Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Farm

We have a thing for small family run farms.  This farm is just a bit away from our church and has amazing prices on pumpkins, popcorn, make-your-own scarecrow as well as goats, chickens, a corn maze and games for the kids.  Did I mention that it's all free unless you are taking something home?  Yup, we love things like that.  The kids had a blast, we brought home 8 pumpkins and a bag of popcorn to dry and then went back later in the week with friends to make scarecrows.

The Missing Teeth

Here's what Liam will look like for a while now that his front teeth were helped out a bit early.  This kid cracks me up.  Only Liam would be happy immediately after having 2 teeth knocked out.  Face covered in blood and big huge grin.  Gotta love that boy and his sense of adventure.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ten Great Reasons to Have Another Child

I came upon this article once again today and was happy to reread it.  Many, many people do not understand our thinking and seem to think they are allowed to criticize us openly and even worse, speak unkindly about our decisions to be open to life with others.   And then these same folks act surprised and shocked when we stop sharing details of our life with them.  Yes, this pregnancy has been full of anxiety.  Anxiety over will the child arrive on time or early.  Will there be someone around to watch the other kids if we need it since we have had trouble finding help with the lats two kids.  Amazing how when you are expecting your first or second or third, people fall all over themselves to help but when you are expecting a later child they act as if it is your fault for needing help and they are too busy to care.

In a world that often denigrates the large family, here are 10 great reasons to cherish children and have more!

REASON ONE: Have another child to join with God in the creation of an immortal soul.

Parents are given the incredible opportunity to assist God in the creation of an immortal soul. As the late Cardinal Mindszenty said, even the angels have not been given such a grace.

"The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral - a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby´s body...Even the angels have not been given such a grace! What is more glorious than this - to be a mother." Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

REASON TWO: Have another child to bring joy into your life.

There is no joy like the joy of welcoming another child into your life. You will marvel anew at how perfectly formed your little one is, and over how quickly you will fall head over heels in love with him. You will be enchanted with every tiny aspect of her appearance. The color of her hair, the shape of her nose, and the winsomeness of her smile will occasion endless happy debates about from which side of the family (yours, of course) she got that adorable trait.

The birth of a child will bind you to God more tightly than ever before, in awed gratitude. "She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life," Whittaker Chambers wrote about his new daughter in Witness. And in the lives of most of us.

I thought that one day I would be a famous artist, and create great works of art

Instead, God made me a mother, and my children are His masterpiece.

The design of their lives will live on after me. What is painted on their hearts will last an eternity - Anonymous

REASON THREE: Have another child to grown in holiness and virtue.

For those who marry and have families, children are the primary means God uses to help them grow in holiness and virtue. Children teach their parents patience, perseverance, charity, and humility. They give their parents the opportunity to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. They come into the world naked, and we clothe them, hungry and we feed them. Thirsty, and we give them drink. All of the things that we are required to do for the "least of these our brothers," we do first and foremost for our own children.

St. Catherine of Siena once had a vision in which God took her to a roomful of crosses and told her to pick one. St. Catherine went to the largest, heaviest cross in the room and would have chosen it. But God told her that it was not for her: That was reserved for the parents of large families.

"Mary gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes." Luke 2:7

REASON FOUR: Have another child to help end abortion.

When Mother Teresa of Calcutta was asked by a young mother about the best way to proceed with pro-life work, she responded emphatically, "Have a big family. That is the best way to end abortion!"

How this works is not difficult to understand. As children become more rare due to contraception, sterilization and abortion, whole segments of society become less and less familiar with the sense of joy and hope that only babies and children can give. In this climate, contraception and abortion feed on themselves, as the increasingly selfish few further reduce their number.

By having another child, you demonstrate once again to the world that children are God´s greatest gifts. "Children build up the life of the family and society," as Pope John Paul II has said. "The child becomes a gift to its brothers and sisters, parents and entire family. Its entire life becomes a gift for the very people who were givers of life and who cannot help but feel its presence, its sharing in their life and its contribution to the common good and to the community of the family."

The more children there are in society, the more pro-life that society will become, and the easier it will be for the great evil of abortion to be eradicated once and for all.

"Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live." Deuteronomy 30:19

REASON FIVE: Have another child so your sons will have brothers and your daughters will have sisters. Children who have siblings learn early to share. They learn to take turns and to put the needs of others before their own. The bond formed between brothers and sisters is lifelong, and stronger than the bond between the closest friends.

"How good it is, how pleasant, where the brothers dwell as one!" Psalm 133:1-2

REASON FIVE A: Have another child so your sons will have sisters and your daughters will have brothers. Boys who have sisters learn the dignity of women. They learn to treat other girls and women with respect, as they consider how they would like their own sisters to be treated. Girls who have brothers learn the complementarity of men and women, both fashioned in the image and likeness of God.

"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones-the ones at home." Mother Teresa

REASON SIX: Have another child so you (and your parents) won´t be lonely in old age. People who have children don´t have to rely upon strangers to care for them in their old age. Children also become the parents of your grandchildren. Grandchildren bring joy, happiness, and laughter, while still allowing you to get a good night´s sleep!

"Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their parentage." Proverbs 17:6

REASON SEVEN: Have another child because people are our greatest resource. Humans are blessed with the gifts of an intellect and free will. It is human ingenuity that discovers creative solutions to the problems which confront us. People without children should remember that it will be someone else´s child who will become the doctor that performs their life-saving operations. Someone else´s child will become the firefighter that saves their house. Someone else´s child will become the railroad engineer.

"How can there be too many children? That´s like saying there are too many flowers." Mother Teresa

REASON EIGHT: Have another child to contribute to the economy. Families with children are fuel to the economy, purchasing houses and cars and college educations. Without young people to enter the workforce, social security systems fail. Without children to attend school, teachers are jobless. Many industries, from fast food restaurants to toy stores, obviously rely heavily upon business from and for children to stay in business. But ultimately the whole economy does.

"Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, Like olive plants your children around your table. Just so will they be blessed who fear the Lord." Psalm 128:3-4

REASON NINE: Have another child to counter global depopulation. Anyone who has traveled from coast to coast in the United States and seen the vast empty spaces should know that America is not overpopulated. In fact, the entire population of the world could live in the state of Texas, in single-family dwellings with front and back yards.

Fertility rates are falling everywhere. The world´s population will never again double. If current trends continue, world population will peak by the middle of this century and then begin demographic freefall.

Our long-term problem is not too many children, but too few children. Having another child will help offset the coming population implosion.

"Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth." Genesis 1:28.

REASON TEN: Have another child to help populate heaven. The child that you and your spouse have been generous in accepting from God was created to return to Him, after a life of love, service, and obedience on earth, to spend eternity with God in heaven.

Our Lord Himself said that there was plenty of room for those immortal souls. There is no overpopulation problem in Heaven!

"There are many mansions in my Father´s house." John 14:2

By Steve Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute

Just a Picture

Just a few of my favorite guys.  We went back to the apple farm a few weeks ago to get the apples for canning and such.  Not many decent pictures because apparently there is something wrong with the camera and every shot shows up with a great big blur in the middle.  Very strange.  Guess we need to figure out if we can fix it or if we need a new camera before the baby arrives.  New baby pictures really should not have a great big blurry spot in the middle. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple Picking

We took the kids apple picking a month or so ago.  I have totally lost track of time.  We only picked 60 lbs of apples because we knew our schedule was going to be way too hectic to allow for canning so we plan to go back likely this weekend to actually pick enough apples for anything other than eating.  It rather amazes me how quickly we can pick so many apples and how quickly the youngest kids catch on.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and the chance to play afterwards.

Camp This Year

Every September we start our school year by having the older kids attend a living history camp at our local living history museum. This year Katie and Liam were able to participate for the first time and the older 3 boys were involved in a nature camp.  Nature camp meant they did not dress up in period clothes this year but instead focused on activities based on the book My Side of the Mountain.  They learned to start fires, build shelters, spoke to a local falconer, went fishing, spent one rainy day watching the movie, made jam and had a great time.  They all came home rather tired and dirty and wet each day.    The younger 2 spent their time exploring the history museum and learning about the role plants played in life during the 19th century.  They kept a journal, planted flax seeds, learned about natural dyes from plants, made a sachet of lavender seeds and learned a few period dances. Ok, Liam said that was his least favorite activity and seemed to participate under duress but everyone had a great time.  Somehow seeing Liam dressed up in the period clothes seemed to bring out his natural devilish personality just a tad more than normal.

We also had friends join us for the week to attend the camp so the house was full with 13 kids.  Minimal fighting, lots of fun and we learned that Alan can manage breakfast for 13 kids and still bring his pregnant wife breakfast in bed.  Anyway, lots of pictures.  Enjoy.

Star Wars Party

We won a Star Wars: The Clone Wars party from House Party.  This is the second party we have won from these folks.  They are always a lot of fun.  The product manufacturer sends you samples, coupons, new products and toys.  All you have to do is invite some friends over and share the wealth.  Ok, I guess technically with some of the parties we could get away with just saying there are enough people in our own family to qualify for the free stuff but I just would not feel right about that.  Besides, we all love an excuse to invite friends over for a fun, relaxing time.
We received this game for the kids along with temporary tattoos, coupons, a DVD with out takes from the Clone Wars series and a few other treats.
The boys made cupcakes, we had pizza, watched the series premiere and the kids played outside until it was dark enough for the deer to start taking over the backyard. They may look cute but you don't want to come upon a deer at night that thinks you may be invading their territory.
Even the adults had a chance to sit down and talk and relax.  We actually had to drag the Dads back inside when it was time to send some folks home.  Here's hoping we'll be able to do something like this again soon.

Happy Birthday Katie

Katie turned 6 this week.  Her birthday card arrived right on time for us to all go out for her birthday dinner on her birthday.  This is becoming a very big deal to the kids.  Half way through dinner Katie leans over and asks me if they will be bringing her ice cream.  Yup, we know what is really important.

Happy Birthday Katie.  Hope you had a wonderful day.