Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day at the Zoo

Our zoo is free on certain holidays, so even though there was a rainy forecast, we decided to chance it and head over to visit with Steven's family afterwards. We were so thankful that the 2 hours of dry weather yesterday were the ones we were at the zoo!

Ellie and Daddy looking at giraffes (which she was most scared about before arriving at the zoo)!

Elephants with the famous Baby Mac that the girls like to talk about!

Okay, this orangutan did the strangest thing, which I didn't get on camera...He stood on his head and urinated into his mouth! Thankfully the girls didn't realize what he was doing. But my pregnancy nausea was a bit strong at that moment!

Daddy w/ his girls

The clouds are getting dark. We have just told Ellie she can have an Oreo cookie when we get to the car!

It's looking really black as we arrive at our car:

And as soon as we start to pull out of our parking space, the rain starts to pour! We were watching this the rest of the day...

I was so happy for our fun zoo morning though! And we had a great time visiting with family afterwards. I even got to play with those adorable triplets for awhile. So cute!

And a special prayer and remembrance for our friend who died in Iraq this year. May Sean's soul, and all those who have died protecting our country, rest in peace. And may those who mourn their passings be filled with the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My Favorite Place to Be

On a lazy weekday afternoon...

(on my parents' couch watching all my favorite TV shows about having babies, decorating houses, and Fox News).

This is where I spent many a day while pregnant with Mary Clare, just resting my body and relaxing my mind with television (we don't choose to have TV at our home, so it's a special treat). My parents always feed us well and keep the girls occupied amidst their own busy work day. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving us a home away from home!

And here is why I could lay around watching TV...sleeping angels...

And Happy Pentecost to all! May the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and enkindle them with the flame of God's love!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ellie talking

Here's Ellie talking at the breakfast table. She keeps mentioning an airplane, which I finally figured out was a little bag on the counter (from their clay) that looked kind of like an airplane shape. She had me stumped!

Colors All Around!

Mary Clare singing this song from Barney and including some signs she's been learning from the Signing Time DVDs:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My brain...

...is apparently lost during pregnancy. I can't seem to focus on anything for more than a few minutes and every time I try to write a post I don't finish it. Hence all the pictures! Our life has been rather scattered with the events of the past months, and a lot of little things (like our minivan and lawnmower) have been falling apart. Meanwhile my poor husband has been given a new territory for work which entails a commute of about an hour and a half, which means he gets home very late. So my afternoons of exhaustion and slight nausea seem to last forever!

I don't mean to whine; we've been very blessed. But there just seem to be those weeks where time stands still and not much accomplished. I can't believe that I am about 9 weeks along in this pregnancy. It's been a rather emotional few months, and I'm still having a hard time grasping that I'm actually pregnant and the baby appears to be alright. My clothes are getting tight so I went through my maternity clothing bin for a second time and actually found some clothes that I like! That was exciting! I spent Monday washing probably 6 loads of laundry and folding around 20! I have a problem with leaving a mountain of clean laundry for a week or two before I have a day of folding. It makes me feel so good when the mountain is gone though.

So the girls are enjoying their little backyard pool and keeping each other busy with little games around the house. Mary Clare talks about the new baby all throughout the day...she tells strangers, "You know last time my mom was at the doctor she had an ultrasound to see the new baby" and family, "You're going to have to tell my mommy gradulations because she's going to have a baby" and me, "You have to share your pregnancy with everyone. Let's write a letter." Today she made a card for my baby shower, "Baby Shower Blair" with a drawing of me and the baby. She likes to think of new names she likes for the baby, and asks me how big the baby is each day.

Ellie on the other hand is just happy to be able to communicate and order everyone around. She is very particular about what cup or plate you give her, and it's very evident that she's 2 years old when you see her little fits when she doesn't get her way or her dropping to the floor when she prefers not to hold your hand in a parking lot! She has her own little ways of saying things that are just so cute and make my heart melt. Wah-wer is water, ray-ray is blanket, Mer-Mer is Mary Clare and so on. Sometimes it's a little frustrating since her older sister had a very well pronounced vocabulary at a very young age, but it's also so sweet to have a little baby-talker!

I'm going to post a couple videos so you can see my cutie-pies in action :)

Friday, May 18, 2007

The New Pool

Fitting it in the minivan was a feat!

Posing with NeNe

Even late at night, the pool is a real novelty. More pics of real swimming should be coming soon...

Do you think...

they'll enjoy being big sisters, or what?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Welcome Home Brice!

We are so proud of my little brother! He just finished ~6 months of Navy training. We get to see him for about a week before he and his sweet wife Allison move across the country. We'll miss them so much, but hope to be able to visit sometime.

The girls made a poster and card to welcome him at the airport!

My mom, aunt, and Ellie watching for Brice

YAY! He's home!

Mary Clare insisted on wearing her ballet clothes and had fun dancing through the airport :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

A lovely Mother's Day weekend

My sweet family let me choose the activities of the weekend, which included 2 trips to our neighborhood pool (I have a feeling this will be my home-away-from-home this summer, being pregnant in the TX heat!), a walk along the waterway, a walk around the outdoor mall, a family grocery store trip (I know hubby detests this, but he did it with a smile!), "early" morning Mass, 3 roses from my girls and my belly-babe, out to eat lunch with my family and a family friend, and an evening fishing excursion to top it off! It was lovely :) Thanks to my sweet family; the only thing missing was a trip across town to see Steven's family and my grandmother miles away in a nursing home :( I hope she was blessed with peace and love by her Mother's Day visitors. And I hope each of you had a special weekend as well. Looks like it from the blog entries I see already...

Our new favorite place, the neighborhood pool!
MC jumping into the baby pool

Ellie doesn't quite like the "floaties"!

Close enough to walk in the wagon

An evening walk down the nearby waterway was beautiful, and the girls had fun running around! Usually we do this in the heat of the late morning with Mommy in fast walking mode, so they had fun this time.

And an evening fish with Daddy!

Sweet Sisters

MC has the hang of it, but has no interest in the actual fish!

Ellie tries the reel

Catch #1

Catch #2

No hopes at leaving a "park" without playing on the playground, even in the dark!

They sure make me a happy mommy!

The Arboretum

With the homeschool group last week

And Ellie on "Clifford" at the park afterwards :)


at a girly house is even cute!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sisters of Life on MTV!

As you may remember, one of my dearest friends is a Sister of Life (they do prolife work) in NYC. I just got this link that they have a little clip on MTV. Wow!


Also a Happy Mother's Day greeting to all of you beautiful mothers! May you feel the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the gifts of the Spirit as you continue to grow closer to them through your vocation as a mother. May Our Lady guide each of us to be holy mothers as she was.

Special prayers go out to those who have empty arms or wombs in one way or another this Mother's Day. And may the example of the holy Sisters of Life, working tirelessly to defend the life of the unborn and to love all suffering mothers be a source of inspiration for all of us. A Happy Mother's Day to all spiritual mothers as well!

Saturday, May 12, 2007


As the headlines read, "Pope in Brazil, God Will Punish Drug Dealers", the stories I read are showing not situations of punishment and "slamming" of drug traffickers, but the beautiful accounts of Pope Benedict's visit to a drug rehabilitation "Farm of Hope". Here he encourages those recovering addicts to be "recover the meaning of life", being "ambassadors of hope", to renew their faith and find that preferential love of the Father. Yes he asked them to reflect on the "grave harm" being inflicted through drug-dealing and reminded them that they will have to account for their deeds. But overall it is a message of compassion and love.

The last part of this article I found really touching:

Q: What are your expectations for the Pope's visit here in particular, and to Brazil in general?

Father Stapel: The great thing is that the Pope will leave his mark here. The Pope is essentially saying: I am going to visit those who are excluded, those who are not accepted by society but are instead labeled as thieves or unwanted. The Pope is coming to visit them and in this way is giving them a heightened sense of value. This is very important. This is the way he will leave his mark here.

The Church has always been on the side of the poor, this is her vocation. There is no faith without works. If I believe in God and I don't act concretely with acts of love then my faith is just theory.

Therefore my life and the lives of those around me will not change.

In coming here the Pope is giving this sign. He is saying to these young people: You are not prodigal sons! You are loved by the heavenly Father! He loves you and needs you. You have the opportunity to evangelize and to help others; you have the chance to start a new life because, with God, there is always a second chance.

What he is saying to them is what he wrote in his encyclical "Deus Caritas Est": "God is love." And that is fantastic!


This reminded me of a newsletter we received this week. We have some dear friends who work for a beautiful ministry and non-profit called Emmaus Ministries, whose mission it is to make Jesus known on the streets among men involved in sexual exploitation. They are currently based in Chicago and Houston.

What is so compassionate about this work is that the way they are ministering to the male prostitutes (who are usually drug addicts who live on the streets and grew up in broken, abusive homes) is through caring relationships with the men. They have a "House of Hospitality" where the men can come during the day for a healthy meal, clean shower and clothing, dignified conversations, and an opportunity to help around the house and further their feelings of self-worth.

Every time I read their newsletters I am brought to tears. The men have such utterly sad lives, your heart just aches for them and wishes there was a way that they could leap out of this cycle of poverty, addiction and exploitation. My prayer is that those experiences of love and dignity given by the staff and volunteers at Emmaus will help to give those men hope in Christ, just as the Pope's message in Brazil might give hope to those men trying to rehabilitate from a life of drug-addiction. Yes, they have dignity. Yes, they are so loved by the Father and by the Church. No, we must not forget them in our prayers, in our lives, and through our financial support.


A final article (I love mycatholic.com to find all of these) describes the recent ordination of the first married Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Fr. Lowe, like most of the other married Catholic priests, was previously an Episcopalian minister for almost 30 years, before retiring and then visiting various Catholic churches and being inspired by the Catholic life. He spent over 5 years studying Catholic theology and preparing to be ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

Cardinal Mahony discusses the various Christian traditions in a wonderful analogy:

"I know it is the fond prayer and hope of all of us in Christian communities that pretty soon all of these on-ramps might some day merge into one highway. We have a lot of parallel on-ramps at the moment that have not merged.… But today at least your on-ramp has merged with our on-ramp," said the cardinal.

"But we all look forward to the day when all of those on-ramps merge in the one uniting Christian Church throughout the world and continue to give forth testimony to the person and presence of Jesus in our lives and in our hearts. So I think your ordination today to the Catholic priesthood is a wonderful sign of that hope for the future."

And here the cardinal mentions the Church's compassion, rather than relaxation of the vow of celibacy, in ordaining married men:

“This is not a precedent that implies any diminishing of the value of celibacy in priestly ministry, but an instance in which the Church acts in an exceptional way to strengthen and ennoble the gifts brought by its newest members,” said Cardinal Mahony in a prepared statement released to the press.

“This practice is not so much an example of relaxing the discipline of priestly celibacy as it is an instance of an extraordinary act of compassion on the part of the Church in regard to someone whose whole life had been spent in both preparation for, and the exercise of, pastoral ministry.”

Friday, May 11, 2007

under construction

I too am trying to redo the layout of my blog after figuring out that I can add a picture, woohoo! I think I may change my blog name again. It's just too long and hmmm...I think I'm ready for something different. Ideas? How would you describe this blog in a couple words?

Okay, this is too much fun! I didn't realize I could change all the colors so easily! What do you think of the name? It's so close to Melissa's beautiful "Bountiful Blessings" blog, one of my favorites. Help me with some ideas!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A little beating heart

(bad picture of the sonogram, but baby is blotch in middle top and heartbeat shown at bottom)

We saw and heard the heartbeat of our newest blessing this afternoon! Little Augustine must have been praying hard since his little brother or sister was born into my womb just a couple weeks after he left. I am about 7 weeks along (due in December), and this has been the longest month of waiting to share until this ultrasound day!

We entrust this newest little one into God's hands and pray for his or her health as mommy here has been on all sorts of medicines to keep me healthy and to keep baby sticking inside. God's will be done! We thank you for your prayers and thank God for this gift of new life!

I will also be offering my prayers and little sufferings and anxieties for those who have recently lost babies and who are hoping for the blessing of new life.

Stuffed Puppy Dogs

eat well over here!

From Today's Gospel

"Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit..."

Please send a little prayer up for us today, thanks!

Hoping to update this blog with some good stories, reflections, and banner picture soon! God bless you all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I forgot...

that we have a yard! The girls usually play in the backyard at some point during the day, but I rarely go out for very long. There's just so much to do inside! And I never go in the front yard during the weekdays. Well, today I used the style of a good friend and let them go wild with the water hose! It made things cooler for me too. We also watered in the front and met a wonderful neighbor next door. And a bonus...it made for some great naps!

Playing in the water

This one is too funny of Ellie sitting in our only "pool" for now!

Ellie takes a break with Timber

PaPa came over for a quick visit and a lunch treat!

Popsicles always make hot days feel much cooler :)

Watering the live oak in the front yard

Watching some snails, their favorite creature!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To Mary Clare R, our precious little friend who passed away last summer (cause still unknown) and who would have turned 3 this week. Her parents Matt and Stephanie are true examples of hope and trust to me in all the tragedy and struggles they've experienced, including family illness, the recent death of their unborn baby, and even the loss of Stephanie's grandmother today. We celebrated Mary Clare's life with dozens of families at their neighborhood park and pool this afternoon. They planted and dedicated a tree there, and at the time she was born released ladybugs and balloons with little messages for Mary Clare. Everyone brought books to donate to an area children's hospital. It was truly touching.

It's hard for me to be at events for this Mary Clare, because people are really dumbstruck when we call our own Mary Clare's name. It's like we all stop for a moment when we hear the name. And even more ironic today was that my Ellie was wearing a dress that Mary Clare had as a baby (unbeknownst to me), and with her blonde hair and little white bow she looked so much like Mary Clare R did just a year ago. But Stephanie assured me that although it's hard to see, it's a way that she's reminded that her little girl is still with her and praying for her.

It was a joyful and bittersweet celebration.

Everyone standing by her tree, getting ready to release the balloons and ladybugs:


The dozens of books to be donated:

Mary Clare enjoyed the pool!

And Ellie swings on a "big girl" swing!

Little saint Mary Clare, pray for us!
Little saint Adrian (her brother), pray for us!
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