Friday, February 19, 2021

It’s a great day to be NINE

A few days ago R turned nine!

She requested pizza for her party because we had eaten tons of spaghetti the week before and mac and cheese for her actual bday because well it was Cheesefare week.  

E made her cake and it was great! They are working on the cake decorating badge in AHG so E was thrilled to put those skills to the test! She almost spelled Rs name wrong but did a few little corrections and it was good to go.

R was super hard to shop for because she never really said he wanted anything other than headphones. The siblings sparked more American Girl playing with there gift and she FINALLY got some books to read from us - as well some other neat things from friends and family. 

R is still the most laid back - except when she’s not and whatever it is means the world is ending. She is sweet with her younger siblings and probably tolerates Cs antics better than the rest of us. She is often the last one up on the weekends and marches the the beat of her own drum in the mornings - very particular about how and when things are done. Rs nose can often be found in a book and she is completely zoned into the book and zoned out of everything else. She has taken to swimming and I’ve heard lots of hard work praise from her coaches.

She is our pink-loving, second child who is just what our family needs.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Thoughts on 2020

45 days into 2021 here goes on how I think 2020 shook out.


Who would have thunk this time last year we would have had the year we did. Yeah definitely didn’t see that coming.

I think 2020 forced me and Lee to dig deeper and be more flexible and more present for each other and our kids.

We tag teamed parented from mid- March until May that looked like us working six days and working from home and facilitating school work while keeping A, C and J at bay. It was no small feat but I’m quite sure other families had it way more difficult than us.

A and C probably had the best, dirtiest, free-est time of their lives 

Lee master planned and executed a garden - which seemed small considering the one we had at our old house. I think it’s going to be an herb garden this year and we FINALLY may have convinced him to till a few rows in the way back so we can have a proper garden - I’m looking at you broccoli and okra.

Pascha weekend we finally saw family for more than a honk and a wave. All the uncertainty - I have come to loathe that word - and distancing was just so weird. We also had some outdoor dinners with neighbors. Our kids who are used to being busy with swim, school, soccer and scouts were definitely going through withdrawal since all those things ended in an instant. We definitely leaned into our neighbors for socializing and our kids were even caught exercising together too.

Summer came along and our sitter came back - PRAISE. They didn’t have the summer that imagined but there was lots of crafting and activity and visiting the pool. We survived a full day at the pool just to prove to ourselves we could hack a whole day there - that was fun and hopefully a tradition. There was swim team - kinda. A and C took lessons. C went from chatting her way out of doing anything because she was scared to belly flopping in the shallow end - success!

The Y swim team also started back in June - PRAISE!!!! It was smack dab in the middle of rest but I knew we needed to make it work. So we did. A and C and J and me spent may afternoons at the parks within walking distance of the Y. At first they didn’t love it but they we discovered the pond and the heron and the secret museum playground - the one that’s further away. We got our exercise in daily and patronized the hot roped off playgrounds. A usually could be found with his shirt off running ahead to check out any wildlife. Sometimes we’d hit Nash Rec after Y practice and other times we’d just come home and anxiously wait for Papa who couldn’t have been busier. It is a blessing for him to be busy, no doubt, but it is definitely something our whole family feels the weight of.

My tan-legged boy

Speaking of work, we sent E to work with Papa a few Saturdays to clean pools. I think she just enjoyed the lunches but she did manage to make a few dollars. She took a dip in one pool by accident... ehem - a little dog was out. Lee built a pool close to our house so that was great because I got to take him to visit on more than several occasions. A brought his own digger just for good measure.

E and R got to go to sleep away camp twice. It was a shortened version but I think they were ready to do just about anything. They had a great time and are hoping to go back this year. 

We trekked to the beach with my family for a few days and got really sandy and tired and lots of sun and good food and great memories - including Grammy and J having bonding time at 2 am on the porch because the kid would not go to sleep and with a house full of sleepers a screaming J just wasn’t an option.

Summer came to a slow close - sometimes it’s more like a screeching halt. School and preschool started back - PRAISE. Obviously it was way different from year past but at this point everyone was thrilled to go back. Since school has started there have been 2 of 6 kids who have had to quarantine because of exposures but at this point we will take them for the sense of normalcy that is gained.

There was a shortened fall soccer season that we let the big girls do concurrently with swim. Not something we typically do but it was worth it. A and C had a blast. It will go down as one of my more interesting coaching seasons. Coaching a team that only wins a few games is tough. Also, forever known as the season we didn’t lose a game but weren’t winners - with M and Rs team. Par the course 2020, par the course.

As for some personal reflection maybe my single biggest (I jest) accomplishment would be camping with the big girls. I can now check camping off my list of things I haven’t done. I can say it wasn’t bad and I’d probably be caught doing it again.

Also a ran two half marathons in 2020. One before covid changed everything and one virtually. The pre covid run was a great race and it would be one I’d do again. The virtual run was awesome. A friend and I decided to form the mom- running-once-a-week club and we ‘trained’ for our half marathon by only running once a week. Not because that’s something we wanted to tout but because we really only had one day a week to give. We only almost got hit by a few cars running on the country roads and jumped over a few dead animals. It was the best running plan ever and I’d totally do it again and the $50 entry fee may have gotten us a hoodie but really kept us honest - especially on the 10+ mile runs.

Pretty prerace sun rise pic

Post race beverages. It was neat our girls cheered us on a few times 

Not going to church on a regular basis had been bizarre. Especially  since growing up we went to Mass every single week rain or shine. Covid started right in the middle of Lent so that meant no presanctified liturgies - which might be one of my favorite things. We did do stations of the cross in our chapel. I think I have grown increasing grateful that we have a dedicated prayer space in our house. It probably could and should be patronized more often but when we have done church at home on more occasions than we’d all like - it is great.

Looking to this year or the eleven months that are left of it, I’d like to be hopeful that things will go back to some sort of normal. I’d like to hope that I don’t completely lose it when A starts Kindergarten in the fall. There are so many things that were different about 2020 but so many more things we all learned about each other. I imagine we will continue to learn and cling to hope knowing that God has got our backs.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Seven Quick Takes - Jumping into 2021

Linking up with Kelly ... first time in 2021


The Christmas tree finally came down... 

I hate to see it go but it was time and we were home for the Snow Day so we had some extra time on our hands. I would like to say it was my favorite tree and maybe it is in some ways. But it was really stressful getting it, we didn't have a fun family story - but we still have a good story, and it was definitely broke the cheap-tree bank. 


C is packed and ready to go... 

She is forever talking about going to her friend's house and having a sleepover so every so often she packs her treasures in anticipation of a sleepover that will never happen. Though we have promised them a playdate at the park when the weather decides to get warm and not monsoon!


Wacky Day!

A's class had wacky day and he loves going all out for it. He decided he didn't want his hair in pigtails like last year so we borrowed some gel from our neighbors (gag!) and spiked it. Wacky Days from years past... 2020 - which I never posted I guess because it was the week COVID hit but now I'll have to go back and find the pics, 2019, 20192018, 20172015, 2014, 2014,  2013



Lee made homemade pizzas before Lent started. IT. WAS. SO. GOOD. We are so spoiled. 

E (and Papa) made R's bday cake. It was also a huge hit. 


Sunday is Valentine's Day, so you know what that means...  

I can't say doing Valentine's is my favorite activity. Actually it is one that tries all my motherly patience especially because we do the pencil ones which easily break when stuffing the pencils in the slots. 

A had to write his name on all the Valentines for practice. He only got a little frustrated...  

I think he got progressively more frustrated as the writing continued. But I can see all 6 letters : ) 


A set up this during rest...

I'm still finding army guys in my room - some broken and some still in good working order. 


This guy...  

He's so cute. He got a few molar teeth this week and them woke up at 3 am one morning ready to play. He and Papa were watching This Old House by 4 and A wasn't far behind!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Just Because... Squats and Cobras

The kids decided to do cobras and wall squats one night. They had us time them and I will say that Lee and I were both super impressed. I guess all that swimming four or five days a week is paying off!

Linking up with Rosie

Monday, February 1, 2021

Just Because... the casa

So it has begun... nearly a year to the week that we were dared by our friends to put an offer in on a ridiculous foreclosure - which we did not do, the work - finally - started on phase one of the reno. We aren’t doing the kitchen or the master (looking at you master bath) but we think if we ever did phase 2 then we might actually have the space available to not have to move out. 

The cost issue of doing both together was the driving factor in the decision to divide but also there’s no way we could have lived here - with all the kids - without the entire back of our house and a kitchen for several months.

So when it’s all said and done - whenever that may be -

1. the chapel will be downstairs right next to the garage so no more traipsing upstairs across the boobytrapped playroom every morning to pray. And if you can’t believe we are making room decisions in our house based on a home chapel, I’d dare you to start praying (with or without kids) every morning. Setting aside the extra five minutes and making a point and doing it. In the beginning it is hard and annoying and there’s not time but I promise once you get in a groove and find a rhythm then your day will not feel right without it. Our prayer time is not silent and I routinely ask the kids if they are actually taking some time and talking to God and some days it doesn’t feel worth it but I know it is. 

2. Papa’s office will be freed up to give the big girls a lair upstairs. Hopefully that won’t turn into a huge deal project but I really want them to have some fun sleeping space.

3. The kids will have a study/library/reading space because we have so many books and I don’t foresee homework getting done at the kitchen table forever. 

4. The laundry will be a dedicated room with functional storage and places to fold and racks to hang - instead of on the shower curtain rod.

5. The pantry should be pretty awesome

I’m excited but I’m not getting over excited or impatient because to me all of this should have been done by Christmas last year because I clearly have no idea how construction and permitting and stuff actually works. All in due time and grateful this door opened 

Linking up with Rosie... Just Because

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Snow Day 2021

We woke up to snow Thursday last week. It’s been nearly a year since it snowed so we were kind of ready for it. The ground was super wet before it snowed so it was a really wet snow that didn’t stick around long.

Lee ran out and turned on the snowflake lights which seemed super appropriate as the snow finished falling in the early morning.

Everyone got dressed early after breakfast and headed out. It was helpful the big girls could almost completely get themselves dressed.

J wasn’t super thrilled about the snow because it was really windy so he went out for the obligatory family pic and then retreated inside with Papa fast.

We got the sled out but it was basically pointless.

R worked on her snowman for a good while

The field after the snow before the sun. Some of the kids headed to the swamp and got pretty wet. I think we could use a morning and afternoon snow outfit for everyone

I think E would have liked more sledding options but appreciated the day off from school

M braved the afternoon snow even with wet boots and I’m surprised she lasted as long as she did

A said he wanted to stay the whole day outside and he did last quite a while and enjoyed getting to run with the big kids to the swamp.

The resident snow eater

After both of our snow jaunts and the kids take off all the snow hats, gloves, boots, bibs, jackets, socks - everything in the garage. I go out and collect everything and hang up and put over vents or put in the dryer. They are enjoying hot chocolate and not thinking about the behind the scenes - I feel very mom-ish. I cannot imagine all the times growing up my mom did the same thing for us because on snow days if you’re a kid who has time to think about how things will be dry because there’s hot chocolate and snow cream to be eaten.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Just Because... J

Just because this guy has been here 16 months. He is so stinking cute. He is still very much not walking. But when I hold my hands out when he’s holding onto something, he takes a halfhearted step forward and flails forward for me to catch him and he thinks it’s wildly hilarious. He probably could use a haircut but I know what haircuts do to baby boys - insta-toddler and I’m not ready for that. Plus he’s suuuuuper cute when he is crawling and he shakes his head and his hair goes flying. Everyone loves him around here and carries him around like he is theirs - and some people get in trouble for it. J loves to help Papa unload the dishwasher in the mornings even though Papa would prefer he didn’t. He is such a sweet, cuddly part of our family and I’m pretty sure we are way better off because he’s here.

Linking up with Rosie... Just Because

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Have Yourself A Merry COVID Christmas

Christmas came just the same even with COVID swirling about our lives. Blessed to have happy and healthy kids at this moment and hopefully it will stay that way.

I got our Christmas cards out without much ado. Just that the cards were running late from Walgreens and the post office only had two books of Marian Christmas stamps. This year it took two takes of Christmas pics because of one unnamed rebel rouser - it wasn’t Lady C this time but of course she’s the ham of the group.

In years past we ALWAYS take our family Christmas pic in front of the tree at church but... COVID. I found out at noon on 12/23 that one of the preschoolers had an exposure on 12/18 - and we thought we had dodged the bullet. So that put our plans into a tailspin since we ALWAYS go to Grammy and Grandpa Joe’s after church on Christmas Eve. So all that got nixed. Papa took the big girls to church on Christmas Eve and our brave neighbor snapped the family pic before they left. You probably can learn a lot about a family when 1. Taking their picture and 2. When they are rushing to get out the door! J had been a screaming wreck all morning and was in his crib crying moments before the picture which is why he looks a mess but the Smarties he’s got semi- saved the day.

After church, we hung out and had an early dinner of homemade lasagna. It might be my favorite thing Lee cooks. It’s so good. Then we watched The Grinch and it was time for bed.

I said a number of times that I wouldn’t mind if we only put lights on the tree this year. I love sitting in the glow of Christmas lights. I eventually caved to A who was desperate to decorate it on the 26th. In the process I discovered C had thrown out her ornament she made at school - along with everything else in her party bag - and I could have cried.

The Christmas glow 

We are missing a few of sheep...

M’s stocking was backed and was a huge surprise for her! And a motivation for me to get As done - hahaha. I packed the stockings upside down. Candy first and bulky stuff last would have been the better technique but I’ve never had to solo pack stockings before - and hopefully I won’t have to either.

Christmas morning came with lots of excitement but everyone knows we don’t open presents until after breakfast and we try not to wake up siblings so I think everyone was around by 7:30? I did let them into their stockings when they woke up. They know there’s another Christmas PJ pic and of course Lady C steals the show!

After spaghetti squash egg bake - another Christmas only treat - it was gift time.

E thought an iPhone was wrapped up in this box - insert all the laughs - it was a FitBit.

This girl asked for new (specifically not hand me down cleats during the fall soccer season). We were perusing the cleats section online and she found some pretty expensive and very colorful cleats. Then she saw how much they were and decided she needed something not as $$$. So then I was on a mission to find them in budget - which I did on cyber Monday. Well ten days later I got an email saying the cleats didn’t actually exist in kids shoes sizes so my order was canceled. R would be the kids that it happened to. So I not so discreetly found a few of her other top choices. I will say it was the gift I was most excited to give and the one I was most let down about.

Not long after gifts A was ready to go out with his Nerf gun he cannot load because he’s left handed and his new overalls.

We had another quiet afternoon and evening with movies and dinner.

We missed Christmas with the cousins but Jibbe still came over a few days after Christmas for a few more gifts and dinner. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from all the food food we’ve had over the last week.

J wasn’t into opening presents. Pushing paper around and eating it were his priority.

Lee and I were given some pretty cool new appliances including a new mixer and a four slot toaster and a wine aerator.

The MagnaTiles were given to C but I think everyone has gotten in on the building action.

So it wasn’t like a Christmas we had had or even the COVID Christmas we had planned but we still celebrated and have lots and lots of reasons to be thankful.