Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christy’s Christmas Letter

Since Christmas technically is 12 days long, I am not late with my letter. From my watch, I am right on time. Yeah, I’m going with that excuse. I really don’t have much of an excuse since I have found myself pacing the house many times with both arms swinging empty ever since Roy came back home in September. Going from raising 8 kids in an old house with everything breaking right and left to having my man coming home is like going from an Olympic sprinter to a napping retiree in an instant. That is no joke! Roy is a worker and I… not. I had to roll up my sleeves and step up the game when he left for Afghanistan in September of last year. But once he came back??  Well, I guess I’ve just been sleep walking around here and eating snacks while I watch him work. I can see the look on his face every once in a while. It’s the look that says, “How in the heck have you kept this house and family together for the last year?!” Sorry. There was no gradual transition. For the lack of a better term, I just quit….and napped. I think I have milked his homecoming long enough. He has been back for 4 months already and it’s time for me to pick up the pace!

I have had a successful 1st semester of homeschooling. That is worth writing since I have had many semesters that were utter failures. I feel like I made some good choices for my kids this year. Nick had his first semester at the local community college that he really enjoyed and gave him hope for future success in higher education. I have Samantha and Josie in an all-day homeschool co-op at a former Catholic School twice a week. Max and Theresa are being schooled at home by me every day. My plan to make them best friends worked like a charm. They do everything together which always includes giggles and laughing with Mom yelling in the background to “Get back to work!!” Benjamin is in the local public school every day. What a gift! That boy is like the bouncy ball that never quits bouncing but at school….he is the star student. Although education is important, it really means squat to me when I visit with his teacher. I just want to know how he is behaving. He is kind and patient, hardworking, polite and disciplined.  Nick has been taking him to school and back every day which has bonded them. It’s cute to see Nick’s signature on Ben’s homework instead of Mom or Dad’s. Little Matthew just goes with the flow, wandering around as happy as a clam. He’s the perfect 8th child.

Mary Kate is turning 18 which means there is a ton of work to do!! I am working with a lawyer on getting guardianship of her. That is just a ton of fun:/  but it will be a nice field trip with the kids when we have our court date. After many phone calls, long lines and appointments, Mary Kate should be starting Social Security and Medicaid soon. After all of this gets completed, she will be ready to start a new day program for adults with special needs. It is a wonderful facility with very caring staff workers and plenty for Mary Kate to do every day. My one dream I have for her is to go someplace every day where people are genuinely happy to see her. She will have this here and it is a place that can be there for her entire life. She would still live with us, of course!

Along with homeschooling the kids, I went against all the advice from family and friends and became a bus driver for the semi-local public school. I don’t care what you say! I like it. It is only 3 hours in the morning and 2 of those hours, my kids are sound asleep. It can’t get much better than that. I thought it would take a little stress off the family if I brought in some money to help get us through the transition from one house to another with *hopefully* just a couple double house payments until we sell the house that we are in. I may be a little scared of the Junior High kids that have a thick aura of attitude that you can cut a knife with. I may only yell loud enough for the first 4 seats of kids to hear who don’t need to hear me anyway because only the good kids sit up front. And maybe I haven’t been able to catch the kid who is tearing the seams of the seats apart to throw stuffing across 10 rows. BUT, it’s working! I even get to borrow a bus to take dozens of innocent homeschoolers to a chastity talk in January who may or may not be scarred for life if they read what the kids have been writing on the back of the bus seats. If they haven’t been exposed to those words before, they will now….thanks to their chastity teacher.

The big news, which should probably make next year’s Christmas letter instead of this one, is that we are moving! We are moving in mid-February. It has been a long wait…thanks to Roy’s darn deployment. I found this house in March but couldn’t do anything about it until Roy got back into the states. The house is just 3 minutes away so the kids could just drag their stuff there on the back of their bikes. It is the last house on a dead end road with 11 acres. It has 2 ponds, creeks, a pasture and woods. It is surrounded by Army Corp of Engineer property and a walking/biking trail right next to us! We are still close to our church and still have a Walmart within 10 minutesJ  One great gift about this house is that it is owned by friends of ours that were only going to sell to us. We had no competition. They waited a year for us. Isn’t that nice?!  Now that Roy is home from his 12 month vacation, he will be fixing up the inside of this house with painting and carpeting and putting it on the market ASAP. Anyone what a 5 bedroom/3 bathroom house? By the time Roy is finished with it, you will have no idea that a family of 10 lived thereJ

Our church family at Coronation of Our Lady has purged and grown. Now that we have our new priest of only a year and a half, the parking lot is full nearly every day and night. There is always something going on to increase the faith of the parishioners and you can find Fr. Hansen in the midst of it all.  He is everywhere! I can’t hide anywhere in that place without him finding me.  He even found me lurking in the bushes one night (don’t ask).  Our family is walking around with the goal to become saints now. Nick and I go to him for spiritual direction once or twice a month, we frequent confession and go to adoration every week. The girls have a club now where they care for the altar and vessels. He invited our Catholic homeschool group in for classes on Friday’s. He gives me a room & projector for our Theology of the Body class for Teens. He even gives our teens a short Benediction during their break every Wednesday. I feel like I not only have a spiritual Father, but a spiritual Daddy too. He has a genuine love for each one of his sheep. I love my new church family. We all help each other get to heaven. We worship together, pray together, study together, teach each other and care for one another. I was too na├»ve to know it could be so good. I know now and will never again take anything less than what my new church family has given me and what I have been able to give back.  

May you have a blessed 2013

Roy, Katy, Nick, Mary Kate, Samantha, Max, Theresa, Ben, Josie, Matthew

Friday, December 21, 2012


When I was on a Summer retreat with my 8th grade class, I remember our leader asking everyone to divide up into two groups. If you considered yourself a leader, we moved to one side of the room. If you thought you were a follower, you moved to the other side of the room. I “followed” my friends to the leader’s side. I was only there for a moment when laughter broke out.  Everyone knew what a joke it was that I would see myself as a leader. In humiliation, I lowered my head and walked to the other side of the room where I belonged.
 I do not remember what this grouping lesson was all about but I do remember that it was a turning point for me. I was forced to define myself as a follower. Being a follower, I believed, was synonymous with being weak and a coward.  That could not have been further from the truth! What I did not know is that I was given this wonderful gift and a huge responsibility. Goodness, how hard can it be to be a follower? LOL. Actually, if you look around your school, work and neighborhood, you will see that it is VERY difficult! My hefty responsibility was to choose who and what I was going to follow and my choices as a child and teenager were not the cream of the crop. 
As a young Catholic homeschool mom, naturally, my posse was full of Catholic homeschool mom’s. Let me tell you, I feel like I am standing neck deep in the most abundant and fertile (yes, the pun is intended) crops. “Cream” of the crop is an understatement. You may feel this way in whatever walk of life you are in right now. I walk the life of a Catholic homeschooler. It doesn’t matter what direction I turn my head, I have someone there to follow, to emulate, admire, respect, adore, etc. The vice I struggle with is the other adjectives to add to the list….to be jealous of, to covet,  envy, to feel inadequate and inferior to.  Where there is a virtue, there is a vice. I have 2 choices. I can rise up, take what I learn from my fellow moms and be a better person or I can feel inadequate and give up. Hmmm. I think I know which choice is the right one. It is so difficult! I find myself giving up all the time and then pulling myself out of the rut. Taking so long to write my next blog is a good example. I read my friend’s blog’s and think that I could never measure up so why bother. The truth is, is that I will never measure up no matter what so what am I going to do about it? I know! I’ll crawl in the corner and die there. Well, that won’t work. The kids will keep pulling me out to feed them. I do not believe that I would be a very happy person. There MUST be another option.
Here is the option…..I have to embrace my “following” quality and get back on the boat. One gift that I have that I feel tops everyone else is that I am very good and picking the right people to follow. I might as well share this gift with youJ
Here is a short list of who I follow. I'm not going to embarrass my friends by calling them out by name. I am only going to include people that you can follow too.  This is not intended to be just an acknowledgment of their greatness….as great as I think they are. I just want you all to feel as inadequate as I do. LOL. NO, NO! I want you to feel as INSPIRED as I do to be a better wife, mom, Catholic, homeschooler, child of God, a better YOU.

This is my friend, Susan Husband. Along with having 5 boys,, she finds time to blog about her life and what she has learned and contemplated through her soul searching. You know how all of us mom's think too much, especially when we are alone? Oh, is that just me? Well, she is a very fit and beautiful woman inside and out. As she does her daily jog, she compiles all of her idea's, thoughts and memories of her family life and puts them in her amazing blog.
Well, this is just about the most creative mom on the planet. How she finds time or even interested in doing all of these crafts is beyond me. I'm ready for a nap just by thinking about doing one more craft with my kids. Oh, how I miss being a young mom. I miss that energy and excitement about just being a mom. With this website, I don't have to think anymore! Yay! She does it for me and I can give my kids lasting memories with one craft at a time.
This is Jason and Crystalina Evert. They give chastity and purity talks to teens around the world. They changed my life and the life of my teenager and the lives of thousands of young people in how we are to look at sex, dating, marriage and true love.
Now, here's a mom that can make the whole world feel inadequate. As we all repeatedly say that we can't handle the 2 kids that we have, Michelle Duggar is successfully raising 19 kids and has NEVER had to raise her voice. The angrier she gets, the more she softens her voice. She is my hero.

In my regular, day to day life, there are many people that I talk to. I have homeschool mom's and their kids, my parents, my kids, my priest and fellow church members. I have my fellow bus employers and the students. Everyone is different and in drastically different walks of life but everyone has something to offer me and inspire me with. I don't just have to search out the people with all the same value's, principles and faith that I have. Each and every person have gifts that are surpass my own. Each and every person can inspire me in some way. God is so good...