Thursday, May 30, 2013


Allow me the pleasure of introducing you to my beloved Grandma and Grandpa Zatorski.

Their wedding day 

As a young girl I visited Grandma and Grandpa Z's house often. They loved me greatly. Grandma called me her "Tashi-weeders" and would take my feet into her hands and say "grow little feet, grow". I was always grandpas little girl. He would follow me around like a puppy dog.
I especially remember Christmas time in all it's glory. The living room softly lit by the trimmed tree decked out with large Christmas lights of the early 80's. It shimmered from afar with loads of tinsel. Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby joyful sang Christmas carols, I recall to static of the record player as Mannheim Steamrollers took over their place.
The scents of Christmas were intoxicating. The smell of a real tree can never be replicated by scented candles. I don't care what anyone says. Home made fudge (with and without nuts) made their way into crystal candy jars, a multitude of cookies that grandma spent hours baking were tucked into tin cans. Chocolate covered cherries sat in their boxes waiting to be devoured and of course the nuts, oh the nuts, still in their smug shells waiting for you to figure out how to use the bloody nut cracker.  The Nativity set had it's place under the tree, I would crawl under there and play with it. Grandma made the last lap, before everyone arrived, around the house making sure everything was just the way she wanted it. Grandpa played in a room around the corner from the kitchen. His enjoyment came in the form of model trains; building, painting, and constructing villages of days gone by in the Wild West.
It was splendid and had everything I will ever need to treasure my Christmas memories with them.

You might be wondering why I am taking a trip down memory lane about Christmas with my grandparents when it's only the month of May? 

Here's the long version.

It's been over ten years since my last conversation with my grandfather. He always took an interest in my life as an young adult and when some complication arose from a surgery he had, I spent my morning with him. I brought a purple rose to him in the hospital and helped him eat his scrambled eggs and toast. We talked about life and how unique the color of the flower was.
He proudly told every visitor about the flower. When I left his side I felt awful and helpless. (I had not yet found my faith and was living a life without prayer and the understanding of God). In the middle of the night I received the dreaded call, Grandpa was in a medical coma to keep him comfortable and he wasn't going to make it through the night. I rushed up to the hospital and was there with my mom, grandmother, aunts and uncles when he passed away. For months I would get into my car and drive in silence. I could smell his after-shave...a true mystery.

Fast forward ten years and you will find the same dreaded phone call came upon me last Sunday morning. This time I was equipped with Faith. I knew this day was coming, Grandma had been declining over the past few months and I came to terms with that. I had been up to visit her while she was still able to converse, it was my "good bye" to the grandma I was loosing. When I received the phone call I was, thankfully, running out the door to Mass. I say "thankfully" because it was that hour I needed to spend in prayer and ask The Lord for the graces I, and my family, needed to get through this time of suffering and grief. After Mass Robert told me to decide if I wanted to go visit her and "just go do it" if that was what I wanted. And, it was. He held the fort down while I spent some time with my family and grandma. I held her hand and talked to her. She could not respond but would flutter her eyes open and squeeze my hand. I spoke for her. I knew she was aware I was there. I fought back tears as I spoke. I mentally prayed for her suffering and her soul. I knew it was bringing her closer to God. I knew my suffering was too. I could see her suffering was bringing other family members to take time out and pray. It was bringing them closer to God as well. We all leaned on Him during her final hours. When I left on Sunday afternoon I was sad to see Grandma in such a state of agony. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted The Lord to have mercy on her and take her now. Even though I have my faith I still struggle with the thoughts of "Am I really open to God's will? Or, Am I praying for my will to be done?" The Lord made us with emotions and a human mentality along with free will in order to choose to love Him. It is because of the human mentality and emotions, opposed to a divine one, that  also can make it hard to watch loved ones suffer and feel sorrow.
This time I didn't feel helpless. I knew I could pray and how to pray and what it meant to pray. So, we continued to pray for Grandma and she made it through the night, suffering, carrying her cross. On Monday afternoon I received a particularly hard phone call from my mother, giving me an update on grandma. It was then I tried my hardest to pray for Gods will. With in a half hour, my mother called back to tell me she was gone. My mother and a cousin held her hand as her soul departed from this earth. I felt so at peace. I texted my sister in law, Jessica, who had been praying for her. She texted back "May she rest in peace". It was the second time in my entire life that I felt the meaning of those words.

May she rest in peace.
When I think of my grandparents, I will think of them like this. In love on Christmas with all the Christmas Glory.
Grandma & Grandpa Christmas 1983:
 My momma and I in the back ground.

Theme Thursday: Self Portrait

Another week gone by and another Theme Thursday arrives. Joining Cari at Clan Donaldson for some fun, you should too.

Back in December I got braces. Yes for the first time, and Yes they were sooo uncomfortable! I was promised they would be worth it in the end. So far, so good. I have seen such a drastic change in my bite already.

My hang ups:
1. I feel like a prepubescent teen!
2. I have build ups on my bottom molars so it is very difficult to eat!
3. Food, Ugh, Love Food! Not so much when it's stuck-in-my-teeth-GROSS!
Floss, brush, rinse, repeat and repeat and repeat. Still...feel...gross.
4. P-A-I-N...Oh, bring out the bottle of Whine... The-P-A-I-N
5. Limited on what I can eat. I love food and not being able to eat what I want when I want really stinks. I would like to say I have been and exemplary model in temprense. But I won't. Because I haven't. I've just changed up my eating habits (I tell my self it's out of necessity) to all things soft and bad for you... which is really an oxymoron, in my opinion. Soft things like, brownies, danishes, pancakes, milkshake (I know liquid, but still soft) banana bread, and Monti Christo sandwiches. Oh, the good stuff that is so bad for ones body, especially for ones eyes. My poor eyes... they have to cast themselves upon the scale number hovering over the same number for the last few months. No improvement on loosing any more of that baby weight since the braces have been added. UGH...Exasperated sigh of discontentment and total unfairness!

On the plus side:
My husband loves them. Truly. He says he enjoys how the edges of my mouth are always turned upward, so it looks like I have a constant smile.

I sorta envision a less creepy version on the Cheshire Cat.

What do you think?

My selfie??

Taken with the IPhone (again) because I could turn the camera around to see what I was doing.Which was a necessity to the success of NOT dropping the baby I was holding. Sneaky sneaky... I had to crop his cuteness out of the picture. Honestly... I can't go to the bathroom alone, let a lone take a picture of myself sans babies.

Anyway. Enjoy this number for 2005ish! Smile Like You Mean It... Robert used to serenade me with these lyrics.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Theme Thursday: Bodies

Joining the gracious host Cari, again for this weeks Theme Thursday: BODIES!
(On a side note, thank you kind readers for last weeks boost in confidence.)

There are so many bodies to choose from and I know that sounds creepy, but It's true. In lieu of the theme as bodies, plural, and not body, singular, I choose the cohesiveness of this trio.

The Trio
Baptism of The Fourth
My Father-in-law (Jr.), My husband (The Third) and My son (The fourth, or as my FIL likes to call him, Quattro).  I tried to convince them it should be A Ceathair (ah cah-hir) which is Irish for the number four, but was shut down. Probably for the reason you already thought...What's that word and what does it mean? 

FIL with The Fourth
One of the most generous and honorable men I know. 
We look to him as the patriarch of the family, though he would humbly claim it is his father-in-law 

Moving on to The Third 
The Fourths Birth: Robert III, holding, Marie. Elise. and Robert IV
The leading man in my life who shares All the adventures with me. My Prince Charming/Court Jester. Without him I would always be Chicken Little yelling "the sky is falling the sky is falling!" Instead, it's just half the week. It also happens to be his birthday today. Happy Birthday Robert The Third!

 And then there's this guy, Robert The Fourth 

Apple of my eye, makes me smile when I don't want to, and melts my heart because he already pulls out ALL the stops... Like father, like son!  

Do you all remember the popular County Music song by Travis Trait (90's) 
It went a little something like this:
"...hey good L-double O-K-I-N-G...
Yeah I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E...!"

 No, you don't? Need a newer reference? 
Okay How about Taylor Swift's
I like these lines:
"I knew you were trouble when you walked in"
"Oh, trouble, trouble, trouble"

Yea, Pretty much sums him up. SO. MUCH. T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

Here's what I mean.
Revving up

And he's off to the races...He's just not old enough to bet and I'm not ye gamblin' kind! 
At eight months old, I repeat at eight months old, my little lad WAS crawling. I say "WAS" because now he is nine months old and thinks he can walk and climb stairs. WHO the heck is coming over to my house and teaching the one child I most certainly DID NOT want moving around yet to do such milestones!?!?! I thank you, NOT!

         Robert The Fourth; you think you are all kinds of CUTENESS; and well in all honesty. YOU ARE. BUT, now you can follow me around and squawk your unwavering affections (i.e. I Love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. Translation- NURSE ME WOMAN!) instead of doing so from the confines of the living room floor where it's safe. And and not as loud. 
Seriously, I love you, Nurse me!

You have taken to pulling yourself up to a standing position only to try to walk...and fall...(And, let's play the broken record technique on that one) so far on your behind, but I know the face plant into something horrible with a trip to the ER is coming. 


Oh,Trouble, Trouble, Trouble
             Oh, yes. the shenanigans are never far, you mosey on up the stairs, every chance you get. The obstacle course of chairs slows you; but you are your fathers' son AND your fathers', fathers' grandson...persistent. A good trait to have on your side later in life, but right now, it finds you frustrated.

I pulled him to safety and his thoughts on that were...
"How dare you ruin my life and eat all my steak". To that, my reply "I'm your mom it's my job to ruin your life (protect you) and you won't even eat the steak. 
Seriously, The Trio is too cute. I HEART them!

A note to The Fourth,
On this day of celebration and honoring of your father. Those roman numerals behind your name are placed with integrity and honor. A legacy is unfolding, the stairway to heaven have already been built and sainthood is achievable, just follow in the foot steps of your father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and you'll be one fine man and wealthy beyond your dreams! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Theme Thursday:Animals

Joining Cari and the rest of the Theme Thursday crew for this weeks, Animal addition of all things photo related. 

A few month back we ventured out to our Parishs' Fall Festival. The girls had a great time in the bounce house and at the kids petting zoo; where I took this photo...
Yes, this is a donkey. A.K.A. Jack @ss

Followed by a prompt text to Robert informing him this image will now pop up on my iPhone every time he calls. Bahahaha! Right! I was totally joking...or was I?

I also took this one of Marie following the huge tortoise around trying to "pet" it.  She didn't quite get the concept, she IS bigger and faster, but I promise, this girl followed that tortoise around the perimeter about 7 (hundred) times before she finally decided to reach down and "just do it".
(Is it okay even though it's a reptile) 

On to these turkeys

Three in all and they almost had the misfortune of ending up in my Christmas pot pie! They scared me half to death one day. (I must have scared them too because after they left I found their "droppings" on my porch). On this particular day, Marie and I were in the family room enjoying some alone time; when all the sudden. (BAM!) pause (BAM!)wait-for-it(BAM!) I thought someone fired a shot gun. Stupid is as a stupid does and I look out the window to see where the shots are coming from. (Now we live in a suburb of STL. Major roads all around and an ever sooooo small wooded area behind our house.) BAM!! again, and again, and well you get the drill. So, I grab my chefs knife, because that's what was easily accessible (plus I needed to level up in hand to hand combat skills) and head to the basement... confront whatever appears to be breaking into my house. Much to my surprise, I find these BIG (not little) turkeys...pecking at their reflection in my basement glass door. (Now, whose stupid? The birds). Well, long story short...many calls to my husband as to what to do, a picture taken to allow him to know I MOST CERTAINLY WAS NOT OVER EXAGGERATING THIER SIZE (they could have eat'n me), a few "run around" phone calls to wild life centers, and one big bad brother in law who came over with his paint ball gun, so I could shoot them and NOT go to jail, or pay a huge fine of $50/pound of dead turkey. In the end they left and were not seen again until Easter night. Seriously.

However, we now have 4 (2 point, as of right now) buck in our back yard. We saw them on Mother's Day, but my photos turned out like this. 

Not so good photos.

Also, living at our,WILD, end of the cul-de-sac... coyote, black snakes,birds(under our deck are two nests)... If any of you have ideas of how to keep the black snakes out of my yard...I'm all ears! Has to be a kid friendly remedy though.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day full of pics and clicks

I know what I'm about to say is going to sound snide and uncharitable so bare with me.

When Robert and I were discussing dinner ideas for Mother's Day, (which ended up being a list of all the things I didn't want, God love the man because this is typical) I realized Mother's Day has become a big day for Dads to "step it up" and cook so Mom doesn't have to. For me and other moms out there whose husbands like to cook; having them cook on Mother's Day is like declaring Mother's Day is just another ordinary day. In my case, I do as much cooking as my 4 year old. Okay, I do more, but not by much.

Now throw in this commonly (Jokingly? Snarky!) statement from my husband "Your not MY mother".
And, well, you have a recipe for one mom, me, wondering (out loud to said "snarky" husband)
"How is Mother's Day going to be special for me"?
(See a selfish and an uncharitable thought, to which many of you are thinking spoiled much!) Yea, I am spoiled. I know this. My husband goes to great lengths to keep us fed and well fed at that. We have cooking magazine subscriptions and awesome cookbooks to ensure there is always something new to try. Also, in Robert defense, he pointed out that if Food was a love language, IT would be mine. (But, it's not, so lets call it a hobby?) It's true Food=quickest way to my heart. Though we have to eat and as the world turns in our lives, he will cook and I will clean up the mess. That's how it works around here.

With our oldest being 4, I was content with the idea that dinner was going to define Mother's Day this year. So I thought!  Marie (4) decided she wanted to buy me a present (with her own money) and since Elise (2) does EVERYTHING her big sister does, she was all in. Then, last week Robert's mother and youngest sister picked our girls up to take them shopping and to spend some time together. Double Bonus! Marie, who can't keep anything a secret to save her life, did an amazing job at keeping her lips sealed on all details revolving a gift. I didn't even  get so much as a hint to what she and Elise picked out. They anxiously awaited for Saturday to arrive so "they"(i.e. Robert) could wrap my gifts. (MY dearest Anne, your brother DOES know how to wrap and thus we BOTH have been Hoodwinked)!!!!! 
Anyways, my lowest of all 5 Love Languages is receiving gifts (and if you don't know what the 5 Love Languages are,Click Here , it will forever change your life, I promise) but since it was from the girls the notion that the girls put effort and thought into buying me gifts became sentimental. My second highest Love Language is quality time. Robert knows this and went against his above hilarious quote and asked what kind of outing I wanted to do as a family. NOW! WE'RE REALLY TALK'N THE LANGUAGE I LOVE!!! QUALITY TIME!!!

Here is what my LUCKY self got to do this weekend for Mother's Day and how this day became very special indeed!

We took the kids on a pilgrimage to visit Robert's sister, Mary, who passed last summer from cancer.  (Which you and elegantly read about Here on my SIL blog). Mary is one rock'n godmother to our Elise and our Marie shared countless hours of quality time with her. Marie often talks to Mary and asks for her intersession and misses Mary a great deal. So this was a WIN for everyone. I couldn't have picked a more lovely place to pray the family rosary. After our pilgrimage I wanted to go to this place.

Robert and the girls with a friend visiting Crown Candy (2011)

                                                                  Crown Candy

 This St. Louis Gem was P.A.C.K.E.D with the entirety of ALL of St. Louis. The line to bust through their door was around the block. Well, as delicious as their BLT sandwiches and homemade ice cream are... lunch time was looming near for the clan as was the essential "quiet and rest time". There was NO time to wait.

SO, we ventured to my second favorite place. 

To eat beignets!!!!!!!

And Have lunch

Muffaleta sandwich

And Eat some more beignets! 

And take a small photo op

Happy, Even though he didn't eat any beignets

We finished our day with a delicious meal; made by Robert, of course, and great company. A Mother's Day fit for a Queen! The family all came together to show their love and support for what I do. I still changed as many diapers that day and nursed our son until he was content (which is really never, that kid can EAT!). We still disciplined the kids and loved them just as we do every other day. We got some special time out of Mother's Day and made memories and that's what it's really about for me. FAMILY! When Marie woke up Sunday morning, she rushed downstairs to greet me, She said "Happy Mother's Day, Mom"! And gave me the biggest hug ever. As I laid my head on top of hers, my reply was: "Thank you, if it wasn't for you and your siblings, I wouldn't be a mother"! Then we got to presents!!
A special Thanks to my husband for all the hard work and sacrifices he made on Mother's Day and if it wasn't for him either...I wouldn't be a mom.

We hope you ALL had a wonderful Mother's Day and made some memories of your own!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Theme Thursday: Mom

One of these weeks I'll get fancy and use one of the two Really nice Cameras my husband bought for me and let go of my go-to IPhone camera in hopes to give you a better pic. I say what I mean and I mean what I say; so believe me when I tell you; "one on these weeks" just not this week.

Robert was gone on retreat all weekend so it was just me and the three and I tried to plan activities to keep us from missing him too much. I had great success! It was Saturday night, when a group of lovely girls were at the house to help my sister (who is getting married in September) work on her invites that I became aware of how much SUCCESS I had. The girls were annnnything but compliant! I knew their behavior was partly my fault. They had reached the point of NO return. Thankfully they recovered quickly and I had the common sense to realized I over stimulated them with so many activities and people. 
 Plus, what little girl (IN THEIR RIGHT MIND) would want to go to bed when there was wedding planning and invites to be made?! I couldn't blame them.

So, on Sunday I planned to reconnect with the girls. We were having company for dinner and there was lots of baking to be done. I took the opportunity the have them help make rolls.
 Now, IF you are family, Especially IF you are from my husbands side, you know what rolls I'm talkin about....


Okay, for those of you on the outside looking in, MARGARET'S ROLLS are LEGENDARY! (soooo, let's pretend that every time I say "Margaret's Rolls", it sounds like the words are echoing back to you from the great open vastness of the Grand Canyon). My mother-in-law makes MARGARET'S ROLLS. The recipe was passed down to her from a family friend named (you guessed it) Margaret.

 There's a certain technique and finess that goes into the art of making Margaret's Rolls. One can not merely duplicate them without the insight and knowledge learned from The Master Baker herself, my mother-in-law. The making of these rolls are science meets intuition at its' culinary finest.

Unless you are one of the lucky few who becomes an apprentice to The Master Baker, these EPIC roll can only be replicated and NEVER duplicated. Once word on the street gets out that you have completed your apprenticeship and are worthy to make MARGARET'S ROLLS SOLO, you will be the most popular of all the land and asked to bring them to any dinner part you attend. 
It is a high honor!

Soooo, without further a due I present to you..............

The picture of Marie and me making MARGARET'S ROLLS together. 

Disclaimer: Sorry!!! I am not at liberty to divulge the recipe, but if you ever visit The LOU, I will gladly have you for dinner and proudly make them for you. These dinner rolls surpass all dinner rolls and should NEVER, I repeat! NEVER be kept from enjoyment!

Below is a "not so recent" picture of The Master Baker and the next generation of apprentices, Marie and Elise.

Happy Mother's to you and yours from all of us at A Clan's Tale! 
Hope to see your pics over at Clan Donaldson

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The bag lady, who is my daughter

      In efforts to stop the craziness that is our Elise, who insist on wearing everything (literally!) that resembles a dress or skirt (Oh, and all at the same time); Robert hung some of the usual suspects on our dresser mirror. It has been pure torture for her to walk in our room and see them just out of her reach! He has a penchant for ruthless teasing! She has a great since of irony!

                 I give you exhibit A

                     Exhibit B

As you can see from exhibit A; the items in exhibit B have no bearing on her ability to find more articles of clothing to adorn!
     In exhibit A, She is proudly wearing, a skirt, shirt, leggings, dress on top of all that, her beloved silver shoes, her sisters necklace, and crown. The silver shoes are her security blanket; they must be kept within sight if not on at all times. You try taking them off her at bedtime. NOT pretty! One night Robert and I were snuggling on the couch and we hear Elise at the top of the stairs whining for her daddy. He goes up there to tuck her back in, make sure she's okay; like to good father he is, only to find out "I can't find my offer (other) silver slipper, it lOOOOsT!!" To which his response is "Seriously! Go to bed"!

                      Exhibit C

      Elise and her trophies. Many, many bags... she can't get enough bags! We are in SOOOOO much trouble as she becomes more of a clothes horse. 

     In conclusion: Anyone who wants to donate to the Keep Elise Clothed Fund is more than welcome!
All I have to do is teacher the the lyrics to Mary Poppins' Feed The Birds (Tuppence A Bag)!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Meet the Clan

Greetings from all the O'B III's: AKA: Clan O'Brien.

Our growing family, Robert III, Marie, Elise, Robert IV, and myself. Their names have been changed but their personalities will still shine through.

Marie: 4 1/2yr old, sporting her purple glasses
Elise- 2 1/2yr old, sporting her God given red hair
Robert IV: 8 1/2mo old, sporting his smile

Theme Thursday

Theme Thursday:Play
I didn't have intentions on starting Theme Thursday today because I just started the blog and knew I didn't have any new material for today's theme. Don't get me wrong, I am a lover of photography and planned to start Theme Thursday once I got off my feet a bit more.
But.... Won't you know it; these girls have my back!
Making their debut on the blog, I proudly present to you:
Marie and Elise
Staring in
Makeshift Tent Play

Thank you my darling girls. I can always count on you for material! Play is a full time job for these kids. I often have to remind myself "they're just playing" when the babe is sleeping and I'm trying to keep them a little calm! OH, the running and prancing. The screeching of enjoying each other. The giggles and sometimes the cries and woes. The insane amount of story telling or litany of what they just did, I know will fly by. Enjoy the play while you can!

Go check out all the other fun pics over at Clan Donaldson, maybe add yours. If not today then maybe next week?