Sunday, August 29, 2010

Morning Offering

One of the best things about returning to the "back-to-school" routine, is a renewed commitment to the morning offering prayer. It's something we started last year, but somehow got away from it through the summer when everyone was waking/eating breakfast at their own pace. I love sharing this prayer as a family before the kids rush off for the day... and reminding them (and me) just what the words mean...and reflecting back on it often through the day. Wow, in just a few days I notice a difference in the way I react to situations. I catch myself wondering in stressful times (particularly towards evening hours when we've all reached our boiling points) "Is this what God would appreciate as my gift/offering to Him?" I encourage anyone to give it a try. Here's our simply worded start to each day...

"Oh my God, I offer you this day,
All I do and think and say,
In union with what was done,
On earth by Jesus Christ your son.
Amen. "

(we follow up with a Hail Mary...)

fascinated with the baby belly

My constantly growing belly is the source of much entertainment for the kids in this household lately. From watching the baby's fluttering movements and occasional alien-like rocking and rolling, it never grows tiresome. Frank has even found the "shelf-space" it provides when I'm sitting quite useful for holding matchbox cars, resting his head, and today at mass even his offering envelope. He thinks its the coolest. So glad I can be of assistance. (Apparently he caught me resting my coffee cup there the other morning...hee, hee.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

leaving behind...

Four little monkeys...still in pj's, but not for long. Everyone was dressed (with new shoes on) by 7:50, and standing around waiting for something to do. I slurped down a second cup of coffee, and then wondered out the garden to pick a few more tomatoes, peppers and onions. Charlie and I chatted with some ladies who were passing thru the alley on bikes (one a retired teacher, who grinned that she wasn't missing this first day hoopla at all. Cute.) Before long Dad and the others had the bikes out of the garage and we were all headed off for a ride across town to grandmas. Home by ten, and mom's ready for a morning nap...
Wow, this is gonna take some getting used too...

Look out Miss Jackie (preschool teacher)...this one's gonna be trouble!!

And just like that, they're out the door

Another summer vacation school year has begun. (sigh.) I'll say it a million more times in this life, "Where does the time go?" (and why so quickly?) Alarm clocks sounded at seven this morning, setting off a frenzy of scurrying kids...making beds, brushing teeth, getting dressed in clothes that were laid out neatly the night before. More squeaky tennis shoes on the hardwood floors upstairs, and giggling, and a little bit of tension as 4 girls attempted to brush teeth over one sink. (Just wait till Rose and Lucy join that mix). The boys handled things with a little less worry...rolling out of bed like it was just another day, taking turns in the downstairs bathroom, and arguing over cereal bowls like it was no big deal. After a quick bowl of cereal and OJ to wash it down...girls were lining up in my room for "hair." Alice wanted french braids into a "funky" bun, Grace and Mary had special plans, and even Emma asked for hair help (the first time ever without my prompting) heart skipped a beat when she asked. Yep, things are changing. She didn't even ask to wear basketball shorts and a baggy tee on the first day. Not that I would have expected any different...but to see her come down the steps in clothes that fit her body, and had buttons and zippers, and matched, without stains. Wow...fifth grade is bringing changes I couldn't have imagined. And it's just the first day...

Ten minutes earlier than necessary, the kids were out on the front sidewalk meeting up with neighbor kids, posing for first-day pictures, and pretending like they weren't the least bit nervous/excited. Another neighbor mom and I shared a little "Wooohoooo" battle-cry, and then laughed that we let that slip outloud. Guess I am excited for the changes this school year will bring, not the least of which is a slower pace here at home. Next week Charlie will be heading out the door for 3 mornings per week preschool. When we moved into this house 5 years ago, Alice and Emma were finishing preschool, and Charlie was still in my belly. (another sigh...)

Here's to a wonderful new school year full of growing and learning and maturing. Praying I can roll with the changes gracefully...

Monday, August 23, 2010

speaking of back to school...

Can you hear the "squeak" of new sneakers??? There have been 10 pairs of new tennies in this house for the last couple weeks now...hiding in one of the closets, until this evening that is. Now everyone's showering up fast, and squeaking around the house in brand new shoes. How much fun is that?! (I'm jealous.) Maybe after baby comes I'll treat myself to a new pair of work-out tennies too. (I don't really have to work out though, do I?)
Back-packs full of supplies and tissues are lined up and ready for the morning. Clothes laid out with sock and new sneakers. Oh, what excitement to be a kid again.
I just set up the coffee pot for morning, and have a new bottle of French Vanilla creamer in the fridge...the day's gonna be nice here at home too, I think. Cheers.

insanely organized or out of my mind?

My husband's not yet sure.

School starts tomorrow already. So in an attempt to try to get ahead of the volumes of papers and crafts and appointments and schedule challenges, the girls helped me to put together a "control center" of sorts. In years past, we've managed the important papers by assigning each of the school kids their own magnet and place on the fridge to refer to. This year there are SEVEN school kids though, and even if the fridge did have room for everyone I've taken back it's doors as a place of (mostly clean) white space. No clutter. So where do we put the "important" school stuff now??!!

Here's my answer... with room to change/grow as needed.

We took an unused hallway wall, just off the kitchen, and added dry erase space for lists and shopping needs, my already in use desktop-turned-wall calendar that has plenty of space for all our appointments and comings/goings, as well as a clipboard for each of the school kids to hold important notes, papers, things to be signed/turned in later, artwork, etc. Everything (but the dry erase board) is mounted with the 3m Command strip hooks, so it can easily be moved/changed without damaging my freshly painted walls. (We are still hoping to have the house on the market soon, and didn't want to put dozens of holes in the walls.) We even had some cool sticky back name plates for each of the kids that my dad had made a while back...just waiting for a purpose. They work perfectly now mounted to the hooks holding the clipboards.
It's not too different than our system from years past, just all centrally located. I'm hoping this helps get the year started on the right foot...and helps me to keep my clear countertops/fridge door. We'll see how it goes. Enjoy a peaceful first day of school everyone!

I would LOVE to hear your tips for staying organized!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the anxieties of young minds

Charlie came into the bedroom as I was getting dressed for church this morning, sobbing as if he'd lost his best friend. "Mom, how big is a half a inch?" he whimpered. I showed him with my fingers as I wiped away tears..."Why do you ask?"
"The weatherman says the moon is shrinking by a half a inch," he continued. Alice followed him in to explain that the weather channel was doing a bit on how over time the moon is gradually shrinking. Apparently it's smaller now by 1/2 an inch. (Amazing to think someone has made it a priority to measure.) Anyhow, little Charlie is worried he won't be able to see it anymore. A few hugs and tears wiped away...he seemed reasurred when he walked out that the moon would still be his for the watching. Poor guy.

John on the other hand has other things on his mind. I caught him hugging Lucy on Saturday and mumbling "It's okay Lucy, I'll still love you when the new baby comes." (This is certainly more his worry than hers...I can't begin to think that it's even crossed her mind.)
"John, what do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, when the new baby comes, you won't be able to love Lucy anymore, so I'll love her and you can love the new baby." He patted Lucy on the head again. She just smiled, oblivious.
His dad was in the room too, and we spent a few minutes talking about how our hearts grow bigger with each baby (just like our butts, I thought to myself with a giggle) allowing us to love more...not less. I promised I had room to love all the kids plus the new baby...too cute how their minds are working on these things.

Little Lucy, despite John's concern about lack of love is concerned with only the new baby right now. She "practices" baby all day long, from changing diapers (on her invisible baby), to feeding, to holding. She seems so excited. We purchased a few new outfits for the little baby to come...a couple pink, and a couple blue...and she loves to look at them constantly, giggling about the pink built-in bunny feet, or the ruffles on the back. It's very sweet. Her biggest worry seems to be about not having enough baby to go around. She keeps saying mom's having "TWO" babies, one for mom, and one for Lucy. Umm. Not planning on that (this time.) Might be a bit tricky to learn that whole "sharing" thing. Wish us luck...

OUr conversation with little John reminded me of this cartoon that my father-in-law shared a few years back. So true.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top picks...

I am an experienced gardener by no means. I like to dabble, and occasionally have successful blooms to start with...and then I lose interest, or forget about it, or something goes sour, and I end up with brown, dead-looking yuck in my yard. I love small potted flowers for this reason. When they start to go bad, I can dump them and not feel too terrible about it. A few years back though, our neighbor lady and green thumb extroirdinaire introduced us to Zinnias. She sprinkled a few seeds along her fence row, forgot about them, and had the most beautiful vibrant colored flowers from summer, well into fall. I was amazed!
She offered us some seeds to save and replant the following spring...and we did...and they grew. Just like that. I watered a few times in the beginning as they just came up, but beyond was survival of the fittest. Not only did they survive, they thrived! Beautifully!
We've been purchasing seed packets every year since(2 packets of seeds does a nice long row along the side of the house along our driveway, which gets full sun all day.) I would like to say that we saved and started seeds from previous years, but, I said, I'm no green thumb. And for under $2 investment each year, it's worth it for me not to have to dry and store seeds.
Anyways. If you're not familiar with these, I highly recommend them. They're beautiful showy flowers in shades from white to pastels to vibrant bold and autumn colors. And they're perfect for cutting like we did here.
Pick some up next spring...and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

summer madness continues

Sometimes spontaneous is a good thing. Other times, my old body is telling me I ought to stop and think things out a little better before I try to spring some more summer fun on the kids.
Monday I got home from work, and once again found a handful of kids laying around the tv "bored" with "nothing to do." Ugh! That makes me crazy.
The weather was gorgeous with lower humidity...a perfect evening to be outdoors. So, hmmm....what to do? what to do? I'd picked up 'smores fixins at my last grocery outing, and John had just attained a bunch of dried firewood, so a backyard campfire was surely a start for late evening. My wheels couldn't stop spinning though. Maybe we could roll with that theme and set the tents up in the backyard too...a full on campout. The only bad thing (or good thing in hindsight) about that plan is that the younger kids would bail on camping after a short time and wind up in the house. I was hoping for all of us to enjoy something together. What about real camping?? (This is where I should have hit the brakes, and stuck with the plan to stay at home...the plan that allows all of us to end up in our own comfortable beds if we so desire...but NOOOOO...Jamie's going for broke and googling available campsites at our nearby Lake Loramie state park. (and the kids don't have a clue.)
A short time later, I had myself convinced I can pull this off and make some fun summer memories for the kids while we're at it. I pencil down a quick list of necessary supplies, and hand it to Sam to hunt for items from the garage and shed...2 tents, hammer (for the stakes), lawn chairs, firewood, roasting sticks, cooler, etc...
I let the other kids in on the plan (to lots of whoops and hollars) and then a few grumbles when I told them that I need to catch up on laundry first as they pull together pajamas, sleeping bags, pillows, etc and tidy up their rooms a bit while they're hunting/gathering. I had let my laundry duties slide over the weekend with canning, cooking and birthdays, etc. Keeping the washer and dryer running is the easy part, but folding and putting away is my downfall...outta sight, outta mind in our basement laundry room. It wasn't long before the kids had everything finished on their part, and Alice and Emma were joining me in an all-out fold fest. In about an hour all of our work was done. I spent a little time throwing snacks and drinks, and a simple picnic supper into the cooler, and we were ready to load up.
Our evening at the campground was all the fun I was hoping for...and more. First tents were raised (while the boys had sword fights with the tent stakes, and little girls left their artistic mark with some chalk drawings on the drive), then our easy dinner of pb&j's, granola bars, bananas, and koolaid. Off to the playground we headed where the kids kept busy building a city in their fully-loaded-with-toys, ginormous sandbox; chased each other eagerly in a few games of tag; and even played a few games of kickball in the open grassy area there. We had planned to do a nature hike along the lake/trails, but they were enjoying themselves so much playing, that it was getting dark, and time to head back to build a fire and wash up for the night. We did have 'smores, and a few other snacks to munch while we watched the fire a bit. By this times the younger ones were so revved up about sleeping in a tent (or at least playing in it) that they were begging for bed. I left the four oldest to keep an eye on the fire, while I settled the 6 younger ones into the larger of the two tents. A couple drifted off to sleep pretty quickly, but the others were way too excited to settle easily...this is the point I began to rethink whether tent-camping was such a great idea. You see, everyone packed a sleeping bag...everyone that is, but me. Someone thought to throw in the "extra" that nobody else claimed...a tiny little toddler size "Buzz Lightyear" sleeping bag that might have been perfect for Lucy...but not this pregnant, feeling-older-by-the-minute momma. Oy. My bones were not happy to be laying on the hard ground with just Buzz and a little cotton batting to pad the nest. By the time the little ones were fast asleep (maybe a 1/2 hour or so), I left the tent to find that the older ones had had enough of the fire and were headed into their own tent. Shoot. So much for scarey campfire stories, and silly songs...but they were excited about sleeping the tent, and ready for bed. And the firewood was nearly gone. I threw one last log on the fire, and sat up in the quiet by myself for a bit wishing John could have joined us for the night. This would be a nice peaceful time to sit and chat with him...a rare treat indeed. I'm laughing thinking of how surprised he's going to be when he arrives home to an empty house, and a note explaining where we're at. I decided to give him a quick call at work to let him in on our surprise. (He already knows I'm crazy...) And we both agreed, that he may as well stay home and not join us. One of us should get a good nights' sleep and be sharp for the morning.
Anyways, I joined the younger ones back in their tent, and called it a night. Unfortunately, sleep didn't happen for me. Buzz was useless. I spent the entire night shifting from one hip to the other, certain there would be noticeable bruises on both sides when I woke up in the morning. All the Hail Mary's in the world weren't going to work tonight. I'm too far along in this pregnancy to be able to lay flat on my back anymore, though I gave that a try a couple times too...Baby Bean didn't like it, and was awake and kicking more than ever. As if I wasn't feeling enough discomfort already. At one point I even stole all the pillows from the kids who weren't using them, and attempted a make-shift cot, but keeping my butt/hips/belly from falling through the cracks was as much of a discomfort as depending on Buzz alone for a little padding. I just couldn't win.
The kids were all awake by 6am...about the time I'd finally lost all feeling in both hips and shoulders, and was starting to fall asleep. Dangit. I managed to keep them in the tent, and fairly quiet telling stories and rolling up sleeping bags till around 7.
From there it was a quick run to the bathroom, a change back into clothes, and poptarts and leftover bananas for the kids while I started taking down the tents. The kids played again at the playground for a short time (within eyeshot of our campsight) as I loaded everything into the van. And as quickly as we set off...we were headed home again. The kids couldn't wait to get home to tell Dad about the "best night ever!" and me....I just wanted coffee. Lots of coffee, a warm shower and a soft bed. (Still waiting for the soft bed...but it's not far away now.)

Despite the inconveniences and discomfort (and the fact that I'll never be able to watch Toy Story again without cursing Buzz Lightyear's name), I'm grateful for this beautiful family, and the opportunity for such a wonderful little adventure (and for no visible bruises.) As we packed up in the morning, we were greeted by several of our campsite "neighbors" who had such nice comments about our large family, and what a blessing it was to see us out together. I love opportunities like that...for others to witness God's gift of children, and big family life. I'm sure it's easier for them to say nice things too...knowing that we're packing up and heading out :) We truly are blessed!

Hmm. Wonder what we can do tomorrow for fun? Just 1 week left till school starts!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Frank & Rose!

The twelve of us attended mass this morning on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with an added sense of joy and gratitude today. Not only for the gift of our Heavenly Mother, but for the service and intercession she continues for our benefit, in her son's holy name. Today we also celebrate the birth and gift of life of our youngest twins Frank & Rose.
Happy Birthday Frank & Rosie!

I can't help but get choked up when I see their first picture together in the hospital, before Rose was transferred to the NICU at Dayton Children's an hour away. Frank was delivered first, a beautiful healthy 8# 7oz. baby boy. Rose followed just behind, 6# 9oz., though delivered in a much more urgent fashion only to discover she had no pulse, and could not breathe on her own. She was pale, terribly anemic and requiring blood transfusions as well as very swollen from all the fluid she had retained as her heart was working so hard in utero. She spent 10 days in Dayton before we brought her home...completely healthy, without the first follow-up appointment required. No looking back. Our miracle. My ob/gyn and I have talked many times since about the events leading up to their birth, and how things could have played out so differently...she doesn't hesitate to share that she could feel a divine presence during her work in the delivery room. Most certainly, I know the Blessed Mother was interceding for us on this, her Feast Day.

Below is one of my favorite photos, possibly because it's rare that I'm in any pictures with my kids, but likely because not only does it capture the love of this mother for her babies...but I can't help recognize the Miraculous Medal I'm wearing, and remember the love of our Heavenly Mother, and the active role she has in our everyday lives. I bought this medal at the gift shop of The Shrine of the Holy Relics in Maria Stein, after spending time in prayer there when I learned of complications during pregnancy with our second set of twins, John & Mary. I continue to wear it almost daily.

And lastly, in light of our community's annual Alumni Softball tournament going on this weekend here in town, I had to include the photo when we were finally able to bring Rosie home...all 11 of us together. We had our own little softball team at that point and had shirts made to celebrate it. It's hard to spot the babies there in the buggy, but they had matching shirts too. How grateful I am for this beautiful team!

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15th

(from today's first reading)
"God’s temple in heaven was opened,
and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
and on her head a crown of twelve stars." Rev. 12

"...the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more full conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death."
~Pope Pious XII

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My weekend work awaits...

The garden is producing bountifully, and plans are in the works to do a second round of canning today. I made 2 batches of salsa on Monday, and hope to get two more canned today. Grapes are ready too, and the simple juice recipe I use means even the kids can help. It's just unfortunate that canning season can't come in February, when it's not so bad to stand over a hot stove for the day.

Tomorrow is Frank & Rose's 4th birthday, so it seems as though we'll be baking cakes today as well. (can you say 'steamy kitchen'). I have memories of finishing the salsa/canning the night before they were born, and it was really hot that year too. I was induced a few weeks early with them (unplanned) and was relieved to have that work out of the way before they came into the world. I'll have to share more about the miracle of that day later. Kitchen is calling.
"We give thee thanks all mighty Lord, for all the benefits we recieve from your bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen."


As my frenzied need to squeeze as much fun into these last days of summer continues...the kids and I ventured out to the Starlite drive in last night for some old-school movie madness. As are most of our plans, it was a last-minute decision to go, which seems to work best at motivating/exciting the kids. With just 10 minutes warning, they managed to scurry through the basement picking up toys, go potty and don jammies for the night out. In the meantime I threw some old blankets in the back of the van, some snacks (can you believe I was out of koolaid and popcorn, like my mom used to pack.) I had to settle for some non-traditional fare...vanilla wafers and pretzels was the best I could muster up.
We arrived at the drive-in just before dusk, and the older woman working the box office seemed a little disappointed that they wouldn't be making much money off of our crew that night. (They probably hate to see buses like ours pull in!) At $4. per adult, and kids 12 and under was a great movie value...about 37cents a piece for us to see a new release. Not bad. And if we'd have stayed for the second movie...geesh, they'd practically be paying us to watch it.
We backed into the front row/grass area where the kids could spread out blankets and run like wild dogs with the other kids till the movie started. (Although surprisingly mine didn't run much.) They seemed so excited by the whole experience that they sat better before the movie started than they did once it began. It wasn't a very good movie...I'm not sure I'd even wait to see it on DVD for free from the library...Cats and Dogs was pretty lousy. But I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed holding little Lucy in my arms for the last half hour, stargazing on the clear night, and whispering words to the song "Twinkle, twinkle little star..." together. My heart swelled with emotion as her eyelids got heavier, and her hands folded on her chest as if in prayer, and she settled peacefully off to sleep. Oh... this is is living, and loving. God is good.
We left before the second feature...well past the bedtime of the youngest half of our brood, and to the disappointment of our older crew. Ramona & Beezus was up next, and looks to be a fun movie to watch. Shoot, for $4 maybe we'll head back tonight.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Recipe Box

A cool cake to beat the blistering heat...can you say YUMMY!

I found this cake recipe a couple years back in the Kraft Foods magazine. I made it immediately and loved it, but somehow it got filed away and forgotten. (Did I mention I need a better, more organized system for filing recipes?)

Anyhow, with the crazy hot summer we're having, I did not have any desire to heat up the oven for Charlie's birthday cake. This recipe popped back into mind, and it was even better than I remembered. It's pretty enough for even the most special occasion (birthday, shower, dinner party, etc.) but simple enough to make "just because." Enjoy!

Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake

1/2 cup Hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
8 OREO Cookies, chopped (about 1 cup)
12 vanilla ice cream sandwiches

POUR fudge topping into medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup COOL WHIP. Add dry pudding mix; stir 2 min. Stir in chopped cookies.

ARRANGE 4 ice cream sandwiches, side-by-side, on 24-inch-long piece of foil; top with half the COOL WHIP mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining sandwiches. Frost top and sides with remaining COOL WHIP. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to loosely seal packet.

FREEZE 4 hours or until firm

Note...since the recipe only calls for 8 oreos, I crumbled a few extras to sprinkle on top, and piped a "Happy Birthday" on top with some of the leftover hot fudge. (Oh and then nibbled a few oreos too, of course!) It's beautiful all in white though...whichever you prefer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

In God We Trust, sometimes.

We've all heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." But what happens when one mother struggles with the feeling as though she's responsible for raising the whole village? A friend of mine recently called me about whether or not I'd heard of any support groups for moms of many, and unfortunately I have not. She's seeking support for a mom/friend of hers who found herself anxious and overwhelmed at learning she was expecting again, and then guilt-laden to learn she miscarried this gift she'd not completely yet accepted . It has less to do with not wanting more children, and more to do with lacking trust in God's plan for our lives. I can relate at times to the feeling of isolation/alienation that having a large family can bring. Certainly I know I too have questioned at times whether God has a real grip on how much He thought I could handle. (cause the saying goes, He won't give us any more than that...) I wonder at times if He's really getting the full when I lose it and scream at the kids for nonsense things, or when my frown while fixing a boo-boo leads one of my kids to ask "Mom, why are you mad at me?" Ugg. I'm not mad...I'm just overwhelmed...and my precious baby, whom I'm trying to comfort, is taking it personal. Ouch. Talk about adding salt to an open wound.
There must be some formal group out there though. Any of you have any suggestions?
In all honesty, I've felt grateful and incredibly blessed with each of my pregnancies. Though, I'd be lying if I said there weren't times when I stressed and worried about how much I thought I/we could handle; physically, emotionally, financially. I remember feeling as if four children in three years was my limit...and cried many nights to sleep praying for the strength/courage to quit contracepting and allow God to lead again. Thank Heaven for answered prayers. There's been no looking back since. I recall too when I was expecting our seventh child, that certainly life was going to go from organized chaos to out-of-control anarchy. It didn't. Seven is a holy number, and God graced us with a sense of peace in our home that I could never have imagined with 7 children, ages 5 and under. And look at us crazy kids now...expecting our 12th (eleven here on earth), and feeling confident in God's divine plan for our family (and sense of humor).
Still, there are moms out there, who in trying to remain faithful to our church's teachings, find themselves struggling to accept, let alone embrace the gift of more children. Good moms, good women, good wives, struggling. How can we reach out to them in support? How do we remind them that God in all of his Providence wants only what is good in our lives? That children are gifts from Him, and that the struggles and challenges that come with raising many young ones are worth it, now and for eternity. I can only speak for myself when I say that as we allow ourselves to trust...just little bits at a time, we allow His hand to lead, and see more of His plan for us revealed. Baby steps...growing in faith.
I pray tonight for moms struggling with infertility. I remember. I pray tonight for moms blessed with fertility and who are feeling alone, unsupported, and incredibly challenged by the many gifts they have been entrusted with. I have my moments there too. May we all find peace in knowing we can find rest and reassurance in His hands.

If you are aware of any support groups for moms of many or even words of advice/encouragement, please let me know, either in the comment box or e-mail me...I'd be so grateful to pass along the information.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.(Proverbs 3:5-6)

humming a familiar tune

I was thinking to myself tonight, what a hot/muggy summer it's been this year. Perhaps I'm becoming a wimp with age, perhaps its pregnancy (although I've been feeling wonderful just into my seventh month now), or maybe I've just gotten spoiled. We don't have central air conditioning in our home now, but window air conditioners have been running almost constantly keeping us plenty cool. We also have one fan in our hallway to help circulate the air throughout the main floor. It's a window "box" style fan we keep setting on the floor, that reminds me of hot summers as a kid, long before we'd heard of air conditioning. Each of us then, kept a square box fan in our bedroom windows to blow the warm air out of the house. It hummed all night long, and never seemed to allow the slightest breeze. Uggh. I can remember some miserably hot nights laying on top of the sheets listening to that cursed fan, wishing I could turn it around, but knowing Dad had some logic as to why it was pointing out. (The mosquitos stayed cooler than me.) Those old box fans were awesome for making tents in the family room though during the day. We'd clothespin bedsheets to the edges of the fans and allow the air to blow through to create a tent city for us to crawl through. I also recall singing into the fans repeatedly, always enjoying the vibrating effect it had on our voices as we'd sing...always the same song...always drawn out with a southern twang for a more vibrato effect. "Oh Suzanna, oh don't you cry for me..." was the best fan-singing-song around. If you don't believe me, give it a try. Don't forget to hang on the last line a little for the best effect..."I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee-eeeeeee" Love that vibrating sound!!!

I had to laugh when I found Charlie laying on the floor in the hallway today with his little green army man, calling out battle orders into the fan, enjoying the same sounds we enjoyed as kids. I couldn't help laying with him for awhile...and teaching him "Oh Suzanna." He liked it...almost as much as I did. Some of the older kids had friends over in the house to play, and I had to finally stop singing to prevent total embarrassment to my kids. It was a fun little trip down memory lane though, and it didn't take long for Frank to join his brother in my place as they continued singing. I walked away from them to their tune of "I love you mommmmmm! This fan is so cooooooooool." Yep. Way cool.

refusing to count-down

I find myself looking at the calendar these days with only one eye open. I know that ominous day is lurking right around the corner...but I'm trying desperately not to think of it. And yet everything around me is forcing me into the reality of it. School starts in less than 2 weeks! Just last week I broke down and took the kids shopping for "necessary" supplies as indicated by the back-to-school newletter we received. (I mean really...most of my kids still wipe their noses on their sleeve, so who's using the 12 boxes of tissues I'm required to send in?!)
School shoes have been tennies for all. (And NO they may not be removed from the box until the first day of school!) Drawers have been stocked with new underwear and socks.
Most importantly, in my usual panic mode, I find myself trying to squeeze as much spontaneous, unscheduled fun into our days as possible before our carefree summer days are gone. Over the past few weeks ( now that baseball/softball/teeball/swim teams/and County fair projects are behind us) we've picniced at area parks again, gone adventuring through the rivers/creeks at Tawawa park in Sidney (where we caught and released Crawdads, Blue Gill, tiny "minnows" and various water bugs...all in a peanut butter jar!). We made our first visit to the Air Force Museum in Dayton yesterday, which we absolutely LOVED! We ventured back to the Lake Loramie State Park beach for some sand and water play, despite the 90+ heat/humidity. All in the name of summer fun.
Each year the first school day comes with a greater feeling of dread for me. Possibly in part due to the fact that I'm realizing that as the kids grow, they're pulled into more activities and responsiblities. Their youth seems too fleeting as it is. I realized early this summer, that teaching our kids to say no to some activities and "yes" to their commitment to being part of the family team is as valuable a lesson as can be learned from any extracurricular they may wish to sign up for. And yet, as I dread their return to school, I also remember the relaxing feeling I get from that quieter cup of coffee as the house empties out a bit. This year Charlie is heading off to morning preschool just a few days a week, leaving just 3 young ones at home with least for a couple more months. It seems as though our schedule at home will also be changed by the fact that John will be switching to day shift (for the first time in almost 22 years), and I will be leaving the regular (one or two day per week) schedule of my nursing job to be home in his absence. Lots of changes on the horizon.
I find peace knowing God's hand is guiding them all. I am ever grateful for his Providence as we accept and embrace each changing day/season.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

a different kind of name game

Frank has expressed a bit of jealousy that his twin Rose has her own flower of the same name. As we go out in the evenings to water a few of the potted plants, and more tender flowers it's always her job to water the miniature rose bush. Little Frank was always given a watering can and assigned the marigolds, but he always threw a little fit about it. I couldn't figure out what was upsetting him until he approached me to state rather matter-of-factly the other night, that he was going out to water the "Franks" on the front porch.

Alrighty then.

A marigold by any other name just wouldn't be the same.

name funnies

I'll share this little funny.
As my baby belly becomes more evident, the kids and I have more frequent conversations about the new baby to come, and one of the hottest topics relates to what we'll call this little bean.
I have a few ideas of my own. But it's fun to stir up the conversation by suggesting silly names, like "How about 'Jack' for Jack-o-lantern, if it's a boy born on halloween, or 'Casper'?" Our family has ribbed us in the past that we're not very original with names as we've recycled several siblings'/parents'/grandparents' names. Emma came up with a catchy one at dinner the other evening. She thought we could name a girl after my mom (Anita) and John's sister (Bonnie, who's given name is Bonita) and call the little one Anita Bonita, or "Annie Bananie" for short. We all cracked up with that one. Fun.

So, any suggestions to add to our list?

I'm still here...

and I have lots of things to tell you about...but having a hard time finding the time...
No promises, but I'm hoping to post a few updates this week about what we've been up to. Tomatoes and grapes are ready this week though, which means canning season has begun, and even less time to sit at the computer. I'll try...