Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Camping is In Tents!

While the big boys were away at camp, Mommy made a tent for my little campers at home.  Our living room was transformed.
 Sometimes when I build a fort the kids aren't too thrilled, but this time, we had them sleeping in it for almost 3 nights!  James wouldn't stay in his spot, and was okay with sleeping in his own bed.
 And, we even had glow sticks in the house! 
 Pillows, blankets and toys came out instantly, and they spent a good amount of time in the tent.
 Tents went up Wednesday night, and the boys came home on Saturday.  The kids wanted Patrick to see the tent and share in their excitement, but as you can imagine, Patrick was very tired and ready to just sit and settle.  But, what happened was Tommy decided to put up the "real" tent in the basement for them (which they will get to use on the family camping trip in a month - without the mommy who will be 8 months pregnant!).  And he promptly took a nap inside.
 James was not far from Tommy's side as soon as he came in the door, and joined him for some fun in the tent.
 And all that fun wore him out.  So sweet! 
There wasn't a minute that James wasn't asking "I go wisth you, Daddy?"  or to be held.  This was so precious.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Answer Me This: Baked Chicken, and Don't Be Offended if I Don't Hug You, Please.

Joining Kendra for the virtual cocktail party, since that is the only kind I can attend without feeling like everyone will judge me for even sipping a cocktail.

1. What’s your favorite thing on YouTube?

YouTube can be fun, addicting, and downright frustrating.  I only feel that I can put YouTube on my computer or cell phone things that my kids can watch.  Now, I don't put those people that play video games and take a video of themselves, which my kids could watch all day, but I do enjoy the Bored Shorts TV.  The kid history was the first one I was introduced to and the kids giggled the whole time.

2. Who taught you to drive?

There are 7 children in my family.  I am number 6.  By the time it was my turn to learn, my mom (a very nervous Nellie) washed her hands of that position and did not try to help me.  To be honest, I don't remember EVER driving with my mom or dad in the car while I was learning.  I drove with the driving instructor just a few times, and was so nervous.  I was the only one at home and I needed to be able to get around so it was kind of a necessity.  My sister took me out a few times, if I recall correctly. 

So, now that I think about it, did anyone really teach me to drive??  Maybe my husband's been right all these years.  Huh.

3. What’s your favorite thing to cook?

This is hard for me to answer.  I am happy to cook, but what I enjoy eating and what I like to cook are a little different.  I think I get more satisfaction when I cook dinner.  Appetizers are a little more frustrating because it seems like lots more cutting and preparation.

The easiest meal of all is one that brings me back to childhood days when my mom would cook is a chicken meal.  Whole chicken.  The chicken gets a super generous sprinkling of Lawry's seasoned salt and wrapped in aluminum foil.  Put it the oven for about 1 1/2-2 hours and it comes out moist and yummy, with lots of gravy (or au jus, I think they call it).  Serve with some rice and it's so yummy. 

4. Are you a hugger or a non-hugger? Why?

I dreaded this question most of all.  I am not exactly sure when I stopped being a hugger, but perhaps it had to do with all the strangers and people who are not family wanting to hug, and the face that I get very self-conscious and nervous when it's time to hug.  All events seem to have hugs involved, and I start to get nervous when it's time to leave.  I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but some days I find myself creeping away so I don't have even think about the possibility of the hugs. 

As a mom of young kids, I feel like this is the most awful thing I can admit.  I like to think that it's different with my kids, but maybe you should be a fly on the wall to help me decide.

5. Where do you pray best?

In the chapel, without my kids.  In moments of gratitude, as I am moving and doing.  I am not sure where it is I pray best, as I don't think I do it very well at all.

6. When is the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?

All of my grandparents are deceased, and some of them I never knew at all.  I am not a good one with dates, though I can place their deaths with some events in my life, so I am not sure of the last time I was able to be with them.

My Mom's mom was married 3 times.  I never met the first 2, and was present for the 3rd wedding.  She was a Louisiana lady and kept her little accents in certain words that she said. She was local for most of my life, and in my homeschool days we would visit her almost every day - meet at daily Mass, go to breakfast or just visit at her home.  She met my 2 oldest children and one of my favorite memories was to bring them to see her.  I have been missing her lately, so this question comes at a poignant time.

My Dad's parents lived in Texas, and, like my other grandma, I didn't really know my Grandfather.  They were both New Yorkers (I think) in their growing up, so the things I remember about them were the loud voices.  She called my Dad "Bobby" with a big New York accent, which was so cute to me.  I was a newlywed when she died and remember going to the funeral with Tommy.

*Sorry, dear patient readers.  I had no idea that this week was going to get so serious.  On a much lighter note, Tommy and Patrick made it back from camping all in one piece, and no crazy things happened at home!  James has been attached to Tommy at every  opportunity.  He cannot get enough hugs, snuggles or rides with Daddy in his car to fill him up.  It is absolutely adorable.  I don't know what he will do when he realizes that Tommy has to go to work in the morning!*

Friday, July 18, 2014

7 Quick Takes: July-scapades

 Joining Jen and her link up for Friday. 
27 weeks.  I have 3 months left, exactly.  Yes, it means I deliver at 39 weeks, but it still seems sooo far away!  (And people are VERY quick to remind me of that, eye roll)  I am hanging in there, and wishing some days that I wasn't so conspicuous or so big all the time.  I don't feel that I can go anywhere without attracting a ton of attention.   "She's so big."  "One, two, three, four and FIVE?!?"  "Boy, her kids are so naughty."  "Oh, you are BRAVE to take them all to the store!"  I may only get SOME of those comments out loud, but I just feel so THERE everywhere I go.  I wish I could get someone to look at me, not at my belly all the time.  I know I am insecure, but it just feels like all eyes are on me, and, because it's summertime, they are on US.
We are about halfway through the summer (I think) and while I would like to say that it's going well, I feel I am not doing my best with the kids.  I tried a really neat looking chore chart, and it has helped A LITTLE bit around here, but it is still me getting upset about chores, and school work, and the same things all the time.  (Have I told you lately how much I loath and despise Legos?!  They.are.every.where in my house, and some very sweet child especially loves to throw them all.over.the.floors.in.the.playroom.  I am going to kill myself just trying to get in there.  It's great that it's only there, but it is MADDENING!)  And, as far as activities go, I get panicked when I think that I have to bring my big belly (can't ever leave it behind) and my 4 kids, and I hear the cha-ching! cha-ching! each time we try to plan something.  Anxiety plays a big role in it, and then along comes guilt.

Yep, that about sums it up.
While on the subject of summertime things, we all had dental cleanings this week.  Patrick and I went together one day, and the other 3 kids had their appointments together.  It was quite an afternoon.
We arrive at 1:45 (for a 2PM appointment) because I am always an early bird.  I figured that with 3 of them in a row, we could start sooner and be done sooner.  As soon as we got there, the front desk lady says that someone is booked in the middle of my appointments for my kids.  Ooookaaaaay.  No biggie, they have a movie TV for the kids, and some Legos, etc.  Starts off okay. 
James is first, and though he is 3, I thought he would let them at least brush his teeth, but he only let them do half.  Okay.  Next kid.
Emma's turn.  She is done fast, and we all have to wait now.  The movie that was on was "Frozen" which re-started about halfway through.  (Ah yes, let's please hear "Let It Go!" again.)  For the adults in a small waiting room (smaller than my kids' bedrooms!) there is a large TV with breaking news. 
Then it changes.
A talk show.  Guests start coming on to play a game.  (should have been my first cue)  Game is called Stripnado.  The guests coming on are, you guessed it, Chippendales.  The lady behind the desk is on the phone, but this pregnant momma was up so fast to turn that TV O.F.F.  Sigh.  We were there for 2 hours.  I was so proud of how well-behaved my kids were!  They had books to read and never asked to play on my phone, and were very good and stayed in the "kid corner."  Mommy, well, let's just say I was done.
I have been on a craft kick the last few days.  Some of them I have prepped a long time, but I am excited for the energy and "nesting" urge that has given me a little extra push. 
I hung my photos that I won from our family photo session.  Don't look too closely, but they are hung!
I have been collecting corks for a while, and I saw an idea on Pinterest that I wanted to try.  It isn't EXACTLY how I wanted to do it, but I think it looks neat.

Now, where to hang it?
I need to apologize to anyone that my son has called.  My Patrick LOVES to talk, and every time I am looking for a phone I will find at least 2 in his room.  He calls mostly cousins, but has found the school directory and recently invited himself over for a playdate this week.  He also decided he wanted to have a World Cup Party.  Thankfully, he only invited family, but he was super excited.
 He drew the world cup symbol on his t-shirt, just as the guests were arriving.
 Since I am still learning about computer stuff, he helped make the flags the same size to make banners.
My parents, my sister and her kids came over, and one extra cousin.  I loved that the boys played soccer at halftime.  He also helped to plan the menu:
Bratwurst and empanadas!  Isn't that adorable?  We also had corn on the cob for USA.
James is all about costumes, Legos and fun.  This one came with the mission: "I'm going to go cut down that bed."  I came home from and errand the other day, and found "toys" in my house: Buzz, Woody and Jessie.  So stinking cute!
During the summer, I have hired my nephews to watch the kids while I exercise, or have doctor's appointments, run errands, etc.  They have come twice a week, taking turns, each time to excited kids!  James can't decide which one he likes better, so he is super happy when they come.  Today, there were 2 board games going on, and my nephew (the oldest grandkid on my side) was playing both: Stratego and Monopoly.  Loved it!
And for a bonus, my Tommy and Patrick are going to BOY scout camp next week.  We all remember what happens when he is gone?  Yeah, let's see what happens when he is gone for a week.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Answer Me This: Don't look at my hair now, singing, and my favorite cup.

It's Sunday!!!  Time for some random questions to get to know me (oh yes, of course you want to know all this about ME!).  

 1. How did you get your name?

I am so glad this question is up first!  This is the MOST asked question about me.  Everywhere.

My name is Frances, named after Saint Francis for my sweet mother who is a 3rd Order Franciscan.
That is the easy story.

The longer story comes with my nickname, Fuzzy.  When I was a baby, I had fuzzy hair (short answer).  Being #6 of 7 kids, my older siblings called me "Fuzzy" and it kind of stuck.  I would hear the song "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair...."  As I got older and went into school, some of my teachers wouldn't use the nickname so I thought maybe it would go away after a while.  Then I got to middle school and high school (Seton School, where my siblings went and my Mom was the choir director) and the teachers knew me by Fuzzy already.  So it continued.  I used to debate (read: panic!) how to introduce myself when I would meet new people, and now it just comes naturally.  LOL  I have an odd voice, am short and somehow I think the name works.  (I tried to find a photo of the infamous hair, but I can't seem to right now.  I will keep looking.)

The funny thing about this?  NONE of my kids have nicknames.  My husband has a whole family with them, and I have a very unique one, and yet not one of my kids get their names shortened or any kind of nicknames.

2. Do you have a set time for prayer in your day?
To be very truthful, I do not.  I try to do it, and many times it comes to me as I am in the shower.  As a mom, I need to set the example and I need to do it.  It's just one more thing that I feel that I fail.  We do try to pray the rosary as a family as often as we can!  We know the power of prayer, especially when Our Lady is involved!  (Beautiful Rosary image from my friend Ruth's Loreto Rosary Shop.)


3. Did your mom work or stay home (or both)?
My mother was a stay-at-home mom for the majority of my life.  As I mentioned before, she was a choir director at the school where we all went to help with tuition, so she worked but not for money to bring home.  My mother has a beautiful voice and has always given her gift back to God by singing at Mass.

By studying the Church documents and Sacred Music as well as the Liturgy, my mother was very qualified to lead the choir and teach us in Sacred Music in our home as well as school.  Latin (at least 2 years) was required for school so we often sang hymns in Latin (I think I could sing most of them for you still!  I can't tell you what Ave Verum Corpus does to me during Lent.  Chills, I tell you.) and parts of the Mass.

4. Do you vote?
YES!  Though, when I was in school and found out that my vote "doesn't really count" it annoyed me.  I always take my kids with me when I vote and we have a little lesson on the candidates since they read all the names. (um, in the car to and from voting is my hope, but we have had some very loud "We AREN'T voting for OBAMA!" and the like at voting places.  Ah, the joys of motherhood.)


5. What's your favorite drink?
Hands down, an iced Coke in a plastic cup.  I love these cups I found at TJMaxx!  It has an old-fashioned feel to it, and the fleur de lis just makes it perfect.  And, I love that it is plastic! I do realize that this has water in it, but pregnant momma has to keep it real.


6. How are your photography skills?

I like to think that my skills are okay.  I enjoy taking photos, and I have an awesome DSLR camera, but I am not well-versed in it yet.  I am still learning.  I have a pretty good eye for pictures, I think, and unfortunately, am very critical.  Especially when I am in the pictures!  I have to say that I am happiest when my kids are smiling and they are looking at the camera, but I am getting better at the life photos, you know, with people moving.  I have a much faster shutter speed on my new camera so I am happier to take "action" shots!

See?  This just makes me happy!  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 4, 2014

We spent our Independence Day at the new Chez Paul and Nichole.  They have only been in the house for 2 weeks, but were more than happy to open up their home and all their 5 acres for the Reynolds-tribe.

 William (as he does at home) is SO into baby Gus, and is always in his face.  He is thrilled to be anywhere near him, and to talk to him and kiss him.
 He even started to read him a story while Gus got his jumps out.
 Grandma has the best outfits for the holidays! 

 It was a day of fun with family,
 and relaxation.
 There is so much land that the kids were sufficiently worn out by the time it got dark enough for fireworks.
 We tried for some of our own "personal" fireworks, but it is always hard to get a good show with fireflies.
 We had our own show by Paul and Peter, and about halfway Patrick decided, as a scout, he needed to be near the action as well.  Well, I missed the photo, but he was close, and the ONLY one covering his ears.

 Glow sticks are the best for nights like this!  Look at those sweet little hands!  We even had balloons with a light in them, and James held his all the way home.  There was quite a bright glow in the backseat from all the lights.
It was a wonderful day, and we saw some shows on the way home with all the illegal fireworks, and our neighbors kept the show up until almost midnight! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Sunday DC Trip

round button chicken
Daddy decided to take the family on a little adventure this weekend after we went to an earlier Mass, since Mommy got the schedule for serving all mixed up. 
We first ate lunch at a burger joint called Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal City, right near DC.  I thought that would be our only stop, but the view of the monuments was too great a temptation.

 We have never done the DC day with the kids, and though we were unprepared for a whole day, we visited just a little bit.  I am always grateful when I can do a little more exercising after a Coke, so I was grateful that we did a little stroll.
 Do you see behind William?  Nothing.  It just completely drops off.  No gate, no warning, nothing.  William the brave walked aaaaallll the way up to the edge and gave me a heart attack.  Of course he was following his Daddy's lead.  :)
 The Jefferson Memorial has always been one of my favorites, though I'm not exactly sure I could pinpoint why.  I love that it's so quiet inside, and there is something so soothing about the rounded-ness of his memorial.  There are tons of monuments, memorials, etc. in DC, but this one always appealed to me the most, even as a kid. It is not an easy one to get to, but I have my map-in-his-veins-and-brain husband driving the crazy streets, and I could enjoy the sites. 
 I love the quotes from Jefferson around the memorial.  They are always so inspiring, and so applicable to our time.  This quote always struck me when I watched the old movie "Born Yesterday" with William Holden. 
"Almighty God hath created the mind free.  All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens......are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our Religion......no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion.  I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively."
James was very impressed with how high the ceiling was.  He said it was "gonna fall, Mommy."

 You would think by this photo that we had been walking for hours and hours, and our vacation was the worst thing in the world.  It's amazing how William manages to do that in photos. 
Or, as I liked to call them, my hear no evil, do no evil, see no evil and Mike the Knight.
Because every little boy needs to bring his sword and shield when we go sight-seeing!  He tried to bring them to Church too, but I had to put my foot down.
Attempted selfie. 
At 6 months along, I have really lost sight of my toes. Last time I checked they were painted.  Not so sure anymore.