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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

Friday, August 31, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  Every inch of my house screams "Ava's been here"

2. Although I sigh deeply at the thought of cleaning up each inch of it... again... and AGAIN ...and AGAIN ...and again. I love this little munchkin way too much to get very upset.
3.  We're taking advantage of the last of the summer days

(SOOooo not afraid of any of the gross stuff.)

Any time your diaper looks like this... you've been HARD at play!

These are probably illegal...
I know that disturbing sea grass is Illegal, so we quickly dunked in the ocean to wash off the sand and headed out... 
...RIGHT after she peed on me as I was opening the car door to get a towel.  ...Oh!  The JOYS of motherhood!
4.  Birthday Party is coming up.  Still open to ideas??? C'mon people!  I need your ideas!!!

5.  After waiting all week for a less windy day with no luck, I tried to take a picture that looked like this today...
and as soon as I headed outside, the balloons blew into the grass and went
 *pop* *pop* *pop* *pop* *pop* *pop* *POP*

...ok, so we'll try for another day. ...sometimes my creativity doesn't always turn out as planned.

6.  Let's not discuss my "Yarn Balloon" Failure.  It did NOT look like this when finished.

7.  Shaun & I celebrated our "1st date anniversary" a day late and went for lunch today.  The restaraunt that we went to for our first date has since closed.  It used to be a small popular place.  Actually one of the most popular in the city.  Sooo it expanded.  Bought a super big place and started over there.  I don't think people were crazy about the size of it and missed that "homey" feel.  Then the economy tanked and it closed.  BUT recently the owners bought out another restaraunt right around the corner from our house (2 block walk) and essentially kept the same menu (including our favorite dinner there!) off we trotted with Ava in the stroller to enjoy an anniversary lunch at "sort of" the same restaraunt that we had our first date in.  It was great!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our First Date - August 30, 2009

Today is the anniversary of Shaun and my first date 3 years ago (and as you can see from yesterday's post, he proposed a day before our one year anniversary... though I probably would have said "yes" far before that!)

Shaun & I had already known each other for a number of years before we began dating.  About 4 years before our "first date" we met one day when I was walking out of church from a daily Mass and he was walking in.  We exchanged a few words and parted ways, but I still remember that day clearly.  He thought I was "nice" and decided to come back to one of the weekend Masses.  I was singing.  He really liked me then and decided to keep coming back.  Within a couple of weeks I walked out of a Sunday Mass to find him waiting by his truck outside waiting to "ask me out".  Unfortunately, I came walking out with someone else who I had begun dating less than two weeks before I met Shaun. 

At that time he slowly turned and walked back to the other side of his truck, got in and drove away.  The man I was seeing at the time asked me, "Do you think he was waiting for you?" to which I replied, "No no..." (and thought hmmm... maybe)

Years later as we sat upon our front porch sipping a glass of wine I asked him about that day and if he remembered it.  He did.  I asked him what he'd thought as he got back into his truck?  He said, "I thought... Well, I'm just going to wait this one out"  and I asked "Soooo four years later did you ever get discouraged?!"  He calmly replied, "Nope.  I just knew the longer it lasted, the more sure I was it wasn't going to last"

Four years passed from our first meeting and while I tried desperately to make a relationship work with another wonderful man who essentially was just not called to be my husband, I learned much about myself and how it's not possible to "force" something to work that isn't meant to.  Not without losing some of yourself in the process.

There were even times when this other person would ask me, "Have you ever thought about Shaun?  I mean... he's so much more who I'd picture you with"  I would get stone faced and respond, "WE are NOT discussing this!" and I dug my heels in obstinately and ignored Shaun as best I could.

Still Shaun and I managed to become "friends" of sorts and would always exchange words when we saw each other.  I'd pass by him after Mass as he knelt praying his rosary in his work worn hands and would whisper "Say one for me, k?" He always smiled and responded "You got it kid".  I knew he was praying for me. 

I was busy running the parish youth group, teaching and volunteering in a number of capacities (while he looked on)

and he also got involved, but usually in more hidden "behind the scenes", humble ways (like washing dishes at the Knights of Columbus pankake breakfasts)

I liked Shaun, but didn't really allow myself to get to "know" him during this time as I didn't want to jeopardize the relationship I was stubbornly determined that I was "going to MAKE work".

During this time, I would pray and pray that God would somehow "fix" the relationship I was in and every time I knelt to pray I'd feel like Jesus was gently saying to me, "Let him go."  Instead of being docile and listening I would just ask "*sigh*  How do I know that's really you?"  All this time, as I was praying, Shaun was sitting RIGHT in front of me watching me (I sang at the front of the church each Mass and Shaun would sit directly in front of me... for four long years)   I can just see Jesus slapping himself in the forehead from exasperation because I was literally unable to see what was sitting right in front of me!

But he's a patient God.  And thank that God that Shaun's a patient man!

Three and a half years later I finally figured it out.  The "other guy" and I amicably parted ways after being sure that we were not supposed to marry and I began to take the time needed to heal from a relationship that though full of lessons probably lasted longer than it should have.

Still I sought to find God's will in prayer and finding myself in my 30's, any young woman who finds herself at this age unmarried and unattached knows the questions that arise not only from the many eager matchmakers around her, but in her own heart.  When I was tempted to wonder if God still had a plan for me, if I would ever have children, if I would ever find the right person or if I'd have to "settle" (which I was unwilling to do), if I'd made a mistake somewhere and essentially tried to fight off falling into hopelessness...
I found peace in looking at Jesus on the cross and remembering everything he'd done for me.  In the midst of this I would remember what I always try to remember whenever I don't know what the future holds for me... "He is worthy of my trust"  yes... "He is worthy of my trust"  And I trusted... even when it was hard.

Shaun was still around, but sort of a quiet guy.  I did try to talk to him and drop hints that I was "available" from time to time (INCLUDING introducing him to my MOTHER) ...he politely said hello and walked away.  Didn't get the hint, I guess. 

After six months passed I figured that the signals I had thought were there over the years of him being interested (from a distance) were misread by me and that he was just a nice guy who was always just a little friendly.  Nothing more.  So I moved on.

Unbeknownst to me, he'd been praying to St. Joseph for God to help him to either be at peace with where he was in his life or to bring the right person into it.  He thought during this time that I was still with my boyfriend.

It eventually took my ex-boyfriend to tell Shaun that we were no longer together and I was "available".  His response?  (outwardly) "REally?  Oh, that's too bad.  Well... those things happen sometimes" (interiorly) "YESSssssssssssa!!!!  FINALLY!!!!"

So, I went to adoration as I always did on Monday nights and sat across from Shaun.  Afterwards we ended up putting our books away and walking out together.  We chatted a bit in friendly conversation and he mentioned that he heard I was moving and we were going to be "neighbors".  "What do you mean we're going to be neighbors?" I asked?  Turns out the new apartment I was moving to was exactly 3 streets away and less than a five minute walk from Shaun.  I would live in the number 121 on my street, he in the number 122 and if we had wanted we could've strung a can from our apartments and chatted. 

I was flabbergasted.  I began to ask what brought him to the area as I knew he wasn't from around here at all (neither was I) and found out that he'd bought his grandmother's house a few years ago and had rebuilt it (uh... right around the time of our first meeting!). 

And then he asked, "did I want to come see it?"

my excited response to the question he'd waited four years to ask me

.... *LONG pause* ...

Shaun: "Uhhhh... I have a bottle of wine.  I could get you a glass?...."

....*pause* ...

JUST before he decided to say "Okaaaaay then, maybe some other time" and walk away, I hesitanly said,


"GREAT!  Just follow me!"

I got into my car dumbfounded.  I looked up at the doors of the church.  I had just come to go to adoration, what the heck just happened?  How am I heading to this guy's house?  I NEVER just go to some guy's house.  Especially not some guy always covered in concrete dust who was so quiet and shy that we'd certainly never have enough to talk about.

Five minutes down the street I turned a corner and pulled up to a beautiful little cottage that stood out on the street like it had fallen from the sky.  It looked nothing like any other of the looming apartment complexes around.  ...and nothing like I pictured his house to look like.  It was even my favorite color.
I slowly walked up the steps.  I was normally the loud and outgoing one and he the shy reserved one and suddenly I felt sheepish and insecure.  I stepped into his home and stood frozen at the door.  The home was beautiful.  Perfectly in order and completely a surprise.  He invited me in, big smile on his face and I could tell that suddenly he was in his element, comfortable and secure.  I on the other hand was like a fish out of water, but the strangest feeling came upon me as I walked through that house.  I felt perfectly at home and almost felt as if someone had built it exactly for me.  It was very strange.

I sat at the furthest corner of the room and he handed me a glass of wine and we began to talk... and talk ...and talk.  Poor Shaun.  As far as first dates go, I think it was more like an interrogation on my part!  I asked him every difficult question that most men would squirm under... and yet, he handled ever single one with humility, honesty, integrity, grace and simplicity.  I couldn't help but be impressed.  As we chatted I realized I had nothing but wine in my stomach and needed to put some food in if I was going to keep my wits about me.

So he took me to dinner.  And we chatted some more.  I really enjoyed my time with him and couldn't believe all the things I was learning about this man who'd unassumingly sat in front of me for four years.  Five hours later I drove up to my little home and just sat bewildered.  I had just gone to adoration... and how had this happened?  I know it was only our first date, but I knew something was beginning.

The next day I had butterflies in my stomach ALL day. 

I kept thinking it was something I ate.

...I'm a perceptive one you see.

We began to see each other and during most of our initial "dates" Shaun came after his long days of work to help me "fix up" my new apartment which was in dire need of some help. 

He came to do repairs and to pull up rugs and to paint and while we worked side by side, we got to know each other and I quickly began to fall in love with him.  I knew almost right away that this was the man I was going to marry.  Knew it for sure. 

Later we found out that the first day we began dating?  The day that began by inviting me to see his grandmother's house?  That day was actually his grandmother's birthday and we didn't know it.

When he proposed and we set our wedding date?  We also found out that was his grandmother's wedding date! 

When we had our honeymoon baby baptized, She wore the baptismal gown that his grandmother had made 30 years before in our house.  Made it for his sister Mary... who we had chosen to be her godmother.  So she became a child of God dressed in the gown made by his grandmother, Mary, while her Godmother, Mary looked on.

I have thought SO many times about that first date.  Just today Shaun and I were talking about it and I asked him what he thought back then. 

He said, "I always knew when I looked at you that someday you'd be mine and it would all work out" and I said, "And I'm SO glad that I said YES... I'll say it every day for the rest of my life"


Friday, August 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

1.  How the HECK is it Friday again???  How is it possible that it seems the days are going faster and faster?  Sheesh. 

2.  New Baby update

Yesterday I had my 16.5 week midwife appt.  We discussed a few things and even commented on how I'd only gained 2 lbs this pregnancy (thank GOD because I've certainly kept a lot of the "Ava baby weight" and was concerned I was going to gain like I did with her.  I had a head start BEFORE a person began growing inside me!) 

I'm sure this balance in weight gain is due to me still breastfeeding too and burning extra calories with that.  Everything was going really well until she went to listen to the heartbeat of the baby... and nothing.  I tried to relax.  Then it seemed like forever was going by.  I was starting to get nervous.  After all, I haven't really felt super "pregnant"... and I had this dream the other night that I lost the baby... then a heartbeat!  Yay!  And she said, "No... that's yours."  ...she was still trying to get it. 

... ... (trying not to be nervous)

Then finally!  The heartbeat!!!!  Loud and strong and fast.  *Phew!*  The baby was very low, so a little tough to find, but thanks be to God.  So happy to hear that thumpa thumpa.  Keep praying for a safe and healthy pregnancy.  Thanks!

3.  Laundry... blech

I've been on a laundry strike.  It's not intentional and I'm not sure if this ever happens to you, but I just DON'T want to do anymore laundry.  I am TOTALLY unmotivated.  I have to go down to the basement and have SO been avoiding it.  I mean... we all have things to wear (well, Shaun & Ava mostly, I've been scraping), but I just... can't... bring... myself... to do it!  By the time she goes to bed, I'm like, ok... laundry? ...uh, tomorrow

I figure if I confess my utter failure in the "homemaker" department, I may just head down the stairs from embarrassment and just do the stinking laundry.

I did tell my husband "Laundry-it's not just for wives and pregnant ladies anymore!"  And he will take a load out of the wash and throw it in the dryer if I ask.  He will even carry the baskets down the stairs if I ask.  But he swears he doesn't know how to do it anymore!  I guess there's a whole routine I do and I think it's his little way of avoiding it to not learn how to do it.  I can't really blame him.  He works hard all day to pay for the detergent... the least I could do is DO the laundry.  And in his defense, he does NOT complain if I don't do it... at all.  Ok... I'll do it... tomorrow.

...sheesh, that sounded like St. Augustine with his "pre-saint prayers": "Lord make me a Saint... but not today"  "Lord make me chaste... but not yet"  Gotta love the "real-ness" of that Saint.  Augustine, you would understand my laundry-hate right now wouldn't you? 

Here's the thing, though.  I used to LOVE to do laundry.  I didn't have a washer and dryer for years, so all growing up (after the age of 12) practically, I remember walking down the streets with my Mom with full baskets (when we didn't have a car) to the laundromat and doing it there.  When I was a young twenty something, my one room studio didn't have laundry either, so I either went to the mat OR I'd benifit from the generosity of some great friends who'd let me do it at their house.  I traded the washer-dryer use for housecleaning or babysitting, depending on the friend. 

Then I got married... and there it was... my very own washer and dryer.  *cue glorious music!*

It didn't matter that they were in the basement... because they were mine all mine (and I wasn't pregnant ...and tired ...and fat at that time).  SOooo... I did laundry all the time.  Even when I didn't need to I'd find something to wash and tell myself it was dirtier than it actually was.  Shaun loved this.  And so did I because I knew it was a simple way to make his life easier and show him I loved him and loved taking care of him and loved being his wife.  (I still feel this way about him... I just hate laundry right now)

I was SO adept at laundry that upon attending a recent wedding, I ran into an old acquaintance who lived out of state whom I hadn't seen for a few years.  In the midst of our "catching up" she mentioned, "You know what I always remembered about you?" "What?" I asked (never expecting the answer coming next) "I always remember how quickly and neatly you folded laundry at *****'s house"! 

"Really?  THAT'S what you most remember about me?"  I thought to myself.  To her I probably laughed a little and said something like "Ha that's so funny!".  I guess when I would visit a friend who neighbored her and she would visit at the same time, I'd be helping her fold laundry!  I don't recall this, but it makes sense as she had lots of kids=lots of laundry and when I'd visit, I'd pitch in... evidently enough to make that be the most prominent memory of me in this woman's mind.  WHAT would she think to hear that I'd neglected my gift so?  WHAT would she say?  The thought of her shock sort of makes me snicker a bit.

*sigh*  But back to Augustine.  In thinking about how he "used" to pray for the grace to change "but not yet", I know this is NO way to grow in holiness... so I'm just going to suck it up, *sigh* get off the computer, march down the stairs and throw a load in. 

*ok, I'm BACK* phew... I feel better now (but not holier, because I probably lost all my merit venting across the blogosphere and then proclaiming my great deed to all of you who.probably.can' ...I know, I know... I have a lot to learn.

*I have to make a note that after I wrote this post last night thinking I was all "ahead of the game" for once... (and did start doing laundry) Shaun actually came home this morning and did TWO loads of laundry. I had yet to "post" and he walked up the stairs from the basement as I was sleepily making his lunch with basket in hand and smirked "And YOU thought I didn't know how to do the laundry!"... just goes to show you... what do I know? BUT, I did quip back, "Well... perhaps this laundry strike WORKED!"

4.  Birthday Party Ideas

On another note, I've been trying to figure out what to do for Ava's 1st birthday party.  I'm honestly a TERRIBLE planner and most often "fly by the seat of my pants" and tend to be more spontaneous with things.  I am actually capable of planning, but don't usually think of it till it's too late.  But it's her FIRST birthday!  And I know she won't remember it, but I'll be sure that plenty of photos are taken to remind her of it enough to make her think she remembers! 

I've been thinking of doing a "Rainbow themed party" and was open to lots of ideas for this... including food and things to make her 1st birthday memorable/special for her when she's older. 

Some decorative things I "might" (might is the operative word here) do are the following:

5.  Yarn string balloons

Aren't these COOL???  I like that you can save them from year to year and put them up for birthdays and that they're cheap to make (that's a must!)  I may not have the time to do these next year when I'm chasing after a 2 year old with a 7mo old in my arms, so I figure I'll do the crafting now.

6.  Rainbow Pot Centerpieces

Again, easy and inexpensive, but so pretty down a colorful table runner!

7.  Inexpensive Paper Decorations

Though this would require someone with a sewing machine (uh... Mum?) to stich the papers together.  Then they spin and hang straight with a simple fishing weight on the bottom.  Pretty, huh?  (I'm sure Shaun's going to love me turning the house into looking like a preschool classroom on orientation night... well, whadya expect?  He married a preschool teacher)

Ava may not remember this day when she's older, but she loves colors and I want to make it look vibrant and beautiful on her special day.  We'll see what I have time to do, but these are just a few ideas.

8.  (because I sort of gipped you on #1... no comment on how I totally long winded you with my rant on #3)

And I can't wait to take a picture with her that looks something like THIS:

We'll see how she does with that!