Saturday, September 3, 2011

Summer Discoveries...

1) Rose Marie successfully conquered her fear of the water. I feel so proud watching her jump off the side of the swimming pool now, because I know how much she had to overcome to find that courage within herself. She is proud of herself. I could sit all day and watch her happily jumping in and out of the water.

2) Samuel has zero fear of the water. None. Therefore, he also throws himself off the side of the swimming pool, but the emotion that arises in me is a mix of panic and then frustration. No matter how many times he goes completely underwater and comes up sputtering and spitting, he continues to launch himself off of the highest point and into the water. Oh well...maybe next year we will learn how to swim and then I won't have to worry as much. But he is incredibly cute and manly when he jumps.

3) Sometimes a day in the swimming pool, totally counts as a bath.

4) Samuel has discovered his inner hunter instinct. I have never seen a child carefully stalk a grasshopper/spider/beatle the way Sam does. He follows the bug closely, waits for his moment to pouce and then scoops it up in his pudgey little hands (without squashing it!) and releases it back to its Mommy and Daddy. If the bug looks too big to be captured in his hands, he will get a cup from the kitchen and scoop it into the cup and take the bug outside. It is nice to be able to retire from getting rid of unwated bugs in our house. I will happily pass the baton to Samuel.

5) Drinking my cup of coffee outside in the summer sunshine, somehow doubles the caffine effect, which is wonderful!

6) I am fairly sure that I could eat fresh tomatoes with mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil every night.

7) The kids found out what happens when you pour water into dirt. Needless to say, this provided hours of entertainment.

8) Clouds really can look like something other than a cloud. Furthermore, each person is entitled to his/her own opinion as to what that cloud looks like. While you may see a bunny, it is perfectly acceptable that someone else may see a sword killing a dragon. Or perhaps Mommy is just going to call this whole thing off and from now on they are simply clouds!

9) Pretty much any occassion is "s'more worthy." If we are up past bedtime and the sun is getting sleepy, then it must be time to break out the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

10) Summer is time of lingering. Cuddles, kisses, and moments linger and hopefully stay a little longer. We have a few more weeks left, and I hope to make them last as long as I can. :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday Rose Marie!

This year, my eldest presented me with a whole new challenge for her birthday.

Since Rose Marie was about 2 years old, I began telling her stories at night about a little penguin who lives in Alaska. These stories have taken many fantastical turns over the years, and she has completely fallen in love with, Pierre the penguin, the hero of her stories.

So this year, she asked for a penguin birthday party. At first I was completely stumped. How was I going to pull off a penguin party in the middle of the summer? With some thought, and much input from Rose, we came up with ideas. In the end, I think it turned out much better than I expected. Most importantly, she loved it!

I printed off penguin coloring pages for the little ones to color as they came. Then, they were able to make little bracelets that had penguin charms on them. We set up the pool outside and the kids were able to cool off in the "icy Alaskan waters." We had water balloons for a "waddle like a penguin," game...but the water balloons ended up being more fun to toss (uncles are always brillant examples for this!)

Of course, I did my best with a Pierre the Penguin cake and was able to make a five little construction paper penguins for decorations.

I still can't believe she is five years old! This year, I truly feel her being more grown up. She is going to be an amazing big sister, for the second time around. :) Although she doesn't lay in my arms anymore, or need me as much, I hope she still sees how deeply I love her and cherish her. I am trying to learn now, how to show my big girl how much she means to me. She is still my comfort and my little companion. Right now, I feel closest to her when she comes into the kitchen asking to help me make dinner. We cook and we talk. She is especially open when she cooking and I love it. Now I keep carrotts on hand just in case she wants to come in and "cook," then I set her up with the peeler and carrotts and listen to her talk about whatever is on her heart. I hope she knows just how much that means to me.

Happy Birthday, Rose Marie!!!

1) The Birthday Girl approving of her cake. :)

2) The cake! I was just happy that she was able to identify it as a penguin!

3) These little guys were waiting for her in the stairway when she woke up. There were two more pointing the way to the pool.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Big News!

We are so thrilled to be able to announce that we are expecting baby #3, in early March of next year!

What a difference it is to be able to tell Rose Marie that she will be big sister again, and to truly have her understand. She, as always, is so helpful and careful to "take care of the baby." I love how attentive she is! We start our morning by talking about how big the baby is now and how many more days it will be until she is here (Rose is really wanting a sister.)

Samuel, has been surprisingly loving as well. He is always grabing me around the waist as I pass by and squashing his face into my belly and talking to the baby. I think the baby hears more, "I love yous" from his/her brother than I do. :)

As for my part, I am thrilled and terrified all at the same time. I wonder if I will be able to do this again. Will I remember what to do? What if I don't remember anything at all? But then, I do remember the sweet smell of a newborn. I can't wait to curl up in bed with the baby and doze while listening to his/her sweet little breathing. I can't wait to breastfeed again...that is always something I cherish. I can't wait to see which new personality we will be blest with this time! I am curious to see the changes in my first two children as they learn to make room in their little hearts for their new sibling. How will this little one change me? Who will I learn to become with this new life? These are the thoughts and questions that fill my mind on a daily basis.

I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to bear life within my womb again. Thank you Lord, for this gift...I pray that I may hold this life with the kind of love that leads this child closer to You.

Hello World!

I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed at the prospect of picking up this blog again. So much time has past and I feel like I have so much to catch up on...but I miss this more than I thought I would. Blogging truly helps me to set my thoughts, keep a postive attitude and keeps me more observant to the little things that do make a difference in my life.

So, after many months of silence, here I go, picking this up again. :) I guess the best way to start is just to jump right in.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New York City: From Rose Marie's Perspective

We recently had the incredible honor of attending a dear friend's ordination to the priesthood, in New York City! I was so nervous about taking my children running around the Big Apple. But, as God would have it, the weekend was so grace-filled! In the end, I cannot imagine that trip WITHOUT my children! We had more fun as a family, then we have had in a long time! We were blessed by how good they were during the ordination itself, and then, how wonderful they were as we went exploring through the city.

Since we have been home, Rose Marie has been drawing pictures of the things she saw while we were there. So instead of boring you with details, I thought I would share with you, her pictures. I find them absolutely priceless! :)

1) The "Big Apple."

2) The Subway: notice the "smoke" rising from the top and Rose Marie and Samuel smiling out of the windows (the smilely faces are the parts that look like the train wheels)

3) St. Patrick's Cathedral: This is the big steeple and the "biggest door in the world!"

4) The Statue of Liberty: This is my favorite! Above the big smile is the "crown" that Liberty wears and then in her hand is the torch and next to her the water.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!!!

I finally have my blog up and running again! Yay! For some reason I was unable to upload photos or write on the blog for a while. It is still acting up as far as formatting goes, but at least I can write a little something. :)

We had an AMAZING Easter this year! I hope you all did as well! We were so incredibly blessed to be able to enter into the Triduum this year with the kids. Those last few days were so beautiful.

Beginning on Wednesday night, our little family went into a kind of cell phones, computers, generally no outside distractions. On Thursday the kids and I read through the Passion in the Bible and then we did a craft about Holy Week. Before dinner, Daddy washed all of the little feet in the was really beautiful! Rose and Sam were absolutely fascinated by Holy Thursday service. Sam was very upset by the stripping of the altar and by the statues being covered up.

Good Friday was spent remembering Our Lord's Passion. We ended up keeping it fairly low key, but we did manage to have a beautiful Stations of the Cross in our home that night. Rose Marie loves doing Stations at our house, so it was a real treat to her. We turn off all of the lights in the house, and light fourteen candles instead, for each of the Stations. After we pray each Station, one of the children extinguishes the candle so the room gets progressively darker. Rose and Sam are always very touched by this and Rose Marie really made the connection that on Easter, we will "feel the light" again. :) It was beautiful. I also thought it was interesting that Sam's favorite Station is when Jesus meets His mother...he always says that it makes Jesus feel "all better." I think he may be right.

Saturday was relatively quiet for us, but this year we made it to the Vigil! I was so excited for us and for the kids! They were so good at the long Mass. I will never forget Sam's expression when the lights were turned on in the Church when the "Gloria," was sung. He was so happy! He was especially happy to see that the statues were uncovered again and that there were flowers back on the altar. :) Rose Marie kept saying, "Alleluia," rather loudly...but I am sure Jesus didn't mind. :)

Easter Sunday was full of fun and celebration! We had a wonderful Easter Brunch at my parent's house, which ended with a fun Easter Egg hunt in the backyard. That night, my family came over to our home for Easter Dinner. There was a lot of laughter and joy through the entire day, and we couldn't have asked for more. My younger siblings played hard with our kids, so by bedtime that night, Rose and Sam were exhausted and fell into bed saying, "I love Easter!" I do too. :)

1) Jake and I after Easter Dinner.

2) Waiting to go hunt for those eggs!

3) Enjoying a moment of peace at my parent's house, while the kids are scrambling to find the hidden eggs.

4) Drinking sparkling apple cider after the Easter Vigil!

5) Happy Easter!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where I Come From

In case anyone is wondering:

I am a daughter of man who served his country well for twenty years in the Armed Forces.

I come from a family who values and respects one other's uniquness and difference of opinion.

I was raised in a family that spoke truth...even in uncomfortable circumstances.

Dinner conversations were regularly full of intelligent debate, followed by hugs and laughter.

I was taught to stand firm against things I viewed as unjust or untrue.

I was reminded that evil runs free, when good men do nothing.

Defending those you love, is not an option, it is your duty.

And yes, I plan on raising my daughter the same way. I will expect her to differ from me in opinions. I expect her to challenge authority when she senses that something may be unjust or untrue. I want her to know that she is valued for the unique way in which she thinks, feels and expresses herself. I will guide her to the very best of my ability, but I do not intend to shun my children for making choices that they feel they are being called upon to make. I am working on giving her roots in the Catholic Faith and in Catholic Tradition, and then, I have to let her go and let God work on her little heart in the way that He sees fit. I have to trust her and even more, I have to trust Him. All the while, I have to remember that she is God's gift to me. I have to remember that in order for her to respect me as her mother, she also needs to know that I respect and love her, just as she was created to be. I do not rule her, it is not a mother's place to demand unwavering submission. These little ones entrusted to us by God, deserve respect for the little people they are, and for the grown-up men and women they will become. I pray that one day, my daughter will grow into a confident, God-fearing, truth speaking little woman and that she will have a passionate love for those in her life and for the principles she has been taught. And I hope, that if any of those things are challenged, she will be graced with the strength to make a stand and fight for the ones she loves...knowing full well that her Mama would be proud. :) Thank you Mom and Dad!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Working the System

I apologize for the poor formatting of this post. Blogger is not letting me space between lines. The latest way to get out of consequences: 1) "Samuel, why did you stab Rose Marie with your toy sword?!" Sam responds, "It was an accident." (i.e. you cannot punish me for "accidents") 2) "Samuel, why did you pour your milk on the floor?" Without skipping a beat he looks at me and says, "Oh I forgot!" (i.e. "forgetting," is just like an accident and thus there can be no consequences.) This, "Get out of jail free card," now applies to all KNOWN rules in our house such as: we do not use the broom as weapon, it is for sweeping the floor; we do not jump off the top steps, you will crash at the bottom; you only need a little bit of toliet paper for wiping, not the entire roll; we do not pretend to make soup in the toliet; etc. Now everytime I catch him breaking one of these rules, I am quickly met with the trump card of "It was an accident," or "I forgot." Everytime he responds this way, it stops me dead in my tracks and I have to hide my smile. He is too smart for his own good, but he is incredibly adorable. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Little Joys

What a wonderful week! These past few days have been full, but happy. I am so grateful. Thank you for the prayers! I am trying to look harder and see more clearly the joyful moments :) Here are a few snapshots:

1) St. Patricks Day was filled with green pancakes, "stained glass window shamrocks," green sprinkled cupcakes and finished with a Irish Dancing performance by my sister and her dancing class! The whole day was full of fun and good ol' Irish spirit! I love Feast Days!

2) This mischievous little face! Although sometimes I can swear that he drives me to the brink, he also keeps me on my toes. And can you resist that face! :)

3) My little rainbow! I feel like she is changing so quickly these days. Recently she has started our days by climbing into bed with me in the morning and catching me up on all important information I will need before I get Sam up.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hello World!

Here I am once again, after another long hiatus. This time, I cannot say that it has been insane schedules or busy has simply been life that has kept me away. I don't want this first post back to be "doom and gloomish," but I'm afraid that feeling is probably what has kept me leery of posting. For whatever reason these last few months I have been plagued by a "heaviness," that I have struggled to shake off. Maybe it is the weather. Whatever it is, I have struggled and wrestled recently to find joy and laughter in my daily routine. I realize that our days are not always filled with laughter, but sometimes finding it is effortless and at other times, you can feel like it has been days since you felt a full smile cross your face. So, is out there and I said it. Hopefully, I will feel more free to post since I have been more honest with myself. We shall see.

Now that I have put it out there, I will say that the word, "joy," has been my focus this Lenten season. I realize that it may seem an odd focus for the penitential season, but I am finding it so helpful this year! When things or days get hard, or when I am particularly missing the things I have given up, I am trying to find my joy. It is not enough to simply, "give up stuff," for Lent, but even more, we need to be joyful. We need to be joyful in what has been given to us by Our Heavenly Father. We need to be joyful while doing our daily motherly duties. We need to be joyful in the knowledge that we are loved by God. We need to be joyful while standing at a crossroads in our lives and awaiting God's direction. We need to be joyful even when we don't know what it is that God is asking of us. Not that any of this is always easy, but for now, it is what I am trying to find. If I find helpful hints during this season I promise to share them. :)

For now, here are some pictures of the people in my life who make me joyful and who I am trying to be more joyful for! Enjoy!

1) My little comfort...
2) I love how often they are hugging these days! They like to hug before nap times, at bedtime and first thing in the morning.

3) My little man on his very awesome ride! He is just too cool for school!

4) Tire Swings!

5) My boys fixing the car together. Sam is definitely Daddy's little buddy!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Song :)

I am here...and I survived! After potty training and the entire family coming down with the flu, we are finally on the other side! Yay!

I haven't been here in a while, partly because I have been playing catch up and partly because now that we are better, we have been "running errands," everyday simply because we enjoy our new found freedom. :)

I have a song I wanted to share. I have loved this song for awhile, and a special thanks to my Mom for sharing it with me. I haven't wanted to post it because the video quality and acoustics are not very good, so I am afraid it comes across as cheesy, but the lyrics are perfect. It is called "How You Live," and it is by Singer/Songwriter Cindy Morgan. I was blest to be able to see her perform live and she is amazing! This is not my video, but was the only one I could find on Youtube. She originally wrote this song and the group Point of Grace sings it, but I love Cindy Morgan's version so much I love the first line. :) This song and her other song, "How Could I Ask For More," are simply beautiful and so true.

If you are in need of a happy thought, here is the song for you: "How You Live"

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Homeopathic Remedy

Uses: For the relief of stress, frustration or feelings of insanity brought on after a week-long lockdown with a potty-training toddler, followed IMMEDIATELY by becoming quarantined again because of the flu caught by aforementioned potty-training toddler.

Remedy: For this remedy to be effective you must get out of the fetal position. Turn music of your choice (of the adult variety) up to loudest volume and begin singing at YOUR own loudest volume. Proper tone or pitch is not necessary, but volume is a must, along with dancing moves that are only appropriate in your home. Then, proceed to the pantry and decide that lunch time today will consist of baking a huge batch of Chocolate Chip cookies. Between the dancing, loud singing, eating cookie dough and then warm cookies and glasses of milk, every possible stress from all involved parties will immediately subside. Stress will be replaced with laughter, cuddles, new dance routines and fantastic memories.

Follow these instructions as often as necessary to maintain a positive attitude while locked inside your house for extended amounts of time. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Girl!

Parenthood really does change, just as soon as you think you have the hang of it! We are at a new stage...or at least the beginnings of it. My little girl is growing up. I realize that this sounds drastic, but quite frankly it FEELS drastic. I am not sure when it happened exactly, but I keep looking at Rose Marie and wondering where my little girl went.

Suddenly, she is confidently striking up conversations with older children and even adults. I catch myself listening very attentively to find out what is going to fly out of her little mouth. She loves to be responsible. Several times this week I have walked into a previously messy room to find that she had "surprised" me and cleaned it up without my asking her to do it, and she actually does a good job! She is incredibly affirming and I love her postitive feedback on my mothering. :)

But along with all of these positives, there is the other side to this growing up. Her worldview is getting broader. She is seeing, hearing and understanding things that were previously unnoticed or simply too difficult to understand. She wants to know what happens when we die. Will we all go to heaven at the same time? Why are there children in other parts of the world without food or mommies and daddies? Why does she have those things and they do not? Do you only get babies in your tummy AFTER the wedding, or can it sometimes happen before? Why do only big kids get to drive cars and not little kids? How long will it be before she can drive a car, because she is bigger than Sam, and therefore considered a big kid? When are we going to fly to England and talk to the Queen?

Yes, hard questions. I find myself getting exhausted by trying to be honest about all of these questions, without giving her information that she is still not ready dying for instance.

It is a good time of growth, for her and for me. I am enjoying this new, older side of my daughter. I am loving seeing her personality continually take on a new form. It is truly fascinating. But, I still will miss these moments of her smallness and her innoncence. It is exciting and bittersweet, as every part of parenting seems to be. I love you Rose Marie, and I love watching you grow into your own unique, very inquisitive little self!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!

Since I have been so negligent with this blog recently, I think this particular post will have to be done in "Quick Takes," format. :) So here we go, a whirlwind catch up on our lives since Advent.

1) Christmas was more than I could have wished for our little family this year, which is probably what is largely to blame for my silence. Silence. That was probably the word for our Christmas. Our hearts were full, our home was happy and we were very at peace. Jake was able to take almost a full week off from work, and I had made sure everything was ready beforehand. That final week before Christmas was spent mostly in pajamas, snacking on sugar cookies, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, re-reading favorite stories and wrapping Christmas presents. I felt so connected to my husband, and I always thrive when that is the case. :) We were so blest to be able to sit through the ENTIRE Christmas Mass! Yay! I was so proud of Samuel.

2) Speaking of sitting through Mass, that has been a HUGE recent blessing! I think we may have officially graduated to only leaving the Church for disciplinary issues, or potty breaks. Sam is actually very intrigued by what is going on at Mass and the closer we can sit to the front, the better he seems to behave ( I really hope I am not going to jinx us now!) This does not mean that our Mass experience is without many wiggles, stepping on of toes, putting runs in Mommy's nylons, or speaking loudly at inopportune times, but it is overall, much better than before! I just love being able to listen attentively to at least one reading, and sometimes all of them!
3) This year, I do not have any major resolutions. I am not on an anti-resolution crusade or anything, I just simply haven't made any. I may get to it at some point this month, and when I do, I'll let you know. :)
4) Last update little girl is growing up! I think this may have to wait and be a post all on its own. I feel like she has changed so much just since Christmas and I am not even sure how. She is so smart and opinionated. I love the conversations we have had recently. Yes, I think I will wait and post on these new Mommy/Daughter changes at a later time.
So that's a wrap! I know it has been short, but I do have a lot of other things to catch you up on and I promise I will! God bless and Happy New Year!