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...


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!

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! 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!

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!

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!

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...




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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