Monday, July 29, 2013

Special indeed...

July 27th is one of our favorite days of the year! It's Cecilia's birthday. She is 4!

Although it goes without saying, all of my children bring me tremendous joy (I always feel like I need to say that before I start to talk about one in particular!!). But, there is just something special about Cecilia. I'm not the only one who says this either!

A few nights before she was born (actually, it was her due date), my husband and I were enjoying (well, I think I would've rather been in labor!) a date at Applebee's. My mom was down from Boston to watch Gianna and Joseph, and we got a couple of unexpected date nights (because labor simply wasn't beginning!). Gianna was 2 days early, and Joseph was 3 days early, so I thought for sure that I would go a little early...

This lady came over from a nearby booth to tell me that God just told her that the baby inside of me was indeed very special! She asked if she could say a quick prayer with us. "What the heck," we thought...who can't use prayers!?!

We laughed about this later. Isn't every baby very special!? Maybe she just wasn't used to seeing a lady SO pregnant sitting in a booth at Applebee's...Cecilia was almost 9 pounds when she was born!

Four years later, Cecilia is indeed very special. She just seems to pick things up. I never potty-trained her...she just decided it was time when she was 2. She wrote her name at 3...again, I never sat down with her to teach her this...she just starting practicing the letters.

She has a fantastic imagination and sense of humor. She is a wonderful sister (she gets along well with all of her siblings...most of the time!). And, she *almost* never fails to bring a big smile to my face. She is like a breath of fresh air...I can't explain it!

We had a princess party for her birthday. Six little friends came over for manicures, dress-up, pizza, and cake. She was in her glory!

Right now, she's at Hersheypark with Daddy, Gianna, and Joseph. I came home so Justin and Lucy can nap (one of the benefits of living 10 minutes away!). I am going to get off the computer so that I can enjoy the silence...before it's gone :).

Thank you God for Cecilia and her siblings. Please help her to have an amazing year. St. Cecilia, pray for us!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Brief Reprieve!

There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.

Late July is the time of year to be hot and humid. Last week, it was 90+ by day and 70+ by night. I'm not complaining (well, not really!), but this morning brought a most pleasant surprise.

I woke up to the rising sun coming into my room (6:25 a.m. to be exact!) and my windows wide open. And...I was actually chilly (only 55 degrees out). was glorious!

I'm so used to waking up (many times a night) sweating (I blame the baby inside of me!). So, being cold was a nice way to start the day. The added bonus was that all the kids were still sleeping, so I got a few sips of coffee in before they started arriving in the kitchen!

I saw the forecast for the day as I ate my cereal. Sunny, 80 for a high, and LOW humidity...does it get any better!?

I hate to think that the weather has a big impact on my mood, energy level, and positive outlook for the day...but sadly, I think it does (perhaps that why I named my blog "Seasons!?").

Not to say I can't have an awesome day when it's hot and humid or pouring rain/snow, but I tend to start off with a sunnier disposition and natural high on these "perfect" weather days...especially in late July when I don't expect it!

It's only mid-day, but the loveliness of this morning has continued.

My three oldest kids are going to a Vacation Bible School at Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish this week. It is a special parish for me...all of my children have been baptized there. We don't belong anymore...because now that we have school-age children, it makes more sense for the kids to go to the local parish school (which is also great). But, it still feels like home.

The VBS starts early (since we're in summer mode!) at 9 a.m. It's about 1/2 hour away we must leave at 8:30 a.m. This has proven to be very challenging to have five children (and myself) fed, dressed, and out the door!

But, it has been so worth it! It is a most refreshing change for us (a reprieve from playground summer camps and the same ole/same ole!). My kids are having fun while learning about their faith, and I'm getting the chance to catch up with old friends. They are friends that I don't communicate with that often (due to our busy lives), but people who I adore spending time with! I am better for spending time with them.

This afternoon Gianna has a gymnastics show. She's been enjoying a mini-summer session (it got too expensive to take lessons all, it was too much with school, soccer, swimming, and Daisies). Summer is a perfect chance for her to work on her cartwheels.

Daddy is coming home early so I can go to the show, and then we'll pick up a pizza for dinner. Have I mentioned that I like this day!? 

Thank you God for a most beautiful day. Days like this really help me on this journey. But, please help me to remember that all your days are precious gifts...

...even the 90+ humid ones to return (it is late July after all...)!

Wishing you refreshment and renewal in some form today! Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Call Me Martha...

Joseph made this very simple picture for me on Saturday afternoon. It was so simple, but it made my day!

It was a very hot and humid Saturday afternoon. My motivation to get the kids out and about was extremely low.......

Yet, staying home to cries of, "I'm bored", "What do we do now?"...and all the moods/quarrels that come with those questions...just wasn't even an option :).

So, I started getting the kids ready to go...somewhere...location TBD (I did not want to be outside, and child-friendly inside locations in Harrisburg are pretty limited...this is when I really miss having family around!).

Getting the kids ready to go anywhere is a lot of work (don't have to tell moms that!). There's just no way around it.

Everyone needs a snack, everyone needs the proper clothes/shoes/etc., everyone needs to use the restroom/new diaper. And then, I must pack water bottles (tons of them in this humidity) and more snacks (learned my lesson too many times without snacks!). I must make myself presentable (ha...lost cause!) and remember to eat something myself so I don't melt along side the kids (also learned my lesson too many times!).

Because it was Saturday, my husband was home. So, I should have had some help. Now, this is not a Daddy-bashing husband is generally very helpful with the kids (and the housework...bonus!).

But, on this particular afternoon, he was lying on the couch...simply enjoying the children.

He was tickling some, getting his back stratched by others, and just plain fooling around. Everyone seemed pretty content and joyful.

Everyone except me, that is! I was getting very annoyed.

Didn't my husband realize that these fun-loving moments would only last but a moment...and then the kids would be hungry, cranky, bored, and whiny again!?

I experience these lovely moments with the children daily...and I live for them! But, they are so short-lived. I always need to think beyond them to stay sane.

I hated to be the bad guy and make all the fun stop...but someone had to be the voice of reason! Our afternoon would be much better if we got out for a bit!

So, I stopped the fun. And, the kids all hated me for it. With very little cooperation from the kids (at least Daddy helped when I asked), we got everyone out the door. And, we were all probably better for it.

But, I was cranky! Two things made me feel better.

The first thing happened Saturday evening when I was making dinner. Joseph gave me this simple tell me that he loved me (perfect timing!).

The other thing was Sunday morning's popular Gospel about Martha and Mary. You know the one...Martha was angry because she was doing all the work and Mary was just sitting there enjoying Jesus!

Hmmm...sounded familiar! I was Martha doing all the work and Daddy was Mary simply enjoying the presence of his children!

The priest brought up the point of appropriate balance in his one is called to be Mary all the time...but, no one is called to be Martha all the time either!

I have got Martha down to an art :). I think I really need to work on being Mary more. least not be grumpy when my husband chooses to be Mary on the weekend...HA! :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


A few mornings this week I have run errands with my three youngest children when the older two were at camp (ironically, it's a lot harder with the older two...they complain more about being bored and they ask for more stuff!).

In every store (at least once), someone comments on the children (all positive things this week!), and the fact that I am pregnant.

"Wow," they say, "Going for #4, huh!?" I used to go out of my way to explain that I have other children, but I have stopped doing that (and I have stopped feeling like I am denying them...ha!). I don't want to shock people too bad (or confirm their suspicions that I am crazy!). :)

The questions really don't really bother me much (most people are just making conversation and being kind...and I love socializing with people), but I do think it's funny that we are such a conversation starter.

People feel so very free to comment on family size (and ask lots of questions about if I'm done yet, etc.) like it is their business! My husband brought up the point (it bothers him a lot more than it bothers me) that we would NEVER imagine going up to a couple without children and asking them why they don't have any children!

I was asked a question three times in recent weeks and it really cracked me up. I was out at Target with just Cecilia and Lucy (above). Even though Lucy doesn't have much hair yet (ha!), she was all dressed up girly just like her big sis (Cecilia rarely wears anything but a dress or a skirt!).

Upon noticing that I am pregnant, people would ask: " have two girls...are you trying for a boy!?!"

The only response that jumped into my mind was this: "Yes!!! Their brothers would love that!"

I didn't say it. I just explained (for some reason) that we have boys at home, and we don't know the gender...but we are SO excited to find out! Then come the comments about the possible Brady Bunch...

We'll see :). We have gone girl-boy-girl-boy-girl...but, a friend pointed out that the odds are not in our favor to continue this pattern! We will be delighted either way. Thank you God for a healthy pregnancy.

This week I am shopping for a bigger used vehicle (our minivan only seats 7). This is not very fun (we're on a tight budget and I'd rather do other things with my time)!

Imagine the comments when we pull up in our bus (I'm kidding...I hope!).

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I snapped this picture of my kids playing train this week (you know...running around the house stretching out the shirt of the person in front of them!). Lucy wanted to be a part of it so bad. So, Gianna grabbed her hand (without me even prompting her)!

As I watched, I kept thinking: "It really doesn't get any better than this!" My five beautiful, healthy children playing together nicely. Everyone is laughing, everyone is included, and the big ones are looking out for the little ones.

Of course, it lasted no more than five minutes! Then someone got sick of being the caboose, someone else tripped, Lucy got trampled, etc. You know the rest!

The spontaneous train through my house did fill my heart up for a while that day. I think of these moments as my "pay!" They are fleeting, but they wouldn't be so memorable if they were constant...I fear I would take them for granted! I felt so good about my life.

And then, it was nap time and I checked my e-mail. It felt so good to communicate with others. I need that connection with people each day...even if it's not face-to-face! Should've stopped there.

Instead, I got on Facebook.

And, I saw everyone's vacation pictures. Everyone (including the children) looked so not bored...enjoying so many exciting things. So far that day, my highlight was a 5-minute train!? Really? How lame!

Luckily, a child needed me and snapped me out of this self-pitying mood! One of the greatest truths that I've ever heard is that if you want to feel better: GRATITUDE. And, I have an absolutely endless list of things to be grateful for. At that moment, I was grateful that my child made me get off the computer!!!!!

Such is my life:
  • Awesome moments that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.
  • Moments of total boredom/utter frustration with my life as a stay-at-home mom.
  • Moments of wishing we had more money so that we could be the ones on the beach vacations.
  • Moments of resentment that my husband is at a quiet desk at work and not dealing with meltdowns, quarrels, and dirty diapers.
  • Moments of realization that I am so blessed to be with my children (there were very sad days when I wasn't sure that I would ever have a child) almost every moment of their super-fast early days (and not trying to squish everything into a few hours after work).
  • Etc., etc., etc. 
The moments (and my thoughts/mood associated with each) seem to rotate all day!

But my greatest moment of each day seems to come at soon as my children are sleeping soundly. I check on them all between 9-10 p.m. and I feel like the most blessed (and most tired) mama in the whole world! My heart is bursting with gratitude for a safe, "normal" day with my children, and I thank God for all He has done this day.

All aboard the train of my life. Please God, keep on conducting! I corny :).

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Not A One...

Sporting one of his many CARS shirts!
Joseph is my deep thinker. We'll be driving along and he'll often catch me off guard with questions about what it will be like in heaven (or something equally as thoughtful).

This happened yesterday when we were driving home from camp. We drove by a local pool and he saw the kids swimming. It did look mighty attractive as it was pushing 90 and super humid!

Joseph: "Mom, remember when you on a racing swim team when you were a kid?" (This had come up on our recent trip to Boston...I think either my father or one of my brothers told Joseph that I used to be on our recreation swim team every summer for years).

Me: "Yes, Joseph. I remember."

Joseph: "Well, how many races did you win!?"

Me: "Not a one."

Joseph (in complete shock): "You mean you never, ever, ever won a race...not even once!?"

Me: "Nope."

After a long pause...

Joseph: "That's okay, Mom. In CARS I learned that there's a lot more to racing than winning."

Ha! I'm so glad that he's learned something useful! I know those movies are good for his imagination (he's spent hours recreating races), but I didn't realize that he'd taken something of value from them.

I told him that maybe some day he can be on a swim team (doesn't seem likely now as we're still working on putting his face in the water...after many, many swimming lessons!).

Here's hoping he wins at least one race. Winning isn't everything, but it sure would've been nice (just once!). :)

Monday, July 8, 2013


We are home! It feels good to be back to our routine. But, it was SO good to get away. We spent a week in the Boston area visiting my family. I wouldn't call it a vacation (the long car rides and nights in the hotel...because we've done the trip in a single day and it was a nightmare...were anything but a vacation!). But, the time spent with family, special day trips, and change of scenery were priceless!

It started a few months ago. I love Harrisburg (it really is a great place to raise a family), but I started feeling very land locked. I was really missing New England. In particular, I wanted to see the ocean in New Hampshire. For five summers, I taught at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, and it became a second home. I couldn't wait to get back there every summer. I wanted to go home again.

We did go to Exeter. While driving there, I had visions of walking around the gorgeous campus with a coffee and bagel (from one of the many awesome coffee shops in this quaint New England village downtown) and reliving countless great memories.

In reality, it was raining as we pulled on campus. And, the kids were really sick of being in the car. They started asking if there were playgrounds here? Anything fun for kids? I was quickly back in reality. You can't go back home (at least not in this case!). How my life has changed (for the better...I was praying for marriage and children all the years that I spent there!)!

So, we ditched Exeter (without even getting out of the car) and headed to the beach.

The picture above is from our very memorable visit! It doesn't look a thing like all my friend's pictures that are being posted on facebook this month! There are no cute pictures of kids digging in the sand...for good reason: We really could've used our winter coats!

The forecast for New Hampshire that day was partly cloudy, 80, and humid. We thought we would take a chance as it was our only day without plans. We parked our car at the beach and my husband and I had a brief conversation about whether to bother with bathing suits. We thought it might be too cool. This thought was confirmed the second that I opened the car door...and felt the BLUSTERY COLD air (somehow it was lost on us that the parking attendant had on sweat pants and a rain jacket)!

We still went down to the water. And, it was still awesome. Looking out at the ocean always makes me contemplate God's majesty. I loved watching my children see the vast ocean for the first time. They were moments that I won't forget any time soon! Although, I think Justin would rather forget it...

I wrapped Lucy in a blanket (she only had a sundress on) and was snuggling with her for warmth!