Monday, September 19, 2016

An evening adventure at Pioneers Park

Zac Brown's song "Chicken Fried" comes to mind when I look through these pictures.  I think my favorite evenings always happen organically with our kids.  "Hey, let's take the kids to Pioneers Park to tromp around and pick up fried chicken at Lee's Chicken on the way out."  "Yes, let's do it."  They always turn out wonderful 100 percent of the time.  The weather was gorgeous and we truly just tromped around the grounds. 

Damaris is at the age where she is constantly bringing me flowers all the time.  It must be a passage that children must go through because they all have done it.  Sometimes, my counter is covered with little glass jars with all her flowers from the day. 

One of Dominic's greatest dreams is to travel to New Zealand to explore the grounds where "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" were filmed.  In the meantime, he is constantly searching for land and places that resemble his beloved Shire.  This might be the closet we've found to-date.
I was up at the top of the hill watching him walk further and further into the sunset.  It is really painful to love them.  He is a freshman this year.  He has been a joy to John and I his entire life.  What a gift he is to our family.  

We had to stop at C &  L Dairy on our way back home.  One of the my greatest memories as a child was going with my father up to Glen Elder lake.  We would stop at a little dairy store and get an ice cream cone on our way back.  For some time, there was a little zoo with about 2-3 animals across the way.  It was enough for me to be completely enthralled as a child.  I didn't know BIG zoos existed.  I loved it. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The beauty of each individual child

I read the following quote this evening by G.K. Chesterton that resonated with my soul so deeply.  I've discovered the words on written paper that flow through my heart so strongly regarding each individual child.  I've felt this since I was young.  My mother said I was Anne Shirley with a million interests, but nothing compared to the thought of motherhood and marriage.  I knew that each new baby was a whole new world to come into this world.  Each of my siblings was not just another person, but a whole NEW person that the world has never known.  I loved school.  I loved the beauties of this world, but A BABY?  Nothing compared to a new baby.

A breakfast must.  Lions and Tigers assisting the process.  He searches for them in the toy box before eating and positions them accordingly to accompany him while dining.

Chesteron said,
"Babies remind us to be in awe of the world.  We should never stop being in awe of babies.  Each time a baby is born, it is as if a whole new world has been created, because the world is being seen for the first time by a new soul as if it were the first day of creation; inside that little head, there is a new system of stars, new grass, new cities, a new sea.  

A literary man who cannot see that a baby is marvelous could not see that anything is marvelous.  He has certainly no earthly logical reason for regarding a movie vamp as marvelous.  The movie vamp is only what happens to the baby when it goes wrong."

 How can Kapaun see the wonder in the flame of his candle, but we don't in ours?  I am not sure how many minutes clicked by, but he stared as long as he could.  Holding a candle was new to him.  I've watched 8 children hold a candle for the first time and every time it is wonderful and filled with wanderlust. 
 There are approximately 12 leaves on our lawn, but it was determined by Damaris and Kapaun that they indeed must be raked to build a pile to jump in.  And they did.  Over and over and over.  How do you have fun in 12 leaves?  They see the beauty in the ordinary.  Our lives have become so filled with ideas greater than the ordinary that we are missing what they see so clearly.
 Every night in her bath she dumps water over and over and over.  Every night she watches it fall from the cup into the tub and repeat.  She will do it the duration of her bath.  It never gets old to her.  She is even more amazed when I pour the water and she tries to grab it.  She can't figure out why she can't grab it.  One of my favorite baby traits.  I've done it now for nine babies. 
 Hours upon hours upon hours.  The stage right before they read fluently, but are living in the literary world and the pictures are so real to them that analyzing a picture book is enough entertainment for a little 4-year-old girl to do every day...even the same book over and over.

That is what I see in each person God has given to us. A whole new person with a whole new world to explore.  This new child of ours has never seen the sky before.  This new child has never licked a lollipop.  I will watch again for the 10th time a precious 9-month-old begin to crawl and walk.  WE will teach this new child to read about the fourth year of his/her life and it will amaze us.  We will all squeal and delight at his/her first steps.  It never gets old.  It really is wonderful.  Each baby restores in me that gift of wonder at the ordinary I've gotten use to . What a beautiful design God has!

 She brings me flowers everyday.  If they are available to pick, she proudly presents.  "I love you, Mama."  See it.  Don't miss it.  See the beauty that they see.

 Captain Hook and Mr. Smee.  The way they dress-up so sloppily, but so passionately is a sermon in and of itself.  I have watched these phases come and go.  I see them ease into each phase and suddenly the phase ends. Dominic dressed up everyday.  I don't even remember when it stopped.  New interests take the place of the old in the minds and hearts of each child.  

What I see most clearly is the absolute honor it is to watch these children first discover the world!  The first time they open their first workbook for school.  The first time they taste ice cream.  So many things in life lose their luster, but what a wonderful honor it is to be with someone experiencing luster for the first time.

I was just so overcome with elation when I read these words this evening.  What a gift we have to see the world for the first time over and over through the gift of a new child.  



Tuesday, September 6, 2016


I don't even remember how to upload pictures.  I don't even have the words to put together for a blog post.  I think I worked on that for about 30 minutes.  Geez.  Time clicks along as time always does and before you know it, over five months have passed since I've written anything.  Before I go back into random blogging, I thought I should gently ease my way back in by giving a brief snippet of each child and a few other random tidbits.

I am a little over 27 weeks with our newest babe.  The ultrasound was slightly nerve-racking to say the least, but everything is progressing right along with our sweet baby.  We didn't find out the gender and that just makes me so excited.  John and I truly love not knowing.  I love analyzing the heck out of every thing the ultrasound tech says, comparing previous pregnancies, cravings, and the what not.  We have a boy name we both just love, but still can't nail down a girl name. 
Lourdes is almost 19 months old now.  Oh my!  Where do we start with Miss Personality 2016.  Every inch of her is funny, talkative, and mature beyond her baby years.  She knows exactly her position in our family and uses that to her advantage.  She has six mothers who so willingly lay their life down for her.  It is getting ridiculous.  We were at the chiropractor last week and she was wailing away during her adjustment.  Her mothers were fretting and stroking her head and the moment she was done, they all grabbed her and consoled her through her trial.  She is talking so much and very clearly.  What a goon!
We continue to do blood work for her every six weeks to monitor her AFP levels for cancer.  Additionally, she has an abdominal ultrasound every three months to monitor for cancer also.  We are 18 months into this regimen and I'm still not use to it one bit.  I hate waiting for the phone call for her blood work.  I hate waiting for the phone call for her ultrasounds.  We have many years to go with these screenings and it can be quite nerve-racking wondering which scan isn't going to be good. The center for Beckwith-Wiedemann foundation sent a reminder to all parents of the necessity of the screenings stating the importance as children with this syndrome have a 600 % increased risk of getting cancer during their childhood.  600% !!! Most tumors will present in her abdominal region, but they have found many children to have brain tumors, blood cancer, and a certain cancer specific to the child's muscles.  Oh man!  I feel like I'm back to Pre-school in my spiritual life.  It takes a total reliance upon God to trust that He has a specific plan for each person and He knows what is best.
She is just so, so, so darling and loved.  It is often hard to watch her and wonder all that could be in her life.
Kapaun.  Our only child.  John and I both are just completely twitterpated with him.  He is as precious as good be.  He potty-trained so easily this summer I can hardly believe it.  We took him out of diapers and that was it.  He even stays dry at naps and nighttime.  He loves sports so much and practices dribbling whenever he has a spare moment in his busy schedule.  He still eats like you've never seen and will eat anything put in front of him. 
Each year, I always have a child that pulls at my heart more than the others.  This year it certainly is Damaris.  Her quiet and happy ways often lend itself to her reading and playing so well by herself that the days click along and I just have such a desire to sit with her while she pours over her books, but often I'm tending to the other wheels that squeak.   She is a content little gal and I have to make a concerted effort to be with her only because she has so many interests in her day. 
Clairvaux and Vianney have been working very hard all summer on their school work.  We didn't take the summer off so we could get ahead before the new baby arrives.  It will be nice to take a break around December, but I really do like the structure our school days provide.  The kids are so use to doing their work in the morning that I half think they enjoy the structure too.  Clairvaux certainly is a math whiz which makes teaching her very nice each day.  Vianney is so filled with stories each day I think her ears are going to pop off in her storytelling abilities.  No detail is left unnoted and her sweet, sweet heart is almost too much for my mother's heart some time.  When I think of Vianney, I always think of the word "soft."  She is such a gentle, little one.  So, so, sweet and kind. 
We do believe Lourdes believes that Zellie is her real mother.  Although, she loves each of her sisters very much, Lourdes certainly prefers "Dada" for comfort, errands, snack-getting, drink-fetcher, book reading.  Poor Dada is clamored at all day by Lourdes, but what amazes me is how Zellie is so sweet to her every day, every time, all day.  She loves Lourdes so much.  The Olympics about did our family in.  The dream-o-meter was off the charts and Zellie couldn't dream enough about being an Olympic gymnast.  She practices for hours trying to mimic what she saw. 
If I could wish one thing for every mother it would be that God would give them a Rose.  Rose is everything I hope to be as a mother.  Her ways are heavenly and instinctual.  My sister and I joke that we take notes while watching Rose handle children.  She is a natural.  She is such a wonderful daughter and friend always aware of anything anyone has done for her.  She is drawn towards goodness and beauty. She has been bitten by the baking bug and wants to bake all day.  She is amazing in the kitchen which is so wonderful to have such an efficient helper.
Although Lourdes favors Zellie a bit, Lillie certainly favors Lourdes over almost anything in the world.  She loves Lourdes so much that she will tear up talking about her. She takes her everyday to retrieve the mail and will wait until she is up from her nap because she knows how much Lourdes loves to go with her.  I have about a million photos of the two of them outside together.  She loves to push her in the swing and her little riding car. Lillie started Algebra this year and is doing quite well which I am so thankful.  Math can certainly be an emotional subject to teach so I am always grateful for when it goes smoothly.   Lillie certainly is a lover of life and has such a wide-array of interests that I am quite afraid the world cannot match the excitement Lillie has to experience it.
My first love.  Dominic will always have my heart no matter where he goes.  We are like peanut butter and jelly.  He has grown so much physically this year.  I can barely stand it and will certainly burst into tears if anyone mentions that he is a freshman.  I can say with complete honesty that he has been 100% joy to raise.  He is a wonderful son, brother, and friend.  He works so diligently on his school work and we just couldn't be more grateful for his leadership in our family.  God has touched his soul at a young age.  Out of all the many blessings God has given to our family, Dominic is one I thank him for over and over.  He really is a dream come true. 

I feel like anything I could write is just a cliche statement about time, life, motherhood, and the what not.  It is all going too fast for my liking.  I am so very grateful for all that God has given to us namely our children.  John and I are so aware of the preciousness of their lives and truly enjoy our time with them and each one as if they were are only one.

Also, a few have asked about my mother.  She is home and doing well cancer-wise.  She will have screenings every three months for a while so as we say, "Cancer keeps you on a very short leash."  You can't get too comfortable as the screenings come up so fast.  We try to just be grateful for our time together.  Thank you for asking about her and for prayers offered on her behalf.