Tag Archives: parenting

5 kids……weekly Adoration…7 quick tips to make it possible…..

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“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.”- Mark 9:24

Such beautiful words…so necessary for our times. Sometimes, I just get caught up in the rat race of keeping a clean house; trying to be a loving and Godly wife; and raising little saints for His kingdom that I forget the beauty of silence with God. The beauty of sitting in the presence of the Lord…and allowing Him to speak to my weary soul. Do I truly “possess” the notion that my Lord and savior is available to me 24 hours a day in the beauty of adoration?… “help my unbelief”….

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Eucharist Adoration was something that I experienced early as a child. My mom would take us over the summer for daily Mass and we would sit, one day a week, in adoration for a few minutes. I was far from thrilled…. Didn’t she know summer awaited me? I had summer reading to tackle and friends to chat with…but my mom was “planting seeds”. She was introducing me to an important part of my faith……the part where we learn that true “faith” is going through the motions and praying for a deeper conversion. She knew that one day….I would “get it”.

I attended adoration in high school but few things prepared me for the experience of my first “Steubenville”summer conference. Franciscan University (my alma mater) runs these Summer Youth Conferences all over the country. When I was a high school youth, they were running them only from their college campus. My high school religion teacher, an FUS graduate, convinced me that I needed to attend one. I raised the money for the trip and was off to endure the heat of summer in a huge tent with 2,000 other teens.

One night, I was told we were going to have Eucharist Adoration. No biggie…I had been to that before. However, I heard the large crowd of over 2,000 youth and their chaperones erupt in cheers and chanting. I felt like I was at a concert. “Oh my gosh!, I thought. I wander who is coming in”. Unsure of what was happening, I stood up to see the priest, illuminated by an enormous spotlight, processing through the crowd with the monstrance. At that moment, something inside me broke…and the tears fell. All of a sudden, my soul cried out, “my Lord and my God”. My mind couldn’t comprehend the thoughts that were taking over my heart but I was falling madly in love with Christ. I was truly in the presence of the “King of Kings”.

Our relationship continued to build, as I entered Franciscan University as a freshman and began my first scheduled adoration hour. In the dark of the night, I would throw on my sweatshirt and sweatpants; grab my slippers and brave the cold to meet with the Lord around 3 am. Barely awake, I would open that heavy wooden door, and the beams of lights surrounding the monstrance would overwhelm me. I would spend hours in front of the Lord.

What a gift this was for me in college! Many a night I would fall asleep under the Son’s rays and feel such peace. I would throw my cares upon the Lord…and know that he was there for me. It was before our Lord that my future husband and I often prayed for our future marriage and children.

When I returned to the campus this spring, I was eager to spend a few minutes back in that chapel. To soak in that hearty wood smell, and the creaky of the big doors…….and give my thanks for all the blessings and answers to prayers that had begun in that very building.

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It seems only fitting that my children come to know and love this time before the Lord. I need to plant the same “seeds” in my own children as my mom did. The practical implications of taking five children to weekly adoration seemed like a task I should be willing to conquer, now I just needed to figure out the easiest and most helpful ways to accomplish this.

After several weeks of adoration, I have found that these seven tips have helped me to set a successful adoration trip with my crew:

Reassess your “notion” of adoration. When I was in college, my adoration time was completely quiet. I was not distracted by little whisperers nor was I concerned with the noise level or behavior of the other people in the chapel with me. My adoration time, as a mom with my kids, is shortened to a few moments at a time when I can refocus myself. I must recognize that my time before the Lord is about quality not quantity. I must be willing to “allow my eyes to gaze upward on the Lord” and away from what my children are doing.

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Discuss the “expectations” of your child/children’s behavior. On the way to adoration, I address behavior issues that I recall from the week before. I remind the children that it is appropriate to be “kneeling before the Lord and spending a few moments in prayer”. I review that this is a special time in our week, when we get to spend with the Lord more intimately. I ask each child what they have decided to “do” during their adoration time and make suggestions of people whom they should pray for, etc. I have all my children use the bathroom before we enter the small chapel. I had to recognize that this was going to be a “learned skill” for my kids and with that I had to find a happy medium between constantly correcting them and allowing myself to “enter in” and spend some time in peace myself. I make a point to not allow myself to grow angry as I feel this is counterproductive.

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Start out with a shorter time and slowly increase it weekly. The first time the children and I EVER attended adoration, it was for about 10 minutes. I explained to the little ones, how Jesus comes in “a special way” to be with us. We gradually worked up to 20, then 30, etc…and now we stay for the full hour. I will often pull the little girls over to me to guide them into more formal prayer and to pray over them.

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Bring religious articles/books for your younger children. I have several prayer cards, rosaries, and little saint books that I throw in my bag for our adoration time. I will take a few minutes and help one of the little ones read their book or teach them how to “create the story” from looking at the pictures.

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Thanksgiving/than Petition. Guide your children in speaking to God. I encourage my children to “spend a few minutes thinking of all the blessings we have, and thank God for them. Now, ask God to bless those who have asked for prayer, and need God’s help. Finally, using your own words, tell God how much he means to you and listen for Him to speak to you.” Encourage your children to dialogue with the Lord. Teach them how to sit in the quiet and listen for the voice of God. What a beautiful blessing when they can train their young souls to seek the voice of God. Liken this time to a “visit with grandmom”. “You wouldn’t go to grandmom’s house and eat her cookies, swing in her swing, and play with her dog without greeting her and talking, right?! Well, God awaits us in the blessed sacrament. He longs for you to thank Him for all the blessings in your life.”

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Make suggestions to your children on how to spend their time. I allow my 3 and 5 yr old to color religious coloring books during this time. My 3 yr old also writes “notes” to Jesus that she rolls into scrolls and leaves near the flowers on the vase on the altar floor. My older children (ages 8, 9, and 11) spend their time praying the rosary, walking the stations of the cross on the walls, reading prayer pamphlets or lives of the saint books. Each one of them will come over to me for individual prayer time with me or just to sit in my lap while I pray.

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To make you feel more comfortable, consider speaking to the other adults that hold that same weekly adoration slot that you do. I waited for the woman that shared our adoration time one afternoon. I told her that the children would be coming weekly with me. I assured her that the children would “try” their best to be quiet but that they were learning to “adore Our Lord” and that it would be a process.  I was praying that she would understand. Her response was so loving….so thoughtful. She told me that she loved to see their little faces and that she would pray that it was a blessed time for them.

Adoration is so needed in our chaotic and hectic world today. It is imperative that we teach our young children how to seek the voice of God through silence. May God’s voice not fall on deaf ears…but young ears eager to share His message.

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Don’t ask….no really…you don’t WANT to know….

Don’t ask…..

If you’re a mom, you have definitely pulled this gun out of your holster. It’s that token phrase for “I have no SANE reasoning for what is happening here”.

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An appropriate example would be when your husband walks in to you simultaneously plowing through a 1/2 gallon of ice cream and a margarita….his perplexed look of “what in the sam hell is going on here?” can only be followed by a …..

“Don’t ask”…….

If he is a smart man, he will begin to make himself a drink and grab a spoon to help with the ice cream. He will not press the “issues” of the day with you but will wait until you have entered a place of mental stability.

After 14 years of marriage, the hubs knows to just take my “don’t ask” literally…and just walk away.

Smart man.

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Don’t ask…..

because most of these moments/pictures need little explanation…..

Sit back….and enjoy a good laugh at my expense…..

Have you ever had one of those days/minutes/moments when you want to check and see if you are secretly on camera?! When you are thinking to yourself…“this is clearly insane”.….or “no one would believe me if I told them this……”

like when…….

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You find out that the crayons that you were told were “cleaned up”….just melted all over your van….

or

you go to grab the hand towel in the bathroom, and a munchkin (donut hole) rolls out from underneath…

don’t ask……

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or when your five year old freaks out about “not being tired” and then you find her ten minutes later like this…..

Yeah….don’t ask…..

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When you find two dried up pieces of bread (with diamond impressions on them)stuffed into a red  bag on your bookshelf……

Don’t ask……

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When your daughter uses her $25 gift card from Claire’s to purchase a “kitty mask” instead of a headband…or earrings……..

really…..don’t ask…..

When you open up the fridge to make eggs for breakfast, and find baseball cards…

found these in the fridge.

found these in the fridge.

No, really……what in the hell is going on here??!!!

Don’t ask……

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When you are cruising through your iphone and find this creepy picture…..

Yep…..don’t ask….. 

or when your son decides to talk “like a parrot” and “echo everyone”…all…day….until the little girls are in tears……

……..(pass the shot glass)..and just don’t ask…..

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When you are tempting to tell the 3 yr old how awesome her drawing of you is and then she says…”I wanted you to look ugly.”…….

Don’t ask…..

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When you decide that the cranky toddler’s need for sleep, overrides the need for a clean face…..

hahaha…don’t ask….

Oh man…everyday I ride between normalcy and crazytown…..

this life is anything but boring.

Thank you, Lord, for these little gifts who take my sanity and bring me so much joy.

 Well…..I’m so glad to be huddled up in my covers and saying “goodnight” to this day….bring on the weekend!!!

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Seeing motherhood through the eyes of a child…..

When I was a child, I use to love to play with my sister. She was about 2 years older than me and always had great games we could think up. We would run the gamut of different careers in our imaginative play time in our bedrooms. We often were doctors, nurses, secretaries, lawyers, fashion designers, etc. We would spend long afternoons “dreaming” about what our lives would be like when we were older.

It seemed simple enough…..

We would have the most “put together” outfits…..

We would change our nail polish everyday to match our outfits…..

We would have four or five perfectly behaved kids…..

And a large home with a corvette….

In essence, we were barbies…..haha.

If you were to ask us what our mom did, we would say she didn’t work. She just sat around all day.

We never “saw” any of the work that she did. As far as we were concerned, she was just “hanging out” all day like we were. But “somehow”, we arrived at school dressed and ready; ate meals; and participated in extracurriculars. Now don’t get me wrong, my mother wasn’t the “Joan Cleaver” type but she made sure that we were taken care of.

The summer that I spent on my bed, memorizing the paisley pattern of my mattress, I would have said that my mom enjoyed watching me be miserable. That she would “find” things to correct me for. I was a “martyered” and “tortured” soul. My mom loved seeing me “sit on my bed and miss all the fun”.

What was her problem? Why was my life so unfair?

“I can’t wait to be a mom….and boss people around. I’m going to do whatever I want…whenever I want!”

The tears would stream down my face….until my mom would let me out of my room…and then I was off to do the next troublesome thing.

I mean…how hard could it be to be a mom?

I truly had no idea how tough this thing called “motherhood” was. You really have to have a huge heart…..the thickest skin….and a great deal of confidence. And a wine cellar in your basement wouldn’t hurt…..hahaha
But…seriously?! What other job could monopolize your every waking and sleeping moment; completely drain you of everything; and yet….be so extremely rewarding??!!!

I am currently in a few different phases of my parenting vocation. I am battling the independent strong-willed three year old…..I am trying to calm the fast-talking, no-one-listens-to-me five year old….I am searching for ways to show the middle child that she is loved and adored….fighting off urges to strangle my ever-teasing, constant prankster son….and deal with the parental blows of pre-teendom and puberty. God help us…..we are “chasing” a lot of wine.

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However….even with all the hard work that goes into mothering this brood daily….my love for each one of them never wavers.

 Being a mom is like “having a piece of your heart walking around outside your body”. Boy…is that ever true. Our children will never truly understand how deep our love for them is. However, it is our God-given duty to make sure we tell them. To make sure that it is so ingrained in their being that they could never challenge that notion. We can’t just tell them….we have to show them. And we can’t just show them, we have to tell them. We have to write them embarrassing notes on their school napkins. We have to scream their name and yell “that’s my son/daughter” when they score that soccer goal. We have to be the first one ready to greet them off the bus…and the last one to kiss them goodnight. They have to know that there is nothing that can separate them from our love.

One afternoon, Mini Me was agonizing over having to clean up her mess of barbies in our school room. As she did the “walk of shame” kicking and throwing her body next to the mess, she stated “I can’t WAIT to be a mom. I can’t wait to boss my kids around.” And I will admit….my first response was to think defensively but then I realized that this was a great opportunity to really help her understand.

“Really?! I said. Because….I hate having to correct you. It’s the worst part of my day.”

She looked utterly shocked.

“Yep. Yelling at your kids, having to punish them, sending them to their rooms….all that….makes me sad as a mom.

“It does?” She said……(mind blown)

“But….do you know what I LOVE about being a mom. I love taking you to the park and swinging on the swing next to you! I love getting big huge hugs that make me fall down on the floor. And….I like having a BIG bowl of ice cream, when you are in bed, just because I am the mom. And I think those are all the things that you will LOVE about being a mom too.

She smiled the biggest smile.

And as I helped her clean up the barbies, I continued to explain to her how it was my job to teach her all the things she needed to learn to be a good mom.

“Do you know how I learned to clean the house? I had to clean up my toys like you do. I learned to make my bed by doing it when I was your age. Why do I have a close relationship with God? Well…. I learned to love God with my heart by reading bible stories and listening at Church….much like I ask you to listen at Mass. And when I correct you for saying mean things or throwing a temper tantrum, I am trying to help you become a loving mommy and a nice lady. Mommy’s job is to help you be the best you!!! It’s not always fun to be told to do things…but God has plans for you and needs mom’s help to get them done!”

And for the past few years, as I focus on “motherhood”, it has made me question my relationship with regards to my own mother. Maybe God wants me to remember that she too was being judged through the “eyes of a child”. That maybe some of the “issues” that I have had with my mom, in the past, were ready to be “retired”. She too, deserved some praise for loving me and doing her best to raise me in love and in my faith. That, as a mother, God was granting me the ability to forgive my mom and realize her own inadequacies. God was allowing me to see this cycle of mother/daughter/mother.  In time, I would be able to see that my own mother was being judged too harshly with the same naive “childish vision”. That as an adult, I must re-examine my thoughts and feelings from my childhood and see through those experiences with new “adult vision”. To seek forgiveness for the times that I was quick to judgement and slow to forgive.

Are you looking at your mom with this “childlike vision”? Are you holding her to “ideals” that are just too unrealistic? What about your family? Do you seek to fill your life with opportunities to love your kids?

Our time with our kids and loved ones is so fleeting. Gather those whom you love in your arms and squeeze tight. Tell them that you love them and show them. Let us, as mothers and fathers, remember that our children may judge us and question us but with that same passionate “child like” vision comes a true lack of clarity. May we as adults cling to the virtues that we struggle to instill daily. And when our days are met with resistance and comments about how “mean” we are, that we may remember the long journey ahead of us and push onward.

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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

Summer Vacation: What are you giving your kids this summer?

It’s midnight and I’m sitting in my bed with my laptop. It’s been a long past two days. And well…. I felt compelled to  share it with you.

So…lucky you…haha.

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When I started blogging a few years ago, I wanted to share my life experiences with others. Not because I am “an expert” on anything but because I love life. I am a natural extravert. I pride myself on “bringing the fun” to any situation and I’m always up for a good party or a cozy night with wine on the couch. I love watching people be transformed by God’s love, some good advice, or the love of family. My blog is about sharing my heart with friends everywhere. Some blogs are lighthearted…and some blogs are a little heavier. However, that’s very reflective of my life and where God has me at any given moment.

So…..moving on to yesterday….this picture says it all….

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Yesterday, was a physically tough day. My husband left for a business trip on the same day that I started one of the toughest days of my cycle. To give a brief history, I have struggled with endometriosis for years. After having three years of infertility and a surgery to remove endometriosis tissue, I was able to naturally conceive my first daughter, Sweet Pea.  Five children and 12 years later, my body has finally returned to those infertile days and all the terrible side effects that come with it. To say that I felt terrible would be an understatement.

Nausea, dizziness, painful cramping, diarrhea, heavy bleeding…and five kiddos who just want to tackle and love all over me. My first thought was just to cry…but …crying was not going to help everyone get through the day, nor make dinner, or put kids to bed.

So I decided to take everything slow.

I called the kiddos in and explained that I wasn’t feeling well. I needed them to “step up” and help each other. And then…I just started doing everything in slow motion. My son brought me a glass of water and my oldest daughter helped make me comfy on the couch. I laid on the couch with a pillow and blanket and watched them play. It was something close to the kitchen scene in “Nanny McPhee”…They used their “imaginations” and like several hurricanes they “devastated” my house. There was pots and pans for their “bakery” filled with legos. I watched them mix large bowls of “cake mix” with my vacuum, and they danced around to music. Their outfits changed constantly as did the activities they were playing. My house was decorated with puzzles, and music sheets, and tons and tons of barbies!!!

found these in the fridge.

found these in the fridge.

I didn’t have the strength to yell at them…so I didn’t. I spoke slow and deliberately. I didn’t care if someone came by and saw my house….I was in survival mode.

I wasn’t rushing around meeting the demands of a schedule…I was just trying to get through the day. There was no TV on in the background, so the children could hear me when I called.

When it was time to leave for piano lessons, I gave plenty of notice about needing to leave. There was no yelling, or rushing out the door since I was just trying to find the strength to drive. I paired the little girls up with the bigger kids and asked them to help them in the van. I watched as they helped put on shoes and grab water bottles. My directions were clear and concise…and the kids met my expectations.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I realized something important about yesterday….

I need to slow down.

My kids need a mom who slows down.

Life is passing me by and I’m missing so much. I’m trying so hard to give them the best of everything that I am missing what they really need which is …..me….

In the words of Jon Legend:

         “All of me loves all of you….all your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you.”

My kids really don’t need to do more…they need more of me.

  • I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve actually said, “We have to get in the car. You have about 3 seconds to say what you want to say…
  • I’ve watched my younger two daughters grow in frustration as they feel ignored.
  • I’ve put the TV on to “entertain” my crew so I could fit it more time to get stuff done.
  • I’ve heard countless times “you NEVER listen to me”!!!

So what are my kids getting this summer…..a mom that slows down and enjoys every minute. Instead of sitting down with my checklist and my “bucket list” for the summer, I have decided to slow it down…and give my kiddos the best “me” this summer. A mom who lives “in the moment” not awaiting the “next big thing”……

A Mom:

  • who sits down and enjoys a cup of tea.
  • who wants to watch endless ballet and karaoke performances.
  • who listens to an endless supply of the worst jokes and provides some of her own.
  • who thinks that dinner can be ice cream at 7pm because we were having too much fun at the pool.
  • Who tries to “out swing” her kids at the park.
  • Who plays hide and seek
  • Who wants to sit on a blanket and watch the stars
  • Who teaches her kids silly songs to make them laugh
  • Who just wants to make memories…and soak them in.

I’m eager to see what beautiful blessings will come out of this  new “mindset” in parenting. I am certain that God will continue to strengthen our family and draw us closer to him.

May God show you what path you need to take this summer and throughout the year.

God bless,

Tammi

Taking a “peek” inside our homelife……it’s a wild ride.

What is it like to homeschool 5 kids during the day?

Random….funny…..never a dull moment around here.

It’s also the greatest, most draining, incredible mission.

I’m so thankful that on friday..we will end another school year successfully.

These pictures speak for themselves…..

Enjoy this little “peek” into our home life….

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Lord, thank you for another year to have them home with me. Another year to see their goals surpassed and their weaknesses strengthened.

Bring on summer!!!!

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

It’s coming!!! Snow day prep….chasing wine style!!!

I love snow days!

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I love watching the magical white fluffiness fall from the sky!

I love bundling up my kiddos for the 30 minutes of outside time..haha. Well….the big kids last a little longer than that.

And I love the shear excitement of planning for the snow to fall…teasing the news coverage about the actual accumulations that will far verses what is predicted.

I remember, as a kid, getting up early and waiting for the snow closings at the bottom of the TV screen…getting lathered up with Vaseline on my face to handle the chilly wind as I ran outside with mix-matched mittens. I remember waiting for the right moment to “accidentally” knock my little brother face-first in the snow….hahaha….

great memories….but the joy only gets better as a mom.

So…here’s what went on this week and today to get ready for the snow tomorrow:

Laundry

Momma is doing TONS of laundry today…like 3/4 loads so I can chill out tomorrow. Gotta make sure we have plenty of our favorite sweatsuits, and comfy blankets cleaned for cuddle time. We will spend the next few days in fluffy socks and sweats so we need to make sure everyone is set! Plus…I want to be able to go sledding too, so I’m maxing out my work for today.

Grocery Run

The kids and I hit the grocery store on Sunday for the essentials: milk, eggs, bread, cereal. But when I got a text from the hubs offering to make a quick grocery run on his way home from an appt….you better believe I hollered…”heck yeah!” We need two cans of condensed milk (for snow cream, of course), a few boxes of hot chocolate mix, American cheese for grilled cheeses, and momma needs more ….Prosecco!!!!

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I definitely see these in our future!

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Library Run

The kiddos and I hit the library on Friday to grab a few new books. Right now, the Fashionista is plowing through the Junie B. Jones series, and she begged me to load her up.  The littles are enjoying Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter Collection.

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There is nothing better than being cozy on the couch with a new book after playing in the snow. We were delighted, as well, to see these new little friends there too! Looks like they have no worries with the upcoming snow!

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Work-less meals

Snow also means pulling out the good ole crockpot! Whether I am going to be sledding or reading 20 books to the little ones, I won’t have to be caught in the kitchen. So the next few days will be about making use of the crockpot. We will wake up to some apple cinnamon oatmeal, and then dinner with include this awesome balsamic chuck roast! I might have to add in this chicken taco chili that one of my girlfriends had on her FB today too.

Family Time

Nothing says snow days like family time! There will be plenty of time for family charades, movie nights and board games! The hubs has been teaching the kiddos the games of Monopoly and Risk. They are loving it!

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 Whatever you do….live it up!!! The snow won’t be here for long!

Before we know it, we will be basking in the sun!

God bless,

Tammi

2015….a year for some changes…and some honesty..

. A new year…. New chances to change things up….

a new year to make new memories…and embrace the joys of the previous year.

I have to say that I love my life.

I love being married to my best friend. I enjoy watching him destroy me in monopoly; do his “victory” dance when I make balsamic chuck roast for dinner; and bickering with him over anything and everything. He truly brings such joy to our home!

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I love being a SAHM and homeschooling my five kids.

I love the madness that is my everyday life…..

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Well….maybe there is some room for improvement in that area…..

Come on…there’s always some room for growth, right??!!

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(I mean…check out Miss Missy….she’s ready to jump into whatever January offers!!)

SO…this January I was ready….full of all these great ideas to implement. And….I’m happy to say we are halfway through January, and I’m still plugging away. I’m dragging the kids along with me…kicking and screaming.  haha.

The hubs has his reservations, I’m sure, but he’s always “on board” if it means more order in the house. Somehow they don’t have the same zeal that I do for household domination; food efficiency, and schedule rearrangement.

SO with that….let’s jump right into 7 quick takes……7 changes for our household for 2015:

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1.) Consistency/Scheduling

One of the things you can probably pick up on, by reading my blog, is that I’m super inconsistent. I can blog three times in one week…and then not blog again for two weeks. It’s not a “virtue” people, just the truth.   I have all the best intentions……but actually sitting down to write a blog…or do anything on a regular basis is not my “thang”. However, with a husband in software sales with travel, and five kids who are gaining more activities, consistency seems synonymous with sanity. So…this year I’m giving it a whirl. I’m having set “responsibilities” for each day of the week. Three or Four “chores” for each day on top of my daily responsibilities. I’m hoping that this will prove beneficial for our family. Here’s to hoping it comes easier than I think.

I even started the kids back up on this chore system. Each day they complete their tasks, such as making their beds, getting dressed, completing homeschooling assignments, and then they have to move their clothespin to the other side upon completion.  The back of the clothespin says, “finished” with a smiley face.  Instead of “nagging” the children about tasks, I simply can look at their chore chart, and see what they have left to finish. I have additional “clothespins” that I add for Saturday chores, as well as clothespins that offer cash upon completion.

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2.) Less Spending….Better Stewards of our money

I finally bit the bullet and am taking control of our finances. I think my husband may just have a heart attack from excitement. I am embarrassed to admit that, although I am aware of what we “spend”, I have never made any attempt to “plan” the spending of our money. I am finally making use of the Dave Ramsey budgeting envelopes that I bought a few years ago. I have some big goals for the crushing of our debt and the saving for a large vacation fund. Stay tuned for more blogging on this one!

3.) Menu planning

150 crockpot meals! Menu planning for a month! I see these phrases all the time in my Pinterest feed. And…they scare me. Why? Because I’m afraid of eating “can of_________” dishes all the time. I’m a “foodie” and I love to eat. I love to search Pinterest for inspiring dinner dishes and gourmet desserts to bring to parties. However….many an afternoon, I can be found scratching my head wondering what to serve for dinner. So…this year, I’ve decided to work somewhere in the middle.  I am going to be planning three meals a day and one snack for two weeks at a time. My kiddos are already gripping the refrigerator handle , fighting for their right to “eat more snack”…haha. They are NOT HAPPY about the lack of “free reign” of the fridge in the afternoon. I keep telling them that it’s going to be a process….for them and me! However, my intention is to be able to spend less time in the kitchen and the grocery store line. Thus far, Sweet Pea, my oldest, has made many of the snacks for our crew by just reading what is listed.

4.) More prayer….more scripture:

One of the greatest things I did was purchase The Magnificat  app on my iPhone this fall. It has been wonderful to start my mornings with prayer before I even get out of bed. However, I have noticed that often my kids wake up in a bad mood and it quickly sets the tone for the day.  With the notion of a “new start” in 2015, I wanted to refocus our day and remind the kids of who “governs” our homeschool.  The children and I eat breakfast and then meet in our school room for prayer. We discuss the feast day, if there is one, and then ask for prayer intentions. One child also asks to lead personal prayer and then we end with singing the St. Michael prayer. The kids love “testing” themselves with our weekly scripture memorization as well.

It’s so important, to my husband and I, that our children turn to the scriptures for advice and counsel. We want our kids to really know scripture and for reading scripture to be apart of their daily prayer life.

5) Expectations clearer

I used to be really good about having rules and expectations posted in my house. As I had more kids, I moved away from the signs and charts that use to adorn my walls. I am realizing that my kids really do seek order. They need to visually see my expectations for them. So….it looks like  signs like these are coming back!!!!!

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6.) Mom’s Hour

Sometimes…I just can’t hear “MOOOOOOOOM!” one more time. I’m just “done” and I need my kids to be independent. I have felt pretty guilty about this for some time but I began to realize that I, too, need a break. I need a “time out” from the mom hat….the teacher hat….I need to just “be”….and before bedtime routine.

So from 3:30-4:30, I have started sending my kids in the basement for some playtime. It doesn’t matter if they fight me, I’m ok with them not wanting it. I am even ok with them sitting on the stairs, for the entire hour, in rebellion. For that hour, I veg in front of the TV, have a  snack, make business calls, take a nap, check FB….anything that allows me to chill out. It’s just the reprieve I need to get to bedtime having been at their beck and call all day. It’s a great way for me to get some personal space. Try it….I highly recommend it!!!

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7.) Less Yelling…more Peace

It’s so simple. I hate yelling….but I’m a yeller. It drives my husband insane.  I know that I have a temper, and I hate to lose control. The only way to stop the yelling, is to gain more control over myself and my situations. I need peace in my home.  My kids need gentle reassurance about the right choices. My kids need a mom who understands, explains, ,and grows with them.

I’m really excited for all these little changes that will ultimately better me as a mom and help my family grow closer to Christ, and stronger together.

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Challenge accepted……bring it 2015!!!!

God bless,

Tammi

Nutella and hanging out!

Few things make me happier than throwing on a comfy pair of pajama pants after a long day…

you know…grabbing a soft throw blanket….a hot cup of tea…and a little one to cuddle…

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I’ve been trying to get this “family ship” back to “sailing” since our long Christmas holiday break and with that I need to jump back into the “blogging saddle”. So bear with me as I get you “caught up” over the next few blogs.

So….with that in mind, today we started back at our bi-monthly co-op.

For those of you who do not homeschool, a co-op is the closest thing to attending school for our children. The co-op that my children attend is run by the parents and is held on Friday twice a month. The children take various academic classes such as Chemistry, Biology, History as well as specialty classes such as Knitting, Jewelry Making, and Theatre. To give you a better prospective, It would be like accompanying your  2nd, 3rd and fifth grader to school, with your kindergartener and preschooler with you…all day. (9-3pm) And…..you are also organizing a craft for two of the classes so you need all your stuff for that too. (I teach two classes at the co-op) You assemble the lunches for everyone (including yourself)….make sure you have enough water/milk for the little ones, a few coloring books or playmobiles to keep them occupied, and the homework assignments/school needs for the other kids. The number of bookbags, totes, lunchboxes is pure insanity.The preparation exhausting….

However, the joys of watching your kids interact with their friends…..

sitting and holding someone’s new baby over a hot cup of tea/coffee….

discussing the best way to do just about anything amongst other moms…

or having your daughter take a knitting class from one of your friends is just…..

PRICELESS!!!!

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My children have been attending this co-op for the past few years and have really found some of their best friends here……

However,…….

on Co-op Fridays….this momma is ready to kick everyone in bed at 5:30 and pour a glass of Prosecco for the hubs and chug the rest of the bottle myself!!!….I kid….well, maybe…..

So….after emptying all the bags out of the van…..I was greeted by the Fashionista who wanted to “hang out with me”.

Really, Lord??!!!

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After a quick dinner of grilled cheese and black beans,  I asked if she felt like making dessert. She was all over my Pinterest board in seconds. Thankfully, we found these Nutella cookies and she was in heaven!

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Nutella cookies

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She was so eager to dish them out to her siblings and have them gush over her newest dessert!,

If you love Nutella like this girl, these cookies are a must try!!!!

As for me, I’m going to finish this blog, and then it’s back to the comfort of family movie night and hot tea!!!!

Enjoy your weekend!

God Bless,

Tammi