Thursday, August 18, 2016

William's Birthday

Well, I spoke too soon.  As soon as I was done with my pity party, my husband stepped in and took off half a week to be with us and planned some amazing outings. But first:

William turned 8!

He was my first child to ask for a home cooked meal specifically for his birthday.  With all the kids usually asking to go out to eat, (which we did for lunch at Red Robin so they would sing to him) it touched me very deeply to have him ask ME to cook!  Did he eat it?  No, but it was the thought that counts.  :)
We got our first pets in the house!  An ant farm!  It is fascinating to watch the ants dig and move the habitat/food around in the container.  (amazon prime rocks!)  There is even a little light to help us see them even better.
Happy Birthday, my Sweet William.  I think I will call you that forever. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Guilt Runs Strong With This One

Wow.  I totally missed July.  How did that happen?

It's hard for me to blog in the summer.  Not because we are super busy. On the contrary.  We don't take any trips, haven't really done anything exciting at all, and sometimes I struggle in that department. My anxiety and "comparing" gets the better of me in the summer. 

                                          Free chicken, and the crazy kids to go along for the ride.

I have a hard time in the summer, as I don't want to spend my time driving kids back and forth for a camp or something every week, and we don't really have the money to do a huge trip.  Facebook and blogs are sometimes hard as it seems like everyone goes to the beach. We don't belong to a pool, we don't have any beach trips planned, and we just aren't super exciting.  Well, I am not exciting.  And I struggle sharing that with the internet world.  I married a man who is spontaneous and wants to get out and enjoy the time with his family.  He tries to plan things and it is a constant struggle to not be the voice that says "no" all the time, especially in front of the kids.  It's my own anxiety, and my own hang up, and the worry of the logistics of how we manage things. 

                                                   (A photo from the 4th!  Flag shirt and all)

But if I dwell on the things we "don't" do, I will get more depressed, so I try to think about what he HAVE done.  We have a house full of fun, and family nearby.  We have all had some kind of camp: VBS (all but Tommy), Cub Scout camp (Tommy and William), singing camp (Emma), basketball camp (William), and Boy Scout Camp (Tommy and Patrick).  My sister has been generous with her pool guest passes and we do have 5 kids, so it's not like it's quiet in the house.  William and James have been inseparable and have been spending hours together in the corners of the house. Lucy has gotten into everything she shouldn't, as well as climbing, talking, dancing, and just getting cuter than ever.  Emma and Patrick have been reading and enjoying Netflix (oh, I have enjoyed it too.  Too much), and I love that they have played every kind of board game and even some old fun, like fashion plates.  And the library has seen plenty of us.

                                                 (Week long camp for these guys.  Not the little one.)

I realize that this post sounds sour, self-pitying and dreadful.  It isn't all bad right now.  It's just a combination.  I have lots of guilt that we aren't fancy, but I do know that this is the life God has given us.  The kids are very well-behaved (as the lady at the dentist so sweetly told me today) and I don't meant to sound doom and gloom.  I give myself a hard time.  

                                                    (They had a great weekend!)
                                                    (VBS week, where we only made it for some of the week)

We have 3 weeks until school starts for Patrick, and even though I am panicking at that thought, we have time to do some things together, and I know my wonderful husband will be able to take some time to have family fun. So when you put it down on paper, is looks much busier than it is. 

In the meantime, it's time to pull on my big girl pants and get ready for school, when there will be 4 (!) children at school.  Whoa.  Prayers for our family!         

Friday, July 1, 2016

7 QT Notes From the Infirmary

Oh June.  You have not been kind to us in the health department.  I think I need a refund, a do over!


1). I am going to preface this with a statement. 
I vaccinate.  I have done them all (except that teenager one), but I do them at a little slower pace.  The pediatrician is very sweet and understanding.  I don't like to do too many at one time, but I do them.  I send my kids to school, and I will be sure they are all ready to go. 

So, when my William and James came to me with VERY suspicious looking spots, similar to chicken pox, I was concerned.  This was early June. 

A visit to the doctor where we were "quarantined" in a room, and the doctor says, well, looks like chicken pox.  Though the boys have had their shots (one child has had both doses, the other just one), and maybe we should do a blood test.  Okay.  That, by itself was not fun either.

(For my own remembering: the lesions were just on the trunk, and were not clear filled.  They were more like pus filled.  And not itchy either.  William had a lot more than James.) 

Then, there was the waiting.  Waiting to see what the tests say.  The doctor calls to say that yes, the boys have chicken pox. And "atypical" chicken pox. Treat it as such.  Now, when you look up this disease, it throws these numbers and words at you like "incubation is 2-3 weeks" "contagious 3 days before the spots come out" "not contagious until all the lesions crust over" or even some very conflicting numbers. 


2).  William stayed home for more than a week, as it took that long for this atypical rash to crust over.  Thankfully, it wasn't too bad.  But, as it would happen, we had family members coming into town.  The difficulty was that we were unsure what would happen.  Our kids (all but Lucy) have had the varicella shot(s).  But this is a mild case, will the others get it too?  Who is next?  how long do we have to wait this out?  The kids, bless their hearts, couldn't understand why we were not able to see any cousins any friends, or do certain things.  It was a cloud hanging over our family.  We felt like we needed a sign to say "unclean" so others would avoid us.

We had some VERY interesting reactions to our disease.  One lady said she was ready to send her daughter over to catch it.  One family said Tommy couldn't come over, as they were worried he (who has already had the chicken pox) was a carrier.  The school had to send out a letter to tell the class.  (Though, in typical William fashion, the kids played Chicken Pox tag the day he came back.  LOL  Love that kid)   It was quite interesting.  We had folks question what the doctor said, how I was handling it, how many days to do what, and it was exhausting and feeling a bit like

3). Fast forward 2-3 weeks later.  James has his birthday, and then a well-checkup.  This doctor is my favorite as he speaks my language, and has known our family for 13 years.  All my kids.  He is trying to figure out about this blood work thing, and if they had the virus.  He says:
"The blood work says they did not have chicken pox."  It showed they had no immunity to it, and showed they never had levels raised like they had the virus in them. 

?? um, what??

Should we be worried that there is some kind of immune disorder?  Is it just the shots?  Why didn't it show up after 2 shots?  My head is spinning.  The doctor says we need to do more research and need more appointments, etc.  Oh my. 

4). So, what did they have?  We are very unsure now.  And, really, I want those 2-3 weeks back!  It was so humbling, and so frustrating.  I was an emotional wreck all those days, and was very hurt by some of the treatment (because I am a highly sensitive person.  I try.  Really but it is VERY tough not to take things personally) we had. 

So.  NOT chicken pox. 

5). Last week, 4 children, over the course of 4 days, threw up at least once.  Sometimes my kids will do that with strep, but it all seemed to behave more like a stomach bug.  Tommy and Patrick had a camping trip to Gettysburg so I was home with 4 kids. 

I have never been invited to so many things in one weekend as I was this past one.  Kids were included, pools were involved, good friends, and family.  All had to be cancelled.  Yes, there is a bit of a pity party going on here about the weekend, but the kids were supposed to have fun too!!!  Another mystery illness.

6). If you have made it this far, thank you.
This week is Vacation Bible School. We are all involved.  James gets to attend with William.  Patrick and Emma get to volunteer with me.  It was supposed to be wonderful. 

I knew things would be different when I had to move from the music station to be a group leader with Patrick as my helper.  Who was Awesome, by the way.  It was a neat day to have a different perspective.  And I think things will go back to normal the rest of the week. 

(Really?  Who am I kidding.  We are already on #6.  I'm done for.) 

Nope.  Tuesday night, James comes down with fever.  I stay home the next day.  Wednesday gets William going to bed at 5, which means he (we) are home again.  We even take James for a strep test, which turns out negative (though I was going to have all 5 checked out right then and there if it was positive).  Anyone else keeping track of the mystery illnesses we have had?  Yeah, me neither.

7).  I think I would like a do over.  I know.  I know.  I am not in charge.  My priority is my children.  To take care of them, and my home.  But I am not doing well in the housekeeping area (21 month old who gets into everything and eats will make everything harder) and I am worried that I am not caring for them well as they have been sick all month, or so it seems.  It just has been really stressful.  I am trying to see what (besides getting me to Heaven) He has planned for us for the rest of the summer.  I have become gun shy about accepting any invitations!  Or planning anything anymore.  I can't see how we will do that all summer! 

We have played many games, watched many movies and read many books.  Already.  The kids seemed to have their summer start sooner than it was supposed to, without all the fun that is to go with it. 

Please let July be a little better!  Otherwise, I am going to join Lucy

Take me away!
Join Kelly for more QT.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Last Day of School 2016

Patrick finished school at the beginning of June, which has been a blessing for this mom to run out while the baby is napping.  He did amazing at his new school.  Of course this is the last day, as I couldn't get a photo with his tie on. 

Here is the first day of school.  Love seeing how big these kids are now.
All the kids did great!

Off to 3rd and 6th grade!

James is 5!

"I want to invite Father Lee to my birthday."
"Well, okay you have to invite him yourself."
He marched right up to our pastor, and told him all about his big day coming.  It was about 2 weeks before the big day, so he had time to plan.  A Tuesday night, for a pastor of the largest parish in the diocese, we didn't think he would come, but I made sure he knew he was VERY welcome.  We were so excited when Father said he would join us!
We had a very full day on James' June 14 birthday.  We helped sing at the "Golden Agers" Mass (aka seniors Mass), and Father Lee said Mass then as well.  After Mass, he asked everyone to sing Happy Birthday to our sweet boy!  James was overwhelmed, but it was adorable.
Father asked if we could include the seminarian staying at our parish in our dinner as well, and after doing a quick mental calculation of how much meat we had to include another man's appetite, I said of course!  As a mom of boys, of course I want more interaction with seminarians.

We had a WONDERFUL time, though it was quick.  There was so much laughter, and we knew Father was from a large family, and we made sure the visitor Daniel was too. 
The light saber battles didn't phase our guests much, and the dinner and cake went over so well.


A special birthday blessing and they were off.  We hope they will come back soon!  James was floating through the day and loves being 5. 


Monday, June 6, 2016

A Visit This Side of Heaven

My mother (and her mother) always said that when someone comes to mind, especially out of the blue, you should pray for them.  I have always believed that, especially in those middle of the night wake ups, when you aren't sure why, and it has always stuck with me.

When I was a teenager (more than 20 years ago!) we had a parish priest that was a very dear friend to the family.  He came to our home for visits, meals, Mass and just a joy filled time.  He was my spiritual director at the time, for as long as he was at All Saints.  And when I got married Father Riley came and concelebrated at my wedding. 

It has been years since I had seen Father, and he had been assigned to a parish in Colorado, so it wasn't too odd for him to come to mind.  But what was odd was to come home after a workout and grocery store run and find a note on my front door in his handwriting!  It was such a special surprise that I burst into tears. I didn't have any contact information for Father, and I was so grateful that a far away friend helped me so we could meet before he had to leave. 
We met up at the new chapel at Seton with 4 kids, where we received a special blessing, and even a photo.  Father was in his ever-present Notre Dame gear, and even without his shoes, sitting on the floor praying the rosary.  So Father Riley!  It was a quick visit, but a very special one nonetheless. 

Something Father said really hit me.  (Yes, I know, I'm really slow)  His note said he hopes to see me once more "this side of Heaven."  Those words make me cry. 

Every time.

Yes, that is our goal.  Heaven is always the first goal.  But sometimes I forget how it will be shared with so many special people that God has placed in our path.  They are here to help us on this side of Heaven.  We will all have eternity to enjoy the time together.  Such a beautiful thought. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Lucy 20 months

 Lucy is such a stinker.  She talks up a storm.  She answers all of your questions and will go look for whatever you ask her to find. She is VERY clear about what she wants and does NOT want.  Some days she is so very almost 2. 
She loves things that are "pretty" especially her dresses and skirts, and all of mommy's jewelry.  It is "prebby" and just adorable to hear.  We have even painted her toenails!  And she will watch her toes while she walks afterwards. 
She climbs on everything, and my big fear is that she will learn to climb out of the crib too soon!  All step stools, chairs, and even the stairs when she can get around the gate.
I love her curls.  I love how the little ringlets bounce when walks, and some days she has a little one that will sit right in the middle of her forehead.
 It is adorable to hear her get excited and say "Daddy!" when the garage door is heard.  Or her little voice tell the kids "bye!" when it's time for them to get out of the car for school. 
Music is so much fun with her, and she knows all the prayers, though she won't actually say the words, she will do all the proper motions, and sometimes will mouth the words.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Religious Award

William is enjoying his time in the Scouts, and has earned the next Religious award.  The Light of Christ.  We have our very own parish priest who has his secret weapon: an Eagle Scout neckerchief and slider.  The boys were really excited to see Father Noah.

 William with the Cubmaster and Father Noah. 
 So proud of my boys!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

William's First Communion

What a special gift on Mother's Day weekend to celebrate a First Communion! 

We were so excited to be able to share in the joy with my nephew, Robert.  He is the youngest of my sister's 4 boys.  Big day!
The Mass was beautiful.  My Tommy's sister-in-law led the young people's choir at the Mass, they sang my favorite "Oh God, Beyond All Praising" which caused me to cry (as usual.  "We'll triumph through our sorrows, and rise to bless you still.  To marvel at your beauty....").  It was lovely. 
I am a picture taker.  I take lots, and when it is a special day for my family, I start to worry.  I worry about the food, the photos, the clothes....yes, I worry about silly things.  We were running late before Mass, and didn't take pictures as much as I would have liked.  I started to worry during Mass that we needed propane to cook the meat after, and I made the mistake of sending Tommy home with 2 kids.  Our family split up, and there was no chance of taking any pictures at church.  Okay, we take them at the house. 
Well, no, that didn't happen either.  The grill wasn't working, so off came the suits for playtime, firing up the coals.  So things moved along, and we didn't do all that I hoped for.  But we did get some really important ones:
William and his Godfather Uncle Paul.
My girls.
His Godmother Aunt Jenn.
Grandma (with her heart doing much better) and Grandpa.

And Mani and Papa.
Everyone else.  
Not one of all my kids, or the family.  I was trying to "let it go" and not worry so much, but it was eating me up.  I just wanted my family (or my chickens, as my mom would say) in one photo.  Just one. 
Now, really I should laugh.  I should.  I shouldn't be such a worry wart.  The party was lovely, we had family together, and lots of leftovers.  But I like things just so, and I asked just one thing for Mother's Day.  And I got it.  Tired faces, not as nice outfits, but they (sort of) did it for me.

Our sweet friends came to our rescue before Mass, and we managed a little something.  It made the celebration of William's SECOND Communion just as special!  Tommy was the Eucharistic Minister at Mass and made sure he was on our side for William.  We were all smiling, and in truth, that is what it is ALL about!