Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Surgery for Joseph

“Love is unselfishly choosing for another’s highest good.”
– C. S. Lewis

I know it isn't Friday, so the quote is a little premature. I found it tonight as I was waiting for dh to finish a phone call. The quote is from the end of a letter from the couple who runs the foster home/orphanage where Joseph is currently living. It was an update about the comings and goings of the home during the month of September.

I was more than a little surprised to hear that our little Joseph had his cleft lip repaired this week. We knew there was a possibility of this occurring, but since we had not heard anything from our agency or his foster home, we assumed that he would have to wait until after his adoption. The foster home is aware we are paperchasing to bring him home.

I was also amazed to read that someone donated the funds to pay for his surgery. Truly choosing "another's good." I don't know that we will ever be able to thank this donor. Certainly there is little we could do to show our gratitude even if we knew who she was.

Today I am praying for little Joseph's recovery. I am imploring the saints (particularly St. Therese), the Blessed Mother, and his siblings in heaven, to watch over him-- especially until he has a family to care for him. If only this could come more quickly. I am also praying for his anonymous benefactor.

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I got this team pic in the mail from another soccer mom. Her only comment was:
"Attached is a team photo - maybe this is why we can't win a game??"

Hey-- we won one:)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coupon Kismet *

* That's close enough to alliteration, right?

Last night I took Banana to soccer practice. Since all three other girls were down for the count with fevers, headaches, sore throats, and congestion, I had to go alone. It was a welcome hour and a half to myself. I decided to head to Target to use my latte coupon. I ordered my pumpkin spice latte and I have to say it was delicious. Perhaps a little too sweet for my tastes, it was almost like drinking a pumpkin roll, but a wonderful treat last night (I still don't think I'd pay $4 for it though). I was thinking of my friend Jenny who got the Charmin coupon and counting my blessings at having such coupon luck.

I then picked up a few things for the girls. They had summer clothes on clearance for 75% off! Then I made my way back to the checkout. I put in the credit card into the machine that takes my money all too quickly sign and wait for my receipt. You'll never believe my luck-- I got another coupon for the pumpkin spice latte. I laughed out loud in the checkout. The poor cashier thought I was nuts.

I don't mean to brag. I do feel sorry for poor Jenny, but I must have some serious coupon kismet:) either that or heaven knows I needed a break this week with four (Banana is now feverish) sick girls at home.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

An Initiation

After close to a decade of parenting, this weekend brought our first ever trip to the ER with one of our children. Saturday morning JuJu woke up with a fever and was hoarse. We decided to try to let her rest and divided and conquered the morning of ridiculously early soccer games and grocery shopping. We then had a quiet day at home. Some napped, other watched college football-- lots of college football. JuJu seemed to grow more raspy as the day progressed. By night time, it was obvious something wasn't right.

I took her to the shower to get some steam. Dh looked up croup on the Internet. It was obvious she was not well and I finally had to take her in to the ER. Thankfully, they took her immediately. I never even sat down in the waiting room. She only threw up 5 or 6 times, she has a tendency to throw up whenever she cries. She threw up the first (and worse time) when the nurse tried to put the hospital admittance bracelet around her ankle. After a few breathing treatments, some steroids, x-rays, and general prodding, we were able to take her home breathing somewhat better.

She is now on the mend, but it sure was scary there for awhile. Dh and I are now just hoping that somehow in the midst of numerous soccer games, soccer practice, long work days, schooling, and life with four kids, we'll be able to catch up on the night of sleep we missed-- but I'm not counting on it. :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday's Food for Thought

I am really enjoying this Friday quote post. Today's quote has to be one of my all-time favorites. It is from a prayer book I found at a used book store, the book is probably one of my favorites as well.


"You may dazzle the mind with a thousand brilliant discoveries of natural science; you may open new worlds of knowledge which were never dreamed of before; yet, if you have not developed in the soul of the pupil strong habits of virtue which will sustain him in the struggle of life, you have not educated him, but only put in his hand a powerful instrument of self-destruction."
St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

A week or so ago, I took the girls to Mass in the morning and followed it up with a trip to Target for new socks and some snacks for a soccer game on Saturday morning (I could digress here and post about the stress of bringing team snacks to kids sporting events, but I won't-- now.) Target had this wonderful idea a few years ago to entice mothers like me into their store, rather than the three others within a block, they put in a Starbucks. I've been hooked since.

This particular morning, the Starbucks at the front was advertising the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Doesn't that just sound amazing? The perfect drink on a crisp, autumn morning? I really wouldn't know. See, I am too cheap to buy one. I find it aluxury to buy a cup of coffee for an already ridiculous price, and I won't spend the outrageous $4 or more for the latte. I typically order a misto (half coffee half steamed milk) which is about half the price. I have issues, I know. I digress again, back to the socks.

We made our way through the sock aisle for the big girls, the sock aisle for the little girls, and picked up a few other household products and then made our way to the checkout. I am amazingly conspicuous with my four girls in tow during normal school hours. At the checkout counter, I put my credit card in the little machine (have you ever noticed how fast those little readers at Target are? They take your money in hundredths of a second), and wait for my receipt.

The girls typically clamor for the printed coupons that spit out after the receipt. I don't understand their fascination with such things, but the bickering that ensues for silly receipts is amazing to me. That day, however, the coupon was for $2 off a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I thought I had won the lottery. Despite having to wrangle the girls away, I carefully tucked that gem of a coupon in my wallet to save for a rainy day.

My excitement over a coupon was bad enough, but I was actually tacky enough to share that story with some other moms as we were chatting last Sunday. Really, as if anyone cares about my luck with the coupon machine at Target. (Am I making matters worse by blogging it?) Later, I thought about the conversation and was thankful these friends are so kind as to put up with my bantering. I am blessed to have such friends.

Not only did these friends listen politely to such silly stories (and it says a lot about your friendship if you are still reading this crazy post, especially since decorum does not prevent you from walking away, you can close the window and I will never know), one of them was really paying attention. She told me yesterday that she had to run some errands and had stopped by Target herself. At the checkout counter, she anxiously awaited the coupon that would spit out for her with visions of Pumpkin Spice Lattes dancing in her head. Alas, she said she did not have my coupon good fortune. Her coupon was for $1 off Charmin Toilet Paper.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Her Father's Daughter

Bear was having particular difficulties today with grammar. She was supposed to come up with a girl, boy, animal, place, and food that started with the letter B. Doesn't sound so hard. It certainly took her much longer than I anticipated. She is usually the one who is done in record time asking for more. My biggest homeschooling challenge with her thus far has been coming up with enough challenging work for her to do.

The place category was causing the most trouble for her. "No places start with B," she said. I reminded her of many, Boise, basketball court, Baskin Robbins.

She finally emphatically said, "BEER SHOP!"

She is most definitely her father's daughter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This is my life...

And I truly do love it!

Today, the house was absolutely destroyed. Toys, paper, crayons, books, all strewn over every room in the house. There were blankets and towels piled high to make their way through the wash. Banana was in the study working on a Math lesson. Bear was in the kitchen working on Science. Bophie was sitting in the living room "reading" a book. I am again trying to get a grip on time management and complete more than I could finish in three days.

As is typical, it is in a moment of chaos that I find JuJu has a stinky diaper. I move into order-barking mode. I remind Banana to focus on her lesson. I ask Bear to continue her work. I instruct little JuJu to round up the wipes. This is after all one of her favorite tasks, taking second only to putting things (not necessarily garbage) into the trash can.

I ask (ok bark) to Bophie to please go fetch a diaper for me from upstairs. The response, "Can I please finish my chapter first?"

This from my 3-year old holding a board book-- and did I mention SHE CAN'T READ!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday's Food For Thought

Continuing last Friday's quote, here's one for this week. You'll recall Banana's comment about my age. That combined with this pregnancy making me feel I am not as young as I was (Banana's pregnancy was a decade ago), led to this week's selection.

"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

h/t to my dh, always one to remind me how old I'm getting :) Good thing he's right there with me!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three Words I Never Thought I'd Say...

It's a BOY!!!


I mentioned yesterday our amazing OB who knew within seconds little Bophie was a girl. He wasted no time this ultrasound either. I wasn't even sure he had started when he said, "All bets are off, it's a boy!" Poor dh was caught so off-guard he seriously thought the good doctor was playing some sort of joke on him.

I have to admit, I was more than a little shocked myself. The girls are excited. Two brothers that will most likely arrive within a month or two of each other. I knew life was going to be crazy for us, two new little ones so soon after the arrival of little Juliana. I never imagined it would mean a whole new universe of boys. I was worried about being prepared for the life change before, but now... WOW!

God really does have a sense of humor.

P.S. Dh will no longer be referring to this little one as Mary. I think we are back at square one for names :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Care to make a wager?

I am not a betting person. Yes, I have played slots-- for a quarter. I am too frugal (read: too cheap) to really bet on anything. The slots thing was more because we were in Vegas with friends and I was out to have a good time. But, I digress...

Tomorrow is a big day in our household. We are all going to crowd into my poor OB's tiny ultrasound room to see our newest addition. There is a perennial argument between dh and I this time each pregnancy. I like to be surprised, he wants to know. With Bophie's pregnancy I compromised and told my absolutely wonderful OB that he could only tell us if it was blatantly obvious. I didn't want him to go looking. I swear to you that man did not have the machine resting on my belly two seconds before he said, "Another girl!"

This pregnancy, dh has employed more dubious tactics for winning our "should we find out" battle. He pitted our children against me. He talked to all of the girls and convinced them we should find out. Now I am overwhelmingly outnumbered. In the past I have found no support amongst extended family (they all want to know as well) and now my own children have abandoned me.

He also has placed his wager, he has been calling this baby **** (a very feminine name) for weeks. I am not so sure, although I have to admit all statistics predict this child is a girl. The girls and I had a good conversation about this over dinner one night and we are all thankful God makes the decision as we were unable to determine which sex we would prefer. A brother for Joseph would be nice, but we have lots of girl stuff and sisters are wonderful. Some children liked the idea of a new brother and a new sister at the same time.

All bets are off after lunch time tomorrow, assuming the ultrasound is accurate. Until then, let me know what you think...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It had to be done...

We finally felt we had to let our adoption agency know about our pregnancy. The more dh crunches the numbers, believe it or not he enjoys doing this in his spare time, the more we worry that dh will travel after the baby is born. We are required by law to inform our home study agency and adoption agency within 24 hours of any life changing events. One of those listed is the birth of a new child.

In order to avoid any chaos that might occur if we wait until the next round of paperwork, yes there is of course more of that to finish, we thought it best to find out how the process might be changed. Since all of our information has already been sent to the Chinese government, the birth will primarily change how things with the U.S. are handled. That was somewhat of a relief for us.

How will this effect our adoption? The end result should be the same, there may be a week or two in a time delay, other than that the adoption continues as planned. However, no big surprise here, we have more paperwork and several hundred dollars more in fees to pay. We are still holding out hope that our paperwork will be processed more quickly than anticipated and we can bring little Joseph home before the birth of our little one in January.

Continue to keep him in your prayers. The picture is one from an update we received from his foster home recently. He is almost walking. I am so sad to miss out on these milestones, but thankful he is progressing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ever Wondered How Old I Am?

According to my oldest daughter, pretty darn old...

Last week as dh and I were preparing dinner, Banana was lamenting how her History just wasn't as interesting as last year. She is in fourth grade this year and History has become more informational reading, less audio books to read and engage. I responded by reminding her that although it may not be as entertaining, it was still important to study hard.

I then, offhandedly, was telling dh that I don't remember really studying History until sixth grade. I liked her reading the books that helped History come alive, but am not sure that reading History text is all that beneficial at such a young age.

Banana reaches for the plates to set the table and says, "Of course you didn't have to study History, you were born before it!"

I was tempted to giver her the smallest piece of cake that night for dessert :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I'm a Soccer Mom

It's official, today both Banana and Bear had their first soccer games. I have to admit I felt more the soccer mom these last few weeks as I spent most weeknights carting one or the other to practice. They both played hard and both their teams won.
Lest you think I am all that comfortable with my girls wearing blue and gold-- especially on game day. Here are pictures of the little ones as they watched their older sisters win their games.
These faces are just too cute. There will be no picture of the littlest member who caused me a lot of trouble as I tried to keep my shirt over my ever-growing belly :)
It was a beautiful day. A perfect day for soccer games, apparently not such a good evening for football.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Courage

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”– unknown

I came across this quote on the Internet a few days ago. I don't remember exactly where, but it jumped out at me. It has been a long few weeks around here. Unfortunately, there have been a few moments I roared, though not out of courage. This reminded me tomorrow is a new day-- a new opportunity for the quiet courage demanded by my vocation.

I would love to hear other quotes, sound bites, adages, or proverbs that hit home for you this week. I am thinking about making this a Friday tradition for me as I have quite a few in my draft posts.

Buckle Up Buckeye Fans

Subtitled "Are you ready for some football?


I am!! We've waited months for this day to arrive.

I l.o.v.e college football. I could easily spend every Saturday, all day, watching games. I like to stay up ridiculously late watching games. I turn my radio dial to sports radio (my kids think there are two radio stations, ESPN and Catholic ESPN -- which is really EWTN).

This college football season I probably won't be able to do all of that. The school schedule is tighter which means I have more house work on Saturdays, JuJu requires more attention, and this little one in utero saps most of my extra energy. I had been feeling a little down about it.

Then some dear friends reminded me of how blessed we truly are. Blessed to have children, blessed to be able to sacrifice for them, blessed to have such good friends. I may not be able to watch all the football I would like, I may not be able to stay up late and tune out on Saturdays... but this Saturday, thanks to these friends, dh and I will be at the game!

I think it is amazing how God takes little sacrifices and blesses them. I know it is a silly football game, but I had been feeling overwhelmed. I had been so worried about all the things we won’t be able to do with six little ones and feeling (embarrassingly) a little sorry for myself. God used good friends and a silly football game to show me that He will always provide, even beyond our needs. Only with His grace will I make it through the next year or two and I need to rely on that instead of being so anxious and overwhelmed.

I have had to warn dh he must wear scarlet and gray. I have been scouring my closet for a good OSU t-shirt that will actually fit over my growing belly. The girls have even caught the spirit and have been decorating the house this morning. What a way to kick off Buckeye season! Go Bucks!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Did you know rainbows laugh?

--Me neither!

When Banana was little, dh would try and try to tickle her, or throw her in the air, or even just wrestle with her. She never really tolerated it. Instead of laughing she would inevitably end up in tears. Then along came Bear who couldn't (and still can't) get enough of that. She begs for it, especially the tickling. Bophie is a little combination of both. She likes it more than Banana, but not as much as Bear.

Yesterday, I was taking advantage of a break in our schoolwork and changing JuJu's diaper. She also likes to be tickled. She takes her fingers and wiggles them in the air asking for more. This turned into an all out tickle fest with my youngest three. Banana doesn't join in, but she does watch and laugh.

It was a nice moment, except that little Bophie likes to scream-- loudly. So instead of laughing or giggling there were moments of piercing shrieks that sent shock waves through this mom. I seem to have had one long headache since this pregnancy began and the screaming wasn't helping.

After letting her know the game could only continue if she stopped screaming, she promised she would. I resumed being the tickle monster and laughing continued until a few moments later she forgot her promise and let out a good scream. I gave her a good, stern look.

She looked at me and said, "I didn't scream Mom. That's the way a rainbow laughs."

Since there seem to be quite a few rainbows laughing in this home, anyone have a remedy for this pregnancy headache? I hate to take tylenol, but I have had to on some occasions and even that is not working.