Happy Divine Mercy

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Jesus, I trust in you!

Jesus, I trust in you!

We weren’t able to get an Easter family photo due to Isaac being sick, but we managed one on Divine Mercy!

Jesus said to St. Faustina, “I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy…”

“Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy.”

St. Faustina, pray for us!

Isaac is 9 Months Old

Isaac you’re 9 months old today!  Crazy to think it’s been 9 months; officially the same number of months that you were in my womb. You’ve definitely added a new dimension of busy to our lives. You’re literally into EVERYTHING! Babbling up a storm, crawling and grabbing onto anything to stand. You love to stand, so I’m sure you’ll be walking in no time. I kind of miss when you would just sit there with toys all around you and not go anywhere. That was kind of peaceful :) Oh and you LOVE to eat…ANYTHING!

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You’re still waking up 1-2 times a night. Usually around midnight or 1 and then again about 5…sigh! But I’ll take that over every 2-3 hours. Overall, you’re still our happy papoose; most smiley and chewing on something :) Even with a miserable cold, which I think you’re almost over…finally!

Isaac at his first hockey game. He enjoyed the lights, sounds and excitement!

Isaac at his first hockey game. He enjoyed the lights, sounds and excitement!

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Milestones:

  • Weight: 19 lbs, 7 oz
  • Height: 27¾
  • Crawling like a pro
  • Pulling yourself up to stand
  • Loving table foods still – YoBaby yogurt, spaghetti, grapefruit

Likes:

  • Any and all paper
  • Music and dancing
  • Being out and about
  • Strolling in the stroller
  • Playing cheetah cub with your brothers – a wild game where your brothers pretend you’re their little cheetah cub and they go to great lengths to protect you from the predator aka big, bad daddy!
  • Loving up on your daddy
  • Favorite book is Llama Llama Hoppity-Hop
  • Favorite toy…a water bottle! You love chewing on them!
  • Mirrors
  • Being under tables, chairs, whatever you can find

Dislikes:

  • Baby food
  • Taking naps
  • When mama leaves
Happy 9 Months, Isaac!

Happy 9 Months, Isaac!

Easter 2015

Happy Easter! So much to celebrate for the Lord is risen!

Holy Week started off well enough. In my effort to have more fun, I decided on an impromptu trip with the boys mini golfing. It was a perfect Spring day and I didn’t tell the boys about any of the fun about to be had because as soon as they know these things, they’re bouncing off the walls like crazy people and I just want to crawl into a hole and never come out. So Mission Fun was underway. I had free tickets to mini golf + perfect spring weather. The boys had no idea until we parked and they exclaimed in utmost excitement, “MINI GOLF!!!” We got our clubs and each boy got their favorite colored golf ball, until the second hole and Noah lost his coveted green ball over the fence. He was upset and I thought he was going to melt down because, like his mom, he’s a little OCD about these things. I told him he could have a yellow golf ball or just not play, luckily he decided on the yellow. The boys were loving it and having a great time. I was on sensory overload, as this stuff just stresses me out a bit. Luckily it wasn’t too busy, but trying to get 3 overly excited boys to play mini golf in a somewhat orderly fashion is a lot to take on and yes I had my mom and sister with me. I know, I need to relax! But honestly, they had a great time and were well behaved, so I can’t complain.

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Our cute scorekeepers!

Our cute scorekeepers!

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After our round of golf we headed back inside where they force you to walk through the arcade. So of course the boys were sucked into the sounds and flashing lights of Arcadiam. I don’t like arcades! Again, I go crazy trying to make sure I can see all the boys, I don’t want to even think about all the germs on the machines and what sickness they’re going to have to endure and thus torture me with. So in all the excitement, I let them play a few games and earn a total of 27 tickets. The excitement of getting to pick from the most random pieces of junk encased in a glass cabinet is humorous, especially when 27 tickets have to get divided by 3. They walked away with some plastic fish and lizards and LOVED it. And by then I was dealing with a headache :)

Boys taking Grandma on with a game of air hockey!

Boys taking Grandma on with a game of air hockey!

It was also my sister’s birthday so we ended the evening having dinner at our favorite Japanese steakhouse. The boys had fun seeing some big fire and catching shrimp in their mouths.

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Mission Fun was a success and I’m hoping to have more fun excursions with them. I’m forcing myself to do more fun things with them. I want to have fun and make these memories, but it is a lot of work. It’s not easy loading up four boys into carseats and going places, but I realize to have fun it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. We’re hoping to go to our local farmer’s market more often and stop by a nearby park and eat some of the fresh fruit we just picked up. Feeding ducks. Just changing up the scenery a bit. We’ll see how this plan goes.

Wednesday arrived with Eli having a cold, probably from the arcade :/ or maybe Bible school. And then on Thursday, Noah got it and then by Friday, Levi and Isaac had it. And Saturday, the cold was in full force with all 4 of them. Joy! Bubble, I want to live in a bubble! That is all!

On Holy Thursday, Michael attended Mass alone at St. Patrick’s while I tended to the sick children. He said there was so much to take in and see, that the boys would’ve really enjoyed it…so maybe next year! On Good Friday, Michael and I went to St. Patrick’s, while my parents and sister were brave enough to take on 4 sick children…they’re awesome like that. It was a beautiful Liturgy; how they unveiled the crucifix and had all the parishioners venerate the crucifix was stunning and so reverent. Wish I had pictures.

Saturday our subdivision had it’s annual Easter egg hunt. Even though they were all snot-nosed, they had a great time hunting eggs, hitting the piñata and eating cookies.

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Noah also lost his other front tooth. Eli had accidentally punched it out during a bout of wrestling…boys :) It was much needed, as his tooth was just dangling there for the past week.

We colored Easter eggs.

coloring_easter_eggs_2015

The boys were so excited for Easter. We’ve talked for weeks how it’s the biggest celebration in the Church. How Jesus came back from death and opened the gates of Heaven for us poor sinners. They had done a great job on their Lenten sacrifice of giving up chips and all sweets and desserts. I was surprised how well they did. They never complained or whined about it. Even during Bible school, Noah’s teacher had given out small donuts and Noah refused to eat it because of his Lenten sacrifice. I was shocked! They totally deserved a chocolate feast on Easter. So I made Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow and chocolate chip cookies, plus all the chocolate eggs and candy I knew that was coming their way.

Easter morning, Levi and Isaac were still really sick. We decided my mom would stay home them. I was disappointed, as this would be the first Easter we didn’t all go to Mass as a family. It was Isaac’s first Easter after all and he was miserable with a cold.

We decided a couple weeks ago that we’d attend the 11:30 Mass, instead of our normal 9:30 one. The one at 9:30 gets so busy and crowded that it just becomes overwhelming. 11:30 ended up being a good choice; much better to handle and we were easily able to find a parking spot. Plus, we didn’t have the mad rush of getting ready and out the door so early. So we enjoyed chocolate chip pancakes and the boys ate some large chocolate eggs. As we were getting ready, Levi got upset that he wasn’t going, so we made the decision to take him with us. Warmed my heart that he was so upset not to be able to go to Mass.

We settled into our pew taking in the gold and white fabric beautifully decorating the sanctuary and Easter lilies. I was having an internal debate with myself on whether to wear my veil as I did bring it with me and the boys oh so wanted me to put it on, but I decided not to…unfortunately. Mainly because I was worried about what others would think. Shame on me for caring what others would think. In hindsight, I know I should’ve worn it. As everywhere I looked, girls were dressed as if they were going out to the night clubs on a Saturday night versus attending Mass on the greatest day of our liturgical year!!! These women apparently didn’t care about offending others in their immodest attire or causing scandal for the men around them, yet I was too worried about wearing my veil! I could ramble on and on about this, as it still just infuriates me. It’s just unfortunate and sad and I pray that modesty becomes a part of society again. My mood was instantly sour, when I was supposed to be full of so much joy for,

Christus Surrexit, Alleluia! Vere Surrexit, Alleluia!
[Christ is risen , Alleluia! Truly risen, Alleluia!]

As they came around sprinkling the parishioners with holy water, Noah got upset as he apparently didn’t get any. My 6 year old literally started melting down in the pew. I tried telling him it was okay, we could get some after Mass…no go. I had to carry him out, dealing with a weeping child over holy water!!! I found an empty room to take him to and he just cried and cried. Finally, he settled down and we made it back just in time for Communion.

I honestly don’t know what to think of my Easter Mass experience. I still am not sure what God was trying to tell me, except that I should’ve worn my veil. Hindsight is everything.

So due to the bad behavior at church, the boys lost all their chocolate goodness. It was sad. We did enjoy a delicious Easter ham dinner with all the trimmings, however.

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This photo pretty much sums up our Easter:

Easter Family Photo with Grandpa and Aunt Kim

Family Easter Photo with Grandpa and Aunt Kim

It’s the best we could get.

Isaac's First Easter - He loved playing with the plastic eggs. Not sure how we got so many smiley pics of him; he truly has been miserable with a cold :(

Isaac’s First Easter – He loved playing with the plastic eggs. Not sure how we got so many smiley pics of him; he truly has been miserable with a cold :(

The boys are still suffering from this cold that won’t die, especially Levi and Isaac; grateful that Michael and I have been spared so far.

Hoping everyone had a blessed Easter and continue blessings for the Easter Octave! Alleluia!

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow

Chocolate Mint Puppy Chow
Ingredients:

  • 6 C. Rice Chex Cereal
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1½ C. chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips)
  • 7 pieces Andes Mint
  • 1½ C. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Additional Andes Mints to mix in, optional

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Pour cereal into a large bowl, preferably one with a lid.
  2. Unwrap and melt Andes Mints, chocolate chips and coconut oil over stove in a double boiler. Tip: I use a small saucepan filled with some water and place a glass bowl on top. I place the chocolates and oil in the bowl until melted. The coconut oil keeps the chocolate from clumping and gives it the perfect melty consistency for recipes like this and for dipping strawberries, etc.
  3. In a separate bowl combine powdered sugar and cocoa.
  4. Pour melted chocolate over cereal and gently fold until covered.
  5. If your bowl has a lid, add the powdered sugar/cocoa mix to the chocolatey cereal and shake it up. Otherwise, plus the chocolatey cereal into a large plastic bag add the powdered sugar/cocoa mix and shake until coated!
  6. Let cool and add additional chopped up Andes Mints to the puppy chow.
  7. Enjoy!

You could easily not add the Andes Mints if you’re not a mint fan. My boys love chocolate mint, so it was a hit with them.

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Gluten-free Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Gluten-free Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

This is one of our favorite snacks in our household. This makes a great snack or even an easy dessert, especially if it’s right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream :)

We make ours with gluten-free flour. While we don’t have an allergy to gluten, we do try our best to eat healthy and cut down on our gluten intake. I do like finding recipes where I can easily substitute flour for gluten-free flour and it still have it taste delicious.

I found this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.


Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour, or gluten-free flour
  • 1-1/2 cup Oats (quick Or Regular)
  • 1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 jar (10 To 12 Ounce) Strawberry Preserves, or any other preserves you prefer

Preparation Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 or 8 x 10 baking dish.

Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle half the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it a little tight. Spoon preserves evenly over the surface, then use a dinner knife to carefully spread it around. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly again.

Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in pan.

When cool, cut into squares and serve.

Learning to Have Fun

I realize this is a no-brainer for most people… the concept of having fun. But somewhere along the way Michael and I let our lives get completely imbalanced. All work, little play. We put too much focus, attention and energy on our kids and not enough on ourselves. We’re working on fixing this. I think it really hit me when I took that photography class; to do something on my own for myself, I didn’t realize how foreign that was for me until I took that class and actually enjoyed myself and learned how to take better photos of my kiddos. To be out of the house those few hours, I came back refreshed; I came back a better wife and mom. And then I just went back to being the motherhood martyr again.

Michael and I realize now that we need to have fun, we need to relax…the world doesn’t revolve our four boys, but for us it’s easy to get there. I’m blessed that my parents live close and that they really take the initiative to watch the boys so we can have some down time to ourselves. But I do feel guilty many a time for leaving the boys because I know it’s not easy to have to watch 4 kiddos and my parents and/or sister are always the go-to for that. Granted, they never complain and I know they love doing it because they’re usually the ones prompting the invitation. And I know the boys enjoy their time with them too. I need to just let go and be okay with it. I’m learning to get there. It’s so easy to say I can’t do xyz because I have 4 kids, but I was using the same excuse when it was just 1 and 2 kids. I know my parents wouldn’t offer if it was a burden, so I’m working on getting over it. I shouldn’t feel like that. And honestly after 4 kids, it doesn’t take much pushing on my parents’ part to get us out…I need the sanity check at times.

So yes I’m learning to have fun on my own, with my husband and with my kids. Maybe I’ll take my laptop and grab an Auntie Ann’s pretzel and blog, just to be out of the house. Michael and I are going to schedule time to go on bike rides; maybe take a vacation just the 2 of us. With the boys, it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in lesson plans and worksheets; I’m working on incorporating hands-on activities with the boys’ schooling. I want learning to be fun and exciting for them. I’m learning to play with them…even floor hockey. The boys loved it when I was their goalie. We’re hoping to take more family vacations. These are all things that we’re going to make a priority.

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We’re reading the Little House on the Prairie with the boys. I’ve never read these books and I’m totally captivated by it, right along with the boys. It’s really reinforced the concept of God first, marriage second and children third (which I recall hearing or reading somewhere as well). In the book, after Pa built their cabin with his bare hands, he made a bed. I was shocked that it wasn’t for the children, yet for him and Ma instead. I feel like I’m all about catering to the children, probably a little too much, but Pa was right for making the bed for them first and later for the children. After all the kids are young and can handle sleeping on the floor far better than us older parents. The parents should have a nice, comfortable bed to sleep in, just makes sense. After reading that, I realized how out of whack my priorities are.

For me, having fun takes effort and I live in the fog of exhaustion every day that it seems easier to just be, but I realize the effort will be worth it.

I finally scheduled a long overdue playdate with a family from church and I’m so glad I did. I hesitate on doing playdates because my house is usually a mess and you never know how unruly the kids may be that day, but I finally realized I just have to do these things. No one really cares what my house looks like and if the boys are having a bad day so be it. The boys were out-of-control, crazy this morning, so I assumed it was not going to go well, but in the end the boys were great. They were hospitable to our guests and everyone played well together. I got to relate to another mom and have adult conversation. Noah is definitely my child…presenting our guests with snacks and taking their lunch orders. He was happy to make an original Noah sandwich for everyone. It was a great time.

So here goes to learning to have some much needed fun :)

 

7 Quick Takes

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There’s no shortage of funny quotes from the boys…here are some of favorites from this week:

As I was getting ready one morning, the boys were going through my makeup drawer. Levi picked up my eye lash curler, when Eli informed him, “That’s an eye curler. It will turn you into a girl.”


As Levi was playing with gak pretending to be a chef with his toy kitchen knife, he said, “I’m using a Bobby Flay knife!”


Noah: “How many more days of suffering are left?”


Noah: “I really dislike sightfood, I mean seafood.”

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Isaac turned 8 months old this week! Check out the cuteness overload here!

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The playroom is finally complete! It took me a month to complete, so I’m glad it’s finally done! (I made some updates to the original post.)

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This upcoming week we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick is Noah’s patron saint, he’s loved St. Patrick since watching the movie, Patrick – Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle, when he was younger. So we love celebrating his feast day around here.

Noah dressed up as St. Patrick on All Saints’ Day in 2013

I have to tell you that one of my pet peeves is when people refer to the day as St. Patty’s Day. Patty is a female name and Patrick was male! This drives me crazy. So let us remember his name is Patrick and it’s all not about parades and being in a drunken stupor, but that he lived his life (after being kidnapped and taken away from his family) to follow God’s will and teach others about Christ.

St. Patrick, pray for us!

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Last week we started doing the Stations of the Cross with the boys. They really loved it. I saw these DIY Stations on Pinterest. I didn’t have the kit, but we had plenty of popsicle sticks and I just printed images from Google. I thought for sure the boys would love crafting them, but not so much. So over the course of a few days, I made them (with a little of Noah’s help) and had them ready for Stations last Friday. I just hung them in the hallway leading to the playroom with painter’s tape. The boys loved going through each Station, standing guard with their swords. I held the candle under each one as Michael read from the Stations of the Cross for Children. The boys wanted me to wear my veil, so I obliged. I think it’s sweet that they love when I wear it. This will be a great Lenten tradition for all of us.

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross

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We’ve had some awesome spring weather here this week and the boys have been outside for most of it! Lots of bike riding, walks and of course digging in dirt. I do love Spring, but this week it’s been really bugging me! The boys have been constantly in and out, shoes covered in dirt…I know get used to it, they’re boys. They’ve just been bouncing off the walls and that’s with them being outside most of the day…spring fever I guess, but I’m starting to dislike Spring if this what I have to look forward to.

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No time for a 7th Quick Take…Noah is calling me for a game of War!