Saturday, May 21, 2016

Did You Know Our Kids Play Sports and Do Other Stuff? TToT Week 153

As I drove to the volleyball game this morning, I was pondering my thankful post. I came up with a great intro to it, too.

Unfortunately, that was 6 hours ago. My brain is only capable of holding onto information for 3 Mississippis.

You get no great intro.

Maybe next time.

So, the thankfuls...

If you recall, last week I asked you to cheer Phoenix and his volleyball team on to victory in the state competition. Friday night, they played beautifully and won in only three sets. (Each match is best out of 5.) This morning they played the number one team in the state. It went to 5 games, and they ended up losing by 2 points. I feel awful for those boys. Seven seniors have been on the verge of winning the kit and kaboodle four years in a row. Each year they have lost in 5 sets, and by only 2-4 points in the fifth set. This was going to be their year. Ugh.

I am thankful that Phoenix had the opportunity to play with such helpful, generous, fun ballplayers.

Pregame introductions. My boy is #10.

I am thankful that my kids go to a school with such great fans. There were 2 matches going on at the same time in the same gym, (so four teams playing at a time) and our fans took up half the stadium. So many non-volleyball-playing students and parents came out to root the boys on. It was nice to see. (I know the gym looks empty in that photo above, but from where this is taken, all the way down the left sideline and a full section to the right of me, the stands are full of fans from our school.)

With this, volleyball season is over. While I do like watching them play, I am glad that I no longer have to drive to the high school to pick up Buttercup and Star after school anymore. Phoenix won't be going to practice and will be able to bring them home again.

Giant finished his career at the elementary/middle school. The last day was Friday. He and the rest of his class are ready to head out to the high school. It will come quick for Giant, seeing as how high school soccer practices start May 30!

The rest of the Coop kids will be done with school on Thursday. The teens only have finals left, so half days for them, and the two little boys will be having nothing but fun for most of the last few days.

The sun is currently shining. Sure, there are nasty looking clouds surrounding the bit of blue, but this is more sun than we've seen in a long time.

Turken is having a great time playing baseball. All the kids are improving by leaps and bounds thanks to 3 fabulous coaches. Out of the blue, Turken asked if he could pitch an inning (At this age, the first two of the six innings are kid-pitch.) and his coaches let him give it a try. His form leaves much to be desired, but he did so well, they let him pitch in two different games.

I am thankful for the sweet little boy (Cuckoo) who loves to pick "flowers" for all females who happen to be in our house at any given time.

I am thankful for the planners of downtown Indy. There are so, so many fun things to do. Last night most of the family went to an Indianapolis Indians baseball game. After school but before the game we had time to just hand out at White River State Park (also downtown).

I love that my kids can enjoy themselves in just about any situation.

There is a small area in the park that has all of these limestone benches laid out in concentric circle formation. They spent half an hour jumping from stone to stone, and then a rousing game of Camouflage. 
 Alrighty. That's it for today. Let me know what you've been up to this week. Do tell, for what are you grateful?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, May 15, 2016

We Have May Flowers, Despite the April Showers Overrunnething Their Month, TToT 151


Plenty of time to get a thankful post in...

First and foremost, I am most grateful for my lovely husband. He's awesome in general, but last weekend the man went all out. Since Mother's Day happened to be the day after Turken's First Communion, we had a crowd. Besides me, there were three other mothers here to celebrate and pamper. Bryan got the kids up early to set the table, including vases of flowers at each place setting. They made waffles with hot cinnamon apples and whipped cream, giant cinnamon rolls, eight different fruits, freshly squeezed orange juice, and skillets made to order, with hash browns, eggs, and all the veggies. I have never been more impressed, and the mothers (and my dad, who stood in for my stepmom) were thrilled to be treated to such a feast.

Star finished his first year of track with a great finish. He had so much fun throughout the season, meeting new kids and trying a new sport for him.

Phoenix's volleyball team is going strong. They just won Regionals quite handily, sending them to state quarter finals on Friday. For the last three years, the 7 seniors on the team have made it to state finals but have been unable to win. Always close, always going to all 5 games, twice losing by less than 5 points. THIS has got to be their year. Do us a favor and cheer them on Friday night at 8:00 from wherever you are.

The weather has basically been miserable for the last many days. I am so glad Phoenix plays a sport that takes place in a gym. Bryan got to be the one sitting in the cold for most of the soccer and baseball games this week.

Speaking of baseball, Turken is loving the sport again. Back in November, he told me he didn't want to play baseball again. He was still riding the high of soccer season and couldn't remember how much he liked baseball. I didn't listen to him and signed him up anyway. The other day he told me, "It's weird how when I'm playing soccer, it's my favorite sport, but when it's baseball season, that's my favorite."  Phew.

The animals have seemed to come to an agreement. Kinda like Zootopia right in our own backyard. The chickens are all over the property, but as long as they stay more than 10 yards away from the house, the dogs don't bother them. The cat is basically allowed anywhere he wants if the dogs are lying down, seeing as how they don't find it worth the effort to chase him anymore. If the dogs are already standing up, they might put on a half-hearted show of chasing him for a few feet, but there's really no fear of them catching or hurting him. It's quite pleasant around here these days.

The rain stopped long enough for the ground to absorb most of the water. Everything but the driveway has been mowed. The driveway is still quite squishy and must continue to grow unchecked.

The spiderwort my friend Donna gave me last summer is blooming beautifully! The spindly little plant I put in the ground back in July now looks like this...

I have also found a way to ensure that the dogs don't dig up flowers in the front of the house anymore. I don't know why I haven't thought of this before.

Flower pots!!

Even better when the flower pot is in a cute flower pot holder I found for $15.

Turken was home from school on Friday because he was up for much of the previous night coughing up a lung or two. I am very happy to say the cough is gone and he is back to normal. 

It's 9:11. 

My hour is up.

Gotta get this sucker posted and added to the link up. Feel free to join me!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Monday, May 9, 2016

Well, I Didn't Set Out to Get Contemplative, or What We've Been Up to in 5,000 Words or Less

Remember back in August when ALL of my kids started school and I was at a loss as to what to do with all of my alone time?

(If you don't, read this. Ranks up there as one of my favorite posts I ever wrote. I still laugh just thinking about it.)

Well, I think I've come up with an answer.

I want to be a hermit.

In all my years of motherhood, I never had more than an hour or so at home by myself, and that hour or so was only on an occasional Mother's Day when Bryan took the kids out to find something for me.

Who knew being at home in a quiet house could be so nice??

I am actually hunting out reasons and ways to stay home as much as possible during the day.

You need thousands of Coke rewards (made up of 16 characters each, written on the tops of seriously hard to read bottle lids) entered into the website? I'M ON IT!

You need food for this, that, and every organization/family/group? I'LL MAKE TWO TIMES MORE THAN YOU NEED!!

You need someone to wash and iron all of the linens for church? SIGN ME UP!!

I could not be more shocked about this turn of events.

I like people. I like being around people. I like doing things with and for people.

And yet.

I'm actively searching out ways to help without coming face-to-face with a single person.


But there you have it.

Also, I'm coming up with extra work for myself as far as taking care of the family goes.

For example, I made the executive decision to no longer buy packaged junk food. I have always limited the intake of junk food by my kids, but I've never banned it. I always had some candy or Little Debbies or some such thing in the cupboard for them to have after dinner. Well, during Lent we gave up those things, and after Lent, I just kept it going. Instead, we only eat desserts that are made in this house. In my mind, I think of it as healthier. Less preservatives, more love and all that jazz.

This means that I have to actually make the desserts, and a lot of them, seeing as how we in the coop have needy sweet teeth.

For weeks now, I have actually been planning dinners a week at a time (never, ever been done before!) AND the dessert to go with each meal.

You know what else has happened for the first time ever in our married lives?

We have a legit bit of landscaping. And flowers. In pots. On the porch. Never, ever have I "decorated" the porch like grown adult people do.

I don't wear pearls while I do all of this cooking and flowering, but you can still call me June.

And then, from 2:00 on, my butt is in the driver's seat of the van or on a bleacher watching one of my kids hit a ball, kick a ball, spike a ball, or run a race.

I am feeling the pressure of my kids getting older. I physically hurt from the knowledge that Phoenix will be turning 18 in September. It's weighing on me that all of that talk about one day all four of the big kids will be in high school at the same time is no longer sometime in the distant future. In less than 2 weeks, that day will be here. Every year for the next 4 years, one of my kids will move off to college. In the blink of an eye, I will have only two kids left at home.

So, whenever a teen wants to go somewhere, do something, or chat about something, I'm all in. I am encouraging it as much as I possibly can. I want these last years of getting to see these beautiful people every single day to be spent the best way possible.

And of course, there's always the little ones who want to cuddle and be read to and be watched while they do some normal but amazing feat of daring. I'm not about to say no to that either.

We had 30 minutes to kill between practices. Thankfully it was during one of the few bright spots of good weather we had last week. 

This time of year, there's always some special occasion going on, too. I'm doing my best to let the worry about the logistics go in order to simply enjoy them for the special events that they are.

May Crowning is a big day for the 8th graders and their parents.
Not as big as my sweet 8 year old's First Holy Communion, though, which also happened this week. 
And then there's the mundane, must-get-dones. Like follow-up root canal appointments and the dreaded cleaning of the bathrooms.

And there will always be the expected but unexpected dilemmas. Like a teen unfamiliar with the sucky, sinking nature of mud trying to drive a Dixie Chopper through it.

It took the two of us 45 minutes, as the sun was setting, to get this sucker unstuck, and in the end I didn't go backward, but forward into the trap of thorny, low branches trying to take my head clean off my neck.
In short, I'm busy.

Such a cliche. Such a stupid word to describe all that is going on. And so completely normal for just about everyone.

I miss my friends I've made in this blogging world. I miss reading posts they've written. I miss joking and having fun with them.

And yet.

Here I am, not writing and reading most days.

Here I am, trying unsuccessfully to live the life of a hermit.

Well, a hermit with a husband, 6 kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and 14 chickens.


What's been keeping you busy?

Have a lovely day!

Friday, April 29, 2016

BOOM! A TToT Post at the Beginning of the Weekend. Week 150!

Do not adjust your computer.

I know you are a bit confused right about now.

"Wait a minute! I don't remember sleeping in and relaxing and getting yard work done and all those other things I do on the weekend! But it must be Sunday night because Christine's thankful post is up."

Fear not.

You didn't sleep through the weekend.

I simply got my act together and got this sucker written on Friday.

No one is more surprised than me.

On to the thankfuls!!

1. I may not be able to get an entire post written in a week, but I can write 6 words! Just ask Eli from Coach Daddy. Each month he assigns a prompt and folks respond using only 6 words. This month, in celebration (or maybe in defiance?) of Money Smart week, he asked us about a time we weren't exactly smart with our money, and I actually got my answer in on time! (You'll have to go to his post to see what my answer was.)

2. I managed to get most of the mowing done tonight before the rain moves in.

3. I also managed to get some flowers planted around the house.

4. The middle school performed the musical this week, and it was as awesome as always. Each year I'm astounded yet again by the talent mere 12, 13, and 14 year olds possess. But also, I'm thrilled that musical practices are over. The last two weeks before show time are killer.

5. My mom was able to come up for several days this week. She came up for the musical, but ended up seeing a baseball game, too. She and I had a couple of lovely days by ourselves while the kids were at school.

6. Turken's First Holy Communion is next week, and we have a suit! He is apparently much smaller than any of the older boys were in second grade, so I had to buy one. BUT THEN a friend of mine said she had a size 8 suit that her son wore for his First Communion and said we could have it. He tried it on, and it fits! The one I bought will be going back to the store.

7. The gigantic, 150-year old, dead trees at the end of our driveway (that were threatening to fall and crush an innocent passerby) are gone, and it didn't cost me thousands of dollars. While it was costly, from what I hear about tree removal, it was a great price. It took them 8 hours, but the job is done and done well. The only sign that trees were ever there are the two patches of empty earth.

8. My family goes with the flow when dinner turns out to be way less than it was supposed to be. Like tonight. I was making 2 pot pies, but after getting the filling into the crusts, I realized I didn't actually buy two boxes. I didn't have any crust to put on the tops of them. I didn't have time to make crusts, so I went out on a limb and popped open some (expired) Pillsbury biscuits in the back of the fridge. I flattened them out and plopped them on top.
If the biscuits wouldn't have burned, it might have worked.
The kids who "don't like it" (I think it must be a superpower that my kids know without ever tasting something that they don't like it. (That was sarcasm.)) didn't complain any more than usual, and the kids who do like pot pie ate it without much ado.

9. Buttercup is racking up the driving hours. I'm getting greedy. I'm used to Phoenix driving, and while it is super handy, I could really use another driver in this house. She should be able to get hers by the end of June.

10. I'm thankful for Bryan. For more reasons than I can count.

How is your week going? I'd love for you to leave a comment or join in the link up!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Proof That There's More Than Corn in Indiana! TToT Week 149

I am sitting on the couch, wondering if I'll ever rise from it again.

The boys and I took a 2 hour, 15 minute drive (that was supposed to take only an hour and 30 minutes, but...bad map.) to Turkey Run State Park today.

We spent over 4 hours hiking the "very rugged" trail number three, and then the "moderately rugged" trail number 6 this afternoon.

There was water, there was mud, there were ladders, there were bridges, there were stairs, their were downed trees. Everything five boys (and their mother) could want.

1. I am thankful for a gorgeous day and an empty calendar (after we served at 9:00 Mass) to spend such a delightful day.

2. I'm thankful we had a free afternoon on Saturday to get a bunch of yard and garden work done so we could take Sunday off to go have some fun.

3. I'm thankful for Turken's enthusiasm and focus when playing any sport. Opening day was Saturday, and he played marvelously! He caught two fly balls, one of which was a running catch in the outfield that shocked everyone, and one slide into home to avoid an out.

Wish I had a photo or two...

4. I am thankful for our washing machine, seeing as how we brought home a whole literal mess of mud from the park.

5. I'm thankful I don't have to be anywhere early in the morning. I'm guessing my legs are gonna be reeeeeaaal sore.

I've got lots of laundry to do (Those trails were muddy!), so 6 - 10 will be photos from our afternoon. :)

Tell me. What did you do with your weekend?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Mighty Quick Ten Things of Thankful, Week 148


The weather this week has been perfection!

No way I can stay in the house and write when such beauty awaits outside, so just a short, quick list this week.

1. Bryan got the appropriate early plants planted in the garden. 

2. Asparagus is already starting to come up. While the kids would not put this on their thankful lists, Bryan and I do enjoy some asparagus with our dinner.

3. Buttercup and Giant had back-to-back home soccer games to make the schedule perfect.

4. I managed to get the glass from the fallen storm window cleaned up (think thousands of shards, none bigger than 3 inches square, but most being an inch or less) without slicing my finger or stabbing my butt by accidentally sitting on one.

5. Date night with Bryan. Dinner and a walk in a local park. 

6. Teens who are thoroughly enjoying high school.

7. A renewed interest in making dinner. I was in a quite a slump, hating that daily chore of coming up with something to make for the family. 

8. Leaves and blooms and pretty colors popping up everywhere.

9. Sunshine, sunshine, and more sunshine!

10. Temperature in the 70s 2 days in a row. On the weekend!!

Tell me, what have you been doing these days? What has made you smile this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Thankful for Boredom, TToT Week 147

Happy Spring?

It's technically spring.

Apparently the weather doesn't understand technicalities.

The weather is the opposite of spring.

It is unspring.

Despite the cold and the rain and the snow and the WIND, we had spring break.

Between the big Disney trip back in October and our need to buy at least one vehicle later this year, a "No Plans" vacation over spring break just wasn't in the budget.

We can't even call what we did a "stay-cation".

Stay-cations involve actually going somewhere and doing things around town.

We didn't even do that most of the days, seeing as how the weather stunk.

Instead, my kids were bored.

I am a big proponent of kids having the opportunity to be bored sometimes. That is when their creativity really comes out. That is when they do things they normally wouldn't do.

Bored kids be like...

Do we have ingredients to bake cookies...

I haven't played the piano in a while...

How hard is it to build with playing cards...

Remember when we used to play with cars all the time...

Hey, let's do an April Fool's prank on Mom and Dad...

I wonder what everyone looked like 4 years ago...

It's time the boys learned about the marvelousness of Anne of Green Gables...

Napping and game playing and walking to the nearby church to play basketball and kickball all happened, too.

On Wednesday, we did go see a movie. (As the kids have been reminding me over and over and over again the past month or so, we hadn't been to a movie theater since we saw Inside Out.) Big boys saw Batman vs. Superman and the rest of us saw Zootopia. We've been quoting that movie ever since (thus the unspring comment from above).

On Thursday at 2:15, chatting with my mom about the terrible weather, the inability to go to any parks to hike, and my promise to take the kids to Skyzone (basically a giant room filled with trampolines and foam moats) on Friday, I discovered that most of my nieces and nephews had spring break this week, too, and none of them were on vacation. At 3:00, the kids and I were packed and in the van driving to Louisville, KY.

We spent 24 hours visiting with family. My sister, my sister-in-law, and I joined the kids at the House of Boom (Same concept as Skyzone but better according to the kids), jumping and flipping and dodgeballing and laughing our full heads off. Seeing my prim and proper professional sister struggling to climb out of a foam moat was worth the price of admission. The only downside of the day was that my other brother's kids were in school and couldn't join us.

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing vacation. Lots of downtime we all needed before the craziness of spring gets underway. The next month and a half will be a flurry of activity, between track (Star), volleyball (Phoenix), baseball (Turken), soccer (Giant and Buttercup), all of the activities that go along with 8th grade graduation, and high school finals. Downtime is exactly what this family needed.

How has your week been? Have any time to simply be bored?

Link up or let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts