Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Happy Heart

For some, it's raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
But for me it's...

Cozying my babies after a warm bath that washed away the dirt from the day's events and set anew the slate for tomorrow.
Changing them into fresh diapers and soft pajamas.
Tucking them into a bed made with clean, newly laundered sheets.
Setting out clothes for the next day, complete with new shoes that support their little feet.
Kissing them goodnight, knowing that I've given all of myself to provide the best for them.

That's what makes a mama's heart happy,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cause and Effect

How delighted it makes me to walk into a room and find this sight!

Which then led to this...
His own Lego Mars land rover--designed by M, complete with wheels, a satellite dish, camera, and finder. It found its way downstairs today and I thought it was pretty awesome!
To top it off, GG just turned on the TV and found a special on the Apollo 11 space missions. The boys are entranced. I'd say space week is going great!

Monday, July 18, 2011

G-Ville In Focus

Before presenting at a recent Engaged Encounter weekend, we took updated shots of the kiddos, printed and framed them. My absolute *favorite* part of the weekend is getting to share about our kids with the couples. They love it and GG and I milk the chance to talk about our little darlings.

Doing what he loves--the piano is permanently a part of M's life. Alleluia!

Jammy J, all smiles

G-Ville *finally* entered that land of advanced digital photography recently with an early Christmas gift from Mim/Pop (thank you!)--a Nikon 3100 digital SLR camera! We've been wanting one for awhile now, but have always ended up prioritizing other purchases before a camera. Mimi had actually purchased the camera for Papa for Father's Day (isn't she the nicest?) and he opted for another gift rather than go through all that's necessary in learning about a new and sophisticated piece of equipment. In stepped Santa Claus and now we have a new camera! Woo hoo!! :) We are loving it and are amazed at the quality of the pictures we can take even with amateur knowledge (Papa, pretend you didn't hear that :)!!!

Our little stud muffin.

M riding his bike for the first time without training wheels--July 4th! Love the outstretched hands of a faithful Daddy.


Check out this adorable smocked dressed given to MG from Ms. Candi. Thank you, Candi! It is gorgeous!!

Can I help capturing my sweet girl?
Enjoy seeing our corner of the world in better focus!
God bless,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts for Thursday

What am I cooking? Good, old marinated chicken on the grill--LOVE grilling in the summer! We are also having a basmati rice blend side and spinach salad. Can't wait and neither can the kids! They love the simple and delicious!

What are my weekend plans? There are plans in the works for a family 5k Saturday morning to benefit a local Catholic family whose daughter suffers from a rare disorder caused by a virus during pregnancy. They are accepting donations for the run and strollers are welcome--count us in! I'm thinking I'll push the babies in the double jogger while GG runs/walks with our older two. Later Saturday we may meet up with friends at a park for play. Sunday will bring church and a continuation of our FIRE program (at-home catechesis). We partnered up with another family at our church and have been meeting after Mass throughout the year to catechize our 7 children, ranging in age from our youngest, 1, to their oldest, 8. We host this Sunday, so we'll feast and then settle in to learn and discuss the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of Matrimony. Overall, the weekend should be pretty chill and non-committal, which is a blessing during these busy summer months.

What are my prayer intentions for the day? For my friend, Red, and her husband and the precious babe she is carrying. They have an ultrasound today to rule out the possibility of a neural tube disorder. We are praying for their peace and for the health of the baby. My heart goes out to this dear friend of mine who lost her first daughter, Therese, to anencephaly. There's no question every pregnancy brings to the surface many of the fears and anxieties she experienced with Therese. God speed and bless you, Mr. and Mrs. Red! **UPDATE: the u/s went well and a healthy baby is on the way!!

What can my children do instead of watching TV? Attend Vacation Bible School! The older boys are there as I type and loving it! Though as nice as it is to give them an activity in the mornings, I am eager to get them back home and our family back to our summer home "mama camp" schedule. On the docket for next week's learning theme: SPACE (aka. Kuiper Belt, Eris, and gravitational pull studies--they are my budding scientists). To infinity and beyond...

What have I done for my marriage this week? I have been working with my husband this week to begin to re-write our Catholic Engaged Encounter talks to align with a new weekend format. We are a presenting team and give ~9 talks on a 40+ hour EE weekend. It is wonderful and exhilarating experience. We're totally pooped after a weekend, but find the ministry so worth it. We were initially bummed to hear we would have to re-write talks that are only 2-years-old, but now that we're back writing, we recognize how great the talk-writing process is for our marriage. Writing requires us to communicate, think A LOT about the ins and outs of our daily life, and ruminate plenty on the past (which usually involves recalling funny or happy anecdotes). All of this produces great fruit in our marriage!

What am I reading? The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (for a book club I've joined!)

What’s challenging me lately? I'll be frank--the budget! Since allowing GG to take over the family finances, I have relinquished control and he has tightened our belts quite a bit. This is a very good thing, but challenging, to say the least. I recognize we are blessed beyond measure, but can get very frustrated when it seems like we are always having to hold back and think so much through every expense. Perhaps this is a season of life that will be more financially scrutinizing, but it can be exhausting! Self discipline is never easy.

Something that made me think? I attended a talk on prayer last night given by a local priest in our diocese. It was excellent and part of a month-long series on prayer. Last night he introduced the prayer style Lectio Divina or "holy reading", which involves praying through scripture in a meditative-like fashion. It is a beautiful method of prayer, involving silence and reflection. We did a sample Lectio as a group and it was Divine. God was so present. The scripture we meditated on came to new light in the midst of prayer and today I am still affected by what I heard and meditated on... We have homework to pray a lectio divina every day and I can't wait! If you haven't experienced this type of prayer, I highly recommend looking into it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Celebrating One

Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice...
Very interested in her gifts and the wrapping

How I love that girls enjoy clothes!!

And new shoes! "Oh, Mom, they're to die for!"

Showing off her shoes with mama

Clapping for her sundae! Having a birthday is great!

Back home enjoying an ice cream cake...

I like being one!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We're here! We're back! And we survived!

Hello my dear, faithful G-ville readers! I have left you all in the lurch and I so apologize. We've been having too much fun on our midwestern adventures and then back again in the lovely state of Virginia. How fantastic to return home, sigh deeply, and hear from one of the kids, "Mom, it feels good to be home." Yes, it does. Yes, it does.

But boy did we have a fantastic time!

Put aside the two urgent care visits--one for our little lady for an ear infection and stomach virus (she clued me in to the virus while in the waiting room at the urgent care clinic. I was expecting the ear infection and not the puke!) The second was for our T man, who had a severe case of tonsillitis and ear infection. Good news: this case qualified him for a tonsillectomy and mom can't get it on the summer schedule fast enough! I'm doing my tonsil dance!!

Put aside the other two and their bouts with the virus mid-week! Put aside the many wake-ups that come with children sleeping in different locations. Put aside the nosebleeds T has been having lately... Put aside some behavioral hiccups we had involving children and bugs and a photo shoot one afternoon. I swear, though, we really had a great time!! :)

Highlights for me included:
*spending time with my fam--they are the BEST support system a girl could want. This includes the extra time I had with my sis at week's end. She is a wonderful aunt to my kiddos and gave them such love. She also helped me to laugh through some pretty crazy scenarios while on the road! I needed humor!
*participating in a FLASH MOB at a First Friday event in my sister's town. We learned a dance to Dynamite by Taio Cruz and joined in the dance at one of the city's intersections! Too fun--wish I had pics, but I accidentally left my camera in my car. If you want to watch the event, check out the YouTube clip here. Pretty cool! I am in the second row on the right-hand side in the white skirt.

On the way back from the event, we had the fortune of watching a train pass...
And the boys tried their lot at putting out a few fires...
*seeing my girlfriends who are my HEART! Dinner Wed. night was so special. Loved seeing my girls. Then coffee on Friday night with good friends, Amy and Kati, took the cake. We stayed at Starbucks 'til 1am, when Kati and I had to BIKE home. lol. Needless to say, our journey involved Amy following us in her car, tons of laughter, feeling like we were twelve again, and, get this, being pulled over by the police!! lol. We needed to have blinking lights on our bikes. LOL. I could barely see riding home, I was laughing/crying so hard. What a great way to end the week!

MG and buddy, Griffin, at a friend playdate

My best girls' kiddos! All together for a playdate.

*time in PA to visit my grandparents and see my dad's extended family! We were there to celebrate the graduations of two of my cousins and it was so heartwarming to get the family together.
MG and her GP (great-grandpa)

M, Aunt Bon, and cousin A, getting to meet for the first time

My grandparents and their boy-heavy crew of great-grandchildren

They love pink as much as we do!

Overall, the kids and I logged 24 hours of driving time and managed well together. Our secret? The take-along potty. Never did I have to drag 4 kiddos out at a potty stop. We just did our business in the car, dumped our waste (and sanitized!!), and were on our way. Even after the DVD player went caput during our trip to PA, they were such troopers and never complained. I wouldn't have wanted to do it with any other crew. Love my guys!

And now we are home.
Home, sweet home.

Lookin' forward to seeing you more around here.
God bless,
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