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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, September 24, 2012

Having it all...

Though I know I need to write about how wonderful Ava's 1st birthday party was and what color frosting was inside her cake and so many other things (and I will)... today I feel compelled to write about something different, but ...connected.

I stumbled upon THIS POST tonight and the tears fell as I read it.  Read it.

I have thought so often as I got married a little "older" and my husband is already a little "older" about how my biggest fear right now is that the years would fly by too fast after finally being given such a gift. 

I pray so often begging Jesus not to take any of it from me "too soon" and to let me cherish every moment with my family.

As I read this I thought about how many other's beautiful children I have been given to watch over these past years and how I have felt utterly priveledged to be entrusted with such gifts.

I know so many of these parents don't have the choice to spend their days with their children and honestly wish they could, but can't for one reason or another... but some do have a choice and I've always felt terribly saddened that they perhaps didn't realize that in their search to "have it all" they were missing out on the biggest part.  The most precious part.  So while I had them in my care for a little while, I tried to carry out my "job" (if it could even be called that) with joy (and this was easy) and know that I only had a short time with them (that was hard).  I wanted them not only to "learn" and "be challenged" but to KNOW , really know, that they were loved and beautiful and handsome and important and special.  It didn't really matter to me if they learned all that I had to teach them in the ways of academics.  I hoped that no matter what happened in their lives and no matter how they were treated or who they came across or what their experience was, if they could look back and say, "ONCE in my life, once I really knew I was loved... I was loved and special and important" my job had been done.  Hopefully they will have many people to feel that way about, especially their parents, but I felt the only one I had control over was me.

In the beginning of my "career" as I tried to juggle all the hidden responsibilities that came with my job and the endless hours that went in behind the scenes and the struggle to try to please everyone and still find time to spend with the children,

I made a decision early on to "put people before papers" and realized that even if I didn't make everyone else happy, Jesus knew who was my first priority and even if everyone else was upset, HE was pleased with me... and that's all that mattered.  Well, not ALL that mattered.  The smiles on the children's faces mattered, and their stories mattered, and their paintings and pictures mattered, and thier questions mattered, and their tears mattered and their need for one more hug or kiss mattered... THEY mattered.  And in return they got me to slow down and notice so much that I would have missed over those seasons... and as I was teaching them, they were teaching ME.

I think over the years, I was being "trained" by them. I realized after "giving them up" at the end of each day and the end of each year and watching them spread their wings and fly away over and over and over again hundreds of times, set me up to be a parent in a different way than perhaps others enter into it without that experience. 

I already KNEW how fast it went.  And that was impressed upon my heart even before my 1st child was born.... and it's still there.  I think that's why when she cries and I'm so tired and I've gotten up four or five times in the last hour to rock her again because she's teething or her belly hurts or she's sick or she just needs to know I'm there... I don't mind doing it.  I don't feel irritated.  I don't mind stopping whatever I'm doing and watching her fall back to sleep, secure and knowing all her needs are taken care of... and she's safe... and she's mine (for now).  But I KNOW that she's really not mine... she's HIS and it's my job to get her back to Him... that's my job now.  And I can only rock her for a little while...

But He loves me SO much that he's shared her with me for this brief time.

And the last year has been filled with the joy of this gift in so many ways.  I don't have to give her away at the end of the day and because of her father, I can stay home with her.  I am so grateful to have this time.  I cannot express to you how grateful, but sometimes when I'm rocking her ...I cry from gratitude.

I think of Mary and how she must have felt during those 30 years that Jesus was "just hers" so to speak... and how she knew every moment that he wasn't all hers.  He was meant for all of us and she was raising him up give him away.

And here in my 21st week of pregnancy (more than halfway there), I find myself "full" again... and pondering on the meaning of being a mother.  How we are meant to "empty" ourselves over and over again in this tremendously sacrificial way in order to be able to be "filled" again.  That's HOW we are filled... It's an amazing mystery... and each time we are emptied we give some of ourselves away... and yet, find something more of ourselves as well... and there is part of us that grows that will never end.  We have delivered life.

I feel so privledged to be a mother and to not want more than this right now.  I don't feel the need to be seeking to "have it all"... because I feel as though I already have it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apples to Apples to Apple Pie!

Sooo.... after going apple picking and picking way too many apples with Miss Ava recently, we ate as many as we could before I got it stuck in my head that I was going to become even more domestic and learn how to "can" recently.  I bought the jars, and the supplies and off I went, peeling away (while watching CSI Miami with the hubby)

Then after a process that I'm sure I made WAY more difficult (and messy) than it needed to be, I ended up with these beauties...

I've decide that this will become a September tradition.  Apple picking then canning of Apple pie filling for the "non-appley seasons". 

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Autumn weekend of Firsts

I'm SO behind on posting all the things that have been happening that are worthy of remembering.

Lets start with this weekend!  Ava and I went Apple Picking for the first time with a friend and  her son.

As I suspected, she was a "little" young to climb trees and pick apples, but she did love looking around at everything from the security of the Moby Wrap and tasting the picks which I was actually able to get with the use of both my hands (thank you Moby!). 

It was supposed to thunderstorm, but we braved the forecast and boy did we luck out because there was NO storm, just a beautiful Autumn Day full of memories. 

Down the street from the Orchard we picked at, was Acushnet's annual "Apple-Peach Festival" and we enjoyed walking around, visiting the crafters, smelling the eatables, and listening to the music. What a nice day!

I stopped at the local farmers market and passed about 20 yard sales on the way home. The sleepy baby in the backseat kept me from stopping (and spending).

When we got home, Ava helped me unload and taste the apples.

I feel blessed to live so close to the country where we can enjoy simple pleasures like this.

On Sunday, I was running a little behind after Ava slept late, but arrived just a "little" late to Mass.  Our Pastor loves Ava so much that without thinking, when he looked out into the congregation, he was so happy and surprised to see Ava that he just broke into a great big smile and waved to her from the front of the church.  I think then he realized where he was, but I couldn't help laughing inside at his impromptu gesture.  He loves her so much.  Everyone is so kind at our parish and welcomes her like family.  Ava sang SO loudly at Mass that the organist announced the final hymn and said "Seems somebody already IS singing, so why don't we all join her?"  Ha!  She definitely knows how to make an impression!  Here's a picture of her singing in the backyard when I was trying to take pictures for her birthday invitation.

Maybe this is what she was singing:
 "My Mom keeps sticking me in this BAaaaasket!..."
 "With all these Ballooooooons...'
 "And since I can't get ouooooouuuut...."
"I'll sing, I'm turning ONE SOOOOOOoooooonnnnn!"

Meanwhile, Shaun's been working A LOT!  He's been working nights and the past few weekend's as well.  He doesn't like to work Sunday's but can't always refuse when he's running the job.  So, somehow along the lines, we made a family rule that even if we need the money (um... like if we're renovating a home), if he has to work on a Sunday we just give that money away to a charity or someone who needs it... and then just trust that God's never outdone in generosity.  That way it doesn't seem so bad because he's not agreeing to work just for the "financial" benefit.

I honestly don't know how he does it!  He's amazing!  Lately he's been working nights, so he's gone by 5pm (or earlier) and home around 2 or 3am.  Even though he's technically working nights, he still leaves early many days of the week to drive over an hour away to both check on the job he's running during the day to make sure all will be ready when he comes back at night and then continues on to pick up materials he needs from Boston ...AND still try to visit with Cheyanne when she gets out of school if their schedules connect. 

When he can't, he misses her so much.  So, he could get home at 2 or 3 am, sleep for a little, get up and drive back up to Boston and I won't see him till the next morning (when I'm unconcious).  Then Friday comes and he works through the night, comes home to sleep for 3 hours, gets up and goes back to work all day Saturday and again on Sunday.

He still finds time to make it to Mass before or after work and go to his Holy Hour(s) at 4am.  And never complains...

We speak on the phone throughout the day and Ava talks to him then.  She's so used to hearing his voice on the phone that she grabs the phone regularly and I'll ask, "Who are you talking to?" and she'll say, "Da-ddy, Da-DA!" and pretend to talk to him "Da-da?  Da-DA!! DAddaadadadaaadaadaada..." .  If I try to take the phone from her, sometimes she bursts into big fat tears.

Here he is after coming home briefly (after getting up at 3am today to go to Adoration and then up to Boston to get ready for the job tonight) and returning just in time to get the baby up from her nap.  He just loves her so much.
 and vice-versa!

After working till exhaustion, he came home Sunday night with these for me.  I was loading the dishwasher with a baby around my ankles when he walked in, so tired ...and flowers in hand.  I thought, YOU are the one that deserves these!  How did I ever end up with such a wonderful, thoughtful man?  I am blessed.

Sunday night while we were relaxing on the couch, Ava took her first steps!  I was so surprised and honestly didn't even realize what was happening at first because she was SO steady.  Then after a few steps I said, "Oh my gosh, she's not holding on to anything!  Honey, she's walking by herself"  But by the time Shaun looked down, she'd already grabbed onto the couch.  We clapped and clapped and she clapped for herself and got this great big smile on her face.  She was SO proud!  I tried to get her to attempt it again, but no go.  So we didn't force her.  Great job baby girl!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First of September

I can't believe it's the first of September...already.  Though it's not "technically" over, as a teacher, September always marked the end of Summer for me in past years and entrance into early Fall.  I will be very sorry to see Summer go, but have to admit that Autumn is one of my favorites here in New England.  I can't wait until Ava is old enough to take her apple picking.  I think she's a little young right now and I'd mainly spend my time carrying both her and the apples, but when she's "ripe" in age we'll head out to one of the many orchards around here and go a pickin'.  What do YOU do to celebrate September?