Wednesday, March 31, 2010

picnic at the park!

Hooray!!! It must be spring. We made our first picnic to the park this evening. It was complete with a baggie full of p.b.&j.'s, melon wedges, and chips. Yumm. A feast for kings!!
And then we played of course. Curly slides, rock walls, digging in stones, swinging...and on and on.
It's amazing to think that we can have 10 children close enough in age, that EVERYONE can enjoy a good playground picnic together. This may be my last year for that. The older kids met new friends and played "tag," while the younger kids just enjoyed climbing and exploring and getting dirty like kids should. feels good to be outdoors again.

motivated by...

...this one liner I've been reading on the calendar at work. It hangs above the copy machine, where I have nothing else to look at/read while waiting for the darn copier to "warm up."

(and I should have written it down...or copied it...cause now I can't think of the exact words)

"Attempt today to accomplish one thing more than you thought possible."

It seems fitting this Holy Week as we try to do better, be kinder, love more, and "offer up" for the greater good.
Today it helped me catch up on laundry, even if only momentarily. As soon as the kids stripped for baths and pajamas tonight, the laundry chute was filled to the brim once more. (sigh) Tomorrow's another day.

God Bless.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

entering into Holy Week

"Lord, let me walk that lonely road with you, under the weight of the wood."

I've had a fairly lackluster Lent. Not proud of the fact that I made few Lenten plans, and managed to keep none of them. As we enter into Holy Week, I'm picking up the pace, realizing it's never too late...offering up every opportunity for sacrifice and penance. (nausea, fatigue and laundry baskets lined up for miles seem to give me plenty of opportunities to start.)
May you have a blessed Holy Week!

cool treats.

Young Sam has been enjoying his share of popsicles, ice cream, milk shakes, pudding, yogurt and other cool treats this of the few perks of having surgery to remove his adenoids on Thursday. The novelty is wearing thin though, as he continues with occasional sore throat, stiff neck, and an extreme dislike of the antibiotic he's been prescribed to take 3 times a day. (Blechk!!)
He's been an extremely good sport though, and is anxious to get off the couch and back to school tomorrow.
I'm feeling guilty realizing now (after it's gone) what a terrible time he had with snoring, waking up grumpy (not fully rested), mouth-breathing all day. Yep, we should have had this taken care of years ago. In the wake of his silent nights, I'm beginning to realize that he has a couple of younger brothers who may be getting evaluated for similar symptoms, sooner than later.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

God is good!!!

Okay, reason #2 for not posting so well lately...
Have you ever had something so big and wonderful on your mind that you just can't tell. Rather than risk spilling the beans, you decide to just not talk at all. Well, that and the fact that I've had no energy whatsoever lately. Yep. That's it!
God has blessed us yet again, and we couldn't be more ecstatic! We shared the news with the kids yesterday at breakfast. The cheers and hugs all around were music to the ears and the soul. We could hear them hollaring across the streets to friends and neighbors as they made their way to school. Too cool.
So now, we share the news with you and the rest of the world!

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

Monday, March 22, 2010

God's perfect miracle

Is growing up.

I've had her little foot over there in the left column since I started the blog. I just LOVE that pic. The nurses in the hospital were sweet enough to spend time (and lots of it, I think) photographing her through the wee hours of the night when she was awake, but mom was resting. I have the most beautiful album thanks to them.

Anyhow, it dawned on me today that my little baby girl is growing up...and so are those precious piggies I love to kiss on... (sigh). Where does the time go?!

Forgive me, Friends...

It's been 12 days since my last post!
My apologies, indeed.

I wish I could tell you I was off to some fancy resort on a beach somewhere sipping drinks with little umbrellas in them. Nope, just life as usual (or unusual) as can be.
My poor mom e-mailed last week sometime wondering if I'd buried myself under a rock or something...I think she missed my blogging. In truth, I guess I've just been a little more introspective lately. Enjoying the crazy times, but not necessarily feeling the need to chat about them.
We've had our fill of fun over the last weeks...11 of John's 12 siblings (and families) gathered with their dad last weekend to celebrate his 80th birthday. The weekend was FULL, helping the cook to prepare food, making up snack trays, even a little pre-partying for a St. Patty's dance with all the sibs and spouses. Oh, and then clean-up. Work is definitely lighter and more fun with many hands to help.
Our elementary kids prepared for and performed in their Spring musical (all about bugs.) Sam was a spider, and Grace dressed as a bee. It was fun and all the kids enjoyed watching/singing along.
In our "ordinary" days, we've been enjoying the spring weather to the fullest with bikerides, basketball games, scooters (Little Lucy has become quite independent on her little 3-wheeled scooter and could spend hours going up and down the driveway.) We made our first trip of the season to the Tastee for icecream over the weekend. Our yard has been a-buzz with neighbor kids of all ages joining in the fun. The girls seem to have started their own cheer team...I keep hearing their 8-count in my sleep.
Little Frank had an unexpected, albeit incredibly exciting visit from the tooth fairy (about 3 years to early!) He managed to trip into the coffee table in our family room, knocking out his top front tooth. ( As if he didn't look honery enough before.) I can't quit cracking up everytime I see his toothless grin. John and I have both begun wondering if the tooth had contained some alien-implanted mood chip, or perhaps was resting on his funny nerve. Since losing it, he is the most pleasant boy I've ever met...his speech has taken off...all of a sudden he's happy, singing, telling stories. He's a new person. Strange, I know. But I'm loving it.
Like I as (un)usual here. Living and loving this life God has blessed us with.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

whatcha been up to? case you haven't noticed (perhaps hiding under a rock somewhere?), the sun is shining in these parts and temperatures have risen into, well I don't even know. But it's jacket, not coat, weather. Sheets have been reaquainted with that lovely thing called clothesline, as have the curtains, rugs, blankets, etc. Kids have been bouncing basketballs, riding bikes and scooters, playing pitch and catch, and of course dragging mud and grass into the house. I'm not complaining one bit though. It's as if we've been awakened from some dull gray stupor to run, ride, skip and breathe in the lovely spring-like air. (10 more days till we can say officially "spring air.")
As for me, I continue room-by-room straightening, sorting, washing, and dusting...cause that gorgeous sun has a way of making every bit of dust sparkle. It's amazing how it can go unnoticed all the gray of winter! Ahh, but hard work and hard play is making for some incredibly easy bedtimes as well. Life is good.

Yeah!!! Spring is almost here!!

Our version of "blue tooth technology"

When Rosie called out from the bathroom yesterday that she had a "blue tooth," I couldn't help but giggle at the familiar technological catch-phrase being used in our house...the home that still plays VHS tapes, and on occasion sends film in for processing. (Don't even ask me what the term really means...I only know you can't pass by the electronics section at Walmart {ie. where we buy the latest Taylor Swift/Jonas Brothers/Hannah CD} without seeing some mention of it.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

random thoughts/feelings...

~feeling a little stoved up this evening. Our dear baby Lucy has been sneaking into our bed in the early morning hours...sometimes only a few minutes before the alarm, sometimes longer to snuggle in. I LOVE this, but my body in noticing the improper sleeping alignment. *that girl takes up more room in bed than an adult*
~happy to have gotten groceries's so nice to have choices about what to make for dinner...instead of "Hmm, I have a can of mandarin oranges, no bread...but tortilla wraps, and some pizza sauce. What can we make with that?" I am guilty of waiting a couple days too long to stock up on groceries, but it is great for clearing out items hidden in the pantry, and I've fooled myself into believing the kids learn to appreciate good food when it's around this way.
~frustrated that Mary tore a hole in her brand new pants while helping clean the garage this morning. Darnit. We mended it up nice though, and they'll still wear just fine...but darnit. I told her we'd look for a pretty patch to cover up the stitches...she seemed happy about that.
~grateful for the sunshine again. John and the kids were out in the garage early this morning straightening up a bit, and throwing out quite a few broken toys before the garbage man came around. I think we've all been bit by the "clean up, throw out" bug...this 40 bag thing has really been a wonderful thing.
~loving my little naptime on the couch with Charlie in the afternoon. I was the only one napping while he snuggled in and watched Word World, and a bit of Barney...but I wouldn't miss that snuggle time for the world.
~enjoying our evening prayer time this week. We're taking our turn hosting a "traveling crucifix for vocations" in our parish. A different family has the crucifix each week. The prayers and scripture reading that come along with it have been wonderful for our bunch this week, and I'll be sad to pass it along on Sunday.
~inspired by my older kids, and the way they can reach out to their younger siblings and encourage, support, hold, fix, and make things "all better." (especially when their momma doesn't have the opportunity or worse, patience for it.) Some days they seem so much bigger than me. I'm humbled.
~laughing about my 3 year olds who despite my best efforts are growing into little miniature people...with their cute slim little bodies...running around in underpants at bedtime...dodging all attempts to put jammies on them, all full of energy and giggles. Ooh. I just want to squeeze them, and bottle that up.
~feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight (woe-is-me) as I glance around and see all the cleaning/picking up that awaits tonight. Most days I don't mind, but sometimes I just feel's one of those days. We'll forge on though...prayers to the Blessed Mother.
~excited about what the future holds...received an opportunity to share/speak with a group of women at a retreat next spring.

God is good. Who am I to be so blessed? He whispers, I am His...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

duped by the sun

As a rule, the kids not going to school in the morning, stay a little longer in their pj's greeting the day in a relaxed fashion. Today though, the sun had them tricked into believing warmer weather was here, and by 8:15 all of them were dressed, bundled and cruising on bikes & scooters in the driveway. It didn't take long for them to realize the temperature was still in the teens. Brrr.
Finding hope in the knowledge that spring does indeed follow winter... this (cold) too shall pass.

Psalm 74:17
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.

Went to Menards today...

One might think we had some great home-improvement project up our sleeves. Nope. I wish. We spent an hour with the 6 younger kids playing on their "playground," and came home with some drawer pulls, a few lightbulbs, and this...

A one and a half pound vat of cheese balls that they suckered us in for at the check out. Someone please tell me I'm not the only one in this world who needs to get out more...

Monday, March 1, 2010

I should be embarrased to admit this...

(continuing my "40 bags in 40 days" Lenten purge)

Another weekend, another round of purging from closets. This time I hit the girls clothes with a vengeance. Imagine 6 girls with clothes in 2 different closets and an armoire. What they grow out of or grow tired of through the school year gets folded (ie. tossed) onto the top shelves of their closet for me to go through later. In addition to their current seasons clothing in their closets there's a couple storage bins of in-between sizes in the attic, a bin of jeans under my bed, another bag of newly shared hand-me-downs from a friend in the corner of my bedroom...and on and on. In no time at all, the excess starts to take over every corner of our house.
I should be embarrased to admit this, but I will anyways...after corraling ALL girls clothing from every corner and nook of this home, I managed to save 4 tubs of out of season and between size clothing, throw away 2 garbage bags of holey/faded/too warn to pass on clothing, and donate 12 paper grocery sacks of good, gently used clothing. Talk about excess!! What's even more embarassing is that I could probably count on my 2 hands the number of items I actually purchased for our kids. The majority of it is hand-me-downs from friends, cousins, coworkers, etc. Those bags speak volumes of the kindness and charity of others, and is exactly why I couldn't stand to think of putting any of it on a garage sale...paying it forward, and donating what I couldn't pass along to friends, to our local Agape thrift store.
It reminds me of this post I shared awhile back...worth visiting again, I think.

Ahhh...I love to see empty hangers, and "breathing room" in closets. My sister-in-law reminded me not long ago that "Less is definitely more" when it comes to "stuff." She says she got the notion from me, but the way our closets looked recently, I needed to be reminded again.

because I was out of chocolate chips...

I pulled out one of THE simplest cookie recipes, EVER, today.
The kids went nuts over them...and Charlie loved making the criss-cross with the fork.

Peanut Butter Cookies
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups peanut butter

Mix the eggs and sugar till creamy, stir in peanut butter. Roll into 1 inch balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet and press with fork in criss-cross pattern. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.
The recipe says "makes 2 dozen," but I always get at least 3 doz.

Yes. That's it. And they're DELICIOUS!!!

Go ahead, try them. You'll be glad...