Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We're back....

....a lot earlier than expected.
Our vacation to North Conway, NH was interesting to say the least.
The Good:
~We got to take the kids to Storyland one afternoon and another full day
~We went on a family hike up to a waterfall
~No work and all play makes for some wonderful days
~We spent the last two days at home pretending we were still on vacation, and going to the beach both days :)
The Bad:
~On our first day in the house we rented, we found mice droppings on the floor and in the cabinets
~On our third night there, I saw something move under the couch. My brother-in-law flipped it over and two mice ran out! I freaked (as did my sister) and jumped up on the kitchen counter. I stayed there until Phil came back with mousetraps and planted them all over the house. We barely slept that night, and packed up and headed home the next day (which was 4 days too early). The kids were disappointed but handled it well.
~We are waiting to hear back from the lady we rented the house from regarding a refund. I want the whole amount back, but I'm not sure she wants to give it.
~Our friends who were supposed to come up on Monday never even got to go on vacation! How unfair to them, and we really missed out on spending time with them.
The Pictures:
~Coming soon....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hi Lo: June 25th


We're on vacation!!! A whole week of no work and fun family time...heavenly!


No blogging until I get back.

See ya next week :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be a Fly on the Wall... my Friday Morning Workout.

In the video, I'm the girl in the pink shirt and navy shorts who leads the drill. This is about 40 minutes into the hour-long class, and I had run 2.5 miles on the treadmill before the class started ~ hence the sweat-drenched shirt :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life in Contrasts

I just found out that Melanie is expecting a baby...on the same day that a coworker informed me she lost her baby over the weekend. A blessed pregnancy and an unfortunate miscarriage, happening at the same time.
Our friends, Matt & Liz just got engaged...and another friend has a family member who is separating from her husband. The excitement of marriage and the bitterness of divorce, coinciding.
Our friends, Emma and Jonah, just had their third baby boy yesterday, when they were wishing for a girl...and another couple we know who have 3 girls are wishing for a boy. The joy of new life mixed with the slight disappointment of not getting what you were hoping for, all happening at once.
Phil and I, whom are so easily blessed with children, are using Natural Family Planning to postpone Baby #5 for a while...and Sarah and Reed are trying so hard to have another one. Being fertile and not wanting it, and being infertile and not wanting it, all at the same time.
Life seems so unfair at times, and we often ask ourselves why?
Answer: It's for our ultimate salvation and eternal happiness.
Because getting what you need and not what you want - that's the way God rolls.
And we better roll alongside, or it's going to be a bumpy ride :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

The First Day of Summer... also the LAST day of:

~First grade for John-Paul! Man, that flew by!!

~Daycare for Maggie! (Luckily it was either with a friend or family member)

~Phil's morning security job from 6-7:30 before school starts. So no more 5:30 alarms, and I......I mean he, gets to sleep in a little now :)

~Me (alone) having to get all 4 kids dressed, eaten, cleaned, and prepared for the day, in the car and dropped off at school/daycare by 7:30!
I can't believe I made it through a whole school year of that schedule!!

Welcome Summer :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hi Lo: June 18th


1) On Sunday, we went to a fun pool party for the girl Phil sponsored for Confirmation. The best part was that I didn't even have to put my bathing suit on because there were some nice teenagers who played in the pool with my kids :)

2) John-Paul is on a field trip today for his last whole-day of first grade. They are going to a beautiful zoo in the next state. Lucky duck!

3) I love my husband ;)


1) Work stuff. A co-worker got fired, my holiday pay and vacation/sick days got taken away (not just from me but from all the part-timers), and I am left feeling like I should be looking for a new job. How I wish I could be a SAHM :(

2) Eamon and Maggie were battling colds this week, but they're on the mend.

3) I have so much to get done, both work-wise and house-wise before we leave for vacation next week. I am very excited to go, but I know when I get back I will wonder if all the work piled on my desk was worth it! (I'm sure it will be!)
4) I was supposed to start marathon-training this week, but I don't think I REALLY want to run a marathon. Who am I trying to impress anyway? OK, myself, but I'll get over me ;) I'll just stick to my current intense exercise routine :)

How was your week?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (they really are!)

Therese from Musings of a Mom is hosting a summer dessert recipe swap today, and here's mine (from America's Test Kitchen):

Makes 16 cookies

Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored.

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (5 1/4 ounces) (see note)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (see note)
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

I am a cookie monster, and chocolate chip cookies are my absolute weakness!! These are the best I've ever had, and to make them a SUMMER treat, freeze them and enjoy frozen on a hot summer night :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Willow Tree Woes

Right after I became a mother more than 7 years ago, my mother-in-law sent me a gift that started a collection for me. She sent me my first Willow Tree:

Well, now that beautiful figurine looks like this:

How sad is that to see a mother and father looking down at empty arms where once a baby had lain?

If you think that's sad, prepare yourself for a cry fest. Because one fateful day last week, I walked into the family room, opened the windows and turned around to leave. All of a sudden a huge "BOOM!" I turned around to see that where once a shelf had hung:

Were now just four holes, and the contents of that shelf were all over the place:

Heads were scattered everywhere, limbs were missing, and bodies were massacred all over the floor.

Now I realize they don't have faces...but they are supposed to have heads, right?

Carcasses galore.

Even some wedding gifts were broken in pieces:

As I was cleaning up the mess I was remembering when and why I got each beautiful Willow Tree. My first mother's day, a birthday, after the birth of my second son, upon finding out our 4th baby was a girl....the memories all came flooding back.

And you know what? I realized something important. My Willow Tree's might be broken and gone, but my family and fond memories remain happy and intact. And I would MUCH rather have broken "stuff" than a broken family.

A great lesson on a what could have been a depressing day :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Andrew Graduates!

Andrew graduated from P-4 last week.
After 3 wonderful years in preschool, he is finally done. He is so excited to go to Kindergarten next year, and since he's already reading and doing math, he's more than ready.
Thank God I still have two more in preschool...I'm not ready for this growing up thing!
Andrew's girlfriend Abby started off the show by saying "Welcome to Our P-4 Celebration" and then Andrew told us to "Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!" and we sure did!!

Hand motions galore - these kids were good!

What would a preschool graduation be without the Pledge of Allegiance?

Andrew plays the role of the 4th Pumpkin like a pro ;)

Maggie enjoys the show in the comfort of her Princess pajamas!

Andrew's name is called... receive his diploma from Ms. Felix, the Principal.

Phew, preschool is officially OVER!

Andrew (right) and his buddy, Jacob are all smiles!

Andrew & his cousin Katie are both off to Kindergarten together!
And I know he'll do just fine :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Babies in Review

Phil and I got the chance to see Babies recently. I have been wanting to see it since I first heard about it long time ago, and it is currently playing in select theaters (we had to drive about 30 minutes). Here's the trailer if you're interested.

Long story short:


Short story long:

There were so many wonderful scenes from the first year of life of the four babies. It is amazing how differently we are all raised in various parts of the world, yet how similar we all are. For example, just watching all the babies getting cleaned - one gets in the shower with Dad, one gets a bath, one gets licked by her Mom, and one gets breast milk squirted in her face and then wiped down.

All of the moms in the movie breastfed their babies, but the African moms who don't even wear shirts are truly breastfeeding on demand. They are nursing babies and toddlers at the same time, and will simply bend over while walking to let their baby have a drink. It's really beautiful and reminds me of how God's plan is supposed to work....if we could all just spend all day with our babies and our shirts off ;)

There are a couple of gross instances, like when one baby poops on his mother's leg. And another baby gets a piece of what looks like cow intestine with a match in it to suck on as a pacifier - blech! Speaking of pooping, I was shocked to see how so many babies around the world don't wear diapers of any kind. They just go bottomless and pee and poop wherever. It must make potty training very easy, but my OCD personality could not handle that.

And the funny scenes - there are so many! A goat drinking out of the baby's bath water, the American baby eating a banana and handing her dad the skin, piece by piece, and each individual string until she finally eats it (my kids do this too!). The brothers and friends fighting with the babies, and the babies standing up for themselves. It's wonderful to see what happens before the baby breaks down and cries for Mom...they are pretty tough! The Mongolian baby was always very humorous, he stole Phil's heart. But the funniest scene for me involved the African baby sucking on her brothers belly button because she mistook it for a nipple :)

I think there is a great pro-life message in this movie as well because even though there are so many different families, economic situations, dangers, and struggles - these babies are all born and raised with love. It makes me rethink my "financial" reasons to use NFP to postpone our next child. Phil even was thinking about using the movie in his high school morality class until he realized there were "too many breasts for teenage boys". Ha!

Anyway, if you get a chance, go see it, or rent it when it comes out. But be forewarned, you might leave wanting to have another baby!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eamon Graduates!

Eamon had his P-3 (Preschool for 3 year olds) Graduation last night!! Since he will still be three when school starts next year, he will remain in the same class for another year, and he will graduate all over again this time next year :)
Eamon's role was to sing the Angel of God song, and he was so cute up there...pulling up his pants, looking shy, and singing with his little lisp!!

Eamon is very lucky to have his cousins, Tommy: & Ryan: in his class, so it was a family affair.

There were lots of songs to be sung:

He was very proud to get his diploma from Father, see that superhero stance??

And here he is with the best P-3 teacher in the world, Miss Marijanna!!

Congrats to his whole class, what a bunch of cuties!