Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Season Of Thanks...

I can't believe its been almost 2 weeks since I have blogged last! It seems to be true... the older you get, the faster time goes.

Especially around the holidays. I know this time next month, I will be ripping down taking down the ornaments from our tree wondering where the heck Christmas went. Thats why I am taking the time to enjoy it now. After a very hectic trimming day, our beautiful tree stands tall in our living room... but more on that later. First I want to share how our wonderful Thanksgiving WEEK went. 

Yes, I said week. What usually is one day of thanks and gathering for most, turned into an awesome almost week long time to enjoy each others company and anticipate the holiday.

First, the Monday before Thanksgiving, my father in law and step-mother -in-law arrived. Not for a visit... They MOVED here!! Finally, after years of talking and planning, the deed was done! They arrived just in time for a crazy, little red holiday. Our days were spent helping them settle in and all eating dinner together as a family. 

Wednesday, my friend Michelle had to work, so I watched her kids and baked and cooked and baked some more. I was getting ready for a pre-thanksgiving party at my house. Not sure how it started but sloppy joes were on the menu and dessert was planned. Basically, we all hung out and laughed. The kids played outside till an adult realized that it was way to cold to still be outside and we laughed some more.
Twas the night before Thanksgiving...




@PureGuile and me Xoxo



 Our guests arrived around noon and the eating began. It basically didn't stop till we all went to bed. Appetizers, snacks, turkey, pies,cookies....

We ate ourselves sick.

The kids played and played and played some more...

And us adults just kept on eating and laughing. Isn't that how its supposed to be???


The men-folk carved the two turkeys. Between the 4 of them, some meat managed to actually make it on the table.

(Although I think my father-in-law was full before we sat down...)


The Men
The kid table...


Michelle, Jenn (cuncles wife) and I
After dessert, we hung out and relaxed. The kids were on their 10th wind of energy, and some of us may have gotten the giggles... 

 They know who they are!!!

A certain someone(s) Michelle got a crazy idea to saran wrap my cousins car and another someone me might have eagerly agreed...
 
The victim and Caleb

 So while he innocently rocked the baby and sang really weird versions of our Christmas classics, out...
10 OF US slipped...

Unnoticed! 

(Hey, I never said he was the smartest victim ;)

Our neighbor/other daughter/permanent fixture in the house Beth and Hannah

My firstborn and Michelle BEFORE the BIG seran wrap scandal of 2012
 Saturday night we piled all the kids in one house (we have kids old enough to babysit) and climbed in our big white bus ( to the next block) and had a not so impromptu wing night at the Cuncle's house. The big Gamecock/Clemson game was on and what better excuse to get together and have a great time?!

 Wings, Taco soup and grandmas pecan pie were consumed and victoriously the GAMECOCKS won....

AGAIN!!!!




 So, Thanksgiving 2012 goes down in the books as a success. Surrounded by people we love and are so very Thankful for. With full bellies and bursting hearts....


And now 'tis the season is officially here. Our tree is up and is beautiful.

I am trying to enjoy every cozy night...

But certain things Link The Cat make it hard...

But more on that later...

Oh yeah, I have a LOT to say about that!
 
Xoxo
GiGi





Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thoughts As I decorate...

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week. The Official kickoff of the holiday season. Usually my FAVORITE holiday...
Until the next one comes along. Then that one easily becomes my new favorite.
This year I am hosting Thanksgiving and I can't wait. My cousin and his wife, my friend Michelle and her family will also be joining us... along with my Father in-law and his wife.

18 people gathered to celebrate being Thankful. Its going to be FABULOUS!

This week I have been spending free time getting my Thanksgiving table ready. I waited until last minute (of course) to perfect the decor. Luckily my Hobby Lobby had 80% off Fall harvest decorations.

My chandelier is halfway done. I posted a picture of the base with the garland around it. Lots more *Bling* and sparkly will be added. I just need to make another quick stop to pick up something else...

Don't worry, I'll be sure to post a picture of the finished product. I still need to iron the table cloth, find my chargers and goblets and candlesticks. I can't wait to get it on my table.

The baking has already begun. Michelle and I are each making a turkey to combine at dinner...  and of course, one of every pie will be present at desert.

The kids table will extend out into our living room and a special thanksgiving craft will be found on each kids plate.

I can't wait!

My older girls had a babysitting job today. and my littles were on the computer reading books. The house was abnormally quiet as I wrestled wrapped the garland of leaves around my light fixture. Thanksgiving thoughts started entering my head and I really was humbled by all I can give thanks for. 

No, seriously... Think about it. Of course everyone has the basics of health, happiness blah blah blah but recently my eyes have been opened to a whole world of crazy.

Crazy homes, crazy families and crazy lives. Its really getting overwhelming sometimes.  It makes me thankful that I protect my kids from the craziness this world holds and that I guard who enters their life fiercely.

It makes me thankful that within the walls of my little red house, we can provide a shelter from the storm. A safe haven for our children...

Im thankful for the friends we have, even if they are few... they are good! Im Thankful for the family we are surrounded by and those that are near in our heart.

And most of all, Im thankful for our boring and traditional life.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Up and Vote!

 Election day sure has changed for me over the years. I went from placing my vote in my teens and early 20's and always voting my line. I was a 3rd generation im not tellin. My vote was easy and simple.

But as I got older, earned a higher degree in Life and common sense, Its now months of following the campaign trail. Visiting local rallies, and indoctrinating informing my children on how important it is to remain on the line we run.

Every 4 years it gets a little more intense.

This year is no different. My girls are teenagers. For my Emma, this is her last year NOT voting. She will be free to vote as she chooses. She will be a fresh young victim of this world to brainwash and pollute. Im using this last election, and these next 4 years to teach her what a huge impact 1 vote can have.

And even if it didn't have an impact...

Voting shows where this country's heart lies. What our main concerns are and what we really feel is important to us.

Thats how I vote. I can't be enticed by money or fancy words. My loyalty to my God runs deep and no tax cut can ever compare to turning my back...

Or helping my country turn my back on him!



Hubby and I just after we voted.
So, like a good little girl and boy, we trekked down the old country road where our polling place is and casted our vote.

Our polling place is an old country church down a small winding road. The cemetery resides next to the parking lot, full of past members of the community. Probably most of the community.

We go there quite often, the smell of the old church brings back many other voting days gone by.

I predict one day far from now, my wrinkly old hand will pull on the door of the church and with one whiff, I will be brought back to my "younger" years when I would drag the babies down to the voting polls.


I took a picture of me "casting" my vote but hubby kindly informed me that it was illegal. Darn it!

But our small voting place ran out of stickers.

Really??

REALLY!!!!

Its the only reason I DO vote! 

Not really, but I do get giddy when I DO get to put one on.

I walked out pouting. I wasn't a happy camper...

Until I went to Bi-Lo


Hey, Im a loyal customer. I deserved something tonight..

Didn't I?

XoXo,

GiGi

Friday, November 2, 2012

#Instabusy

A Month Of Thanks

I love this time of year. Its a time that all day, every day we are meditating on all things #Thankful. #ThisNovember I am participating on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 30 day challenges.

With so much going on all over the world, this should be a piece of cake.

With praises of Thanksgiving being confessed from our minds, lips and fingers, perhaps our complaints will be quieted.


And on Facebook.

Join me in publicly proclaiming each day all the blessings we are surrounded by...

And most of all, pray for all those still devastated by Superhurricane Sandy.


life rearranged

XoXo,

GiGI

Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Which We Said Yes...


 HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2012



First, let me say... for reasons I will keep to myself, we opted to stay home this year from our churchs festival and allow the kids to go tick or treating around our neighborhood. We don't normally let them...
Sorry to be so vague. It had nothing to do with our church themselves so please don't get the wrong idea. Im just not sharing because I can! And since this is my blog, I call the shots. ;)

Anywho... the excitement level in our home was beyond anything humanly normal. Schooling was almost impossible and punishments were threatened to no avail.

But soon enough it was time to gather our awesome friends, who also happen to live all on our block and get as much candy as possible!

Here we are right before we attacked Aunt Diana....
She chased the kids down the driveway. Rumor has it, she eats little children for dinner....

Like a pack of wolves, they ravished the neighborhood. Running over anyone that got in the way...

Along our journey, we ran into the cutest little bunny:

our neighbor Ashlyn
She was sweet and kind and happily handed out candy to all children.

 And then we came upon a magical dwarf in a white castle who gave us candy...

CUNCLE Neal

Twice!

Along the way, we saw this little poor pregnant lady about to give birth right on the sidewalk...

Michelle's son John
She was quite cranky... but then again, I remember all too well how much of a hassle it is to carry around that baby belly...

But she must have had the baby. I believe I saw her get in the car as skinny as could be... and much darker hair...
 And a schoolbag?????

Oh boy...

Down by the pool, the cutest little birdy fell into my stroller. He needed a mommy bird to hug and kiss him and rock him to sleep... So, I scooped him up and took him home with me. Hubby let me keep him cause he kinda looks like him.

What a nice guy.


As the sun began to set and the moon came out from behind the clouds, the night time began to feel eerie.

Goblins and ghouls scattered from door to door asking for candy. We heard giggles and howls...

and before I knew it THE WOLFMAN CAME OUT TO ATTACK US...

AHHHHHH :


HUBBY AND I
Naa, just my hairy hubby who has been celebrating NO SHAVE NOVEMBER since last year.

We had a great time. The kids ate too much candy and I yelled at the mess more than once. Penelope will now NOT stop eating lollipops which results in sticky everything...

Another Halloween that will now live in the past.

XoXo, 

GiGi 


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh Sandy....

My friends front lawn...

Yesterday was spent mostly checking in on my family and friends... all who are on Long Island, close to the water and were face to face with Sandy.

I LOVE social media. When cell phone service began to get cut off, tweets and facebook statuses were the way to go.
 
Today, damages will be assessed.

Thank God, all my loved ones are safe... but I can't say the same for some of their houses. Water found their way in and crawled all over.

Of course my dear sister entertained me with stories of how her 2 dogs decided they needed to frolic outside during the peak of the storm. Or how her 1,000 lb ladradoodle thought that during the hurricane should be the time she says hello to her neighbors. I laughed and laughed imagining her screaming in the storm trying to wrestle those beasts back in the house.

She didn't find it funny...

Sorry sis.

Reason #54738 why I will never have a dog.

Hubby's step-father refused to evacuate as asked. It didn't surprise us. He never leaves the comfort of his recliner during any storm. The rest of the family headed a bit in-land and he stayed behind to try and keep up with any impact. I half expected to see him waving from the roof on tv...

OK...
 
Maybe I was secretly hoping to see him hopping around on his roof and dangling from a very dramatic helicopter rescue...
 
Just kidding....maybe...
Hey, Everyone needs their 15 minutes of fame right?

But again, besides property damage and power outages, my dear loved ones are safe and sound.

I wish I could gather them all up and tuck them into my little red house...
Where its warm and dry with something delicious bubbling on the stove.
 
Its mostly over now....
 
The worst is past and today will be the start of everyone trying to get their lives back to normal. Continue to pray for them. I know very few who still have power. Its cold and wet up there. November is just around the corner. Holidays are upon us. This needs to be cleaned up fast.
 
Closer to us, its snowing and snowing...and snowing. No flurries have fallen in our lawn yet but it has threatened. Im not sure how I feel about that. But I may or may not have taken a sneak listen to some Christmas music.

Im ready! 

Ready to glitter up my house with all things red and gold...

But first things first...

XoXo

GiGI




Saturday, October 27, 2012

The P. Report...




After looking back at the blogs between Penelope's first and second birthdays, I shamefully realized I have not filled you in at all with what has been going on in our sweet P's little life.

Shortly after P's 1st birthday, she was diagnosed with severe oral aversions and sensory issues. Basically, to sum it up quick, she doesn't eat normal food. I have attached a link above that really nails the definition. We are not sure where it came from as none of my other 6 kids have/had it but she did have severe reflux as a newborn. We are thinking that might be it.

Anyway, the road with P has been a special one. Starting at 9 months old when it really clicked in for me that she had issues.
Dispite scares and tears with weight loss and numerous drs visits, avoiding feeding tubes and surgeries, all other developmental milestones have been exceeded with flying colors.
She forever entertains us with her singing and dancing and has all the neighborhood kids wrapped around her little finger.
Everyone who meets her falls in love with P!
And everyone knows our P is a special little girl!

She has been in therapy for almost a year now...

With 2 of the most amazing occupational therapists a mom could ever pray for.
2 caring women who come twice a week and really care.

But after a year of never going beyond stage 2 baby food...

We took the next step.

P was accepted to a center downtown this week where they will focus on intense therapy 2-3x a week... along with her at home visits. Im excited and aprehensive all at the same time. This new therapist is great and really knows her stuff. I gave her my own evaluation this week when we met. But she is hard core. Our P does not like hard core. She has developed anxiety with anything mouth related... and as a mom, I get my back up when my baby gets nervous. 


A nutritionist was also brought on the team. All will co-ordinate therapy lessons to continue to GET P TO EAT!! NOT just baby food but mommas homemade steak and chicken and all the other meals her siblings enjoy.

After all, does she even realize how delicious Publix fried chicken is??

 Im so thankful for these services though. Thankful that they are just as passionate as I am to get her through these issues. It might take years, but with their help and referrals to other food clinics, I know I have other options besides feeding tubes 
(which has been discussed and avoided at all costs!!)

A swallow study at the hospital will also be done in a few weeks just to make sure all is well. Her therapists are very very thorough and want to make sure we are not missing anything.

But thats the latest for all of you out there in bloggy-land. I know many of my Facebook friends have been tracking Penelope's development and have been praying for her.
I THANK YOU for that. 
Im thankful that she is overall healthy. I know many other children out there have it much much worse and my heart breaks for them.

If you can remember, shoot a quick prayer up for our P, pray that one day she WILL know the excitement of going to McDonalds.

Thanks my friends. Have a GREAT weekend.

XoXo

GiGi

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Recipe And A To-Do

Believe it or not, Im already making my list and checking it a billion times for Thanksgiving. I simply LOVE LOVE LOVE this holiday. Every year I love it for different reasons. Of course, meditating on what I am thankful for is always first on my list. But Thanksgiving is always different... as in, we just never know who will end up at our table, what guests will be driving thru town and what we will do.

This year (again) dinner is at our home. It works out great that way. People don't have to pull their hair out trying to figure out how to accommodate and feed a family of 9. I have the big table, plenty of big pots and pans and cooking for 10 + people in a snap doesn't phase me.

We cook homemade, just the way hubby likes. We buy the biggest turkey we can find ( the hunt has already started) Our biggest has been 24 lbs.... which will ensure leftovers. And thanks to my mom-in-law, the next day, after black friday shopping, an insanely huge stockpot simmers on the stove with the most delicious turkey soup!

This year the head count so far is 18. Im still waiting to hear back from some, but I expect no more than 20...
But all are always welcome.
2 turkeys will be cooked.
2 kitchens will be going at once.

Dessert will be 2 of each kind of pie.
Pumpkin, apple, Chocolate, pecan.
And an extra Chocolate pie for my hubby...
Thats just plain tradition.
Home made whipped cream
and a tub or two of Vanilla ice cream.
This year, a new recipe will be added to our table.

Pumpkin bread.

The most delicious bread in the world. I have been making it all season!


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup veggie oil


Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Generously butter a 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.  Mix well.
In a large bowl, beat eggs.
Add rest of wet ingredients.  Mix well.
Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix, but just before completely combined.
 
 Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
 Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack.
 
This recipe is a HIT! Try it and let me know how it turns out.
 
Im in the process of stealing getting an AWESOME Apple muffin recipe from my Aunt D. Once I get that, I will share...
 
Maybe. ;)
 
Xoxo,
GiGi

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

GUEST POST " ...And The Lord Taketh Away..."

Michelle and her Husband John

*** Please welcome and enjoy Michelle's  Story ***
October 24, 2009 was an ordinary fall Saturday on Long Island, New York.  My husband and I had plans to take our three children out to get Halloween costumes I was 12wks pregnant with baby #4.  We stopped at my mom's house along the way for a short visit.  While we were there I suddenly felt something wet in my underwear, of course panic sets in and I say nothing to no one but hurry off to the bathroom.  I didn't want to look down at my underwear but when I did I saw blood, it was pink so I wasn't overly concerned.  With my last pregnancy I had a subchrionic hematoma that required bed rest in the 1st trimester, I bled like a period with that, so in the back of my mind I was hoping it was that.  I had an early miscarriage before my 3rd child, but I really didn't think it was a miscarriage, I had a sonogram picture and saw the heartbeat with this pregnancy and Monday was my 12wk check up.

Welcoming my Caleb into the world...


I came out of the bathroom shaking and said to my husband and mom I'm bleeding, they were shocked I immediately called the doctor, he wasn't concerned, I wasn't cramping he said I could wait until Monday 1st trimester spotting is very common.  My mind was racing I couldn't relax so I told hubby take the kids to get costumes, mom and I are going to go to the local hospital (not where I was delivering) and get checked just for peace of mind.  He said ok and off he went with the kids and off mom and I went to the hospital.

Her firstborn and only Son

When we arrived I had no more spotting on my pad, the ER doc examined me and the cervix was closed, everything seemed fine but he was going to order blood work and a sono just to be sure.  I truly was not worried.  Mom and I were laughing and talking, the sono tech comes to get us....off we go to the sono room.  She puts the transducer on my abdomen and the screen was partially facing me and I could see my baby but I didn't see the flickering of the heartbeat.  In my head I tried to convince myself that I was not a medical professional and I didn't know what I was looking out, so I chatted to my mom and the tech like crazy, that's what I do when I'm nervous, you can't shut me up!!  Suddenly the tech starts crying and apologizing "I'm sorry I'm not supposed to tell you anything but I can't sit here and let you smile and laugh while I know what's going on inside your body"  I said it's not good is it?  She says no I'm sorry your baby no longer has a heartbeat.  I didn't believe it, I didn't even cry, I was in complete and total shock.  I'm not even spotting anymore, how could this be?  I was wheeled back to my room in the E.R., so many thoughts were racing thru my head, I even said God you rose Jesus from the dead you can make my baby's heart beat again, please Lord let it beat again, let my baby be ok.  The E.R. doc comes in and tells me you had a fetal demise at 9wks 5 days gestation, but don't worry this happened to my wife and we just had a baby 3 months ago.  Great doc I feel so much better now, and what exactly is the plan to get my dead fetus out of my body?  Wait until Monday and call your doc since they are not affiliated with this hospital.  It wasn't a fetus it was my sweet baby.  I was told I could go into the bathroom and get dressed, that's where I had my 1st complete breakdown. I was showing, I rubbed my belly and said it's ok baby you can leave mama now, Jesus is with you, it's ok you can go mama loves you.  Even though the baby passed at 9wks 5 days I still felt that little soul with me.  I walked out of the hospital and looked back at my name on the ER white board I was listed as an OB patient, but I no longer was one.

Michelle's 4 most prized possessions

I had to go home and explain to my 3 children that the baby had died and was in heaven.  They all cried and the questions were so hard.....how can a baby die? Where is the baby? Why do you still have a belly?  I couldn't take it so I said I have to go shower and I stood in the shower and sobbed and prayed I didn't want a D&C, I just wanted to miscarry naturally.  I had saved my positive pregnancy test, I looked at it and sobbed, as I sat on my bed sobbing and clinging onto the test I felt a sense of calm come over me and the word persevere. At 3am on Monday morning I woke up with contractions and naturally expelled the baby, I ended up in the E.R. again due to dehydration and blood loss, all was well and I was discharged in a few hours.


The miscarriage rate is 1 in 4, I actually knew 4 women including myself that were pregnant, we were due days apart.  I can't even win $2.00 on a scratch off, but I'm the lucky one to have a miscarriage.  I immediately wanted to try again, month after month no pregnancy, it was so devastating each month when I got my period, just as bad as wearing a belly band because nothing fit but I had no baby and no pregnancy.  I think people mean well with their comments but it stings to hear people say well you have 3 healthy children be thankful for that, excuse me when did I say I wasn't thankful for what I have.
So many pregnancy announcements and births have come within the past 3 years, In the beginning when these announcements would come I would be sad for myself that I had lost my baby and still wasn't pregnant but I was happy for others.  The more time that goes by and my arms are still empty it doesn't get easier it's just different.  People think I should be over this it was so long ago and I was in the 1st trimester, would it be easier for people if I would have buried my baby?  The truth is it doesn't get easier it's almost harder I honestly am at a point where my emotion is just very flat towards pregnancy.  I see it through different eyes, I ache to feel the joy of seeing a positive pregnancy test, the joy of a 1st OB appointment but with that joy comes fear of it happening all over again and the reality of it being ripped away in a second.
The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise: 

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A LifeTime Of Rememberance

For those of you that are not aware, and for the few that will never have to be aware, October is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those moms.

Altogether, I lost 5 precious babies. And I grieved the life of someone I never knew 5 times...

But one certain pregnancy stands out the most to me. It was a baby I saw dance around on screen one day...

And then pass away the next. You can read all about my remembrance HERE

Those were days I never want to re live.

Thankfully, after numerous losses and then not being able to conceive, I was blessed with not 1 but 2 very healthy little babies. Welcoming them into the world was medicine to my soul. The 9 months of waiting was a pure faith walk filled with doubt, anxiety and fear. But in the end, my heart is forever changed...

Missing my 5 little ones that are not with me.

I have been blessed with a friendship that was formed from tears. My friend Michelle A.K.A (My favorite Italian) and I first bonded over our losses. We had known each other for years as casual acquaintances but it wasn't until her very dark pregnancy loss that we connected. A mutual friend gave her my number. Shortly after, she called and cried and we chatted for hours...

Our friendship was sealed over tears.

That was almost 3 years ago...

She is stuck in a world of drugs and shots... praying that the next procedure will bear some good news.

She is often alone in her struggles... the world of someone struggling with secondary infertility is often cold and harsh. Women have no sympathy for someone who already has 3 children... after all, they can't even have 1.

And the rest think she has enough...why would she want more?

But the pain is real, the hurt is raw and the nightmare never goes away.


I feel honored to have "accidentally" been thrown into her world. I feel honored that she let me in. I see her worries and fears firsthand. Im there for her when procedures come and go with no success...


And when she is ready to give up..


I dust off my pom-poms and try and cheer her back on track.

Tomorrow, on her 3 year anniversary, I have asked her to write a guest post on her  journey. I pray it will help her connect to other awesome women bloggers who have traveled the same road...


Or perhaps bring closure to others...


I pray everyone who reads her words can be blessed in some way.


I pray everyone can be sensitive to her feelings regardless of your opinions


but most of all, I pray that no one is prideful enough to think that her pain cannot one day be yours....


Xoxo


GiGi

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Inside Scoop

Although my blogging brain is slowly coming back after a long hiatus, My Twitter fingers have always been moving.

Although, I will attempt to blog every couple of days, I cannot always guarantee a post. I am a mother to 7 children after all...

But My Twitter always remains.. um...

Interesting.

So, what are you waiting for??

Follow Me!!

Im on Instagram too but I can't link that now...

#7 is screaming...

Xoxo 

GiGi

Another One For My Shelf...

Its Monday. Back to the homeschooling grind. For some really weird reason, my house always is very off kilter on a Monday. Schooling the kids is 10x harder, keeping the house from total disaster takes double the effort and by the end of the day I am completely spent. But then Tuesday comes along, and we are in a groove.
Anyone else feel that way? Anyone??

So not fair. Mondays are hard enough.

But our weekends are so laid back and nice, of course our inner selves fight to go back to the free-er days!

This past weekend hubby was on call so we hung low at the house. My favorite Italian and I took turns walking across the street into each others houses or texting from the front yard. Im beginning to see a modern resemblance of Lucy and Ethal.

I think our kids really believe our homes are connected... with a small path leading to both front doors called...

THE STREET.
After I saw 3 out of my 7 almost get run over, they have been banned to the backyard.

Anyway, 

The weather was perfect. Not too hot and just enough cool to say that Fall is here.

The little kids played outside while my older girls babysat.

The night before, they had friends sleep over and that night, they were planning on going to a haunted corn maze. For some reason, they thought the idea of getting scared out of their wits would be fun.

I don't know...

Last night we decided to carve our monster size pumpkins.




P. took her place on top of the table. A place she often walks across because she is tiny and cute and gets away with murder.

Even Baby Caleb briefly made a visit before being bundled up to bed.
We watched "The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and drank hot Cocoa.

Once the littles were in bed and the pumpkin mess was ignored, cleaned... my big girls and I settled in for more cocoa, popcorn and our all time FAVORITE Halloween movie "Hocus Pocus."

Hannah and I crocheted and knitted until we ran out of yarn and Emma glanced up from her new book to watch the movie as well.

Its nights like this that make memories. Traditions my kids will always remember...

The kind of moments you want to shove in a mason jar so when your older, and the night air has that certain type of feel to it, you can crack open that seal and take a wiff of the good 'ol days.

Yup, I wish I had a shelf of them in my garage.

Xoxo

GiGi

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Adventures In Babysitting

Its no surprise that I am humming a song from One Direction in my head right now or that I'm drinking my coffee out of a pink Minnie Mouse coffee mug. Teenage girls have taken over my life and my ipod. I try to fight against them but they always seem to win. They sing the same songs over and over again, in unison with their friends till my mind is mush and I can no longer think clearly.

We took their friends to co-op yesterday where they were re-united with more of their kind. More giggles, drama, screeches.
I love my co-op. I really do. Its a lot of work and beautifully exhausting  and the families are just wonderful. The van ride consisted of 10 kids/7 girls singing their heads off to all sorts of songs I hope never to have to endure again.

Right now those alien beings are upstairs fast asleep with 2 of their friends. They danced and sang all night to the t.v and spammed facebook with silly girly videos.


They dragged me to Walgreens when the moon came out so they could buy useless stuff and make weird noises over Taylor Swift merchandise. 

Tonight, I pass them over to their fathers so they can drive them off to the middle of a haunted cornfield and get scared out of their wits. I do secretly wish I could go...

Just to hear their giggly screams.
 But I know if I listen close enough tonight, I probably would be able to hear them all the way over here.


Yesterday they decided to be brave and go on an adventure down into the woods  near our home. They took their guy friend... Lets just call him JA... for his own privacy and protection.

10 minutes into the trip and my texts looked something like this...


and following that...

this:


And I reacted something like this:

I think what worried me more was wondering how I would explain to the 3 other moms that while I was playing song pop on my iphone, their precious offspring were pretending to be Davy Crockett...

And of course I was worried about my 2 girls as well...

But WHAT would I tell THEIR moms!!!???!!!

So thats the last time they have any adventures in nature...

And now that I think of it, I don't even think we have bears in this here parts? Hmmm...


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mothers Ed.


 A few weeks ago, I picked up a drivers ed manual for my oldest daughter Emma. I can't believe she is at this place in her life...

Or better yet... 

I can't believe I AM!

Somewhere between driving her home from the hospital and handing her the book, she grew up.
15 years had passed since I marveled at how tiny her feet were when I held her for the first time.

This past Wednesday, I told her to brush the dust off the book and sit down to review it with me. I opened up the book and flipped through the pages. I called out double line meanings and studied the street signs only to discover she wasn't paying a lick of attention to me.

At that moment in her life, she had decided it wasn't important enough for her to even make eye contact with me. For a girl talking about all the road trips she is going to take once she magically gets a car with an endless gas supply, anything else seemed more interesting.

So I stopped. I took the book and began reading it. How nice would life be if instead of delivering a placenta at our childs birth, out popped a manual. Specifically catering to our new little baby.

I know, I know, I hear all you screaming at your computers right now saying " WE DO!! WE HAVE THE BIBLE..."

and thats great and all trust me. My bible gets more use than any other book I own. I rely on those words and pray those words.

The New Testament is filled with scripture about asking God for wisdom and waiting on the Lord. Trust me, I have been there! This past summer was filled with instances that required me to just lay in His presence because my mind was too frazzled to form a word.

Wisdom has been asked for, and given for years. He is always faithful.

But Im thinking more along the lines of clear, black and white instruction. Between the pages of that Holy book lie a few chapters catered to my Emma.

For instance:

PROVERBS 32
1. Follow thy highway. You have the right of way for homeschooling.
2. Yield at public school and turn left.
3. Do not pass SC. Parallel Park and sit for a while.
4. At age 17 proceed with caution to Such and such college.
5. caution sign on boy #3
6. BIG RED X on boy #4
7. When light turns green on boy #5
8.Hand her over... she is free to go.

It does a mother good to know that her childs life will be protected. Moods can be deciphered and at the end of the day, it will be well with our soul.

In reality, life wouldn't be much fun that way and our growing relationship with God will never be as special as what we have now if our life were laid out in a manual.

But oh how many fewer wrinkles we would have.

A dear friend recently told me how nice it would be if we could secure our childrens futures and shield them from all mistakes. 

But mistakes are how they learn.

But what about us??

The moms.

How do we learn to let go? How do we not jump in front of every moving car and protect them from every scrape and fall this world has?

Even though it has to be done,

How do we actually, physically, let go?

I guess I do I know what has to be done...

I just don't know how to tell my heart.



I've heard moms say that they know when "Its time." 

And I know that God, in His perfect wisdom, has made it that way and will give us what we need at the time we need it.

And until then, its my time to continue speaking truth into her life while she is still under my roof.

Im still pressing them upon her heart. They are still talked about when we sit at home and when we walk along the road. I have tried, in my imperfectness to still tie them on my hands and bind them on my foreheads. ( Deuteronomy 6:7-8)

But soon the day will come.

I know one day we will all be gathered around the throne worshipping our Lord. Our hard life will be over and our hands will be raised. The saints will give praise to the king of kings...

If you happen to look around and see one lady a little more exuberant than most, perhaps dancing and throwing her hands wildly around in the air...

or doing the tango...

That may just be me.

And I may just be hootin and hollerin and thanking God

that it is finished...

NO MORE RAISING TEENAGERS!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Short Lived Forgiveness





This is Link the cat asking for forgiveness yesterday. Its been quite a while since we had some one on one time. I used to have a nice wooden rocker next to my side of the bed, and when I get a few moments to breath, I sit and relax. Link, on occasion, would jump in my lap for a quick pet and we would enjoy life for a bit together. For those of you that don't know Link... This is RARE. I like to say that Links one main mission in life is to be left alone. Not as by himself, but he just really appreciates his personal space. He is forever where we are and follows us around but only likes attention on rare occasions. Have I mentioned he is the size of a medium sized dog?? Yeah, He's huge....

So when I would find him on my lap in that old wooden rocker... I know we are sharing a special moment. He does that for NO ONE else in the house....

EVER.

Anyway, this past summer has been full of visitors, surgeries and new babies. That old wooden rocker was moved into the living room for extra seats. and with that move, came no more midday visits from my big fat cat.

On top of that, our relationship has been strained. I may or may not on several occasions threatened to kill him, or perhaps chased him up the stairs with a wooden spoon when he would make me trip and almost smash my face on my kitchen floor.  I may never admit to having rants and rages when I find a 10 pound poop freshly dropped on my very nice bathrug...

I won't even mention what happened when he peed in my laundry bin FULL of fresh clean clothes.

I have the local humane society on speed dial.

I was even ready to ship him off despite the sobbing and begging of my 13 year old daughter... who treats Link as if he is her own son.

But to my surprise, it was my hubby who gave Link his 9 lives...

Hubby, The cat hater.

It was hubby who reluctantly gave him another chance... and another and another. Making sure he had just the right kitty litter and food..

Perhaps, like the Grinch, His heart grew 3 sizes too big...

Or maybe the sight of his daughter utterly broken hearted made him change.

We may never know, but I think deep down Link knows that hubby is his personal savior...

In more ways than one.

Our trust in Link is broken and will need to be earned in time. My finger is ready to hit that send button and make room for him in the cat-inn. But we shall see...

My friend Michelle lent me her white and pink rocker. Her last baby is 6 years old and she may or may not have more, so her son brought it over to my house this past weekend.

I was so happy to have another rocker back in my room again. Another place for my kids to sit when they come in at night to chat or watch tv with me. I have already started crocheting in it at night.

But yesterday, as the rain beat against my bedroom window, and the chaos that is my life ran amuck, I slipped away for a quick moment of peace.

I sat in that rocker and enjoyed the view outside. I rocked for a few seconds before I noticed something in my peripheral.

It was Link.

His big green eyes were darting around for a place to jump. I wasn't sure if he would in fact snuggle. and I wasn't quite sure If I wanted to.

I heard his purring from across the room and before I knew it, he was curled in my lap. I ran my fingers ever so lightly through his fur and felt his whole body vibrating.

He was back.

He tilted his face and stared into my eyes for a few minutes before licking my nose. I took that as an "im sorry..."

I forgave him of course but I asked him what the heck has been wrong with him? and then wondered if I was completely crazy for talking to my cat...

At the same time, we looked away and stared out the window. The rain falling and the wind blowing...

And for just about 2 seconds...

we understood each other..

Xoxo

GiGi

Monday, October 1, 2012

Im Getting Sssslllleeepppyyyyyy.......

Its a perfectly awesome rainy monday in my corner of the world. I was actually able to get more than a few hours of consecutive sleep and thanks to the darkness and rain, my kids slept in just a bit. I attribute it all to prayer... lots of prayer. I collapsed into bed last night simply exhausted from the daily grind, praying that my morning would not be a glimpse of hellish chaos that was last week....

Me in a coma, Baby Caleb screaming, Penny tearing the place up and my kids asking me too many questions that I could not answer due to sleeping brain cells. Yup. Thats what my mornings looked like last week and I would not have a repeat. So I prayed. Hard.  As hard as I could for the 45 seconds I remained conscious. 

And God, so graciously answered me. Prayer DOES change things.
I also prayed that God would help me find my 2 missing shirts. Long story... but I figure if He can part the waters, my lost shirts should be a piece of cake. Im just afraid He might lead me to the back of my freezer or inside my fireplace... another reminder what lack of sleep can do to a momma. Did I mention I misplaced a 1/2 stick of butter while cooking sauce last night?

I still can't find it. Sweet hubby promised he would find it before Miss P fingerpaints with it. I think the hubz has come to realize I have lost my marbles too.

But thats ok. I know this season is temporary... My last season of newborn-ness and my last Babymoon.

Im reminded every time I walk into my closet and stare at my pile of maternity clothes. I cleaned my closet yesterday while searching for those missing shirts. It came out quite nice but I don't know what to do with that one pile.

The pile I will never ever get to wear again.

Yeah, Im still dealing with closing that chapter of my life.

I know most of you don't understand and won't understand either. Just like you can't comprehend having 7 children... but thats fine. I don't expect you to.

But I can't bear to give them away. Not yet.

But life goes on and today is October 1st! Another big day in our Little Red House. As tradition says, tonight we gather around the TV and watch " Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" and drink Hot cocoa. My daughters friend is sleeping over and she will get to partake in the tradition too. Perhaps a little bit of Monkey bread will be served as well.

Today starts all things pumpkin and scary. Tricks or treats and candy corn. Our little red house comes complete with a Big fat black Cat.

Yes, Link is still here. But just because of this girl:


She loves that furball more than life.

She claims SHE is his Mom because...

"HE SAW ME FIRST..."

He pooped outside of his litter box again and he almost became a lawn ornament...

I mean, who would know it was really a real cat with Halloween approaching and all. 

I can claim insanity...

I plead 7...

or just deny...

"What cat??"

But for now our little lion roams the halls of our house still. His days might be numbered if he can't control where his hairy butt lowers.

Off I go. My kids are eating out of the cheerio box as I try to type this blog and half of them are on the floor. . School is almost done for the day and 8+ grilled cheese sandwiches need to be made.

I know what your thinking... DANG... and I know what your going to ask...

YES! Its hard. But aren't all things in life that are GOOD and PURPOSEFUL hard?
I wouldn't change it for a second.

I wish you all could have a taste of the blessings that abound among the mess.
The fun we have, the loneliness we will never experience...

Yes, please, come over and have a big slice of my pie...

and while your here, I will slip away for a nap!

Xoxo

GiGi

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