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We met over 8 years ago at church as Shaun was walking in and I was walking out. The few words exchanged sparked an interst that kept Shaun coming back. When we FINALLY began dating 4 years later we soon knew there was something special here. Our first year quickly flew by and we both decided we never wanted to spend another year with anyone else or without each other. We married in the place where it all began on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and gave birth to our beautiful daughter Ava Marie on September 22, 2011 our next little one, Clara Rose came 16 months later on February 11, 2013. This blog began with our preparation with our wedding and has entered into recording the days and events of our newlywed life and new motherhood.

The Happy Couple...

Daisypath - Personal pictureDaisypath Anniversary tickers

Ava Marie

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Third Birthday tickers

Clara Rose

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers

Gabriel's ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Twins ticker

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Pregnancy tickers

Monday, May 30, 2011

Content with the Ordinary

This weekend Shaun & I had what I think was a beautiful weekend together.  We celebrated with a Memorial Day Party at his brother Pat's house and had a wonderful time.  (I don't have any pictures, sorry my camera's on the blitz)
Then on Sunday after an early morning of Adoration (I love praying next to Shaun) and morning Mass (which I got to sing a little at) we had a lovely breakfast followed by an impromptu trip to go fishing together (he caught 3... I caught nada) which always brings back memories of our time of courtship and his proposal which brought with it, my ring on the end of my fishing pole.  Therefore, even when I catch nothing, I look over and remember that my greatest catch was found on the end of my pole and it's hard to top that! 

We then stopped for lunch in the country and later had a great night watching a movie together. 


GREAT movie, but a huge tear jerker for me.  I had to stop in the middle and collect myself.  I cannot help but be moved deeply when I see the suffeing that was undergone by these people.  I was so grateful for the gift of freedom and the many things I take for granted.  It was a good thing to remember on Memorial Day weekend. 

There's one scene where a woman who is captured and forced onto the slave ship delivers her baby in the midst of a terrible storm and all the other slaves, chained together work together to raise the baby up above the tossing and turning bodies to save it.  I completely broke down.  I thought of Ava Marie and how comfortable we've been throughout our pregnancy. 

(Here she is at her 20 week Ultrasound)

Then I thought of how many other mothers lose hope and take the GIFT of their children for granted and just discard them at the nearest abortion clinic while there are those who are desperately hoping for a child would take their children and save it.  Freedom has become SO distorted.  But I digress...

Later that evening we headed off to a meeting to help organize the Corpus Christi Procession in a few weeks, which is a beautiful celebration in honor of Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.  We love attending and helping to prepare by lining the streets with flowers. 

Today (Memorial Day) Shaun & I were actually able to sleep in and wake up totally refreshed.  What a gift!  I know it's one I probably will not be indulging in soon. 

We began the day with a beautiful Memorial Day Mass which we both cried through due to the hymns. 
(evidently this does not have the same effect on everyone... hmmm)

I cannot make it through the National Anthem and when I hear Shaun go silent and the tears start to run down his cheeks, I'm so grateful for his service as an Army Ranger and that of others. I was lucky enough to run into one of our servicemen in uniform later in the day while out on errands and shake his hand.  He was eating and concerned that his hands would be dirty when I reached out mine to take his.  I assured him that didn't matter and he in humility shook my hand firmly and in what looked like grateful embarrassement just said, "It was my honor". 

After Mass we were off for breakfast and then came home to work on the yard and house together.  We both felt really motivated despite the heat and humidity and we tend to work well as a team.  On a whim we decided to plant window boxes and went out shopping for flowers and came home to work on them together.  It was a wonderful little memory. 
Little did he know that I had always dreamed when moving around a lot and living in a one (small) room apartment for over 8years that one day I would have a home ...where I could plant window boxes.  Something simple, but something I dreamed of.  And the man who made all my dreams come true when he said "I do" makes them come true over and over again in the little ordinary ways.

I used to think that to please God or live a worthy life, I had to do "GREAT things", but now as I've grown a little older in my faith and begun to understand the gifts God sends us in the smallest things, whether I'm hanging laundry on the line, planting flowers, digging in the dirt, cleaning the house, folding laundry or enjoying a simple dinner and a movie with my husband.  I cannot help but feel intense gratitude and find myself content with the Ordinary things in life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This past month (and a half)...

So, I apologize to any of you who have been checking for happenings in the Fullen home to find... NO POSTS for the past month!!!  What can I say... it's been a busy month.  I've thought often of posting, but honestly have found these 25 little delights that I teach everyday and the ONE inside me making me more and more tired....Zzzzzz 

After putting grades in all day (usually when I'm AT my computer & wish I could blog instead) and coming home exhausted to chores or if it's a lucky day, an early night with Shaun (YAY!)d, I don't even think of turning the computer on!  I'll try to be better, really!  So what's been happening?  I'll try to fill in the blanks:

It was a prayerful Lent, but I realized toward the end (as I always do), how much I need to grow in holiness and how much Our Lord loves me... deeply.  Shaun & I made it through without breaking our TV fast (ok, we did on Sunday's but that was it) and praying practically every morning and night together, going to Mass more frequently at our new parish (which had a lovely evening mass and we were often actually able to go together) and trying our best to offer our days back to Him.  I realized once again the many ways I need to love Jesus more, but find this year that I have tremendous gratitude for His unconditional love for me and patience as I slowly grow.  I also find my motivation to grow spiritiually to be spurred more by love and less by "obligation", so that what I do is more ...heartfelt... even if I don't feel much.  Shaun is steadily growing and always an inspiration to me.  It's definitely a shift to realize that now I'm responsible for helping another person (not just myself) to get to heaven.  THAT is something I need to work on.  I feel like Shaun is the one waking me up to pray in the morning and happily pulling me along to Mass or say a rosary.  He LOVES Jesus and Mary SO much (and I hear him tell them often)... *sigh* thank God for him, but I just hope I can become the wife he deserves for he's such a good man.

We had a beautiful Easter this year!  Celebrated with Shaun's Mom and family at her home on the Saturday before and enjoyed watching all the little ones crawling into my lap and going a great Easter egg hunt prepared intricately by her (despite the rain). 

I think this was the day that we first fell in love with our child's name.  Someone must have said it when everyone was throwing out "name suggestions" and we looked at each other from across the room and both loved it!

On Easter morning it was so beautiful to come to the church all decorated with gorgeous lilies and hydrangeas with the cross covered in beautiful flowers. 

I welled up a few times meditating on the gift of new life... not only in the Risen Christ, "whose love endures forever" but also inside me... given to me by that same Lord. 

I held my husband's hand and prayed in gratitude for the gift of my family and this "springtime" in my life.

We returned to the house to a lovely Easter Brunch of Ham & Quiche, Baby Carrots with Cranberries and brown sugar, Sauteed Asparagus with garlic, Crepe Suzettes and Lemon Meringue Pie "mmmmm...." accompanied by Mimosas (I had cranberry-orange juice in a great big wine glass) and great company!!!  It was such a lovely day!

This brings us into not only the Easter Season, but the Lovely month of "May"... ie: "Mary's Month".  I really enjoy this time of the year and teaching all my little ones about our "Queen of the May".  It was beautiful to see our parish May Crowning done in such a simple humble way that I'm sure made Our Lady smile.  Hopefully one day, our little one can participate in such an event

During the month of May we have also been able to see Shaun's nephew, Samuel recieve his First Holy Communion

(as you can see from this picture at the party, I'm getting Huge... but Happy... with the Hubby!)

A few days after Sam's 1st Communion, we headed back to Worscester for his nephew Martin's confirmation (for which Shaun was the sponsor).  Here's a few photos:

We've also been trying to take advantage of the low interest rates and refinance, so we've been busy with appointments, number crunching and appraisals.  I'm NOT a "number" person, but... must say that I've learned a LOT and it's amazing how God gives you the sacramental grace (even in your weak areas) to help your family.  Hopefully we'll be able to really pay our Mortgage down MUCH sooner without as much strain on us financially. 

I'm so happy to be staying home next year (and however many years following), but must admit a little secret.  I worry about being too much of a "financial burden" when I'm not working.  I know I shouldn't worry, because I totally trust God and Shaun, but being independant and on my own for so long, I'm just not used to depending on another to take care of my needs.  This is really humbling for me, so it's actually a good thing... just... different.  I remember what Shaun always says "God commands us to pray... but forbids us to worry" and it's then that I'm sure we'll do fine.  This has enabled us to communicate more about financial matters and make decisions together which in itself has brought us closer.

We're rounding up the year and coming to a close and with the last month rolling quickly by, I must say even with Spring Fever, I'm SO proud of where the kids I teach have come and feeling bittersweet about this being my last class.  Thank God they were a GREAT one!  25-3 year olds every day leave me pretty tired at the end of it all, but have taught me SO much about getting ready to be a Mom myself. 

Working hard every day, taking time to go to basketball and softball games and practices, out for "father-daughter dinner dates" & help Cheyanne with homework he's out early and home late.  He's also healing up since his surgery & goes to physical therapy at least twice a week.  He seems to be getting better and better for sure (but slowly...)  Keep up the prayers and I'm sure he'll be ready to hold our little girl when the time comes.

AND... the NEWS you've all been waiting for... (drum roll please) IT's A...???
So... for those of you who haven't heard, Mother's Day weekend Shaun & I found out what we're having!!!

As you all know, I originally did not want to find out until the delivery, but Shaun was practically coming out of his skin. 

On Wednesday the 4th of May, we went for our 18 week Ultrasound. 

Our silly baby was sitting on her head with her legs "criss cross applesauce" in the air (memories of her mother hanging upside down on the couch with my head on the floor reading a book as a child came flooding back to me... the things our children inherit!) 

The Ultrasound tech wrote the results on a piece of paper and sealed the envelope.  I asked "how sure" she was and she replied, "Well... let me just say that I wouldn't be writing it down if I wasn't sure".  We walked out and stuck the envelope in the visor of my car and went out for dinner.

There the envelope stayed for the next few days.

I then dropped the envelope off to the baker who would be making Shaun's birthday cake & asked them to put pink frosting inside if it was a girl

and blue if the results said it was a boy. 

On Saturday evening we all gathered for a birthday gathering of family members and some of our closest friends.  It was a wonderful time with children everywhere and happy sounds flooding the house.  When it came time to sing "Happy Birthday" and cut the cake everything stopped and everyone leaned in close with cameras and phones poised and ready...

It's a....GIRL!!!!  We exclaimed as we saw the PINK frosting. 

Shouts of happiness filled the air and cameras started clicking!  My Mom had brought me Pink roses "from the baby" for Mother's Day and my mother-in-law had already bought a pink sleeper outfit (so cute) and brought it out right away. 

What a beautiful time to find out while both celebrating Shaun's birthday AND Mother's day.  We're SO excited.  Though we would have been happy with either a boy OR a girl (or both) ...Shaun has a soft spot for little girls and it's so nice to be able to use her name.  Shaun's daughter, Cheyanne seemed excited to know she's getting a little sister when we called her and immediately said, "Oh!  NOW I can help Marijanna go shopping!!!" 

YESTERDAY... I went for another Ultrasound (they couldn't get all the pictures and measurements they needed at the 18 week one) and got to see "Ava" putting on a show!  Here are some pictures of the Ultrasound pictures.

Please pray for us during this happy time and know how much we appreciate all the support we have been recieving from all of you.  You have made this time SO special.  I feel like I'm bringing her into on big family with LOTS of auntie's and uncles to shower her with love.  Can't wait to meet her!

A Baby Girl!!! 

In honor of our Blessed Mother, "Ava Marie Fullen" will be her name...
(although if we have some great desire to change it... we still can!)