Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You Win a Mom Of Boys Award..

...when you can go from Transformer robot to Transformer car in 30 seconds flat.

Ten times a day. Or more.

"Transformers, more than meets the eye..."

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Little Bug Man

A couple of days ago Dan and the kids were downstairs watching a movie and I was in the kitchen. After a little while Joseph came upstairs and found me and said, "Wook, Mommy, I found a bug!" He was carrying a piece from the tea set, which is what all the kids use to catch bugs in the basement. I said, "Is it dead?" "Nope." He showed it to me and there was a very much alive roly-poly running around in the bottom. I asked him if he wanted me to put it outside. "Nope." And he left.

About a half-hour later I started to go downstairs and there was Joseph sitting on the stairs, playing with something. He had several pieces from the tea set, including a spoon, which he was using to transfer something from teacup to sugar bowl. I looked in and there was the poor roly-poly rolled into the tightest little ball you could imagine. Joseph had been "playing" with it that whole time. I went down and told Dan what our little guy was doing and we laughed. 5 minutes later Joseph came over and I said, "Where's the roly-poly?" "Don't know." It was nowhere to be found, probably got lost in some crack. I asked Joseph if he ate it, because you never know with a 2 year old. "Nope."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Fun Little Game!

I was tagged by Dawn for this game. Here are the rules:

1. Open the fourth picture folder on your computer

2. Select the fourth picture in the folder

3. Post the picture to your blog & explain the picture

4. Tag 4 people to do the same
Well, I went to the file on the computer marked Pictures, opened the fourth folder, called 2005, then opened the fourth folder, called February, then selected the fourth picture. Here it is:Dan is holding Catherine, who is 14 months old. Obviously it is Valentine's Day and she is really wanting to touch that balloon. I don't remember if Dan got it for her or me. :) At the time I was 3 months pregnant with the twins.

I'm going to tag Kate, Catholic Wife and Mother, Sarah, and Chrissy! Feel free to ignore if you want to. I probably won't even notify you that you've been tagged. Of course I only picked those that I know read this blog once in a while!

Best Friends!

Friday, June 26, 2009


"It's too darn hot, it's too darn hot!"

That's the only part of the song I know (from Kiss Me, Kate, I believe), and boy does it fit this week. Yesterday we hit 100 degrees, with a heat index of 107! That is normal for July or August, but this is still June! So nearly every morning this week, I've been lounging by the pool while the kids play.

Kiddie pool, that is: They love it and they have been playing all kinds of games centered around the pool. And remember how I told you yesterday that they got squirt guns for reading books at the library? Well, if you come to our house, beware! They are armed and dangerous.

And they leave cute little tracks like this everywhere!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Small Successes - 23

1) I survived a road trip to St. Louis. It took us a little over 7 hours to get there and almost 8 hours to get back. We didn't get much sleep while we were there, but we had a great time visiting Dan's sister. No one got lost or hurt, and we only had one puking incident in the car.

2) I french braided Catherine's hair for the first time. I didn't do too bad, at least in this picture you can't see all the messed-up parts. :) The worst part was getting out all of the tangles beforehand.
3) I read hours and hours to the kids for the library summer reading program. We took our reading logs to the library this morning (tomorrow is the last day possible to turn them in, so just in time!) and they all got some prizes. Which were toys: squirt guns, sidewalk chalk, little plastic ships that are supposed to float, a bugcatcher kit. Cool stuff.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meet Me In St. Loui-ee, Loui-ee...

...Meet Me at the Carousel!
One morning while we were in the St. Louis area, we had some time to kill before we could visit Sr. Mary Elizabeth, as she was fulfilling her kitchen duties. So we went to the mall located close to our hotel. We rarely go to the mall, in fact, usually the precipitating reason is to get my engagement/wedding rings cleaned! So it was enjoyable just to walk around and look at things. We didn't really shop, are you kidding, with 4 little ones, it would have quickly turned un-enjoyable.

But there, "conveniently" located next to the Food Court, was a big double-decker carousel. Since we were on vacation, the kids got to ride. I don't think any of them have ever been on a carousel before. We went up the stairs to the top deck and Catherine chose a zebra. Anne got scared, so she rode on the little bench:

Dominic found a ferocious tiger, but Joseph got scared and Dan had to take him down to the bottom level, where he got attached to a rabbit.

Then we walked some more and further down the mall was a little kiddie area with rides, you know, the little racecars that move and the helicopter that goes up and down. Here the girls are riding on a roller coaster simulator. I like the picture because of that hair!

Then the boys had a turn. What fun they all had! We don't typically do things like that, but when on vacation...

Then they even got to ride on the carousel again. This time they all rode and nobody got scared. Here is Joseph's Rabbit that he insisted on riding again. Have you ever been on a carousel with seatbelts? That was a new one for me.

Here's Mommy and the girls. As long as you had a child under a certain height, the parents could stand next to their kids and ride for free. Yahoo!

And now, ever since we have been back from our trip, the kids have been playing "Hotel." This consists mostly of pretending they are going up and down the elevator. All four of them will run to a corner of the house, get close together, and then yell, "Bing!" Then they run up (or down) the stairs and do it all over again. It's funny to watch.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fun With Friends, Fabulous Food, and Fathers

Okay, so I am doing a weekend recap on Tuesday. Not too bad for me! If you read this blog much, I'm sure you know that I am usually behind and that I tend to blog in spurts. (I have a bunch of blog ideas jotted down, so if I ever really get on a roll, you are in for it!)

On Saturday we went to the WSU Newman Center Reunion, which really centered around Bishop Conley (pictured below with Dan), who was chaplain Fr. Conley of the Newman Center back when Dan attended college at WSU. The Reunion started with a Mass celebrated by the Bishop. NOTE TO GRANDMA B: Dan handled all the kids by himself during Mass, so I could sing in the choir. Not a small feat at 4:00 in the afternoon!

Then down in the Newman Center basement (which has been the scene of many festivities over the years), all were welcomed with dinner and remembrances, and lots of conversation. Dan got to talk to many old friends and I got to meet up with some women friends, some of whom I have gotten to know better via the internet (Dawn, for one!). There were a lot of kids there, so ours were a little overwhelmed, especially Joseph, but they eventually had a great time.
We got home late and crashed and it was the strangest thing to wake up on Sunday morning and not go to Mass. I can't remember the last time we've gone to a Saturday night Mass. We had a leisurely morning for Father's Day. It was still pretty wet out from the rain we got last week (2.5 inches in one day!) so Dan couldn't really do anything outside. So he read the Sunday paper, played with the kids, and then after lunch took a nap(sounds like a good day to me!).

Then Sunday evening we prepared a feast: Grilled steak and shrimp, with a big side salad and watermelon. And even a bottle of wine! Mmm. I prepared everything, but Dan grilled(he's much better at it, and we rarely get to have steak, so...). My brother, Fr. Brian, arrived in time for dinner. He had come to Wichita for a baptism on Sunday afternoon, and then got to come spend some time with us.

Here is a picture of Fr. Brian and the kids circling in for the kill. He had just arrived and gotten down on their level and they were taking full advantage.

Ooh, surprise move!
The kids were so wound up and excited when Fr. Brian came. They were busy showing him all their tricks (at the same time) and toys. It was funny. We enjoyed his visit very much!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Skunk Patrol!

Remember how I told you about the skunk living under the concrete slab of our front porch and steps? Well, last night we had a skunk adventure. It was just getting dark and Dan was out mowing around the fruit trees. He looked over in the backyard and what did he see? A skunk scampering across the yard, followed by about 5 baby skunks! And what did Dan do? What any man would do(lol). He put the riding mower into high gear and zipped over there and chased the skunks away as far as he could. He said they ran away from him with their tails lifted up and he knew they were squirting their lovely scent as they ran. He wasn't crazy enough to get close enough to get sprayed (they have a 15 foot range).

Meanwhile I was inside blogging about our trip to St. Louis. Dan burst into the kitchen and told me what had happened and said he was going to try to block the way back into their den. We had gotten some mothballs which are supposed to repel them, so he stuffed them down the entry hole and then he began to pound stakes down into the ground next to the concrete sidewalk. He strung up as many lights as he could find because skunks are supposed to be scared of light. A little bit later he hollered for the radio and I brought it out. Dan was getting nervous that the skunks might come back and surprise him, so he thought the noise of the radio might also help keep them away. Here he is pounding in some stakes: What were you doing between 9:45 and 10:00 last night? Were you on skunk patrol? Dan came in and said, "I need you to watch for the skunks. I saw them over by the hill." Um, yeah, okay, just what I was hoping to do. So there I was, out in the yard, armed only with a flashlight, nervously scanning the yard for skunks. Meanwhile Dan was pounding in stakes as fast as he could, hoping to keep them out until he could put in a permanent barrier later.

As I scanned back and forth with the flashlight, I noticed a shadow under a tree that seemed out of place. I watched and sure enough, there they were. I watched them swarm about and they started scampering from tree to tree, looking for grubs. Dan took the flashlight and said he wanted to follow them and see where they going. Oh sure, no problem. Knock yourself out. Just don't get sprayed!

It was rather fascinating to watch the little creatures scurry about, looking for food. Until they started coming closer to the house. They were just oblivious to the flashlight, to the bright spotlights on the sidewalk, to the radio blaring loud music. Momma skunk was taking her babies back to the den. I, of course, was back in the house at this point. Dan was out on the driveway, just watching them. They got to their entry hole and the way was blocked! They swarmed and they swarmed, looking and digging for a way in. Then wouldn't you know, there in the last space next to the house, where Dan hadn't had time to put in a stake, they dug through and got back inside.

Here is an awful picture, but the best one I got. Sorry, I was not about to open the door to get a better one. There between the two stakes to the right and the third board, if you look close you can see something black and white. That is a skunk! The little babies were kind of cute, though.

After a little while, when no skunks reappeared, Dan put his riding mower away (it was there in the yard) and then came back and got the lights to put them away. I was watching the hole to see if the skunks came out. I was worried they might get in the garage. Dan came in the garage and closed the door and we thought that was it for the night. Then he looked out the back window and realized he had left the big shed open. So he went out on the deck to go close it and also immediately came back in, saying he thought he saw eyes out there. He got the flashlight and went out and what do you know, there was the momma skunk heading to the backyard. No babies with her this time. Then she started heading for the deck. Dan shone the light right at her and started hollering to try to scare her off, but she kept coming! Finally she changed course and went further out. Dan cautiously went out and shut the shed doors and made it back without getting sprayed. Whew! What an adventure.

Here was the scene this morning. There is the gap next to the wall where the skunks were able to dig down to get in their den. Notice Dan left some of his tools there. He was not anxious to spend too much time close to the skunk hole at night time, knowing the skunks were back in there.
And here is what those skunks did during the night. They dug out a new exit hole on the other side of the sidewalk. Life out in the country is an adventure to say the least. Dan says he considers this battle a tie. The skunks are still alive and still in their den, but no one got sprayed and he made some progress on the skunk barrier. Stay tuned for Skunk vs. Dan, part II, which is yet to happen!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our Big Trip

Here they are, our four little kids eagerly peering over the wall at...
...Sr. Mary Elizabeth, Dan's sister. She is a cloistered nun in a Passionist convent outside of St. Louis. Which means she can't come visit us, so we go to visit her. When we go in the front door of the convent, there is a little entry and there we ring a doorbell. After a while we hear the voice of one of the sisters. We tell her who we are and she sends a key through a turnstile in the wall. It is all very mysterious (and very giggle-producing) and we never see the owner of the voice. We unlock the door to the guest parlor and go in. When Sr. Mary Elizabeth comes, first she draws back the curtains on her side of the bars (the ones on our side are open) and then, since we are family, she is able to unlock the bars and open them like you see here.

Then we have a half-day, followed by a whole day, then another morning of visiting with her, in between her duties and prayertimes. Right now her duties are in the kitchen as she is currently the cook. The whole time we were there she graciously and hospitably fed us our meals (except for our breakfast, which was complimentary at the hotel). Doesn't she look happy and joyful? She has been there for 14 years.

In the evening, Dan took Catherine and Joseph to the chapel for evening prayers. The twins were fast asleep at the time, tuckered out from all the activity.

Joseph got cranky, so Dan let him hold the camera, resulting in many pictures, some of which weren't too bad. Like this one, maybe skewed a little, but there is a nice silhouette of a nun on the other side of the altar! Good job, Joseph!

And when they are done, the curtains are closed and that is the end.
For now.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Big Trip - Where Did We Go?

Last Wednesday we (I should say Dan) loaded up the mini-van, and we all piled in for a road trip for a few days. Where did we go? Let's see if you can guess.

Clue #1: We stayed in a hotel. Hmm. So that means we didn't go visit any grandparents.
Clue #2: A beautiful statue of Mary and Jesus.
Clue #3: A very large crucifix in front of a building.
Clue #4: A close-up of the building. (Hint: There's a big clue on the wall back there!)
Clue #5: We're inside now and I think I see another crucifix on the wall.
Clue #6: This is a big one and should give it away, if you don't know yet!

Have you figured it out yet? What, or should I say who, could be behind that curtain?
The answer, along with stories and more pictures, will be coming later!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Me Too, Kid

From Joseph this morning: "Want coffee!"

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Future Stuntsman

Dominic is quite the showman on occasion. This morning he was playing a game where he would fall straight backwards onto his bottom and then plop the rest of himself down so he was flat on his back. It looked like it hurt! (It would hurt me if I tried it.)

One of the girls asked, "Did that hurt, Dominic?"

He replied, "Yeah. I'm the only one who can do this."

And he proceeded to do it a few more times just to show us.

What I Want To Be

Today I took down a temporary white lacy window covering that I had up to block the sun at the kitchen window. I was going to throw it down the laundry chute when a whim took hold and I put it on my head and paraded down the hall past Catherine. Dum, dum, da dum. She was instantly on her feet, delighted, and followed me. I put it on her head and it fell way past her feet, but she is playing with it still. After she paraded around for a while, she came back to where I was putting clean sheets on a bed and she said,

"Mommy! It's just like Sr. Mary Elizabeth's (Dan's sister, a Passionist nun), except hers is black."

I said, "Do you want to be like Sr. Mary Elizabeth when you grow up?"

After a few seconds of thinking, Catherine said, "I want to be a ballerina when I get big!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Baptism Day, Joseph!

2 years ago today, our Joseph was baptized. Here is a picture of the happy scene:
And a close-up of that big baby boy sleeping peacefully in his baptism gown, which was worn by both his father and big brother, Dominic, among many others.