My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Sunday, March 30, 2014

And Suddenly There Came a Noise

We have gotten into the habit of having an afternoon tea time around here. After rest time each day, the kids get a little snack and a cup of tea (or vanilla milk for Lucian... he's slowly coming around to tea), and we sit at the table and chat. It started out as just snack time, but since I often drink a cup of tea in the afternoons, the boys decided they wanted in on the action. Max drinks any kind of tea, but the favorite so far has been Black Cherry Berry from Celestial Seasonings.

Now don't we sound refined?

Last Sunday afternoon, Paul sat down with his cup of coffee to join us for tea time. Suddenly I began to hear some rude noises coming from his general direction. Everyone got the giggles as Paul revealed the jar of "Noise Putty" that he had been hiding under the table. From whence did this treasure come? None other than Auntie Monica and Uncle Glenn, thank you very much. It is a favorite toy around here, and in the right hands at the right moment it breaks up any threat of too much culture. Our dignified tea time? De-nied!

Waaaay cooler than tea, Mom.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


What had looked to be a run-of-the-mill weekend was suddenly set ablaze when Paul and Maureen decided to take advantage of a long weekend for Liam and visit us! Soon after, Monica and Glenn decided to join the party, so by Thursday afternoon the house was packed and action-packed.  The kids were super excited to see everyone, but I must say Max and Lucian attached to Liam like puppy dogs. He was a rockstar, spending tons of time playing with them, building paper rockets for their rocket launcher (they worked so well!), acting out plays and songs... I sometimes forgot I even had kids, they were so busy!

A sample of the rockets Liam made
Friday the whole crew went out for a delicious fish fry, followed by Stations of the Cross. It's a good thing we had a deadline, Stations at 6:30, otherwise we might still be at the restaurant devouring all-you-can-eat breaded fish. Mmmmmm.... Anyways, the kids were great during Stations (relatively speaking), and I am glad we've added it to our Lenten traditions this year. 

Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross
The Yanteses brought along a fun game called Spot it, a fast-paced "visual-perception" game that Liam was easily the king of. Max held his own, with some help, and I can proudly say that I beat Liam twice!  Forget the fact that we probably played each other a hundred times. I did beat him! Even Lucian enjoyed the game if we slowed it down and he got some help.

Sunglasses! Snowflake! Cat! 
One of the sweetest parts of the weekend was seeing Audrey fawn over her little cousin. The first word out of her mouth each morning was "Taniel?" and she wasn't content until she laid eyes on him. The only photo I caught of the two of them was when he decided to return the affection and cramped her style a bit, but that was the exception, not the rule. Every time I turned around she was trying to kiss him and hug him. She's gonna be such a good big sister!

Smothered with love
Grandpa Yantes brought his camera, which is always a plus, and towards the end of the weekend he took it out and snapped some great pictures. You won't believe it til you see it, but he even snagged a photo of ALL THREE of my children smiling! Check it out:

Spring is slowly but surely making its way to Minnesota, but a weekend with visiting family sure helped to liven up what has been a dark and dreary season. Now our trip to Boston doesn't seem so far off, and I think we will survive until the snow melts! Thanks to everyone for making the long drive out here, we have been missing you all so much!

Best. Picture. Ever.

Acting out their play, "The Pirate, The King, and The Explorer"

Look at those beauties!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Airport Oddysey

Last Wednesday, we unwittingly set out on an incredible journey, one I would have never planned. My mom was arriving home from a visit to the Philippines after meeting my cousin's fiance, and we wanted to greet her at the airport. I've made this trip several times to welcome Tony and family back from Vienna, so even though the MSP airport is huge and intimidating, I have developed a smooth, simple plan to get from parking to baggage claim with three kids in tow. No biggie.

But my confidence got shaken to the core on Wednesday. As I drove up to the airport, I began to see signs saying, "Long-term parking full. Use short term parking." It looked like I might be parking a bit farther from the entrance than usual, since more cars would be in short term parking. Again, no big deal. I know where I'm going.

Then the bombshell. Pulling closer to the ticket dispenser, I saw workers in yellow vests directing cars away from the parking ramp altogether. And another sign, this one reading, "Short term parking full. Park at Terminal Two." Those of you who are unfamiliar with the MSP airport might need a quick tour to help the complete absurdity of this situation to fully sink in.

This map is slightly outdated, but it gives you the right idea. See the "M" on the map above? That's where I was supposed to meet my mom. And see that "P" in the green square? That's where I usually park. A quick jaunt and an escalator ride away from baggage claim. Now look for the "P" next to the Humphrey Terminal: That's where cars were being routed on this glorious day. I panicked. I had no stroller. I have three kids, including a less-than-two year old. I have a sizeable baby bump and not much stamina. Thank goodness my brother was also meeting my mom at the airport; I don't know what I would have done otherwise.

I parked on the 8th floor of the Terminal 2 parking ramp and took the elevator down with the kids to meet Tony near the light rail station that would take us to Terminal 1. Up several escalators and down endless hallways, we arrived at a tram to bring us to the general vicinity of my normal parking area. A little more walking and an escalator, and we were finally there! My poor mom had no one to greet her when she got off the plane because we were busy commuting from the middle of nowhere to get to her.

While I was huffing and puffing, moaning and complaining, the boys were enjoying every second of it. They got to take a train! And moving walkways! And escalators! And a tram! It was glorious. And besides nearly losing feeling in my arms from hauling a little girl for miles, it really wasn't so bad. But however bad it got, it would have been worth it to see this reunion:

Welcome home, Grandma/Gammy! You were missed!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fargo Fun

We took a road trip to Fargo this weekend to pick up a new-to-us minivan, and we decided to make it into a mini family vacation. Four hours there, one overnight, four hours back- doesn't sound like a lot of time for fun, but we made the most of it! We stayed in a hotel with a fantastic swimming area, complete with a pirate ship and waterslides (kid-sized, not water park mondo-slides. We're not crazy.) We swam all evening, taking only a short break for a pizza dinner. Now when I say "we" swam, what I really mean is Paul swam with the boys and I sat in a pool chair keeping an eye on the kiddie pool and Audrey. It sure worked for me! Audrey took a couple of dips in the water with her daddy, but she preferred to hang out on the sidelines with me.

Lucian spent most of his time in the shallow water, and he braved the slides twice! Once at the beginning, when he didn't know what he was getting into, he got jostled around a bit by some bigger kids and was scared away for the rest of the evening. Then at the very end I could see him gearing up for another go. He tried twice, got to the top, then turned around and came back down the steps. Finally on try #3, he worked up the nerve to slide! With a big smile he came out of the water and said, "I'm ready to go back to the room now!"

I didn't see Max for most of the three hours we spent at the pool. He was in the deep end with Daddy, swimming, jumping, sliding, and diving. I'm lucky I even snagged this photo of him; he only surfaced to come and ask me (per his father's request) when the pizza was supposed to be ready. This kid was made for the water; I really believe he is happiest when he is fully submerged. He would have stayed for another three hours if the rest of his family wasn't getting tired... but thankfully the novelty of a hotel room was enough to get him out of the water without too much fuss.


Everyone fell asleep way past bedtime, but amazingly there was not a peep all night. Even when I'm exhausted, I wake up at the drop of a hat, so I was expecting to be in and out of sleep all night with four other bodies occupying the same room as myself. But I closed my eyes and didn't open them again until 8:30 the next morning (Thank you daylight savings time! The "Spring Ahead" rule works wonders for children).

We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, a buffet that Max claimed was the best breakfast he had ever eaten in his life. Based on the quality of the food, I'd say that atmosphere played a major part in his analysis. We went to Mass at Sts. Anne and Joachim Church, a beautiful new Catholic Church in Fargo, then we met up with my friend Maggie's sister to pick up our van. One unforeseen positive of buying a van from a family with six kids is that it was no problem keeping our children busy while we filled out paperwork. They didn't want to leave!

But we had to leave... so in the early afternoon, we set off for the long drive home with two vans. Since we plan to sell our old van from the Twin Cities, we had to get both cars back to St. Paul. My dear, wonderful, amazing husband made me a deal: if he could drive the new van, he would take all three kids with him. I was left with four hours of just me and baby-in-utero, listening to Public Radio all...the...way...home. It was divine.

We managed to pack a lot of fun into a short trip, and (if we leave out my hunger-induced cranky spells) everyone was in a great mood the whole time! The boys are already asking when we'll buy another van so we can go back to Fargo again.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Forty Days

Lent has begun, and our plans are in place. I'm being careful not to overdo it, but I have high hopes for a fruitful season for our whole family. We made our Crown of Thorns on Ash Wednesday, at the repeated request of Max. I love that the kids have such a sense of tradition already; it's just not Lent without the Crown of Thorns! Each evening we remove a thorn from the crown as we tell of something we did for Jesus that day. At ages 6 and 4, maybe the understanding of sacrifice, of going above and beyond, isn't quite there yet ("I wanted to punch my brother, but I didn't"), but the seeds are being planted. 

We are also attempting to start a new tradition this year: Soup supper and Stations at the church! We have always in the past prayed the Stations of the Cross at home; Max has illustrated them, or we have used coloring pages. But... deep breath... I think we're ready to try. (Ask me on Saturday if we will ever try it again.)

Paul and I are replacing our evening television watching with an evening rosary and reading time, and two days in I can already feel a difference. Oh, and there's the unexpected benefit of a slightly earlier bedtime... or should I say that I've been falling asleep in bed instead of on the couch. As for myself, I have my own list of resolutions, but I am going nowhere near giving up any foods or drinks this year. I plan to eat and drink whatever I want whenever I want, and I will not feel a bit guilty about it. Baby says so.

The boys, with little interference from me, decided on their Lenten sacrifice: No juice! No hot chocolate! Only milk and water for the entirety of the season (but we'll definitely splurge on the feast of St. Joseph). However, it is only Thursday evening and Lucian has already told me three times that he didn't really mean to give up juice. When I heard him say "yes" to Max's idea, he was in actuality clearly saying "no".  And he definitely did not give up hot chocolate. So we'll take it a day at a time. 

I love the season of Lent. I know that I should have the ability to form good habits any time of year, but for some reason I am much more able to stick to decisions I've made if I can label them as Lenten resolutions. I am hoping that by the time Easter comes, some of the changes in my daily routine will be ingrained enough to become permanent... or at least last well into the Easter season. 

I am praying for all of you, that your Lent will be filled with grace and peace. Pray for me too!