Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrating the U.S. of A

What a grand celebration we had this year ringing in the 4th!! Our day started with pancake yumminess...
We later donned our red, white, and blue and headed to a local old-fashioned Independence Day celebration put on by our county. It was a really fun time for all of us, including our beloved Mim/Pop--definitely a tradition we'll try to keep in the future!

The kids got to climb around various Army vehicles, tried their lot at firemen's hoses, made crafts, listened to family-friendly bands (M's favorite), jumped in a bounce house, had their faces painted, observed a reading of the Declaration of Independence from actors in costume, rode ponies, had a planned water fight... And we still didn't do everything in almost 4 hours! It was grand fun.

Can you spot T? Future military?
Future firemen? (J, T, and M on left)
Future cavalrymen?

Our oldest and youngest patriots
Afterward, we enjoyed an evening picnic at Mimi and Papa's--bliss!--the end to a fantastic day!

Due to weather, we hit pause and resumed the following evening to watch fireworks down by the river. It was the most beautiful night (we even brought long-sleeves!) and we reveled in good picnic food, card games, and eventually fireworks! M and V were both nervous about the noise, but made it through really well--a G fam first! 

Don't these two look alike?!
Thanks be to God for our country, our freedom, the ones who protect us, and the Almighty for His Everlasting Love! We are ever-grateful this year. 

God bless America,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We Love Summer

Frozen yogurt for lunch for the best-behaved, helping kiddos while mom set up for VBS! Day #3 and I still like 'em. Check with me on Day #25... ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Saturday In the Life

At 4pm this past Saturday, I laid my tired body down and slept for two glorious hours. I had the start of a migraine and was totally beat. What was the cause of my demise? Let me describe the 8 hours prior…

Saturday, May 31 A Day in the Life of the G's
8:00am  Feed children, tend to the kitchen, tidy the house; begin to prep for piano recital outfits
8:30am  Prep and bake pigs 'n blanket for J's after-soccer party; cool; package in a tray and try not to forget
9:00am  Frantically get GG out of bed (lucky sleeping-in husband--remember my nap later? all was equal) We have to get the kids ready!

9:30am  Pack cars while GG gets M and J into soccer uniforms: GG's car needs M's piano recital finest (coat, tie, ironed khakis, socks, nice shoes), piano music (because they'll arrive at the recital first), napkins for M's after-soccer party, change of clothes for J, M and J's soccer balls, M and J's waters; My car needs T's recital gear, T's taekwondo outfit, sparring gear, snacks and drinks for the girls, soccer chairs, water for T, and J's soccer pigs that I can't forget

10:00am  Send GG, M and J out the door for J's game; dress little girls; get everyone in my car and make sure they're all wearing shoes.
10:05am  Stop at Walgreens to buy drinks for M's soccer team after-party
10:15am  Arrive at J's game; place drinks on GG's windshield so he won't forget them (he's currently coaching J's team); finagle girls and T and chairs to the field to "watch" (aka, chase little girls around the field while catching glimpses of J playing)
11:15am  load up the car and head to a picnic pavilion for J's after-soccer party where we eat the pigs and treats and the little boys receive trophies
11:45am  load up car with T and girls and head to taekwondo tournament; T dresses in the car; GG, M, and J head to M's game (T missed it due to the tournament)--we will meet up at the piano recital later
12pm  shlep T and girls and gear at least 1/4 mile into a crowded gymnasium; climb the bleachers to the tippy top and set up camp; proceed to wait… trips to the potty for little girls included. We find Papa in the meantime!
*Meanwhile, M's soccer team does great and wins 9-2; M has 3 goals!!! We are cheerful as we receive the news via text. Still waiting…
1:30pm  T finally gets to show his form and spar; he wins the first round, the second, and the third! T is the champ!!

2pm  T gets to stand on the podium and receive his medal while I am sweating the fact that the recital just started; we dash off and shlep back to the car; Papa is kind and takes the 2 girls home for naps--THANK YOU, PAPA!!
2:30pm T and I arrive at his piano recital; he changes in the car; we walk in with only 2 performers to go before he and M are up--whew!!
2:45pm  M and T each play and do great--we are done and mama is feeling the headache come on…
3pm  We celebrate at a post-recital reception and head on our way.
3:30pm  I make it home, unload the car, crawl up the stairs…

This is surely no different, better, uglier than many of your worst Saturdays, but for journaling sake, I wanted to record it here. We did this and survived. Can I mention that this Saturday has nothing on the schedule? Nothing. I can't wait. ;)

Keep shining,

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lordy Lordy!

Well hey there, friends!

Long time, eh?! I couldn't believe the date I saw at the top of my blog when I read it tonight--February!?!  Whoa Nelly!! That's a sad record for me.  Fortunately, life will go on and has continued to buzz here in G-Ville despite my blogging absence!

We are cranking at full systems go as we wrap up the ever-busy month of May. What is it that makes May such a zoo every year??  End of school? Yes. End of spring activities? Yes. Start of summer activities? Yes. Countless graduations, first communions, parties, celebrations? Double yes.

But have we enjoyed every minute? You betcha!

For the first time in many years (really, since becoming parents!), we have been at a plateau of "normalcy". We're not anticipating another baby and our youngest is past 2! Another new record for the G's!! ;) While we love our babies, we are very excited to be raising our brood and tending to their needs. They are growing in leaps and bounds; wow'ing us daily and challenging us to have our game faces on in this joyous road of parenting. It is an awesome road, but definitely not one for the weary!!

M (9) is wrapping up Cub Scouts and Y soccer and recently re-joined Taekwondo as a green belt. He was inspired watching T's taekwondo efforts and now is in pursuit of the purple belt come June. He has aged up in swimming and swims as a "Midget" on our summer team. Practices started last week and are already driving mama crazy. ;) He'll play "Mazurka in F Major" in this weekend's piano concert. He's also gained his own room since my Feb post--we moved the girls into a room together, which freed up the smaller room to allow for M his own sleeping and study space. It is working out splendidly, though as I type, he is sleeping in his brothers' room "just for a few nights". Old habits die hard. ;)

T (7) is our resident purple belt and impresses us often with his series of forms and moves. He is very serious about becoming a black belt and is surely be able to defeat his mama any old day! Soccer is also wrapping up for him. He and M were on the same team this season, which was nicer on our Saturday schedule, but tough on GG who is their coach! Thankfully soccer coaching is winding down for Daddy and he'll officially retire after Saturday's game. ;) (That is until little girls start playing! lol) T will compete in a taekwondo tournament this weekend and then we'll rush to the aforementioned piano concert, where he'll play "Lunar Eclipse" and hopefully let off the pedal at some point while playing! ;) He joined the swim team this season and is already loving being a "Mite". Go Gliders!

J (5) has wrapped up pre-k for the year and we were so sad to say goodbye to our beloved pre-k teacher, Mrs. M. What a wonderful year he had and we can't say enough good things about what Mrs. M did for J. He is raring to go for kindergarten! In the meantime, he has been conquering intensive swim lessons at a local swim school. His freestyle is looking pretty decent and now we're working on a side "pillow" so he can learn to breathe. The good news is that he can manage well enough in the water to go down either of our pool's 2 water slides. Roger that! He wraps up his Y soccer season on Saturday and informs us that his team has not lost this season. We will be moving him and his fancy footwork over to a more intense program next fall and see how things go--it is by far his favorite thing to do and one can often finding him dribbling his ball back and forth in the backyard.

**Big news in the G household is that all three boys will be moving to a local Catholic school in the fall! It was a heart wrenching decision, but one that we feel will benefit their development. They are admittedly less than enthusiastic having to say goodbye to friends and a school we all love, but did a preview day and thought the new school was really nice. Pray for all of us! More reports to come!

MG (3) is quickly approaching the 4yo mark and *boy* have we seen a dramatic improvement in her disposition lately. It's like she's grown up overnight. She is such a lovely, sweet little girl and I'm finding I really like being around her. Today she said to me over coffee, "Mommy, I'm so glad to be sitting here next to you." She melts my heart. Thank you, Lord! This has been a long time in coming and I have paid my dues!! ;) I'm so glad to like my daughter. ;) She loves to draw and color above all else and plays with her dolls and figurines in earnest. She is so girly girl and different from the boys--it is awesome!

V (2) turned the big two in early May and seems to be progressing toward the dreaded two's behavior slowly but surely. She has a lot to say, which does help ease communication and prevent frustration. She definitely has a strong will and a sense of self-righteousness, so I'll surely be checking in with moans and groans here in the coming months!! She is still a great delight to all of us, though, and I can't help but praise God for knowing how much we needed our sweet V. She is a great blessing, as they all are.

GG and I are leading our local chapter's Catholic Engaged Encounter this year, which has been such a treat, but also added to our plates. My tutoring has also really picked up and I am constantly challenged to find the balance between work (helping students!) and family life. Above all, I am so grateful to love what I do, both as a mom and as a teacher. God is good!! Lent was a really fruitful time of discernment and prayer for our family, but boy did the Devil fight back. We had a rough March of illness and child transitioning. There were days when I didn't know what the next would bring. Thank goodness for God's Steadfast Love and answer to our very eager prayers. He closed doors and widely opened others and for that we are so very grateful. To Him be the glory!!

I plan to be back here more regularly.
God bless you and yours!
Keep shining,

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Can you guess where we've been?

We finally made it!
On our way at o' dark thirty for day #1. Chef Mickey's, here we come!
A delicious meal was had by all… MG did great seeing all the characters. V was only truly afraid of  Goofy. T amused us by returning from the amazing buffet line with a dry plain bagel on his plate.  Oy vey, that child!
Magic Kingdom, Day 1
So excited to ride Space Mountain (we did it 3 times that day!)
Papa was an excellent babysitter--how sweet is this?
GG and I had the chance to take the bigs back that night. Queen B and her Prince came with us!! 

One of my fave shots from the trip--bravo, GG! Day #2: Epcot
Waiting for our princess lunch at Akershus Hall
Can you sense her excitement?
Thank goodness one of our little princesses agreed to wear her dress. ;) 
Animal Kingdom on Day #3 was the coolest! We also celebrated M's 9th b-day that day!

M and I loved identifying bird species on a nature trail at AK.  How fun it is to share nerdy times with one's children.
By Day 4: Hollywood Studios, we were getting bushed!
We hung in there and gave it our best shot!
The Star Tours ride was a family favorite. Sadly, our Jedi training was rained out. :(
Who's sweet and happy kids are these? Still smiling after 4 straight days of Disney!
Mama and Queen B were given the royal treatment later that night. It was a birthday gift from my clan--awesomeness and so fun to do with QB!
What an overwhelming, awe-inspiring, exhausting, exhilarating week. GG described it to a friend perfectly--"it was the most fun form of masochism devised by man." Lol. ;)

We rocked. We rolled. We got a little bruised. But boy did we have fun doing it. Wow! As the boys and I looked through an old Disney pamphlet the other day, we were in agreement how much we missed the place. I can't believe it, but I can't wait to go back...

Cheers to the most wonderful, fly-by-the-seat Mimi and Papa ever. We had so much fun with you, making memories. And now it's back to real life, including snow days and more missed school. Oops!! Oh well, it was worth it!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The G craZies

The last two weeks have been very atypical for us, G's. As for many of you, the weather here has been cold and snowy, throwing our local Virginia town into chaos. We just can't handle snow like the northerners. We're years out of practice and don't invest resources to prepare... 

Alas and yet for us, rather fortunately (remember my wannabe-homeschooling status), I had my babies home for all but two days of school these past two weeks! We had warm, happy times. We cooked and baked (mainly T and MG, who take an interest in that sort of thing). We had friends to play and sledded a few hills one morning. We met our peeps out for lunch a time or two. We even ventured to the gym so mama could get her endorphin fix while the kids played. And don't get me wrong-- the crew definitely enjoyed the days of our lifted  weekday media restriction. iPads and Disney are mama's friends when the weather turns rough... But we tried to fine balance and rhythm.

GG still trudged into work despite our best efforts to distract him and keep him home. A big work deal had him keeping late hours this week, so we were sure to text him some evening craziness just so he wouldn't feel left out. I give you G fam mule rides, courtesy of M, the family pack mule. What started out as carrying brothers quickly turned into sister rides, which were much cuter (and lighter!) Anything for entertainment around here. :)

So come on over, friends, and feel free to join in the fun. Just be careful when you walk in the door, you might step on some children.

God bless,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Night View

A Sunday night view from mama's new iPhone... Moving up in the world = more posts for you! ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yahoo! It's 2014!!

I've really done it this time--going almost 2 months with nary a post!  Yikes!

Suffice it to say, we are well.
We had a wonderful, joy-filled Thanksgiving and Christmas, complete with family (mine at T-giving, Geoff's and my parents at Christmas!), good food, and cheer.  It seemed like one holiday rolled right into the other, which meant despite my best anticipation, I was still very busy right up until the end.

Thanksgiving: My sister and her family traveled from Ohio and my parents from Florida to all be together under one roof for four days.  It was so great and we all reveled in time with one another.  Everyone had his own space, so we thankfully didn't feel on top of one another and the kids had a blast.  Turkey started off with the annual Turkey Bowl, held across the street from our house in an open field. Afterward we cleaned up and headed over to GG's parents' house, where we feasted and merried and rolled home many hours later. We can't wait to do it again. ;) Talk is already underway about making Virginia the permanent T-giving location.  Yahoo!! Bring it!

Advent: We blinked and it was Advent.  Then we blinked again and it was almost Christmas! One fun tradition we started this year was taking all the girls to see our city ballet's Nutcracker performance.  MG, Mimi, and I dolled ourselves up and went to have lunch beforehand at a fancy hotel.  The show afterward was so fun and MG did great and surprisingly did not wiggle too much or fall asleep! I always have such fun with GG's mom--she is a gift to our whole family ;). Love you, Mimi! We can't wait to bring V along with us one of these years.  We thought we'd make it a girls-only tradition, but then T asked me why he didn't get to go? Oops! Maybe we'll allow the boys to come once or twice ;).

Birthdays: Mimi and GG both celebrated birthdays on December 22nd, which meant we had the fun of going out to dinner to celebrate them.  This year we had the added bonus of having GG's bro, C, and my new SIL, M, with us.  They are so thoughtful, warm, and loving toward one another and all around them.  It was a real treat to have us all together.

Christmas Whirlwind: We headed to Mass Christmas Eve at 4:15 for a 6pm service. Yow! It was beautiful, though, and worth the wait.  My girls were also pretty well-behaved, which meant I was able to enjoy the whole Mass.  Thank you, baby Jesus!  Mimi made a delicious dinner and the kids performed a most tear-jerking Christmas Eve performance that night. It had been M's idea as a gift for GG and me.  He conspired with Papa and the two of them put together the re-enactment.  The boys processed out in shepherd costumes while Uncle C read scripture and Mimi played piano.  The rest of us sang along with carols.  GG and I had no idea what to expect, but as my sweet boys processed out to the tune of Angels We Have Heard On High, I didn't know whether to cry my eyes out or laugh at how precious they looked. I think I ended up doing a lot of both…  It was so precious and a true gift to us.  Someday if my sons are reading this, you really did a fantastic job and stole our hearts.  We love you and thank you for making us feel so loved.

Christmas morning began at our house at 6:20am *sharp!  The kids were not allowed to be out of their beds until then (we had to make this rule hard and fast after hearing the boys conspiring to wake each other up at 2am!!!) They were allowed to come wake us up no earlier than 7am and then we were all to open stockings at 8am after the family Christmas photo. Mimi, Papa, C, and M were to arrive at 8:30am sharp when the opening would begin… and for the most part, that's how it went.  The excitement was palpable and the kids were pumped too ;).  They really make the day so fun.  We ate ourselves silly all day and had a Christmas feast that night. Many thanks to my mom for all her help in preparation! We had such a nice time cooking together as mom and daughter.  Even though she doesn't love to cook, hopefully our time spent together made it just a little bit more enjoyable;)!

New Years: On a whim we drove to DC for the new year to see friends of ours from our law school days.  They were opening their home to our whole family.  It was grand fun for all of us and we had the surprise of seeing another dear family we love that night too.  I drank it in, it was so heartwarming. Seeing all of our oldest children together who had once been in a baby playgroup was totally surreal and amazing.  Gosh, I love those families!  R family in Alabama--we are Fedex'ing you all to the next gathering. I think I would fall over from happiness. :)  We all stayed up way too late playing a fun game, woke up early the next day, and headed to Mass.  Our drive back was joyful because we had such a nice time.  What a wonderful way to usher in 2014!

Since then, we've been cherishing our final days before school started. We've had some really great family moments of late, where I stop and say, "I think we really like each other." lol. One of our recent goals has been to get through the big Disney classic movies so that the kids are more familiar with them when we trek to Disney in Feb.  Snow White and Beauty And The Beast are next on the list.  All the kids are now enjoying listening to the Tangled soundtrack at bedtime. Very sweet. ;) That's a whole other post to get to...

For now, thank you, Lord, for blessing us with all the moments, all the in-betweens that shape our life and remind us to always look to you.

God bless,

*pictures coming...
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