Thursday, July 24, 2014

Playing Catch Up!

Well, it's Thursday and I've failed to blog all week!

We had a fun weekend on the Vineyard with my parents, but I haven't uploaded the pictures from my camera, yet.  I'm hoping to get to it sometime today and post the pics tomorrow.

Monday was an exhausting day!  Unpacking and sorting is always a challenge when you come back from a trip of any length.  Plus, Sarah and Luke both had physicals at 8am that I had planned before I knew we were going away for the weekend!  It was a killer waking up and rushing to get Sarah, Luke and Kate, (who was along for the ride bc all the older boys were working), ready and out of the house.

Since we went away for the weekend I only grabbed snacks and food for Peter when I went to the grocery store last Thursday.  So, after the doctor's office, we hit the grocery store.  With Sarah's help we made really good time.

By the time we got home and I put the groceries away, Peter was home and it was lunchtime for the littles and I was exhausted!  Other than a doing some laundry the rest of the day was pretty unproductive.

The midsummer blues have set in here-well, for me anyway.  As July closes, I know the summer is winding down and it is almost time to start getting ready for the dreaded 's' word.  As crazy as it gets during the summer with everyone home...or, realistically, everyone coming and going constantly!..I can't say that I am ready to jump into the routines and responsibilities(paperwork/deadlines/making snacks and lunches) of the school year.

Yet, at the same time, I'm burned out from trying to come up with activities to keep everyone busy and give everyone a summer filled with fun memories!  And, honestly, I do not enjoy 'pretend play' and I have clocked in quite a bit of time playing Autobots and Decepticons with Luke!  Ellie has been at day camp for 2 weeks so Luke is short a playmate.  Unfortunately, most of his other friends are at the camp, too!  Yesterday, I had my nephew over and it was a blissful 3 hours of getting to just listen to the boys play their great pretend battles!

That's the way I like it!  It won't win me mother of the year, but I'm ok with that!

I'm still struggling with the whole turning 40 thing.  We've also got lots of change coming this fall since Mike and Andrew will both be going away.  Jon will be starting college, too, as a mechanical engineering major.  With his busy school schedule(he has two different chemistry classes with 2 labs) plus plans to join the ultimate frisbee club and check out intramural volleyball, basketball, and campus ministry, and about 10 work hours somewhere in-between it all, I don't think we will be seeing him much!

Kate is looking more and more like a little girl and less like a toddler.:(  She hit the 2 and a 1/2 mark last month and it shows!  Tuesday morning she managed to get her own shorts on and was so proud of herself!  Sarah and I both felt sad!  The baby of the house is growing up!  I realized this morning that Kate's diaper rustling days will be coming to an end before too long.  While I won't miss buying them, it will deliver us to a whole new stage of life.

As I've been learning over the past couple of years, 
excitement over moving forward and starting something new 
and grieving over what is changing go hand and hand.

On a positive, less emotional note....

Sarah has taught herself how to sew through youtube videos.(Both my grandmothers would be so proud!)
She made matching dresses for her and Kate.
 And two skirts that she wore on the Vineyard....
Advertising for the Black Dog...Luke is apparently advertising a truck;)

Between the sewing and doing math...she is trying to skip another math class at school so that she can take two years of AP Calculus in high school...she is keeping busy.  Jay's dad is tutoring her and then she does lots of problems from each chapter.  When she is done with one chapter, she calls my fil and he comes back to teach her the next one.  She has to get through the book before August 13th when she takes a test.  If she passes, then she's good to go. If not, she will have to be satisfied with one year of AP Calc.  

(boo hoo, right?  Seriously, she gets her math genes from Jay's side of the family!  I use a calculator and usually can't help my kids with math homework after 4th or 5th grade!)

Well this post is all over the place!  I hope your week is a little more organized!

Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Friday...'Whoot, Whoot!'

#1:  She Said

Jay:  Look, Kate, you're swimming!
Kate:  No, Daddy, I holdin'!

#2:  Sweet Treat
Jay surprised me on Wednesday night with a piece of tiramisu and a canolli!  I didn't get a pic of the canolli before it got devoured.....soooo good and sweet!  I did share with Jay, Sarah, Ellie, Jon and Luke, so it was a sweet treat without the guilt!:)

#3:  Family Fun
While Jay and the older kids were away last weekend at Pro Life Boot Camp, my parents helped me take the kids to Fort Phoenix Beach.  They have some old cannons on display there that Luke and Peter especially enjoyed seeing!:) one looking at the camera!

#4:  Fixing up the Nest
I'm reading a few books right now.  One of them is called The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith....known among the blog world as "The Nester".  (I think the nickname is bc no one can figure out how to say Myquillyn!)  

I'm really enjoying the book, and it inspired me to get our dark colored ottoman re-upholstered into the lighter brighter colors that our living room has now.  Luckily for me, my friend, Carol, is an incredibly talented, crafty person.  We went shopping together for fabric, (girl time!), and she is already halfway done with it!  I can't wait to see the finished product!

#5:  #nobalance
One of my 'turning 40 reflections' has been realizing that I need to get a better balance in regards to taking care of my own needs.  This week, I've focused on exercise and tracking what I'm eating through the free app on fitness pal.  Week one has been a success...especially in regards to exercise.  I've walked multiple times, done a LesMills cardio workout, and a couple of 10 minute on demand exercise shows.  It feels good to fit in some 'me time'....I mean, seriously, it's amazing how hard it is to find 30 minutes a day to claim for myself!  Well...I've carved out 30 minutes for a week!  We'll see how next week goes!

#6:  Weekend Fun
We have a fun weekend planned!  Can't wait to tell you all about it on Monday:)  But before I wrap this up.....

#7:  Name That Girl
For anyone that guessed the baby pics from yesterday's post.......
The answer is:
2. Kate
3. Ellie
4. Kate
5. Sarah 
6. Ellie

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Throw Back Thursday Quiz!

Welcome to throwback Thursday!

I was cleaning up part of my closet yesterday and came across lots of fun photos!  The reason I spent a good chunk of the afternoon cleaning was to find out what scrapbooking supplies I have.  For years I have picked up things here and there, always intending to make scrap books for each of the kids.  Nothing crazy....the creativity gene skipped me!....but just something personal that starts with their birth story and knits together some pictures and tales from their childhood.

So, I found that I had 3 albums and lots of papers, stickers, etc.  Not a bad start....I just need 5 more albums.  I don't want to do one child at a time.  I think it will be easier to comment on pictures as I take them out of the 2 big bins o' pics that I have and just write and decorate as I'm inspired....and as I remember tidbits from when they were little!


Like I said before, I have some fun pics to share!:)

Love those little faces...especially Jon's mischievous grin!
Loving Andrew's overalls, too!
That was a happy year in our house.

Jay and  baby Andrew having a silent conversation!
Andrew:  You really want to give me some of those pancakes!

Jon being Jon...
always finding some way to torment one of his siblings!
(That's a pillow stuffed in his shirt in case you were wondering:)

Love this pic!  (Plus it proves Andrew really can smile!lol)

Andrew in t-ball, pre-glasses!
I love missing teeth pics!

OK...Now you get to play a little game!

Name that girl!

People always say that Kate looks just like Ellie...but I think she's quite the mix of both her sisters' features!
See if you can guess who is who!
You can leave your guesses in the comments:)
Answers will be given in Friday's post...
and, yes, that is a shameless attempt to make sure you tune in tomorrow!:)

So...what do you think???? Sarah, Ellie, or Kate:)






Happy Guessing!:)  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

For All of You Tired Mamas!

This is a short post of encouragement for all of you tired mamas out there that are feeling discouraged.

Maybe you're struggling to adjust to the demands of a newborn...
Maybe you're sleep deprived because of a teething cranky baby....
Maybe you're dealing with a willful 2 year old...or a trying 3 year old...or a frustrating 4 year old(and so on)..
Maybe you're trying to adjust to a moody pre-teen...
Maybe you've got a difficult teenager...
Maybe you've got a struggling young adult....

Maybe, like me, you've got a combination!

Just remember....

Whatever worries, hurts, struggles, or frustrations you carry today, know that you don't carry them alone.

Someone always walks beside you...and He is bigger than all of our problems.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and rely not on your own understanding,
acknowledge him in all your ways and he will make straight your paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6    

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Monday!

Even though my weekend felt very looooong...and not in a good way since Jay and my helpful older kids were away...I did arrive at Monday morning fairly unscathed!

The weekend went ok.  My parents were around and helped me with the kids.  They invited us for dinner on Saturday and got us take out on Sunday.  They helped me take the kids to the beach on Sunday and treated everyone to ice cream both days, too!  My dad also took Peter on his beloved "rides to Fairhaven".:)

Andrew, Jon, and Sarah had a great weekend and came home completely exhausted and full of fun stories.  I'm sure today will be a little ugly since they are recovering from sleep deprivation/sugar highs from too much candy,(Sarah woke up and hour ago and is already sleeping on the couch),  but they have a lot of great memories and can't wait to go back next year.

Jay had a good time as well.  He gave 2 talks that were very well received.  He is very good with teenagers(he's had several years of practice, and many more to come!) an event like this highlights his strengths.

I spent the weekend on the home front doing all the normal mommy things: dishes, laundry, baths, playing princesses, playing rescue bots, playing Legos, etc.  Friday night, Ellie stayed up late with me and we watched a pre-teen movie together.  Saturday night, I got everyone in bed on time and watched a chick flick on my own:  Austenland.  It was free 'on demand'.  It was a story about a young woman, Jane, who is obsessed with all things from Pride and Prejudice.....From her 'I love Darcy' bag to the full size cardboard cutout of Mr. Darcy in her living room in her apartment decorated to the time period.  Jane decides to spend her life savings on a trip to England to spend time in Austenland, where everyone pretends to be from the time period.  Romance with a twist follows and, of course, there is a happy ending.:)

I really like the BBC Pride and Prejudice movies(where Colin Firth plays Mr. Darcy).  When I was pregnant with Peter, I struggled with a lot of depression.  Jay went out and bought the six part VHS series(yes I know that ages me!) of Pride and Prejudice for me and endured hours of the British drama!(We watched it multiple times.)  He also bought me Sense and Sensibility(with Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet).

That's love...and lots of years off of Purgatory time!

A book I ordered came in on Friday...good timing.  It's called Fantastic After 40! by Pam Farrel.  I'm still struggling with turning 40 and trying to find ways to come to grips with it all.  More on that in future posts.....

Well, I need to stop stalling and head to the grocery store to pick up some things for the week.  Kate has changed her clothes multiple times while I've written this post, and I need to get her to commit to an outfit for the day...and get Luke out of his p.j.'s....and go and see if Andrew is awake still and bribe him with a muffin to come to the store with me!

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Quick Takes Friday!'s Friday.  I can't say I'm feeling enthusiastic about the weekend because I will be flying solo.  Jay took most of the older kids to a pro-life retreat.  It's a good experience for them...long weekend for me that I can't say I'm looking forward to.  But enough of the Eeyore attitude.....

......I do have some fun pics to share for 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1.  Date Night
Last weekend Jay and I finally managed a very loooooooong over due date night.  We went to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and then went for a walk down by the beach.  It was very nice to spend a little time alone together.  

We were almost home when we realized Jon was driving behind us.  When we pulled into the driveway, Jon asked Jay why he was driving so slow?!?

My answer.....we wanted to put off getting back into reality as long as possible!

pic on the beach:)

 #2.  Pool Fun

#3:  Big Boy!
Notice the difference about Luke in the next two pics?(besides the bathing suit!:)

No floaties!  Luke wanted to try and 'dog paddle' on his own and he is doing a great job!  He is so proud of himself!
Cute sibling shot:)

sans floaties!
 #4.  Tree Frogs
The tree frogs are still living in and around our pool.  Luke "coaxed" (I use that word lightly!) one out of its home and was happy to have the frog sitting on his hand:)

#5:  Family Walk
Last night after dinner, Luke, Kate and Peter wanted to go on a walk in our neighborhood.  Luke was hoping to see the groundhog family that lives in the yard of a house on the other side of our block.  Unfortunately that weren't out and Luke was a little disappointed:(

Kate insisted on carrying this purple, plastic pumpkin with a couple of her toys in it for the walk.  We walked by one house where a little girl...probably about 7...was visiting her grandparents.  She was super curious about the pumpkin and wandered over to make sure that she wasn't missing out on something!  (I think she thought her parents were holding out on her...."Halloween in July!"....wear your character jammies and carry your pumpkin to get candy!)  She looked relieved...and a little disappointed...when she realized Kate only had a couple of toys.
Sorry about the blurry pic...I couldn't get her to stand still!
#6:  He Said
Luke was super talkative on our family walk.  i.e. he did most of the talking!:)  At one point he had a cute exchange with Jay.

Luke:  Hey, daddy, when I was in the pool today there was a good beetle on the noodle!
Jay:  Oh, yeah.  A good beetle?
Luke:  Yeah...It was a Frenchenese beetle!
Me:  I think you mean a Japanese beetle...

#7:  All the Sleeps Kate Can Sleep
Doesn't look too comfortable to me!

I hope you have a weekend with a nice, comfortable nap!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pressure to Plan

I can't believe that today is already Wednesday!  I don't know about any of you other sahm moms, but when the kids are all home for the summer the days all start to blend together!

I find it hard to run without a real schedule.  Trying to create some semblance of planned activities balanced with the right amount of carefree relax time...(and by relax time I mean for the kids because they create even more dishes and laundry to wash when they are on vaca!) challenging!

Ultimately, I want all my kids to have happy summer memories from their childhood.  I find it especially challenging because of the different age groups we have!  What makes one group of kids happy makes another group of kids bored.  What makes the older set happy often can't be done with the younger kids.

I find myself trying to plan some sort of (free or mostly free) activity for both sets but it isn't easy...or always possible!

The older boys are a little easier because they are working quite a few hours(30-40) and they have their own cars so they tend to meet their friends for ice cream or food or pool time...or their friends all come here which is fine with me. The challenge is that, when one of them is out at night, I can't really sleep until they get home.  Of course, they almost never go out on the same night so that means late nights for this mama multiple nights a week!

Maybe that wouldn't be so bad if we didn't still have little ones that don't enjoy sleeping through the night!

Ahh...the joys of sleep deprivation!

I find it really hard for the middle kids, a.k.a. Sarah and Ellie, who would love to be more social with their friends but have to rely on parents for rides, or wait for open days since kids are away at camps because their parents work.

The little ones are content to mostly play at home but need some outings here and there to mix it up a little.

Then, of course, we have Peter who adds a whole other set of limits to the activities we can do and the time we can spend doing something.

It's just a lot to try and coordinate!  Most of the time I feel like I am behind the eight ball!  Even though I know in my head that it isn't my job to make everyone happy all the time, my heart still aches a little when my kids feel lonely.

I really do love having my kids home during the summer.  I just miss the days when everyone was happy doing the same activity!

....and when everyone went to bed at 7:30!

The good old days!