Sunday, August 31, 2008

happy feet

..a few minutes of this on a daily basis, and I'll be one hot mama! The kids drop whatever arguing might be going on when I put a cd into my kitchen player, and start dancing. Did I mention I love the Jo Bros. ?! Ahhh, to be a teenager again....

Be prepared to move your feet when you check this out

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Note to self...

Spend less time hollering, and more time dancing around the kitchen table to tunes like "We are Family" and "Sweet Home Alabama." Even Lucy loves to dance.

On Palin for VP...

Okay, a few thoughts...I'm uncertain how someone "pro-life" can be strongly pro-death penalty. Not sure I love her love of guns...but she's not from midwest, so maybe it's another ballgame up north. Its also unclear to me how a mother of 5 young ones (including a 3? month-old with Downs) can want to throw herself so completely into a career of any sort. (No, I'm not saying we shouldn't have working moms! it's about balance, I know.) But I do love that she gives a voice to the unborn, and children with special needs, her opposition to same-sex marriage, and that she comes from the largest energy state in the nation, and has a proven track-record for standing up to big oil companies. She's got moxy. Overall, I'm pleased with McCain's choice, even if it is completely contrived. While it probably is a ditch-effort to gain Clinton supporters, I think it serves better to light a spark in the GOP, who could only stand to gain from this self-proclaimed "soccer mom." Brilliant move, Senator McCain (and all who help him do his thinking.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

even better than abc's and 123's...

Our Grace started kindergarten last week. Each day since, she comes home with a new letter of the alphabet, and a poem to go with it. Cute stuff...learning the basics. But yesterday I was moved to tears by her lesson learned for the day. She pulled a crumpled red contruction paper heart out of her backpack and began to smooth it out with her hands before beginning the story. The tone of her voice softened as she began..."Mom, our teacher says that when we call someone a bad name or tease them, this happens to their heart..." and she began to gently crumple one edge of the paper heart. "And if we make fun of them, or laugh at them, this happens to their heart..." and she crumpled the other side of the heart. She continued "And when we tell them we're sorry, and try to make things better," (she began smoothing the heart out again) "their heart gets better, but we still leave wrinkles on their heart Mom. When we're mean to someone it changes their heart forever." By this time, tears are rolling down my cheeks. I hugged her. She ran off to grab an after school snack, and I hung the heart proudly on the front of the fridge. Note to self: be sure to send that teacher a note of thanks...and maybe a treat. These are the basic lessons all kids need to hear.
God Bless.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a blast from the past.

I had the opportunity to visit with some good friends/former co-workers tonight. It's been 10 years since the Assisted Living facility I used to work for opened its doors, so an Open House celebration took place. I happened to be one of the first nurses hired in to what became a very close-knit (all but ecclectic) group of men and women. I spent just a couple years there, until the time Alice and Emma came along, and then I took my leave. Other than an occassional Christmas card, I'd fallen out of touch with these friends, so it was wonderful to be reuinited with them tonight. As I left the party and drove home though, I became even more aware of how God brings people into our lives, sometime only for a short while, but always with purpose. The people I'd met there helped me to find the best part of me. I believe my perception of myself changed, and acceptance of others for their unique differences grew, enabling me to embrace my faith more fully. My prayer life grew stronger in those years, and I developed a special connection with the Blessed Mother as I was reaquainted with the Rosary by one of the other nurses. What beautiful people, and what a wonderful stepping stone on my path through this blessed life. Thank you God for taking care.

On the Feast of St Monica

...and I was just talking with someone the other day. She asked what we do about children/family who have strayed from the church. Prayer was the only answer. And now I can share with her the name of a wonderful intercessor. As mothers, we can learn from St. Monica to pray without ceasing for conversion of souls especially those of our children who may stray from the church. May we never lose hope. She was the wife of a verbally abusive husband, and mother to Augustine who chose a carefree lifestyle and wicked ways. Because of her constant prayers he converted just before she died and later became a Bishop and Doctor of our Catholic Church. St. Monica and St. Augustine graciously hear our prayers, and help us to lead our children to Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

going bananas (over grapes.)

Mmmmm...I love the smell of grapes. Real grapes, fresh from the vine...not like bubble-gum grape flavoring but real grapes as God intended. We planted a couple grapevines 3 years ago, and this is the first season they've produced enough for more than just the birds to enjoy. John and the kids picked a large grocery sack full, and together with Grace and Mary, I cleaned and made juice of them. 30 quarts of beautiful, delicious grape juice canned and ready to be enjoyed. I see the jars lined up on the cupboard cooling, and I smile thinking of John's mom who gave me my first lessons in canning more than 10 years ago, just before she passed away. It was tomatoes and peaches then. She was so patient, sharing her skills and tricks of the trade that came with years of experience. I think she might just be happy to know that the art was not lost on me, that I did learn something wonderful from her, and that I'd loved to have learned more. Ever grateful for the blessings in my life...bountiful harvest, loving supportive people, beautiful family. God is good.

Some mornings go smoothly...

...and some mornings we have drama. Today, a little drama. I would expect this with 6 girls in the house, but didn't think it would start this young. I try to eliminate as much morning angst as possible by being prepared. For one thing I set up the coffee pot the night before. There, I'm ready. It's also required of all school kids to lay out clothes (socks and shoes included) the night before. I even check it, cause God knows black and navy only go together in a bruise (SAM!) Anyhow, bookbags are laid out, cereal bowls and spoons set get the picture. This morning though, things just weren't working out for Alice. The cute t-shirt she picked out last night just wasn't fitting the way it had last time she wore it (the bottom hem was rolling up and it was bothering her.) Anxiety led to tears, then yelling, and more tears. I nonchalantly suggested she head back upstairs and find something else. (Apparently she expected more of a rise out of she sobbed back upstairs.) Emma, who's always the first ready...cause she doesn't care what she looks like, headed upstairs to give Alice a shoulder (not a helping hand...she's useless in the fashion dept.) A few minutes later Emma came down, and whispered "It's not goin' good up there mom." By this time, I had sorted through a basket of clean tees, and was able to send Emma back up with a shirt for her twin. I love how despite their extreme differences, times like these allow them just to be there for each other. Emma could have antagonized, but she didn't this time. She just shared in her "pain" and helped however she could. The rest of the morning went smoothly, and everyone got off to school with smiles on their faces, and those few moments of drama and tension were behind them. For now.
Peace to all! God is good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Houston, we have a breakthrough...

2 year old Rosie has begun to say "Yes." Okay, some of you are saying "big woop!" I know. But, "no" and "I dunno" have been her only words (aside from mom and dad) for months now. So to hear the word "yes" was music to my ears. She seemed to know it was a big deal, and played it up nicely for me. I bombarded her with "yes" questions all day long, just to hear her linger on the "s" sound...with her little tongue hanging out to stretch the sound a little longer. Rosie have a stinky diaper? "Yesssss," Would you like a clean one? "Yessssss" Need a drink? "Yesssssss" Kisses for mommy? "Yessssss," Are you pretty? "Yesssss" Ready for naptime? "NO!" (okay, she likes the new word, but she's no dummy.)

too funny

okay, this was too funny to stay hidden in the "comments" box. Apparently this is what ramp-building and other shananigans may lead to. (By the way, I'm NEVER leaving the kids home alone. Ever.) Thanks anonymous.

check this out

Of suds and stuff...

Did I mention I dabble in laundry from time to time? Stain removal, it's my thing. Our summer sock-hiatus is over now, so it's that time of year again to start sorting socks. Yuck. (I mean, oh joy!) Anyhow, I've come up with a lifesaver. If your kids are still young enough and might help. I bought a small mesh laundry bag for each of the kids (the kind that you can wash delicates in...zips shut). The bags are clipped to hangers with the kids name on them and hang in our bathroom closet near the laundry chute. At day's end, they place thier socks into their own bags. When the bags are full, I zip them all shut, and toss them into the washer with the other whites. When dry, each of the kids is responsible for emptying, sorting, and putting away the socks from their bag. Voila! I'm outta the sock sorting loop. Halleluia!!
...leaving me more time to lay on the couch, reading my favorite magazine, and eating bon-bons.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

little rock-n-rollers

OMG! How old are they again? 7 and 8, or 17 and 18?! All of the kids have been sharing in the fun of "fashion shows," from boys dressed as contruction workers or football players, to girls in party dresses. I'm fine with this creative play. I'm even cool with them destroying/losing most of my clothespins with the stage curtains they clip up in the basement. But quite frankly, this ensemble scared me. No, not the all black...although it caught me off guard that they'd heard the term "goth" and used it to describe what they were wearing. It frightened me that in a split-second, I felt 10 years older, and completely unprepared for the teen years. (Imagine...9 teenagers in one house...OMG!) Anyhow. I tried to be cool. Told them how "cute" they looked and encouraged them to wear their outfits to school. They immediately returned to their rooms and changed. Thank goodness, reverse psychology worked out this time. "Cute" is a word that changes Emma's mind in a heartbeat. These self proclaimed rock-n-rollers nearly rolled right over me today. Yikes. Just breathe Jamie, just breathe.

Rock on..

Today's Gospel told the story of Jesus proclaiming Peter to be the "rock," the very foundation on which the church would be built. The same Peter who did not want his feet washed, the same Peter who denied Jesus (not once, but 3 times), the very Peter who did not want Jesus to suffer for the sake of all, and who lacked confidence in the storm. This was to be the man on which our church is built. In this I find hope. Hope that if Jesus can find goodness and worthiness in us despite our imperfections, then perhaps we can be "rocks" too. On days when I am a doubter, when I don't feel capable of "handling" or perhaps unworthy of all the blessings I've been given, I can find peace knowing I'm not meant to be perfect, just good. And that in admitting our shortcomings, and asking Jesus for forgiveness, as Peter did, we can also delight in the promise of a share in the kingdom of heaven. May we remain strong in our faith, proclaiming God's good word, being a "rock" for Christ's church, starting at home, and "rockin' on."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

back on the subject of sweeping the floors...

...we had tacos tonight. (Aye Caramba!) Next time we're eating outside. Period.

Who was St. Rose?

Interesting that I just read that today is the feast day of St. Rose of Lima. I had heard her name before, but didn't really know anything about her...that is until just last week. The stained glass windows are being renovated at our church. So one by one, each window is carefully removed, temporarily replaced with clear glass, and then returned when completed. They're looking beautiful as ever. It just so happened that last week the window of St. Rose returned and mom asked me after mass, why she was wearing a crown of thorns. Hmm, didn't know, so I 'googled' her. Turns out St. Rose was known for her remarkable suffering (at times wearing the metal barbs which she hid with a crown of roses) as a means of penance and unity with the Divine. She is also the first canonized saint of the new world. A little Catholic/saints trivia for you today.

St. Rose pray for us, that we may recognize our trials and sufferings as a means to bring us closer to Christ as well. Amen.

who needs t.v.?!

...we don't here, at least most of the time. Last evening my parents stopped over for a visit. I think when they get tired of silence (perhaps bored) they drop in to see what's cookin' at our house. (and somethin's always cookin!) Last night was not a disappointment. The kids drug their skateboard ramp (of the scrap-wood, homemade variety) out of the garage, and were trying to "find something different to do." They placed it in the grass at the end of the sidewalk that runs along side our garage. The grass made for a softer landing, and the ramp was angled so that they could run their scooters off better. It didn't take long before they pulled other scraps of lumber out of the garage to raise it a little higher, and give it a little "spring." Soon scooters were left at the wayside, and the ramp became a spring-board. Even the toddlers were involved, and the line of 9 little people taking turns doing jumps was a crack-up to watch. I think the laughing turned to hysterics when Alice took her turn and jumped right in the middle of the ramp, cracking into two pieces. It was classic. I should have known that the fun wouldn't stop here though. What one doesn't think of, the others will. They began stacking the ramp pieces in a teeter-totter fashion, so that Emma would jump onto one side, just as the runner hit the other end, springing the runner into the air even further. The thought of an ER visit did cross my mind, but I hadn't seen my parents laugh this hard since we were kids doing dumb tricks around the house. Even my dad took his turn as the "jumper" once. (only once.) When they started dragging chairs and coolers out of the garage to get higher jumps, I had to stop the show. I mean, where would it end? I had visions of them trying to jump off the garage roof next...just trying to get a good "spring." And I wouldn't put that past Emma for a second! She has no fear. Oh well, gave us all a good laugh, nobody was hurt, and the television stayed off for another evening.

Friday, August 22, 2008

check out those new dookie-dockies

Oh yaah! Too cool. I happened to have the 2 youngest boys with me at Walmart last night, and came across these great finds (only $3). Reminiscent of the old Converse Chuck Taylors I had when I was a kid, and pretty sure, my dad had too. Charlie and Frank think they're "all that." Made me remember my grandma who would have loved those nice "dookie-dockies." (Not sure if that was a word used only by her, but rings right in with "davenport" which is the only word she ever used for couch.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

busy planning

Not much to write about tonight as I'm busy planning for my first class tomorrow. Ready to meet and greet 14 2nd-graders and try to lead them towards a closer relationship with God. It's a big year as they prepare for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. I'm nervous and excited. Pray for us.

I just swept, I promise.

It occurred to me today as I was sweeping the kitchen floor, that it might be quite possible to feed a third world nation from the cast-offs on my kitchen floor. And that's just lunch! I'm certain there was a time in my married life when pulling out the broom on Saturdays (cleaning day) was more than sufficient. And if I didn't get around to it that often you might not even notice. But now, if I skip brooming after a meal, there's a potential for bodily injury! I mean seriously, if you've ever cut your toe on a dried crusted cheerio, you know where I'm coming from. It shouldn't come as any surprise then, that this is Lucy's favorite hangout. The snacking selection is endless...brownie bit, cracker crumb, mushy (or dried) cereal, oh, and on a "good day" you might just score a half of a breakfast bar (or more!) I'm telling you. I really did sweep today, but someone snacked, and we start all over again! Scouts honor!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Okay, I'll admit, maybe I was dragging my feet a bit. I just couldn't get motivated let alone excited about the first day of school. It didn't help that little Lucy was awake frequently thru the night (perhaps cutting more teeth?). So as I moped around the kitchen table, still in my jammies, and hanging my head into a huge vat of coffee, Sam called me on it. "Hey Dad, how come you're doing everything today, and mom's just sittin' there?!" Someone blurted out (maybe me) "cause Dad's the man of the house...he's takin' charge." Grace was quick to pipe in "Well God's 'the man' of the whole world, and He's not pourin' cereal." Okay, already. I get the picture. I mustered what little energy I had, threw on some clothes, and shuffled everyone out onto the front step for first-day pictures. Oh, and it was a beautiful day outside. Breathing in a little fresh morning air was good for the soul. 3 were on their way across the street to meet up with the neighbor kids for their 2 block walk to school. One more would be heading out after lunch for afternoon kindergarden. The rest were piling out onto the step in their pj's to watch the buses go by. Oh, I think it might be a good day afterall. A new school year is underway.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

back to school blues.

It's finally here. No more denying it. Schools back in session starting tomorrow. I seem to be the only one in the house fighting it though. New shoes are lined up in the kitchen, backpacks plump full with crisp notebooks and yet to be sharpened pencils lay waiting on the bench, clothes ironed and laid out, and dare I say it...alarm clocks set. (sob, sob.) How could it happen that I feel so completely caught off-guard by this year's start. It's been jotted on the calendar since the first of summer. What happened to the last 3 months??!! The parks, the playgroups, the picnics, the pool?! Why must it end?
Alright, maybe I'm going a bit overboard. Grace (with all of her drama) is rubbing off on me. Truth is, it was kind of nice putting everyone in bed by 9, and the thought of having 6 less kids in the house during most afternoons might just be nice. Perhaps I'll get to snuggle with Charlie for his naps just a bit longer. Hmmm. A less-noisy cup of coffee in the morning might not be all bad. Yeah, maybe it's a good thing. Maybe I won't miss late-nights catching lightning bugs, and even later mornings sleeping in. Maybe spending time doing homework and organizing schedules will grow on me. Maybe, just maybe I'll be posting a little ditty about how quickly this school year flew by, and "can't believe it summertime again!" real soon. Yeah, maybe.
Here's to a blessed new school year!

Monday, August 18, 2008

a few thoughts on Adoration

I hadn't been for awhile, so tonight I took the kids to church for Adoration. If you've been procrastinating like me, stop! If you've never been...go! It's great for the soul. Silence is golden, and allows us that time to just listen, pray, thank, praise, ask, or whatever it is that we need to do. Just being in His presence is enough. Oh, and the bonus...while I'm certain my kids didn't get through many prayers (as evidenced by their tugging at my shirt asking "Is it time to go yet?") I do love that they get to see a different, more peaceful side of their mom, and maybe it will make them want to find that peace some day too. Monkey see, monkey do.

(oh, and pray for our priests while your there, if you think of it.)

shoe-shopping 101

Back to school...need new shoes! I'm always incredibly embarassed to take the kids in for new school shoes. This year was no different. It seems that their feet grow a full 2 or 3 sizes over the summer, leaving me feel like a real cad forcing my kids to wear too-tight shoes. Truth is, most of the summer they don't wear any. So, with coupons in hand, and stores advertising their "buy one get one half-price event" I loaded the 6 oldest into the van and headed for the mall. Halfway there I wondered if the kids put on clean socks, or heaven forbid, washed their feet. That question was easily answered later when we piled out of the van, and I spot one of the girls in grundgey flip-flops, Sam wearing his holey sneakers, and Emma wearing tennies without socks at all. As little John peeled off his shoes, sand actually fell out onto the floor. Great. Oh well, we forge on. In the shoe store, I can sense the fear in the saleswoman's eye as she asked "How many need measured today?"
"All of them," I answer, smiling and trying to be optimistic. We start an assembly line of removing shoes, putting on socks (turns out some of them thought to bring clean socks along, just didn't want to wear them), filling out stickers with their size written on them, and then sending each one in the direction of their size. I have to admit, this lady was the best I've ever seen...she must have had a large family herself, cause she handled the pressure well. And I love the idea of writing the shoe size on a sticker pressed firmly on their shirt. When fitting six kids at a time, the actual size verses the 1/2 size up you want to purchase all start to blur...Sam measures 3, needs a 3 1/2, Emma 1 1/2, needs a 2, Alice 2 1/2 needs, a 3, and on and on. The stickers were genious!!! Everyone found a shoe they liked, that fit well in no time at all. They quietly tried them on, helped their little sibs, and after making a final decision, took their little boxes and sat along the wall waiting for the others. It was the kind of peaceful organization that makes my heart sing. It was poetry in motion. Ahhh, God is good. I made my purchases, cashed in my coupons, and each of the kids carried their little bag out of the store like a line of ducks following mama. Now if only we would have stopped there. My brilliant idea to take this show further into the mall backfired in a major way. But I'm grateful for the few beautiful moments while they lasted.
Now wait till I bring in the other 4 next week. I can only hope things go half as smooth.

weekend recap

My apologies to those checking in. I've been neglecting the posts this weekend...too busy just living life. John left early Friday with 8 other family members for Alabama. His brother Phil was celebrating his retirement from the US Army after 24+ years of service. (Oh, and did I mention he's 50 now too!) The kids and I stayed behind, van-less. We had a very nice weekend though. With Frank and Rose's birthday, grandparents came for lunch on Friday. The kids and I walked to the park for a picnic supper later that day. They all enjoyed hunting for locust shells. I think they found more than 50. (Awesome!!!!) When we got home, we were visited by Rosie's godfather Jay, wife Jackie and newborn Luke. It was the first we'd met Luke, and I enjoyed holding him immensely. He's a solid little guy. I just love that newborn stage...wish it could last a little longer.
On day as usual. For some reason, the kids worked incredibly well together...finishing their chores (and then some) in record time, and with no arguing. Thank God for small miracles every day! So, for a treat we walked to McDonalds after supper for some ice cream. Yumm. Thanks Grandpa S. for the birthday McD's gift certificates. It's fun for the kids to "pay" with their own "money." We stopped for a brief time at the park, and hunted interesting stones for our rock collections. Alice found one shaped like a heart which actually was pretty cool. We ended the night with baths for everyone, a visit from grandma and grandpa who started a campfire for us, and brought 'smores fixins. (And a corona light with lime for mommy...yeah!!) I have to admit, I missed John most for the end of day conversation that we share, so it was nice to have adults to talk to at the end of the day, to help fill that gap.
On Sunday we made it to church, and later had a nice brunch with Grandma. The oldest 3 kids were invited to a local parade with the neighbors. And more visitors. This time Frank's Godmother, Dena and husband "Chick" dropped by. Chick helped us to set up tents in the backyard in preparation for cousins that would be visiting later in the evening. Our New Albany family arrived later, John's sister Martha and her 5. What a fun time it is when they come. The kids all play so well together. Our Sam loves having boys his own age around to rough-house with. We made another campfire, and more toasted marshmallows. (No corona this time...had to keep my wits about me.) Their were 15 kids and 2 moms, and while it was a little loud at times, I enjoyed every minute of it!! I just love when company comes. The 5 oldest camped in the backyard, while the other 10 found beds in the house. It worked out perfect. John got in late, around 1:30 am after dropping off his other passengers. What a relief to have him home safe with us again. (Thank God for more answered prayers.)
That brings us to Monday morning, today. Our guest have just taken off for other visiting with grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. It feels like all the fun was just sucked right out of the house with them when they went...the kids are suddenly feeling the effects of their late-night, early-morning camp-out, and my coffee has not yet taken effect. A nap sounds really good. I think we'll just take it slow today. Hear about dads trip, maybe slip out to the mall for school shoe shopping, before classes start Wednesday. Hmmm.......can't believe summer's on it's way out for another year. If only it were the first monday of summer, and not the last...
God Bless!

Friday, August 15, 2008

it's time.

I've been thinking about it for nearly a year now, it's time. I've clipped the pacifiers for the 2 year olds. John's out of the house visiting family in Alabama, so there was no talking me out of it. Frank and Rose are "big kids" now, it's time to cut them off. Literally. I snipped the tip of their pacifiers tonight, and explained "they're broken, all gone." Nothing makes me crazier than seeing kids who have to take their pacifiers out to talk. But we were nearing that line, so today was the day. As Emma told me later, "That's just a BAD birthday present mom!" She was right, maybe I should have waited till tomorrow. Rose cried for about 10 minutes from her crib, and when I went in to reassure her, she just laid the broken Nuk on the table next to her crib and whimpered, shaking her head no. I felt bad for her really. It's helped her to sleep for 2 years now and in a flash it was gone. Frank on the other hand didn't make a peep, and when I went in to check on him, the pacifier was tossed to the floor like yesterday's news. I'm feeling a little sad that they're not my babies anymore. Just like their siblings before them, they're growing and becoming more independent each day. I must savor each phase for all I can, because it is just that...a passing phase, to be replaced by another. And soon, they're all grown.
I best go look at them one more time, and then off to bed I go. There's a good chance that I haven't heard the last of them yet tonight.

...and Happy Birthday Frank & Rosie!

Remembering those early days, and how much I loved you from the moment I saw you. I am a better person for knowing and loving you. Thank you God for these 2 blessings.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

August 15th

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

It was only right that a body so pure that God could deign to become a man in it should not be touched by the corruption of the grave.
~ Alexander de Rouville, The Imitation of Mary

living the simple life

I just read somewhere yesterday (sorry if it's stolen from your website), that we must "learn to live simply, so that others might simply live." Wow. I'll be the first to admit that we here live the anti-green life. I choose for now to take the convenient route...paper plates, disposable diapers, cheap cleaning products that get the job done. My thoughts are wrapped around stretching the budget, and not saving mother earth. On that same note though, we have learned to make do, or do without. Emma (3rd grader) just got her first new backpack since preschool. (the shock, I know...same backpack for 4 years!) There was nothing wrong with the old one, and John will be recycling it for preschool this year. I had to laugh as she was "breaking in " her new one today. "Look mom! I think I can hold on to this one for a few has a cell phone holder for when I get older." I if! I'm guessing, the cell phone holder will be a great place to hold a pack of gum, or pair of sunglasses, not likely ever a cell phone.
But I can let her dream...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a look back at the younger versions of us...

Some how the time capsule was cracked open today. I caught the kids checking out our wedding video (from almost 14 years ago!) It was entertaining to watch their reactions to their much younger aunts and uncles, and wonder out loud why a lot of their cousins weren't there. ('cause they weren't born yet either.) At one point in the film, photos of John and I in our dating days played. Little Mary asked if we were "moms and dads" yet. Grace responded before I could with "Of course not can't have babies till after your married!" It made me grateful that they associate the blessing of family within the vocation for which it was intended. May God continue to bless our family, and yours.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

who's calling please?

No, really, I can't hear you. Who's calling please?
Emma's soccer coach called yesterday to give me the season-starting details, practice times, etc, and I was embarassed to have to ask her to repeat details multiple times. Not because I'm hard of hearing, but because our house is noisy. (an understatement) Nobody's hurt, there's no party, we're not watching an action-thriller on's just noisy. Oh, and you are all aware of the default feature built into children's brains, aren't you. When the phone rings, without fail, an interal alarm goes off in their little heads, and strange behavior occurs. From peaceful playtime, the phone ringing sets off the desire for snacks, the need to potty, an inclination to steal a toy they would typically have no interest in...and the list goes on. I've tried phoning friends or taking care of "phone business" during quiet times, and without fail all H*LL breaks loose. (pardon my french). But it's true. This is why you more than likely won't catch me making a social call during daylight hours. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate calls during the adult voice (especially one not 'selling' something) is always a bright point of my keep the calls coming. But please understand ahead of's noisy here. Can you repeat that?

Monday, August 11, 2008

kisses missed, but not forgotten

John went in to work for a few hours today to catch up on paperwork. Alice caught him before he was out the door though. She grabbed his face and pulled him down closer to her, and kissed him goodbye. "That's for last night, cause you were shaving when I went to bed." He glanced over at me, and we shared a smile. I could sense his heart melting just then. The love of a child reminds me of how God also loves us. When I fail to seek Him out for my end of day prayers, he's there waiting for me to start a new day in His love.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Call me...

The kids came up with there own nicknames today. I had to write them down to keep track. (I mean really, I can barely get their real names straight on a good day, and now they've got new ones...jeesh!)

John...Bull Dozer
Lucy...LuLu Bird

I'm imagining a few of them as gangsters from the 30's or 40's, and praying these names will be forgotten by tomorrow. Although, as with any really great idea in our house, signs have been posted on every bed room door, making them as "official" as they can get. When they asked what they should call me, I made it clear that "Mom" would do just fine.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

good "clean" fun?

When's the last time your feet got really dirty? I mean, like when we were kids, and spent the entire day outside barefoot. And at bedtime, we'd all sit on the edge of the tub and take turns washing our feet (cause it wasn't bath night.) We had our kids at the park tonight, and then to the baseball diamonds to say hi to a few classmates who had turned out for the annual alumni softball tournament. By the time we returned home, the kids were black from the knees down. So, in the tradition in which I was raised, I lined the kids up 3 at a time on the edge of the tub and scrubbed feet. Rosie was actually wearing pink toe-nail polish...which wasn't evident pre-soap. It made us both laugh as she "oooh"-ed at the sight of it finding lost treasure. After feet, they took turns at the sink washing face and hands. It was much quicker than baths, I know now why our parents did it that way. Needless to say the ring around the tub was something to behold. Just imagine 90 dirty little piggies making their way through your tub in just a few minutes time. (Not 100, since Lucy stayed clean in her stroller.)
More precious memories of summer.

Friday, August 8, 2008


just typed a lovely post about all the wonderful things we've accomplished this summer. the trolls working the info. super-highway had other plans though, and it's gone forever. Too tired to retype it tonight, so you'll have to believe me when I say, time flies when you're havin' fun!!
Can you believe we have just one full week of summer vacation left before it's back to alarm clocks, homework, soccer schedules, and shorter days. I'm tired just thinking about it, and to look around my house right's a good thing tomorrow's Saturday: Cleaning Day.
Good night, and God Bless!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

profile of a miracle

Name: Rose Evelyn

age: nearly 2

eyes: sparkly blue

hair: curly blond

The thought of her upcoming birthday has me very sentimental today as I think back to the day of her birth, and what a miracle it is that she's here with us. Don't get me wrong, I consider each of my children a blessing and a miracle...God's creation. But her story is much different than the others, and I've wanted to put it in writing for sometime.

At about 36 weeks into my pregnancy with Frank and Rose, my doctor began ordering weekly testing at the hospital to measure their growth, and also to monitor their movement and reactivity. I didn't have this with any of the other 2 sets of twins, so I kind of felt it unnecessary this time around. At 36 weeks all was well, so when it came to 37 weeks, I tried to talk my doctor out of the tests. I felt great, was showing no signs of labor, and could feel the babies moving all the time. She was adamant though, so I went to the hospital as planned. It was a Wednesday, August 15th, the feast our Our Lady's Assumption, a perfect day for the divine intervention of our Blessed Mother.

I arrived at the hospital as scheduled for an ultrasound first. The babies measured quite large with Frank measuring about 3 pounds larger than Rose, but neither were small babies, so I wasn't worried. Next I headed upstairs to the OB department for the non-stress test. I was strapped with 2 belts holding fetal heart monitors and given a little button to press every time I felt a kick. The button made a little mark on the heart monitor print-out so the nurses were able to compare when a baby moved, and how their heartrate reacted to their movement. It was during this test that we discovered that little Rose, while she had a heartbeat, was not moving, or "reacting". They tried stimulating her by placing a loud buzzer on my belly, and even had me drink sugar-filled drinks to wake her up, but it was all ineffective. My doctor, who was just returning from vacation, so was not in her office as was typical for Wednesdays, was in the OB department instead and determined it was necessary for delivery right away. Her prescence at the hospital was just one more small piece of the series of miracles that occured that day.

I was moved into a labor/delivery room and started on pitocin to begin contractions. After several failed attempts to reach John at home, my mom and neighbor found him at the pool with the 7 kids...obviously neither of us had any inclination that this was to be "the day." He made it to the hospital with plenty of time to spare and about 2 hours later, Frank came into this world. A strong, healthy 8#7oz. baby boy. After his delivery, Rose's weak heart rate plummeted and her delivery became much more urgent. She arrived just moments later, white as a ghost, not breathing, and without a heart beat at all. She was lifeless. At this time, I became very aware of all the people that had gathered in the room. (Somehow, I was oblivious to them before, not sensing at all the seriousness of Rose's condition.) Our family doctor was there, an emergency room physician, a respiratory therapist and a whole entourage of nurses were present and waiting to do whatever they could to save this baby. And they wasted no time. They worked tirelessly for approximately 15 minutes doing chest compressions, intubating her, and providing breaths for her via an ambu bag. At one moment I saw a nurse listening to this tiny baby's chest with a stethescope and shaking her head as if to say she couldn't hear anything. Our good doctor kept working though, and soon her heart was beating again. She was put on a respirator, and brought immediately to the nursery for more care. I hadn't yet held her, or seen her face. But where there is faith there is hope. We prayed together for her life, and her health. I soon got word that she was stabilized and being prepared for transport to a hospital over an hour away that had a neonatal ICU. The nurses brought me to the nursery to hold her little hand and see her for the first time. She was very swollen, and looked like a baby doll, so pale. Baby Frank was there with her. The nurses thought that since she was stable for now, it would be good for them to be comforted by each other. I was glad for that. John's dad who is a Catholic Deacon, came to the hospital and gave her a blessing and said some prayers for her. I'm still so grateful for him coming there. It gave me peace in the midst of so much uncertainty.

It was the middle of the night when she was transported, so John visited with her the following day, and sent reports to me of her condition. It was hard not being there, and yet I had this beautiful healthy baby Frank who was a wonderful blessing and diversion. His immediate needs kept my mind from being totally consumed with worries of Rose so far away. I was forced to cast my anxiety on the Lord, and know that he would take care.

It was determined later, that sometime in my last 2-3 days of pregnancy, the placenta that gave nourishment to Rose in my womb had torn away causing a maternal-fetal bleed. This bleeding caused her to become very anemic, and caused her heart to work overtime to supply her frail body. The overworked, enlarged heart became inefficient, and caused the fluid buildup in her lungs and throughout her body. My doctor suspects that if Rose had not been delivered when she was, she would not be alive today. She discussed with me quite frankly, that she felt a certain divine intervention that day as well. And said she was grateful to be a part of it.

I was finally able to see her and hold her for the first time when I was discharged from the hospital Friday afternoon, 2 days later. She was still on the ventilator, and had various tubes and IV lines throughout her body. I sobbed when the nurse laid her bundled little body into my arms. It was at that moment that I was finally fully aware of the possibility of losing her. Seeing her helpless little body, and fully understanding how fragile life is. Prayers to our Blessed Mother continued throughout Rose's hospitalization, and miracles continued to occur. I asked Mary to be the mother for little Rose that I could not be, to help Rose to feel her prescence and comfort when I was unable to hold her or comfort her. I had made the difficult decision to stay at home with the other 8 children as much as possible, to allow my body to heal, to be there for newborn Frank and the others who desperately needed their mom to be present. I knew there was little I could do for Rose. Even holding her was not allowed in the early days of her hospitalization. So, I prayed our Heavenly Mother would care for her. John and I took turns making the drive every day, and visited her as much as we could. Each day she showed progress, weaning herself to different ventilators, until she needed no vent at all. Tests were done on her heart and brain to determine if any long-term damage had been done by the lack of oxygen she'd experienced. Everything came back clear. More miracles! And at about day 9 we were able to feed her first bottle. She drank less than a teaspoon, and I wanted to sing from the rooftops!! On her 10th day, it was my turn to visit. I arrived at the hospital to be greeted with smiles from the nurses and a "She's going home today!" I was in shock and disbelief as they had just told us the day before that we couldn't make homecoming plans for another week. She had met all of her goals to be able to come home, and in record time. The neonatologist visited that day, and in his own disbelief said the only thing keeping her there any longer was a lack for a ride home. I called John, got back in the van and drove the hour long drive back home with nothing but a smile and prayers of thanksgiving for the miracle of life we'd been given. We loaded up the whole family and a carseat for little Rosie and went to bring her home. Our only discharge instructions were to "take her home and love her" No follow up tests, no appointments, nothing. Clean bill of health, and no turning back. I believe with the exception of her well-child checkups, she's been back to the doctor twice now for the usual winter upper respiratory infections.

I am humbled by God's mercy and goodness, and ever grateful for a heavenly mother's love and intervention. God Bless Rose!

and then there are bad days.

Any chance I had for "Mom of the year" was stripped from my clutches yesterday. It was definitely one of those "bad" days. (Yes we have them here too.) I'm not sure where things went wrong. The day started nice enough. John was off work, and snuck out early to surprise us with donuts. (a real treat for sure!) We then had a lazy morning getting ready for a picnic lunch in the park. All good so far. We walked along the lake, fed the ducks, even skipped stones. When we got home the kids helped me shuck about 7 dozen ears of corn to get ready for freezing. Still good. But somewhere after nap time, things seemed to take a nose dive. John had to leave for a school bus recertification course/banquet, so we were on our own for supper. (clean out the fridge night...a little bit of everyone's favorites). I knew things were sour when I found myself screaming (and no that's not an exageration) for everyone to "just be quiet!" at the supper table. They were out of control, each one trying to talk louder than the next. I finally began just sending them away from the table one at a time, hoping for a little peace in the kitchen. Unfortunately, sending them out early, meant all their dishes were left behind as well. (They usually clear their own place.) Arrggg. More insanity. Four neighbor kids joined us for the evening which meant a little more chaos than usual...and more toys to put away later. Listening, playing nice, and cleaning up were nowhere in the kids vocabulary tonight. Which of course made me scream louder...I hate that about myself. I've learned over time to quit praying for peace in our home, rather peace within me, that I might be able to channel peace through our home. I'm very aware that without inner peace, we can't expect things to be peaceful around us. Anyhow, we managed to get 9 baths done (Lucy had hers earlier in the day) and toys cleaned up before John got home around 9. And somehow, a little cake and ice cream brought us all back together. Prayers and kisses to bed, and all is right with the world again. Thank God today is another day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Extended Boom Fork-Lift"

That would be E.B.F.L. for short. What does it have to do with anything? I have no idea. But for some reason as we drove home in the dark from a long, late baseball game (with 7 deliriously sleepy kids) this became the topic of conversation initiated by 7 year old Sam. The boys have been glued to a movie about all types of trucks and diggers lately, and apparently this is something Sam found interesting. He tried to explain in great detail to me how it works, what it does, etc. But in my simple mommy mind it sounded mostly like "blah, blah, blah, blah." I finally had to shush him, and ask him to explain to me tomorrow morning after a few cups of coffee had worked their magic. Apparently he thought I was joking, because he talked about it continuously for almost the entire hour-long drive home. Eventually I couldn't keep from giggling everytime he said it. Go ahead...say it outloud "Extended Boom Fork-Lift." Now repeat that 7,000 times. It starts to work on you, doesn't it. He and I were both giddy with EBFL by the time we got home. I can't wait till breakfast, so I can be the first to say it. I hope I catch him off guard. It'll make him laugh, and say "good one, mom!" I can hear it already.

By the way, the game was "Awesome" and the rain held off. Couldn't have been a nicer evening.

growing pains

It is a deep heavy sigh I breathe, as I realize that my "babies" are growing up. Our first two are nearing 9 and wanting a space of their own that doesn't include Barbie, dress-up gowns or Little People. That place is impossible to find in this house with 8 younger siblings who have no concept of personal space. So, in trying to keep the peace, they helped me to reorganize the basement and carve out a "big kids" niche with desks, chairs, music, and a few 'tween posters. (I'm not sure I like a pic of Zac Efron's belly button fur hanging right above where Alice is meant to be studying, but "he's so cute!") Anyhow, I still imagine the pair in diapers, gumming the tv remote or toddling along furniture. Before I know it, they'll be asking me for car keys, or worse yet permission to date. Maybe I'll tuck a little Polly Pocket in their top desk drawer, in secret hopes they'll stay young forever. After all, Alice promised me at the age of 3 that the only boy she'd ever kiss was Daddy, and she'd live with us forever! Oh, how today I feel like holding her to that! (maybe when the 'tweens turn to 'teens, it will seem easier to want to let go!)
For now, I must snap out of it...preparing to take the oldest 7 to a minor league baseball game tonight (3 youngest heading to grandma and grandpas for the evening.) Pray that the weather holds out...and a little prayer that grandma holds out too! thanks mom!


Monday, August 4, 2008


the cake was a hit I think, and worthy of sharing the recipe. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

today I'm grateful...

...for garden goodies, and neighbors who share their bounty. This week, a wagon full of zucchini "free for the taking" showed up in the neighbors front yard. I jumped on the opportunity and seized 2 large ones. I'm finally getting around to shredding it tonight with the help of the oldest 3. Emma seems the most interested in helping, and the least likely to scrape her knuckles on the grater...making quick work in the kitchen. I'm trying a new recipe now for chocolate zucchini cake. I made 2 right off, one to keep and one to share (in the spirit of paying it forward). Mmmm, there's nothing better than chocolate except the smell of warm chocolate permeating from the oven. Can't wait to give it a try. Will pass on the recipe if it's a hit...which it's likely to be. Goodnight for's back to the kitchen to clean and freeze some fresh blueberries thanks to b-i-l Charlie's b-i-l Charlie. (How's that for confusing?!)

God Bless!

I'm back!!!

Many thanks to my computer-guru, tech-savvy b-i-l Steve for assisting us in the researching, locating, and purchasing of a new 'puter...I'm back online. (Imagine glorious beams of light shining down from the heavens, organ pipes playing beautiful melodies, and I'm singing at the top of my lungs "Halleluiah!!!!!!" ) All is right with the world again, and our family shananigans will be spared from these keys no longer.
peace, and good night!