Thursday, December 29, 2011

Checking In

Well, I can hardly call myself a blogger these days, really.  I'd like to spend more time in this space, but it always seems there are obstacles. 
A broken camera, for instance.  Blogging is just not as effective, nor as fulfilling, without being able to add pictures to my posts.  I inherited an old camera recently though, so maybe I'll try it out.
Of course the busy days that are Advent and Christmas don't leave much extra time for anything.  Throw in some long work hours for Mr. Smith, out of town visitors, and cold running through the house... it all kind of becomes a blur.
There was something else too... I can't remember... oh yes!  The fact that I've been indescribably tired and nauseous because of the baby I'm growing in my belly.  That's right, I knew there was something else.
Yup, we found out the evening of the first Sunday of Advent.  A beautiful early Christmas present, an incredible intention for our St. Andrew Novena this year, and a startling source of personal growth for this mama, all wrapped up by God Himself.
There's more, so much more.  But for tonight, my pillow is calling.  I hope to be back soon, as I have so much to share.
Blessings to all, in this glorious Christmas season, on the cusp of a bright and hopeful new year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quote of the Day

Peyton:  "Mama, 8 and 9 are going to be my big years."

Me:  "Oh yeah, how come?"

Peyton:  "When I'm 8:  Reconciliation and First Communion.  When I'm 9:  The next time we go to Great Wolf Lodge, I can go in the hot pools."  (hot tubs)

I'm just thankful that the sacraments are held in such high esteem to be listed right with the "hot pools" ;o).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Picture This:

An enormous breakfast table, with chairs aplenty.  Six boys, from quite big, down to pretty little.  Cereal bowls and breakfast supplies here and there and everywhere.  An advent wreath, pushed over to the side for a game of hockey with a bottle cap.  Everyone playing and laughing.  Pure joy.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I've made a decision.

I've decided that I will not spend this Advent season clicking around the internet looking for ways to enhance and enrich our experience of the season (read:  making myself crazy).

I will remember that our Advent last year was wonderful, and by simply maintaining the traditions we already have I'll be respecting the season and my family.

I will seek joy in small things, and do my best to point those around me toward the light of that Babe in the manger.

I will accept the grace that inevitably comes when He blesses my efforts. 

And it will be enough. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dusting Off the Keyboard

I've been thinking about getting back to this little blog of mine for awhile now, so I thought I'd ease my way back in with just a quick hello...
And a little bit of honesty -- that title isn't exactly accurate.  This keyboard never has time to gather dust, and certainly hasn't lately.  I've been a busy girl, bustling through school with the kids, gathering myself for this upcoming liturgical year, and I've got a little project I've been working on that I'm calling "Mother's Handbook".
Will be back to share soon - promise!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

From the guy giving me an estimate on taking down a dead tree.
While surveying the backyard and sandbox full of kids:

"Oh cool, so you guys have... like a daycare thing going on here."

No sir, they're all mine :o).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


While lamenting our sleepover policy:

"Dude!  Caillou is FOUR and he's going on a sleepover!"

While reading his English assignment from the Seton lesson plans:

"They seriously expect a KID to do this stuff?!"

While following me through the fabric store:

(calmly) "Is there a brick, or a wall or something around here?"  (with more gusto) "So I can BANG MY HEAD AGAINST IT?"

This kid is seriously fun to be around.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Mystery

I just found Isaac crouched under the high chair, eating a candy cane.  In August.

One can only imagine where he may have found that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


"Me eat."

Those two words formed Isaac's first sentence, in this epic journey we're on in pursuit of language.  He began using this phrase a few months ago, and as rudimentary as it is, I was tickled to death, for several reasons.  For starters, two words put together was HUGE for my struggling three-year-old.  It seemed so monumental when only months before he'd had zero words to stand alone, much less put together.  Secondly, it was so fitting that this milestone would come in reference to food.  If there's one thing Isaac appreciates in life, it's eating.

And yet, he's the scrawniest little thing you can imagine.  Mr. Smith often teases that Isaac must have a tapeworm, because that's the only thing that could explain where all the food goes.  I know it's just a supply and demand situation, something has to fuel the boy who never. stops. moving.

He's the first one up every morning, even before the baby and I usually, and I almost always wake up to those words, "Mama, mee eeat".  That boy wakes up hungry, and let me tell you, he better get fed quick or it's not going to be pretty.  After breakfast, it's not more than an hour or so that goes by before he's coming to me again, "Mee eeat!", with an urgency that contradicts the bowl of oatmeal I know is still in his tummy.  The same words that so warmed my heart in the beginning can also get on my last nerve when it's the hundredth time in the day.  Such is the nature of mothering though, it seems.

Last week at Sunday Mass, Sebastian was wanting nothing to do with sitting in a pew, and everything to do with exploring the baptismal font, so I had spent most of the time walking laps with him in the social hall, trying desperately to hear Monsignor's homily through the tiny speakers out there.  I went back into the church to receive Communion, baby still firmly attached to hip.  Mr. Smith graciously motioned to me that he would take him so that I might have a moment to kneel and pray, and I handed him over with gratitude.  I knelt down next to Isaac, who had just returned to his seat after receiving a blessing and watching his daddy receive the Eucharist. 

He looked up at me, and I could tell right away there was something on his mind.  He struggles so much to find words, I've learned to read his face when he's searching for one.  He reached up and brushed my hair aside, tucking it behind my ear.  Pulling me toward him, he touched his little lips right to my ear, and ever so softly whispered,

"Me eat."

I looked at his enormous blue eyes as I leaned back, the sweetest of all questions looming inside of them, and I knew exactly what he meant.

My sweet son hungers for more than physical sustenance.  Just like the rest of us, he hungers for Christ.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Men

We went to the library today.  I would normally have Isaac in the stroller, and carry Sebastian on me in my Ergo, for outings like the library, but lately Isaac has been showing me he can handle walking with the big guys.  So that's how we were:  Baby in stroller, entourage of men-in-the-making, and me in the middle.

The boys were really good.  Everyone behaved while we made our rounds, and we were just about to leave when I remembered I had to make a stop at the front desk for some audio holds.  The librarian looked up from her computer as we approached, and smiled.  She asked, "Do you have three boys and a girl, or do you have four boys?"  She had decided Sebastian could be either one in his little blue romper, and had missed altogether two of the older boys who who were standing off to the side.  I smiled back and said, "I have six boys", and waited for the reaction.

Mostly it's the same.  They usually smile, even as their mouths drop open.  There's some question of disbelief as they discern whether I am serious or not.  Then the turning of interior gears is almost audible as they try to decide which is more astonishing:  The fact that I have six children, or the fact that they are all boys.  Once they digest all of that for a second, there's almost always an exclamation of sympathy of some sort.  "Oh you poor woman!" is probably the most common.  Today the librarian used the word "bombarded", as though I'm the victim of some random act of violence.  Really, it's okay, I do understand why people are so intrigued by us, we are an unusual family by today's standards.  I just wish they'd take a second to think, before they blurt things out in front of my children.

As we walked out of the library, we passed a mother and daughter reading a book together.  The little girl was sitting on her mom's lap, completely engrossed in something with a very pink and sparkly cover.  I looked up and saw three of my boys scaling the cement wall that lines the walkway, and two more calling back to me from the fountain ahead, "They should put fish in this thing!"  I glanced back at that woman with her little girl, obliviously enjoying that book, and thought how different our lives must be. 

Not better or worse.  Just different. 

And that's where I struggle the most with relating to the general public.  It doesn't matter to me how many people feel sorry for me that I'm "stuck with" all these boys, I know they're wrong.  They'll never convince me that I should be upset about what God has given me.  I just couldn't be.

But when I'm asked if I want a daughter, the answer doesn't come easily.  I feel like if I say yes, people will take that as a confirmation of their suspicions that that's the only reason I have so many children - we keep trying for a girl and just keep getting boys.  However, I can't honestly say no, because of course I'd love to have a daughter!  In addition to my sons, of course, not instead of.

If I thought they'd understand, I'd put it like this:  I want to have a daughter, the way a young girl wants to have a husband.  When I think of my future, I can picture a daughter in it.  I sometimes smile at the thought, and feel the sweetness of anticipation, at what that might be like someday.  I think of the things we'll do together, and I love her already. 

I don't feel a void though.  I don't have the sense that I've been deprived of something, any more than a young girl would feel something was missing because she doesn't have a husband yet.  It's a possibility to look forward to, not something to demand or expect.

And you know what else makes me happy?  The thought of having nothing but an army of boys.  I'll take ten more, if God will send them to me, and I'll love them with a heart bursting with gratitude.  I would gladly accept the joy of knowing that He thought me worthy of such a unique life.
I know that if God wants me to be the mother of a girl, then it will happen that way.  And that's good enough for me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daybook: A Summer Monday

Outside my's sunny and warm, a perfect summer day.  Nothing like the record highs and lengthy heat wave we had last week, thank GOODNESS!

I am listening to...the boys above me:  Someone's playing the piano, someone's playing with the puppy, and the rest are either yelling or laughing.  Pretty typical sounds for this house.  Love, love, love my basement.

I am wearing...nothing special - Black cotton pants and a light blue v-neck tee.  My hair is back in a getting-heavier-by-the-day bun.  It's time for a hair cut.  A serious one.  Maybe this week.

I am thinking...
about schedules.  How our days will look during the upcoming school year.  What time we get up, do chores, eat lunch.  The activities we commit to.  Schedules.  Lots of thinking to do.

I am looking forward to...this week.  We had a nice 3 day visit with my in-laws last week, but Grandma and Grandpa in town = party time in the boys' minds.  And cramming months worth of visiting into 3 days is exhausting for everyone involved.  My calendar is nearly blank for the next 7 days, and I plan to enjoy it.

I am thankful...for my home.  We've lived here for over a year now, and some days it still doesn't seem real.  I just love it. 

I am praying...for my husband.  He has a lot of pressure on him right now, in many areas of life.  He handles it well, but I know everyone has a breaking point somewhere.  Praying he can get through these next few weeks, finish the class he's taking, and have a chance to relax for a minute at some point!

I am creating...a school room!  Last school year was the first time we lived in a house with enough room to even consider having an area dedicated to school alone.  Except, with moving here in July and having a newborn, I didn't exactly have a chance to set something up.  We finally have our basement pretty well organized (considering it's just a wide open, unfinished basement), and I have an area that's about 15 ft. x 15 ft. to work with.  I'm surrounding it with bookshelves, cubbies, drawers, file cabinets and desks, to separate it from the rest of the basement, and we have our old dining table in the center.  Mr. Smith is going to put up some good lighting for us.  I have a lot more work to do in the next three weeks before we start our school year, but it's really starting to come together.

I am the library.  Hopefully today.  The boys are all registered for the summer reading program, so they each get to choose a free book.  Love free books.

One of my favorite things...summer.  I soooooo need this time to rejuvenate. 

Around the house...too many tan walls!  I loved the neutral paint they used to sell us the house, but it's time for it to go!  I have an idea of what colors I want in some of the rooms, but finding the funds for paint, and the time to take on such a huge project is another story.  At this rate though, we may have tan walls for many, many years.

From the kitchen...sugar-free fare.  The Mr. and I are giving a week to South Beach style eating.  No crazy diet fad, just a detox of sorts.  We've done it before, and even with just a week of cutting out the sugar, we feel so much better.  After a week, we just don't want the sugar as much, and the new habits we've created tend to stick around for a while.  This is day one though, and by tonight I'll be dreaming about ice cream...

From the school room...lots and lots of planning!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
last baseball game
piano lessons
park with homeschool friends
fishing this weekend

A picture thought to share...
sadly, no pictures.  My camera died the same week as the computer.  I know, when it rains, it pours.  The computer was obviously higher priority.  It may be a while before I have a decent picture to share.  There's a time for everything!

Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman for more Daybook entries.