Thursday, July 17, 2014

Five Favorites: Do You Have Hello Kitty Weed?

Linking up with the perfectly perfect Heather for a round of Five Favorites.....

A little backstory first:
Last Friday, I had my scheduled abdominal hernia surgery. It's been something I've been happily avoiding since Will was born, nearly 2.5 years ago, but it was time and we really like our general surgeon, so I scheduled it.
 It was supposed to be same-day surgery, which was a huge relief to both Kyle and I, but it very nearly ended up not being that way. 
Apparently, I wasn't very cooperative about lying still while under heavy sedation and kept asking for Kyle, so they put me under general anesthesia. Also, the hernia was pretty large. 
After recovery, they gave me the option of staying for a day or two, or going home. You bet your sweet bippy that I got as dressed as fast as I could and made Kyle take me home!

Some interesting things happened during recovery and over the last few days, and they are fast becoming my favorite stories to share ---- also because I'm home-bound and this is the only material I have.

1) As I became more awake and lucid during recovery, my nurse leaned over and asked me "do you remember what you said to me when you were first coming out?". Of course, my answer was "um, no??". She gave me this huge smile and said, "you said, 'Did you guys give me Abs of Steel?'".
credit here

2) Since I've had 7 c-sections, I know a little bit about recovering from surgery, and I tried to have as much of my surroundings planned out and prepared beforehand. Staying hydrated is really important, especially when you are taking painkillers, but it can be difficult to move your body in order to actually consume beverages. That's where this comes in handy:
The "Catholic" part is optional, but why take the chance?
3) Kyle generously took a week's vacation to stay home and care for me and the kids, and I tried to have a few things planned out for them, so they wouldn't go stir crazy. In all of my preparations, I forgot about entertaining me! Fortunately, my awesome youngest sister showed up the night before my surgery with an armful of magazines and bags of bite-size candies! 

4) Kyle has been doing all the jobs I normally would do this week and that includes a lot of driving. In Illinois, you are required to use a hands-free device with your cell phone while driving. So, Kyle has been using his voice recognition texting to send messages. The technology may not be perfect. Here is a sample of his texts to me:


And my sister texting me after receiving his texts:

Joe was working at the pool's concession stand and Kyle wanted to ask him about the funnel cakes. This is the text Joe received: "Do you have Hello Kitty Weed?", to which Joe replied, "No, we don't have weed of any kind. Sorry."


5) One final not-so-favorite: a prayer request for me. Apparently, I have contracted a staph infection in the vein where my IV was placed. I'm on heavy-duty antibiotics, but staph in the bloodstream isn't anything to mess around with, so prayers for a quick healing would be very much appreciated. I promise to offer up any discomfort for your intentions! 




Thursday, June 26, 2014

Theme Thursday: SWIM!

Woo-hoo!

"Cari is back! With her own invention! Camera grabs an image tightly! I am clickin' daily and nightly!"

(Yes, I just commemorated my friend and her link up with a Vanilla Ice song; so what?)

This week's theme is "Swim". So apropos!

We've done a lot of swimming and splashing over the last few weeks -- at the pool, the zoo's splash pad, and in our little lake. So, without further ado,
I give you The Dempsey Swim:













Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Twenty Years: The Gift of Platinum

Tomorrow, --June 18, 2014-- marks twenty years of the most joyful, growth-filled, spiritual, nail-biting, infuriating, hilarious years of my life. And, I am privileged to have shared it all with my (yeah, I'm going to say it!) soulmate and best friend, Kyle.


Hallmark tells me that the modern day gift for the twentieth anniversary is platinum. Now, I don't know about you, but I really knew nothing about the actual metal, so I looked it up. Among other things, platinum is 'densemalleable,ductile, highly unreactive, precious, gray-white transition metal. Its name is derived from the Spanish term platina, which is literally translated into "little silver".'

Some of those words easily define the past 20 years: "precious", "transition". But...


Malleable?

"In materials scienceductility is a solid material's ability to deform under tensile stress; this is often characterized by the material's ability to be stretched into a wire. Malleability, a similar property, is a material's ability to deform under compressive stress; this is often characterized by the material's ability to form a thin sheet by hammering or rolling."

Whoa. 

Yes. Oh, yes, my friends. Kyle and I have been stretched and rolled thin, re-formed, --at times, deformed-- stressed. What couple married for 20 years hasn't been?


We have co-created 10 souls. Ten immortal beings who will forever be our most precious and permanent gift from God and to His kingdom.

Three of those gifts forever reside with Our Lord.  As painful as it was to lose them, we completed our task as parents and got them to Heaven. Those three, I don't worry about. They are platinum. They are saints.

Seven of those gifts currently reside with us. They are maniacs. Beautiful, talented, loving, funny, demanding maniacs. They are platinum, as well. One day, they better be saints, too.


When Kyle and I became engaged at the tender age of 19, we met with a substantial amount of objections from various family members and friends. Not all, but many more than we anticipated. I say this not to "rub their noses in it", but as a reminder to myself and to all of you that not one of us can ever know what the graces of God's sacraments can do in our lives. 


As confident as Kyle and I were in each other's love and in God's plan for us, there was no way we could have known how much we would come to rely on His Grace to follow His Will. There was no way we could have understood how we would have been tested and stretched and rolled. There was no way we could
have known how all of that would make our love for each other and our love for God stronger and more beautiful. And, there was no way that any of those concerned and disbelieving people in our lives could have known any of this, either. 

Some days, 20 years feels like 40 years. Some days, it feels like only one year. 

Some days, I'm amazed at how we've somehow cobbled together this beautiful life. Some days, I'm amazed that it's still evolving.

If I've learned one thing in the past 20 years, it's this: we aren't finished learning. We will continue to be tested and to grow. We will welcome new joys and face new struggles. And, guess what? I want it to be this way! 

That's how the metal transforms. That's how it shows what it can be. That's how it comes more beautiful. That's how it grows stronger. The transformation isn't the beautiful part of the process, though. It's fierce and sweat-producing and difficult. Along the way, you begin to see glimpses of the finished product and it makes you appreciate the effort even more. It makes you willing to keep going. It brings joy into your soul.


So, to my wonderful Kyle: I love you. You are the perfect complement to my insanity. For our children, you are the embodiment of God the Father's love here on Earth. For me, you are the embodiment of Jesus' love for humankind. We always have known that choosing each other was "right", but is sure is nice to see it unfolding so beautifully. I'm glad --so glad-- to have this life with you.

We are platinum. 




Friday, April 25, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Where Have I Been Hiding?

Joining Jen.....again......at last!

1) Lent was a real hoot this year. God seemed intent on having me focus on dying to self and offering up my tiny trials. Basically, I'm a real whiner


2) Among the normal colds and stomach flus, Will came down with pneumonia and a double ear infection. The poor little guy reverted to his clingy, baby ways and needed Mama all the time. Constantly. Really, I didn't feel badly about it while he was sick, but he kept it up after he was recovered and carrying a 26 pound toddler while you sweep or make dinner gets real old, real fast.

3) Well, I definitely managed to get rid of at least 40 bags this Lent, but I wasn't able to check off all 40 areas of my house  that I had listed. Then, the thought occurred to me, "hey! You don't have to stop because Lent is over!". Because I am a genius. So, yep, still cleaning and organizing. Here's one of my crowning achievements, so far:
Voila! The silverware drawer!

4) Along with St. Patrick's Day, March brought Spring observations and conferences for all my Montessori kids (Maeve, Jack, Eamon, and Faith). Truly, I love this. Getting to see them working in their classrooms and then comparing notes with their awesome teachers makes my heart happy.

5) Maeve was confirmed! She chose the name Joan for St. Joan of Arc. She loves St. Joan's strength of Faith and character. And that perfectly sums up our Maeve, too! 

6) A couple of weeks ago, most of us got to tag along with Kyle on one of his routine business trips to Indianapolis. We have a family pass to the Indianapolis Children's Museum there because it is truly very fun for all of us. If you ever get a chance to pop in there, plan on spending the day; it's 5 levels of fun for all ages!


7) Finally, a Happy Easter from our home to yours!


Friday, March 7, 2014

7 QTs: Lent, 12 Angry Men (almost!), God Eats Chips, & Uptight FirstGraders

Joining Jen again!

1) It's the first Friday of Lent! Who's excited?!? 
Yeah, me neither. It says a lot about my current attitude that by dinner time on Ash Wednesday, I was asking "Is Lent over yet?".
Hopefully, I'll get with the groove soon...or, the Holy Spirit will have to kick me into gear.

2) This week, my kids' grade school took their standardized tests. Since this is a Montessori school, this is the only testing they do all year. I think it must exhaust the teachers and the students, because both Jack's and Eamon's teachers declared today a Pajama Party Day. 
Jack was all over that action, while Eamon was horrified. 

He's a little buttoned up.

Kyle offered him a tie.

3) Maeve was accepted to her first choice of high schools. She was accepted into their International Baccalaureate program (basically, all honors) which is impressive. Well, until you find out that all those girls are required to take 6 weeks of summer school to prepare for the rigorous classes at additional expense. This is over and above the 4 weeks of volleyball camp she has to take in order to have a good shot at making their team. Joe told her, "your school is the worst.". Brothers are so kind.

4) As Kyle, Maeve, and I were leaving the registration and uniform fitting appointment at her new school on Tuesday evening, I noticed how subdued Kyle seemed. (We had been nicely shuffled from table to table, writing checks for large sums of money at each one.) When I asked him if he was OK, he responded, "That was the least fun I've ever had for $900.". A-ha.

5) THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS! After going through the most horrifying security line in the world, sitting for 4.5 hours, and being interviewed by an assistant state's attorney who loudly exclaimed "DO YOU EVER SLEEP?!" when I told her my "job"
was being a mother to 7 kids, I was excused from Grand Jury service!! And, hallelujah, because, as another Asst. State's Attorney explained to us: it was a guaranteed 5 week service, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. Seriously, who can do that?? So, if you think of it, please pray for the 16 people who were chosen to serve, as well as the 8 alternate jurors.

6) As I sat there in the "jury waiting room" -- after praying my Rosary and desperately begging for prayers on via text and Facebook -- I practiced one of my favorite hobbies: people-watching. Human beings are fascinating, odd, gross, beautiful, snooty, tired (I'm looking at YOU, Mr. Snoring Loudly), and anxious. It occurred to me once again that we are ALL created in the image and likeness of God. As to why God would continue to pour the microscopic pieces of potato chips into his mouth from his chip bag, is something you will have to ask him. 

7) Are you joining in the 40 Bags, 40
days Challenge? How's it going? Have you hit any stumbling blocks or found buried treasure yet? I'm doing pretty well (7 bags already!), but am once again horrified at the realization that so many of my kids are hoarders. Here's hoping that the Good Lord sees fit to take me before my kids appear on this show:


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

My dear friend Jessica over at Housewifespice asked me to break down how I do the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge, and I will try.

For those of you not "in the know", the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge is a way to purge your house of junk in a way that's manageable. It's meant to be done over the 40 days of Lent, so as to add another layer to the spiritual cleanse we are supposed to be doing during this time. 

A few years ago, I used before/after pictures to document my first ever 40 Bags challenge. If you search "40 Bags" here you will see those posts.

As for how I approach the entire challenge, it's pretty simple.

1) I take my handy-dandy notebook (opa-composition style!) and physically walk each room of my house. I inspect each room as if I were a prospective buyer and open all the doors and drawers.

No, not THIS one!!
THIS one!!

2) I list every area no matter how small. In fact, it's easier if I break things down into really small things (i.e. Silverware drawer), so that they're easier for me to tackle. Don't worry about making it too small, because you can always do 2 items in one day if you have the time!

3) I keep my stash of garbage bags/grocery store bags, paper towels, cleaning wipes, and vinegar/water spray in a big reusable shopping bag so I can grab it all at once. (Sorry, no pic! It's in the basement and I'm too cold to run down there!)

4) Every morning I look at my list and decide which items I will tackle based on how hectic my schedule is for that day. So, yes, you can jump around your list as much as you like --- it's YOUR list!

5) Gets to cleanin'!!!

Helpful tips:
- DON'T let your kids (any age) help while 
  you tackle areas which may contain 
  their "precious" items.
- DO let your kids who are 10 and older
   help weed through their own clothing.
- Don't keep anything you haven't used
  or worn in the last 9-12 mos
  (exception: maternity clothes &
  nice hand-me-downs)
- touch every part of each area you 
   are cleaning 
- BE RUTHLESS! Remember that the
  less things that are in your home, the    
  less things you have to clean/organize.

Any questions?


Sunday, March 2, 2014

7in7: THE END!!

Whew! I did it!!! ;) Thanks to Jen for coming up with this brilliant idea to get so many of us bloggers off our blogging hindquarters!

So, we had a nice weekend celebrating our February Birthday Boys. The Dells was ridiculously crowded, but that's what happens when the Midwest has been in the icy grip of the Polar Vortex for so long. People need to move their bodies and feel some energy and warmth. 

Happy to be entering another liturgical season, even if it's a penitential one. Lent always means Spring is not far off and this year...well, see the previous paragraph.

On Tuesday, I have to go to the scariest courthouse in the world and ask to be excused from Grand Jury Service. Yep. Not regular jury duty; I was summoned via certified mail to serve on a Grand Jury. When I spoke to the jury service coordinator and asked her how I was chosen, she said, "just pure luck!". Yes, luck. That kind of luck has been dogging my heels all winter long. Hmmmm. She also told me that, if I speak to the "very understanding" state's attorney there, I will "certainly" be excused from serving, due to my excellent "excuse" of being the sole caretaker for 7 kids. I'm still very nervous and worried, so could y'all say a prayer for me on Tuesday? I'll say one for you, too!

Back in the fall, we discovered that Joe is allergic to gluten. So, we've been traveling the fun road of helping a picky 15 year old eat gluten free while still trying to feed the rest of us. With Lent upon us, I'm looking for some new meatless, gluten-free recipes that Joe will actually eat. Basically, Joe loves meat and dairy and despises fish and ALL veggies (except for corn and potatoes.). My meatless, GF repertoire includes:

- GF Mac n Cheese (from scratch)
- GF cheese lasagna
- GF pasta marinara
- crustless cheese pizza (we've not had
   good luck with the GF crusts)
- some meatless soups
- cheesy rice

So, help a mama out! 

Hope all of you have a really FAT Tuesday and a blessed Ash Wednesday!!