Saturday, September 29, 2012

A New Step

We began a new adventure visits.  Mike will be graduating from Jr. College and Andrew will be graduating from high school so we get to do two kids at if doing this with one isn't hard enough!  There are 4 colleges that Mike is considering and Andrew is considering 2 so far.  The next six weekends will be extra full with open houses and applications!

We visited Framingham State College with Mike today.  It's not too far away from home, which is nice.  He would have to dorm but could come home easily enough.  The college is fairly small but has a good education program.  It's also a division III school so Mike is hoping for a chance to make their basketball team.(That's one of Mike's highest criteria.)

Walking around the campus was surreal.  I don't think I will ever be ready to really let go of my kids.  I worry so much about them being responsible with all the independence that going away to college will bring.

 "For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole worldand lose himself.(Luke 9:24)"

I want Mike, and Andrew, to learn and grow and be a part of something that will take them to the next stage of their lives.  I want the path that brings them to adulthood to be positive and smooth and character building...but I'm so worried about the choices they will make in the face of temptations away from the stability and expectations of our family.

I found myself close to tears a few times as we walked around looking at the places that Mike could potentially spend the majority of the next 2 years of his life.  I kept praying...asking God to help Michael to be where he is meant to be.  I trust that God has a plan for Mike and I don't want to get in the way of that plan.

It's a tricky balance between guidance and control sometimes, especially when so much is at stake!

And how did the little boy that wanted nothing more than to sit in my lap and twirl my hair grow into a 6'4" almost 20 year old man on the verge of independence?

This letting go is SO hard!

On a lighter, funnier note....
We left the younger kids, except Kate who came with us, with Jon and Andrew.  It turns out that Luke had a very messy diaper and Sarah was gone at the time helping with a youth group task.  So the older boys got Ellie..who has never changed a poopy diaper change Luke!

Then...(yes, there's more)...I left them money to get pizza for lunch.  Jon wanted a bbq chicken pizza from one place and Andrew wanted cheese pizza from a different place.  (They got Jay to ok it by text without explaining everything to him....I wanted them to go to a completely different place that would have been cheaper but my text to them wasn't received until they had "already ordered"! Hmm...not so sure about that...)

Anyway, because they went to 2 places they were short $5 that neither of them have.  So, they got Ellie to throw in $5 and then Jon ate all the bbq chicken pizza without giving her any!  Really?  What a couple of bozos!

Jay gave Ellen back her $5 and Jon sheepishly admitted he should have shared some of the pizza with her.(Ya think!?!)

I'm writing this story down so that Ellie has proof that it happened and can use it to embarrass her brothers in front of their wives and children someday!  Sometimes having older brothers isn't easy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trying to Grasp God's Love

I'm linking up with 5 minute Friday today.....but, I have to be honest, I went a little over today!   I would still like to share what I wrote, so I hope you can overlook it(just this one time:)

The word today is.....

It's hard for me to grasp God's love for me sometimes.  I can get so stuck and overwhelmed by past hurts that move in like a dense fog and block my emotional sight from everything else.  The more I get stuck in emotions I don't know what to do with, the more confused and lost I feel.

Can you tell this has happened to me quite a few times in my life?

Well, today, I had some lousy emotions that got triggered.  I could feel that familiar pull to look down into myself and get sucked into that negative cyclone.  I didn't want to go there.  I didn't want the day to be filled with anxiety and frustration and hurt.

So, I looked up.  I am looking through the fog and asking God for the truth of the situation....not only in the present moment but also to see the truth of the past in order to bring healing to those emotions.  That's what I really stop the emotional static cling.  That can only happen with healing.

I realize that I need healing from past experiences that were hurtful.  Too often I've tried to heal myself...which is pride really.  I try to fill someone around me with the caring and the help and the love that I needed to make up for what I lack.  While it might help in the short term, I still end up feeling empty.  It still doesn't truly fill the emptiness inside me from the hurt that only God can heal alone.  Only He can heal the past and make up for what I needed but didn't get.  I just have to ask...and wait...and be willing to let go of the hurt and move on.

Then I will have freedom from the hurt so that I will have the freedom to work toward all that God has intended me to be.
(idea adapted from Fr. Tom Daley as told by Holly Pierlot in a  A Mother's Rule of Life)

Grasp onto God's Truth....and let go of my emotional baggage!  Not easy AT ALL...but the results are priceless!

  *for more info on static cling emotions see my post As Much Grace as I can Get...just click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Playground Moments

Today is a beautiful, warm fall day so I decided to venture out with Luke and Kate to the local playground.  Luke is very social...which is great.  When you have a child with special needs, all the traits that make a child neuro-typical, (I'm not a fan of the word "normal"), are a true pleasure to see as they develop.  It's like a giant sigh and a big weight off our shoulders when little ones hit certain milestones.... a check on our mental checklist.  Eye contact, check. Pointing, check.  Talking, check.  Joint attention, check.  Pretend play, check.  Engages other children, check. etc, etc.

So, anyway......there were 5 or 6 other children that came and went during the hour we spent at the playground.  Luke mostly played with one particular boy that was 4.  Luke did a good job sharing his trucks, which was nice to see.  Luke's attention span is not as developed as his playground friend, though.  When the little guy suggested a game of tag, Luke would run after him for 30 seconds before another piece of playground equipment caught his eye!

Luke said "Hi!" to everyone!  Luke is super friendly.  I think he overwhelms the shy kids.  Two little girls were shy and didn't want to say "hi" Luke followed them around for a while trying to get their attention.  So funny.

I barely got Luke to stand still long enough to take this pic coming off the twisty slide!

Of course, being 3 and absorbing everything he hears, both good and bad, has its challenges.  A few minutes before I was ready to leave, Luke stood up and called out in a very matter-of-fact voice, "What's wrong with you people?"  Just great...wonder what tv show he got that from that his older siblings were watching?  Thankfully, there was only one little boy and his dad left at that point.  I told Luke that wasn't a nice thing to say.  He smiled and said, "OK, Mom."  Gotta love humility!?!

Kate wanted to crawl around but she kept trying to eat the wood chips.  We spent some time on the swings, which she loved:)

It was nice to spend some time in the sunshine.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Sometimes I feel almost paralyzed by fear.....fear of getting some terrible sickness, fear of those that I love getting a terrible sickness, fear that those I love will get into a tragic car accident, etc.  Seeing an accident or hearing about someone's sickness can set my imagination into a lightning speed creation of how I would feel if I was the one getting the diagnosis or one of my family members was the accident victim.  If I don't grab control of my imagination, I start to feel fear and grief well up inside me and it paralyzes me emotionally....makes me want to get everyone home and safe and then curl up in a fetal position under a blanket until the feelings go away and I feel safe again.

I have always had a fear-filled personality in some ways.  I think that might be another reason why, besides being a first born type A personality, I like to have control of makes me feel safer in some ways.

Since we lived through the terrible experience of losing a child, the fear of experiencing that deep grief ever again is very strong.  I hold no illusions that I have any control over anything....and that scares the crap out of me.  At times, I have numbed out my emotions to try and protect myself from being hurt.  The problem with that, is that you can't just numb out the "bad" end up numbing out joy and love and hope, too.

That's no way to live.

There are lots of phrases that come to mind..."Live in the moment", "Be grateful for today", "Today's worries are sufficient for the day", "Sometimes we just have to do things scared", "Fake it til you make it"....

The Word I choose to latch onto today is from 1John4:18...

"Perfect Love Casts Out Fear"

I'm a work in progress.  For sure.

Linking up with

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everyday Tasks

I feel kind of discombobulated today.  My emotions make me want to be somewhere small and safe with nothing to work out or worry about.  I'm really not sure why.  Just a bad moment, probably, coupled with a busy morning because of work and then taking care of a really clingy baby and toddler because I was gone all morning. 

There's really nothing wrong at the moment....just all the "normal chaos" of our lives.  I even got to do a couple small steps in my attempt to organize our home.  That phrase, "A place for everything, and everything in it's place" is my mantra...I just wish I had some Disney magic to wave a wand and have everything find its perfect place on its own!  No such luck!

I am so blessed to be a stay at home mom 99% of the time.  I would never make it in the work world....or rather, my family would never make it if I was in the work world.  I'm exhausted after just a few hours!  I get home and I feel "done"...and there's still the dishes, laundry, and general clean up to take care of. 

But, it will get done!  One moment at a time and somehow I will complete the tasks I need to do...well, at least most of them:)

Monday, September 24, 2012

School Memories

Ellie is in fourth grade this year.  Fourth grade is a big year.  Fourth and fifth grades are like gateway years between being one of the little kids but not quite a junior high student.

My fourth grade year was a rather rocky one.  I never felt like the teacher really liked me.  Maybe that was just my perception.  Though even my mom noticed....she always said it was because I was taller than the teacher.  (I was a quick grower and she was very small).

Regardless, it definitely made for a more difficult year.  The work was harder.  It was the first year that I didn't get straight A's.  I felt like my teacher didn't like me...which was very hard for a people pleasing person like myself.

There was also a lot going on at home that year.  My mother was starting her own business...a tanning salon, which was very trendy in the 80's.  My father, who owns his own hair salon, spent countless hours visiting salons and talking to other owners...sometimes dragging me and my sister around to visit the different salons.  It was SO boring.

Since my mother handles stress so well, (insert eye roll here!), there was a lot of stress and arguing that went on.  At one point, I started to worry that they were going to get a divorce.  When I eventually spilled my fears to my dad, it surprised him and I think helped them to reign in the emotions and realize how much everything was affecting the family.  I can still picture myself asking him if they were getting a divorce when I was helping him make his bed one day.  

I broke my ankle that year, too.  My class was heading out to recess.  I was the line leader that day.  The person behind me bumped me as we were heading down the stairs.  I missed the last few steps and twisted my ankle.  I remember crying out as I sat down and grabbed my ankle.  I looked up and saw my teacher looking at me.  Then she just turned around and walked back inside.  She thought I had jumped off the steps.  One of the other kids had to go back in and get her.

Like I said before, fourth grade was a tough year.  I'm sure there were some good moments, too.  I think the tough memories just eclipsed the good!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Little Bit of Quiet

This morning I woke up extra early.  When Kate fussed a little after 5, I found myself unable to fall back to sleep.  I tried for a while....but gave up when I realized it wasn't going to happen.  I love Saturdays, so I guess I just got to enjoy a little more of it!  (I get points for being positive, right?!?)

I didn't get out of bed until 6:30.  At first, I was just praying and asking God to bless our day together.  Then I was going though the to-do list in my know, fold clean laundry, wash clean laundry, repeat; Wash dishes, cook, repeat; nurse, change diapers, repeat.  Plus, since it's Saturday and there are extra hands around, I need to get to Luke's drawers and go through last year's clothes.  And I want to dust the fans(because the dust is no longer hiding on top of the fan blades where I can ignore it!)

    Jon has a soccer game today, Andrew is working and has a dance tonight at his girlfriend's school, Mike is working, I need to go to the bank, and the 2nd grocery store for a few things that are on sale......
...and I wanted to exercise.  Thinking that since I woke up early it might be an opportune time to do just that and start the day on a healthy note, I disengaged from the two little people next to me and managed to climb out of bed without waking anyone.  Whew!

Alas, my freedom was short-lived.  Luke's squeaky voice(with a slight whine) was calling, "Hey, Mommy, where are you?  Come get me!"  So I did.  On to plan B...and after only being up for 10 minutes!

After making chocolate chip muffins for the kids, pumpkin muffins for Peter and cookies for Peter, and making a doctor appointment for Mike (turns out he has pneumonia, too...ugh), Jay shooed me out the door for a walk.

It was some much needed quiet time....just me and Jay's iphone, which he so graciously let me borrow so I could listen to music.  I honestly have not been on a walk by myself in a really long time...probably pre-Kate.  Usually I go with a friend, or Jay, or the little kids.  What a difference going by yourself multitasking to make sure Luke keeps his feet from dragging on the ground, or Kate spitting out her binky, or throwing her toy, etc.

I got to notice the scenery around me...and listen to the music.  As I walked for half and hour without having to worry about anyone but myself....several ideas started floating into my head for ideas for my blog and an upcoming project that has been forming in my head, but I haven't really shared here....YET....more details coming soon!:)

It's amazing what can happen when you get a little bit of quiet and a chance to focus...and I got exercise, too.  You can't get much better than that!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Wide...and Random

Trying another "Five Minute Friday" today....mostly because that'a all I can spare right now!

Today's word is:    Wide

Wide....The first thing that comes to mind is "Wide Load"....which makes me think that my butt is too wide.(lol)  That's a work in progress...and maybe too much info! :) 

But, I digress...

Wide...I think of that country song "Wide Open Spaces"...not sure if that's the title but I can hear the singer's voice in my head singing that line.

Wide...I love this fall weather Sooooooo much!  It makes me want to throw my arms out wide in the fall the crisp fall air...snug and warm in a sweatshirt and just soak it all in.  

Wide...the beautiful weather makes me feel closer to's as if my heart is open a little wider than usual. 
That's a good thing!


(Wow...five minutes goes by fast!)

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 20, 2012

As Much Grace As I Can Get....

Have you ever had one of those moments when someone says something to you and instead of just reacting to the situation at hand you find yourself overwhelmed by a barrage of feelings...some from the past and some from the present(and feeling completely overwhelmed by it all)?

It happened to me yesterday.  It made me want to just walk away from the whole situation as if it didn't exist.    Sometimes sticking my head in the sand seems like a really good thing!

Since I know avoiding problems never works...if you don't deal with your issues then your issues will deal with has been necessary for me to stop the internal emotional geyser that is bubbling up and threatening to erupt by attempting to work through the feelings.

Here's my emotional to-do list:

Step 1:  Deep breath and pray to see the situation in the way God sees the situation.
Step 2:  Keep the focus on the present situation and separate myself from the past similar feelings that are trying to static cling to the issue at hand.(So.not.easy!)

note:  What are static cling emotions?  If you have unresolved feelings from the past, these same feelings and memories will rear their ugly heads when a similar feeling/situation happens in the the way everything sticks to clothing with static cling.  Dealing with past and present emotions makes everything even more overwhelming.

Step 3:  Talk about my feelings.(Not to every single person I come into contact with b/c that just feeds the situation instead of letting me work through it...though initially that can feel like the right idea.  My go to is always Jay...and then sometimes a close friend, too.  A woman's perspective can be a good thing!)
Step 4:  Be patient.  Let the initial extreme emotions settle a little so that I can look at the situation rationally and figure out the steps I can physically do to solve the problem and who I can ask for help in completing those steps if needed.
Step 5:  While working out the present problem ask God to show me why those past emotions affect me so much and pray for healing so that I can be stronger in the future.  Let's face it, issues always arise in life....but I want to be able to only have to deal with what's in front of me, and not all kinds of "static cling" emotions.  Again, not easy, but who really wants to carry around excess baggage?  Way too tiring!
Step 6:  Do my part to resolve the present situation and wait on God(being patient is hard, too!!!) to show me the truth of the past so I can let go and give Him those crappy emotions/ideas I've carried around for too long.  Then there's more room in me for His grace.

I don't know about you, but I could definitely use as much grace as I can get!

(Just an FYI...I'm on Step 4 and hope to be on Step 5 by the end of the day....)

Linking up today with and

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cough, Cough Go the Kids

The last two nights have been extra tough:(

Luke has a croupy cough.  Thankfully, he did not require a "steam treatment" last night, but he still woke up more times than I care to remember(10) between coughing and just random crying.  That random crying woke up Kate at least 3 or 4 times.  Plus, she woke up once or twice on her own because she cut her other front tooth.(finally!)  Her teeth have definitely bothered her and affected her sleeping the last 2 weeks.  I really, really, really hope she will start sleeping better again now that the teeth are through!


I thought Luke would crash early last night since he wasn't feeling well.  Not the case.  He was wound up and extremely grouchy!  By the time he finally settled it was 9.  Half an hour later he was already coughing and I knew I was in for a long night.

I wish I could say that I was as patient with Luke as the first night....but I can't.  When he woke me up for the 4th time before midnight with random crying and couldn't tell me what he needed and woke up his sister I started to get frustrated.  I wanted to cry myself.  I was just so tired.  I took a deep breath and tried to just make it through the moment.  Even though the sleep was very broken, at least I go some.  Today I am feeling very bleary eyed.  The expectations will definitely be low for big projects for me!

This morning we had to get moving extra early(of course).  Ellie and Kate had physicals at 8am.  Luke had to come with me and I brought Sarah because she has a bad cold and a cough that has been getting worse, not better.  Good thing I did, because it seems she is starting with pneumonia.

Mike has an awful cold, too.  Hopefully it won't turn into something more!  I will definitely be keeping an eye on that!

The joys of parenting:)

I know that this too shall pass.....I just hope that before today passes that I have an opportunity for a nap!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Soak It In

Recently, I wrote a post about having this feeling that I wanted to do something with writing but I had no idea what.  And that sometimes that made me frustrated(on my firstborn type A personality days) but that it was also showing me to wait with patience for the One that would show me the right timing.  You would think after all the practice I have had over the years at having to fix situations because I tried to make something happen in my time instead of His time would mean I have met with perfection in the areas of patience/trust/ making the right choice.  Sadly, no.  Definitely better....but not even close to perfection!

Within a few days of writing that post, there were a few comments made to me by close friends that may have seemed random, but actually felt like an answer and guidance to my own question of "What next?".

All the comments had to do with living in the moment.  At different stages of life, the people that spoke to me  still got a similar message out of what I wrote.....that time is fleeting, time is a gift, and focus on the present moment is the most important thing because it's the only one we have.

Just the other day my heart longed to just soak in Luke.  He's so "busy" now and goes to sleep on his own that I have been missing our snuggle time.  My baby is growing up so fast.  I want to soak in his pudgy little toddler body and fill him with love...and fill my own heart with memories to ease the sadness that is there over his growing up right before my eyes.

Well, God granted an answer to that prayer in a funny way.  Last night, Luke woke up with the croup before I had even gone to bed.  I brought him into the bathroom and Jay started the shower to ease his congestion.  Poor Luke was so tired, and scared, because it was hard to breathe.  At one point he even threw up a little on Jay's arm because he was gagging so much.  He just kept saying, "Mommy, I need you."  And I kept saying, "I'm right here. You're ok."

After 15 or 20 minutes in the steam, Luke was much better.  I gave him some benedryl and brought him into my bed propped up on an extra pillow.  He was still congested a little.  He was also very restless.  So was I.  I woke up at every little cough.  Luke was feeling so lousy that he just wanted to snuggle in my arms.  At one point, I whispered in his ear, "Lukie, I love you so much."  He answered back, "Mommy, I love you so much, too." sweet!

Between Luke's cough and restlessness and Kate's top tooth which will probably cut through her gums today by the look of it, not much sleep was had.  But I got to hold and soothe my "baby" boy and make sure he was breathing ok.  It was all worth it.


Monday, September 17, 2012

A Not So Great Sunday Moment

I have to say that yesterday had its not so stellar moments.  Ellie needed some clothes for the fall.  Shopping for her can be tough because her size does not match her age so trying to find clothes that fit well and are appropriate is a challenge.  It stresses me out...and generally I like shopping.

Jay wanted to come with me for the ride so we took Sarah, Ellie, Peter, Luke and Kate and headed to the mall.  My plan was to hit one store that I thought would work for Ellie, get what we need, and then get home for the Patriots' game kickoff at 1.

So, Jay was trying to be helpful and wanted to take Peter, Luke and Kate with him to get one item at the grocery store and then a snack for the boys to keep them from getting antsy.  He dropped me and the girls off at the mall.  I thought I was taking the baby but he wanted to give me time with the older girls.  It was a super generous gesture.  Unfortunately, because I was feeling stressed out already, not having the baby with me made me feel even more discombobulated.  There was no real reason to feel anxious...Jay is perfectly capable of entertaining Kate and she had just nursed before she left so she shouldn't have been hungry for a while.  Despite the truth of the situation, my anxiety went up a notch.

Off we went into the store.  I went to the section I thought would work for Ellen...and it was gone.  The store had changed and got rid of the kids plus section that has been there for years!  Ugh...really?  Up goes the stress level.

We head downstairs to the juniors section.  Sarah found a couple long sleeve tshirts that she needed but there was nothing appropriate for Ellen.  Ugh!!  Up goes the stress level.

I head to the register to pay for Sarah's shirts trying to figure out where to try next.  All of a sudden, I realize I don't have my phone!  OMG...I left it in the car!  How was Jay going to know where I was?  What if the baby needs me?  How was I going to know where he was?

I completely panicked!

I had to go all 80's and use a pay phone....I can't even remember the last time I used a pay phone.  As we walked to the pay phone, I am panicking and so not holding it together.  I call Jay and....he doesn't answer.  I leave a panicked message.  So I call Jon(who is at home), practically in tears, and tell him to text Jay and tell him I forgot my phone and to tell Jon where and when he will meet me.  I told Jon I would call him in 10 minutes to find out what he says.

The girls and I go into another store as I tried to put it together.  (I'm sure poor Sarah was completely embarrassed walking with her mom who is cracking like an egg in front of her.)  We actually found 2 pairs of jeans and a shirt.  Ellie tried them on and then I headed back out to call Jay again.  This time he answered and he was in the mall.  He walked to meet me.  While I waited for him, I found more clothes for Ellie in the juniors department of the same store...including 2 really cute skirts which is what we really needed.

Poor Jay.  He just couldn't understand how a shopping trip that he tried to make so stress free could have ended so poorly.

I wish I had a do over.

1.  I could have been such a better example to the girls.
2.  I should not have let my emotions jump off the deep end.  I would have gotten a hold of Jay eventually.  All the calls I made could have been made calmly.  Everyone was safe and ok.  There was no need for the panic.
3.  If I hadn't had to use the pay phone I probably wouldn't have gone into the store where we found the clothes for Ellie.  So God had already brought good out of a situation that wasn't even that bad to begin with.
4.  It took away from a potential bonding experience.  I did apologize to everyone, several times.  Unfortunately, even an apology doesn't make the memory of the situation go away.

 I guess what really bothers me the most is that I have spent years working on not being the overwhelmed, stressed out, can't handle a situation or my emotions, person that showed up at the mall yesterday.  It has been  many years since I reacted to a situation like that.  I thought that person was completely healed and gone...but obviously that isn't the case.

I did not listen to my emotional cues before I even left for the store.  I was not in a patient, calm mind set and I didn't have enough time to just shop.  Sundays are a day of rest for a reason.  Guilt that she didn't have the clothes that she needed and a full schedule this coming week made me try to squeeze in this trip to the mall instead of just enjoying the day.

Bad choice.

Guilt and control are definitely topics that I have already started bringing to prayer.....I do not want my character flaws affecting my family like yesterday.  I definitely have some work to do...on myself.

And, to top it all off, the Pats lost.  Felt like they lost twice.  With a failed 2 pt. conversion it looked like the game was over and we were mostly resigned to the loss.  Then, a fumble in field goal range brought hope to the situation.  Then the touchdown....which got taken away because of a holding penalty:/  Then, a field goal attempt from a kicker that was perfect all day as time expired and.....he MISSES?!?  Really?

Definitely didn't help:(

Friday, September 14, 2012


I decided to try the 5 minute Friday flash mob again.....How it works is they give you a writing prompt and I write for only five minutes on whatever comes to mind.

Today's writing prompt:  FOCUS goes...

Sleep deprivation gives me a lack of focus.  Too much multitasking gives me a lack of focus.  I try to juggle so many balls in the air that I forget what I'm even juggling after a while.  They just go by in a whirl as I try not to drop something important.

Where should my focus be....definitely my family.  But even deeper than focus should be on Him.  Because God has all the difficult phases with kids, to financial worries, to organization woes, to what I really need.....

If I focus on Him....then I have more peace.  That doesn't change the fact that bills need to be paid, or laundry done, or the need to carpool all over the place, or make dinner, or do dishes.....but it gives me more peace within the tasks.  Each of these(and more) is a part of life and is life giving and important.

Focus on the step I'm matter if that step is in the car or in the laundry room.  Soak up each moment because each is a gift.  Focus on the now and do my part and Let Him work out the tomorrows.


Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Finding Patience for My Three Year Old

In my parenting experience, the "terrible twos" were never an issue.  Once our children approached, or newly passed, that 3rd birthday.....that's when I found myself struggling with their behavior.  The willfulness, the big emotional ups and downs, selective listening....oh, the joys just go on and on!  Unfortunately, I find that my patience does not:(

I love the language that three year olds have....except when they start to copy something they hear that is less than appealing.  For instance, "Ha, ha, loser", which Luke heard on a Phineas and Ferb episode recently.  My little teaser loves to see us react to what he's saying...which is even more frustrating.  We have gotten him to modify it and say, "Ha, ha, silly"....but it bothers me that this sweet, little boy would say something that's so not nice.

Now that Luke has the ability to listen, but sometimes chooses not to is frustrating, too.  This usually happens when he wants to go outside.  Luke would spend every hour of every day outside digging with his trucks if I let him.  But some parts of the day need to be inside to do an occasional chore or take care of Kate.  If he opens the sliders to go outside it can be a battle of the wills to get him back in.  It's so frustrating because I just want him to listen....and it's usually not that easy.  It's a pain to go outside, get on his level and talk to him and gently guide him back inside....because threats from the door don't work and he moves as slow as molasses just.because.he.can!  Ugh!

I know that follow through is key.  So, last night when he got too rough and threw something that hurt Ellie, I told him he needed to say sorry.  He put his chin to his chest and started crying.  I led him over to Ellie.  Luke just stood  there crying with his head down.  I sat him in a dining room chair and told him he had to sit there until he said sorry to Ellie, but then he could go play.  It took him 15 minutes to finally stop crying and apologize.  Really?  Just say sorry and be done with it...usually that's what he does.  But not last night!!

I know this is an opportunity to work on patience.  Sometimes I just don't want to!  It would be nice if kids just listened when they were supposed to listen and do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it!

Of course, I'm sure that's how God feels about me sometimes!  I'm so glad that He has infinite patience!  He's going to need it...especially with my kids who are wired like me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Staying In The "Right Now"

So often lately, (maybe forever), I feel like I am doing everything in my life half-assed.  (Sorry for the language.)

I have dinner cooking in the crock pot but the kitchen hasn't been cleaned.  I have clean laundry, but none of it is folded or put away.  I have dirty laundry sorted but not in the washer yet.  In all honesty, laundry is a lost battle in my house....I just need to try and keep up with it so we don't lose any of our small children in the piles.

So often I hear the word 'inadequate' shouted in my head.  Actually, it's more like this...
"You are SO INADEQUATE!!!!"

Trying to keep everyone happy is a mostly impossible feat....yet, it doesn't stop me from trying every day.  Some days I certainly fall short...some days WAY short...some days it seems like I forgot to show up at all!

I want all my kids to feel loved and important.  I want their memories to be of me being physically and emotionally present in their lives.  It's such a struggle because of having little ones....mostly because of having Peter.  Sporting events aren't easy things to get to if we have to bring our whole crew.  But I want to be a part of all of it....and I want them to want me to be a part of it!

Being a multitasker is a good thing most of the time...but if my focus is on trying to check off all the things on my to-do list then opportunities to just "be" with my kids can take a back seat.  That can be opportunities to play with Luke, or snuggle with Kate, or really listen and be fully present when the older kids tell me about their day.  There has to be some type of order in the house....but I don't want to miss all these fleeting moments to enjoy my kids.  Finding the balance isn't easy!

Too many times I get caught up in thinking about "what's next" that I forget to focus on "what's right now"!  I miss expressions, or opportunities to look deeper at things, or listen to kids open up, or open up and let kids know me as more than just the person nagging them about homework and cleaning their room.

Today I am linking up with Shell at Things I Can't Say.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Special Husband

I have been blessed with a husband who cares completely about his family.  He works incredibly hard to provide us with a home, and food, and clothing(even the occasional splurge at Gymboree), and school for the kids...and gas for the cars to get the aforementioned kids to the multiple sporting events and practices they are involved in!  (Plus a slew of other bills that always seem to keep coming just when you thought we were caught up and could put a little extra aside!)

Jay manipulates his (already crazy) schedule to make it to all of Mike, Andrew and Jon's home meets/games and all the away ones that aren't too far.  His evenings are spent playing on the floor with little ones who are ready for their "daddy time" the minute he walks through the door.

He helps with dishes, bath time(so not my favorite time of day), de-cluttering, and even does the occasional grocery shopping with me.(We have to sneak together time in somewhere!)

He loves all of us so much that he is a frequent occasional worrier...especially when work gets a little low.  God always provides other opportunities, but it definitely makes life more of a scramble when he has to do per diem for one, or even two, companies after his main job.  He always manages to tie it all together...not easy with the weight of our large family on his shoulders!

Many years ago a priest had told me that God's love for me was evident in my life in a special way.....because of the husband He blessed me with.  I couldn't agree more!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Adventures in Potty Training

Luke received some truck theme underpants for his birthday in August from Jay's mom.  She thought Luke's love for trucks might encourage using the potty.

Last night Jay and I spent time talking to Luke about being a good boy and using the potty.  We told him he couldn't go to school next year if he didn't use the potty.  I even showed him the big boy underpants again, hoping to renew interest.

It seemed to work.  He was talking about the underpants this morning.  I told him that if he wore underpants, he needed to poop and pee in the potty to keep the trucks dry and clean.  Luke said, "ok!"

So, I helped him take off his jammies and night time diaper.  We went into the bathroom and he did go a little.  Then I put on the underpants.  Luke spent a few minutes looking at the trucks on them...especially the excavators.

After those first few minutes, Luke looked up at me with his big brown eyes.  In his matter-of-fact voice he said, "Mommy, I can't do this.  I need my diaper."  And he took off his underpants and waited for me to put a diaper on.

Oh, well.  At least he didn't pee on the furniture.  One of these days it will click!  Hopefully it happens pretty soon, though.  Luke is a solid little boy and even the largest size diapers are starting to look like a Sumo wrestler's loincloth on him!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Just a Great Sunday

It's been a really nice of those weekends when it makes Monday's arrival even more difficult to accept.

Saturday started with a cross country meet and a soccer game in the morning and then morphed into yard work in the afternoon and ended with friends over for dinner in the evening.  It was a full day!

Sunday started with Mass.  Then home for breakfast and playing with the little ones.  By late morning I was preparing food in anticipation of watching the Patriots game.  We are a football family.  There is nothing better than a lazy Sunday afternoon in the fall watching a Patriots game and eating some special food.  Since today was the first game of the season, we did some extra special food for the game.  On the menu was taco dip, pigs in a blanket, coconut chicken, chili, and, for dessert, cupcakes made from Jay's mom's beloved recipe.  It was a yummy way to enjoy some family time.  Since the Patriots won the day was even better!

With a large family, everyone in the house knows that if they want to enjoy the food, they need to move fast once it comes out of the oven.  Sometimes it's like a feeding frenzy! If they don't get a plate early, they may be out of luck!

Everyone in the family has their favorite foods.  Today, I tried to make sure everyone had something that they enjoyed.  Andrew is my pickiest eater.  His two favorite foods are bacon and hot dogs....I know, definitely not the healthiest but we keep working on him!  Pigs in a blanket are one of his all time favorites.  The kids know that if they want to eat more than a couple of these treats, they need to move fast.  Jon made the comment today..."Hey, since Andrew's wrist is broken and he only has one hand to work with, we might have a fighting chance to get those pigs in a blanket!"

Jon was especially hungry today.  (Must be all that soccer!)  The first batch of coconut chicken had barely come out of the pan before he filled his plate with most of it!  I sprinkled the seasoning on his chicken as he walked past me!

Mike likes it all so he was thrilled with the spread.  Jay, too.  Sarah was most excited for the cupcakes since she has been talking about chocolate cake all week.  She helped me make the frosting.  She even put the extra frosting into a tupperware and put it away.  Of course, this clean up had ulterior motives....Sarah hid the tupperware deep in the fridge so no one else would notice it and she could keep the extras for herself!  Because, really, what's better than a spoonful of frosting!?!

After the game, I spent some time outside with Luke and Kate.  There was a cooler breeze with the hint of fall....perfect afternoon weather.  It was so nice just to be outside.

My loving husband finished cleaning the kitchen while I was out with the little ones!  Then he played basketball with Mike.  After a while, Luke noticed they were outside and ran out to play, too.  Peter followed him outside to wander around the yard.

I opened the front door to check on Peter.  Luke was standing next to Jay holding the basketball.  I yelled "hi" to him and he yelled "hi" back and then told me that he was playing with Daddy and gave me a hearty wave and an adorable smile.

Jay told me later that when I shut the door, Luke looked up at him and said, "That's my mommy.  She was checking on me.  Mommy loves me!"

Yes, she does, Lukie...very, very much!

Friday, September 7, 2012


I started this post late last night...well, late for me!  I was interrupted by my glorious sleeping toddler.(insert eye roll here!)  I had to end I'm posting it now:)

I feel antsy tonight...unsettled.  Do you ever have that feeling that there's something you are supposed to figure out but you aren't sure what it is?  That something is there waiting for you to understand if you can just find it?

But what?

It's amazing what having a little time to unwind will do.  Kate actually fell asleep in Jay's arms at bottle time tonight.  She actually stayed asleep when he put her into her crib around 9.  That hasn't happened in quite a while.  Maybe those 2 teeth that she finally cut, (one on the top and another on the bottom), have finally let her get a little more rest and not sleep so lightly?  Of course, that other top tooth and the next bottom tooth can't be far behind!  But I gratefully accept the reprieve.

I worked on the grocery list for the week tonight.  Sometimes it's such a struggle to be inspired to cook all week while trying to pick recipes that don't involve buying too many ingredients!

I watched/listened to the movie Julie and Julia while I worked on the list.  I've seen the movie before.  I really like it.  I like that it's based on a true story.  It's really neat the way a woman's blog and an idea to complete a goal while sharing the experience on the blogosphere could interest so many people and result in a book and a movie!

It's inspiring.

In my own blogging journey, which is still so new, I continue to stumble around the "where is this supposed to go?" question.  I can be satisfied that it's just an expression of "me" thoughts and feelings and memories and accounts of my family's journey through life.  There is a part of me that wants it to be lead some where bigger.  I truly believe that "it's all about timing"...if something is meant to be it will happen.  I just have to do my part and be open to God doing His part.  )Though I often wish that God sent postcards with specific, concrete directions!)

Sometimes I just want to figure out how to make something happen....but since I have no idea what direction to head in I just keep writing...and praying...and try to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to the path that God has chosen for me.  I don't want to ruin anything by pushing too fast and arriving unprepared.  It's an opportunity to practice patience, and humility, and to focus on living in the present moment without rushing to get to the next moment.

Life is so much more satisfying when each moment of the day is breathed in and savored...even the difficult ones...instead of just trying to "survive" each moment to get to something else.  It's a lesson I've finally started to allow myself to learn....and is still new enough that I still need the constant occasional reminder that "this moment" is the important moment because it's the moment I'm living now.

Even as my little ones cough from their late summer colds and begin to stir before I've even made it to bed, I know that this present moment is fleeting.  The nights of broken sleep will not last forever...though sometimes it feels that way.  I will miss these baby and toddler days...Kate's obsession to always have me in her sight and Luke's invitations for me to play trucks or snuggle with him.  So I try to "soak up the now" because memories of night time nursing and pudgy toddler hugs can never compare to experiencing the real thing.

And I have been blessed to do it many times over!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Soaking In The Sunshine

After two days of rain, today's sunshine was a welcome sight!  Knowing Luke wouldn't want to be stuck in the house all day, (me neither!), and wanting to take advantage of the summer-like weather while it lasts, I decided to take them to the beach.  My sil, Jackie, was free so she met me there with my niece and nephew.  I swung by Dunkin for some ice coffees, then dropped off something at my friend, Anne-Marie's, house on the way to the beach and invited her to come along with her two little ones, too.

The kids had a great time!  Luke, Brayden and Nate all played near the water digging and swimming and throwing seaweed:)  The girls all stuck near their least for this year!  I'm sure next year they will try to keep up with their brothers!

It was a little overcast...but perfect for the little ones.  Fresh air, nice weather, adult conversation, occupied kids...what could be better?

The Coffee Shop

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Adventure Wednesdays

We made it to Wednesday!  Maybe not quite an amazing accomplishment since the week only started let's think positive!

Last year Mike had Wednesdays off on his school schedule, and he didn't work that day.  Mike often wanted to do something with Luke....sometimes the zoo or the park or out shopping.

This year Mike has one class on Wednesday morning.  Today was his first day and the teacher did a short introduction and then let them out very early.  Mike called me to tell me he was on his way home and to ask, "So, what are we going to do today?"

Being 19, Mike is on the verge of jumping from teenager to young adult.  He is heading towards independence from us...which is normal but isn't always very pretty as the tug of war of power can get a little ugly at times.  I think it's even more challenging for us since Mike is the firstborn so this is new territory from us.  Trying to balance when to let go in some areas and when to hold firm in others isn't easy.  Compromise is definitely a key word with Mike at this stage in his life.  It's VERY hard to go through the "letting go" process.  Unfortunately, it's necessary, so we keep moving forward the best we can.

Sometimes Mike drives me crazy.  He can be overly critical with his siblings, passive aggressive with Jay and with me, and is not always the most sensitive person.  Other times, he is extremely helpful to us and extremely kind to his siblings.  Hopefully, as he continues to mature, the helpful/kind Mike will be prominent!

These Wednesday outings are special and important.  These Wednesdays are moments to build my relationship with my oldest son and moments to build Mike and Luke's relationship.  Those two have a special bond....not only are they brothers but Mike is Luke's godfather, too.  There are so many years between them,(16), that, most likely, Mike will not spend the majority of Luke's childhood in our home.(Not that we are in a hurry to see Mike least most days!;)

Sometime's Mike's question of "What are we doing today?" is met by thoughts of reluctance on my part.  Sometimes I just want to stay home and clean.  Sometimes I just feel too tired to try and come up with something fun or interesting to do.  But then I remind myself that Mike is reaching out, and this is an opportunity to spend time with him and strengthen our put a deposit of "good feelings" in both our emotional tanks since, all too often, we are making "emotional withdrawls".

I love that Mike wants to spend time with Luke.  I'm thankful for the opportunities to just be together in a relaxed way.  Today's outing was to the Whaling Museum.  It was Mike's idea.  Luke had fun.  At first he was timid...but after doing things with Mike hand over hand, Luke was ready to do it on his own!
What a good big brother!    

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On Leaving Little Ones

I have to say, that the weather this weekend was just great!  We got to spend lots of time "playing" outside....and I truly love going to bed on Sunday knowing we get to have a lazy Monday morning:)

This morning was back to the regular schedule of getting all the kids out of the house for school on time..and Jay off to work.  Since it's Tuesday, I had to go to work as well.  Sigh.

Kate doesn't like being apart from me:(  I always feel really bad leaving her even though it's with her grandparents who love her to pieces.  As soon as we walked into their house this morning Kate's grip on me got a lot tighter.  Grandma managed to distract her with a toy and a snuggle so I could slip out.  I know she cries off and on until she takes her nap.  Thankfully, she took a longer nap today so it wasn't too long before I got home after she woke up.

When I walked in the door, Luke was very happy to see me.  I walked to the room where Kate was playing with my dad.  As soon as Kate saw me, she burst into tears and had such a sad face that seemed to say, "How could you leave me?"  I picked her up and she just cried for a few minutes.   I felt awful:(

Kate has been fine since we got home.    I give moms credit that don't have the option of being home with their little ones...I couldn't leave her to work full time!  I hate leaving her for 3 hours!  I am so grateful that I can stay home with her everyday except Tuesday morning!  I would end up crying more than she would!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

If We Could Only Live Without Sleep!

So sleeping went better last night until 2am.  At 2, Kate woke up and wanted to nurse..which is fine because then she usually drifts back to sleep.

Notice I said usually....

Unfortunately, just as she was settling Luke woke up.  Luke is not, and never has been, a good "waker upper"!(He gets that from Jay)  He is not quiet or pleasant in the middle of the night...or first thing in the morning either!

Luke wanted a drink of water.  I put a water cup on my night stand every night for him.  Since I was nursing, (and trying to keep Kate from fully waking up!), I asked Luke to lean over and get the cup.  He did...drank the whole thing, put the cup back, and laid back down on the pillow next to me.  I managed to shake the sheet out to cover him while still nursing Kate, and thought I was good to drift back to sleep....

A couple of minutes later, Luke starts whining that his foot is sticking out of the blanket.  Really?  Still nursing, I re-position it and, after a couple of tries, it seems to please Sir Cranks-a-lot.

Kate is starting to drift off and......

Luke sits up again asking for more water.  Since his cup is empty, I ask him to lay down and I will fill it when Kate is done nursing.  Luke wasn't interested.  Whispered explanations and attempts to keep him quiet while he was waiting were futile.  By this point, Kate's eyes are wide open while she's nursing, looking at me and trying to figure out what's going on.

Frustrated, I told Luke to lay down and to stop waking up the baby in a "not so patient" voice.  He started crying.  Great...that worked well.

Since we were all wide awake by that point, I got up and got him more water. Luke drank the water, laid down, I covered him with his blanket(both legs underneath!), kissed him good night, and tried nursing Kate again, hoping she would drift off.

Two minutes later.....

Luke is whining again!!!

So I ask him what he needs.  Luke says, "I need to pee."

Really?  This child of mind, the reluctant potty trainer, who NEVER wants to use the potty decides, at 2:30 AM, that he needs to pee!  Arghhh!

I am desperate to get Kate back to sleep so I told him he had a diaper on(like every other night!)  and to just go to sleep.

No go(literally and figuratively!)  Two minutes later he is whining again.  I realize that sleep is just not going to happen at this point.  So, I pick him up, put him on the potty, praise him for going pee(his diaper was dry), and bring him back to bed.

Luke asked to go into the living room.  A short explanation of "its dark out and everyone and thing is sleeping",(except us, of course), convinced him to lay his head back down.  It took until 3 to get Kate back to sleep:(

You know what the kicker is....Do you think he asked to use the potty when he woke up?  Or at any point during the day so far?


I try very hard not to swear much...sometimes the "little swears" slip out.  Even though last night was rough, I really didn't swear at Luke last night!  Honest!  But I can truly appreciate the humor behind the book, "Go the F#@* To Sleep", after nights like this!