It was a two cart trip to Target today.
And Paisley’s cart:
And for extra fun, this is what we sounded like:
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.
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!
Paisley doesn’t get her own feature very often anymore. But she is growing up and writing her own life now. Today she went with Lily, Molly, and me to Costco. She has gone often enough before and picked up a few items, but today she outshopped me! She filled her own cart. I just thought that was a big milestone.
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. 🙂
Yesterday as I was sitting at the computer doing bills and balancing the checkbook I heard a commotion in the bathroom. Max was at school and Lily and Molly were asleep, so it could only be the cat, Oscar. It wouldn’t be that unusual for him to knock something over trying to get a drink in the sink, but the noise continued. Several things had been knocked over by the time I went to investigate.
When I went into the bathroom, I saw a small bird on the floor and the cat, who had apparently been trying to get the bird out of hiding, about to pounce. In this rare moment of quiet in the house, I really didn’t have time to chase down a bird. I needed to get some work done. So I grabbed the cat and closed the bird safely in the bathroom. And promptly forgot about it.
Later in the day, when the kids and Jay were all home, Ben went to use the bathroom and was surprised to find the bird, calmly sitting on the floor. Jay came to the rescue and carefully moved the bird to a safe spot outside, and our little wildlife excitement was over.
But today brought a funny little sample of how our family communicates, sometimes poorly, but we always seem to know what we mean. While Paisley was preening in the bathroom she came upon a little something left by the bird… poop. She puzzled over how or why or even if it was in fact bird poop on the bathroom counter, because she had not been around during the excitement of the previous day, and finally asked Ben, “Why is there bird poop in the bathroom?” To which he replied, “The bird pooped in the bathroom?”
We don’t have a bird, so this response didn’t make much sense to Paisley. So she asked Jay, “Why is there bird poop in the bathroom?” And he said…
Wait for it…
“The bird pooped in the bathroom?”
“WHAT BIRD?” Paisley wanted to know. So we let her in on the whole situation, which really wasn’t a big deal. But we all had a good laugh over the somewhat nonsensical answer that two family members gave her when she was trying to find out what happened.