Friday, September 19, 2014

And It's Friday Again!

This week flew right on by...at least for me!  I'm looking forward to another football weekend with some good food...including a couple of new recipes I'm trying.  There's something about using ingredients that are special for Fall---like pumpkin.  I will let you know how it goes....

Here's the weekly Friday wrap-up.  Special thanks to Jen for hosting!

1.  Sleep Unsuccess
So, last week we had some sleep success and I was mildly hopeful that we were on a new road to better (and more!) solid, straight sleep time.  Well...not so much this week!  Luke and Kate have both been off all week and I'm feeling a little frayed and droopy eyed!  Jay told me yesterday at dinner time that I looked like I was going to bite someone. So, then I had this sign in my head all night...


And on a side note....while I was looking for the image above I came upon the following that I just had to share with you!  I'm glad there aren't any tapirs in our local zoo!  (....but it got me thinking about the numerous signs that could be made about boys that can't aim!;)



2.  Fridge update
I'm still loving my new fridge.  It totally passed the grocery store challenge test!  I got all the groceries in without any stress or stuffing required!(insert angels singing here!)

3. I Cannot Remember A Thing!
Seriously, my brain is fried.  I have no brain cells left.  I forget a thought about a minute and a half after I think it.  I have no ability to focus!  I start in one room....then head to another room for a purpose....get side-tracked multiple times and an hour later I realize that I forgot all about doing the thing I was supposed to do in the first place!  Maybe it's connected to the sleep issue....or the being 40 issue.  Maybe I just need some Ginko Biloba!

4. Where are the spoons?
Anyone else have problems with missing silverware?  I have noticed lately that we are always short on spoons.  I'm not sure where they all went...but I think I need to pick up another set!
5.  Parenting Laziness
I am totally a lazy parent!  We got an email yesterday from Sarah's school that they were having a meeting next week for parents on what to expect for Sarah for sophomore year and what to look forward to next year as juniors.  The following was my thought process after I read the email.....
?What the What?
A whole meeting?  Really?  Can't it just be an email?  There was no "what to expect sophomore year" meeting when Jon and Andrew were in 10th grade?  Seriously?  Ugh...now I have to feel guilt if I don't go and annoyed if I do!

See....lazy parent!  

(I'll probably just send Jay;)  

6.  Weekend Line-up
This weekend will be full.  Sarah had practice Saturday am and when I pick her up, we(me, Ellie and Sarah) will head to a bridesmaid dress fitting for my sil, Julie's, wedding next month.  Then there will hopefully be some cleaning done....strike the hopefully.  There will be some cleaning done in the afternoon because our house has been ignored for way.too.long!  

Mike is coming home on Saturday at some point before dinner.(bc he wants as many home cooked meals as he can get before heading back Sunday night...after dinner I'm sure!)  Mike is doing observation hours for his education courses and needs some dress shirts and ties.  So, he is coming home to raid all his brother's shirts/ties and probably Jay's, too!

We will have football Sunday again with some special food and, hopefully, just some good family time!  We really need that!

7.  And Last But Not Least!.....
Today is a very special day for some our closest friends!  Our friends, Bud and Kim, were open to life and God answered their prayers for children through adoption.  We were blessed to be a part of their lives both times they adopted...both times from China....and both times brought a special little girl that was meant just for them to love and guide!

Today is the anniversary of their Forever Family Day for their 2nd daughter, Catherine.  It's hard to believe that ten years has passed!  I still remember picking them up at their airport and getting to see their older daughter, Colette(who is also our godchild), meet her baby sister for the first time.

As the commercial says.......Priceless!

So...here's a throw back Thursday on a Friday!  This is a pic of the Miller family not too long after they became a family of four!  I hope you guys have an awesome day!

And on that happy note....have a great weekend!  GO PATRIOTS!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throw Back Thursday-Family Style

I was looking through my box o' pictures for some inspiration for today's Throw Back Thursday post.  I have slowly begun the process of trying to organize all those pictures.  I got some manila envelopes and labeled them with different titles:  pre-Ellie, Ellie >2, Ellie before Luke, Luke, and Kate.  I work on it occasionally....and it feels like it will take forever!  But, every little bit counts and I don't want to continue to develop new pics until I sort out all of the old ones.

....and of course I take news pictures multiple times a week so there's LOTS of photos waiting to be developed!  OY!

Well, as I heard in a movie once, "All forward progress counts!"  So, that's what I'm focusing on!

Anyway....


This picture is from a family Disney trip in 2008.  We are very blessed that my parents(especially my mom) are Disney fanatics and enjoy sharing their 'Disney love' with their grandchildren!  For this particular trip my sister and I had t-shirts made for the whole family to surprise my parents with.  

To understand why we wrote on it what we did, you should know that my mom is a redhead and that she is the giant organizer of vacations...especially all things Disney!

On the front of the shirt it says Disney Family Vacation 2008...on the back each shirt had something a little different.  My tshirt says, "Red Leader's Daughter #1", Jay's shirt says "Red Leader's Son-in-law", Andrew's shirt says, "Red Leader's Grandson #2"....and so on.  We got lots of compliments from random people in the park, and my parents loved the surprise.  (Thanks to a washer and dryer in our hotel suite, we got to wear the shirts on multiple days, too!)

Of course, none of the kids wouldn't fit in their shirts from 2008 now!  That was our "little" family of six!(and about 10 months before we would find out that God had more children in mind for us!)

This picture felt like a good fit for this week....seeing all the older boys younger and still an everyday part of family life.  

Jay and I miss that!(sniff)

Happy almost Friday!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Football Sunday Fun!

Feeling very Fall-like today!  There is certainly that crispness in the air...and I have to say I love it!(My apologies to my summer loving friends!)

One of the things I really like about Fall is 'football Sundays'.  We always try to make Patriots games a special family time.  Last weekend was my sil's bridal shower, so Jay just got some takeout wings with Jon.  This weekend, we were back to our regular fall routine.

We had some favorites on the menu....coconut chicken bites, chili, piggies in a blanket, and brownie sundaes for dessert!  The food did not disappoint!  (and neither did the Pats in their win over the Vikings!:)

A huge bonus to the weekend was that Andrew came home for a visit.  His real motivation to come back was to get a book that had gotten mailed here, but it was great to have him home!  The Pat's game even inspired some football play.  (Andrew played with Ellie, too, but I didn't have my camera outside then....)





Monday still showed up right on schedule....I got to go to Mass w/o Kate to see Ellie read the Responsorial Psalms then had a meeting with the principal to discuss a possible book club for moms.(Definitely out of my comfort zone...but exciting, too!)   Then, of course, there was the laundry, dishes, paperwork that needed my attention as well as multiple requests from Kate and Luke to "Play with me, Mommy!" 

Then I blinked and the day went by and here I am trying to squeeze out a quick post!  

Hope your week is starting on a good note!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hooray, It's the Weekend!

I am so excited to arrive at the weekend!  I am soooo looking forward to some down time!

Here's the weekly wrap up...it's been a crazy one!

1.  Me Time
I have been trying to make exercise a more regular part of my life!  I'm also using the Livestrong app to keep an eye on my calorie intake.  I did well for two weeks then backslid a little last week.  This week I was re-determined with my goal to lose some weight before my sil's wedding in six weeks.  I made up all the ground this week that I lost last week so I'm heading in the right direction!

2.  Teeth
Luke is completely fine after his adventures at the oral surgeon on Tuesday!  No more pain!  He was very excited that the tooth fairy visited our house...and I was very excited that it didn't take a week for the tooth fairy to remember to visit our house!

3.  Summer's Last Hurrah
After last week's hot and steamy weather that had the kids feeling like they were being cooked in their classrooms(!), this week brought some beautiful, comfortable sunshine!  Even though it was freezing, Luke still wanted to go in the pool!  (And, of course, whatever Luke wants to do Kate wants to do!) 

I think we will be closing it up this weekend.....  

To our pool:  Thanks for the summer of 2014 memories!  

4.  New Fridge!
Our new fridge, dubbed "the water fridge" by Kate and Luke, arrived yesterday!  It is really big...the delivery guys had to remove our front door and the doors of the fridge to get it in!  I fit all of our fridge items it it with two half shelves to spare!  The real test will be on grocery shopping day!  Hopefully, I will no longer dread trying to figure out how to stuff all our groceries in the fridge!  Ahh...freedom!  (Hey, when you're a SAHM, it's the little things that count!)

Look at all that extra room!
5.  Minor Remodel
With the addition of our new fridge comes some design issues that Jay and I need to conquer.  We need to figure out what type of cabinets will look best around the fridge so it looks like it is part of the kitchen...not just a giant fridge on the wall!  Our former fridge was built into a wall, so Jay is going to turn the empty space into a pantry closet for some much needed space!(Yay!)

 We also need to figure out how we want to extend the island so that the kitchen will feel like one big space...(a garbage cabinet is part of that design!  I.can't.wait!)...but that means we will also need new counter tops.  That will have to wait for tax return season.(Hopefully!)  The lighting will also need to be changed and the plan is also to add a couple of windows for some much needed nature light. Whew....lots on the to do list.  It's going to be a slightly dragged out process.....but hopefully not too long!(famous last words, right!?!)  

6.  Independent Sleeping...Maybe?
So, if you've been around my blog you know that my kiddos are not the best sleepers!(huge understatement!)  Well, lately we have started a bedtime routine with Luke to get him more independent.  After potty and teeth brushing, one of us reads him a book in his "bed"(a mattress on the floor next to our bed), and then he falls asleep by himself in the room.  Luke has done a great job with this...never coming out to wheedle more time!  He had still been waking up around 11...not really awake but crying and disoriented.  Whenever I tried to help him settle, he would just cry off and on in that half awake state for an hour until I just gave up and brought him into my bed.(I'm just desperate for sleep---any sleep---and for him not to wake up the whole house!)

Well....the last two nights he hasn't done the 'half awake fuss' until after midnight and both times I gave him water and he went right back to sleep in his 'bed'.  The first night he slept until 5 and then crawled up into bed with me and went back to sleep until 6:30.  Last night he only lasted in his bed until 3...but that's still progress!  Here's to hoping a "normal" sleep pattern is on the horizon!

7.  Figuring It Out(I Hope)
In case you missed it, last weekend I wrote an emotional post about working through the complex emotions of kids growing up and changing called The Art of Letting Go.  With three young men on the verge of adulthood and close to living independently, it's not always easy figuring out the new ways we relate....(or to let go of the old ways!)  I'm grateful to still have my little ones that are always ready to snuggle...at least for now!  Of course, by the time Luke and Kate aren't interested in spending time cuddling with me, I bet I will have grandbabies to snuggle!
  
#benefitsofhavingalargefamily

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Adventures in Oral Surgery Land!

Today was an up and early day...Luke had a really bad cavity in one of his teeth and needed to have it removed by the oral surgeon.  I have been prepping him for a week on what to expect and what to do.(Drink the medicine, watch cartoons, open your mouth for the dentist, and sit still so he can wiggle your 'sleeping tooth' out.)

I was a little stressed.  Thankfully, Jay was able to come with me for the appointment.  Luke really did a great job.  He drank all the medicine even though he clearly didn't like it.  (After each of the 20 little sips it took for him to finish it he made a very funny face and shook his head...but he never complained!)

Watching the meds take effect was comical.  He just started sliding around with a super goofy smile on his face.  To say he was relaxed was an understatement!  It worked, though, because the doctor didn't need to use the nitrous(which saved us $110...thank-you, Luke!)  Luke was super cooperative, barely complained except for the moment the tooth came out(bc there were all kinds of hands holding him in one place, not from pain!), and was a real trooper!

Jay had to carry him to the car.(Another great reason he was there!)  Luke was still so loopy that he couldn't sit up straight in his booster seat.  I sat next to him on the way home and helped to hold him up while Jay drove.

Luke was so upset on the way home.  Poor little guy was all confused over the way the meds made him feel.  He kept crying that we were going home because he didn't think the doctor had taken out his tooth!

Some of the funnier moments:

While sitting against me with his head on my arm in the car:
Luke:  You're not even my mom!
Me:  Of course I am, silly.
Luke:  No, I can't even see you!
Me:(moving forward so he could see my face) It's me!
Luke: Oh

I had a roll of paper towels in my lap on the way home for the drool/blood/tears/fear of vomit...
Luke: Why do you have three legs?

When Jay brought Luke in the house:
Luke: Daddy, why do you have three eyes?

While Luke was resting watching the Lego Movie:
Luke:(giggling) Look, Mommy, there are two Emmets!
(that happened multiple times during the first 2/3 of the movie!)

I should have video taped it and showed it to him when his was a teenager...
"And this is why you shouldn't drink too much alcohol or do drugs!"

By the time the Lego Movie was over, Luke could walk on his own without falling down! (Ahh...progress!:)

He had a perfectly normal afternoon with lots of time in the sandbox and even a lunch treat from Pa.
Luke is showing everyone the tooth...cavity and all!

Here's hoping for a nice, boring rest of the week!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up

Why is it that weekends always go by so darn fast!

If you got a chance to read my post from Saturday, you already know that my weekend started with lots of emotion!  (Everyone needs a good cry now and again, right?)

On Sunday, the girls sans Ellie, because she was a little under the weather, went to my sister-in-law's bridal shower.  It all went very smoothly and everyone had a good time.  My sister-in-law, Julie, looked so happy!  My mother-in-law did a wonderful job putting it all together!  The cake and decorations were all homemade by her and looked beautiful.  It was nice to meet Julie's future in-laws, who were all very nice and extremely happy themselves to be welcoming Julie into their family.

Sunday was also the opening game of football season for the Patriots.  As I've mentioned in the past, our house is pretty full of Patriot fan-atics!  In fact, my mother-in-law is the biggest fan out of everyone so I was pretty shocked that Julie's shower was planned for a Sunday!  (Turns out that she didn't check the game schedule before she booked the hall.  When Julie started opening her gifts, my mil jokingly called out, "Hurry up, 15 minutes until kick-off!";)  

Unfortunately, at least the second half of the Pat's game would have been good to miss.  They played terrible in the second half and ended up losing...which always puts a small dark cloud over the men in my family!

Jay had some extra frustration when he decided to fix the leaky kitchen sink while I was gone to the shower.  It's one of those things that should be a quick fix but always ends up taking more time then you think.  It didn't help that the new part he picked up at Home Depot looked the same but wasn't quite right.:(  He got it put (mostly) back together, and hopefully we can get the right part this week to completely stop the leak....but it's better then before at least!

The day ended well...dinner, then a walk for Jay and I together, and just all sitting on the couch watching Wipeout.

I think if there was a do-over, Jay would have just left the sink dripping!
(I'm sure Tom Brady wishes he could have a do-over, too!;)

On the bright side, we are getting a new fridge this week!  My parents very generously offered to buy us one...I think they felt bad that half of our fridge is held together by duct tape and really way too small for all the groceries we buy.  So our 21 cu.ft. capacity fridge is being replaced by a 31.6 cu ft. capacity fridge with a bottom freezer and french doors.  I.can't.wait!

Luke's favorite part is that it's a "water fridge"!

Putting in a bigger fridge means changing around the kitchen and dining room.  (There are always projects happening around our house!)  I will get some before and after pics to share later in the week once the fridge arrives....and once I clean the house so I won't be embarrassed to show you the before and after pics!


Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Art of Letting Go


Entering into the stage of young adulthood is a really challenging time for parents.  It's not easy to see your kids grow up in a lot of ways.  Decisions become bigger, consequences can be life-altering, and having less and less control takes a lot of getting used to.  Letting go....praying and hoping they make good choices....learning when to give advice and when to just listen(and bite your tongue!)...it's all kind of emotionally exhausting.

After all, we have spent our whole lives loving, protecting, and raising these children that God has given to us.  All those long days and sleepless nights and worries over whether they were eating the right way, doing well in school, had the right friends, (and so on because the list is probably endless) all of a sudden have a shelf life!  Those little ones with tiny fingers and toes are now as tall as, or bigger than us!

These new young adults, so excited to jump into their quickly expanding lives full of seemingly endless possibilities, can't seem to understand why us parents aren't as quick to show excitement about all this impending change!  I know that it's hard for me to balance the joy to see my children turning into young men and women with the ache in my heart over what their growing up and out means for me.

Right now, it's Jon who has jumped with both feet into his post high-school life.  Starting college, working, meeting new friends, joining different clubs, thinking about doing a semester abroad in Germany(it's so far away with so much turmoil happening in the world!).....lots of new opportunities that are happening at lightning speed!  I am excited to see what plans God has for his life.  (Mike and Andrew's, too!)  But, it's a challenge to embrace all the change and realize that we have reached a point of no return with our three oldest children....and Sarah's not far behind.  (Oh, Lord, please give us strength!)

Mom's spend so much time carrying our children and being there to guard them as they learn to navigate the world on their own.  Being sidelined to the role as cheerleader is not an easy transition.

You may wonder, Jon, why it seems that it's so hard for me to "let go".

Well, that's because to us....

You will always be that baby that I pulled close to me as you gave your first cry and I said, "It's ok.  Mommy's here.", as tears threatened to roll down your father's face.

You will always be that toddler with the mischievous look in your eye making your older brothers scream as you toddled away with their toy cow.

You will always be that little boy that crawled into bed and twirled my hair while you went back to sleep.

You will always be that little two year old with a sweet voice so full of happiness after a two days away from you after the birth of your first sister as you found me sleeping in my bed, "Mama you home!".

You will always be that little boy that gently touched my cheeks and said softly, "Mama I want you be happy.", as I grieved 14 days later when that sister went home to God.

You will always be the snuggler.....quick to hug.....the full of energy child that was quick to love and quicker to tease.

You will always be the boy that hated to lose so much that you made up your own rules mid-game.

You will always be the boy that I spent several sleepless nights with because of the pain of a broken collar bone.

You will always be the preteen that was always chatting with friends....serving so reverently at the alter....and not afraid to show and share a faith that is as much a part of you as we are.

You will always be the teenager that was ....driving around in the 'Bishi'... obsessed with pizza from Riccardi's....filled with big dreams to travel...and always trying to coordinate get togethers because you could never spend too much time with your friends

When you look in the mirror and see the confident, outgoing, handsome young man that you have become.....

.....know that when I see you the image is layered.

I am so proud of the confident, outgoing, handsome young man that I clearly see.  But....my heart sees the newborn, the infant, the toddler, the pre-schooler, the elementary school boy, the pre-teen, and the teenager all at the same time.

That's why it's so hard for moms and dads to let go.....

We will continue to love, support and pray for you.  We will all work through the changes and learn to adjust to the new ways we will relate to each other as you keep spreading your wings and make your world broader and wider as you begin all the adventures God has in store for you.

We are figuring out all the changes just like you are!

I know that part of the definition of successful parenting is working ourselves out of a job.  I just can't say that I'm enjoying it all that much right now.  Change is hard!

But....watching my sons growing into independent, successful young men is priceless.



(Just remember, boys, that even though you might not need me much as time goes on, I still need you!)


(Thank God for girlfriends to share a drink with!  Bring on the wine coolers...well, cooler....my friends all know I'm a cheap date!  I have no alcohol tolerance after all those years being pregnant and nursing!)