Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pure Baby Bliss

Here's a new picture of Little Robert. Yes, I am still trying to figure out what to call the poor child. The New Bob and Bob the Tomato are not working for me no matter what his Dad says. But we always take a few weeks to settle on what to call a new baby. Here's the little guy with a full belly.

It's been an interesting day. One of those days when you find that one of your children ends up being mentioned by Father during the end of Mass announcements because the child loves to sing during Mass so much that folks are talking about him being the next cantor. Problem is said child is only one and seems to think that he gets to sing whenever he wants. I am very grateful we have a priest who understands small children and noise.

Living Room Pictures

Alan finished painting the living room today. It looks much brighter than we were expecting when we saw how dark the paint was on the wall. It looks very nice and in a few weeks, we'll get the library painted. After the barn is dealt with. The mud pit in the barn needs attention soon.

Baby Update

Just wanted to let you know that we sprung Robert from the hospital late last night. He has to have some extra bloodwork this week to make sure everything stays at normal levels but he should be home for good now.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Just a note. This is a post from Alan. He likes to hijack the blog every so often for his own purposes. I'll have to remind him to tell us when he does so.

Painting has never been one of my favorite things to do, but when it needs to be done it needs to be done. This weekend the kids and I are trying to get some of the painting that we have meant to do for some time done. This should be fun. Maybe I should wait until some of them have gone to bed before I try to do much more.

Bryan is a huge help. He takes pictures, keeps his brother (Gabe) in good hands, and even paints pretty well, when given the chance. Here he is shown posing since I forgot to take his picture on the first go round.Of course Gabe could not be left out.
Sean is a great person to ask to get the spots his siblings missed. He is just like that. "Hey dad, I found one you missed."

Kieran wonders if he has enough paint to get all the way over there.
Katie wears one of my shirts to protect her clothes, and paints a nice square. Remember dear W and M. Glad she is in school this year.

Abby is a wonderful painter, when she is not stepping on the lid of the paint can. But, I think she shows real talent. Liam,Always the protector, supervises his little sister.
Here Liam can't decide if he wants to watch Donald Duck or paint. But he did do a nice job on his block.

Liam holds down the pew while I prove that you can do a good job even while you have your kids with you. One wall done, five gallons worth to go.

Baby Update

Robert is having major jaundice issues so we are heading to the hospital. After the two hospitals quit arguing over which one I am supposed to take him to.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Pictures

I know folks are waiting for some new pictures. I even managed to catch the kid with his eyes open today. We are still trying to figure out what to call the poor child since Robert is a tad formal and we just can't seem to agree on a shortened version of the name. We'll eventually think of something or the kids will come up with something. Who knows. For now he seems to be going by little guy or something of the sort. But he's doing fine and will hopefully be able to avoid any further poking and prodding in the next few weeks.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Robert Michael

So We got a surprise package the other day. Out son decided it was time to come visit about a month earlier than planned. These things happen. Both Mom and the baby are doing very well.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Car Seat Ramblings

As I see children when we are out and about or see pictures of kids here and there, I have to stop and ask a simple question. Why on earth do so many parents not use car seats properly? I will admit that around here we are a bit strict about car seat use. Until a child is 4 feet 10 inches, they will remain in a booster seat no matter what the law says. Until they can be trusted to sit still in their seat without constant squirming and goofing off, they will stay in a 5 point harness. Until they are 30 lbs, they will remain rear facing. What this means is that only our oldest is out of car seats/boosters. The almost 10 year-old is still in a booster seat because he is too short for seat belts to provide adequate protection. The 7 year-old is still in a 5 point harness because he likes to try to move around in his seat and if he were to move out of the seat belt path, he would put himself and everyone else in the car in danger. The almost 3 year-old and the 1 year-old are still rear facing because they are under 30 lbs. This way if we are in a collision, the impact will be taken by their car seat, rather than by their bodies. Small children simply do not have the strength in their bones yet to withstand the impact of most collisions without injury. Keeping them rear facing longer provides them with added protection and if you can do one small thing to keep your child safer, why not do it? Yes, this means we will have 3 children rear facing in a few weeks. Yes, this means we will have 7 children to check and double check car seats and seat belts on. Yes, this means extra time when we get in and out of the van. Yes, it means every few weeks we need to go around and make sure no one has knocked a car seat loose and every day it means checking that chest clips are actually at arm pit level and the straps are nice and tight.

I will admit that I don't expect every one to take things as seriously as we do. I understand that we are a bit over the top as far as most people are concerned. But my big question is why not take the time to make sure the straps are at least tightened properly? Your child should not be able to lean forward and pick up things they dropped or lean over the edge of the seat. They should not be allowed total freedom of movement in their car seat. If they can do those things and you are in an accident or your car flips, your child can slip out of the restraint. They will then not only likely be injured, but could also become a projectile and injure other people. You should not be able to get more than a finger or possibly 2 between your child and the straps of their seat. And you should NEVER put a child in a car seat in bulky clothing. This includes heavy winter jackets and such. And any child under 4 ft 10 inches should not ride in the front seat of a car with air bags unless you can turn them off. I know emergencies arise and sometimes you don't have a choice. But many times you do. It is worth your child's safety to take two cars or postpone a shopping trip. Ideally no one under 12 should be in the front of a car unless the car is not equipped with air bags or the air bags can be turned off.

Please folks do some more research. Read the manuals that come with your car seats. Read the manuals that come with your car. It's not about the law because many states have incredibly pathetic car seat laws. It is about safety. It's not about how things used to be done and the number of kids who survived before all of these inventions. Those who did not survive are not here to tell us about it. Putting your child in your car is one of the most dangerous things you will do with them on a regular basis. Take the time to make it as safe as possible.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pick Your Favorite Quote

I simply could not resist sharing these various political quotes. Kind of makes you think about what our current government is trying to do to our country.

1. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
-- John Adams

2. If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
-- Mark Twain

3. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.
--Mark Twain

4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-- Winston Churchill

5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw

6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-- G. Gordon Liddy

7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
-- Ronald Reagan (1986)

12. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-- Will Rogers

13.. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
-- P..J. O'Rourke

14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-- Voltaire (1764)

15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
-- Pericles (430 B.C.)

16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
-- Mark Twain (1866)

17. Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.
-- Anonymous

18. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-- Ronald Reagan

19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-- Winston Churchill

20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-- Mark Twain

21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

22. There is no distinctly native American criminal Congress.
-- Mark Twain

23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, March 14, 2009

St. Patrick/St. Joseph's Party

Our parish held a pot luck dinner tonight in honor of St. Patrick and St. Joseph. Sean played the role of St. Joseph.
There was lots of food, activities for the kids and the required Irish music.
We also brought home oranges and bread for good luck from the St. Joseph table.
Did I mention there were lots and lots of desserts available?
And it is safe to say that our kids represented half of the young folks there tonight.

Maybe Spring is Coming Afterall

We had a break in the cold weather today and the kids headed outside to enjoy themselves. Nothing says spring is coming like a muddy yard and being able to play on the swings without your winter coat.
Gabe got to enjoy riding on the swings with his big brother. He thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Helping Dad

While I was out today the kids helped Alan build a bed. Looks to me like everyone did a good job.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big Shoes to Fill

Gabe is a very determined little guy. He is going to get into Dad's boots all by himself with absolutely no help from anyone else.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Liam has been asking to make a two-way telephone for a few days now. So tonight he made one with a little help from Dad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Major Accomplishment

We have become big fans of the better late than early theory of education around here. Granted, we don't take it as far as some folks by holding off on all formal education until 8 or 9 but we have learned to slow down and let the kids be kids. Yes, some kids are ready to jump right into reading and such at an early age. Our first was like that and pretty much taught himself how to read at 4. Silly me thought I had something to do with it. Lesson 1 for mom is that a child's accomplishments and abilities have nothing to do with you and are not meant to make you as a parent look good.
Kieran has been working rather hard on reading lately. He's been reading Dr. Seuss books to us for a while now but still had not made that mental leap into truly reading on his own. There is a big change when they suddenly realize all on their own that they really can read and they suddenly pick up a book to read just for fun. Today Kieran did just that. He picked up a Magic Tree House Book and started reading it aloud. He was hosting a Magic Tree House podcast and reading to his audience. Makes me think that he spends too much time listening to his father's podcast.

What is in the Picture

Can you guess what this is a picture of?
This is the aftermath of some science experiments. The older boys asked to use the science kit during naptime. After two explosions and lots of noise from children dancing around the kitchen celebrating, I declared that they must do something quieter. So now they are making crystals and volcanoes. And a big mess.

Scissors and Glue

Liam has been spending some quality time with the scissors and glue lately. He's been putting together lots of little projects lately and has finally gotten to the point where he can be counted on to use the scissors without making a big mess.
His clown face is almost finished. He did a good job.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Abby's Latest Obsession

All of the kids have gone through an obsession with this shape puzzle of ours. I think Abby has put it together at least 4 times today with various amounts of help. She is very proud of herself right now.

Green Art Day

There are many good things to be said about buying rice in 25 lb bags. It is super cheap, easy to store, easy to cook and will make it easy to feed your family cheaply. It is also super cheap, easy to store and assures that you will always have art materials for your kids.
We are trying to learn a bit about the real meaning behind St. Patrick's Day so today we talked about how St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Blessed Trinity. 3 leaves on one plant representing the 3 persons in the Blessed Trinity. Then we made green shamrocks. (See, there is more to the holiday than green beer and food and parades.)
I dyed the rice green using food coloring and vinegar. I've also seen recipes using rubbing alcohol to set the color on the rice but since Gabe would be working with us, I decided that would not be a good idea. The vinegar worked just as well to set the color.
The kids were all amazingly quiet and involved. Even the older ones. I figured this would be a quickly done project before they ran off to do something else but I was happily surprised when they stayed busy for at least 10 minutes. Most of the kids seemed to try to cover the entire shamrock surface with rice.
Gabe enjoyed this project and made sure to try eating the rice and sticking glue covered q-tips in his ears. Other than those small issues, this was a very low mess and low hassle project.
One of the finished projects done by the older boys.