Monday, October 29, 2007

This is My Body

My dear husband and I had the honor of picking up Pooker and her friends from a concert the other night. It was hard getting up early the next morning for Mass after staying up late driving everyone home. We ended up at the Sunday night Mass. It had been a long weekend and I was tired.

My children had been grabbing at me all day. Cowboy has been nursing quit a bit, Bagel has needed hugs every second, Princess has been sharing story after story while her brother Pickle has been asking question after question. They have all been close physically also. I understand that as volleyball season winded down they just all needed more of mom.

I hate to admit just how selfish I really am. I sat down between Moogie and Sugar at Mass. They both leaned in and put their heads on my shoulders. I knelt down almost to get away from them. Everyone is so touchy these days. I begin my prayer and asked God, “Why do they have to be so needy today. I just feel like they are taking a piece of me. I don’t have enough to share and I feel tired and weak, why to they keep taking, can’t I just have my body left alone.”

God in his goodness didn’t bother to answer with a verbal response. I turned my head and looked above the altar. The irony of the situation hit me like a slap in the face. There He was on the cross giving every last drop of Himself up for me.

I became distracted during the Mass like any mom of nine does. I spend much of the Mass quieting down my row, instructing on the proper posture and separating fighting children. We have now knelt down and the Consecration has begun. I am especially aware of kiddos at this point, it is the high point of the Mass and they need to be settled and respectful. Then God allowed me to hear the words from the Priest with such clarity. . .

Take this, all of you, and eat it;
this is my body which will be given up for you.

OK, OK, I get it, I get it. Sorry! (Oh and Thanks)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007


This is the first time we have been able to get them all together since Cowboy's birthday. They are such a cute group!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not that many!

The conversations that we have during night prayers are so precious. We start by naming God parents and God children and a prayer for them. We then let each person list 3 intentions before moving into our other prayers and an examination of conscious. I am always amazed at what the kiddos pray for, who they remember to pray for and how they word it. You really can get to know a person by listening to their prayer requests.

Pickle prayed for the people in the earthquake for 5 months. He was only 5 years old and we had no idea where he got the prayer from, but never stopped him. We all prayed for these people that only Pickle knew about. While watching the news one night we heard a report of an earthquake that had happened elsewhere in the world and miraculously they had no casualties. Pickle just smiled and said, "Those are the people I was praying for."

Moogie offers this prayer, "I pray that my mom and dad have many more babies!"
This is met with many "yes", "I hope they have two more", "I want twins" . etc.etc. Bagel agrees but adds . . . "I want mom to have that girl she was supposed to have for me before." At this moment someone states the prayer, "that mom and dad have 4 more babies!" Bagel looked stunned and said, "No they can't have 4 more that would be too many, we would be a BIG family!"

Pooker pointed out that it must be really different at the end of the line than at the beginning. The little ones have never known any different so they don't even realize that by most standards we are a BIG family!

Why? RoseMary Teresa

We have been so blessed these past few days to have been receiving updates about a little baby named RoseMary Teresea. She was born last Friday morning to her mother, father, and nine older brothers. She was not expected to live through that day. She has a condition called Trisomy 18. There is little hope for her medically. Her family is a homeschool family from Concord New Hampshire.

This is a beautiful, faithful Catholic family. We have never met them but as soon as I read the first note to our children they felt connected to them. They understand that love in a big family and that fear of the health of a sibling. We have offered prayers and sacrifices throughout the past few days for her and her family.

RoseMary Teresa was able to come home, basically because they can do little for her in the hospital. Her heart is full of tiny holes and she is weak. She has been eating well but weight gain is an issue. Due to the grave circumstance RoseMary Teresa was able to receive Holy Communion and Confirmation yesterday at a private Mass in their home.

The updates are so heart wrenching and yet my kiddos hang on every word. They (we all) have grown to love this young lady without ever having met her or her family. The faith of her family has strengthened our faith. We all look at Cowboy and thank God for his health and rejoice in his life, while at the same time grieve for the big brothers and mom and dad. Last night our family prayers became a time of great pain for the children. They want to help, they want to fix and they want to know Why?

Dad and I continue to guide the discussions without little knowledge of the real answers. When the children go to bed we discuss the pain and love this mom and dad must have. Would we have been able to bring the baby home? How can they even function knowing that at any moment her heart could just tucker out? Why had He chosen this family for this cross/blessing?

I want to thank RoseMary Teresa, her nine older brothers, her mother and her father,and the extended family. The example of love that they are showing by just living their lives have been a source of love for our family. We have had several discussions of love, family, health, babies, souls, heaven, God's will, sacrifice, and the communion of saints. This great Communion that we all get to share in through the Eucharist and in heaven has been revealed to us. I feel so close to these people I have never met. So I can not answer the WHY but I can say thank you.

Please pray for RoseMary Teresa and her family!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is it cool yet?

I thought that fall was finally here. I also thought I would never adjust. Growing up in the midwest and then moving to Houston has been quite a shock on me. I was used to the heat, back home we had very hot muggy summers. I did not understnad that the heat was 3 seasons long down here. Before moving down we were told that the seasons of Houston were not Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall but Hot, Hot, Hurricane, & Hot.

The temperature was dropping yesterday morning when I ran out to mail a package. Walking into the post office I thought to myself that I should have grabbed a jacket, it might actually be cool. When I walked out of the post office I realized that I was just fooling myself.

I saw a woman getting out of her car. She had capri pants on, flip flops, and a short sleeve top. She took a deep breathe as she stepped out of her car. At first I thought she looked so out of place, what was she thinking. It was cold today, she was just beathing in the cool air like is was just not hot. I glanced at her lisence plate. It was from out of state. Oh I thought she is just a newbie. I bet the weather feels perfect for her and not even cool. I was shocked when I took a second glance at her plates. She was from Missouri, like me. I was that woman 5 years ago. Now I am like those other Houstonians who walk around all winter complaining about how cold it it.

Did my blood thin? Is it the end of the world? Is it just that we have been here five years now? I am at that point where I just can't tell. Is it cool yet? NO, it is probably just that I can no longer tell the difference.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Celebrate the Children

This weekend was all about celebrating the children. Friday night I was blessed enough to attend a baby shower for 8 pregnant ladies in my homeschool group. It was exciting to not be the person with the most children there. This award went to a dear woman with 11 children. She has one Cowboy's age so he made a friend.

Sunday was a beautiful day weather wise. The temperature was perfect. Cool enough that we were not hot outside. We were able to spend the day enjoying each other's company and the company of our friends. Our parish holds a Children's Festival every year. It is free to all the little ones. There was plenty of food for everyone, games, entertainment, bouncy games, cookie walks, face painting and craft tables. What fun!

Pooker and Cowboy share a few laughs.

Bear and Cowboy off exploring on their own.

Moogie spent the day with one of her best friends but we didn't get a shot of the two of them together.

Princess, Pickle & Goobers enjoying a train ride around the church grounds!

Sugar and Bagel acting silly for the camera.

Back In My Day, way way way back . . .

Pooker went out to the homecoming dance for a local school with a friend from youth group. My DH and I were very surprised at the elaborate plans that now go into the evening of the dance. I feel so old saying this but "back in my day . . ." when a young lady was picked up by her escort her mom and dad took pictures. It was understood that they had to share copies with his family as soon as that roll of film was used up and developed and that might not happen until Christmas. The couple might meet up with some friends for dinner and then everyone would head off to the dance. We would leave the dance when it was over and go home. If you get the idea that I was a real fuddy-dud you might be correct. (My favorite spot was Rich and Charlie's. . . it was an Italian Resturant. This was the type of place that we didn't look out of place being dressed up and yet it wasn't too fancy. mmmm... I can taste the Chicken Marsala now.)

Times have changed. I can not believe the drama that goes into the dances these days. There are so many details . . .the limo, photo shoots at a park, elaborate dinners, and numerous after parties. My goodness you would think it was the Oscars. We are glad that she has the opportunity to spend the evening with her friends and we will treasure the pictures. I must say that Pooker did look like a movie star! You looked beautiful Pooker Baby!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Being Involved

One way that we can help our children stay on the right track in life is to be involved. We try to help with any activity we can. We often giggle to ourselves when we hear someone use their children as the excuse to not get involved. I am always tempted to ask if they were coaches before they had children or if they plan to teach a class at church when their own kiddos are grown. "I can't coach I have three children and you have no idea how hard it is to get their dinner on the table." or "I don't know how you do it with these two and still teach at church, my one child is so demanding and he doesn't want me around!" I want to say I don't have 3 children but 9, my house isn't in perfect order, we eat out too often, BUT you need to be worried when your child doesn't want you around.

My husband and I were blessed with parents that saw the value in connecting with us through our activities. Mimi, my mom, would say that even though she hated to always be the driver that it was the best time to connect with us. That time in the car is so important. Even if it was just silence. Often it would start off quiet with the music playing but as the ride went on so did the conversation. I miss those rides with my mom. My husband's mom and dad, Nanie and Gramps, were always very involved with the church and sporting organizations. My husband has wonderful family memories of his mom and dad leading the church carnivals and fund raising auctions. Those events help to involve their children into the faith and the parish life and also brought the family together.

Nanie and Gramps also set the example for us by helping to coach. They were able to share their interest in the sport with their children. They also knew who their child's friends were. Nanie carried on that tradition with Pooker when we still lived in St. Louis. At that time my dear husband and I were helping to run the CYC volleyball program in our area, but Nanie was the one on the court each week coaching Pooker and her friends.

Too often my husband and I are asked how come our kids are so close to each other? We are asked how come our kids are so well behaved? The answer is to do what Mimi, Nanie and Gramps did. GET INVOLVED!! Sometimes it means just being the driver to an event for the entire group. They will talk to you during the car rides if you also listen. Laugh at yourself and remember that you are the parent not the friend. Talk to them when you listen to the song that is blaring bad words. Don't just turn it off, find out why they like it and explain why you don't. Coach, teach, volunteer and any other way you can be involved.

These are happy girls that have had the love and support from their parents and grand parents. I am not trying to say that we never have a problem. Our good kids get off track very easily, just like everyone else. I would never pass judgement on anyone by assuming that their child is in trouble because they are not involved. I am just trying to point out that to truly love your child you must die to yourself. In our world that means give up you rest time, your pride, your workout time, your personal time and get involved. Be the coach that knows the team. You will not regret the connection you will be able to make with them and their friends.

We are very grateful that my dear husband got the opportunity to help coach this year. We are thankful to the other parents that gave up their free time to coach, know and love our other girls this volleyball season. We are thankful to Mimi, Nanie and Gramps for setting that wonderful example and for keeping us out of trouble. (. . . OK and loving us anyway, even when we got into trouble.)

So get involved and enjoy the time with your child and their friends! I promise you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A free moment

My dear husband took most of the kiddos out for a few minutes this evening. I sat down to the computer to start the to do list that is a mile long and stopped to take a second to reflect on the quiet. Pooker is here in the other room doing school work and also enjoying the peace in the house. She has Cowboy with her and I know he is loving having a few moments that do not involve the forced kisses from Princess and Bagel, or the fights over who gets to hold him between Bear, Sugar and Moogie. Ah the peace.

I do want to share a quote with you from our high school religion class. C-cubed is the group's name. It stands for Catholic Coffee Club, because we meet at the coffee house to discuss our Catholic faith. Today's class was another wonderful meeting with a great group of teens. The other mother and I learn more from the teens that they could ever learn from us. One of today's topics was on St. Benedict's Rule and the life and purpose of the monks of 6Th century. Thanks to Mrs. Z for pointing out how wonderful the Rule really is. I found inspiration from a passage in our book: The Didache Series, The History of the Church.

"St. Benedict intended that the monastery would be a family and a
self-sustaining community. Different monks had different tasks and
functions, which were organized and distributed in such a way as to ensure
self-sufficiency. not all monks were literate or expected to study
theology diligently; not all monks were expected to work int he garden; not
all monks were expected to be able to rebuild damaged monastery walls.
Working together for the good of the whole and the glory of God, the
monastery was a place where the noble man and commoner labored, each in
his own separate way, but always for the common good.

....Work was given special meaning by the monks, it it became for
them a form of prayer and penance offered for the praise and glory of

What a beautiful statement of how a family should really be! We are here to love and serve God with the abilities that He gave us. It doesn't help to make people act like everyone else. It is most important to recognize the common good without overlooking the beauty of the individual. That is the goal for this family.

Pictures from the past few days

Cowboy A.K.A 'Super Baby' is flying around with the assistance of Bear.

Pooker enjoying life before her game with her entire team. They are a fun group of girls. Their Coach (Dad) is loving the time getting to know Pooker's friends. He loves that they don't tease him for coaching from the ground. (If confused see the post titled "No, that is how he coaches")

Goobers and her friend holding back tears of frustration after a painful loss. The match ended with a very close game.

Sugar with most of her team at their last game of the season.

Moogie letting Pickle get a shot of the future volleyball star.

Pickle looking too cute and wishing that the game was over. He would really rather be at home playing than out watching his sisters play, again!

Princess and Bagel doing anything and everything but watching the game. The picture was taken by Moogie.

Busy, Busy, Busy

The past few days have been full of life, love and family. (Oh and raking needles that never seam to go away!) Pooker was gone this past weekend on a retreat. It really did seam to offer her the peace in Christ that we are all looking for. She is much more relaxed and happy. I am very happy to have my joyful daughter back. Inner peace does not change what we must do in the real world though. She is back and we are all running.

The rest of the Family spent the weekend trying to gather up as many needles from the lawn as we could. We did not have much luck. The needles are so much like our laundry. As soon as we think that we might be about to catch up someone cleans their room and the pile is out of control again. In the case of the needles there is a small storm and the ground is covered yet again.

Monday the weather changed about five times. It was cool, then sun came up and it was hot, then it became extremely muggy making the hot air feel worse, and then it was overcast but still muggy and hot. We were all relieved when it started to rain, until the wind blew. It was now cool and rainy. I changed a few times, one due to a baby spit up but most changes were due to the weather. In my confusion I left my flip flop Crocs on and headed off with the Cowboy to watch Goobers play volleyball. The good news is that the Eagles won!! The bad news is I fell in a muddy downpour and the most comfortable pair of shoes that I have ever owned, died. In my graceful fall the thong part of the Croc broke! (Secretly I cried. If you have ever owned a Croc you know my pain, if not you just can not relate!)

Cowboy and Bagel also went to see the doctor for their check ups. Cowboy is up to 10 lbs and 4 oz, and is growing as expected. (Thank you God.) Bagel is as healthy as can be. Then the shots came!! We had dad go with us to this appointment. If there is a problem it is just easier to have dad's help. (The one time he didn't join us we ended up in open heart surgery with Moogie - but that is another story for another day.) When it came time for shots Bagel needed three, Cowboy needed three and Dad needed just one - the flu shot! The nurse thought that it would be best to let Dad go first. She was wrong. He demanded stickers for his pain. Bagel and Cowboy were real champs. Bagel was scared but extremely brave. Our family rule is that you get McDonalds if you get shots. Bagel enjoyed rubbing that in the rest of the day. She would show everyone the treat from her happy meal. So we went to bed last night with shouts of "I get to go next! Make my appointment for tomorrow please? How soon can I go to the doctor?" It is just too bad that dad can't be bought off so easily by McDonalds.

Yesterday was one of our last crazy volleyball days of the season. We had three games across town and they all needed to be back on this side of town for EDGE. As luck would have it two games were in a place known as 'the Cage' and it was very close to the school where Sugar played. After Sugar's team won in two games we headed over to watch Pooker and Goobers play. What a fun and exciting day! I need to go nap again, though! I love our lives. We are very busy but the kiddos are happy! As crazy as the past few days have been we can all see God's hand with us. We have good friends, good programs for the kids to be involved in and happy children. What a blessing!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall, a season without color

I have always loved the fall. This is my favorite season. At least it was when I was far enough north that the leaves would change color and the temperature would drop. It really isn't the same in Houston.

Fall is here! At least that is what my kiddos are saying. I think they have been deprived. The temperature was (only) 88 degrees yesterday. We were missing the humidity so if felt cooler. They call that fall. In my memory Fall doesn't include using the air conditioner. Notice in the pictures that we are not wearing jackets or even pants. We had to stop raking because of the heat.

My grandfather used to say that the beautiful leaves had been painted by God as a gift. It was His way of showing how much he loves you. Let me just say that I feel a tad unloved by God down here in Houston. I have added pictures that show what falls here. Pine needles, they are everywhere and ugly. You can not jump into them when you rake either.

I am hoping that God still loves all my friends up north and that you all can enjoy crisp mornings with color all around. Say a prayer for me next time you see a beautiful tree. (I will be here wallowing in self pity and pine needles.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Warning! Girl Talk

Nine babies and I have my first breast infection. I have heard you ladies speak about the pain, but I had no idea. One mother once told me that it felt like a million tiny knives were being jabbed at the nipple as the baby would eat. OMG that is exactly what it feels like. This isn't a pleasant topic so I won't stay on it very long. I just want to apologize to all the woman that I dismissed because I thought they must be exaggerating.

I was blessed that at the the same time I started to feel discomfort I was meeting with some friends. Each one of them stressed to me the importance of getting to the doctor right away. I have been told that this discomfort is nothing as compared to when the infection enters the body and you feel like you have the flu ten times over after being run over by a truck. The doctor affirmed every description my friends had shared and got my on antibiotics right away. The good news is I am fine, still a tad sore but no other symptoms.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Cute Cowboy! 10-8-07

No, that is how he coaches!

Pooker woke up Sunday morning with a very bad neck ache. She had no other symptoms so we chalked it up to ‘sleeping funny’ but she moved very slow the rest of the day. When she woke up Monday morning I knew we would need to visit the doctor. Why would one go to the doctor for a crick in the neck, you ask? Well when the patient is a strong willed die hard volleyball player who’s dad/coach stubbornly demands perfection at all times, that’s when. I knew that poker would ‘want to play anyway’ and her dad would tell her to ‘tough up and play through the pain’. Pooker has a very high tolerance for pain and she doesn’t need to hurt herself by ‘playing through it”.

Tonight’s match went well. Her team pulled a win out by wining 2 out of 3 games. Coach dad just helped tonight. I was thrilled that I got to see him ‘coach’. I had been warned that he really gets into the game. We took Cowboy and went with dad and Pooker. Goobers had everything under control at home while mom and Cowboy enjoyed a night out at a volleyball game. My DH is hysterical. He really does get so into the game that he can’t stay off the floor. One girl asked Pooker if her dad was looking for something. Pooker just smiled and said, “No that is how he coaches!” We hope that Pooker is back on the court soon. The season is almost over! GO EAGLES!

Bagel looking Cute! 10-7-07

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The blog name and where I got it

I have received so many complements on the name I picked for this blog. I thought long and hard on the name. It is not easy to sum up one’s life, family and faith into a few words.

I turned to my favorite little known book. I was given the book during one if Mimi’s cleaning fits. She gave me boxes and boxes of books, some I kept and others went to the library. When I came upon an older paperback with a cute picture on the front I tossed it into the ‘keep’ pile. At the time she gave me the book I was eight months pregnant with Sugar, Pooker was 4 years old, Goobers was 1 year old and Bear was under a year. (Goobers and Bear are 15 months apart and Bear and Sugar are what some refer to as Irish Twins. They were born within one calendar year of each other. Bear was just 11 months old when Sugar joined the crew.) I could relate to the picture on the cover. The cartoon picture had kiddos everywhere. They all looked young, mom was holding a baby and a stork was flying by with another. There is also a nun in the picture (I think as a reference to Catholic School), and nun meant Catholic. I kept the book. I didn’t read the title or the book. I just liked the cover.

Flash forward just a few years, after Sugar we had Moogie, and now another one was on the way. We were headed out of town so I grabbed this book off the shelf just in case I had time in the car to read. I could still relate to the picture. To my delight I was in stitches the entire drive. I even read most of the book out loud to my DH because it was just too funny to keep to myself. The book was the tales of a Catholic mother of 10. She wrote with love, faith and humor. I could relate to so much of what she wrote. I read it every pregnancy and any other time I might need a pick-me-up. The book is titled I Should Have Seen It Coming When The Rabbit Died, by Teresa Bloomingdale.

My copy is in bad shape. The cover is destroyed, the pages are yellow, but flipping through it just now I found a hidden and forgotten four leaf clover. A quick internet search on her name brings up copies of this book for sale on e-bay and other resale sites. It also brings up many blogs in which people have written about how much they loved this book.

What does my blog have to do with a rabbit, you wonder? This wonderful book ends with a 2 and ½ page epilogue titled “The best is yet to be.” Teresa takes the reader through every stage of life and each time her father tells her, “the best is yet to be.” Adolescence, senior year of high school, college, graduated with a job and independence, dating, falling in love, being a newly wed, being a new parent, the children’s accomplishments and sacraments, her children’s teen years . . .at each step had her father reminding her that the “the best is yet to be”. She was enjoying each stage and her father hadn’t told her when the “yet to be” was.

She knew she had reached it, “ . . . (at her firstborn’s wedding) At a nuptial
Mass, in our parish church, with family and friends all present, my husband
holding my hand as our son and his bride exchange vows, I looked at my family:”
Here she describes each member of her family. You know them by now because this
is at the end of the book. She tells the reader about her extended family and
friends. Every one is there. . . “All my loved ones were there, with the
exception of my father.” Her father had passed away.

“Oh, Daddy,” I silently prayed, “this is what you meant! This is the time. This
is the best!”
And I swear my father whispered to me from his heavenly home:
“That’s what you think, sweetheart. The best is yet to be!”
isn’t it? All this . . .and heaven, too!

Wow, to me Teresa Bloomingdale summed it all up so beautifully with that ending. My kiddos drive me crazy every single day. I end my days with tears, sometimes; but always in prayer. We have a very busy and hectic life. We disagree, we struggle with finances, we go through washers and dryers every two years, we live in a home that is never completely clean, and we crash on our pillows at night. That might make it hard for some to believe my next statement. I love my life and I would not trade it for all the money in the world. Even when life is completely insane I feel so incredibly blessed. God must really love me! “All this . . .and Heaven!!”

Friday, October 5, 2007

First Friday with HS Friends at the Park

We Had a blast today at the park with our fellow homeschoolers.

We all take a break for some social time on the First Fridays of the month. We met our friends at the park and had a blast. We rode our scooters, played sand volleyball and talked the afternoon away. Thanks to all of our friends for a fun afternoon!

More shots of Cowboy's first meal

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cowboy's First Meal

How many people does it take to give a baby his first taste of cereal? The kiddos think that mom and dad could never handle the task. I am amazed that we were ever able to raise the first 8 children. All day long, at every turn, home or out, my DH and I are both told how to parent by the older siblings. We decided to just give in tonight. We purchased Cowboy's spoons and rice cereal, prepared the meal and then turned him over. We knew they could do a better job anyway. I just love my family! They all had a blast giving the baby his first taste of food. One of the best things a mom can witness is her children loving each other! Isn't it a beautiful thing to see!?!