Saturday, September 29, 2012

May they never forget...

I love this picture of my three oldest children smelling a late summer rose last weekend. This image instantly came to mind this week when I read a terrifying statistic. Car accidents are no longer the number one killer of Americans. Rather, suicide is the number one killer (not counting illnesses and other natural causes, obviously).

I have known dark days in my life. By God's grace, I have pulled through time and time again. I can only hope and pray that in His mercy, He will continue to give me my daily bread to get through the ups and downs of this crazy life!

So, while I can no longer even imagine suicide for myself, it terrifies me as a parent. Right now, I have my precious children around me all day (except for one Kindergartener who leaves from 7:51-3:13!). I can make almost everything better with a single kiss (or a bribe of sugar!). Their worlds are small and safe and (almost) fully in my control. Strangers tell me almost daily that these are the best days of my life...perhaps this is what they are referring to (because I can't imagine that they are talking about the meltdowns and whining!).

As we know though, these long days make for short years. So, my prayer today is that my children will never forget to stop and smell the roses. And that the good Lord will keep them hopeful and close to Him every step of the way.

Friday, September 28, 2012

We love Woosey...

My favorite sound these days is the sound of my toddler saying his sister's name. Lucy is Woosey. Before it self-corrects (all the cute things tend to quickly turn into their proper names before I'm ready), I am constantly asking Justin what the baby's name is! He happily obliges as he loves my reaction.

Speaking of Lucy, my husband and I recently watched a show that ranked old TV shows. The number one show ever (according to this one particular ranking show) was I Love Lucy.

I have fond memories of my 10-year-old summer. My mother would allow us to eat our lunches picnic style in the living room watching old episodes of I Love Lucy. I had a very sheltered early childhood (one I am trying to repeat for my children) and was only allowed to watch a handful of shows with my siblings...Lucy fit the bill with her crazy antics!

You don't hear the name Lucy that often nowadays. And, honestly, my husband picked it for our daughter. But, now I can't imagine a more perfect name. Thank you God for Woosey...and for Justin's sweet voice! St. Lucy, pray for us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A few of our favorite things...

Well, they are a few of MY favorite things, but my children seem to share the love today. I'm talking about the things of favorite season!

After picking up the kids from school this afternoon, I was inspired to drive my tired and whiny crew out to the farmer's market. Although they complained all the way there, they were instantly happy when we pulled up.

"Look at the pumpkins!" they shouted. Inside, they were greeted with free samples of apple cider (mixed reviews from the kids, but we bought a gallon for Mommy and Daddy!) and apples galore. Not to mention the beautiful mums and aisles of fresh produce.

We filled our cart and spent an eternity picking out the perfect pumpkin. But, everyone was happy...especially me. Did I mention that I love fall?

On the way home, the topic turned to Halloween. How could it not seeing we finally picked a pumpkin? Joseph (4-1/2) informed me of what everyone is going to be for Halloween. Luckily, everyone is to be the exact same thing that they were last year (I don't think Joseph realizes that there is an option to be something different! The same works for me though as I actually HAVE those costumes...and some might fit!).

"Except for Lucy," he said. "She just gets to be plain old herself."

I smiled. Plain old herself (almost 6 months) is pretty darn cute these days.

Thank you God for fall and all of its amazing gifts. Thank you for a spontaneous trip to the farmer's market which turned out so well. Spontaneous doesn't often work well for me these days, so I'm grateful! Off to enjoy some warm apple cider...

Friday, September 21, 2012

My little stinker...

Yesterday I wrote about Lucy the monkey. Today, Justin is a stinker.

Justin turned 2 last week. He is very much a typical 2-year-old who is unpredictable and challenging. But, he is also very cute, sweet, and snuggly. And, he is finally speaking! After two years of having Cecilia (only 13 months older) saying everything for him, he decided that he too has a voice. I'm hoping this makes life less frustrating for both of us!

The only word that comes to mind today, however, is STINKER!

Last night we put the kids to bed early. It was Thursday, and the week of school and soccer was catching up to everyone. Three out of four fell asleep immediately. Justin, however, took a 2-hour nap, so he was not quite ready for sleep. Luckily, he goes into his crib beautifully and just sings and plays until he falls asleep.

When I checked on him at 10 o'clock, there he was in his crib...sound asleep....completely naked lying in a puddle.

"You've got to be kidding me," I said as I yelled for my husband to come and change his sheet. I had absolutely no idea that he could get his pajamas (and diaper, obviously) off by himself. Lesson learned...he'll be wearing a onesie to bed from now on (hasn't figured out those snaps yet!).

Today (well, most days actually) I had a lapse in judgment. We were picking up Joseph from preschool, and Lucy and Justin both wanted out of the double stroller. I meant to just get Lucy out, but I inadvertently let Justin out too (I was deep in conversation with a few other moms).

Suddenly...Justin was gone. We all looked everywhere. My heart was skipping beats even though I knew he couldn't have gone far, and we were nowhere near a street or other hazard.

I then looked at Cecilia who looked as white as a ghost. "Mom, Justin just went in the himself!!!" WHAT?!? We weren't even near the elevator.

I left the other kids with friends and jogged up the stairs as fast as I could. Yup...there was Justin...looking SO proud of himself!! He even got off on the right floor to get Joseph. "Hi Mommy!" Hi Stinker.

Thanks God for the innocence, wonder, and spirit of my toddler. Please help me keep him safe, dry, and in my sights at all times. For those times when he leaves my sight, I pray that his Guardian Angel will protect him on all the "joy rides" of his life!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our little monkey...

This morning I was getting ready in the bathroom. Lucy was in the pack-n-play so she'd be safe (she's rolling everywhere these days...and eventually she'll roll into a wall or bureau!). I could hear Joseph talking to her. And then...BIG sneezes.

I heard the pitter-patter of little feet running as fast as they could. It was Joseph running into the bathroom to get Lucy a tissue! "Mom, Lucy has a huge boogey!" I thanked him for being a good helper and told him to let me know if he needed help. He ran off to wipe her nose.

He was back a moment later. "Did you get it," I asked. "NO! She was acting like a MONKEY (demonstration of monkey inserted here) moving her arms and legs all around. I asked her to be still for just a minute, but she wouldn't."

Ha! I laughed before I headed back with him. Honestly, I'm grateful that he thought to get her a tissue at all. At 4 1/2, he just doesn't seem to believe in them for himself yet :).

Thank you, God, for extra eyes to watch over my baby and take care of all of her needs. And, thank you, for all my "monkeys" who bring me such fulfillment, frustration, and joy...all rolled into one!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mission Accomplished...

I snapped this picture right before I took Joseph to the second soccer game of his young life. Everyone else was still at the pool finishing swimming lessons, so Lucy and I came home to feed Joseph some lunch before starting the frustrating project which is getting shin guards, soccer socks, and cleats on a young child!

I was warned. My husband took Joseph to the first soccer game of his young life last weekend. He said that Joseph did this prance/gallop around the field and pretty much avoided all the action never touching the soccer ball. I had high hopes that the hour-long soccer practice between then and now had much improved his game.

Nope! Lucy and I watched Joseph play about 20 minutes of a 40 minute game. My husband had the description perfect, but he left out the disinterested/depressed face and obsession with how much water was in his water bottle (he kept coming up to me to give me a status).

I was embarrassed as I tried to remember what is really important. As his coach tells the boys countless times during every practice and game: The most important thing about soccer is to BE NICE and HAVE FUN.

And, truth be told, he was definitely not alone. There were other 4-year-old boys out there acting the same. I really enjoyed the conversations with the other parents. I realized that we were all in this together...Joseph wasn't really standing out like I thought!

Thank you God for my healthy child who can run. Thank you for opportunities for him to learn sportsmanship and team building at such a young age. Thank you for a coach who thinks the most important thing is to be nice and have fun! Thank you for a beautiful fall day.

After the game, Joseph said, "Thank you for taking me to play soccer, Mommy." I asked if he had fun. "So much fun," he said. Mission Accomplished!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To my beautiful babies...

I was at Hersheypark this past Sunday. It was a beautiful day and I actually remembered my camera (this doesn't happen very often as I try to remember even the kitchen sink for any outing!).

I went to snap a picture and "memory full" flashed onto the screen. AGAIN. I am horrendous at deleting pictures. We bought this camera 7 years ago before we had any children, and now I have 312 pictures that tell the story of our family over the past 6 years. Every time I go to erase a "good" picture (and there are several dozen bad ones for every good one!), I freeze.

Yes, I realize that they can go on the computer or a CD...and they are! But, I still hesitate! Technology fails and currently the CD thing on our computer doesn't even open :).

Of particular note are my children's newborn pictures. The very first moments of their lives. No...they are not pretty (at least not in the Olan Mills fashion), but they capture the most amazing moments in my life. They are priceless, and I don't want to erase them to take another picture of someone on a kiddy ride. Those pictures are cute too, but I can never capture first breaths again!

This blog came to mind as a place to honor these pictures and to store them forever (unless goes down...oh gees, there I go again!).

Thank you God for these precious blessings. In order, I introduce:

Gianna Marie 9/13/06. She was our precious conehead as she needed a vacuum to come out! I'll never forgot the "it's a girl moment" and meeting the little one I'd been praying for my whole life! She was supposed to be named Sarah until about a week before her birth, but my devotion to St. Gianna led us to gift our little Irish daughter with a very Italian name...and we're so glad we did!

Joseph Robert 1/22/08. I was very shocked that he was a boy. Although we didn't find out the gender either time, I was convinced that Gianna was a girl, and I was right. I had also convinced myself that Joseph was a girl. The feelings of disbelief and disappointment didn't leave right away, but I DID love him instantly. Now I am beyond thrilled that he is a boy as I am SO enjoying watching him grow.

Cecilia Rose (7/27/09) was my first "big" baby at 8 lbs. 11 oz. Although, her labor and delivery were much easier than the first two. I was so excited for Gianna to have a sister. I had read in St. Gianna's letters that she had prayed for her daughter to have a I did the same! 

Justin Raymond (9/13/10) was born on his oldest sister's 4th birthday. How's that for a birthday gift? Cecilia was big, but Justin was kind of ridiculous at 10 lb. 1.6 oz. Even looking at this picture, he looks huge!! I was so excited for Joseph to have a brother. Luckily, toddler Cecilia had just started walking. Good thing...I needed two hands to hold this big boy!

Lucy Therese (4/08/12) joined our family on Easter Sunday evening. It was by far my easiest labor and delivery (somehow she was only 7 1/2 pounds!). Good Friday was such a fitting day for the worsening contractions that I experienced. Her blood sugar was off when she was born, so we were consumed with that instead of taking pictures of her on the scale. She looks a little happier to be bundled up anyway :).

We'll see if I'm able to erase them this week! 

There she goes...

Cecilia started preschool yesterday. She has been going to this school every day for two years with her older siblings. So, this just seemed natural and right in so many ways for all of us! She filed into that classroom with the hugest grin. Your turn, Cecilia! God Bless and Enjoy :).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sweet Dreams...

I know that bedtime is a dreaded time in a lot of families...especially those with young children. But, we actually love bedtime at our house. Ok, maybe I'm projecting these feelings onto my children...but, it IS usually a happy time.

There is a lot of hugging, kissing, and verbal affirmation. There are also requests (more water, more hugs, more tucks, etc.), but we've learned that giving in once means lots more requests :).

Last night, Gianna requested this picture (probably a ploy to stay up an extra minute...but I couldn't resist taking a picture of clean, happy children about to be tucked in for 11 hours!). They were all smiles (except Lucy obviously stuck that hand back in her mouth at precisely the moment the camera infantile!).

Thank you God for a great day. Sweet dreams, everyone!