Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm thankful for....

It's that time of year again....the holidays! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this is the first year Sean has had the day before off! I finished off the first term of school Sunday, so the boys and I have this week off. The house is decorated for Christmas (minus the tree). Mary is almost potty trained (except for naps and overnight) and the cooking is half complete! (We decided to semi-cook this year)

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Sean works for a wonderful company that treats and pays us very well. We have a roof over our heads and a vehicle to get us from place to place. Our bellies are always full and there is always clothes on our backs. Our children will have a wonderful Christmas and want for nothing. I would tend to say, our life is pretty comfortable. As I think of how good we have it, I can't help but think of a friend who isn't so lucky this year. They are a family of 5 without an income. Her husband is unable to find work, mostly for medical reasons. They cannot pay there bills or even take their children to see a doctor, for lack of proper health insurance. The holidays are looking pretty grim for their children. Without money, Christmas will be slim to none. As if things couldn't get any worse, they are about to lose their vehicle. Even if her husband were hired tomorrow, how would he get to and from work....

I would like to say I can't imagine how that family feels, but I can. Not so long ago, we were in that same position. Unemployed, broke, homeless and almost without a vehicle, all during the holidays. When you're put in that position, the things you do to survive may not be legal or even right, but you do what you have to do, to save your family. Sometimes you have to put pride aside and ask for help. It took being homeless with four hungry children for us to do so, but we did. I am grateful for my amazing, wonderful Mother who bailed us out not once, or twice, but three times. We are forever in her debt and happily return the favor monthly.

I refer to my family so often, but at the same time I feel sad for my husband. My parents and Aunt are his only family, even though his Mother and Sister are somewhere back east. It has been years since we have seen them and it saddens me to know that they have no idea where we are or that she has so many Grandchildren. However, my husband chooses to keep it that way and I have no say in the matter. I would have liked to have had a sister-in-law, since I am an only child. Courtney, his little sister, is a bright, funny women that reminded me so much of Sean. She could make me laugh like no other. It seems like a lifetime ago, and every holiday and birthday I can't help but think of her. As children they were so close. far apart. They really have no idea what they're missing...

I really hope my friend and her family have someone they can fall back on in their time of need. We are in the season of hope and faithfulness. Family is most important and sometimes much needed. I am grateful to have a strong bond with my parents and Aunt Rene. In our time of need, they were there for us. As we are for them.  I know I said it before, but I am very thankful for my wonderful family, near and far. So with that, from my family to yours...
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!! God Bless

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Random photos

Busy week for us here. Sean is on a six day stretch so he can be off the day before turkey day. So I am shrinking two weeks into one to finish this first term.
Since I don't have the time to really blog this week, I'll post a few recent pictures of the kids. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Because everyone should learn to potty with a kitten on their lap!
Lizzie strikes a pose

Mary and Sammy

Sammy 5 months old
Fionn, Mary and Cian making an A
Mary, Lizzie, Cian and Fionn making a 5

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanksgiving Crafts for the Kids

Since Thanksgiving is....OMG...two weeks away (where has this year gone), I thought I'd share a few cute crafts for the kids. This year we decided to semi cook the Thanksgiving meal, so I needed something to keep the kids distracted during cooking and football. Thanks to my new found addiction Pinterest, I found some really cute and easy crafts the kids can all do together!

This first craft is my favorite. Leaf Feather Turkeys

You'll need:

brown construction paper
white construction paper
dried and pressed fallen leaves
large circle stencil
small circle stencil
small wiggly eyes (optional)

Use a cereal bowl or something of the same size to outline a circle on a brown piece of construction paper and cut it out. (Great scissor practice for the little ones) Use an empty toilet roll to outline a smaller circle on the same sheet of brown paper. Cut that out as well.

Add eyes to the smaller circle (small wiggly eyes work too) and cut off the tip of a pointy leaf for the beak and a small strip of a leaf for the red waddle. Glue them on.

Finding the perfect leaves are a bit of a challenge for us since our trees don't really change colors. Find a few different sizes, shapes and colors. 8-10 leaves should do the trick.

Glue down the bottom half of the big circle to a white sheet of construction paper. Carefully tuck a couple of the bigger leaves behind the big circle, arranging them however you wish. Glue those down. Add the smaller leaves on top of the bigger leaves, again arranging them however you wish, just make sure to overlap them, and glue those down as well. Glue the top half of the bigger circle to the leaves. Draw some legs and you're done!

What a cute craft to hang on the fridge or a window!

This second craft I realized we can't really do since we don't have large leaves here, but I really like this craft so I'm going to post it anyway.

Colorful Leaf Painting


large leaves (different shapes and sizes)
cookie sheet
acrylic paints (red, orange, green, yellow)
white construction paper
paper towel

Start by squirting different colored acrylic paints onto a baking sheet. Spread around the paint a bit to mix the colors and allow for enough room to press the entire leaf down. Press the leaf into the paint and then carefully place the leaf onto the paper, pressing it some more. Make sure to place the leaf vein-side down. (into the paint)

Children really need to press down all around the leaf...making sure to press all the way to the corners.  It takes a minute or two for small hands to be able to do this.

Carefully lift the leaf off the paper....the results are amazing and each so different, despite using the same leaf over and over again. 

I really want to try this with my children, so I think I'll just bite the bullet and pick a few leaves off the tree in the front your. They're not very big, but they do have a nice shape. Here is another picture I found on the web of the same concept. So pretty and fallish!!

So that's my little craft session for the day! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halloween 2011

I know I'm a few days late posting this, but Sean took Saturday off for extra family time. For some reason, I cannot post pictures from my tablet, so I had to write this post and then go back and post the pictures from the laptop. So, here was our Halloween....

Halloween was a little different for us his year. Since we still don't have a replacement for the van, we couldn't take the kids to the mall for trick or treating. Instead, Sean stayed home with Liam and Sam, and I took Declan, Cian, Fionn, Mary and Lizzie out. I'll get back to that adventure in a few minutes.

Sean spent most of the morning hunting down a pumpkin. For some reason, there was a shortage here this year and every Wal-Mart, Target, Costco and Vons was out of them. He did finally find one, though I'm not sure where. He cut open the top and let the kids go at it cleaning it out. Declan, Cian, Fionn, Mary and actually Liam were all set to get there hands dirty when Declan decided to push Fionn off the bench and he hit his chin on it. So, Declan got to sit on the floor while the others had fun cleaning out the pumpkin. He wasn't too happy. When they finished, Sean attempted to carve a scary face, but it turned out, not so (For some reason, we didn't take a picture of the final product.)

We put the little ones down for an early nap and let the older kids watch The Great Pumpkin before getting ready for Trick or Treating. They had pizza, which Declan complained about. I guess he was annoyed that we had had pizza the year before as well....sigh. (I hate to see what he will be like as a teenager.)

As I had mentioned earlier, I was taking the kids Trick-or-Treating because our van is not drivable. So, I got myself and the girls washed a ready while Sean got Declan, Cian and Fionn ready. This year, Mary wanted to be Snow White. Lizzie was Minnie Mouse. Declan and Cian were Mario...again, and Fionn was Superman. Since I was going out alone with five kids, we though it was best to leave Liam and Sam with Sean. (Sam was a doggy BTW) I had to cut Marys hair because it was in her eyes, so I decided to make it look like Snow Whites hair. I added a little lipstick and blush to her cheeks. She looked sooooo cute!!!!

Lizzie was so cute as Minnie Mouse. The ears the costume originally came with had a red bow, but Liam snapped them in half, so Sean had to order a new pair two days before Halloween. He refused to pay $15 for ears with a red bow, so he went the cheap route and bought the $5 pink bow ears. She looked silly, but I don't think anyone noticed except me.

Fionnys costume has a funny story. A couple years ago, he made up a silly super hero for himself named Super Wookie. (Named after our dog Wookie) Super Wookie was originally a "she" but was actually a boy. (Fionn was having gender confusion) Ever since, he has pretended to be his super hero alter ego. Well, this year he wanted to actually be Super Wookie for Halloween. Since we couldn't make an actual costume for Super Wookie, We told him the Super Man costume was actually Super He was happy.

Declan and Cian were Mario again this year since their costumes still fit them from last year. Sean was once again too cheap to buy new costumes for them. They didn't really mind. Its all about getting candy to them. I had Declan strap Lizzie into a stroller, which he pushed for me. Fionn and Mary were holding my hands and Cian was walking behind Declan. He was my biggest challenge. He tends to wonder off and not watch where he's going. I waited until 6:30pm to take them out. It wasn't quite dark yet. I kept looking up and down our street for kids or even people to have their doors open. The only other houses giving out candy were Carol and Mel next door and the family next to them. We literally had to walk to the next block before we saw any kids or houses handing out candy.
Once we did find houses giving out candy, kids came out of no where. There was one group of at least 20 kids. They looked to be between the ages of 5 and 12 and the language coming out of their mouths would put a sailor to shame. Declan kept trying to speed up to them, so I had to keep pulling him back. This was Lizzies first real Halloween and she was having a blast. Declan would roll her up to the door and taught her to say "Trick-or-Treat". He made sure she got a piece of candy in her pumpkin bucket. Every house we left, she would say "Bye-bye Daddy". I'm not sure why she thought every man was Somewhere along the way, Cian lost a shoe and didn't bother to tell me. He wasn't wearing socks for some reason either and it was chilly. I didn't notice until Fionn started complaining he had to pee. We were several streets away from our house so I had to pick up Mary and hurry them along. By time we reached our street, my back and feet were killing me and I had three fussy kids.

Sean had only three kids the entire time we were gone. He let Liam have a piece of candy and wait for the kids with him. He climbed up on the couch and fell asleep before a single trick-or-treater arrived. The poor dogs were locked outside and were not happy about it. Sean felt bad and let them into the classroom. He opened the window a crack so Bear could stick his nose in. He gave them treats and played with them. He had been watching the Ghost Hunters 6 hour live Halloween special we the kids and I got home. We got them out of their costumes, gave them each a piece of candy and put the four little ones to bed. Declan and Cian got to stay up and watch the rest of Ghost Hunters with us. We only had two other kids come to the door by 9pm. Not a great turn out this year, but this was the first time we've taken them door to door for candy, and despite Cians shoe mishap, it went over pretty well!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Another legend is gone....

Last night, Andy Rooney 92, passed away due to complications from surgery. He was best know for his 33 years as a commentator on the BEST journalistic show ever 60 Minutes. His little 3-5 minute rants and musings were always entertaining, whether you agreed with them or not.

I remember as a child, I would stay at my grandparents house on the weekends every now and then. Sunday nights Grandpa would park himself in the den and watch 60 Minutes. It was one of his favorite shows and Lord help you if you interrupted him from watching it. As an adult, my husband and I watch it almost every Sunday. It truly is the last reputable journalistic show on TV today. The topics they report are real and important, unlike this eras journalistic ideas (do we really care about Kim Kardashian getting divorced or the Michael Jackson death trial).

 Just a few weeks ago, we watched his last episode and couldn't help but feel a little sad. Is he the first of the last respected journalists to pass on? Lets face it, non of them are getting any younger and I personally don't see any of them being replaced by reputable reporters. The average person watches local news. My husband jokes that if you watched a person watching the local news, you might catch a little drool dripping down their chin. I think that's a bit harsh, but I do see his point. You really do have to be a moron to be interested in anything they report. Here, the Michael Jackson trial and Kim Kardashian divorce takes precedence over the Euro debt crisis and China. Why is that, because the average person got a terrible education and their attention span for real news is 0!!!

I better stop while I'm ahead. I don't mean to offend anyone. I'm just sick and tired of this country not educating our children properly. If the average journalism graduate thinks that celebrity gossip is "real news" I seriously fear for the future of shows like 60 Minutes.