Friday, August 31, 2012

5 Minute Friday

I'm trying something new today!  It's a 5 Minute Friday "Flash Mob".  I write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt that is provided without pre-planning or trying to be all perfect.(Like that happens any other day anyway!  Jon is timing here goes nothing!
Today's Word of the Day:


I tend to not like change...I can deal with change if my favorite ice cream flavor is out and I have to choose another....that's about it!

Change feels like I have guzzled 3 large DD coffees at once....all jittery and crawling out of my skin and there's nothing I can do about it.

I wrestle and wrestle with change...with the occasional tantrums and frustration when I realize that denying change will happen is a futile effort.

Even good change is hard and requires extra energy and time...and usually money.  All of which we tend to be short of.

The only real change I like is buying new furniture or new clothes for my family...and occasionally for myself depending on how I'm doing with the body image demons that day!  But that takes money, too.(refer to last paragraph...)

I can do all things with God's grace...but sometimes I forget to ask.
STOP....5 minutes are up!
Five Minute Friday
Also hooking up with Paloma @
The Coffee Shop

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thankful Thursday

~Today I am thankful for a beautiful, sunny day.
~I am thankful for the love of my family and the inspiration of my friends.
~I am thankful for a loving, faithful  husband who is also my best friend.
~I am thankful for my children.
~I am thankful for my home.
~I am thankful that somehow we always make it through the week financially...even on the weeks there is                  more week than money!
~I am thankful that God always provides, especially when things don't go as we planned it.
~I'm thankful my husband is not a perfectionist and does not have OCD because I would be in SO much trouble as a house cleaner!
~I'm thankful that I am not the one in control, because God's plans are always better than mine.(Even when it doesn't seem that way at first...)
~I'm thankful for the chance to have another day to love and serve my family better and more fully.(Or at least try to!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


And today there are two.....two munchkins left at home that is.  Everyone is back at school except Mike, but he's working.  So, Kate and Luke are my companions today.

After everyone else left this morning, I shut off the tv.  Kate was nursing and Luke was playing with his trains on the floor.  Except for his occasional toddler chatter, it was so quiet!

Honestly, it was delightful!  I miss my other kids and love having them home...but a break from all the chaos is really nice, too.

Luke and I read for a little while, then he helped me switch a laundry load and we headed outside.  Kate loves crawling around outside!  Luke wanted to play in the dirt and "make roads" with his trucks.(surprise, surprise!)  We pretended to be excavators and tow trucks, and then we ran around the yard several times at Luke's suggestion.

It amazes me that Luke has such a great imagination and understands so many different concepts already.  He wanted me to chase him and when I was almost ready to grab him he called, "time out" with a giant grin.  Then, after a 10 second pause, he yelled "time in" and took off running again.

It surprised me that he understood that concept as a newbie 3 year old!

It also reminded me of Jon.  Jon was a little older...probably 5 or 6.  Jon used to be a sore loser so he would make up his own rules in games that worked to his advantage.  For example, one day he was playing baseball in the yard with Mike, Andrew, and my dad.  Jon hit the ball and my dad was just about to tag him with the ball when Jon yelled out, "Timeout!  This is a "no tag zone!","and he gestured with his hand to include the area all around him.  It was funny!

When Luke yelled "timeout!"  it brought me back to all those years ago!  It's funny how a similarity can transport you so quickly back to the past!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

And So It Continues....

Two more kids off to school today.  Peter started his program and Andrew started his first day of senior year!  Yikes!  How did that happen?

I can't help thinking about Andrew's first year of school.  Andrew went to preschool at our parish school.  To say that he was excited about school would be a lie.  Andrew was a quiet and more introverted kid.  We always called him our little professor...very smart and serious.  When Andrew started wearing glasses when he was 6, it just completed the nickname:)

He did not enjoy all.(Kind of ironic that God put him in our family, huh?!?)  The first day of school, Andrew's seat was at a table with a set of triplets.  They were all crying.  Loudly.  Poor Andrew was overwhelmed.

Andrew had a great teacher and a nice class, but he did not enjoy preschool.  He never cried about going.  But he always walked into school looking like he was walking into prison.  It was so sad.

Halfway through the year, Andrew's teacher had a baby and was out for 2 months.  That was hard on Andrew, too.

I remember walking Andrew to class one day during the winter.  He told me he didn't want to go to school.  I told him he had to go to school to learn.  "I can learn from books," came the answer from the child that taught himself to read.

I told Andrew he needed his teachers.  Andrew answered, "You can be my teacher, Mommy.  Besides, I already know how to stand in line!"

...out of the mouths of babes:)

Thankfully, Andrew does not feel the same way about high school as he did about pre-school.  Andrew is still quiet and serious....but he has grown tremendously in his involvement in school and church groups and activities.  

I can't believe he is a senior!  I'm so not ready to do this again!

Monday, August 27, 2012

And So It Begins....

Today is the end of summer vacation for Sarah and Ellen.  Andrew and Peter start tomorrow and Jon starts Wednesday.  Mike has a slightly longer reprieve since he starts after Labor Day.

The morning definitely has that Fall feel, though by lunchtime it will feel like a warm summer day.

Reaching this day leaves me with some sadness.  Sarah starts her first day of the last year of middle school.  I am definitely in denial about that.  Ellie is excited about 4th grade and seeing all of her friends again.  I will miss having my girls home, though.  Lukie will miss his playmates.....he calls them "my girls", too.  Luke loves his big sisters!

Tonight, Kate said "da da" for the first time.  Actually....she said it for the first, second, third and fourth time...and each time it was directed only to Jay.

"Da da" melted!

A much needed boost to a tough day for Jay.  His newest little girl has him as wrapped as Ellie and Sarah:)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Moments

I think I'm cherishing this weekend more than I have any other weekend this summer.  Because it's the last weekend before school starts I want every moment to soak in and last as long as it can.

This afternoon, Jay and I took Peter, Ellie, Kate and Luke in the pool.  It is such the perfect day here today! Jay was making a whirlpool with Ellie and Luke, Peter was playing on the swings, and I was sitting on the edge with my feet in the water with Kate on my lap.  I was just soaking in the sunshine and enjoying our backyard.  You of those peaceful moments when you are just thankful to be present and alive and full of joy.

As I sat there trying to absorb every moment  of our time together I considered....did I do enough of this "just being" and living in the moment this summer.  It just felt so good!

I asked Jay, "Did we have enough of these moments this summer?  Did we take enough time to "just be" and enjoy the special moments of summer and this particular time in each of our kids' lives?"

Why is it, as moms, that we always wonder if we did, or are, enough?  Were there enough happy moments, or enough time together, or did everyone feel enough love?

Or maybe that's just me!?!

Jay's answer to my question?  "We had a great summer!  You are a really good mom."  (Awww...what a good husband!:)

Maybe it felt so complete and special because it's the last weekend.  Maybe since there is no pressure for "what do we do later" or "needing to plan more" that it was easier to "just be".

Whatever the reason, I am grateful for today and our time together.

Seeing summer come to an end is definitely bittersweet!

Friday, August 24, 2012

We Made It To Friday....Barely!

Friday...Friday...We made it to Friday!

It has felt like such.a.long.week!  Tough to come off of a vacation week and dive into the get ready for school, high school sports begin, a last minute pool party for Ellie and all the other craziness that goes on in a house with 8 kids!

For a little added craziness, Jay woke me up this morning telling me that Andrew hurt his wrist playing two hand touch football last night with his friends.  It turns out that Andrew tripped and fell on his wrist, but it wasn't bothering him all that much when he got home last night.  He retreated to his room without telling us about the incident.  At 1am the pain woke him up.  He tried icing it for a while but woke Jay up around 2 because it hurt so much.  Jay, who is also a physical therapist, gave him ibuprofin and wrapped it in an Ace bandage.  Jay's guess was that it was broken.

After 2 hours in the orthopedist office late this morning, his guess was confirmed.  Andrew had a "partial fracture" in his right wrist...and yes, he is right handed....and, yes, school does start next week so hopefully it will heal quickly because he will be doing a lot of note writing this year.(And his handwriting is tough enough to read with his dominant hand!)

The good news is that he can still run cross country with the splint on.  Cross Country is Andrew's favorite sport so we are SO relieved that he will not miss any of it.  Especially since this is his senior year!

Oh boy, this week has been challenging!  It isn't quite over yet, either, since I have a meeting at the girls' school tonight.

I'm looking forward to a not so crazy weekend(at least so far), with a good mix of socializing and quiet time! Hoping for a nice day Sunday to head to the beach for a while, and maybe a trip to our favorite local ice cream shop, to celebrate the last day of summer for Sarah and Ellie before they start school on Monday.

Hope you all have a great weekend, too!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Confessions from a Wannabe Shopoholic

I love to shop.  I would probably be a shopoholic if I had the time to shop....or the money...or if I lacked the presence of guilt every time I use my credit card!

So, when I have to shop for something, it's a real treat!  Since cooler weather is coming, (I love Fall weather!), there are a couple of people that need some clothes.  These couple of people happen to be the most fun to shop for!  (Uh oh, I'm in trouble already!)

You guessed right...Luke and Kate need clothes!  Baby girl makes me giddy just thinking about it.

A couple of days ago, my inbox contained the 2 dozen ads for clothing stores that we seem to receive every day!  I started deleting them until I got to the Gymboree ad.  Yes, Gymboree is my weakness.  And, no, sadly, I did not delete it.  Who can turn down 40-60% off Gymboree?  I love the colors and the cuteness and I avoid the store like the plague because my self control turns to mush.

So......I spent some time that first day browsing through all those cute little girl clothes!  Since Kate is a completely different size from last year she needs quite a few things.(Yay for me.. :( for Jay).  I do have a couple outfits from friends and a couple from my mom for Kate....and a few things for Luke.  

What harm does it do to put the outfits I really like in the shopping cart?  I can go through and delete things after, right? I can....really.

Cute little outfits...matching pants and shirts.  Ridiculously cute jacket but even I was unwilling to look over the price.....I did not put everything into the shopping cart!  And the tights....I fell in love with the orange striped tights that go with the shirt with the pumpkin on it!  Little jean skirt with pumpkins?  Jeans with little sunflowers on them?  Adorable!  But....I could get a plain jean skirt and regular jeans for cheaper at Old Navy that she could wear all winter!  So I opened a new tab and hopped over to their site.  Uh-oh, now I'm working on two shopping carts!(But technically saving money by not just buying from Gymboree!)  So it's a good thing:)

Each day since then I have spent a little time tweaking the shopping cart.  Of course, it seems for everything I take out I put something else in!  I'm still hesitant to complete the order because we're playing catch-up with a couple things and I don't want to overwhelm the budget!  I think waiting 10 more days should do it!  (Plus, maybe by then some items will sell out and will lighten the shopping cart!) I LOVE to shop!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ready...Get Set...School...Whether I Like It Or Not!

I have very mixed feelings about school starting next week.  I enjoy not having to do the crazy morning routine during the summer.  I like having my kids around me(at least most of the time!;)

I feel a little..ok, a lot...overwhelmed with the impending beginning of the school year.  I feel like I am not enough mom to go around.  I hate feeling inadequate.

The downside of having children that are such a wide age span is that they all have so many different needs.  I want to be the mother that each of them needs.  Kate's needs are easy in that she just needs me....Kate's needs are hard because she always needs me!  Luke is still very attached to me and needy, too.  Ellie needs the nurturing that any 9 year old a little extra help learning to be organized with her schoolwork and her belongings.  She is also approaching that benchmark of beginning to be less of a little girl and more of a preteen.  That means those mother/daughter talks about hygiene and body changes need to happen more often.  And I want to enjoy these last moments of her "little girl" years.

Peter struggled with behaviors last year and during the summer in school.  It makes my stomach knot just thinking about those daily notes coming home again!  If he could just do his work without all the behaviors he would learn so much more.

Sarah is going into 8th grade and will have an exciting year heading to a big finale of elementary/middle school.  Big changes are coming!

Jon is heading into junior year, a very important year academically.  A fact I will be repeating many times over the year.  (I've already warned him!)  It will be the year we begin exploring choices for his future.  Jon is gearing up for soccer season, then basketball season, then volleyball season.  I'm gearing up for taxi service!

Andrew is entering into senior year.  He has a challenging school schedule, cross country in the fall, working part time, and still needs to do college visits since he continues to flip flop about what he wants to study.(Ugh!)  Andrew will need some...hmm..encouragement to stay focused and organized.  Another teen with "Big changes coming!"

And, last but not least, Mike will be finishing his second year of community college and graduating with an Associates Degree.  Mike will be playing basketball, (which has a completely insane schedule!), as well as taking a full load of classes and working part-time.  He still needs to do college visits since he has dragged his feet in looking up information for the four or five schools he has narrowed his list down to.  He is still focused on teaching and also hopes to coach basketball.  Mike is another teen(who won't be a teen anymore come February!) that needs encouragement to stay focused and organized and with "Big changes coming!"

This will be an exciting year....with lots of changes looming on the horizon.  All good things, but change is hard none-the-less!  Especially on mom...who is not ready to have her children leave the nest.  And, yet, at the same time, I am helping them to do just that.  Ironic, isn't it?!?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Birthday That Almost Wasn't

Today is a very special day for our family.  Today we celebrate my niece Mya's first birthday!  Now, all first birthdays are special, but Mya's is extra-special!  A year ago, doctors could not stop Mya's arrival into the world at only 23 weeks gestation.  A year ago, this feisty little girl that some doctors took a chance on, (when others were ready to just send my sister-in law home saying there was nothing they could do), survived and thrived despite the odds and the risks and the unknowns.

Then, Mya weighed in at 1lb 5oz!  Now she continues to gain and grow and is over the 16lb mark.  Mya is a typically developing baby that is reaching all the benchmarks an 8 month old should reach.(Which is how old she would be if she had waited until her December due date!)  The developmental doctors that still follow her say that she is 1 in a be born so early and small and not have any physical or developmental issues!

The roller coaster ride of her early birth and four months in the NICU was not easy for her family...especially Mya's mom, Jackie.  Jackie endured bed rest and all the uncertainty and fear of Mya's early birth and question of survival and complications ....daily visits to see Mya, and she couldn't even hold her those first few weeks!

I still remember the first pic of Jackie holding Mya...the peace on Jackie's face was unmistakable!

Mya had no big complications in the NICU.  So many people were praying for Mya and her family before, during, and after Mya's birth.  Those prayers carried everyone through those first scary months.

Mya came home the day before Christmas Eve.....the best.Christmas.present.ever as far as her family was concerned!

Today is a special day!  Thank-you. God, for the gift of baby Mya!

Above: Mya after birth and Mya today
Below:  Jay with Kate and Mya (Mya is his goddaughter, too) ay Mya's birthday party.  Kate and Mya's due dates were only 10 days apart(Mya was due December 12th and Kate December 22nd)  We are so grateful they will be growing up together!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to Real Life

It's SO hard to get back into daily life after a vacation!  I so don't want to deal with the laundry and the dishes and the bills after such a care free week!

The girls start school a week from today!  I can't believe that the summer has flown by so quickly.  We have to shop for their school supplies this week....we were able to get school shoes on Saturday.  This time of year is always so expensive!

This will be an exciting year!  Mike will be graduating from the 2 year college he is attending and applying into another college to finish his degree.  Andrew will be graduating from high school and Sarah will be graduating from 8th grade.  (June will be an extra crazy month in 2013!)

I have to say that I am not looking forward to having the crazy morning rush to get everyone ready and out the door for school.  Luke is going to be devastated when all his playmates are only available after 2:30.  It will be a tough adjustment for him.

We had a really good summer overall.  As summers come to an end, I always feel some sadness and regret that I didn't do more with them.  Did I connect with them enough?  Did they feel loved enough?

Those feelings are even more intense as we sit on the edge of our teenagers getting ready to step out on their own.  The moment has been delayed briefly because Mike chose a commuter college for the first two years, but we don't know where he will end up after this year or where Andrew will go.  Since Jon's a junior this year, his time living home full time may be coming to an end quickly as well.

I'm SO not ready for this stage!

Trying to keep everything in perspective and living in the moment each day and enjoying where everyone is right now isn't always easy!

Deep Breath.  One day at a time.

Now time to work on that laundry!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

All About Jon

Yesterday, Jon made a half joking/half serious comment that I haven't spent much time blogging about him.  So, as I did with Andrew several weeks ago, today is All About Jon!  (Remember, Jon, sometimes you have  to be careful what you ask for!)

Jon is our 3rd son....3 years younger than Mike and 12 months younger than Andrew.  They were all born in February so it was always a little crazy having three young boys so close in age!

When Jon was little, he was very attached to me.  When I would get the occasional night out, I would leave after I got Jon to sleep.  Unfortunately, Jon was one of our terrible sleepers so he always woke up at some point.  My dad always said that he would pray that Jon wouldn't wake up when he was babysitting because Jon would just cry for me for an hour while he walked him around trying to distract him and get him back to sleep.

Jon is the practical joker of the family.  He claimed that role when he was about 15 months old.  Mike and Andrew were playing with farm animals and they started yelling.  I headed into the room to investigate just in time to see Jon toddling out of the room in his awkward baby run holding a cow in his hand and with a giant grin on his face and a wild gleam in his eye!

My first thought was, "Oh crap, we are in trouble with this one!"

Jon can tease like the best of them!  (But he doesn't take being teased very well himself!)  When Jon gets that gleam in his eye, we know he is up to no good.  Plus, when he gets that idea in his head he starts smiling and can't stop.

Sometimes he doesn't know when to stop teasing.  We were frequently concerned with his well being when he was younger because we were sure Mike would snap one day and start to pummel Jon.  That was when Mike was twice as big as Jon!  Luckily, Jon was faster than Mike.  You could frequently see Jon racing around the house giggling like a maniac as one of his siblings chased after him yelling, "I'm gonna hurt you!!!", because of the merciless teasing Jon had just doled out!

Though his teasing has slowed down a little as he' still occurs frequently.  Take our family vacation to Hershey.  Jon used the free sample of chocolate he got at Chocolate World, that melted in his pocket, in an "interesting" way.(I apologize in advance for the "toilet humor" to moms that grew up without brothers and only have daughters...pun intended!)

Jon came running into my hotel room with the his signature laugh and gleam in his eye saying, "Mom, come look what I did.  Dad's giving Luke a bath and hasn't even noticed!"  Then, he went in the bathroom with a disgusted face and said, "Dad, what's that!"  Jay thought it was poop and called to me.  (Because in our house, scenes like this are totally possible!)  Jon was totally proud of this practical joke.  His comment..."I thought the finger smears on the tank were a nice touch!"

Jon makes up for his lousy sleeping as a child by taking daily naps.  He can fall asleep anywhere!(Just like my dad.)  His funniest sleep story (so far) was falling asleep on the woman's shoulder who was sitting next to him in an IMAX theater on a trip with my parents(He was 12).  His siblings claim he has "controlled narcolepsy".

Jon has always been an outwardly loving child.  He was always a snuggler.  He would sit in my lap and twirl my hair.  He gave great hugs!(still does)  He was always very sweet...except when he was teasing.

Jon loves candy, (I think he's addicted to sour watermelons), watching Glenn Beck, following the Red Sox, Patiots and Celtics, and watching soccer matches on tv.  He loves playing basketball, eating ice cream, and being involved as an alter server and in our church's youth group.  Jon likes to travel and is currently trying to convince my parents that they would like to take him on a cruise.  Jon loves his siblings(usually) and loves to rile up the little ones and to share the experiences that he enjoyed as a little boy with them.(He recently told me that I can only buy primary colored play-do for Luke so that he has the joy of mixing his own colors.)

Jon is probably the most outgoing of all of our children...he talks to everyone.  We've often jokingly said he should be a politician....and, ironically, he has begun considering that profession recently after years of speaking about being an engineer.(He has always been great at of his nicknames is mathman.  Jon gets that skill from Jay's dad!)

Though at times he drives me absolutely crazy(like when he is making his siblings scream!), he has been one of  our easiest kids to parent(at least so far).

There are a few other funny stories I could share, but those would embarrass him.  And with a tease, you always need a little I need at least a few things to hold over his head every once in a while!  
 You this pic!(lol...just kidding!)

Who would have thought that threatening to blog something could be so useful:)  (Love you, Jon)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Home Again, Home Again!

Home again, Home again jiggety, jig.  Home Again, Home Again feeling like pigs.(Well, just a little!)

It's not easy being around all that chocolate, you know!

We had such a great time at Hershey Park.  We had some great family time and made some great memories.   The kids got along great despite all being on top of each other for 5 days.  They even did great on the long ride home....even with Luke singing the Bob the Builder theme song refrain about 6,000 times!

I think they all appreciated sleeping in their own beds last night!

I can't believe we went....and I can't believe we're back!  It's always a little sad that something you spend so much time planning and waiting for goes by so quickly!

The whole family had a great time.  They all loved the rides and the water park and the museum and, of course, the chocolate!  We have 18 Hershey cups from milkshakes over the days we were there(some people got sundaes or ice cream cones).

Mike mentioned this morning that he was having Hershey withdrawl and squirted some Hershey syrup in his coffee!

Some of my personal favorites were:

~Kate sitting in her swim suit splashing the water with her pudgy hands.

~Luke reaching out to hold my hand as we slid down the kiddie slide together with a 1,2,3, wheeee!

~Seeing Jon and Mike's faces completely lit up in a huge grin as they ran to get in line for another water slide.

~Peter and Sarah's excitement as they headed off to, (yet another!), roller coaster.

~Ellie's excitement over the coal cracker(a water flume ride)...which she got to go on twice:)

~Andrew sitting with Luke on the kiddie rides because he's such a great big brother!

~When Luke's kiddie ride would stop he would look at us and say, "I'm back!", even though he only traveled in a circle:)                                                 

~Seeing Jay relaxed and having fun joking with the older kids and swimming in the hotel pool with the little ones crawling all over him!

 One of our Favorite Places!!!
Fun Poses:)
  Jay teasing one of the kids!
 Daddy with his little girl:)

 Ellie in  the butterfly house with a yellow butterfly on her right shoulder!
Brotherly Love!
 Too much fun!
Our Normal Chaos:)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lost and Found and Fun

We are in the middle of a fun family vacation in Hershey, PA.  We spent a fun day in the park yesterday.  The older kids loved the roller coasters and Luke enjoyed the kiddie rides.  We spent hours in the waterpark, too, until everyone started to get a little cold and waterlogged!

On our way to our locker to change, we lost one of Luke's sandals.  Jay retraced our steps but didn't find it.(Ugh!)

Peter had been waiting to go on a roller coaster for a while and was starting to lose it so Jay took him and Jon and Sarah while the rest of the kids went with me to try and find some water shoes for Luke.  There were none in his size:(

As we were walking back to find Jay, I saw Luke's sandal on top of the garbage can cover!  Someone must have found it on the ground and put it up there!  Thank-you, St. Anthony!  I was so grateful!

Today, we went to Mass for the Assumption. Then we went to Hershey Gardens...which was beautiful.  They had a butterfly house, too, which I've always wanted to go to.  Ellie had several butterflies land on her....and she loved it.  Poor Sarah was really hoping a butterfly would land on her, but they didn't:(  One landed right on Kate's pudgy little wrist but it flew away before I could snap a picture!

At lunch, Peter looked at me and said, "I'm happy."  It was completely unprompted by me and was a nice treat!(Even sweeter than the chocolate:)

We went to the Hershey museum, too.  It was set up really well and SO interesting!  We all enjoyed learning about the man behind this big company.  We were impressed by how much Milton Hershey did for his community.

After some pool time, we had a great dinner and then headed back to Chocolate World for dessert. We also saw the 3D movie.  It was very cute:)  Peter LOVED it.  He was giggling and jumping up to try and grab the images.  It was hysterical to see him so excited!

Jon asked me something yesterday when we were in Hershey Park.  They were all having a ball on the tube rides and water slides.  Andrew spent some time with the older kids and then offered to come hang with me in the kiddie area with Luke and Kate.  Jon had run up to me and asked, "Are you having fun, Mom?"  And I was, but not for the same reasons that they were.

I looked at him and said, "I'm having fun watching you have fun!"

And I was.  Seeing the teenagers completely excited and happy and enjoying themselves is a lot of fun.  Seeing Luke running around the kiddie pools so independently and looking at me to make sure  I see everything he's doing is so incredibly cute.  The things he comes out with cracks me up.  Even Kate was having a ball sitting next to me in an inch of water, splashing and smiling.

What mom isn't happy to see her children so happy?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A (funny) Past Vacation Adventure

I can't help but think about our last visit to Pennsylvania as we prepare for our current trip.  At the time, we had only 6 kids ranging in age from 15 months to 11 1/2.  That particular trip started near Philadelphia at Sesame Place.  It was a blast.  All the kids had fun...even the oldest.  The best part of the day was the last 2 hours.  We had gotten there a little later than we wanted to but it worked to our advantage because by dinner time most families were heading out. The wait at all the slides and tube rides became almost nonexistent.  So the kids got to go on lots of rides with little wait.  Ellie and I hung out together in the kiddie pool area and she splashed away like a pro!

The second day of our trip we drove towards Gettysburg.  To save some money...and because at the time we were younger and more adventurous....we decided to try camping at the state park.  On the website it looked beautiful..olympic sized swimming pool and a new playground.  It did have those things...about a mile from where our tents would be.

It showed that there was a small playground on the online park map near our site.  Small was right.  There were 2 swings(one was broken) and a half buried tire!

The first night, (this was mid August), PA experienced record low the 50's!  We were freezing!  Jay shivered as he started a fire that first morning at the campground....and the rest of us stayed snuggled under our sleeping bags until it got going!  The workers at the front desk said they had a heat wave the week before!  Ugh, really?!?

So off we went to find a Walmart to buy a couple more sleeping bags.....warm ones!

The campground must have spent all their money on the pool and the playground near the pool.  The shower facilities looked like a world war II bunker!  There was a button to press on the shower stall wall that gave you 30 seconds on water(only 15 seconds that were warm).  The worst part was that there were spiders EVERYWHERE!  It was like a motel for spiders!  So gross!  I broke my shower once a day habit after the first shower!

The second night(no, we did not give up!), it was just as cold as the first night!  To top it off, Peter and Ellie came down with croup.  So here I am in the middle of the night with a flashlight trying to not wake all the kids and pour benedryl into little measuring cups(with my hands shaking because it's FREEZING) while 2 little ones are barking like dogs.  Needless to say, it was not a restful night!

The next morning as we stood shivering by the fire, Jay looked at me with a weary and defeated expression and said, "Find a hotel for tonight.  I don't care what it costs!"  Oh, THANK GOD!  

I found a great hotel suite in Harrisburg...2 separate rooms and a living room.(and it was WARM!)  Plus they fed us.  Not only breakfast(which was eggs and pancakes and bacon and fruit and make your own waffles), but dinner, too!  Fried chicken, and potatoes and green beans.  It was delicious..and free!(which made up for the hotel price a little!)

The hotel was across from a mall with a Bass Pro Shop.  It was like a free park for the kids...big fish, cheap shooting games, cool decor...and it was warm!

Now, camping wasn't all bad.  Smores were was the pool and big playground.  Just the weather was tough....and the spiders...and the croup!  But the kids though it was an adventure!  As for mom, I enjoyed the hotel!

The ride home took way longer than it should have.  We were stopping for dinner at my aunt's house in Connecticut.  What we didn't know was that the PGA tour and a Rolling Stones concert were occurring around the halfway point of our drive and the traffice was TERRIBLE!  It took 7 hours for a 41/2 hour drive!  The poor kids were going nuts.  Peter and Ellie just ran around in circles around my aunt's yard once we finally got there around 7:30!  

Thankfully, the last leg of our trip went smoother!  I remember how exhausted we were when we pulled in the driveway with a van full of sleeping kids...and how thrilled we were to be home! I was also thankful that my dad, who lives across the street from us, came over to help us carry sleeping children to their beds.  Then, Jay and I collapsed into bed ourselves!

There will be no camping on this vacation to Hershey:)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Our Vacation Begins!

It's 7:30pm, and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Hershey, PA with Peter, Luke, and Kate.  Luke just fell asleep and Peter is making his last wind up before the crash.  Kate is tired and completely off schedule but does ok as long as I hold her.

Jay and the older kids all went to Hershey Park to use the preview perk on our park tickets....they get to go in to the park 2 1/2 hours before the park closes tonight.  Originally, we were all going to go together.  But there was no way the little ones were going to be able to hang...they are just too tired.  I don't think the older ones will last the whole time either....they are all exhausted themselves!

We all got up at 3:30 this morning to get dressed, put the last minute things in the car, and take off for our vacation in an attempt to get through most of our drive before rush hour.  It was SO tough to get up so early.   The kids didn't go right back to sleep like I had hoped for.  They were too excited and managed to push off sleep for about an hour.

Leaving that early was so worth it though!  We made the whole drive in a little over 6 hours and that included 2 stops for bathroom breaks!  The kids did great...even the little ones.  Kate had one moment where we chose to have a pit stop because she obviously was done being in her car seat.  But other than that, she slept most of the way.  (Thank God!)

It was so good to get here and get out of the van!  We went to Hershey Chocolate World for lunch...and, of course, chocolate milk shakes!  Delicious:)

Then we went on the ride that shows how they make the chocolate.  It's cute.  Luke enjoyed it until we got to the cooking of the beans and the ride blows warm air on the cars you ride in.  Mike told Luke they were being cooked!  What a pain!  The free chocolate at the end of the ride erased any fear Luke had, though.

On the way back to the hotel, Luke started singing the tune from the ride.  The song  repeats, "Hershey's chocolate.  Hershey's chocolate."  Luke sang, "Cheese chocolate, cheese chocolate."  It was so cute!  The funny thing was, nine years ago, some of his brothers and Sarah did the same thing!  It was one of the cutest memories from Hershey......then and now!

Peter has done great for the most part.   He did great on the car ride!  He did poke a very heavy woman in the stomach on his way to the Starbuck's bathroom...and he rubbed a balding man's head in the hotel pool.  Thankfully both were good natured and we were quick to apologize!

I cannot express to you how much I am looking forward to bed time!  In fact, Peter and Kate just fell asleep.  Peter didn't sleep in the car at all so he's been up since 3:30am!

Hopefully we all get a decent night's sleep tonight!  We will need our energy for a day in Hershey Park tomorrow!

I can't believe we are actually here!:)
Here's a pic of some of the kids with Mr. Kit Kat, Sarah's favorite chocolate bar!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Last night went great!  Kim was truly surprised (hooray!) and the kids all had a ball....and the grown-ups got some grown up time!  A win-win situation for all:)

It was a pleasure to throw a party for one of my best friends.  Kim gives herself completely to her family and friends every day.  To be able to do something special for her was a treat.

We have been friends for about 15 years.  We met in a Bible study all those years ago.  The first time I remember seeing the "real Kim" was several months into our Bible study when one of the other members of the group got engaged and announced it to all of us.  Kim was SO excited for her that she bounded across the room to grab hold of Paula's hand and see the ring and envelop her in a bear hug.(I can still picture the scene in my head today!)  Kim is the kind of person that goes through any situation sharing all of herself with those around her.

We've both seen each other through times of great struggles and times of great joy.  She cried with us when we lost our daughter and she celebrated with us when Sarah was born.  She always celebrated our children, even though there was joy mixed with intense pain as her own desire for a child each month never happened.  Her faith and trust in God's plan, though different from her own original ideas, were rewarded in 2001, when they received a picture of their new baby girl that they would travel halfway around the world to make their own.  We got to celebrate with Kim and her husband, Bud, as they brought home their beautiful baby girl from China.....and then their second beautiful Chinese baby girl a few years later!

Our whole family has been blessed by Kim's faithfulness and love.  Happy 50th, my friend!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Special Events....Good Times

We made it to Saturday!  What a week!

And our weekend......completely insane...but filled with good things.

I've been dying to blog about what we are doing today but I've had to hold back because it's a surprise for one of our closest friends.  (And she reads my posts!)

Our dear friend, Kim, is celebrating her 50th birthday next week and we are throwing her a surprise party.  The theme is Chocolate Bliss!

Sarah and I did lots of baking yesterday!  I couldn't have gotten so much done if it hadn't been for both of my girls...Sarah helped in the kitchen and Ellie helped a little in the kitchen and a lot with keeping Kate and Luke entertained!

We made 2 cheesecakes, several dozen chocolate and vanilla mini cupcakes, dozens of chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cherry brownies, and homemade chocolate cups that we will fill with mousse this morning....and my sister-in-law made chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels!  A lot of work but a lot of fun, too.

My mother-in-law and Sarah made chocolate lollipops to use as favors and 2 vases filled with flowers from her yard for the pretty!

So today will be filled with cleaning and set up and last minute details that will hopefully make tonight very special for a very special person.  It's something I've thought about doing for months and I'm so glad we were able to get it together.

Here's the birthday girl with her two beautiful daughters.(The oldest is our godchild:)

So that's today.

Tomorrow will be filled with all the packing I haven't done for our trip to Hershey, PA!  We leave Monday morning at 4am so it's crunch time!  Planning and prepping for the party has taken up lots of time so, other than a master list that I keep adding to and Hershey Park tickets that I bought through AAA on Thursday, I've got a ton to do!

And, two of my sons agreed to compete in a triathlon leg on Sunday morning with my sister's friends daughter, at the suggestion of my sister, without discussing it with me! now some people have to go the Mass tonight at 4(prime party prep time!). Plus, my last experience at a race(read here) was less than pleasant and that is stressing me out a little, too.  Especially since Mike is doing the swimming leg and he has no experience swimming in a race!

So they will be gone most of tomorrow morning!  Andrew's response..."Mom, it takes me like 5 minutes to pack."  Yeah, good for him!  Between making food for Peter, supervising the older kids' packing, packing for the little kids, doing all the laundry, looking up all the last minute details, nursing Kate, etc., will be a full day of packing for me!

We are excited for our trip.  I can't believe it's here.  We've wanted to go on a family vacation for a while but didn't think it would happen again this year for financial reasons.  A few months ago, a friend gave us an incredible here we are planning a special getaway!  We are looking forward to making some special family memories.  Our expectations are still low because a 7 hour car ride + 10 people in a van + 10 people in 2 hotel rooms + 2 children that wake up in the night= a whole lot of opportunities for crabbiness and frustration  practicing patience!

So we will set our eyes on our focal point....Hershey's INCREDIBLE chocolate milk shakes!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A New Path

Peter did a slightly less than half day at camp yesterday and had no behavioral issues(hooray!).  Originally, the plan had been to do another half day today, but my heart was telling me to end on a good note.  So we did.

As hard as this week has been with him, I feel like God has been opening my eyes to view Peter in a different a more complete way.  I've barely started to wrap my head around it yet, but I do want to share what I'm thinking so far.(So please bear with me if it's somewhat discombobulated!)

Other than the obvious reason that, as a mom, I would be upset and discouraged that my child has bitten or slapped another child or his aide (insert painful groan!)........I am struggling with the "why" to Peter's behaviors lately?  Besides absorbing this week as a failure as a mother to consider something that I thought Peter would find "fun" to be so completely overwhelming to him, I find myself questioning my connection to him and his feelings and his needs.

Over the course of this difficult week, I have spent some time asking God to help me understand why Peter is acting this way and what to do to help make it better.  Peter can be such a contradiction....too much structure and he rebels.  Too little structure and he can't seem to regulate himself.  I think that's why summer camp always tended to be a more positive had some structure but the demands were fairly low and there was a lot of leeway to be flexible and spend extra time doing favorite activities(read: pool time!)  if he was struggling with some of the other activities.

This week, nothing worked.  Peter was just overwhelmed.  Even today, Jeff told me that as they were heading to the pool a group of campers was walking towards them.  Peter's grasp on Jeff's arm tightened and he became visibly stressed.  Peter actually stopped and turned his back to the group until they passed.  That made me so sad....he's never done that before.

Yesterday, Jay's uncle sent him a link to a video about an autistic teen who, until age 11, had no verbal communication.  Then, one day when she was 11, Carly started typing.  And now, she shares so much of how she is feeling and what she is thinking....all through typing.  The way she feels and thinks was trapped inside of her for 11 years.  Everyone thought she was simply autistic and mildly mentally retarded...but she was so much more.

How much of who Peter truly simply trapped inside of him?  For most of his life we have worked so hard at keeping him safe(not an easy task for the "bolter" he was for many years), and trying to regulate his diet so he would actually sleep, and give him structure so he would not just walk around aimlessly rarely connecting with anything all day long.

For so many years, his need of constant supervision(and I mean constant!!!) and his lack of sleep, and his constant movement just completely exhausted us and burned us out.  When Peter was home...we had to be "on" all.the.time.  No matter what I was doing, one ear was listening to where he was walking.  Two minutes of quiet sent us looking to see where he was....always poised to deal with a possible escape.

Going outside in the yard meant dozens of promptings to "stay in the yard" and you could NEVER take your eye off of him.  Trips out in public meant Peter strapped in the carriage, or, once he outgrew it, holding someones hand exceptions.

It's hard to enjoy someone that requires the supervision of a toddler at their most difficult developmental stage when that stage lasts for YEARS!  Peter exhausts us.

I'm sorry if that sounds terrible.

Despite the fact that he was so difficult, we almost always try to include him in what we're doing as a family.  Our friends and family are very accepting of Peter....but I know we overwhelm people just in the sheer size of our family and topped off with a child that just never stops moving or getting into things.

Over the past two years, Peter has gotten a little easier.  He generally stays in the yard without reminders.  He mostly sleeps through the night  as long as he hasn't gotten into things he shouldn't be eating.  (I know for some kids diet doesn't make a difference, but it makes a big difference for Peter!)  We don't have to have keyed locks on all the windows so Peter doesn't escape.(Yeah, that was a great phase!insert eye roll here)  It doesn't take me weeks to "get over" the burnout when Peter is home for a vacation week.

All positive things.  But this week has brought his needs as an independent, growing and changing person more into focus.  Seeing the video of Carly and the interview with her parents has got Jay and me thinking...are we missing something?

We've spent so long just trying to survive each day that maybe we let our exhaustion, and our disappointment, and sadness, and grief over Peter's diagnosis and all his challenges keep us from seeing who Peter really is.  And, more importantly, maybe we forgot to hold onto hope for who he can become.

How do you know someone who can't let you in?

How do you keep trying to break through to something that may or may not be there?

And, more importantly, have I given up thinking there is more to Peter than what his disability shows me on the surface?

Like I said before, I don't have it figured out at all.  But maybe there is a greater good that will come out of this rough week.  It sometimes seems like the best changes in life come in the wake of difficult moments.

Sometimes I'm so busy just trudging forward trying to get through daily life, I forget to look up and see that God opened another path for me.  He uses those challenging moments to get me to look around at where I am and what I'm doing.  Though I don't appreciate it at the time, the new path always ends up being better than the one I'm on.

It just takes me a while to acclimate to the change in scenery!

According To Denise

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Little Consolation

Peter's camp week saga continued yesterday.  I am resigned to his time at camp being a wash:(  His aide and I discussed it and we will try half days for today and tomorrow that mostly include swimming and lunch.  If it doesn't go well today I think I will just ax tomorrow.  I'm hoping to end the week on a good note...but if it isn't possible then I'm just crying "uncle".

Peter was supposed to go to camp for one final session the week after next.  Next week we are driving to Hershey, PA.  I'm thinking that another transition from vaca back to camp will not be pretty, so I withdrew him.  I don't want another repeat week...why bang your head against the wall on purpose, right?

I think Peter just needs a break.  I think?....hopefully?!?  So frustrating not knowing how to make it all better!

The stress of Peter's camp behaviors is getting to me.  My stomach hurts with knots of dread on the way to drop him off each morning...and then, again, on the way to pick him up.

I think my anxiety and stress over it was greatest yesterday morning.  While driving to camp, I was catching a visual glimpse into my inner emotional state.  I always visualize my emotional life as a beautiful crystal's been shattered often, sometimes fixed so it looks brand new again, sometimes in pieces held together with duct tape.  Well, yesterday morning, I saw that the vase was just a pile of sand running through my fingers.

And I thought, "Oh, crap, what do I do with that?"

Obviously, it was way beyond duct tape or super glue!  I know I need the Potter to put this vase back together.  That prayer was deep inside of me where I know only God can hear it.

I turned on the radio looking for music to be a balm to my soul....wrap it in a melody and comfort it with words of encouragement.

Dierks Bentley's song "Home" was on...and the chorus resonated with me:

It’s been a long hard ride,
Got a ways to go
But this is still the place
That we all call home.
It’s been a long hard ride,
And I won’t lose hope
This is still the place
That we all call home.

Then, I listened to Trust in You by Jeremy Camp.  It's a great song with a great beat and it's words are always consoling to me!

I definitely needed that!  

Just trying to take it one step at a time...and trying to plan for a party...and a road trip...but more on that later!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stab, Stab Goes the Dagger in My Heart

Peter has been having a really tough week at summer camp.  He has been aggressive a few times...mostly towards his aide but once towards another camper.  I picked him up really early on Monday..around 12 when camp is supposed to go until 4.  Peter just couldn't get himself together.

Yesterday we tried again.  I started to relax as noon came and went without a phone call.  When my cell phone rang just before one and I saw the number my heart sank.  Peter had started bawling at lunch for no apparent reason.  It was the first time Jeff saw Peter cry...there were no tears during the 2 other weeks Peter was at camp earlier in the summer.(And much smoother days, too)  Jeff tried to get language out of him to figure out how to help him.  Peter finally said "hot".  So Jeff took him to the air conditioned nurse's office to give him a break and see if he could pull himself together.  It seemed he was relaxing...and then out of no where he bit Jeff's knee.  Ugh:(

Jeff tried to re-integrate him with the other campers to go swimming in the pool, but Peter was too all over the place and Jeff and the head of the camp were concerned he would be aggressive with the other campers again.  So, I went to pick him up early...again.

I also found out that at the beginning of the day Peter hi-jacked a golf cart.  It seems that a young maintenance man left the keys in the on position in the unattended golf cart.  Jeff had turned his back to Peter for 30 seconds to put down his back pack and, when he turned around, Peter was sprinting to the golf cart.(Peter is quick!)  Peter jumped on the golf cart and put his foot on the gas and it went.  Jeff said that riding in a golf cart seems so slow but when you're trying to catch it....not so much.  Peter of course was having the time of his life!  I can just imagine the wild look of pleasure in his eyes, the giant grin that covered his face, the maniacal belly giggles....all as poor Jeff is chasing him.  (Which made the ride even more exciting for Peter!)  Thankfully, Jeff is young and was able to overtake the golf cart since Peter was heading for the woods and doesn't know how to step on the brake!

I honestly didn't know whether to bust out laughing or start I ended up laughing until I cried!  Mostly because I could just picture Peter's face and see his complete joy at such an adventure.  Thank God no one got hurt...including Peter!  And, yes, I have addressed it with the camp because that was extremely dangerous leaving a working golf cart in an area of 75+ kids...any of them could have gone rogue to sit on the golf cart and accidentally get a joy ride out of it.

Of course, it had to be my kid that did it...Ugh, again!

So by 2:30 yesterday, I had brought Peter to camp, worked for a couple of hours, come home briefly to get my children and scarf down lunch, drive 20 minutes to pick up Andrew's girlfriend who was spending the afternoon/early evening with us, and then pick up Peter at camp.

Since it was Luke's birthday, our families were coming over for a party.  The house was cluttered and in need of  "mom cleaning", the baby was clingy and crabby, I was feeling really awful and discouraged about Peter and not knowing why he is acting up at a place he has always had fun at or how/if we can make it better, and the birthday boy was melting down and throwing temper tantrums because he wanted a particular  truck to go on top of another particular truck and it kept falling off.  Ugh x 3!!!

Yeah...where's that mother of the year award!(Insert sarcasm here)

So, today we will try again.  Jeff was calling Peter's home therapy coordinator to try and get some ideas to help Peter.  He will try a visual schedule and a timer today.  I'm going to suggest swimming first thing...hopefully before other kids are in the pool and to get Peter cool and hopefully get his sensory needs met to make today a better day.  I'm going to see if Peter can swim at lunch time, too, and just have his lunch a little early or a little later.  For some reason, Peter isn't doing well around crowds of kids this time at camp. This wasn't a problem when he was there earlier in the summer.

Maybe he's just burned out and needs to be home?  Maybe it was too much going from his 5 week half-day summer program to a week of camp?  Maybe it is just too many transitions?  Maybe it's just too hot outside and it's making him unable to deal with the crowds this time around?

It would be so much easier if he could just freaking tell me what is going on in his head!!!!

It's so frustrating not knowing how to help him.  It's so embarrassing that it's my kid that's biting.  I just want him to enjoy camp.  I want him to be good.  I want him to learn and play and have fun.  I want him to be as "normal" as he can.  At times like this, it's so glaringly obvious, and painful, that Peter is so.not.normal.

Stab, stab goes the dagger in my heart....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All About Luke!

Today is Luke's 3rd birthday!  I cannot believe that it's been three years since we met the little man who has brought so much joy to our family!  He was a new little life given to us at a time when we thought we were moving on to the next stage in our lives....but God had other plans.(And His plan was really good :)

I will never forget the look of joy on Jay's face when I told him I thought I might be pregnant.  I will never forget the cheers from the kids when we told them I was pregnant.  I will never forget the tears in Jay's eyes as we met Luke for the first time and the gentle words of the doctor who delivered him...."No matter how many times you see it, every birth is very special."

I won't forget how the teenagers fought over time to hold Luke as a baby....and how they taught him how to play baseball and dribble a basketball when he could barely even walk!  I love the way they want to do the things we did with them when they were young so that Luke gets to experience it....anything from going to the zoo to only buying primary color play-do so that he can have the fun of mixing and "creating" colors himself!  And no one else but Luke can get away with waking any of them up in the morning without getting a grumpy response!

Luke is a joy!  The way he thinks and talks is so cute...his imagination is incredible....and he is constantly amazing us and making us laugh!  (He also has a stubborn streak that can push any of us to the limits of our patience!)

Luke's birth and development have brought a lot of healing to all of our family.  For the older boys, they were old enough to teach and play with and enjoy a little brother who had the ability to learn and play in a normal way.  For me, going through Luke's pregnancy without the depression I had struggled with during Peter and Ellie's pregnancies, felt like it was a do-over...and, for the most part, I was able to enjoy being pregnant.  Being given the gift of a new life that we weren't expecting gave me an even greater appreciation of Luke growing inside of me.  Luke is a blessing!

His big brown eyes...... 

And infectious giggle....
His silly faces......
His sweet little grin.....
His desire to be a part of eveything.....

His LOVE of trucks....
Becoming a big brother....
Loving his little sister....

Happy 3rd Birthday to our special Little Bear!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Just a Little Godincidence

I was able to get some quiet time last night(thanks, honey:) and a slightly better night's sleep(thank-you, Luke) so today was feeling a little brighter.

I got to spend an hour doing adoration at church last night.  I enjoyed the silence immensely.  I didn't bring my own book with me, so I picked one off the book shelf.  It was the Life of  Faustina Kowalska written by Sister Sophia Michalenko.(One of my all time favorites.)

St. Faustina(she was canonized by Pope John Paul II on April 30, 2000) lived in the early 1900's in Poland.  She received incredible visions that led to the The Divine Mercy devotion.

Several other people in our parish that do adoration at different times are reading the book as well.  There were multiple makeshift bookmarks holding spots where they left off.

I decided to randomly open the book, searching for some tidbit of inspiration to refocus my heart and mind away from the tired, mildly depressed funk I've been stuck in lately.  I ended up opening to one of the makeshift bookmarks that someone had labeled "Michelle's page".  I have to admit I was a bit surprised.  I think I know who the Michelle is that is reading the book, but it felt a little like a "Godincidence"....a God inspired coincidence.  I mean, really, what are the chances?!?

So I read "my page"(lol) and it felt right.  What I got out of it was that this is a time of introspection for me...and despite what's going on in the outside world, I need to stay close to God in my inside world.  I'm being worked on and it will take a little time.(And believe me, there's a LOT to work on!  I am an over budget, overtime job for sure!)

This morning when I was thinking about it, these types of pictures popped into my head(just add a little caution tape!)


That's me....a constant work in progress.  I'm just glad to be heading in the right direction!(At least for today:)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Something Needed..Just Not Sure What!

Do you ever have those days when your life feels like a 500 piece puzzle....all jumbled and scattered all over the floor with no picture to use as a guide?  And no matter how much you try to work on it, you just can't get it to come together.  You have a corner together on one side, random clumps together here or there that you have no idea where they truly fit.  But no cohesion, no plan, and trying to find that special piece that will help to tie it all together.

That's how I feel right now.

And I'm just so tired.

Luke is on the verge of 3 and still waking up during the night.  When he wakes up he's really still half asleep and talking through his dream.  Last night he was babbling about seeing the excavators.  But he cries too, and because he's only half awake he doesn't even know what he needs.  And this night waking happens 2 or more times a night.  Last night I think it was 3 times...might have been 4.

Kate, who had been doing such a great job sleeping, is now waking multiple times a night, too.  I don't know if it's because of teething(those top two teeth have been looking like they are getting ready to arrive soon), or  if it's because she is in a very clingy stage and just feels insecure, or if she is developing crappy sleeping habits just like her siblings.

Being woken up 6 to 8 times each night is starting to take its toll.

I know it will get better....of course, I've been saying that for almost three years now.  But, really, they have to sleep through the night someday!

I guess I'm just feeling burned out and tired....and not sure how to make it better.

Plus, when I'm tired, all my negative feelings just seem to get magnified.  I now it's a choice to focus on all the blessings in my's just not so easy to do that right now.

Trying to just take everything one moment at a time!

So, in the words of Dory....."Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming......"