Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pinewood Derby, Wolf Scout William

After a week at home from school due to the snowstorm, we gathered all the families in the Knight's hall for the annual Pinewood Derby!  James put a car in this year again, and the two boys did very well. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Snowstorm, Blizzard, Snowzilla - Whatever you called it, there is a LOT of snow!

Greetings!  Winter has finally come to Northern Virginia. 

All at once.

All in one day.

All outside our windows.

Snowstorm Jonas came and dropped snow on us from Friday afternoon to Saturday night.  We received over 2 feet of snow here!  We are on snow day numero 3, with one more (at the very least) tomorrow.  Yep, lots of togetherness.  Lots of shoveling, and movies, video games, science fair, and food.  Oh man.  So much food. 

I am so grateful for my strong husband, who went out to shovel numerous times without a complaint.  He was rewarded in his duties when our generous neighbor used his snow blower to clear the snow the plow had put at the end of the driveway, and then helped us finish the driveway!  I gave that sweet man some cookies!  It didn't seem like enough!

Our little area doesn't see snow this often, and not EVER this much so fast.  We were told to stay home.  Just stay home.  My husband went out in the beginning of the storm, before it got bad, and I texted him to make sure he was okay.  He was taking his time, and I worry, you know.  It's my job.

This was his response.

Yeah, he's a keeper. 

So, here a few more obligatory snow pictures!

Lucy didn't go out in the snow.  She put everything on, went on the deck and promptly fell down and cried.  So, this is all we got.  The boots were too much!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What We Are Doing Wednesday

Christmas is away, midterms for Patrick are over, and school is almost back in the groove again.  I am grateful!  Some mornings, I was dropping off kids at 3 different times, at 3 different places.  I am glad to be back in the sort of routine that we were in.  I haven't done an update on our home and who is doing what, so today is a What are we Doing Wednesday.

Lucy is just so cute.  She walks all over the house, making a mess, learning words, and just being as sweet as possible.  She says lots of words, including one that sounds awfully like "Stinky" when I ask her if she is!  She has a different relationship with each child, and usually will only go to Emma from my arms.  I love the sweet voice she has, and the love and excitement she has each day.  It is truly a light in the day to be with her!  Some days, Tommy will take her to his workout class with him, just so the people there can enjoy her too!  I would love for her to say "Mommy" at least once, but I do LOVE the "Daddy!" when she hears the garage open, and he comes in the door.  If you make kissing noises, she will lean her head in so you can kiss her.  She blows kisses, says "Jesus" and waves "Da-die!"  Her words are "HI!", "Uh-oh" "this?" "eeese!" We are trying to get her to sign "more" and "all done" but we can only get the "more." 

Right before Thanksgiving, James began an atrium class, level 1.  I was so thrilled that he is able to enjoy this at his age.  This is such a calm, beautiful environment and I know that he would really benefit from doing something away from mommy, bringing him closer to Jesus, and learning.  He has just blossomed in his writing skills, and loves to write, draw, and is constantly asking me, "Mommy, how do you spell....?"  He has already brought home some projects home, using scissors and glue! 

William is going to receive his first Reconciliation very soon!  I am hoping we are going to enjoy the fruits of another person receiving graces!  He is a Wolf Scout this year, and may even get to go to Camp this summer with other cub scouts.  He is definitely growing up, in attitude and perspective.  I know if I can point his passion in the right direction, he will go towards Heaven and Jesus always.  He has to want to do it, and I am still learning how to help him stay on track.

Emma had a birthday over the vacation, and had some sweet girls over to do nails (have you heard of Jamberry??) and cake.  It was small, as we had 2 girls unable to come, and I am not the most exciting game planner.  Each girl had a very sweet gift for my girl, geared towards her love of reading, chap stick, drawing, and writing.  It was very sweet!  She is part of the Squire Roses, Schola and battle of the books at school.  She is tall, and no, not taller than me.  She has started borrowing my scarves, and even wanted to copy an outfit I was wearing!  I know there will come a time when she does NOT want to do that, but it tickled me. 

Patrick is doing incredible at school.  He just finished up a Sea Perch competition for Junior High and his group came in 10th overall.  Super proud of him!  Sea Perch is an underwater robot that the boys build and work on together.  He just finished his first set of Mid Terms at school, and though I freaked out each day, I think he probably did very well.  I always stressed about those, but that is not in his nature.  Part of the joys of being a mother, I guess.  I do the worrying enough for everyone.  Boy Scouts will be a big year, as he was voted in to be the Assistant senior patrol leader.  In other words, he is the guy helping the guy in charge.  It is really important that a lot of this is boy led, (though sometimes I wonder if they want to be led by the boy who forgets his sleeping bag when he goes on a camping trip!?).  He went camping this past weekend, and juuuust missed the incredibly cold temperatures we began having this week, as our countdown to some snowfall that they are measuring in FEET comes down.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Christmas Photos (Of course!)

It was a wonderful Christmas!  We were so blessed with plenty of family time, and relaxation. We went to early Mass on Christmas, and the kids still were smiling and happy to open gifts after taking pictures!  William still has trouble with the flash, but we got a pretty good family photo.  And, this is my Christmas morning photo dump.  Because that is what we all want to see.  The joy of each face.  And how well my crew cleans up.

Second grade gifts are some of my favorites.  I love things that the kids make at school.

Patrick loved his new jacket for school, and though the weather was quite warm, he was determined to wear it as much as possible.  Warmest Christmas I can remember, as we went out in shorts later that day!

I tried my hand at making a gift.  It's not perfect, by any means, but I think Emma will love having it on her wall.  She chose the fabric. 

This note came from Patrick, in a gift of chocolate popcorn, paid for by himself.  My children NEVER write me note like this, but especially the almost teenager!  I blubbed quite a bit when I saw this. 

I love this photo.  The aftermath, the silence, the joy. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree!

You know how often God provides?  Every.single.time.
Our pre-lit Christmas tree has been less than willing to light up each year, without much coaxing.  We were gifted a new to us artificial tree, 9 feet high!  In our two-story living room, it fits in perfectly!  Tommy provided new lights for the tree, that change from white to color.  It is awesome!  I like the mixture of the colors and white, but Tommy is a white light fan.  So, we compromise!  We let it change!  I promise I will share photos of the tree at all stages.  It is neat to see! 
I love the "trimming of the tree" time in our home.  My little elves are just so sweet and helpful! 
Can you see how tall the tree is, compared to Tommy?  He is even on his toes to fill in the gaps with ornaments!  As my friend Lisa said, the line from the Advent Carol "People Look East" says to make your house fair as you are able.  With 5 kids, I take that line very literally!
And Lucy enjoyed the ones that had a bell.  She got into the Jingle Bell spirit. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: December Posting

Linking up (after a brief break) with Like Mother, Like Daughter.


I was more excited than the children.  Our local ballet academy offered some tickets to the Nutcracker ballet at the Auction night for the school.  We were able to get tickets at half price, and I was so tickled to bring my oldest 3.  It was the first time my kids had been to any kind of ballet performance.  They had to listen to me tell them the story on the way, and during, as well as try not to sing along to every song.  Some, as you can tell, were more thrilled than others.  I was happy to have a night when we didn't need to have a stroller, or wiggly toddler on my lap. 

It was a beautiful evening, and those kids worked so hard!  It was even better to be able to see so many of my friends' children on stage!
(And NO, Emma is NOT taller than me.  Yet.)


This year, we spend Thanksgiving with my side of the family.  We have tried to alternate families, since we are surrounded by so many and have the option to spend different holidays with each.  But with health issues, surgeries, and busy schedules, it seems that we have gotten off the rhythm. I was so happy to be close to home, to be with my parents and some siblings.  Lucy has decided she is ready to walk, and it was so nice to spend time at a family friendly home, where she could wander and be loved in each room, by every person.  As her shirt says, "Everyone is thankful for me." 

(While I feel I should clarify, that Lucy walking doesn't exactly make me happy, her joy at her new found talent makes me happy, and, really, who can't be happy when that sweet face looks up at you?)


The day after Thanksgiving brought Fr. Juan to our home again!  He let us cook for him this time, and we did not have anything even remotely resembling Thanksgiving meal.  (Being from Venezuela, Father didn't have that meal with his family the day before either.)  We played Apples to Apples, the Disney version, and Father beat us all!  He had fun with the kids, when it was their turn to judge, and he would look them in the eye and say, "We are friends, right?"  And they would giggle. 

Yep.  That's us.  :)


We tried for a nice shot on the timer setting, and even with the heads cut off, I love the lighting, the smiles and the joy that shows through in this one.  Father always is so "yoyful" and brings it with him.  He always tells the children that there are no "donkey faces" allowed.  Only smiles and love. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Saint Nicholas Cookies

Saint Nicholas weekend came so quickly this year, and I do love how each time we do it, a child steps up to try something new.  James was more ready to cut cookies, especially the candy cane, or "J" for Jesus and James.
Daddy is the best roller, and I need to make a double batch next year, as the rolling and the cutting goes so quickly! 
We had participation from all the (able-bodied) children.  Even the oldest one who prefers to sit in the corner and read, or play card games.  It is photo documented!  Patrick came to help!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What's Fall Without A Halloween Post?

Of course we did Halloween!  We had a hugely busy day, and for the first time, we did not have all the kids together for Trick or Treating.  The older 2 were invited out with friends (super nice families) and we let them go!  I was excited that it meant Patrick has made some new strides at Seton, and new, bigger kid activities are opening to him.  Emma had a birthday celebration to go along with T or T. 

But first, we had a party at the Knights of Columbus.  All but Mommy were dressed in costume!  James asked me who I was dressed as, and the usual response from me is "a Mommy."

 Glinda, Minnie, Christopher Columbus, Baseball player, and Iron Man. 
A prize if you guessed James was "Larry Boy" and his super suction ears!  A friend loaned us this adorable creation by her mother, and James was thrilled to wear it.  Though a mask and glasses don't always go well together.

Now, a little backstory on Emma's costume.  This creation is from my senior year in high school musical, where I was Glinda!  The dress was so pretty, and just a little long (as I had a 5 foot wide hoop skirt when I wore it), so I pulled out my sewing machine and did some stitching! 

Now, if you have a costume on in the morning, and you decide to trick or treat later on, it's only natural that you pick another one, right?  Well, we had 2 fast changes that evening.

William decided to be a "Formal Apology" but he didn't tell folks what he was, so he didn't get as many laughs as I had hoped.  This one gives me the giggles.

The little guys all went out with Daddy, and shorter legs means less candy (thankfully).  Tommy even took sweet Lucy along with him.
 I was alone.  All alone in the house.  I got an itch to do some tidying.  I almost always sit outside and hand out candy.  Almost every year it is me.  And our neighborhood has long wait times in between.  So, I started to clean.  I left a big bowl outside, I had lights on, I would go to the door every now and then and wave at the neighbors.  Then I got distracted, and I look up and see a line of kids at my door, looking at me expectantly.

My bowl was gone. 
My candy was gone. 
GONE!  Not even an hour had gone by.  I was so upset.  Dratted kids.  I liked that bowl too.  But, it was my own fault.  I guess.  "Trick or treat!" 
But, I still had the Cutest Minnie in the world at my house!  Love this cutie patootie!