A photo progression:
Gus pays a visit to Ben doing his homework.
But he felt like something was missing, so he went and got some hats. Here’s yours Ben.
And one for me too!
One of the great benefits of living in this crazy household is being welcomed home with excitement. For example, when Posy came home from work this morning, Gus exclaimed, “Posy, you’re back!!” And ran to give her a huge hug.
And then he moved in to steal her tea…
The kids actually greet anyone they know with this enthusiasm. Having a bad day? Come to our house and everyone will be happy to see you.
I felt guilty getting my phone out in church, but we arrived plenty early so we didn’t disrupt anyone. Well, we always disrupt people, but we didn’t disrupt any more than usual.
Today’s highlights include Molly picking her nose, Max stretching every two seconds, and Gus making his fingers into a gun and yelling, “Bang! Bang!” in the middle of the consecration.
They make me a little crazy, and I don’t get to really complete a thought when I pray, but it really is a privilege to get to bring these children to church every week. Molly pulled on my sleeve at one point and whispered (she actually whispered!) “I know what that picture says. It says Jesus, I trust in you.”
A bonus picture of the three littlest (Lily-6, Molly-4, and Gus-2) paying a little visit to baby Jesus before mass. It was a beautiful moment, but they all came back to the pew covered in straw.
I’m going to try my picture a day thing again this year, and just do the best I can.
We began the year with an amazing dinner of prime rib at my parents house. (Thank you!) Gus sacked out on the way home, and Jay out him to sleep on the living room floor because we assumed he’d wake up after a few minutes. He didn’t, but he did work his way under the Christmas tree.
7 Elements of Summer!
1. Dinosaur chicken nuggets and other simple Costco meals. This is made more difficult with our new dietary restraints, but I find ways to make cooking as simple as possible. Having to cook and clean up after the whole crew for both lunch and dinner can get tiresome, so we rely a lot more on paper plates. This year we have even indulged in paper cups! Whee!
And as a corollary: lots and lots of wet towels, you really don’t need a picture of that.
3. Bare feet, and therefore there are shoes and socks all over the house. People wear their shoes outside and then can’t bear to have them on for even ONE MORE SECOND. Strangely, with all these shoes lying around, no one can find their own pair. (Or at least Lily can’t.)
4. Watermelon, Ice cream, and Popsicles. With the occasional trip to Sonic or Zoyo thrown in for good measure. My kitchen table is ALWAYS sticky.
5. Being stuck inside results in lots of tents and blanket forts.
7. And I’d be lying if I didn’t list plenty of screen time. Video games, movies, kindle apps, Starfall or Lego games on the computer. We do even read on occasion. It’s nice that they often watch together.
The hours of Summer are so long, but the weeks are short! It will all be over in the blink of an eye and we will be back to the structure of the school year, happy to be moving on but missing our freedom.
A daybook style post from the whole family:
Outside my window… the pool needs more water, the grass is dead, and the pool towels need to be washed.
I am thinking… Max is thinking about how to make an interesting Lego space ship.
I am thankful… for this chaos.
In the kitchen… someone will eventually have to load the dishwasher. Who will it be?
I am wearing… Molly is wearing one of Tessa’s shirts that she has turned into a dress for the third day in a row.
I am going… a little crazy with cabin fever. I long for the ability to take a walk after dinner, or take the kids to the park to run off some steam.
I am wondering… Tessa is wondering why her ear wasn’t hurting earlier last night. (She woke up with swimmer’s ear.) She is also wondering when she can have a friend over.
I am reading… The Wizard of Oz aloud to the kids. They are loving it and begging for more chapters every night. Ben just finished the Hunger Games Trilogy, and Tessa is reading Ender’s Game. Have to get ready for the movies this fall!
I am hoping… for a miracle with a particular school waiting list.
I am looking forward to… Jay coming home from work.
I am learning… Molly is learning more letters almost every day. She is also trying to teach Gus how to spell her name, even though he can’t even say his own.
Around the house… Ben is playing a video game that the kids probably shouldn’t watch. Gus is playing with Fisher Price Little People, Lily and Molly, when asked what they were doing, replied, “Um, … stuff.” (It looks like it involves scissors.) Oh my, now they have a stapler too…
I am pondering… Jay is pondering the business, as we transition over to a different set up, he is under a lot of stress.
I am praying for… Posy, who is in South Africa building a home on a mission trip.
A favorite quote for today… from Ben: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss
One of my favorite things… my morning coffee while doing my bible study. I wish I could stay in that moment all day long.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Deal with the overdue library books, take the kids swimming every day, school supply shopping, take Ben to get his driving permit, find some cheap (and cool) ways to get the kids out of the house.
A peek into my day… before breakfast:
I’ve been neglecting this blog for a good long time, so I’m just going to jump right back in here and share a little about the few whose pictures I could grab today.
Tessa is getting busier by the day, she’s 10 (and three quarters!) and is such a joy. She helps around the house, cares for her siblings, reads and discusses books, enjoys fun movies, and even lets a little of the pre-teen surliness come through at times. She played volleyball this fall and was recently accepted to her school’s Honors Choir.
Max is a busy Lego fiend! When he is not masterminding a new lego creation, he is playing Lego Lord of the Rings on xBox. He’s recently become a pro at foosball, and loves to stay up late reading. He turned 8 at Christmas and is feeling much more grown up now.
Molly is three, which is the same this as saying that she is at the advanced level of being two. She is a feisty thing, willing to beat up either Lily or Max to get what she wants. She is a regular on the time-out bench. But when she turns on the charm, she is the sweetest little girl you ever met. She loves just as fiercely as she plays. She is smart as a whip too, Lily is teaching her how to sound out words and she recognizes most numbers.
Lily is 5 and sweet as can be. She has a tender heart and gets her feelings hurt easily. She is reading now and loves to write letters to people. She wants desperately to play piano like her big siblings. Lily has lots of friends and is always busy playing with her dolls.
Gus is trouble on wheels, only without the wheels. He is 14 months old and has figured out that if he makes a mess in one place, I have to clean it up and then he is free to get into something bigger in another place. If the dishwasher is open, he goes straight for the knives, if the bathroom door is open, he goes straight for the toilet, if the bunk bed ladder is left out, he climbs straight to the top. He eats lego bricks, throws food on the floor, and can melt your heart with one hippo-toothed smile. He loves to be held, even at his staggering 25 pounds. He knows lots of sign language but the only words he really uses are hot, turtle, and NO. He takes two twenty minute naps a day and wakes up almost every hour at night. And I still think he is the cutest, snuggliest baby boy ever.
Ben is 15 and getting a little bored with family life. He gets a little stir crazy at times even though he likes to have fun here with us. Old enough for big, complicated chores, he gets leaned on a little too much, but I am so grateful for his help. He’s in his third year of Latin and is always working on his music – at least when he isn’t watching netflix or playing xBox. He always has some fascinating new facts to share with us.
Paisley has been around the house more over the holidays and it has been nice to have her. She’s working full time (and then some!) at Lancome and that keeps her hopping! Today she grabbed a nap on the couch, yesterday she took the younger kids to the park for more than an hour!
James is 20 and still living at home. He’s working hard at a few jobs. Right now he is working the sound for masses at our church and playing a few gigs around town. He recently got a truck and is enjoying having a little freedom without having to ask for rides.
Posy is 17 and in the middle of her senior year of high school. She is always busy. She volunteers with the youth group, works at Cousin’s subs on the weekend, and is trying to keep her grades up and apply for colleges.
Jay and I are just trying to keep everyone fed and clothed and out of trouble! This crew keeps us hopping! Happy New Year!
I had so dreaded the summer. We weren’t going to go anywhere, and my husband was going to be out of town a lot, so I was facing cabin fever with not much help with the little kids. But oh my, was it different than I anticipated! I set a flexible schedule for our days, with some planned time out of the house. I structured my mornings around coffee and bible study and threw in a little exercise for good measure, and darn if it wasn’t about the best summer I have had yet.
And now it is over. Back to school for most, first time to school for Lily, and days at home with just two babies for me.
Our transition into school was a bit tough this year. It was dragged out for three weeks. The first week one school started. The second week the other two schools started, but one had half days all week. The third week all three schools were on normal schedules, but there were school meetings almost every night. Now we should be on normal school time and we are adjusting as unsmoothly as we normally do. The house is a mess, the toddlers are crabby, and the calendar changes faster than I can let everyone know.
Anyway, here is a brief update on the crew:
-Paisley: Working for Lancome and loving it! She visits at least once a week just to spend some time with us.
-James: Working at Cousins Subs, running sound for masses at church, and playing music around town. He’s a busy guy these days and he seems to be thriving.
– Posy: A senior this year! She scaled back her work hours at Cousins Subs to the weekends so she can focus on her studies and college applications. She’s driving a long distance to school each day and still finding time to spend with the little girls for combing hair and doing nails.
– Ben: A Freshman in the same school as Posy. He is thriving in his 3rd year of Latin, interested in his studies and facebook.
– Tessa: 5th grade sweetheart. She can’t really be called one of the “Littles” any more in our household. She is shouldering more responsibility around here and made the volleyball team at school.
– Max: 2nd grade! Max would play piano 24 hours a day if we let him, stopping only for a break to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos.
– Lily: Kindergarten girl! Lily is loving school and seems to be doing very well there. Since she turns 5 this month, she will attend kindergarten at her preschool this year and then kindergarten at the older kids’ school next year. I think it will work very well.
– Molly: Every bit a 2 year old. Molly is still the family firecracker. Most prone to scream in both happiness and distress, she lets you know how she feels. She misses Lily and loves to “help” me around the house.
– Gus: 10 months, still not sleeping. Gus is walking well and starting to pick up a word or two and some baby signs. He doesn’t use them frequently though, so you always find yourself asking, “Did he just say…. ?” He’s also huge (for a Groft baby), weighing in at 22 lbs. We joke that God made him big to protect him from Molly, who only outweighs him by about 3 pounds and loves to sit on him.
– Jay: is working hard at both jobs, and praying for cooler weather.
And I am just trying to stay one step ahead of this crew and their needs, their meals, and their mess.
So Happy New (School) Year! I hope it will be just as blessed as the summer was!
Today I am going to try to take a picture or two each hour and give a snapshot of the whole day. Forgive the pictures, please, most are just quick shots with my phone.
7am. Coffee and kindle. Yes, I really do have that much cream in my coffee, it’s not just a trick of the light.
8am. Kids playing in the family room I cleaned last night. It’s so much easier to play when the floor isn’t a minefield!
9am. Finish the great backpack hunt, laundry is moving along, Now kids are on to Kinectimals.
9:30. What’s this wet stuff falling from the sky? And in the daytime too!
10am. Still raining! Lily’s turn on xBox. Molly following Posy around.
12pm. James plays piano. Peanut butter sandwiches for everyone.
1pm. Tessa reads the kids a pre-nap book while I nurse Gus to sleep.
2pm. Molly’s still napping. The kids are taking turns with Gus while I fix and arrange the bookshelves.
3pm. Sew buttons on two pair of James’s pants. Then off we go to Costco!
4pm. Finally made it to the store. Settled on Safeway since it took us a full 45 minutes just to get shoes, go potty and get out the door. Thus, there is no picture for 3pm. But by 4, we were busy at the store. I forgot ice, as usual.
5pm. Gus naps while I make dinner.
6pm. Dinner is done, time to clean up and get ready for company!
7pm. Molly has been coughing that tell tale cough all day and has been prone to melt downs. Time for a breathing treatment while she plays on my kindle.
8pm. Swim time.
9pm. Saved the best for last! Friends are here and the music is flowing freely. We finish up with Mumford and Sons done by Jay and sons. Jay and max are on the piano, Ben on mandolin, and James on guitar. Poor video quality, I know, but hang in there after the first minute and the sound gets a little better (and Molly stops drumming.)