Unless otherwise specified, all writing here on my blog is my own original work. If you refer to something I've written here, please be sure to give me proper credit.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED: Please don't let that deter you from commenting, though. I LOVE to read your thoughts! I only ask that you keep it clean & respectful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Has There Been a Recent Alien Invasion?

The munchkins were in their "Quiet Time" this afternoon. The Archangel & The Princess were in their rooms while The Prophet stayed downstairs in the living room. This gives them a chance to be alone for a while each afternoon. They don't have to nap (although The Princess usually does at some point). They just have to be quiet for about an hour & a half.

Well, I went upstairs to put The Saint down in his crib. The Archangel was thumping around in his room, so I went down the hall to tell him to be quiet. I walked into the room & saw him scooting on his knees, pushing a box across the floor. What was he doing? He was cleaning up the room that he & The Prophet share - all by himself w/out even being asked to do it. I knelt down & gave him a big hug, thanking him (w/ tears in my eyes) for doing it w/out being asked. He even said that later, he might even help The Princess clean her room.

This is the second time this week that he's cleaned w/out being asked. A few nights ago, he & The Princess worked on the basement (more him than her). Now, I know a lot of children do extra good deeds at this time of year, persuaded by Santa's visit. We, however, do not use that tactic because I don't think it's fair.

So, to the question in my title - has an alien taken over my munchkin? And if so, how long is he staying?

It's the Little Things in Life...

Last night, I took a trip to the grocery store - sans munchkins. Upon returning home, they swarmed (as they usually do) to see what treasures I'd brought home. Yesterday, I'd used the last of our oatmeal for breakfast so I'd gotten some more. The Princess saw the next container sitting on the counter & said, "You bought oapmeal?" & came over to give me a big hug. (Yes, that is how she pronounces it - I didn't spell it wrong.)

This morning, she was still sleeping when I made mine but I went ahead & prepared hers too. After finishing hers, she came up to me, hugged my left arm, looked up at me w/ those beautiful brown eyes, & said, "Thank you for buying oapmeal!"

It's the small things that make a big difference!

By the way, I also got gas for our van last night using the points earned by shopping. I had about 1/4 of a tank left & filled it for only $13.62. I paid the lowest amount per gallon ever - 79 cents! WooHoo!

Again - it's the small things!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2 Christmas Memes

MEME No. 1 -
If you were trapped on a desert island at Christmastime and all you had was a small generator, Christmas lights for your coconut tree, an endless supply of Christmas cookies & eggnog (or hot chocolate), your CD player & 6 Christmas CDs , which 6 CD's would you want them to be?

In no particular order, but the first two are tied as my absolute favorites. It's a struggle each year to see which one will be played first!
1) Harry Connick, Jr. - When My Heart Finds Christmas

2) Josh Groban - Noel

3) Hallmark's 1997 CD - Home for the Holidays (w/ Trisha Yearwood & Point of Grace)

4) Hallmark's 2003 CD - Christmas is All in the Heart (w/ Steven Curtis Chapman)

5) The Chipmunks

6) Time Life's Treasury of Christmas Songs

MEME No. 2
Christmas Carols Questionaire
1. Love 'em, hate 'em, tolerate 'em, or...? Love 'em!

2. Policy: none before Christmas, none before Thanksgiving, or...? We start listening to them the day after Thanksgiving.

3. Favorite? Favorites, if you've got more than one? Do You Hear What I Hear; Joseph's Song; Mary, Did You Know?; Silent Night; O Holy Night - just to name a few

4. Least favorite? Drives you batty/hate it/turn it off if it comes on the radio? Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer; Santa Baby; Wonderful Christmastime - again, just to name a few!

5. Caroling door to door in neighborhood? Ever done it/would do it? Wouldn't even consider it? Would love to, if I felt safer. It's too risky anymore in some areas. I did it once in a nursing home & it went over very well.

6. Funniest kids' rendition, if any? Vader, Did You Know?; Nuttin' for Christmas; The Chipmunks (any)

7. Most inappropriate carol ever heard in a church setting (Catholic or otherwise)? Can't think of any off the top of my head.

8. The one foreign language carol I know (or know best) is...? Silent Night

9. Carol that perplexes you the most? Wonderful Christmastime & Santa Baby - Just can't figure out why they were ever written!

10. Carol your whole family will sing? Not sure, but they really like Mary, Did You Know? & it's spoof, Vader, Did You Know?

I'm a Heartbreaker (cue the music)

Yesterday, when we got home from shopping, The Princess asked if she could have some almonds. I told her no because she'd had enough nuts at my mom's house earlier. She fussed & cried - she was very tired & needed a nap. A few minutes later, she came up to me, laid her head on my arm & said, "Mommy, you break my heart." Trying to hide my smile, I asked how I was breaking her heart. "You won't let me have almonds."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Memories Meme

How to play: BOLD anything you have done.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (from a beachhouse in North Carolina)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (DisneyWorld)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables - I tried
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - The Louvre was remodeling so we couldn't find her.
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise -actually I just toured a cruise ship
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (in general)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing - more like I just sat below deck ready to be sick at any moment!
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class - no, but I watched The Prophet do Tae Kwon Do
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job - not technically fired, I was hired as seasonal help (which I didn't understand) & when my time was up they just stopped scheduling me
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book - not a book, but I have had a couple poems published
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Prophet Turns Eight

On Tuesday of this past week, The Prophet turned eight. My how the years have flown by. He's turning into a wonderful, caring young man. At his eight year doctor checkup, he measuered in the 72nd percentile for weight & 83rd for height. If he continues to grow at this pace, he'll be over six feet tall.

For his birthday breakfast, he chose Monkey Bread (see photo above - I guess the name of the bread is fitting!). YUM!! It doesn't last long in this house! Then, when Casinodad got home from work, we ordered pizza for dinner & let The Prophet opened his gifts from us. He was very excited to receive a set of Star Wars action figures & a Bionicle set.

We were going to have a party for him this evening, but all four of the munchkins have been sick this week w/ sinus infections - yes, I did say all four of them! (This is the second round of antibiotics for The Prophet & The Archangel. They just can't seem to fight it.) I decided to go ahead & make his cake for us to have after dinner this evening. His theme of choice this year was the new Clone Trooper movie. I found plates & goodie bags w/ the clones on them & I "created" my own clone cake. It's definitely not perfect, but I have to say I don't think I did too bad! What do you think?


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twenty Things I'm Thankful For - Part Four (No. 16-20)

16) Even though the munchkins were sick & we couldn't go to my parents' for dinner, we had a nice meal here at home - Thanks Mom! We had turkey roast, yams, baked apples, rolls, dressing, cranberry jelly, & a cherry pie for dessert. Not everyone ate everything, but no one went away from the table hungry.

17) A beautiful Mass this morning - I went to a different church w/ my mom this morning & really enjoyed the service.

18) Healthy lungs - All the munchkins have great sets of lungs. How do I know this? Well, through the constant bickering & yelling at each other.

19) Our house - Even though I dream of someday living further out in the country on a bit of land (in a house, of course), I am thankful for the roof we have over our heads.

20) God - Without God, nothing I have would be possible. He's the reason I am here on Earth, married to a wonderful man, & raising four beautiful munchkins. I can't thank Him enough for all He's blessed me with. He sent His Son to die for my sins. Thank you, God, for my life. May I always remember what You have done for me & put You first in my life.

This concludes my Thanksgiving list. It is in no way conclusive. Each day I am more thankful for the things I have in my life & for my life in general. Thank you all for being a part of my life, too! May God bless each of you this Thanksgiving Day & always.
Peace & blessings,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twenty Things I'm Thankful For - Part Three (No. 11-15)

11) Doctor's offices that can get all four munchkins in on the afternoon of the day before Thanksgiving.

12) Health Insurance - I'm not quite so thankful about co-pays in the doctor's office for all four munchkins & four pharmacy co-pays, but I am thankful for insurance - it could have cost a lot more, esp. since the antibiotic would have been $83 per child!

13) Coffee - I'm only doing 1/2 regular & 1/2 decaf right now because the full caffeine bothers The Saint. I love the flavored creamers & flavored coffees. Sometimes, if I'm out of flavored coffee or creamers, I'll just sprinkle a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg into the grounds before I brew my coffee & it adds just the right amount of flavor. Bob Evans changed their brew about a year or so ago & it's really good. McDonald's has a good brew, too. This may come as a surprise to many people, but I really am not a big fan of Starbucks coffees. They're okay & I will drink them, but not my favorite.

14) Chocolate - Even the munchkins know that their mom loves, loves, loves chocolate! (Did I mention that I love chocolate?!?) Reese's PB Cups have always been a favorite of mine, as have M&M's. I'm so glad they came out w/ dark chocolate M&M's - much healthier ;)

15) Casinodad has the next two days off of work. We can spend the time together as a family & disinfect the house from all the sinus infection germs floating around!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Twenty Things I'm Thankful For (Part Two - No. 6-10)

6) My Parents - While not perfect, they come pretty close. I think they've done a wonderful job of raising my sister & me, despite all the grief we managed to give them! They were always there for us - & still are! Sure they were tough & sure I did my fair share of "not-so-good" things, but I feel truly blessed to have them as my parents. Towards the end of this last pregnancy, when I was on bedrest, my parents were there to help out a bunch - staying throughout the day to feed us, taking care of the kids & the house, taking The Prophet to Tae Kwon Do, etc. I thank God for blessing me w/ them & pray that I can be the kind of parent to my munchkins as they were for us.

7) My In-Laws - I have great in-laws & feel truly blessed to have them in my life. I don't have any horror stories about them like some people do. They've done a wonderful job in raising Casinodad, shaping him into the person he is today. My MIL was especially helpful when I was on bedrest, too. She came to relieve my mother occasionally, spending time w/ the munchkins & me while Casinodad was at work.

8) Family - I've been blessed w/ a wonderful extended family - my sister, her husband & their five boys, my SIL & her husband, & my other SIL, as well as many aunts, uncles, & cousins. With the exception of a few being out of state, most of our family is near us.

9) Friends - Another wonderful blessing in my life is the countless number of friends I've made through the years. Some have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, some only for a short time. Some have come into my life & stayed, some have come & gone. All have touched my life in a special way.

10) Faith - I went through a slump period about two years ago. I doubted. I questioned. I wondered. After much prayer, talking to others, & reading, I've deepened my faith. I know I still have a long way to go, but I am truly thankful for what I do have & for the support I've received throughout my journey.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Twenty Things I'm Thankful For (Part One)

In honor of Thanksgiving this week, I thought I'd list 20 things I'm thankful for in my life. These are the first five...

1) Casinodad - He's a wonderful, thoughtful, caring, faithful, inspirational, loving father & husband. (These are in no particular order.) Despite all my shortcomings, he loves me for who I am & sticks by me through it all. He's been an inspiration to me in his faith in God. I'm a better person for knowing him & having him in my life.

2) The Prophet - He's grown into such a caring young man. He has these wonderful moments when he generously gives to his siblings & to the poor people, looking forward to our church's yearly donation drive. He's also quick to help his baby brother when crying, giving me a bit of a break.

3) The Archangel - He, too, is growing into a caring boy. He never runs out of loving compliments for us. He's also our sensitive child. His feelings can be hurt easily. Perhaps this is why he's quick to comfort one of his siblings when they need it - he knows what it's like. He loves his baby brother, always telling us how cute he is & how he's so happy to have a baby in the house.

4) The Princess - Ever the girly-girl, she prances around the house singing & dancing to her own music. She's very loving to her baby brother, always gushing over how cute he is. She gives her big brothers a run for their money & won't take any of their teasing & aggravating.

5) The Saint - A wonderful addition to our family, his smiles, squeals, & coos bring such joy to our lives. He gets his little arms & legs swinging, expressing his delight at our faces.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Even Child Syndrome

NOTE: not to be confused w/ "Even-Tempered Child Syndrome" (if there even is an even-tempered child anywhere!!)

This is a rambling post. Feel free to not read if you want!

I'm having trouble adjusting to a fourth child in the house. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love all four munchkins & would never change a thing. It's just an adjustment & it's taking longer than I had hoped. When I say "Even Child Syndrome" in this post's title, I'm talking about birth order. It seems, at least for me, that it's harder w/ the even numbered child.

  • Pregnancy & Munchkin #1: I had a great pregnancy w/ The Prophet. I loved every minute of it - wearing those cute maternity clothes, feeling every flutter & kick, & I was never sick w/ him. Labor & delivery were a bit difficult due to pre-eclampsia. I had to be induced two weeks early & was on Magnesium Sulfate to prevent seizures, but that was the worst of it all. Once he was born, all was well & I loved being a mom. Everything was new to me & I soaked it all up.
  • Pregnancy & Munchkin #2: Even though I never got sick w/ The Archangel either, pregnancy was a bit tougher for me. I was tired all the time & very grumpy. Poor Casinodad had his head bitten off more times than I care to admit. Birth went well - I was induced two weeks early again due to Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH). Once we brought him home, things were fine for a while, but I still couldn't shake the grumpiness. It was double everything - diapers, less sleep, laundry, etc. He was a bit more high-maintenance than The Prophet, too (& still is at times!) So, the second addition was a bit tougher, but we got through it.
  • Pregnancy & Munchkin #3: I was a bit less grumpy w/ The Princess' pregnancy. Casinodad made me promise to try & I felt that I succeeded! Again, I was induced (3 weeks early w/ her) due to PIH. No problems w/ delivery & once home, we adjusted very well. No out-of-the-ordinary problems. As she got a little older, she demonstrated her curiosity in many ways (dumping all my mom's spices on her basement floor & eating whole peppercorns, jumping off her dollhouse & needing stitches because she hit her head on her bedframe, or pouring dish soap on the carpet just to name a few). She keeps us on our toes, but having three wasn't bad at all.
  • Now: Again I was induced w/ PIH three weeks early. The Saint has done great sleeping at night. The first couple weeks, he woke up twice to feed & now he pretty much sleeps through the night. He doesn't sleep much during the day, just a few catnaps, but he usually doesn't wake up until about 10 or 11am.

So why do I feel so out of sorts? I'm getting more sleep than I did when pregnant, but I just can't seem to get going in the morning. I would love to be able to get up when Casinodad does at 6:30, before the rest of the crew, say my morning prayers, have my first cup of coffee, but I just can't. I usually roll out of bed around 8am instead to hear the sounds of the older boys arguing over the couch or whatever (& usually argue w/ each other most of the day). My house looks like it's been through several tornados & I just can't seem to motivate myself to do more than the essentials. The Saint is finally getting to the point where I can set him down for longer than a couple minutes during the day.

I know that "this too shall pass" & that God never gives anyone more than they can handle. So, I just do a lot of praying & give lots of hugs & kisses to the munchkins. After all, they're only this age once!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Consolation

Kimberly, of Catholic Family Vignettes, has an excellent post on the election outcome. I've been very depressed today & this post of hers was very uplifting. Her 3rd commenter has great insight, also.


Thank you Kimberly for your thoughts & reassurance! God bless you!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Lesson

I've wanted to try a lapbook w/ The Prophet for a while now. I found information about elections & thought today would be a great day to do one. We spent about an hour & a half this morning compiling it & he really enjoyed it.

First, we started our day w/ our regulars prayers & the Pledge of Allegiance. I disected the Pledge so that the munchkins would understand what they're saying & why.

For the lapbook, I first had him color a picture of the US flag to put on the cover. On the inside, we had several different shaped pop-ups w/ information of various aspects of elections, including the following:

    - a Comparison of the two major parties

- a Vocabulary list

- Why is it Important to Vote?

- When is Election Day?

- VOTE - which answers questions pertaining to The Prophet (How old he has to be to vote, How many years until he can first vote, & What year that will be)

- Guidelines for candidates (age & US residency)

Once they were completed, I had him color them & arrange them on the file folder however he wanted them. (With my scrapbooking background, this was tough for me since he didn't put them in a layout I would do, but this is his after all!) He finished it off by adding foil star stickers & sqiggles to fill in the spaces. His finished product turned out quite well & we look forward to future lapbooks. I think after the first of the year, we'll do a state study & make one for each state.

One Word Meme

Only one-word answers, please!

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is dh? Work
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Voting
5. Your father? Work
6. Your favorite thing? Family
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten
8. Your dream/goal? Heaven
9. The room you’re in? Family
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Cancer
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Country
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. What you’re not? Patient
15. One of your wish-list items? Peace
16. Where you grew up? Ohio
17. The last thing you did? Nachos
18. What are you wearing? Clothes
19. Your TV? Off
20. Your pet? None
21. Your computer? PC
22. Your mood? Mixed
23. Missing Someone? DH
24. Your car? Mini-van
25. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your summer? Over
28. Love someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Lavendar
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Recently

Wall Music

The Princess is sitting at the kitchen table coloring in one of her books. Every so often, I hear a big sigh out of her. The Archangel is sitting on the couch holding The Saint & playing w/ his toy laptop. He found out yesterday that it plays music & has been enjoying the Christmas songs on it. More sighs come from the kitchen. Finally I ask what is wrong.

She says, "That music is driving me on the wall."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chicken Recipe - Follow Up

The leftovers were just as good as the first day! For dinner on Thurs., I put some of the chicken in flour tortillas, topped it w/ some cheese & heated it in the microwave. Then I added just a small dollop (I love that word!) of sour cream. Add a side of Mexican rice & dinner was delicious. I was going to try to make some rice like Casinodad's aunt does, but we still had some of hers from our recent visit.

Casinodad really liked his lunch leftovers on Wed. - when I put the chicken in with some egg noodles.

This is definitely a recipe I will be using again. It's effortless, delicious, & goes a long way! And I can't say enough about Target's Archer Farms Peach Pineapple Salsa. What a wonderful combination!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hallowe'en 2008

Well, due to our wonderful economy this year, I told the munchkins that their costumes had to come from things around the house. Until about 2pm, the day of Trick-or-Treating, I didn't know for sure what each would be.

The Saint just wore a Hallowe'en bib.
The Princess was a Ballerina. She wore her dress-up tu-tu. I put a little of my sparkling make-up on her eyes, blush on her cheeks & lipstick on her lips.
The Archangel was Clone Trooper, using The Prophet's costume from the last two years.
The Prophet went for a play on words - a "Smartie-Pants, Quarterback. " I taped a bunch of Smarties on his pants & put some quarter stickers all over his back.
Casinodad even joined in on the fun - he went as a Bandito. (His Fantasy Football team this year is Los Banditos.)
I stayed home to hand out candy & watch The Saint while they went around the neighborhood. I never know for sure how many trick-or-treaters we'll have. The first few years wehad quite a few & many of the neighbors were handing out candy. Last year was pretty sparce. This was a good year. We had just enough to give out.
Hope you had a great one!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicken Recipe

These days, most people are looking for cheap & easy meals. Our local grocery store had whole roasting chickens on sale last week - buy one, get one free. What a great deal! It just so happened that I came across an easy slow cooker recipe the other day, too. Put the chicken & a jar of salsa in. Cook 6-8 hours on low & voila!

I made this for dinner tonight & it was delicious. The chicken was so tender, it fell right off the bone. I used a large jar of Archer Farms (Target's brand) Peach Pineapple salsa. I poured a light coating into the Crockpot, poured a little into the chicken, placed the chicken in, & poured the rest of the salsa over it. It was a hit for Casinodad, The Princess & me. The other munchkins are too picky! Casinodad is taking leftovers mixed w/ egg noodles to work tomorrow. For dinner Thursday, I'll use the rest of the leftovers w/ tortillas.

Variations: use any flavor salsa; add a packet of taco seasoning mix; use other chicken parts if you don't like whole ones; the possibilities are endless!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Book & Movie Review - Lists & Wishes

With four munchkins, I don't have much time for reading anymore. When I was on bedrest with this last pregnancy, I read 10 books in 2 1/2 weeks. In the last three months, since The Saint was born (yes, believe it or not, he's three months old already!), I have read two books. I've started several, used a few for reference, but only started & finished two novels.

Just the other day, I finished the book Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomer. It is one of the books in her Blossom Street series & was pretty good. A small group of women formed a widow's group. They decide to make a list of twenty wishes to help them find happiness as they start a new phase of life w/out their husbands. Some of their wishes include: a trip to Paris w/ someone loved, dancing in the rain in barefeet, bringing joy to a stranger, learning to knit, etc. Throughout the book, they mention their lists to others, who in turn decide to make their own lists. The characters learn that wishes can come true, but not always in the expected way. (Isn't that the same as our prayers to God?)

That leads me to my movie review - The Bucket List w/ Morgan Freeman & Jack Nicholson. Casinodad & I watched it a few weeks ago & loved it. They play two terminal cancer patients from different backgrounds who forge a friendship & decide to make a list of things they want to do before they "kick the bucket." Yes, it does deal w/ a serious topic, but being Jack Nicholson, the movie is full of humor. We laughed & cried. There was one conversation towards the end that had us laughing so hard, tears were rolling down our cheeks! The Prophet came downstairs at the time the characters were skydiving, so we let him watch for a bit. He thought it was hilarious, but it's not really a movie for kids since the F-bomb is used a couple of times.

Both of these have lead me to start thinking about my own list. I think the best books & movies are the ones that stay w/ you & keep you thinking long after they're done. Perhaps I'll start my own list here on my blog...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

6th Picture

I saw this on several other blogs & it looks like fun. Go to the sixth picture folder on your computer & pick the sixth picture in it to post.

How timely... this is me carving one of our pumpkins last year. We did two pumpkins & decorated them w/ Mr. Potato Head pieces. (see the finished products below)

Here we have a "Storm Pumpkin" & "Darth Pumpkin" ready to save our household from the evil clutches of the candy snatchers!

Happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

'Nuff Said

As you can tell from all the newspaper articles, TV ads, blogs, etc., this is a huge election year. I won't go into all the pros & cons of both candidates, but I will say just this - to me this is an issue of race. No, not race as is color, but the human race. For me, that's what it all boils down to. Yes, the other issues are important, but this is the deciding factor. Morally, I cannot & will not vote any other way.

Enough said.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Now I Know Why I've Been Feeling So Ancient Lately!

The Archangel was just keeping The Saint occupied while I was washing dishes. He was talking to him, telling him how old all of us are.

The Archangel: "Mom, how years old are you?"

Me: "Thirty-xx."

The Archangel to The Saint: "And Mommy is thirty-xx. She's really old."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I Love That My Children Are Reading, but...

Last night we pulled into Blockbuster to return our DVD's. Casinodad parked right in front of the window displaying a poster for the movie "Sex in the City" w/ the four women on it. The Prophet read the title, but didn't pronouce the first & last words correctly. I corrected the last word, but overlooked the first one for obvious reasons. I kept waiting for him to pronouce it & then ask what it was, but thankfully he didn't (I'm just not ready for that talk yet!) He was puzzled by the title though. He asked why there were only four women in the picture if it was "Six in the City."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Saint's Baptism

UPDATED 9/18 to add family photo w/ my Dad (I got his permission)

A few weeks ago, my dad baptized The Saint during our 9am Mass. He has baptized all of our munchkins & as with the others, we chose full emersion. The baptism went very well, a beautiful ceremony to bring our little man into the Catholic Church. The picture below was taken right after he was baptized & was presented w/ the baptismal cloth. I have more photos which show his emersion, but there are other people in the photos & I don't think it's right to post their pictures on my blog w/out their permission.

The Godparents we chose for The Saint are a very faith-filled couple. We've known their family for years. He used to work w/ my dad & she joined the Catholic Church a few years ago. When we asked them to be his Godparents, she teared up. Both of them were honored to be chosen.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mommy, Watch Your Mouth!

I guess now that I am homeschooling, I have to hold myself accountable for my own language. I guess I really didn't realize how often I said a certain word until The Archangel called me on it. He's been working through his Reader Rabbit readers & doing a great job. I kept correcting him on the pronunciation of the word "get" making sure that he didn't say "git." He's done quite well, in fact, he's done so well that he now corrects me! Apparently, I'm one of those people guilty of always saying "git" as in "Go git your school box, please." He keeps saying "You mean get, Mommy." Yes, I do! As adults, we get into lazy habits regarding our language usuage. Having children really keeps me on my toes!

And you thought this was going to be a post about naughty words...shame on you!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One Month's Difference

My sister had her fifth boy on Aug. 27. He weighed in at 9 lbs. 5 oz, just 4 oz. less than The Saint weighed at his four week checkup! We got to see him when he was just a few days old & he is darling. She's calling him Baby Moon for now on her blog, http://www.celestialacademy.blogspot.com/. I'm sure that will change once he gets older & develops his own likes.

For those of you who know my sister, you know that she & I are definitely different when it comes to our sizes. I'm a lot bigger than she is & when I am pregnant, I am huge compared to her. We've both been pregnant at the same time for our past two pregnancies.

At the beginning of June of this year, I had about two months to go & she had about 2 1/2 months go go. We were at their house for my nephew's birthday party & one of their neighbors commented on my pregnancy, asking if I was due soon. He was shocked to hear that I still had two months to go. My sister only looked about five months along while I looked like a barge compared to her. So, it always comes as a shock to me that she gives birth to larger babies. I guess part of that is due to my high blood pressure & having them 2-3 weeks early while she goes very close to her due dates. And the fact that she only gains in her tummy, while I gain everywhere!

Anyway, here is a picture I took of the new cousins. Baby Moon (on the left) is four days old & The Saint is six weeks. Can you tell that they're just over one month apart? Nope, I can't either!

Congratulations Sis, on your fifth boy! He's very precious & a welcome addition to our ever-growing family!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Heard Around Here Lately...

The Princess to Casinodad: "Daddy, we're going to Bob Heavens for breakfast in the morning!"

Me to The Prophet: "What is the invisible line that divides the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere called?"

The Prophet: "The Hemisphere Separator?"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

He's Growing Fast!

What a difference one month can make. I took The Saint for his one month check-up on Mon. & he's doing great. He was 7 lbs 9 oz at birth & is now 9 lbs 8 oz. He's in the 49th percentile for his weight.

Here he is at one day old...

Now here he is today...

(Check out those cheeks & chubby arms w/ rubber-band wrists!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Moon in Change

Last night, as we were driving back from my SIL's apartment, we caught a glimpse of the moon behind the trees. What a beautiful sight! Once we got onto another interstate, the moon was more visible & all the munchkins could see it. It was still low in the eastern sky but it was huge, almost full, & a beautiful red-orange color. The Archangel was the last to see it & his comments were: "It looks like a giant, collectible coin! That's awesome!" He was still talking about it this morning: "Remember when we saw that moon shaped like a giant collectible quarter?"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nighttime Ritual & Motherly Thoughts

Since The Prophet was born, I've gotten into the habit of checking the munchkins every night before I go to bed. I stop in their rooms, make sure they're covered, sleeping in a comfortable position, & give them a kiss or two. I can't fall asleep if I haven't checked on them - I feel like I've forgotten something. After tossing & turning for a while, I've been known to jump up & run into their rooms! Sometimes, I'll take a little extra time, sit on the bed beside them & say a little prayer. They look so peaceful & I regret the times throughout the day when I've yelled at them or been wrapped up in my own daily tasks.

A few years ago there was a comic strip (Marvin, I think) in which each panel showed the mother constantly frustrated. He'd get into her purse, make a mess at the table, etc - all the normal things most kids do. The last panel showed her looking down at him sleeping in his crib, wondering how, after all the hassles & frustrations of the day, all she wanted to do was pick him up & hug him. I think that was when The Prophet was a baby & I knew exactly how she felt.

As mothers, we tend to get so wrapped up in the tasks we need to do for our families, that we forget the real task of spending quality time with the little ones. As The Saint is nearing one month, I see how fast he's already growing. His face is filling out, he's getting the little "rubberband wrists" & stretching himself out more each day. It's only taken me four children to realize that they're only young once & the tasks will always be there. Now that I'm feeling much better & healing well, I need to focus on spending more quality time w/ them - not just schooling them, but playing & doing fun things w/ them.

Last night, while doing my rounds, I stopped in The Princess' room first. She was mostly asleep, but looked up at me when I peeked in.

Princess: "Wanna tiss & hud me?"
Me: "Of course, I want to kiss & hug you!"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Breastmilk & Garlic Don't Mix

I went to change The Saint's diaper last night & got a whiff of something other than what he had deposited for me. Apparantly the fresh garlic I used in last night's dinner went straight to my milk supply, giving his diaper a nice garlic scent. Then, this morning, The Archangel came up to kiss The Saint & smelled his hand. "Yuck, his hand smells like garlic!" he said. I guess the garlic got into his skin too! He's still nursing well, so it either doesn't change the taste or he doesn't mind it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Use No. 100 for a Purple Marker

I just went upstairs to put a few things away. At the end of the hall, The Princess was in her room w/ her door open just a crack. I could see her standing there & as soon as she saw me, she shut the door. I opened it & asked what she was doing (you know that feeling you have when your precious little one is into something?!) Her response: "I'm 'tending it's nail polish!" as she holds up the purple marker & her freshly "painted" purple nails!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Blog Name Update

As you can see, I've renamed my blog Four Blessings Academy. However, I'm leaving the blog web address as Three Blessings Academy since I probably can't change its name without opening a new blog.

Two Weeks Old!

The Saint is two weeks old as of yesterday & he's doing great! He does have a bit of jaundice but not bad enough to warrant the use of a photo therapy blanket. We had to go for some bloodwork several times last week to make sure his bilirubin levels were going down - which they are. His eyes are still a bit yellow, but that's always the last to return to normal. He's eating & getting rid of his waste very well, so our doctor wasn't too concerned. At his appointment yesterday, he weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz. So, he's gained back his birth weight & added a few ounces. I can definitely see that he's filling out already. Those adorable chubby cheeks are getting even chubbier by the day!

We still can't figure out for sure who he looks like. With his eyes closed, he looks like The Archangel & when they're open, he looks like The Prophet. I guess we should just say that he looks like The Saint!

When we first got home from the hospital a couple weeks ago, The Archangel asked how long we were going to keep the new baby. I told him that he'd live w/ us until he grew up, went to college, got married & had a family of his own. The Archangel was very pleased to hear that we were keeping The Saint. All of the munchkins are still completely in love w/ their new baby brother. The Archangel keeps saying, "Mommy, it's great to have a baby in the house, isn't it?" All of them keep saying how cute he is & love to give him hugs & kisses.

Our family is anxiously awaiting another birth in about three weeks. My sister is expecting her fifth child & all the kids are excited to meet their new cousin. Not only is this her fifth child, it is her fifth boy - no girls for her. So, The Princess is the only girl for my parents. She's definitely learned to be tough, sticking up for herself when bothered by her brothers & cousins. You can check out her blog to see pictures of her boys holding The Saint when they came to visit at the hospital: www.celestialacademy.blogspot.com

I'll update w/ more pictures soon. I took a great one the other day of all four munchkins together. I just haven't uploaded the new photos to the computer yet.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Casinodad's Turn

Here's the proud papa w/ his baby boy!

The Saint w/ His Siblings

Here he is with his brothers & sister. They've really taken a liking to him, as you can see in the pictures. Left to right: The Archangel, The Prophet, & the Princess.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"The Saint" Has Arrived!

Meet "The Saint"! He was born on Mon. July 21, weighing in at 7 lbs. 9 oz. & measuring 20 inches long. If we had gone the full 40 weeks instead of being induced three weeks early, he probably would have been close to 9 lbs!
You can't see it from this photo, but he has a full head of dark, almost black hair & dark blue eyes. He has the chubbiest cheeks - the first comment from our doctor was about those cheeks! His head is well rounded, no cone shape.

Labor & delivery went well. We were able to come home Tues. night. He's a very content baby, only crying when hungry or being changed.

The munchkins are really in love w/ their baby brother & can't get enough of him. They keep saying how cute he is, wanting to hug & kiss him constantly. They've done very well holding him & have been very gentle. Tuesday night, he woke The Princess up w/ his crying. I went to check on her, reassuring her that he was okay & that should could go back to sleep. She said, "But I can't hear my sleep!" I turned on her music & closed her door, then she fell right back to sleep.
I'll post more pictures soon. I just wanted to introduce you to the new member of our family.
Peace, Munchesmom

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Baby Update

Still on bedrest! Last week, my BP was up so high that my doctor put me in the hospital for two days. She wouldn't even let me run home to tie up a few loose ends first! Even though I didn't sleep well in the hospital, the bedrest there apparently worked. She let me come home as long as I promised to keep up the same type of rest - which I have.

Went for my appointment yesterday & my BP was actually down some. She wants to see me again on Fri. & has already scheduled me to be induced Sunday night. So, as long as everything goes well, our little guy will arrive sometime on Monday July 21. I guess I should change the name of this blog since it will now be Four Blessings!

Peace, Munchesmom

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bed Rest Time!

Well, the proposal story will have to wait a bit longer. This is a short post to let you, my dear readers, know that I won't be posting much for a bit. I am on bed rest until little man comes on his own or I reach 37 weeks in about a week & a half. My blood pressure went up some this past weekend so I am to lie down as much as possible. I'm feeling fine - I just need to check the BP occasionally & rest. This is nothing new to me, but in previous pregnancies the BP didn't go up until closer to my due date. Do you know how tough it is to lie on the couch watching your mom & mother-in-law take care of the munchkins, clean up, do the laundry, etc.? I keep wanting to hop up & help.

I'll keep you all informed!
Peace, munchesmom

Friday, June 20, 2008

Celebrating 10 Years

Ten years ago today, Casinodad & I took our wedding vows, pledging to love one another & keeping God at the center of our marriage. As I was cleaning out some stuff, I came across the following that I wrote about our meeting each other & thought I would share it with you.

It all began in November 1996. Mentally, I had reached a low point in my life. My friends & I were all busy with our jobs so we didnt' see much of each other, my sister had recently gotten engaged, & I was having trouble adjusting to my new position as a store manager for Blockbuster. On the positive side, I was an independent person with a full time job, a great family, & wonderful friends. Something was missing from my life though. I was ready to settle down but was missing someone to share my life with.

It was a Friday evening & I had just been paid. Since I had worked that day I had to go to a bank that would be open - inside a local grocery store. Casinodad handled my transaction. He was extremely polite, friendly, & had the nicest smile. I remember thinking that I wouldn't mind getting to know him. He asked about my job. I told him I had recently been promoted to store manager. As I was leaving, he congratulated me & wished me luck.

Two Sundays later, after church, I had to go back to the bank. He was there again & impressed me by saying "munchesmom, right?" I was flattered & thought that was a positive sign of interest. (I didn't want to get my hopes up though. Maybe he was like that with all his customers.) As he was handling my transaction we talked briefly. He asked if I was any relation to the deacon at my church. I said yes, he was my father. As it turned out, he used to go there. He remembered me from there years ago. I didn't remember him, but he did say he had been shy then. He also mentioned that his sister had worked at another Blockbuster & asked how my store was. I was very impressed by his memory - my name, job, & even church.

Three days before Christmas was our next encounter. We talked briefly about Christmas shopping while another girl waited on me. As I was leaving, he mentioned the bank's hours on Christmas Eve & that he would be there. I siad that hopefully I wouldn't need more money & wished him a Merry Christmas.

As it turned out, I did need more money!! Thinking the bank opened at ten, I arrived at 10:30am. Since they didn't open until eleven, I went ahead & did some shopping. Casinodad was there when I went back so I was able to talk to him while another teller waited on me. Casinodad wasn't working a window, so when I was finished I took the initiative to step aside to talk to him.

We discussed our Christmas plans. I mentioned that I had gone out to eat w/ a friend the night before. He asked if it was with my boyfriend. When I said no, he quickly jumped on that & asked if I had a boyfriend. When I said no, he said he was also single. He asked if he could call me sometime. I gave him my number, we talked a little more, then I left with a huge smile.

(He told me later, after we'd been dating a while, that they were not having a great day at work that day. The ATM was giving them troubles, customers were cranky, etc. But he walked around w/ a smile on his face the whole day! Hmmm! I wonder why!)

The first song I heard in the car on the way home was "I've Finally Found Someone" by Barbra Streisand & Bryan Adams. This song has become our song, because we had indeed found our special someone!

(to be continued with the proposal)

History Summed Up!

We just finished school for the summer! This past week, so that we could finish by today, we've done about four chapters in The Prophet's history book. I'm not worried about him missing something because he'll cover the Ancient Times to the Fall of Rome again in fifth grade. His final narration was to list some of the gifts of Rome which we still use today (names of planets & months, swimming pools, books sewn together, etc.) His last comment summed up our whole year of history & I thought it fit in perfectly:

"And without archaelogists, we wouldn't know about this."
We'll still do a few things throughout the summer so they'll stay fresh in his mind. We'll read a lot & do some math flash cards. Now to start planning next school year so that we can begin in Sept. after our new arrival joins us! I have all the books, I just need to get organized.
Have a great summer!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Time for a Cold!

Well, on top of all the last trimester aches, pains, & general tiredness, I have a head cold! The munchkins each had it last week for about a day & a half. Casinodad's sister came down w/ it on Sat.

Yesterday we took a trip a few hours north to visit Casinodad's dad for Father's Day. I felt fine other than a few sneezes (which is normal - for some reason the air up there really plays w/ my allergies). On the way home, my throat felt sore all of a sudden & by the time we got home, I was very congested. Sleeping last night came in very short spurts. Then I woke up this morning w/ a huge headache. I told the munchkins that I wasn't feeling well this morning so we weren't going to be doing much. I said that I must have caught their colds. Later this afternoon, The Princess came up to me & said, "Mommy, I tink you dave me my told back." (translation: I think you gave me my cold back.)

Despite feeling like I've been hit by a truck, I did manage to change all our sheets (w/ Casinodad's help), do two loads of laundry, do our couple hours of school, & Casinodad helped me move a few things around in our room.

Now if I can sleep tonight I should be fine!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More Bargain Shopping!

Next month, my SIL is getting married & we are extremely happy for her & her fiance. They are a great couple. They want the munchkins to be in their wedding, so today she & I took them shopping for their outfits. I had done a little research online & was expecting to spend about $150 on suits for the boys. We stopped at Value City & the smallest size they had in suits was an eight. We found one that looks great on The Prophet & it was on clearance for $32 (jacket & pants). I think he has a shirt that will work with the suit, so all we need now is a tie for him.

For The Archangel, we found a four-piece set that includes a dress shirt, pants, vest, & matching tie. He's five years old now, but is still a little guy, so the 4T fit him perfectly! His outfit was a whopping $16.

SIL had been looking at flower girl dresses online & was planning to spend around $60. We found two dresses for The Princess & she volunteered to buy both of them - for a grand total of $30! One she will wear in the wedding & the other will be a great church dress. I may even have her wear it to the rehearsal dinner.

So, for less than $90, we bought a boy's suit, a boy's set, & two toddler dresses. Isn't bargain shopping great!? I'll post pictures of them after the wedding.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Trip to the Dentist

Took the munchkins to the dentist yesterday for their six month appointments. This was the first time for The Princess. The boys had always gone back by themselves w/ no complaints, but she kept telling me that she wanted me to go back with her & hold her hand. I told her that would be fine. Well, the hygenist came out to get her & held out her hand. The Princess hopped up, took her hand & off she went - no looking back. I was amazed! I never heard a peep from her once she went back.

On the way home, I told her that I was very proud of her going back by herself. She said, "I was very patient!" She was very happy w/ her toothpaste choice, too. She chose grape. The Prophet chose Tropical Fruit & The Archangel chose Cookie Dough. Now, why didn't they have all these flavor choices when I was a kid?!?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

ABC Meme

Found this on one of the blogs I frequent & thought it was kind of neat...

ABC, Easy as 123 ~

A is for age: mid-30's

B is for burger of choice: bacon cheesburger

C is for what kind of car you drive: Ford Windstar

D is for your dog's name: not applicable!

E is for essential item you use everyday: currently, it's my computer; when I'm not pregnant & it's not broken it would be my coffee maker!

F is for favorite TV show at the moment: Lost

G is for favorite game: Apples to Apples (played for the 1st time the other day)

H is for HomeState: Ohio

I is for instruments you play: flute & piano

J is for favorite juice: pineapple or pomegranate

K is for whose butt you'd like to kick: not so much a particular person, but how about those who smoke in their cars w/ their kids in the backseat?

L is for last restaurant you ate at? Boston Market w/ Casiondad

M is for your favorite Muppet: Kermit the Frog

N is for Number of Piercing: three per ear, although I don't wear earrings very often anymore

O is for overnight hospital stays: Currently at 3 w/ childbirths; will be 4 towards the end of the summer

P is for people you were with today: my munchkins

Q is for what you do with your quiet time: Read or nap

R is for biggest regret: can't think of anything at the moment - everyhing that's happened in my life is for a reason

S is for status: happily married, SAHM

T is for time you woke up today: about 7:30

U is for what you consider unique: each one of us

V is for vegetable you love: red peppers

W is for worst habit: yelling when I'm upset

X is for x-rays you've had: dental, ankle, numerous ultrasounds, CT scan for my gall bladder five years ago

Y is for yummy food you ate today: leftover meatloaf from last night (it actually held together for once!)

Z is for zodiac sign: Pieces (sp?)

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

The boys & I were just having a discussion on what they want to be when they grow up. The Archangel said that he wants to be a builder. I told him that they could go into the construction business together & have the "xx Brothers Building Company." The Prophet said that he's not sure he still wants to be a builder, but may want to work on the streets making music. I told them that they are only five & seven, so they have plenty of time to decide what to be when they grow up. I then said that I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. The Prophet said, "You're already a grown-up!" I asked if he was sure & gave him a sly grin. Then The Archangel said, "You're a kid for God!"

The Prophet's Gift

Last Friday, Casinodad took the day off work so that he & I could spend the day together. The Archangel & The Princess went to my parents' house for the day & The Prophet went to Casinodad's parents'. His mom was going to bring The Prophet home around 9pm, but called my cell phone about 7 saying they'd need to bring him home early because Casinodad's sister was ill & they were going to take her to the ER. We were still at my parents' so we just left & picked him up since their house was on our way home.

Earlier that day, we had stopped at a tent sale on the way to my parents' house & each of the munchkins picked out a small toy. The Prophet picked out some weird looking robot type toy that lit up & shook when the button was pressed. He loved that toy & talked about it all morning. That night when we picked him up, he said that he had given it to his aunt because she didn't feel well. He said that he told his grandma that giving was his gift from God. We were so proud of him & called my parents right away to share the story with them.

Sunday morning, as we were getting ready for church, my mom called & asked if my dad could use that story in his homily that day. (For those of you who don't know - my dad has been the deacon at our church for over 25 years.) His gift of giving fit right in w/ the readings for the Feast of the Body & Blood of Christ. I asked The Prophet & he said sure.

At Mass later, he was beaming from ear to ear when Grandpa shared his story. The Archangel looked up at me & said, "That's about The Prophet, isn't it? Will he tell a story about me too?" I said I was sure he would sometime. Well sure enough, he ended his homily with the story of The Prophet giving his tooth fairy money to his brother because The Archangel hadn't lost any teeth yet.

Peace, munchesmom

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Casinodad's Monster Type

You Are A Vampire

You have a real thirst for bliss, and you consider yourself a true hedonist.

And you're not afraid to walk alone in life, if it means getting what you truly crave.

You truly enjoy entrancing people. Not to mention the ensuing pleasures of the flesh.

Your tastes have been called decadent and bizarre. You usually give in to your temptations, no matter how primal

Your greatest power: Your flawless ability to seduce and charm

Your greatest weakness: Human flesh

You play well with: Werewolves

Monday, May 19, 2008

It fits me!

You Are a Werewolf
You're unpredictable, moody, and downright freaky.
You seem sweet and harmless, until you snap. Then you're a total monster.
Very few people can predict if you're going to be Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.
But for you, all your transformations seem perfectly natural.

Your greatest power: Your ability to tap into nature

Your greatest weakness: Lack of self control

You play well with: Vampires
>http://www.blogthings.com/whatkindofmonsterareyouquiz/">What Kind of Monster Are You?

Yep, that seems to fit me these days! My hormones seem to be out of control w/ this pregnancy so Casinodad never knows what kind of mood I'll be in when he comes home from work. I've gone from loving & caring to total anger to downright sobbing at times. The tiniest things can set me off & I don't like myself changing so quickly. I used to say that one of the kids had a Jekyll & Hyde personality - now I know where it came from!

Have a great week!
Peace, Munchesmom

Friday, May 16, 2008

More of a Bargain

Went to the other consignment shop today & what a great trip it was! First of all, we dropped off our items. It was going to be about two hours so we ran a few errands. When we got back, I decided to look around the store first for the items I wanted to purchase. After about 45 minutes & some excellent behavior on the munchkins' parts, I took them up front. They offered $46.50 for the items they wanted. Wow! That was much more than I expected. The 14 items I wanted to purchase (2 pairs of shorts for The Princess, 2 T-shirts for The Archangel, 2 pairs of shorts & a T-shirt for The Prophet, & 7 outfist for Baby #4, including a Christmas outfit for him) came to $34 - I got money back!!! On the way out, the munchkins saw a video that we used to get at the library. It is no longer there so I told them I'd buy it for them, since they were so good (& it was only $2).

I think it helped that one of our items was a Classic Winnie the Pooh crib bedding set. The other shop didn't take bedding unless it was a specific brand. Why, you're asking, did we sell a crib bedding set when we have another baby on the way? Well, this time around, we don't have the space to set up the full size crib. We have decided that Baby #4 will use a travel size crib that my parents have. It will fit perfectly in the second closet we have in our bedroom. Yes, we're putting him in a closet, but we're taking the doors off & I will be putting up wall decorations for him. Once he's a bit older, we'll get bunk beds for the two older boys & move the baby to their room or move all the boys to the master bedroom & we'd take the next largest room. We put a lot of thought into this & really feel this is the best we can do at this time. With the housing market the way it is, there's no way we'd be able to sell the house at the moment.

Peace, munchesmom

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What a Bargain!!

After we had the Princess we thought we were done. In an effort to reduce clutter & make some money, we sold or gave away most of the baby clothes we'd had, keeping only the really adorable ones we couldn't part with. Now that we are about to welcome baby #4 into our household, we're realizing that he will need something to wear. I went through a bunch of the Princess's outgrown clothes, filled up a kitchen size trash bag & took them to a local children's consignment shop. They will pay on the spot for the items or give you a bit more in store credit. I opted for the store credit. They only took a handful of the items & offered me $12.50 in store credit. For what they took I thought it was a fair deal. After the store credit & a $5 coupon I had, I only had to pay 20 cents for the clothes I picked out. Not bad for six baby outfits, two of them still in their original packaging!

Next stop will be to take the rest of the items to another consignment shop & do the same. It's in a different area of town & is a different store chain, so hopefully they'll take some also. I don't (& didn't) expect to sell all of the items we had, but any little bit helps!

Less than three months to go before my due date & I feel huge already. This pregnancy has definitely been the toughest on my old body - taking into consideration the fact that I already have three munchkins under the age of seven, I'm working two days a week, & I am a bit older than the last pregnancies. I have big spider & varicose veins on my right leg. They don't hurt unless I'm on my feet for too long. Also, I don't know if my stretchmarks can stretch any further. I have one that is a bit sore. Is it possible to have stretchmarks on your strechmarks?!?!?

Casinodad has been a great help. He's been getting things for me when I need them, making sure I rest as much as possible, & just been great at taking care of me. He's such a wonderful man & I am truly blessed to have him in my life!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another Birthday!

The Archangel turned five on April 18. Wow! I just can't believe how fast these munchkins are growing! We had family over for cake & ice cream. This year we went w/ a festive style cake for him. I used a white cake mix & spread colored frosting overtop, following that up w/ colored sprinkles & balloon shaped candles. For added decor, The Prophet loaned him a couple of his knight Legos. Now, for the color of the frosting...I saw on the cake mix box that you can add a Kool-Aid packet to a can of frosting for color & flavor. What a neat idea! So, I let The Archangel pick out his flavor - Tropical Punch. Okay, now here is where your color skills come in - when you add a red colored Kool-Aid mix to white frosting what color do you get? Oops, it's pink...for a boy's birthday cake. So, I added a lot of red food coloring. Still didn't get a complete red, but it was not so pink anymore. Once the sprinkles & other decorations were on it, it wasn't too bad & he really liked it. Tasted pretty good, too!

He got a lot of really nice gifts. He's starting to get into Legos more, so he ended up getting four different sets that he was very pleased with. My parents got him a neat child's laptop that he likes to use, especially when in the van. He also got some activity books, which he really loves, some books, an umbrella, some games, & clothes. Overall, I think he really liked his birthday presents & the time spent w/ the family.

Also, a big event for him was signing up for his own library card. I know the library lets them sign up at a younger age, but I decided that five was a good time for each of the munchkins. He was so excited & couldn't wait to check out his books using his very own card.
His five year check up at the doctor's office was quite an ordeal. He was due for not one, not two, but four shots! He's not one to like them at all so he cried throughout most of his appointment & wouldn't cooperate w/ the doctor. Usually when there are two or more shots, two nurses come in & do them at the same time so that they go quicker. He is also a kicker, so we had the two nurses giving the shots on either leg, another holding his legs, & I was holding his arms while trying to comfort him at the same time. Wow!
Happy Birthday to my Little Man!

The Week of Field Trips

Since last Tuesday, we have taken three field trips. The first was a trip to a local working historical farm with our homeschool group. They had a special program for homeschoolers to celebrate Earth Day, unfortunately, we didn't get to stay for that portion as The Archangel had his five year checkup at the doctor. We did, however, get to walk through the house, see lots of farm animals, take corn kernels off the cob & grind them up, swing & play w/ old fashioned wooden toys. The munchkins had a great time other than The Archangel's constant complaints about the smells. He has such a sensitive nose.

Two days later, we took a trip to the zoo with a friend & her children. Our zoo membership expired yesterday so it was nice to have one last trip using it. Our first stop was the aquarium, one of my favorites. I just love to watch the fish swim around. It's so peaceful, even w/ the chaos of children all around! The manatees are in the building next door to the aquarium. Usually I like to see them too, but this time the water seemed to be quite cloudy & only one of the manatees could be seen for just a brief time. From there we had lunch then went to the boat ride. I had never been on it before & really enjoyed it.

Overall, the munchkins had a really nice time, other than The Princess getting tired & cranky towards the end. The Archangel & my friend's daughter held hands as they walked through the zoo while The Prophet & her son skipped around together. Our local zoo has undergone so many changes since I was a child & there's always something new to see.

Yesterday, we met my sister & her kids at our local Kroger for a grocery store tour. A family friend works there & when I told her that I homeschooled the munchkins she was so excited & said that she gives tours to school groups. All the kids got to "clock in" to be employees for a while. They got to see so much: the storage area in the back of the store, the dock where items are delivered, how the bailer worked to crush cardboard boxes, & lots of other stuff. At the bakery, they each received their own hair nets & aprons. They were even able to be cashiers & check out some items. Once done, she asked if everyone liked the items they were scanning (fruit snacks, alphabet cookies, pretzels, & juices). Of course they all did, so she told them that she had prepared little snack bags for each of them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Words from The Archangel

COMMENT #1: Last weekend, my mother-in-law watched the two little munchkins for us. I had to work while Casinodad & The Prophet were on a clothing drive run w/ our Small Church Community. When I got home from work, the house was cleaned up, the munchkins' rooms were straightened up, the laundry was running, The Princess was reading on the couch, & MIL was playing GeoTrax w/ The Archangel. I was pleasantly surprised & told her that she didn't have to do all of that while she was there. I even said that most of that stuff was on my list of things to do that weekend. The Archangel spoke up & said, "Your can erase your list now, Mommy!"

COMMENT #2: The other day, The Archangel was eating snack at the kitchen table. He paused to take a drink of my water, saying, "I need the water to wash my mouth down."

Another Birthday

A few days ago, Casinodad celebrated his birthday. He had to work, but was able to get off at 4pm to be home in time for dinner. I surprised him with his favorite food, pizza, & supplemented with frozen berries & a plate of fresh veggies. Also, I made him a brownie cake. I just used brownie mix from the box & added some chocolate chips to the batter. Once cool, I spread a layer of creamy peanut butter over the brownies & then a layer of chocolate frosting. He was very surprised when he got home & saw that the kitchen was clean & dinner was on the table.
Peace, munchesmom

Belated Birthday

The Princess turned three in February & I finally got around to uploading the pictures to our computer. I can't believe how fast she has grown! She had her three year checkup at the doctor yesterday, also belated by my fault. (I kept forgetting to make the appointment!) Since she was a baby, she's always been around the 50th percentile for height & weight. Well, that's all changed in the last year. She is now 67th in height & 80th in weight. She has definitely grown & is doing very well. (BTW- she & The Archangel are the same weight, even though they are almost two years apart!!)

When we arrived at the doctor's, she did very well in the waiting room & getting measured after the nurse called us in. As soon as we went into the exam room & I set her on the table, her face scrunched up & she started to cry. The Prophet had been talking to her about shots & she thought she was getting one. The nurse & the doctor both said that she was all caught up for age three. No more crying! She sat very still throughout her exam, but I could tell she was apprehensive - eyeing the doctor the whole time as if she didn't believe there were no shots.

Everything checked out well. He even checked her reflexes, which usually don't work until age five. My Princess is advanced for her age - both knees reflexed! Makes a mother proud ;)

She wanted Disney Princesses for her birthday theme. I usually make the munchkins' birthday cakes, but on this day I just didn't have the energy. So, my mom picked up at an angel food cake. I colored some icing a light turquoise & placed a Little Mermaid candle in the center. The Princess was pleased w/ my efforts, even though I didn't do much. FYI - icing, no matter how soft it is, does not spread well over angel food cake. Oh well, I just told everyone it was the sand from the beach!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Donuts, Martial Arts, & Support Hose, Oh MY!!

My sister & her family got me a giftcard to Kohl's for my birthday. I always put a lot of thought into how I spent my giftcards & try not to use them for "needed" stuff. Last week, on one of the blogs I found, the mother talked about homemade donuts that she'd made for her kids. I thought it sounded like a great idea. Last night, we went to Kohl's so Casinodad could buy some work clothes for himself. I decided to check out the bakeware & sure enough, they had a donut pan -- on sale, too! So, I used my giftcard. This morning, I made chocolate cake donuts for us & they were delicious & healthly, too! The pan makes one dozen & they are baked instead of fried. I used Splenda instead of sugar & skim milk. It was a hit w/ the kids! Next time I might even add a glaze or frosting...

On the way home, we stopped by a local martial arts academy & signed up The Prophet. We've been wanting to do this for years. Last summer, at the Relay for Life event we participate in, they had a demonstration & he really liked it. We've got him signed up for the four week trial period, which is $39 for 2x per week & includes his uniform. Not sure how we'll pay for the sessions afterwards, but I think it will be worth it for him.

Because it was so late, we stopped at a drugstore to get the munchkins their bedtime snack to eat on the way home. While there, I decided to see if they had support hose. Now, I'm not really wanting to wear them, but w/ this pregnancy, my legs having been sporting these wonderful varicose & spider veins! They started when I was pregnant w/ The Princess, but they didn't hurt until this time around. I figured that support hose might help, especially when I'm at work.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

If I Were President...

With last week being our state's elections, The Prophet started asking questions. After talking awhile, he started telling me what he'd do if he were president. Being a homeschooling mom, I decided to make it into a lesson to put into his first grade portfolio. Here is his list of what he would do if he were president (all in his own words):

1) Make special fighting droids with special shields (Droid Akars)
2) Make stronger suits for the good army
3) Make big walkers (AT-AP Walkers)
4) Make the clone ship & walkers from Episode III (Are you noticing the Star Wars theme so far? I did ask him to think of other things too!)
5) I would give the people who robbed a few more chances.
6) I would make smoking illegal.
7) I would make the UN stronger.
8) I would stay up all night planning more presidential stuff.
9) I would make fire ships (for wildfires) & fire walkers with sprays on them. Battle fire boats, too.
10) Hurricanes - get people out of where the hurricanes are coming (use AT-AT walkers with fast legs)
11) Tornados - same thing
12) I would make builder soldiers to protect the poor people & build houses. They would make free jobs for the Moms & Dads. The bosses would be nice because the people would be poor.
13)Make schools safer - keep police guards, check everyone's pockets, police near stop signs so people don't ignore them
14) Make the world clean - every time you go for a walk, you talk a bage & gloves to pick up trash
15) Try as hard as I can to find a cure for cancer
16) Floods - roads closed down, water sucked up by suckwalkers who then take it to poor people who don't have enough water

Once we got past all the Star Wars ideas, I think he came up with some pretty good things to accomplish. Perhaps I should send his list to The White House...

A Rose Among Thorns!

Well, I am halfway through this pregnancy. Actually, if my blood pressure goes up in the last month like it did w/ the other munchkins, I'd say that I'm over halfway there. I had to be induced all three pregnancies due to pregnancy induced hypertension. The boys were two weeks early & The Princess was three weeks early. It was kind of nice though. I didn't have to wait around & wonder if I was truly in labor or not!

Had an ultrasound on Monday. We're having another boy! So, as my doctor said, The Princess will be a rose among three thorns :) We are very excited & really didn't have a preference this time around about the sex of the baby. Now, if I can get through the summer being pregnant, we'll be just fine! This will be my first summer pregnancy.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Exploding Turkeys!

Last Friday, Casinodad came home from work w/ an 11 lb. turkey. One of the ladies he works w/ had given it to him (her mother was cleaning out her freezer). Since it had already started to thaw some, we decided to invite out parents over for dinner on Sunday. We made a few stops on the way home from church, but I told the kids we needed to hurry so I could get the turkey into the oven. The Princess spoke up & said, "So it can 'splode?" (explode) I said no, then The Prophet explained that she was talking about the poem that went around at Thanksgiving time about the turkey exploding all over the kitchen because it had been stuffed w/ unpopped popcorn.

After the turkey was done & cooling on the stove, The Princess came over & asked it I would put popcorn in it the next time. She really wanted a messy kitchen!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Some Quick Catch-Up Tidbits

Sorry I haven't written in quite a while. We really haven't been busier than normal, I've just been extremely tired with this pregnancy. Chalk it up to having three munchkins already, working parttime, homeschooling & just the regular day-to-day activities. The munchkins still get their daily quiet-time in the afternoon. While The Princess is down for her nap, the boys go to separate rooms to play quietly, read or rest. I've been taking advantage of this time to nap myself. The house looks like a few tornados have been through it several times, but at the moment, I feel that the rest is more important.

We started back to school this past Monday. Plans were to start last week, but Casinodad, The Archangel & The Princess were all sick w/ a touch of the flu & colds. Casinodad even missed four days of work - I've never known him to miss that many in a row. All are better now & for some reason, The Prophet & I were passed over (not that I'm complaining!)

I'm trying to focus more on reading w/ school this year - both read-alouds & The Prophet's learning to read. He's fought it so much for some reason, even though he does quite well. We started using the Pathway Readers series & he seems to be happy w/ them. All the phonics programs we tried just seemed to frustrate & bore him. The Pathway Readers were originally used in Amish & Menonite schools. The stories are wholesome & have opened up doors for discussion on their simple lifestyles. There are three readers for first grade & since we've gotten a late start, my goal is to do three stories a week. The Prophet has already done two for this week & keeps grabbing the book to read them to his brother & sister.

My mom watched the munchkins yesterday while I went for my OB checkup & grocery shopping. I left some work for The Prophet to do. When I got home, she said he had been using his fingers for his addition. She wrote out addition tables that she used when growing up. He seemed to like them. I think I might incorporate them into his lessons. A little extra math never hurt anyone & we'll stop that finger addition before it gets out of hand! (no pun intended!)

My OB appointment went well. My due date is Aug. 9. The baby's heartbeat is nice & strong. What a beautiful sound! I haven't gained much weight yet, but my pants are definitely feeling the squeeze! I'm not quite big enough for most maternity pants yet, but my regular pants are snug. I've been wearing quite a few PJ bottoms & lounge pants lately. My mom bought me a few maternity shirts at Kohl's last week. They were on sale & she couldn't resist. They are very cute. That's one thing I like about pregnancy - you can get away w/ some adorable outfits that you can't normally wear!

Peace, munchesmom