Friday, March 30, 2012

Bleary Eyed

It was a tough night last night!  Ironically, the baby slept great(7 hours straight!).  It's the toddler who was up at 10:15, 11:30, 12:30, 2:00.....He's so cute and personable during the day but so beastly at night.  My guess is that there was something bothering his belly.  Because he has bad nights frequently I have tried to keep track of what he's eating the night before when they happen.  He definitely has problems when he eats things with artificial the sugar free popsicles I accidentally bought instead of the regular kind.  Last night he had some packaged cookies from his siblings' school fundraiser...I will have to check the ingredients. 

I have honestly not slept an entire night in over 10 years...not since before Peter was born.  Peter always had horrible sleep issues.  We figured out he had a dairy and gluten intolerance at the same time we really knew that he was not developing normally.  It was on our anniversary, October 24, 2003.  I had known something wasn't right for a while.  He was 2 years and 2 months and not saying a word and was just "so hard".  He didn't play with toys, he didn't really interact much with us and he was just constantly all over the place.  I remember making excuses as to why he didn't wave "bye" to people(too busy to focus), or constantly climbing things(just a boy), or constantly spinning pot lids(a game he played).  The lack of speech I couldn't justify, though.  I remember praying feverishly as his second birthday passed and each day felt like a black hole as his speech failed to develop.  The pediatrician we had at 18 months had told us to wait 6 months.  The new pediatrician I got when he was 2 called in Early Intervention but still didn't think anything was concretely wrong....that was all before they started doing autism screenings.  Had they asked the right questions they would have known that Peter didn't have any congnitive language skills either, or point, and he had lost the one word(dada) and the babbling he was doing when he was 15 months old. 

I had actually gone to Mass that October morning in 2003 with Peter and Ellie(who was 6 months old).  A woman came up to me after Mass and said, "I noticed that your son has a lot of signs of Autism. My grandson had the same problems and his were diet related."   I was in shock.  i felt like I was having an out of body experience.  But I also knew in my gut that what she said was was an answer to prayer and the beginning of our journey into the world of special needs. 

I took Peter off milk that very moment.  Jay and I went out to dinner that night and when I called home to check on the kids at 9 my dad said that everyone was fine and Peter was asleep.  I was shocked.  Peter never went to bed before 11 and he was always like an energizer bunny on speed for the few hours before bedtime.  I was sure he would be up all night after going to bed so early....but he slept all night long!  I knew that we were on to something with the diet change.  We removed gluten, too.  Anytime he got into those foods, or anything with yeast, he would be awake for hours in the middle of the night unable to sleep.  Which meant one of us was up for hours trying to keep him quiet so he didn't wake the whole house!  Many times his sensory system was just out of wack and that caused sleepless nights, too.  It probably happened 3 to  4 nights a week until he was about 8 when he seemed to get better.(Right around the time Luke was born!).  Now he only has bad nights occassionally and it's almost always diet related.

Not sleeping is hard.  I thank God for the nights when I am able to be patient after being awakened so many times!(Some sleepless nights are not so pretty.)  I know that Luke will grow out of it...Jon was a tough sleeper too and started sleeping better when he was 3.  I prayed every day that I was pregnant for Kate to be a good sleeper.  It seems God has answered that prayer!  So, hopefully, I am a mere 5 months or so from sleeping more than 3 hours in a row!  I'm not sure my body will know what to do with that much sleep!

A woman we knew with a large family always used to say, "When you get to Heaven, I'll be the one sleeping in the corner."  I think I will be joining her!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finding My Passion

Do you know how some people have something that they do that truly excites them or motivates them?  For some people it might be their profession, or their hobby, or a sport they participate in, or a group they belong to.  I guess I picture a personal passion as something that a person is knowledgable about that inspires them to live life more fully.  I picture having a passion as something that, when shared, can inspire and uplift the people that come into contact with you.  

I admire the friends that I have that I see that in...whether they own their own business, or add beauty to the world with their talents with flowers, or create beautiful craft items, or share their knowledge and encourage women who are breastfeeding. 

My first passion is my family.  It's more than a's my vocation.  I am very blessed that God has given me the husband and the children that I have.  (One little munchkin is snuggled in my arms right now.)  There are certainly moments when I would love to click my heels and be transported to a tropical beach with a comfortable chair, a good book, and a drink in my hand!  But I really do love being a wife and mom.

I really like to read.  I especially like to read memoirs and books and articles about families and mothering and running a home.  I love to know others' ideas and the things that have worked for them...particularly moms of large families.  I also feel comforted when I read about their struggles and mistakes.  Let's face it, there is no perfection in being a wife and a mother!  It makes me feel better that other moms feel the way I do or have made dumb mistakes too.  It helps me to know that I am not alone.      

It often seems that when I am struggling with an issue with one of the kids or feeling bad about something about myself, that just the right book or article seems to makes its way into my life.  It's a little gift of hope that God sends into my life to encourage me or to console me or to teach me.  I would love the opportunity to do that share my experiences and my struggles to encourage others. 

This blog is my small attempt to share.  I am enjoying it.  I have no idea if someday it will lead to something bigger.  (I would love to write articles on parenting amd marriage for a magazine...especially the last page!  That is always my favorite article to read!)  For now, I am trying to just enjoy this moment and be happy that I finally took a baby step to start a blog! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Picture Clutter

Jay glanced at our bookshelf today and one of the books caught his eye.  He asked me about it..."Are we Absolutely Organized?"  I laughed...this morning our house was absolutely UNorganized!  There were 2 unwashed cookie sheets from last night's dinner on the counter, this morning's breakfast dishes in the sink, three loads of laundry piled in the laundry room waiting to be folded, three loads of laundry waiting to be washed, the living room rug needed to be vacuumed, there was clutter on the dining room table, and our bedroom....well, lets just say it needs a major clutter overhaul! 

Since Jay took off today for us to spend time together, I was not going to be able to get to the messes right away.  Cleaning up the general clutter is definitely not my idea of quality alone time!  Disengaging from the way the clutter emotionally is not easy to do.  I always wished that there were laundry fairies and dish fairies but, alas, I always return home to the same piles of dirty clothes and dishes!  (Maybe they do exist but get to my house and think, "No, way!  This house is not worth it!":)

I just need two free hands and about an hour to get the house more organized.  Well, except my bedroom...that needs an entire morning of attention on a day I am feeling very motivated!  But I will get to the laundry and clutter clean up in the main rooms.  What's really been bothering me are all our pictures.  In the past I had been extremely good about staying on top of putting pictures in photo albums.  When I was pregnant I would always spend time before the baby came putting all the pictures I had in albums.  Well, there are six years between Ellen and Luke, so things got pretty ugly!  At one point I organized years worth of photos into shoeboxes by season or special event.  But that was a couple years ago.  Peter likes to look at photo albums and sometimes takes unorganized envelopes of pictures and spreads them on the table to  look at them.  Sometimes he takes out multiple envelopes and, before we notice, has them all spread out and mixed together.  So I am going to be doing a lot of "name that baby" and trying to figure out how old kids are in different pictures.  It's like detective work...Have they lost their two front baby teeth?  What color are the walls in whatever room the picture is being taken?, etc.

It's one of those tasks that the longer you wait the worse it gets.  It doesn't help that our digital camera holds almost 2,000 photos and it's practically full too.  I have been making slow strides with that, though...Jay showed me how to upload the pics onto the computer and I opened an online account to I just have to take the time to choose the photos and send them in to be developed!  Technology is SO not my thing!

Its bothering me and on my heart to organize the photos and write down some of the special memories that we have that the kids have said or done.  I am determined to tackle this project!  I think I will get the girls to help me over the summer, too.  It will be fun going through the pictures together.  Now, all I need to do is get some photo albums......         

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shopping with an (almost) teenager

Yesterday I got to spend some special time with Sarah doing one of my favorite  Sarah has grown several inches this year and had outgrown all of her spring clothes.  So we took Kate and headed to the Galleria.

It was a bittersweet moment when we passed by all the kids stores:(.  Her preference has now completely turned towards the stores geared for teens.  The first store we went to was Aeropostale.  It takes some extra work to shop for summer clothes for girls.  There are so many "short shorts" and half-shirts and innappropriate tank tops.  We were able to find quite a few things that she liked.  I was happy to get out of the store, though.  The music was so loud that we were shouting to each other when we were right next to each other!  I know I am officially "old" when I think music is too loud!

We finished our shopping in the Junior's Department at JCPenney.  Sarah did a good job picking out an Easter Dress and a bathing suit.  We got a pair of dress shoes and some flip flops and were done.

It was nice spending time with Sarah.  She's growing and changing so fast.  It's exciting to see.  It's definitely a little sad, too.  Having Kate to dress in cute baby clothes helps, though.  At least I can still get my occassional Gymboree fix!    

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Why is it that, as moms, we can do dozens of things right every day and still only focus on the couple of mistakes we made in that same day?  Too often I let what's left on my "to-do" list dictate how I feel about myself.  When I feel inadequate, I feel angry at myself and then I usually end up yelling at one of the kids over something superficial.(And then I feel guilty for yelling!)

So, what triggers my "I feel like a bad mom syndrome"?  One of the worst things is when one of the kids outgrows something and I didn't realize it and now they don't have what they need.  That definitely triggers the "how could I not have noticed...I'm such a bad mom" feeling.  Another example is when I'm running late to drop them off or pick them up from practice.  That triggers the "I'm an irresponsible mom" feeling.  Another example is when I forget to make something for a class party.  That brings on the "I'm such a lazy parent and my kid won't feel special" syndrome.

My absolute worst "failure" as a mom is that I almost always forget to put tissues in my purse when I go to church!  Nothing makes me feel like a bad mom more than when my kid sneezes in the middle of Mass, has an obvious need for a tissue, and I can't even come up with a dirty one to give them!  Numerous times some kind women in the pew in front or behind us notices our predicament and comes to the rescue with a tissue.  (And not just a tissue that has been scrunched and wadded in the bottom of her purse either!  I'm talking about a nice, neat tissue that comes out one at a time out of one of those small plastic packages!  That's the sign of an ultimate mom!)  Then there are the times my kid has had to walk though the church covering their nose with their hand to get a paper towel.  That's like announcing to everyone "I have snot on my face because I have a mom that can't even remember to stuff a tissue in her purse!"  Sigh...ultimate failure!

Who knew that a tissue held so much power?!?

Monday, March 19, 2012

When To Hold On and When To Let Go

As you have more children, you learn to let go of things a lot easier.  It's just not possible to completely micromanage everything when there are so many people in the house.  As each child came, it made it easier to distinguish things that were really important and things that really are not as big a deal to warrant my time and energy.

Peter especially helps us let go of expectations.  There are some things that are just not worth fighting over.  For example, he has lots of issues with the clothes he wears.  He has a couple of favorite shirts and pants that he wants to wear to school ALL THE TIME!  When he's home he wants to wear shorts, or pajama pants, and a t-shirt no matter how cold it is outside.  The minute he walks in the door after school he is in his room changing.  I have to make sure that the favorite school clothes end up in the wash.  He tries to just fold them and put them back in his drawer.  Then, in my sleep deprived mornings, I have to try and remember what he wore the day before.  Usually a sniff test will tell me if its clean...but if it isn't, the battle ensues to get him to change without major meltdowns that will set the tone of his day.(His poor teachers!)  I occassionally write to them to tell them that Peter has a drawer full of really nice shirts and pants in many different colors.  It makes me feel better...sometimes I just feel like a terrible parent.  I know they understand..after all, all the kids in Peter's special class have a number of quirks.  I just wish that sometimes the simple things, like wearing different clothes every day, weren't so difficult.

But, really, it could be so much worse.  So what if Peter took a walk around the neighborhood with Jay yesterday in his Patriots pajama pants?  Or if he is wearing the gray jogging pants to school again today!  At least they are clean.......I think?!?  I'm going to run and do that sniff test!     

Friday, March 16, 2012

Body Image

Yesterday the girls tackled their drawers and closet so we could see what still fit(not much) so we would know what to start picking up to be ready for Spring and Summer.  They have both grown several inches and shoe sizes this past year, something that Jay's wallet will not appreciate! 

Sarah and Ellen are about 4 years apart, but they have completely different body types.  Ellen is a much faster grower than Sarah, who is more petite.  Ellen has some extra weight around her middle, while Sarah has a long, lean body.  So they both end up being about the same size in clothes. 

I find it challenging to make sure that I stay positive about Ellie's body image.  We talk a lot as a family about healthy choices, (we generally only have dessert on the weekend and try to have healthy snacks on hand), and we keep an eye on portion size.  Now that the weather is nicer the kids are all spending more time outside.  Mike spends time with Ellie when he's home helping her get ready for softball or organizing wiffle ball or soccer games in the yard with most of the older kids.  Mike had a similar body type as Ellie before he went through his big growth spurt in high school and had an awkward couple years when he felt uncomfortable taking his shirt off in the summer.  So he worries about Ellie feeling bad about herself and does a good job encouraging her to exercise by these fun family outdoor games. 

Ellen doesn't ever talk about her body shape.  She is still innocent and happy go-lucky...she hasn't been tainted by the media's constant push about body image.  I want to keep it that way!  She is a beautiful girl, inside and out!  I want her to feel good about herself and am extra conscious of helping her find clothes that make her feel pretty and flatter the shape she has right now.

Sarah took after Jay's side of the family in terms of metabolism and body type, while Ellie took after me.  It makes me feel bad that she will have to struggle more with her weight than her sister will.  I need to work through and manage my own feelings of guilt regarding body image.  I feel guilty about the genes she inherited.

I definitely struggle about body image.  Having lots of babies, and too little will power(!), has definitely taken its toll over the years.  I tend to be pessimistic in regards to weight loss, too.  It seems so hard and takes so much time to lose the weight that I usually give up before I really get started.  I don't love to exercise, and taking time to do it amid running the house and taking care of the kids is hard.  Taking "me" time makes me feel guilty, too.  (I come from a long line of French Canadian guilt that I am trying not to pass on to my kids!)

I love Susie Orman's quote "Stand in Your Truth.".  It's meant for personal financial truth, which was very enlightening for me over the past couple of years.  But it fits for so many situations in life.  If I "stand in my truth" about my weight/body image, I can look at the situation without the guilt and the bad feelings.  I can simply say I am not happy with the way I look and the way it makes me feel and come up with a plan to change.  Then I can choose to stick to the plan of healthy eating and exercising at least 3-4 days a week.  The toughest part is staying positive and refusing to give up, even when I have a day or two where my choices are not the best.  Instead of berating myself and giving up, I can just choose to start again.  Each day is a new day with lots of opportunities!  I'm working on something for me.  I'm setting a better example for all my kids.  Most importantly, being healthy and caring for the body God gave me will allow me to give more physically(more energy) and emotionally(feeling more positive) to my family and friends.  And, of course, if you lose weight you get to buy new clothes...and I do love to shop!:)


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time Out for Fun

Last night, Jay and I(plus Kate) took the three older boys out for their belated birthday gift.  All their birthdays are in February, but because of Mike and Jon's basketball schedules we had to put it off for a few extra weeks.

Yesterday afternoon my Dad was nice enough to babysit the younger kids and we took the boys to the Providence Place Mall.  We had a really great meal at the Cheesecake Factory. Then we walked around the mall for a little while.  We ended the night at Dave and Busters.  The boys had a great time(Jay included!).  They spent time challenging each other at the basketball shoot challenges.(What a surprise!)  Andrew and Mike had a good time beating Jay's score a couple of times.  I think their other favorites were the Fruit Ninja and Mario Cart games.  We also competed as a family on the horse racing game...that was fun!  Jay, Mike, and I all won a game.  Poor Jon came in second every time. 

It was nice to spend time with the older boys like that and focus our attention on them.  The conversation was light...mostly about sports...but everyone got along really well.  It's so interesting seeing the people they are becoming.  It was also so nice to see them getting along so well and seeking each other out at Dave and Busters to play games together.  That made me feel good.  Some of their personalities are so different that there have been times in the past when I wondered if they would even speak to each other when they are adults, nevermind be close friends.  Nights like yesterday give me hope. 

It was such an emotionally satisfying night.  I loved spending time with my sons and husband.  I loved seeing them have so much fun and show such excitement.  And, of course, the cheesecake was pretty great too!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Keeping the Spark Alive

I have read in multiple places that the most strain in a marriage comes when your children are teenagers and toddlers.  I think we are in trouble since we've had both teenagers and toddlers in the house for multiple years....and will for several more years as well.  In fact, once May comes we will have 4 teenagers in the house!  Sarah is ecstatic about hitting that special birthday.  As for Jay and I, well, we'd rather have them stay little forever.

We have not been blessed with the best sleepers.  Half of our kids were good sleepers.  It appears that Kate will be joining that group.(Thank God!  I prayed every day of my whole pregnancy for a healthy baby that sleeps well!)   I have not slept an entire night since Peter was born 10 1/2 years ago.  Peter has had major sleep issues that have finally gotten better in the past 2 years.  Luke is such a joy during the day, but night comes and it's a whole other story.  He wakes up at least once or twice a night crying(sometimes more)...for water, for me, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all.  I don't do well with letting kids cry it out...and unless I want the entire house awake in the middle of the night that method wouldn't work anyway!

Jay and I are definitely in a time of life when we have to actively schedule time to be alone together.  Weeknights that aren't busy with sports or activities are nice since we get to all have dinner together.  By the time clean up is done and baths are given and the younger kids are in bed, one of us is usually falling asleep on the couch!  At least Mike, and sometimes Andrew, stay up later than we do, so it's almost impossible to have alone time.  Every once in a while we will rent a movie together...if it's a "chick flick" it will usually drive the teenagers from the room! 

The weekends are filled with projects and family time.  Trying to get a conversation together is tough because all the kids at different times want to talk or play...and we want to give them that special attention.  So, every 6 weeks or so, Jay will take a weekday off and we will get a babysitter for Luke so we can spend the school day alone together.(With Kate, too, since she's nursing but she naps a lot:)  It's nice just to have time to talk about things uninterrupted.  It's also nice to talk when we are fully awake!  We go out for lunch together, too.  It's just a really great way to re-connect and give our marriage the attention it needs.  I don't want to become one of those couples who, once their kids leave the nest, look at each other and realize they don't know each other.(Although, by the time all of our kids reach that stage we will have been married for almost 40 years!)

SO..........I endorse a kid free date day....and a good night sleep!  The last two nights Kate slept for 7 hour stretches!  Now I just need to work on Luke!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Everyday tasks

The pleasure of doing a thing in the same way at the same time every day, and savoring it, should be noted." Arnold Bennett
There is something comforting about routine.  There's something so satisfying about the laundry being washed and folded, or the dinner dishes washed and put away, or the living room tidied at the end of the day that just gives a sense of order and comfort.  I will be the first to admit that some days these everyday tasks feel like drudgery!  Some days after dinner is finished and Jay and I sit at the table just a few minutes longer to avoid the task of cleaning up.  I will look at him and joke, "Ok, can you call the maid, please?" 

Everyone in the family, with the exception of Kate and Luke, help out with the after dinner clean up.  Generally it goes smoothly, though some laziness and avoidance occasionally rears its ugly head.  Our sweeper and garbage emptier, who shall remain nameless, often needs to be reminded multiple times to do his jobs.  I just love the tug of war against authority that teenagers sometimes feel is necessary!(insert sarcastic face and eye roll here!)

Saturday mornings are "chore days" in our house.  I love when almost everyone is home, except Mike who works, and we get some extra things done.  I've learned to start early afternoon if the items on the chore list haven't been done then they most likely won't get done.  I write everyone's name on a piece of paper and start with "clean your room" and then give a couple more things that need to be done.  It isn't super difficult, but it's nice to have some extra help to try and keep the house running smoothly and relatively clean.

On the days I really don't feel like doing things, I try to put a thankful and positive spin on the clean up.  For example, I look at the daunting pile of dishes and be thankful I have a dishwasher and am healthy enough to be able to wash the dishes.  And when I look at the never ending piles of laundry, I try to be thankful that all my children are together in our home.  It doesn't make doing the task fun!  But I think it gives me a better least most days!

So, I extend a cheer to all the tired, busy moms who work so hard to make their house a home!  And, now, back to the laundry!  Only three loads to fold and one more to wash for today!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Vacation Memories

I have been looking ahead to summer and trying to consider all the kids schedules and figure out when would be the best time for Jay to request vacation days.  I really enjoy planning for things....parties, vacations, Christmas shopping, and even our weekly meals.  I think it's all that list making....I love lists!  I love considering all the possibilities.  Mostly, I love to shop(!), and any good excuse to make it ok to spend money without guilt makes me happy.:)

I really want to do a real family vacation this year if we can manage to squirrel some money away.  Some years we just aim to do some day trips but it isnt the same as getting away and visiting somewhere new, or somewhere that's a favorite, for a few days.  Plus, I see the time slipping away when all of the kids will be able to come with us.  To vacation all together for more than an extended weekend is almost impossible during the school year now that Mike is in college and on a different vacation schedule and because of all the boys' sports committments.

Jay planned our first real family vacation that did not include my extended family.  (He's a great husband and dad!)  We went to New Hampshire and he found this great condo with plenty of room for all of us.  The kids were younger.  Peter was the baby...probably about 1 which meant Sarah was 3 1/2, Jon was 6 1/2, Andrew was 7 1/2, and Mike was 9 1/2.  Our plans were to visit Storyland.  We got to go in the park for a few hours the first night for a preview with our pre-paid ticket for the next day.  Sarah had just gotten over a fever virus...and, you guessed it, over dinner in the park Jon and Peter both started fading and it was obvious their temperatures were rising.  We picked up some Motrin on the way back to the condo and decided to make the best of the situation.

The next day we gave Jon and Pete up with Motrin and went into the park.  They felt fine as long as they had the motrin and we were trying to salvage this trip.  Thankfully, it was an overcast day so it wasn't very hot(thank God!).  Everyone had a great time.  Other than an incident with Peter having diarrhea all over himself and the carriage(I didn't know where to start cleaning and I wish I had a hose!), it was a good day and when we got back to the condo I stayed back with the sick kids and the others enjoyed the pool and game room with Jay.

The kids remember seeing 2 baby bears near the garbage containers , which we watched from the safety of our condo window.  Mike and I got to see a moose on the side of the road when we went to buy more Motrin and get some ice cream.  The kids had fun in the pool and game room which they all got to enjoy our last morning there since everyone felt better.  It definitely generated lots of family memories...and despite the illness we even went away the following 2 summers to Pennsylvania.(Which have their own funny stories(and illnesses), but I will save those for another day!)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Years Apart

I was thinking last night how interesting it is having children that are so many years apart.  Last night, I was snuggling with Luke and nursing Kate and my three oldest were in our family room watching the commentary on the Super Tuesday results.  It's so strange to have children at such different stages of their lives.  Jay and I both feel that having Luke, and now Kate, really changed our teenagers perspective and helped to keep them more family oriented. 

Mike wanted to come home and spend time with Luke and teach him about baseball and basketball.  Mike is Luke's godfather, too, so they have a special bond.  Seeing how excited Luke is to see his older brothers when they walk through the door makes them feel special and important.  When they hear his squeaky voice say, "Run, Jon, run," and see him take off through the house as fast as he can giggling with anticipation of his brother following him.  (And the ecstatic squeals when Jon chases after him are adorable!).  Or when Luke "tries" to play hide-and-seek by ducking behind a chair and calling out to the closest sibling, "I'm hiding!"  They miss spending time with them when they are busy with sports and work. 

With Kate's arrival, it has become an even bigger factor in the life decisions they are making, especially for Andrew.(Andrew is Kate's godfather.)  Since Andrew is in his junior year there has been a lot of talking about what colleges he wants to apply to.  He doesn't want to be so far away that he can't come home fairly easily on a weekend to spend time with his family, particularly Kate and Luke.  He doesn't want them to grow up not knowing him. 

I think that in a time of life when the focus is all on themselves, having little ones around helps to keep them a little more grounded and selfless.  I think it helps me get through these turbulent teen years better.  When they are "acting like teenagers" and driving me crazy and I feel like I have failed as a mother, they turn around and snuggle with Kate and marvel at her toothless grins or get down on the floor and play with Luke, and I see their gentleness and love and I realize that there is a depth to their emotions that is deeper than what they often show on the surface.  I catch a glimpse of the fathers they will be someday, and that warms my heart.

And just think of the knowledge they will bring into marriage....who doesn't want a husband who knows how to change diapers!?!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just an Ordinary Day

Marvelous Monday?  Well....I'm trying to put a positive spin on a day when it is usually tough to get out of bed and get going after a nice weekend.  Everyone was off to school/work as usual except Ellie who picked up a fever virus and is spending her day resting on the couch.  It's nice to see the sunshine through the windows and spend time with Luke and Kate.  I love listening to Luke talk right now.  He has the sweetest little voice and is so expressive!  His favorite show is Octonauts right now and after he watches it he pretends to "save" sea creatures with his "big truck."  It's so cute to see his pretend play skills...and it makes me feel good to see him developing as a neurotypical child.(After Peter's diagnosis, developmental milestones for the younger children took on a whole new meaning.)

So today I am just grateful for an ordinary big catastrophe, no multiple commitments on the calendar tonight, no huge project I'm trying to accomplish.  Just the normal laundry, dishes, diaper changes and the precious everyday moments that I am trying hard not to miss or take for granted.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Better Half

I have been incredibly blessed with the gift of my husband.  He has always worked so hard to provide for us so that I could stay home and care for the kids.  He is an awesome dad who loves being a daddy!  He snuggles with his baby girl and lights up when she gives him a lopsided grin.  He brings Luke in the garage with him for hours and lets him "help" with his projects(we have lots of small holes in the drywall from Luke imitating Jay with the drill!)  He always gets to all the older kids sporting events despite his crazy work schedule.  He is much more patient than I am...and he is incredibly good with Peter.  He is always willing to help me with whatever needs to be done to keep the house somewhat organized. 

He recently took a couple of cooking classes through the parish.  He woke up early this morning and prepped potato perogis(one of the kids' favorites), which we had for dinner. Then he made pancakes for everyone(because they are Luke's favorite).   And tomorrow he is making a portuguese dish he learned to make in the cooking class. He wanted to give me a break.(He definitely spoils me:)

In our marriage...he is definitely the better half!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Altered Plans

Kate is not interested in letting me get anything done using two hands today!  She gives me just enough time to start a task and then needs me again.  That makes it tough sitting and nursing her and looking at messes everywhere.  I try to keep reminding myself that this season of infancy goes by so fast and that there will always be messes to clean. 

It's so hard not to let my feelings of inadequacy rule my emotions.  I'm home all day but I can't always get the house clean, or all the laundry washed and folded, or get the grocery shopping and banking done now that I have an infant and a toddler in the house with me all day.  It's hard to overlook the chaos it creates around me and still feel calm inside.  I want to be a good steward of my home and today is one of those days that I am failing miserably. 

My expectations today did not include a grumpy baby.  Of course, that's probably my fault since I ate french food at BCC yesterday.  It was delicious, but Kate isn't used to it and I don't think it is agreeing with her. 

"This too shall pass."  This is an opportunity to "die to self" put aside my plans for this little one who needs some extra snuggles and nursing.  It really isn't that difficult...but I am definitely lacking the inner peace despite my acceptance of how today is going.  I guess I still need to work on separating my self worth from my ability to get through my to-do list!   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Life's Big Steps

I can't believe that I have a 19 year old son in college.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I was a 19 year old in college!  My life was quite a bit different from Mike's though.  My first year of college included getting married and having my first child.  It was an exciting and very crazy time.  It's hard when stages at your life happen all at once instead of spread out over time the way they are meant to.  It was very hard learning to be a college student, grown-up, wife and mother all at the same time.  I am very thankful that, despite our young age, Jay and I received the grace to have a successful marriage. Our early marriage was a crazy time.  Thankfully we were too young to have many expectations of how things were supposed to be.  Within the first 6 years of our marriage we both graduated with undergrad degrees, had 4 children, lost one of those children, and Jay earned his Master's Degree in Physical Therapy!  I look back at it now and I don't know how we did it!  It was definitely God's Grace. 

I'm thankful that, at least right now, our 19 year old is still working on becoming a man who will be able to support the family he hopes to have one day.  I think it's definitely easier working on life's big steps one at a time!