Thursday, May 30, 2013

They're Herrreeee!

Our new chickens that is. Our friends Mike and Jane replenished their flock and got more than they needed. So our eight new chickens are in their new home tonight. They'll have to fight out the pecking order, I assume, over the next couple of days. We may need to head back to the library for a few books on raising chickens. These girlies won't be ready to lay for another month or so, so we have a bit of time to figure it all out. The kids are excited. Sophie was so excited she wet her pants. That wasn't terrific, cause I'm not kidding- she really did get so excited she wet her pants! They are all trying to figure out names- Matthew thinks we should call two of them "Set-it" and the other "Forget- it" which is terrible and funny all at once. I'll have to post better pictures tomorrow, as the sun was going down tonight and the battery on the camera was almost dead. Here's a preview:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Cards

We headed to the library today. We are officially on break from school, and so the library gets top priority on our downtime list. Three new library cards were issued today for the first time. Thomas, Michael, and Mary all are official cardholders. Talk about a big deal. I let them take out two books each. I have learned from years past, if you take out more than two- not only do my children decide against reading at all, they will also destroy at least one of them. Which turns the library into a very expensive Borders, and takes all the fun out of it for Mom. Two it is. Two books will be read and returned before the next two are chosen.

And John- Paul is also holding a new card these days. Its his learners permit. We went for his first spin today if you can believe that. I certainly cannot. He seems like a natural behind the wheel. See what I mean?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

We are settled back at home after our week on the beach. Good news is, my plants did not die while we were away. In fact my tomatoes, and potatoes are growing nicely. There are buds on the blackberry bushes, and the fruit trees are all doing well too! A really cool find took us by surprise. We used a topsy turvy we had bought last year, for a few extra tomato plants. One day when we went to water, we found a birds nest inside with a bunch of little eggs being hatched!  On top of all that, we are just about ready for chickens. Fred spent some time a while back one weekend, putting together a chicken coop with the little girls. Its finished today, and waiting for some chickens to move in.
I haven't killed it yet!
we didn't plant these potatoes, they are growing in hay and mulch above ground.
this birds nest with eggs is being hatched ...
...inside this!
Fred gets to work with his girls
they are hard workers
frame is ready
add chicken wire and primer
a red roof and trim
a golden chicken emblem for fun
now we just need chickens!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Twenty years

"Happy 20th Anniversary Ellie" the words woke me, over the sound of ocean waves this morning. I opened my eyes and saw our tenth baby snuggled between us, and snoring happily.
Our oldest carrying our youngest

 We are at the beach, Fred's anniversary present to me. We took along our ten kids and Fred's parents as well. They were down to celebrate Michael first communion, and we threw in the start of summer/anniversary party for kicks.
Lots of people thought we should go away alone somewhere. We both liked the idea of seeing what twenty years has done to our lives and the world around us. Twenty years ago, we didn't know the ten most important people in our lives.

We never anticipated the impact would be so great. We only set out to be faithful to God in our love for one another, and honestly- we failed at it so many times. Yet, God has blessed us. He has trusted us with these lives even when we were untrustworthy. He saw us through hardships, and poverty, and sickness, and plain old boredom as well. He was faithful to us even when we were less than deserving.

It was a terrific day for us. We started with mass, and then wasted lots of time sitting on the ocean watching the kids versus the waves. For about 30 minutes a pair of dolphins played at the shore and we sat in awe as they poked through the surface for a breath of air every minute or so. I even felt my mom close by as I 'found' about 100.00 tucked into a pocket of a case I used last for her- I couldn't help but think she wanted to be  a part of our day, so we bought a few  lobsters and crabs for dinner and enjoyed every minute of it. I should admit to the few Gollum like moments I experienced once the first bite of melted butter and lobster meat met my mouth- it was really heavenly and I was tempted to keep every bite for myself"preccciooouussss!"but thankfully there was enough Hobbit left in me to resist it from entirely taking me over.

I don't know if you were with us twenty years ago today when we said 'I do'- but you've become part of our story somewhere along the line, and for that  we send you a heap of thanks for helping us along the way.Maybe you could whisper a little prayer for us tonight and ask God to make the next twenty years as wonderful as these first twenty.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

First Communion

Michael made his first Holy Communion today. It was so sweet. Now, all of my seven sons have had this beautiful sacrament. (Next year I get to pick out our first communion dress!) He also got to crown Mary for our May Crowning a few weeks ago- he's having quite a month. Grandma and Grandpa are here for the festivities, and having a wonderful time with the kids. I'll post a few pictures of Michael's special day:
God Bless Michael

the crew

(May Crowning from last week)

Our seventh son!
so serious
Grandma and Grandpa make everything special
processing in
(this was the closest Fred could get)
his first communion class- 21 in all

the deacon blesses his new rosary
so proud!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day

Mothers day is pretty wonderful around here. Of course there is lots of food, and presents, and sweetness to mark the day. I missed my Mom this year, but felt close to her at mass this morning. I always feel close to her when I pray, and that makes it so much easier to tolerate.

But I did something different this year for Mother's Day. I knew it might be difficult to be without my Mom, and so a few weeks ago I got to thinking about what it really means, once again, to be a mother. After all its not really about new patio furniture ( YES, score- I actually got some- its gorgeous!) or chocolates               ( although having just  lost 9 pounds on a diet makes me wish right about now that it WAS all about chocolate- dang!), or bubble bath, or flowers, so what is it about? When does it really matter that I am a Mother?

I asked God to gently remind me for the last few weeks what it meant to be a Mother, by nudging me in the moments that counted. Here is what I discovered:

It mattered when Michael held my hand at the track meet, in front of all his friends and walked with me to his events blissfully unaware he was gripping it tight. While waiting on line for his heat, he walked back over to me and said" When you stay here with me I can run, but sometimes if I can't see you I don't want to anymore." So,I told him I'd stay where he could see me.

It mattered when Andrew asked my thoughts on a political situation in the news that he was researching for class. He wanted to share his thoughts, and hear my perspective.

It mattered when Mary and Sarah asked me to come outside and draw with their new chalk on the sidewalk. They made pictures of me and them, and picked flowers to go on the border of each to frame it.

It mattered when Peter called me while I was out to get a recipe for something he wanted to cook up in the kitchen. I started giving him cooking lessons years ago.  Now we both love to cook and Pete gets downright excited about making something awesome.

It mattered when Thomas brought Fred and I a picture he drew of us holding his hands under a rainbow. I saved it as he is nine and I'm not so sure how many more of these I might still receive.

It mattered when John-Paul, seeing me sad over the recent loss of my own mom, comforted me with a hug and reassuring words from the bible.

It mattered when Matthew came to me and asked to help him on a school project without getting frustrated and instead showed gratitude for the help.

It mattered when Joseph not only finished off his school work for the year, but then asked if he could help his younger siblings with what they needed instead of going out to play.

It mattered when I cuddled with Sophia in the middle of the night, (and made room for Mary and Sarah as well)

All of these situations are so different. Sometimes I was asked to give of myself, and other times I was able to see how much my children had grown and were able to give of themselves. Mothers don't simply give, they also receive the gift of their children in all the ways it comes to them through the years. I feel so blessed to have a generous span to view these lives through.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Where do puppies come from?

Sophia wants a dog. She doesn't quite yet understand how you get one.

If you have seen any of my posts over the last few years, its pretty obvious that my children spend a lot of time in nature capturing creatures. Having a small stream in our yard brings crayfish, salamanders, frogs,toads, and turtles by the dozen. Mike and Tom spend the better part of spring and summer catching and releasing their finds. Sophie watches them like a hawk.

Tonight we had roast chicken for dinner. She absolutely insisted on having the legs. She is so little, but she does have a good appetite, so I let her have them, despite her brothers protests. As I anticipated, she gobbled it right down and polished off everything else on her plate too. The others were helping clear the table at the end of dinner when I heard a commotion. "Mom Sophie's being naughty!" I rolled my eyes and called her to me. She had stepped outside the back door but was still within ear shot. She pulled the door back open and stomped in. For such a little person, she really fills the room. I am the only person in the family big enough to challenge her- I kid you not.

"Sophia Grace, what are you doing now?"

She had a sullen look on her face as she responded "NOTHING!"

Mike piped up "Yes she did! She threw her chicken bones outside!"

Now her eyes grew big, like she was caught. Puzzled, I decided to ask a few more questions.

"Sophie, did you throw your chicken bones outside?"

She nodded,slowly,reluctantly, head down-turned.

"Why would you do that young lady- the garbage can is right here?"

Very indignantly she responded:

"Mom, those are doggy bones!"

I instantly realized what she was up to. Sophie figured that if she threw her bones into the yard, a stray dog would come by to chew on them and Voila- she would have a new doggy! All she had to do was sit and wait for it to happen. And that nasty brother Michael just ruined her well planned chance. So very close!