Friday, August 29, 2014

A Week of Firsts

Quick Take Friday....I apologize in advance if it sounds a little whiny!  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now!

1. New Beginnings
This week, Ellie started middle school on Monday, Peter on Tuesday and Sarah on Wednesday.  Sarah made the J.V. volleyball team so she has practice every day and I've been working out a car pool with a couple of other moms.  It's been overwhelming getting these three started and making sure the kids starting next week have everything they need!

2. Moving Away
The next child up is Andrew.  Saturday am we will be making the drive to deliver him to Assumption.  I think he has everything he needs.  (Special thanks to my mom and dad for helping with Andrew and Mike's school supplies and Sarah's books!)  

Andrew is looking forward to school.  I'm nervous for him...but I'm sure he will settle in and do great.  I'm sad for more baby bird spreading their wings in the process of leaving the nest.  It's a very bittersweet feeling watching them grow and step out into new adventures while stepping out of the home we have spent years trying to nurture them in! 

Change is hard....but it's all good. 

(That will be my mantra as I cry on the way home from Assumption tomorrow!) 

3.  More Moving Away
On Monday, I will be helping Mike move into Assumption.  Jay and I were both supposed to do it until his boss reminded him yesterday that Monday is his holiday to work.  Grr!   August was a rough month with way too much planned on the weekends for Jay and the older kids and not much summer fun for me and the littles left behind.  Last weekend, Jay had to work, too.:( So, even though we are making 2 trips to Worcester, I was really looking forward to a long weekend.  Sigh.....

I think it will be less emotional to move Mike in since I've already done it last year.  He's in apartment style living this year, which he is looking forward to.  I should be able to say a quick hello at least to Andrew, too.  Then, they will be on their own until family weekend at the end of September when we plan on visiting them.

4.  Also On Monday....
Jon has freshman orientation on Monday and Tuesday.  He is excited to start his new adventure!  I'm glad he will be close to home, even though he will be busy and not around much!

5.  Another First Day
Luke starts pre-school on Tuesday morning.  Just this week he has finally started to get a little excited for school.  That's a positive!  He's still going to do half days.  I'm hoping this extra year in pre-school, which we decided he needed since he is a very young 5 and only makes the cut off by a couple of weeks, will give him the time he needs to mature a little more and better able to handle the work load next year in kindergarten!

6.  Surgery
On Tuesday, my mom is having knee replacement surgery.  This is adding a little extra chaos to the already chaotic two weeks of new school year and sports schedules!  If you could say a prayer that the surgery goes well and the recovery is as quick and as painless as possible I would appreciate it!

7.  He Said
Andrew:  Someday, If I'm excessively rich, I'm going to buy a herd of goats.  All of them will be fainting goats except for one screaming goat.  This way, the screaming goat will startle the fainting goats and they will all fall down!
Jon and Sarah: know that's 'going on the blog'.
Andrew: Put it on the blog...I don't care.:)

....and so I did!
Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!:)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

TBT...School Days

Throw Back's been such a crazy week!  I'm exhausted...and it just keeps going!  It's so hard to get back into the rhythm of Fall!

In honor of the first week of least for some of my kids...

This is a throwback for sure!  Mike was in 4th grade, Andrew in 2nd and Jon in 1st!

This year, Mike's a college senior, Andrew is a college sophomore, and Jon a college freshman!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014


And just like that, another summer comes barreling to a close!  The end of summer is bittersweet.  After all the spontaneity/non-structure of summer, I look forward to the fall's predictability.

Having the kids move forward and grow up and start another year is sad to me, though.  It makes me want to huddle them close just a little longer because life goes by just so darn fast!

Move forward they must, though, so it's my job to help them on and up to the next step.  With the younger set, (namely Kate, Luke and Peter), that still means helping them moment by moment.(Getting their supplies, fixing their snacks and meals, bath time, bed time, etc.)

With the middle set, (Sarah and Ellie), I'm more of a chauffeur, reminder to do their daily routine in a timely manner(Ellie), and the person that encourages them to stay organized and on top of everything(Ellie) and to stop and have a little fun once in a while(my perfectionist, Sarah).

With the older crew, I'm the cheerleader.  I also still encourage them to stay organized and on top of everything for the bigger things(a.k.a, please go online and order your books today Andrew and Jon!).  I'm also the go-to person when they want the occasional clothing purchase.  Other then help them with loan paperwork, they have their own jobs, their own cars, and are pretty independent.

Andrew and Mike will both be away at college this year.  Jon will be commuting to college but, between his class schedule with multiple labs and his jobs and the clubs he wants to join and his regular friends and the friends he will meet and his new "special friend", the writing on the wall is clear that he won't be around much this year!

Change is hard....and a little sad...but it's all good things.

After all, as I read in a book recently,
 "If we do the whole parenting thing right we are supposed to be working ourselves out of a job!"  
(Pam Farrel)

Ellie started middle school yesterday!  It's a big step for her...changing classes, different uniforms, more responsibility.  She is excited and likes her new teachers:)

At only day 2 of the school year I have already won the "bad parent" award!  Today was Peter's first day and I completely forgot to take a picture until he was driving away on his 'van bus'!  He is in the same special needs program as last year.  This year his class will have a few less kids which will be good for him I think.  He wasn't all that fired up to head back to school.  Poor guy has a bad sinus cold right now.:(  Hopefully, the transition goes well and he has a good year!

Sarah made the high school volleyball team and has practice this afternoon.  Her first school day of sophomore year is tomorrow.(Hopefully I will remember to take a picture of that!)  

Then, we have a 2 day reprieve until Saturday when we drop off Andrew at Assumption.  I can't say I'm looking forward to that.  I am excited for him and for the friends he will make and the clubs he will join that will make him feel connected in a way he didn't find at UMass last year.  The house will feel empty without him...and now I will have to run to the grocery store to pick up anything I forgot instead of just texting Andrew and having him bring it home!

We move Mike in on Monday, Jon starts freshman orientation on Monday, and Luke starts pre-school on Tuesday!  And, just like that, we will be in full swing for the 2014-2015 school year!

I hope your family's transition is going well!  Here's to praying for a successful and healthy school year! 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Wrap Up!

The summer is just slip sliding away!!!  

I'm trying my best to enjoy just a little more summer...kind of like trying to squeeze the last drop of toothpaste from the toothpaste tube! 

Here's my quick take Friday high-lights our week:

 #1:  Birthday Fun
It was my niece, Mya's, birthday on Thursday.  We had a family party on Tuesday night to celebrate and Kate was joining right in!  

#2:  Zoo Time
On Wednesday, I took all the kids sans Mike to the zoo.  The day didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped.  Right before I was ready to leave for the zoo, I noticed that Mike forgot his lunch.:(  So, to avoid feeling guilty, I brought his lunch to the camp he is working at this summer before we headed to the zoo.  

We arrived at the zoo a little past snack time, so Kate was more interested in eating than in seeing the animals.  We stopped to get a snack.....which took a while because someone wanted popcorn and they hadn't started making it.  "A few minutes" was what they told us....15 minutes later we got the popcorn.  A couple of kids wanted an ice cream treat but they had none because their food freezer had broken and all their food was in the ice cream freezer.  So, one of the teens was hungry(and Jay's kids don't do hungry well!).  Those "someones" may have been Andrew Jon...but I won't tell you for sure to keep them, I mean "someone", from feeling embarrassed!;)

The visit was fine....just not as good as usual. know that mom pressure we put on ourselves for everyone to have a great, bonding experience?  Yeah, left me feeling a tad deflated!  

But I got some cute pics....

#3:  Carousel/Train Rides
 Jay's mom had given Peter carousel and train passes for his birthday and they got put to good use....
goofy Peter

Kate:  "Mommy, you need  to hold onto me!"
Me:  I will.  I just want to take a picture first.

Kate:  Ok...cheese.
 Train ride....

 ....and a picture of the train ride from 10/12!  Kate was so little:(

#4:  Photo Fun
Jon:  Take a picture of me.
(runs over to bear)
Jon:  Look, it's a bear hug!

Peter's loving the bear hug!

#5:  Photo Op
They gave me a 30 second pose...I guess I should be grateful!

Kate doesn't seem to know that it helps to see where you're going!:)

#6:  Shoe Shopping
After the zoo, Andrew drove the boys home(because they would rather gouge out their eyes than go shoe shopping at the mall!) and I took the girls with me to do some school shopping.  Ellie needed some school shoes.  Kate is a shoe fashionista and got in on the fun.
Kate:  I like these, Mommy!  They too big for me?

Kate needed sneakers, so we found a cute pair of princess shoes that she loved!  Then she spotted a pair of purple shoes with silver sparkles all was love at first sight!  (Yeah, Jay is in trouble with this one!)

#7: So He Doesn't Feel Left Out...
Mike ended up getting a really great job this summer.  He worked as a camp counselor at the local YMCA summer camp.  He got to be outside all summer...and it will look good on his resume when he(fingers crossed) graduates in June with a middle school teaching degree!

Mike has made a lot of new friends through the camp counselors and lots of them hang out multiple times a week.  The camp also threw different get togethers for the counselors a few times this summer.  They had a sailing night and a cook out earlier, and last night they had a fancy dinner night.  So they all got dressed up and had food catered from a very good local Italian restaurant.  

Their bosses also gave out awards.  Mike got "Rookie of the Year" and "Most Likely to Brighten Someone's Day".  That second one gave all of us at home a very big laugh because that's not always our experience with Mike!  But, since we got a laugh, that did brighten our day so there you go!

We're heading into the last weekend of summer for three of my kids!  Ellie starts Monday, Peter starts Tuesday, and Sarah starts Wednesday.  Then, it's a short reprieve until Saturday when we move Andrew into Assumption.  Then, we move Mike into Assumption on Monday.  Jon has freshman orientation on Monday and Tuesday.  Last but not least, Luke starts preschool on Tuesday!

Crazy busy times!  I have to say I have mixed emotions, but it's all going to happen whether I like it or not!   That seems to be a recurring theme around here!

I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throw Back Thursday....Special Cousin Edition

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth...really!  Things are a little crazy over here as we try and squeeze every last moment out of summer and prepare for the fast approaching school year!  With so many kids going in so many different directions, it's a bit overwhelming!

Hopefully I can figure out my new groove soon!

I'm here today for Throw Back Thursday........and another special birthday edition!

Today is my niece, Mya's 3rd birthday!  Mya defied the odds after arriving at only 23 weeks and 6 days gestation!  You can read more about that on the post I wrote on her first birthday here.

So, even though this throwback is really only a short "tossback", it's a pretty special one...just like Mya:)

Mya at birth(1 lb. 5 oz)...and at one year

During her 4 month stay in the NICU

Mya's first birthday party
(Mya is in the flower dress on the left and Kate is on the right in the green dress)

New Year's Day 2014

I still haven't figured out a way to get them both looking at the camera and smiling at the same time!

August 2014....special cousin time!

Mya's birthday party...with an adorable Hello Kitty cake made by Jay's mom!

Happy Birthday, Mya!
Love, Uncle Jay, Auntie Michelle
and all of your cousins:)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Fishing Edition

Throw back Thursday:)

This is the first Thursday in 3 weeks that we haven't had a birthday celebration!  I found a good picture to share today!:)

Andrew was about 11 in this picture.  Andrew went fishing with his brothers and my dad on one of our Vineyard trips. As you can see, he caught a sand shark.  He was very excited and proud!:)

It's hard to believe that Andrew will be leaving in 2 weeks for college.  I don't think I've actually processed it yet.  It's going to be really different having 2 of our children gone for months at a time!  

It goes by so fast...... Don't blink!

Have a happy Thursday...we've almost made it to Friday!:)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Slow Down August!

Sorry, everyone...the summer is getting the best of me!  With everyone home all.the.time there just isn't much free time to write.

Well, I shouldn't say everyone home!  Jay has been working like crazy and the older boys are almost always at work or out with friends.  It's like a revolving door for the boys...they go to work, rush home, shower, grab something out of the fridge and head back out again many nights of the week!

It's all good...just a wee bit crazy!

The little ones are enjoying the summer...lots of swimming and playing and play dates so that I don't have to play Transformers every moment of the day.  As soon as I sit down to do something, I hear Luke's little voice, "Mommy, want to play with me?".  (Pretend play is my nemesis!)

I'm trying to make the days as enjoyable as I can for everyone.  With the middle of August arriving this week, I have to start prepping for the dreaded "s" word.  I put it off as long as possible....but Ellie, Peter, and Sarah start school the last week of August.  In fact, Sarah has book pick up and volley ball tryouts next week!


Andrew leaves for school two weeks from Saturday and I haven't even started to tackle his very long list of things needed to move away for the semester.  Mike won't need as much as last year, but he has a list, too!

Things will certainly be changing around here....

I hope the rest of your August goes by nice and s.l.o.w.!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Birthday Wrap Up!

So happy it's almost the weekend but I wish August would slow the heck down!

Yesterday's birthday celebration was a huge success!  Luke had a great first day as a 5 year old!  He got lots of new toys, mostly Transformers and a few Legos, which he has been playing with non-stop!  His grandparents and aunties and cousins all made him feel very special!   Here's the wrap up!

 #1:  Party Prep
The day before Luke's birthday, we took a little drive to Party City to get a few supplies.  I wanted to get him some Transformer plates and napkins for the family party.  This mask was with the Transformer supplies...or so I thought...
...turns out it is a Power Ranger mask.(Which Jay pointed out when he got home from work)  Oops!
Well, Luke thought it was an Optimus Prime mask so it's all good:)

2:  Today's My Birthday!?!
The day Luke had been counting down for weeks finally arrived!  He was up bright and early, ready to open his presents from us.  His sisters asked to be woken up to watch his excitement and Luke dragged Jon out of bed because Jon is his "Lego buddy".:)  

He's one whole hand now!

Hooray for Transformers!

#3:  Some Assembly Required...
One of the toys that I got him was a Construx Optimus Prime and Megatron.  They are like Bionicles...for moms with Lego fans.  I thought he would have fun with them.  

The problem was that ALL of the "master builders" in our house had to work all day....and I am not good with following directions!  At Luke's insistence, I did put together the Optimus.  It took a while and was a little overwhelming....especially since Kate kept moving around the pieces!  I convinced Luke that Daddy really wanted to build Megatron with him when he got home from work.  Phew! 

#4: Grandma's Cake
All the kids love my mil's chocolate cake and it is the birthday request 95% of the time.  (Jon is the only one that asks for an ice cream cake...he had a stomach bug a few years ago after a family party and the cake has a negative food association for him now!)

For the younger kids, Jay's mom always tries to decorate the cake in whatever their obsession of the year is.  Since Luke is really into Transformers right now, he asked for an Optimus cake.....and Jay's mom did an awesome job on it!

A little frosting sneak!

How cool is this!?!

#5:  Cake Time
The birthday boy or girl always gets to choose the dinner menu for their birthday.  All week Luke said he wanted pizza.  Then, on the morning of his birthday, he changed his mind and asked for burgers.  Oy!  Good thing Andrew works at Stop and Shop...I texted him my list and he kindly spent a little time shopping after work!  Thanks, Andrew:)

"Cake time" are magic words!  Luke, Kate, and my nephew, Brayden, and niece, Mya, come running!  Here's a pic of Luke and Kate waiting for us to set everything up!
Look at that anticipation!lol
We had a camera malfunction so, unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the actual blowing out of the candles:(  There were four kids trying to get in on the action and two adults acting as "spit guards"!

#6:  Kids Say the Darnedest Things!
Jay was trying to help "free" the toys that Luke was opening from our families.  Brayden was concerned and walked over to direct what was going on...
Brayden:  Uncle Jay, those are Lukie's toys!  You can't play with them!  He just got them for his birthday!
Jay:  Oh, ok, Brayden, good to know.
....Jay was a big Transformers fan when he was a little boy so you never know...gotta keep your eye on him!;)

#7:  He Said/She Said
Luke obviously loves his new toys.  He is constantly setting up good guys/bad guys scenarios.  
Luke:  Mom, the Decepticons hurt Optimus' son and he died.
Me:  Luke, you know I don't like you pretending that people die.
Luke:(after a thoughtful pause) Mom, the Decepticons hurt Optimus' son and he isn't alive anymore.
Me:  Ugh...that's not what I mean! 

Oh, the joys of 5 year olds!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

TBT-Birthday Style!

The day has finally arrived!  Today is Luke's 5th birthday!  He has been counting down to this day for weeks and is so excited that it is finally here.

I can't believe that Luke is turning 5.  Time goes by so fast!

I have always called Luke our "Bonus Baby".  There are a little over 6 years between Ellie and Luke.  To put it in perspective.....In the 10 year span between Mike and Ellie I gave birth to 7 children!  So 6 years was a really long time.  We thought God had finished growing our family.  But, obviously, He had other plans....

Ellie went to kindergarten in the fall of 2008, and for the first time in many, many years I had no one home with me.  My parents had offered me a part time job working for them, which worked out great because I could still be home to get the kids off the bus.  Plus, if someone was sick, I didn't have to worry about my boss being upset because I needed time off!;)

That transition was really hard for me.  I was feeling depressed and a little I had no purpose.  Change is hard....but as I began settling into my new routine that also included some me time on Mondays and Wednesdays, it actually felt pretty good.  I started to embrace the new road I was on....

....and then, (Surprise!), there was Luke.

Once I got over the shock, we were all really excited about having a new baby.  Thanks to being on a dreadful low carb healthy diet because of gestational diabetes, Luke was the smallest of our healthy children at a whopping 7lbs. 2oz.  He seemed so tiny....especially since it had been a while since we had a new baby!
His newborn screech sounded like a seagull!  But it felt great to have a newborn baby in our arms again!

Proud Daddy!
 We didn't know how having a baby would affect the teenagers....especially Mike.  The three older boys were 16, 14, and 13 at the time.  Luke actually brought all of us closer together because the older boys wanted to be around to see and hold Luke.  They all wanted Luke to know Luke kept them attached to home more than they would have been if we had never had another baby!

Our family September, 2009

Ellie was THRILLED to be a big sister!
Sarah was 10 at the time and loved having a new baby in the house.:)

It helped that he was pretty cute!
 The boys taught him all kinds of things!  Luke could dribble a ball by 18 months even though he could barely run steadily!  Luke knew how to swing a wiffle bat, too.  Mike, our sports nut and Luke's godfather, was thrilled!
"Shooting" hoops with a little help!
Unfortunately for Mike, when Luke was about 2 we had to have our septic system re-done.  Luke ditched his sports focus and began obsessing about trucks.  He loved all kinds.  When we found a local building site, he would love it when Jay or I drove him to it and parked on the side of the road.  Luke would watch the trucks working and talk about all the different kinds of trucks.  He loved it!  The truck obsession branched out to include a Lego obsession by the time he was 4.(of course, he used the Legos to make trucks....especially his favorite, excavators!)

In the last few months, his truck obsession has been replaced by a Transformers obsession.  It started with the Transformer Rescue Bots and then grew to include the Transformer Generation bots, which are the same bots from the cartoon Jay watched as a little boy.  (They're bonding:)

Luke is super lovable, very goofy, and all boy!  He still climbs into my bed every night and sleeps best with his foot touching my leg.  We are working on being more independent, but it's a very slow process with Luke!  I know it won't be forever...and someday I'll miss this!  Just this morning, he gave me a hug and said, "You're the best mommy ever!"

...I'm going to get that on tape for when he's a teenager!

I can't imagine our lives without this little guy!

Happy Birthday, Luke!  We all love you very much! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Can It Be August Already!!!!!

How can it possibly be August already!!!  Summer please slow down! Linking up with Quick Takes Friday!

1: Girls' Night Out
For Sarah's birthday in May, I bought her tickets to a local theater that was putting on the play "The Sound of Music".  The play was last Friday.  Sarah and I got to dress up a little and head out together.  She really enjoyed it....and it was some good 1:1 quality time together!:)

2: He Said/She Said
After seeing the musical, Sarah has been singing a lot more than usual around the house.  Lots of Disney Princess songs and, of course, songs from "The Sound of Music".  The following was a text conversation...
(I was out of the myself!)
Me:  Everything going ok?
Jay:  Everything's great.  We are bursting into spontaneous song like the Sound of Music:).
Jon:  Yeah, we're a less talented version of the Von Trapp family! 

3:  Fancy Toes
The reason I was out of the house by myself was a good one!   My friend, Colleen, brought me for a pedicure as a belated birthday gift.  (Since we have 14 kids between the two of us, I think the fact that we managed to schedule it was amazing!)  

It was nice to be pampered and chat with a friend.  I chose a really bright blue that reminds me of clear summer skies and cotton candy! 
Not the best toes clash with our rug!

 Sometimes girls just want to have fun....and have some wild toes:)

4:  Happy Birthday
Speaking of birthdays.....yesterday was Peter's 13th birthday!  He had a really good day!  He got lots of balloons and some "Fairhaven" t-shirts and a sweatshirt and a book on planes.  (Of course the highlight was Grandma's cake!)

The only thing he asked for was a Southwest Airlines t-shirt.  He is obsessed with Southwest bc that's the airline we use to go to Florida.  He goes on youtube everyday and watches Southwest take-offs and flight videos.

My parents took Peter to get sneakers for his birthday last Sunday.  At the store, Peter saw this sweatshirt and "had to have it!"  He wears it even though it is way too hot for a sweatshirt right now!  The t-shirt is a good overview of Peter...."Happy Happy Happy"....especially on his birthday!

5:  More Birthday Fun/Opportunities to Practice Patience
This Thursday we get to do the birthday celebration all over again.  Luke's turning 5!  5!?!  How the heck did that happen!  My baby boy is growing up!:(

Luke is super excited about his birthday!  He is obsessed with all things Transformer right now...and, not to toot my own horn, but I think he's going to love the presents we got for him.  I'm very excited to give them to him...and blissfully imagining the hours of quiet pretend play it will buy me!

Of course, waiting for a birthday that you are excited about when you're almost 5 is not easy!  Luke couldn't wait for Peter's birthday to get here so that it could then move on to his birthday!  The problem is, the whole concept of time is a little off when you're not quite 5!

Luke:(Lying in bed snuggling, half awake) Is today Peter's birthday?
Me:  Yes it is!
Luke:  It is!!! (voice rising several octaves)  That means my birthday is tomorrow!?!
Me:  No, honey.  Your birthday is next Thursday.
Luke:  Noooooooo!  You said my birthday was right after Peter's!!!!
(insert weeping and gnashing of teeth here!)

#6:  More He Said
Speaking of Luke....he said something really cute the other day.
Kate wanted to watch Sleeping Beauty and it was at the part when the Prince wakes her up with a kiss...
Luke:  "Yuck....I'm never gonna do that!"
Me:(in my head) Yeah, right!

#7:  Counting Our Blessings
This week, my friend Laura sent me a message asking for prayers for one of her close college friends that was 21 weeks pregnant with her 5th child.  The mom's name was Sarah, and she had been stung by many bees and had a severe reaction that made an aneurysm in her brain rupture.  Tragically, her unborn baby died and, later on that day, the family removed life support on Sarah because she was brain dead.  Sarah and her husband, Eric, were also parents to four other children.(7,5,3, and 1)  You can read more about it here.

Hearing about stories like this is so heart-breaking.  It brings up lots of emotions and thoughts that I've been trying to wrap my head around.....something that I'd like to spend more time on in another post in greater length.

The funeral for Sarah Hawkins will be this morning.  I'm sure this family could use all the prayers they can get!  A memorial fund was set up to help Sarah's husband and children.  If you are interested in donating you can get more details here.

Tragedies like this certainly put things in perspective.  It makes a no good, rotten, terrible day just a bump in the that I can be grateful for because at least I was here to be a part of it!
The Hawkins Family
Now excuse me while I go hug and cuddle my least the ones that will let me!  Have a beautiful weekend enjoying the everyday moments with your family!