Life Happens Whether We’re Ready or Not

Hello, again!

There has been a lot going through this ol’ brain of mine the past few weeks, but I just haven’t had the courage to put anything out here. I fell out of the rhythm of blogging almost a year ago and I have to say, that while it’s freeing in some ways, it is making me sad in others. I’m a person with a need to share. Share my experience, my feelings, my happenings. And I haven’t been sharing anything. And I’m full, and feel like it’s about to spill out, so I need to find a way to share again.

Many changes have taken place for my family in a very short span of time. I had already shared my husband’s job change from last fall. That’s still going well, praise be to God! He seems to enjoy the work and it’s providing nice benefits for our family, though not of the take-home pay variety. But nice benefits, nonetheless. His job change made a career move for me possible.

At the beginning of this month, I started working toward getting licensed to sell real estate. Due to the location of Kansas City, it was required that I get licensed in two states. I’ve completed all the requirements and am simply waiting on notification that the second license has been awarded. Within another month, I will be trained and able to begin selling new homes. I’m really excited about the opportunity, but scared, too, because it is something completely different.

So…I’m trying my hand at new home sales. St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

This new work schedule has some perks: days off mid-week, when everyone else is working, so I get to run through a quarter-full grocery store, get kids’ dentist and doctor appointments done without calling out of work, etc. But…it’s also pretty crazy since our children are active in school, activities, etc.

I began the search for a part-time nanny. St. Gianna Molle, pray for us!

My Sarah began high school this month. I’m excited for her. She’s in honors classes and she selected electives that she truly wanted to learn and will enjoy, she’s playing volleyball on the Freshman team and has made some friends.

Dani started middle school, too. I’m reminded of how this period of time started for Sarah, and while it’s somewhat different for Dani, she’s going through the moodiness of a preteen. I guess experience is good because I just shrug most of it off. But…SIGH. I’m just kind of not ready to do middle school again, but I have no choice, haha. At least Dani is active in cross country, still reads a couple books a week in addition to her school work, and has taken the time to continue developing her artistic talents. And, she really is a good girl. She’s helpful in many ways for me since she can babysit the younger children and help get dinner on the table. All useful things in life.

Helen started fourth grade. Promptly, within the first 5 school days, she and I had tears over homework. Thank God Beth (her godmother) can still come once a week this year to do extra work with Helen. You know, I’ve thought many times about my inadequacies, since I can’t handle much homework time with Helen. But then I remember how blessed I am to have good friends who can pick up my slack. Helen is still doing swim lessons each Saturday. I think she has a goal to do the summer swim team next year and I hope that happens. It would be fun for her! She is also playing volleyball with her class and I am glad for that, too.

Dominic started first grade this year. He seems to love it so far. He’s also playing Flag Football and he also takes swim lessons each Saturday at the Y. He has started to enjoy lego sets, reading independently, and still likes to play with his little brother.

Vincent is going to Pre-K this year, Monday through Friday all day long. it’s good for him. He cried when I dropped him off, but then we discovered that he wouldn’t turn on the water works for his sisters. So, now they walk him to his room and he has a great start to his days.  He’s going to start swim lessons each Saturday at the end of September. Maybe I can get all of the younger four to do the Barracudas next summer…that will be cool.

One change for our family this year is that I am enrolling all the kids in the parish’s Sunday night program. It was a requirement for Sarah anyway because she is to be confirmed in the spring, so she has to attend the confirmation program. But Dani will be attending public high school when the time comes and if she gets involved in the middle school youth programs at the parish, she will have the opportunity to start meeting some kids she will go to high school with. Helen and Dominic are kind of getting thrown in for good measure. I don’t have a specific reason to send them, other than I’m excited that our parish’s Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program extends through 5th grade now. Vincent will be doing the preschool Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. All four of my other children were able to attend this at their Grandma’s parish with an overnight visit thrown in. But, with Vincent attending pre-K M-F, it’s not possible for him to go do that, so I still wanted him to go through it. Maybe Craig and I will be able to take advantage of any programs they have for the parents on Sunday nights (sometimes they have apologetics type programs on Sundays…or they did at one point).

The last 8 weeks or so have been a drain on the emotions, I am not gonna lie. The first week of Sarah at high school, I had to stop myself from thinking about it. Everyone I know that has had a kid through high school says that it’s over so fast. I know that is true. It’s only four years. And Sarah could be off to college in four years. Away from me. So, thinking about that just made me tear up too much. And it’s weird because I’ve always been on the side of wanting my kids to grow up. I love it when they tackle something new and meet new milestones. But, it’s been so weird for Sarah to hit this point in life. It’s that bittersweet feeling, I guess, where you’re so proud of this child that you have watched grow up thus far, so excited for what life has in store for them, but yet worried about them leaving the nest and being on their own and sad for the end of your parent-child time. Well, I need to keep it together and stop thinking about it and live in the present. That is what I have been trying to do when I realized I was getting too sad thinking about Sarah growing up and leaving for college or something…live right now, enjoy this awesome girl living in my house, watch her grow and learn and conquer the world she lives in today.

The job change has also contributed to the emotional swings. I’m excited. I’m scared. I just want to get started, but I have so much to learn. I have new team members and I want to know if they like me and how we will work together.

Finally, the emotional changes over the course of the last 10 months have aided in my ignoring health and body cues and, of course, I’ve gained weight. Because that is what I do when I lose the control over external factors in my life. I just don’t handle it well. I’m really glad the gym is doing a nutrition challenge starting in September. I am hopeful I can commit and get that part of my life back under control. I’ve maintained my rigorous workout schedule, I just haven’t monitored the food side of things very well. (But you knew that would be the way it goes down with me, now didn’t ya?)

I remember when I was having a baby every two to three years and I thought life couldn’t be more hectic than it was then. But, I haven’t had a baby in the house for 2+ years now and life only seems to be getting more hectic. My family is growing up quickly and in so many different ways. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for us!


Alright-y Then

It’s been awhile, right? Well, hello. 🙂

It’s been four months since you’ve heard from me. There’s a lot to catch up on!

Most recently, Vincent turned 4 years old. Check it — my youngest child on Earth is Four. Years. Old. I won’t lie, it’s a bit surreal. I love it. I’m happy. And it’s bittersweet, too, because I do miss having a baby around. Just a little bit. (a real…little bit.) He has only one more month of daycare and then he’ll be attending Pre-K at the same school as the other three who are still in grade/middle school. That’s just crazy-talk!!

A cool 4-year-old

We just took a short road trip to visit some friends in Algona, IA. It was so great to see them. One of the daughters was in Dani’s class and they have kept in touch via e-mail. One of the daughters was in Helen’s class and they have kept in touch via snail mail. Just a really great family.

This is really high up over a walkway into the Grotto

While visiting, we went to the Grotto of Redemption in West Bend, IA. If you are ever traveling through Iowa, I recommend stopping there. My pictures and my descriptions will never do it justice. It’s the largest man-made grotto in the world and the story of how it came to be is incredible. Father Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954) started construction of the Grotto in 1912. He worked on it for 42 years. The reason he started it was that he fell ill with pneumonia back when they didn’t have penicillin to treat that and most people usually died once they had pneumonia. He prayed for our Blessed Mother’s intercession and promised her that if he came through pneumonia, he would build something in her honor. So, the Grotto of Redemption is what he began. At the time of his death in 1954, his Grotto covered one city block. It was built completely by hand, and his attention to detail — like I said — I cannot do it justice so I will just post some of the pictures. But…go see it if you’re in Iowa.

From the parking lot (so from afar)

In June, Sarah took her first high school classes. (Gasp! say, what?!?) She took a 1/2 credit of her P.E. requirement by attending school from 7:15-1:15 Monday-Thursday for four weeks. She also is completing her health requirement by taking it online and it ends July 10. She’s doing really well and she said that she is glad I coaxed her into taking Health online because she was “so glad she didn’t have to discuss some of this stuff in a classroom.”

Oh! so before the summer high school, Sarah graduated from 8th grade! On her last day, I was in Florida on a trip for work and I was going back and forth between tears and no tears over this milestone. At the graduation Mass, Father said a little something about each of the kids and I was not surprised to hear what he said about Sarah. Well, I take that back…I’m not surprised by the words, but I think it’s always nice when someone else recognizes something in your child that you have witnessed first hand yourself.

On her last day of school
Sarah allowed a picture with me at the Graduation Mass

Photo was actually taken at a wedding in June,
but this was the dress Sarah wore for Graduation Mass.
We hadn’t gotten a photo of her with her Dad at the Graduation Mass.

Dominic also finished Kindergarten, so that’s a thing. 🙂 He was so cute on the last day getting pictures with his friends. He and I are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He loves to listen to me read it to him. One time I saw him with his eyes closed and asked if he had fallen asleep. But he said, “No mommy, I close my eyes because I am watching the story while you read it to me.” How cool is that?

Helen finished the school year with flying colors. Her reading improved and so did her math. I think she got a good handle on how to do 3rd grade, which helped. And her godmother coming twice a week made a huge difference for her throughout the school year. We’ve continued with once a week reading sessions that even Dominic has participated in. She also attend Camp WIN which is a girls camp that introduces girls to as many as 14 new/different sports. She got the “Determination” award because she kept trying to ride the bike, didn’t get flustered, and was determined, even though she never quite got it.

Dani did Girls on the Run and I ran the 5K with her. It was a lot of fun. She is moving on to Middle School next year and seems excited by the challenge. She did well in 5th grade and completed the D.A.R.E. program. She kept swimming, too, and is now doing the summer neighborhood swim team and loves it.

Here we are the morning of the Girls on the Run 5K
Dani with her Finisher’s Medal

Craig is still enjoying his job at Ford. He’s been trained on a couple of different jobs and really likes the team he was assigned to. He and I are still crossfitting. He also ran a 10K in June and got a PR. I nursed a strained achilles tendon for a couple of months, but I think it’s all better now!

Oh and we attended the entire Easter Triduum this year! I was able to take all the kids to Holy Thursday Mass (Craig had to work). Then the entire family went to Good Friday service. And THEN!! we all went to Easter Vigil, too. I was excited because that is the kind of thing I have been looking forward to doing as a family as the kids got older and with Craig’s new job. 🙂

My children before we went into Church for the Easter Vigil

I think that should be it for the updates! I’m sure it’s not everything, but I could never get it all in I don’t think. Crazy what happens in 4 months.

I’m not sure what I’m going to focus on with this blog going forward. I think when we lost Gregory and I wrote so much about that on this blog, I lost track of any other thing to focus on. Then I did the weight watchers stuff and found I really enjoyed writing about health and fitness, but once I hit my goal weight, I wasn’t sure what to do about that. (And truth time — I’ve put some weight on that I’m trying to take off again, so…there’s that.)

So, if you’re reading and want to continue — hello again and I’m so glad you’re here!

7 Quick Takes – 94 (Update Edition)

It’s Friday! That means it is one of my favorite days of the week. Many thanks to Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum for hosting the linkup!

I thought today might be a good day for one of my 7QT update posts. Life is busy, as usual.

— 1 —
Crossfit, Work, Taxi. That is my life during the week. I have been enjoying the WODs lately as they have been challenging (they always are, but I’ve noticed lately being pushed more than I thought in November-December timeframe). I’m trying to get my regular food routine back in order after the holidays. I weighed at a January WW meeting and was up over my goal weight (and had to pay. boo.) I am working on getting back down, but it’s been a struggle. I went back to Paleo the last couple of weeks and see a huge improvement. I’m actually not too nervous to visit the doctor next week for an annual checkup. Speaking of the doctor, I called to see if we could do bloodwork ahead of time so we could discuss at the appointment. (We can, yay!) I was surprised that he didn’t want to check cholesterol, but the nurse said, “Well, your results were so good last year that he doesn’t think he needs to check this year.” Well, alrighty then. 🙂

Time flies all the time and I’m facing our 2nd anniversary of Gregory’s passing. I’m doing okay with it and I have decided to take next Friday off work just to have a day for myself and do nothing, if that’s how I’m feeling.

I did buy a road bike the other day! See, I signed up to do the WIN for KC triathlon again this year in July. So, I bought a bike from a guy about 20 miles from where I live.

Helen held it for me (apparently, this bike is too cool for a kickstand)

Decent price (apparently, brand new this bike would go for $1000. I did NOT pay anything close to that thank goodness!) and I can’t wait to try it out. Though I do need to buy an airpump so I can keep the tires inflated to the right pressure. I have a lot to learn about cycling!!

— 2 —
Craig seems to be enjoying his new job still. He has had every weekend off since going back after the holidays and that has been pleasant. They may start having him work some Saturdays in the coming months. We’ve settled into the routine a bit more which is a relief. He gets his WOD in as well as getting some sleep before heading out to pick up the kids from school and get himself to work. We are enjoying KU basketball and he really likes to watch soccer. My employer provided an opportunity for us to buy discounted tickets to Sporting KC Soccer games, so I bought 4 tickets to the April 11 soccer match. Craig is excited, I think, to get to go to a match this year.
— 3 —

We are barreling toward 8th grade graduation for Sarah. I took her shopping for her dress last weekend and we found one. The requirements for hem-length and straps/no straps, etc. plus the styles available to juniors these days made it quite a trip. But, thankfully we found a beautiful dress that won’t make my 14-year-old look like she’s 20 and ready to paint the town.

We will enroll her for high school on Wednesday next week. High School! Whoa. She’s growing up so fast. I love it and hate it at the same time. She has been hitting the books hard to get good grades. She’s also been working hard with her volleyball team. They won their tournament three weeks ago, on Super Bowl Sunday. It was so much fun. The following weekend, they made it to the championship match and lost a heartbreaker in 3 sets. At first she seemed so down about the 2nd place finish, but after we talked, I think she felt better. I tried to help her see that she could potentially make it to many championship games over the next 4+ years and she most likely won’t win all of them.

— 4 —
Dani is having a good time swimming. She improved her times from the summer in the 50 free and 50 back. I know if she can just get those flip turns going, she will do even better. I am thinking about putting her in a local Girls on the Run program that is starting March 2. She said she wants to do it when I read to her about the program last night. I am just waiting to see if Craig thinks we can transport her (he could drop her off and I could pick her up) to the practices.

She possesses such strong awareness of her abilities and of her likes and dislikes. Dani is secure in who she is, even now at age 11. I love that.
— 5 —
Basketball is over for Helen. She committed to dedicating herself to swimming to get to a point that she could do summer swim team with Dani this year, so I need to get cracking and get her in the lessons at the Y.

Remember this post when I mentioned school struggles for Helen? Well, I’m happy to report that her godmother has been facilitating homework, reading and review time twice a week and Helen has taken off! We have a slip here and there with a poor performance on a test, but it’s among many excellent successes and those slips are getting fewer and farther between. She actually seems to be enjoying school more now — not sure if it’s just that she’s having success or if she really does enjoy being at school, but I don’t really care. 🙂

— 6 —
Dominic continues to light up my world. He is such a cute kid. He plays with Vincent so well. On Wednesday, when we spent about 35-40 minutes in the car doing driving around for Dani and Sarah’s practices, Helen sat in the very back of the van and I heard Dominic and Helen discussing Skylanders (video game) and how to progress through the “chapters” and such. Helen and Dominic actually discuss more than video games, too, which I think is cool.

Dominic said that he wanted to play soccer, but I told him this year, we just couldn’t take on one more kid with an activity and that we can do something next year. He seems to have made friends easily in Kindergarten and enjoys school quite a bit. He gets a bit dirtier than I would like, but I suppose that is normal.
— 7 —
Vincent. Yes, so how is that strong-willed child o’ mine? Well, he’s cute and ornery. He throws fits when things do not go exactly as he wants. He can usually get his sisters to do just about anything for him.


He wants to be the center of attention at all times. The other night, while Helen and Dominic were having their discussion in the back of the van, Vincent kept crying to me, “Mommy, they aren’t talking to me! I want them to talk to me!” And then he kept yelling back to them, “You guys! You guys! I want to talk!!” When they actually stopped to listen to him, all of a sudden, he didn’t have anything to say! But he had already succeeded in getting their attention, so I guess that was good enough for him.

BONUS Take: You know, for a Catholic lady with a blog, I didn’t do a very good job of proclaiming that it is now Lent. We all made it to Mass on Wednesday. I’m limiting my foods to plain-jane (no sweets) and I’m upping my prayer time for Lent. Two years ago, I think Lent just drained me of all meaningful ideas because no matter what I give up, nothing feels sacrificial enough after what I went through then. I am praying for all to have a blessed and fruitful Lent!

Be sure to go visit Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum to read other great 7 Quick Takes posts!

Well, Hello There…

Allow me to (re)introduce myself…

Since my last post:

Sarah helped Dominic by pulling his first loose tooth!
Wow! Can’t believe losing teeth has
already started for him
My “oldometer” ticked up for another year
(how awesome is this card?)
We test-drove, took home for a day, committed to buying
and then backed out of buying a new car
(maybe I’ll post on that someday)

Sarah’s 8th grade volleyball team took first in division,
and 2nd in City Tournament. What a great year.
Great girls and coaches!

I found a box that had these pajamas in them and they fit Vincent now!
Holy moly, he is getting big (and even more cute, if that’s possible)
Took the boys clothes-shopping and found these cool
Lego Star Wars pajamas for Dominic. Perfect.

Wow, it has been awhile, right? I admit that the longer I go without writing anything substantial, the less I care to do so. We’ve changed our course in the past couple of months. That’s a good thing, but it also means that a new form of “busy” has materialized.
First of all, Craig is still working nights. And that is fine honestly. He had been working nights for the past 10 years at the casino. It’s just that the hours are a bit longer, so he’s going in more like late afternoon/early evening and working through the night. The good part: He is home in time to help get the kids all ready and off to school before he goes to sleep and he’s up in time to get them from school before heading off to his next day of work. The not-as-good-but-bearable part: This means my day really begins when I get off work. More on that later.

Secondly, the job is such an improvement over the casino. He’s working at the Ford plant on the assembly line. The benefits are excellent and he gets paid overtime when he works it. Novel concept. 🙂 I think he seems to enjoy the work he does, too. Craig’s always liked cars (Vincent’s obsession with them gives me some idea of what Craig may have been like as a child) and this gives him an opportunity to be up close and personal with at least one make and model. 🙂

So while all of this has occurred, we have had to make some changes to the way things run around the house. Craig used to do all the grocery shopping, for example, on Friday mornings. Well, that isn’t possible every week anymore, so I have had to re-learn how to grocery shop and fit it into an already jam-packed weekend. The first two times I kept going over budget. It was really ticking me off. But the third time I did it, I made my list and I pulled out my phone and added things up as I went and … Woo-Hoo! … I was under budget and I got everything on the list! Also, Craig used to get some of the laundry done on Thursdays/Fridays and that’s not happening anymore either. This past weekend was the craziest as every person in our family had to get their laundry done on Sunday. I am planning to get on that earlier in the weekend coming up so we don’t have that happen again!

And then…there are the activities for the kids. Right now, Sarah has club volleyball, Dani has swim club and Helen has basketball. I’m thanking God for inspiring me NOT to put Dominic and/or Vincent in anything right now because I could not get them there. Mondays are the craziest since Helen and Dani both have practice at 6:30 and then Sarah has practice at 8 all the way across town. I think I’m getting a system down and this coming Monday, I think I’ll be able to do it with one less trip across town (I’ve been heading over there twice — once for drop-off and once for pick-up) since I will just have us all hang out across town while practice is going on. Dani has practice MOnday through Thursday. Sarah has practices Monday and Wednesday. Helen’s practices are Monday and Saturday. So there’s a lot of driving around for me during the week. I have no doubt that it is all worth it, but it’s been an adjustment for me because I had grown to love having my evenings free to do as I wished.

I had already started going to CrossFit in the early mornings (5:15 — bright and EARLY) so that hasn’t changed. Craig’s able to make it to the 6:15 a couple of times a week, too. The kids are pretty good at getting up and around most mornings — now that the girls are pretty self-sufficient in that arena. So, the exercise is still happening.

As you can imagine, the schedule in the evenings makes it difficult to do dinner. We do a lot of breakfast for dinner so far. I hope we can get some good crockpot things going now that the cold weather is here. But we seldom eat together. Dani is usually grabbing something early so she’s ready to swim. There are snacks, with no real dinner-time routine. It kind of drives me bonkers and makes me think I suck at this whole Mom thing, but I don’t know what else to do at this point since the evenings are just too crazy for anything else.

Through all of it, though, I was able to spend the weekend two weekends ago (the one before Veteran’s Day) doing a huge clean and purge of the house. So now at least, I like being in the house for the time I am there. Our garage is clean and uncluttered and so is our basement. I know where everything is in the storage room, too. And I have been on the kids to keep it straightened up, too (you would not believe the places I found the many puzzle pieces and telepods the boys had scattered all over — well, maybe you would). The side benefit of being so busy? There really is only so much time the kids are in the house to mess it up. 🙂

We’ll see if I can get the 7 drafted posts in any shape to be published in the near future. #dontholdyourbreath

That’s just a little bit of word-spew from me to let you know that while I may feel like I am drowning, I’m still alive and well. And happy, for the most part.









7 Quick Takes 85 — the Almost-Back-to-School Update Edition (with Pictures!)

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting the 7QT. I haven’t done one of these updates on everyone in awhile, so fasten your seat belt and enjoy the ride!

— 1 —

Sarah starts 8th grade on Monday. How fast have the past 8 years gone anyway? Way fast, that’s how. I remember walking her into Kindergarten…she was so tiny and such a sweetie. Then we changed schools in first grade and started our time in Catholic school. She was still tiny for so so long.

Pretty Girl

She is no longer tiny. She’s growing into a young woman, physically, and maturing intellectually and growing spiritually. I enjoy our talks at night (whenever stuff comes up) and I have a great time watching Friends and laughing with her. I like to discuss Harry Potter and watch the movies with her. She is responsible and I am happy that others recognize this. It’s been awesome to watch her land (and keep!) a regular babysitting gig.

She’s playing volleyball for school right now and has a spot on a club team for when that is over. She has worked hard to get her skills up and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here with volleyball. She’s prepared to hit the ground running with school and try to make the A honor roll right off the bat. She’s a goal-setter and a goal-attainer and that makes me crazy proud.

— 2 —

Dani starts 5th grade on Monday. I can’t believe she will be 11 at the end of this month. I hope she enjoys this last year before middle school. She has spent all summer reading everything she can get her hands on. Dani is a speed-reader, so it doesn’t take her very long to read things. She’s interested in different books than Sarah. She got into the Percy Jackson books and never cared much to read Harry Potter. I have heard Dani practicing her guitar (even though we haven’t had lessons this year).

Another Pretty Girl!

Swimming happened this summer was interesting for Dani as she got a taste of winning by winning her heats a few times. I am looking forward to the club team starting up again in September and getting her back in the water for practice.

— 3 —

Helen starts 3rd grade on Monday. Yikes! My baby girl in the upper primary grades? Helen has spent some time this summer taking swimming lessons from a friend from our parish. I put Helen in the volleyball clinic this summer and she informed me afterward that she didn’t think volleyball was her thing. She really wanted to get better at swimming and give the swim team a try. Twist my arm, ha! I am ecstatic to have another kid interested in swim team. I loved it as a kid and I still love the sport and hope to watch my kids participate in it as long as they want.

How can there be so many pretty girls?

Helen likes to read a bit less than the other two, but she is interested in the Harry Potter books. She has read the first two and is working on the third. But then…I will force the break in reading those books for a couple of years. I love the Harry Potter story, but book 4 gets really dark and really serious quickly and I prefer the kids get to a bit more maturity before we tackle them.

My sister (who was a middle child) shared this on FB yesterday:

Helen’s a middle kid…

I think a lot about Helen being my middle child. There’s no way that girl can be forgotten, she won’t allow it. She’s always demanded a large amount of my attention. Even when she was the youngest of three, and the third of four, etc. So…I know many a middle child who grows up claiming they were always forgotten about and unnoticed, but I’m here to tell ya — My Helen is not one of those.

— 4 —

Dominic is excited to start Kindergarten on Monday. He’s been bouncing around all over the house the last few weeks asking how much closer the day has come. He is looking forward to wearing his uniform and seeing his friends and everything.

There’s a silly boy…

He has read many books this summer. He loves Star Wars and so gravitates toward those when we go to the library. But, he’ll sit down and read his Angry Birds Star Wars reference book, too. That boy would read an encyclopedia if it housed information he was interested in. I can’t wait to watch him grow this year.

— 5 —
Vincent is an active three year-old. I took him in for his well-child visit and he wouldn’t say a word in the doctor’s presence. That kid talks it up all over the place, but won’t say a word to the teacher. The little stinker!

Crazy boy!

Every time we have had Vincent in the pool this summer he has had fun bobbing underwater and jumping in. I don’t think he is ready for lessons yet, though. He’ll continue going to his daycare. I find I am having a hard time thinking about moving him to preschool whenever that day comes. Ms. Robin has taken care of him three days a week for just about his whole life. He loves going there. I know the day will come when he needs to go to preschool, but for now, I think I’ll just choose not to think about it.

— 6 —
Craig is still at the casino. For a few hours last weekend, we thought that perhaps a change in role might happen, but then…the bubble popped. I mean, there will be a little change, but not much. He’s been doing this work for 10 years now, and he enjoys it for the most part. But, like many of us of our generation, I think he’d like a chance to do something different, a new challenge or something.

Craig also does CrossFit and just last week got his first handstand! I hope at some point we’ll be able to get some of the equipment we need to have (i.e., jump ropes, wrist supports, weight lifting shoes, etc) because I think it would benefit Craig — even more than it would me. I’m so glad he’s doing it, though, it’s fun to see him get stronger and do more things.

— 7 —

You mostly know how I am doing. Just working, CrossFitting, Weight Watching. I love watching my kids grow and look forward to the challenges this school year will bring for them. I’ve determined that I will NOT be able to travel to Philadelphia in September. craig couldn’t get the nights off work and I couldn’t figure out any way to have child care while I was gone. I was going to run the Rock ‘n’ roll half marathon. But, maybe it was a blessing in disguise since money is always so tight…now I can just budget that money into Christmas or something.

My Endless Strength Blog Facebook page is up to 99 “Likes” 🙂 I will make good on my promise to have a giveaway if I get to 100. Just sayin’…

Oh, and the Royals are in first place by half a game. This is exciting folks. It’s been WAY TOO LONG since the Royals played in the post-season. Pulling for those boys in blue!!!

Be Royal!

Have a great weekend!!

Be sure to go visit Jen Fulwiler at Conversion Diary!


Updates of Sorts

I haven’t done one of these in awhile. Sometimes it’s good to level-set and explain a little of what’s been going on in these parts.

One big thing that’s been going on is that we took Dani to see a G.I. Specialist at the Children’s hospital to figure out some things. You see, Dani has been constipated pretty much ever since she was a baby. It wasn’t a condition we really thought about much once we (the parental units) were no longer a part of the day in and day out activities in the bathroom for her. But a couple of years ago, she spent the entire summer telling me about how her stomach hurt all the time. I didn’t know what to tell her other than to lay down and it will go away. But we saw the doctor for her Well-child visit that fall and I mentioned it. The main thing I took away from THAT visit was that my doctor said, “When kids complain of abdominal pain, 95% of the time, there really is something wrong that needs to be addressed.” 

Hel–lo! That got my attention. At that time an x-ray revealed that Dani really did have a problem…we’ll say she was “backed up” because I’d rather use that than some other terms on my blog. We did a cleanse the doctor recommended and then a 3-month regimen with stool softener that was supposed to aid in getting her bowels moving again.

Well, fast-forward to March, April and May of this year when Dani was complaining of abdominal pain again. Took her back in to see the doctor, another x-ray and we see the same problem.

Now, I have a sister that has Celiac disease. One of the things that happens when you know someone in your family has an auto-immune disease, is that sometimes you think your kid might have it…or something similar. Well, the doctor ran tests that came back negative for that and a host of other issues he wanted to test for. So, he recommended we see the G.I. doc at the Children’s hospital.

THAT doctor recommended another cleanse, performed a bit differently and we have completed that. And she also recommended an ongoing daily treatment and gave us a prescription. The cleanse seemed to work pretty well at getting things moving. I learned that apples and bananas are binding so Dani really shouldn’t eat those, but every other fruit/vegetable was beneficial. We learned that pear juice moves things much better than apple juice, too. So, Dani’s been getting organic pear juice with her medicine twice a day (at least) and we’re hoping we can get this issue under control soon and just be on some sort of maintenance.

you see, some people just have slow moving bowels, apparently. And there’s really not much you can do other than help them along. So, I’ve asked Dani to keep a food diary, increase her water intake, and track her medicine doses (It’s Mirilax, in case you’re curious) and her movements so we have some good concrete information to go on as we navigate this maintenance.

Other than that stuff, Dani’s having a great summer with swim team! She won her heat in the 50 freestyle at last week’s meet. THAT was so cool!! (The pic is on Instagram — follow me 🙂 @michellephughes)

Sarah has accepted a position of middle hitter on a club team for the 2014-15 club season. They are having a 3-on-3 tournament Sunday morning along with pizza following for a social bit. I’m looking forward to it. There is a girl on her team that was in her class at the public school kindergarten Sarah attended, so that is kind of neat. Sarah has also been raking in the dough babysitting. I think she hopes to use some to get herself gel nails before our vacation. We’ll see.

Helen has been taking swim lessons. One of the nice things about having a bigger kid is that Sarah can walk Helen to the pool for her lesson and can be trusted to pay the instructor the money and then wait and walk Helen home when it is over. (I really LOVE this having-a-big-kid thing.) Sarah texted me during the lesson today to tell me that Helen was swimming front crawl all by herself with no hands by the instructor! I hope they get her swimming the full length of the pool. Helen informed me that she’s not crazy about volleyball and she really enjoys swimming. So maybe she will join Dani on the swim team!! 🙂

Dominic had a blast with his tennis lessons. Now the onus is on us (Craig/me) to get him to a court and practice with him a little bit. Other than that, he continues to amaze us with his reading ability/comprehension and his overall smarty-pants-ness. I can’t wait to see how he likes Kindergarten!!

Vincent is a blast, as usual. He still goes to daycare on his three days a week. He is talking so much more. One thing you learn when your kids are around this age (two, three years old) is how you sound to them. Because they will say things to you the way you have been saying things to them. And guess what I must say to Vincent an awful lot? I must say, “I TOLD you…” a lot. Because he often says, “Mommy, I told you, I don’t like that milk, I like this milk.” Or he will say, “I TOLD you I don’t want to wear that.” Whether he has told us or not…he says, “I TOLD you…” So. I guess I must say “I TOLD you, Vincent, …” a lot.

Craig and I are still crossfitting. I love the challenge of every workout. I’ve never done something like this and loved it so much for so long. I’m getting closer to doing a pull-up and I really hope soon I will be able to string together the toes-to-bars and not just do them one at a time. 

We go on vacation in a couple of weeks and I think everyone is ready.

So, there it is. A summer update on our household. We’re enjoying the World Cup, love seeing the Royals play good baseball, and look forward to seeing a couple Jayhawks taken early in the NBA draft.

PS: The corporate challenge swim meet is going on this week and I actually got a medal this year!! I took second in the 40-44 women’s 50 breastroke. I was pretty stoked. 🙂

Medal Selfie 🙂

7 Quick Takes – 78 (Picture’s Worth 1000 Words Edition)

Thank you to Jennifer Fulwiler for hosting! 

Lots of things to share in pictures this week!

— 1 —

Helen received First Holy Communion for the first time on Sunday. A friend was at the perfect angle to get this photo:

I made this the wallpaper on my computer at work. LOVE it.
— 2 —

After Mass, we got pictures of Helen with two of her close friends. What a special day!

Helen and her BFF, Chi Chi
Helen and her friend, Mary
— 3 —

Here are some other photos of note from the day:

All dressed and ready to head to the Church
Helen with her Daddy
all Five of ’em!

— 4 —

I’ve been doing #100happydays on Instagram and on Thursdays I can combine with a #tbt photo. I got this one yesterday — from when Dominic was 3 years old.

My Dominic is such a happy guy — always has been. We have Dentist appointments today and that kid was jumping around in the kitchen this morning and he said, “I’m just so happy we are going to the dentist today!”

— 5 —
Oh and I snapped this one when Helen was getting her hair done before First Holy Communion Mass:

I love how her whole face smiles 🙂

— 6 —

Well, as I mentioned last week…I was ready to cut the hair. And, I did! So…here’s the before/after pic:

Holy Moly!


— 7 —

Here are some pics I’ve snapped so far…

At the salon before I left

Trying to get a profile view that worked…

I’m super happy with the way it turned out. I can’t believe I went this red, but I have toyed with the idea silently for years. YEARS. And I finally decided to just do it! And I’m glad I did!!

Have a terrific weekend and be sure to go check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Posts!

PS: I am going to read Jen’s book, Something Other Than God, but won’t get to it in time to participate in her giveaway. I just got the book I put on hold from the library to read and then SOTG is on my list soon! I can’t wait to read it and join the rest of you in your “ooh’s” and “aah’s” at our great friend Jen. 🙂