Thursday, November 26, 2009

feis pictures

My Irish dancer at her latest feis...I have some video, but she's dancing with some other girls in it and I don't have permission to post it. I'll have to get some of just her next time.

The presenting of the colors.

Taking a break between dances...those dresses are really heavy and really hot. They wear tank tops underneath so they can cool off. Also makes costume changes easier!

Gobble, gobble

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!

We are having an odd one here. John is working...he always is. Working at a hospital, he has to put in his holiday time somewhere, so he works Thanksgiving and New Year's so that he can have Christmas Eve and Day off. So, every year, the kids and I usually end up going to see family for Thanksgiving and then I make a turkey dinner here at home on another day that John is off. Well, this year, due to a complicated turn of events, we are having Thanksgiving dinner here for my family...on Sunday. Today, we started the day with mass, and now we are watching the big parade and Charlie Brown on TV, and reading a couple of Thanksgiving picture books. Later, we will make a gratitude tree (something like this one, only a version we can put on the dining room wall). But we will have chicken and rice for dinner. No pie. Not yet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

an ultrasound pic!

Meet our new little inkblot. :) Just 20 weeks old this week.

You can't tell in this particular picture, but it's a boy! No, we don't have a name yet. We are considering several, and we keep waffling...I think we might just wait until this one is born and see what fits!

It was so fun to "meet" this baby. He was moving a lot, waving his arms and legs around, which is so odd to see because I still can't really feel very much movement. They tried to get a profile of his face, but every which way she approached he kept turning his head toward the ultrasound wand! We saw all the parts...beating heart, stomach, bladder, kidneys, spine, etc. So amazing, all of that going on and he only weighs 13 ounces, about 6-7 inches long (that's crown to rump, not the whole baby) could just hold him in one hand.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tess's first sentences.

Tess will be 18 months old in a few days. She says quite a few words now and will try to repeat almost anything. She says a couple of phrases/sentences too...

---"Got cheese?"
---"Mmmm, it's good."

One is often followed by the other.

I've got lots of backed up pictures to post, and I'm overwhelmed with the thoughts of digging through them all, so I think I'll try to do a few at a time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Sometimes there are issues with my children's behavior that can be chalked up to childishness or immaturity...Jack's love of streaking around naked, Tess's sudden love of running through the house shrieking for no reason at all than to hear her own voice...irritating, but things that I know will pass.

Other behaviors are more troubling, because they show character issues that need to be addressed, and I'm not always sure how to do that. And if you do address them, that often doesn't mean *fixing* them...don't we all have those character issues that we are called to constantly work on? (Ahem...I'm blogging again when my house is a mess. Sloth, anyone?)

Kain is very...greedy. I almost said materialistic, but I don't think it's that really. His greediness does often center around things, but not just things. Attention, time, physical affection, food...the greed for these things is all understandable given his past circumstances, but we have been feeding these needs as best we can for three years now, and still the hunger for all of these things rages out of control. In fact, this greed is one of the top two causes of his misbehavior I think. Have we not figured out how to fill this kid's tank? Is it not possible to do so?

Anyway, one of the more amusing/irritating (depending on my mood and how hard he is willing to do battle) ways this greed shows itself is his need to *own* things. He loves *stuff*, which is why I almost said "materialistic" earlier. He will often (twice just today) come to me with some random item and ask if he can have it. Usually this is an inconsequential item...a small toy that lives in the playroom, some trinket he finds outside, even something he's fished out of the recycling can. Often I don't even know what he means by "have it". In our house, as I think is often the case in houses with several kids, most toys, books, games, craft materials, dvd's, etc., are held in common. Even when a child receives a something as a gift, eventually it migrates to the common areas of the house and becomes rather communal. There's just not space to have "Kain's legos" and "Jack's legos" and so on. The kids know that, generally speaking, they are expected to share their things and in exchange they get to share other people's things. If something gets damaged/lost in the sharing, then the child responsible will make good on it. And any child that complains about the arrangements is bound to get my "one of the benefits of having brothers and sisters is that you will learn how to share and get along with other people and become a better Christian/wife/husband/father/mother/employee/friend/human being someday" speech.

Anyway, so when he comes out of the playroom with some random matchbox car or old Happy Meal toy, what does he mean by "have it"? Can he play with it? He already is doing so. Can he carry it around and such for a time? I guess, if no one else wants a turn with it. Can he put it in his backpack (where all his most prized stuff lives) and refuse to let anyone else touch it? No, of course not. And he knows this. And when I ask him, "What do you mean by 'have it'? What is to be gained by carrying it around in your backpack that can't be gotten by just playing with it when you want to do so?" And he can't really answer me. So why do we have to continue to have this discussion at least a couple of times a week for the last three years? And how can I teach this child to have a more generous heart? Because his need to lay claim to everything else (time, attention, food) is a constant source of struggle in this house. He receives more of all of these things than any of the other children, and it's still not enough. That is try and try and not be enough for a child.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

real-life math

Kain- How old is Uncle John?

Me- Um...46, I think?

Kain- Oh. Well,,,that's not too bad.

Me- Oh yeah?

Kain- Yeah! He still has 34 good years left.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I think he's catching on.

Kain- JACK! Quit singing that song!

Me- Kain, stop yelling at Jack. You taught him that song in the first place.

Kain- Yeah, but now it's irritating.

Me- Yes, children are often irritating.

Kain- Aunt Mel!

Me- Sorry, Kain, I meant all the *other* children. Not you.

Kain- Oh. Ok.


Kain- Aunt Mel?

Me- Yes, Kain?

Kain- You were being sarcastic just then, weren't you?

Me- Yep.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Me- Ok, put up your phonics book and go get your spelling book.

Kain- What???!! Can't I have a break?

Me- You've done 15 minutes of work today. Why do you need a break?

Kain, voice raising to a shriek- Because I need some FREE TIME, OK?

Me- You were awake for 2 hours before we started school this morning. That's enough free time.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Why, hello there!

Did you think I had departed to that great Lego-strewn playroom in the sky?

I'm still around, and helplessly behind on posting...since I last posted, we've had a couple of birthdays, a couple of midwife visits, a minor holiday or two, a minor illness or three...I have lots of pictures to upload and too much to ever write about. So, how about some random updates...

...Praise the Lord, Halloween is over. Gathering up costumes for four kids, plus All Saints' Day costumes as well, has been just about more than I can handle. Now I just have to ride out the candy wave for a few days and it'll all be behind us.

...The first trimester is done! I am now 16 weeks along and feeling in that weird in-between stage of pregnancy, that one where I'm no longer nauseous and not really feeling the baby move either. Up until last week we'd had trouble finding the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler, and part of me was convinced that the whole thing was just a big mistake and I wasn't pregnant after all. But we did find it! There's definitely a baby in there after all! Which makes me feel lots better about the recent move into maternity clothes.

...Tess is delicious. I just love toddlers. She is a joy, sweet and happy and so funny. Today I was getting out of the shower and she was watching me intently- staring up at me as I dried off and wrapped a towel around my head, looking a little unsure, as she always does, that it was still really Momma under that towel- watching me kiss and put on my scapular, watching me put on deodorant and get dressed,,,all the while she just looked like her gears were turning and she wasn't missing a thing. Then the towel came off my head and she smiled in relief that it was still really Momma after all, and we settled on the bed for a snuggle and a nurse. Yep, she's still nursing, as much as ever. One of the sweetest things about Tess is that she is *so* in love with Daddy. Oh my goodness. I've not had a child that has been like this. It's very sweet to see. John just came home from work, and she is just enraptured.

...Jack is really growing up a lot this year. He just turned five last month. He loves his preschool class at the co-op and his PSR class at church. We are still waiting to have him evaluated for autism spectrum disorder. Waiting is hard. Some things are improving with him. Other things seem to be harder. He has this need to run through the upcoming day, over and over and over again, the exact same script. At times when I can't prepare him for exactly what will happen, he has a really hard time. He was really out of sorts at our homeschool group's All Saints' Day was in an unfamiliar place, very crowded with lots of people he didn't know very well, and he kept following me around and fussing, "Everyone is in my way!" He's so sweet though, and so smart. His latest obsession is with outer space, and he sits and reads our science books about the planets. He has them all memorized and is glad to rattle them off for anybody. If Tess is a Daddy's girl, Jack is definitely Momma's boy. He's not very affectionate or tuned in to many people, but boy, he loves his Momma and is very affectionate towards me. And I sure do love him madly.

...Kain is...well, Kain has his good weeks and bad weeks. We are in the middle of a run of bad weeks. It's really difficult and really draining. I feel like we fight all day long. We do fight all day long. School is really difficult for him and I think his learning issues are more significant that he was originally diagnosed with at age 6. He was so unbelievably hyperactive then that I think it would have masked any more subtle problems. So we are in the process of having him re-evaluated.

...Maria just turned 13 in September. What can I say? She's a chip off the old block. Outgoing as can be, involved in everything, my right hand and a little mother to her siblings...except for Kain. She and Kain fight over carpet lint. She's doing really well with her school work this year. Oh, her spelling is still atrocious, her writing is certainly not on grade level. She's still dyslexic, in other words. But she's really matured in her ability to handle her school work. She doesn't dissolve into tears over her reading and writing assignments anymore! She is very busy with her Irish dancing. She has two competitions coming up in the next couple of months, and it's great to watch her have something she enjoys so much.

...I guess the main reason I have kind of subconsciously avoided writing is because I got a criticism, not particularly about my blog, I don't know if this person even reads my blog, but from somewhere else, that I write too personally, that I share too much about my life,,,a bit raw I guess. It stung, and I thought about it for a long time. This person is probably right. I sat on this information for a while. And here's my conclusion. I don't really know any way else to be. I'm just kind of a "let it all hang out" kind of person. There are people who read this blog that know me quite well in real life, including my parents and my husband, and I think they would tell you that I am pretty much just exactly the same in person as I am on this blog. I do have boundaries. I won't tell you about the latest argument with my husband. I won't say anything about my children to intentionally embarrass them. And as Maria gets older, I do try to be conscious of her privacy and not to share things that she wouldn't want me to share. I try to have some common sense about keeping my family safe, and in that vein I consciously avoid, in words or pictures, giving away any geographical information. But in general, I write this blog in the way I would chat with a friend. If I know you outside this blog, you probably are a friend, and you won't read anything here that wouldn't come out if we were sitting over a cup of coffee. And if I don't know you outside this blog, well, I guess I just don't see how it matters if some random person who tripped across my blog reads this post and knows I have that I legos on my playroom floor, you know? Trying to write differently would feel very awkward and false and just kind of defeat my reasons for writing.

...One last thing, I would like to give a shout out to my Grandma W. who celebrated her birthday recently. I haven't gotten to see her in a long, long time, but she has been keeping up with us all through my blog almost since the beginning, and it's always really sweet to think of someone else out there that enjoys reading about the kids and seeing their pictures as much as I do.