Thursday, April 30, 2009

Food For Thought

Alan found this today and I liked what this guy had to say. Just wanted to share.

Free Toothbrushes

We got our box of free stuff from Colgate today. One of the perks of homeschooling is you often qualify for freebies as a teacher. Today a box arrived with 25 toothbrushes, 25 samples of toothpaste, a dental health dvd, poster and booklets. Now to figure out how to use 25 identical toothbrushes. That is my only complaint. They are all the exact same since the kit is designed to be used in the classroom. And they are the same color as the ones we got last year. Did I mention we still have several of those since the kids have managed to get tons of free toothbrushes from various sources this year. I think I will be finding folks to give some away to this year since even I can't justify having a stash of 70 toothbrushes in the house.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday's Pictures

Latest Liamism

Liam told me this morning that he fell down a tree. If it weren't for the bloody face, I might have laughed at that statement. I've heard of a tree falling down before but never heard of something falling down a tree.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You Know You are Sleep Deprived When. . .

. . .you attempt to shut the garage door on your husband's car. Luckily it only hit the front bumper and I have to question pulling that close to the garage but oh well. Robert seems to be allergic to something in our bedroom so he wakes up every single night stuffy and not breathing well which results in Mom not sleeping well. You bring him downstairs and suddenly he can breathe better. This is very strange and I hope we can figure it out soon because I am tired of be so darn tired.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Nursing on Demand

Guess what I discovered this morning? A doctor who understands the concept of nursing on demand. I got the normal question of how often do you nurse the baby. I gave my normal answer of I nurse on demand and don't watch the clock. The typical response to my answer is usually "so how often is that" which truly baffles me since it is so much better for a baby to be fed when they are hungry rather than when the clock dictates it is feeding time. Especially with a new baby. But our new pediatrician actually responded by saying ok and then moving on. Wow, amazing. And I didn't get any flack when I said we delay vaccines until the kids are two due to a family history of severe vaccine reactions. Something tells me I am going to like this doctor much better than the last one. And on a positive note, Robert has gained 4 ounces since Thursday and that is without giving him any supplements except for one bottle last night. I think we can count stress as a major factor in his weight issues and hopefully soon we can stop supplementing altogether. I am really looking forward to that since I am just way too lazy to deal with bottles.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Painting with Dad

The older kids are becoming pros at painting now. And Alan has learned to label where each child is painting to avoid territorial disputes.
With a smile that cute, you'd never dream that this child waited until after she was done painting to go lean right up against a wet wall of paint.
The only negative side to painting the room where we keep all of our books and school supplies is that you have to move them all somewhere while you are painting.
Yup, more books. These pictures represent only the main piles. After a few years of living in areas with lacking library facilities, we tend to buy a ton of books for the kids so that we can make sure they are exposed to the books we want them to read. In other words we don't stock up on the cartoon character of the week type books or the politically correct mumbo jumbo.
We still have two full cans of paint left so the question remains as to which room in the house will be tackled next.

Outlet Covers

Did you know that after living in a house for only 2 and a half years, you can lose more than 20 outlet covers? I have no clue where they have all run off to since they aren't really supposed to do anything other than sit in the electrical outlets. Perhaps we have a colony of Borrowers living in our house. . .that seems a much more interesting answer than one of the children likely took them out and lost them.

Water Fun

The children are running in a sprinkler right now. Something tells me we should not get used to this weather. After all, it is only April. But for now they are all having a great time. I have to say one of the things I truly appreciate about keeping the kids home is that the older boys think nothing of playing games with the little ones. Heck, I think they are enjoying themselves more than the younger ones are at the moment. I love seeing that innocence last longer in children than seems to be typical in our society today.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How Do You Fit in School with a Baby?

I had intended to have the children start hitting the books again this past week but life somewhat got in the way. As many of you know, stress levels have been rather high around here and we've been crazy busy. So exactly how do you fit some educational time into your child's life when there is a new baby and other craziness?

Well, Alan has been reading a children's Shakespeare book to the kids at night. Since I have never really fallen in love with Shakespeare, I find it somewhat amusing that the older boys are absolutely enjoying themselves. Perhaps it is their father's reading (they had to take story time down to the basement because it was getting too loud) or perhaps it is reading the stories that are full of sword fights or jokes. Either way I figured I can count this as literature.

Movie night has become the night we watch Planet Earth DVD's. When Gabe was born, a wonderful relative bought the entire Planet Earth series for us and the kids are absolutely in love with the movies. I think all of the information after each movie about how they were filmed and everything the camera crews go through to get the shots is as educational as the movies themselves. So I figure for now this can count as science.

Last year I found the Drive Thru History series on TBN and recorded several of the episodes on our DVR. For now we are focusing on American History with this series until I have a chance to watch the other episodes to make sure that they are not anti-Catholic in nature. Drive Thru History explains everything in an upbeat manner that the boys really love.

Beyond this, the kids have been spending hours outside enjoying the chance to get out of the house again. Hopefully next week we can break the math books back out and start working on the dreaded standardized tests. Just not sure what to call these past few weeks. It started out as an unexpected maternity break (the little dude wasn't due until just this past Sunday) and morphed into something more. Not quite unschooling, I suppose you could call it adventures in video schooling.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Been Busy Again

Yes, I've been busy lately so I have not been posting much. This has been a very crazy week. A recent visit with Robert's doctor made us painfully aware that it was time to start searching for a doctor who was a better fit for our family. So I have spent the past week frantically searching for the right person. This search has helped me unearth a seemingly hidden network of Catholic doctors in the area. We are talking faith-filled, pro-life, NFP practicing medical folks. Sadly the first one we saw was unable to take on Robert due to all of the issues he's had thus far. She says she is just not comfy as a family practice doctor taking on a preemie babe with NICU time under his belt. But she found a wonderful pediatric doctor for us that I am praying will work out well. This has been an interesting week. Did you know there are still doctors out there who answer their own phones? And call their patients at home? And leave messages ending with God Bless? Doctors who take the time to work with the Bishop to order vaccines from Japan which do not contain all of the crap in US manufactured vaccines? Vaccines not derived at all from abortive fetal tissue? So I am still reeling a bit and just hoping and praying things will work out. One more appointment with the unfriendly doctor on Thursday and then we will wash our hands of her. And try to find a new doctor for Alan and myself because none us will ever see her again. But enough of that. You really want the pictures so here are a few Alan took this morning.
Gabe is doing his best to look pathetic and beg his Dad to pick him up. Please, Dad, Please.
Abby always wakes up with a wonderful chaotic looking hairdo every morning.
Katie is thrilled to finally get her hands on Robert.
Maybe Gabe will figure out that pacifiers are for sucking on, not fingers. Ah, well, we can hope. Amazingly enough, Gabe is one of the most gentle kids when it comes to Robert. He thinks his brother is the greatest thing in the world.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Abby!

Today Abby turned 3. We had all the important stuff. Macaroni and cheese for dinner, cake and ice cream and a present or two.
One of the joys of having girls is that you have the honor of eating copious amounts of pink frosting. I'm not quite sure why small girls seem to enjoy all the various shades of pink quite so much but why go against the tide. Just accept it and wait patiently for the day when they finally outgrow the pink thing.
Abby enjoyed being the center of attention for a little while.
And she loved having a chance to play with a new doll all by herself.

Go Liam, Go!

I have to say that Liam has an unstoppable personality. He decided this afternoon that it was time to take the training wheels off his bike and so he took them off himself. This is a self-starter we have here. Why wait for Dad to help when you can do it yourself.
By the time Alan made it home from work, Liam was riding most of the way down the driveway on his own. He's even figured out the breaks on the bike and that you have a softer landing when you fall over on the grass instead of the gravel.
Something tells me this kid will be going places soon.

It's Been One of Those Days. . .

This is why all screw drivers need to be hung from the ceiling or hidden behind a lock and key around here. The child involved was very upset when he realized his alarm clock was broken and had no intention of breaking it. Poor kid was very upset so at least I think he won't try this trick again. I'm assuming he was just trying to figure the clock out and then realized he could not put it back together on his own.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Robert's New Toy

Here's Robert in the new bouncy seat from his Grandparents. Yes, we did actually buy a new one for Gabe but it did not survive the older siblings, hence the need for one for Robert.
I swear the child does actually seem to like the seat when he is not being harassed by his older siblings (what you are not seeing in this picture is the older sister waiting anxiously in the wings for me to turn my back so she can pounce on the poor boy). The seat also converts to a toddler rocking chair so it is built to withstand an older, heavier child as well. I figured this would be a good thing to have around here since I have learned from past experience that it is almost impossible to keep the older children out of the seats. Sure, I could get mean and yell all the time but I'd rather relax about it and take the cute pictures when they climb into the seat and sit next to the baby. So far both Gabe and Abby have already taken turns trying out this seat and they both love it. Here's hoping it survives until Robert learns to sit up on his own and can defend himself a wee little bit.

Easter Morning

This is the calm, before the children woke up picture. I'd love to have an after shot for you but Alan let me stay in bed and feed the baby this morning so I missed most of the chaos that ensues when you take 7 children and add copious amounts of chocolate. A friend offered to make Easter baskets for the kids this year so they ended up with a lot more than they ever get from Mom and Dad. Then everyone got dressed in matching clothes (as long as you don't count the socks) and went off to church. We even had everyone's hair done and folks were all looking presentable. That was before Mass. I should have taken a picture when we first got there because by the end of Mass things were not so pretty looking. Let's just say it was the kind of day that starts with "Um, Gabe smells poopy." "I don't have an extra diaper for him. Hm, we can use the receiving blanket as a diaper if I fold it right and you tie it on him." This really would not be a problem since we use flats around the house on occasion but someone forgot the step that included tying the diaper on the child in front to keep on tight enough. It feel off frequently during Mass. Various other children seemed to think they could climb on people and change seats frequently. On a positive note, all of the blue egg dye washed off Bryan's hands before morning so he looked presentable on the altar. I guess you win some and you loose some and as long as everyone is in one piece when you leave church, some days you call that good enough.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Coloring Easter Eggs


On a side note, we have learned that it is not really a good idea to dye Easter eggs the night before Easter when you have a child who is supposed to serve at Mass in the morning. Hope no one minds the blue hands. And the one-year-old can be counted on to morph very quickly from a happy kid to a toddler melt down when you tell him he has already dyed his 3 eggs and now his turn is over.

Sleepy Boys

This is what happens when you skip naptime to attend church on Good Friday. The little ones crash rather early.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Why I Have so Many Kids

Now I know why I have so many kids. So I can learn all those little things I never did when I was little. We have a few kids who always seem to have a question for Father after Mass and all I can say is I am learning a whole heck of a lot just from their questions. May I say that the secularized Jesus loves you so nothing else matters religious ed programs of the 80's and 90's totally sucked?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is on Your List?

I've been watching a lot of folks get hit hard over the past few days either health wise or job wise. Which leads me to this question: what are you grateful for today? Right off the top of my head I can think of a well stocked pantry, clotheslines and drying racks, health insurance, fresh eggs and a back up plan. What's on your list today?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Book Review

We've been searching lately for books to provide the boys as they enter these wonderful adolescent years that will help them understand what it truly means to be a man. Not sure if I quite worded that right but it will have to do. Finding these books from a Christian perspective is hard enough. Finding them from a Catholic perspective is even harder. But I have finally managed to find a book that fits. It discusses everything we'd want to cover from vocations, virtues, the dignity of life, custody of the eyes around girls (very important one there), preparing yourself to provide for your family so your wife can stay home with the kids, chivalry, Catholic organizations and ones that are not, cooking, hygiene, building a prayer life and more. This book does not discuss sexuality in any real detail since those discussions should always come from Mom and Dad but it does discuss so much more. If you will have preteen boy soon, I suggest reading the book All Things Guy. I would say it is meant for the 10 to 13 range as an older child would likely feel the book talks down to them a bit (seriously, how many times must you refer to someone as dude in one book). This book also has a companion series for girls, All Things Girl. The girls' series is much more in depth and has I believe 5 different books covering various topics. I am hoping that the publishers will come out with more books for the guys side of things in the near future. These books get a definite thumbs up around here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Our Little Big Boy

Gabe is always full of energy and into something around here. His latest trick is learning how to open the fridge on his own (I see a lock on that door in the near future). Just wanted to share a few pictures of the little dude in action.
Gabe and Abby love to play on the Sit n Spin together. They even play nicely and don't knock each other off.
After helping Dad paint earlier, he had to take a chance to practice his new skills on his own.
His current favorite activity is holding his little brother. He is a wonderful big brother and loves to kiss his brother and point at his face.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fortune Tellers and Penance Services

This is one of those rambling posts that I'm sure will offend or annoy some folks. I've been debating if I wanted to say anything or not but realized holding back what I want to say kind of defeats the purpose. One of the reasons we truly love our parish here is our priest. He tends to tell it like it is and is not afraid to point out when something is not quite right. We feel it is very important to find this sort of parish while our children are young and still learning. This way they are not getting one message at home and one message when we go to Mass.

Last week Father brought up the practice of fortune tellers, horoscopes, palm readers and such business. And he said that they are decidedly un-Christian and not something a Catholic should be involved in. I'm sure you can convince yourself they are fun and harmless but they aren't. They are the door that you open to allow evil influences into your life. Growing up I was often reminded of what a fortune teller had to say about me on one occasion and it was as if I was not given a chance to do anything other than what she said about me. So I can see all too clearly how this sort of activity can cause harm to even those who don't actively participate. Sure, I guess the idea of learning about what your future holds is appealing on one level. But personally I'd rather wait and see what happens without relying on this sort of world to guide my decisions.

Since our parish was also holding it's Lenten Penance service this week, Father also talked about the popular practice of holding communal penance services where group absolution is given. This particular practice was never meant to be used in a parish setting and to use it as such goes against the teachings of the Church. Penance services are ok and a good thing provided that each individual is given the chance to seek confession on their own and is absolved of their sins individually. The mass absolution is meant to only be used in true emergency situations. It is meant for soldiers going off to war, emergency personel dealing with large and dangerous situations, situations where a large amount of people will truly find themselves in real mortal danger. Perhaps if your parish is holding the wrong type of penance service on a regular basis, you could ask your priest why he feels it is justified or mention that you miss the real thing.

Six Dozen

Eggs that is. The chickens are finally getting serious about laying. About darn time. So we have close to six dozen eggs in the fridge at the moment. Since they are all brown eggs, we still need to actually buy some eggs from the store for dying for Easter. Can you guess what we will be having for breakfast frequently this coming week?