Friday, November 30, 2012


This will be the last official 5 minute Friday of the year.  The site that sponsors the meme is taking a break for December.  I might keep it up myself because Fridays tends to be a little crazy and 5 minutes completely fits my schedule:)


The word of the day is a good one;


This is such a great word!  What pops into my mind seems to focus on the fast approaching Christmas season.  The wonder of seeing the kids, little and big, so excited.  The wonder of seeing Kate look at the Christmas tree lights for the first time.  (Well, technically not the first but she was only a few days old last Christmas!)  The wonder of Luke's excitement over the first snow flurries of the season.  

Most importantly, the wonder of a Savior who came as an infant to save us from ourselves.  

One of my favorite moments of this season is Christmas Eve.  The older teens are like the little kids in their excitement and there is just a special peace and love that I sense between them when the sun has set and we sit by the dim glow of the Christmas tree waiting to go to my in-laws.

Later on that night after a special meal and present exchange with my in-laws, when the little kids are in their beds and the older kids are banished to their rooms for the night, Jay and I have some (hopefully) alone time where we put on Christmas carols softly and sit by the light of the Christmas tree drinking eggnog and exchange the gifts we got for each other.  

and.....for the very last day!...
Thankful Thought #30:
I am thankful for the special traditions our family has...and that our kids still want to be a part of them!

p.s. One of my friends and fellow bloggers is at a milestone follower number...199!  She is a mom of 5, faith-filled, and feisty:)! I'm leaving the link to her blog.  If you have a moment...please check it out and if you like it, consider following:)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just a Random Day

I'm reading a book right now called Unglued with 3 other women in our week day book club that meets every two to three weeks.  It's a very interesting...and challenging book... that focuses on the way we react to situations in our life.  We are only on chapter two, which brought up a lot of good points about perspective.  Perspective is very important...our response often depends on how you look at a situation.  Trying to put a positive twist on a tough situation is not easy...neither is waiting to see the good(and the healing) that God can bring out of any situation, no matter how tragic.

During the book club, our little children are here.  There are three boys, (5,3, and almost 3), and three girls, (20 months, 15 months, and almost 1 year).  Can I tell you how hysterical it is at the differences between the two sets of kids already?  The boys go through waves of crazy....playing quietly together one minute and running around like nuts the next...with the occasional refereeing that needs to happen from one of us moms to insure safety and avoid a trip to the er!

The girls are sitting on our laps snacking or crawling/walking around finding toys and talking/babbling to each other.  I know that they are younger, but you can just sense the differences in their personalities from their rowdy brothers!

So funny:)

I know that this is a little random, but I really liked today's quote from Catholic Digest again today.  It showed up twice in my inbox this morning...that happens occasionally and, when it does, I always figure that it is a sign that I'm supposed to pay extra attention to it! ;)

It is a Jewish saying:  God is closest to those with broken hearts.

Though I have related to having a broken heart many times, I don't feel that way at this moment.  I thought that maybe I have a reader who might need to hear it today?

Regardless, I like the quote.  It makes me think of, "God will not break the bruised reed."(Matthew 12:20)  It also reminds me of all the times that I have brought my broken heart to God, and laid it all before Him, and how He has healed my heart.  (And how almost every time His help and healing has come in very unexpected ways!)

Thankful Thought #29:
I am thankful that my children have each other.  (Even though some days they don't appreciate having siblings!)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Little Opportunities for Grace

I am super excited!  With the exception of a family pass that I need to order online and one $5 Dunkin gift card and some candy for stockings(that I don't want to get until closer to Christmas because I might eat it:)...I am done Christmas shopping!  I love getting it done early so that I have more time to focus on other important aspects of Advent (like the real reason for the season!) and the special food and decorations and family time. (Or at least try to...there are always more things I want to do for the kids or the house than I have time for!)

Mike hasn't been able to work since he broke his hand, so I've taken advantage of having him home to get some extra shopping done.  I'm not brave enough to take out Kate and Luke to stores on my own...but with an extra set of hands(well...hand lol) I've been able to get to stores during the week and tie up the loose odds and ends!

I had to get some items at Walmart today.  I haven't been there in a while since I'm lucky if I can get to the grocery store each week.  After today, I'm kind of glad.  It was crazy in there!  There was a woman yelling at someone to "Stay in the G...damn line!" that I heard from the soap aisles!  Yikes!  Then, as I was leaving, there was an elderly woman who was losing it because she was having trouble finding the money in her purse.  The sales associate was being so kind, too, telling her to take her time while she put the woman's bags in her cart.  The woman was starting to scream at her...and I mean scream!  Yikes, again!

Yeah..I'm all set with that store for a while!

The daily quote of the day from Catholic Digest touched me today, so I thought I would share:

Today's Quiet Moment

Wednesday, November 28

Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of
healing? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions!
Henri Nouwen

What a good reflection!  What a good challenge!  It's amazing how many opportunities God places in our path everyday..I know I miss many of them.  Thankfully, I don't miss all of them!  Even the instance with the women yelling at Walmart and the elderly woman losing it at the clerk....praying for these people and trying to be charitable in thought, (maybe there was a disability or dementia involved), is an opportunity for Grace.

That's an important part of Living in the Moment through the eyes of faith!

Thankful Thought #28:
I am thankful for teenagers who walk through the door and show such excitement at seeing their baby sister!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Joys of Parenting Older Teens

Sometimes I think God gives us difficult moments with our late teen/young adult children so that we look forward too aren't so sad when it's time for them to go away to college.  All kids have different personalities which makes them easier or more difficult to live with at certain times in their life.

Case in first born.  Mike is a great kid who has so much to offer.  When he isn't busy trying to hide it......Mike has a huge heart, is very thoughtful, has a great childlike wonder for holidays and family traditions, and is a protective older brother to his siblings.

Yet, my first born has authority issues.  As much as he sometimes shows how much he loves being part of the family, he also show frustration at having to be part of a family structure with rules and limits.  Passive aggression is his tool of choice....ignoring us when he's in a "non compliant" mood and putting off any "difficult" task we give him (like taking out the trash or locking a door!?!) until I feel like I have to act like Rumplestiltskin(jumping up and down until I go through the floor...sorry if this is an obscure image) or until he finally deems the task ready to be done in "Michael time"!

It can be SOOOOO frustrating!  I get that kids need to grow up and apart from parents.  In reality, the speed bumps in our relationship with Mike are just speed bumps.  We have not had to deal with issues like alcohol abuse, drug use, or inappropriate relationships.  It could be so much worse.

Mike struggles with faith....which I know is caused by a combo of immaturity, his issues with authority, and hurts that he has to reconcile with God over losing a sister and having a brother with autism.  It's scary that as he is perched at the edge of the nest, I worry that without that solid faith to help move him through life that he will be blown into places that "angels fear to tread."  I know that Mike has to make his own choices, but I was really hoping that faith would be an anchor in his life and he could avoid the pitfalls that can happen when God's left in a corner instead of the center where He belongs.

Jay and I often find ourselves trying to work through the frustration of dealing with the "difficult Mike moments".  It's amazing how you can love your kids so much...but like them not so much in a given moment!

So, what prompted today's post you may ask?  After a very difficult night with Luke and Kate, I was just ready to leave the bathroom after my shower when I noticed the brand new container of refill hand soap, (you know, the big jug), laying in the hamper.  I leaned down to pick it up and realized that the cover was off and the entire bottle was in the hamper and soaked up in the towels at the bottom.  It was a mess....and not a welcome sight for an already difficult morning.

I asked around to find out who might have dropped the soap and just left it there(!) without picking it up.  When I got to Mike, his answer was, "I might have knocked it over." with that teenage shrug and that "I don't give a crap" look on his face that make me want to Jason Bourne know, use crazy martial arts moves that have him on the ground in like 2.2 seconds!  (Sorry...I live in a house with mostly boys who like their action movies!)

But I didn't.  (I have bad hips and shoulders anyway)  I didn't even yell...because I'm tired of repeating the whole, "If you drop something then pick it up."  Ugh..laziness!

When he asked me to make him a sandwich 30 minutes later you can imagine the words that I wanted to say!  I should have made him a soap sandwich!

But in the end, I made the sandwich and asked God to use that small sacrifice to help open Mike's heart to Him.  Because as much as Mike drives me crazy(!!!), I won't give up on him.

Thankfully, God has never given up on me, either!

Thankful Thought #27:    
I am thankful that God has helped me face and fix....and continues to help me face and character flaws!  (Now if I can only keep from passing the flaws on to my kids!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Out and About

It has been a nice Monday so far:)  Mike and I took Luke and Kate to do a little Christmas shopping.  I am so close to finishing my list!  I'm still striving to finish before Advent starts this weekend.

Shopping went well for the most part.  Except when Luke broke a small snow globe at Kohl's...oops:(.  Luke got to ride the train at the mall.  Mike was hoping Luke would take a pic with Santa...but no go.  In Luke's words, "He's scary!"  On the way in the mall, Luke wouldn't even look at him.  By the time we left, Luke gave him a high five...progress:)

Kate took a 2 1/2 hour nap to make up for the lack of napping yesterday!  She was out cold!  She fell asleep in her carriage at the mall and stayed asleep through walking outside in the cold, transferring her into the car seat, and bringing her car seat inside when she got home!  She really needed the sleep.

When we got home, Luke wanted to watch a cartoon with me on the couch.  So we got some good snuggle time....and I got a 10 minute power nap!  You can't get much better than that!

Some time with my oldest, a great nap for my youngest, and snuggle time with my Lukie....pretty good way to spend the day so far if you ask me:)

Now...only 9 hours until bedtime!

Thankful Thought #26:
I am thankful for Kate's cute little crinkle nose's priceless:)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Just a Relaxing Sunday

Today was a great end to a really nice long weekend!  We started with Mass, then a quick breakfast.  Jay put together a roast with potatoes and carrots...which made the house nice and toasty with a great aroma!

We spent a lot of good family time with the kids.  Jay played with Luke, took Jon driving, threw a football around with Mike and spent time talking with all the kids.

Jay's roast was delicious(with homemade gravy)....there's hardly anything left over!  He spoils me:)

The day ended at my parent's house helping them to put up their Christmas tree and watching Home Alone.  Luke and Peter were especially excited!

A nice end to the weekend.  It's tough to get back into the work week groove after 4 days off!(Although I am looking forward to a quieter house tomorrow.  Hopefully poor little Kate will get a decent nap for a change!)

Thankful Thought #25:
I am thankful for a husband who takes such good care of me and of our children!  I am very blessed:)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Successful Pierogi Day!

Pierogi Fest went great yesterday.  Jay, his mom, and the kids made about 300 pierogis!  Our freezer is filled.  Our kids love the potato and cheese pierogis with sour cream.  Mike, Jon, Sarah and Ellie polished off a dozen and a half pierogis for lunch today:)

Thankfully, my sister-in-law took some pics during the day....

 Jay making dough...
 Flour, flour everywhere!
 Mike and Jackie
 Mike posing..not looking very helpful!
 Sarah looking on...
 Grandma teaching Jon the right technique...
 Jackie and Jay's mom...
 Jackie, Jay's mom, Mike and Ellie...
 Luke and Brayden of the few minutes they weren't running around!
 Jay cutting keilbasa with Jon's silly face in the background...
 Mike looking not very helpful again...he will probably blame his broken hand....
 Jon being Jon....
Sarah and Ellie....

The kids all had a lot of fun spending time with family and making something tasty from their Polish heritage.  This is the fifth annual pierogi day.  It started five years ago, when Jay's grandmother, Babi, was still with us.  Babi was really slowing down...she had to use a walker, was forgetting a lot of things, and was upset because she couldn't really cook anymore and couldn't remember the recipes.  Jay and his mom decided to make pierogis after Thanksgiving as a way to share family memories and involve Babi in something that she used to do all the time.  On that first pierogi day, Babi started as an observer but ended up right in the middle of things as her hands took over and created what her memory struggled to recall.  Jay helped her get her walker right up to the island so she could kneed the dough and form the pierogis.  She was there for the second pierogi day as well, but passed away the following Spring.  For the last three years, Babi is always remembered in a special way and carried in everyone's hearts as pierogis are created just like she used to make.

Special family traditions link generations and deepen family bonds.  These shared experiences are timeless when you consider how many generations of family members have created perogis!  I'm glad that my kids are sharing in a part of their history...and having so much fun doing it:)

Thankful Thought #24:
I'm thankful for family traditions and special family memories!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pierogi Fest!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving!  Ours was very and family....and then more food and more family:)  I love the special holiday dishes and I am happy to say that my mini cheesecakes, pies, and chocolate chip cheesecake were a success!  Sarah's cookies were SO cute:)...tasty, too!

Today is another exciting day!  Jay is taking the senior youth group at our parish shopping at 5:30am to buy some gifts for two struggling families.  The kids have a ton of fun and it's a good service project, too.

I will be going shopping with my mom and sister...but not until 8ish.  (I already don't sleep enough!)  The three of us will stay out until at least dinner time.  With Kate in tow, I think that will be the limit this year.  Some years, we stay out until 9!  It's a lot of fun and something we look forward to every year.

Jay should be back home by mid-morning.  He will have a couple of hours before his mom comes over to begin something we call "Pierogi Fest"!  My kids LOVE pierogi fest.  They will spend the entire afternoon making dozens and dozens of cabbage and potato and cheese pierogis. The kids will eat dozens of potato and cheese pierogis...and Jay and his mom will eat some of the cabbage.  The leftover dozens of pierogis will be frozen.  The potato pierogis won't last long...maybe a month.

This year, Jay's sister, Jackie, and her 2 kids will be coming over to help make perogis, too.  They should all have a great time.  Polka music will be playing...and special family memories will be made.  My kids are as excited about perogi fest as they are about Thanksgiving!

I'll let you know tomorrow how it all turns out!

Thankful Thought #22:
I'm thankful for leftovers....especially desserts!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Thankful Thought #22:
I am thankful for spending the day with my extended family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I'm taking a nursing break from the baking.  My second in command(Sarah) is in charge for the moment.  So far, I've made a full size chocolate chip cheesecake, 41/2 dozen mini pumpkin cheesecakes, and there's an apple pie baking in the oven.  A couple more pies and some acorn cookies to go!

Sarah has become super helpful in the kitchen over the past year!  She's much more independent.  I'm thankful for her help today.  Ellie has been very helpful helping to keep Luke and Kate occupied, too!

And the boys....

Well...Andrew is with my sister-in-law baking a cake for my mother-in-law's birthday tonight.  Mike and Jon were taking naps on the couch!  Not very helpful:/

Hopefully Kate will take more than a 5 minute nap this time!  It will be helpful to have one less person to keep an eye on while I try to finish the pies.

Thankful Thought # 21:
I am thankful that we are having dinner at my sister-in-law's tonight so that I can concentrate on baking and only have one mess to clean up instead of two!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bring on the Baking!

With only two days before Thanksgiving, I'm getting the urge to bake!  I cannot wait to peel, and slice, and sugar and cinnamon all those apples...and try and get them in the pies before the kids eat too many!  I do  not host Thanksgiving, so I don't have to worry about deep cleaning.(The kids are thankful about that, too:)

I get to concentrate on my favorite part of the holidays...desserts!  On my list are chocolate chip cheesecake, mini pumpkin cheesecakes(this is a first so hopefully it works out!), apple pies and a pumpkin pie.  Sarah's making 'acorn cookies' from Martha Stuart's Living magazine.

I really enjoy baking....the order and rhythm...and the sweet rewards when it's done.    Seeing what I've baked spread out on the counter is only slightly less satisfying to me than watching my friends and family enjoy it all!

I've always loved to bake.  For several years after Peter was diagnosed with Autism and we switched him to a gluten and dairy free diet, baking became stressful.  Worrying about cross contamination and Peter getting into foods that he couldn't have..which always results in extreme hyperactivity and night waking for hours at a time...took most of the joy out of cooking for me.  Not being able to share special things that I made highlighted the challenges we had with him, made me feel guilty that he couldn't eat them, and just took a lot of the fun out of baking.

It took a few years, but those feelings have gotten better over time.  It still makes me sad that Peter can't eat my regular special desserts.  I make him lots of special treats, but it's still not quite the same.

For a long time Peter had a lot of texture issues, too.  For about two years, now, he will actually eat steak and poultry.  So it's nice that there are at least an extra meal or two during the week that we can all share together.  Peter likes turkey, so that makes Thanksgiving a little easier!  Peter will get spoiled at Thanksgiving, too, by my aunt who will make gf/cf cupcakes with frosting!(She and my cousin are on a gf/cf diet, too.)

So....countdown to baking!

 And, then to shopping!

And, then to perogi fest!

(More on all that later in the week!)

Thankful Thought #20:
I am thankful that I get to witness the love that Luke has for his baby sister, and the love that Kate has for him.  I love the way he asks for her as soon as he wakes up, the way he talks to her and tries to play with her.  I love the huge smiles that Kate has for Luke and the hugs they give each other.  They are a blessing for each other...and for all of us!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Everyday Drudgery

Thanksgiving week....and I definitely have much to be thankful, friends, our home, health, enough of everything we need.

Sometimes being home doing the "everyday drudgery" of laundry, dishes, clean up, and care of the little ones can feel insignificant.  The following quote was in my inbox the other day, and I saved it because it felt so meaningful....

"Know that when you are in the kitchen, our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans."
St. Teresa of Avila

An important thing to remember, don't you think?  Even washing the dishes can give glory to God...and we certainly have lots of dirty dishes:)

Thankful Thought #19:
When we are living in God's Will for us, every task that is before us, whether big or small, brings us Grace.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Get to Leave the House!

I'm looking forward to doing a little Christmas shopping at our Parish's vendor fair in an hour!  I cannot wait to get out of the house for a while and leave the little ones with Jay.

I actually got out of the house for 2 hours last night, too.  Since Kate was still under the weather, she and Peter stayed with my parents and Luke went to play at my mother in law's while I got to go to the Variety Show at my Parish.  It was coordinated by one of my closest friends, Mary(she always does a great job...choreography is her passion!) and Andrew, Jon and Sarah were in it as well.  Andrew and Jon organized their friends to do a parody of "Gangnam Style" about Steve, our Parish's Director of Pastoral Ministries.  Andrew wrote the words and Jon choreographed the was hysterical!  They have a gift of 'tease' that can be put to good use entertaining others!  (Steve loved it:)

Jay and some of the other men in the Parish also gave into Mary's idea based on a youtube video of a synchronized "swim routine"...the water is a big blue tarp that's held across the stage for the "swimmers" to "dive" into.  Everyone was in stitches!  (Don't worry, no one wore speedos! lol)

This morning Andrew made some hot chocolate for Luke....really 'lukewarm chocolate' by the time we put milk in it.  Andrew left the milk on the island and left the room.  Can you guess what happened next?  About a half gallon of milk spilled all over the counter, all over Luke, and all over the stools and floor!  Ugh!  What a mess!

I know the saying, "Don't cried over spilled milk"....but what about when it's a half gallon!?!

I didn't cry.  (Good thing this didn't happen yesterday.  I would have melted down!)...and Andrew helped with Kate and put Luke in the tub while I cleaned up the mess.

So...I'm anxiously awaiting Jay's return home(he's with some guy friends) to head out.  I love shopping...especially Christmas shopping.  I'm probably 75% done with my Christmas shopping:)  It's been my goal for quite a few years now to get the shopping done before Advent so that I can have that time to focus more on the spiritual side of Christmas.(Or at least try to!)

On the schedule game(go Pats)...and hopefully a visit with some friends if Kate stays fever free this afternoon!(So far, so good!)  It's shaping up to be a pretty good Sunday:)

Hope you  have a great Sunday, too:)

Since I didn't post yesterday, I'm playing catch-up with my 'Thankful Thoughts' again.....

Thankful Thought #17:
I'm thankful for some "me" time and a chance to mingle with people over the age of 3!

Thankful Thought #18
I'm thankful for the moments my kids show compassion.  The most recent example...Yesterday was a tough day with Kate not feeling well.  Jon looked at Kate with her runny nose, pink cheeks, glassy eyes, and miserable expression and said "Poor baby"... Then, he looked at me, and said, "Poor, Mom...because a sick, cranky baby means a mom who can't put the baby down to get anything done or get a break."  Sometimes it's just nice to be understood!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mama Duty

Five minute Friday today..perfect for busy Mamas with clingy little ones...

The word is:

In the middle of the night, mama duty calls.  Warm cheeks and cold feet and quick breathing....fever.  Kate's cold combined with teething has taken its toll on her little body.  At 3am the house is quiet.  I try not to wake everyone as I change Kate's diaper and switch her flannel jammies for a cooler pair.  I give her tylenol and sit with her on the couch to nurse her in the semi darkness.  My beautiful baby girl gazes up at me with her big, blue eyes.  After a while, I bring her into my bed.  She will stay next to me tonight.  It takes a while for her to settle back to sleep.  She finds comfort laying her head against the skin on my neck.  I rub her little back and hear and feel her breathing slow and steady until we both drift off for some very needed sleep.

Thankful Thought #16:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Just a Tired Momma

We are on night 2 of terrible sleeping.  If you've visited before, you know that even on my "good" nights I wake up at least 3 times.  So, terrible sleeping makes me feel like I shouldn't have even bothered going to bed!

Kate is cutting a tooth that has looked like it was ready to pop for a week.  Hopefully, it will cut through today so she will sleep better again.  She was particularly miserable and unsettled last night.  She didn't sleep more than an hour or two without waking up or fussing.

And difficult little 3 year old.  Oh how he is struggling right now.  He is soooo needy and attention seeking.  His behavior quickly turns to seeking negative attention if he isn't getting the positive attention.  This week I have seen the emergence of jealousy towards Kate.  He gets upset when he wants me to do something with him and I'm nursing the baby.  Last night, it followed through into night waking.  He would wake up crying...which woke up his sister.  So I would try and settle her back to sleep to try and give Luke the snuggles he needed.  He would cry and say, "Mommy, hold me."  There's only so much one person can do.  It's so frustrating because if he would just stop crying and waking his sister then I could take care of him right away!

Why won't everyone just sleep!!!!

This morning has been a struggle.  I prayed for a while before I managed to drag myself out of bed(after disengaging the 11 month old that was laying across my chest).  It is SOOOO hard to stay patient when I am that tired and feeling so burned out.  I kept thinking of the quote from Michelle Duggar, "Every "crisis" is an opportunity to practice right response."

Right response...create an atmosphere of peace in my home...Live in the thankful for all my blessings....

I knew it was going to be hard this morning.  And it was!

A grouchy Kate sitting in her high chair munching cheerios while Luke was talking to her started out well.  Until Luke started grabbing all the cheerios off the tray, sticking them in his mouth, then spit them out on the floor.  Grrrr!

The girls were both chatty this morning and I was just so tired and burned out that any words directed towards me or Lukie touching me made me want to crawl out of my skin.  But I tried to be patient and attentive.  I definitely was far from perfect...I give myself a 'C'.

I tried very hard not to lose it when Mike went in the shower before me and switched up our Thurs. am routine.  Since Mike showered first, I had to shower after Jay and the girls left and leave Mike in charge of cranky Kate, and mischievous Luke, and sluggish Pete who was not even close to being ready for school.  I just wanted an escape without having to keep even one ear out for the little ones.  Grrr...again!

I want to feel positive.  I want to feel full of energy.  I want to take care of the kids and meet all their needs.  I want to clean the house and keep up with the (endless) laundry and dishes and look through all my cookbooks and plan the Thanksgiving desserts and the Christmas cookies and Christmas dinner and desserts and finish the rest of my online Christmas shopping....

All I have the energy for is to take a nap.

I definitely need to schedule in some "me time".  My head is so tired from the constant busyness of everyone's schedules and my to-do list and all of Luke and Kate's needs.  I just need time to shed all of the responsibility for just a couple of hours and re-charge....and I need to do it somewhat regularly.  I'm so busy making sure everyone else gets all of their activities in and their needs taken care of that there is never any leftover time for me.  My "time" is stolen moments when Kate and Luke are playing or the 30 minutes I might get at night after Kate and Luke are finally asleep and before one of them starts fussing.  It just isn't cutting it right now.

Why is it so difficult for moms to take time for ourselves.  I feel like I'm always waiting for the perfect opportunity...and even when it happens occasionally I can't seem to motivate myself to get out of the house and the opportunity is lost.

In reality, things really are ok.  I know that despite some unease about the changes in Jay's job(s), God continues to provide for us.  We have our home and our health and somehow, everything else will work itself out.  I'm just a tired momma trying not to look at life through dirty windows.  Sleep deprivation makes you feel like you're swimming in tar!

I know it won't last forever!(even when it feels like it will)

Thankful Thought #15:
I am thankful that I have a husband who will help me to get life to feel balanced again.

Beautiful Thursdays

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Waiting and Listening

I've prayed the Our Father countless times over the course of my life.  It's probably the second prayer I learned.  (The first was the "Now I lay me down to sleep...." prayer that I used to say every night with my Dad from as far back I can remember.)

Sometimes, when you know something by heart, it's easier to repeat the words without really praying the words.  I find myself guilty of this often.  Prayer is more like a checklist than a moment of intimacy with God. It's another one of those downfalls of multitasking...I can be saying the words but my mind(and my heart) are a million miles away.

I find the line "Give us this day our daily bread" so meaningful right now.  I feel it in my weekly struggle to live within our budget.  I feel it in my prayers for providing Jay with enough patient visits to provide for us.  I feel it in my desire for balance in our chaotic life.  I feel it in my prayers to Live in the Moment.  I feel it in my Christmas planning.  I feel it in my prayers for other family members and friends that are struggling emotionally and financially right now.

Lately, my world has been shrinking.  Cold and stormy weather has kept me and the two little ones inside most of the time...and with winter coming, that situation will only get worse.   I honestly don't enjoy going out once it's dark.  So, now that it's dark before Jay even gets home from work, there's no motivation to get out of the house then either.

Introspection usually follows 'hibernation'...and I certainly have been feeling more thoughtful.  I still feel a lot of uncertainty after the results of last weeks election, and the changes in Jay's job, and trying to organize my house.  My thoughts/actions towards this year's holiday season have been on my mind, too.

Where I am right now reminds me of the title of the Stormie Omartian book, Just Enough Light For the Step I'm On.  I've got that "You are here" feeling, but not so sure where we will be heading next.  It's an opportunity for patience...and to really focus on Living in this Moment until I feel the nudge to take whatever direction God is leading us.

I'm waiting and listening(or at least trying to's awful noisy in our house!) .

Thankful Thought #14

I'm thankful I got out of the house for a couple of errands today and found a construction site that Luke loved watching from the car for a while.  It makes him sooo happy to see excavators working:)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seeking that Still, Small Voice

You know when you have an unsettled feeling that you just can't shake?  I just don't like it!  It makes me want to 'turtle' and keep my world really small to make sure it's safe.

I really don't know why.  There's no real reason.  I'm trying to work on doing an internal check...trying to determine if I'm in need of a spiritual chiropractic adjustment.  I want to be aware of that still, small voice that is guiding me each day...especially with the holidays coming.  I want to be generous where God inspires us to be generous.  I want my children and husband and family members to feel special without going overboard and feeling guilt.  I'm looking for balance...and I want to do it the right way.

I want to make the right choices every my thoughts, in my actions, in my speech.  I just need to stay on the right path.  In the past, my m.o.was to rush into things based on initial feelings.  I have been very good at convincing myself that something is the right thing to do without stopping and listening to the small voice inside of me (and waiting for the answer).  Sometimes, it's all about timing and I screw up the outcome because I see the first step and run down what I think is the right path only to find myself completely lost several steps later!

Just because something is good doesn't mean it's supposed to happen right now.

Listening to directions has never been my strong suit!  It was the comment written on my Kindergarten report card:)  I have been working on this over the years.  Thankfully, it's gotten a lot better!  (God's Grace!)

I guess that's why trying to focus on Living in the Moment is important to me.  It teaches me patience, and to pay attention to details, and helps me to be more open to the direction my life is going in.  It gives me a clearer vision to give me the opportunity to make better choices.  Not that I always choose well..but I'm getting better at it(most days;)

Thankful Thought # 13:
I am thankful for the little things that warm my Peter singing to himself, Kate's sweet smile and the way she says "hiiii", Luke's enthusiasm, and listening to my older kids playing games together and enjoying each other's company.

Monday, November 12, 2012

May God Always Bless America!

Thankful Thought #12:
I am thankful for our veterans and all the men and women that are currently serving in the military....making sacrifices to protect our freedom as a nation!

A special thanks to my grandfather, 'Pepere', who served our country in the Navy during WWII.
He is still haunted by memories of things that happened during the years he served.  Thank-you, Pepere!   You are appreciated!

May God always bless America!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Rest

Happy Sunday!  Family time, football(Go, Pats!), and rest.....I love Sundays:)
Since I didn't post yesterday, I have 2 "thankful thoughts" for today...

Thankful Thought #10:
Pumpkin patches.....I drove by one yesterday morning and seeing the bright orange circles scattered across the field against the landscape of bare trees was just beautiful.  It made me feel good a little hug from God.

Thankful Thought #11:
Sunday rest!....I so need time to re-charge and enjoy my family without craziness!(Well...without extra craziness;)

Hope you get some rest today, too!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quiet is My Long Lost Friend!

I'm linking up with 5 minute Friday today:)  The word of the day makes me laugh out loud....


Now that I'm done laughing...quiet is a long lost friend.  I so desire to meet with 'Quiet'...I miss it immensely. Sometimes I think back to my before marriage and baby days that seem so long ago...and really were(20 years).  I used to spend so much time listening to music and playing with my hair creating up-do's.  I used to take a bath with bath oil and read in the tub while I soaked.

There is no quiet in my house....hence the name 'normal chaos'.  I appreciate the occasional silence every now and then.  It's almost nonexistent since Kate has arrived, but it will come back around.  At almost 11 months, we are almost at the point where it won't have to be mommy time 24 hours a day.  As much as I long for the break, I will be sad at the end of that baby stage.  Maybe our last?  

For now, I will schedule in my quiet time when I can and try and enjoy this chaos while it lasts.  Someday, I will have more quiet than I know what to do with...

Thankful Thought #9:
I am thankful that I have a husband who is able and willing to use a vacation day to take his daughter on a field trip.  Ellie was SO excited to have her dad all to herself for the day!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Little Bit of Catch Up

Today is a new day.  I'm still feeling unglued from the results of the election and the worries over our country's (seemingly) broken moral compass...but I want to move on.

I would like to use my post today to do a little bit of catch up....there are a lot of little things to share that keep getting piled up waiting for their 'turn'....and they are all happy things!  I need some extra happy right now! it goes...
Here is Ellie helping Kate sit like a 'big girl' on the swing in her adorable(!) butterfly outfit.(Yes, it's Gymboree...I need to stay away from that website!)

I had to take a close up of Kate's too cute shoes!  They just scream sweetness!  I so love little girl clothes!  These were bought by daddy on our recent anniversary shopping trip.  I handed Kate the shoe and she looked up at Jay with a giant smile...boy, is he in trouble!
 Two little cousins playing on the floor together.  Mya does this great army crawl!  So cute:)
 Mike and Luke(aka Peter Pan) at the Halloween dance at Sarah's school sponsored by the 8th grade(who put on a haunted stage for part of the evening).
 Hence...why Sarah looks the way she does!
 Mike surprised her by coming to the dance.  These two have a special bond:)
 Jon before his homecoming dance!  Handsome guy sporting a pink striped tie.  He went solo but had a ton of fun with his friends:)
 Mike and Luke carved a pumpkin together.  Luke was not so sure about the guts!
 But he loved the end result:)
 Peter made the snowman tower with the pumpkins but wouldn't stand still long enough for me to take his pic...Ellie was more than willing to stand in!
 Kate stealing my phone and looking so darn cute doing it!
 Andrew and his girlfriend Courtney before the homecoming dance at her high school..which was the very same night as the dance at his high school.  Bummer...but Andrew made the sacrifice;)  Aren't they cute?!?
 Luke and my nephew, Brayden, (Mya's big bro), causing mischief at Andrew's last cross country meet while we were waiting for him to run.
 And run he did......his last race as a senior(sniff) but his best time and he finished second!  A great 'last' in this special year!  That's one of his best friends finishing right behind him:)

Those were some great October moments(along with our special anniversary :)

 I wasn't feeling very thankful yesterday, so today I will play catch up with 'Thankful Thoughts for November' as well!

Thankful Thought #7: 
I am thankful for Kate's sweet baby hugs and sloppy kisses!(The hugs and snuggles were especially comforting yesterday!)

Thankful Thought #8:
I'm thankful for the moments that my children take the initiative to do something special for each other.  Like Mike's attendance at Sarah's dance, Mike doing special things with Luke, Andrew and Jon playing with the baby when they walk in the door, etc., etc.  Makes me hopeful that they will be close when they are adults...and gives me patience when they are at each other's throats!(lol)
Beautiful Thursdays

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Sad Day

Today I am linking up with Shell at Pouring My Heart Out at Things I Can't Say.... goes.

Everyone has the right to choose to vote a certain way.

For me, today is a sad day.  I feel unsettled...not only for me but for the world that my children are growing up in.

Mindy at New Equus wrote today about riding a horse in the dark and turned it into a comparison of finding faith and comfort and trust.  I could use those three things today.

One of my facebook friends posted a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien that was touching to me...

‎"All that is gold does not glitter, not all who wander are lost, the old that are strong do not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring, renewed shall be blade that is broken, the crownless again shall be king."

When I turned to the Word this morning, I turned towards the end of Acts, when St. Paul recounts the story of his conversion.  I can pray for those in office and the decisions that will be made over the next four years.  I can work on myself and all the ways that my own heart is not open to God.  If I work on me....then I can be a vessel that brings God's love to others.  God's love changes all...even the most hardened hearts.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and rely not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths."  Proverbs 3:4-7

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prayerful Moments

I have to say that yesterday with Luke really did go better.  Extra positive attention and very consistent boundaries seem to be key right now.  Sorry for the short post again, but my "mommy job" is very demanding at the moment!

The Catholic Digest quote of the day from Sunday tugged at my heart....

Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
St. Thomas More

The quote gave me warm soup on a cold day.  It was a good reminder that no matter what, God's in charge and can bring good out of any difficulty!

I casted my vote and I'm praying.

But, no matter who gets elected today, God is still in charge.  That's giving me peace instead of worrying about the outcome.  
Thankful Thought #6:
I am grateful to live in a country where we have a voice in choosing who leads us.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Working on Behavior

Monday....catch up day...start of the week...trying to organize after a busy weekend with not much being done around the house.  (sigh)

This morning before I even got out of bed I prayed extra hard for patience with Luke today and the fortitude to follow through with discipline and to the grace to put aside what I need to do throughout the day in order to give him some extra attention.  (Which will hopefully help curb the negative attention through mischievousness that he seems to be seeking lately.)

So far, so good.  This will be a short post in order to keep my focus on Luke today.  Living in the Moment with Luke is definitely finding me frustrated lately...and I don't like it.  This is my attempt to change some of his behavior(and especially my reaction to it) this week.  I can't change that he's three....but I can try to make this bumpy patch go a little more smoothly!

Thankful Thought #5:
I am thankful that I can be a full time mom and be home with my children.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Suprise

Sunday was a little busy, but also fun.

This morning, we woke up to a funny sight.  There were a whole flock of turkeys in our front yard and my mom's front yard!  Luke and Peter thought it was great!

After Mass, we shared some fellowship with some new friends we have the privilege to get to know.  Then, after a little time at home, Sarah and I headed out to a high school open house with Kate as a tag along.  I am so in denial that she is old enough to be in high school.

After the open house, Sarah and I headed over to the mall for a very brief shopping trip to buy Sarah a pair of jeans while we waited for Jon to be done at the open house.(He was helping in the chem lab.)  Then we headed home and, thankfully, can just chill for the rest of the night.

Thankful thought for Day 4:

I am thankful for the friends in our life, both new and "old", that we can share our faith with and share encouragement from all of our various life experiences!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Month of Thanks

It's late in the day to post, but I wanted to get in a little something!

I read a blog(Gifts We Use) that is using the theme of a 'month of thanks' for November.  Their format calls for using Instragram...but I will adapt it for my IPhone/Android-less life:)  I thought the theme was a great idea!  It's easy...each day I will write/show a picture of something I am thankful for somewhere in my post.

Since it's the 3rd, I will catch up by listing three things I'm thankful for today.

#1:   Faith:  In good times, and especially in bad, I am grateful to have Someone to turn to that is control of all things.

#2:  The flock of wild turkeys that were running in the woods right behind our house tonight.  It was hysterical when they flew up into the trees.  It made me hungry for my Mother in law's and Grandma's stuffings!

#3  Generous family members that have taken a ton of stress off of Jay and were an unexpected answer to prayer.(Thanks Mom and Dad:)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Opportunities to Trust

All I can say is..."Wow!!!"  Being the featured blogger on the SITS Girls site yesterday was an incredible experience!  I received so many encouraging and positive comments from lots and lots of women!  To see my inbox SO full of comments was an amazing experience!  Thanks to the SITS Girls, all my visitors, and a special thank-you and welcome to my new followers!

It was such great timing, too!  This week has been a tough week.  Parenting a young adult is proving to be extremely emotionally draining.  Finding a balance between what's expected as a member of our family living in the family home with finding the right level of  independence for him to make his own choices  is hard.  What's most discouraging is seeing his struggles with faith.  I hope that someday he will be able to choose his faith for himself, but it is so difficult as a parent to realize that the faith that he has practiced his whole life has not been absorbed into his heart.  I know the seeds are there...and God will do the growing...but it's not easy to let go.  It makes us feel like failures...but I know that he has to choose faith for himself.  I really believe in my heart that he will choose he matures and as God works through the road blocks in his heart.

But, he has sucked all the emotional energy from us the last two weeks.

On top of that, Jay found out that his company is restructuring work hours to save money.  The short story is that basically they are cutting his hours and any opportunity for overtime.  Because of Medicare cuts, the per diem job he works isn't as reliable either.  Jay's such a hard worker and good provider.  This is really stressing him out.

Honestly, I have a peace inside that can only come from God.  Good thing!  The last thing our family needs is both parents stressed out!

I'm trying to be patient.  After all, when God closes a door he always opens a window!  We might have to adjust things a little and rearrange some priorities, but that's ok.

It's definitely an opportunity to trust while Living in the Moment!

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's My SITS Day!!!

Today is a very special day!  It's my SITS Day!

What is a SITS Day?  So glad you asked!

The SITS Girls are a group of over 40,000 women that support each other's blogging experiences through shared experience, tutorials, and highlighting new women all the lots of opportunities to 'meet' lots of "new" bloggers that focus on all kinds of 'ordinary amazing' and 'amazing amazing' topics!

Today is my turn to have Normal Chaos highlighted through the SITS exciting!

So, to all my new visitors...Welcome!  Thanks for coming over to my small piece of the blogging world.  :)

Maybe you are wondering why I named my blog "Normal Chaos".'s a term I have used for a very long time to describe my life.  My husband, Jay, and I have just celebrated our Twentieth Anniversary!(For more on that, click here.)   

Our 20 years have had its ups and downs on this roller coaster called life that we are all on.  During those 20 years of marriage, we both earned college degrees, Jay got a Master's Degree, we bought a home that we added on to 3 times(!), we had 9 children(no twins or triplets!), we lost our first daughter in infancy, we had a son diagnosed with autism, we have been to countless sporting events, taught 2 kids to drive, and currently have 1 child in college and 2 in diapers!  Life in our house is never boring!

Thankfully, my husband and I are a team and we hold hands when things are going smoothly and we hold each other up when we stumble and trip.  We pray a lot...especially for direction because half the time we have no idea what we are doing!

Our life is noisy and busy and chaotic and.....we are truly blessed!

Thanks for joining us on our wild ride!