Saturday, June 23, 2018

James is 7!

And this boy could not have been any more excited to have a birthday, even during school!  They had a "reading celebration" on the same day, and the parents were invited to listen to the children read, instead of the opposite. 

Happy birthday to the boy who hugs with all his might, loves with all his heart, and thinks of others first.  Pok√©mon, Super Smash Bros Brawl, scooters, reading, and love of Jesus.  And whatever the big brother is doing makes you happy.  We love our sweet James!!!

Last Days of School

To refresh your memory, or make you feel old, this is the First Day(s) of School.
First one to finish!  Off to 8th grade after an AMAZING year first year at a new school.  She received an award in almost every single subject.  Which means that she had grades 95 or higher. Go Emma!  So proud.  She even entered an essay contest and came in the top 3 of the Junior High. 

Second finisher is the new 10th grader.  First honors, and a year full of first honors, and growth even noticed by his teachers.  I am so proud of his journey as a young man.  He has been attending a weekly prayer group, youth ministry, and even decided to go to Work Camp.

Award for the longest year ever, goes to these boys who finished 2 weeks after the big kids.  William is going to be in 5th grade next year. Finished the year with a very tough teacher with 2nd honors.  When asked what he liked the most, he said "sparkle was my favorite."  Why?  Because he knew the teacher's pattern for calling on the students.  And he used to position himself in a certain place so he could "always come in 2nd."  What an amazing kid. 

This boy!!  What a year!  2nd grade will be so great for him. He loved all the reading, and how much his teacher challenged him, and with each note she sent home thanking me for the work I do as his mom and "first reader" brought me to tears. He sprouted and grew this year in height as well! 

Friday, June 22, 2018

May. Again.

So, when I said May was a bit crazy, I wasn't kidding. 

My in-laws have a big RV, and decided to make a trip around the US to visit some of the amazing sights and all of their kids and grandkids.  On the stop with Mary and Ryan in Oregon, the week of Mother's Day, my MIL fell and broke her hip and femur.  Surgery, rehab, and a much longer stay in Oregon, and lots of uncertainty made for a very long month.  But Mary is a nurse, and the fact that they were near her and able to be with my in-laws during all this made all of us this far away much happier. 

Exactly one month later, on June 18, she was given the A-OK from her surgeon to return home in the RV.  Their trip home also includes 2 extra passengers: Tommy and Paul. 

These amazing men hopped on a plane to help drive the RV and help with the long trip back.
It might have looked a little like this:
Of course they will make the best out of this trip, as my sweet husband always does. He will get to go through some states he has never seen, and even some Wal-Marts in some never before traveled states. Even a tough situation. We aren't sure how long this trip will last, and we are praying they make it home safely! 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I have such a bad memory some days, that I am so grateful for the iPhone and it's camera  I can look back on my photos and remember that "oh yes, we had xyz on that day" and I wasn't as boring a mom as I make myself out to be.

We have entered the busy month of May (why is it always that way?  Some day, we will figure this out) and I have my running shoes on.  In addition to the last weeks of school for my older kids, we have First Holy Communions, confirmation, graduation, warmer weather which means dirtier clothes, and just more things on the calendar.

One of the events which came at a very special time this year is the annual pilgrimage that Seton makes to the Shrine/Basilica of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. 
We are blessed that it is so close, and it was a tradition for our family to go every year, for many years.  We used to tease the sisters that gave the tours that we could fill in for them, while they took a break.  This year our family decided at the last minute to attend, with my sister Jenn and her family.
One of the main reasons for our family to go on the pilgrimage was to visit the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes that they have in the mountain nearby.  It just so happened to be the same time that my brother Joe and Melanie were IN Lourdes.  Despite the rain, and cold weather, it was a beautiful visit.  But I will say my heart wasn't there.  It was far across the ocean with him, praying and uniting our visit with his.

As I said, it was cold and rainy, and *some* of us brought appropriate jackets for the rain (I did think we had some Scouts in our family) so when it was time for the rosary outside, the kids scrounged in the car for whatever they could find jacket-wise. Some were more waterproof than others.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's Musical Time!

Seton puts on a musical every spring.  I spent many years with my siblings in the plays, and always enjoyed the fun.  My kids decided to join the list of cast members for "7 Brides for 7 Brothers."
The play was SO good, so fun, and we are so proud of our Lumberjack and Chorus member!

Lucy enjoyed every minute, and has been quoting and singing all the songs.   I am so happy to see the kids get involved and spend time with such great kids. 

(I had to add this one.  My son isn't doing his "turtle" smile.  I actually got him to laugh.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Happy Easter! Alleluia!

This is the day the Lord has made, Alleluia!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it, Alleluia!
Our family was all healthy! We all made it to the Easter Vigil, helped each other hold candles, and enjoyed every minute!

We call this one the "turtle smile" pose.  We have one child who never smiles with his teeth.  LOL

Celebrations at my mom's house this year. 

And the newest Golden Jacket Winner!

Family.  This is just some of our family.  We were missing our far away family, but so grateful for the time we had. 

Tires, Minivans, and Wind

Virginia has had some crazy weather this year.  Little to no snow in the winter, snow in mid to late March, and some odd days off for cold, threat of snow, and high winds.  Crazy weather.  But.  A gift nonetheless.
I came out to this on a Thursday morning.  We are no strangers to car troubles, which used to always happen as we were trying to leave for school, and we are so grateful that we have family nearby to help!  My van, the tires, the transmission - all on it's last leg, and now this.  It is done.  Not only was the tire done, the spare was too.  So, we decided it was time.  We knew it was coming, we just weren't sure when.  And when the government and schools closed the next day, we knew it was time. 
We said Goodbye to our van with over 160K miles, the van that brought home 4 of my kids as babies and got us where we needed to be, many times.

But, we traded it in for a new to us van.  Lucy says it is "dark buhlue" and we all fit.  Comfortably.  And the perks are just amazing.  Saint Anthony really helped us to find what we needed that day.

(As I write this, I am realizing I don't have a ta-daa photo of the van alone)

We did get it blessed!  Father Noah paid special attention to the engine.
And of course, we all got a treat!

As I told my sisters, I am like the cool kids now.  A Honda.  :)
But.  In true fashion, we have had an adventure.  The new van has automatic doors and so many safety features that we are trying to figure out and some that are so safe they are annoying.  (The kids call it R2D2 with all the beeps it says)  I used to leave the keys in my old van as it was always in the garage.  It was easier, and they weren't in the ignition.  But, I did this just one time accidently in the new van.  And Lucy got into the garage, and into the van.  And OH!  It's a toddler's paradise!  Buttons!  Doors!  Open!  Close!  Oh yes.  She did.  She locked herself in my van with my keys.  And the lock buttons are too tough for her.  And. as I am trying to get her out, she sets off the car alarm. 
Horn.  Blaring.  In the garage.  Oh oh oh my ears!  I admit.  I did some freaking out.  And maybe even a curse word or 2.  But, I am grateful my keys were there, as I yelled at her to push the buttons (between honks) on the key fob and she was able to turn off the alarm and unlock it!  Whew.  It was awful.  My ears were ringing for days!  And, lest you worry, I don't leave my keys in there anymore.  And yes, there IS a child safety handle on the garage door.  Oy.

Birthday for Me

I had a birthday.  I am very late in telling you about it, but it happened.  And I am now two-more-years-to-40 years old. 

My sweet husband tried satisfy my sweet tooth with a suuuuper chocolate cake and bought me a HUGE camping chair.  He's trying to give me a hint.  LOL  I'm not sure it will be used on an actual camping trip, but it is an awesome chair.  My kids made cards, and spent the day with me.  And my Emma. Oh my Emma.
She made this.  MADE this for me.  My patron saint and his prayer. Sweet girl has taught herself to write calligraphy.  Isn't this lovely?!?  The most precious gift this year!
My brother Joe told me that I needed to get back into blogging. 
My husband told me I should be blogging.

And they are very right.

I miss coming here, dumping some photos, some news, and even some ramblings of my thoughts get put down.  To be honest, I miss a lot of things this year.  And you, dear reader, can keep reading to see some of my (mostly internal) struggles.

In the summertime, my trainer/friend/caterer decided that she was no longer going to offer exercise classes at her studio anymore.  Her family was moving to a new home, and moving into busier times with her (DELICIOUS) catering business.  She has even asked me to work with her at events and I really enjoy the time (the money AND good food).  But, when she stopped classes, I didn't realize how much I would not be motivated to exercise on my own.  I HATE making decisions.  I hate big gyms, strangers, and I am not confident enough to find a place and set myself in the middle of everyone and not feel super uncomfortable.  I miss my friends.  I have retreated into my self-absorbed shell (or introvert cocoon, take your pick) and I have not come out yet.  It is VERY difficult for me to send a text (and calling is out of the question!) to invite anyone, or even plan something.  And the less I do it, the less I feel the need to keep doing it.  Especially if I get a negative response.  I feel like I am forgotten since I am not seen, and it makes me wonder.  Was I really such a good friend?  Did they really enjoy time with me?  So, you see, I am still here.

We are in the throes of teenagers in the house.  I feel so inadequate to this task.  And in confession, I am very often told that I need to get rid of some of my stress.  Sometimes, they say, I may find that teens can be "delightful."  Well.  Maybe by the next few kids.  (Y'all.  Pray for me)

Y'all know I have to talk about my brother.  His story is not mine to tell, but I do want to put down some of the things that I feel I want to remember. 

Joe and I grew up together. Being just 2 years apart, we had lots of fun growing up, and we homeschooled together for many years.  Some days we never even did any school.  But, Joe has always been the one that I would look up to.  He could charm a room of people at no bigger than 2 feet high.  He would go around the room and find the person who needed that smile, hug, or cheering up and he would make that happen.  Always giving.  And right now, as we see him going through this incredibly awful disease, he is still giving.  Still thinking of others.  And this selfish big sister has no words.  Not the right words to say, not enough hands, not enough hours, and not even an ounce of that joy, that giving to share, with anyone, but most especially with him. 

I'm going to admit that I was not prepared for the amount of leaking that comes from my eyes.  All.the.time.  Like I don't even realize it is happening until my vision gets blurry (Mass is a really big one).  My friend described it as "the gift of tears" but I am not so sure I would call this a gift.  And, since my skin screams at me when I cry too much (vanity, thy name is Fuzzy), it is quite a frustrating gift.  Some days I would like to return it.  Then I think of the beautiful gift that my brother has been given, and I cry more since I see my shortcomings.  Maybe I should just say that if you see me, I won't be offended if you offer me some Kleenex.  I usually need it. 

So I will admit, I have lots to work through in my head, and I am sure this won't be the last post about what is near and dear to my heart: family.    I do apologize that this seems to be a Debbie downer post, but I will add some goodness and some cute kids.  Promise.  Please keep praying for us all!

Friday, February 9, 2018

My Blogging Brother

My brother Joe has started a blog to help us as we follow his journey.  He's had some exciting news!
Thank you for the prayers.  God is good.  All the time.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Teen Number 2 In The House!

Emma turned 13 over our Christmas vacation!  We decided that this year was the year of just family,(as in no party with friends) and I was so proud that she never complained, or fussed.  She was even happy after everyone left, and thanked me for making it just family fun.

Happy birthday to our amazing young lady.  The flower, the independent, organizer and sweet sister. (William had a tumble on his face right before the family arrived)

Of course we had more photo fun.  :)


Monday, January 8, 2018

Wood Badge

7:30AM,  on a December Friday morning, I get a text message from my husband that goes sort of like this:

"Do you think we can host the Scout Christmas Party?"


I just said what?  My brain was yelling NOOOOO!  My fingers typed that faster than I realized. The party was Saturday, as in, the next day.  My big kids were home for the Holy Day of Obligation, and my thoughts were, well, if it's a Christmas party with the boy scouts we should probably put up the tree.  And decorate a bit?  And we did!  It took less than 24 hours (a record for me!) and we put up the tree and set up quite a bit for the Christmas party.  The kids totally rocked it.  I was kind of prepared for some teenagers and families to come over.  No big deal.

Except, as I realized about an hour before the party began, (at our home, because the snow outside closed our first location), it's not JUST a scout Christmas party. 
"Are there strangers coming to this party?"
"Yes, dear.  They are coming to award me and Eddie our Wood Badge."


oh. OH!  That is why.  That is why I said yes.  That is why I didn't freak out (as much) as I normally do when he asks me for something last minute.  My guardian angel.  Wow.


This award is a really big deal.  Tommy been taking classes, earning his tickets, camping, and working very hard for this Wood badge.  It is something that helps him be a better Scout Master, and the boys actually were part of the process.  He wanted to show them the results, and thank them as part of his ceremony, which is why we were putting it with the Christmas party.  (I promise, he does tell me stuff, but I very often get distracted and don't remember)  His patrol was invited, as well as Eddie's.  Some of these people came from 2 hours away, in the snow to be there for these awesome scout leaders.

We are so proud of our Daddy, such a hard worker, and always trying to better himself for these boys.  I am also so glad my Angel guided my hand to help me make this easier for my husband.
   He has also been asked to help teach this course to other scout leaders, and has encouraged many of the leaders in our group to take the course.  That man is the pied piper.  :)