Monday, January 15, 2018

Life is the Most Beautiful Gift of God


Our oldest son was invited to attend the Archbishop's Discernment Retreat this past weekend. He ended up making the trip with a few local friends who were also attending the retreat. He made sure to pack along the latest t-shirt from our subscription to wear to the 2018 Roe v. Wade Memorial and March in Portland following the retreat. I was so excited to get a text/picture from friends who ran into him at the March for Life! He had a wonderful weekend and got back home safely late last night.

From the archives: Culture of Life Studies Pro-Life Prints is a fun and engaging hands-on way to teach children more about the dignity of every human life! You can read all about it in the archives: Day 1 - Preborn Babies, Day 2 - I Am Unique, Day 3 - Helping Others, and Day 4 - Praying for Others

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Year's Daybook

Outside my window...
Happy New Year! We haven't had any snow yet this winter, unlike the major snow storms we had last year, but on New Year's Eve we were surprised at midnight with quite the fireworks show over at the neighbors. We had a great view from our front porch!

I am thinking...
How did I keep up with blogging when our last babies were born?! I have been slowly working on this post since New Year's Eve and keep asking myself that question... I guess back then we didn't have three high schoolers with all their extra activities, the babies were easier and slept better, and I wasn't working outside the home. I miss blogging and am hoping to figure out how to make a little more time for it each week. In the meantime at least there is Instagram for sharing little snippets!

Learning all the time...
When she started pulling herself up on Christmas Day I told the other kids not to encourage her - I’m not ready for this yet - but there is no slowing this one down!

A post shared by Jessica (@showerofroses) on

Celebrating the liturgical year...
The celebrations have been extra simple this year, but still fun and memorable. Here are a couple pictures I shared over on Instagram.

Christmas Morning ❤️ 

On the Feast of St. Stephen
What kind of pizza does Good King Wenceslas prefer?
Deep pan, crisp and even! πŸŽΆπŸ˜‰πŸ•

From the kitchen...
I went back to 100% Autoimmune Protocol on January 1st. It's time to focus on getting my health back after a really hard year. It has been really hard, especially the first week, but so far I've been able to stick with it without cheating at all! I think I had started to rely on sugar for energy and that has been an adjustment. I am now tired all. the. time. but at least it's forcing me to rest a little more!

You can't have nuts on AIP, but I've been snacking on Tiger Nuts, which are actually a root vegetable. I recently purchased Tiger Nuts Flour and discovered this recipe. It is AMAZING!  I've been eating it as a snack with some apple slices or carrot sticks or spreading some on a Cassava tortilla and topping it with raspberries. 

Tigernut Butter

1 cup tigernut flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup palm shortening
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Place ingredients in either a high powered blender (I use the Vitamix) or a food processor.
Blend or process until it looks like a creamy nut butter. You may have to stop and scrape the sides during blending/processing. Enjoy!

I am working...
It's been hard to juggle working and home educating (and a new baby, and blogging, and, and, and...) but I’ve really enjoyed working for my Dad and brother Brian the past couple years! Sean and I (and the baby!) had so much fun at the Murphy Electric Christmas Party!


Our little night owl had fun too, playing Shuffleboard with her Grandpa Murf! 


I am creating...
My mom loves giving everyone a family photo album for Christmas, collecting photos from all my siblings and putting them together in a book with a couple pages or so for each of the kids. The only problem is she doesn't know how to make them and is always trying to recruit one of us girls to put it together... I made the album back in 2013 and then was told volunteered to make it again for 2017. This past summer was the first time in over thirteen years that all twelve of us kids made it home at the same time so there were lots of great photos to choose from this year!

My favorite page(s) ended up being the two page spread of all of us lined up from youngest to oldest, even though I look HUGE. When mom scheduled the reunion for the weekend I hit 37 weeks I kept joking that it was "Murphy's Law" that I (as one of the few siblings that still lives near my parents) would end up in the hospital, but I made it though the weekend... Barely!

I am going...
Last April 16th my parents celebrated their 40th Anniversary! I was born exactly nine months after their wedding which means I'll be turning 40 on January 16th. I didn't think it would be a big deal but all of a sudden I'm a little emotional about that...

I am hoping...
to figure out a way to get our oldest son to the Archbishop’s Discernment Retreat. Even though he's not quite 18 yet (he will be this summer!) he was invited by the Director of Vocations to attend and would love to go. I wish it wasn't so far away! (Update: He ended up getting a ride with friends and will even get to go to the 2018 March for Life in Portland. I can't wait to hear all about it when he gets back home!)

I am praying...
for the repose of the soul of Joyce Sample, our dear Archbishop's mother. She was such a sweet woman. May she rest in peace +

I am reading…
The kids all unwrapped this year's stacks of books on Epiphany and I've been reading aloud some of the picture books to our little ones. So far one of the favorites has been Mr. Ferris and His Wheel.

(The hardcover is currently 46% off over at Amazon right now. Great price!) 

Pondering these words…
from St. Alphonsus:

"The past is no longer yours; the future is not yet in your power. You have only the present wherein to do good."

Around the house...
I’m just not ready to think about taking the Christmas decorations down yet. So cozy! We will leave the nativity up until Candlemas, but the tree is starting to dry out quickly and will need to come down soon.   

One of my favorite things...
I recently got to spend a little time (all by myself, which has been very rare this year) walking around one of my favorite towns and then (finally!) visiting the day spa for the last of the three prenatal massages Sean gave me last Christmas! Here are a few more pictures I snapped while walking around this historic little town. I owned the local phone book here once upon a time.


A little peek at last year...

The year of Grace! Born on the feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, just two days after the death of her grandfather, our little “Grace” has been such a blessing. She definitely stole the show (and our hearts) this year making it into all of my #2017bestnine pictures including my sibling re-enactment the weekend before she was born!
  • October 31st - Our Lady of Guadalupe πŸ’™✨ {This favorite costume - made by her Grandma for one of her older sisters over 10 years ago- was a little big on her, but I'm pretty sure it will be too small next year so we made it work!} 
  • June 8th - Thank you all for the prayers! Our beautiful little girl is here! Everything went really well and she arrived at 1:56 AM this morning weighing in at 6 pounds 15 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches. God is Good! #deogratias #37weeks6days #countingthedaystojune24
  • October 31st - Happy All Saints' Day! Can you guess who our children choose to dress up as this year? Answers are over in today's blog post with additional pictures. πŸ˜‡πŸ™πŸ»✨ 
  • December 8th - Our baby girl ❤️ #startedcrawlingtoday #sixmonthsoldtoday #feastoftheimmaculateconception
  • June 10th - I could not be more in love with this little beauty! πŸ’• {New post over on the blog with all the details.} #threedaysold #number8bornonthe8th #countingthedaystojune24 
  • December 6th - Happy Feast of St. Nicholas! #wideawakeat3am #saintnicholas #orapronobis
  • June 3rd - ALL of my siblings are in town this weekend for a Murphy family reunion! It's the first time all 12 of us have been together at the same time in over 13 YEARS! I figured this would be the day I'd go into labor... #murphyslaw ... but I made it and we were even able to get some family photos including a fun reenactment of one from 21 years ago! #ilovemycrazyfamily #firstbornoftwelve #sixgirlssixboys #37weekspregnant 
  • June 8th - A few more pictures ❤️ So grateful her Daddy was here for her birth. So was Grandma Murphy and Aunt Mary. I'll share more later, after we get some sleep and introduce her to her siblings later today! 🌹#daddyshands #countingthedaystojune24
  • August 21st, watching the solar eclipse - All Eight! πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’™πŸ’—πŸ’™πŸ’—
Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!

She was wide awake most of the night, after getting home from Midnight Mass. 
I took these sweet pictures of her discovering Baby Jesus at 3:30 AM Christmas morning. 
Thankfully she slept for a few hours before the rest of the kids woke up! 

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Year of the Hanging Advent Wreath

December 1st:  I've always admired the pictures of the hanging Advent wreaths I've seen shared by friends each year and have wished I could figure out how to hang one above our dining table. (We also set up another Advent wreath on our coffee table in the family room to light during our evening rosaries. You can see that one pictured at the top of this post.) After seeing a tutorial (posted by Jennifer Macintosh in a Facebook group) the other day, my girls and I just spent some time trying to come up with a hanging wreath using what we had around the house... I grabbed the wreath from the front door, wooden craft candle holders, and some ribbon and we did our best to hang it. We tested it with leftover candles from past years... The girls think it looks great. Of course they recognize the idea from one of their favorite Tasha Tudor picture books. Our older boys, on the other hand, aren't sure what to think and said they prefer our usual tabletop wreath. We are still trying to decide which we'll use this year. What do you think?

A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor 

My very first introduction to the idea of a hanging wreath was during Advent of 1990 when I read The Story of the Trapp Family Singers for the first time.  My grandmother and I were very close and she was always giving me new books to read. She had just passed away that year, at the age of 61, and Grandpa Murf continued the tradition and gave a copy of The Story of the Trapp Family Singers to two of my siblings and I on Thanksgiving Day. Of course, as the oldest sibling and book lover of the family, I was the first to read it and apparently claimed it as "mine." Twenty-seven years later I still have that treasured and well-loved gift from our grandpa! 

It was the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent. During lunch I said to Maria: "Where do you usually put up the Advent Wreath?" 
"Put up what?" 
I was aghast. "Don't you have an Advent wreath every year?" 
"No, we never did. What is it?" 
"It is a large wreath made of fir greens, holding four candles, one for each of the four Sundays of Advent. People put it up in their living room. It reminds them of the coming of Christmas. They light the candles and sing Advent songs."
"Oh, how nice! Couldn't we have one this year? Papa, please buy a large Advent wreath for us."
"Oh, you don't buy Advent wreaths. We could easily make one ourselves," I interrupted, and then explained to the Captain that we would need about two basketsful of fir twigs and perhaps one of those wagon wheels from an old buggy I had seen in the tool shed. 
"What else?"
"A spool of thread, four wax candles, and eight yards of silk ribbon." The Captain offered to fetch those from town. Everybody was excited getting the Advent wreath ready in time. The gardener was ordered to bring the fir twigs and the boys ran out to fetch the wagon wheel and clean it before it was brought into the nursery. 
Then we went to work. The children picked the fir twigs out of the basket and passed them on to me, and I wound them around the wheel, fastening them with thread. It took quite some time because it was a large wreath. Four long spikes had to be put through the wheel at equal distances to be used as candle holders. When we had just finished and were starting to clean up the mess we had made on the floor, the Captain came back from town. Now the candles were put on the spikes, the ribbon was cut into four equal parts, which were fastened to the wreath so that it could be suspended from the ceiling. Our first Advent wreath was finished...

I wasn't sure if we'd use the hanging Advent wreath we had quickly created, but when I woke up to the news that my grandfather had passed away on the first Sunday of Advent this year I decided to keep it up in his memory and as another little reminder to pray for his soul every day. 

December 3rd - The First Sunday of Advent: I made a couple adjustments to our hanging advent wreath and the girls created a simple "Advent Calendar" path/table runner for St. Joseph, Mary and the donkey πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’—πŸ’œ The countdown begins!

I briefly mentioned in this year's Advent Book Basket post that I hoped to modify the activity suggestion in Catholic Mosaic to go along with St. Francis and the Christmas Donkey and make an "Advent Calendar" path for St. Joseph, Mary and the Donkey to travel. The girls did a lovely job creating the Advent path and every morning, before I made it out to the kitchen/dining room, our little ones had already moved St. Joseph, Mary and the Donkey to the next spot along the way! They also ended up adding other wooden figures for the feasts of St. Nicholas, St. Lucy, and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

December 12th - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: It's been a very full day: school, math tutor, working at the office for the afternoon with a tired baby, high school basketball game for one of our teens... but the girls and I were able to pull together another Our Lady of Guadalupe brunch for dinner! Aztec Cocoa, Orange Juice, a Crown of Twelve Stars (Cinnamon Star Cookies), A Woman Clothed with the Sun (Orange Slices), Crescent Moons (Crescent Rolls filled with Turkey and Cheese), St. Juan Diego's Tilma of Roses (Crepes cut into "Tilmas" with Whipped Cream and Strawberry "Roses" for the kids and a Paleo Pancake with Strawberries and Maple Syrup for me! Mmmmm), Crushed Serpents (Crispy Bacon), and Bishop Zumarraga's Croziers (Candy Canes leftover from St. Nicholas Day). 

We weren't the only ones with a hanging Advent wreath this year! 
The Dolls hung their wreath too!

"We all stepped back and admired the beautiful big wreath with the four candles. It gave the whole room a festive look and a festive smell, too." 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Six Months

December 8th • Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Six months old and officially started crawling on her hands and knees!
...or at least I'm finally willing to admit it.
She's been trying to crawl since the week she was born!

Update: Here is a short video of her crawling just after Christmas. 
She started pulling herself up into a standing position on Christmas Day. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Saying Goodbye For Now

After receiving his law degree at Notre Dame University, my grandfather served in the Marine Corps from 1953-1957, achieving the rank of Captain. My dad was born at Camp Lejeune while he was in the Marines. 

On December 3rd, the first Sunday of Advent this year, I woke up to the news that my grandfather had passed away early that morning. So many emotions and tears, both sad and happy... Sad that he is gone, but happy that he had long faith and family filled life, and I can't help smiling at the thought of him seeing my grandmother again. She passed away in 1990 and I still miss her dearly.

Dancing with Grandpa on my wedding day • Party following my baptism and my grandparent's 25th Anniversary Mass
Grandpa holding me sitting next to his mom when I was almost a week old • My grandparents on their wedding day

I had really hoped to make the trip to his funeral, but when it was scheduled for our daughter's 8th birthday, combined with how hard it is to travel with the baby and not getting enough sleep, I decided to stay home... but early Thursday morning, after getting a decent nights sleep (six hours or so, two three hour stretches!) I decided that I just couldn’t miss my grandfathers funeral. I made some last minute plans, packed my bag and the diaper bag, and got on the road with two of our teens and the baby, to make the long drive to California. 

As the first-born grandchild, I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandpa Murphy, my dad’s dad, and I’m so thankful that I was able to attend the rosary (we made it just in time Thursday night), funeral Mass (Friday morning- I was asked to do the first reading and prayers of the faithful, my youngest cousin did the second reading) and his burial.


My Dad is standing next to my grandma in this picture. 
My oldest son laughed when he saw that his grandpa, my dad, had his famous "head tilt" even as a child! 

Despite the sad circumstances, it was so great to see all my aunts and uncles together again, and see many of my cousins and childhood friends as well! 

My Grandfather's 10 children in birth order. My Dad is the oldest son.
Three of my uncles (including the twins) and one aunt were adopted as babies.
I loved hearing the story of how my Grandpa flew from CA to South Dakota with my one week old auntie, and just a diaper and a bottle, when he brought her home to meet the rest of her family after her birth. 

I'm the oldest grandchild and I'm standing next to my 13 year old cousin Byrce who is the youngest. My uncle asked Bryce and I to do the readings for the funeral Mass. Out of my grandparents 28 grandchildren, 17 of us were able to make it to Grandpa's funeral. A few cousins had to leave before we snapped a picture.

Richard R. Murphy
Jan. 24, 1929 - Dec. 3, 2017

Richard R. Murphy (Richie, Dick), of Stockton, 88 years of age, was born and raised in rural Iroquois, South Dakota, and received his undergraduate degree from St. John's University, Collegeville, MN. He went on to receive his law degree at Notre Dame University, South Bend, Indiana, where he met JoAnn Baltes (1929-1990), whom he married in 1953. They raised 9 children together in Orange County, CA, Dell Rapids, SD, and Stockton, CA, where they owned and operated West Lane Tennis Club as a family business. After JoAnn's death, Richard married Mary Berry of Susanville, CA, and they had a son, Richard B. Murphy, in 1993. In 2006, Richard married Darlene Gunda, and they enjoyed 11 years together.

Richard served in the Marine Corps from 1953-1957, achieving the rank of Captain. He enlisted after he completed his law degree. Richard practiced law for over 50 years in Southern California, South Dakota, Northern California and Indiana. Richard was very devoted to his faith, and took pride in helping others, both professionally and in his personal life. He relished raising his family and enjoying his grandchildren. He loved athletics and was an avid racquetball and basketball player. He also enjoyed watching the University of Notre Dame football games.

Richard is survived by his wife, Darlene Gunda-Murphy; 10 children: Shannon, Pat (Josephine), Tom (Cheryl), Sean (Lori), Jeb, Tad, Kelly (Jackie), Casey (Tonia), Bridget (Shawn), and Richard B. Murphy. Richard also had 28 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. 

In your charity, would you please offer a prayer for the soul of my Grandpa Murphy?

Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.