Thursday, November 28, 2013


Thanksgiving. A day to reflect on what I am thankful for. Every day, I read my friends Facebook status’ on what they were thankful for. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3…..Day 28. My friends know how to celebrate this holiday. In our house, Thanksgiving is pretty monotonous. My parents come over. Yep. I’m done. That’s it. My parents come over. Mom and I work in the kitchen and set the table for all the same people that sit in those chairs every day. I’m sure I should be thankful that my parents are here. Not a lot of people my age still have their parents….as one of my School of Religion students reminded me of last week (in a not-so-tactful matter), but I have forever ached to have that enormous family. I want my doors to be open to brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, that eat, laugh, play games and drink.

Being the hostess, cook, mom, provider of the meal, I was the last to sit down. I was exhausted. I smoked up the house with burning grease on the bottom of the oven. My turkey was already cold from the fan blowing the smoke around the room. I sat down with the greatest dejavu moment I have ever had. I have done this very thing almost every year. The same smoke, the same guests, the same cold food, the same kids, the same resentment I have trying to find Roy when it’s time to eat. Everything was the same (except, this time, I didn’t leave any forgotten food in the oven or microwave).  I was a little sad, a little upset and exhausted.

Max asked everyone to take turns around the table and tell what they are thankful for. I was so grateful that I would be almost last because I wasn’t in the mood to make up a list. One by one, each child and my parents announced a litany of everything they were thankful for. This reminded me of why Catholics repeat their prayers. After several times hearing the same thing, it starts to resonate in the soul. Every child had been thankful for our neighbor, Mr. Smith. As his name was mentioned, the next person had a deeper affection/fondness for him then the child before.  I could see God’s plan for monotonous repetitious prayer unfolding before my eye’s and ears.

It is coming up to my turn and I am ready to announce what I am thankful for and I am ready to share it with you too. Here is the long version…..

I am thankful that I have been open to God’s plan for my life years ago and gifted 9 kids as a result. I sometimes see a large family with a mom, dad and 6+ kids. I watch them interact with one another and get a small moment of jealousy as I imagine how rich their lives are. I stop and look all around me. I have this very same gift! I know this sounds strange. Have you ever admired and envied a car your neighbor has and all the while, you have the same car in your driveway?? OK, maybe not. It’s just me I guess. When this reality hits me, I get a giddy and warm fuzzy feeling all over. I could have stopped at 2 kids and been at the table thanking God for them. But choosing to be open to having God give me as many babies as He wants, gives me a feeling that no word in the dictionary can describe. Indescribable joy. Supernatural happiness. Roy just said yesterday, “When the Christy’s come, it’s a big deal. When the Christy’s don’t come, it’s a big deal.” And he is correct. We once went to a boys house, who has spina bifida, for his birthday. He wasn’t having a party. We just wanted to drop by some presents from the kids. This was my first experience with realizing how important my family really is to other people. We didn’t just drop by. We made this boy look like he was having a real party just with our presence. His dad pulled me to the side, had tears in his eyes, and thanked me for coming by. Do you know what I did to deserve this thanks? Nothing. I just brought the family by. God had done the rest. He is the one that gave me these kids and I can see the blessings being poured all over our lives because of it. You can’t fathom the blessings God has in store for you when you are open to His gifts. I am not just talking about being open to life. I mean, giving up your entire life to Him, including your fertility. Everything!


I am thankful for my life here on earth so I can have the opportunity to give God every part of it and watch Him do His work.

And make a profit……

Need to have an emergency party or warm bodies to make your event look well attended?? The Christy’s are for hire for only $199.99/hr.!!

What a way to end the blog……J

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas 2013

What an eventful year! There is so much to say that I am actually starting this in July. The year began with a terrible tragedy. Max’s close friend, only 13 years old, passed away in the middle of the night for no reason. He went to bed perfectly healthy and just didn’t wake up. It was so sudden and devastating. His death has been shaping the lives of everyone who knew him throughout this year. We have learned to calm down about stuff that just doesn’t matter. Who cares if my washing machine is broke or my windshield had a golf ball thrown through it…..another kid needing stitches, losing our dog, chicken or ugly snake. I mean, really? Anything that would normally send someone over the edge has all of a sudden become meaningless. But what DOES matter has become much more meaningful…..our children, our faith, our principles and morals and the salvation of every soul we could possibly touch. That being said, we have actually had an amazing year. When your mind has been shifted from the meaningless to the meaningful, it can change your world!

He's dang cute and such a happy boy
At the end of January, all of the homeschool community got together to do an extreme makeover on the house of the family that lost their little boy. I knew then and now that this wouldn’t make them happy. All they wanted is their little boy back. His name is Nolan and he is the oldest of their 5 children. I could fill up pages of this letter about how wonderful he is. I say “is” because I see his blessings showering down on everyone, including me.  Nearly 70 people were involved in the reconstruction of Nolan’s home. It was supposed to be just a clean up/fix up kind of project but turned out to be so much more. The homeschool community pulled together like I had never experienced before and, most likely, will never experience again. It was amazing. People that never met this family showed up ready to work. Everyone wanted to be a part of it. But what was so amazing is that everyone that was a part of this was doing it for the right reasons….to provide some comfort for the grieving family. We knew this wouldn’t make their tears go away but we wanted them to have a soft and clean place to lay their heads in sorrow.

Two weeks later, Roy and I got possession of our new house!! As I am typing this, we are STILL moving in! I am never doing this again! It is so difficult to look passed the work, clean-up, painting, 2 mortgages, pregnancy.. etc, etc, so we can enjoy the benefits of our new home and land. The kids will have to remind us because they certainly took advantage of the move. The gifts are BEYOND measure. We had the biggest snow storm in history while we were here. The kids were sledding and sliding and 4-wheeling with sleds all over the place. We had the biggest flood in history that brought “awe” moments on each kids face. The water came up to our 4 foot high mail box. Thankfully, we sit on top of a hill so it would never reach the house. Our neighbors are too good to be true….generous, kind, helpful and have taken a liking to our kids. We affectionately call them Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The weather was beautiful all Summer so we could play comfortably in the creeks, ponds and land. Multiply these gifts by a thousand and this is where we live….12 acres of it.

Selling our old house has been our Summer project. Roy wanted it to be perfect before it went on the market and I wanted it gone a year ago. I finally put my foot down at the end of June and we put it on the market even though it was still under construction. In my opinion, I sincerely thought that the first person that looked at it would want it because I had fallen in love with it 16 years earlier. It was my dream home but my desire for my dream land was even greater. I was right! 3 days after it went on the market, our realtor called and said that someone was putting an offer on it and wouldn’t you know, it was an excellent offer. Roy’s hard work had paid off.

Our school year is something new, different and wonderful. One of our local Catholic Schools had shut down due to debt and low enrollment. The homeschoolers have taken it over. The homeschoolers brought in about 140 students and it is all being run by their parents. Now this is the way a school should be run… parents…..people that have an invested interest in the social and academic growth of these children. It would be an amazing dream if every Catholic school could be run by groups of domestic churches who follow the Magisterium of the church. This isn’t a pipe dream either. We are doing it at Christ the King and I am so happy to be a part of it.

The kids in a nut shell:

Nick – He has been going to the local community college, working, and socializing with friends. Roy swore Nick into the Army in September and will be leaving for basic training on January 6th. I’m not the least bit worried about him. I believe his relationship with his girlfriend, Kaylee, has deepened his faith and has given me comfort that he won’t be swayed into immorality when he leaves. I am proud of the direction he is going in and pray that he finds the path that God wants him to be on.

Mary Kate – She is still home and loving all the exact same things that she has loved since she was 2…..Musicals, coloring on dry erase boards, walking, and you! Yes, YOU!  It doesn’t matter who you are. She cares about you, loves you and wants to know everything about you. And when you come for a visit, she will show you her new room with all of her Special Olympic medals. She is still the kindest and most caring person you will ever meet.

Samantha – She is 14 years old and turning into quite a beautiful lady. For a little while, she was having a teenager attitude but that seemed to break after she started babysitting other people’s kids. She came home after her first job and was kissing, smiling and playing with her brothers and sisters! She knows now that we are normal. We are not so bad after all. Actually, we are quite nice and fun. Boys are taking an interest in her which is totally freaking out her dad, Nick and Max. It is so much fun to watch them react. Samantha is eating up all of the attention (from her family, not the boys!)

Max – Is 13 years old and awesome in every way. He searches for ways to make people smile and laugh. He wants everyone to believe he is awesome so he does everything he can to prove it with his generosity, mannerism, socializing and humor. It is working too. Everyone who has met Max falls in love with him. He just needs to work on controlling himself when a boy talks or looks at his sisterJ He is living his dream on our new land. He always has some project or adventure going. He is rebuilding a couple of old homes that were once on our property to try to preserve their History.  He fishes and traps animals from his new canoe on our pond. He is building his first tree house with Roy. And the best news….he is getting his homework done early so he can run outside and tackle his current project. He is one happy boy.

Theresa – She is 10 years old and we frequently make little jokes that if you want to stop a bully, call Theresa. She tells people the way it is. She doesn’t come crying to mommy when she gets her feelings hurt. She goes straight to the person and has a “talk” with them in her most sincere and charitable tone. She is good. I mean, she is really good. She is also our little lawyer. No one can win a debate with her, except me. Yes, ME! She can’t pull the wool over my eyes but she can over her dads and everyone else in the family. You will lose almost every argument with her because she thinks before she speaks, admits when she is wrong and thinks of solutions to get what she wants.
Ben – He is 8 years old and pure boy……dirty and stinky from head to toe, always in trouble, hiding live animals around the house, throwing chickens on our roof, eats like a cave man, etc, etc. His pose in the Christmas picture was all too accurate. Setting him quietly on a step with an innocent smile would be a LIE!  BUT, he still snuggles and holds my hair for comfort. He is kind and generous to other people. Even though I have gotten dozens of phone calls from his school or other parents, it is never because of any disrespect. He will be something special when he grows up. He will either be putting in a lot of time at church or just be doing a lot of time. We’ll see.

Josie – She is 6 years old and cute as a button. She has a cowlick  
smack dab in the front of her forehead which lead me to give her a perm to grow out her bangs. She is SO DARN CUTE with her curly red hair, perfectly round face and round and big blue eyes. Every story she and Ben tell me include big round eyes that light up when they talk. I wish I could capture that look on camera. Her job is to gather the eggs from the chicken coop and into her cute little Easter basket each morning. Sometimes she needs a reminder and she pretends to be put-out with the job while trying not to smile. She is too cute.

Matthew – Is 3 years old and still the boy of my dreams. No drama, no fighting, no screaming. He is just a fun little guy that everyone in the family loves to pieces. He is easily spoiled because he is so easy to please and so grateful for every gift he is given even if it’s just a stick. He will grow up never knowing about the life in the city that his brothers and sisters had. He will only know the outdoors, creepy things, 4-wheelers, ponds, creeks, tree houses, trails, etc.

Andrew – Arrived on October 5th. The whole family wanted a girl (probably thanks to Ben). The family is in love with him. He’s got the same grumpy boy look that my other boys had but is able to fly me over the moon with each little smile he gives me. What a gift. I never want to stop having kids….(that’s your cue to stop asking….lol). Yes, Andrew is in the picture. Look close!

This was the most eventful year we have ever had. We don’t deserve to be so blessed and happy. I worry that the other shoe will drop at any time and I hope I am prepared for it. I know that everything I have belongs to God and not me. I pray that I will remember this when it is time for God to take something or someone away. Until then, I will be happy with everything I have been gifted with.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


The Christy’s

Roy & Katy, Nick, Mary Kate, Samantha, Max, Theresa, Ben, Josie, Matthew and Andrew

Some of my favorite photo's

I'll never forget that feeling in my gut when I saw Theresa swing on this vine before we bought the house. Priceless
Max was surprised with a canoe for his birthday
Our neighbor found a use for all of our shoe's that didn't have a buddy. Yes, we had that many.
Again, our neighbor used his creative gifts to surprise our kids with a haunted trail on our land. We had a couple hundred people go through it just this year. I can't wait until next year!
CW4 Roy L. Christy Jr. swears in his son into the Army Reserves. Again, priceless


Friday, November 1, 2013

Homeschool Co-op 2013-14

Every year, I involve the kids in some sort of co-op setting with other homeschoolers. Most years, we just met once a week for various classes, usually non-core subjects like Art or PE. There were 3 years where 4 families’ rotated houses and each mom taught one or two different subjects. I think that co-op was my favorite because I bonded with the other 3 moms and my kids have tight relationships with the kids they schooled with. Our High Schoolers were graduating and the grade levels were beginning to not match up well, so it was time to move on. 

For the past 5 years, I was participating in and out of a Catholic co-op group that met on Friday’s at St. Bridgets parish in Pleasant Hill. This was such a blessing to our family because we all got to meet and become friends with other like-minded families. Now my kids were starting to have real friends and real play dates with other kids. I had put Theresa in 1st and 2nd grade at our local public school and I would never let her have a play date. It is not because I didn’t know the parents. Most of the time, it was because I DID know the parents. I didn’t trust anyone. In the co-op group, I didn’t just have one meet-n-greet talk with the mom’s. We had full conversations for weeks on end and developed bonded friendships before our kids knew that play dates were even a possibility. I love it! I am SO strict about who my kids spend time with and they don’t even know it. If you asked them, they would say that I am the most un-strict mom.  I hardly ever say no to play dates no matter who they are and it is all because I trust everyone that they are surrounded with at the co-op……like-minded Catholic-Christian homeschoolers.

Josie and her cute little friend, Emily. They called each other and color coordinated their uniforms
When I was a young mom, I had other Catholic homeschool mom’s in a particular category. I was scared of them. I thought only moms who thought highly of themselves would take over the job of educating their kids. They must believe they are smarter/better/stronger than all the surrounding schools and teachers. They must be self-righteous. I have 15 years of meeting family after family that homeschools and learned 2 very valuable lessons. If you read nothing else from this blog, I hope you read this…..#1 We all think that everyone else has it all together and everyone else is doing it better. It is our own insecurities that make us believe that other homeschoolers are self-righteous. #2 These moms are nothing more than regular, faithful and insecure women who are all struggling to do what is best for their kids. These are NOT self-righteous women. They are the most humble of the human species. They are the polar opposite of self-righteousness. They are humble. They are scared. And they are insecure. They do not want to screw up their kids because they know there will be no school or peers or teachers to blame. This is a heavy burden to carry. All of these myths and misconceptions about homeschoolers can be laid to rest when you actually develop friendships with these moms. They LOVE to hear stories of each other’s struggles and failures so they can be reassured that they are not alone. Sure, I know about 2 mom’s that may fall into that self-righteous category but I know hundreds more that are in that category that are not homeschoolers.  This is a character problem. Not a homeschooler problem.

The St. Bridgets group made a big change this year. They decided to move to two days a week and took over Christ the King that had just closed its doors as a diocesan run parochial school.  We now teach core subjects on Wednesday and Fridays from 8:30-3:20 and wear uniforms. Uniforms!! We have about 140 students. We get the experience of being in a real school but this time, it is run by parents and taught by parents. Meeting only 2 days a week keeps us in line with homeschool laws too.  I think that spending 5 days a week with your friends is what brings about conflict and arguments. Meeting only twice a week allows our kids to miss their friends and be excited to see them again each week. It keeps the friendships alive and healthy.

Here is a little taste of what we do…..

I am the Algebra 2 teacher to 7 High School students. This is my favorite class. Really, any High School class would be my favorite class because I LOVE teenagers, especially those weird boys. I don’t know what disconnect that God put in teenage boy’s brains but it makes them so funny and strange at the same time. I just love God’s design. He clearly has a sense of humor. And these boys are pure and modest in their conversations. After being a bus driver for several months, I will not take for granted the gift of being surrounded by modestly talking teenage boys. They DO exists.

I am the Human Anatomy teacher for 12 fifth & sixth graders. They are all a bunch of jumping jelly beans. I would like to say that they are just super excited to be in my class but I think all of their teachers have a bit of a problem keeping them still. I love this class in spite of their vocal enthusiasm. They all act like I am their favorite teacher which warms my heart and makes me more forgiving. My Algebra class makes me feel that way too.

The diocese has a program for adults that want to learn more about their faith called BHI (Bishop Helmsing Institute). They agreed to do a little adjusting and teach our High School Religion class. So, Dr. Brennan teaches the class and I assign and grade the homework. I LOVE this. I have to grade about 20 papers at a time with everyone giving the same answers. Believe it or not, I do not know everything about the Catholic faith. GASP! I know, right? LOL. After reading the same answer to a question that I didn’t know the answer to 20 times, the answer slowly moves from my short term memory to my long term after the 10th paper. I’m getting smarter and smarter just by grading papers.

I love these guys. I call Noah's smile the "I-have-nothing-important-to-say smile".....which is nearly EVERY time he raises his hand.

The Edible Cell! I was everyone's favorite teacher by week #2. Yay me!

Ben goes to public school but on 1/2 days, I let him get in uniform and come with us. Poor guy feels left out. One more year buddy!

Max has study hall during my Algebra 2 class because he laughs too much in the regular study hall
Homeschooling this year has been a huge success. It has kept me on track. The kids feel overwhelmed with homework but that is only because they are not allowed to fall behind like they are so used to doing when Mom was their teacher. For the first time, they will FINISH the book in ALL the classes. The kids are participating in projects and experiments that they don’t get at home. They do oral reports that they put effort into so they don’t look embarrassed. The kids are so excited about school that they get up EARLY and doll themselves up before I even roll out of bed.  I never have to hurry anyone along. I love having a successful year. I love helping my kids with homework 3 days a week, instead of 5. I love being away from my kids 2 days a week while smiling and waving at them through classroom windows or down the halls. I love those big smiles as if we haven’t seen each other in weeks when it’s only been an hour. This really has been our most successful homeschool year and I am so proud to know all of these fine ladies and their children.
We will always remember Nolan. He passed away on Dec. 31st, 2012