Monday, February 28, 2011

Mellow Monday

I'm proud of myself for getting up this morning with my alarm! We got most of the schoolwork done before noon. We're getting through this "February Funk" of mine by just sticking to the basics, spending lots of time at home and in the yard, and just trying to soak in these baby moments before Thomas starts crawling out of my arms. My internet connection has been really spotty the past few weeks, so although my funk keeps me from writing more, the computer does too!

On Saturday Steven Joseph went with Daddy to work for awhile. You should have seen the joy and excitement as he packed his backpack and got ready to leave with Steven! Meanwhile I took the other 3 with my parents to go look for First Holy Communion dresses for Mary Clare. What a fun outing! My big girl looked like an angel in every one she tried on. It's going to be hard to pick, although the fact that nearly all of them are sleeveless (and we'd prefer cap sleeves) should make it a little easier.

On Sunday we went to the earlier English Mass instead of our usual Latin Mass. Maybe it was going to confession right beforehand with my big girl, but I had this overwhelming sense of joy and thankfulness that we are able to attend Mass together as a family and in such a gorgeous church that draws your mind to God. It's so much easier to focus there, and the kids' church behavior is really improving. It's a blessing to be in a smaller church community where we can really get to know the pastor and can feel an important part of the parish, even though we have not much to offer ministry-wise. Just being there together with our growing family brings lots of smiles and encouragement from other parishioners and clergy.

Ellie's birthday is on Good Friday this year. I'm trying to figure out how to make it special as we'll be ending Lent and getting ready for Easter as well as MC's First Holy Communion. I think we might just celebrate her "Bunny Birthday" on Holy Saturday. I bought a few boxes of Easter decor and treats from an online classified ad today. Turns out the kind lady lives around the corner and came to deliver the goodies. The kids were THRILLED! I don't spend a lot of money on holiday decorations, especially for holidays other than Christmas, but the girls are always wanting to decorate more. It's going to be a fun Easter! Just looking at those boxes which we put in my "mom cave" brings a smile to my face :) By the way, I'm going to have a goal to finish that Mom Cave by Easter!

Thomas is such a big, chunky baby at 5 months old. He is definitely teething and tries to chew on anything in sight. Today while the girls were cleaning up (they did an amazing job with the motivation of the Easter goodies), Steven Joseph sat by Thomas in the exersaucer for about 15 minutes playing with him and giving him his little ring toys to chew on. It was so sweet! SJ has been getting into quite a bit of trouble these days...3 always seems a harder age than 2 for me. But he is so, so remorseful. His little apologies are just the sweetest. A little heart of gold. Oh how I can't wait for that heart to be healed up and not worry about this looming surgery day-in and day-out!

My friend Sarah's little Cooper is fading. Today was his brother's birthday and they were so glad he made it through. But he is apparently sleeping most of the day and not comfortable while he's awake. Sarah said she's now to the point of praying that God will take him so he doesn't have to hurt anymore. Such a horrible experience for all of them to go through. Please pray for comfort and peace for this sweet family.

I'll have to add to my blessing list, with some photos tomorrow, if the internet will cooperate! For now, it's off to bed! Trying to make myself get in bed by 11:00. It's 11:11...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Starting with some phone photos, remembering gifts of the past week...

111. Creative ways of eating an ice cream cone

112. Dressed by his sisters in the sailor suit, so genuinely happy to help me make some Annie's Mac N Cheese.

113. Little man can sit up in high chair with the family. Today we let him try smashed bananas! Oh those first looks when they taste food for the first time! 5 months old!

114. This rock-climbing is always a reminder to me, to keep climbing. Like Mary Clare here, we're all cheered on by family, friends and strangers...we will reach that bell at the top if we keep climbing!

115. Water-watching

116. Bun-making

117. Love note with pressure washer on the driveway

118. My talented little fisherman, wants to be just like his daddy!

Page 170 of One Thousand Gifts: "Instead of filling with expectations, the joy-filled expect nothing--and are filled. This breath! This oak tree! This daisy! This work! This sky! These people! This place! This day! Surprise!"

I am working on this. I'm not doing so well this week. I am feeling overwhelmed and tired. Little things are getting to me. Fruit flies and staph and rotting apple in carpet, wet pants, messy rooms, cracked fingers, sick family and friends, dying boy, sassy children, fussy babies, broken drain plug, and a mosquito in my bathrobe. That mosquito made me cry! My body is not my own, nearly 9 years of nursing and babies...this mama has her tired and whiny days.

But each of those things I listed above should also go in my gratitude journal. Because that's the challenge. That's the surprise! Let's add them...

119. Fruit flies surprise me on my mirror, engulf the kitchen garbage. Oh how they love my home and our fresh fruit!
120. Staph reminds me of sin that can spread and overtake us. Thankful dermatologist says "mild" and thankful for bleach baths and antibiotic ointment. Thankful to know that my body is of this world and reminds me of my earthly limitations.
121. rotting apple which I'm so glad I found yesterday, thankful for fruit this season
122. wet pants, I think there were about 8-10 pairs of pants worn today, and not just on the potty training child! They were all enjoying the outdoors after the rain and had a few dinner-time drink spills!
123. messy rooms filled with children who play and love and laugh and learn
124. cracked fingers, a minor sacrifice I can offer for others, thankful for meds and gloves
125. sick family and friends who must rely on God in times of need
126. dying boy who reminds us all to treasure every second! I am still moved thinking about one of his mom's posts about bringing him home that ended with, "Whatever he needs, we will make it happen and we will love every single second of it."
127. sassy children who are independent and can think on their own, they are leaders and are learning (slowly) that they are not the boss
128. fussy baby who is teething and loves his mother and his nursing so much! I am so loved!
129. broken drain plug keeps us from bathing for too long! prevents anyone from drowning in the tub ;)
130. mosquito in bathrobe made me jump and scream and woke Daddy up to help with the baby while I dressed for bed!

That's more like it. Find the good in the things that eat at you. Lifts your heart a little. Now time for bed so I won't be that slow moving mom once again. Tomorrow is a park day, yay!

Monday, February 21, 2011

This week's blessings

86. Fresh-baked sugar cookies made by the kids
87. Messes from cookie-making
88. Fattest, chubby baby legs
89. Sweet friends who came over to play
90. Cold water bottles (which I'll drink around 5 a day if they're cold from the fridge!)
91. A beautiful love story on a beautiful blog, all about Christ
92. Flower Fairy CD, music from heaven
93. Suzuki piano CD
94. Little girl doing releves to the music (picture that last E in releve with an accent, I can't figure it out on my Mac computer with Windows keyboard!)
95. Another little girl planning a service club to donate all proceeds
96. A headache that happens these days when my body says it is too tired. Sleep must come...

2 days later...
97. bobby pins from ballet buns
98. empty wine glass from a hard worker's wind-down
99. big brother trying baseball cap on baby brother
100. 3yr old vacuuming
101. 8yr old starting schoolwork without being asked
102. the ability to have a slow start to my long days
103. phonics worksheets
104. big boy's boots
105. baby birthmark looks like a butterfly
106. yard full of plastic toys
107. a faithful mother so inspiring while living out her final days with her baby boy only 4yrs old
108. finding where the stench was coming from (decaying apple core next to my bed!)
109. more nice days to play in the backyard, with no shoes, in February!
110. rotisserie chickens that I don't have to cook :)

Must upload photos soon...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Conversation with Steven Joseph

Tonight I read some books and prayed with the children before sending the girls to their room and taking the boys lie down with them in bed (lie/lay and bring/take are two grammatical issues I have, so please excuse those). I was nursing Thomas and Steven Joseph was rolling around the bed, telling me he loved me, stroking my hair, and just being a sweet little guy. Here was some of our conversation...

Mommy, I pray for you!
Thank you honey.
And I pray for Thomas!
That's very sweet.
I pray for me!?!
Yes, you can pray for yourself too. That you would love Jesus and be a good boy.
I'm a good boy, Mommy? (he had just scratched his sister really hard while finishing prayers)
Yes, sweetie, you're a good boy, even when you make bad choices you are still a good boy.
I'm a good boy! I'm a big boy!
This moves into a confusing discussion on how he thinks that he's going to die because he's a "big boy." I try to explain this, but am not doing so well at helping him understand that most of us live until old age :)

Jesus is broken!
Jesus in your tummy and my tummy. How him get in two tummies?
Well, Jesus is in everyone's heart. He comes to live in our souls when we're baptized.
He comes in your belly button?
No, honey. He lives in our spirits. He lives in all of us.
Like magic?
Yes, like magic.
God makes a hole right here for Jesus to come in? (points to his toe)
Steven Joseph, let's talk about this in the morning. Time to go to sleep...

Today's blessings:
80. Incense rising up to God with our prayers
81. Toddler who slept through nearly the entire mass, allowing us to sit at the front and really enter in today
82. Delicious lunch with friends and our pastor
83. Buttery pancakes made by the kids
84. Laughs from beautiful and silly conversations with the kids
85. Laughs from funny videos MC did on the iPhone (cooties vs. charisma?!?)

Saturday, February 19, 2011


61. Sun-kissed cheeks from a day at the park
62. Fishing slime out of the pond with sticks
63. Throwing rocks in the pond, "Look at the circles!"
64. Dancing and drawing
65. Outdoor play all week
66. Book club with friends
67. Cinnamon rolls and OJ in bed
68. Baby enthralled with bathwater
69. Those last few long hairs on baby's head, light fuzz spikes coming in
70. Cold water bottles
71. Naps with my baby
72. Working internet and printer
73. Reading beautiful blog posts
(my perfectionism is very frustrated to need to stop at 73, I wanted to do 10s!)

I'm starting to see a shift in attitude and outlook in myself from the beautiful book. I was reading last night about the blessings of things like toys and papers strewn everywhere and apple cores sitting around. I realize that the things that sometimes annoy me most could really bring me much gratitude.

74. After buying a new ream of printer paper, I'm finding paper everywhere: children who enjoy drawing and writing.
75. Fruit flies everywhere: we have enough food to eat, and fresh fruit for them to enjoy!
76. My cracking, bleeding fingers: I am blessed with children to care for, a sweet baby with diapers to change, dishes to use, and gloves and medication to soothe.
77. A messy backyard: My children have a safe place to play outdoors. They can bring their toys and dolls and have picnics in the grass and a store with cash register in the play fort.
78. A sore neck: I have a baby who is thriving on mama's milk and I'm blessed to be able to carry him around, sometimes on my chest or my back with the Beco carrier.
79. Shoes, shoes, and shoes!!! We have shoes. Many people in the world don't. We have places to go in our shoes, people to see, God's world to explore!

See the shift? I'm learning. Slowly. Thank you, Ann, for showing me the way.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A week of blessings

I didn't mean to be MIA for almost a week! I like to try to post every day, but in a busy life with kids and craziness and exhaustion and internet connections that don't always work...well, sometimes I don't get around to posting. And in this case, I have a ton of pictures and blessings to share!

41. Little Flowers. I love teaching these sweet girls! And I have amazing co-leaders that help pull it all together! This month was St. Cecilia and the virtue of piety. The girls made sachets and friendship pins.

42. Little brothers at Little Flowers

43. My little fisherman. He can cast and reel it all by himself!

44. Big smiles

45. Big sister getting in on the fun!

46. The blessing of Valentine morning with grandparents

47. My silly kiddos are a blessing, even when they fight about getting their picture taken!

48. A sweet goddaughter handing out her Valentines

49. Kindergarteners are precious!

50. And swinging infants are adorable!

51. The wonder and curiosity in Thomas' little eyes is such a blessing to watch every day

52. Even his spit-ups make us smile and laugh!

53. The girls are blessed with fabulous friends. I love all the pinks and reds on Valentine's Day!

54. We had the blessing of fresh flowers and take-out for dinner

55. And we even used Nana's platinum china and her silverware. We've decided to switch to her silverware for every day use. Our other forks were getting eaten up in the dishwasher and we had many missing utensils! Now I'll think of Nana in the silverware and Kelly in our plates. It really is a gift to have so many meaningful items around the house that help me to remember our loved ones.

56. Thomas taking his first baths sitting up! I couldn't get him to look at the camera, because he was utterly fascinated with the water!

57. His siblings tried to get him to sit up but his eyes were still mesmerized by the H2O!

58. Pleasant sunny days
59. A ballet school full of the kindest people
60. Pickwick class, where Mary Clare gains friendships and life skills like crocheting

And today, we are thankful for the gift of Cooper. He is my friend's little 4 year-old boy who has been so sick on and off for years. After a recent surgery, Cooper has a serious infected wound which will likely not heal. He is probably in his final days and they are preparing to take him home on hospice care on Monday. Please pray for this sweet family, that their final days with their miracle boy will be filled with God's grace. Thank you.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cosleeping and God

Last night I was awake for a few hours in the middle of the night. I came back and snuggled into my warm bed with my sweet chubby infant.

He immediately sensed that Mommy was near and, eyes closed, started to search for something to eat. His hunger was soon gratified, he nursed and a few minutes later was back to sound sleeping.

I thought about how this is like our relationship with God. Sometimes we feel alone in the night, sleeping in bed, and are hungering for someone to fill our spiritual or temporal needs.

Our God is so loving, just like a nursing mother next to her infant in the night. We only need to move towards him, and he will know our needs. We may not even open our eyes. We may not even have to loudly cry out to him, but our God is there to fill us with his love and his grace.

More blessings, I'm thankful this Thursday for:
31. Big Thomas (aka BopBop) here to help
32. Listening to lessons of saints and mercy being taught to my girls before I am even out of bed
33. "I love yous" from toddlers
34. Sweet kisses from big girls
35. Baby babbles
36. Good crusty ciabatta bread
37. Oreo cookies
38. Kind friends and family always thinking of others first
39. Warm home and warm clothes on cold days
40. Sunshine

Monday, February 07, 2011

Blessings today

21. A birthday gift forgotten until today, a sweet note and 4 shiny quarters

22. A toddler boy who followed suit and found some coins of his own to give to Mommy, so sweetly.

23. Balding baby boys in stripes, grabbing at plastic ring toys

24. A new journal to chronicle my blessings,

25. And a fridge full from a kind friend who knows how difficult grocery outings are for me

26. Kids swinging in backyard sunshine

27. Daughter singing Latin chants, reading her prayers

28. New free reading program, smoothing out that area where I needed help

29. Reading books on couch with all 4 kids snuggled close

30. Another birthday celebration to end the day, with a cake baked by a sweet friend and decorated by my sweet kiddos

Sunday's Blessings

documented on iPhone...

11. A puffed pancake just right
12. Noisy boy at Mass asking about saints in glorious stained glass

13. Same sweet boy balancing on belly on kneeler saying "don't fall off the boat!!!"
14. Children chasing and playing on downtown sidewalk after Mass

15. Friends and family and food and football

16. Quiet bodies with eyes glued to "Tom and Jerry"

17. A singing boy

18. Hands grabbing my face with slobber kisses
19. A smiling moon in the sky tonight
20. A working washing machine in my laundry room, awaiting hook-up before his rough work begins!

My birthday :)

Out to Saltgrass Steakhouse, then to browse for a bit at HomeGoods, and to the Cupcakery to pick up cupcakes!

Walking down to the neighbors' house for a fun indoor "camping" night with s'mores and friends!

A fun birthday!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

not quite right

I've had one of those weeks, where nothing seems to go quite right. We've had a broken washer, frozen pipes, loss of power...We had snow predicted at 70% which didn't come after all...We had our First Friday classes, Valentines Party, and a weekend trip to the beach planned and canceled because of the weather. Every little bill, errand, or school lesson seemed to go awry. I've even had poop down the carpeted hallway.

Now that's not to say there weren't joyful times through it all. We had 3 fun days at my parents' house due to our aforementioned washer issues. I had a nice birthday dinner and last-minute outing for s'mores at the neighbors' house to end off my day. We've got a 3-day weekend with Daddy home. Steven Joseph was thrilled to get to help Daddy and the neighbor with the beehive (yep, we'll be beekeepers soon), and apparently spent three hours hammering nails and using a mini-blower. He got to fish with Daddy last Sunday and today! Thomas is giggling and playing with toys and it's so fun to watch him discover the world around him. The girls have been playing together really well this week, considering it was too cold to do much else. I left my camera at my parents' house tonight or I'd have some fun photos to share.

Another positive that happened this week was starting a new reading program with the girls. Funnix was offering a free download of their program, written by the same author of the 100 Easy Lessons book I've used with them. There's a lower level for Ellie and an upper level for Mary Clare, and I think it's going to be a great interactive program to increase their reading skills! It takes a good 20-30 minutes a day, but they seem to like it so far!

I'm reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, and I think it will be a good way for me to continue to look at the positive parts of our days. So before I go to bed tonight, I'll start my list. Not sure if I'll get to 1000, but it does seem like a beautiful way to find the blessings in the every day. And that's what this life of a busy homeschooling mommy has to be, because otherwise I'd just see chaos and stress and messes that fill my days!

Today I am thankful for...
1. Chubby baby in fuzzy white PJs with big smiles on the changing table
2. Reading "Where's Spot" twice and "Alice the Fairy" with E and SJ tonight
3. A warm home with hot water
4. Time to rest and read at my parents' house
5. Birthday cheesecake with the fam to celebrate 33 wonderful years of life!
6. A new sweater in one of my favorite shades of blue
7. SJ's cute comments, like "Hey guys! It's me, Little Steven!"
8. Girls dancing to a funny 1990s Christian TV show for kids
9. Sour cream donuts for breakfast
10. A gorgeous sunny day

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Game Park

Daddy had to work all day Saturday, but was thoughtful enough to take us on a family outing that evening! We tried the local bowling alley, but there was a 2-hour wait. We got out our coupon book and found one for our local indoor game park, for free mini-golf with purchase of a pizza buffet dinner. It was a crazy place, and I doubt we'll be doing something like this again anytime soon. But the kids had a great time, and that's what matters! In the end, they also got to play mini-bowling with Daddy while I found a spot in the dark to nurse the baby (and watch Yours, Mine, and Ours with Lucille Ball!). A fun family evening!

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