Sunday, November 30, 2008

Frank's big day

He's growing up right before my very eyes, and I get a little misty-eyed just thinking about it. Today, Frank left the crib behind to move into the "big" double bed with brother Charlie. For about a week now he's been climbing out of his crib, so to prevent injury, it's time to move on. This means young John officially moved up to a bed of his longer sharing, but sleeping in his own twin-size bed. Oh my. It created a little chaos at bedtime. Charlie seemed to take it the worst, not certain he liked sharing his bed with someone new. But Frank and John were quite pleased with their new nests, and were sleeping like kings when I peaked in. I put Frank's twin Rosie to bed (still in her crib in the girls room) she seemed a bit miffed that she's still a "baby." She pointed to her crib and shrugged with a "what the heck's up with this?!" kinda look. I promised her she'd be moving into a "big" bed soon too. For now though, she stays put. It's nice knowing where I'll find her in the morning.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

survived black friday

Whew. What a day that was. It's a darn good thing I spent all day Thursday "bulking up," in order to survive the marathon at the malls on Friday. I'll admit it...I love being out there in the thick of it on Black Friday. I'm not one of the 4am "door busters" but I think I've only missed once in the last 10 years or so. My sisters-in-law and I take off for the day around 7:30 am, and it's rare to be home before midnight. The last few years I've driven our 15 passenger van with the back bench removed...and we manage to pack that baby full, stocking up for the holidays. 6 women on a mission to get as much checked off our lists as possible. There were a few years I completed all my shopping in that one day. Not this year. I just wasn't as prepared with ideas as I could have been. But the day was a success, no less. Good company, good food, a few good bargains. Good times!

Needless to say, I'm "hung over" of sorts today. With first trimester fatigue/nausea and an 18 hour shopping spree under my belt, I feel drained of any energy. We did manage to start a little holiday decorating though, bringing out some snowmen, a small tree, the advent wreath, and advent calendar. It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A blessed thanksgiving to you all!

Thank you, God, for everything

Thank you, God, for everything,
The big things and the small.
For "every good gift comes from God"...
The giver of them all.
And all too often we accept, without any thanks or praise,
The gifts God sends as blessings, each day in many ways.
And so at this Thanksgiving Time, we offer up a prayer...
To thank you, God, for giving us a lot more than our share.

First, thank you for the little things
That often come our way,
The things we take for granted
But don't mention when we pray,
The unexpected courtesy, the thoughtful, kindly deed,
A hand reached out to help us in the time of sudden need.
Oh, make us more aware, dear God, of little daily graces
That come to us with "sweet surprise"
From never-dreamed-of places.

Then, thank you for the "Miracles"
We are much too blind to see,
And give us new awareness of our many gifts from Thee,
And help us to remember that the Key of Life and Living
Is to make each prayer a Prayer of Thanks
And every day Thanksgiving
--Helen Steiner Rice

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

family ties...or knots?

On the same subject I last posted...I found myself in another puzzler today, this time involving John's side of the family. We attended the funeral mass for his Aunt Clara this morning. When discussing before-hand, her children's names, late husband, etc. I mentioned to John "Now this is your Dad's sister-in-law right?" His reply..."Yes, and his aunt." And so the untangling of family ties began.

Turns out (and this is not the only example within his family) that John's uncle (on his dad's side) Eddie married Clara who also happens to be John's great aunt (on his mom's side.) It was nice though, seeing both sides of John's family tree at church.

I mentioned this happens more than once in his family...another example, John's aunt Edna (his dad's sister) married John's great uncle (from mom's side.) Clear as mud, right? I just ask John to remind me from time to time, who's who, and how we're related.

ps...if I messed this up (family) feel free to let me know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I know I'm getting older when...

John and I were having a discussion about someone we prayed for in church...not quite sure who the person was. Which led to...who were her siblings?...or was that her cousin?...and her parents were "so and so"...oh, no I think she belonged to "so and so." We had to call John's sister to settle things. She was closer in age, and knew the circle of folks better. We both laughed when the conversation was over. It sounded like one of a million of the same we'd had with our mothers who were always quick to remind us how we were related to "so and so" in some way. And would then proceed to map it all out for us. I remember dreading those conversations, not paying as close attention as I should have...and now I'm at the heart of them. Oi.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

O-H, I-O

So, we may not be the Buckeyes' biggest fans. But there's strength in numbers, and at this house we believe OSU-Michigan game should be on the liturgical calendar...or at least a Hallmark Holiday. At any rate, it's cause for anticipation, reflux-ation (from all the good eats) and hopefully celebration! We have the game on at our house...and we're primed for a win!
Go Bucks!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

on feeding the masses...

I made chex mix 2 days ago. 4 batches to be exact. (that's nearly 4 boxes of cereal, plus all the extras.) This evening, it sounded like a good snack, but hmmmm...funny, there's just a handful left. I'll just grab the other bag out of the freezer, right?! Nope. All gone. Turns out all the kids (and their dad) LOVE the stuff. On the up side, I'm thinking there should be no issues with irregularity in the house these next couple days, anyhow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

on faith, and family

It occured to me, as I was driving home from work today, that it seems necessary for me to share a few thoughts on our big family. More importantly I guess, to share that trusting in God's plan, has not always been easy for me.
I'll start at the beginning, by remembering that having children, at first, did not come easy at all. John and I both had our share of infertility issues, and after procedures, surgeries, and even unsuccessful attempts at artificial insemination (at that time I couldn't begin to understand the Catholic church's stance on these issues), I finally prayed...really prayed, and released my pain to God. I begged him to just take over, and help me to deal with whatever He wanted for us. Perhaps I wasn't meant to be a mother afterall. I just wanted Him to lead, and to help me heal (and deal). Within a month I was pregnant with our twin daughters. I understand now, I just needed to allow Him to lead. After our fourth child was born, a new anxiety was taking over me. This time, I wanted to control again, my plan for our family. I felt overwhelmed with 4 children in just 3 years. I turned to contraception and prayed fiercely to the Blessed Mother. I'm ever grateful for her intercession. I felt horrible on the pill, so stopped it and was soon pregnant with our second set of twins. In that time, I learned even more to trust in the Lord. His plans are far greater than we can imagine for ourselves. And time and time again, He's helped us to realize that He will provide for us. There continue to be times when I question that we're doing what is "right." There are so many people who are quick to ask "How will you pay for college?" or "Where will they all sleep?" I just have faith, and pray. I've come to realize that as a mother, I'm building a cathedral here... the work I commit to raising our children may never be realized or fully appreciated in my lifetime. But I'm laying the foundation for something beautiful and magnificent to come, I hope.
Truth be told, I could never have imagined this life for myself. I couldn't have in my wildest dreams. I wasn't born or raised with any greater knowledge than anyone else about raising a large family. I had just two brothers. But as I grow in faith of our Father who loves us, I know more each day..."he does not call the equipped, rather he equips the called." It's difficult to move beyond the fear, but so necessary to grow closer to Him.

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

some real news...

okay, today I've got news. I'd hoped to wait a little longer to share, but the kids now know, so everyone is finding out quickly!

Jamie's perfect 10 is soon to be 11!

We're thrilled to announce that we're expecting another little miracle (sometime in July).

I'm a little more tired than usual, but otherwise feeling great!

Pray for us as we grow.

jamie & john

Sunday, November 16, 2008

help! (bak, bak!)

As I sit here googling good recipes for roasted chicken, I figure, why not ask for a tried and true recipe from someone who knows...
so. What are you waiting for? Please send me your (simple) delicious oven roasted chicken recipe. I'm thinking of doing up a pan of legs, since this is the kids favorites. You can post as a comment, or e-mail me if you'd rather. Thanks.

schmiesings playdoh fun factory...

It's rare that any toy, craft or game can hold the attention of everyone for any length of time. Playdoh rocks! I happened across 4 new cans today, probably stashed away from Easter baskets, and forgotten. It was like finding lost treasure. 9 of the kids circled the kitchen table to pound, roll, squish and create until the cows came home. (Lucy and I enjoyed a few minutes of quiet...priceless!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nothing new...

I haven't been writing much lately. It seems that even in the grocery store line, when someone asks "What's new?" I stumble for an answer. Truth is, many days feel just like the day before. And with cold weather setting in, and all of our time being spent indoors, it feels even more so. As I struggled for something "inspiring" to write about tonight, it occured to me to mention the little details of our day. Perhaps not inspiring, but grace-filled none the less. I'll start by mentioning that on Saturdays, there are no alarm clocks in this house. (Except for John who leaves for work very early...before my brain can hear, let alone respond to an alarm.) Anyways, I awoke to the sound of boys tip-toeing down the hallway, sneaking into my room, and climbing in under the covers to snuggle just a bit before the others wake up. God Bless John and Charlie. It doesn't take Lucy long to stir in her crib, next to my bed. She doesn't cry though, just giggles and begins bouncing in her bed to get my attention. I quickly pull her into my bed also. Frank's awake now, and hollering to get out of his crib. Unfortunately Sam is ignoring him, so up we go to retrieve Frank, and 5 of us snuggle onto the couch. It's a great way to wake in the morning. I strongly recommend this slower pace if you're able.
Did I mention it snowed here today?! Our first snowfall of the season. Big wet beautiful flakes, that even managed to accumulate on rooftops, and over grass, before melting away in the rain later. The snow lasted most of the afternoon, which prompted us to move furniture. Our couch always sits in front of the big picture window in the living room, and rather than have the kids sitting on the back of the couch all day, we opted instead to move furniture. Have you ever tried moving couches with a baby, 2 toddlers and a handful of other pint-size helpers? It's a challenge to say the least. But it was so worth it to see them lined up in the window all afternoon just watching the snow fall. Beautiful!! (naturally, my camera batteries are dead, and Sam just put the last 8 or so into his remote control monster truck. Drats!)
The day was even more special in that we attended church as a family (or at least the majority of us.) The babies went to grandmas as usual, but John made it home from work early, and was able to join us to hear Alice and Emma singing in the childrens choir at 5 o'clock mass. I had forgotten how nice it is to have him in the pew with us. I so look forward to a time when his schedule might change that he can join us every Sunday.
I am grateful for simple blessings in my life...for days when "nothing new" means "all is good."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the birds are back in town...

Within 24 hours after hanging the feeders in the tree for the winter...the birds are back. Already we've been graced by the presence of 2 blue jays, a downy woodpecker, a nuthatch, a few finches, and a handful of juncos. As if we've nothing better to do, we manage to drop everything and birdwatch when a new one appears. It's like welcoming back old friends, and a sure reminder that winter's moving in.

A couple Christmases back, the kids helped me to pick out a nice birdfeeder for John from Lowes, and a book we ordered online about birds native to Ohio. It took us no time at all to move the book and a pair of binoculars to the cupboard nearest the kitchen window, for quick access. The flagged, dog-eared pages are more like a family album now, as we thumb through to see who's back, and who's yet to return as the weather gets colder, and food more scarce. It's been a wonderful source of entertainment for the kids of all ages in our home, and several of the kids have brought the book in for show-and-tell, to share some of what they've learned from keeping company with the birds in our own backyard.

Good Saint Francis, patron of animals: Help us to follow your example of treating every living thing with kindness. Amen.

pizza for lunch...

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting. ~Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

family movie night

Just for something different...
We moved the coffee table out, brought in bed pillows and spread out blankets for a special feature "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Lucy thought it was gymboree time, and little Rose, struggling to find the perfect spot, spent most of the movie hauling around a pillow twice her size, falling over bodies. She finally settled in on the couch with mom. Just in time for the movie to end, and bed time to begin.
...Who needs a big screen?

a family favorite

With the holidays fast approaching, I'm so grateful to my Aunt Betty for e-mailing her one-of-a-kind fruitcake recipe. I think I may give this one a try some evening (after I get the kiddies off to bed, of course!)


Betty's Fruitcake

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
1 gallon good whiskey

Sample the whiskey to check for quality. Take a large dring of the whiskey again
to be sure it is of the highest quality. Fill cup and drink again. Repeat. Turn on electric mixer. Beat one egg in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and beat again. Make sure wiskey is still okay. Cry another tup. Turn off mixer. Break 2 legs into the bowl and chcuk in the cup of dried fruit. Mix on the table. If fried fruit gets stuck in the
beaters, pry loose with a screwdriver. Taste the wisky to check for tonsisticity. Next sift two cups of something. Who cares? Check the wisky. Now sift the lemon Juice over your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar, or something. Whatever. Grease the oven. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees. Don't forget to set the tuner. Throw the bowl out the window. Check the wisky. Gotobed. Who the hell likes gruitcake any ways???
Have a Merry Christmas, Ya'll.

Veterans Day Prayer

to honor my dad, my father-in-law, brothers, in-laws, and friends who so proudly served...

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the selfless service of those who gave their lives to protect our nation, preserve our freedoms, and restore peace in the face of brutal aggressors. Grant relief to those who continue to experience emotional or physical agony from their days of combat. Give us a sense of responsibility for their welfare. Comfort those who mourn for loved ones who died while performing their duty to our country. Enlist all who are in our military forces into your church militant, that they may pledge eternal loyalty to Christ, our King, and know his peace. Amen

Monday, November 10, 2008

everybody clap your hands!

Here's what we're moving to at our house. It's a beat that makes everyone drop what they're doing and start moving to the lyrics...even Lucy. 12 bodies packed around the computer, getting "funky!"


More phone-time funnies...

Little John embarassed his Dad something terrible today. The phone rang, and 4 year old John was the first one there. "Hello Shmeeshingsh!" (pause) followed by (quite loudly) "Dad! It's your girlfriend!"
Dad quickly answers the phone to the roaring laughter of our parish secretary, calling to see if he would be able to drive bus today for the religious ed. students. I think it made her day, and mine to see my husband turn 10 different shades of red in embarassment!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

perseverance pays off

It can be tricky to get those sticky marshmallows from the bottom of the hot chocolate mug, but as Charlie shows, "Where there's a will, there's a way!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

...from the trenches

Sorry for the silence. The same fever and cold symptoms the kids were passing around earlier this week has hit their mom with a vengeance. I felt grateful that there was no school yesterday or today so that I had the older kids home to help. Yesterday we had a fun day at Coldwater park, despite the cough and sniffles. We picniced with some friends and made the best of the last warm day for awhile. Today I was feeling even worse, so Alice and Emma walked John and Mary to preschool (which is just around the corner,) and all the kids played outside most of the day. Lucy seemed especially happy today (now that she can breathe through her nose again.) It was nice that she wasn't as clingy as she's been the last few days. Not that I minded it then, but with fever and cough, I just wasn't in a snuggly mood. Anyhow, we still managed some fun crafts this afternoon, and I made comfort food for supper...homemade pancakes with lots of butter and syrup. I'm feeling slightly better already this evening...except for the cough, and my "rudolph" red nose. Praying tomorrow we're all feeling much better.
It's a busy day on Saturday with a bridal shower for my neice, and dinner out with my parents & my brother Joe and his wife to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday. (no kids!) I'll find a way to feel better for that, no's been a loooong time since we've been out on a date. We're overdue!
Blessed weekend to all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

a few thoughts on the election

I watched the election returns with optimism last night, certain that there was a good chance that polls could be wrong, and that John McCain would in fact be the next president of our great nation. Unfortunately, that just wasn't the case. I was moved to tears and in complete disbelief when Senator McCain gave his concession speach. I'm certain I could never have been so gracious.
As I finally pulled my defeated self to bed, the words "healing" kept coming to mind. I considered the reactions I'd seen on tv to the election of our first black president. Words spoken such as "historic" and "I never imagined I'd live to see the day!" Words from people who'd lived through segregation and race riots, and horrors I could never begin to imagine. I realized how blessed, indifferent and perhaps ignorant I was to have never lived through those times. Never, did the thought occur to me to vote (or not vote) for him because of the color of his skin. I saw grown men and women weeping at the sight of a black man holding the highest office of our country. And as I lay in bed praying for the future of our nation, again the words "healing" kept coming to my mind. Perhaps while our future is uncertain, a part of our past may heal because of the election of this new president. While I am apprehensive of where he may lead us, I'm more aware that God is always providing opportunities for his Goodness to be revealed. I pray that many may experience healing through the renewed hope provided that anyone can do anything they put their mind to here in America, regardless of religion, economic status, or color of their skin.
God be with us, bless us and help this nation to heal. May the sacredness of all life be preserved. Be with our new President and allow him to be guided by your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

behind every good man...

As we were cleaning up the kitchen after supper tonight, John mentioned that I should write down all the dosage intructions for Tylenol, Motrin, etc. for our four youngest who've been running fevers, in case they need anything while I'm at work tomorrow. (It's already written in the medicine cabinet, so I told him to just call me at work with any questions.) He went on to say that he told some young coworkers recently that they "should meet a good woman who happens to be a nurse, so they won't have to worry about what to do with sick kids." He said he was going to teach his boys the same thing some day. I gave him a sideways glance as I continued sweeping the floor, and suggested it might be better to teach his sons to think for themselves, so that they would know how to dose their kids with tylenol while their wives are at work. (hint, hint) Encourage self-sufficiency and all. He laughed, "Nah, they'll have a good parish secretary to do their thinking for them." (alluding to the idea that they'll be called to a priestly vocation someday.)
He went on to jab that perhaps a certain priest's blog that I read frequently isn't even really written by said priest, but just his genious secretary in disguise. "Blog about that!" he laughed. And so I did.

just in the nick of time...

It's cold and flu season again, and anyone with children knows what a hassle it is to check the temperature of a screaming, feverish baby at 4 in the morning. Multiply that time 5 or 6 (or more) sick kids, and it's enough to drive a mom mad!
I found this thermometer at Walmart this week, just in time for 4 of the kids to be passing around fevers and cold symptoms. It's already worth it's weight in gold, and certainly worth the $35. it cost at Walmart. (There's even a $5 rebate right now on the Exergen web site.) Just a quick pass across the forehead, and voila instant, accurate temperature! Woohoo.

feast of St. Charles Borromeo, Nov. 4th

Prayer to St. Charles, patron of catechists.

O Saintly reformer, animator of spiritual renewal of priests and religious, you organized true seminaries and wrote a standard catechism. Inspire all religious teachers and authors of catechetical books. Move them to love and transmit only that which can form true followers of the Teacher who was divine. Amen.

...and patron of our own little saint charles born 7-27-05...pray for us!

Monday, November 3, 2008

busy monday

Hello all. I'm feeling too exhausted tonight to be clever with words, so I'll just share a little of our hectic day...
7am: up and at 'em. We're out of cereal, so it's scrambled eggs, toast and juice for all. 3 oldest off to school
spent the morning folding laundry, bathing babies, and munching on halloween candy. (oh, and coffee.)
John mowed the grass, and raked some leaves with the help of the boys.
Homemade pizza for lunch, kitchen cleanup. 3 more out the door for afternoon school.
I did some quick shopping at Walmart and Aldi's for groceries, and a bridal shower gift. Made it home in time to unload and pick up 2 from preschool.
Grace came home from school in tears because she'd left her homework papers in her desk, so Alice and Emma were kind enough to walk back with her. (grateful for tiny graces.)
After homework, we packed a picnic for the park to enjoy one more unseasonably warm evening. It was wonderful!
7:00 Rosary for the elections. John and I and the 6 oldest went. It was the coolest. We prayed for all the souls of each of the 50 states. One for each Hail Mary. Patriotic was all beautiful, and the kids did very well through it.
7:45 John headed home with the kids and I went on to our WhyCatholic small group meeting. Very nice conversation, and spiritually uplifting as usual.
9:00-10:00 spent an hour at Adoration, praying for conversion of souls, for the elections, for our priests and vocations, and much more. How quickly that hour went! Wonderful.
Came home and sampled some of mom's homemade black bean salsa. Delicious!! (I need that recipe.)
Attempted to clear some papers and mail off of the kitchen cupboard, loaded the dishwasher, and now, finally calling it a day...tomorrow's another day.

A thought on Psalm 34 (from the song "Taste and See")
I will bless the Lord at all times. Praise shall always be on my lips. My soul shall glory in the Lord, for He has been so good to me.

tomorrow's the day...

...have you considered prayerfully, the upcoming election? It's not too late.

Lord, as the November Election draws near we ask
That the same hands lifted up to You in prayer
Are the hands that mark the ballot in the voting booth;
That the same eyes that read Your Word
Are the eyes that read the names and issues on the ballot,
And that they do not cease to be Christians
When they enter the voting booth.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Song of the Saints

thought this was too cute...had to share.

Saturday: Cleaning Day. NOT!

November 1st and temps were in the upper 60's today. Who woulda' thought?! In light of the unseasonably warm weather, we skipped all cleaning for the day. (Woohoo!! confetti, streamers, crowds cheering.) Well, sorta. (letdown)
The kids and I spent the day outdoors cleaning the garage and shed. I actually enjoyed it immensely. My husband is a packrat to his core, and when I ask him to throw something out, it inevitably ends up in the shed with the thought that he'll find another use for it later. It makes me crazy!!! Anyhow, with him at work today, I got busy. The kids were great help, most of the time. And when they weren't helping, they were playing together which is just as helpful. We unloaded the garage first, sorting through broken squirt guns and other summer toys that needed to be tossed. We hung up a few bikes, sorted through balls and bats, and every imagineable outdoor plaything. We paired up skates, lined up scooters. It was wonderful.
After lunch we tackled the shed. It required more effort on my part, as this is where John keeps all of his recycleables (aka: junk). After stacking lumber, throwing away broken christmas decorations from last season, putting a few tools away, and cleaning up a bit, it was time to start pitching. I found a broken quilt rack that I asked him to pitch 2 years ago. It's still broken, and still useless. (Lord, help me!) It took me no time to fill a few garbage cans, and soon I found room for the patio table and chairs, and the bench and rocker from the front porch. It's all organized with the snow blower shifted to the front for easy access. (Hopefully, this will mean we won't need it too much.)
Anyhow, it was a wonderfully productive day. And we ended it by watching the Minster HS girls cross country team parade through town on firetrucks as the new Div III State Champions. Woohoo! We joined them at the high school for a welcome home pep rally. Two of our neices ran today, and we're sooo proud of them. Way to go Lei and Averie! I think they're amazing!
Have a peaceful weekend everyone. A blessed All Saints Day to all.