Saturday, February 11, 2017

Friday Five!

It's been a few weeks, and I've been missing my blog! But the season is really revving up, and my energy level by the time homeschooling is done is at about zero! I'm going to keep trying though.

~~1~~
Peter.
Peter turned 10 weeks this week, and everyone is commenting about how big he is! He no longer looks like a little newborn and he's feeling thick and solid. He's interacting a lot and awake for long periods of time. He's started chewing on his fists and can hold his head up really well. He still gets fussy in the evenings, but is really happy in the mornings and early afternoons. We've been taking lots of walks to the park and spending more time out and about. He pretty much hates the carseat unless we're on the highway, so I try to avoid doing any unnecessary driving! He likes the swing and tolerates the bouncy seat. Mostly he just wants to be held by me, of course!

~~2~~
Katie.
Katie turns 3 in about a week and she is finally pretty much potty trained! I'd been feeling guilty for not working on this, so the past few weeks we just went for it! She's only had one or two accidents in the past week, so she's doing great. She loves her brother and wants to smother him with hugs and kisses. She loves reading books and playing with her Little People. She's dying for a "big dolly" (American Girl), so her big sisters are starting to let her play with their old ones a little. She's also been sleeping in Ellie's room for about six weeks now, so we have our eyes out for a bunk bed for them. One of her favorite things right now is using special glasses and plates! Her NeNe lets her look in the cabinets and pick out special glasses and plates for her snacks, and now she's wanting to use them all the time! She wanted to use her aunt's fine china at the Super Bowl party last weekend! She's ready for a little tea party time, I guess.

~~3~~
Big boys.
Steven and Thomas are starting baseball tomorrow (Well, today. It's after midnight)! The crazy season is beginning for me, with practices and games and baseball gear and all around insanity, especially since the girls have ballet and 4-H events, the boys will probably start swim team in April, and Steven is traveling a lot. I'm already ready for summer! Steven got some reading glasses this week; they look pretty cute on him! Both boys are just loving the warm weather, and they escape to the driveway or backyard for baseball, football, or basketball any chance they get! In the past few months, they've really gotten into watching sports and keeping track of scores and players too. They're becoming good buddies, which I love to see.

~~4~~
Big girls.
These two keep busy with school, ballet, and babysitting jobs. They both entered a 4-H photography contest this week, which was a bit of a hassle for their mom as we loaded and printed photos, then got them mounted and mailed! Tomorrow they have a 4-H food challenge workshop bright and early, as they prepare for the big one at the Houston Rodeo. They're both a great help around the house, and it's such a blessing to have babysitters now and to be able to go on some spontaneous dates with Steven every so often!

~~5~~
Steven and Me.
Steven has been busy with work and lots of traveling. He got to take quite a few hunting and fishing trips last month too. He even took the boys on a work/hunting adventure to Oklahoma! But even while busy and traveling, he's still checking up on our crew, grocery shopping and cooking for us, and especially spoiling me on my birthday weekend! Last Saturday I turned 39, which was celebrated with: gorgeous flowers and a date on Friday evening, Saturday brunch with the family and my parents, a Peter Pan play with the 3 oldest kids (and baby), and a mom's night out to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. My friends spoiled me with some sweet gifts too. Sunday was the annual Super Bowl party with Steven's family, and it was just a great family weekend overall. I am so blessed! I'm also feeling more myself again these days. I was able to get out a lot the past couple weeks; we went to the trampoline place, to a nature class with the boys, and to the park quite a few times!



I have a bunch of photos I'd love to share, but the USB ports on my computer are not working, so it looks like I'll just be able to share this one from Facebook (Peter in a doll bed at my parents' house) and will have to come back with more pictures to share. Check me out on Instagram @blairsblessings where I tend to post a lot and do some Live Stories most days.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Five

Seven Takes seems like a lot to write on Fridays after these long weeks, so maybe trying for a Friday Five would be more doable. Let's see...

~~1~~

Peter. Seven weeks old. Growing fast out of his newborn clothes. Nursing so much better than the early weeks, so mama isn't in pain anymore! Fussy most evenings. Sleeps through most nights (just fussing to nurse, but not waking). Starting to coo and giggle. Such a joy for all of us!

~~2~~
Homeschool. We're a couple weeks in now, and still trying to get back into our routines. For the girls, it's mainly remembering to grade Ellie's work. For the boys, it's keeping them on track all...day...long! They want to play and don't want to work. They need reminders, and encouragement, and rewards, and threats. Some days we aren't finishing everything until 6pm. And I am so mentally exhausted. My patience is wearing thin, and many days I am not the most encouraging and positive homeschooler or mother. Daddy has been working long hours and traveling a couple nights each week. Sometimes this means I have to take everyone to pick up the girls at ballet at 8:30, and sometimes like last night, we also need to run into the store after that. Loooong days. But at least we can sleep in!

~~3~~
4-H. It's time to start getting ready for the 4-H semester with all the spring contests of the Rodeo, the County Fair, and the District Round Up. The girls will be focusing on the Food Challenge and Photography for now, and then we'll decide if and what things they will enter for the Fair. Today we'll be hosting our monthly meeting, which always stresses me out a little, especially if I don't have a speaker planned. We decided to do a mock Food Challenge, hence me having to grocery shop at 9pm last night (actually the girls did the shopping and I just came in to check out and pay!). I love the opportunities that 4-H offers, but I struggle with leading the club and wishing I could do more. But for now it's just a very low-key club of our homeschool friends, and maybe in the future we will figure out how to get the kids to do the running of the meetings, parliamentary procedures, and planning things ahead of time!

~~4~~
Post-Partum. Oh it's a rough time. My body is really going to struggle to get back to where I was a few years ago. I didn't lose the baby weight before getting pregnant this time, and I am afraid I now have so much to lose and have gotten into such bad eating habits. My right knee also went bad during this pregnancy, so I'm worried about how I will start exercising again. It's already a struggle to bend down, stand from sitting if I'm holding a baby , or climb up into the van because I can't hold as much weight on my knee.

Then there's the clothing issue. Nothing fits, and I can't shop for clothing with all these kids. This week I finally ordered some things off Amazon that have been in my cart for awhile, these Free to Live tunics and cardigans. And yikes, I'm afraid I'm going to want to order a bunch more from this brand! They seem to be aimed at pregnant/post-partum/nursing moms, and they're so comfy, and made in the USA! The tops will work well with my LuLaRoe leggings, and hopefully my maxi-skirts too, so now I feel like I have a variety of things to wear that feel comfortable for now as I slowly get back to a better weight. Oh how I love Amazon and how I'm glad to have found this Free to Live brand!

~~5~~
SIX kids! I'm still in shock that we have six children. When I was a young girl, I always said I wanted 10 kids. I had no idea what a family life like that would entail. I didn't know the stress, love, heartache, fear, excitement, exhaustion, enjoyment, and the true work that goes into raising a large family. I definitely didn't know what homeschooling would be like! And I still can't believe we're this far into our family life. We have a 14 year-old! And a new baby! And it's just really the best thing ever. To see these kids love their siblings. To know that they will have lifelong friends. To watch them mature and become responsible and virtuous young people makes my heart swell.

I am so, so grateful that we have been entrusted with the care of each of these unique souls. That God would once again allow me the gift of caring for a new baby. There is nothing like it. I hold yet another sweet-smelling head right under my chin and think, "WOW. I get to do this again. Thank you, Jesus. Gosh, I can't imagine ever NOT doing this." It honestly makes me cry right now thinking of never having a newborn again. Hopefully we will be blessed with a couple more! But I love it when I see photos and videos of big extended families, when we celebrate the holidays with Steven's big family, and I know that this party is just getting started! God-willing this family will continue to multiply and hopefully we will be blessed to see that happen.

But as I nurse this baby here in the wee morning hours, and hear three other kids in here sleeping, I just breathe in this blessing of their childhood. It is going by SO fast. I just hope that I can remember the way it feels to nurse my baby, potty train my toddler, encourage my young boys, and admire my young women. I hope they know how much I love them, and I hope that I never take this blessing of motherhood for granted. This year I really desire to work on my prayer life, and to do a better job at thanking God for the gift of life, the gift of faith, and the gift of family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Six Weeks of Peter

Six weeks already! These are all of the portrait-style photos of little Peter. Mary Clare has been getting photo props and gear, and it's been fun to try it all out with our sweet baby boy!


One week old
(photo set by Mary Clare)




Two weeks old


(next photos by Mary Clare)


3.5 weeks old
an uncooperative photo shoot with big sis

4 weeks old
(about half of these are MC's and half mine)











(Ellie took these last two)





Six weeks
finally clubbing up!










We love our Petey-Boy!

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Happy 14th Birthday, Mary Clare!


Monday was Mary Clare's 14th Birthday! We'd planned to ice skate for Steven's birthday, but decided to postpone that and ended up doing a combined ice skating outing for both of them with some friends on Monday. We all went to lunch at Berryhill and had cupcakes and presents at home that evening. The next day she had her one request, a special lunch with her sister and two girl friends at a hibachi grill! She got some fun gifts from family and friends...a suitcase, a camera charm from James Avery, a ballet calendar, some camera socks, a purse with lots of goodies, and new sunglasses.






14 candles!




Onion volcano

Attempting to catch a rice ball in her mouth!

I can't believe it's been 14 years since I was holding a newborn Mary Clare. I was joking at lunch, as rice fell on Peter's head in my Ergo carrier, about how I also dropped food on Mary Clare's newborn head in my sling, at one of her first outings to Luby's cafeteria! God has blessed us with six wonderful children, but Mary Clare will always have the honor and special memories of being our first. She's a kind, responsible, virtuous young woman, and we look forward to seeing the plans God has in store for her!

Happy Birthday, Mary Clare! We love you so much!


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas 2016 Memories (and New Year's)

I'll start with the photos of the kids we used for the Christmas card. We decided to do a "Brady Bunch" themed card, with a headshot of each of the kids. It turned out pretty cute!

Mary Clare (almost 14)

Ellie (11)

Steven (9)

Thomas (6)

Katie (2)

And Peter at 2wks (still a little jaundiced!)

I didn't get many photos or write much about our Advent. But it was filled with rest and love and new baby joys. We were the recipients of many Advent acts of charity as others helped us with kids and meals. We didn't do the Jesse Tree readings or even read more than a few Christmas picture books (still hoping to do that this week!), but we did light the Advent wreath candles when we ate dinner together. The kids had a bit of fun blowing out and relighting them, and these images of Tommy and Katie were just too sweet!


Mary Clare taped up the Christmas cards, since we couldn't find the ribbon and mini clothespins we used to make a banner of cards last year!

I spent much of the 22nd and 23rd sewing new stockings. I still need to get them embroidered, and hopefully next year we'll get them hung!

After the baptism, mass, and our party, we had a quiet Christmas Eve night

The kids woke up dark and early!

Baby Jesus was in Katie's stocking, so she was the one to put him in the manger.

Time for presents!







That afternoon, we went to my parents for awhile and even got to Skype with my brother and his family in California. Katie was excited to show them her baby brother and new baby doll!

I didn't get a lot of photos of the afternoon and evening with our families, but I did catch this shot of Steven with his special Corduroy bear from his preschool.

And this is Katie opening her lion (all the grandkids got lions, as a clue that they get to go see the Lion King musical this summer).

A nice evening at the park on the day after Christmas

And the day after that was Pointe Shoe Day for Ellie!!!


A few sweet snapshots of baby Peter...
12/22

12/23

12/26

12/28

And a few other memories from the week...

The 4 oldest went with Steven to the beach house on Friday night to hang out with their cousins and celebrate their grandfather's 80th birthday! Happy Birthday, BopBop!

I stayed home loving on my babies

Steven took Steven Joseph duck hunting


And then we hosted a New Year's Eve party!

After Sunday Mass, Steven took the oldest 4 to see the new Star Wars movie (across town using gift cards), so I took the two littlest to a nearby California Pizza Kitchen

And then to Katie's first visit at the American Girl Store! She LOVED it.

We've had some fun memories this Christmas break!

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