Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shot in the arm

My mom and I both agree that is what the trip was for both of us.  I have come back feeling renewed with a strong sense of peace and happiness.





She needed to see me, especially at this time of year.  She also needed to know "for sure" that I was healthy and doing well in my pregnancy.

I was missing her terribly and needed to see her.  I wanted her to see my pregnancy and I wanted to see her at this time of year.

And guess what?  My mom was able to feel the baby move!!

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Ester lent her camera to me.  (I don't have a point & shoot camera, can you believe that?)  I wanted something small to fit inside my purse.

Mom and I took this picture by using the timer setting on the camera the morning I left for Texas.



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Grammy's house.

Someone asked if I grew up here.  Yes.  It is the home where I lived until I left the nest after college.  It is the home where I brought my own children to laugh and play in.  It is the home where my father and mother lived for nearly 50 years.  It is the home where my father passed peacefully away in.  It will always be my "home".





I arrived back to my Texas home on Tuesday night.  Tucking the Littles into bed I heard, "Mom, you smell like Grammy's.  Can I sleep with you tonight?"

You cannot describe Grammy or Grammy's house any better than that!

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Family.

I arrived into town on Saturday afternoon.  A handful of us went to 4pm Mass and then Mom hosted one of her big, get-together dinners for the locals.  Five of my siblings live in the Illinois Valley, all within 20 miles of Mom.

My sister, Jane, and her family drove up for the weekend from Missouri.  So Mom had 7 out of 9 kids there!

I was in a few photos...just a few :)

Want to see?

These are 3 of  my 5 brothers, with their wives and children::

Joe and Debbie (Joe is the oldest of us all.)  


And their two boys.  (Little Man in the red is one of my godsons.)



Jeff and Michelle (Jeff is child #2 for my parents.)


And their two Littles.  (Sorry for the really bad lighting...ugh!)



Michael and Heather (He is the baby of the family...#9)



And their two munchkins.


Sunday night, a handful of the ladies went out to dinner.  This next shot is of my mom, sisters, and me.

Left to right::

Sue (#4), Mary (#3), Mom, Me (#5), Jane (#7)


These are Mary's two children (her daughter came home from college for the night.)




Sue's girls (4 out of 5 since her oldest is away at college)


The cutie in the red sweatshirt is one of my goddaughters.




You should recognize these three boys.  Jane and her family visited us in Texas over Labor Day.


I was able to see all but 11  family members on my side!

In-Laws

I have a sister-in-law that lives about 60 miles south of my mom.  She was so kind to not only drive up to see me, but drive me up to my in-laws (her parents) another 75 miles to northern Illinois.

Sara is going to be a first time grandmother!!  Her daughter (our niece) is due March 9...one month after my due date.




The weather was down right nasty that day!  Cold, very windy, rainy, 52 degrees F.  Awful.  Sara brought some soup and garlic bread, grapes and crackers, so that we could have a nice lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Bill.

Bill and Clare (Clare turns 80 in October!)


I was so grateful to have had this opportunity to see my in-laws.  It's been over one year!  They were just as grateful even if the visit was a short 4 hour visit.

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Solitude


I have been involved with reader's block since January. Start a book.  Put it down.  Never finishing.  For someone who loves to read...this has been frustrating.  


One of the books that I purchased this year and have barely touched is...






I brought it with me.  


On the plane trip home I came to this appropriate chapter...






And as I flipped open the book to begin reading I glanced out my plane window to this view...



I started crying.

Hormones.  Love.  Good memories.  Littles waiting for me in Texas.  Peace.  Happiness.

I had been blessed with a wonderful weekend!

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Past time


I have to say that people-watching is one of my favorite past times!!!  I find people just fascinating to watch.

Let me say, the airports (with a plane change each way) did not let me down. LOL

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A shot in the arm.  Good medicine.  Words cannot describe how amazing that good medicine has made me feel!

It makes me appreciate even more the blessings that I have in my life....here in Texas AND in Illinois (and Missouri and Nebraska and  Michigan and Arizona).


~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On A Wing and A Prayer


Solitude.  Peace.  Prayer.  Family.  Hugs.  Laughs.  Love.  Home.  

Tired.  (But a good tired.)  

Show & Tell :: another day.  (My bed is calling out for me :)

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Blue Skies Ahead



I took this picture from Sunday night after a thunderstorm rolled through.  Isn't it gorgeous?  We enjoyed the rain...and thunder...but need so much more to break from the drought.

12 - 18 inches more  -  in one month!  And that is for the North Dallas area alone.  It is much worse in other parts of Texas.

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The cool, crisp, autumn bug has bit me hard this year.  Could be those wonderful pregnancy hormones flowing through my veins.

I miss the sites, smells, and sounds of autumn up in the Midwest.

Ha!  Ha!  Once you all get snow up there....forgetaboutit!  I'll be madly in love with this southern climate again :)

Anyway...

I miss my mom.  Bad!

I miss my dad.  Really bad!  My father's death anniversary is coming up (October 12) and it is a rather hard time of the year for my family especially Mom.

So I bought a plane ticket to Illinois.  (Finding a two year old gift card for Southwest Airlines helped seal the deal!)


I fly into Chicago on Saturday where one of my siblings will pick me up and take me "home"  for 3 nights.

By myself!

The guilt of not bringing the Littles...gone :)  Although, if I had enough money to buy all of them tickets, I'd have done so in a heart beat.

I posted this picture last year...and had to again.  (Can you tell I'm excited?)



I can remember exactly what it smells like and feels like upon entering.  So excited to get back there!

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And a shout out to my amazing husband.  Each year he always encourages me to take a weekend away for myself.  He stays back to cook and feed and even school the kids.  

Not saying he loves it but he does love me!

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I'll have plenty of time to read your posts but won't be posting anything until next week.

I also FINALLY signed up for Pinterest.  Now, to figure it all out because it looks really cool!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

~  Patty  ~




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Joy-filled News



Okay, so this has to be one of the most original sono pictures that I have ever seen.  And, depending on which of our children you ask, Baby Joy is signing:

A.  I Love You!

B.  Hook 'em Horns! (for all those UT fans out there.)

C.  Rock n Roll!

What do you think?  LOL

It was a good day.  Sally and Mabel were able to witness their first ultra sound session and were amazed at the miracle of life.  Filled with questions, they came out of the  sono/ check-up quite happy.  

But I have to say, the looks on their faces when they found out that I need to urinate in a cup each time?  Priceless!

Oh!  Don't worry about Stan and Ester.  They will go with me in two weeks.

The sonos continue to show that my old cerclage is holding up quite well.  Praise God!  I go again in two weeks and if it continues to look good, we MAY cut back to monthly visits.  

I'm 19 weeks 5 days - hard to believe it, but I'm half way there.  Woo!  Hoo!  

I had my thyroid checked again and won't know my levels for a couple of days, but I feel really good.  (I can always tell when my levels are off.)

With all of that said, I continue to use common sense.  I sit.  A lot!  

I try to stay off of my legs and relieve the pressure as much as possible.   I've always used compression stockings with my previous pregnancies and even though they are a pain to put on and wear, they are amazing when it comes to controlling the pressure in my varicose veins as well as easing the pressure on my cervix.

So I thank you, again, for all of your prayers and kind words.  I know I still have half of this pregnancy to go, but my anxiety has really eased in the past three weeks. 

 I am starting to really enjoy this time and watch the joy come to overflowing levels in my children and husband.

Praise God!

~  Patty  ~

Monday, September 19, 2011

R&R Kid Version



I told you we were planning on having a Sunday of R & R!

I was brushing my teeth yesterday morning when David told me to go check out the "spa" in the kitchen.

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Great Wolf Lodge



We all had such a fantastic time.  

They have been asking us to go for years....but it always seems so expensive.  

(The girls love speed and have no fear.  They hit all the slides on their own.)


When I saw those half-price tickets for home school families last spring...well...it was a Cha-ching moment for sure.


(Stan's favorite was the wave pool.  The girls all rotated playing with him since he was too short for the big slides.)

I brought our own snacks, drinks, and breakfast food.  We ordered out pizza for the birthday dinner and I had brought in  frosted cookies for a birthday treat.


Definitely a great celebration of life!!

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Came home with chlorine brain.  Big time!  So Stan and I napped Friday afternoon.

Even with naps, we were all in bed for the night by 8:30pm!!

Saturday was a school day and it wasn't bad since we just had two days off.  (I'm a real stickler for keeping up with the schedule.)

Since we went to Saturday night mass, Sunday will bring some good old-fashioned R&R!


May you have a peace filled Sunday!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Maria


She was up at 6am. 



We made her stay in bed for another hour.


Sleep is a waste of time when you turn 8 years old!



Our friend J.J., who owns the donut shop up the street, told her to come in for a birthday treat.




It's going to be a great day and a great year for this Little Miss!

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She received some new frogs.  



These are really the easiest pets a mother  child could want.

They are suppose to be either two males or two females.  Hmmmm....what do you think?



They played this "hugging" game for a good 10 minutes which kept the kids howling with laughter.

Ester asked, "Are they mating?!"

David and I think we may have tadpoles soon.  What do you think?

She named them Perciville and Nelly (any Little House on the Prairie fans out there?)

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We are off to a fantastic day!

Last spring, Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark was offering a half price special to homeschool families.  

So, that was a no-brainer!  Snagged that deal immediately.

It was good for this week in September.  Looking at the calendar, I booked a room for tonight.  And what is really cool is that we can start using the waterpark as early as 1pm this afternoon.

We didn't tell the kids until this morning.  Do you think they were excited?!

~  Patty  ~


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Up in the air...

Sometimes flying by the seat of our pants.























Always making a soft  safe landing.  

What a wild and crazy ride it has been these past two weeks!  

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Sally started swimming practice.  Okay. So I never truly realized the endurance level of swimmers until I sat and watched a practice.  

Gotta say it::  Holy Crap!  

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Ester is an official...red cross...CPR certified babysitter.  And Sister can hardly wait to get out there and earn some bucks.  

She was totally excited to use her first aid and help Stan the Man with a bloody nose.  

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(Like the giant flash shadow in the background?  When Mama is in a hurry with the camera, who knows what will happen!)

Sir Stan attended his first Blue Knights meeting.    His reaction in two words?

"Totally awesome!"

I (gently) guided David into starting a Blue Knights group.  There are seven dads and seven 5-6 year old boys in the group.  They will meet once a month.  Blue Knights is a Catholic version of Webelos and Boy Scouts.

A great bond for fathers and sons through growth in faith.

David signed up to teach the October meeting.  His plan?  Camp out!

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Little Flowers and Little Women.

It started today.  I hosted at my house.  

My friend, Elizabeth, taught Little Flowers.  Instead of the focusing on the virtue of the month, she chose to celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  

Little Flowers made these adorable crosses::


We each brought a dessert.  Elizabeth kept with her theme of the Exaltation of the Cross.  Check these  cross rice crispy treats out::



I taught Little Women.

Virtue for the month :: Humility

The ladies learned the proper way of cleaning a bathroom.

I did a power point presentation for the girls.  David helped me put it together over the weekend.  I was the "director" and "camera man" while he was the cleaner  actor!

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David and I were invited to a special viewing of The Mighty Macs.  Due to release October 21.  It was a fun and free date.


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Moms Night Out started up.  Woo Hoo!  I love these nights.  We meet once a month for prayer, laughs, yummy treats, and girl talk.

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Weather.  Oh my!  Even though it climbed back up to 106 yesterday, it has been hovering around the 90's.  We like the low 90's so much better!

At this time of the year, the heat will only make a brief appearance every now and then.  Totally do-able.

As of today, we had 70 days of triple digits this summer.  Broke a record!

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I need to get scootin' now.  Some little dynamo celebrates an "8 is great" birthday tomorrow.

A BIG P.S. ~  Thank you for your prayers, kind thoughts and words regarding Francis.


Until next time...

~  Patty  ~


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Francis

Francis was the name we chose for the baby we lost last winter.  It was a God-moment.

As I mentioned the other day, Francis was due this Thursday, September 15.

I wanted to share this God-moment with you since it makes me smile (with a tear or two.)

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Last winter, when we found out that I hadn't miscarried, I briefly allowed my heart to open to the future and entertained the idea of baby names.  It was brief.

With my history, moments like those make me anxious.

I love to pick names from the family tree.  I stop and study them, just like looking for the big, red, juicy apple...the perfect one to pluck.

My family tree.  Where it is  full on one side (7 generations), it is  somewhat bare on the other.  (One of those things that I keep telling myself I'd really love to work ....  someday.)

My eyes had landed on Francis and Frances.  My oldest sister is named Mary Frances.  My maternal grandmother is named Frances.  I have an Aunt Frances.  I had a Great-Uncle Francis.

I quickly tucked the name near my heart never sharing it with David or the littles.

Then I did end up miscarrying.

That night, we sat around talking about what to name the baby.  (We have a name for each of the children we lost and hold them dear to our hearts and in our prayers.)

We wanted a saintly name.

David, out of the blue, suggested Francis.  I was stunned.  I had never, ever mentioned that name.  I told the family that THAT would be the name and told them the story behind it; about how I had already picked it out and kept it tucked inside my heart.

A God-moment.

I love God-moments.  Especially the ones where you know that He is speaking loud and clear and you hear Him.

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Usually, these due dates are hard on me.  A cross I silently carry.  A day where you just feel blue.

This "due date" will be different though since we will be celebrating the life of our dear Mable. I will be focusing mainly our our little dynamo.

And you know what?   I think that is another God-moment.  He is helping me carry my cross this time.


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And I ask that you keep a friend of mine in your prayers.

Today she learned that her baby girl's heart stopped beating in utero at 16 1/2 weeks.  Baby girl had been diagnosed with something severe at 12 weeks gestation and my friend, knowing that losing this baby in her second trimester was a probability, made the choice to carry this life until God brought baby girl's precious soul home to heaven.

Jesus, I trust in you!


~ Patty  ~

Monday, September 12, 2011

Give and you shall receive

A dear, old friend up in Springfield, Illinois reminded me of this many years ago during a conversation about when to "clean out" baby toys, baby clothes, maternity clothes, etc...

We both fought our emotions of attachment to these precious items.

I asked her, "....but how do you know you won't adopt anymore?"... (she had one biological child and adopted two children)...we both agreed that living a life of "what if's" should not be the center of our thought process.

That's when she sighed, blew her hair out of her face, and said, "When you give, you shall receive."

Amen, Sister!

Moving to Texas....where there are no basements...coupled with the fact that I didn't think I'd ever be pregnant again, I finally surrendered my maternity clothes to a neighbor lady who was expecting.

And I say surrendered because it wasn't easy for me to detach.

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Fast forward to the present...

Well, I am not planning on spending any money on maternity clothes if I can help it.

Instead, I  did purchase this Bella Band that kept me in my "regular" clothes until week 14.


When that stopped working, I put the call out.  I asked my fellow home school, mom friends if I could borrow any maternity clothes that they may have.

Look at what was dropped off at my house the day of Mabel's birthday party!!!



They are all filled with maternity clothes!

Nope.  I'll never be able to wear all of those even if I wanted to but I could definitely have my own maternity fashion show, that's for sure!

So I'm slowly going through to see what fits, what I need, marking initials on the tags (I'd hate to mix all of these up), and then handing the rest back.  (Because I have NO room to store all of these!)

The words of my friend has echoed in my head all these years.  And you know?  I need to call her and tell her about this mother load that ended up in my foyer!

I praise God for wise and generous friends.

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Patriot Day 9/11/11

Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his prayerful support of the United States on the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, in a letter sent to Archbishop Timothy M Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In his letter, dated 11 September, 2011, the Pope writes: "On this day my thoughts turn to the somber events of September 11, 2001, when so many innocent lives were lost in the brutal assault on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the further attacks in Washington DC and Pennsylvania.  I join you in commending the thousands of victims to the infinite mercy of Almighty God and in asking our heavenly Father to continue to console those who mourn the loss of loved ones."

Pope Benedict also notes: "The American people are to be commended for the courage and generosity that they showed in the rescue operations and for their resilience in moving forward with hope and confidence."

Source: Archdiocese of New York



~  Patty ~

Friday, September 9, 2011

What makes a man old?

At my last sono, David and I were sitting in a small waiting area.

We were joined by another woman who looked to be in her mid-50's as well as a new father with his 2 month old baby son.  The new father didn't look a day older than 30 and he mentioned that his wife was getting her follow up.

I heard the young father say, "When this boy turns 13, I'm going to be an old man."

David and I just looked at each other and chuckled to ourselves.  Grinning broadly, he leaned forward and asked the young man, "And what do you consider an "old man"?"

The young man said, "I'll be 41 when he turns 13!"

I just bust out laughing. (Sorry, David.)

I pointed to David with my thumb and said to the young man, "He'll be 43 when this baby is born!"

Everyone laughed.  Definitely a teachable moment...a good pro life moment!


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I'm 18 weeks and feeling less anxious.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  I continue to have my thyroid meds adjusted at least once every three weeks.  I have so many dosages of Synthroid in my freezer now, I think I could start my own black market. LOL!

It's been about 12 days since I last vomited so I'm hoping that part is finally over.  Otherwise, I try and handle the  "hang over" feelings and recognize how quickly the weeks are passing by.

At the same time, my thoughts have been bittersweet lately.  My mind has been thinking about the baby we lost last winter.  He/She was due on September 15.  You never ever forget those angels.

~  Patty  ~

Stan the man

Mabel and Stan were in the back of the van.  Mabel was excitedly pointing out all the black hair that has been growing on Stan's legs.

(The boy has seriously started showing signs of hairy legs recently!)

Looking up in the rear view mirror I said, "So, Stan.  You have a lot of hair on your legs, do you?"

Stan retorted in matter-of-fact tone, "Yes.   That's because I'm half man you know."

Happy Friday!

~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Parties, Traditions, and Budgets

Mabel's swimming party was a great memory-maker!  We do these big parties every four years.

Birthday parties...

About 6 or 7 years ago a friend and I were discussing birthday parties and how absolutely expensive they can be.  Not to mention exhausting.

She told me about  her family tradition as a child and I thought it was such a neat idea that we adopted the tradition for our family.

** Big birthday parties on their 1st, 4th, 8th, 12th and a "Sweet 16" birthday party with friends.  (The other birthdays will be celebrated with just family.) **

Please let me add, I certainly do not claim our tradition to be the gold medal winner.  Yet, it sure fits our family budget and has taught our Littles the meaning of patience and appreciation.

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So we had been talking about...planning for...and anticipating little Miss Mabel's birthday party this year because she turns 8 years old on September 15.

The girl had been so excited.

So had I!

Being practical, I had also been thinking about the B-word....BUDGET.

* She decided on a swimming party.  Easy enough since our subdivision has a private pool.  ( no expense with that venue.)


* We sent out evite invitations.  (No money spent on invitations nor postage.)

* No loot bags.  Instead, we wanted to give each of the guests something special to take home as a "thank you".

How we made it special...

Mabel is not really named Mabel.  (In case you didn't know, I use nick names for all my kids on this blog.)

She is actually named after Our Blessed Mother and another beautiful saint.  Mabel's birth date is September 15, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

We decided to have the  special "thank you" gifts  commemorate Our Blessed Mother so, Mabel picked out these beautiful rosary holders for each of the guests....






(They came in these three styles.   Around $6 each at our local Catholic bookstore.)

The weekend before her party, Mabel helped wrap them in white gift wrap I had purchased...



and then she made home made "thank you" notes  for each one...



...using my old stash of Stampin' Up products.


(I happened to have an aqua blue ink pad and pen for her to use.)

Keeping with the swimming party theme, we purchased swimming stickers and blue ribbon to decorate the thank you cards and gift wrap with.



Taa-Daa!



* 2 birds with 1 stone.  These took the place of her store bought thank you cards and postage.

* Swim party themes are on clearance at this time of the year!  (Another area to save money in.)  





The afternoon before, Mabel and her sisters helped decorate the party table.




The menu had hot dogs and chips (bulk items from Sam's Club) and lemonade and kool aide (something we already had at home.)



Can you tell she was excited in this next picture?





*  Cake.  Okay.  I splurged big time there.  But you know what?  I have no regrets.  These parties come only once every four years and my little girl will only be 8 once.

We went to Central Market where everything they bake is made from scratch and everything tastes absolutely heavenly!  Their cakes are very affordable, but we ordered a  fancy one for this party and that's what cost me.

And it was soooo worth it....



...half chocolate...half white...double layered....cream filling....yum!

And there was enough left to feed our guests over the weekend whenever we had a sweet tooth attack.

The next big 4-year party will be at the end of October when Sally celebrates her 12th.  

~  Patty  ~

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