Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Birthday, Peter!

Besides being 'hump day' which, because of that new Geico commercial that my sons are addicted to, has become a very annoying shout out all.week.long!  Even when it isn't Wednesday, they just add on a 'yesterday' for as many days away hump day is!  For example, on Saturday I will have to put up with Jon(who is the biggest offender!) will say (in the same accent as the commercial) 'Humpday yesterday, yesterday, yesterday!'  Oy!

But I digress...

Today is special because it is Peter's 12th birthday!  It's hard to believe that it was 12 years ago today that Peter arrived into the world...all 8lbs 11oz!  He was the only baby that we chose to be surprised about the gender.  (Mike and Jon were surprises because they wouldn't cooperate!)

Peter has definitely challenged us the most as parents.  All children are challenging.  Having a special needs child is really challenging almost all.the.time.

Peter has also taught us the most as parents.  Peter has brought out the best, and the worst, in us!

Peter has taught us to look for and cherish each and every little accomplishment.

Peter has broken any perception I may have had about ever being the perfect mom or having the 'perfect' looking family.

Peter has placed us in more embarrassing situations than I care to remember.  (Thankfully, we are able to laugh at most of them now!)

Peter has taught us how to love when it is hard...even when there is not much given in return.

Peter is a simple little guy who is happy watching Southwest airplanes on youtube, playing Angry Birds on his Ipad, and swinging and swimming in the backyard.  Peter's favorite food, by far, is Jay's mom's chocolate cake!(which he will have at the family birthday party for him and Luke on Saturday:)

Peter's favorite places to go are Disney World and Martha's Vineyard!  He talks about both of them all.the.time and loves to look at pictures and videos of the times he has visited!  I posted one of his super happy Vineyard pictures on Monday, but here are a few more from our weekend and Peter's favorite place to visit on the Vineyard....the beach.

Peter doesn't really play with toys.  His favorite things are dinosaur balloons we get from IParty and Buzz Lightyear action figures.  The only problem with the Buzz toys is that he destroys them.  The first thing to go is the arm....just like when Buzz loses his arm trying to fly in the original Toy Story Movie!  Then he throws in high in the air outside.  Hides it in the neighbors yard.  Throws it in the pool.  And any other number of strange, silly things.  But it makes him happy.  Other than 3 dinosaur balloons that he was so intent on getting that he made me write in on the calendar 3 weeks ago...which I actually drove to get yesterday with him because he was obsessing and melting down over them!....Buzz is the only thing he asked for.

So...of course I got him another one to destroy!

My conversation with Peter this morning made me laugh!
Me:  How old are you today, Peter?
Peter:  I'm old!

Happy Birthday, Peter!

p.s.  None of these photos are my absolute favorite photo from our trip!  I's coming!:)  Today was all about Peter:)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

S is for 'Super Dad'

I'm linking up with Crystal for Behind the Scenes.  Looking at a picture, there is often so much more to it than the person, or people, looking back.  Or, like in the picture I'm sharing today, the people looking at their electronic devices!

In this picture, we are on the ferry on the way home from the Vineyard.  Jay is sitting next to Peter with Kate sitting on his lap.  Peter was challenging because he was inconsolable about having to go home.  He had been crying almost non-stop for 3 hours.  Peter doesn't cry a whole lot, so when he does it is pretty pitiful:(

Jay was being super patient with our inconsolable son while we had been packing up, driving to the ferry, walking around waiting for the ferry, in line waiting to board the ferry, and then getting a seat and getting under way.(I can only imagine what the people around us thought seeing someone Peter's size crying that whole time.  Sometimes Peter 'looks' so normal that his special needs aren't completely apparent.  Not that I care what people thought(at least that day!).  Although I did feel bad for the people that sat directly in front of and behind him!)

Soon after we got onto the ferry, Kate looked over at Jay and said, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"  Even though he already had his hands full with Peter, Jay was not going to turn away his baby girl calling his name.  She toddled over to him and sat on his lap.  They snuggled together and Jay let her fiddle with his phone and look at pictures of herself.  The last 10 minutes of the ride, Peter shared his Ipad with Kate.

Not once did Jay look frustrated, or raise his voice, or snap at either of them.  He was 'Super Dad' on that ferry ride he is just about every day!  (Even though there are lots of days he doesn't feel like it!)

Jay works so hard trying to provide for us...seeing patients for usually two, and sometimes even three, companies each day!  Most of the time we seem to only be treading water because, like most people, "extra" money seems to come in just when an unexpected expense arrives!  While getting ahead is always his aim, staying afloat is generally his reality!

After working 10+ hour days, he comes home to greet a house of needy people clamoring for his attention:  Teenagers wanting to talk sports, practice driving, play basketball, or needing a ride to some sporting event....Pre-teens wanting his love and attention....Luke wanting him to play trucks, or dinosaurs, or in the sandbox, or with Legos...and Kate wanting to do whatever Luke and Daddy do!  (Not to mention a wife who needs a little time and attention, too...and a hand with baths and supper clean up!)

Jay is a man that gives and gives and gives....and all of my children are blessed to have him as a dad...and I am blessed to have him as my husband and best friend.....

Even though this picture seems pretty unimpressive, it really tells a much deeper and special story!

P.S.  In case you read my post yesterday, this is not my absolute favorite picture from our trip to the Vineyard either!  I promise I will be sharing that one with you later in the week!

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Fun-Filled Weekend!

We had a fun-filled weekend on Martha's Vineyard with almost all of our kids.  (Unfortunately, Andrew had to work and didn't ask in advance for the time off so he stayed back with Jay's parents and sister for the weekend:(

I did manage to pack and get out of the house as scheduled.  I'm usually not a last minute packer, but that's just the way Friday went!

The boat ride was, thankfully, uneventful!  My mom took Jon, Sarah, and Ellie over on an earlier boat so my dad came with us and the rest of the crew:)  Look how thrilled Peter is!  He loves, loves, loves the Vineyard and talks about going all year round!

Luke with my Dad:)

Luke and Daddy:)  Best fixing buddies!

It was a jam packed weekend filled with doing all of our favorite Vineyard things!  I have a ton of great pictures...most surprised me!  There are a couple of pics that came out amazing because of being by the ocean when some clouds were gathering!  There's too many to share in one post so I will spread it out across the week!  Hope you get a chance to come back and take a peek:)

I will leave you with one of my favorite pics from the weekend(but not my absolute favorite...I can't wait to share that with you later in the week!  I love it so much!!!)
I just love Kate in her little hat...and she grabbed the sides and said 'cheese' in a perfect pose:)

I hope you are having a great Monday!  I am trying to make July last!  August always goes by so fast and I am not ready to get into 'back to school' organization mode, yet!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sneaking in Quick Takes Friday!

Happy Friday...hooking up with Jen and I'm making this a quick 7 because I have to do some..........

1.  Packing
I need to do this post quickly because it is 1:10 and we are leaving at 3 for Martha's Vineyard and I haven't packed yet!  It's only for the shouldn't take long.(I hope!)

2.  Dragonflies
Luke loves dragonflies.  I love this picture of him hunting a dragonfly on the grass.  He pounced only moments later...but missed;)

3.  A Royal Baby
Congratulations to Prince William and Kate!  George Alexander Louis finally made his arrival and now all those journalists can stop stalking the London hospital!
 Who doesn't love a baby story:)

4.  Blasts From the Past
One of my friends posted this today:  53 Things Only 80's Girls Can Understand.  I didn't relate to all of them.  But some of them brought back good memories....especially the Cabbage Patch Dolls and Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  My parents have them in their attic still and say that the Strawberry Shortcake dolls still smell.:)

5.  Luke's Imagination
Luke loves trucks!  He used a cup to make a cement mixer:)

6.  Knowing What Your Kids are Thinking
I was driving with Jon and he was taking orders from his siblings for Subway.  Mike was asking for a sandwich with lots of things on it.  To be fresh, Jon said that he was going to keep pickles off of Mike's sandwich.  I said, "That's just so you can look at Mike and say, "Still no pickles"...which is a SpongeBob reference for those of you blessed not to watch unfamiliar with the show!

Jon looked at me with a sheepish grin and said, "You know me so well!"  Yes I do:)

7.   Generation Gap
With 16 years between Mike and Luke and almost 19 years between Mike and Kate, there isn't a whole lot of common ground.  Right now the three of them are watching the old Looney Tunes cartoons...and they are all engrossed in it and smiling and giggling!  Gotta love it:)

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!  I'm hoping for some beach time, ice cream, and just spending time with the family!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Bumpy Road of Change

Today's weather is very un-summer-like.  I have to say that I am enjoying the break in the heat.  I'm not ready for fall yet, but I'm enjoying the fall-like day!

I spent a large chunk of my morning at the doctor's office checking on my thyroid gland.  Thankfully, everything looks fine right now which is a huge relief for me.  I've been stressed out about this appointment...thankfully the stress was for nothing!

I have been trying to be better about taking care of myself.  Unless I'm pregnant, I am generally not good about going to the doctor.  (Of course, since I've been pregnant 9 times in the last  21 years that isn't quite as bad as it sounds!)

Now that I'm getting older...shudder, shudder, cringe.....I have decided to try and get better at the whole yearly physical thing.  Not my favorite thing...ranked only slightly higher than a yearly visit to the dentist.

Seriously, why can't our bodies just take care of themselves!

I just want everything to be 'ok'.  On the scary slide to the milestone of 40(!), my invincibility armor is chipping.  I'm starting to feel vulnerable.

I'm also not liking how fast time seems to go by now-a-days.  Older More experienced humans had always told me that time goes by so much faster as you get older.  To a newer mom with several young children there were many days that couldn't go by fast enough!

Then I must have blinked!

Now time just whips on by and I feel like I'm running along behind just trying to catch up!

No matter how much I will time to slow down...or even stopping for a while would be good(!) isn't going to happen.  With our 3 surviving grandparents in their 90's, our parents on the verge of retirement in the next few years(Jay's mom retired early about 10 years ago), our first child getting ready to go away for his junior year of college and leave the nest for the first time, our second child starting at our local university, our third starting his senior year of high school, our fourth starting high school, our second youngest starting preschool, and my baby turning into a toddler before my eyes, things are changing.  

Change is hard...even when it's good change!  I'm not quite ready for it...but unfortunately that doesn't matter!  Change comes anyway!

Getting older is definitely a change that I'm wrestling with...and losing.  Good thing I'm a work in progress...I'm going to need some time to work through this one!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Because God Sees.....

I'm sharing a story that I first read on my Facebook feed a few days ago when my friend, Beth, posted it.  Then my friend, Kim emailed it to me yesterday.......  

A woman was given a gift of a coffee table book about magnificent cathedrals. When she opened the front cover, she paused to soak in the inscription of this book that her friend had written: With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.
A story, hidden in the pages of her book, is recounted: A rich man came to visit the cathedral while it was being built ... he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."
And the workman replied, "Because God sees."*
I know that as a mom, it can be discouraging when so much of the mundane, everyday things I do go unnoticed or unappreciated.  My kids and husband are always on my heart.  (Of course, sometimes they are on my sh** list, too...but that's for another post.)

How many times do you walk through the grocery store and see one of your son's or daughter's favorite food items that they haven't had in a while and throw it in the cart?  Or stay up late because you forgot to wash a uniform that they need first thing in the morning?  Or make their favorite meal when they have had a bad week?  Or add up all the thought that goes into making their birthday or their Christmas special?

There are so many "little things" that help to make all of them feel loved and special.  So, remember, even when our family doesn't realize all of the thought and effort behind a loving act...."God sees."

"Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ…
 On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness."
-St. Therese of Lisieux

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Made it Through the Weekend!

The weekend that I have been dreading is over!  It was a loooooong weekend without having Jay home.  After leaving at 8am on Friday morning and returning last night(Sunday) at 8pm, I was ready to let someone else be in charge of all the littles.  Of course, after bringing in all their smelly laundry(goodbye laundry vaca), they were all excited to talk about their weekend and crashed as soon as they sat down due to the lack of sleep.

Kate and Luke on the other hand were excited to see everyone and took much longer than usual to get to bed!

It wasn't a horrible weekend.  There were some positives to having half a household!

 One of the positives I forgot to mention was finally getting to throw out all the extra toothbrushes that we seem to have accumulated over the last couple of weeks!  I don't know if this happens at your house, but sometimes the kids grab a new toothbrush because their's is M.I.A., or some other random reason, and then their old one turns up or they are just too lazy to throw the extra away!  I think we were up to 15 toothbrushes for 10 people!

We are hardly ever home all at the same time to ask which are the "real" toothbrushes!  And, honestly, when we are all home I don't think about it!  I only remember when I'm brushing my teeth and trying to organize the toothbrush overflow!

Since 5 people were gone, and I know which toothbrush belongs to me, Luke, Peter and Kate, I only had to ask Ellie!  Mystery solved and the toothbrush holders are now organized!(At least for a little while!)

Ellie's sleepover went great and she had a ton of fun with her friend!  They are so cute together and get along great!

We had some pool time fun with our friends, The Martins, on Saturday afternoon.  It was nice to have some grown-up conversation!  Their youngest son, Alexander, is 5 months older than Kate.  I'm thinking that arranged marriages might not be such a bad idea!
Look at these cuties:)

Kate's in agreement:)

I kept it quiet on Saturday night with an easy dinner and clean up and then more pool time!  The little kids love to swim after dinner....but to be honest I did the extra pool time so I didn't have to give them a bath!

Lazy mom:)

Ellie was exhausted and the little ones were in bed by 8:30.  I decided against a movie and just read and watched HGTV.:)  Peter had a hard time settling because there was lightning outside, but I just let him stay in the living room and watch the outside "show".

On Sunday morning, we lazed around a little and then my mother-in-law came to stay with Luke and Kate so I could bring Peter and Ellie to Mass.  Peter is a handful at Mass...and so are Luke and Kate.  I don't have enough hands to take care of all of them on my own, (and keep my sanity!), so I called for backup!

After a quick lunch and a nap for Kate and pool time for Luke and Ellie, I hired a babysitter for Luke and Peter and took the girls out for a quick errand to the mall, an early dinner, and grocery shopping.  It was good to get out of the house for a few hours!  It was good to spend some special time with Ellie, too!  By the time I got home, put the groceries away, brought the sitter home, and gave the kids some ice cream, everyone was walking in the door!  Finally!

I have an offer for babysitting from my dad and some shopping from my mom for this afternoon.  I'm looking forward to a few child free hours!

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Focusing on the Positives

Yesterday was a full day with book club in the morning and an extended stay into the early afternoon.  That worked out great since Luke was having a ball playing with the kids and grown-up conversation is always good:)

I'm still trying to remain positive during my 'flying solo' weekend.  So, here's a few positives about having half of the people in our house gone.(literally)

~I had some extra time to get things done.  I finished that stressful, never-ending paperwork for Mike's school loans in the afternoon and even watched the video that I've been putting off on anesthesia that I need to see in order to make Peter's appointment to have his cavities fixed.  Being special needs, he cannot sit still and keep his mouth open to have them taken care of.  I will call on Monday to make an appointment.

~It is sooo much cheaper to feed half the family...especially the smaller half!  I ordered from Dominoes last night, (Ellie and her friend's choice), and got the 2 medium pizza deal.  Even with all of us, we only went through one pizza and one piece of the second pizza.  Guess one other meal can be pizza this weekend....which saves even more money!:)

~I'm not cooking any big meals...again, saving money and lots of time.  I almost always make everything from scratch so, since we are doing quick, easy meals, or doing take-out, I have picked up an extra hour a day!

~Not only am I saving time on cooking.....clean-up is nothing!  I only had to run the dishwasher once yesterday...and that's only because I had book club in the morning!

~I didn't even have to do laundry yesterday!  It was great:)  I'm going to enjoy it because the minute everyone walks in the door on Sunday night, I will be drowning once again and this little 'laundry vacation' will be over.

~Watching Ellie have a friend sleep over and get to do things and say things all day without older siblings being critical was a nice change for her.  It's not easy having 4 teenagers/young adult living with you who forget what it's like to be 10 and expect you to be more like them!  I know once her friend leaves, Ellie will be missing her older siblings....especially Sarah.  But I think she will enjoy being able to talk and sing as much as she wants without someone asking her to stop!  (and Ellie can talk and sing a lot:)

~I don't have to watch Sport's Center for 3 whole days!!!!  Ah...bliss!  I can also watch HGTV whenever I want:)  Or any romantic comedy I want!  The choices are endless.  If only I could keep my eyes open a little longer at night!  I'm thinking of watching The Admission tonight after Ellie goes to bed.  We'll see how the evening goes!

Other than missing everyone, and being   the only one taking care of all the littles all weekend, the biggest negative is that I have no one here to take out the garbage!  I've been spoiled with a husband and three older boys in the house.  Usually one of them is around to force ask to take out the trash!  Not my favorite job:)

Here's hoping for an uneventful Saturday!  I'm off to make some pancakes for a couple of bleary eyed girls and the rest of the crew.

Linking up with Tamara today for her Ladies only Link-up:)!

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's Friday!

1.  Pictures from date night
I forgot to add in these pictures taken courtesy of Jay's Iphone.  We were on the way home from our date night  when I noticed the very cool clouds in the sky and I loved the way the light was coming through the clouds.  The bottom two are fuzzier in the picture, but when we saw it I thought it looked like an angel:)

2.  The Royal Baby
Though I'm not a huge follower of the Royal Family, I have had half an ear open to the pending announcement of the Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton.  Like most people, I'm curious to know whether they have a pink or blue royal bundle and what the baby's name will be.  To be continued....

3. Speaking of Babies....
Don't even think about it!  I will take out my angry eyes, again! 

I'm not talkin' bout me!  Although, I did have an ultrasound on my thyroid this week to keep an eye on a goiter I have.(I'm supposed to do it yearly...last one was 2008..oops!  Ain't nobody go time for that!) be 'fresh' I just wrote 'ultrasound' on the big calendar on our fridge.  As you can imagine, every time one of the kids noticed it there was a loud, "Mom...why are you having an ultrasound?"  Most of them were actually disappointed to find out the reason was not baby related!  Crazy kids!

Like I said before, this isn't about me.  One of my friends, Pam, is expecting her fifth baby in early February.  Being the girl that loves to throw a party, I offered to host a gender reveal party for them.  Once Pam explained to her husband what that was...I had to explain it to Jay, too(lol)...they were all for it!  For parents of big families, once you have a boy(they have 3) and a girl(they have one), looks of horror and disbelief ensue excitement tends to wain a bit from those around you!  Since each baby is a little miracle and deserves excitement and celebration...we are going to create something special!  (I hope!...but I have about 6 weeks to plan!)  I.can't.wait!  It's so much fun to surprise people...and I get to surprise a whole house full! :)

4.  Hump Day
I don't know if you've had the...ahem...pleasure of seeing the Geico commercial with the camel...but it is all my older boys have been talking about!(Jay included)  On Monday night, Jay played the commercial on his iphone about 20 times.  We have random deep voices shouting, "Hump day!" at random moments all day long no matter what day of the week it is.  And Wednesday...ugh...I cringed as it started before half of them were barely awake!  

Jon had a bunch of friends over on Tuesday night and I warned him before they got here that there was a 14 "Hump day!" # 15 they went home no matter how long(or short) they had been there!

5.  Never Ending Paperwork
I've spent a lot of time working on Mike's student loans this week.  I cannot tell you how frustrating all the paperwork is!!! And then, after it all goes through, I was trying to pick the repayment option we wanted and I couldn't find a code I needed.  When I finally found it, there were questions I had to answer to prove it was me and somehow I got them wrong!?!  I still don't get it!  So now I have to print it out, get more paperwork together for proof that's it is me, and fax it to them.  And our printer was out of ink!  UGGGGHHH!  I was ready to hit something.  That was not the highlight of my afternoon:(  Hopefully, I can figure it all out tomorrow!  This paperwork is torture!

6.  My Chocolate Lover
Kate figured out where we keep the chocolate chips.  Occasionally, she toddles over to the cabinet, grabs the bag, toddles over to the living room and sits down on the rug to enjoy her stash until she gets caught!  On Thursday, she found an unopened bag on the table as I was putting the groceries away.  She spent 10 minutes working on the bag!

Trying to bite the bag open!

Look, Mom, chocolate!

Such concentration!

7.  Success
(With a little help from Mom and chips from the bag already open!)

I hope you enjoy your weekend as much as Kate enjoyed her treat!

Linking up with Jen....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heat Wave

We are on, what feels like, day 632 of a heat wave!  It is so hot and humid outside!  Other than being in the pool, we stay in the air conditioned house until 4:30 when our back yard gets shady and it gets somewhat bearable outside!
Cooler air is (supposedly) coming this weekend.  It's kind of comical to think that mid to high 80's is a "break" from the heat!

I am slip sliding into my crazy weekend with the younger kids.  Of course, Luke and Peter have been not listening today.  I'm going to have to say lots of prayers for patience and protection from inspiration that is 'not from above'!  I can't say I'm looking forward to it but I am trying hard not to have a bad attitude that would just make everything worse.

I'm trying to focus on making the weekend special for Ellie.  (And distract myself from entering into a 3 day pity party!)

We invited Ellie's best friend over for a sleepover....which is a first at our house.  Jay's argument has always been that we already don't sleep so inviting even more people into our overnight chaos is not a good idea.  Since so many kids won't be here, adding one more isn't a big deal!

Our weekend will circle around movies, swimming, and eating...not necessarily in that order!  Pizza, sundaes, and popcorn are in the line-up for Friday night's sleepover.  Pancakes have been requested for Saturday morning's breakfast.  Sunday, I plan on surprising Ellie with a trip to 99's for her favorite goldfever wings.....but we will be getting take-out!  Trying to eat in a restaurant with Peter, Luke and Kate with only Ellie for back-up would not be good for my sanity!)

  Any other meal not mentioned will be scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, or hot dogs!(because I'm fancy like that:)

I plan on treating myself to minimal cleaning, extra reading and HGTV, and lots of praying for an uneventful and fast moving weekend!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What I Really Need

Ok, I have a question....

How do you figure out what you really need?

I know there is the basic necessities list:  like food, water, shelter and love.  (And I'm am blessed and grateful to have all of those things..thank-you, God!)

I'm talking about filling up the old emotional tank so that, as a wife, mother, and friend, I actually have something to offer the people that God has placed in my life.

I know that the answer must be different for each person...because we all have different emotional needs and we all have different things that are important to us.

My blogging and real life friend, Colleen, amazes me at her ability to make exercise a priority in her life and fit it into her schedule almost every day while juggling a full time job, 5 children, and a husband!

I mean...I work one measly morning a week outside of my home and I still can't seem to consistently work exercise into my schedule.

Everyone in this house always seems to have needs that arise 3 times faster than my own.  Since I seem to give birth to the crappiest sleepers on the planet...seriously, there should be a contest.  I would at least be in the top 10!....getting up earlier in the morning before the other kids do is generally not an option.  And, realistically, as soon as I unwedge myself try and sneak out of bed, less than 5 minutes later one or two small children are whining and crying for me.  Then, by the time I re-settle them, that short window of opportunity is gone.

It's just a tough schedule here...though I know lots of people have it so much worse!  (ugh..I'm sorry...I know...nobody likes a complainer).

Jay has to start getting ready for work at 7 so he can be out of the house at 8.  Most nights he is home between 6:15 and 6:30 and, by the time we eat dinner it's after 7 and time for clean up and baths.  Most nights at least one of the kids has something going on so one of us has to play taxi driver!  By the time clean up is done it's after 8 and Kate is ready to snuggle and nurse for bedtime.

I know this is a season in our life.  (Of course, with a large family, we seem to be in this 'season' perpetually!  Because of Peter's special needs, it was like having the toddler stage last 10 years just with him!  And, as hard as it is that Kate and Luke both wake up a couple of times a night, that's nothing compared to the years that Peter would wake up at least 3 or 4 nights a week and be wide awake for 3 to 4 hour at a time!  I speak the truth when I say I have not slept through the night in 12 years!)

Anyway...trying to take care of a family isn't easy for anyone at times...whether you have 1 or a dozen!  I love being a wife and mom...I just feel like I'm losing track of who I am as a person.  I'm so in tune with trying to care for the basic needs of my children and husband and figure out how to fill their emotional tanks that I've managed to lose sight of my own.

Honestly, sometimes it feels that I have so many emotional needs that they could never be met anyway so why even bother ....(I know that's a lie because God is way bigger than everything...but feelings aren't always easy to reign in!)

I don't even know what I need anymore.  Jay has asked me to figure out what I need and when I tell him I don't even know...he just shakes his head because it's one of those situation where "you just can't win for losing."

I know this is a mountain I have to start climbing.  Finding a place to start, getting started...and not giving up after just one or two the hardest part!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Swimming In The Rain

On Saturday, we had a flash rainstorm in the late afternoon.  The boys had been playing in the pool as Jay was trying to fix a piece on the ladder.  They were thrilled with swimming in the rain...which I hum in my head to the tune of "Singing in the Rain".

A couple of happy boys!

At first Kate was content to stay on our awning covered deck and watch the big rain drops fall.  It didn't take long for her to venture out into the rain herself   What's a little wet clothes compared to a half hour of fun getting drenched in the warm weather?

Just look at this cute, and very happy, little face!(her hair was

Living in a special summer moment!:)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Keeping Life From Getting Mucky!

Thankfully, we had a pretty laid back weekend.  We had another psuedo date night with Kate and Luke so I could use my Kohl's cash and we could run by Lowes for a few things.  Can I just say how much Luke loves tool stores?!?  He gets so's hilarious!(just like his daddy:)

Both Kate and Luke fell asleep on the way home.  (Bonus!) Which worked out well because the older kids were waiting for us when we got home to watch Avengers.

Jay loves super hero movies...and so does Sarah.  I'm more of a romantic comedy type of person.  Since there are so many older males in the house, that is almost never the popular movie choice!  (and putting a romantic comedy on is usually a good way to get the teenage boys out of the room!  HGTV works, too:)

I mostly watched the movie...although I did doze off for 15 minutes three quarters of the way through!  It was good for an action movie and had some funny one liners.

I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but sometimes I will be watching a movie or reading a book and I can really relate to a particular emotion or struggle that one of the characters is feeling/going through.  It's usually a 'teachable moment' for me that catches me off guard so I don't have time to think my way out of it.  I think God does it that way on purpose!

Anyway...that's what happened Friday night.  Want to know the character I related to?  It was Bruce Banner(a.k.a.The Incredible Hulk's better half).  I felt a "closeness" to Bruce Banner's struggle to remain calm so that the Hulk would not make an unwanted appearance.

Every once in a while, something will trigger some anger inside of me that bubbles up and feels overwhelming and I don't really understand where it comes from.  Thankfully, I don't go on a rampage and destroy whole cities but it makes me feel really crappy and I don't like feeling that way.

Years ago, a priest had told me that emotions that we don't work through just hang around and then, when you feel a similar emotion in the present, every time that you have felt with and not dealt with the emotion gets static clinged together and hits you all at once.  That'!

I've found that one of my triggers for my own overwhelming feelings happens when I feel burned out and overwhelmed and, instead of 'riding the waves' of laundry, dishes, household finances, all the demands of an 18 month old, 3 year old, teenagers, and tweens, and the perpetual lack of sleep, I feel like they are crashing on me and I can barely keep my head up to get a breath in!

This has worried me quite a bit recently.  With our insane June, and our rocky start to July, and trying to get used to the summer schedule with everyone being home, having 'alone time' has been pretty non-existent.(Heck...going to the bathroom alone is a treat!)

I'm revving up for a challenging weekend, too, since I will be flying solo without any of my older 'helpers'.  That's the real challenge when you have children with such a wide age span...if someone is with the older kids then someone gets stuck with the younger, more challenging, set.  Since I'm nursing...and have been!...I'm almost always the one left behind.  It only makes sense.  But, when I'm sucked dry from  meeting all the younger kids' needs on my own and everyone else comes back excited about white water rafting, or concerts, or retreats, or comedy shows, or whatever and we have to just jump back into regular life...still feeling sucked dry and still having to do the daily's not much fun.

And it isn't much fun for Jay, either, to know his wife is becoming unglued and not knowing what type of emotional muck he will be coming home to.

I want to be more selfless.  I want to be able to give and give and give without needing much in return.  Mostly, I just want to be able to do these harder sacrifices without my own personal hulk surfacing. is just not a good color on me!

I have been seeking...though not yet achieving...better balance in my life and trying to figure out and work through what is the root cause of my intense emotions.  I've gotten some small pieces to the puzzle but don't have it all worked out yet.  Honestly, I would rather just ignore it all and shove it back in the closet and lock the door but it appears God has other plans.

Plus, I've done that in the past with other situations and it doesn't work anyway!

OK...I've babbled on enough!  If I can coherently organize any of my thoughts about trying to work through emotional muck I will continue later in the week.

I hope your week started out on a more organized note!

Friday, July 12, 2013

7 Quick Take Fridays

1.  Late Night Swimming

It is such a cool feeling to go swimming at night!  So, last Saturday night after Jay and I returned from our Psuedo date night, we all hopped in the pool.  It was late for the little ones...around 9...but it was special!  Luke loved it!  It turns out we were sharing the pool with the tree frogs who probably didn't like to have their nightly croaking interrupted!  Jay and Luke watched the tree frogs throat puff up with air and then let out it's familiar 'croak' over and over!  Jon acted as 'frog protector' to make sure Peter and Luke weren't too rough!

I think Luke's favorite part of night swimming was catching sight of a couple of bats flying around!  He keeps asking if he can go 'swimming with the bats' again:)

Luke and Jay with the tree frog

2.  He Said/She Said

While we were swimming in the pool.....
Jon:  One of the tree frogs jumped in the pool!
Me:  It's swimming in the pool!?!(insert slightly panicked voice!)
Jon:  Yes!
Me:  I'm just warning you that if it touches me I'm going to scream like a girl!
Mike:  Hate to tell you, Mom, but you are a girl....

3.  Earwigs...a.k.a known as 'pincherbugs' at our house
These yucky bugs are just everywhere this year!  I think it's all the extra rain we have had.  Jay got some spray to put around the doors so at least we won't get them in the house.  But...just, eww!  That's the one thing that stinks about summer..bugs!

4. Well...maybe not all bugs!

Luke:  Mom, do you like dragonflies?
Me:  Yes.
Luke:  I like dragonflies...and frogs.  Dragonflies and frogs are my friends.  (said with big eyes and a super cute grin:)

Dragonflies evoke lots of memories of the older boys when they were little running around the yard catching dragonflies in a big pail and covering the top with a!  When we homeschooled for a couple of years, we even did a graphing lesson with the different colored dragonflies they caught:)

It seems so long ago!  sigh......

5. Washing and Drying Like a Boss!
I was whining sharing my frustration over our broken washing machine a month ago and my dryer with the broken door that only worked with duct tape placed 'just so' and, even then, opened up at some point during the cycle making the laundry process that much longer and more difficult!  

Anyway....we finally bit the bullet 3 weeks ago, after a week of lugging laundry over to my Mom's, our new washer and dryer arrived first thing in the morning!squealllllll!  They work so well!  It takes a third of the time to dry the laundry load!  And everything works without duct tape!  Amazing:)

We decided to go with a high efficiency top loader washing machine.  I love the look of the front loaders, but we had a lot of issues with the doors...and some leaking...and the stupid rubber seal around the door that ripped(twice!) and is super expensive to replace!  I was torn...especially by those shiny red front loaders(!)...but in the end, the top loader felt like the right choice for us.

The best part about the washer and dryer is that they sing!  Well, they don't really "sing", but when the load finishes it doesn't 'beep' plays that sounds like a jewelry box.  The sound is so pretty and it makes me happy! 

Who knew that the way to my heart was appliances...oh, and furniture!  I like that, too.  (An all day shopping trip with a healthy budget is definitely right up there as well!)

6.  Speaking of Appliances....
My parents spoiled me for my birthday and got me a new double oven range because our old one had lots of issues!  We had changed over from oil heat to gas heat 3 years ago using our tax returns because of the crazy cost of oil(best.decision.ever!) I was able to get a gas range!  Love it!

7.  A Real Date Night!
My parents gave us a surprise babysitting offer on Monday night so that we could go out to dinner!  We left a little after 6 and were back a little before 8...because we are tired people!  When we got back, my parents were surprised to see us and told us we could of stayed out longer.  Honestly, we couldn't!  I was exhausted!  

It was great to have a little alone time!  

Even better, Jay had a gift card that a generous patient had given him to our favorite restaurant...The Pasta House.  I had butternut squash ravioli with chicken and Jay had their incredible steak tips with red wine sauce and 2 baked stuff shrimp.  We split a tiramisu for dessert! 

Sooooo yummy:) 

We are looking forward to a (mostly) laid back weekend!  Hope your weekend is fabulous!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Clutter and Goals

I'm feeling better today than I did yesterday, thankfully.  My head is still sore from the migraine and I feel extra sensitive to light.  I don't feel so sad that it's raining right now because it is easier on my eyes!

Before the migraine hit, I was starting the enormous task of cleaning out my room and closet.  It's definitely a project and a half.  We just have too much 'stuff'!  Our house is already full of people!  Add in everybody's stuff (both used and unused) and it's all just too much to organize!

Organization is always something on my mind and at least once a month I can't take it anymore get inspired to deep clean one area of the house!

My room is the black hole of clutter.  Honestly, whenever someone doesn't know where to put something or something needs to be stashed away out of site...into my room it goes for weeks(or months..or years!) at a time!

I mean, really, if someone doesn't use something for years(!) isn't is time to get rid of things!(And, yes, honey, I'm talking about those physical therapy books you haven't cracked open since grad school!)

Are you wondering what my latest inspiration for clutter cleaning was?

On Tuesday, I worked in the morning, which always leaves the house even crazier than usual.  In the early afternoon, I dropped off Ellie and Sarah for the afternoon at a church activity and picked up a co-worker's 7 year old daughter for an hour and a half because she didn't have a babysitter.  Since our visitor didn't have the girls around she had to settle for playing with Luke and Kate.(which didn't hold her attention.)  And, since she was in a new house she was, of course, curious and wanted to see what was behind all of these many doors that contain our large clan!

It should be noted that our visitor is an only child that lives with her mom....which is a very different dynamic than our house of 10!(i.e., way less 'stuff').  Some of the notable comments made by our adorable guest were:

guest:   "Why are there toys on most of the floors?"  
me:  "Because we have a lot of little kids who like to play in different rooms and we do one big clean up at the end of the day.(the extended answer is really....most of a clean up...except the family room because I don't have to look at it at night!  That room gets cleaned for company.)


guest:  (following me into my bedroom when I needed to get a diaper for Kate)..."Don't you ever make your bed?"
me:  "Yes, but I had to work this morning and haven't got a chance to."(and my inadequate self started to rear her ugly head!)

guest:  "Are you a neat freak?"
me:  "Not really."  (But, thinking in my head, "  Did you really have to ask?")
guest:  "My mom is a neat freak.  I'm glad we don't have so many people in our house so that she had all these messes to clean."

...I'm sure she's glad, too!lol

Once our guest left, and my tired and unorganized self tried to take care of a crabby baby, a needy 3 yo, Peter, and manage to start dinner with none of the older kids home to help, it was a struggle not to just give in to feeling like a complete failure and be discouraged.  So, I pulled out a couple of old friends that are in the form of books that give advice for parenting and organizing for the large family:  A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn and Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.

I'm trying to get some fresh inspiration for the old clutter problem.

I need to simplify...I need to figure out ways to make our budget work better....I need to be more sacrificial so I can lose some weight...and I know that in some ways they are all tied together.

I wish I could just have Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey just come over to my house, go through all the financial muck, and tell me exactly what to do and how to do it!  Oh....and I want it to be easy and stress free, too!:)

It's not like we're is some terrible spot or anything, but I'm just tired of somehow managing to squeak by(often by borrowing from Peter to pay Paul), and feeling anxiety every Friday when I play, "How to try and make the money stretch everywhere it needs to go and figure out who can wait until the next pay week!"

Honestly, it's exhausting..and stressful.

Have I mentioned stressful, yet?

I am a firm believer in God's Providence.  We have gotten through times that we never should have with some fancy money shuffle work, a surprise gift, or an offer for unexpected help.

I know that I have to do my part as well, though, and I'm just not as organized as I could be with keeping track of our money.  And I'm definitely not good with making goals with our money because there's never much left over!(and what is leftover just usually gets sucked up by that car repair or medical bill we weren't expecting!)

Anyway, if I'm not making sense then I blame it on the effects of the migraine!  Focusing on words doesn't feel good yet!

I'm trying to take baby steps...on clutter, finance, and personal weight goals.  I'm trying not to have a self-defeatist attitude and give up before I even get started because, honestly, all three of these areas feel impossible to get a handle on!

It's a good thing that "With God all things are possible."(Mt 19:26)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Unexpected Slowdown!

Sorry I'm so silent this week!  It's been a little crazy and I still seem to be struggling to get into a summer routine.

And today, I ended up with a migraine at lunch time after a mostly productive morning working on my bedroom/closet and playing with Luke and Kate. (Who continued to play in my room while I cleaned, making messes right behind me!)

Because I did not plan to get a migraine at lunch time(ugh!), I ended up with a room that was even more messy than I started with!  You know how cleaning drag stuff out and make piles to 1. give away, 2. throw away, 3. recycle, 4.put away where it belongs.  So, I was left with many piles!

Thankfully, after some couch time and help from Sarah and Ellie with the little ones, I can function a little!  A couple of piles got put away and the rest will just have to wait until tomorrow.

Sorry...short post today because my head just hurts and it's hard to think!:(  Thankfully, I don't get migraines too often!

Tomorrow will be a better day:)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Psuedo Date Night

Since we have been married quite a while(twenty years), and have a gaggle of kids, getting alone time doesn't happen all that often.  Since I wasn't able to get grocery shopping done during the week, and Saturday went by in a blur, Jay and I headed out on Saturday night with Kate in tow to get the shopping done. shopping was a Pseudo date night since (a) we were (mostly) alone and (b) we were out of the house and (c) we stole a couple of quick kisses in the aisles to make it more
I even had my hair all fancy in a ponytail!

Kate tried to get a little wild with the whipped cream!

The store was really quiet, too...bonus!

While pseudo date nights are better than nothing, we are definitely way overdue for some real date nights!  Our family's schedule is always so busy, and we are always so tired, that the energy it takes to plan, get ready, and actually get out of the house just seems beyond us!

I think I'm turning into a 'mommy blob'.  What is 'mommy blob' you might ask?  I think it happens when the big part of my life as mommy/mom takes over all the rest of who I am.  When my baby seems more like an appendage than a separate person because it's still hard to leave her for long....and the other kids have needs too that seem never ending!

Does anyone else go through that....especially SAHM, attachment parenting moms?  I find that it's so hard to transition into leaving the littlest one after almost never leaving them for that first year.  I've gotten a little better at leaving her for a couple of hours during the day to go to work once a week and occasionally to go shopping or to appointments for one of the kids.  It's still not so easy at night.

Because I've had back to back emotionally clingy babies, it has been a long time since I've had more than a few stolen moments to feel like I am my own person.  One month from today(Luke's birthday!) will mark 4 years of non-stop nursing.(between Luke and Kate..although getting Luke to wean took forever!)  Luke is still an emotionally needy little guy...which is fine...just his personality.(I have a couple of other kids that are like that, too:)  It's just challenging to feel like I'm meeting everyone's emotional needs and still have anything leftover for Jay....or myself.

I know this is a phase of life and I keep reminding myself that someday I will miss this.  I think some extra grown-up time is definitely in order, though!  For this week I will take the moment that was given to us....

So, that was our "date night"...sort of.:)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What a Week!

7 Quick Take Friday

O.M.G....this week Monday felt like Friday!  Thank God we made it to the end of the week!

1.  Peter's Mystery Illness  
This week has been focused on Peter and his fever/turned stomach virus/turned rash, which led to the correct diagnosis of Lyme Disease.  He wasn't feeling 100 percent over the weekend and started vomiting on Monday.  He was worse Tuesday which led to a doctor's visit, which led to an ER visit.  After an exam to rule out appendicitis and a bowel obstruction, the dr. gave him some anti nausea meds and Peter finally  stopped throwing up!  We went home thinking fluids and rest were all he needed.

Until...he woke up the next morning sporting red circle rashes on his face and torso.  More circles broke out over the hour between calling the dr's office and getting to the appointment!  Since Mike had Lyme Disease years ago with the same symptoms, it was no surprise when the doctor confirmed that Peter had Lyme Disease.  I'm so glad we know what's wrong and, after 4 doses of antibiotics, Peter is feeling much more like himself!  He keeps singing the Doc McStuffins song, "I feel better, so much better...." such a cutie!
This was a picture of Peter on Sunday...obviously under the  weather since he fell asleep in the middle of the day in his hammock swing!

2. Party Weekend
Last weekend was party weekend with the official graduation party for Mike and Andrew on Saturday, and then a birthday party for my sister on Sunday!  June was such a busy month!  I was hoping that July was going to be a bit quieter...hopefully, the way it started isn't an indication of how the rest of the month will be!

3.  Pool Fun
With the sun finally deciding to show up, we have spent a ton of time in the pool!  It is so great to enjoy our backyard!  I even got Kate to go in the pool with me...and Luke is swimming around the pool with his floaties without hanging onto to anyone or the side!  Check out the picture of Luke and Jay having fun playing on their "noodle boat"!:)

4.  July 4th
Since Peter is still recovering, we kept the 4th really laid back.  We had a cookout with my parents, grandfather, sister and her friend.  Then we came home and played in the pool for a long time.  The 4th is still a tough day for Jay after, what he calls, "The Incident", that occurred on July 4th 2 years ago.  This year was easier than last year, but there is still some healing that has to take place.  I think he said it best when he told me he was walking outside with a very crabby Kate yesterday morning and he realized that if things had turned out differently, he would never have even met Kate since I was only a few months pregnant with her when "The Incident" happened.  

A very sobering thought, indeed!  Thank-you, God, that everything turned out "o.k".

On a lighter note.......

5.  Sibling Love

Ellie loves her baby sister!

Kate adores Peter!

And these two....I can't say enough about!  Luke loves his baby sister!  He is so kind and gentle with her....even when she isn't being so gentle!  Kate adores her older brother, too!  She wants to do everything he does!  In the next few pictures, Kate wanted a Popsicle just like her brother but when I went to put her in her high chair she threw a fit.  She wanted to sit right next to Luke!

Look at the way she watches him!  I love it!

6. My 'Right Hand Girl'
Sarah has become such a huge help in the kitchen.  She just steps in and helps with dishes and cooking without being asked!  I am very blessed!

We like to watch Master Chef, and after an episode where they made a lemon meringue pie, Sarah wanted to try and make one herself.  We decided to make it for the 4th of July at my mom's.  She did a great job!  It looked great and it tasted even better!  I should have taken a picture while it was still all intact...luckily there was still some left to give you an idea of what it looked like!  You can tell by the weird shape that people have been sneaking in the fridge and cutting off small pieces all day!  
Super yummy...good job, Sarah!

7.  Kate
Can I just say how much I love this little cutie!  (I love all my kids....she is just the most photogenic right now!)  Every day is a new adventure for her and she is so loved by all her siblings!  I just love how she slept the other day...."posing" in her sleep:)

Here is hoping for a relaxing weekend filled with lots of family time...and no doctor or ER visits!
Happy Weekend:)

Joining up with Jen for 7 Quick Take Friday!