Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Little Big Guy

I think the picture says it all. Robert is suddenly getting big on me.  I am truly wondering where my tiny little babe has gone to. 

Science Museum

We visited the science museum so we could go to the traveling Titanic exhibit.  I'm not so sure if the exhibit made much of an impression on some of the children but it always amazes me to just stop and think about the entire tragedy.  All of the things that went horribly wrong.  Bryan, Sean and I were talking a few days later about how if we were there, Bryan would have been old enough to be considered a man and left behind to die.  Very sobering thought right there.  Also makes me question why on earth we allow our children now to shirk responsibility so much during their teen/pre-teen year but that is another post unto itself. We don't have pictures from the Titanic exhibit since you are not allowed to take any but I do have a few others of the kids.  The older two spent a good 15 minutes playing with an interactive Erie Canal exhibit moving the boat into and out of the locks.  Abby and Gabe spent a ton of time playing in the water table.  Kieran spent a lot of time putting on weather reports that he then emailed to Dad and the other kids spent a ton of time climbing in some tunnels.  Everyone had a great time.


Finally Did It

I finally told myself it was ok to toss the over 6-year-old getting rather worn out just not working for my current heavy wetters diapers.  Some of the diapers were older than that, some were a bit younger than that.   But I'm pretty sure that I got my money out of all of them.  I just have a very hard time getting rid of diapers. I keep telling myself they are still usable but honestly, I was kidding myself.  My last few kids have been very heavy wetters while my first few were not.  Big difference in how you handle that.  And handling it with kind of worn out diapers was resulting in multiple clothing changes every day because even the best covers can only do so much.  So now I need to replace the velcro on some diapers I made last year with the wrong stuff and figure out if I want to try to make the prefolds and flats my main diapers or if I need to do some diaper shopping.  Given Alan's opinion on prefolds and flats (they are the only ones he has ever asked me to please not use as our main diapers), I think I see a bit of diaper shopping in my future. So if you know of any awesome sales right now, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Food, Hunger and Life

I've been reading a few blogs and emails lately that have me thinking about life.  One aspect of life in general.  Food.  Obviously with a brood as large as ours, food plays a major role in our life.  For many years I've felt the silent nudge from God telling me that if we want to raise a larger family, we need to learn to provide for them as much on our own as possible.  Meaning we need to learn to raise animals, grow food, can, cook from scratch, how to store food long term, and all of those other skills folks used to have like sewing, making soap and the like.  We also need to be as environmentally friendly as possible (which is usually the cheapest way to go) and get ourselves to the point of being debt free.  Yup, in my dreams we would even have the mortgage paid off. If you are going to dream, dream big.

This time of year, you see lots of programs reminding you to think of the hungry in your neighborhood.  It frankly scares me to consider not being able to feed the kids at some point.  And far too many folks think the government can or should step in to feed folks.  Let's face it, the food stamp program is broken.  There are wait times right now of 60 to 90 days or more for many folks before they even get their case heard.  Imagine being without the money to buy food and being told to come back in a few months.  And many food banks are low on supplies or require documentation before they can help you.  I can still remember how scared I was when we did get to a point where we decided we had to apply for food stamps. Alan had been unable to find a job for several months and I was working as much as I could while being pregnant, sick and in school.  I was told that if I divorced Alan, they would give me emergency food stamps but if we insisted on staying married, they could not help us unless Alan either dropped out of college or got a job with a minimum of 20 hrs a week.  Ok, I understand you must have rules but seriously.  How does telling parents to get divorced help? How does telling someone who already paid their tuition and can't find a job to get a job or drop out of school help? If he'd been working that much we would not have needed the help.  We were very lucky because in the end we had family to help us but even those family members questioned why we would have to come to them for help when they'd paid into these programs for years with the understanding that if their family needed it, it would be there. I can remember at one point canceling a doctor's appointment because we could not afford to pay the copay that week and still get groceries.  I remember feeling awful already and having the nurse on the phone berate me for a good 10 minutes about how I was a terrible parent for not going to an OB appointment.  Sorry but I think the baby will be better off if I get food rather than let you weigh and measure me.  I know there were weeks when Alan did not eat unless we were together because he was worried about having enough food in house for me.  Even with those issues, we never had to deal with real hunger.  Worry, fear and concern yes. But not true hunger. We've been lucky.

Our parish is collecting food for the local food pantry this coming weekend. I think I will take the kids to the grocery store on Friday specifically to buy food for them.  Remind them of how lucky we are and hopefully teach them how to help others and to remember that you never know when you could be the one needing the help.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weekday Ramblings

I seem to have caught a case of the blah's.  Not too much to worry about lately and yet I just cannot motivate myself.  3 months down, 2 to go and yet for some reason the 2 months sitting in front of me seem longer than the ones behind me.  Yup, I know I should not complain since we have it easy so I guess it's time to remind myself of what we have to be thankful for around here lately.  Nope, not some sappy thanksgiving thing, just a general get over it thing. 

I am very lucky to have folks at Alan's work who have been bringing by dinner at least once a week lately.  Believe me when I say cooking for just the kids gets a tad old after a while since they are totally happy with mac and cheese or something every single day.  Since the folks cooking for us seem to have much smaller families, I'm ending up with lots of leftovers since they are guessing big.  Not a bad thing at all.

I'm grateful for the Sears Heroes at Home gift registry. We just got our first gift card so I can finish up another chunk of the kids' Christmas orders.  Let's face it, as much as being away sucks for the grownups, I think the kids have it worse in a lot of ways.  It's nice to be able to give them something extra to make up for Dad being gone at Christmas.  Dad will be bringing home the BIG GIFT as a late Epiphany present but we are still going to celebrate Christmas at home.

We are all healthy and I finally seem to have gotten the insurance enrollment done.  Between not having the right access at home and Alan being on a leave of absence status at work, there were just a few snags to work around.

Robert is turning into quite the chub.  Seriously, he now seems rather solidly built.  Quite the change from the little guy who would not put on any weight at all. I'm kind of wondering where my tiny baby has gone off to.  He also seems to be mastering sign language already or at least for the important stuff in his life, like milk.

Gabe is slowly moving out of his cave boy manner of speaking and actually said "I love you" to me the other day.

I am also incredibly thankful for skype, email and an international calling plan.  Nothing makes things easier for the younger kids than being able to see Dad on a regular basis.  Helps them to remember him a bit better.  And an international calling plan means the adults can actually have a conversation without the kids being involved. Small things make a big difference.  I have to say over the last half of our marriage, I've come to realize that perhaps that whole long distance dating through the mail thing we stuck with for so long that just about every adult tried to convince us to give up most likely helped prepare us for the parts of our lives when we have to carry on together but apart.  There is so much more to us than there was an teens but we learned then how to stay connected over a distance. 

I suppose now it is time to pick myself up out of my temporary pity party and get back to life.  There is still jam to make, applesauce to can, laundry to fold, bills to pay, IOW life goes on. 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Been Busy

Yup, I've been rather quiet as of late.  We've been keeping busy.  Two kids started music lessons this week, we visited the science museum, had some family visiting for the week.  In the next few weeks we have swimming lessons for 5 of the kids, the same 5 have to get ready for the Christmas pageant at church, one child has a birthday and we have to start focusing in on Advent while still doing the regular stuff.  So far we have avoided any major sickness issues around here although I must admit to shaking my head in wonderment at the folks who are freaking out so darn much while doing very little to be proactive about their health in a positive manner (IOW I'm talking about doing more than carrying around hand sanitizer or simply refusing to leave your home).  I am hoping we will all avoid any major issues this winter.  The weather has been gorgeous so the kids have been taking advantage of lots of outside time.  Some deer have taken up residence in our back field so the dog has decided it is her sworn duty to bark at them EVERY SINGLE TIME she goes outside.  I placed an order for half a cow so in a few weeks we will have a very full freezer.  In a nutshell, life goes on.  Two more months give or take until things return to normal and I think we are all looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Robert at Dinner

Just the obligatory eating dinner pictures of the baby.  The little dude is getting a bit big.

Yes, that is a smile on his face as he attempts to shove peas into his mouth.  He will have absolutely no part in anyone else feeding him. He must do it all on his own.  Rather stubborn one we have here.

Play Museum

We spent the day at the museum on Friday.  Yes, we are doing our best to keep busy lately.  Seems to make things go better that way.  Just wanted to share a few pictures.



We are smack dab in the middle of another session of the bowling league. The kids are all enjoying themselves. The older boys have made tremendous progress and actually look like they know how to bowl. Far fewer gutter balls in their lanes lately. The younger kids are all slowly making progress towards bowling properly and not just tossing the ball down the lane or in front of them in hopes that it will hit a few pins and stay in the right lane. Yes, there have been a few cases where I have wondered if a child was trying to take sibling out with the bowling ball but overall, things are going well.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thought for the Day

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” - Saint Francis de Sales

Gabe Conquers the Rock Wall

Nothing quite like making it to the top.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

How a President SHOULD Act

I just have to say that this shows how a president SHOULD act in the face of an unspeakable tragedy.  I won't comment on what the current president decided to do instead.  I'll simply say I am rather ashamed of his lack of tact and respect. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dental Adventures

I learned something crazy today.  If you have a tooth pulled at the dentist, they can't let you have it anymore because of bio-hazard rules.  Seriously, how crazy is that?  Someone needs to let the tooth fairy know that she is in trouble for all those teeth she collects.  Granted, the poor child had no interest in seeing his tooth and was in a bit of pain but I found it humorous that bio-hazard restrictions had gotten that far.  The poor child is on the mend and enjoying the liberal amount of pudding, jello and other such food he is allowed to eat today. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Views from the Afternoon

We took a walk after lunch today.  Katie rescued this snail from the road.

Here is where Robert spent the time this afternoon.  Does anyone recognize that hat from when Bryan was a baby?

Doesn't he look happy?  And comfy and warm?  The little dude usually hangs out for a while enjoying the scenery and yanking on my hair, then he konks out and take a nap on my back.