Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Angels

 September 29th is the feast day of the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. I only know this because I have one of those calendars given to me by my parish hanging on my cabinet...beautiful, informative, and free!

 Anyway, after I read this I tried to take note of any angelic- type behavior from my 3 boys for the rest of the day. ( ...always looking for blogging material ). Here are a few pictures.

Top-bunk admittance is by invitation only around here, but Tommy asked Ann to come up and read with him.

Matthew stubbed his toe and Billy ran downstairs to get him an ice pack.

Angel  in a white towel....just add wings!

Ok, I know these are a bit of a stretch for angel material. However, the great thing about blogging is that I'm always looking for material to write about. So, I tend to notice all the little blessings everyday so I can accentuate the positives in my posts. Make sense? At the very least, hopefully their cute faces make you smile.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lightbulb Moments

 After one month in to the new school year, I've actually acquired some tips that are helping me keep it together. None of these are rocket science and I should have learned them long ago. Before you read any further, don't think you'll be enlightened by any means.

 1. I feel like a better mom when I make my kids pancakes in the morning. There is something about the "WOO-HOO" that I hear from their mouths that makes me feel like super mom. Is that really all it takes? Apparently!

2. If I wear my sneakers ( rather than flip flops or heel shoes ) I get a lot more housework done. Add in a pair of sweatpants and I could work for Merry Maids.

3.If fruit or veggie snacks are the ONLY thing offered to the kids after school they will eventually give in and eat them.  For years I gave in to their cries of starvation and would give them pretzels or bagels and the like because they fought me about the fruit and veggies. Then I'd be mad at dinner when they didn't eat. They still aren't eating my dinners, but at least I know they had fruit or vegetables before and not just a "filler".

4. Make dinner before they get home from school. After school time is crazy enough without having to worry about getting dinner started. We eat at different times every night because of extra-curriculars. I was always throwing snacks at them and starting dinner while they were eating and doing homework. Now, I sit with them and hear about their day and help the little ones get through their homework at a less hectic pace. This is a WAY better system.

5. I nap when my toddler naps. There, I said it. The truth is out. C' do it too.

6. I can eat a whole can of Pringles in one day. It's really not hard.

 Ok, that about sums it up. Do you have any tips you'd like to share?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grad Dad

 This past week Bill finished his 18 month Master's program. I honestly don't know how he did this. It was done mostly online, with 2 weeks of classroom work every 3 months out in California. He worked so hard and had it impact the family as little as possible. He often had his face in the computer, but he was here for every event and every good night kiss.

 I wasn't able to fly to California to see him graduate, but I was able to watch it via live feed from the computer. Here he is receiving his degree. I should have turned the flash off.

 Bill got home Saturday morning after a long red eye. Because of the rain our sports activities with the kids were cancelled. We had a relaxing day at home with nothing to do. We decided to play Scrabble. I won't tell you who won, but let's just say you don't need a Master's degree to win.
Here's our finished product. That word "jive" got me 66 points. Impressive, huh?

  The kids made a great welcome home sign and I made a cake.

 I worked painstakingly hard to decorate this cake.

 Late in the afternoon we had a suprise visit from my brother and nephew.

 It was great that they were here to celebrate with us! Thanks for the pop-in guys!

Congratulations Bill. You never cease to amaze me with all you are capable of. I'm so proud of you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just Rambling...

 Good friends of ours had an extra ticket to the Phillies game tonight. They  invited Billy to go with them. You would not believe how happy this kid was today. He left right after school and won't be home until after midnight. Homework at 6am I suppose. Oh well, I know he'll think it's worth it.

  Since Billy got such a special treat, I took the other kids to McDonald's for dinner. ( I know, you can see right through me. It's really a treat for me to not cook ). We went to the Dangerous McDonald's. You know, the one with the Play Place attached to it. Let me explain where the danger comes in:

 1.) In 3 days at least one of them will be sick, then it will spread through the rest of the house over the next month!


 2.) For the 20 minutes they're playing, I'm stuffing my face with every last nugget and french fry left on the table. UGH! I thought about texting a friend while I was sitting there waiting but I hate  can't stand when parents aren't paying attention to their kids because they have their face stuck in a phone. So instead I shoved food in my mouth like it was going out of style. I wonder how that looked. Someone there probably had their face in their phone texting about me and how gluttonous I was being.

 Bill is away this week. The kids and I were talking about missing him and Mary Kate said, "I guarantee that our Dad is the best dad in the whole world."  Oh Mare, you are so right.
We like to video chat with him when he's away. This is what it looks like:

This is them giving him a fist bump:

Back to Mary Kate. Tonight she was practicing her piano. She's working on the song What Child Is This  for her recital in December. I could tell she was getting frustrated. At one point I heard her shout out "C'mon" and bang the top of the piano. It instantly reminded me of Don Music from Sesame Street. Remember him? He was a piano player and had a hard time rhyming songs and would always shout, "I'll never get it, never!" and then bang his head on the keys. Please tell me you remember. I'll refresh your memory with the video below. Look familiar?

And last but not least, if you need a few extra minutes to do something give your toddler a pad of Post-It notes. This bought me about 5 uninterupted minutes. Nice!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 20th

  Today is my Mom's birthday. She would have been 72 years old. She's been gone for 12 years now. It's still so hard to believe.

 Here is her high school photo back in 1957:

Words won't do her justice, but she was the most special person I have ever known. She was beautiful, kind, selfless, happy, genuine, graceful, attentive, forgiving, silly, hard-working, loving....the list goes on. She loved our family so much and it was evident in every action she made.

  I was blessed to have her in my life for 29 years. She taught me so much. Two of her biggest lessons was to never settle and to always stay true to yourself. I think that advice helped me become who I am today. I often wish I was more like her, but perhaps she gave me just what I needed to be me.

I love you and miss you Mom!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

 Looking back over the posts that I've made so far I realized that I paint a very happy- go- lucky picture of this family. We are happy, don't get me wrong. However, there are many incidents that I do NOT cover on the blog that are not so wonderful. Some are bad and some are downright ugly.

 Last night was an ugly. We had a group of friends over for our monthly prayer group. A bunch of the kids were playing in the basement. I went down there to discover kids beating the heck out of each other in a lightsaber fight, including my kids with Matthew looking like the ringleader. The worst part....another parent witnessing the entire thing. I was embarrassed.

 Since I couldn't get the incident out of my head for the rest of the night and most of today I ended up dissecting my parenting skills (or lack there of) all day long.  Basically I tortured myself on all the things I do wrong instead of remembering the things I do right.  I feel like I am on top of my kids and their behavior all the time. And they STILL AREN'T COMPLETE ANGELS who never talk back or say "ok Mom" to everything that comes out of my mouth.

 But alas, kids will be kids, boys will be boys, lightsaber fights will go on. And I will keep trying my best to keep them in line. But it can get ugly around here. Just so you know.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dad's Day Off

  Bill had off from work today. The weather was what I call perfect! We decided to pack a picnic and head to the park with Matthew. We went down to the river and ate lunch here:

When I snapped this picture I asked Matt, "Are you having fun?" He said, "Not yet."

Real men drink juice boxes.
Like father... son.

   I think he had fun. I know Bill and I did. You're a cool kid Matt! We love you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fine Lines

  Recently I've been thinking a lot about "fine lines".

 I'm at a very easy point in my life  right now. I've often said if I could freeze time right now I would. My oldest is 11 and my youngest is 3. PERFECT!! Not yet dealing with teenage angst and not too young for sleepless nights. Ahhh, what could be better? So, I've got myself in this spot where everything seems to be a no-brainer. Feed them, play with them, do homework, be a taxi driver, and love them. Great!

 So, am I okay to just sit back and enjoy? Why do I feel guilty about that?  Because it seems when I put myself out there,  to volunteer or something like that,  I end up feeling anxious, moody, grumpy, edgy, and so on and so on. There is no living with me until that "duty" I've signed up for is over. Then afterwards, I'm so glad I did whatever it was that was causing me ( and everyone else ) so much grief!  Hence, the "fine line".

  I don't have the answer. I guess living a prayerful life is the only way to get the answer. Sometimes I may need to move out of my comfort zone and other times I may have to know my limits and put myself and my family first. Each will have their own rewards.

  Today I had the "opportunity" to watch a room full of kids ages 2, 3, and 4. I was so nervous about this that I spent an hour online last night looking up "circle time games" for preschoolers just so I would survive the 2 hours I had to entertain them. It ended up being such a rewarding experience. It was a room full of sweet children who listened, shared, helped, and made me laugh. At the end of our time together, I asked if they were to rate how I did today, would they give me a "thumbs up, thumbs down, or thumbs to the side"?

 Half said thumbs to the side, but I did manage to get a couple of thumbs up. I didn't push the ones who didn't answer.....I didn't want to know! 

 But when I got home today, I got this picture from Jesus.

Great job today Kathleen!
 PS. Having a bit of anxiety now hoping that no one considers this sacraligious.
P.S. For all of you who read the title and thought I was going to be talking about my face, shame on you!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

You Call Him Dr. Jones, Doll!

  Can you tell we watched Indiana Jones recently?

At least, that's who he's trying to be.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8th

"Mother of the Redeemer, with great joy we call you blessed."
                                            -Blessed John Paul II

Today we celebrate the Nativity of our Blessed Mother.


                                                             The Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help or sought your intercession,
was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother;
to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not My Cup of Tea

Here's a list of things I'm not fond of.

1) Football. Yes, the season is well underway. I try not to use the word "hate", so let's just say I loathe everything about it. My boys are playing and considering you can knock them down with a feather I'm afraid they'll be hurt. They made  it through the first game last Saturday injury-free. One down, seven more (each) to go.

2.)Big holes in my dining room ceiling. With all this rain we've had we noticed the area above our dining room window seemed "bouncy". Well, next thing I know Bill's taking a screw driver and ripping a hole into the ceiling. There's a leak. Not sure who to call: roofer? handyman? Looks like there's no mold, but when I saw online that there is such a thing as a Mold Inspector I wanted to put him on my speed dial.

3.) Picky Eaters. I decided to try this new recipe for spinach and cheese stuffed shells. I thought they were looking mighty tasty, so I said to Matt, "Do these look yummy or what?" and he answered, "what!".

4.) 1st grade boy kissing my 1st grade girl! Yes, it's true. Ann got her first kiss yesterday in busline from a boy in her class. She then gave him one in return. I must have looked horrified because she quickly came back with, "But Mom, it was only on the cheek!".

Slow down little girl!

Addendum: The kids just got off the bus and I've been told that big brother Thomas has told the 1st grade boy, "Don't kiss my sister ever again." Way to go Tommy!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Purple Rain

I had planned to call this post "The Girl In The Purple Shirt".  Since starting the Couch to 5K program back in April I had pretty much worn the same purple shirt to train in. I imagined all those cars that passed me on the road heading to work at 5:30 in the morning saying, "Doesn't that girl have any other shirts?"

 Well, I can retire the shirt today. It got me to and past my first 5K. I am so glad it's over, but can't wait for the next one. The past 3 days have been nothing but worry and nausea about it. So silly, I know. It was a lot more laid back than I thought it would be.

  I did as well as I wanted to do and was close to the last one done. It didn't matter to me at all. I really just wanted to finish. That is the truth.

  My 15 minutes of fame were cut short, but for good reason. At the end of my race, Bill signed my 3 oldest up for the 1 mile kids Fun Run. Billy, Mary Kate, and Tommy each won an award for 3rd place in their age groups. Amazing!! Billy came in 5th overall. Not bad considering it was so last minute and Billy was wearing basketball sneakers!

Here are some pictures from the day:

Before the race

At the beginning...

1 mile and Mary
Matthew meeting me at the finish line
 There was a good drizzle going by the end. Hence the bad hair picture below:

Post race for all of us.

  It was a great day. Thanks to all of my family and friends who helped along the way. I can't believe all the words and acts of encouragement from you. You all know who you are. You guys rock!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 3: Matt and Me

 Now that the kids are back at school and it's just me and Matt at home during the day I may have to re-name this blog "Matthew's Blog".  We're having a good time together. I think he likes the undivided attention he's been getting.

 Check out this crafty project we did today. ( I'm being sarcastic....not crafty really at all and I'm sure most of you have seen this done a million times in parenting magazines )

1.) Cover pine cone with peanut butter

2.) Coat with bird seed

3.) Hang in a tree

  4.) Watch the birds NOT come. Not one bird came by for the rest of the day. How can that be? Granted, I did hurry in the store and grab the smallest and cheapest bag of bird seed I could find. And it did say "for parakeets", but does that matter? Will a robin not eat parakeet food?? I thought my kids were picky eaters! Geesh! So much for being crafty.

PS. I know some of you are questioning my grammar in the first line of my post. Trust me, the misuse of the pronoun "I" is one of my biggest pet peeves. I believe my writing in this case is correct. And I think Sister Loretta Sean from my 7th grade would agree with me.