Friday, June 28, 2013


It's Friday, Friday, Friday!   I'm linking up today with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday:)

Today's word is.....


In-between conjures up different thoughts when I think of the word.  There is in-between when kids' clothes are too tight in one size but too loose in the next size up.  And you know we never buy the tight clothes since, "they will grow into it!", but then we spend the next month or so rolling up pant legs, or elastic waists or sleeves to get by until that one day when the clothes slide on and you realize rolling is no longer necessary!

The most prominent thought of in-between that pops into my head is the in-between of life.  There are life moments when things are really joyous...the moment you see 2 lines on the pregnancy stick, the arrival of a new baby, a new job opportunity.  Then there are moments that life can feel dark and a family member's illness or death, struggles in a job, or struggles with your children.  

That leaves the in-between....the time when life goes by in a somewhat 'normal' rhythm. 

The time when everything is ok.  You know, 'normal chaos'!

I think that's a pretty good place to be!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mama Sleep

I think that the biggest challenge of a large family that has such a big age span is the multiple stages we have to deal with all at one time.

It's always been a crazy mix in our house.  We did three kids 3 and under at the beginning.  That was complete chaos.  Add in a few more, and by the time Ellie came around, we had six living children within 10 years.  That was certainly very busy, too!

 Just a different kind of busy.

When you have all babies and toddlers, they need you for almost everything!  Once they start school, they get a little more independent.  Then, sports start and the world that revolved around home and family really explodes.(and mom and dad add taxi driver to their titles!)  Multiple siblings on multiple teams makes for crazy sports seasons!

Add in another baby when your oldest two are in high school and it really gets interesting!  And then, just when you think that the having a baby and a toddler at the same time has passed, we got to do it all over again!

Don't get me wrong, Luke and Kate are blessings!  I mean...just look at these faces:)  (Plus, without them Ellie never would have been a big sister!)

It's just that the completely unique needs of each child are at opposite extremes! (Although sometimes the in particular who shall remain nameless...sometimes act like toddlers!)

Take tonight for example.  It is 11:09pm and even though the past three nights have been worse than usual in regards to sleep, I am up blogging because I am trying to wait up until my oldest two come in the door!  Mike is with friends and Andrew is at a junior counselor meeting for pro-life boot camp that is coming up in July.  

Chances are, any moment one of my two youngest cherubs will awaken and need?/want? me by their sides.  Some nights one wakes the other up and they are both crying at the same time!  Ahh...a mother's symphony!(insert eye roll here!)

Yet, as much as my weary body longs for bed in my humid room....Is there such a thing as a Central Air Fairy?  Oh, that would be such bliss! mama rest won't really happen until I hear the 'beep' of the car locks and hear those footsteps through the door(and the door being re-locked!).  I may even fall asleep but it won't be soundly.  That has only happened once....during the winter when Mike had the crazy late basketball practices.  I fell asleep around 11 waiting for him and woke up in a panic at 2am not knowing if he had come home...trying to peer out the window in the dark to see his car...without turning on lights and waking up the rest of the house!

This driving thing is!

Right on schedule...11:15 and Andrew is home and Luke is starting his evening moaning and babble.  One home and one to go.

We were friendly years ago with a woman who had 10 children.  She always said that in Heaven, she would be the one sleeping in the corner, making up for all those sleepless nights!

I think I will be right along side of her:)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Behind the Scene

I'm trying out a new link up today called Behind the Scenes.  I'm supposed to post a picture and then describe what was going on around it:)

 I love this picture that I took yesterday of Luke and Ellie in the pool.  Their faces are ecstatic...and why, might you ask?  Well, they had just found a tree frog that is living under one of the edges of our above ground pool.

Luke coaxed it out...although 'coax' is probably not the word that the frog would use!

Ellie put the frog on Luke's shoulder and it 'stuck' there.  Of course, by the time I went in to get my camera, Ellie had held the frog, and when she tried to put it back on Luke's shoulder, it kept jumping onto the top of her chest.  That's when I snapped the photo...mid jump...with the kids giggling like maniacs:)

I don't think this is Luke's pal, 'Frog', from the weekend.  But, who knows!?!

A hot day, swimming in the pool, playing with frogs....sounds like summer to me!  Lazy summer afternoons with my kids are priceless for moments like this.  The laundry, dishes, and messes will always be there...but these special memories won't!  Luke telling me, "I need you!", because he's afraid to be in the water without holding onto someone will not last much longer.  (Neither will Luke telling me he needs me for anything!  I will blink and he will be 6'plus just like his big brothers!)

Living in the moment is so important...and so hard to do!

I know this is probably cheating since I'm supposed to talk about one picture....but here is the frog back on Luke's shoulder!  (I made the picture smaller...I hate being a rule breaker!  It's that first born, type A personality I have:) 

Monday, June 24, 2013


Around the first of the year, the "buzz" in the blog world was finding your 'word' for the year.  At first, I didn't really give much thought to it, but then a word seemed to fit just right!  That word was...

Like most things that we think about around the first of the year, the word 'enough' faded away into the background.  In the past few weeks, that word has been popping into my head again.  Actually, it was jumping up and down in my head during our crazy whirlwind week-and-a half of graduation, graduation, and graduation!  Trying to make each of my children's graduation days special, while still taking care of the other 5 kids needs, was more than challenging!  It took all of my emotional energy...and then pull it off. 

I still haven't completely recovered.  

At the end of last week I was driving around town doing those countless 'Mommy errands' and taxi driving that is part of our jobs.  The van was getting low on gas but I was trying to hold out until Friday to fill know, payday:)  

Since our van is fairly new, it has a display that pops up when it is low on gas.  It starts at 50 miles to empty and then continues until you feed it or you reach 0.  (Thankfully, the latter has never happened to me!)

I felt like the tank was mimicking my own internal, emotional feelings.  As I drove it on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, until I was down to 20 miles to empty and I finally stopped to get gas, I would notice the numbers on the tank being slowly drained and thought, "That's how I feel right now.  35 miles to empty...then 29 miles to empty..then 23 miles to empty." 

But I just can't seem to figure out how to "fill up".  

The obvious answer is prayer....and I have been.  It's just one of those times that my prayers are answered with silence.  I've been around this block before....and I can't say that I enjoy it.  Everything just lacks...something.  I just feel internally 'blah'.  

It's like everything is oatmeal...without the sugar or the cinnamon or the raisins or the craisins.  Just blah.

There's always a 'why' to how we feel.  I just haven't been able to figure it out.  I know that burnout is definitely a contributing factor...but it isn't the only one.  

Again, I find myself turning to that word, "enough", just in a different way.  What if I never have enough to fill me?  What if I'm just sooooo needy that even God won't have enough to fill me?

Why do I have to be so needy, anyway?

While I know in my head the truth.......
"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

....I'm waiting for the God's healing grace to touch my heart in its present messy state.  

Until then, His Word on my heart will continue to be:
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Friday, June 21, 2013


I'm linking up with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday today because that's what I have!  Hope your Friday is fabulous as you jump into the weekend!

The word of the day is.....

Lately, I feel like I have no rhythm.  I'm not talking about dancing either....because I've never had rhythm for dancing!  I enjoy being on the dance floor but 'it ain't pretty'!  

But I digress...

I feel like the rhythm of my life is just 'off'.  It's been so busy for so long that I haven't had time to breathe.  I miss the nights when we can just hang out after dinner, do the dishes, and play with the little kids until they pass out.  I call it, "regular nights".  

It seems that those kinds of nights are more like special nights lately.  There are just too many nights with a meeting or an activity for one of the kids.  I just don't feel like we have good balance right now...and I don't know how to fix it.  Living the paycheck to paycheck life like most people....or actually the paycheck to OMG how am I going to make this last until the next paycheck(!) life like most making me tired...and stressed.  

I find myself craving time...which there is never enough of....especially time reconnecting with my husband.

Praying about it....waiting on some answers.   

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hearts Wide Open

Today was the Mass for the end of Ellen's school year.  It was her last official day as a fourth grader! seems like yesterday when Mike was a fourth grader!  Sigh...time just keeps on flying by!

Sarah and I took Luke and Kate to Mass.  Taking Luke and Kate to Mass is always an adventure!  Kate was especially antsy this morning and we didn't even make it to the Gospel before I had to walk with Princess Screechy into the 'cry room'.

Many days at Mass, I don't get to hear much of the readings.  Between Luke and Kate, distraction has become my middle name!  Today, I did catch a few words from the first reading that stuck with me.  I figure that it must be important since God allowed me to hear something so clearly and actually retain it! it is:)
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

A cheerful giver.  Those two words were bouncing around my head during my cry room time.  What is a cheerful giver?  Am I a cheerful giver?  What is God asking me to give?

Things that make you go hmmmmm.......

My thoughts among doling out goldfish crackers and shushing the kids drifted to, "Do I live with my heart wide open?"  I know the expression "Eyes Wide Open" which, in Wikipedia, is defined as "an expression that means that a person is fully aware of a true situation." 

Being fully aware of a situation with your eyes....and your sometimes much different that being aware of a situation with your heart, don't you think?

I can look at a situation with my eyes and understand what the truth is without living with my heart wide open.

Living with my heart wide open is harder than living with my eyes wide open.  Having a wide open heart  allows me to feel complete joy, but also be left open to pain.  Having a wide open heart means that I am completely open to God's will, but also need to retract my own will when my plans are not the same as His.

While at Church this morning, my thoughts of living with my heart wide open were connected with my children, particularly my oldest 3.  This letting go process is really hard.  I spent most of the last 2 decades trying to guide and protect them and now, as they begin to take the first steps is venturing out on their own, much of how we relate is changing.  Change has been going on slowly for a while, but now we are on the very edge of the mountain where they are getting ready to jump into their own adult lives and I don't have control about what is underneath them!

I know this is the way it is supposed to be, but it isn't easy!  I can't say I'm living with my heart wide open in regards to their growing up and making their own ways.  I'm not 100% ready.  I'm not on the roller coaster with my hands up in the air enjoying the thrill of the ride.  Most of the time I feel like I'm riding the track up to the top of the highest drop thinking, "Why on earth did I ever get on this ride in the first place?!?"
My heart isn't wide has boxing gloves on in a guarded position trying to keep from getting hurt!

Boxing_guard : aggressive businessman ready to punch everyone

The problem is that when you try to protect yourself from pain, you also keep yourself from letting in the joy.  Such a Catch 22!

There is a particular beach that our kids like to go to when we visit Martha's Vineyard.  It's a beach that gets a lot of big waves whenever a ferry comes to Oak Bluffs Harbor.  The excitement starts as soon as the ferry is spotted and shouts ensue encouraging siblings to race to the edge of the water.  Sitting in the shallow water, those giant waves come in and crash into my children....throwing them head over heals as they laugh and grin at each other and right themselves to enjoy each wave!  Sure they get a little water in their noses and a ton of sand in their bathing suits....but they enjoy the ride.(Even the oldest ones that like to pretend they don't enjoy anything sometimes!)

I think that's how I have to make my heart: jumping into the joy and power of life's waves....despite the water up my nose or the sand in my bathing suit!

Oh...and the blessings of a cheerful giver....2Corinthians 9:8
 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hopping into Monday...(pun intended)

It was a nice weekend with family.  I got some nice 'action' shots:)

The big Saturday chore that spilled into Sunday and will be finished up tonight(hopefully!), was opening the pool!  Jay found a tree frog for Luke.  Luke walked around with his new 'friend' all afternoon!
Luke pointing to the frog...

Luke's frog he named, originally, "Frog":)

In the last pic, I told Luke to say "cheese".  He said, "Mom, frogs can't talk.  They can't smile either!"  LOL

Kate and Luke had some 'cousin fun' after brunch at our house on Sunday.  I couldn't get Kate and Mya to look at the camera at the same time!  But they are cuties anyway! Luke and Brayden were using the noodle as a telescope of their pirate ship...such great imaginations! 

I got these cute shots of Kate...

I just love that little face!

Today, Sarah and I took Kate and Luke to Ellie's school's field day at Cathedral Camp.  Ellie liked having her siblings there!

The school year is winding down...2 more days for Jon and Ellie and 3 more days for Peter!  Just as their year is winding down, I am looking into financing option for Mike's loans at Assumption and Andrew is at an overnight orientation at UMass!

Never a dull moment around here:)  Hope you are having a great Monday!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Father's Day is a pretty big day around here...seeing as Jay has become a father many times!  Figuring out how to honor a man who, every day, gives his all to his family is no easy task.  I was thinking about re-posting one of my favorites, Ode to My Husband, but then changed my mind!

Here's what I came up with....

The following are my top 9 memories of with each of my kids.

(I know what you're thinking, Jay, 
(And for any of you readers that just thought)...
"Oh, she should just go for an even 10 and have one more!"...

I'm giving you my angry eyes!)
In order of birth......

1.  Michael
The memory that pops into my head first of Jay with Mike actually occurred while Mike was still in utero.  It was our first ultrasound.  We were young, overwhelmed teenagers trying to adjust to the new path our lives had taken.  Seeing Mike on the ultrasound screen made everything real.  I remember Jay being so excited to see Mike on the screen, looking like he was using my bladder for a trampoline.  Jay was grabbing and rubbing my foot since the only place for him to stand was at the end of the table.  Not all guys would have stepped up into a father role at that point in life, but Jay jumped in with both feet!

2.  Andrew
Andrew was a very colicky baby.  He was sooo challenging during the day for the first thirteen years few months.  Andrew took two 15 minute naps a day and demanded to be carried(facing out) the rest of the hours he was awake!  Jay worked at a nursing home the summer before he started grad school when Andrew was an infant.  Jay would come home and I would just hold Andrew out to him without saying a word.  I.was.always.done by 5pm!  Jay would take Andrew and walk around our neighborhood cuddling him and talking and singing to him.  Jay always loves the kids as babies...even the difficult ones!

3.  Jonathan
Jonathan loved to toddle around Jay.  Jon especially loved being Jay's sidekick during the summer that we grew tomatoes and Jay made and canned homemade tomato sauce.  Jon would sit on the counter with his pudgy little legs "helping" to pour in ingredients.  Jon always wanted to lick the spoon that the tomato paste was on!  (eww...never understood that one!)  But, I love that the boys always wanted to be doing whatever daddy was doing...and that Jay had the patience to let them join in!

4.  Therese
This is a tough one because Therese was with us for such a short time....and the time was intense and filled with so much grief.    The best memory that I have is of Jay laying Therese in her crib for the first time...and though we didn't know it at the moment, her last time.  He had just stayed up cuddling her and holding her until her midnight feeding so that I could get a little sleep before her 3am feeding.  I woke up as he walked into the room and laid her in the crib that we had bought just for her.  Some memories are extra precious because you have so few....

5.  Sarah
Sarah was born 364 days after Therese...and having a healthy baby girl was like balm to our broken hearts.  My favorite memory was captured in a picture that I need to find.  It hung on our wall for years.  Sarah was dressed in her little pink outfit just laying in the hospital bassinet while we were waiting to be discharged.  Jay leaned over to kiss her perfect baby cheek and I snapped a picture.(pre-digital cameras!)  The look on his face was priceless...complete joy, happiness and peace!  (And he's been 'wrapped' ever since!)

6. Peter
With Peter, I want to share an overall theme rather than a memory.  Having a child with very pronounced disabilities is incredibly difficult.  It's like having the most difficult baby and toddler phase that you can think of at the same time....and it lasted 8 years before it got a little easier.  It's not as hard least compared to what it used to be like.  It still is far from easy.  Jay does so much to take care of Peter....from bathing him to taking care of him when he wakes up at night to taking him for rides on the highway to the town next to us because, for whatever reason, it's something Peter is obsessed with and loves to do and it makes him so happy!  Jay is a great dad even when it's hard for the long haul!

7. Ellen
Ellen was born a few months before Peter's 2nd birthday-which was pre-diagnosis.  Because Peter was so hard at night, and I was supplementing with Ellie, Jay took care of Ellie's night feedings.  Every night for the first 18 months of her life, Jay got up and gave his baby girl her bottle.  Just like her big sister, Ellie is a 'Daddy's girl', too!

8.  Luke
As soon as Luke figured out that there was more to life than nursing(!), he has been Daddy's little helper.  Armed with his plastic 'tools', Luke works side-by-side with Jay tearing down walls, building cabinets, painting, or whatever the project happens to be.  Luke knows the sound of a sander or saw from several rooms away.  He might be engrossed in a tv show, but as soon as he hears a tool he goes running to the garage!  Jay gives him a 'Lukie job' and they work side-by-side.....even though Luke sometimes makes more work for Jay than he started with!

9.  Kate
Last but not least is our newest little daughter that has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger.  All Kate has to do is look up at Jay with her big blue eyes and say, "Dadeeee", and Jay visibly melts!  He is the horsey ride giver, block tower so she can knock it down maker, and creator of the bath bubbles!  Kate adores her Daddy as much as Jay adores his little girls!

If we want to make Jay cry, all we have to do is talk about one of his little girls getting married!  If the song Dancing With Cinderella comes's all over!  Break out the tissues!

Happy Father's Day to an incredible father!  Jay, I'm so glad we are on this wild, crazy ride together!  Thanks for not running away screaming and for making it fun and meaningful despite all this chaos!

Happy Father's Day!

linking up with Julie for the Distinguished Dads Link up!

Friday, June 14, 2013

We Made It To Friday!

Linking up with 7 Quick Takes Friday...

1.  Sarah's Special Weekend
Well, really it was a loooong weekend because it started on Friday with her class field trip to an amusement park...
Having fun despite the rain!  Notice the Burger King Crown!
She's such a goof!

Posing with the "duck face" for the camera!

2.....continued with a Baccalaureate Mass and Semi Formal dance on Saturday....

3.....and ended with graduation on Monday night...
Sarah giving the Valedictorian Address!
She did a great job:)
 Her speech centered around making a difference by getting involved.  Here is the main part of it...(forgive me...I'm a proud mama!:)
We are the Church and the nation now.  It is our actions that influence it.  Get involved;  it is the best thing you can do.  Let nothing hold you back, but only push you forward.  You are needed and wanted.   Our community needs you, whether it is a small task or a larger one.
Right now, we may not be in a position to cause monumental changes in the world.  In the words of  Blessed Mother Teresa,   "Not all of us can do great things.  But we can do small things with great love."  
Small acts like smiling at a friend or at a stranger, choosing to be positive and not  gossip, defending someone being bullied, befriending someone who is lonely…..these are all small things that make a big difference.  You could save a life by just giving a smile or a friendly comment.
I would like to end with a quote from Blessed Pope John Paul II.  He dedicated his life to helping youth wherever they were.  He was a hero to everyone who knew him.  
He said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”

Proud parents with the happy graduate:)

4.  Father-Daughter Dance
Ellie's school held their annual Father-Daughter Dance on Sunday afternoon.  Special Daddy and Ellie time, dancing, friends, and sundaes....doesn't get much better than that!
I love when she wears compliments her beautiful, blue eyes!
5.  Strawberry Season!
Tuesday was my mom's birthday and her favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake.  The first strawberries of the season usually begin right before her birthday so I always make a homemade shortcake to go with these delicious, local berries!  Kate sampled a few while I was baking.....

Kate loves, loves, loves strawberries!
 (I'm not sure the strawberry  stain is coming out of that shirt, though!)

6.  Tebow Time!
Tim Tebow became a New England Patriot on Monday!  This caused quite a bit of excitement at our house since my boys are huge Patriot fans and had become huge Tebow fans when he was in Denver.  When Tebow became a Jet, it was a great disappointment....How can you cheer for your favorite player on the enemy rival team?

NO MORE ANGST!  Tebow is "one of us" now!

(Just in case you're reading this, Grandma,.....the boys have already put Tebow jerseys on their Christmas lists.  But Mike can't have one because every jersey he gets seems to result in the hurt/trade of the Maroney, Mayo, Chung, and Brady right before he tore his ACL.  Jon says, "He(mike) is a monster that needs to be stopped!  He needs to start buying Bronco stuff!"

7.  Potty Progress!

After successfully potty training 6 other children, Luke has been giving me a run for my money!  On Saturday night, Jay used some positive peer pressure and told Luke that his cousin had gone potty.  That news opened Luke to wearing underpants on Sunday.  Sunday was a rough day...2 successes and lots of accidents.  Luke went through every pair of shorts and pants that he owns!  After his bath that night, I brought out his diaper and jammies and he got all excited..."I get to wear my diaper!!!!!"  That didn't bode well!  Who would have thought someone could be so attached to a diaper?!?

We persevered and Luke's attempts got better on Monday and by yesterday he was down to one accident!  Whoop, whoop!

This morning, Luke woke up with a dry diaper.:)  After going potty, he put on underpants.  Kate got all upset because she wants to do EVERYTHING Luke does and she wanted underpants, too!

Love it!  They are super cute!

Hope you have survived your week and have some fun planned for this weekend!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

St. Anthony, St. Anthony Come Around!

Today started off really well.  I didn't have anything official to do today.  We woke up to sunny weather, but a quick peak at the weather channel app on Jay's phone showed that there was more rain to come...sigh.  So I headed outside early with Kate and Luke so that Kate could get in her "winging" and Luke could get his sandbox fix in!  Kate and I were still in our jammies!

We had some nice playtime.  Luke and Kate were swinging on the hammock swing together.  They were so cute!  It was one of those perfect family moments.....until Luke stood up quickly and knocked Kate flat on her face.  Much crying ensued, but no blood! are some pre-drop pics!

Once our outside fun was finished, we headed inside to clean, clean, clean!  I had a double incentive to my day.  Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua.  I think he is best known for helping people find lost things!(St. Anthony was also a very holy man and an incredible speaker!)  I was seeking out his help to find a couple of lost items today!

I hadn't seen Peter's Ipad since Tuesday and our kindle fire has been m.i.a. for about a week!  Since the house needed a good cleaning, using it as an excuse to search for lost items seemed like a good idea.  So with a prayer, my vacuum, my broom, and my dust bin and brush, I started in a favorite tablet hiding place...under or in our living room couches!  I cleaned out and vacuumed under the cushions and moved the couches and cleaned out everything underneath.  No luck...but it was nice knowing the room was clean.

Then I moved onto another tablet hiding place:  under Peter's bed.  I moved the bed, put away all the clutter, cleaned under the bureaus, but still nothing.

I moved onto the family room.  That couch eats things...literally! (there's a hole under one of the cushions and lots of things fall in there!)  I found 5 remotes(!), batteries, plastic dinosaurs, blocks, leftover popcorn....but still no tablets.

Next, I tried under and around Ellie's can get a little scary around there sometimes.  It really wasn't too bad today, and again, I didn't find what I was searching for.

So, I headed to the room I was room, which is in serious need of a thorough cleaning!  I started  under the bed.  I found one of my missing shoes, a couple of empty cups, pictures, paper, and other miscellaneous items.  I started hanging up clean clothes that were sitting in 'the pile', but got side tracked by a cranky baby.

Ironically, I found the ipad on the sideboard underneath a sweatshirt!  Oh well, at least some rooms got some good cleaning!

I had given up looking for the kindle.  I started dinner and went into Peter's room for something...and the kindle was laying on a pile of blankets I had folded that morning!  My guess is that Peter had heard I was searching for the kindle and had previously stashed it in his closet.  He went in his room and removed it from its hiding place and put it on the blanket.

....or maybe St. Anthony paid us a visit;)

I'm just thankful that I know where both devices least for the moment!    

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Space to Breathe

I am slowly trying to recover from the insanity of our schedule over the past 2 weeks...a prom, a semi-formal prom, 3 awards banquets, 2 Baccalaureate Masses, 3 graduations, an IEP meeting...not to mention a couple of basketball games, lots of meetings, a couple of birthdays and Jay running the youth group car wash!

Can I just say that I am beyond tired!

Yesterday was my Mom's birthday and Sunday is Father's Day....and I am all planned out!  Oh...and Ellie is in the school's talent show tonight...her idea, not mine, but it was something she really wanted to do!  Last night was the rehearsal...which we missed (add it to my bad mom list) but I just couldn't do one.more.thing!  Literally...I was starting to twitch.

I am burned out!

You know when you get to the point where you just don't know what you need anymore???

Weeks of organizing schedules, planning ahead to try and make things special for each one of them, (even when celebrations fall on the same day!), have taken a lot out of me.

Meanwhile, the dishes, laundry and cooking aren't on vacation!  All the other kids' still have their needs, too!

Sarah made a comment today about something we were talking about (that I don't remember at the moment)....she said, "You're the Mommy."  To which I answered, "Yep...24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year."

No wonder I'm so tired!

I'm definitely in need of some N.P.T.O. time...not paid time off!

How do you decompress after periods of extreme chaos?

Monday, June 10, 2013

And Last But Not Least.....

It was another busy weekend as Sarah's 8th grade year winds to a close!

On Friday, the class and chaperons spent a very wet and rainy day at an amusement park about 2 hours away from the school.  Since they are kids, they still all managed to have a great time!  The bonus of the crummy day was that the only other people there were 2 other classes on a field trip so there were no lines anywhere!  The kids got to stay on all the rides until they were bored with them!(I think that Sarah's record was 9 times on one ride!)

Before they got to the park, the class stopped at Burger King for breakfast.  Sarah asked for a Burger King crown and she wore it!  Goofy kid:)

While the kids were away, the parents that stayed behind began setting up for their semi dance in the gym.  With some awesome ideas and many moms' resourcefulness, the school gym was transformed into an Arabian Nights theme wonderland!  The kids did not know the theme until they walked into the gym Saturday night....and it was truly wonderful to see the looks of amazement and wonder on their faces!

It made all the planning and hard work worth it!  (As a confession, I was not blessed with any type of Martha Stewart gene!  I did the lugging!  But I was happy to be involved and it always amazes me how creative minds work! take a piece of grass, a piece of gold paper and some glitter and you can create a Taj Mahal?  Just amazing!)

The dessert table!

The tent where tables were set up for dinner.  The folding chairs were only there for a slide show presentation for the parents and then they were put away and the area became the dance floor.  Lots of strings of lights on and around the tent made for some incredible "mood lighting" that you can't get in this picture!

I know this pic is fuzzy..:(...but look at the joy and amazement on Sarah's face and her friend's as they walked in the door!

Sarah with one of the props:)

...and a couple of our beautiful daughter!  
...I know I've said this a lot the last few weeks, but where does the time go?

Tonight is Sarah's graduation!  The final chapter to a great year...topped by the honor of being the valedictorian of her class!  It was a goal Sarah set for herself in the beginning of the year and worked hard all.year.long to achieve it!  

Sarah's biggest motivation.....she wanted to beat her brothers at something!  lol...a little family competitive streak that she inherited from both sides of the family!

I'm so proud of you, Sarah!  I can't wait to hear your speech tonight!  

I definitely won't be wearing mascara tonight....waterproof or otherwise!

P.S....Happy Birthday to my loving, incredible husband who truly is my better half!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Falling Into His Heart

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Thanks to one of my older guys, I was able to go to Mass this morning!  :)

I need to do that more often!  Mommas need some recharging time, too!

This past Wednesday night, the Women of Grace group in my parish brought in a guest speaker, Fr. David Nicorski.  Fr. Dave had also come to give a talk last year that I was able to attend.  I enjoyed his talk last year and I was grateful that I was able to make it again this year.

Fr. Dave's talk was focused around the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  He spoke about a lot of different things, but the majority of his talk was about how different religious artwork speaks to different people.  In particular, he focused on this picture.....
  Sacred Heart

Fr. Dave asked for volunteers in the room of around 60 women to share what struck them about this particular picture.  Some women commented on his eyes, others on his heart, some more specifically on the crown of thorns.  (It's always interesting to hear other women's perspectives!)

There were a couple of things that struck me about this picture.  The first are the position of Jesus' hands opening his cloak(robe?)  There's a humility in the way He keeps His hands against His body.  

Think about it....if someone has something they are trying to "show off" on their chest, like a tattoo for example, their palms are facing out when they open their shirt.  Something like this....

Very different from Jesus' hands in the Sacred Heart pic!  (And I am in no way comparing Fonzie to Jesus!  Just using Fonzie's shirt and hands as a comparison!)

Another thing that struck me about the Sacred Heart picture is the feeling of an invitation to be drawn into His heart.....

Sacred Heart

(I'm pasting the picture again so you don't have to scroll:)

His eyes and His facial features are gentle, His hand placement directs our gaze in a gentle way to His heart, and the flame and the bright lights emanating from His heart just draw me right in.  Wednesday night, as I was thinking about the picture during the talk, I could imagine just falling into His falling into a beautiful lake on the perfect summer day!  His Precious Blood would just envelop me.  I could imagine His heart as being like a womb for each one of us...a place of ultimate love, safety, and compassion.

To me, it was a beautiful thought and image.....

Something (that felt) profound for me, was quickly  followed by ridiculousness:
The lights around His heart drawing me in like a......bug zapper.  Just without the zap...or the 'frying'.  

That's the kind of thinking that comes from being the mother of boys!

I think I will stick to my first image.....Ultimate love, safety, and compassion!

Is there anything about this picture that speaks to you?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Taking Care of Me

I think I have (finally) found a new primary care doctor!  Since I have spent much of the past 20 years having babies, most of my time has been spent in the OB-Gyn's office.  Occasionally, my need for a different type of doctor arises...and, really, I won't be having babies forever!

I have had two other "non baby" docs over the past 15 years.  I really liked the first doctor, but I couldn't stand her nurse practitioner.  Since you usually have to see the NP when you call in for a sick visit, I saw her more than the doctor.  The NP was condescending to me anytime I saw her over our choice to not use artificial birth control.  Her bedside manner was less than compassionate when I saw her for a problem I was having following Therese's death.

I decided a switch was in order!

The next doctor I signed up for I actually never saw.  I saw her nurse practitioner a couple of times.  (I tend to be pretty healthy....and I'm usually pregnant. lol)  The problem I had with this practice is that I couldn't get in when I was sick most of the time.  I could call on a Monday morning at 8:30  and they would say they had no openings for the week and I needed to go to the walk in clinic.

Huh?  Doesn't seem like good patient care to me.

Now that Kate is almost 18 months did that happen!?!...and Jay switched jobs and we now have health insurance that needs to list a primary care physician, I have been on the hunt for a new doctor.  Friends gave suggestions but none of their doctors were taking new patients!  I decided to try a dr...had to be a one of the suggested practices that was accepting new patients.

I had to start somewhere!  I figured that if I didn't like her I could just start looking again.

Long story short, my new doctor is very nice.  She was patient, thorough, and didn't even ask about birth control!  That's a plus!

Her staff was also really nice and they all assured me that I could get in for a same day sick visit on the same day I call.  Perfect!

It's nice to know I have someone that will be able to take care of me when I need it.  Plus, I need to get better at the whole yearly physical thing now that I'm getting older! :/

Do you find it hard to take time out to take care of yourself, too?  It's definitely not an easy thing for me!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Whipping Through the Week!

I am continuing the roller coaster ride of craziness this week...planned and otherwise!

With Sarah's 8th grade field trip, semi dance, and graduation all coming up quickly there are still a lot of 'extra stuff' that needs to be fit in!

The most positive 'extra' is the Valedictorian Speech that Sarah has to write!  Sarah found out yesterday that she is her class' valedictorian and is soooo excited!  Before the school year even started, Sarah made a goal to be the valedictorian.  It was a close race with 5 kids in the running going into final exams.  Sarah was super nervous!

Now, Sarah is super excited to have reached her goal!  Jay and I are proud of all the hard work and effort she put into all of her school work all.year.long!  Congratulations, Sarah!

The most negative 'extra' is that our washing machine broke....again!:(  Both the washer and the dryer have been limping along for quite a while.  It makes doing the laundry even more tedious than it already is!  The dryer has been the main culprit since the door has been fixed so many times that it only stays shut enough to work with duct tape.  And, almost every cycle, that duct tape loosens and the door opens so that, when I go to switch the loads, I find a dryer full of damp clothes!

Things that make you go 'grrrrrrr'!  The Daily Grump | June 3, 2013

The washer broke Monday morning and duct tape would not fix the problem!  (I tried it!)  I was exhausted, emotional and overwhelmed already on Monday morning after our eventful not being able to do laundry was threatening to throw me 'over the edge' emotionally.

My text to Jay read something like..." The washer is broken...again!  I can't take it anymore!"

Ok...maybe a little melodramatic!  I know it's just a washing machine....but laundry in our house is a full time job!  So, after a meeting I had on Monday night for Sarah's semi dance coming up on Saturday, Jay and I headed out with Kate and Luke to buy working appliances.  They get delivered on Monday.  I.can't.wait!

In the meantime, we are lucky enough to have my parents across the street from us so we are using their washing machine!  I don't know how people do it that have to use the laundromat!  A little inconvenience reminds me of how blessed I am!

My head is still a whirl trying to process all the accomplishments and changes that have been going on...and will continue to go on.  The next 2 weeks will speed on by and the official summer vacation for everyone will be here.....and I'm feeling unprepared!

I want to have a family meeting to come up with ideas for the summer.  The ideas will have to be inexpensive (very)...but I want to have some plans to look forward to!  While I want the summer to be laid back and restful, I also need a little bit of structure! (and so do the kids!)

The summer always seems so long but goes by so fast!   I want it to be enjoyable memories...and some regular excursions to get the kids out of the house once in a while!(Other than going to the grocery!)

Weekly visits to a library are on my short list...I like going to different local libraries occasionally just to keep things interesting, too!  The beach will be an occasional occasional visit to our local zoo and hopefully a day trip to a new zoo, too!  Some of the older kids have a retreat week and/or weekend planned and some of them are doing week long basketball camps during different weeks throughout the summer.

What summer ideas do you have to keep the kiddos occupied (and your sanity intact!)?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Congrats to my Graduates!

What an exciting...and exhausting....weekend!  It was non-stop prepping, experiencing, and partying every minute of each day!

I'm trying something new today and linking up with Lisa's Hello Monday Series.

So...without further ado....


 To family waiting to watch Mike's Community College graduation!

 ...especially an adorable baby sister!:)

To the proud graduate processing into the graduation tent!(This is my favorite pic...he is sooo happy:)

To the Summa Cum Laude Graduate with the 3.89 GPA!  

With my sister who is the director of the science labs at the college...and 16 inches shorter than Mike!
To a small family party(haha...small and our family is an oxymoron!)...with new, fun recipes and a special oreo cheesecake cake for dessert.  I have mixed reviews for the cake...the cake part was very good, the white chocolate buttercream frosting was really good, but the cheesecake layer was a little disappointing.(And anyone that knows me knows that I bake many cheesecakes a year!)  It just wasn't as fluffy and creamy as other cheesecakes.  I'm thinking it's that way on purpose because it wouldn't be able to work as a middle layer otherwise.  It's an interesting concept....but I think an incredible cheesecake is better standing alone!  It was fun to make something special for Mike, though...and no one complained when they ate it:)

To suprising Mike with the news that several of his friends would be arriving for pizza and smores a couple of hours later!  That party went on until after midnight!

To Part II to our Saturday celebrations....
and Andrew's Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday night!

To Sunday morning when Andrew asked if he could have homemade meatball subs instead of pizza after his afternoon graduation!  And, since it's his special day, how could I say no.  So Andrew ran out to the local bakery to get rolls and to the grocery store to grab hamburger.  Thankfully, I already had the sauce ingredients and I got it all made and put together just in time to leave for his graduation.(With a little help from Sarah to take the meatballs out of the oven and put them in the crockpot!  Thx, Sarah!)

To another proud graduate with his proud grandparents.(Jay's dad is a math teacher at the high school and we got him to keep his robe on just long enough to snap a picture!:)  I cannot believe how fast those four years went by!  It was a good experience for Andrew...and that particular school was where he was meant to be!

To another small family party that included Andrew's girlfriend, Courtney, (who goes to a different high school that graduated this past Thursday...Congrats to Courtney:), and...................

.............more cake!  This cake is courtesy of Jay's mom and is Andrew's favorite!

To a double graduation weekend 
.....and proud but exhausted parents! 

I hope you had a fabulous weekend, too!  
Thanks for letting me share our celebration pictures!