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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...

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Ava Marie

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Clara Rose

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Gabriel's ticker

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Twins ticker

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Words of Wisdom from Maya Angelou

I LOVE Maya Angelou... always did.  So today I'm not being very original, by stealing this from her... but I figure her wisdom is better than mine would be today.

Maya Angelou was interviewed on her 70+ birthday.. and asked what she thought of growing older. There on television, she said it was 'exciting...'

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist first. The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words! Maya Angelou said this:

'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back...'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug or just a friendly pat on the back...'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today I'm 13 Weeks! WOW!

Today I'm 13 Weeks and "Baby Fullen" is the size of a Peach
...or a Shrimp
I'm not sure which image I actually like better?

Perhaps this one is my favorite...
...pretty awesome huh?

As of last week our baby would have been really developing reflexes and able to suck his/her thumb, kick, squint, etc...  This week baby's eyebrows are growing, he/she is able to smile AND vocal chords are developing... maybe he/she will sing like Daddy and I do!

Baby also has as many nerve endings as WE do!  Connections are being made between brain, muscles & nervous system.  Cool.

I was able to go talk to the 5th grade class today and read them this book:'s all about this baby in utero who's growing and talking to their guardian angel.  It's pretty amazing to think that my baby's guardian angel is with me and my angel ALL the time.  WHAT must they talk about I wonder?

The kids were eager to offer name suggestions and after being offered many I suggested they write them down on paper and drop them in my mail slot.  By the end of the day the suggestions I had for names are as follows:


and Girls names?
Jen or Jenny

...not in alphabetical order!  Phew!  Who needs to buy a baby name book!?  Just ask a 5th grader!!!

They are too funny.  So are the people who think or that you can't hear them when you're walking by and they say things like "Whoa!  She's huge!  She's getting SO huge!  I just found out she's pregnant!  I cannot believe how BIG she's getting already!  She's SURE there's only ONE in there?"  Sheesh!  I'm only 5 feet away maam!

makes me feel like saying, "Uh, c'mere... I'll show you huge!"

...but I won't.  I'll just think it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meaningful Meanderings through my mind in the middle of a Monday...

So March is the Month we remember my dear friend, Dr. Seuss... probably the reason for the title.  I've perhaps read a few too many of his meanderings this month to the children (and have a pile left to go).  Imagine if they had blogs in the time of the good Dr.?  What would we be reading each day?  I've often thought and thought about Dr. Seuss and what a smart as a whip author he is... and making it SO much fun while he does it.  He really was quite a philosopher when you think of it and desperately tried to point out some very important truths to those who he still had hope in... our children AND those lovely older people who would read his stories to them.  Sneaky guy.... !!!

I mean... just think about it! 

Horton hears a Who is most obviously "Pro-Life" ..."a person's a person no matter how small" and all about how this one animal who just happens to "hear" a little better than the rest, reminds all around him to defend the defenseless... and how every voice counts... very profound if you ask me..

Green Eggs & Ham is all about how things aren't always as bad as we THINK they're going to be and not judging new things until you've actually experienced them... That's the only way you can actually speak about something with any sort of authority

The Cat & the Hat well, if that didn't scare your little knickers about talking to strangers and letting people in the house when you shouldn't (at a time when kids often WERE left home alone more often).  The things kids do when they're bored sure to seem like a good idea in the beginning... and then "whammmo!" disaster strikes!  Boy!  And you thought the fish was ...well, just a cold fish.  Seems he was the wisest of all! least the Cat cleaned up his mess.  That seemed the only lucky part.

The Lorax there's a profound one!  All about taking care of our precious resources and what happens through greed ...oh and the hope found at the end... and the responsibility that comes with it.

The Sneetches BOY... that one's profound.  The lessons about predjudice, and bullying, and envy and hate and self-worth ...oy!  A friend of mine uses this book when teaching her 8th grade class about the Holocaust. 

Oh, I could go on and on... Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss... thank you for your wisdom.  May we be like Horton and have ears to hear it!

...So, I didn't actually plan on writing at ALL about Dr. Seuss today, but that's the problem with a busy brain... you just jump inside and don't know WHERE it will take you.  "Oh the Places You'll go" (that's another good one).

I've been thinking all sorts of things this weekend and havent' been on the computer to write, but just wanted to spill a few of my thoughts here. 

First of all, I found myself grateful for a dear old friend named "Alice the Great" who I was privleged to know before she passed away this week.  Who "adopted" me as another daughter and prayed for me until she died her peaceful holy death after battling bone cancer.  Who had made me laugh and cry so many times and prayed I'd find someone like her dear husband, Armand... who she loved like crazy until the end.  I did find someone... and when she saw pictures of my wedding and heard I was expecting, her daughter told me she exclaimed "FINALLY!  Someone who did it RIGHT!"  I'm glad she was able to see the fruit of her prayers.  I am grateful to have known her and learned from her how to "live" life to the full... even when you're dying.

I was grateful this past Thursday for ...of all things... little flowers.  Tiny little flowers picked by little hands (you know the kind.  The ones with the petals barely hanging on the the scrap of stem left because it was plucked too close to the top?) and ran up the school stairs to me at the end of a long day and accompanied by a great big hug from a sick little boy that I'd missed after a long week.  A little boy that I realized at that moment will all too soon be grown big (too big for flowers for his teacher)... but who reminds me of how fast my own little one will grow... and to appreciate each moment!

I found myself grateful on Friday when I was at a retreat for a beautiful story that reminded me that I have been given the gift as a teacher to either help children learn how to "fly"... or make them feel like they should never try.  I've loved teaching... I LOVE children.

I found myself grateful for my husband this weekend as he got ready very early in the morning on a Saturday to go to a men's conference in Worcester.  That I'm married to a man who's not afraid to shed tears in public because he's moved by the sound of over 1000 men singing the entrance hymn to a Mass or who is moved by the sight of the crucifix after communion... or who's not ashamed to laugh hard out loud when something's really funny... even if it's him.  And who came home SO happy and proud to be Catholic! 

I found myself grateful for my voice and my ability to sing to God's glory.  I love to sing for Jesus and when I was singing this weekend, I remembered as I so often do, how surprised I am when I open my mouth and that sound comes out!  I never know quite what to expect.  It's like I caught this wild thing inside of me and when I sing, it comes out.  I love looking at my husband's face when I sing... he makes me love myself.

I found myself thinking about everyone I know who's suffering and how lately ...I know it might sound silly, but ...I've felt almost guilty that things are going so well in my life.  Sure, I could look around and find things to complain about... anyone can.  Honestly, though, I feel SO incredibly blessed.  I found consolation this weekend though and a way to "not apologize" for the gifts I've recieved... especially because I know I dont' really deserve them.

It's like this... I looked out the window and thought about the Seasons.  When it's Winter, it doesn't seem so bad in the beginning, but after a while we all want it to be over.  When Spring comes, it doesn't apologize like it's taking Winter's turn or something away from Winter's "Season"... it's just it's time to come.  We appreciate it even more when it seems to come late. 

Well, Shaun & I have had our fair share of "Winter" season's in our lives.  I'm sure we'll have our share of "winter-times" to come... but right now it's our "Spring".. and soon it will be "Summer" and instead of feeling sorry that it's our "Spring-time" I'd like to enjoy it... and share it... with everyone I can!  Even though it's cold outside... it feels like "Spring" to me!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why can't he just see it MY way???

So... I went to the doctor (actually my midwife) last night to get my "checkup" and everything's "normal".  Couldn't hear the heartbeat with this different machine, but I'm not allowing myself to panic about this at all because everything's been just fine.  I go back in two weeks to hear the baby's heartbeat again and I'm realizing that this will actually work out better because Shaun will be able to come then!  Yay!

...but all is not perfect.  Shaun and I are in the middle of a disagreement....
...ok, so we're hardly acting like this.  Actually we're getting along just fine & he's being his wonderful self, but NOW he's DYING... I mean, just practically jumping out of his skin...

to find out what we're having.  His mum called the other day and she's also dying to find out so she can get to work making all the baby stuff she's so good at, but wants it to be just perfect for what ever little whoever we're having...

...we both are TOTALLY thinking it's more important that the baby's healthy and we would be happy as clams (where did that expression even come from???) with either a boy or a girl... or both (even though Shaun does have an awfully big soft spot for girls).

Anyhow, after his conversation with his Mum I kept thinking, "Hey there!  Who's side are you ON?  Do you actually want to find out?" and he leaned his head down and sheepishly went "I really do!"

I laughed!  "Are you serious?" Yup!  Now it's all he talks about.  Cannot WAIT to find out what we're having.  Sooo.... we have 6 more weeks to argue about it, but dont' tell him... he'll actually probably get his way. 
Honestly he asks me for SO little and gives me SO much... if he really wants this... I may just end up caving.  Ugh.  Don't tell him, though.  I'd like to keep the argument going JUST a little longer.

(typical woman!) HA!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Today I'm 12 Weeks!!! PHEW!

So today I find myself 12 weeks pregnant!  This is a time for me to take a deep breath!  "Pheew!"  Most studies say that we are in a much "safer" place my pregnancy now.  Baby's about 2 1/2" long and this week will begin to really develop "reflexes"  These are pictures I got of other babies 12 weeks along.  (Sad that some are actually from abortions... anyone who says this isn't a baby is crazy.  

The first one is of an 11 week old "fetus"!

(3D ultrasound... not our baby)
...this week "Baby Fullen" will make more facial expressions and be able to squint his/her eyes because reflexes are developing this week....

 ...little fingers will be bending and flexing...

...if this Baby is anything like Shaun, we've got a big time thumb sucker on our hands...

...sigh, Pretty awesome, huh?...

Tonight I go for a lil' checkup to make sure everything's ok.  Shaun's going to physical therapy (I tell him his shoulder/arm needs to be healed and strong enough to hold this baby when it's born, so he has to take good care of it!)  Say a little prayer for us ok?  .

Monday, March 21, 2011

Following in the footsteps of St. Joseph

So this past Saturday was the Feast of "St. Joseph the Worker".  Shaun & I have a very strong love of this quiet, faithful, strong, humble and decisive man who was chosen to be the "foster" father of Our Lord.  He's always been a good friend to both of us.  Shaun used to say that "St. Joseph gave you to me" and I found out later that before we were together, he had been praying to St. Joseph for me... while I'd been praying too. ...eventually He brought the two of us together in his quiet, patient way.

We began our Saturday at morning Mass and then Shaun went off with a bunch of his friends in typical "St. Joseph style" to go build some "cells" (or rooms) for the Franciscan Sisters in the area. 

He of course could not actually do much of the "heavy work" due to his shoulder injury, but instead ingeniously roped in some of his friends to help.  He worked until later in the eve for the sisters and I thought of him throughout the day working just like our good St. Joseph.  I'm very lucky to have him as a husband... just wish I was a bit more like Mary.  Not quite, yet though.  I have a way of getting into a little too much trouble at times.  My name may have changed to "Fullen" by marriage, but by birth I'm "Lokitis" (which means "Wild one".  Loki is also the Greek God of mischief.  What can I say?  The deck was stacked against me from the beginning people!!! ...but I digress.)

Following his day of work, Shaun-boy brought some company home for a late "St. Patrick's type dinner" of corned beef & cabbage... of course with the good ole' Italian pastry of Zepoles (traditional on the Feast of St. Joseph). 

During the evening I would recieve little visits to the kitchen for "I love you's" and "thank you's" from a grateful husband as well as some stolen kisses as I prepared the meal and later during the evening I found myself looking at my good husband while he cleared and did the dishes for everyone (silently as the conversation continued at the table) all the while thanking God for this man like St. Joseph.  Shaun might think St. Joseph gave me to him... but I think it's the other way around... and boy am I grateful! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on a Friday afternoon...

So I'm 11 1/2 weeks today.  I'm thinking about the baby all the time.  I've now told many of the classes at school and the kids are all SOOOOO excited that Mrs. Marijanna's going to have a baby!  They all want to touch my belly.   I often reach down and my shirt is sticky from someone's lip balm where they ran up and kissed my belly.  So cute.  I'm being bombarded with a million questions.  Including those from the children who are adopted and are eager explain to me that they were born in China or some other country.  I explain to them that God is helping my heart to fall more and more in love with my baby even before it's born and  the same thing happened when their mommy or daddy fell in love with them... SO much did they love them that they even traveled to another country and bring them home to be their son or daughter.  And when they met them, they said the same thing I will say when I lay eyes on my baby for the first time, "Ahh, so YOU are the one I've been falling in love with all this time!  I'm so glad you're mine!"

My really little ones in class ask me all the time how I'm feeling and how's the baby?  The older kids (by older I mean like 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade) run up to me in the hallway to hug me, bu often first come to a screeching halt, bow their heads and close their eyes... then they look up at me and say, "I prayed for you and the baby".  I'm so blessed.

Just thought I'd put this video on.   It's Friday (THANK GOD!!!) I always think of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on Friday to give us "birth" into life.  He wanted so much that we would live... really live our lives to the fullest with Him.  I can't help but think now about what an awesome thing it is that He is doing in me.  May He bring it to completion.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's day!

So, today is that famous Irish Holiday where all feel the need to go out and drink and party themselves into oblivion... right in the middle of Lent.  I never quite got that... perhaps I'm not Irish enough.  I'm actually not Irish at all.  (Lithuanian & Croatian) But Shaun-boy is... and so is this little one growing inside me.  I think that's so awesome.  I don't want to seem negative because I actually LOVE the Irish and everything Irish... Irish pictures, Ireland, Irish music, Irish accents, Irish sweaters, Irish looking children, even those Irish tempers (think Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man" ...always have. 

Every year I read to my school children book after book about St. Patrick & remember what a great Saint he was and what an interesting story he had.  Amazing how someone who's actually from Britian could become the patron Saint of Ireland

Kidnapped as a youngster (after living a typical youthful life of mischief), he was brought to Ireland where he was sold as a slave and made to heard sheep for his master.  Upon being taken away from all luxuries and family he was accustomed to back home, he began to pray a LOT until God became his everything.  He prayed to be saved and after 6 long years of prayer and slavery... eventually escaped (after first having to walk 200 miles to the ship which would rescue him).  He went to France upon his freedom and studied to become a priest and then was made a bishop... where he was renamed "Patricius" (or Patrick... some say his original name was Maewyn)  When he was home he would have dreams where the people from Ireland would call to him to "Come walk among us again" and he knew he was meant to return.  (Can you imagine going back to the people who made you a slave???)  He did.  He returned and built churches and schools.  Although many times he was met with opposition and his life was sought after frequently... many people grew to love him and become converted to the Catholic faith from his kind example and God's grace working through him.  He died on March 17th... thus the reason we remember him on that day.

I just think he's a pretty awesome Saint and great example of perserverance and missionary heart.  St. Patrick... pray for us!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chloƫ Agnew - Nella Fantasia

Life with Teenagers... already!

So this weekend we recieved a visit from Shaun's nephew, Martin.  (I didn't take pictures this weekend, but found some from when he visited for the Portuguese Feast this past Summer)

Here he is with Shaun's Mum.

Some of his siblings & cousin, Cheyanne.

Hangin' w/ Mom on the Hammock

Hogging the Hammock

and with his lovely gal, Jenna!

Martin asked "Uncle Shaun" to be his confirmation sponsor recently and we wanted to have him down for a visit to talk to him about getting ready to be confirmed and just get to know him a little better.  Turned out to be a BUSY weekend for a visit... more like a "Lenten Retreat" for this teen... and NO that wasn't planned, just happy coincidence.

Friday night Martin came down with 5 of his 6 brothers and sisters.  He's the oldest of 7 awesome "Fullens" and was probably shocked with the quiet time.  After everyone left, he and I talked music & he seranaded me with his new Mandolin! 

(He's very musically gifted & plays THREE instruments!)  He promised to learn one of my favorite musical pieces "Nella Fantasia" that uses Mandolin & Oboe (turns out his girlfriend Jenna plays Oboe... looks like I'm going to have to learn to sing it!)

Saturday we went out for breakfast at my FAVORITE breakfast place ever, Cobblestone's in New Bedford (the BEST ever)...
& then off to Adoration at the chapel to fill in for someone's holy hour.  

After that we all went "Antique Shopping Browsing", out for nice weekend drive and then out for Ice Cream & "hang out time".  I had practice and the 4pm Mass to Cantor, so Martin tagged along and got to hear "Auni Mariani" sing for the first time.

We headed home to get ready for the teenagers piling in to our home for "Movie Night".  We had about 15 Youth Group members sprawled everywhere on couches, chairs and floor.  They sucked Martin into their group, broke out Guitar & Bongo drums and made him an honorary "band" member.  I LOVE it when these kids hang out and couldn't help but hope my little one ended up SOMETHING like one of these guys or gals. 

They are awesome kids... but have a teenage sleep schedule.  (tough for this 1st trimester mommy)  Kicked the rest of them out around 11pm and headed to bed to try to quickly adjust to the time change before our early holy hour (we let Martin sleep this time).

Sunday morning I sang the 8:30am Mass and met Uncle Shaun & Martin for our monthly "Prayer day".  We were all wiped out after that (Praying is beautiful but can be exhausting...well... everything's exhausting for me lately).  I needed a nap, so everyone crashed for a few hours before heading to dinner & some deep conversation about Martin's upcoming confirmation and "goals in life".  (I'm so impressed with him and his faith.)  We headed home to Worscester and I felt so blessed to have been able to share our weekend and lives with these awesome teens.  I know they say "teens are tough" but I just love them & am so inspired when I see parents who have worked so hard to instill the faith in their young ones through a consistently solid example... and then it actually pays off!  I always learn how MUCH these kids are watching their parents (...I know everything!!!) and either desiring to be like them or scandalized by them.  I have so much to learn... and SOON....Thank you guys for the lessons in parenting!