29 December 2008

Wii . . . It's What's for Dinner.

Cause, I haven't gotten much else done. The little Wii aliens have decsended and taken over our lives. Actually, I have been thrilled with the kids ability to play for a while and then move on to something else. In fact, they are far better at it than I. Or Martin. Here's what we did Christmas Day.

Santa knew what he was doing when he dropped this gift into the home of such a competitive family!! Wow. I am not sure my poor arms will ever recover from boxing with Annie. The other night, my parents came over to play. There is no better way to get rid of latent teenage angst than to beat up you dad!! (I'm totally kidding. I never had teen angst. And my dad is awesome!)Sweet little cousins playing with the new doll house!Anja Pie got a lot of new books. I thought she and her mama looked so cute reading together!And another favorite Christmas Day activity . . . . lifting Uncle Mortin with the new block and tackle! My parents got this for the kids and they were so excited that they insisted on setting it up right away. And Uncle Mortin was a good sport in allowing them to lift him up off the ground.

And now we are relishing our Christmas season with a week Daddy being home!

20 December 2008

Giant Gingerbread and a Living Nativity

We spent the day taking advantage of the many wonderful holiday offerings in our town. I am not one to jump the gun on Christmas -- I like to enjoy Advent to its fullest, but often times the rest of the world doesn't agree. So, compromise is a must!
Purdue always has a fantastically enormous Christmas tree in their Union Building, as well as a life-sized gingerbread house. We went over this afternoon to see the splendor. The kids were sufficiently impressed. As was I. That gingerbread house must have been a ton of work. There was even a dog house!

This evening, along with my parents, we took the kids to see the "Living Nativity" at a local church. It was truly amazing. Elaborate scenes, live animals, and actors marked all of the major biblical events starting from Adam and Eve all the way through to the Resurrection. We walked through and listened to narration. At some points, the actors even spoke and interacted with us. Walking through Bethlehem was particularly amazing. The children got a real hands on sense and feel of the Nativity story in a way they could not have attained otherwise. It was definetly worth the very cold walk!
And here is a rare thing: A family picture! I was so excited by this picture, as we never have pictures of all of us together.

17 December 2008

Sometimes, it's just easier to give him the root beer for breakfast. The sooner he drinks it, the sooner it's gone!

16 December 2008

Someone is a little crazy

PeterXavier just stuck his head in the empty dryer and started shouting

"You there, Dada?? You in there??"

14 December 2008

Gaudete! Rejoice!

I love Advent. I think it is my favorite liturgical time of the year. But my favorite is the little respite we get toward the end -- Gaudete Sunday. A few years ago Andrew and I established this day as the day for our annual party. It seemed fitting to throw a party of Rejoicing as we make our way towards Christmas. This year was no exception to the rule of Gaudete Sunday being a great day of Rejoicing!

The grown ups wined and dined while all of our many munchkins played games, made crafts, and forgot to eat. I had set up a number of crafts in our "craft room", but only the one involving candy gathered much interest! None the less, the kiddos must have been having fun, because I hardly saw them all night!
Here is a picture of our mantle and our new stockings! I have been meaning for three years to make new stockings and PeterXavier only had a makeshift one anyway. Since I needed to make Isabella one as well, I just made everyone new ones. I am quite pleased with the results!

10 December 2008

Who Taught This Guy to Read??

Sometimes I wonder if teaching children to read is really such a good idea after all. Today, we were out driving and Christopher says

"Hoo . .. .Hoot . . . .Hoot-ee-ers, What's that mean? Hoot-ee-ers?"

08 December 2008

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Which also makes it "name day" for our Isabella Concetta. Some people have given us flack for giving our daughter a name that means "conception", but I think it is a beautiful name in honor of Our Lady and her sinless perfection. I love the idea of celebrating "name days" for our children, but so far have been terrible in execution. I think that today I will try to make a batch of brownies and dust them with powdered sugar -- white for purity. Yes, it's a bit more reminiscent of Martin Luther's snow covered dung heap, but it's the best I can do for today!! Or maybe I'll skip the brownies and just give them a bowl of powdered sugar?? For some better ideas to remember Our Lady today, check out Catholic Cuisine.

Our Lady, Conceived without Sin, Pray for Us!

Growing Parents

This weekend we tackled our basement. We have to ton of work that needs to be accomplished and would like to have it finished sooner rather than later. As we were painting with little people underfoot (some wielding paint-filled brushed!) and on our backs, I got to thinking about how far we have come.

We bought this house five years and three children ago. In fact, we moved in on Christopher's first birthday and I was seven months pregnant. Every wall in the house was a horrid glaring white. We painted the majority of them, but it was quite a trial. And we didn't do it alone. I remember my parents and most likely my sister, spending hours painting, wallpapering and otherwise ridding our home of white. It seemed like a major undertaking. And certainly one that Andrew and I would never have dreamed of tackling it alone. But this weekend, we had no need to call in reinforcements -- even though we have twice as many children. Somehow, in our six short years of parenting, we have learned to be productive despite little hands and feet getting in the way. We have grown in patience and ability.

I don't want to paint (haha) a picture that this past work weekend was all fun and games -- it wasn't. I was just struck by how our reactions to the situation have changed. But it made me think about all the young families, just starting out, who only have teensy tiny children and are aspiring to be something that no mother of littles has ever been. She is aspiring to be a mother to eight, when she is only a mother to two or three. Many young moms, my self included, have gotten caught up in this "blog-o-sphere of support" run by these seemingly super moms with a gaggle of children.

We log on and read that Mrs X knitted fifteen sweaters while homeschooling her seven year old in third year Latin, took all ten kids to the TL Mass, and got home in time to take her seven year old to Orchestra practice. And mom of three, with her dirty t-shirt, dirty diaper clad three year old (who is also her oldest), and mountain of laundry thinks that she is somehow failing. It's ridiculous. But what mom-of-three doesn't realize is that Mrs. X used to be her. But now, seven kids later, she has learned how to run a home efficiently, she has older kids to help, and has learned to relax. They are living in different world.

Now don't get me wrong, I think that the "blog-o-sphere" support system is wonderful and very beneficial. I don't begrudge Mrs. X has marvelous ability or her willingness to share with those of us who are less seasoned. But I do think that there is a danger that the whole picture is not always shown and those who are still in the more difficult years might at times feel inadequate.

Maybe the term "terrible twos" was actually referring to the years of only two children? And maybe this is why so many couples only have two children. Because that is the hardest time of all.

I guess this is so clear to me right now because I am in the position where, while still in the throws of the harder times, I have cleared the worst and see the better days ahead. I no longer spend my days only with people who can't carry on a conversation, follow commands, or use the bathroom.

I think these days of parenting are kind of like the transition phase of labor -- it gets really rotten for a while and then, all of a sudden, it's wonderful! And it is amazing how quickly it happens.

07 December 2008

A picture post.

My dad was quite impressed with this little guys first "shiner." I was impressed that he had made it two and a half years with out one! If you know our little guy personally, you know that he has no fear and he never stops. Well, almost never. This is Thanksgiving -- too much turkey and too much fun, I guess.

05 December 2008

Guessing Game

I found a picture of Grace this morning from when she was about the same age Bella is now. Grace looked at it and said "Hey! Look at Bella!" She had a hard time believing it was her!

So . . . can you tell who is who?

02 December 2008

After a fanastic Thanksgiving with our families and a wonderful long vacation from work, we all collapsed in a sick heap of exhaustion. Blech. I think we wore ourselves out so much that we couldn't even stay healthy any longer. I think we are all better now. Thankfully.

We had a two day Thanksgiving feast filled with family, yummy food, and rousing games of Boggle. Super fun. And now we are all totally addicted to the online version "Scramble" I don't get many chances to play, with children for whom to care. But my mom apperantly has tons of time, because she calls to tell me that Andrew is "ruining" her life by having a higher score than she. Ha! She's not dramatic or anything.

Now it is almost Wednesday and I think we are getting back on track. I had a zillion Advent ideas swimming in my head and haven't started anything! Tomorrow we are (hopefully) going caroling at a nursing home with some friends. I think that will be a nice (re)kickoff of Advent for us. We can start from there!

24 November 2008

What Happens When The Kids Stay Up Too Late

A weekend of cuteness overload!

I love dressing up the kids. Being a mother is kind of like the fulfillment of every little girls dream: dressing up a baby doll that is alive!! Wee!! It's so fun. Sunday was my parents anniversary (whoa! 34 years!!) AND the Feast of Christ the King. Major dress up in this house. My mom bought Christopher and PeterXavier super cute dress coats and hats. Now, the down side of treating you children like your very own toy dolls, is that they get older and tend to protest. Christopher refuses to wear his coat. But PeterXavier is totally loving his. Can you tell?

I love this picture because it sums up the boys so well. Christopher is telling a long drawn out story and PeterXavier is completely focused on his food.

My parents took us all out to celebrate their special day, which was super fun. PeterXavier enjoyed licking Anja and stealing her bite sized food. And Gracie liked that last piece of chocolate cake. It sure looked good!
Our parish goes all out in celebration for the Feast of Christ the King. We clebrated the magnificent Feast with trumpets, Vespers, and a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of town. And of course a big feast afterwards!
And NOW Andrew has the rest of the week, through the Thanksgiving holiday, off! Woo! Hooray for Vaca! When we were first married and he worked at the school in Florida (boo), they had this lame policy that you couldn't tack your vacation days onto holidays. So now I think we'll do it all the time, just because we can!

17 November 2008

A Weekend Recap

We spent the bulk of our weekend cleaning and organizing our newly emptied basement. Eventually, it will be a cozy place to play games and relax, but it might take a while! My mom went to an auction on Saturday and got us a really nice game table, which fits perfectly! I am very excited to have to LARGE craft room complete with sink and built in cabinets. Grace has already begun stocking it with all of her craft supplies. I am excited to paint and decorate the room, but the challenge is making it not feel like a basement.

Andrew called me Friday from work saying that he had six tickets to a Thai dinner fund raiser for the Wabash Valley Youth Symphony. We scrounged up two "couples" -- my cousin Phillip and his wife and Matt and Jeremy. (Bachelors are always up for a free meal!) The event ended up being a goofy combination of raising funds for the WVYS while also advertising this new restaurant and a travel agency. The presentations were interesting and the music was nice as well. The food was great. It was a really fun night, with an interesting group of people!
Last evening was spent with my hilarious cousin and his wife (among others, more later!). I was telling him about the goofy way my mother broke her foot (she was playing a game with my kids and took a litle jump, which broke her foot). Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Yeah, my mom broke her foot . . . .
Him: I heard! My dad told me, (rolls eyes) Aunt Roseanna broke her foot doing a kartwheel!!

Good old Uncle Johnny. You can always count on him to make a good story better!

13 November 2008

Baby Legs from Baby Snazz!!

I LOVE to get a good deal and great product while supporting small family businesses. So when I went searching for a great pair of Baby Legs Iwas thrilled when I also found Baby Snazz. And then when owner, Sara, offered to send me a free pair of Baby Legs to review on my blog, I could barely contain my excitement!

With the cold Indiana winter setting in (ugh) I needed something to help keep my little monkeys warm. And I hate when I get them all bundled up, but then when I pick them up their pants get pulled up to their knees and their sweet little skin is exposed to the freezing cold air. Baby Legs solves this problem. They are trim enough to be worn comfortably under pants and stay put when the child is picked up.

And have I mentioned how cute they are?? There are tons of patterns and prints to choose -- I had a really hard time picking my favorites!

When I got them out this morning, the striped pair that Grace is wearing was intended for Isabella, but Grace was so excited that she snagged them claiming that she and Bella would share them -- but she would wear them first! Needless to say, Baby Legs were a hit in this house. Head on over the Baby Snazz and get your own. Support Sara, her home business, and her four princesses! Use coupon code "blogreview5" to get 5% off order over $40 AND make sure to sign up for her latest giveaway to win TWENTY PAIRS of babylegs!!!

ETA: My kids did this nerdy posing all on their own!! I was going for a more natural look . . . .

11 November 2008

Reading with Oompa

My kids are currently enjoying the wonderful Roald Dahl book "BFG" read so marvelously by my dad. He really gets into the vioces and bizzare Dahl language, making it the perfect bedtime read aloud!

10 November 2008

Big Weekend

Wow. What a weekend. We just kind of partied our way right through it. Saturday was John and Elisabeth's beautiful wedding. The ceremony was fabulous and the party afterwards great fun. I am always so pleased with the group of friends we have at Church. We have about four times the children that anyone else has, but everyone is always so nice to them. It is so nice to be able to give our children such a friendly and happy vision of the Catholic Church.

One Sunday, after Andrew steam cleaned every carpet in our house (that's a lot of nasty carpet!) we wento the Annie's to celebrate Anja's first birthday!! Woo!! I can't believe she is ONE! Annie made her the cutest shirt -- it was just a onsie that said "I am ONE today!" and the date. The whole point was for her to get it covered with chocolate cake and make a nice souvenier. Of course, Anja was neat and tidy with her cake eating and got nothing on her cute shirt. (Probably the only time she's ever done that!) It was a great party and Anja scored a lot of loot!

And now back to the grind. But at least my carpets are clean!

05 November 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled broadcasting.

I finished with political rants.

Today . . . . I am tired from staying up so late, but that is beside the point. The kids had their first "gym class" today. We met up with our friends for a picinic beforehand (I am LOVING Indian Summer) on the lawn in front of Lambert. "Gym Class" is actually the Purdue Ed students learning to teach PE and using our little homeschool kids as practice. (Ok, I was going to call the kids that giant rodent that is kind of like an overgrown rat that twisted parents let their kids have as pets ** pigs, but how do you spell that word??) Anyway, the kids love it and it gives them a chance to hang out with their friends and learn to follow directions! And it gives the mothers a chance to chat. It's a bit chaotic because the little kiddies can't participate, but it's not too bad.

After gym, I was going to take the kids to Hobby Lobby to get some craft supplies. We got all the way out there (after much whining from the back seat) and then one person started complaining that I wasn't buying him anything, another person tried to sufficate the sleeping baby with love and made her scream, and yet another person had kicked his shoes off AND had somehow gotten himself entirely covered in melted chocolate. I turned right around and came home.

03 November 2008

A Turning Point in Our History

Tomorrow marks a turning point in the history of our country. Never before have we as Americans faced such a crucial election. Never before have lives literally been at stake to the degree that they are right now. We have to opportunity tomorrow to place our country into the hands of a killer, a socialist, a man not worthy of holding the important seat of Commander in Chief of this land. This country founded on the very principle of freedom and the right to life. Is is Freedom or Free-dumb? I am a bit fearful to find out.

As Deal Hudson points out, one man here claims he will "save the world" and another knows, that is humanly impossible. But McCain will do everything he can to keep this nation and all of its citizen -- even the most defenseless -- safe. One man claims to be the Messiah, the other a humble servant of this country. We need to ask Christ to accompany us into the voting booth tomorrow. Beg Him to be with every Free American as he walks into that booth that he may cast his vote for the silent, the innocent, the one quietly begging for a chance to exercise his freedom.
Last week, Andrew and I -- total crazies that we are -- took the two littles and drove down south to see Sarah Palin! It was GREAT! The crowd was huge, which gave me a renewed hope for this election. No pictures, but she was wearing some killer boots=)

The kidders wore the requisit red shirts on which I wrote 'World's Cutest "Punishment"' and on the back of Bella's it said "Vote For Life!" They were super cute!

26 October 2008

Fun Times

Every year for the past few years, my Uncle has had a "Fall Party" at his big "farm" (which is really a fabulous, giant piece of hunting property. It's beautiful!). The kids now see it as the kick off of Fall and anticipate it greatly. On the drive out to the farm, the kids kept cheering "We Love Uncle Johnny!" Once again, the party lived up to their expectations. There was fire, hiking, hay rides, and pumpkin carving. A little piece of heaven for children. Pictures say it better than words.
Thanks to Annie for letting me hijack some photos!

I love how big the older kids of the family have gotten and now they are holding our babies!!

25 October 2008

Reaching for the Stars!

Yesterday we got a chance to take the kids to Star Lab. Remeber Star Lab??? Fun times. It was great. Although, when I was seven, sitting in St. Mary's social hall, looking at Star Lab, I never though I would be in one of those bubble things nursing an infant and trying to prevent a two year old from deflating the whole darn thing! Wow. What an adventure. The "bigger" kids had a great time and I really think they learned a lot. It was funny though -- the constalations are all based in Greek Mythology which you don't realize is REALLY risque when told to young kids! Yikes! Luckily I think most of it was over their heads. It was quite an adventure!

Learning, learning.

Just when you think you have a handle on things, God sends you a monkey-wrench. Just to keep life exciting. For years, we have been trying to figure out the source of Christopher's skin problems, constant runny nose, etc. We finally figured it out -- it's a "horray" and "boo" moment all in one. While I am very excited to have it all figured out, it is taking a bit of adjustment. I pretty much have to throw my culinary skill out the window and start from stratch. I have to learn to cook without wheat / gluten, eggs, dairy, corn, yeast, and a few other minor things.

I have a new respect for people with serious food allergies -- and even more respect for their parents. Thankfully, even though he has these problems, nothing is deadly by any means. I don't have to shudder at the fact that something may possibly have brushed a peanut or been with in three feet of an egg. I have to be careful, but not fearful.

I am not complaining -- things could be much worse. And we have the answers we have been seeking. I actually had no intention of posting this as I didn't want to be whiney. But then I though of all of the people I know who have dealt with these same things and though maybe some people could offer some advice. Anyone?

18 October 2008

Taking home the gold!

We spent the day watching Christopher battle for the gold at his Tae Kwon Do Tournament. He had such a great time breaking boards, sparring his friends, and watching the talented black belts.

He took home two gigantic first place trophies!! He won first in both sparring and breaking. It was quite a proud day for him!
In this picture, he is in the front row, all the way to the right, proudly displaying his two trophies.

17 October 2008

Last night was a beautiful evening to be living downtown. At the Church, was the visitation and Vespers for a good and holy priest who past away earlier this week. Unfortunetly, we didn't attend. After a long and difficult day, I simply didn't have the energy to dress the kids up and corral them during Vespers. I was sorry to miss it, but I guess it is just one of the sacrifices of parenthood. Even though we didn't get to go, we did get a lovely visit from a priest friend who had gone to the Church. One of the main perks of living downtown and so close to Church is unexpected visitors stopping by!

After Father left, we took a nice family walk downtown and put the kids to sleep. It was a perfect evening for a walk. Shortly after we got home and tucked everyone away, I was sitting in the playroom with a window open. There was a cool breeze and outside was dark silence, occasionally broken by the solomn tolling to the church bell. It was such a mournful atmosphere, perfect for the remeberance of the holy man who has now gone Home.

12 October 2008

Hooray for Being FIVE!

Today we are celebrating the FIFTH birthday of our sweet little Grace! I can't believe she is five -- this whole parenthood thing moves to quickly for my tastes!

Grace requested a cookout for her birthday, so we will be heading out to our old standby, Prophetstown, and letting her daddy grill dogs and brats. I always let the kids pick their cake and my sweet little girl simply requested chocolate cupcakes, which SHE will decorate with everyones favorite candies!

Happy Birthday, Gracie!

10 October 2008

While I was sitting here shirking my parental duties in the name of blog cruising, my lovely son -- the one who likes to push my nerves to the brink -- jazzed up the front of the 'fridge with a lovely red shade of Sanford Sharpie. It doesn't exactly fit my kitchen decor. And those "Magic Erasers" aren't so magical after all. (Although, to give them there due, they DID get the marker off of the counter.)

Any suggestions? Short of a new refridgerator, that it. I guess we could squeeze some art time into the schedule today and let it grace the fridge. Or maybe that's what he thought he was doing?

06 October 2008

Happy QUARTER OF A CENTURY to my lil' sister!!
This is a seriously horrid picture, but it was all I had!!

27 September 2008


Wow. I love the Feast. Yesterday we went out for the "School Fun Day" and it was SO fantastic. I couldn't believe how much we all learned and how nice and informative all of the people were. It was like going to a living history museum. The kids all had such a wonderful time.

Then we went out today for the real event. We wandered around, ate yummy food, and had our picture taken by crazy stalking photographers. Seriously. My mom made Andrew and the kids fabulous indian costumes, so people kept taking their pictures. One girl even had her boyfriend take a picture of her and Andrew together -- weird!! And a little creepy.

Anyway . . . we we nt to the trading post and the kids really liked that. Which surprised me because I always HATED the trading post when I was a kid. Making up stories about why my acorn is better than your acorn was never really my thing. Even now, as an adult, I still can't come up with a good story! And now for your viewing pleasure . . .

22 September 2008

Let's NOT go swimming.

Remember my last post when I said PeterXavier wandered away and that he doesn't seem to care that he is going to give me a heart attack?!? Well today, he topped it. He FELL into my parents POND!! Christopher had to pull him out!! Seriously. I was inside talking to my mom when all of a sudden Christopher comes running into the house yelling that PeterXavier "drowned in the pond!" Clearly, he has missed the really definition of "drowned" because there was his little brother sopping wet and grinning. I'm still a little shaken from the whole event. The rest of the evening I was completely paranoid about his whereabouts. I used to make fun of those kid leashes, but now I'm thinking they aren't such a bad idea. Or maybe I'll just rig up one of those running lines that people put their dogs on?? He'd LOVE that!

I hope tomorrow is boring. I've had enough adventures to last me a while.

21 September 2008

Pushin' Thirty

As much as Annie would like to convince me that I am still "a quarter of a century", it is not true. Not that I mind all that much. It's been a pretty good 28 years, and I had great people with whom to celebrate the day.

We headed down to Indy for the Irish Fest early enough to get to the Mass as well as get in for free with this entrance fee of donated canned goods!

My parents and Annie's family met us later on. Unfortunetly, Annie and Martin had to leave because Anja Pie was sick. Boo.

Chrisopher LOVE climbing th rock wall and repelling back down. He quickly scaled to the top and pretty much flew back down. Grace gave it a shot as well, but I didn't get to see her. BECAUSE by this time we realized that PeterXavier was missing. He's wandered off before, but this time he was GONE. I was just about the get frantic, when I saw him walking back into the kiddie area with a very nice man who had found him. He was wandering around out in the main area when this man noticed him. He trotted back in like he was thinking"come on guys! What's the big deal? I just needed a little air!" I think his goal in life is to give me a heart attack.
The kids got to try their hands (or feet, rather) at Irish Dancing. They had lots of fun, although I think Christopher enjoys his (hilarious) free style better!

And this is what a long day Festing it up will do to little monkeys! They are so much fun to take places!