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