Thursday, June 30, 2011

Retail Therapy

Sometimes a little retail therapy helps the mood. :-)

one of Emily's new birthday outfits that we got her from Crazy 8 that finally came in the mail...



new sandals for Melina...


Hard to believe that Melina is just wearing a 3 in a shoe. She's got little feet. These are a 3W and I got her a pair of princess sandals in a 4 too. She had a hard time figuring out how to walk in them at first, but it didn't take her but a few minutes and she's toddling around. She used to just tear her shoes off, but she's leaving them alone. :-) This is only her 2nd pair of shoes...she normally goes barefoot, but it's too hot now and I don't want her little feet getting burned so I told her it was time to wear shoes and she's leaving them be. :-)

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Handing my anxiousness over to the Lord...

Emma and Tracie's birthmom left a message on my house phone yesterday. I had just set up a blog for her a week or so ago so we could communicate there. This is part of the reason I had cut contact with her about a year ago. She doesn't accept anything that I say and pushes and pushes for other means of contact. We had begun to get hang up calls from private/unknown callers around the time of Emma's birthday and my gut kept wondering if it was their birthmom. I am not doing visits anymore because of things that happened and on terms of our agreement and of course she doesn't know that I know the latest happenings either nor will I tell her as she'll just argue like she did last time that I wasn't being told the truth and blah blah blah. I trust the people that I'm hearing it from over her as she's lied to me in the past. Anyway, enough about that. I don't think badly of her nor do I speak of her in any ill ways towards the kids, not that they bring her up much anyway. I've told her that if the kids get older and want to see her/talk to her then I'll address it with her then, but for now we think visits are not good for them. I had to change my cell number as her and her family started texting/calling me all hours of the day and night constantly. I felt like I couldn't breathe and they were not "hearing" what I was saying to them. I needed some space and the girls need to be able to go forward and I really do think that they are blossoming and doing well. And after she called me a liar and a thief that pretty much told me that the girls don't need to be around her. Who knows what she'd try to fill their ears with at a visit now. I struggle with talking to her about it and trying to let her know where I'm coming from, although I know it would just end in another argument and her trying to manipulate the situation so I just keep quiet. It is what it is...this isn't about me trying to please her or her trying to please me...this is about the girls and what we think is best for them. If they asked to see her it would be different, but they don't.

Anyway, I started the blog and she gave me her cell number and wanted the girls to call her. I don't do phone calls with kids...we tried that once with Josiah's birthmom. He didn't want anything to do with it and she would talk and talk and talk to him and it was a struggle as he was too little, no attention span, and it was really more for her than it was for him anyway as he doesn't know who she is. She would call sometimes almost every day and sometimes she would call 2-3 times a day just to hear his voice. It was stressful. I vowed that I would never do it again. It surprised me though yesterday to find the girls' birthmom had gotten our number...granted I know that you can find anything with Google nowadays, but I hate doubting where she got it from and wondering if the fostermom that had the girls little brother gave it to her or what's going on. It made me anxious and fearful that now she'd know our home address and that she could show up at our house too. With kids that open the door to anyone (despite our trying to teach them that we don't open the door without Mommy or Daddy telling them that it's ok), it scares me. I don't like feeling fearful or anxious in my own home. I told her on our blog that I didn't want her calling the house as that was never part of any agreement that we had. How she takes that remains to be seen. But, I deserve to be in my own home and not cringe every time my phone rings. The girls don't answer the phone anyway, so I'm not necessarily worried about that. I just don't want her calling and invading what is our home...our safe haven. I don't want her showing up at our house. I haven't talked to her or sent her pictures since after Halloween. I finally felt like I could breathe again and now this. I don't want to let go of the peace that I've had. Please help me put this anxiousness and fearfulness into your hands Lord...please continue to give me your peace and joy. And I truly thank you for giving me my girls. They are precious and have come so far!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Walgreens Deals



2-3.3 oz. Dove chocolate bars
2-6 oz cans of Blue Diamond Almonds
2-20 cnt Curad bandages
3-Bic flex 4 packages

$9.98 out of pocket cost

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Trying to be a good Mom...

All the littles want to do is watch tv or they're begging to go to a restaurant or do something fun. I have the day separated into segments to try to keep them out of trouble and I keep telling them that I wouldn't be a very good Mom if I just let them sit in front of the tv all of the time. They need to use their brains and their imaginations and play pretend and learn how to entertain themselves at times. We have a hard time doing free play as they tend to find trouble. But, it's hard on me to get much done when I'm feeling like I have to keep them occupied constantly. Mondays are clean the house day in which they help, but otherwise I try to stick to this schedule. obviously it's not set in stone as we do have things that come up, but this is what we try and stick to when we're at the house.

7:30 am breakfast, devotions, get dressed

8-9 am tv time

9-10 am outside time

10 am snack

10:30-11:30 am errands

11:30 am lunch

12-1 pm speech

1:30-2:30 pm occupational therapy

1-2 pm quiet time

2:00 pm snack

2:30-3:30 pm table play

3:30-4:30 pm outside time

4:30-5:15 pm playroom time

5:15 pm clean up

5:45 pm dinner

7 pm bath, jammies, and story time

7:30 pm family activity

8 pm littles bedtime (one-on-one time with kid of the day)

9 pm Deidra's bedtime

and I try to do themes for each day...
Monday is House Cleaning Day and Movie Day
Tuesday is Tasty Treat Day
Wednesday is Water Day
Thursday is Craft Day
Friday is Park Day

sometimes again, things get mixed up as things come up, but I try to give them something to look forward to each week.

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Fun at the Park

Melina swinging...



Josiah climbing...



Emily swinging...



Tracie driving...

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Where does God live?

I was sitting with the littles while they were eating breakfast this morning. We did our daily devotion. We talked about what sin was and gave examples. I told them that God sets us free each time that we say that we're sorry to Him. And I told them that we can ask God to help us not to keep doing the same thing over and over and He will give us those graces. We prayed together and at the end Tracie asks "where does God live?" While Mommy was saying "He lives in Heaven," Josiah was saying that He is with us all of the time and Tracie was saying "He lives in our hearts." That makes me smile to hear them talk about what they have learned and their faith at their little ages.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lord, please heal our household and renew our health!

I knew when the kids slept in this morning that it wasn't a good sign. Emmy got up this morning saying that her throat and stomach hurt. She feels warm, but not super warm. I'm just going to monitor them. She ate her breakfast just fine. Tracie didn't want to eat much either and now Josiah is saying his tummy hurts too. He's my child that never acts sick when he is, so I don't know if he's just wanting to copy his sisters or if it really does. Deidra still has a sore throat. I told them that we're just going to lay low today. He's not liking that very much. I went to bed with a headache and woke up with one too. Trying to keep the kids away from Melina...I really don't want her to get sick again. Lord, I just want health restored to our house. We've been battling one thing after another since October. Please help my babies to feel better!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Guess it's Tracie's turn...

She was in the middle of occupational therapy and she came in the kitchen to ask if she could be done. I went out to find out what was going on and the therapist said she wouldn't participate and she kept saying she was just tired. I noticed that she was looking a little pale and I felt her head and she felt warm. I said that was fine and apologized as she wasn't like this earlier and I really don't want to pass on our germs to anyone else. The therapist left and I took Tracie's temperature. It's only 99.4 and she's just saying that her tummy hurts. I have a feeling there is more to come though as this is exactly how Deidra started out. I had her lay down on the couch while we watched Alice in Wonderland and I rocked her for a bit.

Lord, please help my babies to feel better and please help these sickies and germs just leave us be. We need a healthy streak in this house! Please heal my babies and help them to feel better. Thank you, dear Abba!

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Emmy and Melina



I was trying to vacuum this morning and Melina is in that stage where she is scared of the vacuum. Emmy went over and picked her up and brought her back to the little couch to snuggle her. So sweet! I love to see my kids be loving towards one another. Thank you, Abba, for your sweet blessings!

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emma's Alice in Wonderland Party

making birthday wishes and blowing out her candles...



Emma's cake


We had Emma's 6th birthday party today. She wanted to invite friends from school that lived in our neighborhood. We invited Clara, Hope (Hope's sister Taylor that's in Deidra's class), Eden (she goes to church with us and was also in her class), and another little girl named Jessica that lives up the street. Hope and Taylor were the only ones who came...I felt bad, but it is the summer and I know families have a lot of summer plans. Anyway, they had fun watching Disney's Alice in Wonderland, making princess masks (we got a pirate for Josiah), getting princess tattoos, and eating cake and ice cream. She was spoiled with the Alice in Wonderland movie from Grandma, the Disney version was from us, $6 from Grandma and a 4th of July shirt too, a gift card to Toys R Us from Cousin Hannah and Uncles Miles and Aunt Kellie, a Walmart card from Grandpa Hoffman, and a princess DVD player from Grandma Hoffman...Melina loves that thing so I have a feeling she's going to be fighting over it with her. She had a great day. It was nice to have my Mom here for the day too. She stayed and spent most of the day with us and we made dinner together...goulash, garlic bread, and salad. Mmmm!

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let's color the house!

Mom and I were looking at colors and stuff last weekend as she was showing me the flooring that she was going to put down in her house. I had mentioned that we were talking about hiring a painter and painting our living room/hallways and the kitchen. We were playing around and these are the color combinations I came up with.

For the livingroom and hallways the color is ivoire. If we ever decide to go with the wood flooring laminate sheets, I really liked the Bernon Plank in Maple/Country Natural.


For the dining room I think we're going to go with a color called Haven. It's the lighter green in the photo. The darker green is part of the stock photo and I can't change it.

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Deidra's got strep...

We went to Merry Toppin's last night and we came home and Deidra said her stomach hurt. I didn't think much of it as she gets stomach aches a lot when it's time for bed...sometimes she throws up too...she's done this ever sicne she was little. The doctor said to give her Maalox. She hasn't had the problem in awhile, but it started happening again about a week ago. I just assumed it was that as she didn't have any other symptoms. This morning, she came into our room saying that she ached all over, had a stomach ache and a sore throat and she was dizzy. I took her temp and it was 101.2. She was supposed to have volleyball pictures and a game today, but I immediately thought with a fever like that and her symptoms that she probably had strep. I got some ibuprofen down her. I called to get her into the doctor and they fit her in this morning. The ibuprofen had her feeling a little better and she wanted to try to go to her game. I told her that we needed to see what was going on with her, but if she's contagious then she was staying home. Sure enough, it's strep. Went and got her some amoxicillin and brought her home. A little while later she was throwing up too. The fever is up to 103.8 and so we got some more ibuprofen down her, had her sip a little sprite and put her in the bathtub. She called me upstairs crying that she was so dizzy she couldn't get up by herself. Got her into her room and had to help her get her undies on and some jammies. I feel SO bad for her. Just praying that nobody else gets it!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

A day of chaos...



Mommy laughing: What did you get all over your face?

I got this look thrown back at me and couldn't resist taking a picture.


She tried to color her face with an orange marker, hence the face, as she realized that I knew that she had done something and she didn't want to tell me that she had the markers in the playroom when she's only supposed to use them at the kitchen table.

This day has been chaos to say the least...is there a full moon? With the way they've been yesterday and today it makes me wonder.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Liturgy of the Hours

I found this website earlier this week http://www.ourcatholicfaith.org/frames/divineoffice.html and I have been praying along. Love the prayers and how beautiful the songs are. I find that it helps to remind me to pray for certain things as well. God tells us to pray without ceasing and this certainly helps remind me to do that. I love how fitting some things are to what is going on in my life too. Powerful the way God works! I love that they link to Mass and to the rosary as well. All powerful warfare tools against the Devil!

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Labwork for me...

My results just came in the mail. Not good and he scolded me on paper saying that it didn't even look like I was taking my medication. Some of it I have been, some of it I haven't as he was the one that told me if I wasn't taking birth control it would cause cause birth defects. We're not actively trying, but we're open to God's will and so I've been working with some natural supplements to try to improve my lab results. Anyway, my blood sugars came back very poor. I am not going to argue with that. With everything going on, I haven't been monitoring them as closely as I should be, I haven't been taking my insulin on a daily basis as I should have. Half the time I go in the kitchen intending to take my medication, the kids will all start asking for things left and right and after a couple of requests (demands), having to monitor behaviors and so forth, I've forgotten to take my medication and eat myself. I do eventually take my pills, but I forget to check my sugars and if I don't know what they are, I don't usually take my insulin. A few weeks ago, we reinstated our family membership up at the YMCA. I told Andy that I NEED to get myself back on track. I'm tired of being scared to go to the doctor because I don't want to get yelled at. I need to get my health back on track.

My thyroid levels are still extremely poor. He said it didn't look like I've even been taking my medication. I have been. My TSH is at a 26.6. They want to see it between 0.5-5.1. After I had Melina, I tested at a 73, and then later I was in the high 20s. They readjusted my meds and I'm still at a 26.6. This is with taking meds almost daily. I still feel tired all of the time, so I knew it wouldn't come back right. This is one reason why I called to get the labwork done. I'm just upset that he doesn't think I'm taking my meds as I am.

My blood sugars came back poor. My A1C should have been a 7 (what diabetics aim for...otherwise the norm is about 5-6 for the average person). I'm at a 9.7. My average blood sugar is a 232. I should be around 120.

My cholesterol came back high. My cholesterol came back at 263 (they want you around 200). My Triglycerides came back at 166 and they want you around 150. My HDL came back at 50 and they want you at 39. My calculated LDL was 180 and they want you around 100 and my risk ratio LDL/HDL was 3.60 and they want you around 3.22. This is the area where he wants me on meds and I won't take them because we're not using birth control. I am taking fish oil and trying to watch what I am eating...increasing fiber, eating more fruits and veggies to try to combat this.

The doctor wanted me to come in and talk about all of this with him. All I could think about was the last time I went in and how he scolded me and I walked out of there wanting to cry. Last time, I told him that I thought I needed to be on a long-acting insulin..he told me that I already was. When I got home, Andy was looking at the insulin pen that he gave me and said that it was different. Sure enough when we compared what he gave me at that visit as to what I had been taking...I was right...the one I had been taking had no long-acting in it at all. I called back to let them know, but my blood sugars have still been yucky. I still question whether if I went back on the insulin that I took while I was pregnant if they'd normalize. I wish my OB could be my primary care, but that office doesn't do that like I've had in the past. Anyway, I wrote him a letter regarding my lab work, my plan of action, what meds I've been taking, what supplements I've been taking, the reasons for not taking my cholesterol meds, and asking for my dosage on my thyroid medication to be upped and called in to the pharmacy and that I redo all of my labwork in 6 weeks. If theres no improvement, I'll go in to see him. We'll see what he has to say.

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God is answering our prayers for Melina

She went from this...



to our happy girl...


and I just got the call from the nurse...her tests came back normal. I'm so glad that she is feeling better and that her tests came out well. PTL!

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Lina is having such a rough time!

She is really having a rough night. After another unconsolable period of her just screaming, I got up to call Baylor and ask them what we should do for her. They told me that they couldn't give out medical information over the phone (they did her tests, you'd think they could offer advice) and to call the pediatrician's office as they would have someone on call or a nurse line that we could call. I called and got the nurse number. She called me back and of course didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know. She said to give motrin and tylenol and sit her in the tub...all the things I was doing. She said that if she wasn't better in 24 hours to call the pediatrician as she shouldn't be as fussy as what I was saying that she was just because of having the catheter. I don't agree with that, but I just said ok. Glad I was charged $15 for that.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Josiah's Psych Appt

Andy wasn't sure if we should try to bring Melina out or not since she's been so fussy, but I still don't know how to get to that place by myself and I always like him there for back up anyway. So, we ventured out. It was the last psych appt that he's having with this doctor. They're all residents there and so they rotate out every June/July. I felt like we really had a psych on our side finally. It didn't start out that way, but I feel like she's been on our side finally over the past few months. It took me bringing Andy with me to talk to her for them to understand, but I felt like she listened and understood after the first couple of appts that we had with her.

I told her that his agression is doing a lot better, it's still there, but nothing like it was. He has a hard time judging distances and so sometimes I feel like he doesn't necessarily mean to hurt someone he just doesn't think of how close he is to the person before he does something. Like last week at tball practice, he was standing 2 feet away from someone and chucked the ball and it hit them right in the face. Andy took him out of practice for the rest of the time. Today, he was getting ready for Vacation Bible School and he got upset that I pulled him out of the line to do something for me. Instead of putting the wipes on the table like I asked, he walked up to me and threw them at me (I was standing in front of the table). That he did deliberately...I can see the difference. I told him that just because he didn't want to get out of line doesn't mean that he needed to throw something at me. He then lost his place in line. I told him had he expressed that he didn't want someone else to get his place in line, he could have told me and I would have made it clear to the others that he was getting his spot back as soon as he was done doing something for me, but since he wanted to be mean because he was mad that he was losing his place in line and would have to go to the back of the line. That really set him off, but he needs to learn that he doesn't always have to be first, the winner, all that stuff. He struggles with that...he makes everything into a competition and we keep trying to tell him that some things just need to be done, it's not a race on who gets done first. Anyway, we talked and we are going to keep his meds the same for now. She told me that if I saw a problem I can call and the doctor that he's going to be assigned to will talk with me and we can up them if needed. Otherwise, I'm going to wait and see how he does when he starts kindergarten in the fall since he's going to be at school all day then. I told her that he was going to be evaluated for attachment disorder in July. She asked me to tell her a little more about what that all entailed. She said that she gave us kudos for being so invested in him and trying to do what we thought was best for him.

I came out of the appt to find out that Melina had thrown up on Andy a little bit. Poor baby girl....she is so fussy and just not feeling well.

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Prayers for Melina

I think Melina has some irritation and burning from the catheter. She screams for a few minutes every so often and she just wants to be Momma's cuddle bug. It's hard to see her like this and not be able to help her. We're giving her some tylenol for the pain, but she is just a screaming. Poor sweetheart!

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Melina's Renal Ultrasound and VCUG

We got to the hospital at 7:45 to check in. They had wanted her to drink something prior to that to get her kidneys working. She didn't want much to do with drinking anything in the morning, but I managed to get her to drink a couple of ounces of juice. She was babbling at check in. We went back to radiology and the lady there wanted me to fill out a sheet of paperwork. No sooner did I take it than Melina started to scream. I got her calmed down and tried to pick up the clipboard and she started screaming again. I sat her down to see if she wanted to walk and she started to throw a fit because I wasn't holding her. I hate being handed paperwork to fill out when you're trying to console kids or keep them close to you so that they behave. I hate it. Anyway, I finally got her consoled and I was holding her in one hand and hand the clip board in the other. She immediately pushed the clipboard away and started to cry. Finally I noticed that I really only had to answer one question and sign and date the form as nothing else really applied to her, so I did it as fast as I could and gave it back to the receptionist. Finally, we went and walked in the hallway and she was fine as long as I was holding her. She was trembling and I was just trying to reassure her.

They called us back for the renal ultrasound and she did ok until the guy tried to touch her and then she started screaming. She wanted me to hold her and I couldn't. I kept trying to talk to her and smoothing her hair and she was just getting madder and madder that I couldn't pick her up. One of the nurses in the hallway heard her and came in and distracted her with her cell phone and she was relatively quiet for the rest of her ultrasound. Then, I had to put her in a gown and one of the techs tried to tie it in the back and the screaming started again. She just wanted her Momma. Then, they were ready for us across the hall.

We went over there and she immediately saw the lady that took x-rays of her before and started to scream. I got her calmed down and they called for the nursing supervisor to place her catheter. Everything was fine until it came time for me to put her on the table. The screaming started. They got the catheter in and the nurse told me that she'd tape the catheter and I could hold her. She was absolutely having a fit. The radiology tech kept telling me to lay her on the table while they got the doctor and I'd try to lay her down and she'd maneuver her way back into my arms. The nurse finally asked "how long is it going to take to get the doctor in here, the Mom can hold her baby..that catheter isn't going to go anywhere unless she pulls it out or she gets her legs just right in the wiring." The tech said that the doctor had been called and the doctor said to get her on the table. I tried once again to lay her down and she wasn't having anything to do with it. Finally, I said that I was going to hold her until the doctor came in the room...there's no sense to me in making her lay down when they weren't ready anyway. The doctor finally came in a few minutes later and they filled her bladder and she screamed and screamed. I was up by her face holding her hands and the tech was holding her feet and she was trying to push herself up the table to me. Another tech that was a student had to help to hold her in place. They kept asking me if I had anything to entertain her, I didn't have the hands to even try if I did and that's not what she wanted anyway, she just wanted her Momma and know that she was safe in my arms. The doctor kept looking and saying she was about to pee and the little stinker wouldn't go. You could see the little spasms, but she wouldn't release her bladder, she was so tense and so mad. Finally, she calmed down and I talked to her in little whispers and she finally let it go. THey had to turn her from side to side a couple of times and that had her screaming again. Once they were done, they told me they'd get me a towel to clean her up and then I could hold her. I said that I really didn't care that she was all wet, I just scooped her up and the screaming immediately stopped. I carried her over to the sink, washed her off, and asked them if I could bring her home in the gown. They said no, so I had to get her into her clothes. That was a little bit of a chore as she wanted nothing else to do with that table. I just put her outfit over her head and put her arms through and carried her out to the car. My poor sweet girl!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Labwork

Since the kids had Vacation Bible School this week, I jumped at the chance to finally go get my labwork done without having to tote all the kids with me. I had to go in for labwork and Melina needed a urine re-check. I know the doctor isn't going to be happy with how my blood sugars have been, but I am working on them. I'm going to ask him to do a recheck in 6 weeks so that I can show him that. With all the stress of Melina having pneumonia and so forth, I've put myself on the backburner. God revealed to me one day that I can't be any help to anyone else if I don't take care of myself too. So, babysteps forward. I will get there! I did it before, I can do it again.

I asked for a hat and a urine cup to bring home for Melina. I got her an apple juice box since she's finally figured out how to do the straw and sat her on the potty. I thought if I could get her distracted enough with the juice box and eating a cookie, that I'd have enough time to get her to go. That's how we got her last urine specimen. Anyway, I sat her down on the floor to grab something and no sooner did I turn my back I heard the splatter. She had peed on the floor. We tried again, but she was really wanting down. THey had just checked her urine at Children's on the 14th, so I called the doctor back to see if we could just use that one to schedule her renal ultrasound with the VCUG. They said that was fine. Thank goodness!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Household Weekly Chore Chart

Trying to get the kids more involved with helping with chores. Deidra always claims that she doesn't always know what needs to be done, so I figure this will help. I told them that if they do something they can let me know and I will mark it off. I expect to see their initials up there as many times as they are old in years. They will continue to earn their quarters for chores. Anyway, here is our list:

ENTRY WAY Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
Shoes picked up __ __ __ __ __ __ __
Floor Swept __
Floor Mopped __

PLAYROOM
Clear Floor __
Vacuum __
Clean Table __
Disinfect Toys __
Clean Windowsills __
Pick up Toys (am) __ __ __ __ __ __ __
(noon) __ __ __ __ __ __ __
(pm) __ __ __ __ __ __ __

BATHROOM Little Bath Kids Parents
Clear Floors __ __ __
Sweep Floors __ __ __
Mop Floor __ __ __
Sinks __ __ __
Toilets __ __ __
Bathtub __ __
Mirrors __ __ __
Door Knobs __ __ __
Windowsills __

LIVING ROOM
Dust __
Clear Floor __
Vacuum __
Clean Windowsills __

KITCHEN/DR Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Put away leftovers __ __ __
Clear Table __ __ __
Rinse Dishes __ __ __
Load Dishwasher __ __ __
Wash Table/Chairs __ __ __
Wash Stove __ __ __
Wash Pots and Pans __ __ __
Clean Countertops __ __ __
Put away clean dishes __ __ __
Move Chairs (sweep) __ __ __
Sweep Floor __ __ __
Mop Floor on Mon __



WINDOWS/MIRRORS
Kitchen __
Living Room __
Playroom __

BEDROOMS D E&T J Parents
Clear Floor __ __ __ __
Pick Up __ __ __ __
Door Knobs __ __ __ __
Vacuum __ __ __ __
Windows __ __ __ __
Put Laundry Away __ __ __ __

LAUNDRY ROOM
Clean Floor __
Clothes in Bins __
Sweep Floor __
Mop Floor __

GARBAGE
Monday __
Thursday __

PETS AM NOON PM
Food/Water Dog __ __ __
Food/Water Cats __ __ __
Litter Boxes __ __ __
Play with Lucy __ __ __
Kitties Brushed Wk T__ V__ M__ P__ S__ O__ C__
Lucy Bath 15th__ 30th__

YARD
Pick Up Trash __
Mow Lawn __
Weed Flower Bed __
Water Flowers __
Water Lawn __

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Melina and the pony tail...




Melina's hair is finally getting long enough that I tried to pull it up into a pony tail and most of it went up. Some of it fell out, but it's getting there. :-)

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Emily's Gifts



After Deidra's volleyball game and a coupon store run, we came home and let Emily open up her gifts. She had been asking for Alice in Wonderland (the theme of her party) for awhile, so we got the movie for her, some Fancy Nancy books, and some new clothes from Crazy 8.

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My little volleyball player...

This is Deidra's 3rd year playing volleyball. Last weekend, they made her the team captain. She got sick last night and I was hoping that she wasn't getting sick (she's had a problem since she's been little where her tummy hurts at night and sometimes she throws up...we haven't been able to figure out what has been happening...it quit for awhile and she just started having issues again. So, thankfully she was able to go and play this morning. Her team won their game...Deidra scored them some serious points. She's really getting good out there. I'm so proud of her! Thank you, Abba, for giving her this ability and she really enjoys playing!

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Date Night for Andy and I

One of the local churches wants to be an available resource for foster and adoptive parents. They are going to try to do something every quarter. We didn't go to the first one as I didn't know that we could since we no longer foster. However, we made arrangements to go to this one. The kids were all excited since they were going to have a lauau (sp?) theme and got to do water activities. I had a hard time handing over Melina, but I knew that she'd be in good hands with all the other foster parent activities that we've gone to. This was the first time that I've left her with someone other than family, let alone someone I didn't even know. I fought the tears and we had a good time together. We went to eat at Olive Garden and then to get Emily's birthday gifts from Walmart and then home to talk and snuggle for a bit before it was time to get the kids. It was really nice. We did learn though that 3 hours without the kids goes much faster than 3 hours with the kids. lol. The kids had a great time and are already asking when the next event is going to be and Deidra met a new friend that invited her to go to Hurricane Harbor with them over the weekend. However, she couldn't go as she has a volleyball game. I told her too that I'd like to meet the family and do some smaller playdates before I let her go off with someone for the day like that. So, in a way it was good that she had a volleyball game anyway. But, the kids had fun and Andy and I had a good time together. Andy was supposed to work late, but he made arrangements so that he could come home and we could spend that time together and then he went back in. I'm glad that we were able to get out as we hadn't been out in months and we needed some time alone without other distractions.

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Happy 6th Birthday, Emily!



We had a little mini-birthday celebration to celebrate Emmy's birthday since Daddy had to work and we had our first date night for 3 hours (we hadn't been out alone in months) and so we told her that she could open her presents tomorrow when Daddy was home for most of the day. I took her to Walmart and let her pick out some cupcakes and ice cream and then took them to get happy meals from McDonalds and she got to open her present from her brother and her sisters...a Barbie DVD. They watched that after lunch. Emmy said she wanted her cupcakes after lunch, but she was saving the ice cream for afternoon snack as she didn't want to get sick from too much sugar. I was kind of shocked that she said that and proud of her at the same time. Anyway, I'm proud of you baby girl. Happy 6th birthday!

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Finally got some news...

My Mother-in-law finally got approval on her short-sale on her condo. Her last day in her house is going to be July 20. I'm just praying now Abba that Geoff is able to help her move here. I really don't want Andy to have to keep taking off of work as we really would like to take a vacation this year and bring the kids to Disney. I know that probably sounds selfish in a way and we'll go help her if we need to, but we really need to get away as a family too. I'm just glad that we know when she is coming now, as that was some news that we had been waiting a long time on. Now to get the house ready for when she moves in. I'm hoping that all goes well too, I've had some anxiety about all that, but I know it will all work out. Now to pray for a smooth and safe move for her and her doggy, Reggie.

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Appreciation

Lord, I want to lift my husband up in prayer and ask for your blessings over him today. I am so thankful to have my husband. We take each other for granted sometimes and I think we're going through one of those phases. I wrote him a little note today to let him know just some of the ways that I appreciate him.

"Just wanted to tell you that I really do appreciate you. I appreciate how hard you work to support our family. I appreciate the way that you help with the kids t-ball practices and games. I appreciate the way that you help cook and clean. I appreciate the way that you help with the kids. I appreciate the way that you can fix computers. I appreciate the way that you try to put family first. I appreciate your storm prediction skills. I appreciate how you’ve been embracing this coupon thing and finding the deals and so forth along with me. I appreciate all that you do for our family and I just wanted to let you know."

Yes, there are things that I wish that he would do more of sometimes and times that I get upset with him over things, but when I make lists like these I realize just what a lucky girl that I am to have a husband like Andy. Thank you for the gift of Andy in my life, Abba. He is such a wonderful husband and father. Please shed your blessings over him today!

And my hubby just responded to his note with a little note back to me: Can I say "awww!?"

"Now you’re just makin’ stuff up J



But in all reality, I do appreciate you too! Yes, I really do! I appreciate how you’re such a good mom to the kiddos. I appreciate the fact that you always put others first. I appreciate your big heart! And I appreciate the fact that you love me – despite my obvious shortcomings.



I love you! :-)

---->---@"

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Refrigerator Magnets for Crafty Thursday

Today was crafty Thursday and so we made refrigerator magnets. The kids had fun painting and Deidra had fun making characters out of hers!


Deidra wanted to paint the last magnet...it was a zebra. She said it was hard to do, so she was going to make him be a pizza maker and he has splotches of pizza sauce all over him. At least she's being creative right?


Melina's turtle that Mommy painted for her!



Emily with her sweet giraffe.



Josiah and his mighty lion!


Deidra and her puppy dog. She says he's the cupcake maker.



Tracie and her kitty magnet. She asked me if they were cookies when she was painting it. Too funny. I'm thinking she had that mixed up with decorating sugar cookies. lol

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hard for him to see...

So my Dad has been staying with us since last Thursday. Everytime he comes in town, he has to make comments that we are too strict on our kids. He claims they can't do anything without us griping at them about something. They can't eat without us saying "don't smack, don't shove your mouth so full, concentrate on your own food, don't eat with your mouth open." They can't play in the house without them saying "we don't run in the house, we don't jump on the furniture, don't hit your sister, don't do this, don't do that." We have rules for a reason, and we want them to act politely and nicely. That's being too strict? He commented that Josiah was walking all over our couch pillows (the throw ones) and Andy had to ask him "do we do that?" I said "we've had to tell them that we don't sit on the pillows or walk all over them...they're for laying your head on." They're ripping them apart with having to push their fingers into the seams, jumping on them, and so forth. Last night we found out that Tracie is digging a hole into the ceiling. My Dad said "she didn't do that, what kid does that?" I told him that if he didn't believe me, I'd show him when he was done at the doctor. Andy was nice and bought them a rug for their room...Deidra said one day that they had ripped their rug. I said "how do you rip a rug like theirs and so she brought it down for me to see. They didn't rip it, but because their hands are always busy, they had tore all the threads out all the way through the middle. Tracie got a pillow pet and didn't even have it a month and had holes all poked into it because she jabs her hands into the seams. It's just stuff like that. I told my Dad that yes, some of it is just being kids and we can let that go. But, the total lack of respect for what the rules are when it plays over into issues at school and stuff like that...I don't think that's ok to let go. I understand that accidents happen, but most kids learn from that, they don't do it again and again and again. I just find it funny that we're trying to enforce boundaries with the kids and he keeps telling me "they're all right, they're just being kids." I shut up and 2 minutes later he's yelling at them for the same thing. There's a reason why we do and say the things that we do to them. That's all I'm saying. He gets mad and I just have to look at him and smile. I keep saying that I'm not going to let him get to me and today he got to me and I've been playing things over and over. Now, I'm going to try to let it go...I put it into your Hands, Abba. Please help me to shape and mold my kids in the way that You want them to grow. And please help my Dad to see what we are trying to do with our kids.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Melina and Grampa



Grandpa and Melina. She took awhile to warm up to him. He'd hold his arms out to her and she'd just look at him. After a few days, she finally warmed up to him and he had to leave. Look at that little cheesy face!

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ABCs and 123s


Emily



Josiah



Tracie

We are going to work on writing our letters and numbers throughout the summer and so we worked on A and 1 this week. The kids did a great job!

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The Devil is playing with me today...

but I will stand firm with the Lord and dig my heels in. Tried to take my van in this morning, Andy was going to stay home from work to help as my Dad needs to go to the doctor too. They can't get the parts until this afternoon so we can't bring it in until tomorrow. Andy went into work. My Dad was going to follow Andy up to the dealership, but my Mom didn't want my Dad up there and my Dad wouldn't accept what I was trying to say until I finally had to tell him that "I'd follow Andy up there as Mom didn't want him up there." That hurt him and he was supposed to give my Mom her weekly check for my brother's college and now he's debating about paying it. Kinda feel like it puts me in the middle since I handle his finances. The kids are all rowdy and whiny today, Melina keeps trying to nap and the whining and crying wakes her up. They're saying they're bored left and right and I'm trying to keep them busy, but I'm trying to clean the downstairs today as well. And of course, they're constantly hungry and thirsty so I gotta keep interrupting what I'm doing to get them a drink or a snack too. Having my Dad here too, with their attachment issues, they act like magnets and they're constantly jumping all over him or he moves and they gotta ask "where you going? what are you doing?" Or they're constantly touching him or right up on him. I try to enforce the boundary rules to give him space, then he's on me for that "they're alright, they're just being kids." I quit and 2 minutes later he's yelling at them to give him some room. Yesterday, Emma grabbed a hold of one of his toes and bent it back the wrong way really hard and he yelled out in pain. All I could say was "you wonder why I'm constantly trying to enforce the boundaries...I do have reasons for the things I say and do to them." He says his toe still hurts today. :-( He says "they're like magnets, they just glue themselves to me." That's a problem with attachment issues, but I'm not even going to try and explain all that to my Dad as it will just include more headache for me. But, I sure do feel the devil trying to play with me today. I am going to stand firm with the Lord though and have a positive attitude and just try to get through all of this.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Father's Day Dinner


baked tilapia with lemon and herbs, creamy basil mashed potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms


blondie turtle brownies

Since my Dad was only here for the weekend, I decided to make dinner and give them their gifts today so that we could celebrate with my Dad too. Dinner was a hit with everyone and even Melina couldn't get enough dinner. She loved the fish and the potatoes and would immediate want more. So funny!

My Grandma used to make german chocolate brownies and used a german chocolate cake mix. I found a vanilla cake mix on sale and decided to try a different cake mix in the recipe. You don't actually make the cake batter, but the cake mix goes into the brownie batter. Still turned out quite yummy! Even Andy ate dessert! I had to take a picture as he is NOT usually a sweet eater!



Here are Andy and my Dad with their t-shirts that we got them for Father's Day!

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Amish Baked Oatmeal



I whipped this up last night and baked it today after church so it sat in the fridge overnight. I made it in a 9x13 greased pan.

2/3 cup butter
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp vanilla
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
2 cups milk
6 cups oatmeal

Mix it all together and put it in a 9x13 (greased) pan and let it sit overnight. The next morning just bake it at 350 for about 40 minutes and it's good to go. My family absolutely loved it!

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Novena to the Holy Spirit Day Nine

Ninth Day:
The gifts of the Holy Spirit that we've been praying for over the past seven days are supernatural graces. As we cooperate with those graces by performing acts of virtue, we grow in the Fruitsof the Holy Spirit, which reinforce our desire to do good.

Verse for the Ninth Day:
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee Adore,
in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend;
Give Them Comfort when they die;
Give them Life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen.

Meditation for the Ninth Day--"The Fruits of the Holy Spirit":
The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to pract them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer for the Ninth Day:
Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but, by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration, may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (seven times), Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit, Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 8

Eighth Day:
Our prayer, verse, and meditation for the eighth day of the Novena to the Holy Spirit focus on wisdom, "the most perfect of the gifts" of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom shows that the Christian Faith involves the head as much as the heart, and reason as much as the will.

Verse for the Eighth Day:
Bend the stubborn heart and will,
melt the frozen, warm the chill.
Guide the steps that go astray!

Meditation for the Eighth Day--"The Gift of Wisdom":
Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues. Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom, it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands." It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: "Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light."

Prayers for the Eighth Day:
Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power, and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attacin them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (seven times), Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit, Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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Friday, June 10, 2011

No tv??



Kids: Can we watch tv? Mom: No, you can play for awhile. The tv doesn't need to be on everyday. (this was their reaction). Mommy: well, I guess it can be naptime then. :-)

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Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 7

Seventh Day

"Counsel" our meditation for the seventh day of the Novena to the Holy Spirit tells us "is supernatural common sense." With this gift of the Holy Spirit, we can translate our faith into action in evertyhing that we do.

Verse for the Seventh Day:
Heal our wounds--our strength renew,
On our dryness pour Thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Meditation for the Seventh Day--"The Gift of Counsel":
The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth."

Prayers for the Seventh Day:
Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life with which I long.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (seven times), Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit, Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

A day of babysitting...


Josiah, Emily, Ana, and Tracie watching the Strawberry Shortcake movie


Alaina and Melina playing blocks together

My friend, Beth, had surgery on her shoulder today, so we had 2 extra friends to play with today. My littles were so excited. We spent the day playing in the playroom, doing arts and crafts, playing outside on the trampoline (Ana's favorite) and on the swingset, watching Strawberry Shortcake during quiet/nap time which was also Ana's choice, and then we played with play-doh and with the legos. The day went really well and I was thinking to myself how having 7 kids here really wasn't that hard. Then the fussy hour happened around 4:30 and everyone got fussy, bored, and whiny. Dinner helped a little bit and then they played in the playroom and started getting really hyper and they all (well except for Alaina and Melina) earned a time out for not listening and running and jumping on the furniture and so they were mad at me. But that was really the only hard part of the day. Everything else went smoothly. Josiah had a hard time listening all day and kept hitting his sisters and so he earned a lot of time outs and Tracie kept thinking that Alaina was a baby like Melina and kept trying to pick her up and move her which had her in the time out spot a few times, but overall I really enjoyed having them and the kids all had fun. I did realize too that my kids have missed out on a ton of playdates and we need to start doing those. My kids have gotten a lot better around other kids, but the more they play with others the more they will learn. Josiah gets so excited that he gets loud and doesn't always remember about others personal spaces and Emma gets bossy and Tracie just wants to nurture everyone, but she needs to learn that her hands need to stay to herself and that others don't need her picking them up and so forth either. I told Andy that I think this summer is going to mark the end of therapy. They have come so far and are almost caught up anyway. Tracie will probably continue therapy a little while longer as she needs it, but I think Josiah is safe to end at the end of summer. His OT said he's pretty much caught up anyway...just a little behind...but it's his behaviors that are keeping him having to stay in it. I told Andy that I'm ready to just let them be kids and be able to go forward with other things. I want to see them be able to play with their friends, not be prohibited by therapy schedules running when and if we're able to do things. So, not only was today good for the kids, it was good for me too as it allowed me to see some things as well.

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Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 6

Sixth Day:
On hte sixth day of the Novena to the Holy Spirit, our prayer, verse, and meditation focus on the gift of understanding, which helps us to grasp the meaning of the revealed truthfs of Christianity and to live our lives in accordance with those truths.

Verse for the Sixth Day:
If Thou take Thy grace away,
nothing pure in man will stay,
All his good is turn'd to ill.

Meditation for the Sixth Day--"The Gift of Understanding":
Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by Understanding, we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Prayers for the Sixth Day:
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and, in the light of glory, to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be (seven times), Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit, Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Oven Baked French Toast



I tore up a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, mixed up 8 eggs with a little vanilla, a packet of splenda, and a splash of milk and dumped it over the bread in a 9x13 pan. Baked it at 350 for 30 minutes. We used SF maple syrup. Made some bacon and sliced up some peaches to go with it. The kids loved it and it's a super easy way to make french toast!

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My Walgreens Trip

We needed trash bags and Melina is low on Pampers. I like Savings Angel because you can do a product search to see where the items are on sale and then you can use the coupons that you have to get an even better deal and I don't have to waste time looking for the store ads online. Anyway, enough about that....

My Walgreens score…



Pampers 8.99 (I couldn’t find the $1.50 coupon that I had, but I earned $1 RR, so I went with it)

Glade Trash Bags 6.99…used the $1 in store coupon and the $4 RR that we had)



My grand total was $11.89 and I saved $9.50. I'm good with that!

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Sisterly Love



Deidra sure does love her baby sister. She loves the smell of her head and she loves to snuggle her. I loved this picture that I took of them together, so I just had to share. I hope that when they are older that the 9 year age gap doesn't even matter. I just want them to be close. I pray that all my children will be close to one another and stay that way as they get older.

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Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 5

Fifth Day:
On the fifth day of the Novena to the Holy Spirit, we ask for the gift of knowledge, so that we may truly understand that the world is ordered toward God and we may be able to perceive His will for us.

Verse for the Fifth Day:
Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill!

Meditation for the Fifth Day--"The Gift of Knowledge:"
The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that pssesseth it."

Prayers for the Fifth Day:
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (seven times), Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit, Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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The Pope's pep talk to families while visiting Croatia

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO CROATIA
(JUNE 4-5, 2011)

HOLY MASS ON THE OCCASION OF THE NATIONAL DAY
OF CROATIAN CATHOLIC FAMILIES

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI

Zagreb Hippodrome
Sunday, 5 June 2011



Dear Brothers and Sisters!

In this Mass at which it is my joy to preside, concelebrating with numerous brothers in the Episcopate and with a great number of priests, I give thanks to the Lord for all the beloved families gathered here, and for all the others who are linked with us through radio and television. I offer particular thanks to Cardinal Josip Bozanić, Archbishop of Zagreb, for his kind words at the beginning of this Mass. I address my greetings to all and express my great affection with an embrace of peace!

We have recently celebrated the Ascension of the Lord and we prepare ourselves to receive the great gift of the Holy Spirit. In the first reading, we saw how the apostolic community was united in prayer in the Upper Room with Mary, the mother of Jesus (cf. Acts 1:12-14). This is a picture of the Church with deep roots in the paschal event: indeed, the Upper Room is the place where Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood during the Last Supper, and where, having risen from the dead, he poured out the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the evening of Easter Sunday (cf. Jn 20:19-23). The Lord directed his disciples “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4); he asked that they might remain together to prepare themselves to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And they gathered together in prayer with Mary in the Upper Room, waiting for the promised event (cf. Acts 1:14). Remaining together was the condition given by Jesus for them to experience the coming of the Paraclete, and prolonged prayer served to maintain them in harmony with one another. We find here a formidable lesson for every Christian community. Sometimes it is thought that missionary efficacy depends primarily upon careful planning and its intelligent implementation by means of specific action. Certainly, the Lord asks for our cooperation, but his initiative has to come first, before any response from us: his Spirit is the true protagonist of the Church, to be invoked and welcomed.

In the Gospel, we heard the first part of the so-called “high-priestly prayer” of Jesus (cf. Jn 17:1-11a) – at the conclusion of his farewell discourses – full of trust, sweetness and love. It is called “the high-priestly prayer” because in it Jesus is presented as a priest interceding for his people as he prepares to leave this world. The passage is dominated by the double theme of the hour and the glory. It deals with the hour of death (cf. Jn 2:4; 7:30; 8:20), the hour in which the Christ must pass from this world to the Father (13:1). But at the same time it is also the hour of his glorification which is accomplished by means of the Cross, called by John the Evangelist “exaltation”, namely the raising up, the elevation to glory: the hour of the death of Jesus, the hour of supreme love, is the hour of his highest glory. For the Church too, for every Christian, the highest glory is the Cross, which means living in charity, in total gift to God and to others.

Dear brothers and sisters! I very willingly accepted the invitation given to me by the Bishops of Croatia to visit this country on the occasion of the first National Gathering of Croatian Catholic Families. I express my sincere appreciation for this attention and commitment to the family, not only because today this basic human reality, in your nation as elsewhere, has to face difficulties and threats, and thus has special need of evangelization and support, but also because Christian families are a decisive resource for education in the faith, for the up-building of the Church as a communion and for her missionary presence in the most diverse situations in life. I know the generosity and the dedication with which you, dear Pastors, serve the Lord and the Church. Your daily labour for the faith formation of future generations, as well as for marriage preparation and for the accompaniment of families, is the fundamental path for regenerating the Church anew and for giving life to the social fabric of the nation. May you remain dedicated to this important pastoral commitment!

Everyone knows that the Christian family is a special sign of the presence and love of Christ and that it is called to give a specific and irreplaceable contribution to evangelization. Blessed John Paul II, who visited this noble country three times, said that “the Christian family is called upon to take part actively and responsibly in the mission of the Church in a way that is original and specific, by placing itself, in what it is and what it does as an ‘intimate community of life and love’, at the service of the Church and of society” (Familiaris consortio, 50). The Christian family has always been the first way of transmitting the faith and still today retains great possibilities for evangelization in many areas.

Dear parents, commit yourselves always to teach your children to pray, and pray with them; draw them close to the Sacraments, especially to the Eucharist, as we celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Eucharistic miracle of Ludbreg; and introduce them to the life of the Church; in the intimacy of the home do not be afraid to read the sacred Scriptures, illuminating family life with the light of faith and praising God as Father. Be like a little Upper Room, like that of Mary and the disciples, in which to live unity, communion and prayer!

By the grace of God, many Christian families today are acquiring an ever deeper awareness of their missionary vocation, and are devoting themselves seriously to bearing witness to Christ the Lord. Blessed John Paul II once said: “An authentic family, founded on marriage, is in itself ‘good news’ for the world.” And he added: “In our time the families that collaborate actively in evangelization are ever more numerous [...] the hour of the family has arrived in the Church, which is also the hour of the missionary family” (Angelus, 21 October 2001). In today’s society the presence of exemplary Christian families is more necessary and urgent than ever. Unfortunately, we are forced to acknowledge the spread of a secularization which leads to the exclusion of God from life and the increasing disintegration of the family, especially in Europe. Freedom without commitment to the truth is made into an absolute, and individual well-being through the consumption of material goods and transient experiences is cultivated as an ideal, obscuring the quality of interpersonal relations and deeper human values; love is reduced to sentimental emotion and to the gratification of instinctive impulses, without a commitment to build lasting bonds of reciprocal belonging and without openness to life. We are called to oppose such a mentality! Alongside what the Church says, the testimony and commitment of the Christian family – your concrete testimony – is very important, especially when you affirm the inviolability of human life from conception until natural death, the singular and irreplaceable value of the family founded upon matrimony and the need for legislation which supports families in the task of giving birth to children and educating them. Dear families, be courageous! Do not give in to that secularized mentality which proposes living together as a preparation, or even a substitute for marriage! Show by the witness of your lives that it is possible, like Christ, to love without reserve, and do not be afraid to make a commitment to another person! Dear families, rejoice in fatherhood and motherhood! Openness to life is a sign of openness to the future, confidence in the future, just as respect for the natural moral law frees people, rather than demeaning them! The good of the family is also the good of the Church. I would like to repeat something I have said in the past: “the edification of each individual Christian family fits into the context of the larger family of the Church which supports it and carries it with her ... And the Church is reciprocally built up by the family, a ‘small domestic church’” (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Participants in the Ecclesial Diocesan Convention of Rome, 6 June 2005). Let us pray to the Lord, that families may come more and more to be small churches and that ecclesial communities may take on more and more the quality of a family!

Dear Croatian families, living the communion of faith and charity, be ever more transparent witnesses to the promise that the Lord, ascending into heaven, makes to each one of us: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). Dear Croatian Christians, hear yourselves called to evangelize with the whole of your life; hear the powerful word of the Lord: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Croatia, accompany you always on your way. Amen! Praised be Jesus and Mary!

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Melina walking

videoShe took her first steps a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't resist getting her on video tonight at the littles t-ball game. She's getting better and better all of the time. She can walk across a room now without falling or sitting down.

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Blue Dogs



Here are the littles at their first t-ball game of the season. They lost 11-7, but they tried really hard. They did a great job and Mommy is proud!

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Cranberry and Feta Chicken Salad




I made salad for dinner tonight with crescent rolls. A bag of chicken nuggets, some craisins, some feta cheese, and some romaine lettuce all mixed together with a raspberry vinagerette dressing. mmm!

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Organization Challenge Day 2

Today's challenge was to organize the coat closet...


Before



After

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Novena to the Holy Spirit Day 4

Fourth Day:
"Courage" is often used as another name for fortitude, but, as we can see in the verse, prayer, and meditation for the fourth day of the Novena to the Holy Spirit, fortitude is more than courage: It is also the strength to do what is necessary to live a holy life.

Verse for the Fourth Day:
Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
solace in the midst of woe.

Meditation for the Fourth Day--"The Gift of Fortitude":
By the gift of Fortitude, the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martydom of even lifelong tribulation. "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."

Prayers for the Fourth Day:
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be (seven times), Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit, Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

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Play-doh Fun


Emily



Tracie and Emily



Josiah

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Melina and the bladder infection

I got a call from the nurse saying that Melina's urine culture came back positive. They wanted to start her on a 2nd antibiotic. If she developed any new symptoms they wanted to see her, if she wasn't doing better in 48 hours they want to see her, and she needs to finish all of her antibiotics and then come back in for another urine sample and they're also going to schedule her for a renal ultrasound and VCUG to make sure that her kidneys are working as they should. I told Andy that I knew that they thought that I wasn't giving it enough time when I brought her back in on Friday morning when she was unconsolable and I knew the ER thought I was even worse when I had her in there Friday afternoon, but that Mommy intuition told me that she was hurting with that pain scream that she has. Now, at least I know that I was right. They worried me a bit with all of this though. I just want her to feel better and be back to my happy little sweetheart. Now to break her of the habit that she's had since Friday of tapping me in the face. In the ER, she was screaming in pain and the nurse says "you need to give her a bottle or figure out something to make her quiet down" and she left the room and Melina swatted me one in the face. I told her that we don't do that and held her arm down for a minute, but I can't help but feel like she was saying "I'm hurting here, nobody's helping me." She's done it a few more times in the middle of her pain screams as I hold her and try to console her. Anyway, hope the medicine makes her feel better soon. The pharmacy didn't have it in stock and wanted me to wait until tomorrow afternoon, but with her being so uncomfortable and not knowing exactly how long she's had this, I wasn't comfortable with waiting anymore. So, they called to find out who had some and transferred the perscription. I ran and got her some yogurt too as the last thing she needs to wind up with is a yeast infection on top of feeling yucky. Abba, please help my baby girl to feel better.

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First T-ball practice of the season


Emily and Daddy



Josiah and Daddy



Tracie and Daddy



The littles started t-ball tonight by having their first practice. Afterwards Andy brought them home and worked them in the backyard. Since I wasn't able to go to their practice, I snuck some pictures of them working with Daddy in the backyard.

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First Day of Summer Vacation


Emily and Josiah reading together



Tracie playing with her magnetic Dora set



Melina and Josiah playing ball together. So good to see her playing a little bit!

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