"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Thursday, June 30, 2016


July is a nice month, right?  I mean, June babies are awesome.   But July would be a new month for our family, birthday-wise.   Actually, we'd have a birthday every month from March through August!

I am liking July! Of course, June 30th is a really lovely date too.  A nice even number.  I think I have about 6 or 7 more hours of June.  Then I'll have a July baby!

Do you know that I really love summer?

I think I'm really going to like not  being pregnant in the summer!

I took the kids to the pool and sat on the edge while Arwen was my "lifeguard" in the water for Eowyn.

She got some pictures while she was there.  I'm pretty happy with the progress my kids are making on the swim front.  I really love it when I know they can swim.  Just kind of need that if you're going to take, say, 8 or 9 children to a pool!

It's hard to keep from wishing away the summer days that should be savored when you are also waiting for a baby to arrive--every hour, every moment, every contraction!

I am thankful for this summer, for the break it has given me from the work of teaching, for the opportunity it has afforded me to put some order in the corners of my home, for the time it has given me to carefully consider (and lengthily talk about) Arwen's high school education plans.  And, soon, VERY soon I hope, for the weeks it will give me to bring a new baby into our family and grow into a new family with five sons and four daughters.

Keep praying for me!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Continues

Outside my window: it's darker this morning.  It has been so beautiful, but humid, and I'm hoping the cooler weather will be better for my swelling.

My window box is starting to grow again--pictures soon!  Eowyn is my watering "helper" this summer--the flowers are doing wonderfully!  Eowyn can't get enough of the hose!

I am listening to: footsteps on the stairs as people trickle down from upstairs.  Quiet voices.  Bilbo making me coffee...you know I'm wearing thin if I'm not making my own coffee in the morning!  So, yes: no baby last night.

Thankful: My sweet, generous mom took three of my sisters' kids swimming at the local pool yesterday and Bilbo rode his bike over to join them.  Then she picked up two of my kids from baseball/softball so I wouldn't have to load up the little kids after bedtime to get the players.  As a result, I was able to get my little ones down by 7!  (That is record-breaking these days.)  AND she drove to the train station at 9:40pm to get Arwen and her urbane "Uncle Father" (my ordained brother) who had gone to Chicago for the day and taken a delighted 14-year-old in tow.

Education at its best: My brother has contacts for the work he does in Chicago and he always makes a trip to the windy city when he comes home.  This year, after joining her uncle for a "business lunch", Arwen was able to visit the art museum and go on an architectural boat tour of the downtown.

My brother is taking Arwen's education and rounding it out in a way that I absolutely never ever could (at this point in my life, with her 7 siblings in tow).  This summer they also have gone to the symphony and to a baroque chamber performance in an old church.  These types of cultural events are so much harder for me to give my children.  So, as I said: thankful!

Counting Blessings:  For a final summer with my dear sister and her 4 children before they move back out of state.  For afternoons chatting on porch couches watching the kids have splash contests in the big blow-up pool in the front yard.

For encouraging e-mails from friends near and far, letting me know they are praying for me.

For a sweet sister who dropped off several rounds of baby clothes (and lunch), dinner, and special "extras" for an overdue Mama.

For another sister (yes, I have three!) who texted me that she offered her Mass for me on my due date.

For another day of math work before the baby comes (which I am convinced will sabotage all such efforts).

For Galadriel's upcoming camping over-night with her cousin and their girls' club.

Prayer intentions: of course, for a safe (and hopefully SOON!) delivery

For Galadriel's ear.  We're on a new antibiotic.  She should be clear to swim by next Saturday.  Last year's surgery is crimping her style this summer too.  I'm hoping that this most recent infection/loss of ear tube/antibiotics will render her ear pain free from here on out!  With good plugs, she should be able to swim again on Saturday.

Let's see if this will be my last post until the baby comes! (Don't hold your breath--just say a prayer!:))

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Reading Recommendation

It seems like there are a lot of
"Summer Reading Recommendations"
going around on blogs right now,
so, since I'm clearly not going to have
this baby, I thought I'd distract
myself  join in the fun and throw a
recommendation out there!

Arwen and I binge-
read this book in about two days
each.  It's a bit of a modern-day Jane
Austen knock-off novel.  The heroine
is Elizabeth Benning (not Bennet)
who has a sister Jane and a best
friend Emily (not Charlotte) Lucas.
There are Collinses who give woo.
But it's far from a simple modern-
day retelling of "Pride and Prejudice".

Susie Andres does a charming job of developing the character of her heroine "Liz", "Lizzy", or "Elizabeth".  Elizabeth is not a young heroine, she is 32-33, has just lost the job she loved to work since her graduation from college, and has moved back home with her parents now that her best friend is getting married.  Elizabeth isn't depressed about her state in life (which I appreciate--nothing worse than a washed up old maid waiting for a man to make her life right!) Elizabeth is a lady with many resources, and the book is based upon a rivalry she has with her brother-in-law.  Their relationship is also well developed and surprisingly complex.  This book is mostly about Elizabeth fighting really hard to prove herself and learning (from Mr. Right) that that is what is making her unhappy.  The key to finding "paradise" begins with not caring how another might be judging her.  

Of course, there are very funny side plots, characters, and a wonderful running theme of Elizabeth's aversion to peanut butter.  I'd recommend this for mothers and their tween-and up-aged daughters to read and enjoy together as fun summer "chick flick" style reading.  

Many references to stomach troubles with peanut butter aversions, a black eye won in a softball game victory, and a hilarious scene or two in an elevator with a would-be suitor, (and I've got to include the entire chapter in which Elizabeth is dressed up as an Ewok, for trick-or-treating with her Star Wars themed nephews, might be enough to entice a husband or son to pick the book up themselves!

Thoroughly enjoyable!  A super summer read!   

Saturday, June 25, 2016

And now I'm "due"

The baby wasn't born on my mother-in-law's predicted date.

 My kids are starting to be disappointed every morning they wake up and I'm still here, still pregnant.   They aren't the only ones.

My to-do list is less appealing to me now than it was a couple of weeks ago.  A chocolate shake from Chick-Fil-A was appealing, though!  Sitting on my back patio watching our new grass grow was also very appealing.  Yes, I'm watching grass grow.

This morning two of our ball players had make up games, so I spent some time cheering Aragorn on to a loss.  He did great.  His team isn't super.  Gatorade and some seats in the shade were very welcome.  I waddled over to a park to try to play with my three youngest.  My bladder keeps these types of efforts short lived.  Not that you want to hear about anyone's bladder.

Thunderstorms are predicted for tonight.  Tonight.  That's my guess!  I can wait one more day.  I've waited for this baby for 9 months.  I'm so ready.  We are all so ready to meet him!  Keep me in your prayers--I'd love the next picture I post to be of a beautiful newborn boy!

Photo credits: Arwen
playing with "white balance" for her photography class in the last three shots

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Thinkings

You know my due date is tomorrow.  Arwen was born on the birthday of my husband's grandmother.  Arwen was named for her.  (She had died before I was able to meet her, right before my husband began college).  Today is not only the Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist, it is also the anniversary of her death.  My mother-in-law told me back in November that I would have the baby today.  She said she "knew" it as soon as she heard when my due date was.  Let's see if she's right--I wouldn't doubt it; combining mother and daughter's intercessory prayers--I wouldn't doubt it at all!  (And I wouldn't be at all unhappy with a delivery today!)

From the garden:

Arwen took these pictures of our flowers.  I keep asking her to get pictures of our mulch/grass project out back.  I guess it's not as fun to photograph.  Of course, I do know how to snap a picture with a camera myself...but that would entail getting off of the couch, walking, and carrying a camera.  I'm thinking that's too much effort at this point.

Nesting: I re-packed my suitcase yesterday.  I realized I'm missing a LONG LIST of essentials for our new baby!  Socks, mittened onesies (my kids always scratch their faces with their baby nails), baby shampoo, lotion, diaper cream.  What have I been doing for 9 months?!!!  

Truth:  I pretend that I don't leave the couch.  That's just wishful thinking.  Yesterday was full of appointments and swimming lessons.  We have spent $500.00 at the dermatologist this summer (ouch!) Poor Galadriel is fighting a nasty contagious skin virus.  Luckily it's not *that* contagious.  I think we're mostly escaping contagium.  Between her ear and skin issues, she's been a little trooper this summer.

I keep failing to get dinner ready in time for the baseball players to eat before their games!  Part of the problem is that my husband coaches and has to get there well before game time.  I am always caught off guard with dinner ready at 5:15--just as they are heading out the door.  #latedinners, #microwavedinners.

Gimli's team is undefeated so far this season.  They were undefeated last year.  They had a winning record the first year my husband coached too.  But tournament week?  Out first round, both years.  There's some serious game-planning going on around here.  My men folk are determined to win at least ONE of the tournament games.

And my in-laws are threatening to come for tournament week.  This is fine by me (I'm happy to show off a new baby!) but it adds pressure to my husband to have his dad watching.  Isn't that cute?:)  

I'm out of time.  Here are some pictures of my current "baby" to finish up the post...you might not see so much of her for a while. :)  

The best part of summer is keeping ALL messes outdoors!

(Still loving the bangs her brother gave her--rrrrr.)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Up and Running!

No, I'm not running, and I'm not always "up"...the couch is my very good friend these days.  Actually, I'm supposed to be taking this "running position" on my right side with a pillow between my legs in order to get Mr. 9 to face the right direction (back!).

These pictures are intentionally blurry.  Arwen's taking her photography course and one of her assignments was to play with fast and slow shutter speeds.

I am very thankful for this photography class...it forced Arwen to get our nice camera charged and ready for when our baby arrives.  An added bonus is that you might get something better than iPhone pics one of these days!:)

I love this one of Eowyn--it looks like we have fairies dancing on our lawn!  Eowyn was happy to oblige her big sister in the search for a perfect action shot: she (Eowyn) is obsessed with Angelina Ballerina these days.  In fact, she corrected me this morning when I called her by her given name.  She informed me that she is Angelina.

Of course the fact that my daughter (and any number of siblings) have been averaging 2 hours of Angelina or Curious George a day has 100% to do with the fact that I'm 9 months pregnant and nothing to do with my philosophy of good parenting.  I keep telling my husband we need to get rid of our TV.  I have no will power when combining whining tired toddlers, a messy house, the need for dinner on the table, and my pregnancy body.
(Two girls pictured here: Galadriel is the blur! haha)

Here's a fast shutter speed for ya: a little relief on the eyes! It's been hot, so on Father's Day I sent my beloved spouse (#bestdadever) to Target for a mini pool and water guns.

This one's random, but I sort of loved it.  Those "side bangs"? Courtesy of Legolas.  Yep.  You know I love how they fall out of her pony and make her look like a constant mess.  #bigfamilyproblems

So now you know I should be posting again.  Keep looking for the new baby update--I really am going to have this baby, right?  I mean, he can't stay in forever can he?  Please send prayers if you think of me!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

39 Weeks

My computer died, and then my phone died.  I have no pictures, so...boring blog posts.  Or in this case, no blog posts (sorry for my absence).  I guess I haven't been very inspired lately.  Do I sound like a weary pregnant lady?

A few updates as to what I've been up to (since I am pretty sure I haven't seen the outside of my home since I went to the birth center with false labor at midnight a few days ago).

1) crawling on my hands and knees around the family room rug.  My baby keeps rolling posterior, and we want him anterior, preferably.   It's all hands and feet when he's face-up, so I know when he's not looking the right way!

2) week 1 down with swimming lessons, but Galadriel had to bail.  Her tubes in her ears from last summer's surgery are letting water into her sinuses and causing air bubbles to plug (and cause painful popping in) her ears.  We're working on finding good ear plugs and possibly seeing her doctor for the second time this month.

3) planting the final flowers of the summer.  I did this the day before my "false alarm"...maybe no gardening in 100 degree humidity at 38 weeks pregnant.  #lessonslearned, #crazynester

4) binge reading "The Paradise Project" by Suzie Andres.  It's a Catholic must-read (especially for those who were taught by her husband!)  I'm a big fan of Suzie Andres, she just doesn't know it yet.  I'm going to buy this book for my sisters and nieces--it's just too fun!

5) drinking coconut water and eating dark chocolate.  Apparently my electrolytes might be a little low (I've been told this in past pregnancies as well).  Coconut water has tons of potassium.  I never knew this before.  Dark chocolate?  Good for iron I guess.  My midwife recommends it and I'm happy to oblige!

6) missing baseball games, but doing some driving.  I really can't spend two hours at games keeping the little ones happy--I don't have the energy at this point.  My husband does as much driving as he can to help me out, but when he's coaching I do have to make runs to the local parks to get my players to and fro.  I'm working on earlier dinner times so we can eat together before the players have to run at night.  I'm still operating on school-day hours, and that means I'm getting dinner ready as they're leaving for games.  I really hate not eating together, so, 4pm means I better be cooking!

That's about it! My 39 week update.  :)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A First Mass

After the Ordination in Europe, my brother, a newly ordained priest, was allowed a "home visit" and a chance for all of us to attend his "First Mass".

The coordinator of the altar boys was kind enough to swap dates so that my boys could serve for their Uncle.

And it was the perfect opportunity for an extended-family "photo op".  As you might imagine, a group this size is hard to assemble, much less photograph very often!

We scored a family photo, too.  It will be no longer current as soon as Mr. #9 arrives, but I'll take it!

Then there was a reception in the parish hall.

Besides the cake that I'm drooling over right now as I post pictures,

there were the "first blessings", which carry with them a plenary indulgence!  As you can imagine, there was a nice line for those as well as the cake!

The kids behaved themselves very well!  (And might have had a little fun while they were at it.)

My amazing sister gets credit for bringing two of the most darling children in tow, my extra-glorious nieces (minus one):

She had five (children) in tow, total, and still managed to look glamorous herself.  #somepeople, #supermom, #I'minhugetroublewhenthisbabycomes!

It was a day to treasure and I'm so thankful we had the chance to celebrate such a beautiful day with family, friends, and the parish community.