The Fourth of July

Our fourth of July was celebrated with our family. We went to Chad and Denee’s house on the fourth for fabulous food and fireworks and family. We were blessed to have Jerry and Dianne, the kids grandparents from Michigan, there to join us. This was the first time that Aiden got to meet his Nana Rose.
Notice the bundled up baby…it was freezing! So much for global warming!
Uncle Sam joined the party too!
The kids had a blast on the trampoline…
And around the campfire…
And even though I am vehemently opposed to sparklers because they burn at like 1500 degrees or something and I don’t want my kids to get burned, Brian managed to slip a few to the kids. They do make for cool pictures, even if they are smoldering death wands.

We also had a picnic at Mema and Poppy’s house to celebrate the fourth. Obviously the weather was much warmer then. No need for jackets or blankets then. The only thing missing were the big kids. They were on there way to Michigan by then.

Here is my beautiful goddaughter, Miss Isabella, showing off her makeup.

This is Hannah showing Becca her new dress for her doll that Nanny made for her.

Here is the glamorous Abagail, complete with movie star shades.

Aunt Joni and Uncle Bobby talking to Aiden. He seems to be enjoying the conversation.

Becca, Benny and Isabella

Noah was trying to convince Abby to let him play with her ball and she was graciously accommodating. Noah would freak out every time the ball rolled into the weeds. He was convinced that he would get “Po Ivy.” Thankfully he did not.

The always adorable Gianna Marie complete with red handbag. Of course her accessories would go with the red white and blue theme for the day.

The kids were hanging out on Mema and Poppy’s swing.

Our newest little American, Aiden Joseph.

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They actually DO pay attention…well sometimes.

Brian and I have made an effort to center our family around our faith. We truly believe that part of the responsibility of being a parent is modeling a good example to our children. ( you can stifle your giggles now, we really do try!) One of the ways that we do this is to have family prayers in the evenings after dinner. I love to have our little brood gathered around the living room in their PJs smelling all clean and fresh from their baths. We have a set way that we do family prayers that works well for us. Everyone gets a chance to say things that they are thankful for and things that they would like to pray for and then they pick a prayer for all of us to say together. An example of these prayers could be the Our Father, Hail Mary, Angel of God…etc. Even with this simple format it is often difficult to hold the little ones’ attention, but we do the best that we can.

We were recently at my Mema’s house for a picnic where the little kids were playing with their cousins. Eventually they all made their way up to the porch and sat in a circle. I overhead Hannah say, ” Ok …now we are going to say family prayers. This is how we do it. Say something that you want to tell God and then we say a prayer. Simple! ” And there on Mema and Poppy’s porch the youngest family members held their own little version of family prayers. It was truly precious. Their petitions ranged from ” Help anyone who is having a bad day. Help all those with cancer and any sickness. And please bless unborn babies.” to “Thank you Jesus for fireworks…they are pretty. ” To hear their sweet little prayers and the innocence with which they said them, just warmed my heart. It was also very moving to see the openness with which they willingly shared their faith with one another. We all need to be more like them and to strive to have the faith of a child.

Buds, Friends, Buddies and Automatic toilets

My funny little girls, Hannah and Gianna

As the mother of eight, I am constantly amused by things that my kids say. Part of the reason for this blog is to write them down so that I don’t forget them, and to remind myself of how funny and cute they can be when I am ready to sell them to the gypsies. (Yes I actually threaten this. It doesn’t work…they know that there aren’t any gypsies that live around here. Maybe I should threaten to sell them to the Amish? …hmmm, just a thought.) Anyway, back to my point… The other day the kids and I were at the pool enjoying the day with my mother-in-law. Joan took the little kids over to the swing set to play for a little while, while I stayed behind with Aiden. After a little while they made there way back to the blanket and Hannah and Gianna were chattering about their new “buds.” They are very social little girls, and take advantage of any opportunity to make some new friends, but this time the other kids were being referred to as “buds.” When I asked Hannah why they were calling their new friends “buds” she looked at me and sighed. She sat down and very patiently explained to me that “Buddies” were brothers or sisters that you were special friends with. For example, all of the little kids in our family always “buddy” up with a big kid. Coley and Gia, Dj and Hannah, Jake and Bubba and Noah. The ultimate hurt occurs if one of the big kids tells a little kid that he or she is no longer their buddy. Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth! It’s terrible!

Hannah went on to explain that next in line are “friends.” This would be other kids that they see on a regular basis. Cousins and friends from school and church fall into this category. Finally, we have “buds.” Buds apparently are would-be friends, but the kids know that they will never see them again. For example, kids that they randomly play with at a playground. How simple yet profound!

The other funny story that happened a few days later stars, none other than our little Gianna. Although she hates it when we tell her, Gianna is a really funny little kid. I think part of what makes her so entertaining is the fact that she’s 4, but she acts like she’s 14. We were at a restaurant and as usual about 20 minutes into the dinner, we had to make a trip to the bathroom. We walked into the ladies room and Gia says, “Oh crap! This is a FANCY bathroom!” Confused and slightly amused I asked her what was wrong with the bathroom. (Imagine this part with her placing her hands on her hips and talking with her slight lisp. ) She sighed, annoyed that I didn’t already know. “Mom, this is a fancy bathroom, and you know what that means! Toilets that flush themselves! I HATE toilets that flush themselves!” She apparently thinks that it will suck her in or something, I’m not sure. She stood outside of two stalls and waited for Isaac and Hannah to come out. When Hannah came out first, she immediately asked her if the toilet flushed itself or if she flushed it herself. Hannah just shrugged and said that it flushed by itself. ” Gianna moaned and muttered under her breath. And then Isaac came out of his stall. “Well?! Did you flush it yourself?” He had been in the handicap stall which had a little bit different setup and apparently a different toilet! He just nodded and said “Yep, I flushed it myself.” She looked at me and flashed me a grin as she threw her little fist into the air in triumph. “Yes! That is the toilet for me!” Such joy over a toilet, I must admit that I’m kind of jealous!

Aiden’s Baptism

Sweet sleeping angel

I have been itching to write this post about Aiden’s Baptism, but I had to postpone it for a little while. We planned little Aiden’s Baptism for June 7. We booked the basement of our church for the party after mass. It worked out well because we had about 100 people there to celebrate with us. I was thrilled that we were surrounded by so many friends and family. The poor baby’s birth was so sad because of my Pappy’s passing away on the day that he was born. Once we got him home and we were settling into the new normal that was to be our life, I came down with a case of appendicitis that required emergency surgery. (Yes, after all of that work to push the little squirt out and avoid a c-section, I ended up having an emergency appendectomy 2 1/2 weeks after Aiden was born. Seriously!?So unnecessary! Thankfully it was laproscopic, so I had a quick recovery and was ready to go for the Baptism.) Finally we would have the happy celebration to welcome our precious baby into the world! I planned and made lists and cooked and planned some more. I felt confident that I was ready for this party. Let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly my first Baptism party, right? Well, the one thing that I hadn’t prepared for and never expected happened. The morning of the Baptism, I was sitting on the floor in our bathroom doing Gianna’s hair when the phone rang. It was my sister-in-law Denee. Her and Chad, Brian’s brother, were going to be Aiden’s godparents. We were excited to ask them and had been been thrilled by their enthusiastic acceptance of fulfilling this role, especially Denee. She had mentioned to me on several occasions how happy she was to be his godmother, a role that she took very seriously. Well…as soon as I got on the phone I knew that something was not right. Her voice sounded funny and the first thing that she said was, ” I am being totally serious, ” Ummmm, whatever it was, I knew right then that it wasn’t going to be good. She went on to tell me that she wasn’t going to be at the Baptism. Kaylee, her little girl had come down with a terrible stomach flu and had been violently throwing up for hours and while she felt terrible about it, she couldn’t leave her. All that I could think was, you have got to be kidding me! As disappointed as I was that Denee wasn’t going to be there, I completely understood. As a kid, you want your mom there when you are sick and as a mom, you can’t leave your sick baby. I think that I felt the most for Denee. She had been so excited about Aiden’s Baptism and now she was going to miss it! Thankfully, Raeleen (the kids’ aunt from Michigan) was more than willing to stand in for Denee at the Baptism. That is why I had to postpone writing this post until I had pictures of Denne holding Aiden in his Baptismal outfit. She wanted everyone to know that while she was thankful to Raeleen for standing in for her, SHE was the godmother!

Aunt Denee with her godson, Aiden Joseph

He’s not too sure about the hat, but I think that it’s cute!


Is he adorable or what!?!

Cuteness in a baby!

While this was a pretty big glitch, it was the only one of the day. The Baptism, which took place during Mass, was beautiful. We were surrounded by our family, friends and church. There was one point when I looked around the church and got a little bit teary. There were so many people there that had been praying for us, for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby and God had heard our prayers, all of them. I looked down at Aiden and I whispered to him that he was loved, very, very loved.

Father Dan performing Aiden’s first sacrament, Baptism! Welcome to the Catholic faith my beautiful baby boy!


Our first official family picture of 10!


The proud parents! Brian and I with our truly perfect baby boy

Brian, Chad, Raeleen and I with Aiden

Joan (aka Babee), Brian, me and Grandma Hughan with Aiden

Grandma Gaggini with her newest great grandchild

Mema and Poppy with Aiden, their 19th (?) great grandchild!

Mom and Dad (aka Mama and Pap-pap) with Aiden

Marge and Bill (aka Nanny and Poppa Hough) with Aiden

After mass, everyone headed downstairs for the party. Raeleen and Sarah and Coley and I had come in the evening before to get everything set up and prepped. My godmother, my Aunt Sherrie came a little bit early to make sure that everything was ready to go when mass was over. Thanks to my phenomenal family and friends, we had a ton of food and a beautiful cake . It was exactly what I had wanted, a happy celebration to truly welcome our little one into this world.

The cake…yummy!

Random party shot

Benny enjoying the decorations!

Becca, Hannah and Sadie

Thank you to all of you who were able to join us. We are truly blessed to have you all in our lives!