Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fun With Luke

I have been thoroughly enjoying Luke the past several days!  He has hit a new language/cognitive stage that is just so incredibly cute.

For example, potty training is still a 'no-go' with Luke.  (pun intended!)  He is just not interested.  I have tried incentive...picking out new underpants, getting a truck sticker book that he gets to use if he goes potty, encouraging him to go potty.  He's still not interested.

My parents have upped the ante and told Luke that when he starts using the potty and wearing underpants that they will bring him to Toy's R Us and let him pick out a new truck.  Luke loves trucks!  But even though we keep reminding him of the offer, potty training really isn't on his radar.


This morning, Jay was talking to Lukie about using the potty again.  This is how the conversation ended.
Jay:  OK, Lukie.  Daddy uses the potty, too.  I'm going to use the potty now.
Luke:  You want to get a new truck?

It's just hysterical the way he makes connections in his head.  I love the sweet little voice and all of the expressions he makes.  I love that he's a very affectionate little boy, too.  He daily tells me at some point in the day, "Mommy, let's snuggle!"

I'm very thankful that his terrible threes did not last the entire year!

Linking up with Our Mother's Daughters.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sharing Enough

Sunday was the start of Catholic schools week.  The great homily given at Mass that day by Deacon Dave made me think about my own Catholic School education in the very same elementary school my kids attend.

I went through 9 fairly uneventful years.  There was not a lot of drama, I had a good class, and it was a good experience overall.  There wasn't much spiritual depth, though.

It wasa very different environment compared to what my kids experience today.  I've been involved in the school as a parent quite a while....since 1997 when Michael started preschool.  Except for 1999-2001 when I homeschooled, (It was good, especially for Andrew, but I was definitely not called to do it long term!), we have had multiple children at the school.  (The most we had in at one time was 4!)

I've seen the changing of principals and of Pastors.  The school has continued to grow and get better and better...both academically and spiritually.  In the last couple of years in particular, the faith focus has been tweaked to include many new, positive aspects.

I see an environment that helps to bring our faith into every aspect of their time there.  I think the essence of the changes lead the kids to a living faith  It's a faith that is not segmented to a Church, or a prayer, but a faith that can become a part of each child's everyday moments.  (If they choose to embrace it!)

Deacon's homily also got me thinking about how I have been nourishing that living faith at home.  Being a large part French Canadian, I have learned to be very somewhat controlled with my emotions and any experiences that cause emotions.  To have a living faith, and share my own relationship with God with my family, opening up and sharing emotion is a necessity.

So....this is something (else) I need to work on.  It fits in with my newly found inspiration word for the year; Enough.  Is my relationship with God deep enough?  Do I share the ways that God works in my life enough with my kids so that they see how God can intercede in even the little, mundane, everyday, seemingly unimportant moments?

If I share enough, hopefully it will teach and encourage them to seek out the ways God works in their lives, too...even the little ways!  If I had understood more of what I do now when I was in elementary school I could have been a much less selfish, happier person!

Although my kids all have their moments of "twirpishness", I am so proud of the people they are becoming!  They are definitely better people than I was at their ages....and I know that's because of the blessings of having a close relationship with God.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Best Place to Be

As I spend more time trying to grow my Faith through a book club and a Bible Study, I find it so interesting how much I am learning through sharing the journeys of the other women that are participating.

This week, one of the things we all shared about was the different ways people can connect as they learn and are drawn to different aspects of our Faith.  We each have different paths, but the same destination.

Jay is much more intellectual than I am!  Sometimes when he shares his intellectual journey it's all we can do to not let my eyes glaze over and start going through the to-do list for the day...or the month!  I want to understand what he wants to talk about and be supportive...but there are times I just can't get into it.  It's above my sleep deprived brain and I just can't find a way to relate to it.

I admire my husband for his depth, but it can make me feel defeated....that I will never reach that level of spiritual understanding.  I certainly do not want to be seen as the Patrick Star of theology!  I am just not drawn to the headier, more intellectual stuff right now.

But maybe I'm not supposed to be.  There are lots of good paths that lead to the same place.  Some people might enjoy a more scenic and others a more developed long as it's bringing us to the same place then it's all good.  After all, I tend to relate more to books that speak to emotional connections and concepts that I can relate to my own rather crazy life that helps me to be a better wife and mom to these babies, toddlers, tweens and teens!

What speaks to one person and helps us to grow emotionally and spiritually will not always be a friend's or a  spouse's "cup of tea".

That's ok.

We aren't supposed to be someone else.  God knows what we need the most to grow and stay close to Him.  He knows the tools we need to guide our children, be good friends, and encourage the people that He places in our paths.

As long as we are trying to follow God's directions and we are open to His gentle nudges, we will have an inner peace of just knowing we are where we are supposed to be.  If doubt creeps in, like feelings of inadequacy when we can't help but compare where we are in our journey compared to someone around us, then it's something to bring to prayer.  Are the feelings from God to stretch us out of our comfort zone and to expand our lives in some area?  Or are the feelings a trick to take away our peace and act like a cloud of mosquitoes that try to keep our focus off of  God and away from living in the moment with contentment and a grateful heart?

This was a huge stumbling block for me when I was younger.  I did not have the self esteem or the trust that when something was right for me, it didn't have to be right for everyone else around me.  Flip that around, and I struggled that if something was wrong for someone else that it could still be right for me.

Trying to force my ideas, or my feelings onto someone else to make myself feel more content with my own choices just wreaks havoc on relationships.  It just causes resentment and frustration.

That's the way I feel when other people try to force ideas or feelings onto me, too!

I'm glad that I've grown out of that.(mostly)  I can rejoice in other people's ideas and plans.  I can be a part of something without trying to control a situation.  I can let other people's ideas and plans be center stage because it's important to them, without being critical or negative in any way.  I can choose to be encouraging and supportive!

Sometimes I still talk too much.  Sometimes I make the mistake and talk over someone else.  Sometimes I don't just listen and offer support and encouragement.  Thankfully, I tend to 'just know' when I'm being too much!  I get 'that feeling' in the pit of my stomach that something just 'isn't right.'  (Kind of like driving onto the rumble's a warning before we careen off the road!)  I think it's a grace of the Holy Spirit since it's something I've been working on and praying through for so long!  Plus, I've 'careened off the emotional road' so many times that I finally know(and usually heed) the warning signs!

I want to be a blessing to my friends and family...not increase their burden!

After all, it isn't always about solving a problem....that's God's job!  I just need to be open to seeing if He wants to use me to be an openly active part of the solution (through my words or actions) or a more hidden support (through prayers).

Stopping to discern is key....and not always easy to do!

It is definitely worth the effort.  I've found that when I do things His way, I have peace and joy and my relationships are aligned in the way He meant them to be.  Living in His will us the best place to be!

Friday, January 25, 2013


It seems I'm sliding into a New Year train of thought rather slowly!

Must be the super cold weather we have been's freezing my brain!

A few days ago in my post What's my Focus?, I talked about the blog buzz of choosing a word that is a person's inspiration for the year.  I also talked about how I didn't feel like I had one.

I received a couple of comments that it sounds like my word is "focus"....and one comment that suggested the word "permission".  I've been tossing the word around in my head a lot.

Continuing to focus on what God's will is for me this year and trying to be aware of his inspiration and directions is definitely important to me.  Continuing to focus on Living in the Moment Through the Eyes of Faith is important to me, too.  Continuing to blog is a priority for me, too.  I have felt the draw to connect with more faith filled blogs and memes, so that will be something I will be working on this year.

I really wasn't looking for a word.  Focus sounded good but I still didn't feel inspired to participate in concentrating on a theme for the year.

Until yesterday...

I was praying and thinking about areas that I need to/(mostly) want to work on for this year, and a word popped into my head that also made a connection in my heart.


Enough is a word that seems to fit into all the different areas on my life that need attention.  It fits into all the sentences that I want to define myself with...

...I will be enough.
...I will have enough.
...What I do is enough.
...I will be given enough grace to tackle my issues with food.
...I will lose enough weight.
...I will give enough of myself to each of my children.
...What God provides for us financially will be enough.

I also had a Bible verse pop into my head:
"but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power[c] is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."  2Corinthians12;9

Enough and sufficient can certainly be interchanged very easily.  I will definitely work on memorizing this verse as a theme for this year as well.  His grace is sufficient for me...His grace is enough for me.  His power can take all of my weaknesses to a whole new level!

Sounds good to me!

This will be a challenge since I know that whenever God gives me a focus it's not to work on something I'm already good at!  But, I also know that if I persevere, there will be grace and blessings in my life that are well worth the effort!

Now I just have to pray about what area to focus on first!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

And They're Off!

My brain is all over the place today.  Please consider this fair warning if there is not much coherence in this blog post!

I'm going to say it out loud...I have actually slept fairly well for 2 nights in a row!  Luke only woke up once and Kate woke up twice.  That's pretty good for our house!

Maybe it's the extra sleep that's making me feel all over the place!

Jay left with our 3 most helpful teenagers today for the March for Life in Washington, D.C.  I have to say that I do not enjoy 'flying solo'.  It's going to make for 3 very long days.

I find myself fighting some conflicting feelings.  I am glad that the teens get to go away and participate in such a worthwhile cause.  Jay went as the leader of the youth group....but also as Sarah's dad because there's no way in you know where that Sarah is going to D.C. without one of us!

I want to be supermom.

I want to be super supportive of Jay and my teens that are away by being excited for them.  I had wanted to bake them chocolate chip cookies to bring with them and completely forgot.  I did get them pretzels, peanut butter crackers, granola bars, water bottles, and some candy.  I also helped them pack and went through the list(multiple times) to make sure they didn't forget anything important.

I want to be 'kind and patient' mommy to all the kids left behind.  I'm making sloppy Joe's for dinner since Mike and Ellie like them(but Jay doesn't), so they are a treat when he (infrequently) goes away.  I'm planning on letting Ellie pick out a movie one night...maybe make some chocolate chip cookies or some other treat of her choice...and just spend a lot of time focused on the kids to distract them from missing Jay too much.

Having the day off last weekend was really important.  If I hadn't gotten re-charged, it would have been very hard to be left home with the more challenging half of our crew without feeling resentful.  I know it's not the 'right' way to feel, but it would have been the reigning emotion.

Even with a recharged battery, part of me really struggles to be so generous as to let the person I depend on the most be gone for 3 entire days and 2 entire nights....especially with our sleep issues.  With Jay gone, I am  in charge of Kate, Luke and Peter for night duty.  Hopefully, it goes well....but that's usually not how it happens.

Being a sleep deprived, burned out, emotional mess is not how I want to greet my travelers upon their return home either.

I feel guilty for not being more selfless.  That pull to be negative is strong....and it feels like it takes a lot of energy to be positive for 3 days of being all mom, all the time, with no back up.  It's kind of like my emotions are all kind of jumbled and I'm not really sure what to do with them.

God is definitely trying to teach me something...

I need to pray for the desire to persevere in creating a peaceful, loving atmosphere for the next couple of days.
I don't know...I should want to do it.  And I do, sort of.

There's this small voice, whispering inside of me, "What about me? Am I important?  Do I matter?"
So stupid....and it annoys me that I feel that way.  Life isn't all about me!  I know that and I want to be more selfless.   Then I have feelings like this and I realize that I still have a long way to go!

I guess it's an opportunity to bring the feelings to prayer and figure out what my issue is!?!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Choice Was Life

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.  I know that there are few topics that derive as much heated debate and division than people's views on abortion.  It's a very emotional topic.

My heart bleeds for the millions of babies whose lives were ended so soon after they began.  My heart also bleeds for the mothers and the fathers who felt like they had no other options than to choose to end their babies' lives.

I thank God all the time for intervening in a time in our lives when we were not very close to Him, nor living in a way that we were seeking Him or serving Him in any way.  Being a new high school grad, barely 18, with plans to go away to Providence "choice" to follow through with a surprise pregnancy could have gone in a very different path.  I know that it was God's intervention that helped us not to make, what could have been, the worst mistake of our lives.

We were ashamed and scared.  Would it have been easy to try and make it all go away?  Yes...and no.  While abortion may take away a "problem", it leaves emotional scars in its wake that women carry with them for the rest of their lives.

One day, several years ago, I shared my story of being newly pregnant, afraid and ashamed, and how we looked at the options we had thought through at the time, with a small group of women that met for coffee after Mass once a week.  I shared how we turned away from making a terrible mistake.  And how, years later, Jay and I both had separate spiritual experiences where God revealed to each of us that St. Michael had intervened to keep us from making that terrible mistake.

There is no coincidence that we had named our son, Michael.

One of the woman started to cry and said, "St. Michael didn't save my baby."  She shared her story that, as a young woman in college, she had found herself pregnant.  She and her boyfriend had panicked and, out of fear, chose to end the pregnancy.  She married that man a year or two later and had a daughter and a son.  But she carried the guilt for aborting her first child for 16 years, never telling anyone.

That day, we embraced her and loved her.  She went to Confession that day, and the guilt and the sadness that she carried all those years was gone.  The joy and the relief on her face was just amazing!  She even spoke about her feelings to her husband for the first time that day over what they had done and now, that first baby, though not with them, is a part of their lives.

I cannot tell you what an incredibly moving experience it was to be a part of that!

Surprise pregnancies are not easy.  Our choice was not easy.  It changed the course of our lives forever.

But, by the grace of God, our choice was life.  
The life you see right here!

And I am grateful for that every day!

God has brought so much good out of our "mistake"!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mom's Day Off!

Today was such a fun day!

I got (most of) the day off!  I have sooo needed this!

My friend, Mary, and I shopped til we dropped.  Well, maybe not dropped, but we were pretty tired.  (Plus, we ran out of money:)

We went to a large outlet mall less than an hour from our homes.  We went into a bunch of different stores, had a nice lunch, the went into a bunch more stores....and we got some great deals.

I love to shop!  It was especially enjoyable shopping with 2 hands, eyes, and ears.  I didn't have to carry anyone, make sure kids weren't escaping the carriage, or touching things they shouldn't.  It was soooo nice!

Although, I wish that I had brought the carriage to put our bags in! But hey, it was a little extra exercise:)

One of the things that made me laugh, was the line of yawning men with eyes glazed over waiting against a wall or window for their wives or girlfriends to finish their shopping at just about every store we went into!

Although, by the end of the day I wish that I had brought my own "bored man" to lug the bags back to the car for us!

I had some Christmas gift money I had received and squirreled away.  Jay very generously slipped me some extra money before I left the house, too.  So I got to shop quite a bit.

Mostly, I was looking for shirts since I had a real need for them.  I also found a skirt, a pair of jeans, a pair of boots, and a purse.

I did really well focusing on myself until we spotted the Disney Store and I made the mistake of going inside.....

I couldn't resist!  Kate will look so cute in her Minnie swim suit and sun hat for a family vacation my parents are taking us on to Florida in the spring.(I can't wait!)

The home front did just fine without me.  My wonderful husband not only spent the day taking care of the kids, but he also made an awesome roasted chicken dinner!  At this moment, he is making homemade chicken broth which will then become chicken soup.(And it will probably be completely eaten by the end of the day tomorrow!)

He is definitely Super Dad!

It has been such a great weekend so far!  I got to go out for coffee with a friend last night...and shopping with another friend today!  So great:)

.....and tomorrow....GO PATS!!!

I have really needed a break for quite a long time.  I think that "burned out" mom won't be making an appearance for a while!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's My Focus?

Here is proof that I am not a first time mom....

Most first time moms would grab their wobbly 1 year old as soon as they noticed she had climbed onto the dishwasher.  Me...I went to get the camera.:)

A challenge was posed by Kristi at Must Love God today about sharing what we need to work on this year in order to help hold us accountable.  Apparently, there's also a buzz about choosing one word to concentrate on and make it your focus of the year.

Just not feeling that.....

But, I do have plenty to work on this year!  There is the clutter around me on the outside and the clutter around my insides, too.

Based on the way the year has begun, I think my focus will at least begin on my need to acknowledge that I have needs to and it's ok to have them.  I will work on adding my needs to the family calendar along with everyone else's.  I will also work on listening to God's prompting in my heart to ask for...and accept help... when I need it.

I also want to work on being more social after a year of being mostly homebound or at least tied to a nursing baby.  Nursing is so worth the sacrifice, but I am also looking forward to a little "unattached" time now that Kate is a little bigger and able to stay with Daddy and her Grandmas.  (Plus, it gives them special time with her, too!)

I want to focus on my health a little, too, and try to lose this extra baby weight that has been hanging on for the last couple(or 20) years.  I just want to feel good about myself while I'm still in my 30's.  (17 months and counting...shiver, shiver!)

Gee....sounds a little 'me, me, me', huh?

Well, I guess I will also work (really hard) to ask God to guide my give to others in the everyday stretch beyond my comfort point when He inspires me love with all I have.....and to ask for, seek, and accept, the moments He will give me to recharge so that I will have even more to give!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting Out

I got the opportunity today I have been trying to fit into my opportunity to exercise!  (I do appreciate the encouragement, Colleen!:)

My friend Mary and I did a Latin dancing exercise video.  This was her choice...quite challenging and I know that I looked pretty ridiculous since I am neither Latin or in any way have ever been a dancer!  Mary is a dancing queen so maybe hanging with her will rub off on me a little.

Thankfully, looking good does not equal calories burned!

Sometimes I feel resentful that it is so easy for Jay to get away and do things with the older kids...or by himself.

Let me give a little example.  This past weekend Jay went on a 2 hour drive to visit his grandfather with Jon and Mike and then spent a couple of hours at a big tool show that they use as bonding time.  All he had to do before he left was shower, wake the boys up, and make breakfast for himself.

This weekend, I am getting several hours away to go shopping at an outlet mall 45 minutes away.  Besides showering and eating breakfast, I need to:

  • Make sure Kate is changed and dressed for the day.  (Otherwise, she will very likely still be in her jammies when I get home in the late afternoon.)
  • Make sure Luke is changed and dressed.(same reason)
  • Help Peter brush his teeth and put deodorant on or remind Jay to do it.
  •  Tell Jay what to feed Luke and Kate and Peter for lunch.
  • Set up who will pick up Jon at basketball for 1.
  • Set up who will pick Sarah up a basketball practice at 10.
  • Make sure that everyone knows if there are any specific chores that need to be done before I get back.
It's just not easy for a mom to get out of the house...especially with little ones!

I've been pretty burned out lately.  It's been too long since I've gotten any alone time on a regular 3 and a half years.  Which, coincidentally, is the same amount of time I've been nursing....almost 3 1/2 years straight.  Both Luke and Kate have been clingy kids with separation struggles.  I know that this time is fleeting...all I have to do is look at the 6'4" almost 20 yo in my house....but, sometimes, it can feel like it will last forever.  

And that all I do is laundry, dishes and nursing!  

Jay is a great husband and dad.  He does way more than his fair share around here after working so hard at work all day.  He is all for me getting some alone time...after all, what hubby wants a burned out, cranky wife?

Sometimes, I feel angry that he can get away so easy and that I am "stuck" at home.  It feels unfair that I can't even get an hour off but he can go off for a weekend with the teenagers and not worry about what's going on at home.(except that his wife might be losing her mind!)

Honestly, I wouldn't want to leave my babies for a whole weekend!  All I want is a couple of hours to re-charge and it's frustrating that out of the 168 hours in a week, I can't manage to find a few hours of alone time!(Or sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at a time!)

I am looking forward to Saturday very much!  In February, when basketball season winds down, there is going to be some serious "Mom time" that is going to be scheduled in the calendar!

I so need it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A New Day

Today was a better day.  I'm not sporting the "Eeyore" feelings today!

I'm not quite sure which direction I'm heading in yet, but I'm glad not to be stuck in the lousy emotional ditch that I found myself in yesterday.

That's positive...and I will gladly take it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dirty Windows

I've been struggling emotionally lately.  While our life with such a big family is always a bit chaotic, lately it has just been extra overwhelming to me.  There are reasons....Kate and Luke have had lots of bad nights lately, our schedules are extra crazy with 4 kids playing basketball and 1 running track right now, and it's there's less sunlight and, with 2 little ones, it's not easy to get out and there's nowhere to go.

I know that things haven't been right for a couple of weeks.  I have had a lot more fear and anxiety for no real reason.  I feel isolated.  I feel like the needs of my family are overwhelming and that there's no way I can meet them all.  I feel like keeping up with the house is like walking up a 'down' escalator.  Then, I feel like all those things I haven't gotten to are mocking me and shout out my incompetence.

I was reading an article by Kate Wicker in Catholic Digest last night on Postpartum Depression.  I was surprised at how many of the symptoms matched the way I was feeling.

I love my kids. I love being a wife and mom.  I just feel so tired and blah lately.  Everyone has so many needs that I don't get much...or time.  Sometimes I am guilty of 'Cinderella Syndrome'.....I feel like I can't take me time(aka..go to the ball) until my ridiculous to-do list is done.  (I have yet to locate the fairy godmother or magical mice and birds to help!)

I know it's just a bump in the road.  I actually have scheduled time to go out on Saturday and go shopping with a friend to buy some new shirts that I have been wanting to get for months!  I will be going out completely kid free.  These few hours away are incredibly long overdue.

Hopefully the time away will help to give me a better perspective.

After all, I have a really great life....I just need to clean my emotionally "dirty windows" to be able to see it better and appreciate it more.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Dive Right In

Linking up with Lisa-Jo at 5 minute Friday again today!

Today's word:


Diving into things in my life has definitely been a recurring thing.  In high school, my friend convinced me to try out for the swim team and I spent the next 4 years diving into lots of different pools.  I found myself diving into 'grown-up life' and motherhood sooner then expected....and then diving into motherhood again, and again, and again, and again, and again....and again and again and again!  I dive with Jay into moments of prosperity, uncertainty, and financial stress.  I have had moments when I felt I would drown from emotional pain and moments where joy made me feel that I could walk on water.

Each day brings its own challenges and surprises....what will I dive into next?

Looks like it will be playing trucks with my favorite little boy who is looking for some attention from his mommy.....

Good thing this post only takes 5 minutes:)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tired and Blah

I almost never miss a Wednesday blog day.  But I did.  I just had nothing except 'tired and blah' and really didn't want to share that muck!

Tuesday night had provided less than adequate sleep.  Unfortunately, this lack of sleep seems to be a theme here lately.

On Wednesday morning, I had to be out of the house by 7:30 because Kate and Luke had physicals at 8.  The combo of being super tired and having to race to get out of the house and wrestle with 2 busy kids at the doctor's office left me feeling "done" by the time we arrived back home...and it was only 10am!

Thankfully, they are both doing great!  (Now if I can only manage to get them to be good sleepers...and get Luke to use the potty!)

Last night was, (surprise, surprise!), another less-than-stellar night.  Trying to manage that 'blah' feeling is not easy when the sleep deprivation train is parked at your station!

When I'm very tired, it makes everything seem darker.  It makes my day feel like I'm balancing on a hill covered in ice.  Every little struggle sends me sliding backwards and everything takes twice as much effort.

When I'm tired, it is 10x harder to stay positive and not get snappy with people around me!  I don't want to be negative and snappy.  So, I have to figure out how to escape this black cloud hanging over my head and making everything feel heavy.

It's just one of those 'Just keep swimming, just keep swimming' types of days!

I read a quote today from St. Francis about Jesus' humility....I think it was a reminder that if God can do all that He does for me, then I can readjust my focus and keep my emotions from spiraling out of control.

God is bigger than my sleep deprivation, and my messy house, and my family's busy schedule, and my stress about losing weight, and my worries over a struggle that a couple close to us is going through, and, and, and....everything!  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012 Recap

Some of the blogs that I follow did this really cute recap of the year of 2012 in 12 photos, so I decided to join in:)

January....with a brand new, beautiful baby girl!
February....celebrating Mike's 19th, Andrew's 17th,and Jon's 16th birthday at Dave and Buster's!  They all have February birthdays and Mike and Andrew were born on the same day!

 March...Mike's induction into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at his college!

 April...celebrating Ellie's birthday at the American Girl Store:)
 May....Sarah's 13th birthday...bringing us to a grand total of 4 teenagers in the house!

June....Kate and I tag along on a field trip with Sarah to the Newport Mansions!

July....long weekend on the Vineyard!   

 August....our super fun vacation to Hershey Park!

 September....enjoying the last beach days of summer with cousins and friends!
 October...our 20th Anniversary!

 November....Pierogi Fest!

 December...our baby turns 1!

....It was a very good year!

linking up with Dweej

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Joys of Head Wounds!

This weekend started out with a little more excitement than I was looking for!

On Friday night, Peter and Luke were playing together as I finished cleaning the kitchen.  Peter lost his balance and bumped his head on Kate's child size bureau.  He cut his head but didn't say anything.

A few minutes later, Luke told me, "Mommy, someone spilled juice on the floor!"  I looked up to see what he was talking about, and had that moment of confusion when you know something isn't quite right but I hadn't figured it out yet.

A few seconds later I realized that the "juice" was a trail that started in my bedroom(where Kate's bureau resides for now), through the living room, and into the dining room where Peter stood looking like a scene from a horror movie.  His hands were covered in blood and there was blood all over his face and arms.  I jumped from the couch where I had just sat down to nurse Kate.(So she started screaming.)

I yelled to Mike that I needed help and Andrew and Ellie came running from their rooms as I figured out where the blood was coming from.(Jay was out at Sarah's basketball game and Jon was on the Vineyard at his basketball game.)

I quickly discovered it was his head and that it was spurting out with each of his heartbeats.  I grabbed a kitchen towel and held it on tight to stop the bleeding.  Peter stood there laughing at all the commotion.  I told him, "Peter, you're bleeding.  You have a cut on your head."  He looked at me and said, "That's not good."!

We learned that Mike is not the person to call in an emergency.  He walked out of the bathroom, saw all the blood on Peter and all over the floor, and started walking in a circle waving his arms and swearing.  So.not.helpful.

Thankfully, the other kids were not squirmish.  I started barking out orders like a drill sergeant....'Ellie, put a video on for Luke in the family room so he doesn't step in blood."  "Andrew, get me a warm face cloth to clean some of this blood off of Peter."  Andrew was also holding a (still) screaming Kate, too!  "Mike, stop swearing and call your father."  "Ellen, grab paper towels and start cleaning up the blood."  "Andrew, Swiffer the floors."

Meanwhile, the bleeding stopped and I was able to see exactly what was going on.  It was a small cut...about 1/3 of an inch...but pretty meaty.  It's definitely not a spot you can put a butterfly bandage on either.  Ugh...another trip to the ER!

I cleaned off Peter while Ellen and Andrew got the floors clean.  I realized that he had gotten blood on my bedspread and after spraying them with oxyclean and throwing them in the wash with a quick prayer that the blood would come out,...I threw them in the wash.  (It worked:)

Jay took Peter to the ER.  Peter thought the visit was great...his own personal field trip!  Thankfully, the doctor was able to use glue and they didn't have to wait long.

In the daylight on Saturday, I found some missed spots on the floor...and blood on our dining room sliders and the bathroom door!  I continued the cleaning to include the dining room walls and the side board and the girls' bedroom door.  That was something positive!

The last three months have each had a visit to the ER...Mike's broken hand and stitches in his chin in November, Jay's eye incident in December, and now Peter in January!  I'm certainly hoping that this trend does not continue!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Five Minute Friday is back!  I'm joining on in.....5 minutes of (hopefully) uninterrupted writing on one particular word.  Today's word is......


When I think of the word opportunity, so many things pop into my head.  Opportunity is such a positive word.  It's like the root of a tree that grows into the seemingly endless large and small branches that lengthen and stretch their way upwards towards the sky.

Each day holds so many opportunities.  Some opportunities are more welcome than others.  I would much rather jump on the opportunity to go out to dinner on a date with my husband than the opportunity to nurture my kids through a stomach virus!  

I am grateful today for the opportunity to blog for these 5 minutes....uninterrupted so far!  I am grateful for the opportunity to make a Walmart stop and get most of the grocery shopping done with help from Mike.  I am grateful for the opportunity to snuggle my little ones and enjoy their (mostly) smiling faces.  

Some days the opportunities are bigger than just the cleaning, shopping, nursing, and playing.....but the little, everyday, ordinary things are really the biggest treasures!
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ready, Set, Purge!

I have started the purge!  It is a very.slow.moving.process!  But it has begun!  Woo hoo!  I already feel lighter!

This purge of excess stuff will take baby steps.  If I can just stay focused on whatever I can get accomplished and be thankful for any spot that gets a thorough sorting through, then I will be able to remain peaceful and focused and not lose heart!

There are lots of nooks and crannies in this house to go through!

And it's not like the daily dishes and laundry will disappear!

Or that Kate and Luke won't need the majority of my attention!

Or that the older kids still need rides/have games or meets/or need help with something!

Or that everyone still expects dinner every night!

I will get through what I can....even if it's just a drawer....or a pile....or one small shelf!

Trying to create an atmosphere of peace in my home is important.  Working on the outward disorganization will free up essential energy to work on my own inward disorganization.  (That's a mighty big task in itself!)

I am not looking for perfection, but a little controlled chaos would be good!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's A New Year!

The whirlwind of the holidays has come to the abrupt end, as it always does every year!  After over a week of family parties, get togethers with friends, lots of baking, cooking, cleaning...and all the shopping and wrapping in the weeks leading up to the big week....I have to say that I am ready for the normal routine.

Oatmeal, salads, and yogurt are looking pretty good right now, too!  It always amazes me that I can get sick of dessert by New Year's!

A part of me is sad that this special season is over.  Despite the busyness of it all, there is a lot of family bonding that happens around Christmas.  The teens seem a bit less grouchy and are tapping into their childhood excitement.  The kids seem to actually seek out and enjoy each others company more often.  Everyone seems a little more helpful to get ready for all the special treats and get togethers.

There is also the innocent excitement of the younger kids that makes the season even more enjoyable.  Seeing Ellie, and especially Luke, enjoying family traditions and Christmas morning fun made for some great memories!

As we slowly venture into the New Year and old routines....and try to be inspired to create some new and improved routines...I need to spend a little time re-charging.  I don't have set 'resolutions' right now, but definitely a few goals that I want to achieve.

This year will bring a lot of change.  Kate will be getting more independent.  Jon will get his driver's license.  Sarah will graduate from 8th grade.  Andrew will graduate from high school.  Mike will graduate from BCC.  Luke will be going to pre-school.  Andrew will start college somewhere!  Mike will probably be going away to college.  Peter will be aging out of the class he is in and starting in another class at a different school.  Jon will have to decide where he will apply to college.

And that's only the changes that I actually know about!

How will I change this year?

And how will I make time for the changes I hope to make while trying to help everyone else with the changes in their lives?

I'm not really sure yet.

I know that prayer is the first step.  Otherwise, if I try to change just on emotions or sheer will, my goals will become dust bunnies in the giant walk-in closet in my mind.....which is just as cluttered as the closet in my bedroom!

So, I am stepping into 2013 slowly.....trying to move forward with purpose and determination and fortitude!

I've always heard that 'slow and steady wins the race'!

I've got the slow part down!  Now to focus on the steady:)