Tuesday, April 30, 2013

the Red and White Sisters

Rose's work.

Rose organized a dress alike and called her trend "The Red and White Sisters."  Red for Jesus, White for the Saints, and Blue for the Blessed Mother.  I am a lover of matching so I guess she has inherited the gene.  She worked so hard for about an hour finding each person's different clothing items.

First Bike Ride

I was cleaning up from dinner and didn't realize what momentous firsts were happening outside. I peered out the window to see John circling the cul-de-sac with a fat hobbit on the back. I guess because I still think she is 3 months old, I wasn't expecting her to be stuffed in a bike helmet going for a bike ride. It was cute to me that she was holding on.

Worry set in as she realized her turn might be up and she wasn't going to have that.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just as cute as she could be

One of funniest parts of parenting is that you really are convinced you have the cutest kids in the world. When Dominic was born, we truly thought we had just given birth to the world's most beautiful baby. We look back at pictures and realize how he was NOT the world's most beautiful baby and actually really beat up from delivery. I just KNEW the nurses were admiring him. John and I just think Damaris is over the top cute. I guess that is how it should be because if your parents don't think you are the cat's meow, even if your not, who will? I took just her with me today on a few errands and once again had the Dominic syndrome. She was just so cute in Target that I carried her around like a trophy. Part of loving them is also knowing the darling personality behind a sweet face.

Profile pictures are my favorite.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Our Wonderful Trip to Kentucky

We had the privilege of traveling to Louisville, Kentucky last week for our godson's First Communion. I have written many times before about my Aunt Ange and Uncle Pete. Besides my own parents, they have always been a constant influence and role model for me. They have shaped me more than anything else I've encountered since I was a young girl. Initially, we were going to fly with all the kids, but at my sweet mother's pleading to let her watch the little three, we decided to just take the older four. We couldn't have had a better time. They live out in the country on huge open lot with a pond close by and a trampoline. They have eight children and their little kids match up in age with our older kids. I am constantly asking her questions and begging her not to forget what she has learned about teenagers and life. She is twelve years older than me so I think it is a perfect generation gap to be able to learn from.

We arrived late Friday night and stayed until Monday evening. We have so many wonderful memories of great food, great late night talks, but by far my favorite is the amazing people we met while in Kentucky. Pete and Ange hosted a party at their home after the First Communion for about 100 people. Every person I met had such an incredible story leaving me either in tears or laughing. The world is so beautiful that way. You can pretty much travel anywhere and meet like-minded folks who are striving to do God's will in their life, love their families, and working on virtue. It provides so much hope in a darkened world.

 Of course as the world always proves to be very small, I met Danielle who went to grade school with my sister-in-law Maria. Of course.

She is the second of eleven children and I kid you not when she walked into the room with her four little fairies, I thought music played. She has four of the most beautiful children I've ever seen. Of course, their little faces were beautiful, but it was their sweet little demeanors that I won't forget. We were instant friends probably because we both are the oldest girls of big families. I could have spent a month straight talking to her. What a treasure it was to meet her and her beautiful family.

 Another sweet mother that I will never forget meeting was Kirsten from Sonlight Garden. She is expecting her 9th baby, Thomas Joseph due in August. Early in her pregnancy, their baby was diagnosed with encephalocele. Her words below describe what this entails:

 "On Friday we went in for a Nuchal Translucent Ultrasound. This can look at all of the baby's structures a little more closely. Upon further investigation, what they originally thought was a cystic hygroma on the back of the baby's neck is actually an encephalocele. What this means is that the sutures at the back of the baby's skull have failed to fuse together. This forms a sort of bubble at the neck area, sometimes filled with fluid and other times filled with tissue. It looks like there is some tissue in our little baby's sac, it also looks like because of the position of the encephalocele that it is also involving the vertebrae and spinal cord. As you can imagine this is not good. This will involve respiratory function, brain function, swallowing, walking, etc. all of the major body systems."

 I promised I would pray for her and a miracle every day. Despite the constant requests from the medical field to terminate the pregnancy, the Butler's refuse every time and are praying for a miracle for Thomas. John spent some time talking with her amazing husband who prays weekly at Planned Parenthood. I cannot help but shake my head at the irony. These wonderful people value each life God has given to them. I hope we can storm heaven for prayers for their family and a miracle that would rock the medical world. I often think to myself, "How does anybody make it through life without the concept of offering things up?"   Her story alone has motivated me to do things in my own life that I wouldn't have done besides the fact that I can offer it as a sacrifice for her, her husband, and a miracle for Thomas. So, please any sacrifice you can offer on their behalf would be such a gift to them. Speaking only for myself, it is so good to continually turn outward and keep watch for those suffering so much. How can I turn inward when she is suffering so much? My mom agrees that this is the key to life. Keep watch.

Another warrior I met on the trip was Leslie Genius. Her husband is the world-renowned musician Eric Genius. Again, listening to her story left me ashamed of myself. God has not only asked one or two major crosses of her, but multiple scattered throughout her life. Her oldest child suffers severally with Asperger's Syndrome, she has lost several babies to miscarriage (two of those babies were 22 weeks gestation), they adopted a child from Rwanda, and her youngest was born with Down's Syndrome going into heart failure at 3 months. The strength this woman has in one little finger was astonishing. Again, God has asked so much of her and like Kirsten they continually respond with love. I hope they know what saints they are raising the bar to all of us below watching their outstanding example of love and sacrifice. Truly, it is the kind of heroism you read about in the books. I am so honored to have met them and am thankful for their example.

There were so many other wonderful families at the party who I just loved listening to their stories of conversion and their hopes for their children and the Church. What I want to remember is how God used so many small things in each person's life to call them to Him. It gives me so much hope for my children and their future. Often, God will use something that I played no role in. One woman told me she was influenced by a fellow co-worker while working as an ICU nurse. She said she was so impressed by her friend's sweet and mature demeanor as an 18-year-old and it motivated her to look further in her own life.
Poor Rose was so sick on the plane.  She woke up the morning we were leaving with an ear ache which has NEVER happened.  Why today when we were flying out in three hours?  Our good chiropractor got her in for an adjustment which seemed to help the ear ache.  

John was carrying a purple and pink backpack.  Also, inside his little Local Brew bag was a sweater with throw up on it.  Poor John.  As he was trying to help Rose, she squeezed the bag and got throw up all over him and his dress pants.  We thought this picture was perfect of parenthood. 

Our children couldn't have enjoyed the trip more despite the motion sickness experience by all multiple times. My uncle even prescribed Zofran to help and it didn't phase them. Poor Rose couldn't shake it the whole trip. She felt nauseous the whole time. She was trying to have so much fun, but it just looms over you. Every time I called home, my mom would give a great report. She would never tell me if anything was wrong unless it was serious. I found out later that two of the little kids had thrown up so I was so glad we weren't dealing with that on the plane or in Kentucky while the others had thrown up seven times.

It was a delight to just be with the older four and enjoy them. It is a different dynamic that both John and I enjoyed. They felt so special and will never forget their first time to fly.

I found this picture on my camera after uploading. Vianney must have taken it of Clairvaux curling my mother's hair. Isn't that precious? I remember my grandmother letting me put curlers in her hair and brush the heck out of her head. I loved it so much.  We couldn't have been more thankful for my mother and for my aunt and uncle for hosting us.

4-year-olds shouldn't say Richard

We call Damaris "Richard." We were driving this morning on our way to ballet and listening to a song about Richard the Lionheart. The lyrics contained the name "Richard" four times. Exasperated at the irony of having a sister we call Richard and the song containing Richard, Vianney says in her best lisp, "MOM, that sthong sayths Rithard Four Timeths." She was just amazed. I challenge you to find a cuter word than "Richard" coming out of a 4-year-old child with a lisp.

Friday, April 26, 2013

19 weeks

It is ridiculous how fast each successive pregnancy seems to go. All of sudden, I am half way through this pregnancy. We had our ultrasound on Tuesday morning. It always takes my breath away EVERY time we first have our ultrasound. I said, "There you are." Just like that, I have my first picture of you. We spend so much time analyzing what the ultrasound tech says that we really should just find out what gender the baby is. I analyzed how she commented on everything. I watched her face and tried to read her expressions especially since she knows we have one boy and six girls. I "thought" I heard her say "Her heart looks great." BUT, I don't know.

None the less, it is always beautiful to see someone moving and growing right along. I cannot believe, God-willing, you will be in our arms in 20 short weeks.

Happy 9th Birthday, Lillie!

Lillie Boever. How in the world are you nine years old? You really are the sweetest girl I know. I am not just saying that because I am your mother. You hand out compliments like it is your job and are always the first to tell anyone thank you, how nice they look, or to just compliment them on some random item. You are a kind soul and very aware of others feelings. You LOVE life. Did I say that loud enough? You delight in things most would never find joy in. You get excited about everything and meeting everyone. I think others have a hard time understanding you as you are still so childlike in how you view the world. Your mind is so simple yet so complex. What I love most about you is your appreciation for everything even speech class. Every Thursday morning as we drive over together, you tell me how excited you are to see Mrs. English and ask me which house I love the most while we are driving. You come running out each week beaming, waving your hand wildly as if we hadn't just seen each other 25 short minutes ago. You love Damaris like we just brought her home yesterday. You still write us a note every night and tell me each night how nice my bed looks when it is made. You thank me for dinner every night and are very specific about what you liked most about dinner. I wish I was more like you in that appearances mean nothing to you. You would go to speech class in your underwear if I let you. Not as a act of disobedience, but you simply aren't caught up in how you look. You tell me often, after the fact, that you prayed for certain things throughout the day and they are usually very simply things like hoping to go to the park or to have ice cream after dinner. God must smile at you often. You do very well in school and are so patient with me. Like most, I require Math done to perfection and you will patiently redo problems over and over as I ask. I marvel each day that you haven't tired yet of doing your school work. You are always the first to get started and the first one done. I can't keep up with you in the mornings. You make your bed the minute you step out of it. You are hands down our best eater. You eat anything and will try anything.
A while back, we started giving the kids one present in the morning.  After following a long string, the present would be at the end.  I haven't done that for a few years, but last night Lillie requested it.  How could I resist giving her this pup early in the morning?  She was thrilled.
Children really are so very simple.  Lillie loves animals from the depths of her core.  I wish I did as I would love so much to get her a dog.  She really would die from happiness.  I keep telling the girls that if we ever move to a farm, they can get animals.  We have no plans to ever move to a farm, but it is certainly keeping their hopes alive.  For now, I enjoy finding different stuffed animals that they treasure.  I found "Slush" at Hobby Lobby and knew instantly Lillie would treat him as if he were real.  I hit the jackpot.  She carried him around all day long.  She told me many times how much the note taped to the box meant to her.
I get the fine honor of taking the birthday celebrant out to breakfast the morning of the big day.  I look forward to it as much as they do.  She chose Village Inn this year after Dominic's rave reviews.  I always let them order whatever they want.  It really is my treat to just be with them in the early morning of their big day.
I say it again.  Children are so simple.  She wanted me to do the word search with her.  She would look up and thank me for being with her and compliment me on doing so well on the word search.

She wanted me to take a picture of her devouring the cake with her hand.

John gave her a birthstone necklace.  We try to give them a little piece of jewelry on their birthdays from John.  It is never anything big and usually something I find on clearance at Target or a thrift store, but it is amazing how they treasure the little gifts from John.  He always says, "For my princess."
 It is never good for me to look through old pictures. Way too painful. I say it again, "Thank you again that I was home to watch them grow." What if I would have missed it all and it is all going so fast. Happy Birthday, Lillie. We love you so much.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blogger Trouble, anyone????

I was hoping somebody could direct me into the correct direction if they too are experiencing trouble with blogger.  I cannot upload any pictures and this is devastating.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy First Birthday, Damaris!

Happy Birthday to the most adored baby in the world! We marvel at one year ago today you entered our lives and your newness never wore off. In fact, I think we've all gotten crazier about you. You are the joy of our whole family. Everyone still asks to hold you all day. Every one still delights in all your little ways. The happiness one baby can bring to a whole family is always beautiful. You still seem like such a baby. I know that you will grow up when the new baby is born immediately. Celebrating first birthdays are my favorite. So simple, so fun, and so monumental. I replayed everything in my head what went on exactly one year ago today at certain times. You still are our funniest walking baby. Not that you walk funny, you just look so short to be walking around our home with so many people taller than you. In particular, I have a memory of about a month ago watching you freshly bathed with just a white onesie on. Your hair was slicked to the side like an older gentleman and you were just toddling around the home. You had no idea how we just watched you and smiled. I giggle frequently at seeing your short self pass doorways usually trailing your sisters.

I told one of my friends that I have such gratitude at having been given the key to true happiness in life. Despite the detailed work of a mother, after a certain amount of years God grants you an intense realization of how quickly the years are passing and the days don't become drudgery any more, but an honor and privilege. We pulled out home videos of all the kid's first birthdays tonight and I am glad they couldn't see me crying in the back of the room. I cried part from sadness and mostly out of IMMENSE gratitude. I am so thankful that I have been home to see everything and watch them grow everyday. I have no regrets in that department. I am so thankful even when times weren't financially stable and it "made sense for me to work" I didn't. I am glad we cut back on our spendings and not on the time I had to spend with my little ones while they grew. It is funny how I look back at our first five years of marriage when John was in school and I was home with such happiness. We had nothing really, but each other and a very simple life. We only had one small 1992 Honda Civic that I dropped John off at school and eagerly picked him up each day. Those days are my treasure. He would run out of the school building to be greeted with three precious faces strapped in the back seat so eager to see him. Such wonderful, simple times. I am so thankful I stayed home and didn't waste time that I could have never gotten back.

Second to the joy of your birthday, we truly delighted in watching your siblings sing and dote upon you. "Oh, Mom, LOOK. She's eating her cupcake." Squealing by all. Then when it was time for your bath, everybody crammed in the bathroom to watch.

I think your nickname has finally stuck. We threw a few around for a while, but have finally landed on Richard Ricardo usually shortened to Ricky. We've called you that for a couple months and that is a great sign being that I switch it up every few weeks or so. Ricky Boever, we love you.

Damaris, you know I am crazy about you. Dominic and Lillie will constantly reassure me that "Mama, when the new baby comes Damaris is going to need extra love from us." We are so glad you were born and God chose you for our family.
Your father's favorite part about you...the ten-inch gap up the middle of your two front teeth.  Lucky us who see it all day when you smile so tight we can't see the pupils in your eyes.  Lucky us.