My Miracle Baby is 12!

Please indulge me a bit as I get a little emotional: Tomorrow is Andrew’s 12th birthday! My heart is full as I think about life with him all these years. I keep telling him to stop growing up but he just won’t listen. :/

Andrew Certificate

This is Andrew when he was 5 years old.

Did I ever tell you the story about his birth? I was looking through some old posts but didn’t see anything, which is strange because I could have sworn I’ve written about it here.

You see, the doctors said Andrew wasn’t going to make it so “technically” Andrew shouldn’t be alive. Sometime (probably within 24 hours) before his birth, Andrew swallowed meconium (“baby waste”). Then, after laboring for 24 hours, I gave in and decided to get an epidural (I wanted to go natural). When I got it, Andrew’s heart plummeted and I had to have an emergency c-section.

As soon as he was out, he was whisked away to be worked on. I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see him; all I saw as a big blob. He was on 100% oxygen and the doctors said it didn’t look good. BUT, God had a plan. Michael got everyone he could think to pray. His best friend from college, who was also the best man at our wedding, had the prayer request added to the prayers of the faithful during Mass at Franciscan University.

So, obviously, he made it! In fact, he was able to come home from the hospital with me! Also, there were no residual effects from his trauma at all. He is smart, sometimes a smart alec!, funny, caring, and growing into a lovely young pre-teen. πŸ™‚ I look at him now and I am amazed at God’s goodness.

Andrew when he started 6th grade this year.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t in God’s plan that we have another child and that sometimes makes me sad. I wish Andrew had a brother or sister to play with and grow up with; however, I am so grateful for Andrew. I can not image him not in my life – even on those days when I want to pull my hair out because he is having one of his tantrums! He is such a blessing and I can’t wait continue on his journey with him as he grows up to be a man. πŸ™‚

Andrew’s Room Rules

Andrew decided that he needed to make up some rules for his room:

Andrew rules

If you can’t read the picture here is what he wrote…

1. Always knock on my “dor” please. (Yes he meant ‘door!)

2. When you make a mess you always need to clean up.

3. Do not make crumbs.

4. Do not touch my helecopter. (He means “helicopter.”)

5. Do not spray my water gun.

The funniest part of his rules is when he knocks on his door and says, “I’m knocking on my own door and following my rules!” πŸ™‚

Solar System Anyone?

Andrew has been learning about the solar system in Science class and loves it! We have been going planet by planet and have found some cool stuff online to supplement his learning. Now that we are finished going through the planets he made a model solar system using a kit that we bought:

Solar System

Of course, before going to bed, he decided he wanted me to take a picture of him with the solar system on his head. πŸ™‚

Solar System 2

I know I am completely biased, but my little guy is so cute. Isn’t he? πŸ™‚

Top 10 Scripture Verses to Memorize with Your Children

Memorize scripture with children

(This post, first published in 2010, continues to be very popular. I’ve added a pdf version so that you can print out the verses to use with your family. The link is at the end.)

One of the things we are doing is trying to memorize scripture with Andrew.Β  We want him to develop a love of scripture, encourage character development and promote growth of virtue. Normally, we make it part of our home-schooling day, but I’ve slacked off a bit over the summer. πŸ™‚

It is a lot of fun learning scripture with Andrew! We make a game of it and we take turns testing each other. He gets a real kick out of “being the “teacher”. lol!

With our home-school starting up again, we are getting back on track. Here some of the scripture verses that we will be working on memorizing over this school year:

1. Colossians 3:20 “Children obey your parents in everything for this is pleasing to the Lord.”

2. Exodus 24:7 “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

3. Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

4. 1 John 4:8 “God is love.”

5. Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

6. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

7. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, as it is the wellspring of life.”

8. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave us His only begotten Son; so that anyone who believes in Him may not perish, but may have eternal life.”

9. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

10. Psalm 107:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His mercy endures forever.”

What about you? What are your favorite scripture verses? What favorite scripture verses are you memorizing with your family? Do share in the comments!

(This is linked to Top 10 Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

UPDATE: I made a PDF out of these scripture verses in case you wanted to memorize some (or all) of them with your family. Rather than writing each one out, feel free to print out the PDF here:Β Scripture Verses to Memorize with Children No opt-in required.

Put the Lime in the Coconut…

(I needed a break from all the course work and papers and reading from my classes and God in His wisdom reminded me of this post. After re-watching it, I decided to publish it again. I hope it puts a smile your face as it did mine!)

You know how sometimes you will hear something, a song usually, that gets stuck in your head? You find yourself singing it over and over? Well, thanks to Evan ( πŸ™‚ ), I have had a song in my head for a week!

In Evan’s Sunday Snippets post last week, I found his link to the Muppet Show’s version of “Put the Lime in the Coconut” song. It’s been in my head ever since! It doesn’t help either when I hear Andrew playing with his toys and all of a sudden I hear him sing the song!

Some of my younger readers might not remember the Muppet Show, but it was so funny! Here’s the embedded video:

How to Have Happy Kids When Traveling

Happy Kids When Traveling

(Editor’s Note: This is a re-post of one of my most viewed and popular posts that was first written back in 2010. πŸ™‚ )

Warm weather usually means road-trip time! People often head out to visit family and/or vacation which can mean long periods in the car. When you have little ones, traveling in the car (or train or plane…) for long periods can be quite the challenge. Since I just came back from a long trip, here are five things we did with Andrew to keep the “are we there yet” cries at bay:

1. Make it educational. Before leaving for the trip, I did a little geography lesson with Andrew. He is fascinated with maps so I showed him the route we were going to take. We let him keep the map on his lap as we were driving and he had a blast “giving us directions!” We also talked about the differences between towns, cities, states and countries (a concept he is confused about).

Although we obviously didn’t do our regular homeschooling, I read him some books and we practiced numbers and various math concepts.

2. Make it fun. Whenever we go on a trip, I make up a child’s travel bag. We put in a few of Andrew’s favorite toys and a few special toys that are set aside just for trips. The bag is kept right next to his seat so he can have access to his things at all times.

We also played games like “I Spy” and finding certain colored cars, and other word games. We also let Andrew make up his own “games” that we played.

3. Make it quiet. It’s good to keep children occupied, but don’t feel like you have to keep them entertained the whole time, either. Designate a certain period of time for quiet time. Andrew is past the napping stage, but he almost always falls asleep when we are traveling.

If you have a regular nap or quiet time instituted at home, enforcing a quiet time shouldn’t be too difficult. If you don’t do regular quiet times (and I highly recommend that you do!), you can still encourage your children to read quietly or close their eyes for a spell.

4. Make it conversational. Don’t forget to take some time to just talk with your little ones. Andrew is only five, but we have such fun talking together! You’ll beΒ  astonished at what you will discover about your children, even young ones!

What should you talk about? Talk about what you are going to do during your visit/vacation. Ask questions. Listen to your little ones. Get to know who they are and what they like. Talk about books you’ve read and movies you’ve watched together. Let your little one control the direction of the conversation!

5. Make regular stops. Sure we all want to get to our destination as quickly and safely as possible. However, if you integrate rest stops as part of your journey, it will give the kids time to expend some energy and stretch. And, it’s good for you, too!

Why not plan a picnic at a rest stop or at a park or at a tourist destination along the journey? If you bring your own mealsΒ Β  you save money by not paying ridiculously high prices at the rest stops (and it’s a lot healthier, too!). Of course, don’t forget to add a special treat or snack!

6. (Added!) Audio books. My son loves listens to audio books. It is his favorite activity during his daily quiet time and he loves listening to them after his bedtime routine before going to sleep. What we do is go to the library and check out enough books (“regular” and audio) to get us through our trip. If we are away longer than when the books are due I can easily renew them online. Then he either listens to them on his own or we listen to them together and talk about them.

Now it’s your turn! What tips work for you that keep the little ones happy and content during long trips? Share them in the comments so we can all benefit from your ideas!

Catholic Linkup Blitz

First Communion Joy

Andrew made his communion this past Saturday. I can’t tell you how excited he has been the last few weeks coming up to the day. It was like waiting for Christmas! After church he tells daddy and me, “Finally, finally, I can receive Jesus with the rest of the church!” If only we all had that same joy and anticipation when going to mass and receiving Jesus in the Eucharist!

During the mass, Andrew had the job of bringing up a candle during the presentation of the gifts. I couldn’t get a good shot, but I wish you could see a picture of his face. He was so concerned about not dropping the candle and setting the church on fire. He was so serious and you could see the determination and carefulness right on his face!

I had a lot of problems with my camera so I only got a few pictures. Thankfully my father-in-law and sister and mom were able to get some better pictures. I can’t wait to get them. At least I can show him off wearing his communion suit:

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The altar:

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And some family pictures at the communion party. We had lunch at the Royal China Buffet and I have to say they did a marvelous job. The waiter and waitress were very attentive, the party room was lovely and the food was great. We got there right when they were opening, so the food was not only very fresh but piping hot, too!

My husband, Michael, being goofy.

My husband, Michael, being goofy.

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Not the best picture, but shows my niece and two sisters-in-law.

Not the best picture, but shows my niece and three sisters-in-law.

 

Head Trauma Drama

Andrewhosp

It was a lovely, quiet Saturday afternoon. I was reading the latest required reading for biology, snuggled up in the comfy living room chair when all of a sudden I hear, “It will be all right. Go to your mother.” Then I hear a long, loud shrill! I go to the front door to find copious, bright red blood all over Andrew’s face. I rush him to the sink to wash him off and find the cut. The head bleeds a lot so thankfully the cut was much smaller than I thought. But it was deep and I couldn’t get the blood to stop so my husband and I decided it would be best to take him to the hospital to get checked out. (That picture above is Andrew waiting to be seen by the doctor. I think I did a decent job getting him patched up temporarily!)

So what happened? Andrew was helping daddy put together the basketball hoop we got him for his birthday. He was hopping around, as is his custom (Andrew is the human version of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh!), when he fell and hit his head on the corner of a brick. The brick is part of the decorations lining the porch and was just in the right angle to cause the deep cut.

By the time we got to the hospital the bleeding had stopped and it was easier for the doctor to take a look in the cut. The cut is small in diameter, but it is pretty deep. Four hours and two stitches later (along with prescription antibiotics) Andrew is all patched up and back to his usual self and gobbling up his favorite food – pizza.

The REAL drama of all this came from Andrew himself. Oh how I wish I had a video camera or audio recorder to tape him! Andrew came in the house shreeking and crying out, Oh, my! Oh, my! Oh, my! And when I washed up the blood and tried to explain that the cut wasn’t as bad as it looks he throws his arms up and yells, “oh, oh, oh!!!!” Then when Michael and I decided to take him to the hospital he starts crying out, “Oh, no! No, I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!” It took all I had not to bust out laughing! Even on the way to the hospital, after he started calming down, he still kept saying to himself, “Oh my, oh my, oh my!”

He finally calmed down when we got to the hospital and saw a little girl, under a year old, who had a worse cut than Andrew over her eye. She was quiet and playing with her mom’s hair. Andrew whispers to me, “is my cut smaller than hers?” “Yes, hers is much worse,” I say. Andrew things for a minutes and then says, “Then I have nothing to cry about.” The rest of the visit he was much calmer although you can see from the picture above that he was pretty anxious about his head injury and seeing the doctor.

Thankfully, all’s well that ends well. If it hadn’t I certainly wouldn’t be writing this post!

Pinewood Derby Fun 2013

cubs

On Sunday, Andrew participated in the Pinewood Derby race with his fellow cub scout troops from Pack 52. He missed the derby last year so this was his first time participating and he had a blast! Not only did he have some quality bonding time with his daddy (and mama had some quiet time to herself – yay!) but he even won two races!

On top of that he won an award for “best paint job.” I thought that was kind of funny because thanks to Michael’s schedule, putting the car together was last-minute and it didn’t turn out as polished or nice as some of the other cars – at least according to Michael. Still, Andrew had painted the car himself and I am very proud of him. πŸ™‚

Pinewood Derby Fun 2013

Yes, Andrew wanted a “Spiderman” theme for his car. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any stickers like he wanted, but he made due with what he had. πŸ™‚ And now he’s all ready talking about next year and has several themes he wants to use for next year’s car!

Coming to God’s Grace

Andrew & CCD teacher

Andrew with his second grade CCD teacher after the First Confession ceremony.

On Saturday, Andrew and his CCD classmates made their first Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for his First Holy Communion in April. Our Pastor, Sister Elizabeth and the second grade teachers did a nice job putting together a little ceremony. First there was a song, than the children were brought up to Father to be “received.” Then there was a reading from the Gospel, a very nice homily and an examination of conscious followed by the actual private confessions. Each child picked out a rock out of a basket that represented the heaviness and burden of sin which he or she handed to Father after confessing. Then after giving the absolution, Father gave each child a soft heart to represent having a clean or “new” heart now that they were reconciled with God. After coming out of the confessional, the child had his or her baptismal candle lit and walked up to the front of church were they pinned a lamb with their name on it. They were the lamb being returned to the Good Shepherd.

It is hard to describe in words, but the ceremony was quite touching and sweet. What struck me the most though, had nothing to do with the ceremony. It had to do with the children themselves. All of them were so full of joy and excitement to be going to their Fflowerirst Confession. And the smiles they had after coming out of the confessional was almost brighter than the sun!

Their joy really got me thinking, especially with Lent beginning next week. (Yes, next week!) I don’t know about you, but I don’t always go to confession with joy in my heart. Okay, to be real, I pretty much never go to confession with joy in my heart. I go pretty regularly because I know it’s what we should do as Catholics but if I could avoid it, I probably would. And I get frustrated with repeating the same sins over and over again. (When oh when will I get my patience under control!!) You, too, or is it just me?

Those children remind me and exhort me to look at the beauty of the sacrament, to rediscover the joy of be made right with God, to remember and accept His love and grace which is offered to me each time I make Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an amazing gift from God.

With Lent coming next week, I think I am going to try and not only go to confession a little more often, but also to try and rediscover the joy of the Sacrament.

What about you? How do you experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Is going to confession a joy to you? How do you bring joy in celebrating this sacrament?

(Photo Credit)