Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Funny

Or at least mildly amusing to my probably poor sense of humor...

After the five oldest leave for school, most days we come home and I try to do as much housework as possible. Some days I nurse the baby endlessly (it is amazing how even though this is my fifth nursing baby I am still surprised how much my day is consumed feeding her). Other days I run errands while I have fewer to load and unload. On rare days I chuck it all and take the kids for a walk.

On our walks I often wish I had the foresight to give the name Paul to our little Gabriel. That way when those passing by told me my hands were full and asked their names I could tell them I was walking Peter, Paul, and Mary :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Phonics Homework

With the kids in school, my days are quite flip-flopped. My mornings and early afternoons used to be jam packed with schooling and activities. If the little ones were napping, we hit the gas pedal on schooling. Now my mornings and early afternoons are quieter (though mysteriously just as busy), but once the girls come home... Sheesh does it get crazy here, and it doesn't settle down until bedtime. I have to admit some of the homework has been a hard adjustment for us. We've had quite a few late nights.

Yesterday afternoon I was helping little Sophia with her homework. I try to have her at the table so that I can keep an eye on what she is doing. She just needs a little more supervision to make sure she forms her letters correctly and such. Workbooks are also pretty new to her, so there are often questions. Plus the homeschooler in me just loves working with her whenever I can.

She had skipped ahead in phonics, almost 100 pages so there were new instructions. We read them together, "Say the name of each picture, if you hear the short sound of e color the picture." I wanted to be sure she understood the instructions before I wandered away to start dinner so I asked her, "Do you know what the short sound of e is?"

"Sure," she responds. "It's, like, when you don't say the sound for very long."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A New Era (Part II)

The day finally came, we had to make the move to a twelve passenger van. Yes, that still gives us room for two more. Sheesh though, give us a chance to breathe. The two extra seats are still not enough to fit all the gear needed in my Mom Taxi, which has been in high demand with school starting and soccer season in full swing. It is big enormous. It is a gas guzzler. It terrifies me to have to park. I've yet to brave a drive-through, although with eight mouths to feed the drive-through was already a scary thing, unless I'm going for coffee. I have a feeling for that reason alone I'll learn to master the drive-through.

Cleaning out more than ten years of junk was quite a task. When we pulled out the car seats I'm pretty sure there was a large container of fries just dumped there. Not to mention goldfish, pretzels, assorted gummy things, and some grossness not worth mentioning. There were coffee stains, mud stains, who-knows-what-the-heck-that-is stains. There were worn spots from me getting in and out, indentations from ten years of car seats, dirt from at least three states. It was a bittersweet moment to pass it on to another family just starting out.

In the early years of our marriage, we hoped for a big family, we prayed for it. When our only car died and it came time to purchase a new vehicle we decided to plan for the future and, despite only having one child, we purchased a minivan. I remember how nervous we were sitting in the car dealership, Banana quietly playing at our feet as we sweat it out. I was especially apprehensive as I had never purchased a new car. The price tag seemed staggering.
Our family when we bought our "small" family van

Then, less than a year later, we drove that car across the country as we moved to Pennsylvania. By this time, we were expecting Bear. The years went on and that car carried our possessions as we moved again, this time back to Ohio, but still we only had the two girls.
More than ten years and this was the only picture I could find of the old van. It was purchased before we owned a digital camera. How times have changed.

We began to feel guilty about our minivan decision. A car would have suited us fine. We didn't need the extra seats. We suffered multiple miscarriages and often doubted we would ever fill that van. Still it was our van and it really never brought us any trouble. Then came Bophie, then Juju, now we were thankful for the extra seats. More than eight years after purchasing the van, we finally hit capacity when Joseph and Gabe arrived within the span of a week.
Our family now (Ellie in utero). 

When we started Peter's adoption, we knew a new car was in order. We survived the first few months by driving two cars when we traveled as a family. I could still drive the kids around as needed without dh, but it was clear that we had outgrown the van we never thought we'd fill. Little Ellie's arrival sealed the deal. Now I couldn't even carry all the kids in the van, it was time for a new car.

So the new era is upon us. We've passed that family-size milestone into a truly large family and we have the van to prove it :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A New Era (Part I)

This week marked a very important first in our household... It was the first day our children left the house to go to school. The three older girls are attending a very small Catholic school in our area. It was a hard decision for us, but with five children under the age of five, (I cried uncle) we decided this was the year to try it out.
We are blessed to have this school so near us. The teachers know and faithfully practice their faith, the classes are small, and the curriculum is impressive (even to an overbearing homeschool mom). They pray the rosary daily, have morning prayers and lunch prayers, attend Mass regularly, and have a religion teacher with a well-known reputation for being amazing.

That being said, I miss my girls. I thought I'd miss their extra hands, but I've found I'm managing things well. I more miss their chatter. I miss teaching them. I miss being there when they grasp a new concept. I miss setting up our school area, going through the new books with them, hearing their opinions, talking to them about what we hope to accomplish.
I do like the quieter house. I feel less frazzled, those three hens add more than their share of cackling. I enjoy nursing little Ellie without worrying about trying to teach at the same time. I'm thankful to have the time to read to the Gabe and Peter and to take them for walks as we drop Juju and Joseph off at preschool. I still miss the girls though.

It isn't less work. Paperwork, drop-off and pick-up (I have to load all five little ones in their car seats), homework, lunch packing, and the million other little details take as much time as schooling did. It's just different demands, a different schedule, and different stresses. The jury is still out on which one works better for our family.
We've always said one year at a time... You just never know what the year will bring. The last three and a half years have brought five little children. It just changed things for us.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Juju's Genetics

A few weeks before little Ellie (my nickname for baby Mary Elizabeth) was born, we were having a dinnertime conversation with the girls about who the baby would look like. Dinnertime at our house can be a little loud as little ones vie for Mom and Dad's attention. In response to the question, each one was talking about how the baby would look remarkably just like them, which is funny because our biological children seemed to look so similar. Juju (our daughter from China) did not want to be left out of all the giggly chatter of her older sisters, so she quite loudly chimed in that her new sister would look just like HER!

She didn't really understand when we all laughed a little louder at the thought.

As we waited the arrival of baby sister, Juju became more convinced baby Murray (as Gabe calls her) would look just like her. When baby arrived and one of the nurses remarked about her head of dark hair, I knew Juju would just love that the baby had her hair!

When the girls visited, we talked about how she had Bear's nose and eye color, she had the shape and mouth of Bophie, and Banana's ears and feet-- but she had Juju's hair. Then a few days ago she had her first bath.

When she was all dried and snuggly, I took this picture of her fuzzy hair.

It made me think of this...