Friday, February 29, 2008

Our Alligator Adventure!

Today we went on a State Park adventure with Bop-Bop (Steven's dad)! Here it is in pictures:

Snacking before our hike (This is unfortunately the only picture with Bop-Bop in it, in the background. How did he keep avoiding my camera?)

How baby spent the afternoon

The first alligator sighting (the girls and I only saw him from a distance)

Some father/daughter moments

Next alligator sighting...this was the path we were walking down. Look how close he is! We walked as far away as we could and he didn't move. The girls were terrified!

Steven gets a close-up of this guy

We make it to the observatory (or the "playhouse" as Ellie called it!)

Looking out over the park. SJ is asleep in there!

Yes, those 3 brown spots along the water are ALL ALLIGATORS! We had to walk by all 3 of them. This was the one time Steven asked for Mary Clare's walking stick and apparently had a plan to use if he needed to, one that included poking alligator eyes!

Deep breath...we made it!

MC in a tree

Sliding Stevens

Baby's First Park Swing!

What a day!

Happy Leap Year!

Steven is taking the day off (when he gets back from a quick visit to his office with Mary Clare), so we can have a fun family day! We're not sure yet where we're going, but I'll be sure to take some pictures! Hope you all enjoy this day that *doesn't* come once a year!

Note: Anyone who has been trying to call my cell phone: it's been broken for about 2 weeks now but hopefully I'll get a new one today!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mission Organization Update

Days 1 and 2 are going well so far! I feel like I'm getting a handle on the laundry and keeping the house clean. I can't wait to get my planner, I'm very anxious to start putting things on a real calendar (I've kept all appointments and meetings in my post-partum brain so far this year; thankfully I haven't missed anything important!). I'd also like a place to keep a running to-do list and grocery list. I have some other new goals and ideas for myself below and here's how I've done on the schedule so far:

6am Wake up with Steven to make his lunch. Allow myself to “rebag” (during this transition at least)
Mon-Yes, Tues-No

7:30am Morning prayers and meditation
Sort of

8am Morning chores w/ girls: get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, put in laundry, unload dishwasher if needed
Yes to all but dishwasher today

8:30am breakfast
Yes, except me (I'm not a breakfast person)

9am schooltime: lessons w/ Mary Clare, reading to Ellie, etc
Mon-No, Tues-Yes

10am playtime for kids, breaktime for mommy
Of course :)

11:30am start preparing lunch
Mon-Yes, Tues-late

12noon Angelus and lunch

12:30pm Chores: laundry, tidying

1pm REST
N/A to the rest here...yesterday we went to the park and had make-up dance class, today we have dance, yesterday we had leftovers and today we'll eat w/ my parents

3pm Play with kids
4pm Dinner prep
5pm House clean up
6-7pm (when Steven gets home) Dinner
7:30pm kitchen cleanup
8pm baths and pjs
8:30pm books and bed

Kids in bed by 9pm, me in bed by 11pm
Yes to this so far!

Other things to work on:
~Laundry-(Veronica's method) Put a load in each morning, don't worry about sorting. Hopefully this will help keep me down to ~1 load a day, besides diapers every few days
~Kitchen-clean and sweep each night, wipe down table after all meals, swiffer wetjet once a week
~Bathrooms-clean kids' bathroom when bathing them, master bath once a week
~Dishes-run each night, unload each morning
~Kids-dress before breakfast and brush teeth in morning (we always forget this), they help with a few chores in morning and afternoon
~Internet-remember how easy it is to get sucked in! Quick early morning check after making Steven's lunch. Then no internet until 10am, after prayers, breakfast, and chores!
~Night routines for kids-bathe and PJs by 8:30, then books and going to bed in their bed! Ours is getting too crowded with 5 people!

And some pictures from our park outing yesterday (and the Moby is perfect for the park!):

Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Boy!

Look at him sporting his 6-9 month shirt (thanks to the B family for the shirt and blanket)! He was ~14 lbs at the doctor last week. A big growing boy!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


It's the name of the game for me these next few months! Organizing and scheduling are NOT my strong points. I love having no schedule, waking and sleeping as I please, and spending my days doing whatever I fancy. Sometimes we wake up at 7am, sometimes 10am. Some days we do homeschooling work at 9am, sometimes 9pm, sometimes not at all. Sometimes lunch is at 11am, sometimes 3pm. Some days I wash the laundry, but rarely do I fold it so that it tends to pile up in baskets until I can no longer handle the mountainous sight. I clean like a mad woman when guests are coming over. Some nights I go to bed with my family around 9pm, and other nights like tonight I’m up at midnight with my own bowl of popcorn. It’s a wonderful life!

But as much as I seem to “love” the lack of structure, I feel like a lazy mom most of the time. And I know for the kids’ sake, some routine is needed. And for the husband too, who I’m sure would love to stop eating fast food lunches if I could only drag myself out of bed with him in the morning…and maybe even have the dinner planned before he gets home at 7pm. We would all feel better with a clean house. And now that the baby is 2 months old, we seem to finally have gotten rid of the evil flu bug, I’m actually having my final OB checkup tomorrow, and I’ve had a nice reflection on my faults with my spiritual director last week…I know it is now time for me to figure this out. I also read a wonderful post on a blog I've been enjoying, These Thy Gifts, which discussed the importance of organization and routines starting now when the kids are preschool age.

I know there is no way I can effectively homeschool Mary Clare with this kind of structure-less lifestyle. But it will not be easy for me. It does not come naturally, and I’m the type of person who gets lofty ideas only to ditch them a few weeks later. So you guys are now my accountability factor (along with my real-life friends and spiritual director), and this is in the mail:

I’ve heard good things about this Catholic Women’s Daily Planner from Family-Centered Press, and it even has extra sections for meal planning and lesson plans! I really hope it can help me implement some of my goals. I’m going to write out my rough schedule plan below to help me figure out how to start some routines in a natural way.

6am Wake up with Steven to make his lunch. Allow myself to “rebag” (during this transition at least)
7:30am Morning prayers and meditation
8am Morning chores w/ girls: get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, put in laundry, unload dishwasher if needed
8:30am breakfast
9am schooltime: lessons w/ Mary Clare, reading to Ellie, etc
10am playtime for kids, breaktime for mommy
11:30am start preparing lunch
12noon Angelus and lunch
12:30pm Chores: laundry, tidying
1pm REST
3pm Play with kids
4pm Dinner prep
5pm House clean up
6-7pm (when Steven gets home) Dinner
7:30pm kitchen cleanup
8pm baths and pjs
8:30pm books and bed
Kids in bed by 9pm, me in bed by 11pm

I’m sure this will require some tweaking and will not be an exact science, especially with a small nursing baby. I’m sure it will also take a long while for me to get committed to this. With our busy schedule including lots of activities, I will have to learn how to adjust it when we have a morning out. But hopefully it will be a good starting point for me. We’ll see how this week goes.

(That was written last night when we had no internet connection to post--yay for free wireless in our neighborhood--but the connection is not the best. So far so good this Monday morning. House is fairly clean, I've had my last OB appointment, and Mary Clare was even asking if we can make a list of chores for her. Hopefully the rest of the week goes smoothly!)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Moby Wrap!

So I've heard that a lot of my friends are making their own Moby Wrap carriers, so I decided to buy some fabric while out at Wal-Mart today. He loves it! Fell asleep immediately and it is very comfy too! And the best part...they only cost $2.50 each and don't require a sewing machine! Thank you to Stephanie and Kristen for the idea!

How to:
1. Buy 5 yards of stretchy fabric (mine is kinda lycra-y) in the $1/yard section at Wal-Mart.
2. Take it home and lay it out on the floor. Cut it in half lengthwise (so it makes 2 wraps!). Width should be about 24 inches.
3. Go to or search "moby wrap" on you tube for directions on how to "wrap" yourself!
4. Watch baby fall right to sleep...


Try to entertain baby for 10 minutes while you cut fabric!

Fabric ready for cutting

Happy baby!

Thanks to my photographer, Mary Clare :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do you think...

...poop in the bathtub will just go away if I sit here at the computer? Maybe it's not such a good morning after all!

Jumping back in!

After almost 3 weeks of sickness, spending our long days at home, we are back into the game again! We had a great Valentine's Day and then a quiet Friday. This weekend we spent Saturday furniture shopping again (to no avail!), and had a fun trip to IKEA. On Sunday we got together with our homeschool group to help prepare a big welcome home for baby Khloe and her family! Here are some pictures...

Decorating banners in our friends' garage:

Daddies with babies

Steven squared

My sweet baby boy

Yesterday we got together with a few other moms and kids to finish filling balloons. Then a couple of the moms went to decorate the yard while we held fort watching kids at the park. Here's how it turned out! A big "WELCOME HOME TO KHLOE JULIA!"

We have a busy week ahead of us! But this morning is a quiet one at home. I woke up today with a bedful of children and just sat there thanking God for this wonderful life. With the sun shining in, my baby grinning and cooing at me, and the girls thrilled that Mommy agreed to make pancakes, we started off on a good foot and hopefully the rest of the day will follow suit! Hope you have a Terrific Tuesday too!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Hope it was a day full of love and joy! We finally ventured out of the house to someplace other than the doctor office! We had our homeschool Valentine's Party which was loads of fun, with perfect weather in the mid-70s, and dozens of friends to share the fun day with!

I didn't get many pictures, but here is Mary Clare passing out Valentines.

And some fun Steve-O pictures to leave you with tonight...

My smiley snuggle-bug all cozy in his co-sleeper

Not quite big enough for the exersaucer yet!

Don't you just want to eat him up?


Prayer request updates:

Baby Khloe is out of the CardiovascularICU and in her own room! She's nursing, off the ventilator, and off many of the other tubes and wires! But there is a new concern about a different syndrome she might have, so please pray that she does not have it!

My kids are doing so much better! Still a few coughs and sniffles, but I think we're almost back to normal!

Finally, some friends-of-friends and NFP teachers in our city delivered their 3rd child, a baby boy named Benjamin, yesterday. Benjamin had aspirated meconium and had a knot in his umbilical cord; he was full-term but preemie size. He passed away last night. Please keep this family in prayer. We met them at a birthday party a few months ago. I can't believe they have lost their baby :(

Thanks for all your prayers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Learning to spell...

Mary Clare just got upset with me. She wanted to write "Ellie, I love you" on a card for Ellie. She had already written "I" and a heart, so I just told her to write a "U". For some reason this was not what she wanted and she started throwing a fit. She wanted me to write the full "I love you" on the card, which I did. But apparently I didn't write it in the correct spot. She flipped out and left for a minute, coming back in the room with a "love note" for me. It says:


"I don't like you!" It's the sweetest thing I've gotten all week! She's learning to spell!!!

Edited to add that soon after she came and crawled in my lap and started crying, "because of the bad note I wrote". I told her I actually liked it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Illness updates

Sweet Khloe made it safely through her surgery without any complications. Today there is a concern with her kidney function, so please keep that intention in your prayers.

Here she is on the day she was born, before they knew there was a major heart condition:

My sweet kiddos are still a bit under the weather. Ellie just has a runny nose, but MC and SJ both have pretty bad coughs. We went back to the doctor today to make sure it's not anything major. We have some medicine that should help MC when she has her late night coughing sprees, thanks be to God! Hopefully they will be well in time for their big homeschool Valentines party on Thursday! Thanks for your prayers and well wishes...we're hoping this flu bug will leave our family very soon...

(The kids after mass on Sunday, girls in their matching dresses from Aunt Marilyn and Steven Joseph sleeping soundly)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pray for Khloe!

My friend's little 12 day old baby girl, Khloe, is in open heart surgery today. Please offer a prayer for baby Khloe, her family, and the doctors!

Loving Father, please grant the G family peace during the operation and in the coming days of recovery, and guide the doctors' hands, bringing full healing and a speedy recovery to precious Khloe'. Amen.

As for my sicklings...Steven Joseph (we decided against JR) seems to be a little better today, resting lots and a bit less coughing. Mary Clare though is still feverish and feeling lousy. Thanks for your continued prayers!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

JR's photo shoot

We're still playing around with nicknames. Today it's J.R.! Yesterday I did a little photo shoot in the front yard because he was TOO cute in his overalls! He's still got the sniffles and a cough, but is doing much better...thanks for your prayers! Now Mary Clare needs some. She was having coughing fits all night, and today has a fever and headache. I hope we can get well for Valentine's Day! Hope you're all having a beautiful Sunday...

Not so happy about the Bumbo seat...

or the Boppy

But finally I got some smiles!!!

Is he a cutie-pie, or what?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A Picture Post

Gymnastics moves!

He's enjoying the performance ;)

Biking to the park this morning

Watching a ladybug

I think he likes the park!

Biking and walking (with helmet) home

My two Stevens
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