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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

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Twins ticker

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Friday, May 24, 2013

What's most important...

I admit it.  I'm totally totally out of the loop.  I'm out of the everything loop.  It's after 2:30 and I should be crawling into bed thanking the Lord for a somewhat "early" night.  My little Clara is a total night owl.  It's not unusual for me to be crawling into bed at 5am (fin-a-lly) and Ava waking up at 7am to start her day.  Still... I can't complain too much because heck, she just gets cuter every day ...I know I'm biased, but she's just SO so so cute and I honestly don't really mind staying up with her at night... much. 

Sure.  I get nothing done and I'm a zombie in the morning as I lift Miss Ava out of her crib.  BUT I get the sweetest "mommy!?!" from her every morning and best hug in the world.  I say our morning offering with her while my sleepy eyes try to see straight and my tired fingers fumble to change her diaper.  Meanwhile Clara snoozes away in my spot in my bed (lucky) ...she does start out in the bassinet, but ends up with me to nurse some time in the mid-morning... Ava blows her a kiss as I carry her past my room and whispers, "Baby! Shhhhh!"  I slowly carry her downstairs, trying to seel the stairs through arms laden with blankets and bunnies and plop her on the couch where she waits for me to bring her morning bottle of milk and my coffee.  Then my zombie state that's too tired to function yet and a sleeping sister lends itself to some serious cuddle time with my big girl.  I can tell she loves it too.  She scoots over and slumps into my side sucking away on her milk and I on my coffee as we pull the blankets up and we watch Baby Einstein till I'm lucid.  It wouldn't be this way if I weren't such a "non-morning person".  I'd be trying to do something "productive" and if Clara wasn't sleeping I'd have two babies to juggle while still not being a morning person, but this way seems to be working out.  Ava and I get some serious special time in the morning and Clara and I get our special one on one time when Ava ...and Daddy ...and the rest of the world ...go to bed.

Don't get me wrong!  I like sleep as much as the next person... actually, I truly believe I love sleep more than the average person, but I have to make the best of it.  And you know what?  I know... I just KNOW... it's not going to last.  Soon enough it's going to turn around and she won't be so little anymore and she'll be sleeping through the night.  I honestly think when I wake her up some days that she's really bigger than when I put her down to nap.  I've even weighed her to check.  (She's over 15.5lbs at only 3months old) They're both growing so fast.  Ava turned 20 months a couple of days ago and is starting to talk up a storm.  She's such a big helper and is becoming such a "big girl".  I thank God that I get to spend my days with them.  I know it's not always possible for everyone, but boy do I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. 

The girls and I at the zoo on mother's day.  We were looking at the seals.
Sure.  I get frustrated that I truly do not recognize my body anymore and it looks like a bomb went off in the house and when I fold laundry I have to do it with a 3mo old in my lap most times and a 19 20mo old "re-folding" everything in her very *special* way... (picture someone pulling everything out of the laundry bin as soon as you put every item neatly into it... you all know how it is).  I try to file papers ...and turn around to see that same toddler has flung all of the file folders out of the filing box and is now sitting in the box pretending it's a boat or a car of some sort.  *sigh... DeeeP breath!* But that's ok!  I hate filing anyway! ...and how soon will it be before she's outgrown that box?

All the time I think of how much I love getting to spend my days with them.  Sure, I feel like I accomplish nothing, but really, as long as I get to be with them and love them and they know how loved they are and our home is a happy one... aren't we accomplishing something?

I only wish I got to spend more time with Shaun and he didn't have to work SO so hard all the time.  You want to know one of my greatest fears?  Honestly?  The one that I think of as I crawl into bed and watch him sleeping after he's literally spent every ounce of energy he has during the day to provide for all of us and I see the toll his backbreaking work takes on him physically?  My greatest fear is that after waiting all this time for him... it will go by too fast.  Or something will happen to one of us.  It's that terrible fear that comes when you love someone so deeply and have waited so long to find them and just feel so vulnerable in that state.  I am so afraid of it going by too fast.  Sometimes it just makes me sick to my stomach when I think about it.  I look at my babies and think the same thing. 

Yet... so many never experience what we have.  Not even for a very little while.  So the sleepless nights and messy house and errands that take 10 times longer?  God help me if I complain about them, because they are my gift.  They are my reason to be joyful.  They are my constant reminders of what a gift I have been given with this life of mine.  And I would take them a million times over before I would take a clean, empty house and a full night's sleep with no Shaun by my side and no Clara at my breast and no Ava sleeping just beyond the wall at my head.

Tonight I found this video.  Perhaps you've seen it.  I just cried and cried and thought of all that I had in the world to be thankful for and God... my God it's a lot. 

This is his story...
Zack's Final Goodbye... click here.

...and now I've lost another hour and a half that I won't remember when looking back, but I've gained a heck of a lot of gratitude and I have so much to be thankful for that it just hurts in my chest to think about it.  I'm going to check in on my girls and watch little Clara sound asleep and move Ava back to the head of her crib and smooth the curls away from her face and she'll probably blow me a kiss in her sleep like she often does and after that I'll crawl into bed and kiss my husband's face and hold him for a minute before he tells me he loves me, gives me a kiss and pulls his tired body out of bed to get ready to go to work and make this beautiful life possible for us.  God am I thankful.

That winning smile!
It's the kiss at the end

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday for us...

My Shaun's been sick for weeks (though still working) so this weekend was a time to rest for us.  I took his Holy Hour this morning after a bit of arguing over it ...him saying I couldn't because I needed my sleep and I saying he couldn't because he needed his rest before returning to work.  I eventually won the tug of war over time with Jesus today (after all, he has another Holy hour on Monday mornings at 4am before he goes to work). 

It was so awesome to spend some time with Our Lord after not being able to for a while now with the babies.  Shaun & I always went to holy hour at 4am every Sunday morning while we were dating.  It's where he proposed to me.  Ava attended in utero and even as an infant for a while... but now it's just not possible, nor do I think Jesus wants me to wake up two babies to bring them to Holy Hour at 4am. 

I've missed it.

I was in bed by 2am and wondered if I should just stay up, but didn't.  I slept for an hour and quietly readied myself this morning and stole away in the dark to meet up with another lover... my Lord. 

I am by NO means a morning person, but I do love going to Adoration when the world is asleep and our city is quiet and sneaking in to find Jesus waiting... for me. 

I knelt down and the first thought that came to mind was, "*sigh* I've missed you"  I've spent many a holy hour unconscious and expected this morning to be yet another time.  I never come with my pillow or anything and don't try to fall asleep, but often do and have always been consoled with the fact that St. Therese, Doctor of the Church and super saint... was known to joke that she also slept 7 of her 9 years away in the convent.  She gives me hope.

Strangely, I was awake, though and was so happy to be able to sing to Jesus in the still of the night and talk to him about my concerns and needs and little happenings in my daily life and pray for those I'd read about on facebook or who I'd been carrying on my heart.  I always heard that the best time to pray for people is when they're sleeping because they're more docile to God's grace at that time and aren't fighting it.  I hope that's true.

I don't fancy myself a good "pray-er"  I find myself an awful penitent and I have ADD that kicks in big time when I try to meditate or pray a rosary or all around "focus" my thoughts... so whatever comes to mind I end up offering up and figure maybe my distractions are meant to remind me of people/things to pray for.  So I do.  And I say "I love you Jesus" ...a lot. 

I think about my relationship with Shaun and how when we're tired, we often don't talk a lot but just "hang out" or spend quiet "time" with each other.  It's not about what we say... it's just being there with the other.  ...and we can never say "I love you" too much.  It never gets old and I never get sick of hearing it.  I think it's the same way with Jesus and I.

So my day began that way... what a great way to spend a morning.

I crawled back into bed around 5:30 and quickly fell back off to sleep, at peace that I'd poured out my heart to Jesus and he would take care of everything in it's time.  Ava was up around 7:30 and Clara must've been awake sooner because I was nursing her when Daddy brought Ava into bed to cuddle.  I love our Sunday mornings.  Laying in bed with arms full of babies (even when I'm half asleep) and Daddy's home. 

Daddy eventually brought the girls downstairs so I could catch an extra 30-45min of shut eye before starting to get ready for Mass.  Unfortunately this was not without protests from Ava who eventually calmed down to a morning movie and breakfast.

Still don't think we're perfect.  My lack of sleep caused quite a bit of grumbling from me as we were getting ready for Mass and I fought the urge to shake it off when my husband responded jovially to all my nagging.  AGHhhhh!  He's TOO funny and sweet... he's not taking me seriously!!! 

Which he wasn't ...thank God.

This as usual quickly passed and we found ourselves walking in with the priest (try as we might we're almost never early... or on time) to our parish's 1st Communion Mass.  We don't have a ton of children in our small parish, but those that are were dressed so beautifully with veils and flowers in their hair and white ribbons on their suit sleeves... their sweetness was heart warming.

Ava was actually very good today and there was no need to take a trip to the back of the church except to quickly nurse Clara who we had rushed out of the house while sleepy.  Afterwards there were photos and Ava visiting her "Ji-ji" and "Mi-mi" with kisses and excited steps and songs. 

...but not before the moment when I found my husband staring at me in the middle of Mass and he said (perhaps louder than he intended to and enough for others to hear), "You are really beautiful.  You are.  I love you so much." ...and I started crying.  How blessed am I?

The rest of our day was filled with the quiet "restfulness" that Sundays are made of, but which go by much too fast.
 Movie time with Pa-pa!
 Big shoes to fill
 My "big girl"
 Story time with Daddy (he's the BEST at reading stories)
 A "Happy Baby" as Ava likes to call her...
 ...sporting some "Rose" themed duds from the Martins (thank you!)

It may sound sappy, but I love my faith.  I love my life.  I love my husband...
and lucky for me ...he loves his wife.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Few Catch ups...

It seems like it's been forever since I blogged and well... it's been nearly a month!  I have wanted so often to sit down and write and I've certainly had a lot to write about or at least a lot of thoughts that I wanted to sit down and get out... but haven't had the opportunity.  It's 2am and this is Clara's usual bedtime if I'm lucky.  I'm not complaining because I love my time with her, but when it hits this time of the night/morning and she finally stays asleep I still have lunches to make and dishes to do and a few other things and a pillow to hug to catch a little rest before Ava wakes up at her regular time, so all those thoughts have to stay in my head until these babies get on a regular sleep schedule.

I can't complain about Ava because she's usually in by around 7:30p and sleeps till at least 7:30/8:30am... yeah, I know... and she still takes two good naps a day!  Don't hate me though, because remember I'm writing this at 2am because Clara crams in all her socializing after her sister goes to sleep!  She's not crying, just wide awake and talk-a-tive... and clingy.  If I'm not holding her, she's pretty unhappy and will wake up Ava.  Who have I to blame, though?  She's just like her mother.  A chatterbox... a night owl... and she gets the munchies when she should be sleeping...! 

Then they've both been sick which just makes them clingier... you moms all know the drill on this one, I'm sure.  Ava with Fever and throwing up and Clara with a cough/sneezing/congestion cold... and after Ava got over the fever/throwing up thing, she got the same thing Clara has, which makes them both GLUED to mommy.  Typical nights have been 2am-Clara finally asleep. 3am-Ava crying "mama? mama? mama!!!" 5am-Ava finally back to sleep.  6am-Clara awake to nurse.  7am-Ava awake.... for the day.  My mom tries to come and help often so I can try to get some sleep where I can, but she got what they had and luckily... I didn't.  I think Jesus knows that would have sent me over the edge.

I was chatting with Colleen the other day and telling her all about it in a jovial tone and she said, "Do you laugh like that in the middle of the night, though?  ...or do you get upset?"  I thought and said something along the lines of, "No.  I don't get upset.  I'm tired, sure... sometimes nauseous tired, but I honestly sit there rocking them (sometimes both of them) and all I have to do is think about the parents of the Sandy Hook kids or the 8 year old boy who died at the Boston Marathon bombing and I imagine how much those parents wish they could be up all night again with their babies crying mama-mama-mama and holding them in their arms and ...I just hold them tighter... and I don't get upset"  The recent events in our country have certainly put my parenting in perspective.

I never wrote about the Boston Bombing... I couldn't find a moment to sit down and type it out, but I thought about what I would have written many times.  You know, I was supposed to be there that day.  My cousin, Laura was running in the marathon (if you remember I posted on her a while ago) and all the while I was planning on going to support her and be waiting at the finish line.  Then Shaun was told they needed him to work and I knew I'd be crazy to try to battle Boston traffic or take the T with a 18mo old and a 2mo old by myself and manage nap times and nursing, etc... then to clinch it, Clara was up all night and when I finally crawled into bed around 4 or 5am I sighed and said to Shaun, "honey, I can't go tomorrow".  Instead I was following her progress throughout the day checking in to Facebook and praying all day with my mom for Laura to be given strength to run and finish the race.  She was on my heart all day long.  Then her brother posted that she'd finished and posted her time.  I happened to be checking the computer and replied a congratulatory message.  A few minutes later someone posted about how "they couldn't believe what was happening in Boston".  I hadn't turned on the t.v. so had no idea what they were talking about.  I began to hear what was happening and later on as I was rocking Ava to sleep and the tears were slipping from my eyes, I thought about my sleepless night that kept me from going that day.  My cousin had just finished the race about 3min before the bombs went off at the finish line.  Who knows?  I could have been there with the girls watching... we could have lingered to chat and congratulate her... who knows.  I just knew as I looked down at Ava sleeping in my arms that a sleepless night was nothing to complain about and I had a heck of a lot to be thankful for.

That's how I've tried to embrace these moments, knowing they will go by too fast and I only have so many nights to nurse or rock or sing these girls to sleep.  They're both growing so fast!

I took them to the doctor earlier in the week and they are both off the charts... literally.  There's not a space for them on the charts.  Both are doing great.  Advanced and healthy (other than the colds) and just awesome.

Yesterday Miss Clara rolled over for the first time!!!  She's not even 3 months old!  She rolled over 4x so It's no fluke.

*disclaimer... forgive the annoying "mommy-voice" and know you don't have to watch the full length of all the videos.  The last 2 are from today

She's been practicing...

And Ava's been patient...

And she's practiced some more...

...and finally Ava was DONE being patient...

...she thought she'd give her a little "help".  She's too funny!

Ava's getting to be such a big girl and as she's a typical toddler, she's into Everything. 

Example: Yesterday as soon as I hung up the phone I turned to watch Ava try to "help" hand me my very full jumbo coffee cup (which it took me till 3pm to actually MAKE) and spill it Aaaaalllll over the table, floor, carpet and everything littering the table (papers, electronic devices, etc..).  I tried to detach Clara (who was nursing) from my body and maneuver my way through the piles of toddler toys and manage the caffeine river in such a way as to contain the damage as much as possible.  Ava's favorite stuffed animals (necessary for napping) were soaked and I made my way downstairs to the basement with the piles of coffee soaked items to throw them in the wash before they all stained.  I usually leave the basement door open because Ava never dares to venture downstairs.... until to-day.  (goes to show you.  Never say never.)  As I was throwing the last items into the wash I heard a *SNAP* and a distressed "Mama!? Mama!? MOMMMMY!"  from the stairway!  I ran around the corner to see Ava standing a few steps down with a mousetrap hanging off of the toe of her footie jammies (thank GOD for footie jammies that it got the extra cloth and not a toe).  That stupid trap has been there for probably a YEAR and never caught a bloody mouse, but manages to catch my toddler upon her first attempt to join mommy doing the laundry.  "Ava!  Are you hurt?  Are you ok?  You're ok.  You can't come down here! It's dangerous!" The words rushed out as I pulled the trap off, made sure she was ok and stuck her back upstairs, shutting the door so I could run down and close the washing machine.

In  that short amount of time I came right back upstairs and looked around our 1st floor (which took all of 5 seconds) calling "Ava?"  and realized she wasn't there.  I ran upstairs calling "Ava?" thinking how could she have gotten through the toddler gates and climbed the stairs SO fast?  I heard rustling in the back bedroom and a little voice firmly proclaiming "No! No! NO!" while she littered the room with piles of confetti paper that she somehow managed to find.  I scooped her up smiling at her prowess and resolved to "clean it up later" and brought her back downstairs to finish nursing her sister and pour another cup of much needed coffee.

The end of the day closed out with me watching QVC in a zombie like state and fighting the urge to buy the monster mini-vac they were so effectively advertising.  This led my thoughts to our own vacuum cleaner and an attachment that needed a minor fix.  I remembered that I had found superglue while going through a drawer recently which would take care of the much needed "fix" quickly and easily.  Lets just say that the project finished with me supergluing my fingers firmly to the vacuum and spending the remainder of any free moments I had before starting the "night shift" looking up how to get superglue off fingers on the internet.

My days usually look something like this...

...and this...

but they also look like this...

...and sound like this...

...and this...

...and this...

And I love it... really... they are beautiful.  Do I get frustrated?  Sure.  I get frustrated after cleaning the floor for the fourth time and that I can't seem to keep the house clean, or the laundry put away or the dining room table clear or the desk organized or the kitchen spotless ...and she probably watches too much television while I'm mustering my way through my "fatigue" headache and that exhaustion nausea, but I console myself that it's Baby Einstein and she's learning colors and shapes.  Thankfully the doctor said they're both advanced, so even though I go through some major guilt tripping of myself at times that I won't be winning any mother of the year awards for the messy house and jammies all day on these girls ...I try not to be too hard on myself...and I love it.  I really really do.

In the midst of it all, I know I couldn't have the days I do if it weren't for my husband.  Shaun's been working and working and working SO hard to provide for our family.  He honestly is like my good St. Joseph and I love this man SO so much (unfortunately at this stop in our marriage he's usually heading to bed as I start my "night shift" and I'm heading to bed right before he's getting up for work).  He still makes time to be the best Daddy (both to our girls and to Cheyanne who lives an hour away) and tries whenever he can to make it home in time to play with her or read to her or sing to her and put Ava to sleep for the night and chats with her on the phone throughout the day at work.  He might be the foreman, but he's not ashamed to do baby talk in front of the guys or tell me he loves me when everyone's listening. 


...and even finds time to bring me home these tonight...

So even though I haven't written and have sincerely missed reading about all your lives and adventures and how you all are doing... life is full of little sacrifices and all good things here in the Fullen household.  ...uh, and though I'm not complaining, some prayers for a little more sleep would SOooo not be objected to!  Thanks ;)

..and suddenly it's 4am and Ava's calling "Mama" time to go! xo