Winter Photo Dump


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The Star of the Show: Heaven in a Hat!

My Little Star:  This photo just about sums it all up!  She is one smiley, joyful, precious little baby!  She has a powerful ability to keep everyone entertained by the very simple discoveries made by babies.  Grabbing a foot, making raspberries, putting a book in her mouth, splashing bath water, kicking her feet, babbling-all these little things, that I can so easily not take notice of, are sources of constant laughter and awe for the other children.

It is also true that she has constant entertainment!  She is so content to play and watch the others.  I think her favorite playtime activity is being swung by her brother and sisters in her little jumpy seat….or other things that I’m inclined to tell them NOT to do with her until I see that she is entirely enjoying herself.  I guess she’s going to be a thrill seeker.

Little Star is slightly mobile, but she has yet to figure that out.  She scoots herself a little bit while she is sitting.  I’m content to help delay her realization that she can move.  There is something so wonderful about a baby that is happy sitting, encircled by toys and loved ones.  I’m not so ready to lived in a gated community again…

Man of the House pointed out to me a few weeks ago, as we were marveling that we had absolutely no glitches in the other three pregnancies, how the child who came to us in the most sorrowful situation is also the most joyful and has shared that joy with our family.  We consider ourselves very blessed.  It’s not a given that we can just get pregnant whenever we want to and that everything will go smoothly.  Even as far as things that could go wrong, I consider my own condition to be a very blessed one.  That certainly does not mean that I don’t struggle with the outcome.  It’ll always be a loss to me that I could not breastfeed her, but I also could have lost so much more.

Not surprisingly, just before I became pregnant with her, I remember praying a great deal about suffering.  The idea of it seemed so loathsome to me.  I knew in my heart that God was preparing my heart for another pregnancy.  I know it seems from what I’m saying that I considered pregnancy and another child to be a cross.  Not so.  The cross and the suffering involved everything that I’d have to give up.  Sleep.  Comfort.  Getting in shape.  Wearing clothes that fit.  Nausea.  Being able to go out with my husband as regularly as I wanted to.   Energy.  More time to myself.  Such petty crosses, I realize, but real splinters to me nonetheless.  As I look back, now I realize that the Lord was preparing me for the bigger cross of the tumor.

I’m glad He did.

Somehow it has been a blessing.  And somehow, I hope and believe, that this little girl, “Heaven in a Hat” I like to call her, will have eternal benefit from it.

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Total Diva


The silliest thing about Littlest is how brazenly stubborn she is, yet how we cannot take her seriously!  I guess she can be so ridiculous it’s funny.  Take, for instance, Potty Training.  Knowing she absolutely HAD to go, we would try to put her on the pot.  Cheerfully promising copious amounts of goodies was of no avail.  Nope.  Nothing but flailing, kicking, screaming, and jumping off the pot before she was actually put on ensued.

Frequently, Littlest has monologues…or maybe she’s trying to have dialogues but no one is attentively listening.  We hear what seems like babbling, then we hear clear, dramatic phrases like:  “It’s my life!”  Or, “You’re naughty!”  My personal favorite:  “I’ll do it MYSELF!”  Gladly.  Now please apply that to going potty!

Actually, quite miraculously, she is almost entirely potty trained, except at night.  We have an image of Our Lady Undoer of Knots in our home this month.  One night we were all writing down a knot in our life to entrust to Our Mother, when Littlest felt kind of left out.  She wanted a knot to put in too.  Not able to think of anything else, I wrote, “Potty Training.”  Believe it or not, three days later she willingly started to go on the pot.  I’m still in utter amazement!  Why on earth hadn’t it occurred to me to seek Divine Help before?  If you’re still not convinced that this is an actual miracle, my other children took an extra six months to train for BM’s after I had trained them for the easy stuff.  I have not changed a two year old stinkie for over two weeks.  Imagine my relief!!  🙂

I’ve begun to realize how prim and proper Little and Littler were as two year olds.  You think I’m joking!  They were a breeze.  Not much mess.  Had a general since of order.  Didn’t feel so inclined to turn the house upside down.  Not much deviousness.  (Although, that has changed a little bit for Littler, whom my brother now calls “Firefiighter”!  And with good reason.  What possessed him to urinate on our wood burning insert in the fireplace, I don’t know, but I do hope that was a one time experience we can all laugh heartily about but never experience again!)  Littlest has been somewhat of a shock to my system, although I do realize that she is just my first “normal” two year old.  How many things has she written on in spite of repeated consequences for doing so?  This girl is a beautiful little whirlwind who likes to leave a trail wherever she goes.  It’s really okay, because I’ve had to re-prioritize.  An immaculate house is over-rated.  So is a semi-clean one.  So is a picked up one.  So is one that doesn’t have that wonderful odor left behind by delinquent potty trainers.

If you think Little likes to dance…watch out for this one!!  She TEARS UP the dance floor.  I’m just hoping that the producers and costume designers of Dancing With the Stars will start “leaving a little to the imagination” before Littlest’s debut.  Having seen it once, I firmly believe that her biggest aspiration is to perform on the show.  Really.  You should see how she tries to dip and swing when we dance with her.

Now to pick a song for Littlest:

I believe I did mention that we can’t take her seriously…

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Littler Only Once


The irony in Littler being surrounded by sisters is that I had always envisioned myself with a lot of boys and one girl.  So far it’s the opposite!  🙂

This is one truly remarkable young man!!  I think so far, I am the most challenged by him, perhaps because he is the most like me?  He is very sensitive.  This is a wonderful and especially important quality to have being surrounded by girls.  Add an active imagination, a choleric temperament, and a quick temper along with a strong will, and you’ve got one Momma who just doesn’t know the best way to respond.  All of that sounds rather negative and I even feel somewhat guilty for so immediately launching into the fact that I so often don’t know what to do with/for him.  However, it is precisely all of the things that are challenging that are also the most wonderful about him!  He is his own little person, one who reveals and reflects new and wonderful qualities of our Creator.  Qualities that my life would be so desperately lacking without him.  The challenging aspects of his personality are not so difficult because of who he is, but because of my own weaknesses and my own quick temper.  Gulp.  Did I just admit that?!

In the midst of what seems like constant frustration and even failure on my part, is the striking realization that this kid brings so much joy, laughter, and honesty into our family!  There is no way that we would be complete without his laughter, his ability to find humor in situations, his amazing ability to readily forgive, his gratitude for even the smallest favors, and even his deeper spiritual sense.  He ponders things that surprise me and is not afraid to ask questions about them.  I’m impressed at his keen spiritual awareness.  He’s still a four year old boy, no less.  These things are not always on the surface or apparent to others.  But, I have the amazing gift as his mother to see this part of him.  I’m continually humbled by him.  How I think that my failings as a mother affect him so much more than my other children, yet he is always the first to say, “I love you.”  Or, “Thank you.”  (All of this is not to say that I don’t think that I’m a good mother.  I love this little guy so much, and I enjoy spending time with  him.  But maybe my little touch of honesty will help another mother know that she doesn’t have to be a saint to “qualify” for her job!  :))

I’m on a song kick and found one for this little guy.  This struck me because it is true that I often wish for him to “be out of this needy phase” and into the next.  But, what’s so bad about him needing me and wanting me so much?  He’ll only be little once.

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“I don’t want to miss even one song!”


It’s amazingly hard to believe that it has almost been six years since I held this Little Beauty for the very first time!  I’ve always been struck by how beautiful she is, and what a great joy to see that beauty unfold and how it is manifested in her whole being!  What is on the outside is just a tiny little flavor of what is inside-a little lick of the icing on the cake!  When she smiles, I know a joy I never imagined possible.  That is not to say we don’t face challenges.  We frequently clash wills, but I suppose that keeps us grounded and honest.

Having been a tom boy, I have a sense of added pleasure watching this Little one!  Since the moment I heard her first cry, I knew that she would be a princess through and through.  It’s amazing how naturally girlie she is.   I often scratch my head at the fact that she is indeed my offspring.  She seems so opposite of me, or at least what I was like as a little girl.  I think it’s wonderful.

She enjoyed her first performance in The Nutcracker in December.  Her Little Mouse role was absolutely adorable.  You may or may not have heard that, through an unfortunate course of events (ahem…Man of the House playing a little too roughly), she had to wear a boot for a broken foot.  We were very pleased that she was still able to perform.  For the  most part, she was able to perform without much hindrance.  I confess, I did cringe as I watched her, though, wondering how many people were thinking to themselves, “What mother would possibly  want her child limping around stage?”  Amazing.  Mom Guilt can get kind of ridiculous.

Kindergarten has been a source of great joy for us…maybe for me more than for her…   Recently, she decided to put on a Rapunzel play, so we spent part of one Friday afternoon making a yarn braid for her performance. I like the flexibility we have to do things like that.   She also enjoys tinkering at the piano, playing a few tunes that Man of the House has showed her.  She loves to sew and create things, and I constantly enjoy the stories that she dictates to me.

Recent Quotes:

(She watched a movie about St. Theresa, which markedly sparked her interest in nuns and religious life)

“I think I might like to be a nun.  I could NEVER kiss the floor, though.  PLECK!  Hmmmmmmm…maybe I should just try it and see what it’s like.” Very quick kiss of the floor. “There.  I did it.  I may be a nun after all!”

I asked her if she could remember any of the Ten Commandments.  “You shall not spit.  You shall not tell jokes.”
“Hoh!!  I Don’t think spring will ever come again!”

A little glimpse of Little.  I can’t help but think of this song for her:

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Pumpkin Patch

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do from not posting!  😉

Hay Ride


Corn Maze


The sunset



Pretty Girl next to Scarecrow

Comfy Cozy

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America’s Roller Coast

It’s been twelve years since my last visit to Cedar Point (or any amusement park for that matter), but I can’t say that I’ve stopped riding roller coasters. . .Life has a way of providing all of the thrill associated with them and then some.  The current roller coaster is the “I’ve got 4 children 5 and under” one, but I recently got of the “postpartum” one, at least I think I got off of that one.  While I never want to ride that particular postpartum coaster again, I know that it could have been worse.  I think I can even be grateful.

During my pregnancy I was a little annoyed at the rapid breast growth that was taking place, particularly on one side.  It was inconvenient and somewhat uncomfortable, but I didn’t really think too much of it until the end of the pregnancy.  I assumed that once I started nursing it might work itself out.  However, I started to realize even in the hospital that this wasn’t working out.  I was only getting bigger and more sore.  I mentioned this to my doctor and he took a look at it and had my exact initial response-FEED the baby!   A few days after coming home from the hospital I started feeling achy and feverish.  So, I went to urgent care.  The nurse directed us to the ER. Diagnosis: Mastitis.  After a few days of religious massaging, pumping, compresses, I knew this wasn’t mastitis.  Thinking it was a clogged duct, I was very happy to finally be referred to a surgeon.  I did not get the news that I’d hoped for.  This was a massive tumor!  My doctor  was pretty confident that it was benign, and I am so thankful that he was right!!!  However, it was caused by pregnancy and nursing hormones.  The only thing to do:  stop breastfeeding.

These words are nothing like the words “You’ll never be able to have another child.”  Yet, giving up breastfeeding was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do.  It was so difficult that I often found myself forgetting to be thankful that this bowling ball was benign and that all of us were otherwise healthy.  I didn’t have to wonder how I was going to take care of the kids while undergoing cancer treatments.  I didn’t have to send my Kindergartener to school.  She was able to stay home so that we could have the joy (and challenge) of learning and growing together.  It took time (hence no blog posts for 6 months!) and a lot of love, prayers, and support from others to help me get beyond the sadness I felt at the loss.  I’ve even had a number of women donate milk.  That’s been very healing, and I’ll never be able to thank those women enough!  I don’t know why the Lord allowed this to happen even though sometimes I speculate.  Maybe intimacy with her Daddy will for some reason be even more influential for her.  He did feed her the first bottle.  As sorrowful as that moment was, it was also joyful.  For the first time, he understood the beauty of being able to feed her.  He has continued to  enjoy bottle feeding (although, perhaps not the cleaning/sterilizing of them).  This has been a very great gift to him, and he even refers to her feedings as “nursing”.

The tumor is finally at a stage in which the surgeon can remove it.  I am relieved.  Even though it’s not out yet, just knowing that it soon will be has brought a little closure.  There is no guarantee that this will not happen again, but my doctor seems to think that removing the tumor instead of letting it completely shrink might help.  Emotionally, I’m handling it much better now, and I’m so grateful to have a happy, healthy baby.  My sweet children often pray that the next time Mommy has a baby in her belly she will be able to feed the baby her milk.  I pray for that too.  



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