Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Song for today...

Don't let the rain come down,
don't let the rain come down,
my roof's got a hole in it,
and I might drown.

No idea ON EARTH where these lyrics are from. Yet, on days like today, when I have packing and laundry and homeschool and babies who don't want to sleep and, oh, rain pouring just pops into my head. My very own rainy day mantra. Doesn't make me happier, just gives me something to occupy my mind.  Sometimes that's enough.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I am in an unsettled (at best) time of my life right now. Nothing specific that I want to address, just lots of little things that are adding up to a big mess in my brain. At times like this, I look forward to simple moments; a baby's first sled ride or siblings playing together.
I am so very blessed.

 All dressed up and that's it?

Block snowman...whatever works.
 Swinging always helps.

Friday, January 25, 2013

March For Life

We stayed behind again this year (barely got to Mass and home again because of the snow!) but we are praying that hearts are changed and lives are saved.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I have been looking around for some fun activities to do as a family or just me with one or two of the kids. For whatever reason, ice skating seems to be the big family pastime around here. Of course, it would be something that I cannot do to save my life. (I was moderate at best about 15 years ago and haven't skated since).

They have this great Playdate on Ice at the local rec center so I took the two older boys and gave it a go. The pictures are blurry because I took them with one hand while hanging on to the wall for dear life. They had no such problems (although I would have been better with a walker too!). I was very proud of how well they took to a new sport. I'm hoping we can all reach proficiency one of these days. (I can also take the baby - it seems all you do is put them in an upside down bucket and push them around!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Move to Fresh Air"

I just finished the book, The Endless Steppe, which tells the story of a young girl and her family who are deported from Poland to Siberia during World War II. The book's descriptions of the transport to Siberia, the living conditions and the weather have been on my mind lately. I am in awe of the people who lived, and survived, lives such as hers. I am fairly certain I could not do the same. It seems like, lately, God has been doing some "unschooling" with me. When I develop a fascination with a topic, He likes to make it more "real" for me.

All day yesterday I was smelling something odd and feeling a bit out of sorts. Mainly I had a headache but, since I hadn't had caffeine all day, I figured it was that. DH came home, we had dinner, got the kids in their jammies and about 8 PM, the carbon monoxide alarms started going off. The flashing light says "move to fresh air", which I said out loud (bad idea) so this is what my children have been chanting for the last 10+ hours.

DH stayed behind to work with the furnace guy and I headed off to the hotel with my five chickadees in tow. We must have looked extra-pitiful because they gave us a deep discount on a suite and free breakfast (my dad must be so proud ;0) ). To call it a suite was pushing it...basically it was a small alcove with a sleeper sofa (which housed the 2 girls) ,I was in one queen, the older boys were in the other, and baby G was in a crib beside my bed. Yes, it was tight. Still, considering what I had recently read, the fact that we were out of the weather and together, how could I complain?

I think it brought the suffering and sacrifice of the people in that book into even sharper focus and that, for me, turned it all around. I could have been uncomfortable or unhappy or scared about what was happening back at the house and having all of these little ornery people in one room but all I kept thinking was "thank you God, for allowing us to be here, together, warm and safe." It amazes me how the Holy Spirit can work to change your attitude. Grace is a marvelous thing. It makes someone even as weak as me have a good day every now and then.

Oh, we're back home. It was some uncombusted particulate that they cleaned out and it all seems fine now. I don't think there was any lasting damage brain-wise to the little people. They thought it was all a great adventure (I love that, don't you?).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

40 years ago today...

it became possible to murder the most innocent children; those still within the womb of their mothers.

Starting today, please pray a little more each day, please fast and do good works, in the name of all the babies who are in danger and the mothers who are confused and desperate. Please spiritually adopt one of these little ones and pray for them. Even if you can't make it to the March for Life, you can do something. Thank you.

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion"
                                                                 - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

PS - If you have some extra money laying around (or even if you don't), consider sponsoring one (or both) of these wonderful ladies who are running for the babies:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yucky bugs

We are finally crawling out of a week+ of flu/cold/nasty bug (only a day or two per child but you do the math). As always, mom is the last to fall.

So, here I am. Blogging in my jammies, just to say "hi". Hopefully this week will hold more health and happy times.

Wishing you warmth and health on these coooooolllllddddd days. Brr.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Nationality Rooms

If you live in Pittsburgh or ever have the chance to visit, try to work The Nationality Rooms at The University of Pittsburgh into your schedule. We went yesterday with a group of families and had a wonderful tour. I haven't been in years and I had forgotten how great it is to see each country's room with all the symbols, traditions, art, etc. Some rooms were still decorated for Christmas - neat to see each country's representation. An excellent Sunday afternoon outing!

La Befana...We found her in the Italian room!

Friday, January 11, 2013


I am going to be shaking my head for a while...allow me to gush.

As I mentioned, I took #1 to the symphony this evening. I figured it would be pretty cool for her, as an aspiring cellist, to see a piece with a cello soloist (to date, we've only seen the whole symphony play). Other than that, I had no idea what to expect. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Her cello instructor warned me that the Shostakovich piece was "dark" but she didn't mention the AMAZING performance we would be witnessing. I know partly it's written that way but Mr. Dindo is so gifted. It was incredible to watch.

After the Shostakovich piece, Mr. Dindo was in the lobby signing Cds. We peeked through the "out" line, just to see him up close. The guard told us to go stand in line so that we could meet him. I figured, why not? We didn't buy the CD but he was so gracious and talked to Sil for a while and signed her program. She talked about it the whole way home. I guess some kids are excited to meet one of the Steelers. This is how I know she's my kid ;0)
Then, just because it's been that kind of day, the Dvořák piece is about to begin and Enrico Dindo comes in the side door and SITS IN THE SEAT DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME. I told you I was going to gush. Seriously...the girl was about ready to squeal (thankfully for me, she had her symphony manners on!).
Wow, what a night. Such a blessing to spend such a magical evening with my little girl.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Don't know what it is lately but I am bushed...truly, completely exhausted! I was so happy that I read this today.  The Heroic First Minute of the Day It will give me something to aspire to tomorrow when I don't want to get up again. I've also started blessing myself as soon as I am conscious. That seems to make the wake up a bit more bearable.

Also, the PSO has really cheap tickets this week and next so #1 and I are going to Dvorak's Seventh Symphony on Friday night. She is going to be OUT OF HER MIND!!! I love that. I love that I have a nerdy little music kid that I can share this where is my volleyball star ? ;0)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

One more week!

This is what I told my #3 child when he teared up thinking that the tree would vanish today, as quickly as it appeared a few weeks ago. Yes, it is Epiphany but, no, tomorrow is not Ordinary Time. So, we have one more week of our beloved tree...and manger...and cookies (Although we pitched a bunch today. Frankly, I can't take much more.)

Here are some of the Epiphany happenings at our home today. We bless our house each year and it's becoming a progressively more involved ritual. I like that a great deal. I look forward to one day following all of my kids as they conduct the entire blessing.
Preparing to process!
(Blondie was supposed to be the star but decided she'd rather be Mary...good choice)
Off they go (with lit frankincense candle!)
Found an AWESOME new chalk wonderfully on sealed wood!
Gifts and prayers before the manger
A little early for Sukkot but, whatever...
Finally, the reading of good deeds from Jesus's stocking.

I know a lot of people have a lot of different "good deed" ideas for Advent and I see worth in every one. I really like this idea, though, because of what we did today. If we had just put straw in a manger, there would have been no "recounting" of the deeds. I really think this way worked best with my kids right now. By reviewing all the great stuff they did during Advent, they now have a whole list of things on their mind to aspire to for the coming weeks and through the Lenten season. We shall see.
Happy Epiphany, everyone!

Blessed Epiphany

'cause I love a little Sweet Baby James...

James Taylor Home By Another Way

Those magic men the Magi
Some people call them wise
Or Oriental, even kings
Well anyway, those guys
They visited with Jesus
They sure enjoyed their stay
Then warned in a dream of King Herod's scheme
They went home by another way

Yes they went home by another way
Home by another way
Maybe me and you can be wise guys too
And go home by another way
We can make it another way
Safe home as they used to say
Keep a weather eye to the chart on high
And go home another way

Steer clear of royal welcomes
Avoid a big to-do
A king who would slaughter the innocents
Will not cut a deal for you
He really, really wants those presents
He'll comb your camel's fur
Until his boys announce they've found trace amounts
Of your frankincense, gold and myrrh

Time to go home by another way
Home by another way
You have to figure the Gods saying play the odds
And go home by another way
We can make it another way
Safe home as they used to say
Keep a weather eye to the chart on high
And go home another way

Home is where they want you now
You can more or less assume that you'll be welcome in the end
Mustn't let King Herod haunt you so
Or fantasize his features when you're looking at a friend

Well it pleasures me to be here
And to sing this song tonight
They tell me that life is a miracle
And I figured that they're right
But Herod's always out there
He's got our cards on file
It's a lead pipe cinch, if we give an inch
Old Herod likes to take a mile

It's best to go home by another way
Home by another way
We got this far to a lucky star
But tomorrow is another day
We can make it another way
Safe home as they used to say
Keep a weather eye to the chart on high
And go home another way

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy 100 days!

If you haven't been following along, let me recap (the rest of you can skip ahead). Last year, before we found out we were expecting, I was struggling a great deal with whether or not I should begin homeschooling in the Fall. It wasn't that I was unhappy with the Catholic school where #s 1 and 2 attended. At most, I was a little wary of some of the influences that were making their way in via the other children. I have realized, in the interim, unless you keep your kids under a rock, the influences are present. If they interact with other kids, they will be interacting with other parents' ideals which may, or may not, be in sync with your own.

When we found out we would be welcoming Mr. G (although we didn't know him as that at the time!) we also entered into the wonderful (not) world of medicinal "could-be, maybe, let-us-worry-you-needlessly" legaleese. I put the brakes on homeschooling, thinking I would be spending the next 10 or so years running from specialist to specialist for my special blessing. Then he came...

I know I don't have the language to properly state what I believe about the situation. I don't think a baby with Down Syndrome would have been a punishment any more than having one without is a reward. If you read the posts leading up to the birth, I think I was as prepared as possible for this child, no matter what. Each of our children has his or her own positive attributes and challenges. I believe Mr. G will be the same (despite his completely angelic personality thus far - 2 is not far away ;0) ) Anywho, this baby, for now, brought homeschooling back to the front burner.

So, somewhere in mid-July, that's what we did. We started to homeschool. Truthfully, I'm not sure how we got to 100 days because it seems like we just started but, here we are. I have been enjoying it immensely. I really feel like #1 was cut out for this. She is able to learn what she wants in the manner that works best for her. We have been delving into all sorts of stuff and I am amazed at what she can take away from the experiences. I am also extremely pleased that it has allowed me to fill my home with stickers, markers, paper, a laminating machine (!!!) and unspeakably cool things like this.

Child #2 is a work-in-progress. He complains more days than he does not, especially if we're not learning/doing/reading exactly what he thinks we should at the moment. I've been more clever about sneaking schooling into other experiences and it has worked so far. That and, goodness, we're talking about kindergarten! Do you remember what you did in kindergarten? I remember these really cool smiley face cookies (not Eat n Park... smaller, chocolate, purchased in a store) and Donnie's (forget his last name) lost thumbnail totally grossing me out. Oh, and the Thanksgiving "dinner", 'cause we looked so cool in our hats/headdresses. Needless to say, I'm not stressing on him.

I am excited that #3 has watched all of this progress with his older sibs and now shows a strong desire to join us for the next 80 days. We shall see how that all works out.

Some of our fun 100th day activities...

First, gym. We did 100 jumping jacks and hopped 100 times on one foot (while keeping track with tally marks after each 5 - it's math and gym at once!)

Then some stories about the 100th day and a nice video that tied it in to the metric system (since that's chock full of 100! Math is EVERYWHERE!)

Followed by a yummy homemade lunchable ('cause you can't buy them for the 100th day but I think I will suggest that to the Oscar Mayer people).

Then, some work on stacking 100 cups. Counting, stacking, knocking's all good fun.

My reflections on the first 100 days?

It's great and it will be a finite proposition. I'm not sure when it will end, but it will. I am thankful that they have a good school to return to when the time comes but, for now, it is an incredible blessing to watch these sibling spend their days together. Look at the stacking pictures. There is a 7-. 5-. 4- and 2-year old side-by-side, working (and sometimes working-it-out) together. These aren't cohorts (although there is benefit to that too) they are siblings. They are learning to work with different ages, different genders and are doing so with the underlying motivation of love because they are family. I pray that this will help them, when the time comes, to look at others through that lens. That they will be able to see the face of Christ in everyone they experience because they learned these lessons early on when they were unrushed and (hopefully) well-directed.

God has His plan. All I can do is attempt to direct them toward Him at every turn. For now, while they are so small, I feel good that I am able to do that at home.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

It seems that every year we have a baby, the months pass more quickly. This year in particular seems to have flown by. Here's the recap...

I have misplaced (see? I'm trying to be positive and not say "lost"...) anyway, I don't have the key that holds the pictures for the first 3+ months of 2012. Looking at my calendar, it seems like we went to the doctor a lot, went to school a lot, and took a lot of meals to friends having babies.

Until April when everything changed...

The blessings of this little man have been many. What a joy when he entered our lives last April
May-Parades, G's baptism and a visit from Uncle Dave!


We went to Punxy to visit Phil and spent a great deal of time in the #5 has traveled farther, earlier than any previous kids...thankfully he's so laid back about the whole thing.

We also started homeschool in mid-July...hard to believe it's already been 100 days!


August - VBS, tonsils, and flying pigs!

September - The beach and apple picking!

October - 40 Days for Life and Halloween

November - Raking leaves one minute and bundling against the cold snowy morning the next! Above all, giving many thanks for all of our blessings!

December - Advent....waiting...and the Birth of our Savior! The Joy of the Christmas season and New Year's :0)

We were blessed to share this first day of 2013 with two of our favorite ladies!

I wish all of you many graces and blessings in the New Year. We look forward to all the days, good and bad, that this year will offer.

Now I am off to bed. After two solid weeks of Sue cooking nonstop partying...I'm bushed.

Happy New Year everyone!