Monday, June 30, 2014

Saying Goodbye to June!

Welcome to the last day of June!

I hope you had a great weekend.  Ours was busy, busy, busy!  A total party weekend!

Saturday was Jon's graduation party.  It was a gorgeous day!  All the kids had fun in the pool and on the giant rented water slide.  Luke and Ellie were on the slide from the moment it was set up, with only occasional breaks in the pool and 2 very brief breaks to eat!

The slide was a huge hit!  The older kids had a lot of fun on it, too!  Jon had a little too much fun I think;)

Watching the kids play, hanging out and talking with friends, eating some good food and yummy desserts....the day couldn't have been any better!

On Sunday, we celebrated my sister's birthday at my mom's.  (Today is my sister's actual birthday and my Aunt's birthday, too!  Happy Birthday!)  My sister's party was much smaller, (17 as opposed to 70+), so it was much more laid back.  The rest of the day was spent in the pool and just hanging around.  Everyone was pretty tired from the day before!

I hope you are ready to jump into July!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Staycation Adventures!

Well that week just flew on by!  The weekend promises to do the same!  I'm going to jump right into wrapping up the week!  Thanks for hosting, Jen!

#1:  Our Mini Family
Our four oldest went on a trip with my parents to Toronto this week.  It has been such a strange feeling having only 4 kids at home!  It was a completely different dynamic.  

Having a whole lot less laundry was really nice....although I will be in laundry overload tomorrow when 4 "grown" teenagers/young adult come home with 5 days worth of dirty laundry!

We certainly missed all the kids and are looking forward to all being together tomorrow.  One really nice thing, though, was not having to wait up for teenagers at night!  The other nice thing was that Jay and I were the last ones to go to bed and the house was dark and quiet....Mike, and sometimes Andrew, usually stays up really late watching t.v.!

#2:  Focus on the Littles
With the older kids gone, I wanted to spend the week focusing on our younger crew.  I wanted them to feel like they had a little 'staycation' week.:) My main focus was to make Ellie feel special...and not just feel like she got left behind!  

#3:  Starting With a Bang!
I blogged about two of our adventures earlier in the week.  I had a beach day with the younger group and my parents on Sunday.  Then, on Monday, I took Ellie, Luke and Kate, (Peter was still in school), to Edaville Railroad for A Day Out with Thomas.

#4:  Time Out For Mom
Tuesday was a catch up day.  Unfortunately laundry and bills don't go on vacation!  But, Tuesday night was some special time for me!  I got to go shopping at a large outlet mall with several of my friends.  It was!  Two of my friends in the group are total fashionistas!  They were our fashion consultants for the evening!

My friend, Beth, went through stores shopping for herself and pulling things off the rack for me to try.  Most of her picks were winners! I came home with 3 dresses, 3 skirts, 2 pairs of capris, and some shirts!  I love what I got!

We had so much fun that we are going to set a date for a girls day out shopping trip in the fall!  That way, we can shop!:)

Insert blissful sigh here!

#5:  More Adventure
Jay took Wednesday off so that we could do a day trip.  We threw out several suggestions, and in the end, Ellie picked going to Water Wizz, which is a fairly local water park.  I haven't been there since I was a teenager.  Ellie was so excited to go!  Since it was a water park and my phone was in the locker most of the day, I didn't get a ton of pictures.  I did take a few at the beginning....

Ellie and Luke

Daddy and Kate

Boy shot

girl shot
The day was beautiful and sunny.  There was quite a breeze so it wasn't too warm.  The kids all had a GREAT time!  I'd like to say we all left the park 'sun kissed', but some of us were a little char-broiled!  My fault....I should have reapplied more sunscreen after lunch! Ellie's shoulders, Jay's back and my back are definitely 'well done'!  Even Peter, who we jokingly call Pedro halfway through the summer because he tans sooo much darker then the rest of us, was a little sunburned on his back.:(  

We stayed there for almost 5 hours!  Kate was asleep before we got back to the highway.  Jay took her out of her car seat, put her on the couch, and almost 2 hours later she was still "out"!

I snuck out for an hour after dinner for a "smoothie break" with another friend.  I know, I know...two nights out in a row!  What is the world coming to!:)

Even with the long, late nap Kate was still in bed by 9:45!  Jay and I were exhausted and quick to follow!

#6:  Down Day
After the exciting and exhausting day at the water park, poor Jay had to drag himself to work and the rest of us laid low all day.  Thankfully, most of the day was cloudy so we were out of the sun when we were outside!  I spent a lot of the day doing some deep cleaning because this weekend is party weekend at our house.  Saturday is Jon's graduation party and Sunday we are hosting my sister's (very small) birthday party.(My parents are bringing the food.  She always wants a clamboil.  I will be making my grandmother's recipe for stuffed quahogs.  Yum!)
I also spent time making a grocery list and solidifying the menu for the weekend.  The older kids will be home at lunch time tomorrow and I will be running out shortly after they arrive to hit the grocery store!  I'm not doing anything crazy menu wise...but I still want to make sure that it is special for Jon!:)

#7:  He Said

Luke:(on Tuesday)  "Where's Michael?"
Me:  "He went to Canada."
Luke:(in his high, squeaky voice)"Forever!?!"
Me:  "No, just until Friday."
Luke:  "Oh.  What day is Friday?"

Jon:(searching in the cabinet for a hamburger bun to eat his second lunch of the day): "What kind of monster eats just the top half of a hamburger bun?"
Andrew: "#first world problems"

Enjoy the last June weekend! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Start of an Adventurous Week!

Wow!  Tuesday already!  How was your weekend?  Mine was good.

We got a little adventurous around here.  On Sunday, Jay took the youth group including all our older kids white water rafting.  This is the 3rd year(I think) that they have made the trip.  It's something they all look forward to.  This year was no different, and they all came home tired and excited about their adventure.

An older kid adventure usually means that I stay home with the younger set...which is always an adventure in itself.  It was a beautiful day and my parents were around, so I asked them to help me take them to the beach.  (I can't do a lot of things myself when I have Peter, Luke and Kate without help because it just wouldn't be safe!)

It was a perfect beach day!  We went to a small beach near my sister's house and we pretty much had it to ourselves.  Which is great because Peter doesn't always keep his hands to himself!  He loves to try and hug everyone!  Usually people are really good about it because it is pretty obvious that he has a disability, but it isn't always received well.

Peter ready to go!

Kate sitting with my mom for her first snack of many!
All she did was eat!

Ellie ready to jump right in

Peter lounging

examining their shell finds

A happy Peter

Kate with snack #3

It was a nice couple of hours that helped to break up the day.  Although, the afternoon dragged through dinner and beyond!  Everyone else (finally) got home around 8:30 and the four older kids showered and packed and headed to my parents' house because they were leaving for the airport at an unGodly hour the next morning for a vacation in Toronto!

Our house has an interesting dynamic this week!  We have a small(ish) family!  Only 4 kids!

Since it isn't often that I have just the younger set for an extended period of time, Jay and I wanted to plan a couple of fun things for them to do.  Yesterday, I took advantage of Peter being in school  still and made plans with my sil, Jackie, and friend, Laura, to head to Edaville with our kiddos for Day Out With Thomas.  It was a really nice day!

Luke looking less than excited waiting for the train to start!

Luke got very excited over the excavator and other construction trucks working
to create the "coming next year" areas of the park!

Flying with his cousin, Brayden:)

Friends and cousins on the little train

Luke being goofy!

Ellie and Brayden on one of her favorites....bumper cars!

Mya and Kate playing trains

It's so hard to get these two to look at the camera and smile at the same time!

Kate having fun on a car ride.

Ellie was a good sport!
Today was a rest day/catch up on bills and laundry and all the other things mom would rather put off has to do!  Tonight I am off on my "What Not to Wear" shopping trip with a few of my super stylish friends!  

Tomorrow Jay took the day off.  We didn't want Ellie to feel left out too much about not going to Canada, so we let her pick out an adventure.  Her choice....spending the day at a fairly local water park that she hasn't been to.  Luke is pretty excited, too, and water and big slides are right up Peter's alley!

Our adventurous week is underway!  I will share more stories (hopefully happy and pleasant!) later in the week!


Friday, June 20, 2014

An Exciting Week

This past week was filled with some excitement and surprises!  Let's hop right in to 7 Quick Takes to wrap up the week!

1.  "The dreaded 'F' Word"
This week was somewhat monumental since my birthday fell on Wednesday and it was a "big" year!  There are lots of ways to talk around it, but I am now the dreaded "f" word, (the first one), or 30/10 as my sil says, or, my favorite................I am now a member of the 39 forever club!

So, here's a look at my week and the many ways that my family and friend made me feel special!

2.  Surprise
A few weeks ago, I threw a Surprise 40th party for Jay with a big 100+ people, 80's themed shindig complete with PacMan photo wall and bouncy house for the kids.  It was a great time!

Fast forward to this past Saturday.  Jay had put on the calendar that we were having a date night a couple of weeks ago.  It was a little out of the ordinary, but I didn't think too much about it.  I had a feeling that something was up, but I couldn't connect all the dots.  

We arrived at one of my two favorite restaurants, and my mom had organized a small, intimate girls night out!  It was just right.  The food was yummy, the company was great, the centerpieces my mil made were beautiful, the cake was delicious......and I didn't have to do the dishes!:)  

3. Birthday Blessings
My actual birthday was on Wednesday and it was a very nice, laid back day.   I went to Mass with some of the kids in the morning, treated everyone to breakfast at Dunkin, and used a gift card to buy pizza from one of my favorite take-out spots for lunch!  

All the kids were very considerate all day.  Sarah, Ellie, and Jon surprised me with chocolate covered strawberries from the strawberry plants that they planted for me last year for Mother's Day.  Whenever I asked any of them to do something, they hopped up and did it right away.  Mike even offered to do extra work!

My friend, Mary, dropped off two very yummy specialty cupcakes after lunch.  (I cut them up and shared them:)  

My parents got cookout food for dinner so I didn't have to plan anything and Jay's mom made a cake.  Wow, writing all that down makes me realize the day revolved around food!  Good thing Ellie and I took a long walk that morning....something I plan to have as part of our regular routine this summer!

4. What Not to Wear
I have several very stylish friends that make me want to be a more put together mom.  When Jay asked what I wanted for my birthday, I told him that I wanted to go out with my friends acting as my personal shopping consultants!  My very own episode of "What Not to Wear"...just not in New York.....and with a small fraction of the show's budget!  

5.  And Speaking of What Not to Wear....
The thought has been in my head for a while, but it has been getting louder lately!  I have a dresser and closet full of clothes, but the majority of it are clothes I don't like/don't look right/don't fit right.  I kept saying that I should go through everything and get rid of whatever I don't love...but I have a feeling there won't be much left!

Now that I get to go shopping thanks to some generous gifts....especially from my husband! plan is to go through my clothes this weekend with a fine tooth comb!

The shopping trip is planned for this coming week and I.can't.wait!:)  I love to shop!  

6.  Not All About Me!

This past Sunday was Father's Day.  We all tried to make Jay feel really special and I think we all accomplished that goal!  EllieSarahJonand Andrew all did a guest post from Sunday to Wednesday.  (Mike took the easy way out and will be treating Jay to a Pawsox game in the near future;)  

They all did a great job and Jay was very touched by all the memories they shared!

7.  Summer is (mostly) here!
The pool is open!  And cold!  I'm more of a mid summer pool person!  The kids and Jay are brave souls....well, most of them anyway!

Love this pic!  Kate is curled up so nothing touches the water!
She's my "deck buddy"!  We just put our feet in:)
School has been winding down, too!  Luke's was out last week.  Ellie finished on Tuesday and Sarah finished yesterday.  The only one left in school is Peter. (Yay, me:)  But his last day is this coming Tuesday.  

Sarah enjoying her first day of summer with her siblings:)

It is always a challenge to get into the summer routine!  We will figure it out, though.  I'm hoping for a fun summer this year!

Here's hoping for a good weekend!  Enjoy the sunshine!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wrapping Up "What We Love About Dad!"

Ellen is my guest blogger today and this post will conclude our series of "What We Love About Dad!" as a gift and tribute to Jay for Father's Day.

Ellie has always been a 'Daddy's girl'!  Jay has always been wrapped around all his little girls' fingers!  He can act all serious and tough and then one of the girls will tilt their head, smile, and say "I love you, Daddy" in their sweet voice and Jay visibly melts!

If you have missed Day 1Day 2, or Day 3 of some of my older kids' guest posts, just click on the links to play 'catch up'!:)

Reasons Why Dad is Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hi!!! This is the middle daughter, Ellen. The little kids' playmate. I love to have fun and spend time with my family. When I was little, dad helped me practice softball. He always helps where he is needed and is definitely in my heart.

        I'm the sports girl in the family. I love playing and watching them. In April, Dad took me to see a Red Sox game with Andrew. Jon was going to go but he got sick the day before. Dad is an awesome person and he always loves us.  He is the patient one. I love to do things with dad. I love to hang out with him and play with him. When I was little I used to bug my dad to play dolls with me. Now I bug him about a lot of things, such as playing cards, taking the munchkins out of the tub, and things too many to name. I love to follow in my dad's footprints and play with him. I love my dad. These are some things that make him awesome.

                      1. He always understands.

                      2. He always helps.                                                

                                                                          3. He loves us.


                                                                     4. He is himself.
                      There are way more reasons but there are too many for words. You are amazing, Daddy.

We love you, Dad!!!!!!!!! :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What We Love About Dad (The Trilogy)

Day 3 of honoring Jay comes from our 3rd child and 3rd son, Jon.  Jon is our resident tease and procrastinator.  In fact, I'm posting this late in the day because Jon somehow lost track of time this morning(!) and then spent the afternoon golfing with my dad and Mike!

I hope you enjoy!

I have a lot of fond memories with Dad. He coached my Little League Baseball team for all 5 of the years I played. I remember getting dressed in my navy blue uniform, putting on my gray hat, and climbing in the minivan with my bat bag. Dad would drive me (and my brothers when they were playing) to the field for the game. At home, even though my mom hated baseball by the middle of July, we could talk about which teams were playing well, which players we had to look out for, and how close our team was to making the playoffs. The best Little League memory I had was when we won the championship, with Dad standing in front of the dugout celebrating along with me. 

Love of baseball is still something that I share with Dad. Last year we went to a Red Sox game together at Fenway Park. Since there are a lot of us kids, it’s pretty rare that I get any alone time with either of my parents, so it was really nice to be able to hang out with Dad.

            If you ask anyone, they might tell you that I have a small(or large) teasing streak and I know that I get part of it from my dad. He can sometimes be very annoying. For example, if you told him that your school is doing a can drive, he may answer by asking you, “A fan jive?” Then, when you repeat yourself, he’ll answer be asking “A van hive?” He’ll keep going until you tell him that you know that he knows what you were trying to say. He got a girl at my youth group in a conversation at least five times before I interrupted her and said “He knows what you said, this is what he does.” 

It’s actually really funny if he’s not doing it to you.

            The best thing that my Dad has given us kids is his faith. He has taught us all so much about the Church and has helped us all along in our personal journeys in faith. He’s always more than happy to talk about any aspect of the faith at any time and in almost any situation. The easiest way to get him going is to mention Pope John Paul II. He could go on for hours about Pope JPII. In fact, sometimes you just need to mention Poland in general and he’ll find a way to bring up JPII.  I’ve mentioned soccer before and he’s tied it into JPII because he was a goalie when he was a teenager. (The only reason I know that fact is because he brought it up.)

            If you haven’t noticed yet, Dad is awesome. He works really hard and yet he always makes time for his family. We all love him a lot and the reasons I wrote about above are only a scant few of them. 

I love you Dad!

Jon on the all star team

Jon is holding the sign on the left:)

Monday, June 16, 2014

What We Love About Dad (Part Deux)!

My "What We Love About Dad" guest post week continues today with my son, Andrew, sharing some of his special memories about Jay.  Sarah's guest post from yesterday made Jay cry, so hopefully Andrew's post will be just as touching for him!

So, without further's Andrew!

Mom's having a week or so of "guest appearances" in her blog for Father's Day, which starts what would be a week of Dad Appreciation. WOULD be a week, but Mom's birthday cuts that off on Wednesday!

So: I'm the second child, Andrew. I'm usually called "the baby whisperer", since I can almost always make Kate stop crying when she's grumpy and can actually understand the things she says. While I don't bake cookies like Sarah, or do the dishes, I do eat most of her cookies (hey, it counts for something...) and dry the dishes when I'm not working.

Since this is about Dad, I should begin with something that I don't actually remember, but I've been told many times. When I was a baby, I was bottle-fed at night, and Dad would sit in a blue rocking chair while I drank and (apparently) rubbed his fuzzy hair with my hand.  I was so attached to Dad that when he started grad school and wasn't home every night at my bedtime, I refused to drink my bottle for Mom or anyone else!

Sooner or later, I was done with the bottles, and began Little League baseball. And, of course, who else would take over the coaching job when I was 10, but Dad. While I wasn't exactly Ted Williams, playing baseball was one of the highlights of my childhood, in large part because of Coach- I mean Dad. Between the practices and the games, and learning how to actually hit well and throw from third to first with decent accuracy, and even pitch (which I never really got the hang of), spending the time in the most stereotypical "guy" way possible with Dad is something I still think about and miss from my childhood.

When I began high school, I ran cross country and track for 11 of 12 sports seasons, so I knew it wasn't something I would be able to do with Dad the same way baseball, and briefly basketball, was. Running is different from throwing a baseball back and forth, or having a one-on-one game with someone (who was at least 6 inches taller and 20 years older. Guess who always won?!?). But when he had time, Dad did run with me, and we even ran a few 5-K races and 10-K races together between freshman and sophomore year. And he came to enough of my track and XC meets for me to know that, while it certainly isn't as entertaining as baseball or basketball games, Dad still came and stayed the whole time I was competing, even though he couldn't actually see me for most of it!

Just being at home when Dad's home, on days off or when he's half-asleep on the couch after work, is another fun one. He's (usually) awake enough to carry on conversations, and when he's not threatening to eat my ice cream (all in one bite(!), which he has done before) or trying to show me elaborate karate moves that look incredibly uncomfortable, it's a nice way to end a day. Even when Luke is playing "Transformers" and throwing stuff across the room, and Kate is running along with him screaming as loud as her little lungs will allow, he jumps down and plays with them.

Beyond the stories of growing up, it would be hard to find a better role model and father than Dad. Someone who's perpetually honest and faithful, and works as hard as he can to provide for his family, can usually be hard to find, and we're lucky enough to have him live in the house and raise us.....(despite the horrific jokes he tells (which I've sometimes told as well. Genetic, I guess). And, like Sarah said, he'll probably do the same compliment-dodging that he accuses Mom of (which is also true, and I hope Mom doesn't edit this out), but we're blessed to have a dad who lives up to everything Sarah and I have said (and I think one or two more siblings will say)!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

What We Love About Dad!

In honor of Father's Day, some of my older kids were going to write a guest post for Jay as a gift for him.  Sarah went first.....and wrote so much that we decided to change gears and do multiple guest posts for the kids to honor Jay!  (One day isn't long enough to honor Jay as a dad anyway!:)  My children are blessed with a very special dad!  His love, patience, and dedication are just some of the qualities that make him an incredible dad!

Happy Father's Day, honey!  
Happy Father's Day to my own great dad, father-in-law, grandfather and Jay's grandfather!

And now.....I invite you to read the writer of my first special guest post series: What We Love About Dad!

Hello :)
This is a celebrity guest post!  My mom suggested that for Father's Day we, the older children, write a blog post for our dad.  We decided to write about our favorite memories.

So here goes.

I'm Sarah, the oldest daughter/ doer of the dishes/ cookie queen.  I can't really think of a favorite memory with him, per se, but I have a collage of them!  A few, crazy goofy memories that have happened are particularly note-worthy, though!

1) Dad is the leader of our parish high school youth group.  We had a car wash yesterday to raise money for a retreat.  Before the car wash, we went to Mass.  Dad drove down with me, but my brothers drove separately.  We were talking and goofing around, then my dad got a shiver down his back (which he calls a wet pigeon).  "BlAAh!" is what he blurted out.  I thought this sounded like the purple minions in Despicable Me 2, so I (the mature 15 yr. old that I am) did the same thing.  "Blah!" "Blaah!  " BlAh" "BLAAH".  Then we both giggled like maniacs.

We are special people!

2) Last year, we were lucky enough to go to Walt Disney World as a family with my grandparents.  It was so fun! (We get supremely goofy during vacations! Lol) We went to Epcot while we were there.  We were eating at Via Napoli, (fantastic Italian pizza restaurant), when Jon got the idea to do the Perry the Platypus adventure.  It is sort of like a super spy (scavenger) hunt throughout the different countries in Epcot.  (SO fun!!!) When we told dad, though, he acted so opposed to this, almost angry.  "No, we can't do that."  My mom convinced him that we should, though, so Jon, Dad, Ellie, and I went to the kiosk at the park to get set up.  They person at the kiosk gave us a cell phone that would direct us.  We started the activity, and my dad got all into it.  He was really goofy and happy, even though five minutes ago he had acted like it was the last thing he wanted to do.  He was going to (every) snack place along the way while he was helping us.  When we pointed that out to him, he smiled a sneaky grin and said, "It was my plan.  I was never really against it.  I wanted your mother to think I was, though, so she would think it was her idea!"

On a completely unrelated note my dad's favorite supervilian is Dr. Doof (although Gru is close).

3) Dad, I love you :) (if the 50,000 coconut almond joy cookies I made doesn't prove it, I don't know what can!!) I love how you are serious when it counts, sincere in everything you say, but still fun and loving.  I love how you are so caring and loving.  Thank you for being a great Catholic role model, over protective, kind, fantas-mic, hilarious, a bad joke teller, laughing at my jokes when they are horrible, putting up with me, making me feel better, and just being an overall perfect dad!!!!!!!!

I know you will deny everything in here (you are as bad as mom with compliments), but I mean every word.
Happy Father's day, Daddy :)