Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Antiphons!

I LOVE being Catholic! The Advent Season for Catholics is so incredibly rich in tradition and symbolism. I am grateful that I have a lifetime to truly uncover the richness of this season, because I know that I still have so much to learn!

One of my favorite Christmas Hymns has always been, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." The verses of the song, echo the prophesies in the book of Isaiah that foretell of Christ's coming. I love that each verse ends with a joyful, "Gaude! Gaude!" (Rejoice! Rejoice!) because Emmanuel has truly come to the waiting Israel.

Over at Catholic Culture there is a good summary of what are known as the "O Antiphons," which are sung or prayed during the final days before Christmas. This year, I was finally able to make our own version of the "O Antiphon House." I have been wanting to do this or the past few years, I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to do it this year. So far, this has gone over much better than what I had expected! Rose and Sam LOVE this. It is a wonderful visual work that encourages great questions! Here are a few photos of what we have done:

1) Today we are on "O Oriens," which is why most of the boxes are already open. I used an unfinished photo frame and spray painted it gold (with a little glitter for sparkle) and then I found seven little cardboard boxes and spray painted them gold and glued them onto the frame. On the inside of each box, is the image for the day which corresponds to the Antiphon. Each box top has a wooden star painted gold, and on the underside of the lid, is a wooden letter that stands for the Antiphon. I punched a small hole in the top of each lid and attached a gold ribbon to it, so we could hang the box lids up after they were opened.



2) When the box is open for the day, there is a small "scroll" that has the prophesy and the Antiphon inside.

3) At the end, "ERO CRAS" will be spelled out which means, "Tomorrow I will come." This is what it will look like, after all of the boxes are opened:


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Attention Toddler Age Girls:



I have in my keeping, the makings of a little man, who would be great husband material...that is if he doesn't feel called to the priesthood instead. :) Below is a list of his qualifications, which I think would make him an ideal candidate for a lifelong commitment:


1) Should you ever feel the need to watch how high the human person can launch himself from any object in your home...Sam is your man. Falling, or injuring himself is only part of the job and previous falls or injuries, will not dampen his spirit.

2) If you have ever wondered what may be lurking behind your toilet, in your toilet or under the stove...again, Sam is your man.
3) No woman likes to be left alone in her kitchen, and with Sam, you never will be. He is quite good at knife handling, dish washing and throwing anything left on the counter in the trash...even if it was about to be part of the meal, but who wants those unnecessary calories anyway.
4) Window washing, this is where his expertise truly shines. Windex is for wimps. Sam's tongue swiped across the window works wonders. This is a chore he loves to do, so you will never even have to add it to your "Honey-do" list.
5) Romance, every girl needs romance. Who could resist a footed pajama man, crawling into your lap and singing sweetly, "Baby its cold outside?" Yes, my heart melts every time he does this.
Ladies, what you are looking at is the whole package. I could list several other endearing qualities like his new found pizza sauce facial mask, or how he drives his cars on the bathroom door when inexplicably you have locked yourself in, but really I don't want to over do it.
I promise to keep you updated, as this wonderful little piece of masculinity continues to maturity. In a few years, you can send us your applications. :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Pictures!

Yay! I finally have a few pictures on my computer! It has been a busy month already.

But before I get to this month, we ended last month by celebrating Samuel's 2nd birthday! I can hardly believe he is already two! Because his birthday fell the day after Thanksgiving this year, he ended up celebrating twice, because we were at both sets of grandparent's houses during the holiday. It was so much fun! Samuel was so blest to be surrounded by all of his family!

When we celebrated with my family, my heart felt so overwhelmed by happiness and memories. When Sam was born, I was lucky to have my Mom in the delivery room with me and the day after the birth, we were welcomed home by my entire family celebrating Thanksgiving dinner in our little apartment. It was so special this year to be with my Mom and my whole family, remembering how we had celebrated a different kind of Thanksgiving only two years ago. :) Happy Birthday to my manly little man, Samuel! I love you, Sam and all of the amazing adventures you bring into our lives.

1) Here is Sam's first cake that we took to the first party. :) I was so grateful that Sam recognized it as a train.


2) Sam and Daddy at his second party. I don't have any explanation for the look on Sam's little face. He was actually really happy and excited. :)


3) Sam's fire truck cake. He is obsessed with fire trucks these days and this cake in particular had him completely thrilled!

Friday, November 12, 2010

In these moments

In these moments, I am enjoying these things:

1) Waking up. At various stages in motherhood waking up can be challenging. For this moment, by that I mean today, I find it joyful. The mornings are truly full of joy these days. I wish I woke up in the morning with the same kind of vigorous excitement for the day that my children do. For now, I let them lead me to it.

2) Moments of silence. Again, at various times in motherhood, silence becomes a foreign word. In this moment, my children are becoming friends and that means there are more times when they are playing together happily, and I am left in silence. It is bittersweet. I am grateful to finally catch my breath, and in that same instance I miss their closeness. I remind myself that this is a VERY fleeting moment, so I try to enjoy it to the fullest!

3) Reading together. Samuel has discovered books! This means that the three of us can now cozy on the couch, or in Mommy's bed, for endless amounts of time reading the same stories over and over. I love it! He has very strong opinions for which books we should read at "his turn," and I love discovering what they are. I love that I have to constantly switch between ballerina stories and "truck books!" Sometimes I read a little slower than usual, just so I can savor that moment of two heads resting on my shoulders.

4) Rose Marie is learning to read! I love watching her eyes sparkle as she sounds out new words! I realize that tomorrow, she could loathe me for asking her to read out loud, but for today, she is thrilled, and so am I!

5) Samuel sings. He sings constantly. He sings from his crib, in the bathtub, while he is eating, while he is playing etc. I hope it means that his heart is joyful and happy.

6) Rose Marie dances...all the time! Between the singing and the dancing we are becoming quite the talented little family. I can't help but smile when Rose prances down the stairs with a purple headband crookedly perched on her head, pink butterfly wings balancing off her shoulders, a pink tu-tu almost resting at her waist, multi-colored bracelets to match her mis-matched socks, completing her attire with red sequined shoes. She then announces that she has a surprise for me and that I am invited to a very special ballet. It truly is special...every single time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Snapshots from October :)

I have a few snapshots from last month, that I really wanted to share. Last month, was a full and happy month for our little family. Here a few of my favorites:

1) We celebrated our 5th Anniversary this year! My always romantic husband surprised me with an evening away, which was wonderful! This shot was actually taken the weekend before at our College's Homecoming celebration, but I love it!

2) Apple Picking! We went twice last month, which was such a treat! Apples are definitely a favorite in this house. I had wanted to use them to bake with, but they were eaten before I got the chance. :)

3) Myself and the kids, completed our first hike up at Skyline Drive together! I was so proud of Rose for happily making it the whole way on her own! We had so much fun that morning! They were both exhausted by the time nap time rolled around. :)


4) The pumpkin patch! This was one of my favorite years, because both of the kids had strong opinions on which pumpkins they wanted, and each one was absolutely perfect for them. They were so proud of them!


5) Pumpkin Carving! We were afraid that Sam's pumpkin might be too small to carve into, but Daddy patiently worked on it and was able to put a smile on that little pumpkin. :)




6) The Artist and the apprentice:




7) Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Samuel's Vocabulary

A few years ago I did a post on Rose Marie's budding vocabulary.

Samuel has recently discovered his own voice, and I love it! He can now communicate clearly what he wants...most of the time. He has come up with a few words of his own that make us all laugh. Without further ado, here is a guide to Sam's word usage:

1) "Mine"= this is his own nickname for Rose Marie. She actually answers to it, but only when he says it. It is so endearing to hear him ask, "Where'd Mine go?" My favorite is hearing him yell for her if she wandered too far from him at the park, "MINE!!!" I think he actually means that she is his...she belongs to him and he is very possessive over his playmate. :)

2) "Mouth-Toot"= Burp. Very clever, if you ask me and it makes his Daddy very proud.

3) "Butt"= Bug

4) "Hop Butts"= Grasshoppers

5) "Trick-or-Treats"= Candy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Over Month Has Gone By...

And I feel like I have so much to say!

Firstly, I no longer have my computer, so I am at the mercy of when I can borrow one for now. :)

Secondly, I have been thinking A LOT about life, marriage, children, the faith, etc. Honestly, my thoughts have overwhelmed me recently and I feel like it has been hard for me to express myself clearly. I am feeling a bit better now and I am anxious to get my thoughts out there somewhere. So, consider yourself warned for future posts.

Thirdly, I can't wait to share again how our lives are daily growing and changing. People always warn you that children grow up way to fast...I finally understand what they mean by that. :) I need to get back to recording it again, so that I never forget.

Here I am! I am back, and I will post when I can. I hope everyone is enjoying this fall weather! God bless!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vacation!

We are home again! This year, we decided to go on vacation with friends of ours from our College days and their families. We had such an amazing time!

I have come home feeling incredibly blessed by the friends that God has placed in our lives. It was so encouraging to spend a week with like minded families and to draw strength and wisdom from each of them. I felt so supported as a family by our loving friends. There was so much laughter and fun, and conversations that encouraged us to be stronger in particular areas of our faith. I feel like I am still digesting the beauty of the week and relishing the reconnection with the dearest of friends. It was wonderful to watch Rose Marie begin new friendships with my friend's children! I think I am still in awe of how God has blessed us in this area. Thank you Lord, for the beauty of amazing friends!

Here are a few snapshots from the week:

1) My man and I, enjoying some much needed couple time.
2) Sharks and Stingrays...life doesn't get much better than that! :)

3) The Wright Brother's memorial. No, I promise that Rose Marie was not strangling Samuel.


4) Daddy and his little beach bunny! She LOVED the water!

5) The boys!





6) Our little family, relaxing on a beautiful day at the beach.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peaceful Days

What "peaceful" looks like:

1) Leisurely, unrushed mornings that include little girls who give big hugs and little shirtless boys with delicious smelling skin.

2) Sipping my coffee and listening to pudgy little feet pounding through house, accompanied by hysterical laughter.

3) "Irish Dancing" in jammies and tu-tu's with my daughter and watching how her eyes smile when she twirls.

4) Finger Painting, which inevitably becomes body painting.

5) Cleaning up the painting project

6) Nestled in my bed, between my babies, barricaded in by mountains of books and feeling two pairs of toes wiggle on my legs and their heads resting on my shoulders, while their clean hair tickles my cheeks.

These are the best days. I wish everyday could be just like this.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Presence

I have been doing way more thinking than is good for me recently. This is the poor excuse for my absence from the blog. I hope if I can muddle my way out of my head and into the blog, maybe I can come back to reality. :)


I have been pondering the importance and the difficulty of presence in my life. There are times in life, sometimes joyful, other times tearful, in which words or gifts seem to fall miserably short. Oftentimes, I think the most important thing a person can do is to simply be present. Presence is what is remembered. I remember those were at my wedding, those who held and coddled my babies, those who were simply there. Love was shown, by the act of coming and being a part of what was going on in my life. (Am I slightly revealing here that my love language is "Quality Time.") :) On the other hand, absence is felt most keenly. The lack of someone's presence can be devastating and hurtful. I think sometimes, we...or maybe I, underestimate this gift of self.


I hope, so very much, that I can give the gift of presence to my children. That I can let them know that I am here, and that I will be, for the big and small moments in their lives. They are showing me everyday how vital this seemingly small gift is for them. I pray that when they look back on their lives they will know that they were important to me, and that I showed this, by being there for them and with them.

I passed by the Catholic Church the other day, and I felt a tug on my heart, in a way that I haven't in such a long time. I remembered Jesus, waiting for me in the Blessed Sacrament and thought about how He lovingly places himself in such a humble state in order that He may be present to me. Even when others fail, He is there. He has been there when I cried and when I was joyful. He looked on me in my wedding dress and later, He was present to my children when they were presented to Him in their baptismal gowns. He is ever present, and not only in a spiritual way, but tangibly. We are so loved!

Thank you, Lord for the gift of Your Presence, help me to reflect this in my own life.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Song

This is the song these days, that I can't get out of my head and brings me to tears every time. Because this song and the thoughts and emotions it evokes, seem to be occupying so much of my time, I thought I would share it with you. This is Lifehouse's song, "Broken."

Monday, August 9, 2010

County Fair!!!

This year we decided that we would "try out" the local county fair. We had no idea what a fun evening we were in for! We had so much fun and Rose Marie is already talking about going again next year. The kids were perfect ages to really enjoy what was going on and it was so fun to watch them! Here a few snapshots:

1) Animals! Sam and I had just been going over the sounds animals make that morning, so he was thrilled beyond words to hear them in person. We was so excited to hear the pigs grunting, and then he turned to look at me as if to say, "Mommy you were telling me the truth! They really DO make that funny sound!" Priceless! These little lambs were very friendly.

2) What would a fair be without Monster Trucks! Sam kept saying, "Oh wow! Oh wow! Mommy, oh wow!" I think he was pretty impressed.

3) Carnival rides! I think the two different reactions to the ride are pretty well caught in this photo. Rose had such a great time and was much braver than I expected her to be, while Sam on the other hand...well, not as thrilled.


4) Rose decided she was old enough to ride the roller coaster all by herself. I was incredibly scared and could hardly watch her from the sidelines. I had to fight the urge to talk my brave girl out of the ride and try to be respectful of her decision. At the end of the night, it was her favorite ride! Here is her proud/excited little face after it was over.


5) This little one, was much more to Sam's liking:



6) At the end of a fun-filled Fair day! The whole trip home, Rose Marie made plans for next year's fair. We can't wait!



Monday, August 2, 2010

On Our Shelves...

First the disclaimer: I realize that I am not a trained Montessori instructor, nor am I as educated in the philosophy as I would like to be someday. This little experiment below, is my attempt at putting some of her theories into practice as best as I can, with the knowledge that I have and with the what my budget will allow. :) I am open to any suggestions or corrections, so that I can continue to learn how to put this into practice for my children.



By the generosity of my Mother-in-law and my Father-in-law, and the expert craftsmanship of my Brother-in-law, Rose Marie was given this shelf for her birthday! Isn't it beautiful! I was so excited, that I actually started to cry. I had been wanting a place for the kids to store their "works," in an organized fashion and that would allow them easy access to them. Up until this point, the works had been either in a large Tupperware box or a cabinet that wasn't very easy for them to get to. So here is our experiment with having our works easily accessible. I have to say, I was a little worried the very first day, but in the end, this bought me an entire half-hour of shower time, to myself, because the kids were so engrossed in what they were doing! Surprisingly, the area has stayed very clean and neat. I think they are getting the idea. :) We will see how long this lasts.

Here are the things we currently have on our new shelf. I know that they should be organized according to practical life/sensorial works, but due to space and age, I have simply separated the shelf as follows: Top shelf are for Rose's works only (mostly because only she can reach it!), middle shelf is for both Sam and Rose and bottom shelf is primarily Sam's but Rose still enjoys working with them as well, which is perfectly fine by me.

1) Weaving work: Both of the kids really enjoy this! I didn't take a very good photo of the entire work, but there is a little basket full of pretty ribbons and the children weave them through the wires to create different patterns. Rose Marie, in particular enjoys this. I can't remember now which blog I saw it on, but I meant to give credit to it. When I find it, I will post it here.



2) Bean Spooning: I think Sam could do this ALL day. He loves the sound the beans make when they go into the bowl. :)



3) Rose Marie's dropper work: She is doing better with this. Fine motor skills are still a bit of a challenge for her, so I thought this one would be a fun way to keep working on them. So far, she is enjoying it.


4) Rose Marie's Letters and Season matching game.


5) Sam's Dinosaur puzzle, animal matching and open close work:


6) Yep...all day! :) Very happy little man.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

St. Martha

I went to bed last night with the resolve to re-group. I needed to take time to sit with my children, read the stories, play the games and do the cuddling. I needed to take a break from other activities and just be present to my little ones. I was thinking of the story of Mary and Martha and thinking how I need to be like Mary and stop and see Jesus in the face of my children.

But I woke up this morning to remember that today is the feast of St. Martha! She is the patroness of housewives...and I really needed that reminder today.

I think we often put Mary and Martha in two separate categories. Mary representing the contemplative life, while Martha represents the active life. Both are good and both have their necessary place. In life, I think we tend to flow in between these two expressions of faith, based on the events taking place in our lives at a given moment. Motherhood, understandably, falls under St. Martha. Perhaps though, in the midst of the housekeeping and child-raising, which are all beautiful, we can still find a little bit of Mary shinning through. We, as mothers and housewives, may not have the time to dedicate to our prayers or devotions that we once had. Prayer may often be for us, a fleeting thought of Our Lord, or a whispered Hail Mary in the midst of laundry. However, I like to think that while we are following the example of St. Martha, in serving our families, maybe we can still "sit at the feet Our Lord," and contemplate Him in a different way. We can reach out and connect with our children while we do our "chores," we can read a quick story between loading the dishwasher and picking up the living room and more importantly, we can touch and express our love to our children at multiple points throughout the day. This may sound easy, but I have found it to be quite a struggle recently, which is why it has been on my mind. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it takes conscious effort. But, I think that in doing our housewifely duties, we can still contemplate with the heart of Mary, especially by reaching out to our children...Jesus speaks so loudly through them. I just need to remember to take the time to see that.

St. Martha, help me to always serve Jesus, through my family, with kindess, love and a smile (at least most days!) :) So that in serving them, I may come to see the face of Jesus more clearly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Rose Marie!

It has been four wonderful years since I gave birth to Rose Marie! I can hardly believe that so much time has gone by already! When people ask me how old my children are, I find myself practically stuttering when I say that I have a four year old.

This year, Rose Marie asked that I make her a "Candyland Cake." Candyland is her FAVORITE game to play! That little game has given the two of us hours of special memories. So, we gave her a Candyland Themed Birthday Party. Her favorite part of the party, happens to be the one thing that I don't have photos of! I decorated the downstairs of our home to resemble the Candyland Game. I used construction paper for the path and made various little obstacles that the kids had to go through, or climb over. We used the cards from the game and the children were the "pieces" that were moved around from spot to spot. We played it several times in a row, and even the mommies were great sports and jumped in to play as well! This was the part of the day that she keeps talking about. I am sorry that I don't have pictures of that part, but here are a few of the other activities:

1) Her cake! I have to admit...I was very proud of how it turned out. She was thrilled with it! She actually asked me if we could just blow out the candles on it, but not cut into because she wanted to keep looking at it. That made my day! :)

2) Sam, hitting up the juice boxes from the cooler. He was more than happy to take part in all of those special goodies that are reserved for "special occasions ONLY." And yes, in our house, juice boxes fall under that category.

3) The kids all decorated chocolate cookies that Rose Marie and I had made the day before. She loved making them, knowing that everyone would get to decorate them. It was a fun, tasty, mess!

4) Of course, we played "Brown Paper Bag Races." Rose Marie discovered this game during the cold, winter months and it is now the activity she looks forward to after EVERY shopping trip. So, we made it a party game! :)



5) Happy Birthday, to my big girl!



6) I love you Rose Marie! I am so incredibly grateful, that Jesus sent you into our lives! You are my comfort and my joy. I love these years with you, and I hope that they are as wonder-filled for you as they are for me!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Little Man

Just thinking of Samuel, makes me smile. I really believe he is the cutest little man I have ever seen. That could be directly related to the fact that, he is a perfect replica of his Daddy, whom I also adore.

However, by nine o'clock in the morning I am ready for another cup of coffee, often wishing it were a stiff drink. By that time I have already, pulled Samuel out of the dryer, caught him mid-jump off the dinning room table/dresser/counter-top/seventh stair etc., reminded him not to dangle over the balcony, explained that Rose Marie's hair is not to be used as lasso, firmly reprimanded the stabbing of electrical outlets with screwdrivers and then followed that one up with, "We do not put electrical outlet baby-proofing stoppers in our mouths!" Sigh.

But then he comes over with those little lips and gives me a huge kiss, curls up in my arms with his blanket and a plea to, "Book read." He rubs my face so gently and even gives me a wink. How can I resist?! I am so in love with this little bundle of mischief and I am pretty certain he is using that to his advantage.

Truly, I wouldn't have it any other way. Each day is utterly unique with Samuel and I need to learn to laugh more and stress a little less...just so long as he lives through the day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Floundering

Here we go, with one of those very honest posts, which I generally regret writing later on.

I am floundering. I feel completely disconnected from everything. I feel disconnected from my kids, my husband, myself and more importantly from my spiritual life. I think I am still in a state of shock after the move. For the past few weeks, every free moment has either been preparing to pack boxes or later, unpacking them with wild abandonment and now we are entering into a lull. I think I finally feel like I could catch my breath and somehow it hurts. I realize that doesn't make much sense, but there you go. It is how I feel right now.

I think I need to just stop. Say a few prayers, particularly of thanksgiving, play with my kids, romance my husband, read a book etc. Now that I write that, perhaps that ought to become my "To-Do-List" for the week. I am looking forward to this weekend, our first "real" weekend in our new home. I can't wait to curl up next to my husband and watch a movie while sipping on some wine. I want to play with the kids and be fun again. I think I feel like I haven't been "fun" in such a long time and I miss it.

For now, I am desperately trying to shrug off this feeling of "hurt," and overwhelmed and generally exhausted. Maybe I should start with a good conversation with Jesus over a nice cup of black coffee. Yep, I think I will start right there. :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Idolatry


It is hard work to be worshipped.


Today, there was general frustration and tears from a certain little man in the house. I finally gave up, laid on the floor and then, miraculously, there was bliss. He came over snuggled next to me and sighed a happy little sigh. Then, he grabbed his cars and began driving them over me. Finally, Mommy was a highway once again. As long as I would lie there, he would bring toys over and surround me with them. I am pretty sure that if he could, he would have been burning incense.


Despite the worship service, this Mommy has things to do, and that is always a frustration to my fan club. But, I am grateful that for this very brief moment in time, I am the sun in his little sky. If becoming a highway, or being a bridge, or simply a nice place to lean on makes him smile, I am happy to be that. I know it won't last. So for now, I will get a few extra kisses from those tiny little lips before it becomes "uncool," and he becomes to manly.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We Did It!

We are on the other side! I am so grateful for everyone's prayers. We are back together as a family and gradually getting into the swing of things. Routine is still a long way off, but at least we have Daddy in our daily lives again. What a blessing! I am so glad he is here!

I hate to admit, that in the haze of boxes, movers, and attempting to find our things, I initially had almost zero "feelings" about our new home. I felt overwhelmed and just wanted to try to find the things I needed to get by. I didn't dislike our home, but I wasn't in love with it either.

Now, I am LOVING our new home! I am so excited to be here and I am thrilled with the new memories we will be making here. Today, I decided to forget about unpacking for awhile and I put the kids in the double stroller, and we went on a quest for new jogging trails. We were all so excited by what we found. Wildflowers were everywhere, we saw a fox, butterflies and birds, there was silence instead of car engines, and the best part, we could see the mountains! It was so beautiful! I had forgotten how much I love living in the country! I am grateful that I will be raising my kids around trees, mountains and wildflowers, as opposed to the city life we were in. I love the city for other reasons, but for raising my children, I am glad to be out in the country again. I know I will miss the restaurants and the shopping, but I think I am going to enjoy what we have right here. I know it will have its ups and downs, but I am hopeful that there will be more of the "ups." :)

Once I get some pictures, I will be sure to post them. Thank you all so much!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Few Pictures

I am trying really hard to make sure that I am balancing the packing/organizing/purging with quality time in with the kids. I really want this last month in our home to be filled with good memories for them, and for me. Here are a few snapshots of life in the past month. Enjoy!

1) This was a day out at Grandma's pool. It ended up just being the three of us for a few hours, which turned out to be a blast! There was TONS of laughing, screaming, splashing and giggling. I needed that time so much with them. It felt so good to play so hard.

2) I was washing dishes and then heard the usual, "Mommy look at us!" Before I snapped this picture, Sam was next to Rose, trying to stand on his head! They were doing "tricks," in the kitchen and that lasted the entire time I was cleaning up. The laughing was hysterical!


3) I love these two pictures! I had turned on the washing machine and was going through the bedrooms gathering any stray clothes that missed the hamper, when I came upon this scene:

4) He had grabbed the stool from the bathroom, placed it in front of the washing machine and proceeded to throw the clothes in! He was so proud of himself. I allowed him to "wash" several loads that day, just because it was fun...at least to him.


5) Me trying to convince Sam that the water is NOT cold and that it feels good to be in. I wasn't successful. He preferred to fill up the water gun and shoot his sister from the sidelines. I suppose it is sort of like "Shooting fish in a barrel!" :)



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Moving Day, Here We Come!

My apologies for lack of blogging and updates! Our life has been a bit topsy-turvey lately.

The long and short of it is, we lost the house we had been waiting for these past few months. However, we found a very nice townhouse to rent that may actually be in a better location. So we are packing boxes, purging trash, organizing toys (yikes!) and planning on life in a new home.

This is the last weekend in this home. I am going to miss this townhouse and the location. I love the memories we have made here, but I look forward to the new ones to come. Mostly, I look forward to being together again, as a family. I miss my best friend EVERYDAY. The weekends have been amazing, but I am ready for family dinners to be the norm again. I can't wait for the new memories waiting to be made, new celebrations, renewing of friendships and making new friends. I am so excited and nervous!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Neverland

It all came crashing down today. There were the phone calls, the disappointments, anger, frustration, sadness, shooing the children away so Mommy could make some important decisions with Daddy and then trying hard to find the hope in the future.

Then, there was the pirate ship. And for half an hour, cannonballs were fired, sails were raised and lowered, running, squealing, tickling, goofy name-calling and bright eyes reigned. I hope at the end of this excruciating day, my children were tucked into bed remembering the "Battle for Neverland"...and that Mommy can launch a pretty accurate cannonball. :) It was the silver lining to my day and for that brief time, it was the only thing that mattered. I hope I can remember that tomorrow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

There and Back Again

Can it be June already? Are we really in the middle of summer? I can hardly believe it is here! I can't believe that I have been away from the blog for so long! Funny how life can do that.

My husband and I were so incredibly blessed to be able to take a little vacation, just us two, down to Florida for a week. We had such an AMAZING time! The funny thing about it, was I initially wasn't so sure I would want to leave the kids for so long. Little did I know that we would have been living separately for three months leading up to that little vacation! It was so needed, and so wonderful to have an entire week just to catch up. And yes, we still found so much to talk about. We laughed so much! We were both saying how relieved we were to have spent that much time together, and we never even turned on the TV or watched a movie (not that there is anything wrong with that) but it was so nice to find that we just really wanted to spend quality time together. Time flew by so fast, but every moment was wonderful! I missed my babies more than I could have imagined, but I knew that reconnecting as husband and wife would be a much better gift to them than anything else. I am so grateful for the opportunity, especially coming at such a crucial time. I will say that the week after we got back and Jake left again for work, was one of the hardest weeks yet. After that much time together, it just made me miss him even more when he was gone.

God willing, we will all be together again soon. For now, I am grateful for the gift of quality time with my husband. I am so encouraged to have found that we are still best friends, soul-mates and lovers. Not that I ever doubted it, but it was comforting to be reminded so strongly. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Suggestions?

I am really excited! I am about to take a full week break from my part time job for the first time in three years! With some leisure time looming ahead, I am dying to dive into a good book (or two!) Somehow I feel out of the loop of good reads recently and could use a few suggestions. I am in the mood for something Elizabeth Gaskell/Jane Austen/complete chick-flick and easy reading type of book. Maybe for variety, I would love something a little more thought provoking and beautiful. Have you read anything recently that you would recommend?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Difficult Concepts for Sam:

1) Why does Mommy have the arbitrary rule of, "Baseball bats are only for hitting baseballs, not your sister?" Chasing a screaming sister through the house is so much more lively than a ball.

2) Mommy does not appreciate the fact, that toilets are just as good as sinks for handwashing. Plus, the toilet is at a much more convenient level.

3) Gravity is really hindering to one's flying capabilities, even if you jump from really tall objects.

4) By the time Mommy finishes reading "Madeline" to Rose, she could have been reading "Gossie," three times over! It is so unfair that Rose's books take so much longer to read!

5) The Priest never includes me, even when I ask, "Bite?" and open my mouth to receive the Eucharist too. He only smiles, but I didn't ask for a smile.

Life is so unfair.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Five Love Languages

I just recently finished reading the book, "The Five Love Languages of Children," by Gary Chapman. My husband and I have been huge fans of the original book, "The Five Love Languages," since we were dating. We discovered what each of our primary languages were and discussed how to speak the other person's language in a way that made them feel the most loved. We come back to this discussion, along with the discussion on temperaments, quite often. It is always fun and enlightening!

As Rose Marie continues to grow, I have been watching her begin to truly express herself. The thing that has been the most interesting is watching how she expresses love. I have known since she was little, that physical touch was not necessarily how she felt the most loved, nor how she gave love. It seems that right now, at this little stage in her life, she is expressing her love for others through acts of service. It is so beautiful to watch! When Jake comes home for the weekend, she does not always run to his arms, but quickly asks, "Can I get you a drink? Do you want me to take your shoes off? Do you want a snack? Let me put your suitcase away for you!" During the week she talks about how she can't wait for Daddy to come home so that she can "take care of him." She is so attentive and so nurturing.

The book was so helpful in reminding me to pay closer attention to how Rose Marie is loving. It also pointed out that most children do not show their primary love language until the age of five, which is why until that time, it is crucial to purposefully speak all five love languages to the child. We should always be striving to speak all five languages anyway, but I think knowing what a person's primary language is, can help to ensure that you are saying, "I love you," in a way that speaks loudest to their heart.

For now, the book was a gentle reminder to express my deep love for my children in many different ways. I making more of an effort to try to speak each of the five languages to each of my children throughout the day. Some days are better than others, but it helps me stay focused on what is the most important thing...cherishing and loving my babies.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sam's Words

In so many obvious ways, having a boy is drastically different than having a girl. One of the ways I didn't think I would see a huge difference was in vocabulary. Here is a list of the words that Samuel can say typically to/about the right thing.

1) Jesus (I had to thrown that one out there first...I think it is the only redemptive one!)

2) Dead (Yup...and I have no explanation for you.)

3) Car

4) Pee-pee (Somehow he talks about his pee-pee a lot recently...maybe I need to think about putting him on the potty.)

5) Yeah-please

6) No

7) Mama

8) Stuck

9) Bug

10) MINE! (This word is the most clear and usually said in the biggest voice he can muster. I suppose it is a necessary word when you are the second sibling.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ripple Effect

Okay, I really love this commercial. It makes me smile every time.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Month of Mary

The Church in her wisdom, has dedicated the entire month of May, to Our Lady. This has come at such a crucial time for me. I am sad to admit, that in the past, I have often allowed this month to pass by without much thought about her. This month, I already find myself clinging to Mary.

I am completely embarrassed to admit this, but I have never had a strong devotion to the Rosary. I actually LOVE the Divine Mercy Chaplet instead. I will say the Rosary, but for whatever reason, I always felt somehow distanced from it. Since the beginning of this month, I have been making a concentrated effort to get back to the Rosary...and it has been amazing! I am not going to tell tales, and say that I am saying the whole Rosary everyday. No. I have found that I am out of practice in sitting still for a whole 15 minutes and mediating in silence. So, I have given myself more reasonable guidelines, and I am saying only a decade at night. I LOVE this! It is the perfect amount of time for me to give my full attention to the decade I am praying, without my mind wondering about the fifty-million things it has a tendency to drift off to. I hope that as my practice at silence and true mediation comes back, I will add decades back in.

Right now, I feel so close to Our Lady, and it has been such a long time since I felt that. I find myself thinking of her when I cook, when I reach for the babies (especially when I give comfort) and as I clean. I find myself seeking her advice on mothering, more than ever before.

I am praying that this month will be fruitful, not only for me, but for all of you lovely ladies as well! :)

Here are some of my favorite lines from Gerard Manley Hopkins' poem, "The Blessed Virgin Compared to the Air we Breathe."
Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me, lie;
Fronting my forward eye;
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears and speak there;
Of God's love, O live air;
Of patience, penance, prayer;
World-mothering air, air wild;
Wound with thee, in thee is led;
Fold home, fast fold thy child.
P.S. My big regret this May is that we do not own a statue of Our Lady. I truly hope by next year we will have one, so that we can set up a special place of honor for her.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Siblings

We have entered into a brand new phase of the sibling relationship here. I love being able to see this unfold! I feel so blessed to watch God's handiwork and see why He choose these two little personalities to enter into this little family specifically. I know I will never fully understand it, but occasionally I catch a glimpse and I am so grateful for whatever His plan may hold for us.

The art of "playing together," is becoming a regular, and even fun activity for everyone. I love watching the games the two of them come up with now. Samuel brings fresh fun to old games for Rose Marie because he plays so differently than she does. They even have inside jokes now and I love hearing the crazy laughter that floats out of their rooms.

The most interesting thing I have noticed recently is how Sam's fearless nature and Rose Marie's cautious nature complement one another. They are unknowingly tempering the other one's natural tendencies. Samuel has a new game of climbing on the couch, yelling, "Three!" and then jumping/falling off. Luckily, cautious Rose Marie, gives Mommy a fair warning or she is next to him and holds his hands so that his fall is a little less painful. She is always there guiding him and gently ensuring that his little escapades don't end in complete disaster. On the other hand, Rose Marie has always had a fear of the vacuum cleaner. She has always been so fearful that she has to be sitting on her bed, with the door closed while I vacuum the rest of the house. Needless to say, vacuuming has not been high on my priority list, because it is always so hard for me to see her be so frightened. Yesterday, thanks to Samuel, we had a HUGE breakthrough! Unlike his sister, Samuel has no fear of the vacuum and he follows me around the house watching me and blowing me kisses of encouragement. Low and behold, I turned around yesterday to see Sam AND Rose Marie holding hands and following behind me as I vacuumed. I was shocked! I asked Rose why she had come downstairs and she said she wasn't afraid anymore because Sam was with her. (Yes, I bravely held my tears back!) Sam did what I couldn't. In his innocence, he had given her courage. Thank You, Lord for the blessing of such different and beautiful little personalities! I am so blessed to be an observer of Your plan.

P.S. I am thrilled to finally have cleaner floors on a regular basis! Thank you Sam!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daddy's Work

My amazing husband, turned to me this weekend and said, "I have an idea of a work I want to make for Samuel." I sat there, stunned, and then said, "Okay!" So we all got ready and went out to "The Man Store," a.k.a Lowes. It meant so much to me that Jake wanted to actively participate in putting together a Montessori inspired work for the kids! He knows that it is something important to me and he knows that I try very hard to make my materials as economical as possible, so it meant the world to me that he wanted to help. Here it is:





Needless to say, Sam LOVES it! He sat there forever putting it together and taking it apart. I was really amazed at how he was able to put the sizes together correctly. It is also pretty amazing watching those little fingers deftly twist the screws in place. I think it made him feel pretty manly. :)