Join me this monday morning on Radio Maria (88.7 fm local, or live online) for discussion on the subject of infertility. I'll have a guest with me, Jean Borgert of the Family Life Office of our Cincinnati Archdiocese to share details about an upcoming day of prayer, support and information relating to fertility treatments and adoption. It's estimated that as many as 1 in 5 couples struggle with infertility. Chances are you know someone who would benefit from hearing this program. Listen and call in to share your experiences.
Just trying to keep life interesting. Tonight it was giant pancakes for supper. The kids LOVED them. Alice, Sam and even Mary all got clean-plate awards. Wow. Makes my belly hurt just thinking about it. According to the measurements on the pancake mix package, I made enough batter for 75 small pancakes...surely they measure them very small, not?
oh, I need to add that we did NOT finish all these. About half was leftover for breakfast tomorrow. As I started to make them, all the kids decided they each wanted a giant pancake of their own....so well, they got one.
Every now and then, at the constant begging and pleading of our children, John and I toy with the notion of getting a puppy. I always joked that I'd never even consider it until we reached the point in our lives when there were no more diapers. Sadly enough that time is near. Last night I found myself browsing through pictures of cute little puppies waiting to be adopted through our local animal protection league. I even went so far as to google various aspects of puppy training, which dogs don't shed, good with children etc. I came across one site that went into great detail about how to properly train dogs, walk dogs, etc. It stressed that dogs are pack animals and have an instinctive desire to walk/run. Apparently letting them out to do their business in the yard is not enough, you have to walk them regularly or it will affect their behavior.
Hmmmm. Sounds very much like the wild kids I'm raising around here. You see, I've not had the chance to "walk" them properly as of late, and they're growing restless. For the last several nights they've been running laps through the house like...yep, you guessed it...a pack of wild dogs. My mom stopped over this evening in the middle of their "pack run," and found not one, but 7 of the youngest just running...and running, and running..single file down the front hall, through the kitchen & family room, back down the hall. Monday night, I swear little Rose ran a mile without stopping. If I don't get them outside soon, they're going to wear a pattern in my living room carpet.
Can you imagine what might happen if I tried to introduce a poor puppy into this crazy mix? Oh my. I don't think I'm ready just yet. Nope. No puppy. We've got enough wild animals.
I'm trying desperately to maintain my cool composure, and just breathe my way through the hatin' that's going on in this house, but it's becoming more difficult. Three year old Frank is going through a horrible phase of hating everything, especially me. Ouch. I'm not exagerating when I say that he says "I hate...(fill in the blank)" a hundred times in a day. Most often it's "I hate you mom." Ouch. It does hurt. Thing is, I know he doesn't hate me, he's just angry...about whatever. It's almost always over something simple like running out of his preferred breakfast cereal, asking him to pick up a toy, telling him it's nap time, or even calling him to the lunch table in the middle of something he's playing. Anything that doesn't fall into line with his plans for that moment. I know it's just a phase. I know that. And I keep telling myself, if I remain calm, and not "react" to it, it will probably pass sooner than later. But boy, it's getting harder and harder not to take it personal and not to react. I have recently resorted to walking him to his room for a time out when he uses it repeatedly. I'm not sure that's gonna work either, but while I don't want to give him a reaction, I also want him to be aware it's not okay, and it's hurtful. Geesh. Who could have guessed that each child could be so completely different with a whole new set of unique behavior challenges. What one doesn't think of... Thank goodness for every "I hate..." I hear in a day's time, I see a smile, or hear a giggle, or find him snuggling on my lap during a book or movie. Today we built Legos together,and he was my "helper" in the kitchen making snickerdoodles (something he loves to do, but told all the big kids later he "hated.") He and twin Rosie shared my lap for a snuggle before bedtime tonight. It's all good. If we can just stop the hatin!
Emma and I were having a conversation about something or other recently. I can't even remember the context of it now...something about something. (Oh shoot, why do I even try sometimes?!) Anyhow, she had a great little one-liner that has stuck with me, and I had to share. Somewhere in the conversation I half-jokingly called her a soccer "wanna-be." (It's one of, if not her very favorite sport to play.) Without hesitation, she corrected me with a "No mom. I'm a soccer 'gonna-be!'"
I love it! She's so confident sometimes it just rattles me a bit. You go girl!
Today, I'm inspired by moms (and dads) who have the patience to stack the Jenga blocks back into the box day in and day out without finally heaving them all into the trash.
My younger kids do not understand the concept of the game. They're just building blocks. Items to be dumped, stacked, scattered, tossed, hidden in couch cushions, but most certainly not stacked neatly back into a box which was most certainly designed by an obsessive compulsive neatfreak who never had toddlers. Who created a game in which the parts must be stacked just so (and I mean...JUST SO!) in order to fit back in the box. Come on!
Anyhow, I'm losing the battle of patience here tonight...not with my kids, though. I actually find it adorable the way they build neat little roads across the coffee table, and even the way they fling them through the kitchen like shuffleboard to see who can slide them the farthest. And who can blame the 3 year olds for not having the patience to stack them back in the box...I certainly don't.
(sigh) I do consider myself mostly organized. But this is too much. This game was a hand-me-down from some other lacking-for-patience family...wonder which one of my good friends I could pass this off to. muhaaaaahhahahahaha (my most devilish little laugh). Yes! Feeling like I might just have to share the "fun" of this game with someone else who could "enjoy" it for awhile. Anyone care for a game of Jenga?
On this anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I pray for the conversion of hearts, for the safety of those traveling to DC, for a renewed awareness of the sanctity of all life, and ultimately for an end to abortion.
Prayer to the Virgin Mary
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all, we turn to you today as the one who said "Yes" to Life. "You will conceive and bear a Son," the angel told you. Despite the surprise and the uncertainty about how this could be, you said yes. "Be it done unto me according to your word." Mary, we pray today for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. We pray for those who feel threatened and overwhelmed by their pregnancy. Intercede for them, that God may give them the grace to say yes and the courage to go on. May they have the grace to reject the false solution of abortion. May they say with you, "Be it done unto me according to your word." May they experience the help of Christian people, and know the peace that comes from doing God's will. Amen.
6:00am- I awaken to Lucy crying. Of course by the time I get upstairs she's sound asleep again, so I trudge back to bed hoping the last hour before the alarm clock rings feels longer than the previous 5.
7am- I hear the alarm clocks upstairs...just a minute faster than ours, but I don't get up yet. As the youngest 2 girls awake upstairs, they usually drift down into our bed for the seven minute snuggle before the snooze alarm goes off.
7:07 snooze is up. Time to wake the boys. John takes over on this morning allowing me a few more minutes with Rose and Lucy.
7:20 all the kids are in the kitchen now. I can smell the coffee brewing that I had set up last night. Time to get the day rolling. Kids are helping themselves to the cereal and homemade chocolate chip muffins, set out the night before.
7:45 school kids out the door. The kitchen table is cleared and the rest of us settle into the family room for coffee, puzzles, blocks and other games. Not in any rush to get dressed.
8:30 Kids are playing happily, so I sweep and mop the kitchen, while John sneeks outside to take the rest of the christmas lights down before the rain comes through.
9:30 The kids and I are finally getting cleaned up and dressed for the day. No need to rush a good thing. I miss these rare, slow-paced mornings now that I'm working more.
10;00 snack time. Kids pile around the table for fruit snacks, chex mix, and juice. I pour another cup of coffee for John and I.
10:30 John's working on converting Lucy's crib to a day bed, while I scrub the downstairs bathroom and switch over another load of laundry. Rose is 'helping' me, while the other kids 'help' dad (mostly bouncing on beds and getting into his tools.)
11:00 I'm starting lunch, and I ask John to check the bathtub drain which seemed a little slow last night. (at this point he remembers that the boys "might" have lost a matchbox car in the tub yesterday.) He opens up the drain trap in the basement, while I use a coat-hanger in the tub to try to fish the matchbox out. It made the first 90degree angle, and is happy to just park right there. I think Dora and/or Boots may be driving. It's not looking good. And after much poking and fishing with the coat hanger, and talking through the 8 inch curve of drain, we decide to wait another day, till John can locate a better tool. (What would be a "better" tool, I'm not sure he knows...just buying time to think of something.)
11:30 lunch is on.
12:15 John and Mary are off to school. Riding bikes today.
1:00 art 101 at the kitchen table. brushes and watercolors...and water...everywhere!
1:20 All 27 pieces of paper are covered in gray water. (What happens to all the COLOR in watercolor?) I'm sopping up the mess, and saving the "art" while the kids washup and move on to the tv room for a movie...Alvin and the Chipmunks.
1:45 3 youngest are off to nap. John leaves for work, and Charlie and I find a warm spot to snuggle on the couch.
3:00 Lucy fell out of bed. Nap's over.
3:10 house is full of noise again as the kids burst in from school. Snacks, then homework.
4:30 Frank asks if he can play "army dudes" on the Nintendo. (A coworker of John's gave us a whole box of parts and games along with the Nintendo game console. The boy's favorite is a game of little plastic green army men making their way through the house battling various things.) Charlie, Frank and John get 25 minutes of game time. This is an eternity for 3-5 year olds...especially when the older kids aren't telling them how to do it.
5:00 supper. fish sticks, mac-n-cheese, california blend. (There were a LOT of leftover veggies.) doorbell rings..neighbor kids. Nobody rushes to answer. How bad is that?! Grace finally gets the door, and makes excuses for everyone. It's yucky outside, so I'm glad she didn't ask to go out and play.
6:15 Kitchen's finally cleaned up, coffee sounds really good, but the pot is in the dishwasher, and I'm feeling too lazy to wash it by hand. I can wait. the basement toy room looks like a landmine hit. Grace is playing with her new Webkinz on the computer. Boys are dressed up in cowboy and Starwars gear, and shooting Nerf guns. Little Rose and Lucy look adorable having a picnic lunch with their dollbabies on the living room floor. Alice, Emma and Mary are watching Extreme Home Makeover. It's a pretty touching story, and before I realize, I'm sucked right in to watching it with them. Figures it was a 2 hour special. We watched the whole darn thing! Eventually all the kids trickled in, and joined us. I hate wasting an evening in front of the tv thought. At 8 the tv was off...pajama time. This is when Lucy was sleepy but catching her second wind and tumbles into the corner of the end table. She split open an area behind her right ear...it was a mess. Moments later, she's giggling, playing with her babydoll, and bumps her lip...yep, fat and bleeding. Oi.
8:15 extreme home makeover here...kids were disappointed to learn that meant "clean up time" in the basement. Quick teamwork and all the toys were put away in just a few minutes. Yeah!
8:30 Bedtime! First Rose and Lucy upstairs. Then Frank and Charlie to the boys room. Later Grace and Mary. By 9, all 10 kids were pottied and in bed. Whew.
9:15 I hauled up 4 laundry baskets full of things needing folded from the basement laundry room...I'll get to that soon. The washer and dryer are running. Straightened the bathroom. Opened the dishwasher to air dry before I put those dishes away.
The clock on my computer says 10:30. Time to pull that coffee pot out of the dishwasher, and brew some up for the long fold ahead. My night is just getting started.
Grab a tissue if you will, and join me for a misty-eyed moment of silence as we commemorate our first night in more than 10 years without a crib in the house. (sniffle, sniffle) Lucy's crib was officially converted into a day-bed today...no more baby beds...only big kids beds. It happens just like that...first bouncy seats and bottles are packed away, then the cribs, before you know it booster seats and step stools are cast away to make room for shaving cream and car keys. Why can't they just stay little forever?! Even just a year ago, I couldn't have imagined this beginning of the end of baby stages. When you're in the thick of it you wonder if you'll ever crawl out from the trenches. But then, as it must, it happens and you find yourself longing for simpler times. Harder...but simpler. Now the worries begin...how to police the tv and internet, what are they "learning" at school (in and out of the classroom), are they developing healthy friendships? respectful of others? do they wash their hands in the bathroom when you're not there to tell them anymore?! There's peace of mind in being able to just do things for them when they're little, and now we slowly have to learn to let go, and trust we've taught them well. Oh, I know no one said this would be easy...but I didn't understand that growing pains make your heart hurt too.
While I was away from the blog, another birthday was celebrated. My oldest two are thrilled to proclaim they're into the "double digits" now. Yes 10. The years have finally caught up with the numbers...10 kids, ages 10 and under.
It was fun digging out their keepsake box from storage that includes things such as the tiniest of socks... born 4 weeks early, at just 5+ pounds each, they were the smallest of all my babies. We laughed at some of the name suggestions people had written down at my baby shower, and I got a little choked up at the sweet sentiments in some of the cards. They'll never understand completely how much they were prayed for by so many people. What blessings indeed!
Happy 10th Birthday Alice and Emma!
Not a day goes by that we don't thank God for the gift of you.
"I was 27 when I had baby Grace, I was born again when I saw her sweet face..." ~Gretchen Wilson
Okay, actually I was 30...but I love singing those lyrics to her, and usually change the words a bit. She was the prettiest baby I've ever seen, with perfect porcelein skin, pouty red lips, and dark hair. Just beautiful....I think she still is. I just can't believe she's seven already...five, maybe six, but SEVEN?! Where does the time go?! She received a Webkinz fish from her grandparents. She's waited forever for one (according to her), and the look of excitement on her face when she opened it was hysterical...almost as funny as Alice's excitement for her. Ha!
I should be embarassed to admit it, but I'm still not organized in the menu department. Every day I ask myself (and nearly anyone that will answer) "What sounds good for supper?" I rarely have a plan, and since John works evenings that's okay. If I'm going to make something special, it's typically for lunch or on the weekend when he's home to enjoy it. Anyhow. Once in awhile I cheat and serve up a mismatch of whatever. Tonight was one of those nights, and it was one of the quietest, well behaved meals we've had in a long time. Everyone was too busy munching to act up. So what was this mystery meal that kept everyone happy and bellies full? All finger foods. We had ham and cheese wraps cut into pinwheels and served with toothpicks. (the toothpick sold it...Grace would NEVER otherwise eat meat and cheese together!) Celery smothered in peanut butter, graham crackers sandwiched with a little leftover chocolate frosting, and some mandarin oranges completed the meal. There were no leftovers to put away, and nobody bothered to ask for bedtime snacks this evening. Yep, life is simply good. Now...what sounds good for tomorrow?
I was scheduled to air a new program on Radio Maria this morning, but unfortunately technical difficulties at the station left me and my guest talking into a quiet mic. That meant another re-broadcast of my program from earlier in the month. Darnit!
Should be back at it on February 1st. Will keep you posted.
Ahhh...back at last from a wonderful little hiatus. I'd like to tell you that while my computer was in the shop, I filled my time with other fulfilling tasks like scrapbooking, or photo organizing, or gosh...what is it people do in their "spare" time?! Nope. The truth is, I spent the last week of evenings being a complete mushroom (that's our slang for hanging out on the couch in the dark...doing the bare minimum.) Yep, after the kids hit the bed (with John still at work), I finished the essential chores, then promptly hit the couch and allowed myself to be sucked into "Criminal Minds" marathons every night on channel 43. (Who really wants to watches this stuff, episode after episode, day after day??! Well, besides me anyway.) The good news is that when the kids are grown and move on, I can get a part-time gig at Quantico as a criminal profiler. I've learned a thing or two. Oh well, I've weaned myself off of it through the weekend, so I'm not even turning on the tv tonight. I've got floors to mop, laundry to fold, and a treadmill that needs dusted first then put to use. It's been a long time! It is funny how the less I have to do, the less organized I become, and while my plate is full to the rim I manage to keep it all together fairly well. Funny. Time to get my act in gear again...move away from the couch...and keep you posted about the crazy blessings we call life!
Okay, sorry, that sounded depressing...but sadly true. There has been so much going on here, that I've been meaning to share...like Grace's 7th birthday, snow days, terrible-twos, and all kinds of everyday shananigans. We do have a second refurbished computer in our home, for the kids to do homework (and mostly play games) on, but it's just not as convenient or me-friendly. (Yes, I totally make up words to suit my needs.) My kind brother-in-law has my computer out for (fingers crossed) repair. Praying it's something that can be fixed easily (and inexpensively.)
I look forward to keeping you all posted...miss you!
I'll be back on air this coming Monday, Jan 4th at 11:30am. Hope you're able to listen/join in. 88.7fm local or listen live online for my new program Family Spirit Alive on Radio Maria.
This weeks topic: building a culture of life at home. I'll plan to give my thoughts on all sorts of issues from contraception, pro-life movement, miscarriage, our president and more. I'm sure you'll have something to share!! Call in 1-866-333-6279
my true loves gave to me, 8 VILLAGE BUILDERS, 7 Scarlet and Grey fans, 6 Bakugon balls, 5 extra pounds, 4 boys still in helmets, 3 Auto-mo-blox, 2 masked marauders, and a song from my new rock star!
Thanks to a great deal on gingerbread houses purchased after Christmas...we had fun today building a whole village of sweet houses. Sam and John weren't interested much though, and only passed through to nibble while the others designed and decorated.