Saturday, December 28, 2013

Family Time!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is continuing to enjoy the Christmas season!

Our Christmas was really nice.  I still haven't uploaded the photos and, despite multiple efforts, am still trying to organize our post Christmas house!

Jay was able to take Thursday and Friday off, so we have had a lot of fun just being present to the kids.
There has been lots of play time around here:)  After all, memories are way more important than to-do lists!

So, since I'm still not ready to share our Christmas photos......I will share some fun pics that Jay and I took yesterday during some of our family time.

Jay was giving piggie back rides, which Kate shortened to 'piggy ride' and expected Jay to snort!
It's probably because they love the show Peppa Pig so much!  No matter how much Jay tried to
convince them it was a 'horsey ride', they weren't having it!
(of course, I teased Jay that maybe they called it a 'piggy ride' because of all the tiramisu trifle he has been eating........;)

Kate was barely awake from her nap but ready to play!

Annoying Sarah...getting Sarah involved.(Look at Luke's glee in the background!)

Here's a smile!

They were hunting for T-Rex's with drills made of tinker toys!
The hats were their 'helmets'.

Here's my vote for Father of the Year!(Kate agrees:)

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Weekend Whirlwind!

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  We have celebrated, mourned, celebrated, mourned, and then celebrated again!

My Grandma passed away on Friday morning and it has just been a crazy time!

Friday night was the Christmas concert at Ellie's school and a little Christmas concert.  Ellie had the honor of being chosen to be Mary and was super excited!

Months ago, my Dad's family had picked Saturday to be the day we would have our family Christmas party.  We never realized that it would be the first without my grandmother.  Despite everyone's grief, my grandmother's wish was that the whole family stay close together even after she was gone.  Everyone felt like having the get together would be a special way to honor her memory.

We hosted the party.  It was good to spend time together.  The little kids were all cute and excited and were a good distraction.  There were more smiles than tears.....but Grandma's presence was missed.

Sunday was a whirlwind that started with Mass, then Kate's birthday party at lunch time.  It was supposed to be last weekend, but the stomach bug forced me to push it to this weekend.  I didn't want to move it until after Christmas!  I wanted Kate to feel special....even though I know she probably won't remember this birthday party!

I kept the party simple....just pizza and the awesome cake that Jay's mom made!  It had 'Bot' from Kate's favorite show, "Umizoomi".

Kate loved her cake!

So did her brother and cousins!
She loved all her presents, too!
We had a tiny bit of down time and then Jay and I headed to my Grandma's wake with the older kids.  It went really well.  We went out for dinner with my family afterwards and got home at 9:30.  We.were.tired!

This morning we were up early to get ready for the funeral.  It also went really well!  The Mass was beautiful and our pastor gave a wonderful homily.  The dinner afterwards was good, too.  I want to share more about it...just not today.  

I think Grandma was smiling, though!

Now, it is Christmas Eve Eve and I'm having a hard time switching the gears to get ready for Christmas.  It's all a bit overwhelming.....understandably so!  I know it will all work out.  The only thing that really matters is that we are all together.

With everything going on, today will be my last blog post before Christmas.  I hope you have a beautiful and blessed and peaceful Christmas with your families.  Losing my Grandma so close to Christmas, I know that I will cherish and appreciate our family time even more than I usually do!  These are the memories that make up who our families are......even the moments of spilled drinks, burned cookies, and meltdowns from over tired and sugared up toddlers.  Those can be just as memorable as the excited smiles, hugs and cheesecake!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013


Thank-you for the prayers.  Early this morning my grandma passed away peacefully in her sleep just as she prayed she would.  The last few weeks have been sad but beautiful all at the same time.  I would like to share more of that journey soon.

For today's quick takes, I would like to share some of my fondest memories to honor my grandmother.

(sorry, it might be more than 7 today!)

What I will always be most grateful about my life with my grandma is:

1.  Sunday dinners
My grandmother always cooked enough for a small army.  Her food was always homey, comforting and delicious.

2.  Endless supplies of hoodsie cups in the freezer 
I buy Hood patchwork ice cream all the time because it reminds me of her!

3.  Family Time

Clamboils with fresh cold watermelon in the back yard.

4.  Cousin Fun
Playing "store" with my cousins in their basement with the extra canned goods.

5.  Periwinkles
Gathering periwinkles on West Island and then my grandmother cooking them and eating them using pins with my cousins(sounds gross now!)

6+  Holidays at my Grandparents' House
There are lots of special memories from Christmas Eves and Easter Sunday.  Some of the highlights:
Playing with olives on my fingers with my sister and cousins......
Lots of pies in the sewing room....
The way my grandmother washed the dishes and all her daughters and my mom would dry and put away and chat as they went...
Homemade sweet breads on Easter for everyone(big ones for the adults and little ones for each of the grandkids)....
and my favorite,
Always having new knitted slippers from Grandma and new pajamas on Christmas Eve and all of the cousins changing before we left for home and being carried out to the car so our slippers wouldn't get wet....then looking at all the Christmas lights on the 15 minute drive home.

Lots and lots of memories...lots of celebrations.  I was blessed to have her in my life for as long as I did.  I am so grateful to God for that!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guess Who's Two!

I cannot believe that my baby girl is 2!  How could this possibly happen!  This mini walking talking little person is all more baby!

It's exciting and sad all at the same time!

Kate was a not so little bundle( 9lbs. 1oz) of surprise that made her grand entrance into the world at 2:35 pm two years ago today.  We were thrilled to have another baby girl in the family!

My baby girl is growing up way too fast!  It seems like just yesterday we said 'hello' for the first time....

This is my favorite shot ever!  I took it with my phone so it isn't as clear as I would have liked.  She was about 7 hours old and it was just the two of us hanging together in the hospital.  Kate was wide awake for the first time just calmly checking me out....we were getting to know each other on the outside world.  My heart completely melted that night and has been that way ever since!

I can't imagine our lives without Kate.  Having a toddler and a newborn again for the first time in a long time wasn't easy...but all the sacrifices were completely worth it!

Kate is a strong-willed little girl that follows Luke around doing everything he does.  She talks up a storm and lets you know right away what she likes and, especially, what she doesn't like.

Kate is still very attached to me...which can drive the other people in the house crazy!  (I will have to remember that when she's a teenager and probably wants nothing to do with me!)

Even though I've been through it so many times, it still surprises me how fast the baby years go by!  Kate has gotten so independent so fast!  Sigh....

This little blue eyed girl is very, very loved!

Happy Birthday, Kate!

...please don't grow up too fast!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Grandparents Teach

I'm finding that I am looking at things with a whole different perspective as I experience the walk on this road of my grandmother's terminal illness.  Grieving can be a difficult process.  There are times when days feel normal and everything's ok and other days that crescendo into an emotional whirlwind that seem impossible to calm.  (I learned that big word....crescendo...from Little Einsteins in case you were wondering;)

My Grandma's illness has brought up so many different thoughts and emotions.  There are lots of times that I find myself thinking of the past.  All the memories from my childhood, and especially holiday celebrations at my grandparents' house, transport me there in my mind once again.  Those memories are warm and comforting and I am grateful for every one of them.

When my mind is in the present and processing through her illness, the grief is strong for the loss that I know is coming.  Every family member has a place in my life and having that place empty is going to hurt.  Family dynamics will change.  My grandmother was the magnet that drew everyone together.  With her gone, each of her children, all with their own families, will not have that unifying factor any longer.  Get togethers will change...and change is hard.

I think the most difficult thought process that I have been trying to work through is the future.  When someone dies, it reminds me of my own mortality.  I've already been struggling with this being on the brink of the big 4-0....and now it is magnified even more.

Up until 2 or 3 years ago, age just felt like a number that could go on forever.  It was just a number.  As 40 gets closer and doesn't feel like 'just a number' anymore.  All of a sudden, the invincibility has gone away and vulnerability has taken up residence.  As I near 40, the realization that everything has a ceiling is more than a little scary.  There is an end....and 40 can very well be, (if I am blessed), close to a halfway point!

The feelings and thoughts I had when I was younger of being able to do just about anything is abruptly replaced with the knowledge that those ideas are no longer true.  The choice path is more narrow.....although that doesn't mean my life isn't full.

(I'm sorry...I know this is probably completely confusing!  That's what happens when emotions rule the roost!)

Let's try an Christmases past, I would go a little crazy with desserts.  I would make 2 cheesecakes, a couple of pies, some fudge and many different kinds of cookies.  Lots of choices!

Now, I simplify  a bit and only do 1 cheesecake, 1 pie, a trifle, some cookies, and a gluten free dessert.  Still more than enough to satisfy and look exciting so I don't even miss making more!(and I get to enjoy the extra down time!)

That's where I'm at in life, too.  I may have less choices, but everything I do have in my life fills me up just the same!  And, just like on Christmas when my sister often shows up with an incredible addition to the dessert table, God frequently throws in something interesting and exciting in my life!  (My life is certainly not boring!)

My Grandma's illness has made me feel, not only the grief of preparing to lose her presence in my earthly life, but also the other areas that I feel loss in my life:  grief over a family member's broken marriage, the grief over loving our son through a broken relationship, praying another son through frustration and unmet longing, and dealing with my own grief about children growing up and learning the painful process of letting go.

Looking forward, considering that one day I will be in my Grandma's position of preparing to meet our Lord at any moment, is making me think about how I might want that to look.  I don't want to get there and have a list full of regrets.    I'm pretty sure there's a lesson or a direction that God is trying to teach me and guide me into.  This is something that's going to take more time, and lots of prayer, to work through.

All of my (messy and confusing) thoughts and feelings is just another proof that grandparents have so much to teach us....even up to their very last day!  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

It was a busy weekend with lots of different things going on.  On Saturday morning, I put ribbons and bows on all the Christmas gifts.  I'm no Martha Stuart(!), but even simple ribbons and store made bows make presents a little extra special!

Jay finished painting the cabinets(hooray!) and rehung the doors!  Now we just have to put up the backsplash and then I will share pictures:)

Thanks to my sister-in-law and Sarah, Jay and I both got to go to Jon's first basketball game of his senior year.  It was a date afternoon!  It got even better when 2 of our closest friends were at the game, too, so they could watch their daughter cheer......double date afternoon!

(Can you tell we don't get out much?)

Sunday was a tough day.  Sarah had something going on with CCD that Jay needed to go to with her.  We had to split Masses and then Jay was gone until 1:30.  I was pretty emotional all day because my grandmother is in her final days.  It's stirred up a whole lot of messy emotions that I will share soon in a separate post.

After watching the Patriots lose (boo), Jay and the girls did some Christmas shopping.  They didn't get home too late, and Jay and I spent the rest of the night watching movies on the Hallmark Channel. (Which is very cathartic when you are feeling sad.)

Yesterday, I went to visit my grandmother.  It was sad...but gave me a lot of peace.  I will share more details later in the week.

Yesterday afternoon, I went Christmas shopping with my sister and dad for my mom.  It was a full day!  When I got home, I was a lump on the couch!(And, yes, Jay and I watched more Hallmark movies:)

Today is a new day!  Off to work then lots of laundry and paperwork to catch exciting!;)  This week is B.U.S.Y.(!) and is going to fly by!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Jumping into Friday!

Jumping into Friday....this week felt soooooo long!

1: Stomach Bug
stomach bug has been making its way through our house.:(  Thankfully, for most people it has been fast moving.  I am grateful that if it had to happen, that it happened this week and not closer to Christmas!  I hope that after this weekend, we will be a healthy household once again!

2-7:  Luke-isms
Since this week hasn't been much fun around here, I have some "Luke-isms" I have been saving up!

Luke:  Why is it raining?....Maybe I left the water on last night!

Luke walking around trick-or treating on Halloween.....
Luke:  My little legs don't work so well at night!  They work good in the morning."


Neighbor(looking at Jon in his dinosaur mask):  (feigning fear)  "Ooh, it's a dinosaur!"
Luke:  "It's just Jon, my big brother.".....(looking over at Jon) "You are my big brother, right?"

I was at the grocery store, looking at a pumice stone I was going to buy...
Luke:  "That's silly!  We have rocks in the backyard at home!"

Jay was driving Luke to school on a very rainy day and drove through a big puddle that splashed water onto the car covering the windshield.  
Luke:  "Wow!!!"
Jay: (Turned on the windshield wipers"
Luke:  "Good thinking, Daddy!"

Luke watching Sports Center with his brothers....
Luke: (when a Nascar segment came on)
 "Those cars go fast!  Are they going to get a ticket?"

Luke watching Jay open the refrigerator.....
Luke:  "What are you doing, Daddy?"
Jay:  "I'm getting breakfast."
Luke:  "OK, me too!" (Luke reaches in and grabs half a stick of butter.)
Jay:  "Luke, that's gross!"
Luke:  "No, Daddy, it's butter!  It's yummy!"

Luke randomly calling out to Jay...
Luke:  "Hey, Daddy, I like you!"
Jay:  "Thanks, Luke, I love you!"

Luke sitting on the couch:
Luke:  (looking over at me)  "You know, Kate's germs are gross!"

Have a great...and germ-free....weekend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Making (another) List

The stomach bug continues to forge through our family.  Ellie came down with it this morning:(  I have still been feeling really nauseous every day, too.  Not fun:(

On a positive note, Kate and Luke are back to normal.  I did keep Luke home today just to make sure the diarrhea was gone.  He and Kate have been playing and we have all had good snuggle time watching cartoons.  It gave me a little extra rest.

The other 'sitting activity' I did was to go through the rest of my holiday cookbooks and solidify my menus for the holidays coming up.  Having a queasy stomach probably kept me from going overboard on the desserts!

Of course....the most important items on the list are the desserts!

Next Thursday will be 'baking day'.  We(meaning me and the girls) will bake a whole bunch of different cookies to give out to teachers, therapists, neighbors and family friends.  Here's the list:

surprise package cookies(sugar cookies with an Andes candy mint on the inside)
gingerbread men
molasses sugar cookies
chocolate snowballs
macaroon kisses
almond joy cookies
red velvet cookies
chocolate macaroon bars
striped ice box cookies
sugar cookies

Jay and the older boys hover around the kitchen to eat any 'cookie casualties'. :)

For our extended family Christmas gathering on the 21st, I'm making an apple pie, a chocolate cherry cheesecake(one of my favorites) and a truffle tree.  I found a few truffle recipes to make, too.  The truffle tree is something I found last month in the Taste of Home Magazine.  You take a 12 in. foam tree, cover it in aluminum foil and then use toothpicks to attach truffles all over.  A dessert and a centerpiece all at the same time!

I can't believe that Christmas is coming up so fast!  I really love all the planning and anticipation that goes into making it a special time of year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Invasion of the Stomach Bug

The stomach bug continues to spread in our house:(

In the middle of the night, Kate threw up 3 times.  One of the times involved changing my bed sheets and both of our pajamas.  Not much fum...and not much sleep.

All of the hulabaloo woke up half of the house, too.  It took Luke a while to go back to sleep.  He is still having tummy he hasn't been in school all week.  His tummy seemed better until after lunch....I will save you from the details, but it's clear he still isn't 100%!

He was so tired today, too.  He got out of bed after 7 and promptly fell back asleep on the couch!
Poor little guy is just not himself!

Hopefully, we can all get healthy by the weekend.  My in-law's are all battling the stomach bug, too.  We are supposed to celebrate Kate's birthday on Sunday, but it might have to be postponed.  

On the bright side, since Kate took a terrific nap and Luke watched Wreck it, Ralph with Andrew, I got all of our wrapping finished!  I just need to add some ribbon and bows to a few things but everything else is done!  

Two weeks until Christmas, and the word of the week is simplify, simplify, simplify.  (And that's not really such a bad thing!)

Happy hump day!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Again

Here we are at Monday again!

This weekend went by extra fast!  Here are a few of the highlights.....

*Jay continued painting the kitchen.  Only the upper cabinet doors need 2 coats of finish paint. Maybe it really will be done by Christmas:)

*The back splash I ordered came in several days earlier than I expected...and I like it!  Hooray!

*Ellie's basketball team lost a game in overtime on Saturday afternoon.  Ellie was on the floor several times scrambling for the basketball.  Sarah was proud:)

*My mother-in-law's garden club put on a fundraising tea.  Sarah, Ellie and I arrived late because of the basketball game.  It was really nice...we got to hear some wonderful singers belting out some Christmas tunes, the food was great and they were selling some beautiful  ornaments and decorated greens.

*Luke threw up Saturday night: (  I got very little sleep that night because everytime he made a noise or moved I jumped up to grab the bucket 'just in case'.  He was fine yesterday, and ate everything all day while having a ball with a bag of nerf guns that Jay left out on the counter after Friday's youth group meeting!

*I attended my parents' Christmas brunch for their business Sunday morning.  It was really good and I got to go to a restaurant I had never tried before.....and talk to grown-ups!  We also do a yankee swap.  I ended up with a cute snowman mug, an assortment of specialty hot cocoa, and a super soft snowman blanket.  Sarah grabbed the blanket as soon as I walked in the door and claimed it for their own:)

*We watched the Patriot's game which ended with an amazing last minute win (YAY!) and a season ending injury for Gronk.(BOO!)

*I made ribs and we brought them to my mom's to share dinner with my parents and help them decorate their (2nd) tree.

*Luke is still not 100%  and now I'm not feeling so well either:(  Hopefully, a little rest is all I need!  There's too much to do to be sick this time of year!

*Kate is regressing back to an extra clingy stage.  I love the way she says,"go on your lap", but she just wants to sit with me!  I know someday I will miss this...but right now it's a little challenging!

Well....10 is a good number so I will end here!  Happy Monday!

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's FINALLY Friday!

Wow was this week tough!  I am soooo glad that it is Friday!(I thought it would never get here!  

1.  Crazy Day
Today started with a doctor's appointment for Peter with his developmental pediatrician.  I screwed up and went to the wrong location!  Thankfully, we ended up only being 12 minutes late and everyone accepted my apologies!  Then I took Peter to Shaws to pick up some sale items and some of his food.  I brought Peter home and picked up Luke, Kate and Ellie and headed to Stop and Shop to do the rest of the shopping.  Now I am tired:)....but we are only halfway through the day!

2.  Bumpy Night
Luke was restless until 12:30am and Kate was restless all night:(  I was up for good at 5:30 with two kids snuggled up against me.  I started to think about the to-do list and almost started to panic realized that Christmas is SO close!  I barely managed to not ruin the morning with my stress!(Of course, doctor appt.'s with Peter always make me feel extra stressed, too!)  But, I don't want to become so overwhelmed that Advent loses its peace because of a crazy, overwhelmed mama!

Here's why I'm a little stressed.....
3.  Kitchen Reno
We are still in the midst of our mini kitchen reno!  The bottom cabinets and island are finished, but the top cabinets still need the finish coats and the doors haven't even been primed.  I finally found a backsplash that I think will work(fingers crossed!) that should arrive at some point this week.  I'm just hoping it won't turn into a 'Humpty Dumpty Kitchen' that never gets put back together again.  

4.  Early Christmas Celebration
We are celebrating Christmas with my dad's side of the family on the Saturday before Christmas.  That means that there are only 2(!)Saturdays left to finish our projects.  Ellie has basketball games every Saturday, so that always breaks up the day.  When only one of us is home watching the little ones, it's tough to get much done.

Did I mention I'm hosting that day?  Yeah...I'm hosting.  Which I love to do....I just need to start figuring out what is really important to me to get done around the house because, realistically, the to-do list is a permanent fixture in my life!  Time to prioritize!

5.  Just Keep Crocheting...Just Keep Crocheting
My friend Carol helped me get started crocheting a blanket for my grandmother for Christmas.  My grandmother has terminal cancer.  This will be her last Christmas with us and I wanted to do something special.  She has always knitted or crocheted blankets, sweaters and hats for all of us.  Kate goes to sleep with one of her creations every night.  So, I wanted to make her something out of love(though not nearly as complicated!).  I'm 3/4 of the way done.....and I want to have it finished by next week!  I just don't get a ton of time to sit(by myself) and use both of my hands for something!  (Shocking isn't it!?!:)

6.  Baking
I do a lot of baking close to Christmas.  Usually by now I have perused my cookbooks and magazines and planned out what I want to bake/cook and when I will bake/cook it.  There's baking for the teachers, baking for the family, dessert for the family party, dessert for Christmas Eve, dessert for Christmas Day, sides for Christmas Day, food for New Year's Eve and desserts and food for New Year's Day.....and I haven't planned for any of it!

I realized this morning that two weeks from today is the last day of school before Christmas break for all the kids!  That means all the cookies for the teachers (and all of Peter's therapists) need to be made before then!

Yikes!!!  I need to get going!  I will be adding that to this weekend's to-do list...along with painting, a basketball game, a tea with the girls that my mother-in-law's garden club is putting on, a Christmas party with my co-workers, Breakfast with Saint Nick at Ellie and Luke's school.......It will be a full weekend for sure!

7.  Wrapping
I've done great on the shopping...but the wrapping is tough!  I actually like to's just fitting in the time to do it!  If my little ones would cooperate at night, maybe I could get some done!  I might be trying to pawn off Kate for a morning on my sister-in-law or mother-in-law so I can get everything done!

And...Kate's nap is over so off I go!  I hope you have a wonderful weekend:)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Little Nostalgia

Andrew and Jon always loved Legos!  (Mike not so much:)  Every Christmas for years there have been Legos on their Christmas lists.  Truth be told, Jon has not enjoyed getting older and, as of last year, added toys back on his Christmas list to make it more fun!(lol:)

As soon as Luke was big enough, Jon introduced him to Legos.  All of a sudden, giant bins of Legos that had been kept under beds and in the attic made a reappearance.  Honestly, Jon and Andrew had more fun with them and spent longer creating things than Luke did at first.  Now, Luke is just as hooked as his brothers.:)
We still get the Lego catalog mailed to us  in late October every year.  This year, I kept going back and forth about getting them one of the Advent calendar Lego sets.  I knew Luke would enjoy it....Jon and Andrew, too.  I thought it would be a fun way to add a little extra nostalgia to the holiday for the teenagers.  Time is passing quickly, and it will be all too soon when our older kids are no longer living under our roof.  It makes creating special little moments even more important! 

So...of course I ordered it:)

They were all excited about it when I brought it out.  Luke had a hard time understanding that you can only open one flap per day at first which resulted in a few tears.......

But now, only 5 days into Advent, he is a pro.  Each day, Luke, Jon and Andrew take a turn opening a flap.  The older boys help Luke put together his little Lego.....and Luke gets to play with Andrew and Jon's find once they put them together.  (They were even nice enough to let Luke go first:)

They are all having fun with it!

That makes me happy:)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hope is Good

At the very end of our long Thanksgiving weekend, we entered into a new realm of parenting.....supporting a teenager with a broken heart.

It was unexpected....and has made for several emotionally draining days.  Jay and I both hurt seeing him hurt so much.  We are grieving for his lost relationship right along side of him.  We are both trying to be available to comfort, to talk, to pray for wisdom so that we can offer some words of advice and encouragement.

It'!  This is just another instance where I wish that 'magic mommy kisses' could just take everything away!

Just when we thought life was zagged; and it isn't easy to adjust to sometimes.

As parents, we try to help our children make the best decisions they can.  Encouraging Andrew to go to the local university to save A LOT of money per year isn't working out for him.  He hates it and isn't finding a niche.  I feel awful...and now we are backpedaling and reapplying to schools for next year.

At the same time, Jon is applying to school and I'm afraid of making wrong decisions for him.  Big decisions=big worries.....and despite prayer, I'm not feeling very confident about any direction!  Like Jay texted me yesterday, sometimes we just feel rudderless.

Ultimately, Andrew and Jon have to make their own decisions.  Some won't work and some will need to be re-routed.  I just wish we could make it easier...and pain free for them!

I know and trust that God has a plan for them.  We just need to pray that He reveals the next step clearly for both of them....

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Hope is good.......

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Family Photo Shoots!

Christmas card picture attempts can get a little hairy....especially with the amount of people we have in a picture.  You need to go in to the "shoot" with a game plan:  namely, sit everyone down as quickly as possible and shoot as many pictures as you can before someone starts crying and hopefully most kids are looking at the camera and, in the best case scenario, actually smiling!

It doesn't always work out that way.  In fact, some of the last several years I have opted to simply use the photo cards with multiple picture spots and just fill them in with good pictures taken over the course of the year.

I tried this year(twice actually)...I really wanted a group shot!  It was just not meant to be!

Andrew and Luke not looking at the camera and Mike's hand looks oddly placed!

Andrew looks annoyed and ditto on Mike's hand!

Andrew looks really annoyed with eyes closed!

Ditto on Andrew, Kate is crying, Ellie isn't looking at the camera!

Then we gave up.....

......and tried again with 2 couches.

Peter looks ridiculous...and seriously, could Andrew just smile!

Ditto Peter and Andrew!

I was going to use this one except it didn't fit on the card!  UGH!!!  So much for the 2 couch idea!

This one, when enlarged, was out of focus:(, Sarah is making a ridiculous smile and Ellie is man handling Luke.

Slightly out of focus and Kate was obviously done.... is evident by her disappearance!

So, after all that, I spent an hour going through our pics trying to get combos so that 8 kids fit into 5 slots!  But it is done!  I will share the results when they come in the mail:)

Next year, I'm just taking 3 mini group shots at the get-go!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Filled to the Brim!

Wow!  What a weekend!

Of course, it was an extended weekend....and ours was filled to the tippity top with food, family, excitement and shopping!

Thanksgiving went great....other than morning Mass.  Peter was awful because he was so excited about going to my aunt's house and getting special cupcakes.  Kate was extra wiggly, loud and cranky....which is always so much fun:/

Pondering the situation in the "cry room" with Kate, while trying to avoid getting overly frustrated and putting a damper on the day(!), I had the thought that our family is just "messy".  While other kids are content to rest their heads on mom or dad's shoulder through Mass, our kids are not.  It's just hard that we have 3 wiggly ones....Luke isn't great although usually he isn't too bad either!  Peter is just Peter....and even after 12 years he is still hard in church.

God knows what our kids are our job is to remain patient and work on encouraging better behavior in our little ones.  So.not.easy!

Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's house went great.  Because my grandmother has terminal cancer, almost everyone in the family was there.  My grandmother had a good day and she looked wonderful!  That was such an answer to prayer.  She sat in the living room and was treated like a queen:)  Everyone took turns sitting in the seats around her spending time in conversation.  She even had an appetite!  She amazed all of us by polishing off a whole plate of food and desserts!  It was a gift for all of us!

Later in the day, Jay went by his parent's house with everyone except Kate, (who was napping), and Peter(who was overstimulated and needed a break.)  We finished the day at my parent's house flipping through sales fliers and eating leftover turkey....and a lasagna I made for Andrew.  (Something for him to be thankful for since he does not like poultry unless it is in the form of a nugget!)

Friday was another whirlwind day!  Jay took the youth group shopping for a family in need at 5am.  I left at 7:30...thanks to Mike babysitting until Jay got home at 9:) go Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister.  While I was gone for 11 blissful hours of shopping sans children, Jay spent the afternoon making hundreds of perogies with our kids, his mom, and his sister and her two kids.  By the time I got home close to 8pm, everyone was tired!  (I actually would have been gone a little longer, but Kate never got a nap and was melting down!)

Shopping was very productive for me and for helping my mom get everyone on her list covered.  Between Black Friday and previous online shopping, I am one present and a few scratch tickets shy of being completely done Christmas shopping!  It's always my goal to be done shopping before I'm happy with where I'm at!:)

I will save the second half of our weekend update for another post!  Stay tuned for tales of Christmas trees, failed Christmas card picture attempts, adventures with siblings, and other random happenings!

Happy Monday!