It has been a year of transitions at the Zoo. The children are growing up; it is hard to believe the “babies” are going to be teenagers in a few short weeks. The time has flown!

Since 2014, I worked as a Legislative Aide for a local County Council Member. When he chose not to seek re-election, I stepped up to run for the office. However I lost the election and the incoming council member chose not to keep me on as the Legislative Aide. I took the opportunity to focus on completing my Master in Public Administration degree which completed last month. I have also stepped out and up and opened a home based business which I am enjoying getting off the ground.

Now the challenge is to refocus where I want to spend my time and efforts.

Stay tuned as we explore this together.

Slowing down for Lent

This past week has been very busy. Early in the week, my brother and I met with the attorney to figure out what we need to do for Mom’s estate. Then there were several doctor’s appointments. We had the usual taking of girls back and forth to school. Plus we managed to fit in some homeschooling. Finally, we had Bea’s memorial services on Friday and Saturday.

Today has also been a run around day. We were out of milk, that is almost unheard of here are this house. I try not to do a lot of shopping on Sundays as I feel this should be a day of rest for everyone. However, since we were out of milk and Mandy and I had have had much mom and daughter time, I snagged her after Mass and we went out to lunch and the needed shopping.

We had lunch, ran to Walmart and then headed over to Wegman’s to pick up the milk. While we were trying to figure out something for dinner; we ran into Mandy’s IB coordinator from high school. We all had a great chat. Plus she even gave us a great, quick recipe for dinner using porch chops. We are trying it out tonight.

With Lent starting on Wednesday, so I am hoping to take the time and slow down and refocus. I plan on going to Eucharistic Adoration tomorrow and “chill with Jesus” for an hour or so and ask Him what he wants me, personally, to accomplish this Lent. One thing I plan on doing is deactivating my Facebook account. So if you would like to stay in touch, please let me know or follow this blog.

Overall the family needs to talk and make decisions. We have several opportunities open to us which we are exploring. We had originally planned to sell the house as quickly as possible and leave Maryland. Richard and I are now thinking it may not be a good idea. We want to talk to the older children and get their opinions too.

I hope you are having a peaceful and enjoyable day!

Pax Christi!
A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework
~~St. Francis of Rome

Wonderful Wednesday

Tuesday, Liz had an appointment with the ENT, whom she has been seeing him for three months, every three weeks. We are trying to figure out the source of her chronic sinus issues.  Each time she goes in he cultures the nasal drainage.  Today was the first time the doctor said the infection looked real. He has a very dry sense of humor.

Depending on what cultures out (if anything) he will give Liz an antibiotic to kill it.  If nothing cultures out, then she will head in for a CT of the sinuses.  He is looking for a “trap” where nothing drains.  When asked what happens if that is the case his reply was you win yourself a ticket to the OR.  It was said so deadpan, it was funny.

Next up after things settle down will be a trip to the allergist and immunologist at Hopkins to make sure her immune system is up and functioning, plus determine if there are any allergies.  Although she has been tested many times and nothing shows up, we know something is there.  We are hoping the doctors at Hopkins can figure it out.  There will also be an rheumetology work-up to rule out things like lupus which can start up in the sinuses.  Who knew.

I have to say with my children I am getting one heck of a medical education in some of the rarer medical conditions.  And to think I didn’t have to go to medical school for it.

Hoping you all have a wonderful day!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Still At It Sunday

We did get most of the “room dump” completed in the girls’ room.  We even did some rearranging of the furniture.  We are getting the room planned for when the five year olds will have to graduate to twin beds.  I think plan should work.

All that is left is to complete in the room is the top shelf of the closet.  It should not take long to complete.  Once their room is completed after lunch, I am going to do a “closet dump” of the upstairs linen closet.

That particular closet has become disorganized over the past six months because of MY inattention when the children are putting away towels and the health and beauty items (the shampoos, soaps, and toothpastes).  Time to pull everything out and reorganize it.  I am going to pull out some of the older towels we use for rags and cleanups to free up space on the shelves. Then I am going to group the mouth care, soaps and shampoos, cold products, nebulizers and asthma meds, not to mention our box of ace bandages and assorted braces (from my oh so clumsy family, me included) together.  Then it will all be put away in a logical fashion.

Once that closet is completed, I will be definitely working with those that put items away to make sure it stays that way this time.

Have a wonderful, blessed Sunday with your family.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Sprucin’ Up Saturday

Today is cleaning day around the Zoo. We take Saturday morning to scrub the bathrooms, vacuum the downstairs and scrub the kitchen floor. In addition we vacuum and dust the bedrooms. Over all it leads to a busy morning around the Zoo.

Last weekend I had to pick a room in which to do a deep clean since the children seem to have a need to keep their rooms a total disaster. We did a “room dump” of the boys’ room. This week we stayed on top of the boys and their room remained presentable and only took a few minutes to clean this morning.  I think the are getting the idea that a little cleaning each day, leads to less cleaning on Saturday.  At least I hope so!

This weekend’s room on the “dumping block” is the girls’ room. Thanks to a very messy teen and three extremely messy five year olds, it has become a disaster area. The eleven year olds contribute to the disaster by throwing blankets and pillows about the room. If you were to look into it, you would think a tornado blew through the room and would want to call the Red Cross for help.

Thankfully the normal Saturday cleaning up is now complete. Once lunch is over, the room dump begins. I promise to check in tomorrow.  If I don’t, please send out the search crews!

Have a wonderful day sprucin’ up your home today!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Behavior Boot Camp

I am starting to plan the rest of the semester and home school year. In looking over what I what to accomplish I realize the children’s behaviors and attitudes have slowly been changing over the past couple of months. The cleaning is not being done to our standards. The children are becoming more disrespectful toward Richard and I and each other. They have started up with more backtalk when asked questions or told to do something.

Another area I have noticed is lack of first time obedience. I have slacked off on the enforcement of this. I think is my lack of enforcement is contributing to the back talk and disrespect.

I am planning on taking the first week or two of January after our break and having a “life skills” crash course. I will be re-instructing the children on the correct ways to clean things like the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen. I will be reassigning chores. I will be enforcing first time, positive obedience. I will also be enforcing positive interactions with parents and each other, no more sassy talk or negative comments will be made toward each other. And I want them to hold me accountable too.

So the new year will be ushering in Behavior Boot Camp. I foresee interesting times ahead in the coming weeks.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Fantastic Friday

Another laid back day at the zoo. Our holiday week is winding down. I am working on planning the rest of the school year and noticing a a few things that need to be worked on with the children.

We will be playing more games today and just having fun as a family and having some family bonding time. I hope this will carry us through the next couple of weeks. I will have a post tomorrow about what will be happening around the zoo in January.

Enjoy your day!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Holiday week around the zoo

All the presents were opened, and now we are spending the days playing with the games. We are having fun playing rounds of Sorry, Uno, Candyland, Dominoes and Connect 4. We still have to play Jenga, Scrabble and some of the little girls games.  We also have a few more DVDs to watch.  Next up will be the Smurfs movie.  They can’t wait to see it, but we will probably watch it on New Year’s Eve.  I am heading out to visit with Mom for a couple of days.

We did have one “disaster.” The fudge we was made was attacked by the mutt. I had placed it on the picnic table outside to cool and Biscuit decided she need to try some. Thankfully it was noticed as she was starting and not after she ate the two pans full, but she did get into both pans. So sometime this weekend I will make some another pan or two.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday week and have an enjoyable time with your family and friends!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

The day after the day after Christmas

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Our family thoroughly enjoyed ours, although I was ready to hang a couple of the monkeys from a tree about 5AM. My almost 12 year olds and my 13 year old were the worst ones about sleeping on Christmas Eve. One was up at 3 AM and had the rest of the middle four awake shortly thereafter. It was a party in the boys room for the rest of the night for them. At 5AM the 20 year old came in to complain (her room is right next party central).

Thankfully the 5 year olds were not involved and we were able to have them sleep in until 6:30 (if you call that sleeping in!) After that all bets were off and two tired parents threw in the towel and let everyone get up. We all came downstairs around 7:30 and opened presents. All the gifts were opened in under an hour and the living room was a mass of toys, clothes and paper.

While Richard was helping to clean the mess, open all the toys and remove the twenty zillion twist ties that hold the little pieces in the boxes, I heated up the oven.  Our family tradition is to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas Morning. We all ate, then finished getting dressed and headed out to the 11AM Mass.  Not my first choice, but Douglas had been asked to alter serve by our pastor for that service.
It was hard telling the 5 year olds, that the new fun Leap Pad Explorers and LaLaLoopsy dolls had to stay home while we go to Mass. There were tears while they headed to the van. Everyone finally settled down, just in time for Mass to be over. Yes it was one of those days for mom at Mass.

We came home, ate lunch and then played with the toys and games for the rest of the afternoon. We had a wonderful dinner and then watched a movie from Netflix together as a family. Gnomio and Juliet. Yes, a very corny movie that was panned by the critics, but hey the kids all laughed and we had a good time together as a family and that is all that mattered to me.

After the movie the children all went to bed and Richard and I collapsed on the couch for a few minutes and enjoyed the sound of silence. Something that hasn’t been heard around the zoo in a few weeks.

The rest of the week is going to be quiet, but busy if that makes any sense. I know more games will be played since we all enjoy board and card games and with several new ones in the house people can’t seem to stop playing. We will also watch a couple more of family movies that we have been wanting to see.  We will also try out the new Hot Air Popper that Liz purchased for the family during one of these movies.

I hope you take time and enjoy the rest of the week (and year) with your family!

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Late Lists for Santa

Richard asked me to make him a list of things of I might want for Christmas so he can take the children out to shop. The little ones overheard him and wanted to make their own lists. Never mind that we already have their gifts, but I humored them and sat down to make their lists. My heart melted when Marian gave me her list.

1) Cookies for Santa
2) Chocolate Milk for Santa
3) Lalaloopsy Doll
4) Doll house
5) Doodle bear
6) Her favorite — white milk

I just love the fact the first two are for Santa and she is thinking about others first. It shows me that I am doing something correctly, in spite of my thinking other wise. Her sisters’ lists were not quite so generous, but they did add so we can share and play together with just about everything they listed.

Maggie’s List

1) Play food for the kitchen set so we can all play restaurant together.
2) Silverware for the kitchen set
3) Lalaloopsy so we can play with the Loopsies together
4) Dollhouse
5) Stuffed Pig
6) Doll stuff so we can play mommies together

Abby’s List

1) Lalaloopsy so we can all play together
2) Oven mitts for the kitchen set so we can play food
3) Toy Kitty
4) Toy Puppy so we can play pet store with our animals together
5) Dollhouse with 3 girls so we can play
6) Toy town so the dollhouse girls can play together

So I guess I am teaching my children to think of others first. Sometimes you wonder, and then God gives the sign that you are on the right track with them.

Pax Christi!

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome