Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Max

In January, 2000, I was driving home from daily Mass with my 6, 5 and 10 month old baby. I felt a very familiar, yet unique, feeling come over me. I pulled over, threw up all over the side of the road, looked up and said, "Oh no. Not this. Please God. My baby is only 10 months old!" I turned my van around and bought an overpriced pregnancy test at the local drug store. Yep. Max was on his way. He had been on his way for several weeks already. It is difficult to explain the mixed emotions that can go on simultaneously with a "surprise" baby ....scared, joy, worry, ecstatic, nervous, giddy. Only a woman can understand. Well, a menstruating woman, anyway. 
On September 21st, 2000, on his exact due date, he arrived! He was a spittin' image of his blond headed, blue eyed sister. Max loves it when I tell the story of his hospital stay. He was a screamer. I don't know if there was another mother who tried to return their baby as hard as I did. I pressed that red button over and over to get the nurses to take him away. Minutes later, a sweaty and disgruntled nurse would wheel my screaming baby back into the room. There was nothing I could do! I had to leave the hospital with this baby! Max did not have colic. He simply had the temperament of a child that screamed when he did not get exactly what he wanted. While Nick would hit, slap and beat up anyone to get what he wanted (he wouldn't hurt a fly now), Max just screamed for it. I'm not sure which is better. I was blessed with a boy that was given both of these character traits in Ben....groan....but God has blessed me abundantly with my wonderful mellow Matthew.  I still can not believe that all of these kids came out of the same womb. Will I ever have two kids that are anything alike? Ever? It is humbling to say the least.  Do you want to know my parenting tip on anything?? I will give you 8 different answers!

God has a plan for all of these different personalities. I have watched my little Max grow into a fine, generous, happy and sensitive boy. All of his screaming he did as a baby was just the signs of a boy who would be a sensitive soul. He looks around for ways to care about people. He is the one who prowls the van for food whenever we see a homeless person on the side of the road. He is the one who made sandwiches and water and had me drive around town to look for them. Max looks out the window quietly for a while, trying to come up with ways to help the weak and the helpless and then shares all of his idea's with me. After Max won first place in the Pinewood Derby, he said, "Winning once is enough. I don't want to win anymore. I like to see how happy other people are when they win." Oh, to be the mother of Max Christy! What did I ever do to deserve such a gift in him?

Just when you think there could not be a better gift in such a young man, there is more! Max is the one who makes the whole world laugh, including himself. When Max laughs, he laughs with his whole body. Every molecule of his being is laughing and wriggling about too. This house would be bare and empty and quiet if he were not here. He is what keeps this family hoppin' and happy.
I don't have any concrete, scientific proof but I am quite sure that God has a very special and unique plan for all His "surprise" babies. I can not wait to see God's plan for Max's life unfold year by year. This has been and will continue to be very exciting!!
Thank you God for my screaming baby.
Happy Birthday Max.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Festival of Fun

Our family has been going to the Festival of Fun that is held at our parish every year. We look forward to it and will stop at nothing to make sure we attend, even if it falls on my sisters birthday. Sorry sis.
After 13 years of these festivals, a pattern begins to develop. It is too bad that I had to learn so many things the hard way....
~bring more money than you think you need
~bring big bags to carry everything
~stop ordering the whole lunch plate (I can ever eat it all)
~if your patient, you can get all the concession items 1/2 off at the close of the day.
~pick all the Dr. Peppers first. They go too fast.
~volunteer to work the last hour of the day so you can play and be worn out before your shift. Plus, Mom's usually out of money by then.
~Go straight to the prize booth first and pick the prizes you want to win coupons for.
~If you win BINGO twice in a row, leave. You get dirty looks if you stay:)
~Always act like you've been searching for your child everywhere when you see someone trying to bring him back for you. Or just hide if they haven't made eye contact with you yet.
I love this festival because, not only do the kids play all the games but they know everybody and everybody knows us. This event makes me feel more like I'm part of a family than any other event at our church. I can always count on the same familiar faces working in the kitchen and behind the raffle table. I was a little sad when the nice man, Keith White, was not working the moon walk. It has been a few years since his passing but that was HIS job. Without fail....sigh. When one door shuts, another one opens! For the first time in my history with Coronation of Our Lady, our priest was there! The entire time!! Playing games!!! And cleaning up!!!! Wow. I now have a Spiritual Father to go with my spiritual family!!!!!  
What I LOVE about this day more than anything is that there is no standing around, wandering what to do next. The kids know. This is old hat to them. They know which games produce the most tickets and which adults are the most generous with prizes;)
Nick - He makes a bee line for the ring toss over the bottles of pop and wins every Dr. Pepper he can. He fills up my table until I'm too embarrassed to sit there anymore.
Samantha - She has picked out her prize...a suitcase/backpack combo. 50 coupons. She's off, bringing me coupons every few minutes to add to the collection that the little kids are handing me to keep "safe".
Mary Kate - She eats...
Max - My generous and loving boy picks prizes that he thinks other people would like. He's picked a gold and diamond decorated, glass turtle. He wins it for his 17 year old crush, Christi. Awwww....
Theresa - A bit on the greedy side. She wants her own bag, her own coupons, her own prizes and her own drink that no one has put their cooties on.
Ben - I try not to watch what he does. He's the one I hide from when nice old people come looking for me.
Josie - The cutest red headed pig tails in the whole church. Not a minute went by when she didn't have a sucker in her mouth and tickets in her hand.
My parents saved the day. I had just spent my last dollar. LOL.

Boys and toilets. I don't get it.

This will keep my little Ben out of trouble. Right? Actually, this is what he loves to do. He wants to just be in charge of something and he is always good at it. Good job Ben. Thanks for my coupon and prize.
Of course, right on cue, our table was the dead last one to get cleared off, cleaned and put away. We spend every minute we can at the festival. I am proud of my little church and my little church family. We are loved there and we love them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I have been having many conversations with people about Roy's deployment. Within each conversation, I add that this time should be a little easier on me because I have older kids now and bedtime will not be so torturous on everyone. I have awful memories of bedtime in 2003-04 when Roy went to Kuwait and I was home with 5 kids ages, 9,8,4,2,and 6 weeks. With Mary Kate having special needs, she was around the age 3 category. That is 4 itty bitty kids and Nick. Bedtime was so terrible that I started to dread the evening starting when my eyes opened in the morning. Quite honestly, those stressful, painful evenings consume most of my memories about that deployment.
Have times got any better? After all, I still have 5 kids under 10 years old. Well, the answer is yes. Thank God! For many years, even though each child has their own bed, they all want to sleep together. Every night, 7 kids cram into one room and scatter themselves wherever they will fit.  I counted, and we have 12 real beds...with mattresses! Only 4 of them get used, including my big ol' king size monstrous bed (that I purchased a week after Roy came home from Kuwait because I couldn't get used to sharing the bed when he got back). Now I can make a snow angel in the bed and never touch him! Yes! I am only keeping our beds for decoration and to have something to show DFS if they were ever to question us. 7 of the beds will be made up beautifully, like my little angels make them every morning. Ha!
The kids have a bedtime of 8:00 with the hopes that I will hear the beautiful sound of only the clock ticking or my computer fan running by 9:30. I want the kids to have fond memories of their bedtimes together. I want to hear giggles and rustling about. Tonight, Theresa came out and made 6 cups of ice water and put them on a tray to bring back to the room. Watching her face as she put each cup on the tray brought me to think...this must be like a slumber party every night. Do the kids realize what they have in each other?  Maybe not. They probably believe that a party every night is how everyone ends their day.
I am happy to say that those dreadful memories of bedtime years ago are my memories only. My kids do not remember. Their only bedtime memories will be fond ones. Memories that bonded them together forever.

I got yelled at for flashing the camera light in their eyes. It was for the good of the blog. Kids just don't understand!