Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I love library books.
And backyard baseball before the breakfast dishes are even cleared.
I love naked-toes.
And grass-stained feet.
Freeze pops.
Tents made with blankets and pins on the clothesline.
Kids riding bikes and "meeting up" instead of calling.
Piggy tails and sweaty necks.
Sand in the bathtub after a day at the beach.
noon-time picnics in our backyard.
juicy pink watermelon...though my kids don't know about spitting the seeds. They were raised in the "seedless" era.
blackened grilled hotdogs...who needs a bun?!
pitch and catch
babies on blankets in the grass under a shady tree
I love quiet evenings...early backyard campfires.
(with or without marshmallows....though WITH is better.)
Chasing lightning bugs, and capturing them in a peanut butter jar overnight.
Evening breezes and snuggle blankets with popcorn on the back patio.
The hum of a box fan bringing cool night air.
The feeling that we can do anything, go anywhere, at the drop of a hat...but choose instead to be right here...enjoying our own backyard.
living a busy crazy life, at a snails pace, and finding God in it all...through the eyes of our children.

God is good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

celebrating good health

(More to the point...celebrating one healthy kidney!)

You see, this little guy was born with a condition called sumthin' sumthin' blah blah blah...kidney disease. (Okay, so I do remember the whole name, but we'll call it MCDK disease for short.) Anywhoooo... we follow up with a specialist every year to keep an eye on the "bad" kidney, which has slowly been shriveling up into nothingness since birth. Now, it's officially gone. No more yucky Left kidney. Just one healthy "beautiful" (yes that's a direct quote from our good doc!) kidney remaining, and functioning perfectly.

No more more worries about that business.

So we celebrated good health; celebrated one perfectly healthy beautiful kidney the best way we knew how....with a fun lunch.

The two of us stopped by a Chipotle on the way home (we were first-timers) and toasted good news with a burrito the size of John's head!

No lookin' back baby!
~neither of us were sadly disappointed to learn that kick-boxing, cage-fighting, and ATV riding (among other things we're not likely to try) are off limits to keep the "good" kidney safe. We can live with that.

...and lest I not forget. Praise God! And many thanks to the Blessed Mother for her kindness and intercession.

"Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

8 months

Today, she cries when I walk out of the room...
In a few years, she'll be begging for some alone time.

Like clock-work, that whole 8 month=seperation anxiety has kicked in. She can go from laughing to tears in a heartbeat as I step out of her line of sight, and right back to giggling when she spots me again. It's almost comical, except that those crocodile tears just rip my heart right out of my chest. Oh, sheee's goooooood.

Oh, and new this week...Annie's STANDING! That little turkey is pulling herself up to ev-ry-thing! Her first successful attempt, was to the back door...checking out pretty flowers? or trying to escape? Hard to say...I'll choose to believe she's just interested in the pink pretties.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

reality bytes.

Not every day is a summer-fun-adventure. In reality, some days I'm pleased to have everyone dressed, teeth brushed, and beds made by mid-morning. Shooooot, seriously... Dressed and teeth brushed. For this reason, I try to have a mental list of small jobs that I can accomplish during a naptime, or rare "quiet" time, just to feel as if I've moved mountains.

Today's mission: clean out the van's glove box.

You see, last week while trekking Tawawa Park one of the kids stubbed a toe and needed a bandaid. Surely I must have a bandaid somewhere in my van, right? Right?! I tore the entire contents of the glove box apart looking for a bandaid and found every useless thing, but no bandaid. Let's see...there were cassette tapes (too bad our van doesn't play cassettes.) There was a phone charger cord, from the OLD phone. Lots of christmas cd's, torn envelopes with grocery lists jotted down, even zoo maps and other stuff of which I have no use for.

No bandaid. No napkin. No tissue. The only useful item seemed to be the garage door opener...which doesn't help with a stubbed toe.

So, today I will spend 30 seconds with a garbage bag and another minute or so stocking a small Ziploc container with some bandaids, wipes, tissues, etc and overhaul our glove box. Major endeavor? Certainly not. But it will feel good to get 'er done, and that can provide a sense of accomplishment great enough to have me ready to take on the world! (or at least my little corner of it.) Baby steps...changing the world for the mini-mess at a time.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

thank you Lord...

For that threat of rain showers today.
It's okay if they don't come, but you see, we had our tents out last night for a little backyard camping...and our good Lord knows I need my beauty sleep. So "Thank you Lord." for gray skies and the need to take down the tents...I couldn't bare another night of camping.
One night of giggling and talking and tossing and turning and giggling some more and middle of the night treks into the house for bathroom breaks and worrying about kids wandering or sleepwalking or worse, strangers finding us vulnerable...all those silly things that go through my head. And I didn't even venture into the tent! Only the 6 oldest braved the backyard. The younger four "camped" with sleeping bags on the living room floor, while Anne and Dad and I sacked out in our own beds. Of course I didn't sleep much. The first few hours I sat up "policing" for shananigans. They all collapsed shortly after midnight. The rest of the night I spent tossing in bed, constantly getting up to peek out the window and make sure all was well. Uggh. I'm not ready for kids to be growing up, doing big kid things.

I do love the novelty of camping though...especially campfires with 'smores and silly stories, and songs. We always have a faux broomstick "microphone" for everyone to take turn entertaining the rest of us. And of course neighbor kids join us for after dark games like "ghost in the graveyard", "wolf" and "German spotlight". I don't know the rules to most of these games, but that's okay the rules change as needed. Just run and hide, and wait for some one to find you. And scream loud, cause the neighbors LOVE that.

We've had several of these campfire nights already this summer (sans the tents, thank goodness).

We've had a good share of lot's of other fun things too (in addition to the full schedule of baseball, softball, swim team, library reading club, etc.)

In fact, our summer is off to a fabulous start! Well...mostly...if you skip the first day of summer break, when Samuel needed a few stitches on his thumb. Bike wreck. Minor in the grand scheme of things, but kept him from baseball for 10 days. Big bummer! (right, Sam?)
He had to wear that crazy splint for a week or so to keep him from bending his thumb and tearing it open again. Nice.

Sunday, I took the oldest half over to the Starlite drive-in on St Rte 127. Of course we packed our popcorn, and sleeping bags for the cool evening! It was awesome! (We saw Diary of a Whimpy Kid followed by Soul Surfer...I highly recommend that second one!) Oh, and can you say "VALUE!" It's just $4 for adults, and kids 12 and under are FREE! Wooohoooo!

~nice face Mary~

Yesterday we headed over to Lake Loramie State Park for a little picnic and play time at the beach. Okay, so it's no white sand, clear blue ocean...but it's a nice (very clean!) little beach, and we were practically the only ones there to enjoy. It was Annie's first lake adventure, and she LOVED it!

We could spend a whole day just building sand castles and rivers and moats!

Baby her little swimming suit...LOVE the rolls poking through that little cut-out in the side and strap hanging off the shoulder...Yes, she is ALL THAT!

Oh, this is my Goddaughter...Jamie. (I think she's a perfect 10!) She graduated high school this year, and my brother and parents and I drove down to Tennessee for the event! So proud of her! (and so grateful to John for holding down the fort for the quick bit I was gone!)

We all managed to squeeze in a daytrip to Ft. Wayne zoo last weekend. I don't think we've been there as a family in a couple years, so that was very nice. Lucy's favorite part (or at least the part she keeps talking about) are the trashcans that are shaped like various animals. Her favorite was the elephant trash-can. Umm. Hello?! Did we not see REAL animals there?! Apparently they weren't as interesting.

I unplugged the cable in the basement this week. Wow, has that been NICE! There's still the occasional quiet tv time in the family room, but for the most part it's been pure playtime. I love it!

We've picniced at several local parks in the past couple weeks, including Tawawa park in Sidney (love to wade in the stream there, and climb the "big rock") and Coldwater park, which is just a gem! I remember going there as a kid...and some of the same playground equipment is still there, like the giant swirly slide...but now much more!

Oh...time just moves so fast! We're trying to soak in as much of it as we can...making memories to last. Today, I'm grateful for those gray skies, playdough playing, Nerf wars in the basement, and quiet reading on unmade beds upstairs. Oh, and while I've managed to squeeze in a few more veggies than usual this week, I'm grateful that Grace's favorite barbecue chips were on sale this week...that sounds good for lunch today.

Peace to you all!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Friday, June 10, 2011

my summer to-do list

For me, summer is much like the New Years. It seems a good time to regroup, reconsider what's important, and resolve to make good with the gift of time and energy that summer brings.
Just like New Years though, I tend to overthink, and underdo.

Here's what's been rolling around in my brain for the coming months...

1.Enjoy as much outdoor time as humanly possible...parks, pools, lakes, walks & bikerides & running, backyard games, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, you name it! This only makes sense after the long winter.

2.Serve more veggies, and insist that someone starts eating them. (How depressing is it that I actually worry about this as a "summer priority?" But, sadly this is how my mom-mind works.) Somewhere over the last year or so, we seem to have become okay with the notion that potato chips count as a vegetable. And while, sometimes that's can't be a meal-time staple anymore. Or can it???

3.Organize my recipes...torn from magazines, written on old napkins or homework papers, index cards with spills and icky-stickies from Lord-only-knows-what all tossed haphazardly into a folder. Not conducive to good cooking. (Where's that recipe for Broccoli Fondue when I need it?!)This is actually something I'm hoping the girls will help me with. On rainy days. (refer back to #1)

4. Pray more. Maybe even on a picnic the backyard...with popcorn. What the heck...Jesus was an outdoorsy type, right? (Again, referring back to #1.)

5. Unplug the tv. I'm so OVER it, and want the kids to be too. (back to I getting redundant?)

6. In general, lighten up. Physically, emotionally, spiritually...and see it reflected back in my family.

Yep. That sounds like a good start. Now to squeeze that in between swim team, baseball, softball, piano and guitar commitments. We should be set to get started by mid-July. Well...we'll have to see about the veggie thing. Baby steps.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

in case I forget to remember...

Days are blowing by at lightning speed.

I try not to blink...and yet I find myself waking up in the morning and wondering who stole those days away. Those days when there were only babies, or only toddlers in this house. Now there are 'tweens... wonderful and awkward all at once as we all adapt to changes that "growing up" brings.

Anyhow, with each new stage of Anne's baby-hood, I can't believe how much I forgot to remember ten times before.

I love the workings of her tiny hands. Amazing. Those tiny matchstick-size fingers working to pick up a cheerio, only to drop it just before it hits her lips. Mesmerizing.
I love when she stops just to stare at them too. Busy grasping a toy, or reaching out, when her eyes lock-in on the hands...and just stare intently as she wiggles chubby fingers back and forth. Truly a miracle of creation.
I love the way she sucks air and squeals when she hears my voice first thing in the morning...or when she sees me sneak from around a corner into the room.
I love when her rice cereal hangs on her toothless gums and appears as if she's wearing baby dentures at breakfast...just a glimpse of what it might look for her to have a full set of teeth someday. Funny.
I love the fine fuzz of hair on her naked shoulders.
I love the way her toes grip my upper lip when I kiss the bottoms of her soft padded feet.
I love the way she likes to sit on my forearm, her back against my belly, my other arm holding her belly from falling forward...all the while kicking her legs wildly as if dangling them off the edge of a dock into the water.
I love bathtime...because she does too. Splashing wildly and giggling outloud in the water. Fussing only when it's time to get out. My little fish.
I love the way her ear leaves a perfect imprint on my arm for long after she's done angel kisses, a reminder of our special bond.
I love wrinkled-nose, squinty-eyed silly faces.
I love those first days of learning to crawl, when everything goes backwards, and legs find themselves wedged under couches...and she gets so frustrated. But she's learning and growing.
I love how the other kids melt like butta' around her...even grumpy brothers can't bare to walk by you without a hug, or silly face, or tickle. Babies shine with Christ's light.
I love how she can fall asleep on Daddy's shoulder at the drop of a hat...though she's never done that for me. He's had that "touch" with all of the kids...perhaps God's gift to Daddys.
I love the end of the day, when I nurse her into a sleepy little coma in my arms, and she smiles with eyes squinty closed. Because everything in that moment is right with the world. And in that moment she reminds me how much God loves me...and how good He is.
I love the way she makes my heart weaker, and stronger all at once...prepared to love more, and hurt more.
I love you Anne. Uniquely. And yet in the same way I've loved each of your siblings before you.
This time though...I'm writing it down, so I don't forget to remember.