Wednesday, July 30, 2008

better than butterfly kisses...

I was scheduled to work today...the kind where I actually punch a time my morning was a little more hectic than usual. I woke before the rest of the group, put on coffee, showered, dressed, and then woke little Lucy to nurse her before I had to rush out. I actually enjoy that time with her more than I could have ever imagined possible, and when the house is quiet, it's even more special. Anyhow, spending time alone with her, makes me push the clock that much later, so I passed her off to her dad, grabbed some coffee and a breakfast bar and out the door I went. It's usually as I exit the van and walk towards the door to work that I take time to check my shirt for baby spit-up, spilled coffee, or granola crumbles, to at least give my co-workers the appearance that I have it all together. As I was doing the usual scan, I noticed a red blotch on my forearm, and upon closer examination, found it to be a perfect imprint of Lucy's little ear. A beautiful reminder of the quiet prayerful time we had just spent together, that lasted well into my first hour at work. I am ever-grateful for little blessings such as these.
Peace to you all!

Monday, July 28, 2008

things will be quiet for awhile.

No, not at my house, but here in cyberville. My computer took a nose-dive, and as we shop for a new one, posting will be few and far between. Wish us luck in our search, and keep checking back from time to time as I post occassionally from moms.

Charlie's big day

God Bless Charlie! He turned 3 on Sunday, and everybody knows its not a party till someone's wearing underwear on their head! Good times were had by all, and the neighbors have plenty to talk about now. And in case you're trying to picture it in your head, it was Charlie, Frank and Rosie sporting new Lightning McQueen size 4's. I'm sure it will be all the rage in no time! (As Sam suggested though...just be sure they're clean!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

expanding my horizons

just learning how to hyperlink. Don't click if you're not up for checking out some new duds

by golly, i think it worked.

my many hats

I am a child of God. Woman, daughter, wife, mother, nurse, chief cook and bottle washer. I am a catechist, chauffeur, organizing guru, runner, reader, writer, homework assistant. I fix boo-boos, manage schedules, remove stains, and shop. I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and have eggs, potatoes and toast ready with it. It's true I wear all these hats and more. Today however, with my headband tied firmly at the back of my head, I am a ninja warrior! (and by the raised eyebrows the boys are giving me, I'm guessing they didn't know their mom had moves!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

it's all good.

Our trip to the zoo was enjoyed by all, no doubt. We seemed to scurry from one exhibit to the next doing constant headcounts until we covered it all. The last stop was the Capuchin monkeys (everyone's favorite, I think). Time seemed to stand still for a moment as John and I sat back on a park bench holding hands as all 10 kids lined up by the fence in front of us entertained by the little creatures. It was beautiful and humbling to see all these 10 blessings spread out before us. For that moment all was right with the world.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

zoo news

when asked what animals he would like to see at the zoo tomorrow, (almost) 3 yr old Charlie responded with "real ones."

more pics (inside edition)

some pics from the road...

10 little monkeys jumping on the bed...

Okay, lots of people have asked. Yes, there was plenty of room for all of us to sleep in this RV. You forget that our children are all still very small and several little bodies sleep better in tight spaces than 1 large one any day. We had two fold-down dinettes, a fold-out couch, a queen sleeper, and 2 bunk beds. (Alright, the first night, mom slept on the floor, but by night 2 we had it all figured out.) Truth is, my kids are great sleepers anywhere, and once we get through that 1/2 hour of "settling down" it's all down hill. And don't feel sorry for me sleeping on the floor. It's actually one of my best memories of the trip. Before I settled on the floor, I laid with the 2 youngest boys and whispered the prayers of the rosary in their ears as they drifted off to sleep. I think they were out by the 3rd decade. I was humbled to be on this pilgrimmage with such beautiful little people, and grateful to offer up my spot.

little funnies...

of all the things we did, and all the things we saw...

4 year old John is excited to tell everyone "We drove through this one town and saw a big light pole." (referring, I think to a smoke stack, but I'm not sure)

8 year old Emma laughs when she remembers the best part of her trip was "when Sam farted really loud in the camper!"

...good times.

...and we're back

I'm still in denial that the trip is over, and despite the mounds of laundry in my basement, and piles of junk on my countertops...we're still acting like vacation isn't over. I actually cried coming home. I just didn't want it to end. And so, I'm not letting it. We're still sleeping in late, having campfires in the backyard at days' end, and tomorrow hopefully, one last trip to a zoo or museum.
As I think back to all we did over the last week (12oo+ miles on the road, a wedding, camping, touring an old coal mine in West Virginia, lots of swimming and hiking, etc.) I just can't help but think that this trip had much greater purpose than just a family vacation. I listened to the words of a song by Mercy Me driving home, and they continue to ring in my head..."Bless me indeed, open wide my horizon to share Your name." I believe maybe this trip was an opportunity for our family to share God's blessings with others.
Let's face it, I can't quote scripture and I'm not well educated on the history of our Catholic church. I'm a simple person, with a simple faith. And I hope and pray that our faith is evident in our daily lives. I hope to live as an example to others of Gods abundant blessings and mercy, so that others can see the precious gift of see that children are not burdens, but blessings.
We seemed to be a spectacle wherever we went. People pointing, visibly counting, and some even daring to ask if they're "all ours?" I was humbled on this trip by the generosity of strangers, by their kind words, and acceptance of our little crowd everywhere we traveled. It was empowering, enlightening, and all around good fun...and I can't wait to do it again.
More to follow...
God Bless!

oh, and is it all bad to end every day with one 'Smore and a Corona with lime?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

...and we're off!

May not be posting for awhile. Our adventure begins...

2 adults


1 RV

7 days

hundreds of miles to explore!

John brought the RV home yesterday, and the kids cheered and screamed from the front porch with excitement. We spent most of the day (and into the night) loading up, and so we're off.

Plan to journal, and will try to post along the way, otherwise, we'll see you all next week!

God Bless us all!



Sunday, July 13, 2008

read to me some more

Today, 4 year old John found his fishing pole that he got 2 christmas's ago still in the package, buried behind some boxes in the laundry room. Apparently we put it away "till summer" and forgot all about it. What a fun find!! Anyhow, as I fed Lucy, he sat patiently in the chair next to me waiting for me to open it for him. (This boy does have the patience of Job!) As he waited he "read" the package instructions to me..."Mom, it says...'Dear John August, Hope you have fun fishing with your Dad! I love you, Santa' (and looking at me then) That's what it says Mom!"

He can "read" to me anytime.

providence revisited

I have always believed in Divine Providence. It only makes sense that our loving God who has known us and loved us before our birth, would have some plan or direction or intention for our lives. It wasn't until recently though that I've really come to understand that it's more than just a plan or map laid out for us. Part of providence is the care and love He shows for us along the way. His love and concern is evident in the tools He provides for us, the blessings and graces shared to help us along this path. He wants us to get to Him! Sure we manage to forge our own path along the way, and He accomodates for our choices and gives us even more opportunities to find Him again. A prime example is the way he "provides" for us, even when we can't imagine how. A budget? on one income? with 10 kids? are you kidding?! He may not drop a load of cash on our doorstep (as nice as that might be). But I am confident He does take care!
Just this week, I noticed the dresser in the boys room was on it's last leg. It was cheap (by every meaning of the word) and beyond repair. I figured after vacation dust settled, we'd look around for a good used one, but not worry about it for now. Instead, my brother called today, and said he was parting with a small dresser, and wondered if we wanted it. Of course we did. It's in perfect condition. I hung up the phone and gave a quiet "thank you" to our God who knows our needs, and takes care.

God's Blessings to you on this beautiful Sunday!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

if you're traveling...

came across this website in our church bulletin...

to find a nearby church and mass times. Was very helpful!

my cleaning tip for the day...

Change your sweeper bag, my friends!!!

I was a tad alarmed this morning when Emma hollered from the tv room..."Mom the sweeper's busted...I can't push it at all!"
She was in the middle of one of her cleaning frenzies (I love when they get like this!) Picking up, vacuuming anything that gets in their path, volunteering for more's rare, but it happens. Anyhow, I thought maybe in her haste she might have sucked up one of the little guys, so I hurried in. Yep, she was right, it was pushing tough. But the suction was awesome. Then it dawned on me...the other day after sweeping up 2 whole boxes of cereal that Frank had mistaken for "Party-in-a-box," I changed the sweeper bag. This baby wasn't was working!!! I took great pleasure in finishing up for her...not having to bend over once to move a stubborn piece of lint...we got it first pass.
Emma moved on to her bedroom, throwing out a garbage bag full of paper trash from her desk, even cleaning under the bed, and hanging up a pile of clothes I had just taken off hangers to put into storage. But that's okay, I'll pull it out and box it next time I'm in her closet.
Sam caught the bug too and refolded all the clothes in his drawers and even dusted his bedroom.
Ahh, it was a productive Saturday: Cleaning Day.
Now if only I could get myself motivated to start that packing. 2 days left...maybe right after the next load of laundry.

sweeper bag good friends, sweeper bag.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hi Mom!

Just heard from my mom tonight from across the globe in Australia. Gone walk-about down under? No, she's there with a group of 85 others (chaperones and youth)from her home parish attending World Youth Day. Sounds like she's staying quite busy and enjoying the trip very much. We're praying for her to have a wonderful faith-filled experience, and a safe return. God Bless!

Pre-Vacation blues...

3 days remain before our much anticipated summer vacation, and the thought of packing looms over me like a dark storm cloud. 12 of us in an RV for a week, plus throw in dress clothes for a wedding as well. Yikes, what are we thinking?!
I have lists like it's nobody's business...including lists for camping gear, food, clothing, kids toys/entertainment, groceries, just to name a few. Have I done anything with these lists yet? No. I keep waiting to finish laundry, which should be right before we're ready to go. So hopefully, it will just all fall right into place. Oh, and did I mention we're renting this RV, so I don't really even know how anything is going to fit. Yet another reason for my procrastination.
The silver lining here is that we couldn't be any more excited in this house. You can just feel the anxious energy as everyone awaits the moment Dad comes pulling in the drive with that 30 ft. fun-mobile! I feel like a kid again, and just know we'll be talking about this one for years.
Will keep you posted!

dog days of summer

I'm going to venture a guess as to why they're the "dog days" of summer...cause at this house we are dog-tired by the end of each day. Yesterday was a prime example. The kids and I headed out to join some other members of our local moms group for a playgroup/picnic at the park for lunch. It was a beautiful hot/sunny day, so a blanket under the shade tree felt nice to watch the older kids play. Alice managed to corral a small tree frog, and I was quite happy when she finally released it back to it's home. All the kids were interested in it though, and it was cute to watch little Rosie giggle as it would hop and jump around her.
It was a perfect pool day, but unfortunately the three oldest had strict orders from their ball coaches "no pool today" in light of the evening tournament play. So, after the park, the 4 youngest took naps while the older ones had "quiet time" reading books and watching a short movie. I always look forward to quiet times! I managed to get a couple more loads of laundry folded and put away before John got home from work, and then it was hot dogs and brats on the grill with a cold pasta salad. Yumm. I love summer foods.
Off to the ball diamonds for our last evening of games for the summer. What fun games to watch too...the girls had a real nail-biter, losing 19-18 in extra innings. Sam's team won their first game in extra innings as well, and so it was a double header for him...winning and becoming Rookie League Champs. They all played so well, and enjoyed themselves immensely!
Of course no summer day is complete without a sprinkling of popsicles, a few stubbed toes and band-aids, bike-rides around the block and checking in with the neighborkids.
A quick feet-washin' in the tub and everyone sleeps well on these dog-days of summer!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

bragging rights

The kids finished their seasons all smiles tonight, as the girls finished 1st runners up in their league, and Sam finished a league Champion.

Move over the fishbowl and make room on the mantle for some new trophy bling!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

shout out...

Just a quick thanks for all the positive comments and support. I've felt a calling to write for some time now, and am so relieved to finally move beyond the fear and just be led by the Spirit. Not my own, but His will be done.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

sisters and friends...

I'm certain (because I was there!) that they are twins. But other than a birthday, these two have almost nothing in common.
This fact was confirmed when Girly-girl Alice scoffed at Emma at the supper table tonight "I can't believe you wore that t-shirt all day after wearing it for pajamas last night! How gross!" Neither John nor I had paid close enough attention to notice. Oops.
Emma didn't flinch though, just continued slurping up spaghetti and seemed even more amused when Sam pointed out that there was a hole in the armpit.
"Cool." was her only reaction. "Hope nobody noticed at the library today." (me too.)

Shame on me!

As I finished folding the last of the day’s laundry, turned out the lights and was tip-toeing my way through the basement playroom around midnight last night, these words actually crossed my lips…

“Dear Lord, please don’t let me cut my foot open on a sharp Lego. I’m too tired to scrub the blood out of the carpet right now!”

…And as my head hit the pillow to call it a day, I’m sure I fell immediately to sleep. Shame on me, for those last words out of my mouth!

I do try to finish each day with prayer…sometimes simple, other times more lengthy “conversation” as needed. My mom told me once that if we fall asleep in the middle of our prayers, our guardian angel will finish them for us. I’m sure she was just trying to make me feel less guilty, but I’d like to think it could be true.

So today, as I snuck out of bed to a still quiet house, I offered up my day (good and bad) that my work could be a form of prayer. Doing God’s will, and bringing little souls closer to heaven. Amen.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Overheard in the bathroom

Little John commented to his dad (who was bathing baby Lucy): "Look Dad! Little Lucy has a birthmark. I think that's where God gave her a kiss."

A gentle sigh, and smile to myself....almost makes me forget the "underwear" shananigans.

and this is why I'm turning gray...

Alice: Hey Emma, What's under there?
Emma: Under where?

(hysterical laughter)..hahahaha!! "you said underwear!"

Emma: Hey Sam, What's under there?
Sam: Under where?

(more hysterical laughter)...hahahahaha!!! "You said underwear!"

Sam: Hey Mary, What's under there?
Mary: Under where?

(more hysterics) "You said .... " you get the picture.

Multiplied and repeated to infinity.
I think they're still whispering it in their sleep.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

what's cookin'?

As the grilling guru at our house, I thought I'd heat up one of the kids fave's and throw the bologna on the barby tonight. Was just praying the neighbor man wouldn't ask "What's cookin?" tonight. Not sure he would be able to hold back on the hysterics after watching me burn the chicken nuggets on Tuesday.
Someday, it will be "adult" cuisine again, I pray.

Saturday: Cleaning Day

I read somewhere once that "God doesn't call the equipped, rather He equips the called." I'm certain this line was written specifically for me, because nowhere in my wildest imagination could I have ever felt equipped to handle life as it is now, some 10 odd years ago. At least daily I hear from a stranger "I don't know how you do it with 10 kids." Truth be told, I'm not sure some days either, but for the grace of God.

Today was just another ordinary day at our house, if I dare to call any day ordinary. Saturday: Cleaning Day. With John working the weekend shift, the kids and I try to get chores done around the house on Saturday, so we can have "fun" days when he's home. I've tried several ways to get the kids to help with cleaning, and most recently found the buddy system to be most effective here. There seems to be less yelling amongst the ranks, and better results. Each of the 3 oldest is paired with a younger sibling and given a specific room to handle with a list for that room of specific jobs to be done. (Example: Basement-pick up toys, vaccuum carpets, dust furniture.) Sounds simple to an adult, but can seem endless to an 8 yr olf and a 4 yr old.

Anyhow, on top of cleaning we were headed to a Liberty Days parade that was scheduled for noon. This meant out the door by 11:20 in order to get good parking/seating. The kids had all slept in past 9 today (which happens almost I let them), so our schedule was tight.

It went something like this...

9:15 up and at 'em. Pouring cereal and milk like there's no tomorrow...except for Sam who tells me he thinks he ate 4 too many hot dogs at the reunion last night...just a pop-tart for him please.
9:30 older kids are scattering with the same instructions as every morning..."Get dressed, brush your teeth, make your bed."
9:40 I wash up the two year olds and send them off for help from the older ones to get dressed. I settle in on the couch to nurse baby Lucy.
9:45 lots of noise from the bedrooms, but nobody's dressed yet, and the phone is ringing. Nobody answers...let the machine get it.
9:55 doorbell's ringing, nobody can answer it 'cause nobody's dressed yet. (hmmm... how long has it been now?) Grandma lets herself in and pours us both a cup of coffee.
10:05 twin 2 year olds wander in with the smell of something foul in their diapers (and still not dressed) I'm still nursing, so grandma offers to change one. Meanwhile, stinky pants #2 finds a bowl of milky cereal left on the table, and in trying to help put it into the sink, dumps it all over himself. He wanders into find me with corn flakes and milk over both eyelids, and a trail from the sink to the living room behind him. Sorry Lucy, hope you're full. I lay her down on the floor to play and attend to the cereal-milk trail, then cereal-milk face/stinky pants.
10:20 Is anybody dressed yet???!!!!
10:25 T minus 55minutes till the van leaves..."Lets get this show on the road!" Kids are finally dressed, Grandma's headed off to her day. And now time to get some cleaning done.
Partners Sam (7) and John (4) are in the basement, Emma (8) and Mary (4) are cleaning bathrooms, and Alice (8) and Grace (5) are bumped to sorting laundry since I had already finished cleaning the living room yesterday. All seems to be rolling along nicely. Frank and Rose (nearly 2) and Charlie (nearly 3) are watching cartoons. Lucy starts to fuss now, realizing she never got to finish her breakfast, so it's off to the kitchen for some Rice cereal.
10:45 Lucy managed to stick both feet in her mouth full of rice, so it's off to the bath for her. Right after, Emma and Mary mop up the water they've "cleaned" the bathroom with.
10:55 I realize everyone's ready but me, so I quickly douse my bed-head with some water, smack on some fresh deoderant, clean clothes, and good to go.
11:10 T minus 10 minutes...need to pack a quick lunch and send Emma out to the garage for the wagon, a cooler, and to unload all the gear (scooters, toys, etc.) from last nights party.
Alice helps me to throw some peanut butter and jelly on bread, clean some grapes, and throw a few other snacks together. Lucy's getting fussy again...ready for her morning nap...will have to wait till we're in the van. Sorry Lucy Bird.
11:17 Kids are buckling up. 5 in carseats. Emma put Lucy in her seat, and she's snuggling in nicely. I load the wagon in to the back of the van, Sam' s got the lunch and cooler. I pour my cold coffee out, and fill a fresh to-go cup for the road.
11:21 I turn the key, check the rear-view...everyone's in. We're on the road! Wooohooo! Parade time.

All before it naptime yet?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth!

As our family is busy cleaning up for a get-together to celebrate our nations independence later today (any excuse for getting together with family)...I'll keep it short and sweet today.
A prayer/song for our nation. God Bless you today and always. jamie

God Bless America
Words and music by Irving Berlin

"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea, Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free, Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "

God Bless America, Land that I love. Stand beside her, and guide her Thru the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans, white with foam God bless America, My home sweet home.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

mom just called...

and added "Because I told you so! That's why!!"

(thanks mom.)

parents say the darndest things...

It's raining here today. At our house that can only mean one thing...the scissors are coming out to play. It's true. Something about stormy weather inspires creativity. The empty diaper boxes find there way out of closets only to be transformed into boats, trains, planes, computers, robots, and on and on. Today's no different. As the older kids huddle around the kitchen table planning, cutting, takes only a minute for toddler hands to grab a scissors and what else..take off running. Of course I holler "Don't run with the scissors! You'll take an eye out!" Which of course makes them bolt faster down the hallway.
When the scissors are retrieved I stop to many kids have ever "taken an eye out?"
And so began my mind spinning into all the words of wisdom my parents shared with me so that I might pass them on to my own little ones.
when crying: "I'll give you something to cry about!"
when goofing at dinner: "Shut your mouth and eat!" (try's tricky)
when wrestling with sibs: "It's all fun and games, till somebody gets an eye out!" (I'm noticing a pattern with the eye thing)

Anyhow, I've caught myself saying some doozies, and I'll bet my kids will pass them on some day too. Like it or not.

I guess I better run before some unsuspecting crafter takes an eye out.
Enjoy the day.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

borrowed from the web...

I don't always read the lengthy but heartwarming "forwards" that land in my inbox. But I do always scroll to the end to find the short-but-sweet verses that seem to sum them all up. And so I borrowed this....

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

...enough said I think.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

kitchen table talk

Converation can never be called predictable at this house. Today's lunch was no different. What started with chatter about a sign-up deadline for fall soccer and other activities, turned into a great opportunity for vocational say the least.

It went something like this:
Mom: "Emma, this week is the deadline for soccer sign-ups. You still interested?"
Emma: "Yep, I'm there!"
Sam: "Should I sign up too?"
Mom: "Do you like soccer?"
Sam: (with wrinkled face) "mmm, not really."
Mom: "Then just plan on joining "Boys Club" (a youth group for boys to help them grow in and learn more about their Catholic faith)
Sam: "If it's really called "Boys club" then I'll join."
Mom: "Cool, then maybe you'll find your calling to become a priest someday." (Okay, maybe a stretch, but always feel it necessary to at least "plug" the idea from time to time)
...then turning to 2y.o. Charlie..."and you look good in black today, maybe you'll make a good priest too!"
Emma: "Pope Charlie!" sounds great!!! (and turning to me as I raise my eyebrows) "Go big or go home Mom!"

Alrighty then. Never sell yourself short, I'm being told by an 8 year old.