Thursday, April 30, 2009

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, May 1st

"Dear Patron of God's Church, you are honored by her as the Worker, the humble carpenter of Nazareth. According to St. Theresa of Avila, you are universal in your intercessions. Inspire workers of all kinds to walk ever in your footsteps as faithful servants coupling charity with justice and becoming true followers of Jesus."

...and if you could guide and protect the little men of this home as they "work" on various projects, that would be good too. Amen.

Potty time?

No, she's nowhere near being ready...but at least she's more interested than a couple 2 1/2 year olds whose time in diapers is limited!

It was fun to watch Lucy check out her little potty from every angle..

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you."
Jeremiah 1:5

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hmmm....what to do when it rains?

Baseball practice was cancelled, neighbor kids were all indoors, the yard too soggy to play in, and it's still drizzling outside. What shall we do? The question was quickly answered when my sister-in-law and her son stopped by with a box full of "micro-machines." They were cleaning out toys and closets today, and were ready to part with these tiny (and I mean very tiny...about an inch long) little vehicles. There must have been 50 or more assorted vehicles from planes, cars, trucks, army vehicles & tiny men to go with. It was a dream come true for the kids here, and an answered prayer for a mom who was struggling with creative ideas for entertaining the troops after we've been spoiled by warmer weather and entire evenings outdoors. Each of the kids chose a handful, and proceeded to the basement. Alice, Emma, Sam and Grace combined theirs to form an entire city. Paper, scissors, lots of tape, crayons, a little creativity, in no time had them designing and building a micro-machine mega-plex that covered more than 12 feet of desk space in the basement. Roads, airports, parking lots, and kept them entertained for over an hour (with no arguing!!!)

So grateful to Eddie for parting with these treasures, and for a wonderfully peaceful evening indoors.

coffee talk

I became mometarily frustrated this morning, when I reached for some ice cubes to make iced coffee (it's muggy here today!) and found the ice cube trays empty. Uggh. I remembered Alice filling water bottles for softball practice last night, and suspect her to be the guilty party. As I mumbled my frustrations outloud, it occured to me that this is probably the first time she'd ever filled water bottles herself, at least with ice cubes from the tray (our ice maker crashed since last summer, so we've resorted to making our own cubes.) Anyhow, rather than get upset, I smiled recognizing it as one more life lesson I need to teach. As they grow, we are constantly needing to train, mold, teach, and adapt our lessons to what they need to know at any given time. Knowing how to refill the ice tray may not change their lives, but it teaches courtesy and responsibility which is something that will carry them through their entire lives.
As I thought more about it, I couldn't help but smile, and wonder if God has the same feelings at times as we grow in our faith lives, and need new lessons, new reminders along the way. Just as it wasn't necessary to teach Alice and Emma how to make ice cubes before it became an issue, I'm certain there are many things that "come up" in our lives that require new lessons, or opportunites for growth. How wonderful to know that He is there, waiting to provide us with those opportunities for learning, giving us gifts to carry us through. My dad used to joke with us when we'd pry for information..."You're on a need to know basis, and right now you don't need to know!" he'd tell us. I think at times, God must have the same philosophy...when we need to know, He'll tell us. Peaceful day to you all!

boys and their cars...

We were outside enjoying the weather a couple Saturday's back...some shooting hoops, a few in the sandbox, others on scooters and bikes, when a friend and former classmate of John's pulled in the driveway in his beautiful black Porsche convertible. The two men chatted briefly, then went for a spin, and returned shortly for more tire-kicking, under the hood peaking man chatter. I did my best to keep kids (and bats, scooters, balls, and other fender-denters) as far away from the car as possible. I had to laugh though when 3 year old Charlie wandered up to the two "big boys," hands in his pocket and stutttered "Yeah, yeah, but Dad, those are nice tires."
You can say that again, Charlie. Nice tires, indeed. Too cute.

Monday, April 27, 2009

a chance meeting in the milk aisle

When people find out we have 3 sets of twins, they often ask if I've ever heard of that happening before. While I'm sure I'm not the first, I really had never heard of or known anyone...that is until Saturday morning.
I had young John and Mary with me at the grocery store for a few things, when we came upon the sweetest looking elderly man giving out samples of chocolate milk. He was quick to give the kids a cupful, and they loved it of course. (It's something I never buy.) He mentioned I could get it on sale "with a coupon" he provided. I giggled and told him, I may just splurge this time, with the coupon, but explained that with 8 more kids at home it wasn't something we'd buy often. It seemed we were destined to meet, and he smiled and proceeded to pull a notebook out from under his sample cart. The book was full of old faded newspaper clippings from his local Ft. Wayne paper (many years back) and from Ripley's believe it or not. Turns out he had a twin brother, and two other sets of twin brothers nearly the same age. (Can you imagine 6 boys virtually the same age!?!) His mom posed them in basketball uniforms as they had their own team. She went on to have a set of twin girls as well. How crazy is that?! It was so cute talking to him, as I explained I also had 3 sets of twins, along with the 4 other singles. It was a real pleasure, and I'm so grateful to have met him. You just never know who God's gonna put in your path at any given moment...and who'da thought I get such joy from chatting for a moment in the milk aisle with Rusty the sample man. Funny. There's joy to be found in all things, all people, if we're just open to it...I could have just as easily said "No, thank you." and moved on about my busy day. So glad I didn't!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

oops, I did it again

I went the whole weekend with not even one look at the blog. Too busy enjoying the weather, and much needed quality, family time. This past week or two, and for the next week to come for sure, we're managing at a pace much faster than our comfort zone. It's happening for a number of reasons...spring sports (3 of the kids have begun practices for baseball and softball), swimteam parents meeting, preparations for First Communion including meetings and practices, meetings at work, and on and on. On top of all the usual business the season brings, John has been helping with the school and church bus routes (he's a substitute bus driver) for a couple drivers who required some time off. The bus routes for church involve picking up students from our public middle school during their release time, and bringing them back and forth to our parish center for religion class. This can mean 4 or 5 15-minute routes or more per morning, depending on the number of routes open. Those short routes mean I can't plan much of anything. Needless to say, we've been embracing the weekends, and look forward to our daytime schedules slowing down just a bit. (The evenings will remain crazy...that goes without saying.)
Sam and I had practice for his First Communion on Friday after school. It's hard to believe it's only a week away. I'm really looking forward to his full participation in the mass, and I think it's safe to say, he's pretty excited as well. Saturday, we helped the neighbors pack up what was left of the garage sale items. My two little red wagon-loads of treasures that I hauled over earlier in the week were mostly gone, and turned quite a little profit (hint of sarcasm), so I think we might just splurge on ice cream at the Tastee one day this week.
Today, our family packed up the van and headed to New Albany where my nephew received First Communion. Wanting the mass to be special (i.e. not interrupted by several noisy toddlers) we opted to meet at the house after mass for the party. We arrived before anyone was back from church and let ourselves in to wait (we're family). This is where I have to comment about how much hard-work and planning Martha (mother of the first communicant) obviously had to put in for this special day. In addition to the spiritual formation of this young fella (which is most important, right?) she outdid herself with planning and preparing a beautiful party. The house was immaculate when we arrived, not a toy out of place. Food, snacks, cake and every sort of treat was spread out, waiting to be opened and enjoyed. Crockpots were warming, tables were set, yard was neatly mowed with chairs and a tent. It was just a sight to behold, probably because I don't behold sights like that at my house often. The same feeling I get from finishing a crisp-pressed cotton shirt, or pulling from the oven a golden pie with warm apples oozing, I was momentarily moved by the simple beauty of her hard work(I made the kids play outside, so as not to mess anything up before anyone else could appreciate it too.) I couldn't help but smile later wondering how long her kids were buckled in the van, ready to get to church while she ran through the house doing one last sweep of things. She's amazing! (okay, I'm sure her dear husband may have played a part too...but when it comes to party planning, I think it's usually mom steering the ship...sorry steve.) I wish we could say we left things the way we found them...we had a great time, the kids had a ball as evidenced by a yard full of water toys, balls, frisbees, etc. They all slept great in the van coming home, and played off a bit more energy when we got here, riding bikes and scooters up and down the sidewalks. It was late to bed for them by the time we got showers and baths in, even though it was a school night, none of us wanting the weekend to end. It is ending though, bringing about another hectic week sure to be filled with fun and adventure along the way. I'll try to keep you posted. Peace!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

mothers day is coming up

I think you should ask for this!
A good friend of mine (Amy of the My Little Saint realm) started this business over a year ago. She did some cleaning for me here (just a one-time event) as she was starting up, and it was fabulous!! As a matter of fact, a few days after, another friend stopped by for a visit, and asked if I got all new kitchen appliances. (They were dirtier than I realized, yikes.) Anyhow, maybe you should let hubs know how much you'd love to spend more time with him and the kids without having to tidy up the house first. Flowers are nice, but if he's gonna invest any money at all this holiday anyway (on behalf of the kids of course) ask him to make it something you'd all benefit from! You might be surprised by how affordable it could be.

(couldn't help the shameless advertising...I do think she did an awesome job, the few ladies she has working for her are gems, and let's face're all worth it!!)

The old adage is true...

"one man's junk is another man's treasure."
At least it is in this case. This is my little garage sale treasure that I mentioned in the previous post. I spotted it at my neighbors' as I was bringing boxes over to unpack in her garage. Instantly, I was flooded with memories of my grandma who passed away nearly 20 years ago, and the same pink dish of powder she kept in her bathroom closet. This one is empty now, and the satiny puff missing, but it still smells of that sweet powder that grandma would let my cousin, Amy (also now passed) and I carefully dust ourselves with as we played beauty shop in her bathroom. I ignored the temptation to buy it on my first trip over to her garage, but found myself thinking about it most of the afternoon yesterday, so when I went back last evening with more "treasures" to unload, I scooped it up without blinking. Mmmm. I love that smell. This one happened to belong to my neighbor's mother, and I was happy to pay the 25 cents for the priceless memories it stirred up. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with it, but for now it sits on my dresser where I can lift the lid and soak up the sweet memories anytime I please. I have a few pieces of grandma's costume jewelry, and her pearls that I may keep in here now...who knows. I'm just so tickled with my lucky find, perhaps grandma or Amy had more to do with it than luck, I hope they're tickled that I recognized it. Thanks, I miss you both.

spring cleaning

I ran out of time to post last evening. In preparing for the neighbor's garage sale, I found myself drawn into cleaning and sorting all kinds of unruly spaces. From the toy box, to the laundry room (which is more like a basement storage/catch-all room which happens to hold the washer and dryer) to the pantry closet and beyond. When the urge to do that kind of cleaning/purging hits, you just have to roll with it. I also managed to dust and vaccum like I hadn't in a long time. The house looked so fresh this morning. It was worth the late nighter. If only it could stay that way for awhile.
Today the weather is gorgeous again. I love seeing more days like these. The town is abuzz with bargain hunters as the community is hosting it's annual garage sales. I had more to get rid of than I thought, and was grateful our neighbors offered to take in our things on their sale. Our one-car garage (home to a dozen bikes and other play things) leaves no room for a sale here. (Thank goodness!!!) But, it was fun to walk around town today and see all the people out and about. I even scored a couple bargains...shorts for the younger boys, and a pretty pink dish I spotted just for myself. I'll post more on that later...
Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Go green!

Nearly forgot, tomorrow's Earth have any plans? I wonder if Hallmark is selling cards for this one? perhaps on recycled organic paper?
Okay, so I can be a bit cynical when it comes to all the hype about global warming and saving Mother Earth. It doesn't mean I'm completely careless, but I will still use paper plates, disposable diapers, and chemical-laiden cleaning products if they're cheap and work well. I do reuse and recycle lots of clothes, limit electronics usage, and have the kids (mostly) trained to turn lights off when they leave the room.
Alice and Emma brought home miniature blue spruce trees to plant in honor of the occasion. (Miniature is an false move, and a tumble from Lucy would have them snapped off in an instant....even a squirrel could take 'em down.) But we made a big hoopla about planting them, and in 15 years or so, when even the youngest of our brood have too much of an attitude to help, I'll decorate the darn things with lights and tinsel at Christmas time, reminiscing about how we had to get them in the ground immediately, and how the kids tracked mud all over the kitchen after "helping" dad plant them. Yup, good times.
I'm thinking in honor of the big day tomorrow, I'm gonna shut down the kitchen. No stove, microwave or oven for the day. Hmm. Wonder how that will sit with the crew. Salads for lunch, PB&J for supper. It may not do much to reduce my carbon footprint, but it keeps me from having to cook for a day. It's a win-win situation, I think.

(pity) party of one

(crashed by the Spirit)
I can't say that I get terribly depressed or down too often. In general, I have a pretty positive, healthy outlook on life. But on occasion, I have myself a nice little pity-party. Today was a good one. It started when Alice mentioned to me on her way out the door for school, that she'd had a dream last night that we were going to have another baby. She was pretty excited about it and mentioned more than once that she hoped it would come true. I love that. I think it's wonderfully sweet that our kids, especially the older ones recognize the gift of life. I'd be happy to bring another tiny miracle into this world myself. However, the sweetness was kind of sucked right out of it later as I turned things around in my mind and began with the sad thoughts of little Cy, the baby we lost just a few short months ago. I still long to hold him, and wonder if perhaps losing him is God's way of telling us there are to be no more babies. It makes me very sad to imagine never holding a beautiful newborn again. Not that my life would be incomplete without more children, but it is a miracle each and every time, and I would love to have that privilege again. Anyhow, just as I was feeling most sorry for myself, I felt a sense of peace and comfort come over me, certainly the works of the Spirit, as this was placed on my heart. That is, no matter what experiences remain for me here on earth, I have a beautiful baby boy waiting for me in heaven. Certainly I will hold a precious newborn again, little Cy. If 10 is to be my "perfect" number here, I should not be sad, but look forward to the eternal reward of heaven and the tiny baby waiting for me there. One more reason to focus on Jesus and His promise of new life.

In praise and gratitude of His comfort and consolation:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray: Lord by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful. In the same Spirit help us to relish what is right and always rejoice in consolation. We ask you this through Christ our Lord. Amen

they're back...

I'm pretty certain I've written about my distaste for them before...yep, right there. I thought I had them all out of the house. That is, until the 6 oldest kids saw the dentist recently, and every one of them came home with a new toothbrush, paste, floss, and what else? A Bouncy ball!!!! Come on, already! Can you believe it. From the dentist of all places. What's next? Chicken bone treats for doggies at the vet? Geesh. Anyhow, this evening, being trapped indoors with the weather, the bouncy balls made their way out with a vengeance. All six of them, bouncing in the hallways, baby-bouncing in the tiniest most annoying way on the coffee table, in Lucy's mouth (repeatedly.) It was like a really bad dream. I'm running out of space on my windowsill for small confiscated toys, and most of the kids can get them back from there now anyhow. To the top of the fridge they go... the bouncy balls that is.
Praying for warm weather tomorrow that we might be outside. (Bouncy balls long since forgotten.) Pray with me, please.

homemaking 101: feel free to share

We all have little tricks and tips for keeping organized. I'm always looking for new ones as this cozy four-bedroom feels as if it could bust at the seems any time. This past week or so, I've slowly been going through closets again, packing away winter, and getting ready for spring/summer. My neighbor is having a garage sale next weekend, so it's been motivating for me to get the sorting finished in time to add a few things to her sale. Part of our seasonal changeover also takes place in the hall closet where winter coats are washed and put away, replaced now with spring jackets and hoodies. A couple years ago I purchased an over-the-door shoe organizer with clear pockets. I keep it inside the front coat closet. In the winter it holds mittens, hats, scarves etc. In the warmer months, when snow-gear is packed away, it's home to flip-flops, lots of them. All the girls seem to have a pair in nearly every color, and I was tired of them laying throughout the house. So, now they hang neatly, in pairs and easy to spot, in the front closet...easy to grab on the way out, and even easier to put away. No more searching last minute as we're ready to take off. Do you have any great "can't live without" organizing tips? Please share!

borderline believer

Well, we did get to enjoy a second "camp"fire over the weekend. Again on Saturday, after the younger ones were bathed and in bed, John and I and the oldest few sat out under the stars and listened to the logs crackle. Slowly, after a couple marshmallows, one by one they'd wander in to bed for the night. Emma stayed up the latest, and conversation dipped from school, to sports, and eventually to Santa, the toothfairy and Easter bunny. She shared that kids had been talking about them lately again at school. Emma's friend was apparently given strict instructions by her mom not to tell the secret to anyone, but "that none of it's real." (so much for the secret.) It's a hard thing to leave them hanging like that. John and I didn't add anything to the conversation, just listened to her toss ideas around, as she thought out-loud and shared what she might still believe. For now she was certain Santa is still real. (I loved her reasoning) "Because you and Dad could never afford all those nice gifts." But she's pretty certain Easter bunny and toothfairy are make-believe. We kinda just let her hangin'. As much as I'd love to tell her the truth, and have her share in the secret, I'm not ready for the trickle-down effect as the secret would "slip" to the little ones.
Rather, we just toasted another marshmallow, pulled our chairs a little closer to the fire, as conversation drifted on...

Monday, April 20, 2009

First Communion Novena

A dear friend shared a beautiful family novena to be prayed prior to First Communion Day. If it's too late for you to do the nine day prayer, it was also suggested to do the last 3 days prior as a Family Triduum prayer. We'll be starting ours here Friday in time for Sam's First Eucharist on Sunday, May 3rd.

Friday, April 17, 2009

friday night lights

...a perfectly wonderful end to a gorgeous spring day. Eight beds stripped and later re-made with fresh-from-the-line linens, lawn mowed for the first time this year, and an evening stroll to the park, all led up to a quiet fire and some marshmallow toasting with the older kids. I got everyone bathed, and the youngest three to bed, so the rest of us could sneak out for some warm sticky treats. Unfortunately, John's at work missing this one, but it sounds like the weather is to be more of the same tomorrow. We've still got a few marshmallows left...

Restful weekend to you all!

Can you smell it??

...fresh sheets and blankets on the line. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Nothing says spring quite like it. Everyone should sleep well tonight. Just two more sets to go, and we'll have them all covered.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter pics

Frank seems to have his 'bum stuck in the bottom of the coat rack...but doesn't seem to mind.

Charlie, "Say Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!"

Sam and Emma. It almost looks as if they don't mind each other. My heart just skipped a beat.

more Easter pics to share

Rose and Lucy with cousin Kate...looking cute as colored eggs.

Mary and John in a rare wrestle-free moment.

Grace and Alice checking out some of their loot from Grandma and Grandpa's Easter treasure hunt.

Frank and Rose, I don't think they've stopped munching on candy since.

mom's little helper

Frank wanted to help in the kitchen the other day (okay, every day) so I asked him to set the table. Ummm? Think we might just need a little more elbow room than that. Even Rosie had to laugh.

just breathing...

As mentioned earlier, things seem busier than usual here lately. I don't think there's been anything major happening, just trying to keep up with the everyday. It seems to go in tides where things will seem quiet for a few days, then crazy again. We're just getting through one of those crazy waves I think. After focusing on Easter and celebrating the Triduum, Monday brought the realization that I've got to get focused on Sam's First Eucharist which is less than 3 weeks away. ( Not to mention a need to catch up on laundry, stock up on groceries, etc after a long weekend.) I took Sam shopping Monday afternoon, looking for a suit for his special day. Finding a good fit was trickier than I imagined, and I wished I'd brought someone along for a second opinion. I have fond memories of taking John's mom along suit-shopping for him when we were still dating. She knew just how things should fit, and would tighten and tug and tuck to make sure everything was just right. Boy do I miss her on many days. Anyway, I decided to hold off getting anything. I'm hoping my mom will join us this weekend, and decide on something with just enough time left for alterations if necessary. We had a parents meeting at church last evening as part of the preparations for Sam's First Eucharist, and even though I've been teaching his class this whole year, somehow being with the other parents, and hearing Father talk gave me goosebumps and I can't believe it's so near. He's growing up...
John did have last week off work, and managed to finish the girls' bathroom upstairs with much help from our neighbor and friend. New toilet, sink and vanity, some drywall repair from replacing some of the old plumbing, and of course a fresh coat of paint. Although, I only got 2 of the walls painted...just enough for them to complete the vanity/sink installation. I'm hoping to be completely finished this weekend. What a relief to have 2 bathrooms again!! That's an "Alleluia" indeed!
Yesterday had me an hour from home at the nearest Sam's Club. I try to get there every 6 weeks or so to stock up on all the essentials, although I'm realizing their prices are going up on many things, and may have to reconsider what items I can find cheaper closer to home, and whether it's worthwile. I do love being able to buy some of the convenience frozen foods in larger packages though...chicken nuggets, and waffles by the case.
Today, I was scheduled to be at work. I love my job. It's easy for me to say that perhaps because I only work a couple days per month. But I really do love it. Even when it's stressful, it's a welcome change from what I'm used to at home, and feels good to feel challenged and mentally stimulated. Did I mention I get to have conversations with other adults? Anyways, I get home just as John's ready to take off for his work-day. It's like tag-team parenting. High-five from the ropes, and I'm in.
It's days like these that leave me frustrated with the fact that John and I are often going in opposite directions. I think his new evening shift schedule has a little to do with this, as I used to get groceries after nine when the kids were sleeping, or make my Walmart trips late at night when everyone was in bed. I'd work on his day off, and still have the whole evening to catch up. It allowed for all of us to have more time together. Not so anymore. All errands/running/appointments/etc need to be completed by 2pm so John can get to work on time. The days just seem too short. It makes me very grateful for his weekends at home now, when all of us can spend time together. That is, when our kids don't have plans of their own. Alice and Emma are going home after school with a friend for a sleepover, so we'll see them Saturday. Tonight I had the 3 oldest gone for softball practices and Boys' Club meeting. I'm not sure I'm ready for the kids to be growing up and spreading out. I kinda like having them all here with me. Not much for me to do about it though, but embrace the changes, and for this evening...just breathe.
Thank you Lord for our good health, jobs to go to, and all the blessings you've given us. Amen.

supper sillies

Young Lucy has developed an attitude at the dinner table. She took great pleasure, giggling out loud, as she cleared her highchair tray of everything she disliked. Or maybe she just enjoyed the sound of it hitting the stove door... Toss an apple wedge, 'ping.' Toss a grilled cheese, 'ping.' Green bean, 'ping.' Guess I can add floor and stove scrubbing to tonights to-do list.

sorry for the silence

As difficult as it may be to imagine, I've (we've) been busy. Our schedules have been such these last couple days, that it seems John and I just swat each other a "high-five" as we pass each other through the back door. Lots of communicating in notes, etc. Hope to fill you in this evening! Hang in there....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

why Grace thinks 10 might be better than 3 after all.

A few days back, 6 year old Grace was frustrated about having to share something. (The complaint came at the dinner table, so it may have been about sitting too close to someone...I really can't remember now the source of this conversation.) Anyhow, she grumbled to us all "I wish we only had 3 kids in our family." Trying not to sound mocking, and yet sort of tickled, I replied "hmm. Then you wouldn't be here to complain to us all." She looked confused at me. "You're #4, remember?" I continued. She thought a bit longer. "Okay, maybe we should just have 4 or 5 then."

It led to a funny conversation about exactly where would have been a good place to "stop" having kids. A little shout of baby-talk from Lucy in her highchair reminded us that 10 seemed right. We were all laughing by then. How on earth could we get through the day without any of them?!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Easter miracle!

...the lost is found!! (under the boys bed of all places, nearly wedged under the edge of a dresser.) Thank goodness for wrestling around on the boys floor trying to get little ones dressed in their Easter best!

A Blessed Easter to You!

...from our family to yours.

~we're currently "napping up" here, between parties. Lunch with my side of the family, and supper with John's. Makes for a busy (sugared-up) kinda day. We're glad for a little down time in between. Hope you all are having a blessed day!

jamie, john and family

Happy Easter!

He is risen!
Easter Prayer:
Lord,the resurrection of Your Son has given us new life and renewed hope. Help us to live as new people in pursuit of the Christian ideal. Grant us wisdom to know what we must do, the will to want to do it, the courage to undertake it, the perseverance to continue to do it, and the strength to complete it. ~New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book

Friday, April 10, 2009

called to pray

More than anything tonight, I felt like dropping in to bed early. We spent most of the day outdoors, going for walks, playing in the yard, even picnicing at the lake for supper...anything to fully enjoy the beautiful weather. Somewhere in there I also managed to get 2 more thin coats of drywall mud up and sanded in the bathroom, boiled 4 dozen eggs, and the usual meals, cleaning, etc. I wanted to try to get a start on painting the bathroom tonight as well, but really more than anything, the bed sounded good. After all the kids were off to sleep, and I was headed that direction as well, I kept feeling a pull towards time with the Lord. I tried to push it away, knowing we'd spend some time in church tomorrow during 3 hours, and mass on Saturday and Sunday. Surely I could skip tonight. But His words from Luke just kept echoing in my mind "46"Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." Surely I can find an hour for only Him.

So, around 10:30, I shed the comfy sweatpants for something more appropriate and headed to church for an hour of adoration. I'm always so glad when I do. That time in quiet prayer is such a gift, and I am ever grateful for His gentle nudge.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Looking for a soulmate...

Please, help!!!
Have you seen my match?
Missing now for over a week, 1 pink sparkly princess sneaker, size 4.

Little Lucy has become notorious for throwing everything in the trash!! I'm afraid the moment I toss this one, the other will mysteriously reappear. So far though, no luck...think it's in a landfill somewhere. (Praying to St. Anthony!)

another busy (blessed) day.

I'm not getting far on my to-do list this week (closet organizing), but I'm not complaining because that means John is doing quite well on his. You see, we can't both be busy doing our own thing...there's a team here that requires managing. So, while John's been very busy updating our upstairs bathroom (making it usable again) I've been keeping the young ones entertained. Yesterday he got the old toilet torn out and replaced with a new high-powered, can't clog it, super flusher (trip #1 to Lowes) and today, he tore out the old wall mounted sink. This was no simple fix, it required tearing into the walls a bit thanks to the older plumbing in the house but he got things repaired nicely and is ready to install a new sink/vanity (trip #2 to Lowes.) I need to do a little drywall repair tonight, and after a 3rd trip to Lowes tomorrow (cause the sink didn't come with the drain) we should be all set. We've been blessed with a wonderful neighbor who's experience and kindness has proved invaluable and I think John's learning a lot in the process.
The six oldest kids attended an egg hunt and movie at our Parish Center this evening. They hunted for "Resurrection Eggs" and then watched a movie that explained the items found inside the eggs. They seemed to enjoy it, and it was cute to hear Mary open one of her eggs and explain very softly and gently what was inside. With a serious expression, "This egg has a piece of cloth in it mom....the kind of cloth they placed Jesus in after he died." What a great way for kids to hear and relate to the Passion and Resurrection. I hope this becomes an Easter tradition at our church for the kids. If not, I think I've now got a complete set of the eggs, I'll have to start a tradition of our own.
Better get, I have a bucket of drywall mud calling my name... Peaceful night all!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter Bunny explained

I borrowed a cute little story book from our parish library today. "The First Easter Bunny" by Frrich Lewandowski (not a typo) is a fun read. It's the story of a little rabbit that follows Jesus through the events of Holy Week, and is the first to see the risen Christ. It helps to bring a little deaper meaning to the Easter Bunny, beyond jelly beans and chocolate eggs. I think all the kids enjoyed it...except Lucy who spent most of the story bouncing on my lap, giggling and pelting other board books at me, oblivious. Can't win 'em all.

bonus bread

We had breakfast for supper tonight. It's simple, kids love it, and I happened to have all the required ingredients...pancakes, sausage patties, bacon and pineapple. The bummer was that at my last trip to Aldi's I got crushed pineapple instead of chunks. I'm not sure how the kids would feel about a pile of mushed pineapple on their plate, so I was trying to think of a quick easy "crushed pineapple recipe" for dessert. I had marshmallows in the snack cupboard, so if I could find some cool whip in the freezer, we'd have "pineapple delight." No such luck, but while I was digging through the freezer, I found one last loaf of chocolate chip banana bread from the loaves I baked last fall. Bonus! I sliced it up on their plates (right next to the pile of crushed pineaple) and the kids went wild. I haven't baked any sort of sweet bread since the fall, so the kids were quick to suggest we make some more. (I hadn't told them, that while digging for cool whip I'd also found 3 bags of shredded zucchini from last years garden.) After supper was cleaned up, Emma, Charlie, Frank and Rose hung around the kitchen to help me throw together a triple batch of zucchini bread. We baked 7 large loaves. 4 for the freezer, 1 to share, and 2 left out to enjoy...probably be gone in a day or 2. The kitchen smelled wonderful!! Mmm...what might we be lucky enough to stumble upon tomorrow?

attempting to stay focused

At the end of yet another crazy-busy day...

"God of such unwavering love, how do I "celebrate" the passion and death of Jesus? I often want to look the other way and not watch, not stay with Jesus in his suffering. Give me the strength to see his love with honesty and compassion and to feel deeply your own forgiveness and mercy for me. Help me to understand how to "celebrate" this week. I want be able to bring my weaknesses and imperfections with me as I journey with Jesus this week, so aware of his love." ~from onlineministries "Lent One Prayer a Day"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day

...Cubs win!
It was hot dogs and loaded nachos for supper here at Schmiesing Stadium. And while I don't think we saw the first lick of baseball today (only a few cartoons for the kids) we did catch the Cubs score after the kids were in bed. Unfortunately the Reds didn't fare so well today.

In lieu of television, Alice and Emma and I are working our way through the Little House on the Prairie series of books. Alice got them from her Godfather a couple Christmas' ago, and we're finally making a point to finish them. What enjoyable reading as the three of us spread out on my bed, and take turns. Even Rosie joins us from time to time, for a snuggle and a few pages. Very sweet! I'll have to keep my eyes/ ears open for another good series for when this one is over. I'm enjoying the time more than I could have imagined.

my "calgon" moment from the weekend

It's always a bit zoo-ey around here. Saturday though, I had one of those "Calgon, take me away moments," and my poor sweet neighbor girl was here to share in it. (She came back to play on Sunday though, so it must not have been too traumatic.) We'd been outside all afternoon, cleaning the shed and getting patio furniture out, airing up bike tires and going for rides, kids playing in the yard with neighbors, putting a few Easter decorations outdoors, etc. Just as I was getting supper ready (that's always a "magic" hour, not?!) John decided to drive off to get me a bucket of gravel for one of my many projects. One of the older (jr. high age) neighbor girls came in with Rosie who had a splinter in her hand. I retrieved a tweezers from the bathroom, and set a fussy Lucy on the kitchen counter, so I could work on Rose's splinter (while neighbor girl held her). Just as I'm making progress on the splinter, the timers for the oven and stove began beeping (bread, pasta, and veggies all done.) Fussy Lucy stops whining for a moment and proceeds to vomit all over herself and the kitchen cupboard. Poor neighbor girl looks at me in horror, wondering what I'm going to do first. I turn off the beeping timers and burners, etc.. Give Rosie a kiss on the hand and let her know I'll get back to that splinter later, and proceed to pick Lucy up by the feet and back (to keep the barf spooned on her front, and carry her straight for the tub.) Poor gagging neighbor girls takes Rosie back outside, mummbling (and gagging some more) "Cleanup is always the worst." Man, you got that right.
John was back in just a few that time we had Lucy bathed, and ready to be taken up for a nap, (poor thing had thrown up what looked to be breakfast and wonder she was fussy!) kitchen countertops cleaned and disinfected, stinky trash taken out, supper on the table, and nauseaus neighbor kids on their way home. Oh, and I finally did remember to get back to that splinter...on Sunday evening. Sorry Rose.

Entering into Holy Week

I'm looking out the kitchen window now, and can see snow on my patio furniture! Something's very wrong with that!! I should have known when we cleaned the shed and hauled it all out this past Saturday, that we'd certainly not seen the last of the white stuff. In a way the snow seems fitting for the day. As we enter into Holy Week, the cold and snow forces us (at least at our house) to stay in, and slow it down a bit again. I hear the boys hammering away with their play tools in the basement, and the girls are hiding out in a tent in their bedroom. John's home this week due to a plant shutdown. I have quite a list planned for him, from fixing a sink and toilet in the upstairs bathroom, to replacing the boards on our picnic table outside. Not to worry, I have my own list as well. It's change of season again, and that means time to start working through all the kids closets to resort and reorganize. And of course a list for the complete and tie up loose ends on all of their lenten projects...mail off a check from all of the pizza money we saved, fill with treats and distribute our Easter grass pots, make cards for and distribute the rosaries they made, etc. It's bound to be a busy week. I'll try to keep you posted along the way.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

thunder cake, thunder storm, thunder thighs?

It just so happens that there's one little man in this house who's terribly frightened by thunder. Just as the kids were settling down before bed, we saw a few good flashes of lightening, followed by some rumbles of thunder. That was it. I was definitely snuggling in between Charlie and Frank tonight. I didn't mind a bit! I'm not sure if it was the late night I was up last night, the busy day at work today, or all the fresh air thanks to our gorgeous weather this afternoon/evening...but I am wiped out tonight. I wedged in between Charlie and Frank and fell asleep quicker than they did, I think. I spent about an hour with them, and now I can't seem to get myself motivated to do much of anything. Fortunately, we ate supper outside at the picnic table tonight, so the kitchen doesn't need straightened. I have the washer and dryer running, and several baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded, but I think that's gonna have to wait till tomorrow.
Funny coincidence, Sam brought home a recipe from school today for "Grandma's Thunder Cake." It came from his reading text book, with a story about a delicious cake grandma would bake to keep the grandkids busy, and less anxious about the storm outside. I baked the cake tonight for supper, and it was delicious! (A chocolate cake that calls for pureed tomatoes of all things, with a chocolate buttercream frosting. Yumm!) While it was a culinary success, it did nothing to ease the fears tonight. Guessing it would make more sense to call it Thunder-Thigh Cake. I best not have another piece before bed...perhaps for lunch tomorrow. Sweet dreams all!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

the truth will set you free

I was just reflecting on the day a bit, and recalling what an excellent job my second graders did at mass today. It really was great to be a part of it with them as they shared in the procession, readings, offertory, and various other "jobs." It got me to thinking a bit more about today's mass readings and how crucial the message is today. The first reading was of King Nebuchedneezer, and the 3 men who refused to worship his golden statue. Rather, they accepted their fate in the firey furnace, and were found to be saved by an angel sent by God. The Gospel carried out this same theme, as Jesus told his disciples that when we live in His word, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. I can't imagine that I'm going to be put to such a test as the 3 men in the first reading, at least nothing so blatant. Yet, in today's society, we are all constantly being challenged to do just that, to recognize the truths of our faith, and to live them. How much simpler it seems sometimes to just allow our kids to do things because their friends parents are okay with it, or to participate in gossip rather than stop it, to ignore the issue of abortion rather than fight it, to turn a blind eye to those less fortunate than ourselves. So often we have a choice to do what's easy and "acceptable" or to do what's right. I find it a constant struggle to try to do what God wants for me, to do His will. Often, I find myself trying to chart my own course, or choose my own way. I must remember that it is sin which enslaves us. I pray today that God helps me to free myself from falling into the traps of wanting what is of this world, and wanting instead to live in His word, that I may be free to love, free to give, free to forgive, free to receive the gift of eternity with Him in heaven. amen.

April Fool-ishness

So grateful to have survived an entire day of "Mom, your shoe's untied....April Fools!!" or "Mom, you have something right there....April Fools!!" It's cute, and fun until about mid-morning. After that, I'm begging for someone to forget about it, already. Who started the madness, anyway?! (oops, that was probably me..."Hey school today....April Fools!!")

Note to self: Next year, just resist the urge to "April Fool" anyone, and perhaps the day will go by unnoticed....April Fools!!