Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baby Leo Update

I had my second OB appointment today and got all my blood work and ultrasound results. Everything looks perfectly wonderful. Now we just need to wait patiently for another 17 weeks until we can expect this precious bundle's arrival. Praise be to God! Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Case of the Mom Guilts

My grandmother is turning 100 on the 1st of October. She is the cornerstone of our family and my family is planning a big blowout party to celebrate this milestone. I felt I really needed to go. Wingnut took leave from work and I purchased tickets. I am stoked!

Unfortunately, I am not one that relishes the thought of leaving my kiddos, even at home with their dad. In the nearly 20 years we've been married, I've only travelled and left kids at home two times, and both of those times I brought along my youngest at the time. Both of those trips were 10 years ago.

I leave for Spokane on Friday afternoon and I return on Monday night. I was really looking forward to the trip, until I mentioned it to Lil' Wingnut. He burst into tears. Suddenly I feel bad. I know I shouldn't, but I just can't help it. Wingnut will do a great job taking care of the kids. He's a wonderful dad, and he's actually looking forward to "spoiling" them while I'm gone. Yet, he's not mom. Mom is soft and sympathetic. She takes care of every need and has compassion for little bumps and bruises. Mom stays in bed and cuddles little ones. Mom understands every little quirk and preference. Dad is great, but he just isn't mom.

Say a little prayer for Lil' Wingnut. This is going to be a tough weekend for him. While you're at it, say a prayer for Wingnut too, I think he's really going to need it. Wait until he sees the schedule for the weekend. He's not going to have a moment to breath!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

POS (Parent Over Shoulder)

Having tech savvy teens has been a mixed blessing. Although I don't know how our mother survived our teen years without our having cell phones, handing our children a piece of technology by which we can keep tabs on their whereabouts, means we also need to keep tabs on what they do with that piece of technology. We've removed their ability to access the internet on their phone, as it was too difficult to track their browsing history the way we are able to track the home computers.

Texting, on the other hand, we've kept intact with a few restrictions. Our teens are not allowed to delete any texts they've sent or received. We keep tabs on the numbers they text to and the total number of texts through our account, so they know we'll know if they've deleted a text. We don't read all of their texts, we only peruse them for inappropriate content. We want to be sure they continue to respect our standards of Christian language and conduct. Failure to comply incurs disciplinary action, usually a loss of phone privileges for a certain time period.

For Stat Boy, texting is his connection to the world during the school week, as many of his friends are in traditional school settings and unable to hang out on school nights. Texting is also the way in which he touches base with me. On the occasions one of us is away from home for more than an hour or two, Stat Boy always finds something to text to me:

"Fried ice cream!"

"Favre needs to retire and the Vikings r 0-2 wow"

"Wow I'm mad now B, and I, and S and everyone has facebooks >:("

"Jets r up by 14 with like a minute left over the Pats... I picked Jets!!"

"On our way bak Seattle got lucky! Two kick return td's!"

As he's grown and continues to grow into manhood, he's become less demonstratively affectionate toward us. I know that is a natural inclination, but it makes me sad, nevertheless. I've come to see his touching base using texts as his particular love language, his way of telling me he still loves his mom. Times have sure changed.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Beyond Motherdome

One mom enters, three children follow. That's exactly how things work around here. I've been trying over the last few years to establish some kind of prayer routine. You know, actually spend some time in quiet and solitude with the Lord. It never fails. The moment I think everyone is occupied and I have a few minutes to sneak away and pray, someone needs something only I can provide. Some days it's all I can do to keep from yelling at the top of my lungs, "Give me a freaking break, already!!!"

I'm not one of those moms that needs "me" time. I actually enjoy being home and around the kids all day, every day. I just wish I could have even five minutes alone to pray. Honestly, I think God has known that my path to holiness must lie in the day to day love and care given to my family, and not in a deeply spiritual prayer life. I find it highly unlikely I've been called to be meditative or contemplative in the least. How could I be expected to with my wonderful, yet needy bunch of kids?

Last Saturday's Gospel reading really struck home in this area for me. It was the parable of the sower from Luke. The last line was what has resonated with me all week:

But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.
--Luke 8:15

Fruit is born through persevering. I may never have the spiritual prayer life I would like, at least not in my state of life at this point, but I need to persevere through all the interruptions and irritations in order to have any prayer life at all.
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Small Successes: Count it All Success

I haven't participated in Small Successes for a couple of weeks for a number of reasons, first of which is I've had other things to blog about. Not that I don't have other blog posts rolling around in my head today, I just don't have the time to write and edit anything other than a quick Small Successes post.

Small Successes for September 23, 2010:

1) We have nearly completed three weeks of school and it is going very well for the most part. In fact, I think it is the best start to the school year we have ever had. Most everyone is independent, which means I have time to focus on Lil' Wingnut, who has begun kindergarten/1st grade work this year. He is so proud of himself. He's more than able to handle the material, but his attention span is not quite there. Rewarding him with computer time for focusing on his school works wonders.

2) I'm managing meals, especially dinner, much better this year. I have a set grocery shopping day and I'm doing really well with writing a menu and adhering to it. I can already see we are saving money by doing this as I'm not running to the grocery store every day to pick up missing ingredients for dinner.

3) One of my favorite daily prayers is the Angelus. I love the old artwork of peasant farmers stopping their work to bow their heads in prayer, and I've always wanted to join in that offering, at least during the noon hour each day. A wonderful friend sent a reminder to pray the Angelus each day and we've decided to do so. I have my iPhone and all the computers set with an Angelus alarm at 5 minutes to 12 so that we can stop our activities and gather together to lift our hearts, minds, and souls to heaven. We have remembered to pray every day for the last three weeks. It has become so beautifully engrained in Lil' Wingnut, that if the alarm goes off when we are out, he declares, "It's time to pray the Angelus!" We end up praying the Angelus wherever we are.

Have Small Successes to share? Add your link at Faith and Family Live!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out with the Old, In with the New, or so I Thought.

I took a very excited Lil' Wingnut to the shoe store the other day to buy new tennis and dress shoes. He took his time and was very particular in his choice of tennis shoes. In the end he chose a super cool pair of Sketcher Luminators that, thankfully, were on sale. He tore about the store, showing me how fast they were and how wonderfully they lit up. As we waited to pay, I mentioned we needed to throw away his old, too small, worn out, and stinky sandals. He immediately burst into tears and declared he hated his new tennis shoes.

This attitude toward his new shoes lasted the entire day. At one point, as we took one of his sister's to ballet, he enumerated his disdain for the new shoes:

"Number 1) I hate these new shoes. Number 2) These new shoes are so stupid. Number 3) My sandals are not too small for me. Number 4) You cannot take away my old shoes and throw them away. Number 5) You cannot take my old shoes away from me!"

All I could do was laugh, realizing the numbering of reasons in an explanation is something I very frequently employ, myself.

Later the same evening, as we went to pick up another sister from ballet, Lil' Wingnut exclaimed excitedly, "Wow, they really do glow in the dark! I love these new shoes!"
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's in a Name?

I use nicknames on the blog for my husband and my kids, not so much as to protect them, but to give them a certain extent of perceived anonymity. I'm certain at least 80% of the readers of this blog know my family's real names. Why do I bother mentioning this? Today I want to talk about names and why our boy's names are so important to us. I can't really do that without revealing what their names are, can I?

We've had some great feedback on the name we've chosen for little 7--Leo Athanasius. Catholics get his name, some of my family does not. So for those befuddled by his name I offer our explanation. Our three boys are named for Popes. We have John Paul, our first son born during John Paul II pontificate and just months after my conversion to Catholicism. We weren't blessed with a full term boy again until Lil' Wingnut was born, and what a blessing! He was born months into our current Pope's pontificate. We named our little guy, Benedict. Traveling on down the line of Popes, the next name is John. We have a John Paul, so it makes absolutely no sense to name our little one John. Pius would be next. We batted this around seriously for a time, but it really is difficult to be angry with a Pius, right? Pope Leo it is. We love it.

First name, check. Now for a middle name. Wingnut and I have a special devotion or affinity for Saint Augustine and his mother, Saint Monica. We passed our devotion on to John Paul, so he is John Paul Augustine (or disgustin' as he used to joke). Saint Ambrose baptized Saint Augustine, and so we gave Benedict the middle name Ambrose. Ok, so the two boys have papal first names and Doctors of the Church that begin with the letter "A" for middle names. Enter Saint Athanasius. In a nut shell, that is the progression of thinking for naming our boys.

The girls' names have a system we follow as well. Perhaps I'll write about them another day ;)
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake: Success!

Last week I posted a photo of this particular cake as a cake wreck. My second attempt proved much more successful and so the recipe is ready for posting.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

1 cup butter; softened
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsps grated lemon zest
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (I use goat's milk yogurt, as we have milk allergies in the family)
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix thoroughly. In a small bowl combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt and stir to combine. Add 1/3 of yogurt and 1/3 of dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, lemon zest, and eggs. Mix gently until just combined. Add a second 1/3 of yogurt and dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined. Add remainder of yogurt and dry ingredients. Mix gently until just combined. Pour thick cake batter into a greased AND floured bundt pan and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for one hour. Check for doneness and bake for another 5 minutes if needed. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a serving plate. Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, September 17, 2010

Working Hard

This digger was a popular attraction at the park this morning. Every little boy, from about 4 to 7 years old was biding his time. Waiting for another little boy to abandon the digger so that he might take over. The moment one little guy walked away, you could see the next one sprinting to have his chance. Lil' Wingnut was no exception.
It's funny, he could barely manage the thing, but he figured out it's engineering fairly quickly.

Well, almost. On the rare occasions he couldn't fill the scoop with dirt, he'd lean over and put in a handful.

He had this cute thing going on with his tongue hanging out. He reminds me of my dad when he's hard at work, concentrating on a task.

Here's a close up of that tongue. He is just too cute.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Introducing. . .

Baby Leo Athanasius
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They are so Glad I Saved These

Can you believe I wore this to my 8th grade graduation? I never realized how much it looks like a pioneer era costume. She's thinking of wearing this for Halloween. Oh, and she added the hoops to give it more of a Victorian effect.

This was my senior prom dress. Special K has been asking for it for years. I finally relented. Oleander is making alterations to it that will turn the sash into off the shoulder straps. It is really adorable and quite a lavish dress-up dress. I remember my parents giving me an old yellow prom dress with lots of tulle they had found at a Goodwill. I was about Special K's age. I wore it to shreds. Man, I loved that dress.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Even a Perfectionist Can Have Cake Wrecks

I was developing this recipe for a Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake and I'm not sure what went wrong. I sprayed the heck out of the pan. It was still delicious. Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Never Ending Question Answered

I whole heartedly loath the "What's for dinner?" question. I'm asked that question at least 8 times a day, and there are only 8 of us, so that means someone asks that question more than once every mother lovin' day.

I whole heartedly despise that I loath that question so much. It's a basic no-harm-no-foul question. People want to know what's for dinner, and yet that question can send me over the edge.

I have saved my sanity, and salvaged some semblance of charity toward my family. The write-on board on the fridge posts dinner each night. The rotten teens still ask the question, but I know they are just riding me, and I'm fine with that. I can ignore the question and not even direct them to the fridge, because I am sure they have already read the ding-danged board.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Share the Love

Today is the 9th anniversary of 9/11. Is there any better way to commemorate the day than to tell those you love that you truly love them?

I was blessed enough to be traveling alone in the car the other day and was listening to our local Christian radio station. The afternoon host spoke of the countless stories of the poor souls who were able to call their loved ones just before perishing in the towers or on a plane. It brought to mind those who did not have that opportunity to say, "good-bye" or "I love you."

Every day we are given is a gift. Be sure to share that gift with those around you, and be sure to let them know just how much you love them.
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Top 10 Surprising Things

the Mom, from Shoved to Them, tagged me in this meme earlier this week. Sorry Mom, it's been a busy week, but I'm here today to oblige you ;)

Actually, looking over her list, I thought she had been stealing ideas from my life--I've been on national TV (although it was a game show, nothing so laudable as discussing the evils of RU486);I've driven a Karmann Ghia (although mine was a '68 and its accelerator would stick making it necessary to ride the break at all times); I've got 6 kids (although my #7 is already on the way); I've lived in Oklahoma (unfortunately it was for only 5 years, I'd go back in a heartbeat); My sons are named for Popes, not gunfighters, but I digress.

Anyhoo, as part of this meme, I'm supposed to blog the 10 things I've done that most surprise me. I feel a bit awkward writing so much about myself, but the Mom asked, so here goes:

1) Wingnut and I have been married for nearly 20 years and before we got married we didn't talk about diddly-squat that was important to our future lives together, yet we've somehow succeeded in remaining happily married. We never discussed how many children we'd have, who would care for those children, who would provide, where we would live, who would handle finances, the list goes on. It has only been by the grace of God we have survived married life.

2) When we finally did get around to discussing having children, we were only going to have one child, and this child was going to be a prodigy. We were going to devote everything we had to her education and success. Little did we know, children are absolute miracles and the best thing we could do for them was to give them back to God, and then provide them with a house full of siblings.

3) I am incredibly independent and can do most anything myself. This is especially surprising to me, as my mom did most everything for me. She was almost solely responsible for getting me into college. She made the phone calls, filled out the paperwork, and shoved me out the door. I was once so painfully shy and dependent, I could never see myself on my own. Being married to a military man necessitated independence. I am very often a single parent. If I don't do it, it will not get done. I still despise talking on the phone. Having to speak to a repairman or customer service person of any kind is enough to make my palms sweat.

4) I like to keep my room clean. If you ask my mom, or my college room mates, they would be just as surprised as I am.

5) I'm absolutely terrified of flying. Um, my husband is a pilot. Does this even make sense?

6) I truly love to throw parties and have people over for dinner. I'm shy by nature, and I usually enjoy quiet and solitude.

7) I have been happy and enjoyed every move we've made and every place we've lived. I thought I'd hate Oklahoma. It's been my favorite home so far. I cried when Wingnut volunteered to PCS to Okinawa, Japan. I had a most marvelous time and made the most of living in a completely different culture. I was terrified to move to DC. It is such a large city and so very frightening, yet I can drive into DC or Baltimore with very little palm sweating.

8) I converted to Catholicism. When I married Wingnut, I promised my mother I would never convert. Boy, was I ever wrong. Not only did I convert, I embraced, and brought my hubby back into the Church along with me.

9) Despite the very liberal, liberal arts degree I earned in college, I'm very conservative--fiscally and socially. In school I was a member of Amnesty International and went to a Michael Dukakis rally. Remember Dukakis?

10) I'm extremely close to my brother and sister. They are two of my three very best friends. We were siblings. We used to beat the junk out of each other. When did we become friends?

So there we have it. Did I use "I" enough? Sheesh! Now it's my turn to tag some folks. Trust me, I understand if life is just too busy to participate.

I tag:

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Super Easy Roast Beef Au Jus

With our school year schedule ramping up, I turn to the crock pot for meal simplicity. I tried making roast beef au jus in the slow cooker and it turned out incredibly flavorful and tender. The family loved it. This will definitely join our crock pot rotation.

Roast Beef Au Jus

2 to 3 pounds beef roast (I used and arm roast, but chuck or rump will work very well)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cups beef broth
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
crusty sandwich rolls, heated in the oven

In a skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Saute onions until they softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add spices and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape onion mixture into slow cooker, add broth, and roast. Cook on high 6 to 9 hours, or until completely fork tender. Remove roast and shred using two forks and return to liquid in cooker. Serve on split sandwich rolls, serving extra cooking liquid on the side for dipping.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Movie Review: The Young Victoria

I'm a sucker for a good costume drama, among my favorites are Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, The House of Mirth, Gone With the Wind, and Amadeus. If his mood suits him, Wingnut will join in watching Amadeus or Gone With the Wind, but his tolerance ends there. I have to save my costumes for those all too frequent times when Wingnut is traveling. On those occasions I am afforded the opportunity to indulge in my favorite film genre, albeit alone.

I saw ads for this movie several months ago, and I knew I would need to save watching The Young Victoria for an evening when I was on my own. As a historical costume drama, this film did not disappoint. The Young Victoria follows Queen Victoria's controversial ascension to the throne, romance with Prince Albert Saxe-Coburn, and the turbulent early years of her reign. The costuming and settings were lavish. The love story was sweet and well acted. The story was compelling. It was a truly enjoyable film. After watching, I had to pull out my new copy of the Kings and Queens of England edited by Antonia Fraser and read about Queen Victoria myself. What a joy to find that fictionalization in the film was very minimal. Due to some subdued mature content, I would recommend this film for older teens and adults who love a good historical romance/drama.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The new books are stacked and ready for the start of a new school year.

Of course, we had to have a lovely applesauce cake for breakfast to get our motors running.

Blessings and wisdom to all beginning school today.
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Monday, September 6, 2010

In His Opinion

Today is the annual Labor Day Festival at our parish. Our kids look forward to it all summer. This morning Lil' Wingnut and I were discussing the ponies used for pony rides. The exchange went something like this:

"Ponies are baby horses."
"No, they are just little horses."
"Well, in my opinion they are baby horses, in my opinion."

Can't argue that logic.

Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing Labor Day!
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Million Dollar Idea

Our kids are hooked on "Silly Bandz". Why can't I come up with a million dollar idea like this? Sheesh, I'm envious of other's creativity, especially if it has the potential to make a boat load of money. I've known about the craze for a some time, but somehow it missed the kiddos until our teens brought some back from retreat this summer. Now I have them all over the house. What a racket.

It's actually quite sweet how they have met and made new friends just by virtue of having bandz to trade. Our lil' guy, always a friendly one, offers his to every little boy he sees. I've even heard there are Christian symbol themed bandz. What a wonderful and simple way to evangelize. Once again, I didn't think of it. Drats.

Our two youngest had a couple dollars to burn recently. The great thing about Silly Bandz is they are pretty inexpensive and ubiquitous. Special K picked out some girly fairy tale bandz, while Lil' Wingnut went for the western bandz (that particular package contained a gun, go figure). In the car on the way home the two decided to trade with each other. Somehow, Lil' Wingnut ended up with a pink fairy and a purple mermaid. I'm glad he's confident in his manhood.

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Small Successes: Another Edition of "What I Didn't Do This Week""

Small Successes for September 2, 2010:

1) I did not serve jury duty as planned :) (see yesterday's post for an explanation)

2) I did not clean the 15 year old's room, but he did, and I didn't even ask him too. I should take a photo!

3) We did not start school this week. Beginning school before Labor Day is EVIL! Well, maybe not evil, but it is heinous.

Not much of a list, I know, but I'm pregnant and tired and 42 and we have six kids and I just can't think right now.

Have any Small Successes to share? Leave your link at Faith and Family Live.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dodged a Bullet

Jury duty was on my "to do list" today. Five years ago, when I last served, I really did not want to go. I had five children at home, none of whom was old enough to babysit, so Wingnut had to take leave and stayed home with them. I ended up really enjoying myself. I actually served on a small claims jury and in the end I was truly happy I served.

This time around, I was once again dreading jury duty. I did not want to get up at 6 am and spend my morning sitting in the courthouse. Why is it we all want our rights, but when it comes to our responsibilities as citizens we drag our feet? Thankfully, the message on the petit court's answering machine excused my group for today. I know I should feel bad for not being called. I just don't. I'm a terrible, terrible citizen.
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