Happy New Year 2012!

The new year began for me with picking up kids from the family New Year Party.  But then came sleep in a toasty bed.

New Year Morning

In the real morning (not just counting when the clock turns to AM) I found the little ones (mostly) happily coloring and keeping (mostly) quiet while the older kids slept in.

Around the lunch table, we toasted the new year with sparkling cider and a “Please, let it be better than 2011!” and everyone shared their resolutions.

Molly: Nurse
Lily: Say a Hail Mary Every Day
Max: Be more careful to be neat in his seat work at school
Tessa: Pray a decade of the Rosary every day
Ben: Run more
Posy: Get a job
James: Purposeful practice of his music, eat healthier
Jay: Go on a date night once per week (I like that one!), keep his truck cleaner
Me: Read 12 books (1 per month – or more if possible), and blog more

Last year I tried the Picture a Day challenge and didn’t last very long with it.  This year I am trying a more modest approach with a goal of 2 picture based blog posts per week.  I think that will be much more doable.


I realized yesterday as I posted on Control and Surrender at Circling Jericho that there are quite a few things I have left out of my recent blog updates.  Mostly because there haven’t been many recent blog updates.  So, in the interest of keeping you all up to date with us, I will cover the last few months of stuff.

Let’s see… where to start?  You all know that I am pregnant with number 9, and I can say now that morning sickness this time was on a completely normal level.  As much as morning sickness sucks, it is not nearly as bad as hyperemesis.  But I was spared that this time and, while it slowed me down quite a bit, it wasn’t too bad.  HOORAY!

As I was easing out of morning sickness, Jay had a pretty major work accident where part of his right middle finger was removed when a manhole cover slid from his grasp and crushed it off.  This led to emergency surgery and many weeks of pain.  I have never seen him in such pain.  But he is doing much better now and back to full function, albeit with one finger a bit shorter.  I have pictures of the injury, but I think I will spare you those.

The next thing up this spring was a string of sicknesses in the kids (which they generously shared with us as well!) that lasted over two months long.  It included two stomach viruses, and a couple of nasty respiratory bugs that brought on asthma flares and eye infections.  One of the things I have learned in this large family is that about every 4-5 years we will have a string of sicknesses that lasts for months on end, where it seems like we just can’t get everyone well at the same time.  This is one of those years for us.  As I write, everyone is well (knock on wood) but from the sounds in the other room, I am betting Molly gets a breathing treatment before the day is out.

Part of this spate of sickness hit Molly particularly hard and landed her in the hospital for a night for IV hydration.
Sick Molly
That was no fun for any of us.  She hadn’t held anything down for over two days and suddenly hit a point where she was nearly limp and barely awake anymore.  Time to head to the ER!  After looking at how dehydrated she was, they made the call to admit her.  One dose of Zofran (How I love that drug!) and lots of fluids later, she was good ans new and was released just 27 hours after arriving.

So that brings us to about the end of March, which puts us squarely in the middle of Lent with all its extra masses and events.  And so we spun in circles for a few weeks.

Then a couple of weeks after Easter, Tessa received the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Holy Communion!  Her godparents were able to come into town for a whirlwind trip to be with her and we had a lovely weekend.  (Isn’t she just beautiful?)
Tessa's First Communion

The next big event was our 20 week ultrasound.  So I am sure you are all wondering what the boy/girl score will be with the addition of #9.


IT’S A BOY!  And, more importantly,  he is perfectly healthy.

Which brings us to a total of 4 boys, 5 girls.  The kids were all hoping for twin boys to even the score.  But I think one baby at a time is enough for me right now.

Finally, at almost exactly 18 months, Molly decided that she was done with diapers and potty trained.  That took up a lot of my time while she went through the stage of needing to go potty nearly every 20 minutes.  But I think we are past that now and she is reliably even sleeping in panties!

After that, school got out, summer school started for Posy, and I spent a lot of time writing for the moms’ retreat.  And now here we are in the middle of June.

2011 is speeding by faster than I can grasp!

Dress Up

The girls are virtually drowning in dress up supplies, and loving every moment of it.  The family room is forever buried shin deep in tulle, lace, and satin in every color you can imagine.  In between pretty dresses it seems half naked little children are always running around my house like the shoemaker’s elves.  (Only not quite so helpful.)

First we have to dig into the Magic Box of Clothes.  Fancy Nancy would be proud!
beginning the mess

Molly selects her shoes
Dressing up

Lily selects the same shoes and “trades” Molly for some dirty flip flops.
Wait that's my shoe!

Molly asks, “Did you see that? She just stole my shoes!” Lily changes skirts.
dress up

But Molly gets the shoe back during a clothing change! Little siblings have to stay on their toes, so to speak.
Tricksy high heels!

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.  🙂

Zoo Week in Review

This past week was a busy one – but then most weeks are – this just had a different flavor of busyness.  There was a storm that blew through the city and dropped a little rain, leaving the air with a cooler feel and the skies darker.  Around here, things just felt stormy as well.

A few tidbits:
There is almost $4000 damage to our van from the recent hailstorm here, but everyone has their car in the shops already so we are waiting a week or two to send ours in.  At least it wasn’t totaled.  Some of our friends found themselves car shopping once the insurance had a gander at their cars.  For now we are just a big gray golfball, hurling through the city.

We endured a fair bit of drama from Ben’s school this week. It seems that my jokester son and a couple of his friends had tried to reach out and include a child they judged as lonely, which can aparently get a person in trouble for “Bullying”.  The school conceded that it was probably more like “Pestering”, which, knowing my son, is not so far out of his league.  To me, Bullying encompasses threats, fear, and physical harm.  Pestering, on the other hand has more to do with unwanted fart noises and other 13 year old boy jokes.  So after many hours of discussions, phone calls, written accounts, emails, and commiserating with other parents, the issue is declared DONE and we can all move on.  But it sure ate up a lot of my week.

My birthday was this week!  (I’m not 40 yet.  That’s all I’ll say!)  A few years ago I managed to finally give up my childish idea that my birthday should be a national holiday and just came to expect a normal day with a few nice surprises in it.  And so it was.  Mostly.  A friend brought me chocolate, my mother in law gave me a little money to spend on myself, and Paisley stopped by with a chai latte and flowers.  Jay took me to lunch and got me more flowers and a card.  (Lest you think that was all he did, he also schlepped all around my favorite mall with me last Saturday and got me a nice pair of shoes.)  So my day was going along swimmingly until I opened my email.

In my email was a notice from the older kids school (yes, the one I was already having issues with this week) informing the families that they had selected a new campus.  Yay for them, Boo for me.  This new campus is two and a half times further from us than the current one.  I already spend 2.5 hours per day just in getting my kids to and from schools and the thought of extending that…  Ugh.  How can I look at my younger children, learning about the world and developing their bodies and tell them that they have to spend 3-4 hours per day strapped down in the car?

For this and other reasons, this just would not be a feasible arrangement for us.  So I proceeded to freak out entirely. (Which involved crying for about 2 days.)

Since then I have calmed down quite a bit, and all is not settled with this move for this school.  There is still quite a bit of time before I will really need to panic (or otherwise figure out what to do) and I am resolved once again to let the future be the future.

In other news around here, Molly has added in several baby signs.  She signs: nurse, eat, drink, dog, thank you, cat, bird, more, shoes, and I think she has done all done and blanket at least a couple times too.  She has grasped this concept that she can communicate with us so readily that she wants to be able to tell us more.  She will fling her arms around trying to tell us something, but she can’t figure out which sign to use.  Then there was grocery shopping. Because she can tell us what she wants now, she is more likely to get it, so she got so frustrated when we walked through an aisle with lots of cups and she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give her a drink when she signed it over and and over!

She also really likes baths and was on a mission to get one today.  She fell into the (empty) tub once, and then later managed to remove her diaper and try to climb into the toilet while Posy was in the bathroom curling her hair.

Molly also experienced her first oreo cookie today.  I hoped she would get all chocolated and gross, but she was a pretty dainty eater.  She first removed the top cookie, proving she is a genius, and licked at the filling a little.
 Molly's First Oreo

She decided she didn’t like that a whole lot, so she scraped that off the bottom cookie and just worked on eating that part.

Molly's First Oreo

Finally, she got to the cookie part.  She made a little slobbery mess with it, but not too bad.  I guess the real mess with have to wait for her First Birthday Cake.  (Two more weeks!)

Molly's First Oreo
In other news Max and Tessa got rave reviews at their teacher conferences, although Max’s teacher said he has a hard time remembering not to sing all the time.

Jay hurt his back again, and has been hobbling around in pain all week.

And I managed to mess up the garage a little more in and effort to clean the garage.  Which I know sounds counter-intuitive, but is really progress.  I have to dig out all the clutter-infection to clean the wound so to speak.

And that, if you can believe it, is just a small sampling of what went on around here this week.

I can’t make this stuff up.

This morning I got to sleep in. I got nearly 20 minutes of extra shut-eye and it is a good thing because I needed every single minute of it to get me through my morning.

Lily woke up around 6:45 and I changed her into a new bumGenius and put her jammies back on. A few moments later my 11 year old came up to me and pulled up his shirt, revealing a lovely speckled rash. Hmm… that is a trip to the doctor for sure. I already was keeping my six year old home, she needed a chance to sleep in because she had been up coughing much of the night.

I took some of the remaining kids to their respective schools and returned home in time to grab a slice of banana bread while I waited on hold for the doctor’s office. When I finally got through, they gave me an appointment for both sickies, but I had to be there in 15 minutes. Only enough time to brush my teeth and grab kids and go. I should have changed Lily’s diaper then, but it had only been a little over an hour at this point. Hindsight is 20/20.

I didn’t bring my diaper bag, just my purse. My diaper bag was under a box (don’t ask why) and with my hands full and running out the door… aren’t those famous last words?

So we wait in the doctors office. And wait. There is some problem with my health insurance that takes a while to unravel, but eventually it is smoothed over. And as a pungent scent hits me I realize I am going to regret not having my diaper bag with me.

Normally I would have stashed a diaper, a wet bag, and some wipes in my car, But as luck would have it, I cleaned out my car yesterday and removed everything so that my son could vacuum it out.

My 11 year old is diagnosed with strep and the 6 year old is treated for asthma, which is a new thing in and of itself, and then the 6 year old realizes that this is a Very Special Day at school and she should not miss it. (She missed the last Very Special Day like this.) However she is still in her jammies, not in a school uniform. So I call my mother in law, who goes to my house and gets her uniform. I drop Tessa off at her class – in her red and white striped pants, orange baseball shirt and flip flops and leave to take the rest of the kids home. My MIL bring Tessa her uniform and shoes and Tessa gets to participate in her Very Special Day in spite of being a little tired.

I drop off prescriptions, only adding about 5 minutes to the total morning and head for home and a clean diaper, finally. Lily is changed and asleep in no time.

Then the phone rings. The shoes we left for Tessa to change into are too small. So I have to make yet one more trip to the school to bring Tessa her correct shoes. But Lily is finally asleep! Surely Tessa can live with the shoes she has (the school secretary says she is back in her flip flops since the other ones were so small) until Lily wakes up from her nap.

About 20 minutes later, Lily wakes up and we head out the door – again – to take Tessa her shoes. As I walk towards Tessa across the playground after lunchtime, I realize that I did not send Tessa with either a lunch or lunch money. I totally forgot since she wasn’t going to go to school that day until we decided on it later. So I guess I owe the school the price of a lunch now.

And all of that was before noon.

I need a nap. Seriously.