Monday, October 27, 2008

I feel kind of blue-green!

Bear was thinking, "You better not take a picture now" which made it Pooker's instant favorite.

This is what happens when you can't agree on which shade of which color to

This is a project that is on going in our home. We paint all the time it feels like and yet everything always looks like it could use a new coat of paint. I think that just comes with having a house full of little ones. We have finally opened up the extra room and make it a bedroom. We has used it as a toy room but instead have decided to divide the kiddos out a little more. NO one is happy about mom's decision. Jumba is over a year old and it is time to move him up with the boys and out of mom and dad's bedroom.

This is one of those time sucking adventures that takes way more money than you plan for. We started the first move back in July, got side tracked and haven't taken the time to finish. Well the other night we decided to let the older kiddos take over and try to get that room done. One problem is that we wanted to get too creative with color patches and it is just a ton of work. Pooker, Goobers and Bear all worked Friday night on painting the blocks. They didn't finish but made huge advances. We hope to get all the moves done before January.

Here is a sneak peak at Pooker and Goobers new room. We decided to move them into a smaller space considering college is around the corner for Pookers. She is upset because her bathroom will change and this one needs some work. We will get to that eventually. They did great and by the pictures I think that they were having fun.

Bread of Life PE Day - soccer

I am just too lazy to write too much about this wonderful day. We had our second BOL PE Day and it was a huge success. We played soccer. Not everyone knew the sport but all tried. Some of the kiddos learned a few things and everyone tried. The parents were incredible and we had a blast. Thanks to all that helped. Jason was there again. He is such a great dad and supportive husband. Sugar was at home getting better from a stomach bug. The rest of us had a blast as you can tell!

Firepit on Sat 10-18

This is such a cool family event. We still have tons of wood to burn, Hurricane Ike saw to that. J has been telling the kiddos that we could do a firepit night. I spent that Saturday sick in bad and J and the kiddos had a blast. Great fun was had by all except for me. We even had a neighbor friend join them around the fire. J and Bear got a good fire going. That was impressive. They decided to grab the cameras because they wanted me to blog about it. I tried to tell them that I wouldn't have cute stories to tell unless they told me what happened. The Pickle just giggled and said that no one reads the blog anyway they just like to see the pictures. So enough said here are the pictures:

Goobers and Bear

Sugar w/Jumba
Sugar and Moogie's friend from the neighborhood.



Bagel (In blue) with her sisters.


They all have a blast together!

What a great Daddy my kiddos have. He loves spending time with them. I just hope that the next time we light up the old firepit that I am well enough to enjoy it with them.

It has been a week, sorry!

You know it has been a long time when J says that I need to update the blog. He added that I needed to get fancy and add music like one of my friends did. I found it so funny that he needs to read the blog to find out what is going on when he lives it with me. The kids have pointed out that life sounds better on the blog so they like to read how I shine up the situation for the readers. I could tell you that we had another busy week and I just didn't have time to share but then you might remind me that the more busy the week the more it is important to blog. How else will you know what is going on. Truth is I have so much to say I don't know where to start, so I didn't.
So will start with the really great news. My brother's son, Tristan was baptized last weekend. I can not even begin to express how happy I am about that. He is an adorable boy, that I have yet to kiss on. Poor baby needs to be warned. When NeeNee does finally get her hands on you be prepared, I will kiss on you bunches and bunches. I stole this picture from my brother's blog. Aren't they cuties?!?!? I love you boys and Michelle as well. Congratulations on the big day, Tristan. So you have to admit that those adorable pictures of that precious baby was worth the wait.
The next great news is that J's sister Nikki had her baby on Monday of last week. He was a tad early but from all reports both mom and baby are healthy. Poor Nikki had to have a c-section this time but the baby is adorable. Now I can't steal the pictures from the hospital website but I can link you these. So go here and check out our new nephew little Liam. I am sure that his big brother Aiden is very proud. Cute baby pictures should really give me a pass on blogging.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Roses are all around!

So after a long week I almost didn't go to a mom's meeting last night. I need the interaction and encouragement from my peers so much. I pushed myself. I even worried that it was "sign from God" when Fr. Tom called just as I was walking into the meeting that I needed to be elsewhere. I sat in the car and enjoyed my conversation with our dear family friend. I learned that a mother that I respected and learned so much from had passed away. This dear person was not someone in my circles just someone that had great advice to offer about big families. She was an inspiration to J and I.

We met Mrs. Gau years ago when her children helped Fr. Tom prepare for the John Paul II's visit to St. Louis. We also helped at the Mass and met number 9 and 10 of this big wonderful Catholic family. Fr. Tom loves them and spoke of them often. These (teens at the time) were so wonderful and so centered on Christ. The proof was in the pudding and Kathy Gau's pudding was full of love. We met her a few years later and she told us a story that we have modeled much of our parenting around. She said when you have teens and you need to keep track of them don't be the busy body parent but be the loving involved one. "Every time my teens went to a party I would pick up a case of soda and take them. I would drop of "supplies" for the party while checking out the situation. If there happened to not be parents there we would stay and become the parents." That attitude of staying involved and loving the teens where they were was the main theme of her life. She shared that with us in just a few brief conversations.

After my chat with Fr. Tom I went into the meeting. As I walked in my own teens called to tell me that their meeting for the night was already over. I turned back around to pick them up and drive them home. I so wanted to just stay at home once I got there but I knew I needed the mom's meeting. I showed up the second time at 8:25 p.m. and the meeting started at 7:00. Ugh! I hate being late.

Then God gave me the Rose. The true reason for being there. This meeting was filled with loving, kind, gracious, Catholic woman. Like me they are all meant to struggle to live out God's call and to be faithful in all that we do. They are called to school their children at home and yet often wonder why God wants that of me. We talked and shared, laughed and cried. It was all I needed to rejuvenate my soul. I thought I needed sleep but after returning home around 2:20 a.m. and waking up again just after 8:00 a.m. I realized that sleep was never what I needed. I really got so much out of these wonderful woman, full of ideas of how I can be a better parent and teacher.

One mom went home and jotted her thoughts on a new blog that she titled Finding the roses... Thanks Julie for putting it into such beautiful words. Another friend also wrote about it on her blog of Blair's Blessings. Blair talks about always being ready to see the deer. Last night was one of those times that HE was truly there with us. We could feel God's love in the group and I am so thankful of for these wonderful examples I see in these woman.

I just want to take the time to thank God for all the Roses in my life. All the woman of inspiration that remind me to stop and watch the deer. I am sure that Mrs. Gau entered into your heavenly home and can now see that she was one of those Roses in so many people's lives. Thank God for her life and for her example. Thank you for all the other examples that were with me last night.

All For You Oh Lord!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It is all Peaches!

We have been so busy lately. Everything is so good so please do not think that I am complaining. One of those things that kept me running was the fact that our parish hosted a national LifeTeen training conference. We helped as much as we could. That on top of our day to day life that includes lots of laundry, dishes, and classes. Crazy! Good!, but crazy.

So those that might not know this we have our own religion class for the high school kiddos. We call ourselves the Catholic Coffee Club. We use a great set of books from Midwest Theological Forum called the Didache Series. There are four books one each of the four years of high school. We have around 15 kiddos that come every week and discuss the latest chapter. It started with Pooker wanted to do religion class with some peers. I can sum it up by stating that it is a great group of teens that I learn so much from their discussion.

The LifeTeen Conference was ending on Wednesday, the morning of our class. Pooker and Goobers had helped serve lunch and breakfast with two other home school friends all day Tuesday. They got their own school work finished so that they could volunteer and serve the volunteers that serve the youth around the country. It was a great opportunity for them. I am so thankful that our parish recognized their desire to help and put them to work.

The conference was to end with Mass and our priest had a wonderful homily planned. His homily included a story, his own parable if you will. It was a perfect story to illustrate the information that each individual received and their need to share it and help their groups grow when they got back home. All of this would center around Fr.'s parable of the peach. He didn't want it to end there. The conference attendants were to leave after Mass and head to the airport for transportation home. There was no time for lunch until they were settled in the airport. He knew he could really drive his homily home with a peach. He wanted the peaches to be passed out by the teens.

So this wonderful group of teens gave up their Coffee Time to serve as father requested. We joined in the Mass, one of our teens carried the Cross, Goobers and Bear took up the offertory, and then all the teens passed out peaches after Mass to every person at the conference. I know it sounds a little silly but it was a wonderful display of how great these kiddos are. They are willing to serve in any way asked of them. I am so proud of these kiddos. Thank you God for opening this opportunity for this group to show their love for you and all your servants.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bread Of Life PE Day

What a fun day we had this Friday!!! It was our very first BOL PE Day. BOL is our home school group here in the Woodlands TX. We have a wonderful group of families. These are individuals rooted in their faith and devoted to each other and their children. We feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this outstanding group.

Each school year we, as a family and as a home school support community contemplate how we can make the next school year be better. Just like every school district we sit and plan what to add. This year J and I decided to try to provide all the kiddos with a physical activity. As the idea developed for us we realized that if would be tons of fun to share our ideas with our community.

(Me thanking the kiddos for giving their all and thanking the other parents for helping make the day possible.)

First we polled the families and discovered that there was in fact a huge interest. We then picked a few moms to organize those ideas. We are so blessed to have a new member of our group that was a physical education teacher way back before children. We even found out that we could participate in the presidential physical fitness challenge, like so many of our public and private school peers. All we needed was someone to organize the deal. In the home school world there is an unwritten rule. "If you suggest an idea, you are in charge of making it happen!" So I had the idea and that meant I had to do the work. (Not by myself, everyone always helps.) My job was just to put all of our thoughts and ideas into usable fun days at the park. J took a vacation day to help my get our first one all together. As always J was a huge support.

Thanks babe!
We had to cancel two PE days in September. The first one was scheduled for the day of Ike and the second one was two weeks later. Many of the parks were closed due to debris and then so many of us were without power still or doing laundry to catch up for the weeks of no power. Today we crammed the first two planned days into one. We set up stations and divided the kiddos into age groups. This is where all the organization was needed. We had to introduce the Physical Fitness Challenge to the kiddos and get their base lines. We will then give them their goals so that they can receive an award at the end of the school year.

Bear preparing to run his 1/2 mile.
He did great as did all the kiddos. By all I mean all 70 plus kiddos ranging in age from 1 year all the way up to 18. Now the babies just played but we even had the toddlers taking a small jog. The activities were things like curl ups, shuttle runs, stretching, arm hangs and endurance run. We actually made them run 1/2 mile because instead of a 1/4 mile because we were running on an unmarked soccer field. We also added in some standard PE things like jump rope games, 4-square, juggling and ran out of time before we pulled out the parachute.

Here Pooker and Goobers watch with a worried look as a friend pulls himself up
to begin his flex arm hang.

Sugar wasn't worried.
As always she handled each challenge with a smile. She really is quit the athlete. All of the kiddos did so good. We were missing quit a few friends, our projected number is over 110 kiddos. Next time we will have a better idea of what is coming so the amount doesn't bother me. Today they groups walked from station to station to be counted or timed. We wiped the little ones out by just having them move from group to group.

The train that went from the arm hang station to the curl up station, notice
Princess at the back!

The K and 1st Graders had to be the most challenging group. They want to do everything but have a very hard time listening. Princess was in this group. I helped move this group from station to station at one point while the two moms in charge of the age group tacked down a few run aways. It was so crazy and yet a blast to see all of those personalities. I was just glad that Princess was not one of the run aways.
Princess really did have a blast today. She told me that she loves PE and wants to go all the time. That is a job well done. J and I have noticed that we have been so busy with the big kid activities that the younger ones were not getting the same amount of attention. Today allowed us to focus on each one. J walked around and took pictures after we were organized and I looked for situations that needed some direction.
Pickle listens to directions.
Today Pickle got to see his new friends again. He is coming out of his own little world and finding that he really does have a ton of cool friends. He is enrolled in Sacramental prep classes with most of these kiddos at church. Because we all home school we got to put them together in one class room and they are having a blast. I feel a little bad for the teacher, another home school mom, but she loves it and they love her.
Pickle waits to take his turn with the jump rope.

Moogie having her friend count her curl ups.
I must confess that I did have a little fear today. Moggie swims beautifully and enjoys all of her outdoor activities. She rides bikes, skates, runs, and as I said swims. She loves to be out and about all the time. When I looked over at her before she ran the 1/2 mile my heart leaped. I was overcome with the emotion that if we had discovered his heart condition and fixed it years ago, would this be the type of activity that might have caused her to collapse. Well thank God that was in the past. She took off and didn't stop. She is so amazing and so strong. I still can't believe her medical past. We are blessed.
Moogie waiting to run.

Pooker, Goobers and a friend smile for dad before the arm hang.

Sugar and Bear both help a friend of Princess.
As the older groups finished they would then go and help the younger groups. The older groups didn't take nearly the amount of time that the younger ones did. The good news is that by the time they are in high school they stop running away and hiding in the playground tunnels.

Bagel followed mom around the entire time!

It was a long day. Bagel struggled with sharing mom and dad with the other kiddos. She didn't want to be with her group and spent the day at my side. Later she told me that she would have stayed if I was helping with her group. Maybe next time when we do soccer I can work with the toddlers. I only hope that next time runs more on auto pilot. We are doing soccer and we will not have to mover around nearly as much!

The trooper of the day award goes to Jumba.
His other shoe is in my hand. This little man was wonderful. He went with us all day, never complained and smiled at all he saw. Here is asking for the camera. Maybe next time he will be the camera man!
To sum it up we had a blast. Thanks to all the moms and dads that worked so hard to make it such a special day!