Kids update, Early 2011

And now to catch you up with the rest of the family!

Paisley and James are navigating early adulthood’s bumpy waters, neither one took us seriously when we told them we weren’t paying for college or a car and now they have to figure those out on their own.  But they are around a lot and still love to be with the little ones and spend time with the family.  So for all their mistakes, they seem to have the basics of family love figured out.  Paisley lives about 5 miles away and is over often.

Posy (15) has been paying attention to how things have played out with P&J and is working very hard in school and hoping to get scholarships.  She is even saving for a car.  She works hard with the youth group (and has a bit of fun there too), sings in the choir for the evening Mass, and is planning to go on a mission trip to Mexico in February.

Ben (13) is a comedian, we switched his school this year and it was perfect for him.  Praise God!  He is blooming in his new environment.  He has great friends, good teachers, and is smarter than is good for him.

Tessa (8) is a sweetheart.  Every week several people come up to me and tell me how she went out of her way to brighten their day or say something nice.  She really knows how to lift people’s spirits.  Around the house, though, she can be a bossy little know-it-all.  But it really is just because she wants things done properly in the best way for everyone.  We’re working on more diplomacy around here.

Max (6) lives on his own little musical planet.  He has learned most of the beatles songs inside and out, he figures out songs on the piano, and he loves to play video games.  We have to limit his screen time because he gets very emotional when he has had too much.

Lily (3) is a firecracker and a half.  She is outgoing when she wants to be, never plays with toys, is always in my face about something and is FINALLY weaned.  She was recently diagnosed with asthma as well and is finally not coughing at night.  She and Molly are inseparable.

Molly (1) my fussiest baby by far.  She has been a bit of a puzzle medically, with allergies, reflux and asthma, all sorted out except the asthma.  She seems to be verbally delayed, but has very good receptive language skills and excellent sign language.  So for now she tested out of services.  She also won’t eat solid foods.  She is smart as a whip, and stubborn as a mule.  She is a serious baby, and saves her smiles for when she really means it.

This crew keeps me hopping every day, running people here and there takes up most of my time, and laundry and cooking take up the rest of it.  But we have a great family and James was recently quoted by our priest in a homily about large families.  He said something to the effect of there is always enough love to go around, and even if they don’t have the stuff they might want, the love multiplies and keeps everyone happy.

Our older kids like to be around the younger ones and will spend time with me and my husband on purpose.

So I have a feeling that somehow, we will all make it through this alright.  🙂

Some weeks are like that.

Sometimes it is a doozy of a day that can get you, sometimes it is a whole week. I have been extra busy mostly because of a week I had last week – it started of with a bang. Tessa came home from school with a fever the bloomed into full blown croup, and by the end of the day Max had it too.

On Wednesday the littles were still sick, nothing new there. But then James was hit by a car on his way to school! Talk about a heart stopping phone call. Thankfully, he was the one who called me – laying in the street, waiting for the paramedics, he called me. So I knew he couldn’t have been too hurt. Still, I rushed over there and saw my poor baby in a lot of pain, being loaded into an ambulance. After a short stay in the ER, we discovered that he is very bruised and has a hairline fracture in a lumbar vertebra. There isn’t a whole lot they could do for that, just tell him to get lots of rest and not jar his spine around.

Thursday began bright and beautiful with a visit from the vomit fairy. Three kids down with that one. It was a short virus though – only about ten hours. But still… little people who cannot understand that we puke in the toilet or a bowl can make a HECK of a mess.

It was interesting to discover that Max had some kind of vomit sensor for Lily. He would say, “Mom, Lily is going to throw up!” and 30 seconds later, I kid you not, Lily would fountain up her stomach contents. By the end of the day I learned to listen to him when he said that.

While it sounded like a horrible week, it was an easy week to focus on the good and to be thankful. James accident could have been so much worse in so many different ways. But he is fine (if sore) and the kids are all well again.

Family Picture, Christmas 2007

Christmas Greetings from the Groft Zoo! Things are crazy around here as always, but here is a brief update about what we have been up to.

Paisley – A senior at Bourgade this year, she is looking forward to turning 18 in March and moving out to begin living the college life. She is working two jobs right now as well as keeping her grades up. She directs two children’s choirs and is working at a skateboarding shop. In her free time she shops and hangs out with her friends.

James – 15 now and itching to be 16 and drive! He is active in the youth group and continues to make trips a few times a year to help build houses for the poor in Mexico. He plays bass, guitar, and piano as much as he can, and has been performing monthly at an Art Walk downtown.

Posy – Nearly a teenager! She will be 13 in February. Posy loves to help people, she is always at her Nana’s helping her out, and she is invaluable around here. She works very hard in school to keep up her grades. She loves to read and hang out with her friends. She is involved in two choirs, one with her Grandpa and one at our parish.

Ben – 10 years old and always has his nose in a book! He has a wonderful imagination and way with words. He is always a joy to be around. He started band in school this year and is playing the trombone.

Tessa – started Kindergarten this year! She is so grown up and is definitely all Girl! She loves to play dolls and house and has discovered arts & crafts. Her favorite activity right now is coloring. She loves to give her creations to anyone she cares for. She recently began violin lessons.

Max – turns 3 on Christmas Eve. He loves to talk, although his lisp makes him hard to understand sometimes. He is very loving and very much a little homebody. He also began violin lessons with Tessa. We were blessed to find a lovely teacher who is working patiently with both kids.

Lily – the newest Groftling. Lily is now 3 months old, she was born on September 14, delivered by her daddy because the midwife hadn’t yet arrived! Thankfully the midwife arrived only a few moments later. She is a beautiful baby who loves to be swaddled and snuggled. Her siblings all adore her.

Jay & Jenni – Jay is working hard testing tanks and every spare moment Is taken up by singing. He is putting together a CD and hopes to have it out early in 2008! Jenni stays home with the kids and tries to keep the peace and keep the house from being condemned. She sews, scrapbooks, and reads when she can but those times come seldom with a tiny baby in the house.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! May you be blessed and safe in the coming months!

Away in a Groft House (Our Christmas Card to You)

Away in a Groft house the littles are in bed.
The family’s all home and the kitten’s been fed.
The older kids fight over internet time
But all must be turned off by the ten o’clock chime.

Jay loves to sing and can be seen on TV,
Cantoring masses for homebound to see.
Testing underground tanks, he works hard outside,
We think he’s the best dad to be found worldwide!

Jenni makes rosaries and sells them online
Check out her website when you have the time!
She drives back and forth, lots of time in the van,
But she’ll snuggle down with a book when she can.

Paisley’s a junior and now she can drive
We pray every day that she gets home alive.
She’s super involved both at church and at school
She directs a kids’ choir, they all think she’s a jewel!

James is a freshman and doing so well,
Always wants to arrive long before the first bell.
He works on his music most every day,
Piano bass and guitar he is learning to play.

Posy’s in sixth grade; she’s getting so tall,
Childcare and housework – she helps with it all!
She loves shopping and movies and fashion and crafts,
Her quick wit and smile always bring us all laughs.

Ben is in third and he’s always outside
He walks and he skates or goes for a bike ride.
He likes to play game boy but still loves to read,
His mind and his body are growing like weeds!

Tessa is four and she sings in the choir,
She loves to dress up in her princess attire.
She talks all the time or at least so it seems,
She fills up our days with her bright, warm sunbeams.

Max will turn two on this Christmas Eve
‘tween tempers and climbing he may not see three.
His blue eyes, they twinkle, his pink cheeks, they shine,
Climbs in bed with a passy with nary a whine.

Our hope is that Christmas brings with it much cheer,
Our prayer is for good health and happiness next year.
Remember the season’s about Jesus’ birth,
And we are the reason he came down to earth.

Just Another Day in Paradise

Ben is reacting to Amoxicillin. The kids told me on the way to school that he was covered with a rash. So I took him in to the nurse who wasn’t there. I decided to take him home since he might be uncomfortable and I wanted to get some benadryl into him.

I got home, called the Dr office who told me NOT to give him the benadryl just yet, but to bring him in and let them check the rash. No point in putting him down as having a allergy if it is something else, right? Still, that makes for an 18 mile round trip (yes, I counted it out!) at $3.15 per gallon (in our gas guzzling, 11 mile-per-gallon van) for them to tell me what I already know: penicillin allergy. And poor Ben. He has to miss Buck-a-Jean-Day for this. (He doesn’t seem terribly distraught; he settled right down into watching Dragon Tales without a lick of complaint.)

Max, that precious, happy, jabbering, baby-signing toddler, is standing on my last nerve when it comes to night time and sleep. Last night he resumed his Head-Butt-of-Love routine, giving me a bloody lip in the middle of the night. I think he blasted Jay too, but I am not sure since I was trying REALLY hard to pretend to be asleep so Jay could deal with him for a bit. (Not that he ever shirks that duty, he shares it pretty equally. But hey, I was injured, right? Don’t I get to sit on the bench for a little while for an injury?) So I consider again the idea of sleep training. But to be honest with myself, I can’t give up the rocking and nursing to sleep. It is such a peaceful, cozy, cuddly time. Except when it’s not and Max decides that even though he is drop dead tired he will fend off sleep until either his last drop of energy is spent or mine is. Then it is not so fun.

Paisley has decided that barring any formal, planned family activity, she has no use for being home, except maybe to do her laundry and dump some papers on the table. Is it really in the Teenager’s Bill of Rights that they should be allowed to go out any time there is not special family time planned? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Some kind of limit needs to be set. Especially since the rides are still coming from us. Jay and I will have to discuss this one. I think we might have some time to sit down and do that in August. Maybe. In the mean time, surly, fit-throwing teenagers don’t get rides anywhere. At least not until their attitude changes and they do some chores. Lots of chores.

James was offended that he didn’t get TWO full days off of chores and school work for his birthday. When I informed him that he was luck he got ONE full day off he exclaimed that I just didn’t understand. You betcha I don’t. I don’t claim to understand any of this anymore. Was I really this difficult? (Oh yes and then some!) But he has cleaned up his attitude a bit since then. Removing all privileges does that to a kid. Then add in the carrot of getting to spend the day with Nana (who will probably buy you lunch) and it’s all good again.

Let’s see, who have I not updated on yet? Tessa and Posy! Tessa is so very FOUR and spends all her time playing doll house and begging me to play it with her. But when I play doll house with her it is really just me playing doll house for her entertainment. I have to do all the talking and figure out what the characters are doing. She just sets up the scenes and tells me when it is morning and night. I worry that I am misshaping her idea of play by my doing this, but what is a mom to do? Never play? There is just always some way to worry about them and some new way to wreck their lives and send them into permanent therapy later.

Posy is busy and getting more grown up every day. She is 11 now, and if I remember correctly it will be sometime this year that I will look at her and she will have changed from a little girl to a young lady overnight. For now, I just cherish these last few moments of being smarter than she is and of her being willing to play and do childlike things. The hourglass is running out on childhood for her.

Me, I have just been trying to get enough done around the house to justify sitting down to some scrapbooking or rosary making. neither has happened in forever. This past week has been a gathering up of all my homeschool books and getting ready to sell them. I have no idea where the funding for catholic school will come from for next year, but even if that doesn’t work out I don’t think I am going to homeschool any more. It just became too much for me and I wasn’t doing a good job. I am NOT of the mindset that poor homeschooling is better than public schools. Homeschooling was good for our family while it lasted and then it just wasn’t going to work any more. Selling the books is my way of letting go. Mostly I feel good about it but there is still that panicky feeling of burning that bridge behind me.

Poor, hard working Jay. Summer has set in here with our first official 100 degree day. Since he works outside the first couple of weeks are always the hardest for him. 100 degrees doesn’t actually describe the conditions he works in, since the official temps are taken in the shade over grass. Jay actually works in the sun over concrete or asphalt. It is so much hotter for him. We have stocked up on Power Ade during that last sale but that is small comfort to him, I’m sure. But still he will suffer outside every single day so that our family can eat and live in comfort. Thank God for his sacrifice!

February: The Month of Illness

Bah!!! When will all this stuff be over? Max and Tessa and I started the month with a rip-roaring severe cold. After a week of misery, I took the two littles to the doctor to find out that Max had a double ear infection and pneumonia and Tessa had an ear infection. (Thankfully though, this is the first ear infection for both of them!) Antiobiotics for both of them, along with lots of cold meds and other goop. Mine turned into a sinus infection and I had to go to the doctor. More drugs.

Then Jay came down with it. High fevers for over a week, plus coughing and other nastiness. This is a man who doesn’t mis work unless he is at death’s very door. He missed a full week!!! Off to the doctor for him; more drugs.

Meanwhile Max broke out in a rash head to toe. The doctor confirmed it was a penicilin allergy and also mentioned that one of his ears was more than not-healed, it was much worse. So we have been in for antibiotic shots for the poor guy twice and hav to go at least one more time. The poor baby; the shots hurt so bad he can’t walk for over an hour after he gets one.

I think we have spent as much this month on doctor bills and medicine as we did all last year!!

In better news: James gets his braces off!!!!

Getting the message – Late.

Better late than never, right?

A friend told me recently that she often feels like God is shining a pen-light over her shoulder showing her just where the next step is supposed to fall. Recently however, I have felt more like he was shining it behind me showing me where I was supposed to step five seconds earlier.

We started our school year on August 22. We were planning on homeschooling James, Posy and Ben, while Paisley went off to a local Catholic High School. But the week before we were to begin James was really down about being homeschooled. After a couple days of homeschooling, I told him that if it really meant a lot to him, I would call his old school and see if they had room or him and put him on the waiting list. We expected to be put at the end of a nearly infinite list. But to my surprise the secretary said that he could start in 2 DAYS!!!

So we scrambled to get him enrolled and pick up his supplies and he started that school nearly two weeks after their school year had started. But even with the prospect of lots of catch up to do, he was very happy!

So I am back to schooling Ben and Posy with Tessa listening in and playing beside us and Max eating as much paper as he can when I am not looking. It wasn’t how We had planned for the year to go, but everyone seems to be in their proper place now and is ready to move on with the school year.