Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer and Care Free Timelessness

I have totally neglected my blog space the last few weeks!  I've had lots of posts written in my head....but never found the time to get them down on paper!  June is a crazy month for I have lots to catch up on!  I'm hoping a little time spent on posting today will get me back into some kind of blogging rhythm!!!

With school ended and summertime in full swing, I'm trying to figure out our new routine!  I love the slow rhythm of summer....the more relaxed mornings and the extra free time throughout the day!  Once I help Jay out of the house in the morning, the littles and I eat a leisurely breakfast and hang out in our jammies for much of the morning if we don't have any plans.  I love that we were outside at 8am this morning and they were playing in the sandbox in their pajamas!  To me, that just screams summer!  So does the multiple times in the pool throughout the day!  I love that!

Having some kind of structured activity or adventure a couple of days each week is important, too!  Sometimes I need a reason to get out of the house and the kids need a change of scenery so that the days we are home in our jammies for too long or spending lazy afternoons in the pool stay special...and don't become the dreaded "B" word! (boring;)

With a very tight budget and the challenge of having multiple kids over such a variety of age ranges, finding things to do that are fun for the majority and affordable can be tough!  Plus, I don't want to get overwhelmed by all the things I COULD do with them.....I need to leave time for jammie mornings and pool afternoons, too!

What's a mom to do, right?!?

Well, so far, I've decided to just enjoy my kids, pray for what the best activity for us that day is, and see what happens!  You know what? It's been working so far!

The littles have had a couple of play dates, Ellie was invited to sleep over a friend's house, we've gone to the library, had a rainy day movie afternoon with the video we rented from the library, we went out for ice cream once(so far!), and we had a picnic at the beach!   Today I found out there was a circus in town! Since Jay doesn't work tomorrow, he said it would be a fun way to start the long weekend. I will pack some water bottles and we will get a few snacks to share tonight!   So the kids might be tired and cranky tomorrow, but we will have some exciting family time tonight! Bonus...they offered a family coupon, so it was affordable!

Our local theater is offering free movies a couple of mornings each week. They are repeats, but it's still a fun thing to do! I'm planning on using that as an outing most weeks.

My sister sent me info on a local AHA! that's all for kids next Thursday from 5-9.  There are all kinds of activities from touch tanks and rock walls to Lego building stations and Pirate activities.....and Portuguese food. (That will be Jay's inspiration to go!)

I want the summer to be fun and to do things with the kids....and I want to have that carefree timelessness that lazy summer days are known for to recharge before the school year arrives again and busy, busy, busy takes over!

Every year, summer starts and I feel like we have so much time!  Then it ends, and I lament how fast it went and that we didn't do more!  This year, I'm hoping to have a better balance so that, when the summer ends, I can look back at it feeling grateful for the time we had together and the fun memories we made!
Luke loves pool time with Daddy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How Do You Show Love A Thousand Ways?

Today is a special day in our house.....Jay's Birthday!  Last year was a BIG birthday with lots of fanfare!  This year, Jay's birthday is much more low-key with only some of our immediate family coming over for a cook-out tonight!  This year, I had no great ideas for a special gift.  I was a pretty boring gift giver!  Jay has mentioned in the past few weeks about buying some new three button polo shirts and socks.  So I got him those.....Exciting, huh!?! The only thing he really wanted was a particular I got that for him.  There just wasn't a whole lot of inspiration for me this year!

So....I'm trying to make him feel special today!  While tonight's food will include the usual hamburger, hot dog, and linguica cook-out fare, I also plan on making ribs that have a homemade rub! Our sides will be loaded mashed potatoes and my sil is bringing a salad. My mother-in-law is making the cake(her specialty) and I bought Jay his favorite homemade ice cream, coconut almond joy!  Hopefully, it all comes out ok!!! You know what they say...."The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"!

I am so blessed to have Jay as my husband!  He is incredibly loving, selfless, hard-working, and faithful! He is an amazing father to all of our crew....and constantly gives his all to meet all of their needs andto be physically and emotionally present when they need him.  Whether it's playing princesses with Kate, building Star Wars Lego creations with Luke, and doing any myriad of activities with the older, throwing a baseball around, scooter rides, running, or bringing them out for wings, or a pizza, or a beer(!) bc one of the boys wants to talk....Jay is always there for them.  (Even when he would rather be working on one of his woodworking projects or just relaxing on the couch!)

"A picture is worth a thousand words" here's several thousand words worth of why Jay is so loved around here!
1/1 time with Andrew

Daddy and his girls

1/1 time with a shared favorite sports activity!  Go Sox!

One of the countless date nights we have shared with nursing little ones that included grocery shopping!

Luke's favorite past time!  Lego building with Daddy!

Jay loves babies!

Loves time with his girls...

...and his boys!

Keeping it goofy!

Jay just loves spending time with his family!

Eating + family time is even better! ;)

So strange to have a beer with your child who is old enough to drink!

Daddy snuggles are the best!

Daddy with a very little Sarah!

Jay loves us all so much....It's nice to be loved back!

And he certainly is loved!

Happy Birthday, Jay!  I hope today will be a day where you feel as loved as you are!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Weekly Happenings!

I had other blog posts in my head this week but never got around to getting them in the computer!  So here's a little glimpse into our busy week!

1. Growing!

Ellie and Kate had physicals on Monday morning!  Both are doing just fine and have grown a lot!  Kate is up to 33.5 inches and Ellie is 5'6 3/4"!!! I swear she grew overnight last week!!! She is now the exact same height as Sarah and about an inch shorter than me! Sarah was not happy.....she kept repeating "Ellie is supposed to be my 'little sister' "all night! Plus, the doctor said Ellie still has about 2 more years of growing and one major growth spurt! Being tall is good....especially for playing basketball, which is Ellie's favorite sport!  

2. Coin Free
About a month ago Kate swallowed a penny.  I noticed her gag on something then swallow.  I asked her what it was and she said,  "It was money.  The one with the people on it.", very cheerfully in her cute, squeaky voice!  Well, I spent the next several weeks checking her diaper for that penny. (No, she still isn't potty trained! We're working on it!) I never found it...but I can't guarantee that any one else that changed her diaper occasionally diligently "dug for gold"...or copper alloy, really! Or whatever the heck pennies are made of now!

I brought it up to the doctor and she sent us for an x-ray.  Kate was such a good girl and laid super still!  Thankfully, there the x-ray was clear!  Phew!

Luke had heard me talking to Jay the day before the appointment that I thought the doctor would send Kate for an x-ray.  When I picked him up after school, this was our conversation:

Me:  Kate had an x-ray today.
Luke: Oh, cool!  Did you take a picture of it!
Me:  No, I forgot.  I was just happy there was no penny in her tummy.
Luke: Hooray!! (brief pause)  Oh, no, Mommy, that means that the penny got thrown in the garbage! We missed it!
Me: Umm, yeah, I don't think we would have wanted that penny back!

#3 Field Trip
As the school year speedily comes to a close, the kids have some special days to look forward to. I was able to go on a field trip with Luke's class to Save the's a small aquarium and they look for marine life on the beach and then identify what they found.  The building they are in also houses a carousel!  Here's a few pics...

Love that face!

Holding a Sea Urchin

Luke and his cousin, Brayden, on the carousel!
During one of the touch tank sessions, the volunteer was talking about Decorator Crabs:
Woman:  Why do you think Decorator Crabs put moss all over their shells?
Luke:  Because they're gross!!!

#4: California
Mike, Andrew, and Jon are off to California with my parents for 6 days!  My parents have done smaller weekend getaways with the older kids for the last few years on the East Coast.  This trip is a little farther away and longer because of Mike's graduation!  They are landing in LA to go to a Dodgers game....because every trip they do includes a baseball game.  (Toronto, Baltimore, and Washington were former game stops!)  Then they are driving north tomorrow to spend the day in Disneyland.  After that, they spend the rest of their trip in San Diego.  They are super excited and hopefully will not drive each other (too) crazy while they're away together!

#5:  Left Behind
Those of us left behind have a busy weekend ahead, too! Tomorrow, Jay and Ellie are off to the Red Sox Game.  The tickets were Ellie's birthday gift and she is super excited to watch the game and have her Dad for most of the day!

On Sunday, Sarah is being inducted into the National Honor Society at her high school and then right when we get home, Jay will head to the Father/Daughter dance at Ellie's school!  (More 1:1 time! Ellie's Emotional Love Tank should be full after this weekend!)

Guess I have to make an appointment to spend time with Jay! Because I can guarantee that the moments he IS home during the weekend will be taken up by Luke's, "Daddy can you play with me?" and lots of Lego building!

#6: Birthdays
June is a crazy month with birthdays in our family....with a few other celebrations thrown in for good measure!  My parent's wedding anniversary is tomorrow, Jay's birthday is Wednesday, and my Mom's birthday is Thursday!  My birthday is next week followed by Father's Day, Jay's parent's wedding anniversary, and ending with my sister's birthday at the end of the month!  Crazy, crazy, crazy!

#7:  Therese
Today is the day Therese was called home to God 17 years ago. 17 years!  It's funny how you can close your eyes and remember some moments as if they were yesterday.  While the pain has faded over the years, the memories of her short life certainly haven't.

My very good friend, Kim, sent me two verses this morning....

Romans 8:26
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

1 Cor 10:13
13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

When I went to Biblegateway to look up the verses online, this was the verse of the day...
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

We are certainly blessed with friends and family!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Quick Take Friday!

Peter likes to use my phone a lot and takes lots (hundreds!) of random pictures! I was deleting some yesterday.....and realized there are lots of pics that I've taken and then they just live in my phone forever!

So today, I'm sharing a bunch!  Photos are they fit right into Quick Take Friday!

#1: Peter pics
a pic of Peter holding his ipad with a bus pic

Peter is obsessed with pics of St. Anthony's Church

Randon Donkey

Pic of a bus...another obsession

A pic of a pic of himself

Tractors...another Peter obsession
 #2: Sarah

This was taken in a store during her surprise bday trip to Newport!
 I ended up going back before we left and got her the hat to surprise her with on her actual birthday!
 I should have gotten the glasses, too!

 #3: Jon
This was Jon's last day of his first year of college!
His face tells you how thrilled he is that I took it!
 #4:  Generations
This is a pic Kate and I took with my grandfather at a cookout over Memorial Day weekend!
Pepere is 92 and still going strong!
He was in the Navy during WWII and was on one of the supply ships at D-Day.
 His ship was on the way to Japan when the war ended.
He has lots of stories...some very funny and many horribly tragic!
Even at 92, talking about the friends he lost and seeing people die makes him all choked up!
Veterans never forget!
 #4: Legos!
Luke is still obsessed with Legos!  The benefit of being the younger brother with older brothers that also had/have a Lego obsession is that they let him play with things they have kept over the years! In typical boy fashion,one of them had/made an outhouse.  Luke thought it was hysterical to line all the Lego guys up like they were waiting for a turn!

#5:  The Graduation

I took most of the graduation shots with my good camera...but here's a phone pic of my very happy graduate!

Cutie pie Kate who did awesome during the long rides and the 2.5 hour graduation ceremony!

Even a couple shot...a proud dad and mom!
  I still can't believe that we are parents to a college gratuate!?!
Mike gave Jay this sweatshirt at Christmas,
but Jay didn't want to wear it until Mike officially made it through successfully!

#6:  Mulch Man!

Luke LOVES mulch!
 He was psyched when my parents had a giant pile of  mulch delivered!
He got right outside to help!

#7:  Kate

 These 2 pics sum up Kate perfectly!  She's like the gummy bear commercial..."First they're sour, then they're sweet!"  I think she's pouting in the pic bc she didn't want Jay to take it! Lol

She's cute when she wants to be!  Which is most of the time, thankfully!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

An Awesome Memorial Day

We had a totally awesome Memorial Day Weekend! Three day weekends don't happen very often so they are a treat....but this weekend just took the cake!

The previous two weekends had been jam packed between Sarah's Surprise Sweet 16 and Mike's Graduation from college!  So a 3 day weekend with no big committments felt sooooo good!  Having perfect weather just made it that.much.better!

We FINALLY had a chance to get to some items on our long-neglected to-do list on Saturday!  On Sunday, we went to Mass and had the whole day to just relax and spend time as a family before a cookout with my parents at night....and make desserts! An apple crisp, chocolate chip cheesecake, and a red, white, and blue Flag Cake were all created....and devoured by the end of Monday night at the cookouts we were invited to!

THE best feeling is on Sunday night of a long weekend when you know you get to spend another day together as a family on Monday!

On Monday, Jay and I took our younger half to a local parade.  Our good friends happen to live on the parade route, and invited us to come watch!  Family time AND time with friends...yes, please! It was a lot of fun!
Luke...festive and excited!

Our awesome hosts, Phil and Colleen...and their cutie pie, Declan! (their youngest..for now;)
I get to watch Declan a couple of days each week...he is such a good little guy!
We all love having him here!

Kate and Luke

The kids ready and waiting!

Peter came with us...which is always an adventure!
We are blessed to have so many friends that are so accepting of Peter!

The Girl Scouts were throwing candy and Kate couldn't manage to snag any bc the older kids were so much quicker!
One of the girls noticed what happened and came back and handed Kate a lollipop!
So Sweet!

This is how Colleen and I look most of the time!
Keepers of the memories....avoiders of the camera.....
(I'm going to be in trouble for this shot!;)

Ellie is very Patriotic...even with her eyes closed!

Daddy and his little girl!

A little later on in the day we went to another friend's house for a cookout!  It was so exciting to be invited out to 2 different places on the same day! I was giddy! I am so blessed to have lots of great friends!

It was such a great weekend!  I felt so relaxed and recharged on Monday night.  I was sad to see it end, but grateful for all of the blessings!