Monday, April 25, 2011

Entirely Florida

The G-Clan had a wonderful, wonderful time in FL. The boys took to the ocean and pool by the end of the week. GG recovered enough from a horrible cold and the rest of us managed to stay relatively healthy. Gramz and Pappy spoiled us with lots of play time, good food, and great company. GG and I even had a date night one night out at a local seafood restaurant on the river. It was perfect!

We spent one afternoon out at a southern beach and pier. While we were there, we had the privilege of seeing a bunch of surfing dolphins. Report has it they stay close to the surfers when there are sharks around. Perhaps protecting them? Anthropomorphizing for sure (that's for you, Jess R.!) New Smyrna Beach is just across the inlet and is known as "Shark Bite Capital" with more shark attacks than anywhere in the world. Exciting! :)

Another afternoon, the boys, GG, Pappy, and I played mini-golf. We had a fantastic time! This was a surprise bc we never know how activities like these are going to go... After hole #1, the little guys were so into it and the grown-ups were on a high that we had found such a good venue. I led GG by 2 going into #17 (Pap was our caddy) before crumbling by 2 strokes that hole and another 2 on #18. Sad mama. GG wanted me to take a picture of the scorecard for posterity sake, but I refused. ;) He had bragging rights the rest of the trip. How I hate to lose!
Little J actually led the boys for the first 3 holes!

Can you tell everyone was completely wiped out? We still had a great time.

To round out the week, we had more ocean and pool fun. M rode some more waves, J and T gave it a one-time try, and the boys really enjoyed these inner tubes at the beach and pool. Our little MG even got some beach action the last afternoon. Yes, she managed to eat her baby-rite-of-passage handful of sand. Check that off the list of milestones.

All in all, what a great trip! We send our love and thanks to Florida G and P for an awesome time!! Thank you for so selflessly giving of yourselves to make a fun trip for us! xoxo

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!

From our family to yours, Happy Easter! We wish you a joyful day of celebration (and chocolate and candy... :)
He is risen, He is Lord!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First Swim

Yesterday our little MG got her first taste of swimming.

There was the unveiling...
Is this not the most adorable, ridiculous suit you've ever seen?

The waiting (there is always waiting in G-Ville!)...

"Geez, Mom and Dad. First you put me in this silly suit and then you make me wait forever?"

And finally, SUCCESS! She loved it!!

The G Family, Florida 2011

I've never seen our little lady more at peace than when she was in the water and afterwards, when she was bundled in the towel. It was as if the water put her in a peaceful trance. A wonderful first swim, indeed.

With love,

Monday, April 18, 2011

Florida Begins

We're enjoying time with the ones we love...

Hello from Florida! We made it, we're loving it, and the weather is better than fine! I sit here typing at the couch, watching the creeping sun rise over the ocean. As I just looked out now, the sun has gotten to the point where it is too bright to view at all, yet is already offering it's warmth. M, J, and MG play on the carpet below me. Bristle blocks and Takealong Thomas trains captivate their attention in the early morning hours. MG loves to take the full Bristle bucket and scatter it across the carpet. They are cute and sweet in these early morning hours... how I savor this time.
Dinner on the balcony the first night

Our trip down here was without hiccup and relatively smooth. GG and I are always amazed at the duration of a typical stop of ours. We plan for it to be quick and then an hour later, everyone is finally fed, peed, and no longer in need. And this is "quick"! Ha. If only we could have given this image to our married-with-no-kids selves back in the day. We were the picture of efficiency back then. No longer! Lol. Yesterday was a fabulous first day at the beach. We awoke and celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at a beautiful basilica down here. The boys were pretty attentive, especially M, who asked questions throughout the entire (lengthy) reading of Christ's Passion. It is the longest reading all year in the Church and goes on for quite some time. The Mass actually went so long, we missed getting back to relieve my parents from MG duty to allow them to attend their service. Oh no! I completely lost track of time and felt horrible! One strike against us!!

Everyone rallied and played. GG and I then got the luxury of running a 4-miler *together* on the beach. Such a treat and it felt great! We returned to find Pappy and the boys heading down to the beach. We quickly changed and then joined them out in the sand to dig and play. The boys created a "hot tub" by digging to kingdom come. M also dug a ridiculously long canal all the way to the ocean. We marveled at their energy--oh, to bottle youth! M and T eventually tried their lot at riding waves on some boogie boards. They did great and really had fun. Mama even had a later go of it--re-living my youth. Good news is I can still catch a good wave and ride them in. I seriously spent many hours of my youth riding waves. I even rode one in Hawaii when the beach was closed. It was my first and last wave there as the forces were so great, I was pummeled into the ocean floor and am so lucky I didn't break my neck. Good memories. :)

Surfer boy and mama

We capped our time outside with a trip to the hot tub, which the boys have discovered and now love. It was the perfect warm up before we headed up, showered, dressed, and cozied together on the couch. We watched Finding Nemo and the boys actually enjoyed it. In the past they've been too scared, but this time around they were aok. Our day ended with a delicious dinner and relaxing evening of reading and TV. Amazing how well kids go to sleep after a day at the beach! Love it. Today we're off and running... literally. Back to workout and then we're heading south to a beach point where the boys can play and look for shells and watch fishermen. Fun stuff. Also, if you have a spare moment, would you say a prayer for our godson who is having his tonsils out today? Thanks all.

God bless from FL!

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Week

We've been cleaning and preparing...

Someone's starting to pull to her knees (ominous music begins playing.)

A few hiccups along the way...

In his excitement to head outside on an adventure, J toppled down 4 brick stairs. Yikes! Thankfully, he tucked and rolled, but still managed to get a good "boo boo".

In general, we've been trying to enjoy the everydays of life...

One of MG's favorite things to do is travel on the floor and look at books. My little bookworm!

All in all, it's been a great week.

Something tells us, though, next week is going to be "the bestest" (boys).
Off to "Fworda" (J)... Can't wait!

Off to see Gramz and Pappy on their sandy turf!
I will be posting throughout the week, so stay tuned.
God bless,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top of a Tuesday

We are up and at 'em this Tuesday morning...

Still recovering from a wonderful weekend of Engaged Encounter. We had phenomenal couples and a great fellow presenting team, which made the weekend so fun. Relationships were bolstered, friendships were made, little MG did well. It was good all around.

The boy crew back here at the house did really well too, having a blast with Gramz and Pappy. They checked the soccer games off their lists and then returned home to feast and play and be. Thanks to my parents for being such attentive caretakers. My mom even practiced the piano with M for the last few days! I'm in heaven... :) Thank you to Mimi and Papa for their wonderful heroics in helping with the soccer games and little MG in the evenings. It really takes a village in our world and I'm beyond grateful for our support team. They are THE BEST.
Don't worry, GG and I pinch ourselves regularly. We recognize that what we have is so special. Thanks be to God. And we pray we can pay it forward to our friends and family someday. If we can do half of what our parents do for us...

This week we are now rising to the challenge of readying for a week in Florida for spring break. G and P left today to head down there ahead of us. We will join them Saturday to bask in the sunshine and surf. We were hoping to include the space shuttle Endeavor launch in our trip, but unfortunately, it was just delayed 10 days! Bummer! A Florida vacation is still a vacation (and one we need desperately!) GG and I talked this weekend how rejuvenating a week away is going to be for our family. We're greatly looking forward to it!! The kids can't stop talking about the beach and counting down the days.

So, pray for me this week. Add it to your list of "not-very-important-but-God-listens-anyway" prayers. I am sitting down today to map out daily to-do lists so that we're ready by Friday evening. This is my opportunity to bask in mama glory. This is what I live for.

Ready... Set... Go!!
God bless you today,

Friday, April 8, 2011

It Takes A Village

2 children and 2 maternal grandparents (who drove up from Florida just to be here for us this weekend--thank you, amazing Mom and Dad!!) heading to one morning soccer game at one field...


1 child and 2 paternal grandparents (also graciously sacrificing their time and energy on our behalf--thank you, amazing Mimi and Papa!!) heading to one morning soccer game at another field...


2 parents and 1 baby presenting at an Engaged Encounter weekend retreat south of town...


1 united (though temporarily scattered) and very blessed family

We will check in on Sunday after our weekend adventures!
God bless,

Thursday, April 7, 2011


When I need coffee, I need it. Like really need it.

This morning was one of those times.
I don't regularly have it because I like to savor it, drink in its caffeinated bliss on special occasions. Since I don't regularly imbibe caffeine, I will vouch that its effect on me is pretty astounding. It is like my own personal turbo boost that I save for days when I'm particularly dragging. I also read recently that caffeine increases seratonin release in the brain, making you feel good. No wonder I feel I can conquer the world with a cup of Starbucks in hand.

So, back to this morning and my need for coffee. I go to the pantry to get a filter and alas, we're out. How in the world can one let 100+ filters run out? Apparently, me. At this point, if you're a regular person, you hop in a car, drive to the store, and buy a thousand new filters to last until kingdom come (and prevent you from ever being in this situation again). In my world, this option does not exist--I have one child off to school, another to ready for preschool, another still walking around in his jammies, and yet another who has been fussy all morning and is already in bed for her morning nap. I'm strapped. No filters.

I call Mimi and Papa--perhaps Papa can bring a filter to me when he comes to pick up T to take him to preschool? No luck. They don't have drip filters. Shux.

I say to J that as soon as MG wakes up, we're heading for Starbucks and the grocery store. This somehow makes me feel better.

15 minutes later, in walks Papa, carrying a coffee prepared for me by Mimi. Not only does it have caffeine, but also froth from her espresso machine. I couldn't help smiling from ear to ear. I was saved (and so spoiled)! Are they good to me or what?! They are gems, for sure.

One downed coffee drink later...
The seratonin is taking effect. Happiness. Thank the good Lord!

I leave you with a gratuitously sweet pic of J from our venture yesterday to the botanical gardens...
Smiley J, who does love to steal drinks of his mama's coffee!
God bless,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wee Willy Winkie

For awhile it's been a bit of a mystery to me (and Geoff) how in the world we're supposed to put four young children to bed at the same time. Especially on bath nights! Especially when doing it by ourselves! We have been attempting to learn this craft for the past 9 months with minimal success.

We do baths every other day in our house (to keep our sanity) and this usually works out well because the boys usually aren't dirty enough for a bath after one day. After two days, though, the smell starts (lol) and that's when it's time for dunking! :)

Tonight was a bath night on top of already being later thanks to t-ball. We were running against the clock, underdogs from the get-go. In the midst of potential failure, though, came a mama brainchild that may become a new G-Ville tradition. I've apparently found a way to conquer bedtime with four children. It's what every former-teacher-mama loves--STATIONS!! Rock Station #1, Teeth Station #2, Jammy Station #3, and Book Station #4. I'll elaborate further...

Here's the skinny on how our night went--
I feed MG a formula bottle every night, but on nights when the boys need a bath and I'm alone, the girl has to take her bottle wherever she can get it. Thankfully, she's always good to go and very flexible. I gave her her bottle in the bathroom while the boys undressed and climbed into the tub. She finished, they played, and I brushed her teeth and got her dressed while supervising the boys in the tub. When we were finished, I dashed to her bedroom next-door, laid her down in her crib, gave her a quick kiss, and dashed back to the bathroom, quick! (To ease my nerves, I could hear all three boys talking while I dashed, so at least I knew they were safe.) Whew! One child down.

Next came boy scrubbing and hair washing, following by the "Who wants to be first out of the bath?" Inevitably that means M will jump out (he's so competitive--I love it) and so he did--to Station #1, The Rock Station. The boys do this funny thing when they get in their plush, hooded colored towels (Thank you, Aunt Liz!). They crouch to the floor and curl up to look like a colored rock. "Yook," J says, "Yook at the yeyyow rock!" It is really cute. Incorporating this into our stations is a must!

After M's green rock, I had him move over to Station #2, The Teeth Station, where his toothbrush was waiting. I quickly brushed and then let him take over. He rinsed and I handed him his jammies for Station #3, which was outside the door in the hallway. He proceeded to get dressed on his own. Meanwhile, T was out of the tub and becoming a blue rock at Station #1. Afterward, he headed to #2 and out came J, our yellow rock, who huddled on the floor. M was now done with Station 3 and asked, "As my reward, can I go ahead to the book station?" "YES!" I responded and away he went down the hall to read books while we finished.

The stations continued for the other two, who need more assistance in the process, but are learning self-control and independence by doing the necessary task at each station. T soon ran off to the room to read a book, followed closely by J. I quickly tidied the bathroom and then walked into their bedroom (they are now all in the same room--post to follow!) to find them quietly reading. What a difference calling it a "book station" made to their psyche and overall approach. They were ordered, the evening was structured, and everyone knew what to expect. Magnifico! Our reading time was so blessed (mostly because I wasn't strung out from having to corral three wild bedtime boys!) We proceeded with prayers, then bed. It was bedtime poetry in the making.

Bedtime stations. Who knew?!
Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Sport Start

Two weeks ago, the boys had their first soccer practice and were *so* excited! T is on a new team--the Bobcats, but with a friend from school and many more in the works. He had a great time! M and Coach Daddy GG are doing awesome with the Cheetahs again this season. GG is coach extraordinaire, as we all expected but are delighted to see. Their first practice went swimmingly with Coach GG running the kids through drills and games that made it fun for everyone. He has a bunch of first-timer players, who got into it right away. We are so proud of our Daddy!

The hardest part now is that the boys' games are scheduled right at the same time (different locations) for the next few weeks. :( This means I can barely catch the tail end of most of M's first games. Thankfully, our May schedule seems a little more spread out and will allow us all to do Soccer Saturdays together. So good!

Check out #13 in the crazy hat!

The last sports item of note is M's T-ball, which started last week. He is a first-time player and really excited about it! We've known all along he's a lefty batter, but were unsure on his throwing arm. This past week proved he's also a lefty thrower too (despite being right-handed!) He is just so much more natural on the left! So far, so good. Now we have to hightail it to the store and get him a left-handed mitt! Tt-ball is Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm, which is already presenting a challenge for me getting all of our crew ready, fed, and out the door by 5 for practice. I assume it will get better as the weather is nicer and I get into more of a groove with routine. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Running the bases at his first practice. Go M!!

Happy Monday all!
God bless,
Lilypie First Birthday tickers