Sometimes living life in a big family does feel like a three-ring circus, but that's my life, and, all-in-all, I LOVE IT!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Jayden!

Jayden turns seven today!

On Saturday we had a family party for him with the usual crowd in attendance:

(Erika holding Baby Ray)

(Eóghan giving Uncle Brian some loving kisses!)

(Melissa stopped by, we haven't seen her since Flora's shower so it was nice to visit with her!)

(Rudy was having fun with the babies ~ here with Eóghan...

...and here with Sophie...

...I guess they wore him out because...
...we caught him napping!)

(Doug with a not-so-happy-looking Baby Ray)

(Sophie all smiles in her Daddy's arms!)


The Birthday Boy with lots of gifts and lots of smiles:

Another thing that made him very happy was a "Star Wars Battle" outside:

And on Sunday there was a Family Mass at Church to open Catholic School Week ~
Jayden was chosen to be one of the students that walked up the aisle in the opening procession at Mass:

(They all look so serious.)

Eóghan amused himself by chomping on Grandma's scarf:

After Mass there was an Open House at school, then we drove to 'Dave & Busters' for another Birthday lunch celebration, and Erik, Lori, Mia, & Sophie joined us.  Most of the group spent a lot of time having fun at the arcade, but Ray, myself, Erik, Sophie, and Eóghan were happy to stay at the table where it was much quieter:

And Miss Sophie kept us entertained making silly faces for us (she actually does it on request, no matter how many times you ask her to do it she complies)!

I think Jayden had a great weekend, I know I had fun!

Today Jayden gets to celebrate in school with his classmates, he's bringing in cupcakes and goody bags for each student, and because it's Catholic School Week there are lots of fun events planned each day this week.  Yesterday the students had to wear their team color (Jayden is on the Gold Team), today is 'Crazy Hat Day' so Jayden decorated a hat with lots of Birthday stickers, tomorrow is both 'Student Recognition Day' and 'Backwards Day' so the students will be treated to pizza for lunch and they will be wearing their clothes backwards!  Thursday is 'Open House' so Eóghan and I get to visit Jayden's classroom, and Friday is 'Teacher Recognition Day' (I'm not sure what goes on for that other than a collection was taken up for his teacher).  So there is lots of fun celebrating going on all week long!  And this weekend is the Super Bowl and I'm sure there will be some celebrating going on in our house if the Giants win!

Happy Birthday, Jayden!  Enjoy your special day!

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Guess I'm Getting Old Because I Used To Be So Much Better At These Things!

I used to be better at doing things.  I used to be better at taking care of babies.  I definitely used to be more organized.  I used to have a 'to go' diaper bag all ready when I went out.  Nowadays I'm running around the house last minute like a chicken with it's head cut off,  throwing baby gear into a plastic zip lock bag just before running out the door. 
And so many times now, when going to change Eóghan, I realize that I forgot a diaper, or the wipes, or a changing pad.
Also now, most times while giving Eóghan a bath, I'm having to resort to using paper towels as wash cloths as I am constantly forgetting to get one BEFORE I put him in the water!  Thank goodness the roll of paper towels is at hand!  (And, thank goodness, so far I haven't forgotten to lay out a towel beforehand!)

I keep all his lotions and creams out on the counter otherwise I know I will forget something:

But it's so messy looking so I finally brought an ugly little organizer:

And, while I have all his paraphernalia for the bath finally organized and at hand, I usually forget one of the after-bath steps anyway!
(Lucky for me that EÓGHAN REMEMBERS!  See how he looks to the side for the next cream/lotion/powder to come!)

And, something else I used to be better at is exercise.  I used to be so much more disciplined. I just started another (and hopefully one that will LAST) diet/exercise program.
The diet lifestyle is something new I'm trying but the exercise routine is something I used to do and enjoy everyday.  Nowadays I don't find too much enjoyment in exercising at all.

I used to be able to do Level Three for each routine!  Now I am lucky if I can make it through Level One for each routine.

AND I USED TO BE ABLE TO LIFT MUCH HEAVIER WEIGHTS!  I used to use twenty pound weights for my biceps, eight pound weights for my triceps, and five pound weights for my shoulders and back.  Now, I am lucky if I can get through the arm routine using eight pound weights for my biceps, three for my triceps, and I now use NO weights for the shoulder/back muscles.

I'm pathetic now.  And it's discouraging.  I feel weak and I feel old.
Oh, well, what can you do?

I don't know if I'll get any better at the memory thing, but I'm hoping the exercise routine gets easier as time goes on.
In some ways I actually love the aging process, but in other ways, well, not so much.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

HAPPY 85th!

Today my Aunt Florence turns eighty-five!

My Aunt Florence and my Uncle Tom were like a second set of parents to us as we were growing up. They lived right next door to us in a semi-attached house, and this way we got to share our yards so it was like we had one big backyard to play in.  I have so many wonderful memories of barbecues and splashing in a play pool, and building snow forts in that backyard along with my brothers and sisters, my parents, and extended family.  My parents had seven children and Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom had my cousin Jimmy (he was like having another brother), and they included us seven in on everything, picnics, trips to the park, vacations to their friends farm in Connecticut, and vacations to Florida each summer.  They would always have at least a few of us along.  And their house was an extension of our house.

I think that while it was exciting for me to be moving into a bigger house when I was nine, it was hard letting go of Florence, Tom, and Jimmy and that physical nearness to them.  We did remain close though and we are close to this day.  I am Blessed to have  her in my life, and Blessed to have her in the lives of my children and grandchildren.  Over the past few years she has lost her only son and her husband, and still, she is a woman of Faith, independence and strength.   

Florence through the years:
My Aunt Margie, my grandmother holding Florence, and my Mom

My Mom and my Aunt Florence (with unidentified man)

My Mom and my Aunt Florence with my cousin Mary (on her First Holy Communion Day)

My Aunt Marion, my Mom, and Aunt Florence

On one of our many vacations to Disney World with Aunt Florence and Uncle Tom.

We have so many wonderful memories of so many camping trips with Florence and Tom.

My Aunt Marion and my Aunt Florence holding my nephew William (on his Baptism day).

I know I have hundreds more photos of Florence with my kids and grandkids, but I just can't locate them right now.  But suffice it to say that she is a BIG part of our lives!

Many Birthday Blessings to you, Florence!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It Always Feels So Good To Welcome Them Home!

Baby Ray is home and his first stop along the way was Grandma's house!
And a few days later was his first appointment with the pediatrician, and his parents made sure to stop in here afterwards to give Grandma the good news that everything was perfect!
And Baby Ray was here over the weekend to keep his Grandpa company while we all watched his favorite team (the Giants) win the game to go on to the Super Bowl!
And there were lots of visitors here on all those days who were anxious to meet Baby Ray and to welcome this new little man home (but you can see that Grandma hogged the newborn most of the time!):

(All was quiet until Raymond's crying woke up Eóghan!  I have never heard Eóghan cry like that!  He sounded almost scared.  But he soon calmed down and became very interested in him.  I hope they grow up to be very good friends!)

Raymond Francisco, Mia Rose, Sophie Gianna, Jayden Marcellino, and Eóghan Harry
(Look ~ Sophie is ten months old and Eóghan is four months old and he's MUCH BIGGER than she is!)

This past weekend Ray said, "It's like having a Daycare Center in our house now when all the grandkids are here!"

Monday, January 23, 2012


January is a bittersweet month for me.  There are lots of Birthday celebrations in January ~ there was my niece Erin (32 years), and Baby Ray entered the world on Erin's Birthday this year too!  And then a few days later was my nephew William (22 years) , two days from now it will be my Aunt Florence's Birthday (85 years!), the day after that is Katie's Birthday (34 years), and we end the month on the 31st with Jayden's Birthday (7 years). That's the fun that life serves up in January.  But unfortunately, January also brings up feelings of loss and sorrow.  It was in the month of January that I lost my little friend Kerry to cancer (twelve years ago on the 21st).

And seven years ago today my friend Bernadette died.   

Bernadette's only son and my youngest son were in grade school together but I actually met her through The Rosary Society at our Church.  The "Rosarians" as we were called used to meet once a month to celebrate Mass together and then we would go over to the school hall to recite the Rosary and share coffee, cake, and chat.  We also held other functions to celebrate Christmas and various holidays and Holydays, and we had fundraisers that we all participated in.  One of the Rosarians also planned bus trips for us, they were usually day trips but once in awhile there would be a weekend trip too.  Sometimes the trips were for a very quiet and prayerful retreat, other times the trips were not of a very quiet or prayerful nature ~  there were tours, or dinner theaters, and then there were the shopping trips!  A few times a year there were trips planned for shopping at the outlet malls, and it was on one of these trips that I first met Bernadette.  It was a Fall trip planned to the Flemington outlets in New Jersey so the Rosarians could get an early start on their Christmas shopping, and my best friend Barbara and I always made sure to reserve a spot on the bus for these trips.
Usually Barbara and I never stopped to eat a meal, we just packed a few bagels and snacks and we'd eat on the run, but this one time we didn't take along any food, so we stopped in a cafeteria style eatery for lunch.  Bernadette came up to us and asked if she could sit with us and after lunch she said, "I hope you girls don't mind but I'm going to tag along with you for the rest of the day, you two are lots of fun!"  And that was it ~ a friendship was born.  Bernadette said we were fun but she was the one that kept us laughing all the time.  She had such a wonderful sense of humor and she was so down-to-earth.  I remember complimenting her hair once, Bernadette had a head of beautifully blond-streaked hair, and it was full and wavy, and she always looked like she just stepped out of a high-end salon, and she looked as if she should be on a hair product commercial, anyway, I said to Bernadette, "I want your hair", and Bernadette didn't miss a beat when she deadpanned back to me, "Oh yeah?  Well, I'll trade you my hair for your body."  (Bernadette was somewhat overweight and at the time I was much thinner than I am now.)  Well, I just about fell off my chair laughing.
Bernadette always 'told it as it is'!  We were at a Rosary meeting once and one of the priests showed up intoxicated, everyone was uncomfortable and didn't know really what to do or what to say, but, Bernadette turned right around and walked up to the President of the Rosary Society and said to her, "Father needs to leave, let's go escort him back to the rectory and tell him to sober up!"

I remember Bernadette saying to a group of us at one of the Rosary meetings that most likely after our kids graduated from grade school we'd probably lose touch with each other and that we should make a conscious effort to get together.  And for awhile we did all keep in touch, but after a few years I was occupied with caring for my parents, and I no longer went to the Rosary meetings, and I no longer attended the dinners that the 'girls' got together for.
The last time I heard from Bernadette was a Christmas card in December 2004, she wrote and asked me to come back to the Rosary group, and to come out to dinner with them, and she included her phone number in the card.
At the time my Mom had recently gone into a nursing home, and my daughter Katie was due to deliver Jayden the next month, and I told myself that I would call Bernadette once the baby was born and we could catch up then.  I never was able to make that phone call.  Instead I got a call from our friend Millie telling me that Bernadette had passed away.  She said that Bernadette had gone for some tests and it turned out that she was allergic to the dye in one of the tests, but they didn't find that out until it was too late.  She said she had just visited Bernadette in the hospital and Millie said Bernadette was in good spirits and joking as usual, and she said she was going to sign herself out of the hospital because, as Bernadette put it, "These idiots here have no idea what they are doing!  They just keep doing more tests and I just keep getting sicker and sicker!"  The next morning Millie got a call from Bernadette's husband that she had passed away during the night from kidney failure.

Jayden was born a week later, and I found myself telling Bernadette all about him, and in the following weeks and months when I used to walk to the nursing home to visit my Mom, I would talk to Bernadette about that situation too.  And I asked Bernadette to put in a good word for us.

I miss Bernadette.  It's strange to feel that way, especially since I hadn't seen her for such a long while before she passed.  And it's been years and years since she's left this world.  But I miss her not being here.  I've been thinking about her a lot lately, and I feel her absence in this world.

Peace to you, Bern.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Seriously, This Baby Is Too Good To Be True!

Morning, Noon, or Night ~
Feeling Sick or Feeling Well ~
While teething ~
While being jostled and roughly handled by Jayden, Mia & Sophie ~
While being poked and prodded at the doctor's office ~
Even while getting his immunizations (at his last two doctor appointments he needed TWO shots, at each visit he was jabbed twice!  Once in each leg! Ouch!) ~

Never a complaint.

Eóghan is one well-behaved baby!

My sister-in-law Susie stopped by one day last week and said, "I don't think there has ever been a baby so good in all the world, except maybe Baby Jesus." 

   ( Poor Eóghan!  He looks like he's saying,   
"Someone help me please!")

 I pray he stays so good-natured all his life.

And we had our first snow fall today!

(And, yes, I still have Christmas greens in hanging baskets on the porch, I like to leave them up through the Winter if they last.  And, yes, I still have a bowl of seashells on a table there too, but I have no excuse for that.)

  Well, I guess this is not our real first snow fall, just the first snow fall of this year because Ray reminded me that we did have snow on Halloween weekend.
I'm hoping this melts just as fast as that snow did!  It's supposed to warm up next week so I doubt this will be sticking around too long.

Eóghan took no notice of the white stuff, but Jayden was excited and happy to be outside and helping Ray shovel:

It's still coming down and we're supposed to get an accumulation of five to six inches.  That's not too bad, just enough to look pretty, and little enough so that it doesn't stick around too long.

'Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eóghan's Love/Hate Relationship with Apples and Pears

Each time Eóghan eats apples and/or pears his reaction is the same:

He looks a little startled, he blinks his eyes, they sometimes even water, at times he even looks disgusted, but then he wants more!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Visit With Baby Ray

Jayden was off from school yesterday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  And both Katie and Ray were off from work too, so as long as Kate was home to take care of her boys, Ray and I went to the hospital in the morning to visit with Brian, Flora, and Baby Ray.
Flora is still in a lot of pain, and understandably she didn't want to sit and pose, so we'll wait for some 'family portraits' until she's feeling better.

But we did get to enjoy a visit with all of them and we did get a few pictures of Baby Ray:

(I always forget how tiny newborns are!  He's such a cute little peanut!)

(He looks like he might just have Jayden's eyelashes!  Lucky boy!)

And later in the afternoon Ray drove Ellie and my Aunt Florence down to the hospital so they could share in some baby joy!

And here at home ~ we have the baby that looks like he just ate the baby!

Eóghan fell asleep as I was feeding him dinner.  He's always happiest and most content on a full belly.  I guess he takes after his Grandma!