Monday, July 30, 2007

The Loveliness of the Seashore

Well, I found out about this fair a little too late, but I'll share a bit about the loveliness of our trip to the seashore this weekend. Texas has been plagued with rain like no summer I can ever remember. Rarely a day goes by when not one shower falls some time during the day. It was no different on our first few days to the beach! But thankfully the rain had cleared we arrived to meet some family there on Thursday morning. Friday morning was another rainy day, but we did fit in a dip in the pool that afternoon. Saturday was spent back in town to stay at Aunt Jill's house for a little break. And Sunday back at the beach was the most gorgeous day, filled with sunshine and family, many hours at the pool, some nice sunburns, and a beautiful LifeTeen mass back home last night.

Something about the seashore always brings a smile to my face, and a peace in my heart. It's our most beloved of vacation spots, especially for young children who can be entertained for hours upon hours with sand and water! Add a nearby swimming pool for cooling off...and it's a true winner! Wish we were back there now...

Cousins get right to work in the sand!

Ellie back and forth to the water to fill up her little pail

Mary Clare enjoying her cousin's toy

The fam hanging out; Bop-Bop and two aunts were there that day. Notice the Texas beach tent in the background...only in TX!

Silly girls

My sweet sea princess!

Out to eat

Now that's a big chair!

Like a kid in a candy store!

"Surfing" in the pool

Sonic slushies to cool us off

And the nice view from the hotel room, lovely!

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Aunt Jill who shared her vacation with us! She welcomed various members of the huge B family clan to her hotel throughout the week, sharing her room, pool, food, beach, and even letting us spend two nights at her house with "Cat"! I think you deserve another Best Aunt award, Jill!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

For their Godmommy

Your Doha darlings yesterday :)

And to all, we'll be traveling to the beach again today for several days, so hopefully I'll be back to blogging Sunday or Monday! May we be blessed with beautiful weather! And may you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear"

(please excuse Mary Clare's nose issues in the background!)


-The Magic Eraser (or Wal-Mart's "Miracle" Eraser) cleans my vinyl kitchen floor! I've used a Magic Eraser in the past, but now I'm finding all sorts of things it will clean so much better than any sponge or scouring brush! Thanks to my friend Sarah for her advice on this!

-My house can hold 15 rowdy children ages 8 and under while the 5 moms have a 2 hr meeting about the preschool homeschool group, without anyone getting injured!

-A sheet made into a tent in the playroom makes for many hours of fun!

-Even girls need a train set!

-If your children play with kitchen toys and orange juice, your real sink will look like this (note cup stuck in disposal!)

-And a coffee table can make a nice altar for children to play Mass!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Uneventful Weekend

Thank you for all the well wishes on our Anniversary! We had a nice day, just the girls and us, playing at home, going to the pool and out to eat. I did make it to Confession that morning, although I couldn't figure out the code to the Adoration chapel, and felt really overwhelmed with just how huge our parish is! It was a beautiful experience, as always, of Christ's healing. I also found a church rummage sale on the way, where I bought the book "Brown Bear" and a train set for the girls and all their boy friends who come over to find only a few "boy" toys. I'll have to video Ellie reading Brown Bear; too cute!

We did have a little "date" last night to mass alone while my parents took the girls to the pool. It was so nice sitting still and quiet in the front row without worrying about what the girls were doing the whole time. I commented afterwards what a great homily it was and how it had been awhile since I'd heard a good homily...then commenting that it had been awhile since I'd heard a homily at all! Yes, it's hard to concentrate on mass with the young children, but as Catholics I am also thankful that the mass is about so much more than my ability to concentrate. There are graces and a truly miraculous encounter with Christ (in the Eucharist) that is much, much greater than I can ever fathom.

Teaching my children the importance of mass by going each week and explaining things to them, is my state in life right now and I am privileged to have this opportunity. I know many people can get frustrated in mass with children (including myself, Friday daily mass was one of those times!), but I try to find the joys and the blessings they bring to all of us...Ellie's little genuflection (kneeling before the tabernacle) each time we enter the pew, Mary Clare's sweet time of silent prayer as she kneels and folds her hands, Ellie's comments of "BELLS! JESUS!" at the Consecration, and Mary Clare's questions about the readings and what is going on. I pray that we are teaching them to love the mass and love Christ through our own lives.

Sitting in that little church in the Hill Country of Kyle, Texas six years ago we could have never imagined how our lives would change in the coming years. Lots of changes, lots of growth, lots of joys, lots of struggles, and lots of blessings have filled our days. And most especially these 3 little souls who dwell with us now but were only then a twinkle in our eyes and in the eyes of God.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Changing My Look

I was ready to put a family photo up at the top, which meant I had to wait until I had some time to use Photoshop at my parents' house. Tonight was the night! We usually come to relax over here on Fridays and it looks like my whole family has fallen asleep!

I can't seem to get the resolution looking quite right (it's pretty grainy when I post; not in Photoshop), but it will have to do for now!

We're moving to some blue tones, wonder if there's some blue in the future for the B family? Just over 2 weeks until (hopefully) we find out!

Have a great weekend everyone! OH, and I almost forgot...Happy Anniversary to us! Tomorrow (Saturday) marks 6 wonderful years of marriage! No plans yet; hopefully we'll have some sort of date to blog about later...

Ultrasound Dreams and Changing Plans

The nightmares about my upcoming ultrasound have begun.

Now I will say that at least this wasn't a nightmare about the life or health of my baby. But it was a dream I had last night with a horribly mean female doctor and nurse (not sure where my male doctor was). She did the ultrasound for a few minutes and then said that was all. "What about all the measurements and looking at organs," I asked her. She said that they usually don't do that but she would anyway and then had a rough time with the little mouse trying to measure. She told me nothing. I was in tears, and then realized I hadn't even found out if it was a boy or girl! I literally was crying and jumping up and down like I was having a toddler tantrum!

I woke up fairly quickly with a knot in my stomach now wondering if this is a sign that I need to switch doctors. But I've also woken up to a rainy, cloudy morning with my girls still sleeping at 8:30 (NICE!), and hoping the rain will die down enough to make our regular Friday outing to noon Daily Mass, lunch, my parents', and possibly their pool (doubtful on that one!).


Nothing has quite gone as planned this week. Both Monday and Wednesday were supposed to start with meetings at my house. So I woke up to clean and prepare only to find out that we wouldn't have the meeting anyway. Tuesday was my big daylong planned trip to "Collegetown" which I thought would end with evening Confession and Mass. But that day ended up with driving home in the afternoon and preparing for the dinner with our Franciscan Friar friend! And yesterday was our planned pool outing with homeschool friends. We were all dressed in swimsuits, lathered in sunscreen, with lunch packed and bags ready to go. And then the thundering began. Then the rainstorm. So our friends came over here instead. But right before they arrived our power went out, only to return about 2 1/2 hrs later just after they rolled out of our driveway!

Oh, and I almost forgot how last Friday I was ready to leave for daily mass only to get a call from my OB's office that I had an infection which warranted antibiotics, which of course took over an hour to be ready for pickup. So much for the graces of the Eucharist! Hopefully this Friday I'll make it to receive them! And as I write about our week, I'll also note my hopes to visit the Adoration Chapel and attend Confession Saturday morning. We'll see if those plans come to fruition.

Flexibility is the name of the game with young children, so it doesn't affect me too much. Just makes me laugh when I look back at all my lofty plans! Kind of like when I think I know what God's will is asking of me, later to find my plan torn apart for a much more beautiful (yet usually challenging) plan God has laid for me. It can actually make things more enjoyable, sometimes, when things don't go as planned. But the hard part is when that involves some sort of Church group, Sacrament, or prayer commitment. It's hard for me to restructure those plans over and again. If I could just be more open to God's message through it...and remember that he is waiting for me at all times of the day and night...I must just take that step towards him for prayer...

"For what man knows God's counsel, or who can conceive what our LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans."
(Wisdom 9:13-14)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Forever Friends

Yesterday we made a quick day trip to "Collegetown" and got to visit some of our friends from last year. We ended the trip by making a quick swing through a frozen custard drive-thru (SO glad I didn't know about that place till we moved away!). Reminder to self: do not buy chocolate frozen custard cones for children in the car! They were covered in chocolate from head to toe; I think custard melts in about 2 seconds! Unfortunately the events unfolded to quick for a camera!

We were part of a wonderful walking group of beautiful Christian ladies and their babies, here are all the (now) toddlers and Mary Clare the big girl:

The hosts have the coolest kid kitchen!

Then we were able to come home and welcome our dear friend Brother Nathanael Mary, who is a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal, for a nice steak dinner! Br. Nathanael has spent several years serving in their mission in Honduras and will now head back to NYC to start his studies for the holy priesthood! Please pray for him and his fellow Brothers!

Ellie took a little while to warm up to Brother

But not Mary Clare! Here she is showing off her t-shirt from Qatar, a gift from her godmother (thanks again for the special package, Veronica!).

Can you believe Franciscan brothers even play dolls? Really, he is wonderful with children (he himself is from a huge family and has 17 nieces and nephews) and we have been blessed to get to see him on most of his visits home! Thanks for the visit, Brother!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

To Grandmother's House (well, nursing home) We Go!

On Saturday the girls and I took a day trip with my parents and aunt (meeting other aunts and uncles along the way) to visit my grandmother. It was a long day, about 8 hours in the car, but wonderful to spend some time with the oldest member of our family. Here are some pictures, especially for my family waiting to see them...

My parents with the girls at lunch

Aunts and uncles

My mom and her siblings

Mom and Nana

Ellie having fun wearing my shoes around the nursing home

Ellie in Nana's lap

Mary Clare enjoying a candy cane with Uncle Ron

Four generations!

(And as a funny side note, my mom bribed Mary Clare to take this picture by offering a lollipop tomorrow. Mary Clare woke up this morning (tomorrow), went straight to the phone, called my mom, and asked what time she would be picking her up so she could go get her lollipop!)

And finally, a vido of how much fun we had at the nursing home. The Hokey Pokey had everyone laughing! The nurses were even wheeling other nursing home residents down the hall to watch our silly family!
(This video is long, a few seconds tells the story but I couldn't figure out how to cut it! Sorry to all the non-family members.)

Friday, July 13, 2007

The girl who changed my week

Monday was a long day. Mondays tend to be like that, especially when I'm home all day with no activities planned, and even more especially when we're on the down curve from a fun vacation weekend at the beach! My patience was wearing thin with the girls, and by the time Steven arrived home at close to 8:00 p.m. I was shaking and nearly in tears (when I don't eat every few hours I start to get shaky and overwhelmed). We didn't have anything to make for dinner, so I decided to run to the grocery store and get out of the house for a few minutes.

I attempted to hurry through the store, frustrated and still a bit shaky. I grabbed my important items and rushed to the checkout. Without even a glance at the young lady who walked around from the register to help unload my groceries to the conveyer, I was still in a frustrated, panic mode, ready to get home and put something in my stomach.

She must have noticed the agony on my face as she sweetly and somewhat hesitatingly asked, "So how was your weekend?" I was dumbstruck and turned to her, taking a few seconds to explain how we had a wonderful weekend at the beach, but Mondays tend to be hard for me with my two little ones. She was sympathetic and joyful and made me think about my own attitude.

We always talk about charity towards our neighbor. And in that instant, I was thankful for the charity of that sweet young lady. But I was also ashamed that I was not the one to first share a smile or a "thank you" or ask a question to that stranger because I was in a selfish mood. How many strangers do I encounter each day who might see the crucifix and Miraculous Medal around my neck? Have I been Christ-like to them? Did I leave some mark of charity when I left their presence?

This morning I was reading an inspirational letter. The words that hit my heart were these:
"Nothing fills my heart so much as to contemplate the figure of Christ and behold the irresistible power of attraction he exercises through the centuries. Christ yesterday, today, and forever. Christ always the same, the Lord of History."

Oh how I am attracted to people who exhibit that Christ-like appeal! Because I long for Christ. But do I know him? Do I spend enough time in prayer listening to him and falling more in love with him? Do I make the time to experience him in the sacraments, especially weekday mass, frequent confession, and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament? Do I spend time reading and contemplating the Gospel accounts of my Lord?

To all these right now I must answer no, and thereby understand why I am not able to share that charity with my neighbor, because I am not being filled with the charity of Christ. The priest's homily on Sunday (the Gospel being about sending laborers to the harvest) gave that exact message: we cannot give what we don't have ourselves.

May I (and all of us) make a deeper commitment to Christ, with the example of these words I also read this morning:
"May contemplating his figure during these holy days bring to your lips the noble cry of the centurion: "Surely this was the Son of God" (Mk 15:39), and provoke the kind of generous and honest commitment that will make you authentic and proud to belong to his Kingdom. Even humanly, you couldn't have chosen a better leader."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

When the two year-old gets the camera...

You might find pictures of her feet:

A playdough cutting board with her feet:

A doll with her feet:

One little foot:

And even a doggie paw!

Have you ever been...

...the one who caused the pool to be shut down because of a leaky diaper? Well, that was me today. Ellie has never pooped in the pool or in a swim diaper, but I guess today was a first! I was helping her slide down the cute swan slide pictured below, only to see yucky things coming out of her diaper. Ahhh!

I'll spare you the details, but they included a lack of diaper wipes (a friend did have a few, thankfully!), no changing pad, no changing table, no paper towels, no dry clothing, nor a shower. We were forced to rinse in a small sink with the poor little lassie crying the whole time! Not to mention the big sister who was screaming and refusing to get out of the (still open) big pool with her friends. What an adventure!

I hope that was a first and a last, and I'll definitely be checking her swim diaper more often. Not sure if we'll go back to that pool anytime soon! At least both girls peacefully fell asleep on the drive home. I love a quiet house at naptime!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Down By the Bay...

What a fun weekend! Many thanks to the K famiy for inviting us to share this special weekend with them! We had a great time, minus the trip to the ER for Mary Clare for an infected bug bite on her head. Here's our weekend in pictures:

The road along the water in Rockport showed many beautiful homes and gorgeous leaning oak trees:

Ellie at the beach


Burying friends (Mary Clare wanted to play funeral...eesh, too many deaths for a 4yr-old)

Feeding seagulls

Mary Clare's catch

Ellie reeling it in!

Ellie loved fishing!

Out to eat by the bay

1000 year-old oak tree!

Kids on the stairs

DQ on the way home!

Friday, July 06, 2007

15 weeks, Happy Heartbeat

I had myself all worked up again about my appointment this morning that there would be no heartbeat, etc etc. I brought the girls with me and they got to hear that sweet sound!

Only one month until we find out if the girls will have a baby sister or brother! I can't wait! But I'm already stressed about finding something wrong on the ultrasound. This pregnancy has been really difficult emotionally after miscarrying just a couple weeks before conceiving this baby. I hope I will feel more at peace as the weeks go by. The virtue of the year is TRUST. I'm not learning very well, though.

We were able to attend daily mass with my mom after my appointment. The girls did actually fairly well in the chapel! And now I'm supposed to be packing up for our little getaway to the beach with some friends. I'll be without internet all A good chance to find some peace and quiet and enjoy some good family (and friend) time.

It's been raining in Texas for 40 days. I think it's time we get some sunshine, God ;)

See you on Monday...Well, probably Sunday night! Back to the suitcases...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

An Auntie Again!

Just found out today that my brother (the one in the Navy) and wife are expecting their first baby in February! I'm so excited! We have 14 nieces and nephews on Steven's side so it's time we add on to my side :) Only hard part is that they live in California, so we won't get to see this little one much, but hopefully they'll be visiting a lot and we can make at least one trip out to the west coast.

If you're reading this...Congratulations, Brice and Allison! We'll be praying for a happy and healthy pregnancy and that Brice makes it back to the states soon! Wow, my little brother is a daddy!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July Festivities

Happy Independence Day! We are very proud to be Americans! And my thoughts and prayers are with all those who help maintain our freedom, especially my brother Brice serving the US Navy overseas.

Mary Clare at the Patriotic Symphony on the 3rd

MC and Daddy at intermission

The girls watching the Symphony, it's getting dark!

Cousins watching the squirrels and birds in Grampatti and Bop-Bops' backyard today, a rainy 4th of July

Cousins playing and watching "Charlotte's Web"

And the firework finale in our area tonight (dry enough for the display)! Sorry you can see the reflections in the car windows...the girls aren't quite ready to watch from outside!

(Notice that MC realizes in the middle of the video that she missed seeing her triplet cousins today. They didn't get to take their first trip down the street because of the weather, hopefully soon! I'll leave you with an adorable recent picture of them, 7 months old...)
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