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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

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Phew!" I've finally registered for baby Ava Marie!  All the information is on the "Registry page" above (in the tabs area), but I'll repost here for those who are interested and don't feel like searching!

Ok, it may not seem like it, but I have great difficulty "Registering" for items we need because I already feel SOoooo blessed... but I know it does make things easier for those seeking to get a gift for us. I've registered at Babies R Us, Target, Kohl's and online at Amazon and Carter's, but feel free to look at items we need and if you find them someplace else or even in "gently used" condition, feel free to go with those things instead.
Another item I'm interested in getting for the baby is...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

34 Weeks along and only 6 weeks to go!!!

34 Weeks along ...and only 6 weeks to go!!!

Lately, I find myself now very "in tune" to the little girl inside of me.  (She's got the hiccups as I type.  Gets them a number of times throughout the day).  She really has my heart and I think of how it is said of Our Lady that she concieved Our Lord in her "heart" before she did so in her "body".  I can really see that now.  I have certainly grown to love her and am getting excited to see her face.  With all this excitement comes moments of anxiety and fear as I'm well aware of the responsibility that comes from being a parent and the helplessness that comes with raising a person endowed with "free will".  Still, I have to trust that if God is giving her to us... he trusts us.  Whoa... what a thought... he trusts us with another human soul.  Much to ponder there, hmmm?

As we get ready for her coming, we're aware that there will be many changes to our schedules and are trying to enjoy the company of some good friends up until then (and of course beyond, but it may be more challenging).

This weekend was lovely and busy.  Saturday took on a mind of it's own and we dubbed it "Priest day" as we ended up after morning Mass having a marvelous impromptu breakfast with our pastor, Fr. Conrad...

and later a visit from our good friend Joe Amaral.  Joe has always been a wonderful friend to us and we love his visits!

...later in the evening, Joe came back for an impromptu dinner with his lovely wife Anne Marie...

...and the doorbell rang with visits from Fr. Jeff Obniski (humoring us in Joe's hat)...

...and Fr. Hugo (the hat made the rounds)...

both are priests from the Institute of the Incarnate word, which I was incidentally first exposed to in my trip to Honduras years ago. 

What a great day with great company and lively discussion long into the night.  These are two of my favorite things!  We loved our day with them and did not want it to end!

On Sunday after Mass we visited with Shaun's Auntie Louise and Uncle Dave.  The cutest couple!  ...we joke that they are "us" when we get older!  Auntie Louise is the "talker" and Uncle Dave is the "Quiet Laid back type".  They work together, though and after all these years you can still see how much they enjoy each other's company.

Later on in the evening, my brother, Michael even stopped by to visit.  It was SO good to see him!  The uncle to be!!!  He's going to be a GREAT Uncle!

Don't you just love good company???

Monday, August 22, 2011

Visits from family!

(here is Karin with my Mum)

The other day my cousin Karin came to visit. 

Karin was always a bit older than me growing up and if you have a big family, you know that when you're "little" this does not always lead to being very close, just because oof the age difference.  What I DO remember as a child is that I always enjoyed visits from her and her siblings as well as from my Auntie Joan (my mother's sister and one of the "triplet girls" in our family).  They lived a bit further away and as years went by they seemed SO far away down in the "NEW BEDFORD" area!!!  HA!  The irony!

Karin grew older and so did I and we both went our separate ways.  She always intrigued me with her "bohemianish" lifestyle and courage to dream her biggest dreams, going off to Russia to study and teach.  Meeting her husband there (who is another intersting person in my mind that I am eager to get to know better).  Her husband, Ben spent time in Russia as well as Africa working to help the cause of the people in Somalia.  Africa has always been one of my dreams and the thought of doing outreach or mission work has always appealed to me from a young age.  They eventually married in Moscow and she returned to the states to finish her education later in life (giving hope to me who also pursued my education later) studying Poetry. 

Now, this dear cousin is publishing a book of poetry "Coming Soon"!  I believe it's called "tentatively", but more details when I recieve a copy. 

She has the purest most beautiful way about her and sitting down with her, one can see how the appeals of our culture and life did not always settle well in such a whimsical soul.  She is what one would describe as "an old soul"... wise and beautiful, but without "airs".  Even with a camera aimed at her, she seemed uncomfortable with such attention and modestly commented, she did not know where to look or what to do.  It seems to capture her true beauty, like anything of the sort, you'd have to "sneak up on it" and capture it's image when least suspecting!

I mentioned before the "Artist gene" in the family.  Karin has it for sure.  As does her brother, John an Artist in the Dartmouth area and her mother, Joan who worked in clay, pottery & sculpture. 

Karin reestablished contact with me after so many years and we connected shortly before Shaun & my wedding.  I was so happy that she and most of her family could attend.  Though I did not get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked at the reception (as is the way with any wedding, I suppose), it meant SO much to me that she came as I knew she lived a distance away and I'll never forget it.

Since then, she has regularly reconnected and recently called to let me know she'd be in the area for a visit.  It was wonderful to see her the other day and briefly touch base, though not for long enough at all! 

She brought gifts for the baby!  Many "necessary" items...

as well as the most beautiful crocheted pink & green blanket (SO SOFT!)...

...and the most adorable little shoes!!!  As if they were made for a little woodland elf!

She didn't know green was my favorite color and spoke of how it was actually my Nana who had taught her to crochet as a child and when she picked it up again after many years... her hands seemed to remember everything. 

This was  precious gift to me having grown up with my Nana until I was 11 or 12, I felt almost as if she'd given me a gift for the baby sent straight from her in heaven.  Memories fluttered through my mind of those same old hands who taught Karin, teaching me to hold a needle and thread as a child and sew dresses for my dolls from pink remnant fabric, while I sat with her on our large front lawn in Norton, MA.  Sweet memories.

Thank you dear cousin for bringing them back to me.  Hope this is the first of MANY visits to come!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fast Food Friday

Gotta love living in New Bedford in the Summer!  The freshest fish anywhere (we had baked Cod with a super simple cracker topping) and super fresh veggies from local farmers!  20 min and dinner's on the table!


...and After!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Ava... update!

(FYI: this is NOT Ava)

Yesterday I went for yet another ultrasound to check baby Ava's fluid levels because she'd stopped moving as much.  She was never a really BIG mover (as in moving a lot throughout the day like some babies) and if you remember, she started moving late at 27 1/2 weeks (leaving everything till the last minute... much like her mother) but typically after she started moving, she did have set times of the day that I could pretty much count on her making her presence known (as if the basketball hanging on the front of me wasn't enough of a reminder).  Lately, though her movements had definitely slowed down and though I've been drinking more water than EVER before in my life... I worried.  My midwife is fantastic and she set up an ultrasound appointment to check her fluid levels and put my (and her) mind at ease.

The results are that she's totally fine of course.  Her fluid levels are great.  And what I've learned about my daughter at this point is that I suspect she's got my husband's temperment (yipeeeeee!!!!).  She's very laid back. 

The ultrasound tech poked and prodded & did everything to get her to move and just like every other ultrasound appointment, she slept through the whole thing.  Every time I go in for an appointment... she's sleeping.  Please GOD give me a good sleeper.  So, she sleeps a lot.  (Her mom also loves to sleep)

She's not easily disturbed.  (Like her Dad.) She gets the hiccups regularly because she drinks too fast.  She likes to use her mouth a lot (like her mum?). 
She has big feet (3" already.  I guess they aren't usually that big till about 38 weeks or so.  Big feet... like her mum?) 

She has lots of hair. 

She has long legs.  She's going to probably be tall.  And she's already a big baby (79th percentile already!)  ...did I mention I'm going all natural & I was over 13lbs when I was born???  Not concerned, though.  Nope... not a bit! *pray for me?*

Do any of these things surprise me?  Nope.  Not at all.  It's amazing what our children inherit from us isn't it?

My little Ava Marie... I'm getting so excited about you!  Can't wait to meet you soon!  Only 6 1/2 weeks left (technically)!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Don't you just love to Dream???

So, I've always been a dreamer...

and I have to say that for one undeserving girl, I've had a whole lot of my dreams come true. 

Sort of makes you want to keep dreaming, huh? 

Well, Shaun & I sometimes like to "double-dream"... we dream on things together.  I like that he lets me and doesn't crush all my daydreaming with being all "practical".  I mean, don't get me wrong, he's practical when need be and so am I, but sometimes we both just like to dream big!

Now you wanna hear one of my "dreams"???

Ok, so there's this house that we pass by every time we go fishing.  Now, I need to pause a moment and say clearly that we LOVE our home right now, very much and it has tremendous meaning for us, but this other place is our "dream house" in the sense that it's almost too much to imagine.  We drive by it and every time one of us says first, "There's my house!" and the other responds: "That's your house?  No way!  That's MY house"  ...or something of the sort.  Sometimes we'll comment on how good the lawn looks since we mowed it or how it could use a bit of a paint job but we haven't gotten around to it... whatever, we just imagine it's ours.  Especially because it always appears as if no one else lives there.

The other day we were going fishing and passed by "Our house" and there were actually people there!  We came SOoooo close to stopping just to tell them how much we loved that home and if they ever thought of selling it... well, we'd love them to think of US.  SO CLOSE to stopping!  ...but ...we didn't.  We went fishing.  On our way back they were gone.

Two days later, would you believe it???  What does Shaun see outside (on his way back from fishing)?  ...a "For Sale" sign!!!

Shaun mentioned it later in the day and I gasped!  NO WAY!  I couldn't believe it.  The people we'd seen must have been the realtors!  Imagine if we HAD stopped??? 

So.. I got all excited and looked it up online and low and behold it IS for sale... and only for around a measly $900,000!!!!!!! 

What!?  That's not possible! 

It's beautiful, but you've got to be kidding me!  It thought it a typo. 

I thought it was another typo that said it comes with... 85 acres of land. 

After checking up a bit, evidently it's NOT a typo and there really IS 85 acres of land!  Crazy.  I grew up on 13 acres and thought that was plenty!

SOooooo... for now (seeing as how it's just a wee bit out of our price range) ...we're just dreaming.  This is our "little" dream house.  We figure if God wants us to have it, he's got LOTS of money.  He could find a way. 

Aaaand if he wants me to have LOTS of children and not worry at all about the fact that twins run on both sides of our families and triplets run on mine... he'll have to give us lots of room.  For now... we're just dreaming ...and praying!!!

Here's "Our house"

The "Wishing Well" (I always said my home would have a wishing well)

Shaun's fishing pond (and a little peek at some of the land)

The tree outside the kitchen just waiting for a nice swing... and children.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

2nd Childbirth Class...CHECK!

Tonight I went to my SECOND childbirth class with Shaun.  It had been a wonderful (but too short) weekend where we visited with friends and enjoyed each other's company.  Tonight we went to our childbirth class (2nd for me, 1st for Shaun) and I couldn't help but just walk away at the end feeling grateful that Shaun was my husband and the one who would be there with me when I am giving birth.  I cried at the video (SUCH a sap!) and laughed at myself afterwards.  Though I'm due the latest of the couples preparing... I don't feel like I look it.  Take a peek.  Shaun snapped these tonight.  (I didn't put up the actual "belly" pics, though) She sure is getting bigger!

Friday, August 12, 2011

My dear friend Theresa

"A Friend is someone who knows all about you... and loves you just the same"

Today I had the opportunity to spend some time with my very dear friend Theresa.  We have known each other for years and I'm not always sure that she realizes this, but she has been such an amazing gift to me.  She has taught me far more than she will ever realize and is one of those friends that I can say my life would have been missing out on something had I not met her. 

We began our morning at a lovely place called "Margeurites" in Westport and chatted incessantly (well, I did) over a lovely breakfast.  We sat down by the water and then took a lovely drive and eventually ended up at my home "catching up".  As usual (when we actually have some time on our hands) the hours flew by and yet it never seems I can get enough of her company. 

Some friends are just that way aren't they?  You can't imagine your life without them.  Their advice means more to you than almost anyone.  Their example of perserverance indespensable and admirable.  Their laughter pure gold.  Their prescence... precious.  Their friendship... invaluable.  Thank you Lord for my dear dear dear friend.

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival."
- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Mother... the Artist

Tonight I went to see my Mother's paintings displayed in an art show in downtown New Bedford.  I was SO proud of her.  She has never really "painted" and never taken formal lessons before and I have really been overjoyed with how much pleasure she has been having in exploring her gifts. 

She has always been artistically gifted and when we were little growing up, she would reward good grades or behavior with a hand drawn picture of anything we wanted.  My brother often chose superheros from his comic books and I usually chose some fashion character from the comic book I would read "Katy Keene Supermodel".  Ha!

I remember her sketching and even combining her talents of baking/cooking and art to enter contests for cake decorating or cocoa painting.  She worked on this one piece of the Pieta painted entirely in cocoa (chocolate powder) and I remember it looking amazingly accurate considering she was painting in chocolate on a large hardened piece of sugar.

Our family overall has always been artistically gifted, either through drawing, painting, writing, music or languages.  My grandmother (who I can remember playing piano as a child in her home, before she had a serious stroke when I was eight) always encouraged her children to draw.

My mother continued to encourage us and both my brother and I went to school for art through our high school years.  Afterwards I did not pursue art as much and after a while Mom always would encourage me to "get back to it".  I'd quip back... "Look who's talking".

I'm so happy that she has finally gotten involved with a group that promotes the arts in our area, particularly to seniors.  They meet up to 4 times a week from 9am-1pm and all their supplies are provided for.  She loves it!  What a gift.

This evening I finally was able to come and proudly admire two of her recent pieces (along with many many others) displayed beautifully in a gallery in downtown New Bedford.  I'm so proud of her.

Wouldn't you be?

"My mother... the Artist!"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Only 8 weeks left!!!

So here I find myself 32 weeks pregnant!  No turning back now (not that there ever was that option, despite what our current presidential administrations views are on this point).  I don't know where the time has gone and as the days tick by I'm amazed at how fast her birth is approaching. 

Every morning she wakes up to Shaun reaching over and putting his hand on my belly.  She could be silent as could be for me... but she knows when it's her Daddy.  Honestly, I'd be ok, if she was on his schedule, because then she could spend some time with him before he goes to work ...and "hopefully" fall back asleep with me for a little while when he heads off.  Here's to hoping! 

So far she seems to be a pretty laid back baby and a good sleeper.  The last few times I've gone to the midwife, she's been sleeping.  And the last Ultrasound... sleeping.  Though this can be frustrating when trying to get Ultrasound pics, I'm ok with having a good sleeper (PLEASE GOD!).

I recently went to a place around here called "The Stork Connection" for her 3D Ultrasound pictures.  I made the appointment thinking Shaun would be all excited to come and thinking "isn't it awesome what they can do these days?" (because the 3D pictures are so clear).  Then as the appointment approached, I could tell Shaun was having mixed feelings (and to be honest, so was I).  He wasn't sure he wanted to "see her face" yet.  I think he figured he'd be "seeing her soon enough" and wasn't sure if he wanted to "ruin the surprise" so to speak.  And something in that resonated with me as well... but I felt mixed about it.  I felt like, "Well, I'll never have this chance again" and "Maybe it'll be something she'll want to see later" and a whole host of other arguments went through my head.

The day of the ultrasound approached and I could tell Shaun "wasn't feeling it" and ended up having to work anyway.  I have a hard time getting really excited about anything if I feel like he's not I cancelled my appointment and tried not to be too disappointed.

Then I felt guilty.  

I thought maybe I didn't give them enough notice to get another appointment (who thinks that anyway!?) so I called the day of he original appointment and low and behold the same time was open and so at the last minute, I changed my mind (again) and decided to go.  Can we say pregnancy brain?  Sheesh!

The Ultrasound went great!  She was moving like crazy, kicking up a storm.  We were getting great pictures of everything ...well, almost everything. 

Everything except her FACE!!!

It was like you'd swear she KNEW!  Every single time the technician tried to get an image of her face she'd move and we'd get a great shot of... her ear.  Or ...her chin.  Or the top of her head.  Anything but her face.  She'd stretch her neck and push into me so we couldn't see her face and no matter how I moved or what we tried, after a half hour... nothing.

I couldn't really be disappointed that she listened so well to her father.  She seems to be a "Daddy's girl" already.  We made an appointment to try again in a couple of weeks and hopefully she'd cooperate.

I left and called Shaun and he just laughed about the whole thing and said, "You should have listened to Dad!"

Two weeks later I went back for the follow up Ultrasound (yesterday).  Good Ultrasound again... but once again, NO "good" face shots.  She pushed her face into my placenta each time.  It was better than the first time and we got a few of her cheeks and such, but nothing really that clear.  Does it surprise anyone that I would have a stubborn child?  Oh, funny thing is the tech said she likes to use her mouth a lot.  Kept opening it, sticking her tongue out and playing with it.  Surprise, my daughter has a big mouth.  Well, she's a sneaky girl, but I guess I'm ok with her not showing "everything to the world" and will just have to wait to get a good look at her in 8 weeks!

(For those of you who want one...) Here's a "sneak peek" much as she'll give you.

 (Above) This is her ear (on the left) and her hand up near her cheek.  The thing to the right is my placenta that she's turned her face behind.

 She's been crossing her feet like this since her beginning Ultrasounds.  As a preschool teacher, all day long I'm saying "Sit criss cross" and I think she heard it a few too many times!

 That thing on the right side of her face is my placenta, which she kept hiding by pressing into

 Making a silly face!

 Is this over yet, so I can go back to sleep???

"See you soon!"