It’s my hysterversary!

It was a year ago today that I had my hysterectomy. To say that it has been quite a year is an understatement. It has felt much like a roller coaster ride. The surgery itself was necessary for medical reasons. I knew that. The logical part of me (Yes, there is actually a logical part of me!) understood the necessity. I was basically miserable from fibroid tumors. It was to the point that there were days when I couldn’t get off of the couch because I was doubled over in pain. Let me assure you that this is not the easiest way to take care of a family of 11. You kind of have to be able to, you know, walk and move. So it was not an decision, but it was necessary.

I was prepared for the physical pain following the surgery. I had done a ton of reading and research. I joined the online group, “Hystersisters.” (Don’t laugh! I know that the name is completely cheesy, but it was extremely helpful and full of tons of information and tips.) I knew that the first two weeks were crucial to healing properly. I had to take it easy. No heavy lifting was allowed. No driving. Limited movement was a necessity. I couldn’t even sit up for too long because the pressure on my internal incision would become very uncomfortable. Basically I couldn’t do anything. Try to explain that to a 3 year old and a 1 year old. “Sorry kids, I can’t pick you up or bend over or cook for you or take you anywhere…” Yes, that went over really well. Thank goodness I have been blessed by the most amazing family and friends. My mom was here constantly to help with the kids and housework. My mother-in-law helped with driving everybody around. My friends made us so many meals that I didn’t have to cook dinner for a month! My sister, my aunts, my friends, everyone was amazing. My husband was wonderful. He was constantly making me “Sit down and rest!” He took really good care of me. It was so eye-opening for me to realize how truly good people really are. People like to do good things for others. It was kind of hard for me to just sit back and allow people to basically do my “work” for me. But I eventually realized that people like to help. Sometimes the best thing that we can do is just smile and say thank you.

To be honest it was probably about 6 weeks before I really felt ok physically. I expected this. I knew that it would take a little while to get back in the groove physically, but I was shocked at how long it took me to get it together mentally. I would be fine and then I would be overcome by feelings of overwhelming sadness. It would just come out of nowhere. I would be folding laundry and it would hit me that I would never be pregnant again. I would never nurse a teeny little one again. I would never get to pick out a “coming home from the hospital” newborn outfit. That part of my life was over. Obviously, my brain knew that, but it took quite a while for my heart to catch up.( A year later, it still stings. ) I think that so much of my identity had been wrapped up in being a mom. I think that is how it should be, at least to a point. But I really struggled with how I was going to be me again, now that my body had been changed. So much of who and what I was had been tied to my pregnancies and my babies. I had basically been pregnant and or nursing for 10 years straight. I loved that. I feel as if being a mom isn’t just my “job” it’s my vocation. This is what I had been called to do. So now what? I felt stuck. I was still a mom. I still had 9 kids that needed me to be present for them. It didn’t matter that I didn’t feel like I was a mom. I was and they needed me.

For a little while, the hormones and the sadness sort of took over. I was extremely moody and angry. I could feel it coming on, sort of like a wave. But now instead of the overwhelming sadness, it was anger…almost a rage-like anger. It got to the point that I would just go to my room and shut the door. I had to get away from everything and everyone. There were a few times when I just looked at Brian and say, “I need to leave. If I don’t get out of here, something bad is going to happen.”  He was confused and didn’t really understand what I was going through. But he tried to be supportive and he was very patient. He was and is amazing. This was such a difficult thing for me to handle. I was a mom, just like I always wanted to be. God had entrusted me with these 9 gifts. I had been blessed beyond blessed, but I wasn’t living up to my end of my vocation. I was just angry and sad. That does not make for a happy or a good mother. Or happy kids for that matter. To make things even worse, I was feeling very distant from God. I felt like He just couldn’t hear me, or maybe didn’t want to hear me. Why did I have to go through all of this? Why the fibroids? Why the stupid surgery? Why me? (I know…I was kind of pathetic. Ok, really pathetic. I was struggling. Please don’t judge.)

 It didn’t help that I had gained about 40 pounds since my surgery. So on top of the hormones and the depression/anger, I felt awful. That upset me even more. I had the stupid surgery so that I would feel better and instead, I was a miserable, angry, out of shape, fat mess. Awesome…I was just stuck in this awful cycle. I had to figure out a way out. None of us could keep going the way that we were.

I finally went to see my doctor. I started to tell her about what was going on and I just broke down. I cried and cried. I told her that I was sad and angry and tired. I was a terrible mom. I had no energy and that I had gained a ton of weight. After my little outburst, she looked at me and said that she could help. She told me that she thought that I needed some medication. She also told me that I wasn’t crazy. What I was going through was normal, especially at my age. Apparently all kinds of crazy things start up around 37. Nobody ever talks about that. She assured me that I would have been going through a lot of this anyway. The surgery just kind of bumped up the intensity a little bit. Ummm, that would have been good to know before I thought that I was becoming psychotic. I was under the impression that all of that hormonal, premenopausal stuff didn’t start until you were in your late 40’s. Not true. So all of you lovely ladies out there in your late 30’s and early 40’s, hear me out… You are not crazy! What you are feeling is normal. Talk to your doctor and be honest about what is going on! They can help you! What my doctor offered me wasn’t just medication, it was hope. I left her office feeling like I just might be able to get a little bit of myself back.

She gave me something to help with my low energy and she gave me a prescription for Prozac. At first I was a little bit embarrassed that I needed medication. I thought that I should just be happy that God had blessed me with  a wonderful family. I felt guilty that I wasn’t feeling the way that I should be. I didn’t know if it would help. I didn’t know if anything would help. But I had to try something, so bring on the Prozac!

That was about 6 months ago. I cannot even begin to tell you how much better I feel. The crazy mood swings and the anger and depression are gone. I still have moments of sadness over the surgery, but nothing like before. After I had been on Prozac for a few weeks, DJ made a comment that I seemed so much happier. I think that is when it hit me…I was happier. That comment reinforced that I really did need the help from the medication. Taking it was the right thing to do…at least for me. I have never had a problem with people taking medication when they have needed it. I just didn’t think that I would ever need to. I figured that I could deal with everything on my own. Well, I was wrong. I needed a little bit of help. Thankfully I was able to get it. These last 6 months have been about finding my balance again. Balance was what I was missing so desperately. I was out of balance physically and spiritually.  I have more energy and I have started to exercise regularly. That has helped me to lose some weight, which has made me feel better about myself. This has given me more confidence which has caused me to exercise more. It is that whole cycle thing again, but this time it is a good thing. I have also really dedicated myself to having a more structured prayer life. I have always prayed, but this is different. Instead of throwing up random prayers (which I still do!) throughout the day, I have started to link my prayers with my exercise. I say my rosary while I run. (Yes, that was not a typo! I can actually run now. For the first time ever….without hyperventilating! Yep, I am one of those girls now!  heehee!) I listen to the daily readings on my ipod while I am on the elliptical. I also have a few podcasts that I enjoy listening to while I exercise. It is the perfect way for me to incorporate both things into my crazy days. I have made both things a priority. I have made taking care of myself (both physically and spiritually) a priority. This has given me the energy and more importantly the grace needed to be the kind of mom that I have always wanted to be. I am by no means a perfect mom. Some days, I am not even sure that I am a good mom, but I am a better mom. I am closer to being the kind of mom that I think that God has called me to be. Little by little, day by day, things are getting better. I am getting better.

Part of this balance has been getting my house in order. I know that for me, and probably for a lot of you, if my  house is cluttered and messy,  then my brain feels cluttered. I slowly started to house clean the upstairs. I started to get rid of things that we didn’t need. It was kind of like I began to reverse nest. It was as if my body finally realized that my uterus was gone. So instead of gathering things together, like you do when you are pregnant and nesting, I was getting rid of things. Once I finished the upstairs, I ventured to the basement. I got rid of bag after bag after bag of clothing that I was saving. I got rid of toys that haven’t been touched in years. It is very satisfying to purge unnecessary things. It is so rewarding to actually see the difference I have made. It is actually possible to walk through the laundry room without worrying that you will either be buried by a mountain of laundry or knock down a tower of bins on your head. I feel as if I can breath again. I feel as if I am me again. The real me. The me that loves to be a mom. The me that feels as if I actually have a relationship with God and that he really, truly, does love me. I am the old me but with an upgrade. I have embraced being a different kind of mother. While I am not able to have any more babies, I am beginning to really enjoy this phase of motherhood. Yes, it makes me sad that my “baby” is already 2 years old. It makes me terrified that I have two kids counting down the days until they move out and go to college. I have kids at pretty much every stage of maturity and development and that is exhausting, frustrating, amazing and magical. I am finally able to see that for the blessing that is. I have the energy that I need to keep up with each of them. (Well, most of the time.) Each birth changed our family’s normal. Each child added their own twist, their own spark and spirit to our family. This hysterectomy did the same sort of thing. The difference was that instead of adding a new baby, it forced me to change myself. I added my own spark and spirit back in to our family. Our normal shifted again. While I will probably always be sad that my childbearing time is over, I have been given this gift. I have received the gift of myself back. That is the gift that I can give back to my children.

Everybody needs a Bubba Lady…

There is a very special lady that goes to our church. Some people know her as Della, but to our family she is “The Bubba Lady.” We first met her about 11 years ago. We were still relatively new to our parish and we didn’t know a lot of people by name yet. Brian and I had only been married about two years and we were caught up in the whirlwind of being newlyweds having three preschoolers and we had just welcomed our first baby into the family. Little Isaac was the answer to many, many prayers (as all babies are). When we were first married we wanted to have a baby right away. We didn’t want a big gap in age between the older three kids and any new babies that we would be blessed with. It was very frustrating as time went on and still no baby. And then DJ was diagnosed with Leukemia and our world sort of spun off balance. As usual God’s timing is always perfect and shortly after our 1 year anniversary, we found out that we were expecting. DJ was through the initial intense phase of his chemotherapy treatments and was starting to feel better. Our lives were finally headed in the right direction again. Things were looking up!
August 4th, 2002 Isaac David made his grand entrance. Oh boy was he cute. He had the roundest little head and the biggest blue eyes. He was absolutely precious. We went to church, as we do every Sunday. One of the things that made fall in love with our parish, was the warm way that we were welcomed there. When DJ was diagnosed, the outpouring of support and help from our parish was amazing. The birth of a new little one brought about a similar reaction. After mass we were surrounded by people congratulating us and sneaking a peak at the baby. And then the Bubba Lady stepped in. I was getting ready to buckle Isaac into his car seat when this woman held out her arms and said “Hand him over.” It wasn’t a question. It was more like a command.  She was vaguely familiar to me because she was a regular church goer, but I had no idea who she was or what her name was. I didn’t know what to do. Here was my sweet little baby, and this woman that I didn’t know wanted me to “hand him over?” The thing is, well, I hate confrontation. I didn’t want to cause a scene by refusing. So  I sized her up and decided that if she tried to make a run for it, I could take her down. ( She was in her 70’s or so.) So I hesitantly handed him to her. She took him in her arms and just looked at him. She smiled up at me and said, “Look at those big eyes. Oh, there is something special about this one.” I knew immediately that I had made the right decision. This woman wouldn’t do anything to him, well anything, except love him. So every Sunday after mass, she would come up to me and expectantly hold out  her arms to take him. He seemed to know that he was safe with her. He was always content in her arms.
There was a tiny problem though. We had no idea what her name was. Not a clue. We had to call her something, so she was named “The Bubba Lady.” It was an obvious choice, since Bubba was her “special guy.”  After a while (far too long!) we finally found out her name. The kids’ Nana Rose introduced herself to her and asked her name. The Bubba Lady revealed that her name was actually Della. She is sort of like a superhero, at least to our family. It only makes sense that she had a secret identity. Ok, maybe it wasn’t really a secret, but whatever. Eventually we confessed our little secret. She thought that it was funny and loved her new name. She fully embraced being “The Bubba Lady.” She has spoiled our family. She is always giving the kids little rosaries and books, stickers and statues. She brings a little bag of treats to mass every Sunday for the kids. She gives them little cards with $2 bills in them (which the kids think is really cool!) and always signs them “The Bubba Lady.”
It has been 11 years since the Bubba Lady first stole our hearts. Our little family has grown and we have added 5 more kids to the brood. She has held and cuddled each one of them. She always checks with me to make sure that they are all doing well. If someone is having problems, I know that I can count on her to pray for them. She loves all of the kids, but Isaac is still her “special guy.” He just holds a special place in her heart, and she in his.
Here is the Bubba Lady with her Bubba Boy. 
 He still sits with her after mass and gives her a hug.
I have given her pictures of the kids. She always just looks at the picture and smiles. The last time, her eyes filled with tears. She looked at me and said, “This is so precious to me. You don’t know what this means to me.” I don’t know what it means to her, but I know what she means to us! She is a very special lady and we are very blessed to call her our Bubba Lady!

Homecoming 2013

This whole senior year thing is finally starting to hit me. I have two seniors… in high school…What?!?!? We have been doing the whole college visit thing. We have been planning senior type things, like senior pictures and senior night for soccer. It is all just kind of crazy to me. DJ and Coley are still my little ones. I don’t care that they can drive and have jobs. It doesn’t matter that DJ is almost a foot taller than me. To me, they are still the same sweet little 4 year olds that stole my heart 13 years ago. I never could have imagined what these two would bring to my life, the pride and joy, the stress and wrinkles. No matter what, I wouldn’t change a single thing. We have grown together, me as a mother, them as young men and women. We have grown apart, me as their voice of guidance, them as independent young adults. We are always learning from one another and I guess, in spite of one another. It continues on each and every day. 
Ok, enough of my deep thoughts. I am starting to freak myself out. Now onto the fun parts of this whole senior year thing…like….Homecoming! I was the proud momma of one of the handsome young men, chosen for the Homecoming Court. DJ was selected for court and I couldn’t have been more proud of him. He is such a sweet, funny young man. He just makes me smile. He is one of those kids that people just gravitate to. He has a kind sensitive heart. He is just very likable. I know that I sure like him. 
I was very excited to go to the Homecoming game. I was looking forward to going to the football game. I had been wanting to watch the football team play. I am, in my heart, a 100% dedicated soccer mom. But I have always enjoyed watching football. And those boys on the football team are friends with my boys. A lot of them play basketball with my boys. I was happy to show my support for our Wolves football players. But please notice that while I was there for our football team, I felt the need to represent for our soccer boys as well. Note the soccer shirt.
Me and my boy.  

(For the record, I was standing on the bleacher seat, hence the tallness of me.)
The 2013 West Shamokin Homecoming Court
The beginning of the “black hole.” Jake and his buddies were there to support the football team too.
The “black hole” was growing!
DJ and Kelsey
The Court congratulating the new “King” and “Queen”. Congratulations Austin and Kelly!
DJ and his beautiful girlfriend, Anna….ummm. What a lovely couple ?!?
DJ. Vince, Ryan, Anna and Coley
Ahhhh, there is the couple that we know and love.
Unfortunately the football team lost. But those boys never stopped trying, even after some key players were injured. DJ wasn’t chosen as the king either, but as usual, he was optimistic. As we were walking to the car, I asked him if he was disappointed that he didn’t win. His response made me smile. His exact words were something along the lines of, ” I got free food, so I feel like I won anyway!” 
I feel like I won too, DJ. Onto the next “Senior Thing.”

Another in double digits!!! Happy Birthday Hannah!

Well, tomorrow, Friday September 13th, is Miss Hannah Therese’s 10th birthday. As each kid’s birthday rolls around, I inevitably think of their birth (or the moment when I became their mom). But with Hannah, I go all the way back, back to when I found out that I was expecting her. Brian and I had been married for a little over two years. The twins were in first grade, Jake had started kindergarten and Isaac was a brand new baby. He was just 4 months old when we found out that we were expecting again. I went through every emotion that you can think of. Shocked, ecstatic, petrified, thrilled… You name it, I felt it. It had taken us a year to get pregnant with Isaac, so we figured that we would just leave it up to God when we would conceive again. I never really thought that it would happen so quickly. But as usual, God knew better than we did. Isaac was one of those babies that didn’t sleep unless I was holding him. He could be sound asleep and the second that I tried to lay him down, he would wake up. I very vividly remember sitting at the foot of our bed at about 2 in the morning, sobbing. Isaac would not go to sleep, and being 6 months pregnant, I was exhausted. I was convinced that I would never sleep again. Isaac had not only been a bad sleeper, but he was a pretty bad nurser too. It was probably because he had a very unprepared, inexperienced nursing mother, but it did not go well. I remember feeling guilty when I was pregnant because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to take care of two babies. How in the world would I take care of Isaac and a newborn? What if I couldn’t give the new baby the attention that she needed? What about DJ, Coley and Jake? Basically, I was a mess. But again, God knew just what I needed. I needed Hannah Therese.
I remember the afternoon before my due date, I felt like labor might be starting. I was sure that I was imagining things, because who actually has a baby on their due date? Isaac was 10 days late, so I never thought that Hannah would come on her due date. From the very beginning Hannah did things her way. By the middle of the night, I was sure that I was actually in labor and we headed to the hospital. My Ob/Gyn was out of town for her brother’s wedding. The doctor on call walked into the room introduced himself and then promptly broke my water. Ummm hello! Nice to meet you too!?  He asked me if I wanted an epidural. After recalling Isaac’s 36 hours of terrible labor, I was very sure that I wanted one. It all went fairly smoothly. I got my epidural and Brian and I were sitting there talking and then I felt it, a contraction. And then another one. And another and another. Each one was getting more intense and more painful. I looked at Brian and said, “Why am I feeling these?!” The doctor came back in and said that it was time to push. I freaked out minorly because by this point I was feeling everything. I was not happy about that. I had wanted an epidural for a reason. I didn’t want to feel anything! I may have over-reacted a bit. It certainly wasn’t fun, but once she was out, I have to admit, I felt great. The doctor laid her on my chest and she just looked at me. She was beautiful. She snuggled right up to me and started to nurse right away. And then, miracle of miracles…she slept! She was such a sweet baby. She was content and happy. She was so giggly and smiley. I was in love…again.
Seriously, look at those cheeks! She was such a chubby baby. Just beautiful!
She has loved her big sissy from the beginning.
She is number 5 of nine. I guess that makes her our middlest (?) child. She has always been independent. I remember going to a baby shower for a friend from college. Everyone there had one or two babies and I already had 5. The other babies all wanted to be held, while Hannah sat there happily playing with a book. When she was born, I was so worried about her and Isaac being so close in age. They are only 13 months apart. But everything that I was worried about, turned out to be a positive instead of a negative. Because I was not able to sit and hold either one of them all day, they were both able to play well by themselves. They had to entertain themselves. They were both very loved by their big brothers and sister. They watched everything that the three older kids did and tried to be just like them. Sometimes this got them into trouble, especially Hannah and Gia. They had built-in playmates. I had worried for nine months over nothing. Our family was growing exactly the way that God intended. 
Hannah on her 3rd birthday. This is one of my all time favorite pictures of Hannah.
Hannah has always had a very active imagination. She loves to dress up and act out little plays. She loves to have tea parties with Gianna. She loves to write stories and draw pictures. She loves to design clothes and has even done a little bit of sewing. She reads constantly. (She is just like her mother!) When we went to the library, she looked around and let out a wistful sigh. “I am in book heaven!” (She warms my heart.) She is so many wonderful things. 
Tea party
Our little scarecrow. 
The American Girl Tea dressed as their favorite princesses. 
Here she was being the Llama Princess…don’t ask. Just laugh.
She loves animals, especially cats. The boys always say that they will never go and visit her when she has her own house. They joke that she will have 30 cats. They might be on to something. She is the cat whisperer of our house. Even our old grumpy cat Sonny (who detested EVERYONE!) loved Hannah. He would curl up with her every afternoon at nap time. 
Her shirt says “I love my cat!” She made Louie a sign that said, “I love my human!”
Her is Hannah fishing at the CMF picnic. She loved it!
My little girl, is growing into a young lady. She has the same bright blue eyes and sweet smile, but her soft rounded little girl face is thinning out. Her once short, chubby legs have stretched out, becoming long and slender. (That she gets from her dad.) She is every bit as beautiful as she was the first time that I held her. But now instead of wondering what she will be like, I have been blessed to actually know. She is funny and smart. She is kind and a good friend. She chooses to be comfortable over fashionable. (She would pick jeans and a t-shirt over tights and a dress everyday.) She is messy. (Just ask her sisters who share a room with her!) She loves to swim and dance and play soccer. She is easily distracted and kind of lazy. (If I send her to her room to put her clean clothes away, she will still be back there an hour later reading or drawing, beside her pile of laundry.) The worst punishment is to take her kindle or her books off of her. (She is usually reading at least 2 or 3 books at a time. And she keeps them tucked away in different spots so that she always has one within reach.) She always has two spare books in her book bag. When I asked her why, she replied that you never know when you will finish the book that you are reading and you never want to be without a book to read. (Amen baby girl, amen.) She loves to talk and talk and talk. She loves to paint her nails and do her own hair. But she also likes to jump on the trampoline and play house. She is amazing and fearless. She is a little girl and a young lady all rolled up into one fabulous package. 
Hannah at her joint birthday party with Isaac.
Happy Birthday Hannah Therese! 
Yep, God knew what I needed 10 years ago, and he gave me Hannah. Thank You God!

Theme Thursday: Text

There are so many ways that we communicate. Our thoughts can be conveyed through an email, a text, a picture, a glance, a phone call. These are all effective, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned handwritten note. This is one of my husband’s prized possessions…
It was given to him by a friend of his, Fr Emil Payer. Yes, it is signed by Blessed Mother Theresa. Yep, pretty awesome! You can even see where she used white-out to correct her typing. 
This is one of my favorite “notes.” It was given to me by an apologetic 6 year old. He was having a hard time saying that he was sorry, so he wrote me this “letter.” 
 Seriously, my heart melted a little bit. 
Head over to Clan Donaldson to see some more link ups!!

Another little servant…

From day one of our kids lives we try to impress upon them the importance of our faith. We have them baptized, putting a lot of thought and prayer into the decision of who we will ask to be their godparents. We take them to church every Sunday and every Holy Day. We take them to Faith Formation classes and Vacation Bible School. We say family prayers each night (or at least most nights). We provide opportunities for them to go to Confession. And once they receive their First Holy Communion, we celebrate the Eucharist together each Sunday at Mass. I am not trying to make it sound like we have it all figured out. Not at all. But  I feel that these things are all parts of the foundation that our kids need to build a sturdy faith on. I am not naive. I know that there will come a point when each one of our children will have to make a choice. They will have to decide if they truly in their heart of hearts believe all that we have taught them. They will need to decide if they are going to fully embrace the beauty of our faith as their own. We each have to do that. That choice, that claiming, is what makes our faith truly a part of us. As parents we can offer it and pray that our children will accept it, but we really have no control over that. It is up to them. And that is the way that it needs to be. 

As I pray for my children each day, I ask that they will each be open to hearing and following God’s will in their lives. I pray that they will continue to love our faith and uncover bits and pieces of the beauty that it has to offer each of us. I pray that they will find comfort and solace in His Word as it is spoken to us in the Bible. I pray that they too will feel a calmness and peace as their rosary beads slip through their fingers. I pray that they will continue to look for ways to serve God, the Church and one another. One way that they have done that is by offering themselves as Altar Servers at mass. When they were old enough, each one of our kids has made the decision to don the white alb and step up to serve at mass. It is such a joy as their mother to see them do this. It is one of those proud moments that we hold on to when we are trying not to beat the little buggers. 
Today, Miss Hannah Therese, joined the ranks of altar server. She was so nervous, but she did great. She rang those bells like a champ! She looked so little sitting in that chair in the front of the church, with her feet barely brushing the floor. She just kept grinning. I knew that part of that was because she was anxious and part of it was because she was excited. She was scheduled to serve with her big brother and special “buddy” DJ. The fact that he was right there with her, helped her to calm down. She looks up to him so much and I know that she was very happy to be serving for the very first time with him at her side. To be honest with you, it made me feel better too.
Holy Moly! Who gave that girl fire???!!!

Buddies and now Altar Servers!
Having another little servant in the family makes this Mama very happy. 

The Houghs do Labor Day

I have been trying to find a few minutes for almost a week to post about our Labor day. last weekend was the usual ridiculous busy-busyness for us. Soccer game on Saturday morning. Church, family reunion and birthday party on Sunday. But miraculously, Monday, Labor day was free. I have no idea how, but I was really looking forward to having a day with my little family and no plans. I declared it “Fun Day Monday!” Unfortunately, the day started out kind of rough. Because of the whirlwind of activity all weekend, the house looked like a bomb went off in it. It was pretty bad. So, the husband, who cannot relax if the house is messy started to clean. Out of guilt, I felt compelled to join in too. Therefore, Fun Day Monday turned into a “Chorin’ Mornin'” (I know that was a bit of a stretch, but bear with me please and thank you!) I will admit that I was starting to get a little bit cranky. Ok, perhaps more than a little bit. I may have been edging toward full blown evil, but I was very disappointed by the way that our relaxing day had taken a terrible turn for the worse. The husband, who has developed the ability to sense when I am edging toward the point of no return, recognized that the situation was barreling towards badness and he came up with a plan. This leads us to the fun part of the day…The Houghs go BOWLING! Greendale will never be the same!

My biggest blessings!

This picture makes me laugh every time. Look at how tan DJ is and how pale Coley is! Yep, they are twins!

Gia was celebrating a spare!

I am not sure what is going on with Noah here, but Hannah makes me smile.

Someone always has to be mad about something…always.

The husband and I.

Yeah baby! STRIIIIIKE!

Me and my big boys

Nicole Hough X 2
We had so much fun. We split the kids up and Hannah down went on one lane (with bumpers) and Isaac up went on another lane (no bumpers). We weren’t that good, but we had a blast. Aiden was the big winner out of all of us. That little bugger had 107. The rest of us….well, not so much. But we had a blast and there are not many things that the 11 of us can do for $30. The next thing that we did was my idea. We went to Frosty’s and had ice cream for dinner. (I will do anything to get out of cooking and doing dishes!) 
Yummo Frosty’s! Snickerdoodle was the flavor of the week and the Houghs approved. 
The bowling was fun. The ice cream was delicious, but the best part of the day was just being together. I know that sounds cheesy, but I mean it. The kids are getting older and are busy. They work and play sports and have homework and blah, blah, blah. It is becoming more and more infrequent for all of us to be together. To have all 9 kids with us and to be able to do something fun, like bowling and ice cream for dinner, was a rare treat. I am so glad that Fun Day Monday turned out to be just that.