Tuesday, October 06, 2015


Jack's 5th grade school picture....

Alllll the pictures I took trying to get that picture...

Getting a picture of this child is a nightmare. He will not make a nice face. You have to distract him and sneak up on it.

Jack is in fifth grade this year, and tomorrow is his 11th birthday! I can't believe he is that old. He was only 2 when I started this blog! He is doing very well. We are still enrolled in Mother of Divine Grace, and still adapting their curriculum for him. I would say, very generally, that he is on about a 3rd-ish grade level. Maybe late 2nd grade in math. We have backed up a bit and kind of mostly starting math over with Math U See. It is too soon to tell if that will help. He still goes to speech and OT, though he is down to two hours a week now. He plays baseball with Miracle League...he takes piano lessons...he attends PSR classes at our church (with my husband). As he gets older, we see more issues with anxiety cropping up,,,I will maybe blog more about that in another post. He still loves trains, love Legos, loves Pokemon, jumping on the trampoline, playing the Wii, riding his scooter...this summer he learned how to skate and now he loves to go to the skating rink. He is my sweetie. Love this boy.

Monday, October 05, 2015


So...I am very conscious of the fact that I am now blogging about an adult child. But I want to share a little about the latest goings on of my sweet oldest. Maria graduated! She is in college! Big things, big things. Oh, I could write many long posts about all the adjustments this involved, but suffice to say we are very proud of her, and we miss her very much. I don't want to name the school she is attending, for creepy-stalker reasons,,,if you know me through other arenas you probably already know where she is. But she is at a good Catholic school. So, creepy stalkers, start searching Catholic schools for all the Maria's...she will graduate before you finish, haha!

She is majoring in theater with a minor in theology. She is involved in soccer and choir and swing dances and having a lot of good fun. Hopefully she is studying a bit too...mid-terms approacheth. Can't wait to have her home for a nice long Christmas break.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

I know I keep saying this, but....

I really, really want to get back to blogging! I have so much fun looking back through the archives at all of our adventures. I am really going to try this week to start up again.

Let's start with back to school pictures and updates, how about that? I will post an "update" on all five kiddos, one for each day this week. And I'll start off today with my nephew, Kain,,,so many of you have prayed for him over the years and ask about him. He is 15 now. 15!!! Can you believe it? He was 6 when he first made an appearance here, back at the beginning of this blog! I won't share too much because he is a teenager and I want to respect his privacy, but...he is really doing much better. He is still living with my parents, and is happy there and in high school now and right now things are blessedly ok on that front. His high school has a vocational training type of program and they are thinking that would be a good thing for him in the second half of high school. He is also getting confirmed this spring!

Here is a very poor picture to share with him in it, lol. He went with us to Familyland in August. He is making a goofy face here, because he does that for All The Pictures. And most of my other kids look kind of dorky because I told them to say "FAMILYLAND" instead of "CHEESE" and discovered that "cheese" is the word of choice for a reason. But it's the only recent picture I have handy with Kain in it!

Next time, updates on Maria~

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Answer Me This, and yes, I'm still alive

Hellooooo! I keep thinking I will use the summer "break" to get back into blogging, and lookie at that date in the corner of your screen, it is JULY already, and I have not blogged once! So, this seems like an easy and fun way to jump back in...I am joining Kendra at Catholic All Year for Answer Me This. I have no photos...I'm afraid it was all I could do to make myself jump back into posting...photos next time! Here are this week's questions!

1. How did you celebrate the 4th of July?
Oh,,,this is the question of the moment in our house. I am writing this the morning of the 4th. I have attended fireworks shows for every 4th that I can remember. Even with a husband that works weird shifts, and a house full of little wandering people, we attend the fireworks show, because it is what we *do*, and in years my husband can't make it my parents have been there to kid-wrangle. It is less than ideal though. If you go to one, you know what I mean. You have to arrive a couple of hours ahead of time and chase small, bored children in the humid, mosquito-y evening, trying to keep everyone contained and happy until it is FINALLY dark. Then you have to spend an hour trying to make the four mile journey home afterwards. And to make it even more fun, my Jack *hates* traffic and pretty much has a Rain Man style meltdown in the car each year on the way home. So. This year I tentatively suggested *not going*. And everyone jumped at it. My parents are staying home. It takes them two hours to get home after fireworks, and turns out they hate that. My husband is working the today, and he doesn't really want to go. My teenager, usually the queen of "but that's the way we ALWAYS do it", doesn't care about going. The littler kids just care about doing snakes and sparklers at home. And as much as I love the show....I feel kind of over it until my kids are at least old enough for me to set up a camping chair for myself and enjoy the pre-show concerts and not have to keep my 3yo away from the street. So, this year...we are home. It will be a simple day this year, just us, and a yummy dessert, and pizza for everyone not doing a Whole 30, and fireworks in the street.

2. Do you sunburn easily?
Oh yes. Very. My husband is half Jewish, and so he is actually rather olive-skinned...one of my kids has inherited this...Henry, the boy in my header photo. The rest of us are a pale, freckly bunch. Because of this we usually go to the lake or pool at 4pm.

3. Hot dogs. Yay or nay?
Um, Yay! Love hot dogs, especially on the grill. All beef, preferably. I know they are not healthy...but they are a "Jack-food", one of the few foods my autistic son will actually eat, so they are a staple for him. The rest of us eat them far less often...maybe once a month for a desperate quick lunch.

4. Have you ever personally set off fireworks?
Sure, every year. I thought pretty much everyone did, but I guess not. lol. My neighbors have been setting off fireworks all week, which is pretty annoying, frankly. But we do set them off on the 4th. Yes, they make me nervous. My husband loves it though.

5. Have you ever jumped off the high dive?
No. I kind of have an issue with heights.

6. Do you do anything weird in your sleep?
Hmmmm. I do talk in my sleep. My mom says I did it most nights as a kid. I don't think I do it a lot anymore. I did a lot of weird things in my sleep as a kid, actually. I used to sleepwalk, and I would wake up in random places in the house. My mom says once I came downstairs and started moving furniture around. :)

Ok, that was fun! Looking forward to seeing everyone's answers! Answer in the comments if you like, or on your blog.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12 in 2014

Well, howdy! I'm still here, and actually, I would really like to start blogging regularly again. Now that the baby (who, btw, is now 2 1/2!) goes to bed at a decent hour, I actually find myself with some *alone time* several evenings a week...so I actually might have *time* to do some blogging! I thought an easy and fun way to start off would be linking up to Dwija's end of the year post.

Anyway, I will just run this up quick and dirty without much commentary because I am already late to the link up! I am just grabbing these from facebook because that is what is easiest, though if I had time, this is would be a neat excuse to go through and neatify your entire collection of pictures for the year. These pictures are chronological, though there seems to be a dearth of decent pictures from early in the year for some reason..

We will start with my beautiful oldest daughter, Maria...she is off to prom in this picture. If you homeschool and wonder if your child will get to go to dances and such, well...Maria has been to a few!

Tessie turned 6 in May, and had a "flower birthday".

And the day after, Mary Claire turned 2. This is her birthday donut breakfast, but she later had a "very hungry caterpillar" theme going on.

camping in August! Jack, Tess, Henry, and Mary Claire in the cabin.

just a cute picture of Maria and Mary Claire, the oldest and youngest. They are very close and have such a sweet relationship.

Hiking on our camping trip, Mary Claire and Henry.

Maria's 18th birthday was in September. We had a Dr. Who/Impossible Astronaut party!

The corn maze in October, Henry, who turned four this year...

Jack, St. John Vianney for All Saints' Day. Jack is now 10 years old!

Mary Claire as St. Kateri

Mary Claire on my mom's horse at Thanksgiving.

Merry Christmas Eve pajama shot! For those new to the blog, a run down, left to right back row is Jack, age 10; Maria, age 18; Mary Claire, age 2. In front is Henry, age 4, and Tess, age 6.

Thanks for visiting, come back in the New Year!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Dear Maria, week 8 and 9...one last long one!

Friday, July 25- So, when I left off, Meme had taken the gang overnight to her house and Dad and I went to that concert. Today, I planned to take advantage of everyone being gone and work on the Great and Terrible Upstairs. Not long after I got started though, Meme called and said that Jack was sick. Because, I make plans and God laughs. He was running a low temperature, but he was wheezing and coughing terribly and not eating at all....always on a Friday! They always get sick on the weekend! So, I spent the rest of the day at the urgent care clinic and the pharmacy and all that fun stuff.

Saturday, July 26th- Today we cleaned at home. I'm afraid most of the days in this letter will read like this. I'm on a whirlwind of lysol and Mr. Clean erasers around here. I'm trying hard to finish the whole house before we leave, but as you know these things always go more slowly than I hope, and my kid help is in Ohio, lol. Dad helps with the kids when he can, but he has his hands full chainsawing broken trees right now. I worked on the playroom some more, and here's a picture of Mary Claire putting her baby doll to bed.

I am moving furniture around and rearranging some things. It's driving Tess insane. She does not like what I am doing *at all*. And she comes back into the room later and rearranges things to her liking as best she can.

Cleaning and organizing means finding fun stuff sometimes though. Here's Tess in a nightgown I dug up from some Too Big Clothes Boxes. She loooooves this nightgown!

Sunday, July 27th- I've ordered the last of the school books! I wanted to get things ordered in time for them to arrive before we leave.
Today we went to mass of course, at St. Stephen's since Dad is working this weekend. Jack came too. He is doing a lot better, though still coughing.

Here's Henry reading an I Spy book. Whatever room I am cleaning in is THE place to hang out!

Monday, July 28th- Jack and the gang spent the day digging up the backyard. He says they are digging to Canada. I ordered some assorted clothing to, to make sure everyone has enough to get through a week of camping. In a weird, random find, I got the girls two long old fashioned white nightgowns on a great sale. They can wear them for St. Lucy's feast day in December! I tried to find some last year, but they were pricey.

Tuesday, July 29th- Bowling today. Jack just loves bowling day. He takes it very seriously. Here's some bowling pictures. Isn't Tess cute in her pigtails?

Keeping Mary happy with M&M's...

Wednesday, July 30th- Kid quotes...
Jack to Tess- "Can you make a snowman come to life?"
Tess, laughing- "No, Jack! You know you have to have a magic hat to do that!"
Today, therapy for Jack, and cleaning cleaning cleaning.

Thursday, July 31st- I begged Dad to take Jack, Tess, and Henry to the library before he left for work, just to get them out of the house for a while. They have been left to their own devices, entertainment-wise, all week so I can clean, and I planned more of the same next week, so I thought it would do them good to go do something.

Here's Mr. Squirrel! He was watching me in the bathroom. Like, really close by, just watching for a looong time. Frankly, it was a little weird.

Friday, August 1st- Stair guy!! Big excitement! The stair guy came and broke up the front stairs with a jackhammer! He was actually supposed to come yesterday but it rained. Here's a before picture, just so you can remember how bad they had gotten. See Henry in the door?

Saturday, August 2nd- Broken up stair rubble.

This was *after* he had taken a load to the dump. It's amazing, really, how much there is! Dad is off this weekend, and I am....cleaning! haha! Finally finished upstairs. Here's a picture of my big helper. He lost his pants.

He is really a big help. He vacuumed all along the baseboards for me, and was cleaning windows and such. He's a good little worker! Do you know I am STILL finding dried beans up there from when that room used to be our schoolroom and Jack was a toddler and dumped his beanbox all over the floor?

I have also finished the kids' bedrooms. We moved Tess's bed and made room for moving Mary Claire in at some point.

I had Jack climb up into your bed and strip the sheets and blankets for washing. Good thing, because they were dusty! He also found Henry's missing water bottle and a box of cheezit's, Miss I'm Not Eating in My Room.

I cleaned out your nest. I didn't bother with your stuff in your cabinets and all, but I moved out the furniture and swept it all out. I emptied your closet and moved the stuffed animals out. Don't worry, your bunnies and tigers are still there. The others have moved out though to the playroom. I should warn you now about the closet. A while ago, one of the big closet shelves fell down in the laundry room. It's the one that held my clothes and some of Dad's. Dad has to get some bigger toggle bolts and put it back up. In the meantime, I moved my clothes to your closet and some of Dad's to the boys' room. It is very temporary. Dad will put the shelves back up when we return from camping. Also, we moved Tess's dollhouse to the playroom and moved the dress up clothes in. My plan is to make a nice little dress up area in there...install a low rod to hang outfits on, some cute baskets for playsilks and such...and I want to get some nice baskets for the top shelf for your things.

Sunday, August 3rd- Latin mass and potluck today. Also, cleaning was planned. Yes, on a Sunday. It has become necessary. But, on the way to mass I started feeling badly...very nauseated. Lasted all day. No, I don't think it's what you are thinking, lol. But, that combined with the fact that Mary didn't sleep well and so I only got five hours of sleep...I was not in good shape for cleaning.

Today is Monday, August 4th, and I'm getting ready to mail this letter. This will be our last one! I thought of sending one right before we left, but this one is going out so much later than I thought, and we will see you in person soon, so I think this will be it. This week will be pretty much me trying to get as much cleaning done as I can before time runs out on me, bowling on Tuesday even though I don't have time for it, therapies on Wednesday, packity pack, pack on Thursday. Friday, we leave, bright and early! We're all very excited! We usually arrive sometime right around time for the Saturday mass...we have never gone to the Saturday mass because, well, I think only once have we gotten there before it starts, and even that was just barely...and I was always afraid how Jack would take, "Ok, we have spent two days driving here in the car, now get out and go to mass!" lol. But, probably while you all are at mass we will be checking in and eating dinner and just getting settled. Can't wait to see you!
All For!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dear Maria, week 7

Catching up!

Rest of Thursday, July 17th
Soooo, after swim lessons, we came back home and the idea was to leave right away. But, being us, we did not. We left two hours later. We dropped the dog off at Meme's and papa's on our way out of town, stopped at a playland McDonald's halfway there, and arrived at our hotel around 11pm. Since we had one person less to consider for sleeping arrangements, Jack slept on the foldout sofa by himself, and he was quite happy with that. Dad and Henry slept in one bed, Tess and Mary and I in the other, and after Mary fell asleep I moved her to the crib. Grandma and Grandpa were in a room right next door to us. Mary and Henry had fallen asleep toward the end of the trip.

When we got to the hotel, Henry *stayed asleep*, which was unbelievable. Mary, however, woke up and cried until 1am. Sigh.

Friday, July 18th
I'm trying to remember what we did, exactly, on this day. Dad took the kids swimming, and I took Mary to the grocery store to get a few things for our room. We had Imo's with Aunt Sarah and her gang. Mary ran *hard* into a table and hurt her nose.

This picture doesn't do it justice. It was taken the next day when it was looking better. It was really swollen. Afterwards we went swimming again in the hotel pool with Megan and Carly. Henry swallowed a bunch of pool water and vomited in the pool, and again at the side of the pool, making us very popular. So at that point we called it a night. It was great to see your cousins. They are growing up so fast, beautiful girls. Henry really took to Megan, and Tess, while she adores them both, seemed to play a lot with Carly. Nick was there too, though he didn't swim...it was good to see him before he leaves for college! Oh! I know something else we did. We drove out to Dad's aunt's house to visit...I knew there was something...
Here's random hotel photos...

Mary eating breakfast...

Coloring and such...

Like the hair sprig? I will probably have to cut her bangs before we see you again. They are getting in her eyes now, and she WILL NOT leave anything in her hair to keep them back.

I'm realizing all my pictures are in the hotel and car. That's annoying! I guess it's because, 1. I'm distracted when we are Out and About, and 2. I can't see my phone at all well enough to take outside pictures with it.

Saturday, July 19th
Today was the reunion. It was very nice to see everyone, very hot. The old people sat under the pavilion and kept saying how cool it was while I fought off heat stroke chasing Henry and Mary around the park, ha! It really could have been hotter, but still...it was plenty hot. And the splash park wasn't open, so. We were just hot.

At the end of the day, Dad and I were briefly sitting in the shade with Mary when this woman came up and told us Henry was running around naked from the waste down and covered with poo. Seriously. Dad went running to get him, and I took him to the bathroom to clean him up, and then because we weren't hot enough we all traipsed all over that enormous dang park trying to find his missing clothes and shoes. We couldn't find them anywhere. Later that evening I went to Target to get more sandals for Henry because they were the only shoes I packed.

Sunday, July 20th
The plan for the day was to go to mass and then go with Aunt Sarah and the girls to Grant's Farm. We have never been there before, and so I was thinking something the size of the animal safari places around here. Wrong-o! It is huge. Like going to an amusement park or something. So by the time we got there, there was a huge long line of people waiting to get in. So, we left and went to a playground. The kids were disappointed. Oh! But on the plus side, Henry remembered where he left his clothes! We went back to the park and they were still there, right where he said they would be. I never did find where he actually pooped though. His clothes were clean. Hmmm....mysteries...
We also got a chance to actually sit and chat with Aunt Sarah, which had not been easy with the usual chaos that follows us around.

Monday, July 21st
Headed back home today. We made a stop on the way.....

Sorry. Thought about sending some, but I purposely have avoided sending chocolate thinking it wouldn't send well in this heat. We will stop on our way home from Familyland anyway I'm sure.

We stopped on the way out at a Catholic bookstore and let the kids pick some things.
Tess got this Blessed Mother doll. She has food in her mouth, hence the cheeks.

Henry got this David figure.

Mary got a few books, of course, because I was picking for her, ha!

Jack got a Veggie Tales DVD.

We also got assorted medals and holy cards. While I was in there, one of your service corp gang called asking me if I had any prayer requests. I was checking out at the bookstore, and I was so surprised I couldn't even think of much intelligent to say!

Tuesday, July 22nd
Back home, and we just settled in. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning out the van.
Here's Mary in the fairly clean playroom. She loves the hand weights and holds them up to her eyes and says, "peek a boo!"

Wait until you hear how many words she has picked up! So many! And when you change her diaper she says, "Ewwww, I tinky!" Meme taught her that, hehe.

Wednesday, July 23rd
I made a list of all the cleaning chores still needing to get done before we leave for Familyland and spread them out on my calendar. My plan is to do the cleaning before we go, and when we get home I will work on the paper piles and such. While I was cleaning, some a storm came through, and wow, it was like something out of The Wizard of Oz. I was in the playroom cleaning and could see the trees outside the window bending over and stuff flying by. And we lost a huge branch of the Giant Branch Shedding Tree, of course. But we also lost this...

One of the Tessland trees. It is very damaged, as you can see, and will have to come down. It also took out several fence boards, but thankfully that damage is just cosmetic and easily fixed, and in the meantime the fence still keeps everyone in! Driving around town you can see lots and lots of trees and branches down, damaged roofs, etc.

Thurday, July 24th
Today is concert day! This is the day of the Steely Dan concert...remember I bought Dad tickets for Father's Day? Meme kept all four kids OVERNIGHT. Wooowww.... it felt sooo weird. Here's me being sad after dropping them off. Sad in my big empty van...

But then we had fun! Here's dinner at the concert.

We sat on blankets in the grass and it was fun, especially once the sun dropped behind the hill and wasn't beating down on my back. I feel like I'm getting old to be comfortable sitting on the grass for four hours though.

So, that was week 7! This was your off week, but you didn't call us, boohoo! Last I head from you was when you left a message about your tetanus shot! So, hope you are having a good time, this is, let's see, your week off between the third and fourth fest!