Sunday, June 25, 2017

Peter is 6 months!

Peter turned 6 months at the end of May. These were taken by Mary Clare around mid-May, but I figure it's close enough! He had pink eye and a cough around his half birthday and wasn't feeling great.  I love all these adorable faces he made, and wish I had been outside to see how she got him to cooperate for this photo shoot!

Peter is sitting up well, rolling around, and starting to try to pull up. He loves food...the MumMum husks, all kinds of baby foods, and even some things like ice cream, pizza crusts, and pita bread we've let him try when we're desperate for him to stop crying!

He's been a kind of cranky baby for awhile now. He's my lightest sleeper and gets easily awakened by his loud siblings! He also rarely sleeps during the day for more than 20-30 minutes without waking to fuss and nurse.

I'm once again raising a bit of a spoiled baby who doesn't know how to sleep without mama! We even got out the pack 'n play this week to attempt to do some sleep training. That night, Katie Grace fell asleep in it with her baby dolls. Huge success! Ha!

Mornings are his happy time when I can actually sneak out for a little bit to go run an errand, take kids to swim practice, or even squeeze in a workout class myself! The big girls are very helpful with watching him. He likes the exersaucer for short stints and will also sit with some toys on the carpet for long periods of time.

But his favorite place to hang out is his high chair, because he knows he might be given a special treat while there, or even a spoon to hold! His least favorite place is the car seat. You can't imagine how loud this child screams in the car. I'm hoping he grows out of this soon because driving anywhere is very stressful for me when he's crying. He also dislikes clothing stores like Old Navy, since the girls in this family tend to take way to long shopping!

This little guy is HUGE! He's bigger than any of my other babies; I think he was 21 lbs at his last doctor visit. He's got those scrumptious thunder thighs and soft delicious belly! His hair is hilarious. Sometimes it looks like he has a Franciscan tonsure (where monks shave a circle on the top of their heads). He hardly has any hair in the back; I've just trimmed the bottom once and a few times over the ears. But the front is SO long! It curls up when he sweats and is almost in his eyes. 

He has had to endure a never-ending series of sibling activities in his little life. Spring baseball started when he was about 2mos old and has just ended in mid-June. Swim team was almost every day from mid-April until this past week. He's spent many mornings and evenings hanging out in the stroller at the pool or at the baseball fields! He likes the Moby wrap or Ergo carrier and will sometimes fall asleep there if he's really tired.

Now that it's summer he can finally go swimming! He loves the water (for about an hour), and twice has even fallen asleep in my arms while bouncing in the pool! He does great if he has a little rubber bath animal to hold, and I'm glad we have a way to stay cool on these hot summer days! He'll even tolerate a baby float for awhile.

Our little Peter Edward is such a joy for our family. Each new baby brings life and love in a special way. The kids seem to each have a moment of the day where they hold and play with him and give him special snuggles. They miss him when they're gone for awhile and can't wait to see him when they get home. 

It always reminds me of the saying that the best gift you can give your child is a sibling! They will have friends forever, and they all learn such valuable lessons while our family life adjusts to another person. I feel truly blessed to have this active house full of life and love, and I can't wait to see how this little guy continues to bring a new balance and new perspective to each part of our family life. 

Happy Half Birthday, Peter! We're so glad you're you!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jumpety Jump!

Here are some cute photos that MC took of Katie and Tommy on our new little mini (indoor) trampoline! It was super cheap on Amazon, and has been fun for the boys to expend some energy when they're indoors. I'll often find set-ups upstairs, using the trampoline for some kind of game!

Easter 2017 Memories!

Finally our computer is back in working order, so I was able to upload pics from the past few months and can update the blog!

Neighborhood Egg Hunt
(bunny in the background!)

Best buds

So excited

Had to rush off to baseball



Lil Sis, Big Sis


Dyeing eggs on Holy Saturday

Easter Morning! He is Risen! Alleluia!

Only got one shot of Easter with the cousins; 
there were eggs in several neighbors' yards to find!

Plus one I found on my phone. Cousins plus some neighbors.
They're all getting so big!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spring 2017, Family and Homeschool Update

I've fallen way behind in posting the events of the past few months. We're hoping to finish up all the schoolwork and assignments to be sent for grading this week, so that I can finally take this computer in for some much needed repairs! Then hopefully I can load all the photos from my phone and camera, and do a major blogging update this summer. I even got a new zoom lens for Mother's Day, so I'll have some really good photos to share!

It has been a busy spring as usual, with ballet, baseball, 4-H and swim team. Adding a cranky baby to the mix has not been easy! Poor little Peter (almost 6mos) does not like the carseat and gets fussy during our evening (and sometimes daytime) adventures. Hopefully he'll get used to this crazy life sometime soon!

Lent was a time to try to get refocused on prayer. I worked through my Blessed is She Lenten Journal and had some time to reconnect with the Lord. Now that the Easter season is here, I purchased the Blessed is She Road to Pentecost Journal, but my prayer routines of Lent haven't transferred over very well. I hope as life returns to a more normal pace in a couple weeks, I can do better at carving out that most important time for daily prayer and journaling. We did better with daily prayers throughout the day, trying to pray the Morning Offering, Angelus, Rosary, and Chaplet when we could. The children all had their own Lenten commitments and I've been so impressed seeing them work on virtues that they struggle with, taking the time to go to confession, and learning about their Faith in our daily religion lessons, their CCE classes, and their homeschool virtue clubs.

We don't have a lot planned for the summer. Once these spring activities are over, our days will mostly be spent relaxing and taking some trips to the pool. The girls will take some summer ballet classes and we will have VBS at the church in late July. In August I'll have a mom's weekend away (with Peter), and we'll be going to the Fullness of Truth family conference once again. Hopefully we will have some little trips to the beach and bay this summer, and we're much looking forward to a big family trip to Washington D.C. in January, to see the historic sites, visit with family and friends, and go to the big National March for Life. We can't wait!

As I mentioned, the kids are finishing up their school year, and I'll do a mini update on each of them:

Mary Clare is finishing up 8th grade with Mother of Divine Grace homeschool program, taking Latin, History, and Math in live online classes. She has done a great job this year with her studies, and I know that will help her adjust to the rigor of the MODG 9th grade year. I can't believe she will start high school this fall! We plan to scale back on daytime commitments and just continue with ballet and 4-H next year. MC has really grown in her photography talent, and I look forward to seeing where that takes her! She has also kept busy with babysitting for neighbors and at the ballet school, and assisting with a young girls' ballet class. She helps a lot around the house with meals and even started creating a meal plan for the family! She's so good with Peter and helps take him off my hands when I need a break or need to take care of something with the younger kids.

Ellie is completing 6th grade. She took both Latin and History online this year, and has become a very good independent worker like her sister. I'm always impressed when we have a daytime commitment and Ellie takes the time to complete her schoolwork the night before! She also worked hard in her 4-H contests making her jewelry and candy creations for the fair.  Ellie has always loved crafting, so I'm glad she can actually be rewarded for her efforts now! She's also starting to babysit for us and for some neighbors, and she assists with the preschool class at their ballet school. For her 12th birthday last month (also to-be-blogged), she wanted a bedroom makeover for her and Katie, who is slowly moving upstairs. They now have bunk beds and a newly-painted room with some fun decor. Ellie will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in early June, and we are very proud of her!

Steven Joseph is almost done with 3rd grade. It is a big jump academically in our homeschool program, with several new subjects and a new math program since he's working a year ahead in math (Saxon 5/4). He also started All About Spelling this spring. Reading is a subject that has been very challenging for Steven, so all of the reading for different subjects this year (like historical novels, bible stories, and history/science textbooks) gave us a lot of time to work together. He's almost through All About Reading Level 2, and we will continue that next year because he is making great strides in his reading skills! Steven played baseball in the fall and spring, and was chosen for the All Star baseball team at the end of this season. He's so happy to be back on the neighborhood swim team again, although Mama is weary with everything else going on and is very glad Daddy handles the swim meets!

Thomas is completing 1st grade this week. Academics come very easy for him, so our biggest struggle is just pulling him away from the Legos or the backyard baseball practice to sit down and get his work done! He's starting to read chapter books and is almost finished with the Beta (2nd grade) Math U See book. He listens in on a lot of Steven's lessons and soaks it all up; he loves blurting out the state capitals as I'm working with his brother! Thomas has really enjoyed playing baseball again, and although he never goes to practice (because we don't have time for t-ball practice), he has been a star player. He's doing well in swim team this year too, and is even able to compete in backstroke. Thomas loves his baby brother, and carries him around even though the baby looks giant compared to him! Tommy is starting to try some different foods and is starting to play more with the other boys at our different activities, which makes me happy since he's more introverted than the other children. He's no longer my little preschooler sidekick, and is really growing up.

At age 3, Katie is just starting to get interested in drawing, letters, and numbers. This fall I'll probably get some workbooks for her to have her own "school time." Usually once or twice a week she spends a morning or afternoon with my parents, which helps me to get work done with the boys. Her big accomplishment this year was learning to use the potty! She's been trained pretty well since around her birthday, but she still likes to use the mini Bjorn potty chairs at home, in the car, and I even take one in the stroller to the baseball fields or the park since the big potties are so big and loud for her! Katie has such a bright and happy personality. I always say that everything is happy in Katie's world. She loves singing, dancing, her baby brother, her dolls, and her purses :)

Peter will turn 6mos in about a week. I think he's already at least 20 pounds and is surely my biggest baby! He's wearing 12 and 18-month clothes and has those adorable "thunder thighs!" I've been feeding him some baby food the past month, which he loves. But he has sure gotten fussy recently! I think he's about to cut his first tooth, so I'm hoping he might settle down a little bit after that, because I keep having to leave events early and skip things because the poor child is so cranky. He does enjoy his exersaucer, sitting in his high chair, and now can sit up and play with toys and watch his big brothers and sisters. Sometimes all he needs is a different person or a change of scenery to calm down. Yesterday morning he was terribly fussy and wouldn't go down for a nap until Mary Clare took him on the porch swing and got him to sleep in her lap. I love seeing how each of the kids take such sweet care of him in their own ways...Katie smothering him with love, Tommy carrying him around the house, Steven making videos with him on my iPhone, Ellie comforting him in the carseat, and Mary Clare greeting him with love and smiles each morning! What would we do without a baby to love?

Well, the coming days will surely bring more new adventures as we complete our last full week of school for the boys, complete final assignments and assessments for the girls, keep the babies happy, and enjoy our ballet, baseball, swim team, homeschool clubs, and upcoming Memorial Day BBQ. There's a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks, months, and years with this beautiful bunch of kids, but as I sit here with the sleeping baby in my arms and the others all snuggly asleep upstairs, with no big stressors in our lives right now, I can't help but think that this is such a magic time right now...with them all still home with us, all still little enough to be a part of everything...I wish I could freeze this forever!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mutton Bustin' by Thomas

While the girls were competing in the Food Challenge Finals, Thomas chose to compete in the "Mutton Bustin'" (sheep riding) contest for the second time. He tried it last year, and this year he barely made the weight limit, but with the removal of his boots and belt, he just made it in! 

He won first place, staying on the sheep for the longest, compared to the 20 or so other kids. He won the belt buckle he's holding in the photo. Steven had a funny idea for filling out Thomas' information form for the contest. So before he started, they called out his name, city, and said his favorite food is Shepherd's Pie and he wants to be a Sheep Sheerer when he grows up! Too funny. 

Mommy was pretty disappointed to miss watching it because I was with the girls, and wouldn't you know, Daddy got a phone call on his cell phone just as Thomas started off on the sheep! So the video he took didn't record. Too bad. I trust it was a good ride, and we are proud of our brave Thomas for doing a great job on that sheep!

Rodeo and District Food Challenge

I have so much to share from the last few months, but our laptop is still on the fritz and not loading new photos! I'll have to add in more as time goes by and just share these for now.  The big Food Challenge at the Livestock Show and Rodeo took place in mid-March. The Sugar and Spice Chefs once again did an excellent job and made it to finals, placing 3rd overall for the Intermediate division (8th grade and under). We are so proud of these girls and all their hard work. This is a nerve-wracking competition as their every move is scrutinized by judges and they have to be prepared for all kinds of nutrition and cooking questions during the interview. 

and with their dish and their little mascot in her matching apron!

The girls also won 1st place in their division at the District Roundup competition in early May. That will be the last food challenge contest they can do together for several years, as two of the girls will be in the high school division next year. So hopefully we will have teams competing in both the intermediate and senior divisions next year. Our other big 4-H event this spring was the county fair, and I'll save that for another post, because it was an exciting experience for the girls!

Here are some snapshots of the rodeo contest. 
I can't edit on my computer, so you'll have to forgive the haze, 
yellow casts, and the lack of cropping and straightening. 
I think all my settings were wrong on the camera that day!

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