Monday, August 25, 2014

Majorly motivated on a Monday

We got back Sunday night after an amazing long weekend in San Antonio at the Fullness of Truth Catholic evangelization conference. It was held at the gorgeous Hyatt Hill Country Resort, and it was a fabulous weekend full of family, friends, faith, and fun!

I'll share some photos and reflections in my next post because I am pleasantly exhausted as we came back from this trip and jumped right into our school year this morning!  I was up past midnight printing checklists and stressing out. But it went well overall, although it was quite a bit of work for me on the first day. Hopefully the kids will get used to the newness of this curriculum (Mother of Divine Grace), and we will get into our groove soon. It was much better than our summer days with nothing to do, though!

Just as we finished up our schoolwork this afternoon we had a lovely teenage girl come to help us pack up some of the house to get it show-ready. We packed coats, the under-stair closet, our altar area, some books, a lot of toys, and much of Ellie's room. Mary Clare has been packing her own things, and we are also moving some furniture items like bookshelves, kid desks and tables out to the garage. 

We packed 10 boxes and it feels so good! We were very productive today with the schoolwork and packing, and I hope the rest of the week is the same! I'd love to have the house ready to show in about a week, and I think we can do it if we keep working really hard, especially since we have the help of this nice young lady. An added blessing of this week is that it looks like Steven will be working here in town. Even if it's past 10pm when he gets home, at least he will be here if I need him. 

And so one of the busiest seasons of our life has begun. I even took all five kids to Walmart at about 8:30pm for some school and food items. Crazy! I only abandoned the stroller twice, and only once was the baby in it. Oops. I was just a few feet down the aisle. The school supply section was a mad house!  Anyway, I think the rest, rejuvenation, and the blessings of the conference this weekend will help us get through this challenging time. I pray that God will guide us in every step we take, and in all the big and little decisions we are making may His will be done! St Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Six Months Old, Our Delicious Miracle!

(Photo credit: Mary Clare.  And Katie wears a denim jumper that both her sisters wore!)

I can't write too much about this or I will start crying!  How did this baby already reach her half birthday?  These kids are growing up before my eyes.  Katherine Maria Grace is learning to sit, playing with toys, rolling a bit, starting some tastes of solid food, and it seems like her tummy is starting to feel better the past few weeks so she isn't so colicky.  She's also losing much of her darker hair and just has a lot of long hair on the top that is slowly thinning out.  I think she'll be another blondie!

She is just a little doll and brings us smiles all day.  Everyone loves their turn to hold her, and as much as I'm sad to see the newborn days gone, I know we will enjoy watching Katie in the coming months as she learns to crawl, walk, and talk!

Babies are just so much fun.  I often look at her and think about how sad it would be to never have another baby.  I just can't get enough of them!  Right now I'm reading the 4th book in the Anne of Green Gables Series, "Anne of Windy Poplars," and I loved this little section I recently read...

"....her sister Em was there with such a delicious baby."
"You talk as if it was something to eat," grunted Mrs. Gibson.  "Babies are common enough."
"Oh no, babies are never common," said Anne, bringing a bowl of water for Mrs. Gibson's roses. "Every one is a miracle."

Katie Grace, you are a delicious miracle!  And we are so blessed to have you with us every day!

What would a world be like without these kinds of toothless grins?  Ahhh, I must go snuggle her and read some more about Anne with an E :)  You know she also loves Katherine with a K...

"I'm so glad you spell your name with a K.  Katherine is so much more alluring than Catherine, just as K is ever so much more a gypsier letter than smug C." -Anne of Windy Poplars

And I must end with the photo of the proud big brother who wanted to dress up and be in the photo shoot with his littlest sister :)  Oh how I love all my babies!

Monday, August 18, 2014

My tiny cross

We all have our little crosses, some bigger than others, but they're our crosses that God asks us to carry for a time, or sometimes for life.  Often what is a small cross in the grand scheme seems to be so much heavier when you're in the midst of it.  We've carried some large crosses over these past 13 years of marriage.  We've faced serious illness, unemployment, financial stress, seven moves, a child undergo open heart surgery, and five c-sections along with some complicated pregnancies.  There has been serious illness in our extended family as well.  Today someone asked if we'd like to turn back the clock 10 years, and I said NO, I'd rather not go through those things again, thankyouverymuch!

So now we don't have any life threatening illnesses or major crises in our life, but the little crosses can seem awfully daunting!  I spent the summer in a countdown to our move in mid-September, and then just recently the countdown was paused.  The unknown is so hard!  To have my husband gone for days at a time every week, and to be here at home with all five children and no break is hard!  Preparing for a new year of homeschooling is hard!  Managing the physical and emotional logistics of a family of seven is hard!  And I think it's okay for me to acknowledge that.  In fact, I need to acknowledge that it isn't so easy.  It has been a hard summer.  I'm emotionally nearing my limit, and the hour-by-hour changes in our short and long term plans is mentally taxing.  Steven is pretty much doing two full-time jobs in two different cities right now, which won't last forever, but right now is difficult, and planning a move in the midst of it is everything but easy.  It's a challenging season right now.

But...we are getting closer to making decisions on our moving timeline, and I am prepping for a new school year to start a week from today!  We are all craving routine, and it will be so good to get back into one.  Figuring out the details of online lesson plans, organizing textbooks and the schoolroom, and learning how to work the online class program will be my goals over the next few days.  Happily I'll get to have a little break from all of that this weekend for our mini vacation and I can't wait!  We'll probably be coming back to pack up a lot of our house and get it ready for showing just as we start back to homeschooling, so the craziness is about to begin.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, this summer has been hard, but when the chaos starts in a few days I might be missing these slow and lazy days.

Life is about to pick back up again and I hope I'm ready.  It's time for some changes and some fun around this house.  No more moping, no more crying, we have a new year to look forward to, a little vacation to enjoy, and a new house in the works!  This tiny cross has felt heavy, but I know it will lighten as the days go by.  I hope God's grace will sustain us in the coming months of chaos and changes and I hope I can be grateful for each step along the way.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beach Party Crashers!

Last week Steven had to work in Houston and we wanted to tag along.  We weren't sure where the kids and I were going to stay even the day before, but his sister offered for us to come join a bunch of their family at the beach house they had rented for the week in Surfside since there was extra space after some weekend guests had left.  The kids and I had a blast with the cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents and it was just what we needed to help get us through this hot and hard summer!  Only wish that Steven (and the other family members) could have joined us.  Thanks for welcoming us and letting us crash the beach party, B family!  (These are my good camera photos, iPhone photo collages here)

One of my favorites of the weekend...

My lens kept fogging up from here on, so lots of the photos are fuzzy.

Not from the beach, but a few photos from the pool with my parents later in the week...

And a few favorite iPhone photos...

These are all of Steven's dad's "flags" that he has for all his kids and grandkids.  He puts them up whenever we are together.  We just gave him the new one on the left for our "Katie bug."

Grampatti's Birthday

And my other favorite photo of the weekend!  Adorable!

And I can't end this post tonight without acknowledging the deep loss of dear Aunt Katie this morning.  Here she is smiling at the walk for pancreatic cancer a few months ago.  We hope she has flown swiftly to Heaven and will be praying for all of us!
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  
May she rest in peace.  Amen.

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