Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Febrile Seizure

So Gavin gave us a scare on Sunday as we were leaving church he had a seizure caused by a fever. From what I understand it happens when a fever jumps quickly. Gavin is totally fine now, but it certainly was a scary experience. During the seizure and after during the brains recovery I was just hoping he would start crying or screaming or doing the ever so annoying Gavin squawk. The squawk would have been music to my ears at that point. It took a couple of hours for Gavin to return to normal Gavin. We spent the day at the hospital investigating the cause of the fever and it turned out to be just a cold. When things like this happen to your children it makes you appreciate them and their health so much more. There are people who have chronically ill children who deal with this stuff on a daily basis. I can't imagine. To see your child go through something like this that is so out of your control it really gives you a great reminder that you really are not in control! I like to think I am many times, but things like this always put me in my place and really humble me and give me the opportunity to be so grateful for the many things God has given me. Sweet Gavin just has a cough leftover from the cold he had and the others have been sick as well. I think we are finally better. No fevers! Gavin has broken several things, pooped on the floor two times (going back to duct tape and diapers), squawked a lot, got in a couple of fights and told me ugh huh and nuh ugh about 1000 times. So he is definitely back to normal Gavin and now as for the future we have to watch his temps when he gets sick in order to try and keep him from having any more seizures in his toddler years. Thanks to Bobby and Katherine for their help with Tristan and Annaliese. I don't know what we would do without them here! We love you guys!

If Your Not Happy Change Your Expectations!

I love the quote above and remind myself of it often because with four young children nothing ever goes as expected so I am constantly fighting myself and find myself trying to become okay with the chaos life brings with four young children. It seems the more I plan and the more I try to have things in order the more often I have to let go of how I expected things to be! I hear of great traditions families lived or are living during these beautiful times of the year and have such great anticipation at starting them with our children. I felt as though I was fighting my way through most of them and when I found myself sitting on children while we were trying to complete prayers and stories I realized I needed to let go and we can do bits and pieces here and there and over the years we will eventually complete the task in full. It is not about the things as much as it is about the spirit in which we do them. So I would rather do a little with a lot of love rather than do a lot with little love! So here is where we are at so far.
Okay so here are the things we have accomplished so far and will continue to try and do in the future with our children in these precious days before Christmas...
1. Jesse Tree (partial success with this one) We have made one homemade ornament at this point (so in 24 years we will have a complete set at this rate!) and even had a Jesse tree party, but we just got the tree to put the ornaments on a couple of days ago because I never had an opportunity to go to the store after forgetting the one time I was there with the kiddos.
2. Christmas Tree Filled with Grace: The tree for this is still in the box and was only bought a couple of days ago for the same reason as above and since I have had it all of the kids have been super sick. We have the ornaments and the tree. The idea with this is to have a small (ours is 2ft) Christmas tree and small little ornaments (ours are from dollar store) every time you make a sacrifice or help someone out you put an ornament on the tree. It becomes a tree filled with little acts of love and grace. A couple of days before Christmas you pray about who to send the tree to and all of the prayers it contains and then you send it.

3. Advent Storybooks: We are reading Jothams Journey and there is a chapter for each day of advent. There are also two other books Bartholomew Passage and Tabitha's Travels. We are on Tuesday of the second week of Advent and we should be on Tuesday of the third week of Advent. We may finish in January, but no big deal rubbing backs of sick children and making tea takes priority over this wonderful advent tradition.

4. Christmas Basket Program: This is one of my favorites. This afternoon we began the first part of the Christmas basket by having the kids pick three of their toys to give to the Christmas Basket program. This is one of the greatest traditions. Today as I went with Annaliese to look at her dress up stuff I was so impressed with her attitude of giving. We pulled out her dress up stuff and anything she had two of we pulled out which was almost everything. We started with shoes and she found a perfect pair out of the four pairs she had and then she said we needed a crown so she picked one of the two and it was a little harder because she now only has one then she said a little girl needed a balleration (a leotard) I was so surprised she even mentioned this because these along with her princess dresses are her favorites. I then prompted that maybe a little girl who doesn't have dress up stuff may need a princess dress and she said well no this one fits me and this one fits me. She has three princess dresses and she does love all of them very very much. She went on to tell me because this fits me it won't fit anyone else. We came to the point where I said okay Annaliese but I know you could make God happy and some little girl very happy and she smiled and said okay I think this one will be perfect. (She put my favorite dress in the pile of stuff...ouch that hurts now I have to detach from the adorable dress that I love on Annaliese) It is funny how sometimes you can be more attached to your kids stuff than they are. She put the whole outfit together, but it was missing a necklace and a bracelet and she got it all and put it in a bag and said this is perfect! How adorable and what a loving/giving spirit sweet Annaliese has. No second thoughts no regrets it was done and it is as if it is not hers any longer. Tristan on the other hand was actually more reluctant than Annaliese to let go of his stuff. The things they have to pick have to mean something to them, it has to bring a little bit of sacrifice and detachment otherwise it would just be for the others and not for their formation as well. So Tristan got rid of some of his animals, but boy did it take him a long time. You saw his interior struggle as he would go through all of them and then he decided to give something pretty special to him, his marble run. I suggested it to him and he protested at first, but then was so proud of himself and could not wait for Branden to come home to show him what he was giving to some kid who does not have anything.
This is just the beginning of the Christmas Basket. Hopefully tomorrow we will go and wrap the presents and Thursday we will go deliver the nursing home bags and sing Christmas carols at the nursing home. Friday is sorting night and pizza and then Saturday we will deliver a box or two to a family filled with food and toys. I love our church!

5. The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mexican Fiesta and we went to the Hispanic celebration at our church. There were only about ten white people there and we were 6 out of the ten. What a neat experience and to have mass in spanish, participate in the parade in the streets of downtown Franklin and then end with a Mexican fiesta with dancing. I love our church

6. St. Lucy Feast day went totally different than expected we ended up at the hospital with Gavin and had sick children all day...nothing that i had planned happened that day!

7. After dropping off the toys at church for the Christmas basket (this was tonight) we go to see Christmas lights and stop to get hot chocolate and a donut that we eat in the car while driving around. When we see a snowman we sing frosty, when we see a reindeer we sing rudolph etc... Super fun times

8. Advent Calendar - Every morning the kids open up the doors on our Advent calendar and hang up the pieces

9. Advent Wreath - Made it one week into Advent with extra tree trimmings I found at home depot for free! We got the super cheap Christmas tree that fit into the budget but doesn't smell beautiful so we are getting the expensive Christmas tree smell by picking up the free scraps and using them as decorations throughout the house! We light the candles at dinner time, but have not accomplished the nightly prayers and scripture passages.

So as you can see we are trying and things are most definitely not perfect and they probably never will be! I hate the thought of that, but I must accept it and know that our disaster is beautiful to God!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adventure Day with Daddy

Branden is so wonderful. He took off a day of work to take the three big kids out on an adventure while I organized our house and set up systems to keep it clean. What a blessing this day was for me! He left at 9am starting by going to the music show at Whole Foods that the kids love and then they continued on their journey to go hiking and find waterfalls. The kids had a blast and I set up an amazing system that is working for me. I have so much trouble being organized and keeping our house clean, but always had so many great ideas, but the problem was I never could get ahead. This gave the opportunity to get ahead and implement the ideas. There is lots of stuff labeled in our house now and I work using a schedule and I have check lists for everything. Is it perfect...of course not, what is! I actually realized I have never implemented anything like this because it bothers me so much when the system is broken...and this happens every day all day! AHHHH I totally have to let go, but in the end it obviously helps so much to have the structure especially with four young children. There are lots of hands touching lots of things and things are never perfect!

Fall Pictures

Here are some fall pictures of the kids. We went to Leipers fork with Katherine, Ava and little Lucas and took pictures of the kids with the awesome camera the Barrett family gave to us! We love it. I think in the past five years and nine months we have been married we have only gotten our picture professionally taken one time. It costs so much money so we do it on our own and they always turn out great especially now that we have a camera that takes pictures so quickly.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nothing is created to live for itself...even FLIES!

So one of the latest and greatest things we have dealt with in the past month was an invasion of flies into our home! So here is the story. The weather was beautiful and the doors were open and evening came and there were 15 flies on the inside of the window in Gavin's room. I thought, how odd they all flocked to this one window but I got a newspaper shut the door and started swatting at the gross little things. I didn't leave the room until all 15 were dead. I then put Gavin to bed feeling completely satisfied that all of the flies were out of the room. Morning comes and in a rush I did not even think twice about the fly massacre that took place the night before. We spent the beautiful day with the doors open and night came again and lo and behold I heard flies against the window, there were 10 more gross flies in that same window. At this point I was tired and thought again, how odd that they all came to this window, but we did have the doors open all day today. I closed the door so none of them could escape and did the same thing I did the night before. I killed all 10 of them with my total count at 25! I put him to bed and went to do laundry and as I was doing the laundry it occurred to me that maybe just maybe in our house where there are two children wearing diapers and especially a boy like Gavin that poops 8 times a day, there may be a poopy diaper hiding somewhere. Now this has NEVER ever happened before in our home so this would be a very odd occurrence, but definitely a possibility! Side Note: Unpacking our Christmas decorations we got to the bottom of a box and there was a dirty pee diaper from last year that got packed away in a box of Christmas stuff...no kidding...how gross is that! So in the dark of the room I searched a bit with my nose and with my eyes as much as I could see and there was nothing to be found. Morning came and I checked again in the light of the day and no diaper was to be found, but I did hear flies in the window once again. I went to the window and there were six flies. Okay so now that is super weird the door was shut and all flies had been killed and six more appeared. I think Gavin has had at least one bath this month, he shouldn't be that stinky! Two days and 60 flies later we call our landlord to have someone come and figure out why the flies are coming into our house and how they are coming in. Our landlord finally got someone out here 9 days and 150 flies into the whole ordeal. We moved Gavin out of his room on the third day to the bottom bunk that was waiting for him in Tristan's room and we would keep the door to the fly room shut all day and then go and kill flies at night. With all of this going on I really began to dislike flies and one night after killing 20 or so I googled the purpose of flies because I honestly thought flies had no purpose but to annoy us and just be disgustingly dirty and they should not exist. Well let me tell you. I found out that many many species of birds eat flies, as do many reptiles and amphibians. Even some other insects feed on flies. Flies also assist us by speeding up decomposition. So after finding this out I realized that we do need flies and God created them for a specific purpose in which they fulfill perfectly. I realized I am created for a specific purpose as well but many times I don't fulfill it perfectly because God also gave me the freedom to choose and I can choose to do God's will or not. I am given the capacity to choose my path and a fly is not. A fly was created for a specific purpose and it completes its task because it is not given the option to love or not to love. On the other hand I am free and freely given an opportunity to make holy, good, or not so good choices and all of my choices affect those around me. My decisions can build up or hurt the body of Christ, the Church. Selfishness so often stands in my way of fulfilling the plan God has in store for me, but of course in his mercy he is constantly guiding me back and allowing me to try again and again and again. In light of the flies I also realized just how important each little insect is in making the world go round and function as God created it, we even need the flies that don't have a soul. I can't even fathom what an effect it must be to discard souls through abortion. I can't imagine how that must distort the plan of God. If flies being removed from the world makes a big impact on the food chain and decomposition and they don't even have soul then I wonder how much of an impact it makes to get rid of souls on our own terms in our time, not Gods.
Okay so what happened with the flies you are saying to yourself...well there was rotted wood in the window that allowed them to get into our house through the window in the babies room, but as to why there were so many and why they chose our home...I just don't know!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Festival

The pumpkin party was so much fun for all. The day was filled with Chili, hot dogs, sack races, bobbing for apples and lots of fun with friends. Sarah and Lance ate their apple hands free in about 20 seconds...it was quite impressive. Corinne took a diving leap to win the moms sack race. Branden won the dad sack race and everyone ended in a pile from tripping over one another at the end. As you can see from the pictures the pumpkin carving was pretty intense using tools and everything, but the winner of that was actually a classic little pumpkin carved by the Opilinki family. Here are some pictures from that day. In the past couple weeks we also went to a chili cook off with the Ehrhardts. We went to a couple of fall festivals with jump houses and hayrides with the Ehrhardts. We love all of the free festivals I think the Ehrhardt do too. If we are invited we are there especially if there is a meal involved. No cooking and cleaning and spending money for one meal is a MIRACLE!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Funny Comments

Two nights ago we made dinner for another family that likes country cookin, but I don't cook this way so the food I cooked my children had never had before. Half way through dinner Annaliese said to me in the sweetest most sincere voice "Thanks mom for making this yukky dinner." Branden and I just laughed!
When I was putting her to bed the same night she had scraped her foot and had a little piece of skin hanging off and she looked down and saw the flap of skin and said "So mom are peoples made of paper on the inside."
Another cute conversation btwn Tristan and Annaliese was about Gold Fish and what they are made of. The conclusion is that they are made of Gold, but they are not real fish.

The Ice Box

Yesterday the kids and I went to Kroger to pick up a few things for dinner with our neighbors last night. I have been venturing out to the grocery store with all four in tow and most times it is a bit frustrating, but always a great accomplishment. Yesterday we made it through Kroger and I was checking out with a sigh of relief and a feeling of achievement. There was only one licked apple a bunch of grapes misplaced and many things touched...so needless to say a very successful grocery trip...no major meltdowns, no broken things, not lost children. As I was checking out I heard someone behind me say "Whose kids are those!" This is not something you like to hear when you have four curious, energy filled children 4yrs old and under with you in a grocery store. So my first thought is it better not be my children, or else... and I look and see Finn starting to get a bit fussy in the buggy and Gavin still sitting in the front seat of the cart, but Annaliese and Tristan were not in site so I turn to see my two lovely darlings sitting inside the ice machines munching on some ice and laughing. Yes it was my children and the humility that had to follow the comment of "Whose kids are those, and my reply had to be they are mine! Oh the rage, the frustration the embarrassment! Immediately I draw from my emotions and and my reactions to these events are as if the kids are doing to me and on purpose. It is a very self centered way of receiving their behavior, but I think most of us do it and that is why our emotions rise up and control our actions at this point. It is a great teaching moment for proper behavior in a grocery store...who would have thought you would have to teach your children not to sit in an ice machine and eat ice! Anyways putting aside my ego and not caring about what others think of me...because it totally doesn't matter and making it a teaching moment meant removing my emotions from the situation and taking care of it right then and there. So instead of letting every emotion guide my decisions and actions and pulling them by their hair to the car Tristan and Annaliese where given a certain amount of time off of bedtime, which is a major deal at our house because we have game nights, movie nights, reading night etc...so they will miss out on some activity and hear us as we are doing the activity. Both of them realized they had done something wrong and we proceeded to our car. Everyday is filled with a certain amount of chaos and some more than others.

One other funny story from yesterday and then I have to go and do my house work! Ava was over yesterday and they were upstairs playing. Katherine and I were talking when we heard Ava kind of whimpering/crying and she comes down the stairs with shaving cream all over her head . Gavin had gotten the shaving cream out and sprayed it on Ava!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Busy Fall Weekends

It seems as if Fall is filled with lots of fun and lots of things to do. Everyone is trying to get all of the outside fun in before Winter comes so there are lots of activities. This past weekend we had a birthday party at the bowling alley for Lizzie Donnelly a friend of the kids. Everyone had so much fun! Annaliese and Gavin had never bowled before. On Saturday Tristan and Branden had a father son camp out birthday party for one of Tristans best buddies Andrew. Tristan had an awesome time and so did Branden. The night was filled with a bonfire, hikes through the woods, soccer and tackle football in the dark, smores, hots dogs and so much more. Annaliese, Gavin, Finn and I went to the neighborhood picnic. Annaliese got her face painted and her and Gavin got balloon swords and hats and jumped on an inflatable at the picnic. We had a lot of fun getting to know more neighbors! Annaliese and I then proceeded to have a special night together. She said she wanted to go to the mall, dance her balleration, paint her toes and fingers, have coffee and cookies and watch a movie. Well there was no way we were going to get all of that in, but we did accomplish a few on her wish list. I have no idea where she got the mall and coffee thing. We don't shop at the mall and don't drink coffee. She is in need of some church dresses so we went to Goodwill because I have not been able to find any on Craigs list or at yard sales so we went to Goodwill and when we pulled up she said I wanted to go to the new mall not the old one! Too funny! We did find one beautiful church dress (she loves the super full dresses that are super fancy!) and she was so happy. We then came home and put the boys to bed. She helped me make cookies and then we went upstairs to watch Cinderella and as we were watching I painted her toes and fingers pink! She was in heaven!
On Sunday we went to pray at an abortion clinic with the kids as a part of the 40 days for life campaign. It is halfway done, but we plan on trying to go once a week in response to our call as parents as written in the catechism. "The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor." 2208 Catchism.


Annaliese started her first season of soccer about two months ago and she is on the Pink Princesses. She had trouble getting into it, but now that she scored her first two goals of the season last game I think she is ready to go. Annaliese runs down the field smiling and looking to see if we are watching her. There is a huge difference between the girls and the boys. The girls whine and cry so much more that they are hot or cold, tired, hungry and thirsty! The most exciting part of the game is the snack at the end. As you can see from Gavins face he always benefits from the snacks as well! You can see in the pics below that Tristan stands behind the goal Annaliese is scoring at in order to tell her to run faster. He shares his wisdom about soccer with her and she always looks for his approval of all that she does. Tristan is an amazing soccer player. He is on the Golden Dragons this season and has two wonderful coaches. He hustles so much and is really starting to understand how to play the game by passing and playing defense. He is the youngest at 4yrs out there and is playing with six year olds this season, but he is keeping up with them. He scored this past weekend and had a couple of assists. He tries so hard and is such a great listener and an avid learner. And Finn...well he normally just sleeps!