Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Days or Summer Craze?

We are coming upon the completion of what will be noted as the most hectic week in our summer schedule.  We did not intentionally plan it this way, but life happens and we try our best to make the best of it.  The kids are actually tired and would randomly sleep whenever the opportunity arose.

Sweet Pea

Over the weekend, I participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.  Sunday was my recovery day and Monday began the craziness.  By 8 AM (groggy as I was) we had to be ready to go and in the van to get to Vacation Bible School.  That ran until 11:30 each morning.  I then loaded the kids back up in the van, distributed bag lunches for them to eat on the way to Summer Rec.  The boys needed to be on the football field by noon.  Gummi needed to be in the gym by 12:15 for gymnastics.  The other kids and I would watch Gummi first and then head back over to the field to watch the last hour of football.  We returned home each afternoon around 2:30. 

Just for kicks, we included a night of church bowling.
Sweet Pea, Pumpkin & Cucumber, enamored with the ball return.

At the end of the evening after we had bowled, Pumpkin began to cry. 

Me:  What's wrong honey?
Pumpkin:  Bowling is bad idea!
Me:  Why do you say that?
Pumpkin:  Because I had too many turns! 

Not only did Pumpkin think that bowling 10 frames was too much, upon our return home she was trying to convince her siblings that this was an actual picture of her when she was a baby.
When her brothers and sisters doubted her, she stomped her feet and said, "I know what I'm talking 'bout!"

Thankfully, we had no Summer Rec today.  We concluded VBS with Mass and a potluck (For the record - children's potlucks ROCK!  Mac & Cheese, hotdogs, 2 types of cookie salads, pizza hotdish, taco salad and of course - Rice Krispy Bars.  Total paradise for the picky eaters).

Here are a few memorable "kidisms" from this past week:

Cucumber, as she lays across my lap at Football:   
Cucumber:  I'm a kid with troubles.
Me:  What kind of troubles do you have?
Cucumber:  Well, I don't have any school friends yet.
Me:  That's because you're not in school yet.  Just wait a few months and then you'll make lots of new friends.
Cucumber:  A few months?  That's terrible!

Passing our city limit sign:
Honey Bunches:  Mom, is that really the population of our town?
Me:  Yes.
Honey Bunches:  You know my stomach could probably hold that many pieces of candy.

Usual van talk:
Sweet Potato:  Hey Mom.  Gas is predicted to go down to $2.50 in September and oil will drop to $80 a barrel.
Me:  Umm, how do you know this?
Sweet Potato:  I watch the evening news (said in a tone that makes me sound like a complete idiot).
Honey Bunches:  Well did you know that people in Texas don't drive cars?
Me:  Really?  Then what do they do?
Honey Bunches:  They ride horses (said in a tone that makes me sound like a complete idiot).

Disclaimer:  For all my friends in Texas - I really do understand that many of you transport by car or bus and not by horse.

Just in case I didn't have enough to do, Sweet Pea decided to jam non-van-keys into the keyhole of my van.

But with all that being said and done, the theme of Vacation Bible School resounded throughout our home.  Gummi decorated our driveway as a reminder:
No Matter What, Trust God!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Father's Day 2012

I am finally getting around to writing a little something about Father's Day.  Recently my days have been very FULL, not allowing me much time to record any of our family's memoirs.  Tonight, however, Monkey is golfing, the kids and Grandma are in bed, and I am enjoying a few moments of quiet.  So with a glass of red wine and my computer, I shall attempt to share some thoughts on the day we dedicate to Fathers.

My own father I greatly adored.  He and my mom made tremendous sacrifices for our family throughout our growing up.  He was a man of strong faith and high moral values.  It was his lessons on life that are one of my greatest treasures.  Although he may have been a little rough around the edges at times, his heart was big and his spirit gentle. 

When I reminisce about my Dad and Father's Day, I think about potato pancakes.  My Dad loved potato pancakes.  No distance seemed too far to acquire them.  His favorites were served at various Church fundraisers.  The third Sunday of each month, a semi-local Rod & Gun club hosts an "all you can eat" potato pancake breakfast.  My Dad would often remind us of this and whoever was available, would travel there with him to eat "one of the best brunches around."  The Father's Day immediately following my Dad's passing, our entire family celebrated by attending this brunch.  We continue to go whenever we can.  I think most of us go, not because we love potato pancakes so much, but because it reminds us of something my Dad enjoyed, not to mention yet another opportunity to celebrate as family.

And now onto my loving husband. .  .

Monkey is a great dad.  He loves our kids, he prays for them everyday, and his presence is felt by them, even when he's traveling.  He's teaching our boys how to golf.  He crafts with our girls.  He has taught each child how to ride their two wheeler. He balances my motherly-over-protecting ways.  He has taught me how to let go, little by little, so our children can experience a bit of independence.  When I feel overwhelmed or that I may just need a few hours to myself, he never flinches to simply load them up in the van and take them to the park or out window shopping.  He laughs at their jokes and enjoys hearing (especially the girls) squeal when he's captured them for a tickle fest.  

Each time I found out I was pregnant, Monkey rejoiced with me.  It never seemed to matter where we were at in our lives; changing jobs, struggling financially, knowing we would need a larger vehicle, etc.  He would always say, "we'll figure it out.  Let's just enjoy this moment."  And with each new life we welcomed into the world, he was by my side, crying and laughing with me at the miracle of life. 

I can't discount the sacrifices Monkey has made to our family.  He works hard so that I can stay home with our children.  It wasn't an easy decision for me to quit my job, but he knew the desire of my heart to be at home and said he would try his best to make that happen.  I have happily been at home for two years.  

His two passions in life are music and golf - both of which have taken a back-seat to family life.  Although he dabbles a little in both, he doesn't spend nearly as much time as he may like to. Monkey is a man of many talents, but his greatest accomplishments in life thus far (at least in my book) are his roles as husband and father.  And so it is with a grateful heart that I say to my adoring husband, "Thank you for all you do for our family.  You are greatly loved by us all.  Happy Father's Day!"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Potty Mouths

The following exchange took place this morning during breakfast.  All of the kids were at the table eating their oatmeal, and everyone had something to share.

Honey Bunches:  I'm pooped.

Sweet Pea:  (gasp)  Honey said a bad word.

Honey Bunches:  No I didn't.  I said "pooped."

Pumpkin:  I didn't poop.  You pooped.


Sweet Potato:  Mom, what does POOPT mean?

Honey Bunches:  The word is pooped and it means I'm tired.

Pumpkin:  I not poop.  (She begins to pretend to cry).

Sweet Pea:  Why did Honey Poop?

Honey Bunches:  I'm annoyed.

Gummi Bear:  I think this is all gross.

Cucumber:  (rolling her eyes)  Oh brother!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sweet Pea Turns Four

This is how I was greeted this morning in the kitchen.  Sweet Pea came running out of her bedroom holding up 4 fingers and shouting, "I'm 4 today!"

  Auntie Sue came over for a cup of coffee and treated us to monkey bread.  Sweet Pea picked her own mug to drink from;  a total blast from the past for Monkey and I (that would be prom in 1991).

Honey Bunches presented his sister with this letter E for her birthday.

Today was a day all about the birthday girl.  She was completely the center of attention in all aspects.  A little bit of that is out of guilt from years past.  Two years ago we didn't celebrate her birthday, due to the passing of my Dad.  Last year, we didn't celebrate her birthday because of my niece's engagement party in Canada.  Sweet Pea was well over-do for her own celebration.

I had Sweet Pea put on her swimsuit and gave her the next present.

 It was a sprinkler, with the promise that she could play in it as long as she wanted.  This is a picture of her giggling; total and complete joy!

And literally, she played in the water all day.

Next, treats were delivered by Auntie Mary; Fresh fruit tarts and chocolate dipped strawberries.  DELICIOUS!

In exchange for naps, we face painted with our homemade paint recipe.  

Sweet Pea painting Pumpkin's cheek

Pumpkin looking a little unsure about her face art.

All the girls and a neighbor boy playing with the paints.

After face painting, we took out the water guns.  I promise I really do have two sons, however today they were helping their aunt with her yard work.  The neighbor boy heard all the screams and squeals and decided to join in on the fun.

After Sweet Pea's choice of having tacos for supper, we sang Happy Birthday and she blew out the candles on the cake of her choice - chocolate with chocolate frosting.

My dear little Sweet Pea, I love you so much.  I love how you add an extra syllable to most words.  I love how you ask me daily how I am feeling.  I love how you feel the need to be responsible for your little sister, who actually is bigger than you.  I love how much you love to be outdoors and never seem to tire on the swings.  I love how you belt out a tune, causing your siblings to cover their ears - and you don't care.  You bring joy to my life and add a smile to my face everyday.  Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day of Serenity

Today marks the second anniversary of my Dad's passing.  When I awoke this morning, I hadn't given it any thought.  The date had actually escaped me.  My morning began with a cup of coffee on the deck.  Only one child was awake at that time and he decided to stay in the house and read a book.  The morning was so quiet and the kids were so calm.  After breakfast, Sweet Pea asked me if I would pray the Rosary with her - something she has never asked me to do with her alone.  We sat on the deck and eventually Pumpkin joined us as well.  Both girls sat and prayed the entire prayer.  I was thinking to myself how rarer this is, and then it dawned on me the significance of the day.  It's as if the kids knew I needed a little time to just sit quietly and reflect.  It was truly a serene day; one spent mostly outdoors, reading, pushing the kids on swings, lounging in the grass and looking at the clouds, listening to the birds, and even a little nap.

There is still not a day that goes by where I don't think about my Dad.  Little reminders of him seem to pop up almost everywhere.  I miss his smile, his sense of humor, his stories, and his hugs.  The pain of loss lessens with each passing day, but there is still a small ache within my heart.

Today was a day where I counted my blessings and found many reasons to smile.  So the following is an account of a few of the smiles brought to me today.

A hassle-free lunch of Macaroni & Cheese made by Sweet Potato

Beautiful fresh lilies from Silly's garden

Shared icees on the deck with my girls

The first fruits of my tomato plant

A song and dance by Cucumber

Conversations that had me chuckling:

Pumpkin:  I want to sing the ABC's.  (She proceeds to sing the song until she gets to X).  Wait.  I think I forgot AWE (R).  I better start over.

Honey Bunches:  Commenting on the Miss USA pageant last night.  I think I know why Miss Rhode Island is so small.  She comes from a very small state.

Sweet Pea:  Upon seeing the capris I was wearing this morning.  Whoa mom.  You got small pants on.  I think you should give those to Gummi Bear.

Cucumber:  Mom.  Do you know I can see your mustache?

 I am thankful that I had all of my kids surrounding me today, reminding me not to take life too seriously.  I think Grandpa was looking down upon us as well, sharing in all of our laughter and joy.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Birthday To The Church

I'm late in getting some of my posts out from the month of May.  I may be back-tracking a little bit in the next few entries.  It's Sunday morning.  I'm sitting on our deck at our new patio set (not brand new, but new to us, thanks to a garage sale).  I'm sipping my coffee and the kids are spread out with books and being creative in their journals.  The birds are singing and there is a slight breeze rustling the leaves on the trees.  The only thing that would make the morning more perfect - if the trains that drove by wouldn't lay on their whistles so long and so loud.  None the less, this is my serenity for the moment.

Last Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Pentecost; the birth of the Church.  Pentecost is one of my favorite Feast Days.  The scripture readings for the day inspire me over and over again.  They are filled with hope, with promise, and with so much life.  They are the readings I often turn to when I feel defeated or simply need reassurance; that little nudge to move forward.  The apostles were fearful for their lives, and yet by the power of the Holy Spirit, they were gifted with what they needed to leave the safety of that little room and begin to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the earth.

What I find most powerful in this account, is that the very same Spirit is alive and dwelling within and among us today.  It is the very same Spirit that filled us at our Baptism.  It is the very same Spirit whose gifts were sealed within us at our Confirmation.

At a past Confirmation Mass with a former Bishop from our Diocese, he shared in his homily that through our Confirmation, each of us have been given the Gifts of the Spirit.  They are within us, yearning to be tapped into and used.  Not all of us are "good" at all of the gifts, but we do have them.  Just like anything else in life, we need to work at them, and also rely on the Holy Spirit to help them surface. 

As a family, we celebrated Pentecost, first by going to Mass.  We attempted to all wear red.

Then later in the day, we once again crafted with paper plates.  This time, we made doves.

I asked Cucumber why her dove has a sad face.  She said, "because Jesus left him to do alot of work."  Her Theology may need a little tweaking :)

Hanging from our "Holy Spirits", were tongues of fire, which were written the Gifts of the Spirit.  We re-read the account of Pentecost and the girls proudly hung their creations around the house (the boys were at the cabin).  Fittingly, we sang Happy Birthday to the Church.  Another fun celebration of yet another awesome Feast!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Break

Recently my posts have been few and in-between.  There are a couple of reasons for this, primarily that the kids have been on summer break now for over a week.  We are  S  L  O  W  L  Y  settling into vacation mode.  After the last day of school, Grandpa picked up the boys and brought them back to his cabin for 6 days.  So the girls and I had lots of "girlie" time to enjoy.  We painted nails, put on make-up, played dress-up, crafted, and spent lots of time outdoors.

A much different mess than what the boys leave

Crafting with cheap paper plates (our dear family friend Jessica spent some time with us as well)

Pumpkin watering the flowers

 The highlight of our week was a Friday night camp out in the living room.  We ate pizza, rented a Barbie movie, and made in-door smores.

Again, I love that it's the simple things that tend to mean the most to our kids.  The morning after our "sleep over", Cucumber gave me a hug and said, "That was one of the best days of my life!"

And then later in the day we all enjoyed a very     L  O  N  G       nap.

Summer is off to a pretty great start.  Before all the activities of the season begin, I'm going to drink up this time of leisure and playfulness.  Time is gift and I want to treasure every moment of it!