Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Nate the Knight

Nate with his first homemade scarf 4
Its Nate's turn! (everyone has a page, Mark is yet to come:) Sheff said it seems like people will often forget Nate's name in the line up, but those of you close to the family know how unforgettable Nate is. When he was born the birth was so wonderful we chose Nathaniel for "Gift of God" Nate is thoughtful, colorful, creative and unfazed by the peer pressure that seems to weigh on his older brother's minds. He has always loved playing with both girls & boys, but medeivel games involving nobel knights are his game of choice. When meeting an older family member (late 80s:) She commented "Nathaniel is the one I would choose to take to the Opera" Nate loves reading and seems hungry for cultural knowledge. I was worried about him learning to read but it seems a light switch went off in his brain at age 6 and he is the one who pleads for library visits. His first books of choose were Nate the Great. I see him liking the Sherlock Holmes books when he is older. His was able to do a few readings in church last year and proclaimed he was going to be a priest. We will see, he really wants to see Rome after seeing photos of his Dad's trip to Italy. And writes stories about hosting parties ( not kidding he has host lists and To Dos) at the Eiffel tower and Scotland Yard. Slightly different venues but leave it to Nate to get the meal planning and entertainment just right.
Nate always likes to look dapper, Christmas 2010

Nate loves to ripstick, he is the fifth in line to get it down but now keeps up with the gang. This is also his favorite outfit, camo on camo.
With Annie and Lucy, of all the boys Nate is the most versatile playmate and plays for hours in make believe lands with his sisters.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Spicy Flower

Daisy is in a spicy phase. Daisy has me stumped. She has been nothing but sweet with Lucy and does a very nice job keeping her room picked up. The issue is likely keeping her own in a household full of "Bigs" what we have always called the school age kids. In part a gift of being in a big family is that we always have a reason for a refresher course. The older ones have been drilled on manners, eye contact, handshakes, church behavior, courtesy and chivalry. Now it seems Daisy needs a bit of boot camp.

After church today we role played different situations and what a polite response would be. Daisy's example was if a boy had a motorcycle and ran over a little girl's toe. I had to acquiesce that if that particular event occurred hollering at said boy would be appropriate. Sigh. Tried again and came up with a good example of not elbowing a brother at church. Small steps. Often I will go to sleep and make a mental checklist of where I need to spend extra time. Who needs some special attention and guidance. Then I will talk to Sheff and we will brainstorm a plan with one on one time, a story or passage that supports the goal and ways we can lead by example.

So, if you have a motorcycle don't run over Daisy's toe, I am trying to teach her manners:)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mickey, our shout out to the Fighting Irish

Mickey & Mom, Mick's 4th birthday Nija cake

Mickey since he was born has been cozy and fiesty, our sweet little fighter. He should be a middle child but has more a shared first born disposition. A great story about Mick was in ECFE was that when a kid was bugging him rather than fight or be peaceful he decided on plan C, He picked the boy up and ...moved him:) The teacher said it was funny and a new one. When Mickey got really mad you could see steam coming out of his ears and he would just move people, even quite big people. On the other hand Mickey has been a cuddle bug since he was tiny, he loves blankets and being cozy, he always has a hug for younger siblings (he just moves the older ones:) and his smile can melt even an angry mom. Mickey loves animals and especially Ocean life, visiting Maine was a great time for him, he wants to be an Oceanographer. He can read and draw for hours. When he learned to read we would find him upside down on the couch totally immersed in a book. Starting Football this season for him is a huge joy, he and John are on the same team and having a ball:)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Mass

I was thinking as I woke up today what a gift it is to have visited so many churches this summer. For us between going to the cabin, road trips and visiting friends and family it is rare we are in town for 2 weekends in a row. Now with football starting we are going to be staying here for the weekends which is bitter sweet. There is something so wonderful about being welcomed into a new place of prayer. I feel a real gift of Catholicism is the ability to go from one church to the next and have common prayers and music. For our family it is a re set time, a time to hold hands during the Lords prayer, all 10 of us. It is a time to check in with God about our week, where we are and what our hopes are. It is a powerful message that as a family we will find a church no matter where we are. St Joseph's in Osceola to All Saints on Bailey Island Maine.

We often talk about what was different what was the same as our home parishes of Saint Rose of Lima and Maternity of Mary in St Paul. In Osceola Markie loved how Jesus was carved of wood on the cross. In Brainerd the kids enjoyed hearing stories from Africa from the Priest there and in Maine the children all commented how small and cozy the church was. In Maine a parishioner gave us one of our favorite compliments "you are from MN? I guess your children really are above average as Garrison says!" We loved that one.

Tonight in the spirit of summer we are visiting the Cathedral. I look forward to the time of prayer and the reminder that where ever we are we can always find a place to come together as a family and pray.
A rare moment for these brothers of quiet reflection

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Maine

The best parts of Maine were really being with family and relaxing with beauty all around us. Kids raced Hermit crabs on the sand, learned how to identify crabs and the difference between clams and muscles and where lobsters live. My Aunt and Uncle Mr and Mrs Fish graciously shared their time and talent doing mini shows and telling stories even after just finishing 6 weeks of camp in Portland Maine. My parents made meals at the cottage and we all picnicked at the beach and even went square dancing on Orr's Island, what a blast that was! We are looking forward to many more years of memory making on the East Coast.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Cottage

Lucy 6 months in Mamas old highchair at the cottage in
front of the blueberry bushes that match her eyes.
Baby Deirdre used this highchair too!

Grandma Boo with the 4 oldest on a walk in front of the cottage.

Reading time on the deck, that blue is the Ocean!

Getting to Maine, Trip part 1

The drive out was an adventure. We decided to figure out out camping as we went. We found a KOA after an 11 hour push. The first night we stayed outside Toledo OH and the second, very fun camp sight, in Herkimer NY. We stumbled upon an amazing park near Herkimer in upstate NY that had a skate park! We had the rip sticks ( curved skate boards, tricky to balance on!) in the back of the van and our find ended up the first highlight of our trip! The five oldest used the ramps and raceways for an hour while the 3 youngest enjoyed a picturesque park.

Camping was a blast. The first night was comical because we had to set up in the dark having never set up our 10 person tent prior:) Sheff actually called our good friends who have the same tent to figure out where the directions were. It took awhile but Sheff is awesome and the tent went up. Lucy had her port a crib in the tent and slept like an angel. We have decided we need some extra sleeping bags and mats but overall we did so well on the fly.

We made it to Maine on Monday having left on Sat. We had a fried clam dinner and set up camp by my parents cottage on the sea. The crashing waves made for poignant dreams our first night on Bailey Island.