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!