Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Loving It

Our Engaged Encounter weekend was SO good... I mean, like really good.
The new outline set us up for such success. The Holy Spirit was present and working, people. The couples raved and never faltered. It was really cool for GG and I to be part of something so much bigger than us... Ahh... God is good.

And now we are back, loving and laundering and living out the life we talked about all weekend. It is a blessed life, for sure, but have I mentioned how challenging meeting the needs of four souls can be? While carrying a fifth?? Whew! They are wonderfully overwhelming.

I love each of my little souls so uniquely too. They are a trip every day. MG has now adeptly mastered the straight back when being put into her car seat. I literally have to force all of my weight on her to get her to bend so I can do the buckles... T came down with a staff infection on his face--lovely. We are tackling that head on. Custer boy has the runs--I have been nursing him today with brown rice and chicken. Even when sick, though, he is a dear, dear dog. M mastered his first tae-kwon-do yellow belt routine--the teacher was so jazzed he caught on so quickly. Also, J refuses to comply with my wishes, until the threat of time out causes him to turn things around and do a perfect job. It's all about the wills, little lovable stinker. And my grandma has been admitted to the hospital for fluid in her lungs. Love you, gramcracker!

Just another week in the life of G-Ville.
God bless,

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Week In Numbers

1500 (or so...) coughs and sniffles

375 pages read of Unbroken. The book was so good. I loved it too much and jeopardized my health even more staying up late to read it! But it was worth it.

252 tissues (or at least it feels like that many!) to wipe our aching noses

85 minutes of exercise--this is a pathetic weekly showing for me. I'm chalking it up to illness and overall survival. GG set out his workout clothes for a morning last week and they remain untouched in our bathroom. That's what kind of week we've had!

22 engaged couples registered for our Engaged Encounter weekend

16 prayer couples to be praying for those folks--thank you to anyone who stepped in and helped me by praying. They love it!

9 interviews accomplished between GG and me

8 talks written and completed by mid-week; we can officially run our conference this weekend!

4 doses of Sudafed--I swear I used it sparingly and had to hunt down the basic version which is "okay" for pregos.

4 children home on Wednesday--M was down with fever, so why not let everyone stay home?!

3 McDon.alds Caramel Frappes to win a sick mama over

2 tutoring students with exams now in the past! Hope they did well!!

= 4 adored children, who will have an amazing weekend with their grandparents and 2 excited, enthused parents, who can't wait to minister to the engaged couples in the name of our Lord!

God bless you for a wonderful weekend,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Making It

It seems like our To-Do list is never-ending these days. At the same time, it feels good to be accomplishing so much. We are being productive and living each day to the full. That never hurt anyone!!

But in truth, all I want to do is sit down and read my book. It is Unbroken, as I mentioned in my last post. I am 70 pages in and what a good story so far... If only for more free time! No respite for the weary.

I know I keep saying this, but we are almost done with our Engaged Encounter talks. Last night we had a Star.bucks date and headed out to edit over coffee while a sitter put our kids to bed. What a treat that was... Tonight we'll sit down and read through the changes we've made, edit some more, and *hopefully* send the last two talks to our editors-in-chief tomorrow. They are in their 60's and laugh at us like we're crazy people. I think they knew we were procrastinators, but not this bad! ha! :)

After talk-writing, we'll hit our interview write-ups. Both of us accomplished four interviews on Saturday morning and afternoon, respectively. It made for a long day, but we've decided it was totally worth it to get them all done at once. The students met us at the library down the street in 45-min intervals. Now we have to write up a summary for each interview. It is our goal to have those done before we head out on Friday for Virginia Beach and the EE weekend!

Aside from all this hum drum, the kids are doing great. MG is starting to talk up a storm; carries any bag around as a purse (who taught her this?! :); and seems to love having a drink with her at all times (hello, Mimi!) Her diva behavior has quieted, I'm glad to report, and we have our little darling back around. She is very independent and plays and waddles all over the house. I usually follow and find her destructive path, but for the most part, she is a gem. We *LOVE* our little lady. Can't wait for it to be our "girls" come May.

J is either a dream or a pistol these days as a 3yo. When he's sweet, he's an ANGEL. When he's a pistol, he's as stubborn as the dawn! Little does he know, his mama can be MORE stubborn. ha! He is pal-ing around more with his older brothers these days and plays nicely, but gets frustrated easily and loses his temper. Oy! We had our FIRE Catechesis today and enjoyed a traditional Seder meal as we learned about Moses and the Israelites. J did such a nice job and tried every unique food on his plate, especially enjoying the lamb. He is *by far* my most adventurous eater. I love how he has carved out his own unique spot in our family.

T is doing well and navigating life "in the middle" these days. Part of this is learning how best to annoy his brothers. lol. He succeeds at this very well, but is also very obedient when I ask something of him. He is probably my most reliable child at the moment--he has good attention and follow-through and always seems ready to help. What a treat he can be! I know hugs and snuggles are in order for repayment. He is by far my most physically affectionate child. He is reading now and working his way through both reading and math books. His ability with numbers is keen as he's already grasping M's work (usually faster than M) and multiplication a bit. I'm a little nervous that kindergarten next year will be boring, but hopefully they can find ways to challenge him. He seems to be a happy learner regardless of the subject.

M is working hard at the piano and attempting to do so with fewer complaints--how nice this change has been. His school work is going well and we're noticing smoother out-loud reading. Now, how to motivate him to want to do it on his own...?? I wrote a bit about his bed-wetting in a post over at BC on Friday. We are hoping to buy an alarm soon and get this conquered before the baby comes. I wouldn't say its a super stressor at the moment, just something I want to continue to monitor, especially as he's become more aware of it. He had an *awesome* week last week completing his responsibilities at home and enjoying his privileges... Just tonight he was looking to plug in his alarm clock so he wouldn't wake up late in the morning. Good boy. He bears the weight of the world on his shoulders sometimes and I'm often encouraging him to relax... Oh, to imagine that 7 is right around the corner. Hard to believe for my big, little man. I love watching him love his little sister these days--they are developing quite a special bond.

So that's life in our G world. A bit of a week's end update, looking ahead to a wonderful week. We humbly thank you for walking this road with us. We don't claim it's easy or perfect or even pretty, at times. But we are blessed to walk it with good friends and family. We send our love to you.
God bless,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday

From over at Building Cathedrals...

What am I cooking? Something with beef stew meat, diced tomatoes, an onion... Any suggestions? I am attempting to clear out my freezer this week and will be whipping up something with these ingredients in my slow cooker this morning. I am hoping a website like this one will save me--just type in the ingredients you have and it gives you a mega list of recipes that comply. Voila! Dinner served!

What are my weekend plans? Princeton Alumni Interviews, baby! Saturday morning I will be meeting with four prospective Princeton students and getting to know them in 45 minutes or less. GG and I try to do our part in alumni interviews each year, but I will admit, it is a rather painstaking process--arranging meetings, driving to meetings, taking hours to sit down and "interview" students, then processing the info in an interview report. It is hard not to get emotionally attached to the candidates in hopes for their acceptances. With close to 30,000 applications each year, though, it is rare for us to get one in. GG had one two years ago, I had one last year. We are always exuberant... and then crestfallen for our hopefuls who didn't make it in. Good news: many wonderful students end up at fabulous schools around the country. Princeton's just sharing the wealth.

What are my prayer intentions for the day? For baby Josie and her mama. For Patrick Kelly and his family. For mourning families.

What can my children do instead of watching TV? Do Tae-kwon-do. And not on each other! Our oldest, M, received martial arts classes from his grandparents for Christmas and *boy* what fun he has had. He seems to love doing something engaging, active, controlled, and disciplined. The little ones love to imitate the moves the class is doing. And I love that this gets us out of the house two afternoons/week--while M is at lessons, I take the little ones out to a playground at the Y or to the Child Watch and have a cup of coffee. Mama Bliss. Enough said.

What have I done for my marriage this week? I have worked on Catholic Engaged Encounter talks with GG. We are weekend presenters next weekend and are putting the finishing touches on a new set of talks (think 8 talks at 20min/ea). It has been quite the undertaking, starting back last winter when CEE came out with a new weekend outline and new talk format. We have been rather reluctant writers during the writing process, but thanks to the upcoming weekend deadline, we are beginning to see the light. Alleluia! Our prayer is that God will speak through us to the couples and strengthen their upcoming sacrament.

What am I reading? The library just informed me it was ready for pick-up-- The Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit). It is a book I'll be reading for my moms' book club. I hear it's a good read; a tale of war and survival for a POW. One woman recommended a light read after finishing this one. I can imagine it will be more than necessary.

What’s challenging me lately? At 24 weeks, round ligament pain. I'm having quite a bit in the evening times and the only thing that helps is sitting or lying down. I think GG is beginning to wonder if this is my ploy to get out of putting children to bed! It hurts, I swear! ;) My theory is that I'm doing too much during the day and stressing the belly muscles/ligaments, which then spasm at night, telling me to slow down. Caring for children is one thing, but yesterday it was most likely thanks to flip turns in the pool while I swam laps... Guess that's an easy thing to give up!

Something that made me think? I really enjoyed this postfrom Desiring God back in July, discussing motherhood as a calling (and not an obligation). A friend sent it to me not too long ago and we discussed it at length last night at a Catholic Women's Fellowship get-together. It was a really important reminder that my mothering needs to be born out of a sacrifice rooted in unconditional love. When I am lacking the will for such a sacrifice, I need to crawl back to the Cross and witness the purest, most wonderful sacrifice there ever was. Praise God for a Savior who gave so much for us; a true inspiration as we love and nurture our children in the day to day. Even through the tough moments, they are precious gifts. I want them to grow and know how much their mother cherishes them; even more, how much their God gave for them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Motherly Motivation

Saw this quote from a friend and loved it...

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says "oh crap, she's up!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Busy and Rainy

Leave it to the non-stop rain today to make a busy week feel unproductive! We are emerging this evening as the rain pitter-patters outside...

MG had her 18-mos check-up today and I'm happy to report that she is very well. We are glad and grateful. She has a large noggin' 75%, medium weight 50%, and small height 10%. The doc said we'll keep an eye on her height as we don't want her falling too much more. I'm convinced height measurements at this age are *highly* inaccurate. She may have been a lot shorter at her previous appts. and was measured incorrectly. I'm always skeptical of the "lay the baby on the table and we'll make a mark on the paper". Nonetheless, I think it's safe to say she won't be like my cousin, Lindsey, who is 6' 3''! No basketball center position in her future... that's coming from her mom, who played 2 years in middle school at guard. That's just fine.

GG and I are feverishly working away at our Engaged Encounter talks. We are presenting at a weekend in VA Beach at the end of January and have committed to being done with all the newly-revised talks. Nothing like a deadline to motivate us! ;)

Christmas is still in take-down mode over here. Most of the decorations have moved from their positions around the house to our upstairs hallway. I hosted my book club on Monday night, which was great impetus to get our tree down and out of the living room corner. It also happened to be my birthday--33 years blessed--so it was a perfect excuse to host friends for a wonderful birthday evening. Wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, ice cream pie--check, check, check!

Now to tackle our Princeton Alumni interviews (GG has 5 and I have 4) and subsequent write-ups. I will be planting myself at Pan.era this weekend and hoping to knock off all 4. We'll see... Interview season is never a fun one in G-Ville. We are under the gun until all of our reports have been filed. Last year one of my students got in and it was so exciting! The stats. of acceptances, though, are truly depressing. This is around the time GG and I start singing the praises of state schools for our kids' futures.

Finally, I've taken on a Chemistry tutoring student--SO fun! She is a smart Honors Chem. gal and we're having a great time getting into stoichiometry. I really love Chemistry at this level, so I'm a juiced-up mama whenever she leaves... Big dork, but who doesn't love to challenge their noodle?!

That's life in G-Ville!
Sending our love to you on this dreary night,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Welcome back, Snoog.

GG and I opened our hearts and our marital bed last night to an old friend...
Snoog (aka. Mr. Snoog, The Snoog, Snoog-Dog, or Snoogle)
Hey buddy, good to see you. It's been awhile.

Snoog is my beloved pregnancy pillow, purchased way back in 2004 for my first go 'round and has been golden ever since. My most vivid memory with Snoog was on a cross-country roadtrip with GG at 30 weeks. We stopped at a divey motel to catch a few winks before hitting the road and making it to Virginia from Colorado in less than 24 hours. (Oh what we could do back before having children!) As we laid down to sleep, GG and I burst into laughter at the absurdity of our situation. He, Snoog, Custer, and (very pregnant) I were all packed into a full-size bed with absolutely NO room to move. Our room was right next to a 24-hour gas station that caused Custer to bark every few minutes thanks to the noise. The sheets smelled and were scratchy. lol. It was pretty awful and very funny--Snoog was there right with us! :)

So last night when I laid down to bed and could barely move thanks to some intense round ligament pain, I sent GG up to the attic to retrieve my old pal. Moving hurt. Stretching hurt. But Snoog made it all better--5 minutes and I had no pain! Thanks, buddy!! I slept so well. Unfortunately, though, it's back this morning. Sitting here typing, I'm trying not to move too much to induce the sharp aches. Baby G is growing, for sure. I guess this means a workout is out of the question! Aww, shux! :) Maybe I'll just go back and lie down...

Thankfully, though, there are a few bright spots around the house this morning.
Namely this little lady in her new ladybug outfit (thanks to G and P).

She is coming off of a double ear infection and may have finally kicked it! Her spirits are definitely up. Hooray!!

God bless this Friday,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our Tae-kwon-do Man

Thanks to a joint gift from his loving grandparents this Christmas...

I introduce to you,
Tae-kwon-do Man.
He may seem like your average 6-year-old,
dressed in a karate uniform.

But don't be mistaken. He's actually a fierce fighting machine,
ready to defend good at every turn...
Can you guess how well his first lesson went today?
I think we've started something BIG.
And something really good.

Out with T-ball this spring. In with Tae-kwon-do.
I can already tell you this is worth every penny more!! (And it will be done by March's end when they'll have to start rolling me around! Alleluia!)

Love you, our Tae-kwon-do Man!!