Sunday, June 29, 2008

In your arms, God!

I went to pick Pooker up tonight around 8:00 p.m. She had been on a retreat weekend with about 50 teens from our parish. It was a beautiful site. Teens poured off this bus with great joy. They spent the weekend with little sleep, 7 hours of travel away and back while celebrating their love of God. The Spirit was with them in great force. The group was so filled with love for life as they shared story after story about their time. My 17 year old would be in my arms for the night.

I point out her age because I have been so stressed at the issues in her life lately. When will she take the ACT/SAT? Will I have time to enroll her in community school college classes? Is she ready? Where will she go to college? What will she do with her life? Will she find a good spouse? How will we pay for her car, life, college, wedding, and then her siblings? UGH!

As she got off the bus she was greeted by one of the parents that had gone to chaperon. I witnessed him thanking her for being herself. He thanked her for be such a cut above the rest and for setting such a good example for her peers. This grown man was truly thankful for my daughter and her example to others. My heart swelled with the gift that her life truly is. She is a gift to her family, her peers and the community. She lives her life for His Glory and she is a joy to have around. I am filled with peace for her life and gratitude for knowing her.

As I walked to gather he bags a friend from the homeschool world pulled me aside. She wanted to tell me something without the teens hearing. I could tell by her look that something was wrong. A peer to these teens had just passed away.

On Friday afternoon this young man of just 17 years old, had been pulled from the water having been discovered on the bottom of the pool. He was resuscitated. After awhile his heart was beating again. As of Sunday morning, we were told he was stable and things seamed to be looking good. This child is also the oldest to a homeschooling family in the same group that we belong to. My heart is aching for this mother and father. I don't know if I could live my life if Pooker were not in it.

I cannot say why this happened to this family. I can not fathom why this mom doesn't get to hold her son tonight. I know that I believe in Heaven and I believe that God will hold this soul with the love he bestows on all of his children. I live to one day join the Communion of Saints. I believe with all my heart that every time I receive communion that I am united with Christ and with all in Heaven, a small taste of eternity. I wish that I could give to his mother and family the peace that can only come from Heaven. I don't know how?!? So I will continue to believe with all my heart. I will ask God to send Himself to the family as He welcomes this 17 year old son into His Heavenly arms. I beg that He sends His Mother to spiritually hold each member of this precious family. Please pray with me for the O'Brien family and for the soul of Hayden.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Bagel and her birthday surprises

As we said before Bagel had her fourth birthday last week. We have a party for her with just siblings. It is not always easy to get them all together for a party. We really try. We have yet to have her official birthday dinner where we toast her. With Pooker gone for a week that dinner will need to wait. I worry that birthdays are not made too special because we have so many and because all of our family is far away. Well family did not let Bagel down at all, neither did the cake fairy.

Her week began with mail from Mimi and Miss Brenda. I have yet to take her to the store to spend her birthday money.

Then came a package sent from her God-Father who is playing baseball in Japan. We hear that Aunt Erica loves Internet shopping. She loved the outfit by the way. We really miss Uncle Michael, Aunt Erica and Beaner.

Then another packaged arrived from Nanny and Gramps. It included a Dora doll and a Dora purse. The purse had pretend money and pretend checks in it with all kinds of other things. Everything in the purse was perfect for a 4 year old.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The New Water-Train Record

We were at the pool today for a going away party for some swim team friends. As luck would have it Pooker was one of the life guards and the other one was one of her friends from swim team. The two of them are often on the stand together when J decides to tests his boundaries.

One rule clearly states "no horseplay". That is a very vague term, and J will do anything he can to get these poor life guards to define that term. Last year he continued to toss Pickle in the air. He was trying to toss him over the swim team banner that hangs across the pool. The good news is that he did it and Pickle never needed to go to the emergency room. The bad news is he tried a second time and this time the banner came down with the boy. Pooker and this same friend were working that day last year. I thank them for not kicking him out of the pool.

So J starts a little train. It was probably because he was the only adult in the water and so the kiddos came to play. I was told they had a huge train going and I needed to check it out. I was deep in conversation and didn't make it over to the pool in time. I eventually got over to the pool during the life guard break, so no kiddos are left in the water. As I walk over I am greeted by lots of smiling faces telling me all about this crazy train and the whirl pool effect in the water. I don't believe them, the pool is just too big to create a whirlpool by walking around in circles. I loved doing that in the small pools as a child but this is huge pool.

The guards blow the whistle and let the kiddos back in. I was told that the train had been up to 28 people and J looked so tired. The kiddos all dove into the water and swam right up to him. They wanted to try to "Break the Record". The chain got longer and longer. We even had some moms with toddlers join in. The train included a rubber duck, a baby being pulled in a floatation device, J holding Cowboy and around 30 kiddos.

This still wasn't long enough. The kiddos then turn on the life guards and demand that they close the diving board. This would then limit the activity of the other 15 children in the pool. All but 3 of those joined in and the new train began to grow. It circled all the way around the pool.

Great news: a new record was set. The train was long enough to include 43 people. J's legs were so tired at the end of the day but everyone had a blast.

Only my husband!! I just love this guy. He is crazy, fun and sometimes too goofy. I tried to give him a kiss during the next adult swim. He is just so cute when he is playing with the kiddos. I had the whistle blown on me. Apparently the pool is a no PDA zone. Why can he break the place and I just try one innocent kiss and I get in trouble.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cuda Tradition

It is a Cuda Tradition to have a Rice Crispie Treat contest every year at the end of the swim season. We have worked hard on our treats year after year. We never won, mostly because our creations never looked like we originally thought they would. We have had a blast year after year thinking of ideas and then trying them out. We even had parties to prepare for the party. We would have friends over and we would make a huge mess in the home.

2008 was our year to keep it simple. This time our friends were not going so we were alone in our preparations. We designed four projects, all simple. In the end only three worked. We did a boy uniform and a girl uniform. The other design was the Cuda kick board. (A weekly award given to the swimmers that have had a good swim week.)

This party also included family relays. Others worried about how thy could keep up. It isn't fair that they have teenagers and we only have a five year old. I explained that it wasn't fair that I have to feed them and they didn't. I don't know what people were worried about, we are many but we are not fast swimmers.

As always we had a blast. We won a prize for our creations and had two teams in the relays. Dad, Goobers, Sugar and Pickle were on one team and Moogie, Bear, Pooker and her friend Soccer Girl were on another. I don't think either team won a relay but it was still tons of fun for us to be a part of this really cool neighborhood tradition.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy B-Day Bagel

I can not believe that my little one is four years old. She turned four yesterday. I thought she was getting big, until I ran into some wild sunflowers today. They were so cool and so tall that they made her look short.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nice Tatto Lady!

I blushed when I heard this. Before swim team I was sure I would never hear anything like that ever mentioned about me. For today it was true, I was sporting a nice tattoo on my left arm. During our last home meet Saturday for swim team I was given the honor of helping to pass out the temporary tattoos. They really are cute. Our swim team are the Barracudas A.K.A. the Cudas. We are blessed to have a cartoonist in the neighborhood with kiddos on the team. A few Years back he designed a cartoon Cuda and has given us the rights to use this guy anyway we want. I am not sure what made us think Tattoo, but it did and they are cute.

We put them on everyone. They are supposed to come off pretty easily. As we prepared for Mass this morning, I kept thinking of all the other parents that were cursing that "temporary" tattoo and the lady who put them on. Some of us became addicted to the things and wanted them everywhere. I limited the kiddos to five but some found the other tattoo lady and secured a few more. It was all find unless they didn't come off and were in a visible spot under a sun dress.

Last night I was taking Pooker to work. We drove through to get a large ice tea in a cup that would last all afternoon. The young men working looked out the window and starting laughing at us. . .then without skipping a beat one of the young men said, "Nice Tattoo Lady!" He was right and ya know there is nothing wrong with a little Cuda spirit. I figure God must love the Cudas because we all wore our tattoos proudly to church this morning.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thank you for my Crazy Teens

Today our Bread of Life Home school group held a high school/middle school outing. We met a bunch of teens at Main Event. We got to bowl, play laser tag, and arcade games. It really was a good time. Goobers, Bear and Sugar all went with a friend. They had a blast.

I don't have a story to go with it. I did make an observation. This is often a hard time of year for me in the home school world. I often look back at the school year and see the things that we didn't get to and that we didn't finish. I hear my peers talk about using programs or giving up all together and putting their kiddos in school. I know those options will not work for my children. I run into the pile of laundry and backed up projects that are always put on hold during swim season. I longingly imagine that if my kiddos would attend school and I would have free time during the day. Deep sigh . . . (I sure those of you with your children in traditional school giggle at my silly thought. Who am I kidding, really, the laundry will never go away!)

Then I observe my children in a situation like today. This was one of the first activities that these three have participated in with this group. They had no issues. They walked right in, tried to include those around them that he been left out of games and encouraged their peers. This wasn't a hard task because the other kiddos were mostly home schooled as well, but I still like the character traits I saw today. These kiddos all seam to have self confidence and good manners. At different times I observed each one of my children in various situations where I could see that they are true leaders. They enjoy life. They know how to have fun. Most importantly, they care for others. They were not doing anything grand but in the small things they were being like Christ. It was heart warming to see.

I know we are where we are supposed to me. I know I need to continue to work hard to give them more and more. My job is to help each one find their own calling in life. I can't give up when I get tired. That isn't how it works. I can't go get a job to hide from parenting. I love what I do. I have a high call. MOTHERHOOD is one of the best gifts God has given me through my wonderful husband. For me it includes schooling my children at home. It would be easy to panic this time of year and enroll them in school or in a pre-packaged program, but that isn't what I am supposed to do. No easy way out for me. My husband and I will continue to work through all the chores, encourage each child in their interests, pick the subjects that will challenge and teach each one, help Pooker find the college for her, continue to help each one to live their life for HIS GLORY.

I just need to thank Him for giving me a glimpse into why I do this and for remind me how much I love doing it!

Thanks you! Thank you for wonderful children! Thank you for a supportive family! Thank you for a husband that sees life in the same way! Thank you for peers for our children that are God-fearing, good people! Thank you for the insight today!

My Goobers

My Bear

My Sugar

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cowboy liked his first big food!

I have been trying to hold out. It is very hard when one has 8 older sisters and brothers to continue eating baby food. It didn't take our little Cowboy long to realize he likes our food better. He held out longer than Sugar. (By six months she was eating only real people food.) The first official place was of dad's mostacholi. As you can see, the little guy loved it.

Monday, June 2, 2008


When J and I were in Italy my mom came to visit with the kiddos for a few days. Mimi was very much out of her element but still tried to have fun. She braved her fear of driving our big car, the 15 passenger van, and took the kiddos to the grocery store. Mimi wanted to venture off to Sams but it was just too far. She got the kiddos a package of cookies at the grocery but felt it was too small of a container. That was reinforced when everyone only got one cookie. In grandma world one cookie just isn't enough.

My silly mom found a solution. When she got home she sent a gift card for Sams to me with the instruction of using it only for cookies. The gift card even had cookies on it. Aside from how odd of a request this is, it also meant lots of cookies. We sure had fun that night. Needless to say we all had a sugar buzz for a day or two.

Mimi thanks for all the cookies and don't worry they all got more than one this time!
Love ya!