Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

Hello dear ones! How are ya??? With t-ball starting up and soccer now in full swing, this week has completely gotten away from me. While I have a moment, here's a glimpse into life in G-Ville...

What am I cooking?
This gal's awesome Enchilada Mess. It is a very delicious, make-ahead-of-time casserole'ish dish that we all love. The corn tortillas totally make it. Amy and her family are very dear to us from our Notre Dame Law days. At the end of our three years, she and her husband put together a recipe book with photos and recipes we all contributed. I love to cook from it and and think of my dear, fellow ND law wives. It is really heartwarming.

What are my weekend plans?
We are so excited to be welcoming Red and her family for the weekend. They are coming from afar just to see us, which is amazing and so special. On the docket for our time together is my 10k Saturday morning (Go B-mama!!), some local hot spot visits later morning, the boys' soccer games in the afternoon, and lots of good down time in-between. Thanks for coming Red family, we can't wait to see you!!

What are my prayer intentions for the day?
For this little girl, who has just endured double spinal fusion surgery, and for her family. God speed, dear Harlie!! You are one incredible little lady!! We are honored to live down the street from these friends and are looking forward to welcoming them back healthy and on the mend in a couple of weeks.

What can my children do instead of watching TV?
Play on the computer? Just kidding. I know it's basically the same thing. What about heading to t-ball practice to watch our oldest brother start this new sport? Add in hill rolling and grass-picking and we've got a new form of entertainment!

What have I done for my marriage this week?
I have given lots of hugs. I have attempted to listen before speaking. I have been open and honest. The result? Overall goodness.

What am I reading?
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. So far, so good. I'm liking it's southern spin.

What's challenging me lately?
To be honest, M's piano practice. He is doing so well and his teacher is loving his progress. The weekly "to-do" list, though, is rather daunting. For a fledgling player, this translates into *a lot* of time commitment necessary from teacher mama. And let me tell you, we are devoting a good part of our afternoons to this endeavor! Thankfully, the youngest two are usually napping at the time, but that leaves T in the lurch. I think I need to speak up to the teacher and let him know we are a little swamped. Less is more. I want to be sure M continues to enjoy playing... Thankfully, he is really good so far about heading to practice when I ask. This is SO much better than I ever was!

Something that made me think?
The current situation in Libya is a bit overwhelming. I have been reading various reports and articles and spending some time talking with GG about the whole affair. It is amazing to me that a man like Qaddafi has remained in power since the 1960's. That's one impressive (and sinister) regime. It is difficult to know whether or not international involvement in the affairs is the right move. We recently welcomed back my BIL from Afghanistan and I can't help but question whether or not our military can handle more international involvement. Whether our motivations in Libya are sincere (ousting an evil tyrant) or selfish (for oil access), we are now involved and there's no getting out of it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shamrockin' 2011

It's about time we give proper credit where credit is due...


The whole family traveled to Virginia Beach this past weekend to cheer on our GG in the Yuengling Shamrock half-marathon. It was grand fun!

We moseyed there mid-day on Saturday, arrived early, and dropped GG and the two middle boys off to pick up GG's race packet at the expo. We got our first dose of goodness when as I was waiting, a first row spot opened and I got it! Thank you, Lord! Sometimes it really is all about the little things for me. The boys were soon back and away we went! We checked into the hotel and quickly changed into bathing suits. GG and the two older boys were quick to the water, while I stayed on the side of the pool with the little ones in my lap. J was really scared (he had been expecting a baby pool), so he was really happy to stay dry and close. Little MG knew nothing different and enjoyed watching her big brothers in the pool.

Time was running short, so we ran up to the room, changed, and headed off to Mass at a church down the way. After Mass we jetted back to the hotel to meet our friends, K, B, and baby C, who were also in town for the race. We all ate dinner together and enjoyed each other's company. Dinner was uneventful aside from a near choking episode (MG chewing on a french fry) quickly resolved and a frisbee thrown in the restaurant (T--thankfully he hasn't learned to throw well yet! :). Yes, that's our version of uneventful.

We lingered a bit over dinner before heading up to our rooms. We jammied and read stories before assigning M and T one double bed, J and Daddy the other, MG to the sink area, and B-mama to the sofa bed (lucky me! I insisted since GG had his race) GG put on some Gregorian chant music (via my iPad) and the boys quieted and went to sleep easily. MG was out and GG and I spent a little time reading before hitting the hay. As we went to bed, little did we know neither he nor I would sleep much in the hours that followed...

Cue a loud chainsaw-like noise every time someone above us flushed the toilet or used the shower/sink. We'd fall asleep... REEEE... get the baby back to sleep... REEE... get the baby back to sleep... REEEEEE... You get the picture. To say it was infuriating is a complete understatement!!! I was so angry, I went bleary-eyed down to the front desk at 2am, demanding a full refund on our room! For those of you who know me know it takes a lot to get me to this point... but I was SO there!!! The situation was pretty miserable.

The man at the desk offered us a new room, but I wasn't about to move our entire family and luggage to new digs at 2am. Instead, he promised to pass the issue to the manager at the next shift...

Alas, we "slept" through the rest of the night rather fitfully. At 3:30am GG and I moved MG's crib into another area of the room that was less noisy. Thankfully the boys slept through it all. GG and I were able to catch a few winks until it was time for GG to wake up for his race. Poor guy. I just felt so bad for him--on top of not sleeping well, he had a weird stomach/vertigo thing going on, so I knew it was a lot asking his body to run 13.1 miles! But he did it!! And he did great!!

G-Ville cheering section--thank goodness for our blanket borrowed from the hotel! They totally owed us!

7am cheering sweetness

Friend K and snuggly C
We missed cheering him at 3 miles by a nanosecond (I was getting the last of the kids out of the car as he zoomed by!), but caught him at mile 9 to offer some much needed encouragement. He was apparently hurting a bunch, but from our perspective looked really strong!
Here he comes!! Shedding pants and shirt that were tied around his waist!

Heading off toward the finish line. Go Daddy!

>We stuck around to cheer on K's hubby and then headed toward the finish line, which took a good 45 minutes or so... *Finally* we were able to link up with our guy and give him the hugs he deserved! He needed them and was feeling pretty lousy, so we all headed back to the car and went back to the hotel.
The awesome finishers, looking happier than they feel!

Back at the hotel, we gathered our things and checked out. I managed to get 50% off the room rate and a complimentary future stay. I was satisfied. We ended our time with a romp on the beach for the boys to enjoy some sand and surf.

Congratulations to our wonderful GG! We're so proud of you.
We'd follow you anywhere to be your biggest, loudest cheering section!


Monday, March 21, 2011


We went for the dress for the classic photo--just the feminine touch to set her apart from her brothers!

One of Daddy's favorites

Mommy's fave--*love* the big smile! She most looks like T in this shot.

I'm so happy with the outcome from our session Friday and so glad to get it over with! We started off with a guy taking the shots and little MG wouldn't give him ANY sugar. Nothing! Poor guy. I had to politely tell him that she seems to prefer women over men... sure enough, we waited for the next available female photographer and were home free! Whew! Now, to get on those frames...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Picture Day!

Today is a momentous day in G-Ville--MG is getting her baby photos taken!
For the first two boys, we were much better--a lot better, getting shots every 3 months. With J, though, the floor fell out from under us. Alas, we've attempted to hold on to at least one of the first year photo sessions-- the one between 8 and 9 months, with one particular shot taking the cake as our favorite. So far, we have these three little fellas...

"Phew" man, as we like to call him. You can see he was the peanut of the bunch (he was born at 36 weeks and yet at 6 years, still remains on the peanut-y side compared to his brothers--you better believe they won't let him forget it when he's older! :)

Our sweet "Uncle Fester" T, who had no hair for quite some time. He was all cheeks and smiles. Definitely a photogenic baby.

And then there was strapping J, our tallest, most solid little fella, with a sweet smile and gentle disposition. He will one day be G-Ville's gentlest giant.

We're hoping to add today a sweet little lady to round out the bunch and complete the fearsome foursome. GG and I plan to arrange the framed 8 x 10's side by side in our bedroom with a thin black frame and white matting. Can't wait. Most of me is merely thrilled to follow through on a project that's been 6 years in the making. Check that baby off our lists! We're not done yet--ask me how its going until you see the frames on our wall. Getting them up and coordinated will be the true accomplishment.

Baby steps. TGIF and blessings,

Monday, March 14, 2011

What We Got

The weekend was stupendous, amazing, outstanding!
Here's the G-Ville report at week's beginning...
Our feaster, extraordinaire (and her sneaky pup, lower left)
1. Grab 'n go Lady
Little MG is perfecting her self-feeding and can now eat cheerios and puffs with ease. Steamed cut up carrots were less successful (she was tired) and spinach ravioli was even worse. So far it seems like we might have a "skeptical" eater (I didn't say picky!) on our hands. She's so curious about everything, but more excited to examine food than eat it. Add to her list of soft faves, YOGURT! She's been inhaling the Trader.Joe's vanilla and loving it. There's only so much you can try with two teeth. The upper ones are looking to make an appearance soon.

2. Papa's turning 36! (or was that 63? We're having trouble remembering... ;)
We celebrated Papa's grand birthday on Saturday, complete with lunch at Red Robin and birthday bash back at Mimi and Papa's. It was a fun celebration. The boys' cards were a hit as were a framed pic of Papa and M from Maine and a book about Israel. M threw in an additional gift back at their house--a dance to "Texas Road", a song he made up with a mixture of beat boxing and humming--pretty darn good! There's no doubt our #1 (and his trusty sidekick, J) love to perform. T would rather sit back and take it all in (though he did practice for the event the night before... :)

3. GG gears up for Shamrock!
With T minus 6 days to go until his half marathan, GG is gearing up for an awesome race. Completing the challenge is his goal. The whole crew and I will be heading east with him for the race. Read: pray for GG's sleep the night before--ha! :) We have a two-room suite and are hoping we can all settle the night before. Our hotel is really close to the halfway mark of the race so the kiddos and I plan to hit the pavement at 7am and be there to cheer for Daddy and friend, Bryce! Can't wait. There's no question it will be an adventure! We're hoping for a nice getaway. Weather reports indicate 55F and sunny for race day. Sounds like *perfect* race weather to me!! GO GG!!

God bless you today in all you do.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rain or Shine

Good morning, friends.
Friday it is. Happy Friday!
While sad in many ways, our week is coming to a close with a lot of goodness, thanks be to God! We are well--the sun is shining, buds are poking out of the ground, the baby is smiling (mostly), and the house is clean. Can I get another Amen?! Thank you, Lord.

Our week has been truly cleansing. Dealing with Lewis' death has given way to lots of prayer, which is always a wonderful outcome. We have proceeded into Lent. Ash Wednesday, while usually pretty grim for me, was actually a fantastic day of discipline, order, and goodness within our family. The younger three and I attended a prayer service, all of us began our Jesus tree, and we started a kindness jar (thanks for the inspiration, Queen B!) The older boys also attended a later Mass with GG. I got the time wrong and ended up being a half hour early, which translated into a half hour of playtime for all the kids on the church playground = awesomeness. It was fantastic! To top it off, I had a burst of energy around 9:30pm and ran 5 miles around our neighborhood in the rain. Don't ask me what came over me, but I just had to do it. Custer and I found a half mile loop and did it 10 times (or at least I did. The pooch petered after lap 4! :) Rainy runs are zen for me.

The day really couldn't have gone better. God reached down to soothe my soul a bit. Thank you, dear Lord!

As the week is coming to a close, we are slowly triumphing over a respiratory bug that has had us all in its grasp for the past two weeks. M now has it and we just learned Papa has fallen victim (on the eve of his birthday--sorry Papa!) The rest of us are emerging, though, so we can now better care for the sick.

The weather reports are claiming 60 degrees and sunshine for the next two days. I am praying the weekend provides continued rejuvenation.

I'll pray for a little of sunshine in your world too.
God bless,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Struggling Tonight

I'm struggling tonight...

We found out today of the death of a friend of ours from Princeton. Lewis was a great person, a loving friend, an all-around happy, smiley, likable guy who could warm any heart. It had been awhile since we talked, yet part of me feels like the world is a little dimmer without his gentle soul out there, making its own delicate impact. He was the definition of a "good guy" in my book.

Death is a hard truth that awakens in me many fears of things I cannot control. I begin to go down the list of people I would be devastated to lose and then think about how their lives might continue if I were gone. It can be fine if I stop there, but I usually don't and my thoughts travel to other worries which turn into anxieties and what-if's. That's when I have to ask the Big Guy to just take it all away. Such is the case tonight.

The most awful twist in this whole scenario is that Lewis was struck by a car while walking outside a restaurant in Vail, CO. The guilty party: a 29yo guy, who's being charged with a DUI. It is so unfair. I feel anger, resentment. Yet I pity the man who has to live his life knowing he took the life of another due to his carelessness.

Lord, have mercy on my friend, Lewis.
Bring comfort to his family.
Offer peace to my soul.

Hug the ones you love tonight,

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pancake Morning

If you live in G-Ville, there's no better way to start off a weekend than by consuming vast quantities of pancakes...
The whole crew this morning

Can I help wanting to elicit smiles like these?

Or happy babies like this one? MG enjoyed her first round of pancakes.

Carried to her mouth with a fledgling pincer grasp... and much determination and concentration!

And a little help from her brothers. Too cute!

After another sickly week, we're hoping this weekend is just the ticket to health and good standing. Thanks be to God for weekends!
Blessings to you from G-Ville,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When a mama falls asleep at 8:30pm...

...she awakens with an unusual spring in her step... at 5:20am!

...she feels fresh; she feels unusually good; she wonders what alien has taken over her body!

...she has to tiptoe around the house so as not to arouse all the sleeping lions.

...she beats the baby to the milk line.

...she gets to wrestle with the kiddos and Daddy in bed (because there's actually time to spare!)

...she gets to be The Claw, The Clothinator, and then The Chasinator (coined by T) to get boys ready for the day.

...she greets her day, rather than the day greeting her; she participates, rather than passively watching.

...she thanks God for sleep.

Can I get an amen?!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Checking Things Off the List

A virtual pat on the back to me:
I have just finished entering updated Christmas card addresses into our computer address book.

Umm... hello, B-mama?!
It's March, for crying out loud!

That should tell you something about my life right now!
Cheers to getting with it, :)
Lilypie First Birthday tickers