Friday, October 21, 2016

A Birthday to Remember

It was about six weeks after his actual birthday, because we had to wait for a weekend with the family beach house and next-door beach house available. But it was worth the wait for a gorgeous weekend with wonderful weather spent with some good friends celebrating an awesome guy! Here are some snapshots of the weekend from my phone...

We started off the trip on Friday afternoon with a stop at a hole in the wall burger joint on the side of the tollway! Food was not great, but the ice cream and soft ice were yummy (I always have ice cravings in the 3rd trimester).

Finally we arrived and I took a spot on the couch as the others unloaded.

The kids didn't waste any time getting down to the beach!

The moon in a pretty rainbow sky

Tent set up and kids busy again on day 2!

Boys and balls

Girls and floats

Beach bum baby

Fun times playing games

The Game of Life is always a favorite!

Steven really wanted a weekend of seafood. He made a fancy dinner with tuna steak and salmon for everyone on Friday (except his poorly-feeling wife who was in bed and also doesn't care for seafood).

The 2nd night he planned a big crab and shrimp boil. It was a lot of work for him pulling together all the ingredients and figuring out how to cook and serve it!

Pouring it into a cooler...

Then onto the table...


Time to pray

And time to eat!

The night wouldn't be complete without a bonfire!
And after awhile, once everyone was so full of food and the kids had some ice cream, they transferred the fire down to the beach where the kids had dug a fire pit, and everyone prayed a rosary on the beach together (while I prayed one back at the house).

One of the special parts of the weekend was the gift of a poem that our friend Kiernan wrote for Steven. Here's a picture of it:

My favorite stanza:

"You could rest easier my friend,
If you saw in yourself what I see:
Your heart deep-rooted, your life bent
Close over the waters of eternity."

May our lives always be bent close over those eternal waters. Thank you, Kiernan.
And thank you, Steven, for being an honorable husband, father, and friend. It is obvious that we all admire you and are grateful for the man that you are.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Beach Trip October 2016

We had a fun weekend with some friends at the beach celebrating Steven's 40th birthday! I have some snapshots of the festivities, but first I'll share the good beach photos from my camera. It's been so long I forgot how to use the right settings on my camera, but I think we still captured some sweet moments.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and got right down to business on the beach!

Fun to have the cart to ride back and forth to the house!

This kid doesn't stop moving!

The teens

On Day 2, my camera was fogged up and I couldn't get it to focus.
So these are from the last day, Sunday.

A fun time was had by all! Katie wasn't crazy about the sand, and I wasn't feeling up to much activity, so we hung out in the beach house a lot. But it was nice to be surrounded by our friends and to have some time away from home at our last little getaway before the baby arrives!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Slowing down

(ultrasound from 28.5 wks)

Baby boy is now almost 32 weeks! I feel like I'm in the final stretch and my body feels it too. Each pregnancy seems to get a little harder. There are parts of my life that are easier...I have independent older girls who are responsible and can handle their own schoolwork. They can babysit and cook, and they can get ready for their own activities and help the family get ready for group events and trips. I have a pretty happy-go-lucky toddler who is easy to please, and big girls that can help meet her needs. Right now I'm home resting with Ellie and Katie while the others are at a baseball game, and Ellie is taking care of Katie and feeding her dinner. It's so nice!

But there are other parts of my life that are a bit harder...I have two high needs and high energy boys, and I seem to spend most of my days trying to guide them back to their schoolwork and get them to clean up their many messes. Our school time is a constant lesson for me in patience and choosing-the-battle. One child cannot do his work without doing something else at the same time (eating, playing with a toy, throwing a ball, scribbling on the paper). The other is constantly whining. The nice cooler weather has them wanting to be outside a lot, which is great, except when they have schoolwork that isn't getting done! Right now in the midst of baseball season, they need clean uniforms, filling meals, and encouragement to get ready for practices and games. With Steven traveling, it's sometimes hard to manage the ballet and baseball schedules. My body gets worn out by mid-afternoon and often by evening I'm having contractions every so often.

Today was the day of my weekly progesterone injection and I think I feel even more tired, emotional, and hormonal on Wednesdays! But overall, I think I'm just struggling with how to balance everyone's needs and how to know when I really need to slow down myself and say no to certain activities. We worry about the preterm contractions, and yet I've never actually gone into labor before 37wks. But my OB said to try whatever I can to take it easy over the next few weeks, because getting to 34wks is so important for the baby.

So I'm working on saying "no" and accepting help from my parents and friends. I'm coordinating rides for kids when I can and focusing on the basics. The house needs a deep clean, laundry is stacked up, and the upstairs needs an overhaul, but everyone is fed, schoolwork is completed, and we're all healthy (besides my annoying head cold!). We have a fun beach weekend to look forward to. I just hope I can spend this Thanksgiving holding a sweet baby boy and feeling thankful I made it through these final weeks (and the c-section!). This baby and each of these kids are true blessings, and I'd do it all over again. I just might still complain on the blog a little! Thanks for listening ;)

Friday, October 07, 2016

Conference Weekend

Last weekend we ventured just up the highway to a lake resort where a Catholic young adult and family conference was being held. Our friends head up the group that put on the conference, and there were several other families that we know who attended. The focus was more on young adults, and the 800+ people were more in the early-mid 20s age range, but we still had a good time and were glad to get to visit a bit with some of the other families.

We registered in early August, but as the date got closer we realized that Saturday would be the first day of baseball games for the boys, as well as their team photos. We opted to still go to the conference, but to come back for games on Saturday and then head back to the resort late in the afternoon before mass.

Although we missed pretty much all of the talks and some of the fun family activities, we did get to attend the Friday night fajita dinner, outdoor kid games, and concert, the Saturday evening mass, BBQ dinner, and I got to hear a couple talks and some worship/Adoration time. Sunday was a day of rest and family time at the resort, so we spent about four hours at the pool area before heading back home.

The highlight of Friday night events was the outdoor concert, and our little dancers. Steven Joseph is quite the wild child when it comes to dancing at weddings and concerts. A person in the audience actually took this video of him and Katie Grace dancing, and I found it on Instagram. They were pretty cute!

A highlight of the Saturday events for me was the short time I spent hearing some talks and worship music with Adoration that night. Right when I walked in, the topic happened to be about how sometimes God needs to "cut us open" and fix our hearts from the inside. I think the word "scalpel" was even used. As I'm approaching my 6th c-section, this was a poignant analogy. It's a painful physical and emotional experience to go through a major surgery while wide awake, and yet knowing something so good is going to come out of it...a beautiful new baby! As it gets closer I definitely struggle with more and more anxiety about the procedure, our health, the recovery, and our family's future as regards more children. But God always teaches me some beautiful lessons in this. I am trying to take this aspect of my life and my motherhood and use it for good things.

Sunday was a day of fun as we enjoyed the mini golf, pool and water park there at the resort. It was nice to be able to sleep in and not rush off to early morning mass and Sunday school. I even snuck into the breakfast buffet for a little date with Katie Grace...I love a good breakfast! Although Steven and I didn't get to visit with friends much this day because of the logistics of where the table was and the kids were playing in the pools, we had a nice day ourselves and enjoyed some delicious pizza for lunch before we headed home! 

Some snapshots of the weekend...

I opted to go and check in with the kids since Steven was running late. It was quite an ordeal getting checked in and taking things to our room!

A little snapshot of the Friday night dinner area outdoors, lots of games, a bounce house, and tables to sit outside and enjoy visiting with friends while we ate some fajitas!

Saturday morning looking over the lake and the young people praying

Another angle of the hotel tower and the outdoor area where we hung out

Katie Grace on Saturday night after Mass, playing in the bushes

a kiss for big sis!

hotel room fun watching tv!

Another look over the lake with a young person praying, recalling those years when I would just sit in the grass and pray, read the bible, and journal.

my breakfast date who kept wanting to do "cheers" over and over again with our glasses

a little collage from Sunday fun out our hotel window and in the pools

It was a fun weekend and a nice little getaway for our family. Although we didn't get to attend our usual Fullness of Truth family conference in August, we're grateful that there was this nice conference just up the road from us where we could spend a little time with our family, our friends, and Our Lord!

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