Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dominic and Kapaun

I see this 100 times a day. 

He cried himself into a quandary about life. "To be or not to be."

Dominic is determined to find a hold Kapaun likes.  He worked this weekend on the football hold.  I loved how he kept trying it on him.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Plump Grump

I have consistently had extremely slow weight gainers in my babies. For some reason, Kapaun is plumping right up to my extreme liking. I crave fat babies. I love them especially their thighs and rubber band fat arms.

Brothers.  Dominic 11 1/2 and Kapaun 5 weeks.

Rose took this picture earlier today. I found it after I uploaded pictures tonight.  I wish it was clearer especially of Clairvaux and Damaris. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our friends from India, Lebanon, Nairobi, and the Ukraine

I saw this quote "I haven't been everywhere, but its on my list."

My friend Renee wrote the following about an enchanting encounter she had at a literacy festival with a fascinating woman.

"There was a 92-year-old great-grandmother of 11 in attendance wearing a chic linen suit whom I sat next to at lunch. And here is what I thought after talking with her: I want to be just like her RIGHT now AND when I’m 92. And do you know what that requires? It requires grabbing hold to whatever chance for learning you have that comes your way. Always say yes to opportunities within the realm of possibility for you. She said she is always enrolled in at least one course. She also shared that she always wanted to go to Norway, but never could afford it. Instead, she made friends with some random exchange student from Norway that crossed her path and has him skype with her now that he is back home."

One of the hundreds of reasons I love living where we do is the overwhelming generosity of our friends when babies are born.  We are still receiving meals each week and it is probably the best gift when a new baby is born.  Due to God's goodness, we have been able to meet and get to know well many families from different ethnic backgrounds.  We share many common interests, but what I love most is the introduction of different kinds of food to our children.

Last week, we received food from the Mwania family.  The father, Solomon, is from Nairobi. They have six children about the same ages as our children.  They had our family over this past summer and he made us authentic African food.  I loved listening to his stories about their culture.  He told us about a eatery called "The Carnival."  You can order almost any type of meat including zebra. 

My good friend Sandra is from Lebanon.  She and her husband have five boys similar in ages to our kids. I love Lebanese food and she knows it.   Amongst her many wonderful gifts, their culture is second to none when it comes to generosity.  She has brought over so many meals since Kapaun was born.  She went to the grocery store and brought over two grocery bags full of food just for ME to enjoy.  She has offered to come hold Kapaun at night if I need to get anything done.  She offered to watch my other kids during the day if I need to get anything done.   She printed off recipes for me that she adapted that contained food Kapaun could tolerate.  Foods with names like "Mdardra" and a spice mixture named "Zataar."

Pictured below is our friend, Anand.  He is from India, but is now living in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and baby on the way. 
Anand was in town this past weekend.  He intended to swing by our home for a short visit in the afternoon.  We ended up talking with him until 9:00 PM that night.  We discussed food, cultures, raising children, our faith, and a fascinating topic that I hope he writes about later for me on the absence of extended family culture.  Our children were completely taken by him mostly due to the fact that he was so good to include them constantly in our conversations by trying to draw them in with questions and funny jokes.  He was a natural with Kapaun and enjoyed trying to soothe him. 
We had a big pot of beef soup simmering on the stove for supper that evening.  As we discussed our love of Indian food, he promptly offered to make Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner.  How could I refuse?  Authentic Indian food from and Indian person.  Yes PLEASE!  My sister and husband were coming over so he made enough for everybody. He eagerly loaded up our four older kids to run to the store and fetch the needed ingredients.  He had his specialty spices with him in his suitcase.

My brother-in-law Jora is from the Ukraine.  We ate at his parents home last year.  Jora is the third of sixteen children.  That is not a typo!  He has 15 brothers and sisters. What I will remember about that incredible meal was the amount of food the Russians prepare for each meal.  I couldn't believe the amount of side dishes and desserts at the meal and my sister said that is normal for their family on a daily basis.  I am lucky to get one side dish made, but his mother had at least 5 side dishes and 5 desserts.  She was a machine, but relaxed as the gift of food was something very second nature to her.  Our kids still remember eating over at their home because of the desserts.
I value our friendships with each of these people and although our children may never visit these places at least they have had the opportunity to learn so much from our friendships and the food they share with us. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Lucia dance

Ever since the Fatima play, the girls have been performing the dances over and over. Clairvaux is the biggest performer and crack up. She demands people do the "Lucia dance" with her. I see her demanding Rose to do the "Lucia dance" outside on the lawn, over at her grandparents home, everywhere. It is so cute.

Moving along...What we have been up to these past weeks

We have been praying for almost two years for guidance in our home buying decision. I knew God would provide when He saw fit. We looked at several homes last summer when my sister lived with us, but didn't find the changes in the homes we were after. We looked at a few during the winter and a few this past summer again, but nothing. At this point, I pretty much didn't think about it past my morning prayer to St. Joseph asking his intercession to put it on John's heart if he saw it part of God's will for our lives.

Two days before we had Kapaun, our realtor called to say that she had found "the one." We viewed the home that evening and agreed that it was perfect for our family, BUT I was due with our eighth child in a couple days and the timing was really bad. I knew there was no way to put our home on the market and get it ready to show plus have a new baby and all those adjustments.

After numerous conversations and prayers, we agreed that we would take the selling of our home as the go-ahead to buy the new home. We agreed to show the home only in bundled showings so the likelihood of it selling was low, in my opinion. For about two weeks, we ended up showing the home almost everyday and after two weeks I was ready to be done. John did all the work to get the home ready.  He didn't want me doing anything as Kapaun was only days old, but it just got to be too much. We decided to slow the showings down to just Sundays. Our realtor agreed, but asked if she could show it one more time that night and THAT WAS THE COUPLE WHO BOUGHT IT.
Big decisions like this are hard for us, but have found confidence that the doors kept opening even when we were ready to be done.  We have brought five babies home to this house on Duxhall Court.  I have watched my little ones grow up in this home so of course the emotional strings are very long.  We are completely grateful for our new home and know that God will continue to make His will known. 
Kapaun of the day.  5 weeks old.
So, we begin packing up all our things in preparation for our move in a month.  The kids are so excited and each love something different about our new home.  It is only about five miles from our current house so it is not a huge move which will be nice. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

the Panic run cry

Our in-home weatherman told me that today was probably the last nice day for a while. I hyperventilated and my blood pressure went up. John took the older kids on one last run during nap time and ran into a friend on the trail. Our "friend" told him that it might snow on Tuesday. I hyperventilated and my blood pressure went up. Damaris and Clairvaux love going on runs so much, but missed out on this adventure due to bad colds and coughs. Damaris is usually a very cheerful nap waker. I heard her in her room talking, but suddenly heard the shriek of an orc coming from her bedroom. I knew her head was stuck between the slats or her foot had come off. It was that crazy of a shriek. I sped down the hall like Flo Jo to find Damaris straddling her bed rail looking out the window which allowed her to view the kids coming up the street from the run. She knew she had missed out. She was shaking in fear that her beloved was leaving without her. She screamed, "A RUN. A RUN.  Mama, A RUN!"  We had to bundle her up to go on a little stroll.  She was trying to get ready with her shoes, socks, hat, and coat so fast because she knew John was going to leave her any minute.

This picture was not taken today, but I love tippie toe pictures.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Watching them Play

My sister and I speak frequently to each other how watching our children play is one of the highlights of our motherhoods.  My mother use to say when asked what she did all day at home with children, "I sit and watch them grow."  She was very content to sit and watch us grow.  She had a wise awareness of the value of being content with the mundane of the given moment knowing that all things comes to pass. 

 Being a lover of Maria Montessori's methods, I know and believe that children's play is their work.  Lillie worked for several hours on this village.  Each wooden saint had a role in the whole ordeal.  I dared not disturb the whole process.

 Their days are so involved.  My sister Kristin always asks what the kids are up to most days because she told me she loves hearing what current interest has sprung up for the day.  Two days ago, jewelry making was in full bloom.  Led by Rose, she instructed her sisters on how to make seasonally colored bead necklaces.  They sorted beads for two days and consulted me about which holiday they should focus their necklace making upon.  I humor myself and answer very seriously.  Little do they know, I much I enjoy their exploits and serious questions like "Mom, what colors really would represent Spring best?" 
Yesterday, the day was spent memorizing the dances to the annual Fatima play they are in.  The director of the production gave me a copy of the soundtrack to the play so they were overcome with desire to perform.  They spent hours watching the older girls in the real performance so as children do best, they imitate.  In their minds, they looked just like the middle-school girls performing on stage. 
 One night last week, John and I got lost in conversation late into the evening.  The littlest ones were asleep.  We came out of our conversation to find Lillie and Zellie playing chess, Dominic and Rose playing Monopoly, and Clairvaux and Vianney playing Legos. 

Kristin asked me today if they are aware of each other especially the six sisters as they do everything with each other.  I don't think they are because they are so use to each other, but from my vantage point of having my own six sisters, I know full well how much they are going to look back with fondness at their whimsical childhood of play, siblings, and imagination.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kapaun-One Month old

I almost feel funny typing that he is already one month old.  Is time in some sort of vortex on turbo speed?  How could his birth already have been one month ago?  It is funny though because now I can honestly not remember what life was like without Kapaun.  Even if I look at pictures of all the kids before he was born, the picture looks incomplete without him in them.

 He woke up this morning with his first cold and cough.  All the other kids had colds this week too.  He weighs 11.5 pounds which is outstanding for me because usually our babies are very slow weight gainers.  I am proud.
 He loves his mama.  I love how he perches over my shoulder after nursing.  He is starting to look around more and more with his bobble head.  Each day we get a few more smiles. 

 He had a good week.  I wrote earlier in the week about his fussiness which prompted me to change a few more things in my diet.  I eliminated wheat and  started a probiotic with him.  We called our chiropractor and hope to get him in tomorrow or the beginning of next week.
He still hasn't figured out sleeping at night.  We usually see every hour most nights.  I know the routine by now and know full well how quickly he will be sleeping through the night.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to get a few hours of straight sleep, but if I can get a shower in the morning we usually are okay.  He usually sleeps great on me so a lot of nights I let him.  I don't mind.  I can't blame you because just a few short months ago you were next to me everyday, all the time.  What an adjust you are going through!  We will get it down.
 Everyone asks me who he looks like.  He very much resembles Vianney and I can see blond sprouts on top of his head.  Be still my heart if he looks like her and has her blond curly hair. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My John

How do I count the ways I love thee? These two pictures of you holding Kapaun and me holding Kapaun summarize our mutual shared loved and mission.  Our children.  You know I am crazy about you, but the love I have only multiplies after the births of each of our children.  My favorite hospital memories shared between us are the moment when the baby is born and how we look at each other and each day you come up to see me after having been at home helping with the other kids.  I am sure it is the grace of the moment, but I love seeing you walk around the curtain and how you smile at me.  I bask in the admiration and esteem you have for mothers and their work, but pridefully admit that I love that you shower me with that deep affection. 
You are so good to go over and over each child's birth with me.  I love that you remember the details about each child and I love how we compare each birth.  I love our mutual resolve to carry out the mission God has set before us with dependency upon God, our faith, and each other.  

I prayed many novenas and prayers my whole single life for you.  I asked God specifically for a St. Joseph.  I would be amiss if I didn't acknowledge the fine example your parents set for you. You have learned from the best.  You grew up watching both your grandfathers lovingly care for their wives.  You have watched each of them lead their families spiritually.  You were led by your own strong father.  How blessed we are from their sacrifices and generosity to love deeply and love eternally.
You do look incredibly handsome in your professional attire admiring your new son.  I have to say it.  It still makes my heart skip a beat.