By | Posted June 19, 2011

Posted in Family Life | No Comments »

It takes a lot to be a good father. I am blessed to have two men who unselfishly give their all time and time again. Thank you dad for always being there for me and showing me what a father is. Thank you Lance for raising these kids with me. They are lucky to have you as a father. I love you both.

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Six Months

By | Posted June 17, 2011

Posted in Baby Z | 3 Comments »

Six months. Half a year I have had the joy of holding my sweet baby girl in my arms.

This is the time that I am supposed to start getting sad. My little sunshine is no longer a tiny infant. Despite falling on the small side, she doesn’t look small, sound small and is soaring in new ways every day. My little girl is rolling all over the place, grabbing things and scooting around. She is on her way to crawling. Yes, there is a part of me that is a bit sad that time is moving so very fast. But every day that I wake up to my sweet girl is a gift. And I am smart enough to recognize it. (Finally.)

I was reading a birth story tonight, and the mom commented that it usually takes a few days to fall in love with her babies and feel connected to them. This is a pretty common feeling after birth for many moms, but not for us.

Little girl, we were connected from the beginning. Your dad will say I didn’t think you were sweet and that’s not true. What I said is that you were fussy and had to be held and sleep in bed with us for two months. Then all of a sudden, you were a dream.

My dream come true. The dream I never knew I had. I promise, I never dreamt of little girls, I was more than content with your brothers and was sad to be leaving that special club of all boys. But God knew. He knew what would make our hearts and home complete. He knew what I needed. You have such a special place in my heart, I can’t even describe it.

The smiles you give me each day make me melt. I have convinced myself that we will never have the typical drama that mothers and daughters have. I realize that life won’t always be easy, but I can guarantee you can probably convince me of anything if you keep smiling the way you do.

My sweet girl, as I look back on six months, I have nothing but joy inside. There hasn’t been a moment where I wasn’t grateful for you. I think everyone in this family feels this way too. Thinking back on your birth, some might think a C-section isn’t so glamourous. But your birth story is. The love that surrounded you from the minute you were born to thirty minutes later in the recovery room (a room that was to have only two visitors not ten) with your whole family: brothers, grandparents, an uncle, your Godmother and two special girls…that is your story. The story of a girl born to more love than most ever have in life. I pray you always feel our love. I love you, my sweet, baby girl!

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Why We Have Kids

By | Posted June 16, 2011

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

If only everyday were a break dancing marathon in my house.  I would never raise my voice, roll my eyes or complain that no one listens to me.

Times like this make every middle of the night wake up call worthwhile.

Squirt has been teaching the boys to break dance.  Yes, break dance.  He even thinks that the Baby Hulk has a calling.  No idea what he saw in the BH because I didn’t see any talent to exploit.  No David.   Now he is another story.  We have got to figure out a way to make money off this kid.

I know people hate videos of other people’s kids.  Heck, I barely watch videos and they are mine.  BUT this video is priceless.  Yes, I wanted to tell the others to get the eff off the dance floor so No David could strut his stuff.  If you are too bored, FF to minute 3:30 and just wait.  No David’s moves are too smooth.

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The First Day of the Rest of His Life

By | Posted June 15, 2011

Posted in Squirt | No Comments »

On his way to his first day of work.

Squirt, good luck today.  I promise we won’t embarrass you while you are working.   I pray that you are this excited about all your jobs in life.  (Not to be negative, but I doubt it.)

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My Day

By | Posted June 14, 2011

Posted in Boys, Family Life, friends, pictures | 2 Comments »

Today I took the kids to Miller’s Outdoor Theater with a friend and her two kids.  It was great, the boys took their nature journals just in case we “saw some nature”.  We saw the performance, had lunch and the boys played in the fountains.  Even Goose, the one who is always nervous about stuff like that ran through the fountains with youthful abandon.  It was an awesome site to watch the boys run around with friends and just be boys.  Afterwards, we came home and they wrote a narration about their day.

He really is this cool, most of the time.

Just playing in the rocks.

Searching for tadpoles, I think.

Not sure what he found.

But my post isn’t about today, it’s about tomorrow.  Here is the plan:

make copies for Super Saints
go to Super Saints
lunch and pump, (doesn’t that sound interesting?)
movie with the twins
swimming with Em and the kids
Chick Fil A
pass out

The End.

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An Intentional Summer

By | Posted June 12, 2011

Posted in Family Life | 3 Comments »

In cruising blogs late in the night, I came across an idea that I liked:  planning for an intentional summer.  With all my griping about time slipping away, I knew this was something I needed.  I don’t want to arrive in mid-August and wonder what we did all summer.  While I’m all for taking it easy, I want the summer to be more than the kids watching television while I’m on the computer.

The problem is that I don’t want to create a to-do list.  My entire life is a to-do list.  That’s my personality.  Generally, I like it that way.  With that said, an intentional summer does not include a list of things to check off at the end of the day or week.

In an effort to embrace the fact that I don’t have anything that I need to do each week, here are some ideas of things I can do with the children and Lance.

Pick berries
Miller’s Outdoor Theatre
Watch a Sunset from Galveston
Watch a Sunrise from Galveston
Watch the midnight showing of HP with Squirt
See friends
Learn to play chess with Goose
Play BeyBlades with the boys
Super Saints
Bake with the boys
Have game night on Mondays
Matinee with the kids
Draw with sidewalk chalk
Art projects
Visit Museums
Go to Austin and New Braunfels
Ride the metro
Pottery place
Monkey Joes
Paint my chick picture
Make brunch
See movies with Lance
Go to Mass during the week
Sort through the kids’ clothes
Find things to donate
Family playdates
Dinners with Lance
Read some more

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Five For Friday

By | Posted June 11, 2011

Posted in Five For Friday | 2 Comments »

First week of summer vacation is done.  And I will admit it, I’m already manic.  I have been looking at the calendar to schedule play dates and lunches, and the entire summer has already passed me.  With the school aged boys being home for less than three full months and Baby Z growing bigger and bigger, I am trying my hardest to embrace the here and now.   It isn’t working. Maybe I have an unhealthy attachment to my kids, I don’t know.  I do know that I just like them around.

The more I read about homeschooling the more depressed I become about sending the kids back to school.  I realize that the books I am reading are written by people who are considered pioneers in home education.  They are experts, so to speak, on the topic and have done all the research on different methods and have proven that in their homes, at least, home education is extremely successful.  I get that.  I am not those women, what they do in their homes might not work for me for a variety of reasons, least of which is that I am not a saint.  Or close to one.  That said, why aren’t we doing more for our children?  Why am I having to supplement at home?   How can I ever create a love of learning with the textbook style learning provided at these schools?  While studying with Squirt for World History, I kept asking him if he was enjoying what he was learning.  Of course, he didn’t.  Why would he?  How can you learn World History from  textbook?  Yes, maybe he will grow to love History in college, but why should he have to wait until then?  Isn’t his education important NOW?  So very frustrated.  Maybe I need to stop reading about home education.

My OB moved today.  With that announcement, I can almost promise we won’t have anymore children.  I can’t imagine having another child without her as my doctor.


Goose earned a trophy today.  From Chess camp.  Yesterday, I received an email from the director of the camp saying he was taking a Pawn test.  I had no clue what that meant.  This week he was a nerd.  In a few weeks, we’ll even it out and send him to basketball camp.

Squirt starts his first job next Wednesday.  He is so excited.  I remember feeling the same way when I was fifteen.  There is nothing like earning your own money when you are a teenager.  While I am a bit of a daddy’s girl, I am very proud that I worked while in high school.  My jobs included cleaning an office building and teaching piano.  Looking back that seems slightly strange for a daddy’s girl, but I worked without complaining.  At least, that’s how I remember it.

One more…we went to lunch with the crew from Apedonkey this week.  Four adults, six children, six and under, two of which have shown to have some conduct issues.  They were all perfect.  (No David’s small fit with the fork so does not count as a problem.)  I can’t promise such good behavior from that crowd in the future.

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Thank You

By | Posted June 6, 2011

Posted in Random | 8 Comments »

Since Squirt is busy writing “thank you” cards for his birthday gifts, it got me thinking about thank you cards in this day of texting and emails.  (For the record, mom and dad, Squirt thanked you in person, so no formal thank you cards this time.)

Is it tacky to text someone a thank you?  Email it?  Or do we need to send a handwritten note?  When is a personal phone call sufficient?

The answers vary depending on who you are.

My best friend needs a written thank you within a certain amount of time.  That’s the way she is.  Therefore my kids always get their cards to her fast.  She was never forced to write thank you notes.  For whatever reason, she learned really fast how to write them and get them out quick.  She managed to get all her cards out within a week of receiving gifts, even after having twins.  Generally, she expects nothing less in return.  I never want to be the subject of a call where she talks about not getting an acknowledgement for a gift.

My brother’s family could care less about a thank you card as long as you say thank you upon receiving the gift.  Even if you don’t see them in person while opening gifts, I don’t think they really care about notes or not.

So what’s a parent to do?  Force notes or not?  Are we supposed to be mad when children don’t write thank you notes, but still acknowledge you via text or an email?

Personally, I like written thank you notes.  But really, I just like to see the stationery used.  I’m so not a girly girl, but I love paper and stationery.  If not for my love of paper, I would be fine with a text or email.  Or phone call.  As a fan of the phone, I love a thank you phone call.

Recently, I sent a gift to someone I don’t normally just send gifts to.  I received a thank you note written by the recipient, but honestly, I would have much preferred a personal phone call.  But that’s just me.

I’m sure Emily Post would be horrified at the state of thank you notes today.  When my older girls send me a text saying thank you, I am more than happy.  When I send Chelsea a gift, mainly, I want to know she received the gift and that she liked it.  Texting can accomplish that.  The written thank you card is a bonus for me.  And for the record, I always get a text and written thank you from her, even though not necessary.

In my household, thank you notes are a must.  If a gift is mailed, a thank you note must be mailed in return.  When you receive a gift in person (ie from my parents at Christmas or birthdays), you write a note every other year.  My kids generally give a  huge thank you and hug in person which I know mean more than a written note.  However, I like them to practice their thank you notes in writing every so often too.  (Squirt’s notes this year are really good.)

The one thing that doesn’t happen for thank you notes are me writing in the form of the child.  For example, you will never read: “Thank you for my amazing outfit.  My dad thinks I look so pretty in it.” from Baby Z.  She can’t write, scribble or convey her feelings on a gift at this point.  Until she can articulate and write it herself, all thank you notes are from me.  I HATE thank you notes from parents in the form of a kid.  (Unless said parent is quoting the kid, but generally, I don’t think that happens.)  I know I’m in the minority on that one since I receive these all the time.

Want to know what is tackier than not sending a thank you note?  Calling someone or their parents out on the lack of card.  Rude, rude, rude.  Ten times worse than not writing the actual thank you card.  And don’t even act like you are worried the person never got the gift.  That is just a ruse to let the person know you are pissed about not getting a thank you card.

While I was never really taught to write thank you notes, I do a pretty good job with them.  I do have one good story about my notes.  When Lance and I got married, I sent thank you notes to everyone who came to our wedding.  Gift or not.  The wedding was a celebration of our love and gifts weren’t required.  As an added bonus, I sent pictures from the wedding.  Do people still place disposable cameras at tables?   We did and since it was film I had two copies of each roll printed when I developed the pictures.  There were some really good pictures.  While organizing the pictures and thank you cards, I misplaced three thank you cards.  And didn’t realize it until over a year later.  All of these people were friends of Lance.  I felt like the biggest loser.  Because regardless of your feelings on thank you cards, you HAVE to write thank you cards for wedding gifts.

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Daybook~Mine all mine!!!

By | Posted June 6, 2011

Posted in Daybook | No Comments »

For Today…June 5, 2011

Outside my window…it finally rained this afternoon.  And despite the fact that I was at the pool when the thunder and lightening started, I couldn’t be happier.  I imagine the rest of the city feels pretty much the same way.  I love Houston, but the weather sucks a lot of the time.  No way around that fact.

I am wearing…Snoopy boxers and a blue t-shirt.

I am listening to…an old mix.

I am pondering…this quote from St Therese of Lisieux: “The insight of the most skilled doctors can’t compare to a mother’s heart.”  This is true, I have lived it with my own mother.  I can’t ever forget all I can do for my kids as their mother.  It is amazing to be “their everything” but it’s also scary because I don’t want to make mistakes.

I am praying…for gentleness, guidance, wisdom and peace.  Not always easy ones to achieve.

Did you know…school is out!  I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.  I know, I moan and groan a lot, but I love having my kids home with me where they belong.  I have been looking at the calendar trying to figure out if we can take a “big” vacation and I am already getting manic about August.  It seems like it is already here. Which leads me back to praying for that peace.  That sense of calming down so that I can enjoy my time with the boys.

The closest I can get No David to a corner.

And you can see he takes me so seriously.

Are all my days crazy…Yes and no.  We ran into someone who has known Lance for a while at the grocery store.  We had the four younger ones with us.  Baby Z didn’t want to sit in her car seat, and the boys were OUT OF CONTROL.  Goose landed on the floor four times before I finally put him in the cart.  He is almost 7.  It was one of the few times that I worried what people might be thinking.  By the time we left, I needed a drink.  And got one as soon as I got home.  That was at 12:30 this afternoon.

From the kitchen…menu planned.  I am trying three new recipes this week.  I am also in a baking mood.  Last week I made cinnamon scones.  The whole family loved them.  This week I am trying berry coffee cake.

To be fit and happy…I plan on working out, but No David has decided he doesn’t like the gym anymore.  All of my kids freak out at some point at the gym.  This just isn’t the best time for them to start since it’s going to be really crowded for the summer.

Around the house…my hair.  It sounds gross, and I guess it is.  After you have a baby you generally lose a bunch of hair after a few months.  Since my hair is so thick, the amount of hair around the house is out of control.  Squirt even insinuated that Lola, our dog, should move back inside because I was shedding more than her.

Also around the house…cleaning out that garage because it will be gone in a week.

I am thinking…about birthday plans for my July boys.  Will we have a big party?  Just family?  Goose hasn’t had a party with his friends in over two years so he will probably have a party this year.  I would love to combine the two, but I think Goose would like a Lazer Tag party.  No David will be three, I’m thinking a pool party for him.  Sometimes I feel like the laziest parent when it comes to parties for the kids.

Towards Rhythm and beauty…I think we’re settling into the rhythm that summer brings.  Lazy mornings, lazy nights.  That said, we’re not just doing nothing all day.  In an effort to get No David napping again, I am requiring two hour quiet time during the day.  No David will nap, the older three will read, (with Baby Hulk doing some handwriting too) and narrate what they have read.  Just a bit of Charlotte Mason for the boys.

I am creating…some minimal learning plans for the summer.  I am really interested in Charlotte Mason right now and want to encourage as much reading from quality books.  I have found a couple of “living books” for each of the boys to read.  I just informed Squirt, and he doesn’t seem to mind my plans for him.  🙂  Now to implement the reading plans during the day.

I am grateful for…the laughter of boys, the love they have for each other and their sister, the husband who gave me those kids, a friend who loves my biggest boy so much that she wants him to visit, a son who wants a job, loose teeth, No David and his wild ways and a girl who looks at me when you ask her where her mommy is.

One of my favorite things…No David.  He is not my easiest child.  If you cut his food, he screams.  When he gets hurt, he screams.  He doesn’t sleep much and now wants us to hold his hand so he can fall asleep.  BUT, he is so funny.  Last night, I was driving out to The Woodlands and the other two fell asleep.  Not No David, he amused himself by yelling at the cars on the highway.  He also loves his little sister.  So much so that he picks her up.  By her neck.  How to stop that move.  I am trying to stay calm, but it’s more than a bit dangerous to hold a baby by her neck, you know!

A few plans for the week…the gym, Super Saints, a playdate, Miller’s Outdoor Theater, family time with friends and a romantic dinner.

A picture thought I am sharing…

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Being Gentle

By | Posted June 3, 2011

Posted in parenting, Spiritual Life | 2 Comments »

The other day I was talking to another mom, one who was a little frustrated by her son’s refusal to follow her.  She asked how I get my four year old to follow directions.  I had to laugh.  Then tell her in honestly that often I resort to raising my voice.  My favorite line is “can you hear me?”.  In a really loud and obnoxious voice.  Because more often than I want it comes to that.  My kids just don’t always listen when I talk.  And quite frankly, it doesn’t matter if I whisper, talk normal or yell.

They are kids.  They want what they want and they want it now.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing at the moment.

And they fight and fuss.  In the month of May, I had about four mornings total where everyone was happy in the morning.  This meant that for twenty-seven days, at least one child screamed and cried to start my day.  As I’ve said before I’m not a fan of crying.  It’s not the sound of crying but rather the act.  It gets on my nerves and annoys me to no end.  But my kids aren’t robots so I deal with crying quite a bit in this house.  Especially from two of them.

Generally it takes all my might not to be smarmy or rude when the inevitable happens.  I want to be the mom who immediately comforts their hurt child instead of saying “if you had listened to me, you wouldn’t have fallen.”  I want to be nice all the time.  It’s just hard because by nature I’m probably a bit cold at times.

I’m working on the virtue of gentleness for this month and more than likely, the rest of  my life.  I read somewhere that St. Francis de Sales literally stopped mid-letter when someone interrupted him.  The person went on to point out that St. Francis de Sales was probably interrupted by adults, people who could wait while he finished what he was doing.

Wow.  That just resonated with me so much.  Yes, he was a saint, but aren’t my kids my means to sanctification.  That sounds so funny typing that.  But I must admit that I am hoping to reach heaven someday and it appears that my family is my path.  There are so many days where I am quite certain I have blown it.  It is too easy to get annoyed every single time my kids cry, ask for something, hit or hurt a siblings’ feelings, interrupt when I’m on the phone, computer and so on.

But I am called to be a mother.  I am called to love no matter what.  I don’t want my kids to think that they annoy me.  Or that I find them to be an inconvenience.  Will they wait at times?  Yes.  But I am working so hard on making sure they know I love doing things for them.  That I don’t regret spending my days with them.  That when I go to lunch, they go too.  And while it’s not everyone’s plan, it is the path I have chosen.

I do get frustrated.  A lot.  But I love my kids so much.  So for them, I am really working on being gentle when they ask for a snack for the 10th time in an hour or cry  because I cut their food instead of leaving it whole.  Basically, I want them to know that they are worth every second of my time.

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