Fun in the House of Costello

My weekend (probably like most of you parents) usually consists of something like this: Fall asleep exhausted on Friday night around 9pm (lame-o), run around doing errands, cleaning, laundry, working out, dishes on Saturday, and Sunday is a blur of church, Sunday school, dinner with family and more laundry. Exhausting, and sometimes fun.

I recently read a blog  post from Quad City Mom’s Blog all about making a point to have some FUN with your family. It really got me thinking about how I look forward to the weekend all week, and then when it comes it goes so quickly and I feel like I spent more time with the dish sink than the kids or J. Depressing? Yes. Fixable? Absolutely.

Last weekend was a blast; one of the funnest weekends I have had in a long time. About halfway through Saturday, J and I decided that the day (ended up being the whole weekend) was going to be family fun day.  We were going to only do fun things, and focus the kids and each other, instead of the looming to-do list.

Saturday morning we got up at 8 am. Yes, you read that right. Our darling children let us all sleep in a little lot later than normal. I headed out for a run in the fresh snow (exhilarating!) for a few miles and returned to find J and G cooking up some chocolate chip pancakes. Did I want some? Yes, please! Lucy woke up shortly and we all ate breakfast together (something that rarely happens, only on weekends). After getting everyone dressed we headed to Tipton for some sledding action.  We even bought a new toboggan and tried it out on the hills. The kids squealed with delight.  We returned home for lunch and then headed to the infamous Bennett duck races.

I know what you are thinking….what in the world…? Well, being the novices that we are to the duck races, we did not sponsor a live duck for $10, keep it in a box until it’s name was announced and called to the starting line, or chase it down the track in order to advance to the next round. Nope, we didn’t do that. We watched from the sidelines and got a big kick out of watching the ducks turn around, quack at their chaser, and try to go anywhere but down the track. If you’ve never been, I recommend you attend next year 😉

After the duck races wore us all out, the kids napped and I spent a good 2 hours on the couch, reading, pinteresting, snacking, watching Talladega Nights. It was fabulous.  I kept hearing those dirty dishes calling my name, but believe it or not, I could tune them out and just enjoy some down time! After the kids got up we headed out for a family get together that night.

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Cousin T joined us!

Cousin T joined us!

Sunday we went to church, G attended Sunday school, came home and J went for a much needed run. After L woke up from an early nap, we went swimming! James Kennedy aquatic center in Tipton has $2 swim on Saturdays and $1 swim on Sundays! Perfect! G and L got to make sure their life vests still worked from last summer and J and I perfected our diving skills on the board. (Or maybe just made a fool of ourselves.) We were accompanied by 5 other family members and had a great time. From there we headed to Durant for my dad’s 60th bday celebration, which was, of course, lots of fun and good food!

J and I decided that we cannot do family fun weekend every weekend. Nothing much was completed and the dish/laundry/school prep/productivity fairy did not make her appearance that we hoped for, meaning that all the chores we left were still there waiting for us on Monday (darn!).  We were exhausted on Monday and Tuesday.  Apparently running, sledding, swimming and cheering ducks on is too much exertion for the middle of February. Or maybe we are just getting old….  I digress.  What we did decide is that family fun weekend needs to happen more often, especially while our kids are young. I know there are already times when I ask G or L “Did you grow overnight!?” and am a little worried about where the time went. I want to make as many memories with the kids as possible, and I want to share with them all the fun things I remember from when I was growing up. Family fun day is here to stay!

And just because I’m proud of it, check out what I crafted during naptime today…..a roll-up matchbox car mat for G! He loves it!

Parking the cars

Parking the cars

All rolled up to go!

All rolled up to go!

What did I get myself into?

The first time I met Jeremiah, I had no idea that he had 29 first cousins. I remember him mentioning something like ‘there’s a lot of us’. I have 15 cousins total, on both my mom and dad’s sides combined. After a few months of dating, I attended a family holiday get together at Jeremiah’s grandparent’s farm. I was informed (jokingly) by J’s dad on the way there that there would be a test afterwards of everyone’s names. Riiiight. So there’s gonna be a few people at this thing, big deal.

I walked into the kitchen and saw about 15 people, just in the kitchen. Then I looked around the corner into the living room.

Holy. Moses.

I failed the test.

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This photo is a little dated; there are 14 more faces added to this group now!

If you are married into this family, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about right now. It’s a miracle I came back for the second holiday 😉

I LOVE being a part of this family. I realize how lucky I am to have such awesome and fun in-laws, most of which live fairly close to us. They really have been a blessing to me and J and our little family.

The sheer numbers are kinda entertaining:

When we got married, we had 450 people at the reception. We ran out of seats, literally, and I think some people had to eat outside (sorry if you were one of them!). I think half of the list was J’s family, but that meant we had plenty of food servers, cake cutters, wine drinkers (you know who you are!) and people to fill the dance floor!

Since we have been married, we have attended 5 of his cousin’s weddings. 2 more are being planned. We have seen the birth of our 2 kids and 5 others. 2 more are currently on the way. Let’s just say we’re getting accustomed to attending a lot of showers! Our ’66 Mustang has made the rounds to at least 13 Proms/Homecomings across Eastern Iowa.

As previously written, I went on a retreat last weekend. At one point they wanted people to share if they had any family relationships amongst all 65 of us women. I was one of the 10 people that stood up and represented the family. Pretty cool!

Family events are quite…..interesting.

-G fell into a roaster full of (cooled) turkey drippings at Thanksgiving one year. Since there are so many people in one house, they had placed the roaster off into a side room after we had eaten to get it out of the way. G tripped and fell into it. By the time I heard the story, meandered through the mob and got to him, one of his great-aunts had already cleaned him up!

-There is always at least a few extra people at any given time. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, neighbors, people who didn’t have anywhere else to go. Always a new face to get to know. My sister has been to a few of these. She’s practically related now!

-Somehow at least one wrestling match always occurs. Sometimes it’s the kids…..and sometimes it’s the big kids.

-It takes at least 2-3 hrs to open Christmas presents.

If you come to St Ann’s 10:30 mass on any particular Sunday, you will find a minimum of 2-3 pews stacked in the family’s ‘section’, dubbed ‘Costello corner’. Can’t miss us. We are the ones with numerous children being passed from person to person, and the kids are not usually the quietest!

One of the many great things about a large family is that you have a huge network of people who know a lot more than you do about a lot of things. Just in J’s family, we have people who do: HVAC, plumbing/pipefitting, burials, pharmacy, accounting, massage therapy, physical therapy, insurance, banking, cosmetology, natural health, wedding/prom dress fitting, teaching, farming, firefighting, mechanics, just to name a few (sorry if I forgot yours!).

So I’m a transplant, married into this huge family of which I had no realization of at first. As the years go by I am amazed and thankful for the many people that have been brought into my life though this. It is amazing what great things you can get yourself into through marriage! 😉

Lucy Lou….Who?

Lucy came into our lives on April 26, 2011. I was ECSTATIC to have a girl. Since then she has been such a mellow, laid back little person, and such a joy to have around. She resembles both J and I (I like to think more of ME), and sometimes a ‘Who’ (Dr Suess, anyone?) if her hair is done in such a way. And lately, I feel that she resembles my Grandma Schulz quite a bit.

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Lucy’s first outfit!

What’s funny with kids is how fast they change.

In the past 2 weeks or so, Lucy (AKA Lulu, Lucy Lou-Who, L, Lucy Marie-Rose!, Lucy Lou, Ms L) has really blossomed into a little girl. Gone is my baby who enjoys to be held for hours on end, is quiet, sucks her fingers all day, and is content watching other little kids play from afar.  Her personality is really coming into it’s own.  I was gone for 3 days last weekend to a retreat. I returned wondering who had taken my baby and returned this opinionated beautiful little gal  in her place. She is now 21 months old.  So quickly, things change.

Going swimming for the first time last year

Going swimming for the first time last year

Lucy now insists on picking out her clothes. Most days its this floral hoodie (that I kind of wish I had never bought) or a jacket, and mid-calf boots…thats it. Who needs pants?

Lucy will now *finally* sit still long enough so that I can fix her hair. This means my mommy skill of toddler hair has also come into its own. Apparently other moms feel the same, as I have come across several blogs showing me how to do her hair so that it will stay in all day. Gone are the days of hair in the face!!!

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If you come to our home at any given time, you are likely to find Lucy wearing one or ALL of the following: a fireman’s jacket, a tutu, a winter hat/coat/gloves/boots, a Disney princess outfit, a pro wrestling mask or an apron. It’s just how she rolls.

Lucy is beginning to say several words consistently. We are not so used to this, as Gabriel was a little less fluent than Lucy is at this age. She constantly talks, sometimes uses words. Either way, she is very clear with her requests. She has become quite the little parrot, repeating a lot of words that we say. Some of her favorites these days: ball, shoe, dad, mom, G, dog, shirt, pants, Mel, sock, more, hot, water, milk, hair, hat, coat, boot, ow, frog, book; all said with exclamation.

Don’t you dare forget to give Lucy her gummy bear vitamins after dinner, or she will let you hear it! Also, do not forget to turn on her Gregorian chant or Mozart at night, her beauty sleep goes needs that music!

Lucy is obsessed with babies. I’m not sure if this means she wants a  younger sibling or what, but if she sees a baby, everyone is going to know. She screams, shrieks, points, and smiles at that baby, and then insists on going to get a closer look. Same goes with if she sees her young cousins from afar. She is on a mission!

Lucy has become my little shadow. Some people may find this annoying, but I could not be more thrilled. G has always been J’s little shadow. He does absolutely everything that J does, and they both love it. It is so fun to have a mini-me. If I put on a necklace, Lucy insists on wearing one too, all day. If I’m cooking, she’s right there, wanting to stir, measure, scoop, whatever she can get her hands on. Brushing teeth?I better have her light up firefly toothbrush ready!

Lucy has become quite opinionated. I now have to consult her opinion on what music we listen to, what clothes she wears, and what cup she drinks out of, what plate she eats from, what food she eats. We hear a lot of protesting and see a lot of pouty faces. 😉

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I regularly look in the rearview mirror and see Lucy jamming out to whatever is on the radio. Both her and G have some mad moves.

Watching our kids grow and change is so much fun. At every age I think, “This is the best! I just love this age so much!”.  Guess what, the same thing happens at each stage. I’m told this lasts until the teenage years, so here’s to enjoying it till then!! 😉