Friday, January 29, 2010

30 Hour Famine

Bryan will be participating in a 30 hour famine with his youth group. This effort is sponsored by World Vision to earn money to feed hungry children.  Just $30 can feed a child for a month.  If you'd like to help support his efforts, please click on this link to donate to his cause.  Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Now the AAP Agrees With Me

Hey, now the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out to say that children are safest when kept rear-facing in their car seats until at least two. Does this make me less of a nut to my doubting family now?  Likely not but at least I'm trying to get the word out there to other parents on how they can help keep their children as safe as possible.

Jump Club

Before Alan returned, we'd discussed taking the kids on a small vacation when he returned.  Then we started talking about how we are really trying to focus on paying off as much debt as possible as quickly as possible (ask me how we are doing on that one) so we realized that what we really should do was spend a week doing a bunch of fun stuff around town instead.  Hotel bills for a group as big as us are a bit out of control and the kids seem to love this just as much.  Today we headed to an indoor inflatable playground.  They had a separate area for small kids away from the action but after a while Gabe decided playing with the big kids was just too much fun to miss out on.  Yes, he was in the middle of everything.  We saw lots of jumping, sliding, climbing and bouncing and brought home 8 rather worn out yet happy kids.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lego Castle Exhibit

We spent some time visiting the Lego Castle Exhibit on Monday.  I'm pretty sure the kids will want to go back relatively soon.  I was impressed with the exhibit myself.  Lots of stuff to do and see and let's call it a day learning about basic engineering.
Abby is getting excited to go in.
Liam is preparing to joust.
A famous castle.
Robert enjoying the freedom to be out of the stroller.  Last time we went to the museum he was quite content to ride on  my back the entire time.   This time he let us know that he wanted out and expected to be part of the action.
Gabe is building a super big tower.
A knight standing guard.
Sean preparing to build walls that can withstand a catapult.
The girls on a slide.

More jousting.
We also visited the butterfly garden.  Apparently children can be scared witless by butterflies.  And apparently those same children can have parents who don't realize that if your child is screaming and scared out of their mind, it is best to remove them from the small enclosed exhibit even if you did pay for your tickets because the rest of us paid for ours as well and should not have to listen to your terrified children scream unceasingly.
The butterflies shared their home with several other creatures including these turtles.
Katie helped us build an arch.
Gabe on his own cooking show.
Sean manning the camera.
Brush those teeth little dude.

Liam is building a wall.
Robert going down the slide with his big brother.
Gabe found a bed that was just his size.
Riding the carousel.  Seriously, it is hard to get a decent picture when the kids are moving in circles.  And the stinking rides went up to a buck a kid which tells me the kids won't get to enjoy this treat too often.  I had to sneak off along with Gabe so he could ride the train by himself.
Maybe in the future I can get away with sending the older boys on the rides for free as the older person for the children under 4.  I imagine they will let Bryan get away with that at least.  Overall, a good time was had by all.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Robert Practicing His Walking

Making Jam

Katie helped me make a batch of triple berry jam this afternoon.  She was having a great time stirring until things started boiling and getting too hot for her but she did help.

I had an over abundance of jam in the pantry this summer thanks to finding organic jam on clearance at Wegmans for 99 cents a jar.  I bought a dozen of them and was tempted to buy more.  So after picking fruit this summer, we just put most of it in the freezer to make jam later in the year.  We are now at the point where we are in need of more jam so I've been making it this week.  Two batches down, two more to go.

I've had folks assume in the past that the only reason I do things such as canning and cooking from scratch is because we can't afford to feed the kids otherwise.  I just have to say this is very far from the truth.  It's not so much about finding the cheapest way of doing things, it's about finding the healthiest ways of doing things.  I have something against corn syrup in all of our food and frankly like to know what my kids are eating.   If they are eating junk food, I want to know what is in it.  I don't think corn syrup belongs in jams, bread, ice cream, drinks, cans of fruit, salad dressing and cereal.  Or any of the other things it is put in as a cheap sweetener in this country.  I have an issue with all the antibiotics and growth hormones fed to our animals that are meant for human consumption.  We raise chickens not because it is cheaper but because this way we know what is in our eggs.  We avoid buying milk from cows that were given growth hormones.  We are working on finding local sources for more natural foods whenever possible.  Nope, not always cheaper but always healthier.

Pray for a New Seminarian

Yet another wonderful example for our boys of a young man who listened to what God had planned for his life.  Grant Desme, a promising minor league baseball player, has decided to retire from baseball to pursue a call to the priesthood.  Pray for this young man and his future vocation.  Hopefully his example will encourage more young men to listen to God tugging at their hearts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cardinal Arinze on Natural Family Planning

I love the Cardinal's easy style and simple way of dealing with things.  Please listen to his view on Natural Family Planning.

Ten Years

Ten years. That is how much time it takes Alan to finally get fed up with the legs that weren't attached to the love seat.  When we bought our first house in Missouri, we bought a new couch for the living room.  When family came to visit to see the house for the first time, they bought the matching love seat for us.  Only issue was the only one left in the store was in the scratch and dent section because it did not have feet attached.  So we went to the a hardware store and bought feet to put on the love seat.  Granted, they were just an inch or two shorter than the ones on the couch and the screws meant to hold them in place were too short to actually do their job properly.  Alan kept saying he would fix it.  We are now on our third house and ten years down the road.  Today Alan was rearranging furniture for me (Yup, I'm so nice to leave all these wonderful chores for him when he returns.  Don't want him to feel like he's not needed around here.) and decided the time had finally come to fix the legs on the love seat.  Gabe helped run the drill of course.  Granted, the couch and love seat are the first items of furniture on my list to replace once we pay off all of our debt but I have a feeling that is a couple years away.  Until then we will live with the slip cover look since they are super comfy.  Just not the greatest things with small children around we learned a few months after buying them.

Alan also decided to move his office furniture into the pantry downstairs and move the pantry into the storage room that had his computers and such in it.  It does make sense to actually have all of the food storage in one room rather than having one fridge in the hall, one in the office and the freezer and dry goods in the pantry.  He promises me he will now clear out the extra servers and spare computer parts and pieces so that I can have another set of shelves for our food storage.  This will get me even closer to my goal of having a 4 to 6 month supply of food and other essentials in the house for us at all times.  Yes, I am one of those people who thinks you should be super prepared because you never know what is going to happen in the future.  I sleep better at night knowing we are prepared if Alan should get laid off or get sick or some emergency hits.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Sibling rivalry is maybe starting up a tad early between Robert and Gabe.  Yesterday Gabe brought his bike inside.  Then proceeded to drive it straight over Robert's head.  Poor kid.  He had tire marks on his face and was not all happy. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

He's Home

Yup, Alan is home and we will likely have him home for a few weeks before he has to head back to work which will be a very nice change.  I wasn't able to get too many pictures since I was taking care of the littlest dude and did not see Alan walk-in but apparently Bryan spotted him right away and was jumping up and down to get Dad's attention.  Robert has decided that he still prefers the computerized version of Dad to the real thing but seems to be warming up to him a bit.  Gabe was unsure of who Dad was at first but I think that was the uniform. The kids just don't ever see him in his uniform.  After a couple minutes, he realized who Alan was and has been happily attached to him since.  So now it is time to adjust and get used to having everyone back under one roof.  We're more than happy to have him home.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Big Sisters

This is what happens to you when your big sister decides she has to play with you.  At least the boy seems to be enjoying himself.

Chuck E Cheese

Everyone is getting a tad antsy and squirrely lately so I figured we should get the heck out of the house today.  I took the crew to Chuck E Cheese to burn off some energy.  No, I refuse to set foot in a place like this on the weekend, during the summer or anytime that school is out on break.  Pure chaos reigns at those times.  But if you go during the day while school is in session, the place is normally empty which is really nice.  It means I can relax and the kids can have fun.  Just a few pictures from this morning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blankets of Hope

We got together with a few other families today and put together 3 blankets for the Soldiers' Angels program. I love the simplicity of this program for allowing the kids to actively get involved in a service project.  It's very important to give the kids a chance to serve other people but since they are kids, it is also important that they can see the project is something different. I mean, they go grocery shopping all the time. It's hard for them to realize the importance of shopping for the food pantry. Making blankets is something they will remember because it was different than everyday life.

When all was said and done, we actually had one blanket that had Air Force colors and one that was Army colors (trust me, the green was not that shade, weird light issue).