Friday, October 17, 2014

End of shift...

The Trouble Twins
I wouldn't trade being a stay-at-home mom for anything. But, I would pay a whole lot of money for someone to come and watch my 4 and 2-year-olds at certain times of the day!!! Now is one of those times...it's 2 p.m. I would promise to come back by 3:30 to get my older kids off the bus because I really like that part of the day (even though it tends to be NUTS!).

My 2-1/2-year-old (who refuses to nap), Lucy, is running around in her bathing suit. Yes, it's fall and probably 65 degrees out. But, it wasn't worth the battle. You get it, right? She also is carrying around and applying six lip glosses (the kiddie kind that is nontoxic, thank goodness!). She has colored her hands with markers. And, she keeps getting on a chair to go into the kitchen cabinets. Can you say accident waiting to happen!? I remember not that long ago (March maybe?) when I wrote a blog post about my favorite age (age 2). I'm rethinking this...big time!

I guess I should be glad that she's not trying to climb all over me. I love snuggles most of the day, but I try to steal some "me" time when Teresa is sleeping. For the record, I spent the entire morning actively engaged with her (Lucy)...so she is not deprived of affection and attention!

This baby turns one next week!!!!
Justin, age 4, had a fabulous time at school this morning. He came home with pumpkin seeds because they made a jack-o-lantern in class. I asked him if he wanted to roast them and eat them. He insisted that he needed to plant them in the backyard immediately. I supported this idea if it would keep he and Lucy entertained for a bit! After all, it's a beautiful fall day.

Skip ahead to the mud party in the bathroom while I was trying to grab a bite of lunch. God help me!!! I love these children, but all my efforts to maintain order (and a somewhat clean) house are defeated! It makes those alcoholic apple ciders in my fridge look mighty appealing!!!

I apologize for the vent post. When I tuck these babies into bed in a few short (okay, who am I kidding!?!) hours, I know that I will thank God for an amazing day with them like I always do. I am tremendously blessed...it's just easier to remember this at 9 p.m. than at 2 p.m. :)

I was stopped at a red light this morning at a corner where they are building a new Rite Aid. Lucy and Teresa were happy in the backseat, and I was listening to a beautiful song while enjoying my windows down. I watched a man lay bricks. He was working so efficiently and so carefully, and even in the short time that I was at the light, he made great progress. I couldn't help but feel (momentarily) jealous. When he finished his shift, he would have something beautiful (and something that will stand the test of time) to show for it.

What will I have at the end of my shift today!?! This is rhetorical. I know that my work is important. I know that I am carefully laying "bricks" also...just with a much slower (and messier) outcome. :)

Have a great weekend everyone! I will be enjoying one of those alcoholic apple ciders later when my trouble twins are safely tucked in their beds. Now I must go investigate the crash in the other room...








Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Just perfect...


Despite the cool drizzly weather, we had a great time yesterday! It was Columbus Day and the big kids were off of school. We dropped the little kids off at preschool, and they had a great time visiting their old teachers. It's a wonderful feeling for a parent when people are excited to see your children :). After preschool, we headed to a fall wonderland with tons of hay, sliding boards, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, face painting, etc.! The kids had a BLAST!

I couldn't help but remember last Columbus Day. I was 38 weeks pregnant and miserable with high blood pressure, contractions, low blood sugar problems, etc. My husband had to work so I took the five kids to a fall fun fort (like the place we went to yesterday, but just a different one!). It was a hard day for me. My children had a great time, but I was unable to enjoy it with them as everything felt hard and like so much work.

But, the memories of that day made yesterday so much sweeter. I loved watching my sweet Teresa enjoy the day right along with her siblings! And I felt great...small (ha...compared to last year anyway!), energetic, and just happy. My load was light.

It was a day that I counted all my blessings. I was so happy to be alive and enjoying a beautiful fall day with my children! Thank you God. Please bless us and protect us, and please, Blessed Mother, bring great comfort to all who are suffering.

Amen! Still savoring my favorite season....



Friday, October 10, 2014

The Cure...

Trying on Halloween costumes! They look so cute...too bad they were fighting moments later!
It's Friday afternoon. It's been quite a week. Lucy, age 2-1/2, is napping for the second time this week. Alleluia! The other three afternoons were challenging. When she's not napping then she wants to be with me. As in, on my lap trying to type on the laptop and hold my coffee mug, with me. Ugh! I'm used to Justin watching a movie and Lucy and the baby napping so that I can have some "me" time and recharge my batteries. I can't expect this anymore...and it's a hard transition.

Wednesday and Thursday I ended up putting the laptop away and praying the Rosary with her (Lucy) snuggled on my lap. I think that was a very good use of my time. I love cuddling with my children...I just have to remember to embrace the moment and not think of other things that I could be doing! I had a lot to pray about. For starters, I had just read about another 2-1/2-year-old girl named Lucy who is fighting for her life (she has leukemia). And, I read about several infants this week who passed away (did you follow Shane's Bucket List at all? Such an inspirational reminder that all life is sacred). I wanted to pray for their parents. Anyway, it just felt right to hold my child and pray. Precious moments!

My cutie still prefers baby food to "real" food!
Yes, precious moments! But, yesterday afternoon I started to feel very unbalanced. It was a combination of not enough adult interaction (stay-at-home mom syndrome!), a head cold, hormones, and the change in seasons (less daylight!). We all have days like this, huh!? I felt a strong desire to connect with people...and not the six little people who I am blessed to spend my days with :).

When he got home from work last night, I told my husband that he needed to TALK to me. After the kids were in bed, I asked if we could have a no technology night (it's so easy for us to get on our laptops to check "a few things"...and suddenly it's bed time!). We did watch some TV together (we were both too tired to have much deep conversation!), but it was nice to have someone listen to me. And, the best part, he actually recommended that I go out with my friends!

So, tonight I am meeting a bunch of friends at Panera Bread for some kind of fall drink (I'm ridiculously excited to pick between caramel apple cider and a pumpkin latte!). Beer or wine would be my first choice, but I'm fighting a cold/sinus infection and I don't think that'll help me heal!

But, I think that laughter and connection is just the ticket to help me (physically and emotionally!). Have a blessed weekend everyone :).











Monday, October 6, 2014

Trying again...

Librarian at kids' school asked for "Selfie with my shelfie" pictures to kick off reading challenge!
This morning was a challenge. The alarm went off at 6:20 a.m. and the three of us were all snuggled under the blankets. The temperature dipped into the 30s last night so the room was freezing!

Yes, the three of us. Teresa is baby number six and the only baby ever to sleep in our bed (and not all night...only when she wakes up after 4 a.m. and I'm desperate for her to go back to sleep...quickly!). I'm counting on the fact that she'll sleep through the night after she's weaned...at least that's what's happened five times before!

I also have a bad head cold. This made it even harder to get out of bed! Once I put on some heat (I could anticipate the kids complaining about getting dressed!) and some COFFEE, I was feeling better. Five out of kids woke up in a pretty good mood...despite the low temperatures.

The 6th child to wake up was a grump. She (Gianna) had lots of ailments (sore throat, sore leg, sore arms, sore neck, etc.), and she couldn't believe that I was going to send her to school anyway! The nerve...

Flashback to being a child and begging my mother to stay home. My mother was very good at discerning when we were really sick. If she determined real cause, we would get the royal treatment (no wonder we wanted to stay home!). From my father, I inherited a ton of guilt about being out of school. Even as an adult when I was teaching, I often went to school feeling terrible to avoid feeling guilty. Yes, I realize that this is irrational :).

Here's the baby who gets the extra snuggles!
Anyway, Gianna was not sick. It was just the morning grumps. I knew that a bowl of cereal would snap her out of it. Of course, "there is never any cereal that she likes in this house!" Despite her pleas, I was not going to make her pancakes or let her have cookies!

Kids have bad mornings. I am very grateful that (so far), they are usually on different mornings. Cecilia was very grumpy on Friday morning, but she was delightful and very independent this morning. Joseph was as agreeable as Joseph can be today! If there is ever a morning when they are all grumpy, I will surely write about it (if I survive!).

Gianna remained grumpy and it was torture to get her fed, dressed, teeth and hair brushed, and coat on. She did not want a kiss goodbye. I wasn't going to push it. In fact, I was very excited to see her go so that the house mood could improve (woops, did I admit that!?).

The door closed as my husband went to take the three oldest to the bus. I returned to getting breakfast for the younger kids. See ya!

And then, the door opened again. I held my breath...

Lots of soccer this weekend and I loved it because it was fall weather!! Last weekend it was in the 80s...the heat really affected the kids (and the parents on the sidelines!). 
It was Gianna. Crap. My mind was screaming, "Go to school already!!!"

No wait, she looked...nicer. She gave me a big hug as she apologized. She asked if we could try harder tomorrow morning to be nicer to each other.

My defensive instinct was to tell her that I WAS perfectly nice this morning. I didn't feel well and I was still taking care of everyone... SHE was the problem. She was snotty, rude, dramatic, unmotivated, and lazy. Luckily, I spared her the lecture because the bus was going to arrive...and I realize the power of mom's response. I did not want to be the cause of a bad day.

I hugged her back and smiled as I told her enthusiastically, "YES! Tomorrow morning is a re-do!" I wished her a great day and she skipped to the door while blowing me kisses.

I felt good about the self-control that I showed in that moment. High five to me!

But, upon reflection, I must admit that I could've done a much better job. I could tell as soon as she walked into the room this morning that she was in a bad mood so I "turned off the love."

Instead of telling her to "get over" her aches and pains this morning, I should've given her a big hug and said good morning. I could've helped her morning by laying out her clothes like I had done for the other kids (I didn't because I was frustrated with her). I could've LISTENED to her (even if it was complaining) instead of dismissing her.

Gees, I should've been the one asking her for forgiveness!!!

I thought it showed great maturity for an 8-year-old to ask for forgiveness and to try to make it right for next time. I hope that she is getting that from me. This motherhood thing is crazy hard (to quote the "Mom's Night Out" movie!), and I can only take so much before snapping. My kids hear me say that I'm sorry...a lot. I ask if we can start something over...a lot.

Joseph started calling Justin and Lucy, "The Trouble Twins." Trust me...it fits!!!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go rescue Lucy from older brother torture. I'm sure that he owes Lucy an apology...

but, not holding my breath that he'll show the maturity that Gianna showed :).










Thursday, October 2, 2014

If...


Lucy's "silly guys" are outside our house again! Love this time of year!!!
IF...
I was the dental hygienist who cleaned my teeth this morning, I would have hated me. I would still be talking about the snotty lady with the 8:40 a.m. slot :).

For the record, it is that most challenging week of the month for me when my hormones take over (better known as PMS!). I'm also coming down with a cold and Teresa and I didn't sleep well last night. These are not excuses or justifications, but at least it makes me feel better :).

I was sitting in the waiting room with Justin. We both had appointments to have our teeth cleaned at 8:40. Around 8:55 (not too bad, I guess), I was called back. However, the dental hygienist did not call back, "Trish Bolster." Rather, she kept saying over and over again, "Pat? Pat? PAT?"

I knew she was calling ME. However, I didn't answer. Since I was a girl, I have despised being called, "Pat." Yes, my name is Patricia. And, there is nothing wrong with Pat. In fact, I was named for my aunt, Patricia (Pat) Margaret Mulhern, who sadly died of a sudden brain aneurysm at age 25.

But, Pat is not my name. Only one person in my life has called me Pat. It was Mrs. Irons, my 7th grade social studies teacher at St. Catherine of Siena School in Norwood, MA. Sorry if I'm calling you out, Mrs. Irons (I actually have NO idea where she is today!). I corrected her (even though I was very shy) and my parents corrected her. She then called me Tricia for exactly one day before defaulting back to Pat. Not that I'm still bitter :). WHY does this bother me? (no answer)

Anyway, after she called, "Pat BOLSTER," I finally stood up and told Justin to follow. She asked if I hadn't heard her. I told that I'm not used to being called Pat (check my chart lady...I've been coming here for almost ten years and my preferred name is right on it...I know this because no one has ever called me Pat before!)! She didn't seem too pleased.

But at least my teeth are clean. :)

I love my boys!

IF...
Lucy would nap everyday (like she is right now...hooray!), I would be much saner, happier, calmer, you-name-it!!! All of my girls have stopped napping at 2-1/2-years-old...pretty much to the day. Lucy turns 2-1/2 this week. And, this is only her second nap of the week (it's Thursday). Last week she was napping just fine. Two and a half-year-olds NEED naps.

But, my girls (luckily my boys both napped until 3-1/2ish) decide they are big enough to stop (and they drive their mother almost insane because they are too young to sit and watch TV for an hour or two (the only TV allowed all day is during nap time) so Mommy gets ZERO break). I need a break. Not to mention the declining mood of the toddler as the day progresses!

And, yes, I have tried all kinds of solutions...but I spend my entire "break" when Teresa is sleeping trying to get Lucy down, so it's really not worth it...I'm even more stressed! If I'm not blogging much these days, you'll all know why :).


Image result for picture of guardian angel
Happy Feast of the Guardian Angels! Thank you angels...please watch over us!
IF...
I was God, I don't think I would be very happy with how I respond to my children in stressful situations. In fact, I would punish me...harshly...for not being the mother who my precious children deserve.

Case in point: My husband was teaching a class on Tuesday night. So, it was just me for afternoon homework for 3 kids, dinner, and clean up (and I really lose it if there's not a little bit of order, so I ask the kids to pick up a few things...reasonable, you'd think!?!). I was getting worn down anticipating bathing six children and getting everyone to bed on time (so I could enjoy my reward...a glass of wine!).

Gianna (8) and Joseph (6-1/2) were being VERY silly. Most of the time, I love the close bond that they've always shared. Watching them together makes my heart sing. But, not on Tuesday evenings when I'm the only adult!

At 7 p.m., I asked the two of them to clean up the backyard for me (riding toys, baseball bats, etc. everywhere!) and then head upstairs for their showers. Let's just say that they were less than cooperative. And, because they had support in each other, they were extra bold and uncharacteristically rude.

I did not respond well. I do not physically hurt my children, but words can sting too. Let's leave it at that. I got their cooperation in the end. And, I did apologize and explain (for what it's worth) that I really need their help when Daddy is not home. They seemed to forgive me and everyone got to bed peacefully and on time.

I do not forgive myself as easily. And, in all honesty, who knows what long-term damage I am doing to my children!?! God help me.

There's a line in a song that makes me feel all better. It's the song, "Overwhelmed," by Big Daddy Weave. There's a link below (I think...I've never been any good at this sort of thing!!!).

The line is this: "God, I run into your arms...unashamed because of mercy."

Thank you God for your mercy and for never giving up on me. I pray for the grace that I need to be the person that I am called to be (even when someone calls me Pat, even when my toddler doesn't nap, even when my kids are disrespectful). Amen. :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiGb14tTaH4&feature=player_detailpage

IF...
You are still reading, then I thank you!!! Many blessings on your day. Guardian Angels, pray for us!






Monday, September 29, 2014

The eye of the beholder...



Gianna got the best birthday present. It's a book teaching kids to draw animals. Here's Gianna and Cecilia drawing zoos!
I had a ridiculous conversation in Kmart this morning. I was thoroughly enjoying a shopping trip with just my baby...the other five kids were at school! And, major bonus...the baby was sleeping! I was pushing the cart oh-so-gently so I wouldn't wake her up. I had some good coupons and Kmart is having a double coupon week, so good for me all around :).

Until...I approached the pharmacy. I saw a sign for flu shots, and I was reminded that I should really get one. I wondered if the baby would sleep if I got one then.

I waited in line behind a lovely looking elderly woman. She smiled at me and I smiled back. She ran over to see the baby...my sleeping baby...ugh!!! Luckily, she did not wake her up.

Instead, she commented, "Ahh...so precious. They start off so ugly and parasitic, but then they get so cute. Mine both looked like Winston Churchill when they were born, but they turned out great." I just looked at her. What!?! She went on, "I mean, for three months, they are just parasites who can't give anything in return...they just suck the life out of you...literally," she added with a laugh.

Um okay, I have never once thought of my newborns as ugly parasites, and I'm so sorry for this woman if she did :).

As Teresa woke up, I was thinking that I didn't need a flu shot so badly anymore. I should've left. But, I decided to confirm that they took my insurance so that I could come back later. The sweet looking lady said, "Did you see the news this morning? There was a story about a man being pulled over by the cops and he had an unrestrained 14-month-old child in the backseat. If that's not a case for sterilization, I don't know what is! Some people should not be allowed to have children!"

I did hear that news story in the background this morning when I was making school lunches. And, I did find it terribly disturbing and sad. I was grateful that the baby was okay. But, again, I never made the leap to sterilization!

I cut my losses and left...didn't want to see where the conversation would go next :). The thoughts ringing in my head as I drove away: Life is beautiful at all stages (especially when most vulnerable), and we have no right to judge others fit or unfit...none of us are worthy of our gifts!

Lucy says, "I am a big girl...and her (Teresa) is a peanut!"
Bizarre conversations aside, I wanted to share a special memory from this weekend:

On Friday afternoon after school, I was in the basement playroom with all six children (I've been going down there a lot more often because all the toys are down there...and Teresa can't go down there by herself!). Our moods were all over the place after a long week! My children and I then shared a very special moment when Teresa walked for the first time ever (well, while pushing her cart). The room was instantaneously filled with tremendous joy, happiness, laughter, and excitement! The kids were all congratulating her and cheering those little legs on! LOVE.

Moments like these make everything seem so light. Sure, there are so many unpleasant moments during parenthood...but, one moment like this makes everything all good! I hope that I just remember the love.

Welcome to the upright world, Teresa! Now maybe you will stop putting everything in your mouth as you crawl around on dirty floors...lol!
I hope the lady at Kmart has memories like this stored in her heart...after her kids turned 3 months, apparently :). And, I hope the man in the news story is able to turn his life around, with God's help. God Bless that innocent child too.

How's that for connecting random story lines together? :)












Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Morning Glory...

I don't take enough pictures of my sweet strawberry blond baby!
I realized something on Saturday night around 10 p.m. that made me kind of upset. I had not said a single prayer that entire day....not even a Hail Mary. This is so rare for me! And, it made me feel bad that I had not raised my mind and heart to God even once (well, we probably said Grace before meals and bedtime prayers...but I gotta be honest, I'm not always concentrating on the words!).

Now, even I think that I have good excuses! The early morning was/is...just crazy! I try to hurry up and have my raisin bran and coffee so that I can continue taking care of everyone else. On Saturday, Joseph had a 9:30 soccer game (which I had to leave to walk Cecilia over to her dance class at 10...luckily it's in the same complex!), Teresa had a high fever and was unbelievably fussy (so Gianna and I made the trip over to other side of Harrisburg to see the pediatrician who was available last minute on a Saturday morning), and then we took the whole family to Hersheypark (a very kind friend gave us tickets!).

Hersheypark was SO crowded that it was a challenge just to keep an eye on our five walking children (luckily Teresa...who felt better after antibiotics for a double ear infection and ibuprofen for the fever...cannot walk yet!). It was too crowded for us to enjoy it much (I usually love watching my children have so much fun!), but it was still a nice family activity.

We got home just before 8 p.m. with children who were melting and/or wired. Bedtime was a not-so-fun blur. I took a long shower before sitting down to eat a late dinner. It was after collapsing on the couch that I first turned my thoughts to God. I felt so bad that I had ignored my Lord and his Blessed Mother the entire day! (Of course, I do realize that taking care of my family is exactly what I was meant to do this day...).

A pic from our last trip to Hersheypark. I was afraid that I would lose a child if I stopped to take a picture on Saturday!
Then I remembered something that I had read. For my birthday in August, my husband got me an AWESOME book called, "33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration," by Michael E. Gaitley MIC. This book was mentioned on EWTN one night when I was channel surfing. My husband was in the room working on his laptop. I told him that I would love this book, but I didn't think he was paying attention. I was thrilled to receive it on my birthday...guess he was listening! I love surprises like that!!!

Anyway, I eagerly read the book. I have been saying a daily consecration to Mary for many years now, but I had never formally consecrated my life to her. Detailing all that consecration involves would take way too much explanation for this blog post, so I recommend this book if you're interested :).

According to the book, it is supposed to be 33 days until consecration. And, you're supposed to wait so that your consecration will end on a Marian fest (for example, start the book 33 days before August 15th, which is the Assumption). Well, I dug right in and I read way more than I was supposed to each day...woops!!! I don't even remember the actual day of my consecration, but it was not a Marian feast. With my six little ones, I don't have much free time, so I hope that my eagerness is forgiven :).
Image result for picture of blessed mother
Mary, please help me to be a better wife and mother!
Recalling a few quotes by St. Maximilian Kolbe made me feel better on Saturday night. Summarized, he says that, "It is not at all necessary that the thought of the Immaculata (Mary) should occur to one's mind...for the essence of our union with her does not consist in thought, memory, or sentiment, but in our will."

And, "We belong to her...because we have consecrated ourselves to her once, and we have never taken back our consecration."

This is comforting to me. It makes me feel like, "Mary's got this!" She is still loving me, protecting me and my family, guiding me, helping me, working in my life and in the lives of my loved ones in ways that I recognize and ways that I know will never know anything about...

YAY! This is not to say that I no longer need to pray. In fact, I really enjoy prayer! I find the more that I pray, the more that I want to pray. But, some days I will not be able to say the Rosary...or even a single Hail Mary...and it's still okay! PHEW!

Better get off the computer (no excuse not to say a few prayers today!)! Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day.