Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I was watching the Today Show this morning and saw the coverage of Hurricane Sandy. My heart and prayers go out to all of you on the East Coast who are in the direct path of this crazy storm. It's been years since we've lived in New England, but my husbands heart and family still live there, as do mine.
Please be safe and stay out of harms way.

God Bless!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy 10th Birthday Declan!

Today is my eldest son Declans' 10th birthday. I can't believe 10 years have come and gone in, what seemed like the blink of an eye. We were truly blessed with this amazing boy. He is very smart, helpful, talented and funny. He does everything we ask of him without a fuss. (most of the time) He helps out so much with his little brothers and sisters. He has a vivid imagination and a talent for bringing it to life. He's a great student and a breeze to teach. He's very close to Sean and enjoys watching Boston sports with him any chance he gets.

Here's a few little interesting things about Declan-

  • Was born in Weymouth, MA on October 21, 2002. (Was conceived the night the Patriots and Tom Brady won their first Super Bowl together.)
  • I went into labor with him around 5am and didn't deliver until almost 6pm. (I had the most amazing mid-wife named Debra.)
  • He was born PERFECTLY CLEAN! Not a scratch or icky goop on him.
  • During those late night feedings, Sean loved to feed him with a beer and watch King of the Hill. It was their special bonding time. (I had to stop breast feeding due to a horrible case of Mastitis.)
  • Declan was sleeping through the night by two months, crawling by 5 and walking by almost 1.
  • His nickname is "The Big Dooga" because as a baby, he would run around yelling "Dooga dooga daaaa". 
  • His favorite meal is chicken pot pie.
  • His favorite color is green.
  • He has been home schooled his entire life.
  • He loves to swing and play baseball with his brothers.
  • His favorite movie is Spiderman.
  • His favorite TV show is Doctor who.
  • His favorite subject in school is Science.
  • He loves to read
  • He loves to draw.

 I am so proud of my son and all he has accomplished so far in his life. He is an amazing boy and I can't wait to see what he will do in the next 10 years. Happy Birthday Declan, we love you!!!

Thankful Thursday...Lizzie Addition!

Yesterday we celebrated Lizzie's 3rd Birthday, and what better reason to be thankful than for this beautiful little girl. She is our 6th child and 2nd daughter. She was born on October 13th at 3:13pm and weighed 7lbs 15oz.

I am so thankful for her sassy personality. She knows what she wants and won't stop until she gets it. (Or just screams at the top of her lungs until one of us caves.) She knows she's cute and will use that to her advantage.

I'm thankful for her waking us up in the morning, climbing into our bed to lay with me. (She never wants to lay with Daddy.) She will cuddle under the covers and close her eyes for about 30 minutes. We'll miss that when she out grows it.

I'm thankful for her bedtime routine. Both her and Mary love Disney Princesses. They have all 6 main princesses on their walls,  one giant castle and one tiny castle. Every night they won't go to bed until I pick each girl up and walk to each princess and say "This is Sleeping Beauty, princess 1. This is Belle, princess 2. This is Snow White, princess 3. This is Ariel, princess 4. This is Tiana, princess 5. This is Cinderella, princess 6. I then have to say "one big castle and one little castle." I then proceed to "drop" them into their There are some nights when I don't feel like going through the whole routine, but then I remember, in as little as a few months, they won't want to do that anymore, I'll wish I had those few times of laziness back.

I'm thankful for her mannerisms. She puts her little hand over her nose and one eye when she's tired or shy. She'll put her head down and look up only with her eyes, when she knows she did something wrong. It's so hard to stay mad at her for more than two seconds.

I'm thankful for her little voice. She loves to sing and loves Doc McStuffins. She knows the theme song by heart and will sing right along to the show. The last time my Mom came to visit, she sat her on her lap and sang some cheesy song from the 40's. (I don't know why....I love you like I do....something, something) That was over a year ago and to this day, Lizzie sings. "I don't no why, I don't know why" over and over again. I'm so thankful that, though Mom can't be here often, Lizzie learned something from her and Mom is so tickled that she remembered it.

I'm so thankful for the bond she has with her sister. She loves Mary and looks up to her. Though they fight like cats and dogs, they are always together and would be lost without each other.

I'm thankful for her beautiful blue eyes and curly blond hair. She is our only child with curly hair and I LOVE it so much. I love the way it forms ringlets when it dries and falls so sweetly down her back. I love her giant blue eyes, so full of wonder. I love her big, beautiful smile and funny little laugh. It warms my heart.

I'm thankful for our routine together. She sits on my lap on the couch, facing me and sways back and forth yelling "I love you" in all different silly voices, and I repeat the same, trying to match her voice. We do this for at least 30 minutes and it never gets old. Again, in 5 or 10 years, we won't remember these little things, and if we did, we would wish we could bring them back.

I'm grateful for her independent personality. She's very strong willed and doesn't put up with anything from anyone. She's very smart too. She can aruge with the best of them. Sometimes we have to remember she's the child and we're the

Although she is quite girly. she can get down and dirty with her big brothers any day. She loves to roll around on the floor wrestling with Declan, Cian and Fionn. She'll sit through Doctor Who and Phineas and Ferb all day, so long as her brothers are watching them.

I'm so thankful for my beautiful little angel. She was a blessing from the moment we realized I was expecting. Life for us has been so much better with her beautiful little face and sassy attitude. I thank God everyday for my little angel.

Here are a few more pictures from her birthday.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Heaven Really Does Exist!

I read an amazing article in Newsweek today that left me feeling warm and content. A neurosurgeon named Dr. Eban Alexander contracted a very rare case of meningitis (E. Coli Bacteria) that had penetrated his cerebrospinal fluid and was eating away at his brain. It all started with a horrible headache. Within hours, the entire cortex of his brain had shut down. He sank into a coma for 7 days and underwent what some call a "near-death experience." On the 7th day, when the doctors were trying to decide what course to take, his eyes "popped" open.

"There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.

But that dimension—in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey."

In the article, Dr. Alexander explains the medical impossibility of his experience; 
"According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent."

He then describes his AMAZING encounter, in vivid detail. From big, puffy pink and white clouds, to a deep blue sky with "flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arched across the sky, leaving behind streamerlike lines." He describes a sound, "huge and booming like a glorious chant" coming from these beings angels. He also recalled someone with him. A women, young and beautiful. She was simply dressed, like a peasant, but with bright, colorful clothes. They were riding along on an "intricately patterned surface", which after a moment he recognized as the wing of a butterfly. He describes seeing millions of butterflies, swarming up and down the woods. Everything was so bright and colorful.

Dr. Alexander describes the entire experience in great detail. He has written a book that will be available on Amazon and Kindle October 23rd. As a Roman Catholic family, we found his story to be enlightening and encouraging. It's proof that God is waiting for us in a far better place. I encourage anyone, believers or not, to read his story. It will give you a new prospective on life and beyond....God Bless.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thankful Thursday......well Sunday.

I was going to write a post about Amanda Todd, (the girl who took her own life after posting a cry for help in the form of a YouTube video, due to bullying) but soon realized how sad the situation was and how much we need to be thankful for. So, thanks to the lovely Jamie Jo, I decided to begin the tradition of Thankful Thursdays!

           I'm thankful for this teenage girl who doesn't need Facebook, a boy or friends to give her
           self-confidence. (But will give me an attitude for putting her picture on my

 Thankful for ABCMouse to keep my ever-learning Kindergartner entertained during the older kids lessons. Since he breezes through his own bookwork, this site has been a blessing for me to keep his mind busy.

               Thankful for BOB Books to help teach Cian to read when no other books could do the job!

               Thankful for Children's Advil when poor Fionn Bear is running a 103 degree temp.
                                                    30 minutes and he's out like a light.

                                    I'm thankful for silly siblings with the same goofy smile.

                      Thankful for beautiful weather year round to sit in the grass or play outside.

                         Thankful for shy little boys that only come out of their shell at Disney.

                       Thankful for beautiful little girls that still suck their thumb, since birth.
                                             (I may regret that one when she needs braces.)

                     Thankful for patient doggie who puts up with toddlers laying all over him.
                              Thankful for messy kitchen floors, which mean Daddy is home!

          I'm thankful for Android Tablets to keep fussy babies happy when it's too hot to go to bed.

             Thankful for silly little girls who where dressed by their big brother for comic effect.

            Thankful for giant Mickey Mouse pumpkin that put huge smiles on my children's faces.
                                                         It really was something to see!

                                Thankful for almost perfect pictures, that is if some would stop
                                    stuffing their face for at least 10 seconds to snap a photo.

                                                      Thankful for patient Disney characters.

                         Thankful for Quad Strollers to allow us to take the entire gang to Disney.
                                                Despite the rude comments and dirty looks.

                                       Thankful for smart little boys who love their lessons.

                         Lastly, Thankful for finally finding the time to bake pumpkin cookies
                             for my hungry little cookie monsters after a 9 hour day of school.

I could not imagine a single day without our crazy life and family. I am so grateful to have been blessed with 8 beautiful children and an amazing husband who gets up at 5am to go to a job he hates just so we won't starve. Our life is far from perfect. On any given day, something goes wrong and another grey hair is added to my head. There isn't 5 minutes to go by before a toddler lets out a blood curling scream that will pierce your soul, simply because her brother touched her. On any given day, my house is in complete dismay and there is no amount of cleaning that with fix it. I laugh just thinking of all the crazy stuff that happens in our home. I could write a book and have anyone who reads it in stitches from laughing. Again, I wouldn't trade it for a billion dollars and a fancy mansion in Beverly Hills. (Though I wouldn't mind a vacation in one for a weekend.) We only get one chance in life. God has given us this life for a reason and it's our job to fulfill his dream for us. For that, I am truly THANKFUL!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Back to School!

It's official, we are back in school! I spent most of the evening Thursday finishing lesson plans and gutting out a corner of my kitchen/laundry room for our classroom. It's small and cramped, but gets the job done.

This years bulletin board theme is monsters in school. I thought that would be cute for Fionn since he loves monsters and dinosaurs.

I was up with Sean at 6am (The sun wasn't even up yet) and let me tell you, it wasn't fun without coffee. (Still can't have caffeinated drinks due to Cystitis.) I had the kids breakfast ready by 7am and had everything cleaned up and ready to start by 8am.

I decided to start off with Fionn one on one. Since I only need to spend an hour or so on his classes per day, I thought I'd get him started first. He had Religion, Math, Phonics and Handwriting. Since he already knew most of his letters and sounds, it was a breeze going through the Phonics worksheet. Setons' starts out with T. He ready enjoyed sounding out the words on the page. He also liked writing the "t's" as well. I think he may get bored with it pretty quickly though. Like I said before, he already knows most of these letters and there sounds. I might have to do two lessons in one for some letters.

He enjoyed handwriting as well. They started him off with downward strokes, basically the lower case "l". In the picture to the right, he is using the "two finger" spacing between each line. He was so cute writing his lines and so proud of himself.

Cian has a lot more classes this year, which is good because he is very lazy and tends to not "try" in classes. History has already become a problem this year. When I read to him, he isn't listening at all. He couldn't answer a single question in the review correctly. He is bored with subjects like Religion and History, which have a lot of reading involved. I'm not really sure how to deal with this problem. Do any of you home schooling Moms have any advice/suggestions?

On an improved note, he is doing very well in Phonics and Spelling. I thought Spelling would be a challenge, but he is grasping the concept of spelling out the word instead of just sounding out the letters pretty well. (Remember, Cian is one of my special learning children.) His first list has words like as, cat, fat, an, fan, pan. All easy for him to sound out.

He has come a log way with his handwriting as well. I am seeing a HUGE improvement with letters like "B" and "A". These were letters he couldn't write last year.

Declan has a big load this year. He is rapidly realizing his classes get harder as he gets older. A good example, Vocabulary. Instead of the book giving the word and definition on the page for him, he now has to learn to use the glossary in the back of the book to look up the words. He is also having to pick out an incorrectly used word in a group of 4 sentences. The first group of sentences used the word "miser". I actually had a hard time with that one myself. I had to take a picture of the group and text it to Sean for the correct answer. (The book doesn't give the correct answers.) He gets frustrated with it and gets mad.

Reading is another big subject this year. He is required to read and write a book review each quarter. His first book is The Small War of Sergeant Donkey. I've never heard of it myself, but it looks interesting. He is also required to read these books in the evenings only. Class time is for book work and required class reading. He was not thrilled with having to read a required book on his own reading time. (He is currently reading Huck Finn at bedtime.) He also has to fill out a worksheet as he reads for brainstorming. Again, he is not thrilled.

His class work has gotten much harder as well. He is currently reading short stories out of This is Our Land. The first story is Henry Huggins and Ribsy. He must read the entire story one day and is then given a list of possible topic sentences for a paragraph. He must go back through the story, find the page and paragraph that the topic refers too. To Declan, this was like the world ending. You would have thought I had asked him to write a 2000 word essay on how a plant grows. He also has a workbook too. Today he had to read a poem, answer a few questions about the poem, and then write his own poem, answering a question from the poem questions. (Kinda hard to explain.) He HATES writing anything, so you could only imagine the tantrum he threw. I can see it's going to be a long year....

It's only been three days, and we've already had our share of distraction and disruptions. (Liam took Sam out of his crib upstairs and had him running amuck yesterday.) I am constantly having to stop class and go fish Liam or Lizzie out of a closet, bathroom or garage (don't ask). I also think I need to hang a tacky blanket from our kitchen entrance because Declan tends to crank his head around to watch whatever the little ones are watching on TV in the living room. I also seem to end up with at least one toddler sitting at the table at any given time. As cute as they my be, they don't help much with keeping two very distracted boys concentrating on their lessons. Throw in two barking, chewing on everything dogs and tuns of laundry, and you've got one mama going crazy. I honestly don't see how you do it Jamie Jo. I think I need a lot more prayers In my life.

Since it has taken me three days to write this post, I think I'll quite before I have to add another day and leave you with a few cute school pictures. Have a great week everyone. GO PATS!!!

Cian's First day of 1st Grade

Declan's first day of 4th grade!

Fionn's first day of Kindergarten!

Our classroom wall.