Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spoiler Alert

Well, folks, it's been awhile...a long while.  I think the biggest reason I haven't blogged in the past nine months or so is because my laptop crashed, and I do everything on my iPad now. 

And no one has time to blog on an iPad. 

Right now, I am sneaking onto my hubby's laptop, but since he works from home, these opportunities are few and far between. 

Anyway, I just wanted to quickly share with you our most exciting news since my last post...

On April 4th, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family!  I had just found out I was pregnant around the time I stopped blogging.  I never meant to go this long without updating you all, but life happens.  We have had a very eventful nine months, and I hope to update you on the highlights of that time soon.

In the meantime, please welcome Estella Maris!!  Stay tuned for her birth story--hopefully in the next week or so.   
Our three littles after Estella's Baptism on April 13th. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Me and Running

Believe it or not, I used to run.  A lot, actually.  I started running my senior year of high school when I quit volleyball and soccer so I could run cross country and track for my school's team.  To be honest, I wasn't that good, but my natural niche for running--along with my competitive nature--made me good enough to do decent at that level.

The next year I walked onto my college track team at the University of Wyoming, a Division I school.  My race was the 800m (half mile), and I competed in several meets that year.  I mainly saw running as a good way to stay in shape and unfortunately wasn't really motivated to improve as a runner. 

Running at that level is a pretty painful endeavor--it is very mental and requires a lot of discipline.  I felt more pressure than I bargained for because from my perspective I was just doing it for "fun," but my coach expected more than that {and rightly so}.  Even though it was a great experience, I felt a sense of relief when I transferred universities in the middle of my sophomore year and quit running competitively entirely for the most part.
I didn't run consistently again until four years later when I decided to run a half marathon.  After twelve weeks of training, I ran the race with a friend, felt really good while I was running, and finished in one hour and fifty-one minutes.  And then I mostly stopped running again.

Why this trend?  Well, because running isn't fun.  Mostly, not even a little fun.  I mean I have had fun running, and I have had great runs, and I do always start to feel a little better about running five minutes into my run...but it's just so painful {which is mostly my fault--you see, I have a hard time just going out for a leisurely jog.  I have to run hard and fast or else it's just not worth it to me.  My goal is always to get it over with as quickly as possible...and the faster I run, the faster it's over}.   

So basically, this is my relationship with running:  I do it because I can and because it's good for me and because I like to train and set goals--but I don't do it because I love it because I don't love it...but I wish I did.  I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.  I guess it's a love/hate thing, heavy on the hate.    

Thankfully, as a Mom to small children, I feel like my "exercise" is built into my life--lifting weights babies all day, vacuuming {over crumbs}, unloading groceries {with one hand}, carrying two babies up flights of stairs {and bleachers at soccer games}.  And, of course, taking walks {whilst pushing a double stroller}.  These are all great forms of exercise in my book.    
Another reason I don't run {much} anymore is because for the past 4+ years, I have been pregnant, nursing, or both.  I am one of those people who gives up all strenuous exercise during pregnancy {though I am a firm believer in being in good shape for pregnancy and do take a lot of walks}. 

And, after Augustine was born, I never started exercising again because I didn't want to delay the return of my cycle. 

Which is fairly irrational.    

BUT, when your baby is 14 months old, still nurses through the night, you don't have your cycle back, and you are afraid youwillnevergetitbackandneverhaveababyagain you pull out all the stops...so, no strenuous exercise for me.

After Gemma was born, however, I consciously decided not to be irrational :).  Cycle or no cycle, I was going to pick a race and train for it.  When Gemma was 16 months old, it was still a "no cycle," but I decided it was time to run.

Now I have run a couple road races in the past few years without training for them. 

It's painful. 

That pesky competitiveness doesn't let me show up and walk/run--oh no, I run way faster than my body is expecting or ready for and then feel like I am going to die, literally going.to.die afterward.  See, running is fun...

So, this time I trained for 5 weeks and then ran in a 5K.  It was still a challenge and I pushed myself to meet my goal, but my recovery was so much better!  I actually placed first in my age group, which felt great...but is mostly comical and doesn't say much about my running.  It was a pretty small race, after all, and at 30 years old, I got the advantage in the 30-39 age group.  Still, it gave me hope that I still had a little something left, if I ever decided to become a runner again.

So, anyone who is thinking about becoming a runner, do it!  It might not be fun {or maybe it will for you}, but you CAN do it.  Just one foot in front of the other over and over and over...and it really does feel great when you finish!  Really!       

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


*This was from Labor Day 2011 when I was pregnant with Gemma. Somehow it got lost in the draft box {...with 48 of its friends...I'm so bad at blogging}.

Last Monday {Labor Day}, Luke and I thought it would be fun to rent a boat and spend some time on the lake in our neighborhood.  As we were approaching the rental stand--beach clothes on, picnic and towels in hand--Luke said, "If there's enough wind, we will get a sailboat; otherwise, we'll just get a paddle boat."  Because what fun would sailing be without any wind, right?  Right??

After speaking with the boy renting out the boats, Luke decided to go with the sailboat, which I was excited about.  I have enjoyed sailing the few times we have gone before, and with Augustine on deck, a paddle boat seemed like a lot of work.

So, off we went.  Augustine and I munched on our lunch, while Luke attempted to eat his sandwich--as he steered with one hand and magically balanced our boat across the water with the other by pulling and releasing a rope.  For those who haven't been sailing {with an amateur}, it requires a fair amount of concentration and focus.  I had to spoon fed Luke his pasta salad and take over the steering ever-so-briefly while he popped open his bottle of hard cider, but before we knew it a half an hour had passed and we were uneventfully on the other side of the lake.

That's where the trouble started.

In an effort to go perpendicular from where we had come, Luke maneuvered the rope and steering rod over and over again...but each time we could only get so far before having to catch the wind going the other way, resulting in our little boat doing circles for about 30 minutes.  At that point, Luke gave up on venturing into that part of the lake and we started heading back to shore. 

Up to this point, none of us felt like our lives or livelihood or good humor had been threatened.

Now is probably a good time to mention that Augustine started the boat ride wearing a t-shirt, diaper, and swimsuit, but after a few false "potty" alarms, in which I took off everything below his waist and held him over the side of our moving sailboat to do his business, we decided to leave him naked for awhile.  BUT awhile after that, we couldn't believe that he still hadn't peed, so we put his diaper back on just to be safe. 

Sure enough, only minutes later, I reach down to feel his diaper, and the warm sensation tells me that he has just peed {we are in the midst of potty training}.  "O'well," I think, "we are on a boat, so it's not like he could have gone on the potty anyway." 

So, here we are, on the opposite end of the lake from where we started, trying to get back to the dock.  I figured 30 minutes out, almost 30 minutes going in circles, and now 30 minutes back.  Ain't no thing. 

But it didn't turn out that way.  In fact it took us two hours, nearly capsizing on several occasions, Luke peeing in his empty cider bottle while sailing through rough waters, me nursing Augustine through the worst of the waves, a light rain, and some threats on my part to get back. 

Let's just say there was definitely enough wind!  

And what ever happened to Augustine and his diaper?  Well, like I said earlier, I knew he peed in his diaper, but then he was squatting down in the boat to play in the water that spilled over the edge of the boat when we nearly tipped {more than once}, making his diaper soggy and inflated.  At some point Luke noticed and said, "Augustine's diaper looks really wet!"  "Yeah, he sat in some water and made it balloon," I said, while flippantly reaching over with one hand to take it off for his comfort.  And, let me just tell you, there was a lot more than pee and pond water in that diaper...and now it was all over my arm!  By the time we got back, we all needed a shower...and I needed therapy.

*Day 3 of the 7 day blogging challenge down.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: A Trip and Family Culture

Ok...bear with me.  I know it's not Friday anymore.  It's Monday.  But, I was hoping to get some more pictures for this post before I published it since I took, you know, one over the course of four days.  But since no one can get those pictures to me for awhile, I am just going to post this anyway.  Take that Day 2 of the 7 day blogging challenge.  I got this--totally got this :)  

1)  I took the kids to Massachusetts to visit my husband's family last weekend because he was on a long road trip for soccer--go ahead, tell me I am the daughter-in-law of the year.  A self-proclaimed martyr right here.  I kid, I kid {sorta}.  

2)  While we were spending our days cooling off in the pool, walking the mall, playing in the sand, visiting the aquarium, and eating ice cream like it was our job, my hubby was adjusting to a three hour time zone change, traveling from VA to Phoenix to LA to Vancouver, playing three soccer games in five days, and being generally exhausted.  On the bright side, being away from Gemma home meant he was sleeping through the night, which is always more than I can say.

3)  In all seriousness, spending time with my in-laws can be quite stressful for me, but I had this amazing Confession the day before we left for our trip {Thank God for that}, and I think it really helped.  I went into the weekend encouraged to have a positive attitude and inspired to be charitable, patient, meek, and merciful.  I wouldn't say I knocked the ball out of the park in practicing those virtues, but just having them on my mind and praying for them did seem to make a difference.  Baby steps.

4)  Augustine's favorite part of the trip was visiting the New England Aquarium.  Both he and Gemma love all things fish.  His eyes were glued to the tanks as he excitedly identified several of the fish he has seen in books--and, of course, in Finding Nemo {pretty cute when he shouts, "it's Nemo!!" but even better when he shouts, "it's a powder-blue surgeonfish!!"  Thank you very much, Animal Encyclopedia}.       

5)  My favorite part of the trip {in close contention with eating ice cream from Dairy Twist every night...} was watching the kiddos interact with their aunts/uncles/grandparents.  In the past, they have both been shy and clingy during our visits, but this time {thanks to Skype?}, they both seemed pretty comfortable just doing their thing and enjoying the family. 

6)  Perhaps on this trip more than any other, I realized how differently my husband and I were raised.  I am not here to say which way is better, as I am sure there are pros and cons to both of our upbringings, but as a psychology major, it is really quite intriguing.  {Obviously, parental/family influences are huge, not to mention the impact of culture/geography--growing up in the midwest vs the east coast}.

7)  Some of the differences seem really minute, like the fact that my husband's family never locks their doors, or even shuts them for that matter.  And then you have my family where everything was always locked {totally developed some OCD up in here}.  And there then are some weightier issues that would be boring to talk about here but that I definitely have opinions on.  I want to sit down with Luke and decide how we want those issues {and even the minute ones} to look in our family.  I want to write out a "family culture."  A mission, of sorts, to outline what is good and acceptable and expected and normal for us.  A little family identity, if you will.  I think that's important.

This is day two for me of the seven day blogging challenge hosted by Jen.  I wanted to join the party sooner...but, alas, my computer was broken.  It has been great reading blogs all week via my iPad, but typing on my iPad?  No time for that!     


Sunday, July 28, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Mint

Happy Sunday, Ladies!! 

This morning our family enjoyed blueberry pancakes before Mass.  As we had run out of the "just add water," variety, I whipped up some of these {+blueberries}, and they were amazing!  Both my little ones gobbled them up--slathered in a think layer of peanut butter, of course, because that's how we do it around here.  As an added bonus, the recipe uses half whole wheat flour, as well as apple sauce instead of oil--a keeper for sure.

We decided last minute to attend the 8:30am Mass instead of the 11am Mass, so I only had 20 minutes to get the kids and myself ready!  Since I didn't have a lot of time, I grabbed the dress I just bought to wear to my brother-in-law's rehearsal dinner {...in less than two weeks!  So excited for Christian & Jacquie!}.  I tried it on at Marshell's, whilst corralling my two youngsters into the dressing room stall over.andover.andover.  At one point, I did have to run out of the dressing room with my shirt half off to grab an escapee.  Fun. 

Amid the chaos, I was able to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I fell in love with this dress.  I really like the color, and it makes me feel feminine.

 Dress: Pinky{?} via Marshell's
Chunky Heels: Merona via Target
Earrings: handmade from New Mexico--Christmas gift from my aunt
Bracelet:Stella & Dot--raffle prize at MOPs
Ring: Francesca's
Little Miss is wearing a dress from Children's Place.
In his homily, our priest cited an article he read about the plight of America {sorry, I don't remember the source--I was listening, whispering a book to my baby, and trying not to be drawn on by my toddler all at the same time ;)}.  Basically, the author of the article suggested that we are a nation of hedonism, relativism, and materialism {and one more equally uplifting -ism that I can't remember right now}.  As depressing as it was, I know there is truth to it. 

He also mentioned that Princeton professor, Peter Singer {the same winner who supports infanticide}, believes that anyone who prefers the human species to any other species is guilty of "speciesism," in the same vein as racism {gag me}. 

On the bright side, he also talked about Pope Francis' beautiful new Encyclical, "Lumen Fidei" ("The Light of Faith").  You can read an overview of the encyclical here.      

Hope you all have a great Sunday!  Visit Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS!

My computer has been broken for the past month or so...making it impossible for me to blog.  However, I have been reading blogs galore, via my iPad and have really been wanting to participate in Jen's 7 days of blogging challenge...so I am starting today!  Wish me luck!   

Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I Wore Sunday {4}

Hello Ladies! 
I am looking forward to seeing what you all wore to go see our Lord today!  I need some inspiration, as I am experiencing a bit of a drought in the fashion department.  When we moved to VA, we only brought what we could fit in our Toyota Camry, in between the space taken up by the four of us.  I left a lot of clothes and shoes [as well as access to my sister's closet] behind.  Also, our budget is super tight right now, so I am not doing much clothes shopping at all. 
Today I wore a repeat outfit [except with different shoes and earrings ;)], but here are some WIWS pics from March that I had in my draft box but never got around to publishing.     

Cutest little koala baby ever!

"I'm going to do spaghetti legs until you pick me upppppp!"

Our priest gave an inspiring homily today about what it means to be truly free.  Our culture's view of freedom is basically being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.  Whereas, a Christian view of freedom is being able to choose to do what one ought to do.  The opposite, of course, is being a slave to sin.  I feel like I am preaching to the choir, as many of you may have heard a similar talk at some point, but I came across this really good article that you should all read :). 
Here is a little excerpt:
Oftentimes we say, "Well, you know, because society says it’s okay, it’s okay." That is not true. All of us know what adultery does to families. All of us know that we are restrained from going up to another person and slugging that person in the mouth. There are consequences for those actions and society controls those actions, because it is a failure to love one’s neighbor. If we begin to tamper with human life and to say, "Well, this older person’s life is no longer valuable, therefore we’re free to kill her" or "This person’s suffering is so great, we’re free to kill him," where does it stop? How do we stop it? We’re the ones determining the value of the human person. Based on that kind of thinking, one can justify Nazi Germany, one can justify an act of terrorism, because humans are free to choose to do those actions. 
~Archbishop Samuel Aquila [written in 2004 when he was Bishop in Fargo]     
Deets on the clothes:
Sheer-ish top: Target, I believe
White tank underneath: Ambiance
Pants: Express
Shoes: NY & Co
Earrings: Old Navy
Bracelet: no idea...I've had it forever
Gemma is wearing a beautiful dress that was a gift from the Mom of one of my good friends.
She looks so fancy and pretty in it :) 
Have a great week!  Thanks to Fine Linen and Purple for hosting.

Friday, June 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes Sunday: Cute Videos + Random Rambling

1.  Gemma has a thing for her Daddy.  She lights up and gets really excited when she sees him.  It's precious.  Last weekend at his game, she went crazy when they introduced the players and Luke walked onto the field, so I decided to have a friend record her reaction this week...and she did not disappoint :).


2.  Luke's good friend and teammate, Henry, also plays for the Ugandan National Team.  He was in Africa a couple weeks ago playing for the team, and he came back with an awesome uniform for Augustine.  He wore it later that day when we went to go kick around the soccer ball.  It a good two sizes too big, but he still rocks it!  I love his finesse attitude after scoring--ain't no thing. 

3.  Our little Gemma is starting to sleep almost through the night {only getting up once to nurse}.  It is so great.  Luke and I should be going to bed earlier and relishing in 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but we aren't.  Still, it's amazing.

4.  My family and friends {and anyone who has tried calling/texting me} knows I am horrible about answering calls/responding to texts/having my phone with me/having my phone charged.  I can seriously go weeks with my phone on silent mode.  If I'm lucky, I will see it light up and answer it or I will see a missed call and return it.  I often read text messages, answer them in my head, and forget to answer them for real.  It's really bad.  Most often my family reaches me by trying my phone first...and then calling Luke's phone {which he always answers}.  I have been trying to get better about this for awhile but for some reason just haven't made much progress.  Anyone else have this problem and/or suggestions to help me keep my phone with me more often?  It doesn't help that Luke works from home because I can usually talk to him in person, but he is going to be traveling a lot in the next couple months, and I know it would mean a lot to him if I did better with this. 

5.  Several of the ladies from FOCUS are joining me for a Saint Peg Doll Exchange, and I am super excited!  I always want neat, Catholic toys for my kiddos, but they are often hard to find and pricey...so a group of us are channeling our artistic sides and making our own {just like these that my friend, Mary, made}.  We have each chosen one Saint to paint in exchange for the dolls everyone else paints.  I am still deciding between St. Sebastian {patron of athletes}, St. Augustine {patron of theologians--and beer--and our little man's namesake}, and St. Patrick {patron of Ireland--which holds sentiment for me and the Pro-Life mission I did in Ireland--and my Mom's namesake/Augustine's middle name}.  There are just too many awesome Saints to choose from!  {Saint Gemma would also be in the running, but I think I am intimidated about painting girls--guys seem easier?}.

6.  Luke and I are way behind the times when it comes to popular tv shows {except when it comes to the Bachelor/Bachelorette, in which case we are only a day behind everyone because we have to wait until Tuesday night to watch it online...but we do watch it every.Tuesday.night online because it is just my favorite show...which is a whole other shameful post in itself.  Tangent over}.  Anyway, until a couple months ago neither of us had seen a single episode of Lost.  But now that we are into Season 3, I'm like all excited and nervous and wanting to talk to someone about it...and no one has any idea what I am talking about because they finished watching it in 2010 like the rest of America.  Any other show recommendations out there?  Keep in mind that we don't have a tv, but we have Netflix and I am super easily scandalized {for real}, which is why is took me years to feel comfortable talking about how much I love the Bachelor.    

7.  These are really my quick takes from last week, but by the time I got them finished it was Sunday...so, I just saved them :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Go see Jen for more Quick Takes.