Sunday, May 23, 2010

The weather started out a little iffy yesterday, cloudy & overcast, even rain showers in the afternoon. By evening though, it couldn't have been more beautiful. The sun brought with it temperatures into the 80's. There was no breeze...the perfect night for a backyard campfire. And 'smores of course! ...our first of the summer.

...and mmmmmm were they delicious! The kids had friends over to play a little backyard football. A perfect night for that too.
Mary and John stopped to pose for a moment. (the recent grads) Say cheese!

Today's weather is even more and sunny in the 80's. Oh welcome back summer weather! We've missed you.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sweet siblings

~photos from the weekend.

Sisters are blossoms in the garden of life. ~Author Unknown
"hip-waders" ~Silly girls splashing in a rain puddle
~the four youngest hamming it up before graduation ceremony on Friday.

Con GRAD ulations Mary and John!!

These two, my second set of twins, have graduated beyond the walls of half-day kindergarden to full-time first graders. Oh my! Could someone please hit "pause" or at least "slow motion" for just a little while. Wasn't it just yesterday we blinked and they were heading out the door for their first day of kindergarden?!
This can only mean one thing...Charlie's next. Not kindergarden just yet...he'll need a year with Jackie first. (a local preschool teaching "legend" of sorts.) He'll need that. I'll have to adjust.
..excuse me while I go wipe away the tears...(of bittersweet sadness/joy/jubilation, you decide.)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

baby steps

I remember my first car phone. It was a hand-me-down from my dad for all the driving I did while living at home and attending nursing school. He always worried that I might have trouble along the road and preferred I keep it with me.
My kids would laugh out loud if they could see it now. It was about the size of a toaster, built into a vinyl/velcro case, and could only be used when plugged into your car cigarette lighter. But it was mobile, and it was the BOMB!

After college, I paid for my first cellular phone plan with a smaller more compact that could actually be used without a car or lighter. I was 2o. (Alice and Emma...are you reading this? 20, and I paid the bill with my own paycheck.) Texting was not an option then.
I've upgraded maybe 3 times in those 17 years since. Even went several of those years without one. (Gasp!) And even though we currently have a cell phone (just one) it spends 90% of it's days "charging" on the kitchen counter. I rarely remember to carry it, and when we do take a trip and think it wise to bring it along...the battery's dead, so it's turned off and charging in the car while we drive. I think you see the pattern here. (If you're trying to reach us, your best bet would be call home and leave a message...we eventually come home to eat, and see the light flashing on the machine.)
Anyhow, our most recent cell phone was nearing the end, refusing to hold a charge anymore and just generally a pain, so I upgraded. Turns out our plan was so old, we had a lot of upgrading to do...but that's another scam of a story altogether. I ended up with a beauty of little red (my favorite color). It takes pictures, has a full keyboard for texting, has a calculator and tip figure-outer, alarm clocks and calendars. And get this, you can even make phone calls! My 10 year olds think it's pretty hip too. I'm slowly entering the world of text-messaging now, thanks to a teenage neice and her family who ONLY reply to texts. Seems they have no use for e-mail, or telephones, or even the flashing lights on the machine. Anyhow. I'm having fun with the whole texting thing...and sending out and recieving one liners for the silliest of reasons. I texted mom to tell her we saw a hummingbird on our feeder. (Then I called her about it, and told her again later that day at the ballgame.) So, it's not really a necessity by any means. It's fun, and completely inefficient for my intents and purposes. But, I'm slowly dipping my feet into the techno pond, and who knows, maybe someday (when it's free, or being given out in bubble gum machines) we'll even try our hand at web-browsing or twittering or whatever people do with phone/texter/calculator/tip-figure-outer/camera/web-surfing thing-a-ma-bobs. Baby steps steps.

My first phone wouldn't fit in my glove compartment. This one gets lost in my pocket. I think I'd like lipstick to match. How cute?!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

cartoon confusion

Little Rose seems to have gotten her cartoon "buzz" words a little mixed up. As she charged around the corner of the house and down the driveway for more sidewalk chalk, she hollared out "To in-Phineus and beyond!" ...just cute as a bug's ear!

(for you non-Disney cable cartoon watchers...Phineus and Ferb is a fun little cartoon the kids love, and Buzz Lightyear of the movie Toy Story made famous the line "To infinity and beyond.")

Thursday, May 13, 2010

juggling baseballs


We made it through what is scheduled to be our toughest game-night of the season. A 2 hour choir party overlapping 4 kids playing 3 games in 2 different towns all scheduled for the same time. Typically the kids ride their bikes to games, but with the threat of storms, and the overlapping schedule tonight, it meant the Big Red Bus was going to be taxi-ing a bit more than ususal. And everyone tells me it's just going to get worse as they get older. Yikes. Just one day, one moment at a time...

3:15 kids arrive home from school, and raid the snack cupboard. I had splurged today and made apple we had that with a dallop of vanilla ice cream.
(a quick homework check...reading, and writing, and spelling lists.)
3:50 Load all passengers into the van for transport...Alice and Sam have their "end of the year" Choir Party at the bowling alley. Supposed to last till 6, but I've given them strict instructions to meet me at the door at 5:20...and on to games.
4:30 supper, potty breaks & diaper change, and scurrying to find shoes and socks for all the kids at home (too tough to keep gravel out of the flip-flops and sandals at the baseball park), as we prepare to pick up Alice and Sam, and move into baseball/softball mode.
Grace and Emma are getting dressed for their games, and still trying to help me with readying the little ones as I finish cleaning up from supper. It was hotdogs, chips, pudding, strawberries, and milk tonight...simple (though not-so-healthy) crowd pleaser.
5:20 We're just getting out the door, and I'm sure Alice and Sam are waiting for me.
5:30 pick up Alice and Sam...
drop Sam off at home to get dressed for his game. Alice is changing shoes in the van.
5:40 dropping Alice and Emma off at the ball park to catch their caravan...away game in New Bremen tonight.
5:45 back at home...picking up Sam, making sure he and Grace have waterbottles, and mitts, and cleats double-knotted...and we're back in the van dropping them off for warm-ups prior to their 6:30 games. Thank goodness their playing on back-to-back diamonds.
6:00 while we're out and about, we stop by grandma and grandpas to return a dish, and visit a bit before we have to be back at the park for gametime.
6:30 game time...constant head-count as the 6 youngest spend most of their time playing in the gravel with a half a dozen other kids who remembered to bring trucks and sand toys for entertainment. A constant walk-about between Sam and Grace's games to try to catch them at-bat, or even in the dugout for a quick thumbs-up. I saw very little of either game...but it seems important to at least make the effort.
8:15 back at home to breathe and begin baths. 10 kids playing in gravel and dirt. No one could skip tonight.
9:15 the last of them are in bed...and I'm feeling like I might not be too far behind. Just a few loose ends to tie up in the kitchen...thank goodness I managed to get laundry folded this afternoon. Well...except for all these baseball uniforms...more games on Saturday. Better go toss a load into the washer while I'm thinking of it.

In all the chaos, a simple moment when Lucy chimes along with our "Angel of God" prayer as we walk up the stairs to bed...and she giggles when we pray for the "baby in mom's belly." (Maybe she's laughing that I'd want to add to the craziness...or maybe she just likes the notion of another little baby in the house...I think it's the latter.)

Yep. Life is good. God is good. We are blessed.
G'night all.

Pretty as a Rose (and a Lucy)

The littlest girls in this house seem to love touring the yard with me to check for signs of new blooms. This week we had several new arrivals including Peonies (our first year for them...and so exciting to watch the ants scurry about!), Clematis (perfectly timed to surround our statue of the Blessed Mother during her month of May), Irises, Coral Bells (welcome humming birds!), and some lingering Lilacs(my personal favorite smell of spring). Lucy still holds on to my pinky finger as she leans forward and beckons me to "c'mere mom." She can't get to the pretties quick enough. Today I let them each pick a few blooms to play with, and eventually place in water on the windowsill.

They seemed to have trouble deciding when I asked them which was the prettiest...

Lucy thinks that none are as "pretty as a Rose!" Thank you Lord for these sweet, sweet girls (and the "pretties" you provide for us to enjoy.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Recipe Box~ must try this bread!

~No Knead to Tell Anyone How SIMPLE This Is!!!

Don't get me wrong, I love to knead a good dough once in awhile, but occasionally life gets in the way. Time is of the essence. Need a good scrumptious, homemade bread yesterday...not 6 hours from now.
I'm making a lunch for someone in our parish tomorrow who is recovering from surgery, and thought veggie soup and homemade bread would hit the spot. Unfortunately, I thought of it at 9:30 tonight, and really didn't want to spend ALL NIGHT working the dough, and waiting, and get the picture. Then I remembered reading about this bread that Danielle (yes we're on a first name basis, remember?) suggested on Faith and Family Live, a yeast bread that requires no kneeding!! So I thought...let's get 'er done! I just pulled the loaves out of the oven about 1/2 hour ago (yes, I doubled the recipe) and nibbled the crust off one end (with a dallop of butter of course) and oooh...crisp crust, tender light middle...ahhh. Delicous!

Here's the recipe. Go ahead. Try it tonight, or maybe's supposed to be cooler for the weekend, right?! As if that really matters....go ahead. YUMMM!

Easy Batter Bread

1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups all purpose flour

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and butter in a large mixing bowl, stir, and let stand to dissolve for a minute or so. Add the salt, sugar, and 2 cups of the flour. With a wooden spoon, beat vigorously for 2 minutes, or with an electric mixer for about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour and beat well. Pour batter into a greased 8 1/2” x 4 1/2” x 2 1/2” loaf pan and smooth top with wet fingertips. Cover lightly and let rise to top of the pan, about 30-45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 45 minutes. Turn loaf out of pan and onto wire rack to cool.

(I do have to note here, that in no way could my batter be "poured" into the pans. It was thick and very sticky...but spooned in just fine, and turned out remarkable.)

Mothers Day Memories

~not sure it gets any better than this...
My window sill is lined with styrofoam cups full of all sorts of mystery flowers...lots of green with few actual blooms. A stack of homemade cards covers the desk in the kitchen...complete with promises to take out the trash, empty the dishwasher and the like. I scored a whole treasure trove of homemade trinkets like pipe cleaner bracelets, heart shaped bead crafts, and more. It can only mean one thing...I had a simply divine Mothers Day! Of course I wore the bracelets to mass on Sunday...the girls worked so hard on them. I couldn't have been more humbled as I stood with other moms to recieve a blessing. And yet I was painfully aware of other women, who like myself some years ago, are longing to be the ones standing. I pray for them, that God may find it in his plans to answer their prayers.

I'd be remiss to ignore the best part of my day first waking moments of shear joy...Breakfast in bed! Yes. You read it right. The 6 girls teamed together Sunday morning to deliver a delicious, (well-rounded, even) breakfast of hot oatmeal (with a hint of brown sugar--just the way I love it), warm buttery toast, yogurt, and milk complete with 2 mini donuts. (They were glad to help me eat what I couldn' the donuts...and the yogurt...and oh yeah...milk, blech!) Tears spill out again just typing about the thoughtfulness that went in to those few moments. Each of them worked together...little Lucy played her part well. She was sent in to snuggle between mom and dad to keep us in bed just a little longer. Meanwhile the 5 older girls shared the kitchen work, and yes, even cleaned up when they were done! (gasp!) They delivered it on a lovely little wicker tray they had to dig for out of storage in the basement, and just beamed as I oohed and ahhhed over each and every bite.

I can't begin to explain how my heart welled up in those moments with the girls. (John had slipped into the kitchen to make coffee, God love him!) This simple act of kindness, a pouring out of was everything I could have ever prayed for, and yet never even knew was possible before becoming a mom. Truly I am blessed. God is present in these moments, waiting to be found, an expression of LOVE, His love. I am so grateful for this Sunday morning God-moment, long before we were ever present with Him at mass. I praise Him too, for the lives He has entrusted us with, and am reminded especially at Mothers Day of a time not so long ago, when it seemed we would never have a family of our own. God is good!

Of course the boys rolled out of bed and into our moment just as I finished, and wondered what all the hoopla was about. Typical boys...oblivious, and yet quick to throw in a warm "Happy Mother's Day mom!" as if they were part of the whole breakfast plan. cute.
My 6 bed-headed beauties delivering a tray full of love this Mother's Day. (if you listen closely, you can hear their 4 brothers still snoring just down the hall)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got"
~Cherly Crow, Soak up the Sun lyrics

May we enter each day with a greatful heart. Thank you Lord for gentle reminders of your goodness in all things. (and thanks for that little dance Lucy and I shared today after breakfast...kick, kick, kick...spin, spin...and freestyle!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

My own kleenex commercial

okay, I'm pregnant. So it's no surprise that tears well up at the drop of a hat, as my hormones wreak havoc with my emotions, not to mention my complection.
That being said, surely you'll understand how a simple question posed by a 3 year old boy, and his Dad's loving "yes" got me all choked up today.

Frank: Dad, will play ball with me?
Dad: Yes! Let's go.

(mom's in tears, and fighting back sobs.) Tissues anyone?