My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sushi Party!

At a recent family get-together, Ben and Beth discovered that our kids love sushi. They were highly impressed by the adventurous tastes that our little connoisseurs had developed, and so later that week my brother called me to ask if we would host a sushi-making get-together. They would bring all the fixings and would teach us how to roll sushi, all we needed to bring was an appetite. No problem there!

Max's "Original Roll"
On the day of the Sushi Party, as my kids had been referring to it, I came home from teaching at the church to find our table strewn with every imaginable sushi component. Ben was helping Max press rice onto a sheet of nori (seaweed) and choose his fillings, Beth was rolling her sushi using an actual bamboo sushi mat, Paul was heating the sake, and Lucian was taste-testing the first finished rolls. There was fresh salmon, canned tuna, strips of carrot, cucumber, avocado, egg, wasabi, soy sauce, you name it they thought of it.

We made roll after roll, eating it almost as fast as we could make it. Max took to naming his sushi: Odd Roll (inside out roll with tuna, sriracha mayo, egg, and cucumber. Delicious), Ready and Prepared (rolled with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger to save you the effort of dipping), Dream Roll (something yummy...) and Original (carrot, cucumber, salmon. Made to look as much like a cartoon version of sushi as he could). Finally, as our rolling began to outpace our munching, we moved to the living room to read stories and get ready for bed. Ben and Paul cleaned up while Audrey attached herself firmly to Beth.

Of course before the night was even over, the kids were already planning the next Sushi Party, and the general consensus was that it would take place "tomorrow" of course. We weren't able to pull it off quite that quickly, but here's hoping we can do it again soon! What a fun and delicious evening!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Edie Clare Hockey Player

I can't let another day go by without recording the latest antics of our current toddler, Miss Edie Clare. I could have never guessed six months ago, when she was scattering the contents of her diaper around the house, that she would have matured so much in such a short time. Her verbal skills are off the charts, she has a sense of humor, and she is just plain fun to be around!

She has, by her enthusiasm and sheer cuteness, turned our whole family into avid hockey fans. She can sense a Wild logo from a mile off; she has been known to shriek "Minnesota Wild!!" while walking into church when she notices that the teenage boy towering in front of her has the adored logo on his hat. She even refers to herself in the third person as "The Hockey Player". Lately, she has taken to walking around the house with her imaginary friend. She gives him piggy back rides, rocks him to sleep, holds his hand when they walk down the stairs. I asked her what his name is, and she replied, "Scandella!" For the uninitiated, Marco Scandella is a Wild defenseman, and her favorite player on the team.

On game days, we gather together in the basement. Lucian and Audrey put on their hockey gloves and play against each other while the rest of us relax and watch the game. When we settle in to watch, Edith inevitably disappears into the laundry room for a moment and then reappears with a cold beverage for her daddy. "You want a beer?" she asks. How can he possibly refuse? This is, of course, followed by the question "Can I ha' some?"

Recently, Paul was away in the evening and I found myself turning on the game. For those of you who have known me a long time, you know how monumental this is! Edith disappeared from the room for awhile, long enough that I thought it prudent to check on her. No, I no longer have to worry about her diaper staying on, but there are plenty of other things she still loves to get into. I went upstairs and found that she had gotten a beer from the fridge, pulled a chair up to the counter, and was attempting to open the bottle with a meat thermometer! "Mommy want a beer?" she asked casually. Oh dear...

At the high school hockey tournament... totally enthralled
But it's not all hockey around here; Edie also has a great love for singing! Of course, her favorite song is the Wild anthem, but she fills her days with song and will serenade anyone who asks her. Other favorites include Don't Worry, Be Happy, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Happy Birthday, A Tisket a Tasket, anything from Moana, and the theme from The Nutcracker... that is, one line of it, sung repeatedly as she spins and dances in circles until she falls down.

The other day I heard music coming from upstairs. I tiptoed to the girls' bedroom door, peeked in, and found Edith sitting on the floor listening to her CD of children's folk music and singing along at the top of her lungs. Oh my heart!

I can see in her eyes that she still has a propensity for destruction, but she has been learning to channel it in appropriate ways. Her favorite activities are cutting paper and getting into our toiletry drawers in the bathroom. One day I found her with concealer all over her face; the next day she smeared Paul's hair cream all over her head. She has an intense desire to bite people, but she knows it's wrong so she will move in slow motion, teeth bared, until we tell her "No bite!" and then she'll instantly put her arms out and insist "I was huggin' you!"

Most of our children had a rough stretch between age two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half, but Edith seems to have peaked early. The previous year was a nail-biter, but she's grown into a fun loving, sweet toddler... maybe we'll be able to avoid the threenager stage after all!


Trying on her hockey skates!!

She loves her books... and her thumb

Pow-wow with Daddy early in the morning

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Paul and Little Paul

Since I have not been on top of writing lately, I sadly allowed Lucian's birthday to go by without a mention! But as Paul just celebrated his big day yesterday, I thought it might be fitting to talk about the two together.

Often it's customary for a firstborn son to take his father's name, but for a variety of reasons, Lucian was the one to receive the middle name of 'Paul'. Little did we know at the time just how fitting that would be!

Lucian takes after his Daddy in so many ways. Neither is quick to crack a smile, but when they find something worthy of exercising their facial muscles, they can light up a room. They are both sporty and competitive, two traits that I most definitely am lacking. They have spent many hours bonding over watching football and hockey, and playing chess and soccer. Being married to Paul has expanded my horizons so that I can sit and watch a game on t.v. and somewhat understand what is happening, but I think he is thankful to have some family members who really get into the games... instead of just tolerating them.

They also share a love of the outdoors. Lucian took his first trip to the Boundary Waters last summer, and I think he would have been happy to never come home! He is always the first one out of doors when I say it's time to play outside. One of the greatest compliments I can give him is to compare him to Dickon from the Secret Garden, a young boy who spent so much time outside that he made friends with the animals! 

If you look closely at our features, you might say that Lucian has more of me in him than Paul. But take a step back and you can see exactly why his mannerisms and body language earned him the nickname "Little Paul" from his grandma. I love to see them standing side by side, hands in their pockets. There's no missing the similarities. And if our Little Paul turns out anything like his daddy, we have absolutely nothing to worry about!

A Pokeball birthday cake

Birthday Feast: sushi, shrimp, hot dogs, apples, carrots, chips and salad.
All specifically requested by the Birthday Boy

Friday, January 20, 2017

Halfway Done

A friend pointed out a terrifying thought to me; as of December 25, Max is halfway done with his childhood! In another nine years, he will be a legal adult, able to vote... and drive... and... leave. Oh dear, my mommy heart is not ready for that, not at all.

He has been maturing at a breakneck pace; each day he surprises me with new insights and new behaviors. Recently, after trying to come to an agreement with his brother about what game to play, he came to me and informed me, "Mom, sometimes when you really want to do one thing and someone else really wants to do something else, it's better to come up with a third thing to do. That way, you both don't get to do your first choice, but you get to do something together!" We had a good chat about compromise and cooperation, and while he's still working on a full understanding of those concepts, he seems wiser every day.

As he grows, his powers of observation have matured as well. In the past, he hasn't had much time to stop and notice how his behavior affects others. His brain and body just moved so fast that he was a bit oblivious to surrounding circumstances. Recently his ability to empathize has sprung up seemingly out of nowhere! When all the other kids are yelling at me for one reason or another, Max can sense when I'm about to boil over and often will begin trying to call off his siblings. If I have to remove myself from the room so I don't lose it, he's the first to come find me and snuggle next to me to apologize, even if he was not the reason for my frustration.

He has always been terribly affectionate; I know that the quickest way to his heart is to snuggle with him on the couch under a soft blanket. No matter what has happened between us, no matter what I've made him do (or not let him do), he will simply melt into my arms. I am so thankful that this has yet to show any signs of waning. I don't know what I would do if someday Max didn't want to be hugged. I wouldn't recognize him!

And thankfully, he still has that joie de vivre and unbounded curiosity that make him who he is. I have often thought that I'm thankful it's Max who has a Christmas birthday. He doesn't feel overshadowed by the holiday, in his mind it's the more the merrier! More celebrating, more food, more presents for everyone, more decorations, more chaos, more attention, more excitement! As you can see, he insisted on dressing up like an elf for the day.

This little man has been such a blessing to me. I hope to take time and sit back to soak in his last year of single digits! His first decade will be done before I know it!



**I just found this blog post that I never published! I know it's almost Easter, but I still want to have this available for my own memories. It seems like a world away already!**

As always, it's well into January before I get around to writing about Christmas. The task seems so daunting; so much goes on in those few days! But I don't want to forget the fun we had and the joy of sharing it with family. A week before Christmas, my parents invited us down for a gingerbread making party. It's become a tradition of ours, to the point that the kids ask about it all season. Some years I bring the kids down on a weekday and we decorate the houses and have a laid back afternoon. This year, we were invited down for a whole pre-Christmas celebration complete with pizza and a showing of my mom's favorite Christmas movie: The Grinch who Stole Christmas- the original half-hour cartoon, of course. Even my grandparents joined us for the fun!

On Christmas Eve, we donned our festive attire and went to Mass. My mom had three of the five kids on or near her at all times, making things pretty easy on me... thanks Mom!

We came home to our traditional Clam Chowder and a host of other goodies, we played some games and read some books, and even managed to get a really nice family picture! Seriously, look at us!

The next morning we went down to my parents house to continue celebrating. This year, the favorite Christmas gifts were not toys but clothes! Audrey received ballet clothes and Edith a hockey jersey, and I think they have yet to take them off. 



We spent the entire day relaxing, eating, and playing games... just the perfect way to celebrate Christmas. 

Then, because we live by the "go big or go home" rule of life, we rang in the new year with Paul's side of the family! Never too much feasting, I say! More cards, books, laughs, games, and food were had, and I even managed to stay awake for most of it.

I absolutely love our house around the holidays. We can host as many people as want to show up; there's always room for one more. On January 2, the NEWLY ENGAGED Patrick and Anne came through on their way back to school, so we got to hear the whole story firsthand! We are so excited for another family wedding!!

Finally after about a week of nonstop festivities, it was time to get back to real life. Whew! We didn't even travel this year but that sure didn't slow us down! Now it's time to decompress, but it won't take long before I'll want to do it all over again!