Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lost and Hopefully Found

Lost:

*T's church shoe.  Only one.  We have the other and can't for the life of us find it's match.  He's going on three Sundays of having to wear sneakers.  St. Anthony!

*MG's beloved Nana, the pink elephant.  She has stashed it somewhere and we've been missing it for days.  Life is not good without Nana.

*the baby's well-being, with her temp. rising near 103F this evening.  Bummer baby :(.  Thankfully her spirits were still up though she was definitely more sensitive than usual.  Let's hope she can sleep (and mom and dad can too.)

*T's dinner, tossed in his bed on his pillow in flu-like fashion tonight (yikes!)  He is such a trooper and laid in the puddle of puke while I fussed getting everything around him stripped away, his yucky pillow last.  Off to the showers we went.  Let's hope he can sleep (and mom and dad can too.)

*my brain, as I sanitize and launder away my fears of what this means for the rest of us!!!!  I'm really hoping it doesn't hit me tonight as we had the most delicious dinner and I'd hate to revisit it later.  It was my friend, Catherine's, delicious sausage and peppers.  SO, so good.  I'd like to keep liking it!

Found:

*we did find this little sweetie today at her 8.5mos pics (don't ask--we somehow have done 8.5 month pics for all five kids so we're going with it!)  She was such a little angel at the shoot, giving gentle smiles and never causing a fuss.  That's about right with this one.  She's my Baby Angel.  I added the bow in her hair at the last minute--I know it looks like it was pasted on, but otherwise her pics look *just* like our T-bone's.  I wanted hers to be at least a little girly!
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This is the pose we have of each of the kids.  One day we will get them all hung in our bedroom.  
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We are mindful of all our blessings tonight.  And praying we find our peace and health by the morning!!
God bless,

Monday, January 28, 2013

Checking In

It is a dreary Monday morning here in G-Ville and I've been meaning to get on here and update for days.  Yet life marches on and with it we go, whether I've written about it or not.  Most of our life lately has been just the ebb and flow of the day to day with our family--nothing too exciting to report, thanks be to God!

The rain falls outside, but inside we are rather cozy this morning.  The kids are (thankfully) off of school today thanks to a teacher inservice and I am enjoying the opportunity to take in the morning together and not feel our usual sense of urgency getting out the door.

We had a nice, quiet weekend.  GG and I tackled a few Princeton Alumni interviews on Saturday.  We have perfected the time and location of these interviews after a few years of running around trying to meet with applicants all over the city (and state!)  Now, we've gotten wise to the process and meet them close to us at the library down the street.  What a difference that makes!  Let the children come to us... ;)  Not only did GG meet with one of his students, but he finished the report and submitted it right there at the library.  Brilliant!  In years past we have made the mistake of letting the reports go long after the actual interview, but not this year.  I wrote my two last night and will be editing and submitting today.  We each have one more interview to conduct, but shouldn't have any trouble getting those accomplished.  Check that box!  Feels good.

Yesterday evening we met with our FIRE Catechesis group and had a lovely time of fellowship.  We are dissecting the Nicene Creed this year and studying each component in depth.  Yesterday's focus was on the line "he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffered death, and was buried".  The kids did a wonderful job getting to the root of Pilate's inner turmoil as he considered Christ's ultimate fate on the cross.  I was so glad hearing my boys recall the story in good detail and recognize Pilot's predicament.  I guess our Lenten Jesus Tree really has imparted some good long-term understanding.  Now to work on the other liturgical seasons!

As for today, we are snuggling in... I am planning on having the kids do a little "school" and work on some Christmas thank-you's (we are a bit behind :).  T has a nice playdate planned with friends and I have a tutoring session mid-morning.  I am so proud of this student, who has worked through adversity and hardship to conquer 5 units of geometry in mere weeks.  He has been a total rockstar and has earned his spot back in the classroom come February.  What a privilege it is to work as a tutor for these kids--I love it!  Just might need to scale back as the year goes on.  I am currently at 6 sessions/ week, but will be down to 4 after my geometry guy heads back to school...  Whew!  This is becoming a legitimate part-time job, but I'm hoping I can maintain the balance because I find it so rewarding.  It's also good preparation to help my kids with math once they get to middle and high school.  :)

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My own little rockstars!
So that's that from our little corner of the world.  I hope this finds you well today.
God bless,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Life Around Town

Exciting things are afoot in G-Ville these days.
Some are going to have to be kept secret for the time being (no, I'm not pregnant! ;).  But I promise to fill you in soon when it's permissible...

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Hard to imagine that this little bit of snow gave us a snow day!  Love living in VA! ;)
Other things include SNOW here on Thursday evening, rewarding the boys with a snow day on Friday.  T was especially excited and was the first one outside the next morning.  His brothers then joined and all three came in soaking wet later.  The snow only stuck around until mid-day, but we were so glad to see a bit of the white stuff!
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Early bird gets the snow
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The three amigos hit the powder
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With time for cuddling later on!
Also on our list is a certain little miss who is "conquering" the potty...

I put the word in quotes because the jury's still out whether or not we will actually conquer anything anytime soon.  I admit to being a poor potty trainer.  Any sign of failure and I lose hope and head running for the diapers.

Our first day was actually the most successful.  I was able to get MG to sit on the potty while watching a favorite show (this was the only negotiation she would go for!)  My sister came up with the idea for bribery and voila! first productive potty time!!  woo hoo!  For the rest of the day MG would go running back to her potty and only had one accident.  We were off to a great start.

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A discreet potty shot--don't mind the bed head! ;)
Night #1 I put her in a pull-up and she awoke the next morning dry.  Excellent.  We went straight to the potty and had success.  Hooray!  Things were definitely looking up.  We then tried the show negotiation for a second morning.  I gave her a big drink with breakfast and was totally overconfident she would comply a second time.  Surprisingly, MG sat on the potty all during her show with no success and then within minutes of getting up, had an accident in the corner of our dining room.  What???  I was definitely frustrated.  Over the course of the next 6 hours she then had 3 more accidents.  I was so frustrated and finally threw in the towel and put her back in diapers.  Enough!  I told you, I'm a poor trainer!!

Day 3 yesterday started out with MG in diapers per her request.  It was a Saturday morning and GG and I did not feel like dealing with potty clean-ups.  She went about her morning play.  At one point, I randomly asked if she wanted to sit on the potty and she agreed (a surprising change) and produced!  We left her without underwear or diaper and later I could tell she was doing a potty dance and suggested she try sitting again.  She was a bit defiant and so I walked away only to hear M yell, "Mom, MG did poopy!"  Are you kidding me???  I never expected #2 happening so easily!  Woo hoo!!  We were definitely on a roll!

Since then we've had both successes and failures, but she's still been requesting diapers.  Hmm...  How to bring the interest back to underwear??  The journey continues.  Because tomorrow is a school and work holiday, GG and I are hoping to join forces to really bring this one home.  I hope to report back in with more successes...

Overall, MG is becoming such a little person, talking languidly and making GG and I laugh a lot.  She is a little ray of sunshine who brightens our world so.  I love, love, love to see her interact with her daddy.  They are precious together and bring me such joy.

So there's a slice of life about town this weekend.
Blessings to you from our little corner of the world,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Being Made New

Tonight I was going to type about how challenging raising five precious souls can be sometimes.  I was going to blog and tell you about how special each of these little people is and how their tendency to go in every which way leaves GG and I exhausted most nights.  I was going to describe how he and I comment often that our life feels like a sprint just to keep up with the status quo (and not ever get ahead) and that one pause for a breather usually causes such a backlog it takes days to recover.

How laundry piles in hallways and on couches are common.
How cluttered countertops are a given.
How random items everywhere are the norm.
How these things cause us stress, which we wish they didn't, but they do.
How on particularly tough stretches I feel... (gasp!) overwhelmed.
How I barely have time to check email, let alone write about life and post pictures on our blog these days...

But I won't.  I'll spare you the pity party!  Because our life is wonderful and blessed and moving forward, inch by inch.  We are getting there and know this 8-month-postpartum time is the hardest for us and often when we are challenged in the greatest ways.  We must bury our heads in the sand and keep pressing onward!!  We also know that these souls are helping to transform our own sinful hearts, making us more holy and selfless and Christ-like.  There is always work to be done.

So there's a little slice of humility from G-Ville tonight.  If you've ever felt this way in your own life, you're not alone, my friend.  Not alone at all.

Instead of the pity party, I'll let my dear friend, Carolina Girl, do the talking.  She and I have been friends since back in our Army days when we lived across the street from one another.  I love her for her kind heart and ability to find humor in everything.  I can recall so many times when we chuckled together over even the mundane in our lives.  She is selfless and humble and a true friend.  Miss you, CG!  She has the sweetest little crew and now calls Alaska home (even if for a short Army while!)  Enjoy the comparison of our MG and her Li'l Bit and how they are total doppelgängers!  Amazing...

God bless,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Well, now we know.

I've been taking greater liberty lately with my diet, throwing in some chocolate here and there (who me?) perhaps a bit of cheese on this and that.  I blame the temptation on the holidays.

Christmas morning I always make what I like to call my "Cheese Blintz Bake" (otherwise known as Cream Cheese Crescent Casserole).  It is the easiest mix of Pills.bury crescent rolls, cream cheese, gobs of butter, sugar, and cinnamon.  Delish!  Talk about a temptation nightmare for the mama attempting to avoid dairy!  Ahh...  I'm usually so good, but I just had to snag a piece... or two.  It was Christmas, for crying out loud!!

Later, I just couldn't help "sampling" the Cost.co-sized bag of M&M's leftover from M's school party.  Baby G seemed to be doing well with the Blintz Bake so why not one or two or 20?  The temptation was almost overwhelming.  Add onto that the daily lure of caffeine in a more regular morning cup of coffee (not a usual vice) and I was really pushing the limits.

Or was I?  G seemed great with no apparent skin rashes or horrible crying fits.  But then, at around the 1 week mark, we started noticing some disgruntled sleep.  It was not enough to force me to stop my new habits until... Bam! blood in the stool!  Yep, my poor little angel finally showed visible proof that these dietary issues are hanging on.  It wasn't a lot, but it was red and it looked angry.  I felt immediately guilty.  My poor baby!

Now I know that this sacrifice hasn't been for naught.  It has truly been maintaining her little system and keeping it on track.  And now I am back in the land of strictly no dairy and no soy and thankfully, I'm doing just fine.  A hot fudge sundae sounds pretty amazing at this point, but then again, so does a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with almond milk.  The latter I can enjoy and not harm my child in the process!

It also makes for keen New Year's resolutions!  I will get to eat that sundae sometime in 2013... ;)  And in the scope of life, these small sacrifices are worth it for the greater health of our family.

God bless,

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The past week...

Happy New Year, loves!

We've been enjoying such a fabulous week together, I couldn't break the rhythm and get away to blog about it.  No worries, though.  Here we are in 2013, back and better than ever, especially after a blessed Christmas and New Year.

I has been a great week plus.  Initially we were busy with holiday revelry, living up time with my parents in town.  Busch Gardens Christmastown was a success and we didn't lose anyone--score! thanks to GG's wonderful leadership and more adults than children.  Good thing we didn't lose any adults either--ha! ;)  The weather was cooperative and though busy, we muscled through the crowds and were even able to enjoy a few rides.  Mimi, Gramz, and Pappy all joined in the rides with the kids while Papa, M, and Baby G were happy campers to stay on the sidelines, enjoying hot cocoa.  Perfect!  To each, his own.  I am learning that lesson more and more these days as a parent.
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Getting ready to watch the Sesame Street Christmas show
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Even the smallest members were bundled tightly!
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A rare photo of me and my main squeeze
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You can sense the enthusiasm ;)
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If I could bottle these two and sell them, I'd be a wealthy gal.  They are exuberant!
Christmas Eve, we had the privilege to head to early Mass and all sit together to worship and partake of our Lord.  What a blessing it was.  My heart is never more full when I look around at my family at church.  I feel home; I feel loved; I feel encouragement on this journey of life.  It is good.  I was so glad to share that special time with our whole crew and our parents.  After, we drove around and saw a few houses on the tacky light tour before heading over to Mimi and Papa's for a delicious Christmas dinner. Everyone was dressed so nicely, we made it our goal to get a shot of each set of grandparents and the kiddos.  The outcome was successful...
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 The evening was just about perfect until I had a mommy tantrum (due to children not listening) and had to apologize to everyone, including my sad child.  It was a bummer, but thankfully all was forgiven and we moved on.  Saved by grace, even on Christmas Eve. :)  We finally wrangled all the kids into jammies, into the car, and into bed, but not before 10pm that night.  It was late and we were all ready for sleep!!!  Santa needed to come... and the elves still had some loose ends to tie up!!!

We did make it into bed... by 1:00am, with just enough rest to brave this scene:
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This year's family photo was an unreal phenomenon--we achieved relative perfection in one (yes, one) shot.  It was a true Christmas miracle--thank you, Jesus!  I think GG and I were in shock. ;)
Christmas morning we were all totally spoiled to be together again.  The earliest riser awoke at 7am--not too shabby (but we did put them to bed so late!)  We forbade any gift opening until 7:30am when they were allowed to open their stockings.  Mimi and Papa arrived at their requested 8am time and away we went in a flurry of torn paper and excited children...  They were in Christmas heaven!
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Baby G "opening" her first ever Christmas gift!
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket We enjoyed a brunch that morning and later all sat down together in our newly-put-together dining room.  It actually feels like an adult room now--woo hoo!  Only took 4 years!  Thanks to GG and my dad for hanging curtains (finally!), sconces, and pictures on Christmas Eve.  It set the scene for a lovely dinner together--one of those moments you want to freeze time because its so enjoyable.

Photobucket Since then we've been reveling in downtime and peace with no real agenda.  We said farewell to my wonderful parents last Thursday and were so sad to see them go--it was a visit full of fun and togetherness.  Our little nuclear family has had some sweet moments in the days since.  We went to Kangaroo Jac's one day as a reward for filling our warm fuzzy jar.  Another day we enjoyed a Red Robin lunch out with Mimi and Papa.  Yesterday we headed to the children's museum and ran off our wiggles before heading to dinner at Chick-fil-A.  Peace and togetherness.  GG and I have also become hooked on Redbox and have had a movie night almost every night.  This is such a treat for us and I can't believe his vacation time ends tomorrow.  What wonderful memories we've created this holiday season.

There's no doubt in my mind--this time has been a gift from God; a blessing we'll cherish well into 2013 and for many years to come.

Blessings to you this new year,