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!

Love,
Mom













Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dear Maria, week 6

Soooo...I am way behind now! Totally missed a week! This is actually week 7 now. See,we went to St. Louis, and I didn't get a letter out before we left like I'd hoped...But, let's pretend, shall we? I'll see what we can remember. Facebook will help. It's week 6. *cue flashback music*
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Friday, July 11th
Well, this was a red letter day in family history. We had An Incident. See, I found some Sharpie damage...I had my sharpies way up high, but someone climbed the shelves and got the basket down. And someone decorated the floor...

and the siding...

and the table...

and after intense negotiations and waterboarding I found the guilty party.



Don't look into the big brown basset hound eyes. It's a trick. He went to bed without dessert.
You know how when you are a kid and you think your parents love to get you in trouble? Well, that's not true. You'll see. It sucks having to punish your kids. This face just about killed me.

Saturday, July 12th
I got nothin here. It was a Saturday. So I'm guessing some effort at cleaning was involved. Judging from my facebook post the following day, I'm going to guess it didn't go well.

Sunday, July 13th
They took the hose and filled the sandbox up with water. Like, it's a pond now. All the sand I bought is just a mess all over the yard, and the sandbox is now a mosquito hotel. And here's the sad truth. I didn't even care. They were playing happily. Outside. Together. So, whatever. When I called them in, they were covered from head to toe in muddy sand. And it was getting too cold to use the hose. So I filled the giant pitchers with warm water, called them up on the deck one at a time, and dumped the water over their heads. Bedtime!

Monday, July 14th
Wandered out to the muddy hole that used to be a sandbox and found Jack's history book, along with a bunch of ruined wooden trains and tracks. Awesome.

Tuesday, July 15th
Weird Al came out with a new record. According to Facebook, that's all that happened that was noteworthy.

Wednesday, July 16th
The world came to an end, because it was JULY and in the FIFTIES. Seriously. The kids were frrreeezzzing to death at swim lessons. Craziness. Also, I took Tess to get girl haircuts, finally. Tess told the hairdresser to cut her hair like Rupunzel. I picked my hairdresser's brain about beauty schools. We went out for froyo afterwards, of course. I got caramel pretzel, and she got pink with every fruit rainbowy topping they had. It was disgusting. Even she didn't like it, and made me trade. I couldn't even it it. Yuck.

Thursday, July 17th
Last day of swim lessons, hooray! They are freezing, can you tell? And later that day, we were off to St. Louis!

Random bonus little sister pics...because there weren't many pictures in this one...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Dear Maria, week 5

Week 5! That means we are halfway through summer. Boy, I really thought I would have gotten more done by now. Sigh. Well, let's see...this week...
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Saturday, July 5th...
Well, after a busy end of the week last week, the kids all slept in. haha! Of course not! But, Dad was off this weekend and we did have a pretty quiet weekend at home. I got some groceries in the house, and that was the most exciting thing that happened all day.

Sunday, July 6th...
We went to Latin mass, but didn't stay for the potluck. I felt all socialized out still, and so we just came home and had pancakes. I started decrapping the playroom. Soooo slow going. Since Mary and I are sleeping in there on these hot summer nights, I can't ever get in there when she is asleep. The other kids don't help much either. Tess keeps arguing with me about organization...she doesn't want this play food with her other playfood because it is byoodibull princess food and she wants it with her dolls...that sort of thing. And Henry gets very excited and digs through my piles of stuff I'm picking up. Dad took them to the splash park for a while this afternoon, so that gave me a bit of uninterrupted time, but just enough to make a dent. That room is atrocious and has been a dumping ground for months.

Monday, July 7th...
Tess and Jack started swimming lessons today, yay! Tess was very excited. Dad stayed with Jack and Mary Claire while I took them to their lessons. As soon as we got there, Tess got an attack of "I'm shy" and kept hiding behind me, and so I wondered if it was going to work at all. But in the end she went with the other two kids in her group and seemed to do just fine...mostly they practiced swimming with the pool noodle. Jack's class is after Tess'. This year is his first year in a group class. All the private lessons were taken when we registered, so I decided to give it a shot. He did fair. He was pretty distracted when the instructor wasn't working directly with him, kept grabbing at the kickboards and things at the edge of the pool, wandering off, etc. But his instructor is patient and sweet, and I think it will work out ok.


Here's Tess waiting for Jack to finish his lesson. This swimsuit is too big and kinda stretched out for her, but she insisted on wearing it today for some reason.

The rest of the day we were home. It was the hottest day so far I think, 93 I think? So we were inside pretty much. Jack is still finishing up his math and cursive, so we did that, and we made more book snacks....

These are from Tess' new phonics program.

Impromptu couch wrestling match I got caught in the middle of...

Mary started it...


Didn't take much time for everyone to pile on though...







Still trying to work on the playroom...it's pretty ugly.

Tuesday, July 8
You called today! Um..swim lessons happened...oh! We went bowling, That's what else. No pictures because dad had my phone. But we went bowling with some homeschooling friends, and then went to the park afterwards. The kids had a good time. Jack just loves to go bowling. The park, not so much. He gets bored quickly and then wants to go. But Tess and Henry had a ball. I need to bring something to the park for Jack, something to keep him busy.

Wednesday, July 9
Swiiiimmmm lesssooonnnsss,,again! Dad was off. I worked on the playroom some more. I had my last health class. The End. Some days there's just not much to tell!


Thursday, July 10
Library day! We went to a magic show, and did the usual library stuff...except that I dropped $54 on damaged books. I just feel like I could buy a lot of books for what we pay in fines. Sigh. OH, and also..swim lessons. I do have a funny poop story to tell that I posted on facebook though!
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Mary Claire is in the bathtub. I was clearing the dinner table (I can see the bathroom very well from the dining room(. She started screaming like she was scared to death. I ran into the bathroom to find her trying desperately to climb out of the tub. What was she so terrified of? her own poop! haha! I guess it's been a while since she pooped in the tub and it freaked her out. Then she watched on with fascination as I drained, cleaned, and refilled the tub, and now she is playing happily again. I took great pains to keep Jack from finding out though. Last time that happened he wouldn't use that tub for months.
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I'm going to end this letter here, with poop. Next Thursday is when we leave for St. Louis. So I think I will stop here and mail my next letter on our way out of town.

Sending this with some little goodies. We love and miss you, of course! August is nearly here!!!

Love,
Mom and the gang




Saturday, July 05, 2014

Dear Maria, week 4

Is everyone surviving these loooong weekly posts? Just a few more!
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Dear Maria,

Helloooo! By the time you get this, it will be about one month until we finally see you again! You are about halfway through the summer now. It's hard to believe, yes? Next week I will send a care package with some special halfway done goodies....so if there is anything you would like, or anything you are running low on...

So, this week....I was not good about keeping up with this letter daily, so this is from memory, with the help of facebook...

Saturday, June 28th...Oh, the drama! The angst! Henry fell and split his chin.

No wound pictures, sorry.
It is tiny, yes, but surprisingly deep and the edges were gaping. He had pulled a pillowcase down over his body and was running around, you see, so when he fell he couldn't catch himself. This all went down while I was at the store grocery shopping. Dad texted me at the store and said, "Hey, where do we keep the gauze?" haha! So, here I am at walmart and Dad is sending me pictures of Henry's chin and we are trying to decide what to do about it. Dad had to work that evening, and I desperately had to finish getting groceries. I had put it off for a couple of days and we were desperately out of everything.So...long story short, he ended up being a bit late for work. I finished shopping, went home, we bathed Henry because we knew he wouldn't be able to have a bath for several days once he was fixed up...can't get stitches wet...and I took Henry to the ER. They ended up just gluing and steristripping him, and he handled it very well. I promised him a candy bar from the vending machines afterwards, and he was very impressed with that.

Sunday, June 29th...Our birdies survived a big rainstorm, but their home wasn't looking so good. Today was the feast of Sts. peter and paul, so that's what we named them! They got so big so quickly, every day they looked noticeably bigger. Here is one of them looking ready to try and fledge again! Nothing much else today. Mass, of course, and Dad worked. pray for Dad. They are short staffed and he has been working himself to death. I hope they get some help soon.

Monday, June 3th...Our hottest day, in the 90's, and So. Very. Humid. Our birdies fledged! First one, and soon after the other. Here one is in the yard...the Mom was nearby scolding me from the fence. I didn't see them after this. Goodbye, peter and paul!

In other news, we stayed cool with icecream....

fudgsicle face...

And board games inside....

And goofy themed snacks...

Tuesday, July 1st...the big news of the day...I talked Dad into watching Dr. Who! He loves it! It's very slow going, because we can only watch it twice a week while he is off, but it's been fun. Today was also movie day, and I took Jack, Tess, and Henry to see Kung Fu panda 2.

Wednesday, July 2nd...Just a day at home. Jack had therapy, and I had my health class that evening. No one hacked up anything this time. Instead, they all (except Jack( fell asleep on the couch and had a nice catnap before bedtime. So. Long, long evening for me.

Thursday, July 3rd...Well, this day was so beautiful, weather wise...we had a cold front! The high was around 80, and it was loooovely. I had the brilliant idea to take advantage of it and go berry picking, but because of our bad night we weren't even all awake until 9.30, and if you don't get out there early they are sold out. So, we ended up meeting some St. Gabe friends at Gully park. It was a lot of fun. When we were heading out, Jack talked me into playing in the gully, and they loooved it...


..so fun, trying to catch waterbugs, throwing rocks. What is it about kids and throwing rocks into water?


Friday, July 4th...Of course, this was a big day! Here's a Jack quote, first off...

Me.."The Fourth of July is America's birthday."
Jack.."Does that make the other countries cry?"
Me..."Um...no...why would they cry?"
Jack..."Because it's not their birthday."

Meme and papa came over and we had breaded and skillet fried tilapia, veggies, deviled eggs, potato salad, baked beans, fruit kabobs that the littles made....

No meat. Ice cream cones, like last year, remember these?

And a sugar cookie flag instead of a flag cake...

We all commented about how scandalized you would be that I used red grapes instead of strawberries. Well, there's a good reason. I had plans to get some strawberries at the store after we went to the park on Thursday, but they kids got all wet and muddy. So, we came home, cleaned up and such, then went back out to the store...and they were SOLD OUT. I was crushed. But there was NO WAY I was going to another store, ha! So, red grapes it was.

The kids wore their painted tshirts to fireworks and the girls got a lot of attention for their little matching outfits. They were very sweet.

We missed you a lot. Meme kept saying how weird it was that you weren't there. She brought the puppy and the kids were just in orbit over him. And, well...I'm thinking again about getting another dog. I know it's crazy, I know I'll regret it, but Jesse had so much fun with another dog around. He was just grinning from ear to ear.

We were wondering how your 4th was. It was the last day of the 2nd fest, right? That means you are off this week, enjoy! We love and miss you a bunch and can't wait for August! I hear that Mary Claire is awake, so I'd better wrap this up and mail it off while I can.