Saturday, November 29, 2008

Prepare for Thanksgiving

Our celebration of Thanksgiving starts with planning the meal. Everyone has something to offer and everyone helps on Thanksgiving day. Our preparation began with mom shopping over the past month and picking up odds and ends when they were at a good price. Then we all sat down and planned the meal on paper. This is one of the rare times that mom and dad don't say no to something and we try to work it all in. After the list we headed to the grocery store with everyone. This doesn't happen often. It just gets expensive when 11 people throw "just one thing" in the basket. It is worth it for this meal.

I love taking them all with me. We really do draw attention by our numbers. We walked down every isle and got to hear meal wishes from each child.
We were stopped by several strangers asking if they were all ours.

We were asked one time if we planned on having more. This was from a woman that herself was pushing a cart with 3 kiddos. Girl-Girl-Boy and they were adorable. We answered as we always do, "We are open to it. We are not currently expecting but it is in God's hand." She smiled and said "same here". Pooker has recently started working at the grocery store so we were also stopped by many of her co-workers asking if this was her famous family. The fun thing was that she also gets a turkey for being an employee. So this year she got to contribute the main dish.
After our shopping was finished and our frozen turkey thawed, we had to wait. This is the hardest part.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Busted Again

Jumba must really want to grow up and be just like his dad. We caught him sitting on his dad's desk. He was taking lighters out of the case. This served as a reminder to my husband to keep the BIC lighters out of Jumba's reach. Also serve to remind him to work hard because the younger generation is much more aggressive and might try to steal his job. Either way this little cutie was not supposed to be in dad's office playing with dad's stuff. Truth is he is so cute it was very hard for dad to punish him.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pickle's Birthday 11-19-08

Our sweet little Pickle is now an 8 year old. This little man is growing up so fast. He still can tug on my heart strings like no other. You see there was a little drama when this little man was on the way out 8 years ago. I knew, I don't know how I knew, but I knew that something was wrong. We arrived at the hospital and they kept me. Being that he was number 6 they were worried I might deliver very fast. There was one problem. The more you have, the later the baby drops (at least that is what I have been told.) Pickle did not drop into position until about an hour before he entered the world.

I was in labor and had a bad feeling. I called for the nurse that was just not paying attention to me at all. I remember not wanting to "disturb" her and really hoping her shift would be over before the baby was due to be born. She came to check on me, said everything was fine and started to walk out. I called for her and told her something was wrong and that I wanted to see the doctor. "Oh no" she told me, you are not ready for us to call your doctor. I didn't care what doctor but I knew I needed to see one right away. She assured me she would track one down and left the room.

Several minutes went by and she did not return, and no doctor was to be seen either. I hate to be pushy, I really do. I was trying hard to be nice but was getting very agitated. It wasn't like me to demand to see the doctor and Jason knew this. I was watching the heart rates and the baby's rate would go way down with every contraction. I told the nurse and she told me it was just the position of the monitor and I shouldn't worry. With each contraction I saw his little heart almost stop and I couldn't take it any more. I knew it was wrong. I paged the nurse, or the front desk. I think it was my nurse that answered and that is why it didn't help me out. I demanded to see a doctor immediately.

Another 15 minutes with a few more contractions went by with no doctor. With the latest contraction it looked like the baby had no heart beat for a few seconds. . . I panicked and tried to get up off of the table to go find the doctor myself. Jason told me to settle down and I looked him in the eye and said, "Get the doctor now, we are going to loose our son!" I don't know why I said that but I knew something wasn't right! Jason takes such good care of me and our children. He ran into the hall and just started yelling for a doctor. A doctor one from another room came running.

This wasn't my doctor but one of the house doctors. I had seen him when Moogie was born. He ran in and looked me in the eyes. "There is something wrong, I just know it. This is number 6 and I just feel that something is wrong. Every time I have a contraction the baby's heart rate drops . . ." He examined me and the reports and then started barking out orders to Jason. My nurse came into the room and without waiting to hear the doctor just callously said, "She is exaggerating the baby is fine, I have been watching it for awhile now". I told her to leave and not come back, the doctor looked at her and said, "you heard her, now get me a nurse that can help me save this baby!" Jason had run to the nurses station with the doctors message.

The room changed quickly. The lights fell from the ceiling, the bed changed, medication was brought in, there were nurses and doctors all over. I think I counted 15 people within 2 minutes of the doctors exam. Once everyone was in position and the equipment was at hand he told me that I needed to push the baby out in one or two pushes or we would loose him. I didn't have time for a c-section. Apparently the baby's heart had stopped on the last contraction and he had been in the room to monitor it.

Jason grabbed my hand and I could see the fear on his face, it was also on each of the people that were in the room. They usually want you to stop between contractions but not this time. Nothing mattered but getting him out. After just a minute or two of pushing (it seamed like hours but it was only seconds) out came the baby. No sounds, no cries, no smiles on the faces of those around. Jason looked at the baby that I could not see and almost fainted. "WHAT" I yelled. "Wait" said the doctor. I couldn't see but after an eternity I heard a faint cry and I saw a tear role down the check on one of the nurses.

Snip - snip and the baby was gone and surrounded by doctors. I was later told that the neonatal specialist was there and that is who first held the baby. I couldn't see and Jason just held my hand and started praying. What, he never burst out into prayer, what was going on. He later told me that the baby was born the wrong color. He had never seen anything so frightening. We prayed and listened. Within a few seconds our little man was screaming loudly and was the perfect shade of pink. I was never so happy to hear a baby cry in my entire life.

I was able to kiss him briefly and off he went for many check ups. Apparently the cord had been wrapped around the baby's neck twice. With every contraction I was choking him. He had "died" during delivery and was resuscitated. He is listed as a live birth but it was a close call. When I was finally handed a beautiful pink baby to hold I threw water on his head and Baptized him right then and there. I never wanted to let go of him again. He still holds that major string around my heart. The other kiddos tease me. He isn't my favorite, none of them are the favorite. I can say that he is the one that I feared loosing the most. I did baby him longer, hold him more, nurse him forever. All those accusations are true.

Turning 8 is a big deal. This is the year that he receives more of the sacraments. All I can say is Thank you, dear heavenly Father for this wonderful young man. I love him so much and am so glad that you didn't take him that day. I will try to live up to your call for me and give him all the training he needs to be your faithful servant. Happy birthday Pickle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another great PE Day

I love our Bread of Life group. As homeschoolers it is so important to create opportunities for interaction with other kiddos. Our PE Days is such a fun way to spend time with our friends in a more organized fashion. We enjoyed learning about football on the 14Th of November. I know nothing about this sport except that it takes tons of my husbands time up on Sunday afternoons, Monday nights and various other days in the year. I have tried to understand it and pay attention but I would so much rather be doing anything than sitting there. No way could I teach my kiddos how to play the sport of American Football. No worries I just needed to reserve the time and ask other moms and dads to do it. J is so lucky to have so many children that love sports also. They all had a blast learning as much as they could about it at PE Days. I was lucky that other moms were there to teach and I just walked around taking pictures again. The dads got the older kids and just played a game. I hear that the other dad was as sore as J was. I think that dad's took it too seriously, but all in fun. I think that J would tell you that it was another vacation day well spent, but Goobers and Sugar were a little upset that dad wouldn't pass the ball to them very much. Seriously I need to thank all the dads and moms that were not afraid to be sore the next morning and teach the children how to play a little American Football.

Peter Pan CYT production 11-8-08

Our homeschool group is so wonderful. The Bread of Life group is such a great support to each other and great for the kiddos to be a part of a bigger group other than just our family. We had a friend from the group that was in a local production of Peter Pan. It was wonderful. One of our friends from the teen group in BOL was the maid and a pirate. She did a wonderful job and we got to go with some Bread of Life friends. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. Pooker had to work so Goobers gave her ticket to her dear friend and we had a blast!
I love that we got to introduce a little culture in the form of a live production and support our friend at the same time! Thanks Mel, we had a blast and you did a wonderful job!

Faith studies for the little ones

I sat with a friend a few weeks back and discussed how I was not working enough with the little ones. She wanted to do a religion class for her 3 year old and wanted to know if my little ones could join in. As it turned out we had a blast just my kiddos with her son. We made bracelets with all of our friends names on it. We prayed for them. We talked about the Saints, the angels and all God's people. It was great fun! Now we are trying to get together for the next class. It is time for Moses and Ten Commandments. We have had to cancel two weeks in a row due to sick kiddos so maybe next week we can get back to our studies. Bagel and Princess loved "their" class. They needed it. Here is Princess working on her friend bracelet.

Bagel working on her bracelet.

Mrs. W and her son C. working hard on our page to color.

Christmas Letter and 2008 Family update

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Welcome to our family blog. If you want to know more about how our year went then feel free to scroll through our old stories. We started this site shortly after Jumba was born and post every week with stories and pictures. Check back often and you will get a peek into our lives. We have traveled far this year, we have visited family, we all enjoyed another hot Houston Summer at the pool, we promoted Goobers to high school and on Jan 3rd Pooker will officially be finished with high school and onto college work, we survived Hurricane Ike and have grown in numbers, height and faith. Here is a peek:

J and Neen: Well we entered the current century by adding texting to our phone plan and creating facebook pages. I know that you are thinking we must be super hip parents, but our kiddos will be quick to point out that we don’t really know what we are doing. Teenagers communicate in a million different ways and we are just trying to be ready. J earned the incentive trip again with BIC this last year. So we headed to Venice and Verona Italy with other couples from his company. It was beautiful. We loved the history all around us. We learned so much and are very thankful for our dear BIC friends and for Miss Brenda and Mimi who both took time away from their lives to come and baby sit our crowd while we were out of the country.

Pooker (17) has finished up her high school studies with T Homeschool Academy. She has done so much work and we are very proud of her. For the next semester she is enrolled at the local community college to get some college experience. She has done some amazing things this past year. She helped with swim team. She worked as a life guard again last summer. She would tell us, “I was busy saving lives all day!” So how could ask her to do chores at home after such a lofty day at work? She started another job in October to save money for her college life. I have been very impressed with her ability to balance school and work. On top of all that Pooker is very involved at the Church. She is active in LifeTeen, the Senior Core Team, and being a teacher’s assistant for Confirmation Classes. This last summer she was chosen along with 8 peers to represent the parish and it’s 500 youth at the Life Teen Notre Dame Leadership Conference. She was chosen because of her “demonstrated selfless leadership, team work, and spiritual maturity”. She really is a young woman of God and we could not be prouder.

Goobers (14 ) has finished up her grade school studies and has moved onto high school work. She has joined her sister and I for our once a week class, the Catholic Coffee Club. She is maturing quickly. She baby-sits quite often and always returns as one of that family’s favorite sitters. She was a junior coach last summer with our neighborhood swim team and loved helping every day. Goobers is enjoying the active life of high school and is also very active at church. She is in LifeTeen and has enjoyed getting to know her peers on Pizza Tuesdays. She can often be found on facebook uploading pictures from her new camera.

Bear (13) has had a busy year becoming very social. Bear is my favorite 7Th grader around. He is so funny. I think he grew 3 inches last week alone. He is often found babysitting with Goobers, or stuck at home because she is gone. He has been very active at trying to protect his older sisters from every boy out there. Bear was also asked to help out the swim team at the end of the season. He was always found helping the coaches clean up the pool area as practice would end. We have started having home School Physical Education Classes a few times a month. Bear is loving the activity and the social time with his peers. He was such a help during the week after the hurricane. He thinks outside the box and when the electricity is out for a week he was the one that came up with solutions on getting chores done.

Sugar (12) has also grown a few inches taller in the past few weeks. She is in 6Th grade and is now old enough to take on the world. As always she is still very social. She is the one in the group that loves to read. We sometimes find her missing and discover she is hiding in her room with a good book. She also helped with the Cuda’s at the end of the season. She is looking forward to doing volleyball again, unfortunately didn’t get to participate this fall so she is pushing already for next year. Sugar's passion is still fashion design. She is always drawing new combinations.

Moogie (9) is still are very strong willed crazy fighter. She is so strong physically and emotionally. Moggie is the personality that sticks out of the crowd. I guess she needs to be considering she is smack dab in the middle. She is a very active 3rd graders that is hard to keep up with. Her health is great with no residual effects from her open heart surgery in 2005. Moggie had a big year this year. In April we ventured to St. Louis for her First Confession and First Holy Communion. I think her favorite part (next to receiving of course!) was shopping for the dress. It is our tradition that the older sister go with you. It was a fun day to say the least. Moggie got to tell us which way to go and was the center of attention the entire afternoon. She loved it!

Pickle (8) still has a smile that will slay you. He watched Moggie receive the sacraments last year and could not wait until it was his turn. This little 2ND grader is doing things differently than the older T kiddos; instead of returning to St. Louis for the sacraments we are doing them through our parish this time. He was able to have his Fist Confession heard the other day and was thrilled. His communion will be in the Spring. (No worries, we still plan to fly Fr. Tom Keller down to Houston – it might be a tad easier moving one person than taking all of us all to St. Louis!) Out of all the children Pickle is the swimmer in the family. He is a natural and we love to watch him go.

Princess (6) is growing up nicely. She loves the fact that she is in “real” school as a Kindergartner still at home. Princess loves to learn. She is pretty smart and does all that she can to stay ahead of the next one. She loves to be out and about doing things. We have a small religion class with her, Bagel and one friend. We start with religion and then it becomes a park play day. She wants more and more social activites. She has a silly giggle and when I hear it I know I need to find out why she is laughing. You really just never know with her. Princess lost her first tooth on January 1st and still looks adorable.

Bagel (4) is the one that takes care of Princess. They are either fighting like cats and dogs or Bagel is helping Princess with her latest chore. Bagel is so smart that she is doing the same school work that her big sister is doing. She was a huge fan to her siblings this year on the side of the pool and prays that she can be on the team next year. This one can be so quiet and reserved but don’t mess with her. She works very hard to keep up with the big kids. Bagel is extremely funny, but you have to pay attention to her to discover her humor. She loves music of any kind and knows the artist names and song titles. Bagel has to be a tad different, she is showing signs of being left handed. I am having to look into things a little differently as I teach her how to write. She will be teaching the rest of us soon!

Jumba (Cowboy, 1) has been the biggest joy to each and every member of this family. He gets the attention from every member of the family at every turn. He loves shoes. He doesn’t necessarily want to wear them but he still wants them. He has several boots, tennis shoes, and sandals. He will line them up and just look at them. We all just laugh as we watch him. He knows how to make us laugh and cry. It was surprise (maybe even a shock) when we found out Jumba was on the way, but now we can not imagine life without him. We often thank God for him. He really is a gift.

So that is an update on each of us. It was another good year. God continues to Bless us at every turn. Stay awhile a look around the blog. If you click on any of the children’s pictures on the left, a slideshow of that child will pop up. These are just 2008 pictures. I love taking them and have nothing to do with them so I created slideshows. I hope you enjoy. We have a little video from hurricane Ike, you can view it by clicking that picture on the left. On the right you can look through old titles to see what we did last year. We are trying to be as private as we can so we try to only use nicknames on the blog. It takes some getting used to and the picture/slideshows should help.

As always it was an exciting year with us always on the move. We are most thankful for the time with each other, each of you and for our faith. Feel free to peek back at anytime.

May God Bless your 2009!