Helpful Stripper

By | Posted December 18, 2011

Posted in pictures, Random | 1 Comment »

On Saturday we took our ONE YEAR OLD(!) to the park.  She loves to swing, and the weather was perfect.  While there, I noticed a women with her two kids.  She was working out with a friend and you could tell their nighttime jobs.  She was nice enough and as I was lining up the kids for a picture she offered to take a shot of all of us.

Perfect, I didn’t  have a picture for the Christmas card and while we weren’t all dressed as I might have liked, this picture would show real life for us.  Not some posed scene where everyone hates me.  Hate might be too strong a word, but generally, most of the family dislikes me during picture time.  (Not my fault, they never smile at the right time.)

She even took A LOT of pictures of us so I could choose just the right one.

Only problem, she managed to take a ton of out of focus shots (with an auto focus digital SLR???) and cut off our heads.

Merry Christmas~ The Zierleins 2011

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365 Days

By | Posted December 17, 2011

Posted in Baby Z, pictures | 8 Comments »

Oh my sweet girl, you are one year old.  I can hardly believe it.  This past year has been nothing short of amazing for us.  Truly you were the best gift ever.  God knew we needed you.  He knew what was best for our family.

As I think back on the past year, I am overwhelmed with joy.  I look in your eyes and can’t believe how blessed I am.  You are such a ray of sunshine, bringing such brightness into our lives.  You have touched each member of our family in different ways.

I remember a year ago, dropping your brothers off at school and checking into the hospital.  Chatting with the nurses until your dad could leave the kids with Mimi.  And then waiting.  Waiting to see your face.  Waiting to meet the person growing inside of me.  I remember the feeling of sadness that I wouldn’t be able to feel you hitting me on the right side of my tummy.  How sad I felt because it would soon be over.  That seems so silly when meeting you was better than any kick or punch.  Your dad and I, as well as your doctor, were all overjoyed when you arrived.  We’d been through a lot together, mostly good, your brothers, and some a bit harder, your sisters in heaven.  We were able to breathe a sigh of relief at seeing your sweet face.

And then the party started.  I’ve said it before, but I will remind you, sweet child, you were born into a family of love.   We’re not all related by blood, but we are all family.  All of us.  You have so many people that have been with you from day one and they all love you dearly.  Really, you have a village.  As silly as that sounds, it is the truth.

Looking at your face at birth, watching you with each of your brothers, sweet Baby Hulk who waited for you so earnestly, your sisters,  your grandparents…oh sweet girl, I could live that day over and over.

You are such a nice little girl, so content, not fussy, just oh so sweet.  Happy with your brothers, smart, chatty and just beautiful.

Sunshine, I wish the world for you.  The world, nothing less will be good enough.  And it’s possible, you are a child of God, your namesake is one to be rivaled, our Mother in Heaven and her mother.  (And so sorry for all those who don’t pronounce your name correctly!  Just be firm and force everyone to say your name properly.)  You do have big shoes to fill. Yet, you are so special, you can.

Sunshine, you are my girl, my baby.  If I’m selfish with my time, it’s only because I love you so.  I hate to admit, but I love how much you love me, how much you want me over the others.  I love the smile on your face, the way you talk with your brothers.  Mostly, I just love you.

God knew.  He always does.  Your brothers are amazing too.  I freely admit, I didn’t think it could get better than a houseful of boys.  And I will now admit I was SO WRONG.  You made life better.  For me.  For this family.  You fit right in, ready to scrap with those boys, lunch with me and my friends and hang with me and daddy.  Thank you for those eyes full of love, for those sweet whispers and that beautiful smile.

Happy Birthday, Sunshine.  May God, Mary and all the Saints bless you every single day of your life.  You are more than I ever deserved, and I promise to treat you as the precious gift you are.

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Daybook~ Santa

By | Posted December 17, 2011

Posted in Daybook, pictures | 2 Comments »

For Today…December 16, 2011

Outside my window…it’s look like fall.  A week before Winter officially starts, we have the most beautiful trees.  Of course, we wore shorts today.  (I started this yesterday, today it was chilly.  But not that chilly.)

I am wearing…a blue Get Up Kids t-shirt and workout shorts.   I love the Get Up Kids.  Love them.

I am listening to…Goose sing.  Feliz Navidad.  Not kidding.  It’s kind of cute, except I don’t like the song.

I am praying…for a friend’s father and sister who both have been diagnosed with cancer within two months of each other, another friend who had heart issues, another with more cancer news, a pregnant friend and me.

I am thankful…for all the above mentioned people, my family and the Holy Mass.

Around the house…the decorations are up.  And this year, we’re keeping things minimal again.  Although my minimal isn’t the same as other people.  I love Snoopy, and I love nativity scenes.  I have a lot of both.  I love to see them at the holidays, but I have a three year old who likes to touch things.  A  lot.  He already broke my Snoopy nativity scene.  Yes, such a thing does exist.   Regardless, I’m excited about all the decorations.  They bring back such memories for me.

To live the liturgy…I love Advent.  I love December, it’s another rich month in the church.  We’ve celebrated St. Nick, St. Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucia (I can’t wait until Sunshine is a little older and can celebrate this day properly!)  and tomorrow we’ll go to Mass for Las Posadas.  (We did and loved it.)  All the while, learning the new translation of the creed and reflecting on what it means to prepare.

Learning all the time…we’ve learned a lot about patience and how to behave while running errands with mommy.  We’re onto J for Joy, Jesus and Jesse Tree.  One day I’ll post about our Jesse Tree ornaments, but for now I’ll just say we love this tradition.

One of my favorite things…little girls.

I am creating…one craft, I’ve been working on it all week for about ten minutes at a time, nothing too difficult, but I want to finish, especially since I am gifting a few of them.

I am finished…with all but two gifts.  TWO gifts.  I didn’t start shopping until two weeks ago.  Go me.  Anyone think I don’t talk about how I have shopped for everyone while having shingles?

Towards rhythm…it’s hard to keep your rhythm during the holidays.  I really want to try and work on that this last week before Christmas.

A few plans…a certain birthday is tomorrow.

A picture thought…

Best part of Goose’s school?  Snow Day.  Snow, free pictures with Santa, what more could I ask for?

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By | Posted December 14, 2011

Posted in Goose | No Comments »

I’ve always known Goose was a good speller, he takes after his dad.  This week he proved it by being selected to represent his class in the school-wide spelling bee.  I am super proud.  Last year when I commented on his spelling to his teacher (the one I hated) she blew off his spelling skills.   Yes, I made sure to find her today to let her know he was in the spelling bee.  (Me, a grudge holder?)

He was so cool today, until he missed his word.  But regardless, he was so excited to participate and claimed that next year he would win.  

Little does he know that I am already thinking about how best to prepare for this next year.  Now that I know what words they start with, I know what he needs to study.  I can totally see us in DC one of these years.  And if not him, Baby Hulk is a good back up in spelling.


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The Merry-Go-Round You Can’t Jump From

By | Posted December 14, 2011

Posted in Random | No Comments »

Can I take a deep breathe?  This shingles business sucks.  And while I’d love to milk it for all it’s worth, the only thing I have not done over the past thirteen days is blog.

Rest.  Take it easy.  That doesn’t happen under normal circumstances, but during the holiday season.  Not a chance in hell.

While I thought shingles would slow things down and allow me to really embrace a season of preparation in a way I seldom do, it has not.  I have shopped, both online and in person.  I have come up with ideas for each of my kids for myself, my dad, my in-laws, my brother, sister-in-law, and soon my mom.  (All while doing my own shopping for my rather large list.)  Sure it’s good that I’m picking out gifts that I mostly approve of, but it’s more than tiring to come up with everyone’s list.

Between shopping, I’ve also been trying to come up with ideas for Goose’s class party.  Something about a small gift for the kids, hoping maybe it’s a book.  Except finding a decent chapter for a buck a piece is near impossible.  Other ideas have been vetoed and now we’re (as in I am) painting frames for the class.  Cheap and relatively easy.  Then Friday during snow day, I’ll take pictures of each child and another mom will print copies before the end of the day.  All this with three littles along for the ride.

In an interesting bit of news, I haven’t yelled much this week.  Why?  One reason: grace.  Grace received from attending Mass the past three mornings.  It has been life saving for me.  And the weird thing is that the boys have hardly behaved really well in Mass, but we leave calmer, happier and we’ve been able to run errands non-stop.  Despite needing rest, there have been several days where we leave in the morning at 7:30 and don’t come home until after 4:00.  And the kids are really great during this time.

Of course, it’s not all happiness over here; once 7:00 hits, my witching hours starts.  I need the rest my body has craved for weeks.  And until everyone is in bed, I slowly start to unravel.  Getting slightly bitter about all I’ve been doing and what won’t be happening this Saturday, a party for my best girl.  I’m not interested in doing much except catering to my sweet girl’s every whim on Saturday.

Tomorrow is another busy day.  I had planned to rest and make a couple of gifts, but I still have painting to do, cookies to bake, party stuff to purchase and try and buy my Sunshine a dress for her big day.

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Who Knew?

By | Posted December 4, 2011

Posted in Random | 4 Comments »

Last Thursday I was on the phone talking birthday invites for Baby Z when something bit me.  It was so severe I put the person on hold to take off my shirt and look for the culprit.  Never found it.

Want to know why?

It was shingles.

Yes, shingles.  SHINGLES!

I went 24 hours before having Lance take a picture so I could send it to a few moms to help diagnose the problem.  Thankfully, I had the sense to send it to Paul, who diagnosed me over the phone and sent me to the local clinic.

And now today, I have this crap all over my trunk and it hurts.  Really badly.

Yesterday, the boys had a birthday party to attend.  I was alone and it really hurt to hold Baby Z so I passed her off to anyone who would hold her.  And since I didn’t want to look like a loser mom, I told everyone at the party about my shingles.  EVERYONE.

And that’s how I found out how many people have or have had them.  And they are way younger than me.  Who knew this was so popular?  Not me.

All I know is that it sucks.  Baby Z will be vaccinated for chicken pox as soon as she can be.  No delaying shots like I normally do.  I never want her to go through this.  Ever.

One positive of all this?  I had a play date set up for this week and had to ask my friend if she was pregnant.  (Because you can’t be around preggos while you have this crap.)  She is!!!  So while I hate to miss time with her, I am so excited for her news.  So very happy.

And now I’m wondering what to do about Baby’s party because I’m not sure when this crap will run it’s course.  I’m on Valtrex, which just makes me feel so dirty.  And let me tell you, Valtrex isn’t helping, this stuff is getting worse, not better. The pain medicine they gave me?  Not working either.

And….no gym.  At all.  What am I going to do?

Have I mentioned that shingles suck?

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The Joy of This Child in Pictures

By | Posted November 29, 2011

Posted in Kobra, pictures | 2 Comments »

The sweet side

We see this face a lot

 Showing his muscles

This child is my, how do we say it nicely, most spirited child.  Knows what he wants and it’s usually food.  But he is so much fun, full of personality.  Love you, my sweet boy!

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Daybook~ Advent

By | Posted November 28, 2011

Posted in Daybook, pictures | 1 Comment »

For Today…November 28, 2011

Outside my window…it’s sunny and cold.  What a great combination.  I love this weather.  I love having to get a sweatshirt.  I don’t love the fuss from the kids about wearing jeans or long pants.  And by kids, I mean everyone but the Baby fusses about the change in clothes.  Goose was so upset that his jeans were “itching” him that he refused to say goodbye this morning.  Because of course it’s my fault it’s cold outside.

A child who can appreciate the clothing options this weather brings.

I am listening to…No David make letter sounds.

I am wearing…black yoga pants, a grey t-shirt and my Memorial sweatshirt.

I am grateful…yes, I am grateful.  We did a different take on our thankful tree this year, opting to discuss what we were thankful for each evening at dinner rather than do one huge tree at the beginning of the month.  I liked that we were forced to think of our blessings each day.  Trying to implement this practice for myself via a gratitude journal, it’s not like I don’t have enough notebooks laying around this house.  I’d also like to start this with the kids.


The Martimas Lantern

I am praying…that everyone stays healthy and those that are sick get better.  A friend’s sister and for faith.  Faith for everyone.

From the kitchen…please give me some willpower this week.  I gave Squirt the last piece of pie in his lunch today.  I have two more pieces of pumpkin cake and three kinds of ice cream.  The cake is Baby Hulk’s and hopefully, the boys can take care of the ice cream for me.  We’ve planned a decent menu for the week and not over shopped.  I have three weeks before more sweets get going in this house.

On keeping home…my home is clean and neat.  That’s who I am.  Thankfully, I’m blessed with being able to keep house well.  That said, it’s much harder with five kids.  Much harder.


Around the house…who knew it would be so freaking hard to find someone to fix my fence?  Still have dead bushes in the front yard.  Do I wait till Spring to change them out?

To live the liturgy…I made it through just fine yesterday.  We’ve been preparing at our church for this change and have said most of the prayers already.  I loved that the priest had the same feelings I had about the changes.  That it was difficult after so many years.  This morning I wondered about all those people who only go to mass at Christmas.  They are going to be so lost.  I immediately felt like a jerk after thinking that.  Those people are all probably much nicer than me.

Love her!

The season of Advent…it’s here, I’ve got some new traditions I’m pretty excited about for this year.  Hopefully, more on that later.

One of my favorite things…Christmas books.  I was going to wrap all of my books and have the kids read a new one each night, but I hate to limit ourselves to one every night.  We have 20 books that I would consider real Christmas books, plus about ten more fluff Christmas books.  (These would be Frosty the Snowman type books, and while I love Frosty and feel reading these are important too, they go in a different basket than something like Jingle, The Christmas Clown or Country Angel Christmas.)  I also have ordered about 12 more books from the library.  Did you read that honey?  The library, not Amazon.

Our first Tomie book remains my favorite.

I am creating lists…of Christmas projects and hoping to finally start a gift list.  I have no ideas and nothing is popping out at me for the kids.  I have a super awesome nativity scene that Baby Hulk and I will make this year.  And by awesome, I mean I like it and it’s easy to do.  Not sure about the nativity blocks that a certain someone promised to make for me.

Learning all the time…it has amazed me how our units have flowed into each other so well and how much the kids and I have enjoyed it.  I love Handwriting Without Tears, and while Baby Hulk’s handwriting isn’t the best I’ve ever seen, it is so much better than it was a year ago and better than Goose’s who never had any problems writing.  Next Spring I start with No David.  We have two weeks before we focus solely on Advent and Christmas which will include lots of read a louds, crafts and cards.  And baking.  Lots of baking.

We never nap together like I did with the others, imagine that.

Towards rhythm…You hear how important a routine is for kids.  They need predictability.  I’m really working on that in all that we do.  From our learning to our evenings.  Trying to find areas where we can “release” the stress from the day so everything goes smoother.  From waking up in the morning to laying down to sleep.  Part of the rhythm I crave is the true family meal.  The meal where we all sit without disruption from the phone or computer.  I hate that my children hear the phone ring and run to get it for me.  I don’t know why, I rarely answer the phone when they are around.  And to be honest, I haven’t missed one emergency so far.  Not one.

A few plans for the week…interview for Goose’s First Reconciliation, playdate, birthday party, prepping house which will be deep cleaning and figuring out when we will decorate.

A few pictures worth sharing…I tried to get my girl in her new winter dress.  This is all I got.

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11 Months

By | Posted November 27, 2011

Posted in Baby Z | No Comments »

Little girl you are eleven months old.  Just how did this last year pass by so quickly?  While I wish time didn’t pass so quickly, I have no regrets about this first year of your life.  We have enjoyed our time with you every single day.

You are so funny these days, showing us that you will not be forgotten or pushed around.  By anyone, especially No David.  And how that little boy loves you so.  Last week I caught him on the floor sleeping next to your crib.  I can only assume that he was talking with you until you both crashed.  It makes me smile to see him talk with you, bring you toys, give you food and in general just pay lots of attention to you.  He wants so badly to play with you.  He craves a bit more interaction on your part, patience isn’t really his thing,  yet he doesn’t really like when you mess with things he deems not yours.  When he does something that you don’t like, you are very verbal.

You are learning more each day.  While you aren’t talking yet, (so much for girls talking early in this family!) you chatter to yourself nonstop.  You know how to get our attention and are very deliberate in your chatter.  I realize that you are definitely communicating with me and know what you are “saying”.   For instance, I know when you say: hi, mom, dad, i love you and bottle.  This is huge in our home.

You can now sit up on your own (11/8), a big deal to me.  For whatever reason, I have always loved that move from babies.  Like your brothers, you had to crawl before sitting on your own.

You even pulled yourself up on Mimi’s birthday.  So you’re moving right along, progressing just as you should.  At your own pace, which is just fine to me.

And today, you did it again.  You stared so intently at me.  And you wanted me to know that you were staring at me.  You made some noise to make me look at you.  And your eyes, they were incredible.  So intent, staring into my soul.  How I wish that I could hold you in my arms forever.  I promise I will hold you for as long as you will let me.

Sunshine, I could sit and stare at you all day long.  I know we received the best gift the day you were born.  Truly, you are amazing.  We all think so, especially me!  I love you, dear girl.


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At the end of the week…

By | Posted November 26, 2011

Posted in Random | 3 Comments »

It’s been a great week.  Seriously.  I’ve had the least stressful holiday I have had in probably my entire life.  And no, I did not medicate myself.

It was just us, my dad and aunt for the day.  My poor mom was sick and stuck at home.  The food was good, at least the potatoes were.  Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of Thanksgiving?  It’s not Thanksgiving I have a problem with, it’s the food.  I don’t like turkey, stuffing, gravy and so on.  Once I graduated from law school, my parents began to take my hatred of turkey seriously and would grill a steak for me.  This year, I forgot to get a steak for myself so I had a huge plate of potatoes.  We had three types of potatoes so it worked well for me.

Since we knew the crowd would be small and no littles would be eating pie, we only had two desserts.  My dad left before we had dessert, and Lance and I have been eating dessert about every two hours since then.  It’s kind of sick.   Each time we open the refrigerator, I say I’m throwing everything away after one more piece.  I will regret this next week.  I am positive.

This has been a pretty stressful year as a Longhorn fan.  Last week’s loss was pretty devastating for me.  The only good part was listening to Goose yell at the television.  This week’s game was a must win.  There was the drama of the rivalry ending and emotions were high.  And Texas pulled through and won.  (Just in case my readers don’t know this.)

Today I had lunch with a good friend who is an Aggie.  She was at the game.  And was slightly emotional about the loss.  I was surprised to hear that she was so emotional as she’s kind of like me when it comes to crying.  Her daughter was also surprised and wanted to know why mom was crying.  Daughter’s solution to her mom’s tears: “Let’s just cheer for the Longhorns.”  Friend immediately tuned to her daughter and told her to “shut up.”  I love this story.  Makes me love  my friend even more.

Goose just lost his second front tooth.  He looks a bit crazy actually.  Sort of vampire like.  And he now talks just a bit funny.  And when he runs his tongue where his teeth should be, it looks kind of obnoxious.  I hate this whole kids getting older thing.  SIGH.

Tomorrow the new translation of the Mass starts.  I’m 41, in my entire life, I’ve missed mass about 10 times.  Maybe.  Even in college.  No matter the sin, I was at mass.  I’ve said the same prayers at mass my entire life.  Over 2000 times.  Tomorrow the words change.

I don’t like change.

At all.

Even when my priest tells me that these words are a better translation of the prayers.

This week, I tried to find a place where the old prayers would be said, except that during daily mass, it’s much shorter and you don’t say the creed.  Or the Gloria.  I love singing the Gloria.  The old one.  It is hands down, the best part of the Easter Vigil for me.  And this year, it will be different.  Sigh.

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