Summer Daybook :: August 12, 2014

by | Aug 12, 2014 | Daybook, Father Carmelo, My Siblings | 31 comments

Outside my window…
I ignored my never ending to-do list yesterday, took the children to the library to turn in their summer reading check lists, and then headed out to my parents home for the day!

My mom made lunch for all of us and the kids had so much fun visiting with their Uncle David and Uncle Kevin, who will both be headed back to college soon.

I am thinking…
about blog nicknames, and how necessary it is to keep using them here at Shower of Roses. When I first started blogging over seven years ago, back in 2007, I was pregnant with our fifth child and our oldest was still only six years old! There weren’t very many other Catholic bloggers and using nicknames was common. At the time using nicknames made my husband and I more comfortable with sharing our family online even though I’ve dropped little hints over the years. It doesn’t seem nearly as necessary any longer and my husband has given me permission to use their names… but I’m still thinking about it.  🙂

I am thankful… 
that my husband arrived home safely last Tuesday night! However, even though he is back in town, we haven’t gotten to see him very much. He worked at the office on Wednesday and Thursday and then, following some meetings on Friday morning, has been working on an engine since. Last night he didn’t get home until after 11pm and was gone again around 6:30am this morning. Despite the extra challenges, we are thankful for the overtime too! It is always such a blessing each fire season.

August 5, 2014: “Daddy’s Home!” 

Our little “Rose” ran and jumped into his arms when he walked in last Tuesday night, after being at fire camp for the previous 10 days.  The kids were also excited to see what sort of lunch leftovers he had for them this time!

Learning all the time
The children are all enjoying their summer break and we won’t be starting our new school year until after Labor Day!  Nevertheless, we have been working on some math lessons to get a jump start on the year and hopefully give us some flexibility to go on a family vacation in the fall.  Our summer days have also been filled with great books and art projects.  I love how they truly are “learning all the time.”

My mother-in-law is always sending such fun, thoughtful, and educational gifts to the children!  At the beginning of summer we received a box of Bethlehem Books (we’ve been collecting them for years and now own most of their books!) including: Beyond the Desert Gate, The Drovers Road Collection, Alvin Fernald, Foreign Trader, Alvin Fernald, Mayor for a Day, Away Goes Sally, Old Sam, Dakota Trotter, Nacar: The White Deer, Stairstep Farm, and Willow Wind Farm.  A couple weeks ago the girls received three sticker books: Victorian Fashion, Victorian Dollhouse, and Costumes Around the World. “Thank you, Grandma!” 
Celebrating the liturgical year…
With Sean still working on fires (currently on an engine locally) and fighting this head cold, I COMPLETELY forgot that the boys were suppose to serve Mass on Sunday morning. (It probably would have been a good idea to write it down in my planner.) I woke up thinking we’d go to an afternoon Mass but remembered at 10:20 that it was the annual St. Anthony Festa! Oh, NO!!! I sent a friend a text msg to see if it was at 10:30 or 11:00, grabbed some Mass clothes for myself and the little ones plus the boys’ cassocks and surplices, and loaded the car with all seven kids. We left the house at 10:35 to drive to the fairgrounds (we usually allow 30 minutes) and the boys miraculously arrived at 10:55, five minutes before Mass, to find to rosary just ending and Father waiting… Whew, that was way too close! (And thank you Guardian Angles!) On another note, I realized during Mass that the last time we saw Father Carmelo was when he met us at the cemetery in June to bury our little Anthony, who I miscarried on the feast of St. Anthony this year. What a morning… I think it might take me all week to recover!

From the kitchen… 
On Saturday morning my mom picked me up and we headed to the local Growers Market. I came home with lots of freshly picked produce to help us get over the colds we have been fighting since last week. I think I’m actually getting over this one without it turning into secondary infections, for the first time in over a year!

I am working on… 
stopping what I’m doing to play with the children. After watching The Perfect Game recently they have all started playing baseball together each afternoon and I’ve been joining the fun!

(I actually ordered the Blu-Ray version of The Perfect Game, but it’s also currently available for Free Streaming with Prime!) 

I am creating…
a list of the books that are on the girls’ bookshelf for those who have asked. I’ll try and post it soon!

I am going…
to the dentist this afternoon for a filling… no fun.

I am hoping…
to come up with some plans for our oldest daughter’s birthday at the end of the month! Where has the summer gone?! I really need to find the reset button… With our miscarriage at the beginning of summer, and everything that has followed, it has gone by so quickly and I’m just not ready for school to start again in a couple weeks.

I am praying…
for my husband’s safety, and for the safety of all our firefighters. We are also praying for a special intention for our family, and that God will make His will clear to us. (And for so many other intentions including all the Christians in Iraq…)

I am reading…
lots of picture books to the little ones.  Yesterday was the last day to turn in the summer reading lists and book reports at our local library, and I woke up to find the boys sitting outside working on their reports on The Hobbit (Audiobook with Tolkien Dictionary) and Shadow in the Dark.

Pondering these words…
from St. Jane Frances de Chantal:

“If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven.”

I am listening… 
to this little guy pretending to be Johnny Cash with his sister’s “Sound of Music” guitar.

Around the house…
LEGO! I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera the other day after walking by the boys’ bedroom and seeing an ent hanging from the side of one of the houses in their LEGO town! I really need to share pictures of some of the boys’ creations.

One of my favorite things…  
the wi-fi function on my camera! I finally figured out how to enable the wifi and transfer a photo from my camera directly to my iPhone using the EOS Remote app. I ❤ this feature!

This week’s plans
We have a camping trip with friends coming up and I am praying that I can still pull it off without Sean’s help. Please say a little prayer for me!

A little peek at my day…
My youngest brothers pulled out there Slow Stick Airplanes yesterday to show their nieces and nephews, then played a game of Frisbee Golf before the smoky skies started getting worse and it was time for us to go home. It was such a fun day!


  1. Charlotte@WaltzingM

    I love that your girl is playing baseball in a prairie bonnet! Adorable!

    2014-08-12 17:24:10

  2. Jennifer

    I will have to check out that movie. We are always looking for good family movies and they are hard to find. Do your parents live on a golf course or are those just practice greens for your brothers? Glad you got some relaxation in, my prayers are with you. As far as nicknames, I have two feelings on it. First, if someone really wanted to figure out where we lived and what our names are, they could but like a locked door, nicknames deter it. Second, like Charlotte said once it keeps the kids names from being linked forever to the blog. Although, since you can just google a name or phone number or address and then electronically "walk down" someone's street, I wonder if we are just fooling ourselves to think we are being private when privacy really doesn't exist anymore. God bless you!

    2014-08-12 17:58:14

  3. Denise

    The nicknames are still a great idea. Sadly, identities of children can be stolen very easily with a name, birth date and mother's maiden names, all things very often celebrated or mentioned on a blog. It happened to a dear friend. We can't rule out every possibility and I certainly don't want to focus on the scary, but if something as easy as keeping nicknames can prevent or discourage financial disaster I think it is worth considering. I'm praying for your continued healing and God's peace, protection and providence for your dear family.

    2014-08-12 18:19:15

  4. Karen

    Jessica, if I were you, I'd keep the nick names for the kids simply because your last name is already out there. I use my children's first names on my blog but I make it a point to not reveal our last name. You don't want to give out too much information. I take the same approach with my kids and soccer, too. Their last name is on the back of their jerseys, so my husband and I do not allow them to get their first names added to their soccer bags because we don't want to make their full name public knowledge. The way I see it is if you don't know us, you can know one name or the other, but not both.

    2014-08-12 18:32:45

  5. Jessica Gordon

    That is actually my parents backyard! Having a driving range right out the backdoor probably helped my younger brothers get so good at golf! 😉 It's hard to believe, but when my parents purchased their 10 acres (I think when I was about 12 or so) you couldn't even see or walk through the property due to all the buckbrush and trees! My parents (and all of us kids!) worked hard to build our home and clear the property! It is so beautiful now, isn't it?! Hard to believe at one time, as the oldest of 12, I couldn't WAIT to leave! 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the nicknames. I've used their real names on my personal (not the blogs) Facebook page after it was just too hard not to… especailly with all my siblings and other relatives over there. Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media sites, have made it so much more challenging for sure. For years I was able to keep our last name private, unless someone recognized my husband's brothers, but Facebook quickly changed that too… So much to think about.

    2014-08-12 18:39:00

  6. Jessica Gordon

    Yes, that is so true and definitely worth considering for sure. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and especially for the prayers! I appreciate it so much!

    2014-08-12 18:41:08

  7. Jessica Gordon

    But isn't your last name out there too, since you are on Facebook? I've never mentioned my last name on the blog but opening up a Facebook account made it completely impossible to keep private despite my efforts.

    2014-08-12 18:46:35

  8. Mom2Seven

    Always love to read your Daybooks, Jessica! Praying for Sean's safety and for you at home with the kids… my husband travels weekly, so I can empathize! +JMJ+

    2014-08-12 21:27:17

  9. Beth

    Hmm..I'm surprised by all the comments about nicknames and concerns about identity theft. I'm just a casual (albeit long-term) reader, and I'm pretty sure I know all of your children's names. Because of this, I don't think that the goal protecting their true identity is a real reason not to publish their names at this point. I think that their names are "out." It seems like figuring out if THEY (or anticipating whether their future selves) want to be directly linked to the blog in a way that is easily discoverable is the important task. Of course I have no idea what the answer is to that question. Blessings!

    2014-08-12 23:02:03

  10. Jessica Gordon

    I couldn't imagine having Sean travel weekly for long term… fire season alone is such a challenge. God bless you and your family!

    2014-08-13 00:52:51

  11. Jessica Gordon

    That's the hard part, and one of the reasons why I'm so torn. What would the children prefer when they are older? I really don't know… We've discussed it already and they don't really have a preference at this time. They don't mind the nicknames (at least now that we have changed "Rascal" to "Ranger") and they all love the blog, especially looking back through old posts from when they were younger. And every time I ask "Snuggles" if he wants me to change his nickname to something else he says no, he likes it. Honestly, I think I'm the one who struggles with the nicknames the most… And now you have me curious about whether you have figured out their names or not! 🙂 I know with all the hints and slips over the years it can't be very difficult at all. (And that is one of the reasons my husband and I didn't think the privacy/safety issue was really a big deal any longer, like you said above.) Anyways, thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

    2014-08-13 01:30:00

  12. Beth

    Ha! Well, you celebrate a lot of "namedays." 🙂 By the way, I meant to mention in my previous comment, that picture of Rose and her daddy is amazing. I love those "Daddy!" embraces. What a precious moment that points her (and us!) toward our heavenly father.

    2014-08-13 02:42:08

  13. Nikki

    Well I have always been against publishing childrens names on blogs even though I enjoy those that choose to because I love seeing what names people choose. That said of all the blogs that I read that use nicknames, I have mostly figured out the names of the children. I am pretty sure, like Beth, that I know the names of yours. I think you have to be a long time regular reader to figure out names so I guess there is some security in that. It is a hard decision and very individual. The lack of privacy everywhere freaks me out. I don't have a blog and have never written my childrens names anywhere on the web,yet when I google my sons name he is there. Your parents property looks like a child's paradise. Nikki

    2014-08-13 03:00:32

  14. Erin

    Is that a golf course in your parents backyard?! No wonder the boys are good, I know they are at College now but they haven't aged. Just love their play with their nieces and nephews. How is your mum transitioning? Hard to believe that will be me one day. Love the pic of Snuggles' face!lol:)

    2014-08-13 03:13:57

  15. Erin

    oh and re nicknames, as you know I've been blogging for 8 years and still use nicknames. I've revisited this idea a few times too particularly as irl but interstate friends complain about it being confusing but.. what I'd do different if I had my time over is to pick more mature nicknames that can grow with them. ie our oldest daughter was Koala, which was fine at 13 but at 18 seemed silly. I gave her the option then of changing her name and she chose her Confirmation name, Anna Maria. I also gave our son 'carpenter' the choice at leaving home to change but he didn't care. with the children born since I began blogging their online names can grow with them and usually a play on their second names or something similar. Part of my choosing to keep the nicknames is not so much to protect them but to teach them online awareness. Making them conscious of what they share (all above ten have blogs) so it's more a way of impressing upon them. They don't have fb whilst still home so it's my only shot at teaching in this area.

    I do understand, go with your instincts, what do you feel?

    2014-08-13 03:21:27

  16. Jessica Gordon

    Thank you Erin for sharing what has worked for you! The nicknames can be confusing. Quite a few of our personal friends/family who we don't see very often call our 4 year old "Rose" and don't realize, until corrected, that Rose is just her blog nickname. I've been thinking about Confirmation names, and how that might be a great option, but that might still be a ways off for our children due to the local requirements. (We recently requested permission for our oldest to be Confirmed at his Uncle/Godfather's parish in the EF and were denied…) I was a new blogger and "Snuggles" was an infant when I choose nicknames for him, but I did try and choose nicknames that would grow with "Rose" and "Bud." It does sound like you've figured out what works well for your family! I guess I'm going to have to put some more prayer into my decision and ask God to help us discern what is best for ours…

    2014-08-13 04:19:45

  17. Jessica Gordon

    It's not really a golf course. When I was still living at home it was just the grass hill with our pony down below in the pasture. After they took out the buckbrush they put in the flags as targets to try and hit from the patio, but the "bunkers" and "greens" are really just for looks and not playable, just "target greens." After so many years of so many kids hitting balls from the patio there are THOUSANDS of golf balls under the grass! My mom was telling me the other day that pretty much anywhere she digs she finds golf balls. lol My youngest two brothers are both going to (different) in-state colleges, about 2-3 hours away from home, so they are able to visit throughout the year and my parents (especially mom) have traveled to a lot of their golf tournaments as well. My kids are also loving that Grandpa and Grandma have a little more free time than before! (but not a lot with all the older kids who keep moving back in/out!)

    2014-08-13 03:54:00

  18. Valerie

    I've hurried through the comments above to compose my own – I wholeheartedly agree with those who say to keep the nicknames. In fact, I'd say, let it be the children's decision, when they're each old enough – like eighteen or so! – I believe they will thank you for keeping their identity as private as you can. Hope you get well soon!

    2014-08-13 05:06:46

  19. scmom4

    It may seem fake or strange to you to use the nicknames, but from a reader's perspective I know just who you are referring to when you say "Twinkle Toes" or "Snuggles." I used my children's patron saint names a long time ago (except for Peach whose patron is St. Francis) and it seemed strange so I switched back. But I don't have a FB account and very few people know our last name. So, I say keep the nicknames, if only for your poor readers! We'd have to learn all the children all over again. 😉

    2014-08-13 13:50:57

  20. guest

    As a reader, I think the nicknames are cute! It may be nice from the kids perspective when they are much older to decide how much they wish to reveal. Once it's there it's there. You seem surrounded by loving, loyal, trust worthy readers so it might be extra easy to make a leap of trust but once that door is left unlocked you are really responsible for a whole new level of potential threat humming at you all the time.

    2014-08-13 16:11:23

  21. Sarah

    The perfect Game is an amazing movie that our family just watched for the first time as well. How fun!

    2014-08-13 17:37:16

  22. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks, Nikki! I agree, it is really easy for long term readers to figure out at least most of the names, and the lack of privacy everywhere is out of control for sure… It makes me really nervous sometimes. 🙂

    2014-08-13 19:05:29

  23. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks Valerie. I think that is what we are going to do for now. It's hard to believe that in just four years our oldest will be 18…

    2014-08-13 19:06:28

  24. Jessica Gordon

    Hahaha! Yes! Even those who know us mix up the kids names on a frequent basis. The nicknames are actually much easier to keep straight!

    2014-08-13 19:07:2

  25. Jessica Gordon

    Isn't it SO good?! We watched it online first and then I ordered our own copy since we all loved it so much.

    2014-08-13 19:08:42

  26. Sarah

    How cool! It is a great movie. My favorite part was probably when the coach made up the letter from the priest to the boys at their big game and almost slipped saying the name of the opposing team. 🙂 It was defiantly an inspiring movie.

    2014-08-13 22:22:37

  27. Sarah

    Just thought I'd put this page out there for anyone considering whether to use their family's real names on a blog:… . Such a hard decision. BTW I also love the nicknames you have, and don't find it hard to know which child you are talking about in your posts. Also, being that I don't read as frequently as some others due to busy seasons of life, I have no clue what your children's name are, just thought I'd tell you in case that helps in future times of deliberating this decision, as I see you already chose to keep their nicknames for now. God bless your family!!

    2014-08-14 12:44:25

  28. Jamie

    I have seen your kids names through conversation on FB and posts on FB etc but frankly I never remember who is who because I am familiar with them through their nicknames only LOL. My feeling is if it ain't broke don't fix it. I use my kids' names on my blog because the only people who read it are my parents and aunts really! I keep the blog as an extended baby book…we like to look back and see what everyone was doing and looked like etc.

    2014-08-14 13:35:27

  29. Jessica Gordon

    Thanks for sharing the link, Sarah! God bless your family too!

    2014-08-14 15:15:28

  30. Julie

    I hate to say it but with all the name day celebrations you blog about, most people would probably be able to figure out your children's names if they really wanted to 🙂

    2014-08-20 20:47:08

  31. Jessica Gordon

    I'm aware of that. However, even though we celebrate the feast of their patron saint – their "name day" – and I've blogged about them over the years, I haven't ever specified if we've used those particular saint names as first names, middle names, or if we've used derivatives. 🙂 Honestly I'm really not that worried about it at this point, but it seems like continuing with the nicknames is the best for our family for now.

    2014-08-20 20:59:10


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Prayer of Mothers

Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.

Our Family

Sean & Jessica, Captain-23, Ranger-22, Twinkle Toes-20, Chiquita-19, Snuggles-16, Rose-14, Bud-12, Grace-6 and Joy-4 (blog nicknames)

A Little About Me

Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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