Seatbelt Evasions

Car-seats

Don’t be fooled. This is what happens after twenty minutes of driving. Works evey time.

The Children were sent out to buckle themselves into the van while Wife and I gather a couple of things before we left for Mass. When I walked by the window I heard what could only be described as an absolute mess of sound radiating from the vehicle. Girls screaming at girls, girls screaming at boys, boys screaming back at girls, and the baby screaming at everybody. For a second I thought about going out to settle the situation, but then I thought better.

I remembered back to when I was young, and I believe we created the same abominable noises. We were always working hard at forcing the buckling responsibilities of the younger kids onto someone else, and evading the same tricks by another. The ordeal usually ended with my mother yelling at us and the oldest kids (of which I was the oldest) buckling up the younger children while the middle kids were forced to take the responsibility for themselves. In short, everybody got yelled at.baby car-seat

As I looked out the window I could hear the two older girls engaged in a heated discussion as to who would buckle #5 and #6. Those two boys however where busy with a game of tag, under and over the seats. The baby was in the back seat of the fifteen-seat-van with #3, about as far away from his car-seat as possible. And #4 was performing a perfect jack-in-the-box as she bounced between making faces at #7 and joining in the game of tag which had developed into hide-n-seek.

With the understanding that Wife deals with our children everyday on that point, I ducked back into the house to get my hat. Better to let the expert handle these children.

And just in case you were wandering, we were fifteen minutes early to church.

Post from Wife: Spring Time

Greenhouse Sprouts2What a blessed time of year it is. As I begin to feel the new life of our son growing stronger and bigger each week, I look around and see new life sprouting all around me. New calves, new kittens and new kid goats show me how life flourishes in the Spring. There are gardens around our home that are sprouting up. Spring is a time to be grateful for new Life. How fitting that I would begin to feel my child at this time of year.

Kid GoatAll through my married life I have been blessed with healthy pregnancies and healthy born babies. I do not take this for granted. I praise God for His love and mercy. As I snuggle with #7 in the few chances he gives me (he has learned to crawl) I feel the bond with all of my children and my Heavenly Father grow stronger. My little #7 is a smiley guy with lots of energy and joy. He has much to be joyful about since his big family all love him so much. When he is upset after bonking his head or his Momma is taking longer than he would like to sit down and spoon feed him, he will bask in the love and concern of any of his older siblings. They will, each one of them, give him attention when he asks.

KittenAlready there is a bond between my older children and the new baby boy who should join us sometime in August. They call him by name and ask me how he is doing nearly every day. It is one of those moments as a mother that I treasure always. When one of my littles come up to me and wrap their arms around my swollen belly, look up at me with their bright eyes, and ask, “How is he doing today, Momma?” I can’t help but think that their father is the best influence on them concerning additions to our family. The man never bats an eye at another bottom to diaper, another mouth to feed and another body to clothe.

I hope you all have had and continue to have a Blessed Easter season. Now that our Lenten journey has ended for this year, let us all continue to better our lives with the choice of being thankful for our gifts.Easter portrait 2013

Linked up to: A Mama’s Story

In the Land of Giants

It amazes me how children usually walk with their eyes downcast, watching for trips and pitfalls. They should walk with their eyes elevated, watching out for table corners and the legs of their elders. While a misstep may land a child on its face, causing the misstep of an adult may land the adult on the child. My children seem to have forgotten that they are in the land of giants.

hopscotchI would think that #5 would see my massive boots and avoid them. He instead plays a dangerous game of hopscotch to stay only one step ahead of or behind them. Please be aware, I mean one of his steps, not one of mine. Poor planning. Granted, there are times in which he can bob and weave around my legs with the dexterity of a cat; while other times he has the slow wits of a bumbling dog who finds a way to nail both legs, one right after the other.

#6 likes to run the same route that I am currently walking with one exception; he takes the route just in front of me. That again is poor planning. See, his legs are about one fifth of mine. So unless he is at a dead run I tend to out pace him rather quickly. And when I shout at him to “Move!” he receives a telepathic message as to exactly where I am going next so he can correct his course to be there in front of me. The result is a slightly flatter little boy.

UnderfootAnd the little boys are not the only children who end up under foot. No, the girls were just as bad. They would hang onto their parents’ knees without announcing themselves. Stand hidden under Wife’s pregnant belly. Sneak behind me in a most uncharacteristic silence. And in all cases find their toes stepped on.

I think we all look forward to the day in which they can join this land of giants in equal stature.The Land of Giants

Easter Injuries

I am sure you can deduce that our Easter Sunday was a complete success by the untimely arrival of this post. Considering we are now midway through the week, that can be taken as an indication of just how worn out I was.empty egg

We started with the 7:30am Easter Mass. To answer your unasked question, yes we did have to wake-up all the children. They were more agreeable as they were continually distracted by the Easter-Baskets that were uncovered by accident. They were not supposed to find their candy until we got back from the church. So getting the children up was not a problem, but getting them out the door was like stuffing too many packing-peanuts into an already full box.

Easter EggsA little before midday the festivities at the family park started. All of our extended family gathered for the Easter egg hunt. I think we all over ate. Games were played (in which my mortality was made abundantly clearer). We finished off what was left of lunch for dinner. And we put the sun to bed.

At home I limped just a little from a Easter egg huntspill I took during tag. But soon learned that I was not the only injured party. #1 suffered a sunburn and a sore finger. #2 had a stomped foot. #7 also had a sunburn. And everyone else was suffering from “stummy aches.” It seemed that this Easter was not as injury free as I first thought.

Easter egg in tire swingOn any other night we would have sent all the children straight to bed, however it was Easter and my cousin was visiting from out of town. Those two elements let the children stay up late with her watching cartoons. That meant I went out into the night with a sharp knife looking for our aloe vera cactus in order to sooth the sunburns the children obtained. Rest assured, I found the aloe vera, cut off a leaf, and returned without incident (however I believe my daughter would have preferred a mishap).

#1 really despises the cool slime of aloe vera. She squirmed, writhed, and wriggled; all the while making sure not to move whichever shoulder that was being medicated. As I slathered her cheeks she stated she would rather deal with the sunburn.

As that may be true, I would rather deal with her crying about aloe vera for one night, instead of a sunburn for seven.

In closing I wish all a Happy Easter day and a Happy Easter season.After the games

Post from Wife: Holy Saturday

Easter clothes all laid outIt is Holy Saturday night and there is so much preparation for a joyful celebration of Easter. In an attempt to sleep in as long as possible I lay out my six children’s church outfits for the 7:30 Mass in the morning… Yes, the 7:30. Because we live about a half hour from the rest of civilization, we cannot leave later than 6:45 for that Mass. If I plan it right, I can try to sleep in until 6am and make it to Mass on time. But tonight, in addition to the usual plan of action for the morning, I have six Easter baskets to fill with treats and hide for our morning scavenger hunt.  I wonder if the kids will be able to contain themselves until after Mass…  or rather if my Beloved will be able to contain himself until after Mass. There is a high probability that the hunt for their treat filled baskets will happen before any of us are ready to go in the morning.

Even though we have a later start to our sleep tonight, I will most likely be awakened by either an excited child or an excited husband for a bleary eyed search for the Easter baskets.  But the joys of such a high Feast Day never seem to outweigh the need for sleep. So I bid you good night and a Happy Holy Saturday.Easter baskets

Palm Branches

With the onset of Holy Week we of course start with Palm Sunday. And we all know what that means, palm leafs are handed out. In other words, the children are given toys.

Hardly any time needs to pass before the children uncover the many uses of palm branches, none of which were intended by the fathers of the Church.

They usually start with the multiplier, in which the children find they can tear their palm down the seam three or four times before it becomes too small to manage, or until they are noticed by a parent. Which ever comes first.

If they choose not to multiply their palm leaf, they can always turn it into a weapon. It makes a great sword, whip, or ear tickler. They also find that a multiplied palm leaf also makes a fantastic cat-o’-nine-tails.

palm branchThere are more respectful ways to play with a palm branch, like folding it into the shape of a cross. A well indulged pastime for myself. However, #6 figured out a way to shake most of the cross out, leaving a knot at the end of his palm leaf transforming it into a mace.

The mace was so effective that he was removed from his sisters and placed snugly next to his mother. He then attempted a different diversion. He dropped his palm leaf behind the pew and set about making such a fuss about it that Wife lifted him over to get it. A new game was born. There went the palm branch again, but he was unaware that Wife has been through five other children before him. The palm leaf stayed where it was.

In the end, all the palm branches had to be taken away on account of the war that was constantly erupting within the confounds of our pew. I have absolutely no idea what the homily was about.play at church

The War of the Stones

One morning I was splitting wood in the yard with #4 and #5 looking on. They played musical logs for a while, and asked many silly questions as children do, and soon became bored with both. They began to re-explore the yard as I started to split wood once more.

In little time #4 had found two prizes. She hurried up to me, arresting my attention and presenting her prizes, while #5 tried to arrest her attention from behind. “Look Daddy,” she squealed. “I found two wocks. They look like teeff.” She rethought it, “Dwagon Teeff!”#4's rocks

I acknowledged how interesting they were and waved them back so I could continue my work.

They walked back and the little boy still pleaded to hold the rocks. After a short time the little girl thought of a way to satisfy her brother. She turned to him, holding the stones behind her back. “OK, OK, here’s what I do, I will trow the wocks and whoever gets them gets them. I will count to thwee, weady, I will count to thwee. Wait ‘til I count to thwee! One, two, THWEE!”

And, true to her word, she threw the stones. However, the rocks became airborne at the same moment she started to run. Her strategy had put her at least a pace ahead of her brother. The outcome was foreseeable. “I got them!” she said while #5 shouted, “Aww, nuts!” No joke, he actually said it.The rock of #5

This game played out several times before #5 just quit and began to search for his own unique rock; and it was not long, not at all.

He came trotting back not to show me his rock, but his sister. When she asked to hold it he said, “I phrow it, and we see who gets it first. I count to phree. One, two, phree!” And when he threw the stone, he was already at a dead run which ended with him shouting, “I got it!”

After two bouts of that, #4 came whining to me. I dropped my tools as I started a gut wrenching laugh. “You just did the same thing to him not two minutes ago. I’m not going to get after him for doing the same to you,” I said as I wiped the tears from my eyes.

#4 scowled, frowned, and I think was even able to touch the tip of her nose with her eyebrows. Knowing she would get no better response from her mother, she turned back to #5 and proceeded to tell him just how much better her rocks were.

#5 was perfectly content with the rock he had. Though I had my doubts whether it was the same rock he had at first.My rocks are better

Post from Wife: Date Night

A very rare and wonderful thing occurred this last Friday in our household… Dad found a babysitter and took Mom on a date. There was a mixture of relief and upset from our children. Relieved that Mom was leaving so they weren’t going to be put to work, upset because they wanted to go too. So I told them, to ease their worry, that Mom and Dad had to keep building our relationship outside of home duties because once our nest is empty we will have to go back to entertaining ourselves. So every now and then Mom and Dad need to be together without so many beautiful distractions. They all seemed to agree that they would survive one evening without us.

It was a Friday in Lent so our restaurant choices were limited, but we enjoyed some fish tacos at Rubio’s. Our beloved babysitter was willing to watch the 7 month old, so we got to watch a movie without worrying about a squawking baby.  It was an evening that I was able to really focus and listen to what my husband wished to talk about, but there is no evening in our lives that is complete without some talk of our children and our plan of raising them. Even while we were dating we always discussed our future children, the ones that would be, God willing. Apparently God was very willing. Now that we are expecting #8, a boy by the way, we still cannot seem to pass the day without at least one conversation concerning our little charges.

I feel rejuvenated and loved by the man I call husband. It really takes a lot of effort to go out for a date. But every now and then, he makes sure that we get our time to focus on and uplift each other. It is one of the many instances that I am reminded why I married him.

Photo Credit to Honey Stetson Photographer

Photo Credit to Honey Stetson Photographer

Putting God in the Center

Here’s a funny fact. When someone asked me the other day how I “do it” (I think she meant survived) with so many children, I simply answered, “We just do.”

Now when the same question was posed to a preschool teacher, a good friend of Wife, she answered, “They do it because God is the center of their family.”

When I sat back and looked at it I thought, Ya, she’s right. Wife and I (mostly Wife) try very hard to teach our children their faith. Most of the children can recite all the common prayers. Granted, they have a lot of slurred words and a whole lot of W’s in the place of R’s. We also do our utmost to be good examples, taking the children to Mass (despite the inconvenience of the early morning hour; and the company of the children) and they can watch their parents receive the Sacraments regularly.

We have just now entered a new phase of our life. The children are now coming of age and growing up.

This Saturday, #1 received the Sacrament of Confession for the first time. I watched her wait in line, nervous and yet focused. She took it very seriously. I could actually see her examine her conscience as she sat in silent, penitential prayer. She was not just going through the motions; she really understood what she was doing.

I hope to see all the children develop that way: from repeating prayers, to an understanding of prayer, and into a real relationship with God.prayer

 

Post from Wife: Homeschool

Before we were married, my husband and I discussed how our children would be educated. We both agreed that homeschool was our first choice. Since we were both homeschooled, it seemed the obvious choice. At the time, however, we had no idea that we would hit the ground running and add a new student each year once we started. Next year, all four of our daughters will be schooling together. One of the amazing benefits of homeschooling is that our children help each other out. This way they build relationships with each other and they reinforce their own education.

Just this morning, the second grader and the first grader were reading to each other. This is a small miracle that my first grader volunteered to read on her own. I know that these things may and do happen with public schooled children as well, but our children benefit from our home based and faith based education. Some days I feel like I am behind schedule, but then my beloved reminds me that we own the schedule. It’s ok to school on Saturday and through the Summer even. I know we have been thought to be crazy to not only have ALL these children, but we homeschool on top of that. Don’t I want a break?? No. I truly want my children with me and learning from us.

Our children learn to crawl, walk, share, read, write, add, subtract, and clean at home. They learn together and they are learning well. We are a third generation homeschooling family and we are blessed with the opportunity and means.IMG_20130222_101148

Linked: The Alabaster Jar