when we walk to the car after mass, he says "I just feel so good now! I didn't know what I was missing!".
6) Faith. Nothing reminds me more of my own childhood summers than long hours spent hanging upside down off the couch and reading library books. Faith is having that kind of summer!! Her reading exploded this year and she's devouring chapter books with very little difficulty. She's also turning into a very mature young lady who asks big sister for fashion advice.
7) Will. As the oldest, I never fully realized the benefits the youngest reaps when all his siblings are present for most of the day. Will is almost never without someone to play with or read to him. He's also very good at making his likes/dislikes known ("KILLIAN! I am NOT Mr. Bing Bong!!!" Or "This is the best dinner EVER!!). It's really good for his older siblings to see him developing into a "big kid".

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Update and Keeping Up-To-Date!

It's been a month since we listed our lake house for sale.....and it's still available.
(Good news for you, bad news for us!)

That link up there is for a Facebook page I made a while back. It gives people an idea of what's available to do/see/eat in that area of Michigan and on the lake. I also share pictures of good times we've had there over the years. I would love it if you checked it out and "liked" it, so you could keep current with this journey of ours. 

I would love it even more if you would share the page with family and friends!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Time to say goodbye....


We bought our vacation home when our 4th child, Jack, was 10 months old. The rest of the crew were 3, 5, and 8. We spent Jack's first summer as a toddler chasing him up the hill on the side of the house (a great workout for the glutes, by the way!) and Maeve learned to swim in our "backyard". Killian and Joe discovered a shared love of fishing -- one they still agree on to this day. And, Kyle and I envisioned our young family growing up with leisurely weekend trips during the fall and winter for burning leaves and ice skating, interspersed with longer trips in the Spring and Summer for swimming, fishing, boating, and bonfires. We even hit fast-forward in our dreams and wondered what it would be like to play with our grandbabies "up at the lake".

Since then, we have have 4 more babies of our own (one is heaven-side) and watched so many of these dreams come true. We were blessed with caring neighbors and lazy days. Kyle and I agreed that the time spent away from "screens" together as a family was so very good for all of us, despite the struggle to pack up the car or deal with a teen's complaints about "being bored" (they always ended up having fun when they got there!).

When our family needed healing after we lost Fiona, a friend encouraged us to take time away at the lake. She was so right. It was exactly the right amount of bonding, fresh air, sunlight, and peace we had been yearning for. 

But, families grow larger and older. Your 5 and 8 year olds become responsible working young adults -- because that's what you raised them to be! -- and they can no longer sneak away for a weekend, much less an entire summer. The majority of our family members are promised to school, work, sports, and volunteer work. And that's a GOOD thing! But it means that paying to keep a vacation home which gets extremely little use is not the best use of our resources right now. 

"A time to every purpose under heaven." 

God is so good to let us know that the things which exist within time are only good for a while. And then it is time to move on. I won't lie, tears are streaming down my face as I write this, but sadness is also temporary. I was reminded by a very good friend today, "It is sad the idea of it being gone, but the sadness is really the sadness of life changing. Because even if you kept it, things wouldn't go back to the way they were.". 

Because, yes, we are selling the lake house. And we are sad. But we also know that the last 12 years were precious times. The were times of joy and adventure. Times of serenity and relaxation. Times of learning new things and perfecting old tricks. Times of our family's deep love for each other. 

"A time to keep."

(In your kindness, if you would click the picture above and check out our listing, we would very much appreciate it. Maybe you know someone who would love our lake house the way we do?)

WWRW: The Sackett Saga Goes On...and on...

Linking up a couple of days late with the darling of the airwaves, Jessica.

Kyle continues to grace us with his knowledge of all things Louis L'Amour and Old Testament...

"2015 - The Year of the Sacketts continues...

What's that sound I am hearing? Why it sounds like the blogosphere hankering for another installment of my book reviews of Louis L'Amour's epic saga of the American frontier family: The Sacketts.

As you will recall, we left off last month with some adventures of Yance and Kin Ring Sackett in The Warriors Path. Now the stories pick up again with their younger brother Jubal in L'Amour's novel Jubal Sackett.  A loner from a young age, more at home in the woods and wilderness than in the company of others, Jubal seems to have inherited the wandering spirit of his father and and an ingrained desire to see what lies beyond the mountains. In the Bible, Jubal, son of Lamech and brother to Tubal-Cain, is said to be the father of all who play the harp and lute but that has nothing to do with our story.

Jubal Sackett sets out from the family home in the Appalachians of North Carolina to cross the Great Plains and eventually reaches the Rockies. Jubal is an expert tracker and woodsman, and well known to many of the local Indian tribes, one of which enlists his help to go in search of their Sun or Princess.  The story follows the adventure of Jubal as he sets off to find this princess, meeting challenges, friends and enemies along the way. The Sackett families tend to run long on boys, raised to be self-reliant with strong morals and fierce loyalty to the family. Jubal is no exception. He is a steadfast friend, thoughtful pondered, and natural leader. The Sacketts do not fear the wilderness nor the Indians, but rather recognize that one must know and understand one's surroundings in order to survive. This novel also introduces a strong female leader in the character Itchakomi Ishaia, the Natchez Sun that Jubal comes to respect and eventually love. Like the rest of the Sackett line of books, Jubal Sackett is an enjoyable read of historical fiction and in paperback form will always fit perfectly snug in the back pocket of your Wranglers. 

This fourth novel is the last novel of the early Sacketts, when we return next month we will continue with the fifth novel, Ride the River, which takes place about 200 years later in the hills of Tennessee."

Friday, April 17, 2015

7 Quick Takes: What I've Been Watching

Joining in the taking of quick fun with our lovely host, Kelly...

I was going to title this one "Why You Should Watch What I'm Watching", but then I would have to convince you to watch these shows. 
And what if you hate the shows and that leads you to question my taste? 
Or, (even worse!), what if you love all of my suggestions and I have to come up with 7 more shows? 

Stop the insanity.

I don't know your life.

You do you. 

Here are 7 shows I've been enjoying (no pressure!)....

1) Drunk History. Holy wow. Kyle and I are only 2 episodes in, and we've pulled
muscles from laughing so hard. The basic premise is that the host (creator?) gets historians drunk and has them narrate a portion of history. He then gets pretty well-known actors to lip sync the narration and act out the story. It's insanely funny and really quite a creative idea. You can find it on Amazon Prime.

2) Friday Night Lights. When this show first debuted in 2006, I was taking a break from all TV, so I missed out on it. But, thanks to Netflix, I have discovered why people loved it so much. If anyone else was also living under a rock in 2006, let me sum it up for you by saying: Texas high school football, relationship drama, Connie Britton hair.

3) White Collar. Another Netflix recommendation that is perfect for when you want to watch something clever, yet not too heavy. The show revolves around an FBI agent who catches his archnemesis and then has him released into his custody to help solving white collar crimes. (Bonus: Kelly Kapowski is in it!)
Image result for white collar

4) The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Ok, Netflix was having a really great day when it decided to start producing its own shows. Kimmy Schmidt is written and produced by the hilarious Tina Fey. Kimmy was kidnapped at 15 by the leader of a cult and kept in an underground bunker with 3 other women for 15 years. Then, they are rescued and this is where the show begins. Sounds scary and depressing, right? NOT AT ALL. It's written as a comedy, and, man, does it deliver. As the kids say: this show is on fleek! Image result for unbreakable kimmy schmidt

5) The Middle. I try to catch this one "live" every week on Wednesday nights on ABC. I started watching because I love Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), but I continued because it's funny, true-to-life, and has a truly talented cast. Image result for the middle

6) The Goldbergs. I'll be honest: this one is not gonna be for everyone. Kyle and I like to watch it (Wednesdays on ABC) because it's based on the true life family stories of the show's creator who grew up in the 80s. It's a little piece of nostalgia with a side of funny. Image result for the goldbergs

7) Mountain Men. I blame Kyle for this one. He got me hooked on this (both Amazon and Netflix have it) reality series. It focuses on 4 or 5 separate men who have chosen to live in various mountainous areas around the U.S. Im pretty sure we watch it to cheer for the 1 guy we sorta like, and to laugh at the rest of those idiots. Because, really? They are not the brightest bunch.
Image result for mountain men tv
Eustace is NOT the guy we cheer for...ever.
So, what about you? What are YOU watching?