Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Scaling the Walls

This is how we remove wallpaper around here. A week off for Alan means we hope to get a few things fixed around the house.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Question of the Day

Does anyone else have a black hole in their house that sucks up all the cups? Our coffee cups tend to go in two ways. Either they are reproducing in the cabinets behind our backs or they suddenly all disappear. But lately all of the other cups in the house have disappeared as well. I honestly have no clue where they have all gone to. Ok, I have an idea or five. I'm fairly certain if we do a deep clean of all the children's bedrooms and the playroom, we will find a few of them. But seriously, where do they all keep disappearing to? This is a perplexing questions and why we never buy cups anywhere but the thrift store, with a coupon. Maybe the dollar store for kid cups but gracious, where do they all keep going to?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Life Update

Please for give the rambling if it happens. It likely will because, well, who am I kidding. :)

Just wondering who is simply not feeling this Christmas thing this year? I am so raising my hand right now. There are almost no decorations out, the only cookies made so far have been for the cookie party and those were rather universally eaten by the ravenous kidlets. We did make the Advent candles but they admittedly have not been lit very often. I do try to maintain a few traditions for us from year to year but this year they have not been followed. We have a real tree this year which means needles all over the floor. Every stinking day. I think the kids brush up against it just so they can see if they can burst needles off. It also means we did not have our 3rd Sunday in Advent getting out the tree and putting on the lights party. The boys put them on in the middle of the week. I was so bummed. Just not the same and I know several other kids were a bit upset to have missed out. The nativity scene isn't up. Because someone got the box down without asking. Left if where a certain one-year-old could get into it. He broke some of the pieces. I am not supposed to know that the pieces are now hidden in the older child's room where they are being or have been repaired. I'm not enjoying Christmas music at all right now. Yup, still changing the station when it comes on the radio. I had a nice Advent coloring poster for the kids from Illuminated Ink this year. That lasted 24 hrs before Seamus ripped it to shreds. Just that kind of year I guess.

Kieran got glasses a couple weeks ago. He seems to like them. He managed to pick out two pairs which give him very different looks. One makes him look more like Alan and the other one gives him more of a Clark Kent type look. He says they make a significant difference in how well he can see so I feel a tad guilty for not getting them earlier. He also got to try a new type of fencing at class on Tuesday. I do believe he said they were using sabers instead of foils and he rather enjoyed it.

Katie rode a pony at her riding lessons this week. She says it was a lot of fun until the pony decided to try to roll while she was still on its back. That sounds not so much fun to me and I'm rather glad I didn't see it. I do better with the weird possibly dangerous things that happen to the kids if I don't actually have to witness them.

The Ford has been acting up lately. When Alan told me the heater wasn't working, I told him to get back to me in January since I was done dealing with car repairs for the year. A few days later he called from work (over an hour away) to say that the car was over heating on the drive into work that morning. That evening it starting over heating much sooner in the trip. Thankfully it was a problem solved with $10 of coolant but there appears to be a leak in the system somewhere. Hopefully it will hang on until we can get it looked at later.

The oven is acting temperamental lately as well. Which is totally awesome. It is rather new so it shouldn't be acting funny. Appears to be a thermostat issue of sorts. We have replaced every single major appliance in the house in the last 18 months with the exception of the dryer and that is because we just never bothered to fix the dead dryer. And the water heater needed to be repaired as well. It has been an interesting couple of years.

Liam heads back to the physical therapist after Christmas I believe. Need to check the schedule because it might be next week. Hopefully we will see some improvement.

Alan somehow has the entire week after Christmas off. I guess he forgot that he stashed a week of vacation time there when he had to decide when to use everything this year. Hopefully we will be able to use the time to get a few repairs done around the house and help the older kids catch up on some school work. I have a feeling the older crew might end up taking it a movie as well.

The kids received a wooden nativity set a few weeks ago. It has been something Abby and Gabe have been playing with most every day. I love hearing them act out the stories. Really helps you figure out how much they understand.

The boys had their Boy Scout Christmas party. Alan took a couple of the younger kids with him. Everyone got a few new badges and they sent the crew home with a huge pan of leftover pasta which means no need to cook for the next few days.

The parish center in our church is finally repaired from the fire. This means we have finally moved out of the school for Mass. While this does provide the parish a more permanent place to hold Mass, it also means we lost seating space. So now we have to get there even earlier to get seats for our family. The entire situation has also reminded me how important the atmosphere truly is in aiding worship. We are incredibly lucky that no one was hurt in the fire and only things were lost but the lack of a sacred space does matter. WE often attend Mass in another parish that is blessed with a beautiful church and truly reverent priests. The kind of place where they often have 8 altar servers, a lack of extraordinary ministers, reverent music, and a truly inspiring church. The difference in the behavior of the younger children is noticeable because they can look around and sense that they are someplace special. Liturgical art is important it seems.  Makes me realize how much I miss it.

That is a round up of the latest and greatest in our world at the moment. Hope it finds you doing well.

Pictures and Stuff

Just a few pictures. This has been a favorite game the last week. I am hoping that the larger sized checkers will be harder for the kids to lose.
Littlest dude enjoying his ice cream. The best part of Sunday nights.
It is harder than you would think to get a decent picture of this little lady. She seems to always move or start screeching when I try to take her picture. Neither of which makes for awesome picture taking.
Ellie on her birthday. Yes, she cut her hair again and I had to trim it up. The older girl are spending a lot  of time knitting and crocheting and they left a pair of scissors in their room. Ellie is nothing if not stubborn and determined. Thankfully she looks cute with short hair but I wasn't able to truly even it out. If I had cut it truly evenly, it would be a wee bit shorter and I just did not want to do that. Admittedly, now that it is shorter, it does look a lot less messy most of the time. Maybe we just need to leave it be for a while but short hair means more haircuts. And I am just not as comfortable cutting the girls' hair as I am the boys. Hence the longer hair. There you have my secret. It's my fear of giving the girls a really horrid hair cut that keeps their hair long.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Meal Plan

I'm finding with my current crazy schedule, that I really need to get back to meal planning. At the moment I am often spending 2 hours a day driving Alan to work, 2 to 3 hours a day pumping (and it's really not enough to keep up with her), and still trying to fit in life and appointments and school and such. Last week was a 4 doctor appointment kind of week. Since something had to give, dinners were often going unmade. Not so great since we all still need to eat.

M: creamy salsa chicken over rice
T: pot roast
W: Boy Scout Christmas dinner for some, hot dogs for those at home
T: sweet fire chicken
F: spinach tortellini soup, rolls

Charlotte News

The latest on the little one. She's found her own growth pattern so we are able to back off on the visits to the pediatrician and plastic surgeon. This is a good thing because going to one or the other every week was getting to be a bit much.

She had her second hearing test last week. Failed it. Which at this point means nothing. Due to the cleft palate, she pretty much lacks the ability to remove fluid from her ears on her own. The basic newborn hearing screenings require that there is no fluid in the baby's ears for the test to work.  She has fluid in her ears fairly regularly so she failed the tests. This means that there is no way to get an accurate hearing test done until the fluid is removed. The audiologist recommends putting tubes in her ears before another hearing test is performed. Both the tubes and the next level of hearing tests require sedation No one likes to put little babies under anesthesia unnecessarily so nothing will happen until her next surgery. Hopefully tubes can be put in at that point. But we have no clue on what will really happen. It's all a waiting game at this point.

So we are plugging along. And, nope, I don't have more info than that right now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent Plans Revised

I had plans this year to buy some new Christmas books to share a book each evening with the kids during Advent. Then the brakes went on the van and the fridge died and had to be replaced and those plans got ditched. I'm hoping to still find some decent ones at the library but far too often you have to pick through the ridiculous and just plain silly books to find one or two decent ones regarding holidays.

The kids made our Advent candles tonight. Yes, a tad late. I ordered them to arrive in time and they got lost in the mail.  Sent to Minnesota. I'm hoping I will be awake early enough tomorrow to take them to Mass to have Father bless them for us. We also have a new Advent poster for the kids to color. I need to get out the Nativity sets later this week. Our best wedding present was a ceramic set made by my Grandmother.  It will be a bit more meaningful now. I will admit that I wish we still had a child friendly Nativity set for the kids to use and play with but over the years the pieces have been misplaced and purged.

I'm thinking things will be kind of low key this year. I picked up gingerbread houses for the kids to make today. We will be planning our cookie party this week.

Saint Nicholas Day arrives this weekend. I do believe this is the biggest day in Advent for our crew. I love seeing how excited they get over a couple of shoes full of candy.

Here's hoping your Advent is a fruitful one.

Baby Update

So Charlotte is 5 weeks now. She had another appointment with the plastic surgeon today. She finally seems to have settled into a consistent growth pattern so we can now put off further visits with them for another 6 weeks. The current plan is for the first surgery to be around 4 months, the second one somewhere after 10 months, and down the road she will need further surgery when she is older. Her palette issues are fairly severe. I'm assuming this girl will have fairly extensive orthodontic issues when she gets older. But for now, she's doing well.  Acting more alert, gaining every day, drinking with no issues. She is over 6 pounds and using a much nicer bottle than the one given to us in the NICU. The current bottle allows for baby led feedings which is much better for everyone. She is still on a 2 week schedule with the pediatrician but he tends to watch newbies closely until he sees them establish a good growth pattern. Hopefully after her visit with him next week, we can back off those visits as well. She has also learned how to pull the tape off her face. I was hoping use would put off learning that trick for another month or so but apparently not.

Next week she has a hearing check scheduled to try to determine if she has hearing issues. They are fairly common in kids with palette issues and she failed her hearing screening in the hospital. Thankfully our pediatrician was able to schedule not only the screening but also an appointment with a doctor to immediately go over results and have her looked at that day. This means just one visit instead of two and makes my life a tad easier right now.

In other news, child number 4 is starting twice weekly physical therapy sessions next week for his arm. He is also due for surgery to have the pin removed from his elbow in about 3 months. Anyone see an issue with this timing? I had spent every follow up visit with the orthopedist asking why surgery couldn't be scheduled now, before the baby was born to make things easier on the entire family. He kept saying no, there is no need to take the pin out until it starts to bother Liam. First follow up visit after the baby is born, the pin needs to come out. But not for another 3 months. Right when Charlotte is due for her surgery. He also spent the past 6 months telling us kids never need physical therapy anymore, don't worry about it. Now the story is he is not regaining full range of monition and needs physical therapy pronto. Yes, the kid does need it. I just wish we had started it 3 months ago.

I also had an unplanned visit to urgent care for an infected c-section incision. Then again, how many urgent care visits are ever scheduled. So the third surgery was just a bit crazy for me. It is definitely taking me longer to bounce back this time but I think that is due in large part to the severe anemia before her birth and the crazy insane schedule since. I've also found myself just sick in general for a while but after spending a day in bed, I'm feeling a bit better. I remember feeling this run down after Abby was born when I had similar anemia issues. I'm just hoping it doesn't take me as long to recover this time as it did then. It seriously took me 6 months to feel back to normal. Hoping for a quicker recovery this time around.