Saturday, April 29, 2017

7QTs - Keys in the Frig, Beaters with the Mitts, Fruit Loops on the Table

Linking up with Kelly because it's been forever.. 


Pool season is in full swing. 

End of school activities are ramping up.

The weather is bizarre - monsooning 6 inches on Monday and million degrees by Friday. tells me I'm 33 weeks pregnant. 

That's the short and condensed version of our life right now.


M is usually the first to get up. If she rests, she rests hard in the afternoon and doesn't want to get up so she sleeps longer. I've been pondering the transition of A to her room and it should be quite interesting. But for now, we'll just ignore that because its probably going to be a few loud nights and morning.

M said she didn't want milk in her cereal...

And if it hadn't been 6:20 her response of her need to "see how many I have" would have been an issue but whatever. She takes FOREVER to eat but she had time that morning. 


I FINALLY got some stuff up on the wall at the office. Those soccer pics have been taking up precious desk space for MONTHS. 

I must say, I kinda like it. Makes me happy looking at all the kids I've coached through the seasons. 


M was busy during her rest one day

MagnaTiles for the win


Did I mention the monsoon we had at the beginning of the week? 6 inches. It was a lot of rain. The place where we picked strawberries last year put out the word they had a ton of (organic) pre-picked strawberries good for the canning for super cheap. Well I don't can but we do use them for smoothies so my neighbor picked us up a box

They were definitely on the mushy and slimy side but I went through them because that was way easier than going out to actually pick them with my  four day laborers. Though they have asked if we can go pick strawberries like last year so we still might do that. 


Just to prove there were other children with me this week... 

A wanted to help unload the dishwasher and proudly put away at pot (in the right place) and a bowl (in the illogical man place) so Lee should have no problem finding it : ) Funny story. I needed the beater attachments for the little hand beater thing. So I find the base the the other attachments for it - but not the beaters (you know the ones the kids always get to lick?). So I ask Lee (because he does most of the cooking) and low and behold they are in the drawer with hot mitts???? 

Still not clear to me why. But revenge is sweet because I put them back where I THINK they belong. 



I've been forgetting stuff like a crazy person this week so in my valiant attempts to not forget anything I put my keys in the frig so I literally couldn't forget what I needed to leave with. (and fortunately I didn't outsmart myself and grab the other set of keys and foil my plans :  )

 I really really like this for our front entryway... 

I don't love the colors but it is neat and interesting and a bit more narrow and more spacious than what is there now. Can't decide if we are going to pull the trigger on it.

Happy last weekend of April 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

So This Is Saturday Mornings in the Spring

Yesterday was wildly crazy normal. Papa had to work because my prayers to St. Joseph are proving to be quite effective. Work is busy for him. So, so, so busy. I think last year he was able to not work a Saturday until May but this year is different. Usually things get a bit more manageable right after Memorial Day but I'm betting on 4th of July but with seasonal work is feast or famine and there is some serious feasting we need to be thankful for.

Soooooooooo...... that means me and the kids holding down the fort with the usual Saturday laundry situation (we got a jump start Friday night) plus all this:

E was reading to everyone while I bustled around for the final leave-the-house-countdown because

We were heading to the pediatrician...

A had a fever on Pascha and was kind of irritable all week but not feverish so we got his ears checked because last time he had an ear infection and I had no idea

We rolled into the walk in clinic and were the first ones seen and one Rx later, whatever was in his ear should be taken care of - could have been the start of an ear infection or the end of one. 

Then we jetted off from there to R's 9:30 tee ball game...

Which we were surprisingly early for #winning. I had been helping with the batting order but I think I might have to gracefully retire from that if Lee cannot make the games because A was a WRECK the last 1.5 innings (oh and there are only 3 innings). He was literally - LITERALLY - laid out on the grass screaming. He didn't want snack, water, passie, anything. Nothing. He was still screaming when we got to the van. Mysteries abound. Nerves shot. 

Next stop Sam's...

We made it through in decent time and we didn't forget A's Rx. #winning . 

Vans without trunks are confusing... We made it home with approximately 23 minutes to unload and eat lunch and go potty and get out the door in time for E's soccer game. We literally left with food on the table and thank goodness the field is 3 minutes from our house because well you know how we roll. 

E played goalie and scored a goal. Her team looked like rockstars compared to the last game. R and M collected rocks and A crushed up Cheetz. 

This is what I walked into around 1:45. I was thankful Lee wasn't home yet because there were dinner, breakfast and lunch dishes that all needed to be contended with. 

Plus some nonperishable groceries. A napped and the girls stayed out because it was either outside or rest. It was hot so I told them they could turn on the sprinkler when Papa got home. 

5 gallons of milk and a few other thinks later... 

Papa finally got home after I was asked about a million times so he cut the grass and the sprinkler was turned on for the 1st time this year

A was not terribly happy about it

But inquisitive minds will be blasted with ice cold sprinkler water

And that was one successful Spring Saturday for the books.... We shall see what is in store for us over the next several weekends : ) 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thoughts on Kindergarten - Round Two

Tis the season of end of year madness with all things school and preschool.

But I cannot hope but reflect on how we were in a similar boat two years ago and how different things feel. 

Two years I was a pregnant, emotional, tear-filled, wreck over sending E off to Kindergarten. The decision felt so big and so heavy and so permanent. We waffled between homeschooling and Catholic school to the point that there wasn't anything else to say about it. It always ended with weighing the pros and cons of both and never really feeling at peace. 

When we did finally comes to terms with Catholic school (it more like me coming to terms with it and Lee being like - OKAY WE ARE DONE TALKING ABOUT THIS, RIGHT) I felt much better about the decision knowing:

We were taking it year-to-year; we weren't committing our lives to this decision and if after a year we didn't think it was a good fit or the right choice we would take a step back and reevaluate our schooling decision 

The decision felt like it was a forever decision but really we weren't getting married to our option. We were always in the driver seat and could get out anytime if we didn't think it were right. I think that is my best advice for anyone struggling over schooling options. It is not a lifelong decision. Yes it feels massive. Of course you want the best for your kid so that's why it feels so MASSIVE. But really if you find out the school - homeschool, public school, parochial school - isn't the best place for your family then guess what, you can change. I would say at least give your choice a year, a fair shake, time - then reassess as needed. 

I would argue that no school is perfect. Between the kids, parents, teachers, administrators, rules, policies everything - there's bound to be a small handful of things that you wish you could change (and you probably cannot so you either learn to live with them or you reassess your school choice)

Evidence #1 - E was written up for wearing non-black PE shoes the first week of school. Like the blue, yellow and pink ones she has just picked out. Let me tell you, not the thing I want to see come home during a super stressful and emotional rollercoaster of a week BUT the uniform policy is the uniform policy and that's what WE signed up for when we enrolled her so black PE shoes it was. And you know what, the policy has since been relaxed so the kids CAN wear colorful shoes on PE days only. 

Evidence #2 - Homework. Now this would come up in public or parochial school so I get that. Do I think that my 5 or 6 yr old should have to come home and do a page of homework each night? Do I like having to sit there and facilitate and make sure it is being done with some level of effort. Heck to the NO. I think it is absolutely insane. I think kids need to be able to play outside or with friends or do Legos or whatever (except be in front of a freakin' screen) when they get home from school. BUT would I EVER tell my kids that. NEVER. NEVER EVER. I may not agree with homework but I know I'm not going to change the policy (and I'm okay with that). I may not agree with homework but it is given at the school that WE chose so therefore it is dutifully done each day. 

All this being said R starts K in four short months and I can tell you everything feels much different. I am pregnant again but the emotional ball of nerves that would send me to tears isn't here - at least over the Kindergarten decision. Having been in the school for almost 2 years there aren't nearly the unknowns and the angst and the 'is this the right place for our family?' That question has been answered time and time again, yes. We are exactly where we need to be. R will be fine and she will do great because there is an awesome core of teachers and parents who love the school and it's students. 

Sure there will be bumps in the road and things that are conference worthy and stuff but having tried out what we believed our best option was two years ago, we are confidently heading into year three. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pascha 2017 and other thoughts on Holy Week

Well we made it to Easter/Pascha... as did everyone else. So... Christ is Risen! We made it through Holy Week and all the services that go along with it without too much ado.

Palm Sunday involved lots of distractions at church with palm and pussywillow branches. We took Monday and Tuesday off from PSL. Wednesday we did go to Presanctified Liturgy and everyone received the Anointing of the Sick (in eastern Catholic churches it is completely normal to receive this sacramental anointing once a year whereas in the western (Latin) Catholic church a person has to be in substantially bad physical health - I digress).

Holy Thursday we stuck around Rocky Mount for evening Mass and procession (Lee likes to keep his feet in both east and west church doors as much as humanly possible - which is totally fine and it saves us from driving 2 hours that day). E has her hopes set on hanging out in the choir loft but she settled for the third row pew. R, M and A and me hung out in the Narthex for the greater part of church. I told R she needed to step up her church game and she said she's 'really good at Stations' so I told her she needed to be really good at Mass too - that worked wonders. Highlight of the evening was M talking to one of the older Knights of Columbus (who was very understanding) and announcing to him that he was fat. Need I say more? NOPE.

On to Good Friday.

The girls and I went to Stations at noon (very grateful for the day off from work). We still managed to be a hair late but at least Papa and the boy stayed home so it was the most prayerful, prayer-filled Stations of the year. I'm halfway convinced R and M could learn to behave better if I didn't have tend to A's antics. We finished up our last decade of the rosary on the way back (we do a decade a day during the week) despite E freaking out that she 'couldn't' because she had broken her rosary the day before - everyone got a new rosary in their Easter basket so solved that problem.

In other Easter basket random news, E informed me she hoped she would get a veil in her basket this year - which would have been helpful to know about 6 weeks before. The girls had been (trying) to wear veils during PSL this year for whatever reason and I got a new veil from here that I knew was A-proof and future baby proof.

Anyhow, Lee went to Good Friday service in here and then we all miraculously made it to our Entombment Vespers in Raleigh on time. There was surprisingly very little grumbling about making the hour long drive for the second time in 3 nights and everyone did surprisingly well.

Saturday was filled with lots of cooking on Lee's part - Pascha bread, Pascha cheese, Russian salad, City Chicken and pork. E insisted that she wanted to go to the Easter vi-du-al- that's vigil kid, with Papa. The Easter Vigil is when all the people who are coming into the Church get baptized and receive confirmation and Holy Communion - and its really, really really long. Like to the tune of 3 hours long and it's really, really, really late. As in it starts at sundown so the Paschal fire can be lit and seen. So despite the 5 am departure the next morning, Lee nor I could come up with a reasonable reason to bar her from going to church with him so off they went.

Because when your 6 yr old says she wants to go to a 3 hr church service, you cannot refuse?

Upon their 7 pm departure the others were tossed in bed and I had some things to knock off my list. 

$5 for 12 muffins at Harris Teeter or nearly free pumpkin muffins from home? Breakfast was served. 

Pascha outfits cleaned and pressed

I was fading so very fast that night. The laundry was done and extra clothes had been ironed and I barely had the energy to dig the Easter baskets out of the upstairs closet. I had their rosaries, bathing suits, books and cereal for the baskets because we are super lame and don't put candy in their baskets. I knew everything we needed was on the table just not organized (included those flowers which were supposed to come to Raleigh with us but didn't make it : (

That's what everything on the table amounted to when it was packed up in the 4 o'clock hour on Sunday morning. Lee and E had rolled in the door at 11:50 so the 4 am wake up call was more trying for him. 

We loaded up the Transitasaurs and were on our way. I noticed A was warm when I tossed him in the carseat and from the time we got out of the van at 6:29 dressed and ready to go to 9:20 he did not leave my arms. Which in hindsight was way better than wrangling him for 2.5 hours but he was kind of pitiful and exhausted and wouldn't let me sit down until about 2 hours into church. He did cut me a break when all the food was served and peacefully ate some bread in his stroller

Pascha 2017
Pascha 2016 - best pics with 4 little kids
Pascha 2015 - pregnant and announcing
Pascha 2014 - no hair M
Pascha 2013 - pregnant but not telling
Pascha 2012 - tiny R
Pascha 2011- not possible

Lots of meat and sweets were consumed


The sneaky one 

A perked up for a few minutes after some Tylenol 

The girls were entertained trying to find their Easter baskets at Grammys 

Uncle Kev hid one up in a tree and will probably remember that next year he needs to hid E's in a tough spot. 

The basket from the tree

Of course she sat down and read some of it before continuing the search 

She found hers in the first spot she looked! 

Then it was rest time followed by an A+ dinner at Grammy and Grandpa Joes plus a plethora of desserts that no one had room for. 

Wishing everyone a Blessed and Happy Pascha/Easter 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

So we got a church van... Thoughts on the Transitasaurs

We/I waffled back and forth for a while on the whole big van thing. First yes. Then no we would figure out the mini and then finally yes we needed to pull the trigger on the big, white van. I had my eye on Craigslist for a while and Carmax but nothing really jumped out at me until I came across one 45 minutes away. I scheduled a test drive on this particular day...

The day I like least in my kitchen... The day the sausage makers from church and invade with raw pork and casings... Seriously, okay, it's Lent and for a good cause so I digress. It was also a day that one of the sausage makers brought two of his kids so what do we do? Head up to teeball practice as if it is totally normal to show up with five kids ages, 5,4,3,2 and 1 plus one in utero. COMPLETELY NORMAL.

Anyhow, we all had to squeeze in the mini (fortunately E wasn't with us otherwise she'd have been in the front for the 1.5 mile ride). R was wedged in between the two seats and if it had not been for the novelty of her friends flanking her, she probably would have been way more irritated. However, it was validating for me because I had to squeeze past M to help people buckle in carseats - which is what I would have been doing several times daily to help M in and out of her carseat because she would have been in the back with the big girls (somehow). Let me tell you, doing that upon leaving home, arriving at the field, leaving the field and arriving home was enough for me.

Can you spot my five under five? 

Later that afternoon R and M and I traipsed up to do the test drive (in between sausage making and Lee having to leave for deacon duties at Mass that evening) I had about 1.15 hours to make it happen. I was tight on time but there was literally no other time in the week. 

When I got there the guy ask if I wanted the Transit with the dividing glass/shield thing in between the front and the back and I looked at him and I looked around and I wanted to say - do you think I'm here to test out a commercial cargo van?!?!?!  Instead, I told him I didn't think they made those dividers in the passenger versions of the Transit but if they did I wanted to get one. So we got straight on passenger vs. cargo, I loaded two of the carseats in and we were off. 

M was in the first row and chatted it up with the sales guy. R was in the third row and had a screaming fit about how her shirt was itching her for a solid 1/3 of the test drive. She was so far back that it wasn't even worth trying to yell over her screams and all I could do was laugh as my life was transpiring in front of this random guy. 

I really really really wanted Lee to see/drive/look over the van before signing my life away to it (I bought a car without cruise control once so he hasn't let me live that down). But it was Lent and we were still in transition to spring sports and its pool season and... Finally, we were halfway worried that the dealer would take it back to the auction because it has been on their lot for 3 months or someone else would come in and snap it up because it was it was a darn good deal for a van that only had 6K miles on it. Soooo....

The van-less garage

Obviously the front tag was saved : ) 

The guy came at late-o-clock one night and I signed over to the Transit. I may have shed a tear when I signed the last paper. I told Lee that the man was driving my 'normal' away. Minivans are normal. 

Minibuses... well, they aren't 

Meet the Ford Transit. Or the Transitasaurs. Or the KibbeKab. Or whatever. I'm taking suggestions for good license plate names and I've already nixed Joanne's Ark (sorry Uncle Kev). 

The minibus / big van whatever is great. We are certainly blessed to be in a position to have one. It looks like a beast to drive but its really not. The gas mileage is terrible but we don't talk about that part. For the time being each kid has their own row to themselves and they've been strategically placed throughout the rows based on neediness and volume. (The chatterbox has been assigned to the 3rd row). I can stand up in the van (its the mid-roof height) - which is A+. The floor is vinyl or plastic of sorts - A+. There is a fantastic aisle in the 2nd and 3rd row due to the single jump seat on one side and the double seats on the other. Probably the only things that wasn't considered was the stroller. There is about /                                                           / 
much space between the fourth row and the double doors sooooo... no room for the stroller - since we were getting used we couldn't just add the extended back feature. We've gotten it to fit in between the passenger and front row but it is not a permanent fixture like it was in the mini trunk (its already been forgotten once). 

Other first world issues with the van include: 

It doesn't fit in the garage so rain 

and monsoons are something to be contended with 

I have to worry about what I can fit under. 
Lee's not understanding why I want to park the van where he formally parked his truck. 
No power sliding door. 
Teeny Tiny backup camera - but it does have back up sensors which the mini did not have.
 Not being able to park like a normal person - it takes two or three times to get it straight unless its a straight shot or a pull through spot. 

But I mean, come on, seriously

We really don't have anything that we should be complaining about.