Let's wind down 2016 with a recap of each child...how perfect that there's seven...and that I have these fancy school photo proofs that I never ordered ;)
My 8th grader who has turned into a man child this past year. He's as tall (taller?) than me now and he even has had to shave his blond but bushy mustache. He continues to read all the books in the house, and rereads his fave series: Michael Vey, Harry Potter, and Fablehaven. He has the same tight knit group of friends since 6th grade when we switched schools that includes one boy and two girls. He is still crushing hard on the same girl for the past 3 years as well. He came to the high school where Phil and I work and spent a day as a student. He loved it, which is a good thing because this is where he's coming! He took the placement exam and we told him if he gets one of the top ten scores, he gets a new phone. What he doesn't know is that he's getting a new phone anyway once we switch carriers ;) Motivation, baby! He's a wicked smart kid who definitely is lazy/distracted/disorganized when it comes to school. Typical boy thing, methinks. Yesterday in the car he told me he might not want to get into all honors classes because he doesn't want to get too stressed out about school. And he wants to know the minimum requirement for sports seasons he needs to participate in (which is two) so he can plan that out as well. On the other hand, he's aiming to continue running in the student council, and hopes to make the NHS as soon as possible. It's like he wants to do just well enough, but not have to try too hard. Which is basically what we tell him for every science fair: get an A but don't go qualify for state. Ain't nobody got time for that! He filled out an application to work at a local ice cream place for the summer and also one to referee soccer games in the fall, because we told him when he's 14 he needs to find a job. We're cruel like that. In the meantime, he's been helping out my Dad here and there on the downstairs remodel and babysitting for us. He serves daily mass, Sunday mass, and Latin mass once a month, and is just as tall as the priests on the altar! He's really a super great kid who literally gets lost in a book and is making this teenager thing look easy.
My 6th grader is thankfully not having any growth spurts yet. Unlike his big brother, he does not have any friends that are girls (eeeeww) and does not like any girls (double eeeeww) and hates that all the girls like him ;) He'll come around soon enough. Andrew took to middle school with ease, as he is more naturally organized. He is a star on the soccer field, basketball court, and wins 5k races like they ain't no thang. The kid is just unbelievably athletically inclined. He still hates reading, unless it's a sports fact book, or a Ripley's Believe it or Not, or a comic book. He wears the crown for most dramatic in the house. When he's mad, watch out! And when he's "sick" we never know if it's real or just a man-cold. Andrew also wears the best big brother crown in the house. He is always always always looking out for his younger brothers, in particular. He's the one holding their hand in the parking lot, offering to put them to bed, and roughhousing with them , much to their delight. He's a good doobie who is happy as long as we let him play sports and eat lots at dinner. He serves every Mass he attends, even the Latin ones, and is so reverent on the altar. He is a competitive kid who does not like to lose, and does his best in every way possible. Oh, and he has great hair ;)
My sweetheart 4th grader. Eamon is following in Andrew's footsteps with loving all things sports. He's a beast playing soccer and basketball, and follows every football team imaginable. He is constantly asking me why he's not allowed to play football, and vows he will just play in college since I won't let him do it until then. Eamon lives in a perfect Catholic bubble that allows him to want to be a priest and be celebrated for vocalizing that. Between his home life, school life, and church life, everyone supports him and is praying for his vocation. It's so important he has this as he is a quiet(ish) boy who could easily get embarrassed if something was said to go against his desires. He is training to become a Latin mass server and is the bomb.com server at regular masses. He loves bagels, and eats one pretty much every night before bed (slathered with tons of cream cheese) because he "needs to gain weight"! Eamon used to hate reading, but has recently fallen in love with The Great Brain series and that makes Phil so excited. He adores his big brothers, fights all.the.time with his sister, and loves playing with his little brothers. He does not want a "hairstyle" because that means he would need to use gel, and then our pastor would poke fun at him using gel, and he wants to avoid all that. Buzzcuts for lyfe. This nugget is super easy to please and basically just a joy to have around.
Maggie my feisty 3rd grader. Woosh this girl alternates between being so cute/helpful/loving and moody/whiny/difficult. She has a sense of justice that rules her worldview, and will literally count what every body gets when it comes to food to make sure they all get the same number of carrot sticks or m & m's. God forbid there's any unfairness in the distribution, because she will let you know. I think she may make the perfect judge one day! She is the first to tell me how pretty I look, or how much she loves my earrings, which keeps her alive one more day ;) She is an avid reader, and wise beyond her years, just so very smart. She played soccer on an all-girls team this year (as opposed to the coed team she used to play on) and she scored in just about every game. We put her in swimming lessons to make sure she knew all the strokes, and she is actually a really great little swimmer. Very fast and her strokes look awesome. I'm trying to talk her into joining the swim team as I think swimming might be her sport for high school, but she wants to take a break to play basketball. She is not Irish stepdancing this year, and doesn't seem to miss it (though I do!) and plans on running her first 5k this June, which is a switch after years of saying that running makes her cry :) She loves doing anything art & crafty and is always leaving us little love notes. She enjoys doing anything with just me or another female friend and calls it "girl time" even if it's just sweeping the floor while I'm doing the dishes and singing the new Train song. She's a goodhearted gal with emotions a little too big for her britches.
Oh Kindergarten has been AMAZING for this boy! Settled him right down! He's still the craziest/funniest/annoyingist one at home, but at least at school he is towing the line and not ending up in the principal's office (yet!) Alexander will tell you he's the "big brother of two" and takes that role pretty seriously. He loves any attention his big brothers throw his way, but would be just as happy sitting by himself on the couch watching tv or playing a video game. He is also finishing up swimming lessons right now, and has improved so much! He was so scared of the water, but can now swim without floaties and jumps in like it's no one's business. Like Maggie, I think swimming might be his sport of choice, which works out well since he doesn't love soccer too much. He's only 5 so we have lots of time to discover his interests. Maybe music? I wish music lessons were something we could give to our kids, but we just can't do it all! With a name like Xander Blaise, he already has the makings of a rock star ;) Xander loves to be read to, but not any books that are scary, you know, like the classic thriller "The Big Hungry Bear". He's so scared of that nonexistent bear! He loves "Monster at the End of This Book", which was my childhood favorite, and can read Dr. Seuss books on his own. He has a major fear of getting lost/left behind and needs to know the precise details of any given day to feel secure. For instance, if I say we're going to Mass, he'll ask "Then what?" and continue on until I run out of plans for the day. He's a precocious but tenderhearted little fellow.
Oh what a joy this boy is. I have a thing for toddlers, because they're just so adorable! Even when they're naughty, they can be redirected pretty easily and they just give off such unconditional love. Declan is 2 but will tell you he's gonna be three (in April). He has been talking non-stop about the blue present he's going to get for Christmas with a toy inside. Sometimes he says it's a helicopter, but usually just a toy. He's easily pleased! His favorite show is still Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and he needs his blankie and pacifier to sleep at night. He actually loves to go to bed to get them. He copies Alexander's every word/movement/trait and just wants anything he has. He's also a good big brother to Brendan, mimicking me with soothing phrases when he cries "It's ok, buddy" and sings him the ABC's. This boy is is such a jumping bean, he loves doing anything athletically inclined and playing outside is his favorite. Eating, however, is still a struggle. He just grazes and has to be spoon fed to finish a meal. It's frustrating because he is sooooo skinny! He only weighs 26 pounds. He loves superheroes, and calls them all Superman and makes really funny impersonations of people's faces if he sees a photo of someone. He's a darling lovebug with the best manners of the whole crew.
Our baby boy, affectionately known as BB for Baby Brendan, is four months already! He is rolling all around the floor and loves sleeping on his tummy. He is weaning himself from breast to bottle as apparently I can't make milk fast enough for his liking. I would have like to nurse him through the winter season so he could get my antibodies in the milk, but I've learned to just go with the (nonexistent milk) flow. He's 15 pounds and 24.25 inches which means he's totally average. He loves to smile and be sung to, and just can not sleep through the night yet. The doctor said we can start oatmeal cereal anytime we want, so we might try to put it in his last bottle to see if it helps him sleep longer. For a totally surprise baby, sometimes I am overwhelmed by how much love I have for him. How can a mother's heart love so many people so very much? It's a miracle and so is he!
And that's a wrap for now, I'm hoping to squeeze in a couple more posts before the new year. Have a very merry Christmas to you all, thanks for hanging around these parts!