Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Small Successes


1. Got new tires put on the van (the research was done by my but I had to drive it in and sit in that waiting room for 45 whole minutes reading a book and not feeling like I should be doing something else. Life can be tough.

2. Was very flexible with Christmas traditions this year.

3. Cleaned out the cabinets in the boys room with Nathan and Henry while Anna and Terese were in charge of everyone else. And...we did get rid of a lot of things..being careful...of not lose any treasures. (But we did haul a lot of stuff out of there!)

BONUS 4. Got MY snowpants on and went outside with the kids to play in the snow today rather than stay in and get stuff done (dinner was an hour late). Our yard no longer looks like the pristine yards of the neighbors. But, after having 11 total kids trampling through it is beautiful in a better way.

What do you think? Should we keep the pool or get rid of it?

That's always been the question since we bought this house 10 years ago. We keep going back and forth. It's a big decision.
Maybe God was thinking, "I keep trying to make the answer clear...but you just aren't getting it.....does this help!"
As you can see, the safety cover and the liner are both shot.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas

Jesus was born!

And the angels rejoiced!

Every year my husband reads about the first Christmas from the bible. The kids "act out" the parts. Wyatt got to be the innkeeper and baby Jesus, Elizabeth: Mary, Henry: Joseph, Teresa had many miscellaneous duties, Anna and Nathan watched - letting their younger siblings enjoy all the action. Logan just loved everything happening. We had a lot of angels. It's my favorite Christmas tradition. (Did you notice the date on the picture though?) How sad. Normally this is the first thing we do in the morning after attending the early Mass. This year our Christmas celebration date was changed with the relatives and we had to move a lot of things around and simply weren't here. Of course, the massive snow fall on Christmas morning did keep most of the family outside digging out.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's just say I love my neighborhood

Without giving away my location...let me just say we live in Suburbia. Everyone's lots here are bout 1/4 - 1/3 acre. There are 13 houses on our cul-de-sac. We have a rental with an unusual history next door (4 renters in 3 years). It now has a no trespassing sign on the door, etc. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?

Well, our neighborhood is unique. 13 houses, 2 homeschool families, 2 different private school families, 4 public school families, empty nesters, families just starting out, etc. We have an annual blockparty and kids are always playing in the cul-se-sac. This morning we received a phone call from a neighbor. Do you have snowblower? your husband home? You see, our neighbor was offering to blow our driveway for us. This is no small task. Neighbors have been outside blowing for hours - their own - and other peoples as well. My dh and 2 oldest have been outside for 3 hours. They've done our driveway, the rocks along the side, and the end of the driveway for a new family who had cleared theirs and the snowplow came by - leaving about 12-18 inches of compacted snow at the end, (they brought us homemade Christmas cookies). I'm guessing the neighbor who called us already did a few extra driveways (he usually helps out those who are sick, etc.) In the past my neighbors have pitched in and cleared our driveway when my dh was out of town or working quite late. It's not something I've ever had to call for help with. Our neighbors help each other out - that's just the way it is here. We've thought about moving for more acreage. But days like today always make me second guess that one.

Guessing I won't be posting for a few days....Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An odd "Christmas" program

Last week I saw that an old Christmas show from when I was growing up was going to be on. I can't remember the name of's the one with Rudolf running off, finding a couple misfit friends, and eventually saving the day by driving Santa's sleigh in the end. The animation is nothing compared to today's standards..but it was cute and rather innocent. Even the abominable snow monster turned out to be not so scary after all.

After this program came another. Well, O.K. we don't generally watch much TV, we can watch another Christmas special. Well, we did watch it, I didn't see the need to turn it off. Mainly it was just dumb....but some bits of information became filled in near the end. My youngest kids were watching it with me and this went over their heads this time. Basically the storyline went something like this...

*Rudolf can't fly, he keeps trying and failing.
*Rudolf is shamed and runs away with his friend a flying squirrel in search of his real dad - one of Santa's elite flying forces.
*They are joined by some singing and dancing white female something ferrety thing.
*Meanwhile a very scary pack of male wolves captures a female pink poodle and uses her to find the reindeer for dinner (I missed how/why this happened).
*Rudolf and his friends eventually find the Flying Forces and we find out he doesn't know which one is his dad, he doesn't even know his dad's name.
*Rudolf asks the male reindeer if any of them remember a Christmas eve spent last year with a doe -ahem....proud puffed up reindeer - they all do. Does anyone know (whatever his mom's name was) and no one knows names.
*O.K. you think it can't get worse? Wrong. To prove he's actually the son of one of them he needs to prove he can fly. They take him to the edge of the runway/cliff and he jumps. He can't fly (apparently fear will prevent a reindeer from flying). Big pause as he sinks to the abyss and the lead reindeer finally saves him.
*The wolves bust in, the reindeer are too afraid to fly, Rudolf overcomes his fear and flies, saving the group.
*At that point his father pulls him aside, confesses he was afraid to admit he's his dad (ahem...and let him jump off a cliff...some dad).
*Rudolf is allowed to fly with the Flying Forces and they invite him to stay.
*He asks his dad why he doesn't come live with him and his mom.
*Sorry kid, I gotta practice flying all over the world all year long.
*Rudolf decides to go back home and be with his "real" dad, the flying squirrel who was his constant companion. No mention of going home to his mom and family, although he did.
*The end.

I did discuss this afterwards with Anna. Her response? If they are going to make a kids show where the animals are sort of like people then they should be virtuous. This was just bad.

Why would someone even make a show like this? O.K. Not really looking for an answer. Just sad. And a warning.....don't bother with one.

Small Successes


For more small success stories click on the Faith and Family link above.

1. Made a committment to clean off our bed BEFORE my dh gets home from work - and I did ALMOST every day. I tend to use it as a catch all, and I usually got it cleaned off before bedtime, but I think it added a bit of stress to his day when he came home and saw it there. I guess I did benefit from The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.

2. Got ALMOST all my Christmas shopping done - thanks to my parents. My dad takes me on an annual shopping trip for my birthday, my mom watches the kids (hence the cookies). I make an itinerary for the day, he drops me off at doors, watches for me to come out, and picks me up curbside. I was shopping from about 9 am until 5:30 pm with a nice lunch with my dad in the middle. It is GREAT!

3. I let my older kids have some fun at the expense of the younger kids' naptime. I like to guard naptime. I took the kids to see the opening of the new hospital which is only about 1 mile from our house. We were leaving a store and saw the helicopter land. We went on 1/2 a tour of the maternity ward (it was a bit crowded and it was pushing up on naptime, Logan made sure we knew that). But the 3 older kids wanted to see the ER tour - so the younger kids and I stayed in the play area while the older kids went on the tour. As we were leaving we decided to go look at the helicopter. Logan even got to sit in the pilot's seat. Did you know there is no room for a co-pilot? That's where the patient's feet go. There is also room for one paramedic and one flight nurse. By the time we got home naptime was officially botched big time. But, hospitals don't open very frequently, and everyone had a good time!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Hiya, all! No, this is not RealMom4Life. This is Anna. Mom asked me to post some pictures of the cookies we made with Grandma. So, here they are!

Here are all the cookies together:

And here's the plate that I made.

And yeah, more cookies!

And more cookies!

...and more!

J.M.J. stands for Jesus, Mary, Joseph :)

And of course...what would Christmas cookies be without the Christmas tree? And the star.

Jesus: fully human, fully divine. We didn't have a white marker, and that wouldn't have worked anyways.

Wow. I guess that's all! It sure seemed like a lot more when we were making them!
So yeah! Stop by again soon, folks!

Delicious Chicken

Crunchy Momma, you asked for the chicken recipe?

Put some thawed chicken breasts in a skillet.
Pour some chicken broth over the top.
Sprinkle it with lots of Kick'N Chicken spices by Weber (contains sea salt, onion, spices, sweet red pepper flakes, orange peel, garlic, sugar, paprika, and paprika). I so do not combine spices well on my own, my dh finds these combo seasonings and they work great!
Cook until chicken is done and broth has cooked away.

It's that easy!

You say "Shopping." I say "Hunting."

Yesterday was the Annual Christmas Present Hunt. Price Charming takes a day off of work, the kiddos stay with the best babysitter in the history of the world and Prince Charming and I go shopping or as I call it, hunting. I am not really a hunting fan and do not understand why some people consider this recreation. And why does it take so long? I knew what I wanted and where to find it but we were still gone nearly forever. We have a trunk full of prize packages, but I still have a list to cyber hunt. Honestly, next year, I am going to stay with the kids and send the best babysitter in the world (who also happens to be a darn good hunter as well) out with the list and the credit card.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And sometimes they are very small...and sometimes that's better.
For more small success stories click on the Faith and Family link above.

1. Made TWO new quick to prepare recipes and my family loved both. On Sunday we had Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin from Last night I simply made chicken breasts that I cooked in chicken broth and kickin' chickin' spices. Everyone loved it, and it was kind of an "accident" recipe.

2. Pulled together the Christmas gifts I've already picked up for the kids (unusual for me even this early) and laid them all out to show my dh. Normally we do this the week of Christmas and then need to scramble to fill in a few things.

3. Took some time yesterday to rearrange our family/toy room because Wyatt has been itching to bring all the kitchen toy set parts up. (We rotate what we bring upstairs but they have free access to everything in the toy area in the basement - can you guess which gets messier?) Since this was more than bringing a bucket downstairs and another up we needed to actually move furniture. But, I'm glad I did it. Wyatt, Elizabeth, and Logan are having a blast with it. Besides, we had a late start for school anyway since my 4 oldest were out shoveling our driveway for 1.5 hours. We live right in suburbia with a normal length driveway....we just had ALOT of snow, and we have to push all the snow to only one side.

4. BONUS Took the kids to a display at a local church to see 1,000 Nativity sets on Saturday. We headed to confession first and were there for an hour. Thank you Anna for taking the youngest 4 out to roam around, by the time I got out to relieve her the line had grown even longer. By the time she was done it was very close to dinner time. Since I was, apparently, the only one really excited about it I would have skipped it. But we went, it was awesome. The kids really did enjoy it. Then we bought fruit snacks on the way home, got home and made dinner, and ate at 7 p.m.

Don't forget to check out Crunchy Momma's Hangman post below (I got a chuckle as I can imagine certain kids of my own doing this).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Rules for Hangman

Sebastian will be 8 next week and not really the best speller around. He was playing hangman on our electronic dictionary today. I kept hearing him say "Yes!", "Cool!" and "I won again!" I am thinking, "Wow, that is great! He must be really good at that game." After a minute I got a bit interested in what sort of words he was spelling. When I walked over, I realized Seb was trying to hang the guy as quickly as possible and was celebrating his success at doing just that.

Can I have a Q, Z, X, and U, please?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The germs haven't left

4 year old Elizabeth is sick now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Small Successes


For more small success stories click on the link above.

1. Took Therese and Nathan shopping on Black Friday after getting home at 1:30 a.m.

2. Got out the Advent stuff with some serious help from the kids. They moved a curio cabinet full of breakable family heirlooms and 2 bookshelves to make room for the Nativity set. (see photo in next post if you're interested)

3. We had a tough day yesterday. Nothing major. Just gloomy weather, tired kids, teething know... But Therese put the Veggie Tales song called My Day on the CD player tonight. I'm sure I've heard it many times before but tonight it was so beautiful and made me so thankful for my kids. I am going to ask Nathan to download this for me. So why is this my successes? Because I really listened to it and took it to heart. The following is verse 2. It's so much better to listen to sweet Junior's voice but I didn't know how to make a link.

I somehow overlooked my bed
It seems the dog is underfed
Forgot to change my underclothes
Watched too many T.V. shows
I had some trouble sharing toys
And during rest time, made some noise
The walls are not for coloring
Sometimes I'm off-key when I sing

And so it's really good to know
How much you love me so
It's true, the bible says you do
You really love me
Your love was with me all throughout my day

God Bless!

It's Advent!

We are trying to celebrate Advent more fully this year. I took Crunchy Momma's advice and asked the kids what traditions were important to them. These are some of the things we came up with. I know the state of our souls is more important than the activities. But I'm hoping the latter will help with the former.

Wyatt attached his tree to the bottom of the bunk above him so he could see it upon awakening.

Henry opted to put all the ornaments on his tree and color them in one day at a time.

Nathan found this for me last year. He is in charge of putting the ornaments up/helping a younger kid to do it every day.

Teresa really wanted to do a Jesse Tree this year. We did one a few years ago with paper ornaments but thought we would do something different this time. We had the earth hanging in our basement from our solar system days and the red apple is from the kids' kitchen set.

This is mine, but I share. It's a big hit! Elizabeth and Wyatt have a great time playing with figures, along with Terese, Henry, and Wyatt. My husband bought the creche and Holy Family for me for our first Christmas as husband and wife. He and Anna made that table for me years ago when she was quite young. Every year my husband and the kids buy me a new piece for my December (pre-Christmas) birthday. I also receive a piece from each of my nephew/godsons for Christmas every year. The Holy Family and Wise Men are still in the boxes. This has got to be one of the most precious THINGS I own.

Above: My In Conversation with God prayer book. Very important for me.

Like the miniature candles? They just came in the mail for next year. I was always notoriously late in buying advent now each year I buy a set to pack away for the following year. Guess I still need to buy another set. I made a mistake on the size.....