Tag Archives: love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

May today fill you with feelings of love and appreciation.

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As we read various stories to the kiddos of love and kindness,

may we too remember that:

we are loved!!!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that whomever believes in Him may not die…but have eternal life”- John 3:16

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God Bless,

Tammi

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World Marriage Day!

I was recently asked to join a “link up” of other Catholic bloggers to post something on Catholic Marriage in celebration of World Marriage Day.

What is World Marriage Day, you ask?

“World Marriage Day received a special blessing from Pope John Paul II in 1993 and is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of February. This year, it falls on the same day as Valentine’s Day. WMD’s website has a great list of ways you can celebrate with your spouse on this special day like looking at your wedding pictures together, telling your children how you met and fell in love, or doing something special for another married couple. The purpose of World Marriage Day is to examine the love in your marriage, how it used to be and how it has developed, and celebrate that love with your spouse.”- taken from Catholic Mommy blogs.

Anyone that know me, knows that I LOVE to talk about the hubs and our marriage. This June, we will be celebrating 15 years of marriage. We have had beautiful memories, painful growth spurts, “he’s an ass” moments (hahaha), and the “I’m sorry for my part in this argument” conversations. However, my favorite blog that I have written on this topic has to be “Are you a fighter” ,when I challenge others to really “fight” for their marriage. We are currently in a society that believes that when something is no longer “working”, we just “get a new one”. We rarely “fight” for things. Divorce is on the rise because there is often one spouse fighting for their marriage and the other spouse takes the easier road of just giving up.  If you feel like your marriage is lacking “passion” or “zeal”, I would recommend that you start with this blog post, and then move on to these other ones that I have written as “follow ups”.  I would also recommend reading  “Are you a fighter, part two”. and” advice for a newlywed.”

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This Catholic bloggers “link up” is a great resource to meet other Catholic mommy bloggers who share their own testimonials about Marriage and Catholic families. I hope that you will find some times this weekend to celebrate your marriage and read some of these inspiring and insightful blogs.

God bless,

Tammi

 

Ways to love your ONLY son…..

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The minute I heard the basketball hit the pavement, I made a dart for the kitchen door. The hubs was supposedly taking out the trash but I knew better…he was going to try and get in a few “hoops” and I wanted in. We were out for only 5 minutes when I heard the door open….

“wait??!! What??!!! I’m playing!!!”…..said DDD.

“nope…go get ready for bed. It’s just your mom and I.”

And with that…I heard the door shut…and minutes later, the living room window open.

“Wow, dad…looks like you should just hand the ball to mom!”

“Ouch, mom…I thought you said that was your “money shot”!

“Seriously…..you old people are terrible.”

The child is a serious heckler…but…I gotta forgive him because it’s in his genes. Few things make my heart flutter like the hubs when he gets in a great “one liner”…and knows it. And DDD is no different. As soon as he delivers a good liner, he throws his head back and explosive laughter ensues.

I had to duck behind the garage door so I could bend over, I was laughing so hard at some of his comments to us.

This kid….he is really one of a kind.

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I am often asked what it is like to be raising a son with four girls. I’m not really sure how to answer that. A few words come to mind….amazing…hysterical….joyfilled…..annoying…exhausting….just to name a few. I guess half of the battle is realizing that he’s totally different than each of this sisters down to even his biological makeup. And with that….he has to be parented differently.

To put it simply, he’s my rock…..in my basket of eggs.IMG_7319

Stay with me….I am sure it will get clearer.

My girls are the eggs. Their feelings are fragile. I never know what will throw them into tears or some kind of drama. They need to be cuddled and comforted. They want to be hugged and protected. They like to be “sat on” by the momma hen….cared for and comforted. They can’t seem to get close enough and yet they always need that caring and sensitive hand to reach out to them. Small criticisms about the state of their hair can cause them to burst into tears, and one loving complement on their “stylish” outfit can make their day. Even the biggest tomboy needs the reassurance of mom and dad.

Then there’s my rock. He wants to knock stuff off the shelves and be thrown to break stuff. He has rough edges and can be too rough without knowing it. He’s rough and yet steady. He is the first object you pick up to defend yourself and the annoying object in your shoe causing you discomfort. There is a reason that boys love to “skip rocks” at the creek…..

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I will never forget when DDD was a toddler. He brought so much imagination and pretend play to our house. Sweet Pea watched in awe as her “broom” became a toy horse…and her pots and pans from the kitchen became perfect hats for his head. She was memorized by his ability to find everything fun. He would often sit and stare at the wall in our hallway…..and she could be found sitting next to him, knowing that if he found it fun…than it was.

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He is the “master fort builder” in these parts and his games leave little to be imagined. He is the ultimate “spy” as he has covert spies helping him all the time.

For the past few years, he has begged us for a brother…a gift we have not yet been able to give him. However, in the way that he always has made lemonade out of lemons, he is the ultimate “big brother” cousin to all his little cousins. He is constantly looking out for them and always ready and willing for the next fun thing to play. He can be found holding a “shot gun” and wearing a Daniel Boone hat one minute, and cuddling with a young cousin on the couch the next.

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So…how do I handle life with a “rock”….well….I can only offer 9 years experience, but here is what I have found to be successful:

  • Most attitudes/or personality difficulties are a phase. However difficult, he likes to know when he has been “impressive” or a “huge help”. I grab him his favorite treat for a helpful week or give him extra kindle or TV time.
  • I wrestle him….as often as possible….. (my shoulders are often sore from him hanging on them, and my legs bruised)
  • I pin him down at nighttime to sneak in a kiss (because I know he wants one but fights me for it)
  • I sneak up on him to capture cool moments on video…because I know he will want to view them later.
  • I let him “stall” and hug me ten times at bedtime so he can watch the last 10 minutes of a show, because I need those hugs more than he does and there will come a time when they are not there….
  • I memorize lyrics to songs that he loves so I can sing louder than him and he can learn the words…..
  • I DVR his favorite shows and quietly watch while he does…so I can ask him questions about his favorite characters.
  • I steal the ball from him while he is shooting hoops so he knows that I want to spend time with him.
  • I look up jokes on the internet so I can “slam him” but really…I’m just providing him with good material….
  • I sign him up for engineering or science classes that play on his strengths of creativity and building.

Most of all, I am constantly seeking guidance from the Lord in how to love this kid with all I have. Some days are tough, but he’s a clown and I can get all “I’m on a mission and your antics are driving me batty” and some days I just want to put him in my pocket to entertain me all day.

My prayer is that I can continue to mold him into the man that God envisions. That, being surrounded by women that love him, he may truly be a man that loves and respects women.

That by seeking the man whom his dad is…he might seek that same Godly character for his life.

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God Bless,

Tammi

Valentine’s Day….teaching our son “respect”

Saturday morning, my family woke up to the smell of sausage and pancakes….

Pink, heart pancakes…..

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Making a big breakfast on holidays is one of my favorite “gifts” to my family. We love to gather around a festive table, enjoy good food, and fabulous company. It’s a wonderful way to slooooooooooowwwwwww down and look around at the love that surrounds our table.

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But, our family doesn’t need Valentine’s Day to express our love for each other. We are often hugging, cuddling, and telling each other how we feel. It’s not something that came naturally for me. It was something that I experienced through watching my husband’s interactions with his family. I have often told my husband that one of the things that attracted me to him was watching him interact with his mom and sisters. I wanted to feel that same freedom in loving. I wanted to be loved by him like his sisters were. I could tell, by the love and respect that he showed his sisters, that whomever had his heart would be truly loved. I consider myself blessed to be that lady.

Yesterday, I was using my husband’s Iphone, and I found this text message from Valentine’s Day 2013 to his sisters:

” Each of you have been such an amazing witness of Motherhood and have helped form me in how to treat a lady. I don’t know how many times a day people will tell me its obvious that I have lots of sisters. “

It made me smile as I realized that that is exactly what I want for my son. One day, I would like to think that he would write a beautiful message like this to his sisters. We are trying to teach him to love his sisters….to respect the little ladies that occupy our home….to learn early what it means to honor a lady.

 

Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine’s Day 2012

Respect is something that you are taught. It is a character trait that is instilled in you as a young child. I can expect my son and daughters to look at an adult when they are being addressed, because I taught them to. I can expect him to open doors for ladies, and protect women, because…we taught him that.  My son WILL grow up honoring women, because….we taught him to.

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Valentine’s Day is a day when DDD gets to do just that. His dad takes him to the store and he gets to pick out some little “gifts” for the ladies in his life. He reminds my husband and I every year about this tradition. It’s something that he loves. It started with an idea that we had, but he possessed it. It became his tradition….and Here he is, obviously giddy with excitement.

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He calls his sisters into the room to present them each with a beautiful rose. They sit, patiently waiting, to see what he has gotten them. As a parent, it’s a beautiful exchange of love to witness your children do for each other.

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And if the roses weren’t enough, he then reveals the large box of chocolates that he picked up too.The squeals of delight, the quick hugs of excitement! It’s an amazing thing to behold.

Thankfully, he has been training by one of the best gift-givers.

These were my “spoils” from the hubs. He has taught DDD well!

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But let’s be honest….Valentine’s Day..is just one day. Valentine’s Day is just one day that we roll out the flowers and chocolates. However, true love and respect is shown daily. Thankfully, I am in a relationship/marriage full of mutual respect, passion and love. My son learns some of his biggest lessons just being in our home everyday.

We have to teach our spouses, and our children to respect us and each other. My prayer is that my son will continue to grow in virtue, respect and honor. In the meantime, I will continue to place “teachable lessons” in his path!

I hope you had a Happy Valentine’s Day!

God Bless,

Tammi

Everyday…….

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“I will always love you”…

Everyday……every moment…..

a daily commitment….

The hubs recently hung this photo and sign up in our bedroom.  We have been meaning to hang it for some time now and finally got it done last week.

I’m not a huge “selfie” person….but this I love this picture.

I had to hang it up because I want to look at it as often as possible.

And the story behind this photo is pretty cool….

We hired a professional photographer about two years ago. He was a former colleague of my husband’s and was looking to get some more families photographed. We had never done this before and we were excited for him to capture the true “nature” of our family. Well, the hubs and I were watching the photographer take several pictures of the kids “frolicking” in the fall leaves. It was a photo I had requested so I was eager to see how it would turn out. As we watched the kids throw up the leaves and catch them, the hubs leans over me and wraps his arms around me. “Can we believe all those kids are ours? I love them so much”, he says. “I know.” I said.
At that moment, the photographer turns around and shouts, “Tammi”…..I look as he snaps a picture of us sharing that moment.

It’s one of the reasons I love this picture so much. It’s not staged. We weren’t “positioned”. It was just “us” loving our vocations in life. It’s our facial “yes” to our life together. It’s taking a brief moment to celebrate our life together…and the five little blessings created from that love.

We all need reminders….we create lists. We set alarms on our phones.

Let’s make sure we also fill our homes with reminders of love.

Let’s also remember what we are committing to daily..

Are you a fighter?

Part Two: Are you a fighter?

God bless,

Tammi

A slow return……to Fall…

I haven’t blogged in so long. It’s not because I lack things to talk about. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve been enjoying the beauty of trying to “unplug” and enjoy my kids this summer. As much as I love homeschooling, much of what I do during the school year is the opposite of my personality. In the summer, I can dawn the hat of “fun, spontaneous mom” that I love. No lesson planning, no set days of schoolwork, no lists to check off, no threats over completing math problems, no stressing over days filled with hours of activity…..and I love it!!!

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I love deciding to have dinner at the pool, or having ice cream for lunch. I love cuddling with the kids in my bed and laughing about their antics. I love the HOURS my kids get to play with nonstop interruption for an academic lesson. I love the countless “concerts” and “performances” that I get to watch from my couch….hours of taping the kids fun episodes on my iphone. I love the lack of responsibility that summer brings…and I know that in order to have balance I need that. I need that “down time” so that I can conquer the next school year. However, as the summer draws to a close, I am having a much harder time this year with embracing this new “season” in my life…..with embracing the upcoming school year.

I have so much to share with you that has been a part of my life this summer. I want to fill you in on our big road trip to New England, on all the personal growth I have undergone, and life with five growing kiddos…. but my heart can’t get pass the feelings that I am overcome with right now.

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How everything that is filling my mind is just…. not important…..

that’s how I feel. I am beginning to question:

What are my priorities in this life?….am I fulfilling them?

And it’s beginning to affect everything that I am doing.

I wake up thinking about it…and go to bed with the same thoughts. Why do I have to pay bills? How important is this schoolwork?  Why is it so tough for me to make God a priority in my life? I feel that the Lord is calling me to re-evaluate everything that is important and that I value as important in my life.

Suicide of famous actors. Abortion. The death of thousands of children in the mountains of Iraq. Earthquake in China. Riots in Missouri. Journalist John Foley’s death. Countless stories of moms and dads abusing their children. The ISIS reign of terror…..

The news just seems to inundate me daily. I can’t avoid it….My facebook newsfeed is full of horrific stories of tragedy….personal friends begging for prayers……many of my friends having full debates about the ISIS situation…..

I start to feel so burdened….so sad…..somewhat hopeless. I start wondering where God is? Why hasn’t He intervened???? But have I invited him?…….Like Peter during the storm, I need to cry out to the Lord to help me….

Lord, have mercy.

How do I immerse myself in prayer for these situations without leading myself into despair? How do I go about my day with my morning vanilla chai and my morning prayer, when there is such uncertainty in the world right now? How can I unite my sufferings with so many, Lord?

Christ, have mercy.

I guess I need to fall on the mercy of our faith.  To remember that we are community of believers. That when the “body of Christ” suffers, all of its members suffer. To turn to the Lord and ask him what he is asking of me.

What is my role in all of this?

I believe that this question will be a daily prayer for me.

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed”.

I can honestly say that the current state of events has really changed the way that I think, especially about attending Mass on Sunday. What a privilege to worship the Lord so freely??!! I can’t imagine that freedom being taken away…… How many times have I laid in my bed from a late night and wince at the idea of heading out to Mass? It’s embarrassing to admit but…I’ve been there. How many times was I sick or one of the kids under the weather and I was annoyed at having to find a late Mass to attend or having to go to separate Masses with the hubs? The truth is…until you are denied this basic right…you will exploit it. You will take it for granted. The Lord is showing me that my faith is the greatest gift that He has given me. I must cherish it and put it at the for front of my life.

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The hubs and I have also decided to take another look at our budget, to make sure that we are being good stewards of our money. Are there areas that we are just wasting money? Can we be blessing more people than we are? We also have started to talk to our children about the frivilous use of words like “starving” or “needs”. Our children are privileged on so many levels but we need them to really see their blessings and be more appreciative of what they have.

We also feel a greater challenge, as parents, to raise a new generation of martyrs. Does that sound crazy to you? It scares the heck out of me….but I need to prepare my kids little souls for greatness! They need to know that NOTHING is worth their soul.

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We have had plenty of time over the last few weeks to discuss the children who were fleeing in the mountains in Iraq. We have talked about their poor parents who sent them to die of hunger rather than death by the enemy. We have talked about offering our holy communions up for those souls who live in fear, that the Lord may be with them in a special way. This is a beautiful time in our Church to teach our children about present day martyrs as we continue to focus on the lives of the saints and the examples they have taught us.

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It’s also a great time to cling to our faith and remember that God IS, has always been; will always be!! The greatness of our God overweighs whatever evil will try and rob us of our peace.

I will end this post with one of the MOST inspiring performances that I have heard……

Carrie Underwood just really sings from the heart in this one….

During your tough or low times this week, may you always remember how much you are loved and cared for by the Lord.

 God bless,

Tammi

Celebrating the life of “the fashionista”!!!

The fashionista is turning 7 today !

How is that possible??!!!

baby kaleighShe was such a little peanut , born weighing only 6 lbs. She earned the nickname “pickle” which we called her til she was about 3 years old. She was the perfect “combo” kid since Sweet Pea looked just like me and DDD looked just like my husband.

 I thought I would honor her by showing some photos of her from the past…..before I was a blogger..haha

kaleigh and shayI mean….how cute is she!

She was as cute as a button but….our first “feisty” kid. Sweet Pea just wanted to kiss on her all day but she would have no part of it. She was tough and pretty tenacious. She would scream if they were driving her crazy but spent most of her playtime jumping around like crazy.

We learned early that she would find a great playmate in Dirty Dog D. He was able to teach her the “ropes” and yet snag a partner for his wild adventures.

tiarasThe fashionista was always found with a tiara on. However, in this picture DDD is showing her how to use the tiara as a superhero vision ray…haha. She would do anything he said.

saint picShe was always a sweet kid….but demanded her space and for things to be done her way.

We learned quickly that she was going to “school us” in raising a diva. She quickly begin to challenge the “hand me downs” that I wanted to dress her in and showed me that she had her own style.

kals 5She could accessorize, and still does, like no one’s business! Her outfits often include several bracelets and earrings that she “finds” in my room. If I hear someone “clunking” down the hall, it is usually her with a pair of my high heels.

If any of the kids need help with outfits, she is the first one that they consult. She is so great about helping everyone and is always a fun playmate.

packingHere she is with Mini me as I was trying to pack for my getaway with the hubs to Cancun. She could not believe she “never saw this hat before”! I had to double check my suitcase when the two of them left. She’s been known to confiscate pieces that she “loves”. haha.

buddiesShe’s a super great friend! The fashionista has very few girlfriends. My husband and I joke around that she was a very small “inner” circle and that’s it. She is super confident, independent, and full of life.

She has always seen herself as a princess. We constantly affirm that she is the daughter of a heavenly king, which she loves!!!

On her fifth birthday, she wanted the ultimate princess party….

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She invited all her friends to wear their princess dresses, as she was definitely going to be decked out for the party.

And the cake…..had to be amazing as well….

birthday cake 2Thankfully, my little kitchen helpers came in handy. It was a fabulous party!

arielAnd at her 6th birthday party, she decided that she was going to be Ariel. It wasn’t enough to get the mermaid dress and shoes. Of course not….she needed the red wig!!!

And this year, we will be hanging poolside as we focus on her newest thrill….

Elsa from Frozen…..

Happy Birthday Fashionista!

Little one,  You have helped me to learn that independence is good and that sometimes being your mom means just watching you grow into an amazing little girl. You require so little direction as you have always been a confident leader.

july 4You truly are one of a kind and you have my heart!

My prayer is that you will always be expressive and full of the joy of life!

Love, Mommy….