Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Augustine has a new smile...

and it gives new meaning to, "say CHEESE!"
He is the cutest being I have ever seen!
When I pull out the camera, he squints up his eyes,

scrunches up his little face,

makes his teeth crooked,

...and smiles!

Lovin' it!

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View (8.24.10-8.30.10)

1) We spent the weekend in Charleston to watch Dad play in the USL II finals and to visit our dear friends. (More on the trip soon).

Top: Me & Jill with Mom and Courtney & Charlie (Mom used to nanny for Jill/Chris and Courtney/Brian's older children). Middle: Playing with James. Bottom: Dad getting his 2nd place trophy.

2) Since we were staying with friends and didn't bring my baby bathtub, I took a bath sitting in the big tub for the first time. I looked so grown up and will start taking all my baths this way soon.

3) Speaking of sitting in the tub, I am getting better at sitting up each day. I still need to work on the grace with which I transition from sitting to laying. And I don't know how to get from my tummy to a sitting position yet...but I am close!

4) I am still an army crawler, but Dad saw me get up on all fours for the first time on the 28th (Mom is still waiting for me to do it again for her).

5) The hugs that I give Mom melt her heart! I wrap both my arms around her neck, pull her in real close (sometimes even go in for an open-mouthed kiss)...and then nestle my precious face into her shoulder and BITE her. She loves it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ode to the Fruit Flies

...or maybe it's more like a eulogy, seeing as how they are finally all dead!

Regardless, I would like to recognize the little critters for the influence they have recently had on my hubby.

It started about a week ago.
There he was, a lone fruit fly, hoovering among the fruit on the counter.
Then, only hours later, he was joined by several of his annoying friends!
The next day it got even worse, and they were all over the kitchen: flying out of the dishwasher, swarming above the trashcan, appearing out of nowhere everytime we turned on the sink.
Luke and I looking like crazies clapping our hands in the air trying to destroy our little problem...but they just kept multiplying.

"Where did these fruit flies come from??" we asked ourselves.

Maybe it's because we leave our dishwasher open sometimes.
Or maybe it's because Augustine just started eating and his high chair is hiding food (or he is throwing it on the floor).
Or maybe they are being attracted by the fruit on the counter.
Or maybe we need to do a better job cleaning up after ourselves and NEVER, ever leave dirty dishes in the sink or crumbs on the counter.

It must be one of those things, we thought. Personally, I blamed a combination of the bag of nectarines on the counter (which has since made its home in the bottom drawer of our refrigerator) and Augustine's sticky-ness. But--and this is important--Luke was convinced it was due to the state of our kitchen. Don't get me wrong, there is the occasional cereal bowl or ice cream dish left in the sink and sandwich crumbs seem to love our counter tops, but we really aren't that dirty.

For the next 48 hours, we executed Operation Fruit Fly Destruction. After researching online, we put out four different containers--one with a few pieces of banana, one with a nectarine core, one with a little yogurt, and one with apple cider vinegar and sudsy water (the recommendation online, which actually ended up being the least successful). We then covered the containers with cling wrap, held in place by rubber bands, and poked little holes in the top. Fruit flies are smart enough to climb in the holes for sweet treats, but not smart enough to figure out how to get out!
Over the course of the next two days, we trapped lots of fruit flies, and our problem was solved.

But the best part of the saga was near the end of the second day when my husband made the statement:
"Lesson learned: If we leave food (read: dirty dishes, crumbs) out, we get fruit flies."

It was his own little epiphany, and it has worked wonders in our kitchen!

He has such a distaste for the little buggers that our kitchen has been immaculate for the past week.

There is never a dirty dish to be seen. He is quick to put away food, clean up after the baby eats, rinse and put dishes in the dishwasher, and make sure the garbage disposal and sink are clean.


And the best part is, I didn't have to say a word.

Truth be told, I still think it was bag the of fruit...

But what he doesn't know won't hurt him:)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Miss This

Christmas Eve 2009...our last date before Augustine arrived...check out my post-due-date belly!

Last night, Luke and I went out on a date!
This was a big occassion for us because, with the exception of a Valentine's Day dinner (when Augustine wasa 6 weeks old) and a frozen yogurt run when we were staying with Luke's family at VA Beach a few weeks ago, Luke and I have not been on any solo dates--or anywhere alone together--since the birth of our wonderful baby boy almost eight months ago!! For the most part, that is the way we like it. We are homebodies to begin with, and we have learned to make the most of the alone time we do get together.

In fact, most every night is "date night"--if you count sitting on the couch together eating ice cream and watching a movie...or popping popcorn and playing board games...or enjoying each other's company while catching up on our reading...or having friends over to socialize after the little guy goes down--as dates.

We do, and we cherish that special time from about 7:30 pm-10:30 pm each night when it is just the two of us (and maybe a few friends).
However, we have been meaning to go on a real date for quite some time now and finally took the plunge last night. After tucking our sweet babe in for the night (i.e. until his first feeding), we ducked out for dinner at the Bone Fish. We sat in the corner of the bar and conversed over a margarita, a beer, and some tasty sea food.
Date Night--isn't he handsome?!
We held hands, we kissed a lot, we stared into each other's eyes, we flirted--I was glowing...

And then the tears started flowing (poor Luke), as I reminicsed about the ways things "used to be." The bar tenders were probably betting between "death in the family" and "lost job." Sitting there eating my Bang Bang Shrimp, it hit me that I had really been missing this part of our relationship. It brought me back to the time when everything was all about us all the time...and I missed it. It is a pretty selfish thought, to be completely honest. Yet it is something I stuggle with at times.
Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't change anything about the last few years of our lives, very least of all the birth of our baby boy. Adding Augustine to our family has been far more fulfilling and blessed and wonderful that I even imagined it could be (God has that way of surpassing our expectations, doesn't He?). But our lives now are very different than they were before we were blessed with Augustine. It's not just about me and Luke anymore, (Duh!) and that creates ineviatable changes...changes that I can be hesitant to accept.
But thanks to my loving, patient husband--and his wisdom, which, as a guy he can consider apart from emotion much better than I can--I am slowly learning to accept that things have to change sometimes, and that that is an okay, and even good, thing.
Luke gave the example of how things have changed since right after we got married.
For the first three months of our marriage, I didn't work.
I slept in everyday until 10 am, when he would get home from practice and wake me up with kisses.

We would hang out all day until he had to coach for a few hours in the evenings.
It was wonderful! And it was a great way to start our marriage and our life in a new city. But at the end of our extended honeymoon, so to speak, I had to get a full-time job. He had to start looking for other work avenues for when his season ended. We needed to spend more time working on the house we had just bought.

Things changed, and they needed to (or we would probably be out on the streets by now...). But that doesn't mean our lives got worse--they actually got even better...just different!

Yes, I miss being able to have my hands free to reach over and grab Luke's (for more than 34 seconds)...and if I had it my way, I would still spend all of my free time in his arms...and I don't know if I could ever get enough kisses from him, then or now, BUT I am okay with it all because now there are two more little hands that need mine and another little being who likes to be showered with kisses.
Last night, I realized that there is something speical about getting out of the house for a real date, and we will be sure to make it more of a habit. But, overall, I think our transition from a family of two to a family of three has been incredible.
As good as this was (and it was very, very good)...
this is even better...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Favorites: Season

Those who know me well may think they already know the answer to this...but do they?? Even I am shocked by my answer because, for the first time in my life, I have a new favorite season!

Growing up, it was a no-brainer...I had the same favorite season as every other kid I knew: summer. Summer = friends and sun and water. (Not to mention a break from school!). Summer meant spending hours at the pool each day, staying out late playing with friends in the neighborhood, having middle of the week sleep-overs, watching Matlock in the mornings, and not having to do homework.

As I got older, I still favored summer. Though I spent much less time at the pool, I still had fun staying out way too late with friends (...but had to get up and work early the next morning) and I really, really, REALLY loved the break from homework.

And most of all, I loved the warm weather! Or perhaps it was more that my disdane for cold weather grew exponentially once I hit about 16. That must be when the appeal of playing in the snow wears away and the reality of scrapping car windows starts to set in. All I know is that at some point, I realized that I hated being cold...and hence, I loved summer. (There is a very real possibility that my affinity for summer and my distaste for winter has at least something to do with being raised in a home whose winter thermostat never went above, say, 64 degrees, despite the free-hee-zing temperatures!).

But my feelings have slowly changed. Now that I am all finished with school and homework, that summer perk is gone. Also, my husband loves building cozy fires for us all winter long, so I no longer have to wear my coat in the house to avoid turning into a popsicle! And here in Virginia, there is little need for scrapping car windows (except for last winter, but I had a newborn babe and didn't leave the house much anyway), so one less reason to depise winter.

Last winter, even though I was about to pop with Augustine, I actually really enjoyed the season. With 20 extra pounds of baby-ness to keep me warm, I didn't notice the cold as much. And I even enjoyed getting bundled up and going outside for a walk in the brisk air...ok, not as much as I enjoyed curling up in front of the fire for a little nap, sipping warm drinks, and staying in my flannel pjs all day, but still...

On the other hand, I have just nearly survived my first summer with an infant and let.me.tell.you, heat and babies are tough to mix! In the past few months, we have paid visits to beaches, lakes, and pools and had a blast...but it is no longer a day at the beach or an afternoon at the pool, it is an hour at the beach or the pool after an hour of getting ready for the hour at the beach or the pool. It seems like before you know it, it is time to eat...or time to nap...or it's too hot...or he's too cold. Laying out is a thing of the past. Reading a magazine while lounging in a beach chair is unthinkable. You have to think about bug nets, sun hats, stroller visors, swim diapers, sippy cups, etc.

Alas, for this year at least, I am finally on the it's just too hot! bandwagon.

But I am not ready to go all the way and adopt winter as my favorite season, so for now, as the mother of an almost 8 month old, living in temperate Richmond, VA, I can honestly say that autumn is my new favorite season! I am already looking forward to lighting my fall scented candles and plugging in my pumpkin spice wall flowers, wearing my favorite sweaters, baking, carving pumpkins, roasting smores in our fire pit, going on walks without *glowing*, and appreciating (more than I ever have before) cooler temperatures.

(But when we move back to CO, where "winter" starts in October and ends in April, summer just may be my favorite again!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View (8.10.10-8.23.10)

It's a two-fer! We have been a bit busy...
1) I hosted my first playdate on August 11th with my friend, Max, and his mom. We rolled around in the living room with our toys for a bit, and then we all went to Mass at the hospital where Max and I were born. Max is just one of many little boys under the age of one in my weekly playgroup, and I look forward to growing up with them (for the next few years until we move back to CO!).

2) Mom is excited about our new work hours--12 pm-5pm, instead of 3:30 pm-8:30 pm on Thursdays! Now she won't be anxious about getting me to bed on time. (Wednesdays stayed essentially the same--7:40 am-5 pm, instead of 7:30 am-4:30 pm).

3) I had my first non-family babysitters, Kaite and Elizabeth Hillgrove, on the 20th! I was sleeping the whole time, but Mom and Dad had a great time going out to dinner at the Bone Fish!

A rare photo op these days! (Taken upon returning from our date--I must have been preoccupied on the way out the door).

4) On the 20th, I also started army crawling for the first time! My greatest incentive to crawl is Dad's cell phone. He calls his voice mail, puts it on speaker phone, and lays it on the floor a few feet in front of me...and I just have to go get it!

"Crawling" for the first time...to get the phone!

5) Dad played in the USL II semi-finals on the 21st. Dad's team won, so they will play in the finals next weekend in Charleston...road trip? YES!

All decked out for Dad's game! Go Kickers!

6) Dad's cousin, John, came to town to go to Dad's game (and even watched me--sleep--Sunday night so Mom and Dad could go get ice cream...they could get used to this!).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Favorites: Game

Since this is a broad topic...board games, non-board games, video games, ball games, other outdoor games, mind games (ha), etc., I will specify that this week is in honor of my "favorite non-board game."

Even still, the genre is large--think along the lines of cards, charades, Apples to Apples, Yahtzee...you get the idea. While I have just listed some of my most favorite in this category, my VERY favorite (for the moment anyway...) is DOMINOS!

Specifically, I love the Chicken Foot rendition of Dominos (...after all, it's the only one I know how to play--but did you know that there are like 20 ways you can play with those dotted pieces?!).

I was introduced to Chicken Foot by my brother-in-law, Cole, this winter. In fact, he taught me this great game on the night I came home from the hospital with Augustine! He, along with two of my sisters and one of my nieces, was in town. After going to Mass for the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God (January 1st), we spent the rest of the day inside staying cozy and passing around my sweet baby for cuddles. Then we gathered around the dining room table for frozen lasagna (which tasted un-bel-ieve-able, by the way--what doesn't after spending a few days in the hospital??), followed by popcorn, dominos, and beer...for some of us anyway...while still passing around the wee one. Aside from not being entirely comfortable sitting in a dining room chair (if you've had children, you know what I mean...), it was the perfect way to spend the evening.

For the record, I am not particularly good at Chicken Foot. In fact, it wasn't until I had played several games that I realized there was any strategy involved. To this day, I mostly bank on luck, but I have picked up a few helpful hints along the way.

Chicken Foot is a great game because a lot of people can play, it can be as long or short as you want, it is interactive, and it is fun! We usually have 4-6 people playing, so we only use the dominos up to double 9s...but if you have a lot of people you can go up to double 12s. We have tried playing it with just two people, but it doesn't work out the best.

AND, you can get a whole set of beautifully colored dominos at Wal-mart for $10! That is a bonus considering the price of some games these days!

Please share your favorite non-board game! Luke and I love playing games with each other and with company, and we are always looking for new ideas...I think Luke is getting sick of Dominos! :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View (8.3.10-8.10.10)

1) I really started consonant babbling this week...and said "Dada" (more like "Da-Dai") for the first time on Monday! I have been saying it lots since. Sorry for ripping up your Eurosport, Da-Dai!

You can't get mad at this face!

2) My second tooth came in on Friday.

3) We went out to eat at PF Changs on Monday night (as a last minute decision...), and Mom forgot to bring me baby food and snacks. It's not like I need the calories, but something to keep me preoccupied would have been nice...SOOO when the rice came out, Mom put some on my placemat for me to "play" with. But I ate it all by myself with my hands!


I got a piece of rice stuck to my nose!

4) Mom and I have this week off of work, and we are having so much fun--swimming, playdates, Mass, walks! Plus, Mom has time to take a nap in the morning when I do, so we are all well rested!

5) I am sleeping great at night this week! I have only been getting up once or twice to eat!See you next week!!

We Still Serve a Good God!

**Readers beware: When I sat down to write on Lacy's birthday, I didn't really have anything in mind...the words just came out. And while there is certainly redemption at the end, there is a bit of introspective gloom along the way.
Lacy, myself, and Amanda on New Year's Eve 2002 (just weeks before Lacy's death)

Today my friend, Lacy Jo, would have turned 28 years old! I imagine she would be a teacher--maybe doing some interior decororating on the side. I see her being married, surely with a little one by now and probably living somewhere in northern Colorado...unless of course, I had convinced her to move to Richmond near me! Her laughter would still make me smile...

It feels like a million years since I've seen her...

The days, weeks, months following Lacy's death were, collectively, the hardest of my life (thus far).

No one can explain why bad things happen. Sometimes they just do. But we have to trust in the good Lord and know that he makes all things new.

Lacy's death was a reminder of just that.
It was early January 2003, and we were sophomores in college. There were a few weeks left of Christmas break, and Lacy and I both had trips to take before spring semester started--she was headed to Texas to visit her grandparents, and I was off to Ohio for my Goddaughter/Niece's Baptism. I remember dropping her off at the airport with our friend, Amanda.
We jammed out to awesome tunes on the way to the Denver.
We took goofy pictures together at the airport, as young (20 year-old) girls do.
We laughed.
We said our goodbyes and our "see you when you get backs," and then Amanda and I left Lacy in the security line at DIA, waving as we walked away...not knowing that that would be the last time I would see her alive.

Fast forward a few weeks to Saturday, January 18th. Lacy had been back from Texas for a few days, but I was still in Ohio. When I checked my phone that night, there was a message from Amanda:
"Lacy is missing."

There were a few other words throw in there, but that is all I heard.

Confusion set in.
What in the world is going on? What does she mean Lacy is missing??

Over the course of the next three days, my life was forever changed. At first, all we knew was that Lacy's car was found parked across the street and two houses down from her Mom's house (where she lived)...and that no one had seen Lacy since she dropped our friend off at home at 1:30 am Saturday morning.

She didn't show up for work that day.
She didn't call any of us.
Her phone was turned off.

So many questions. And, at first, not a lot of answers.

The drive home from Ohio was brutal. Even though she was still just missing, my gut told me she was gone. I laid in the back of our van wheeping to myself hour after hour as we made our way across the country. We crashed at my uncle's one night, and he gave my Dad a deer head to mount on the wall of our mountain cabin--that deer stared at me the whole way from Chicago to CO, just watching me cry (funny the things we remember). My Dad tried to comfort me, but he knew it was bad, too--I could just tell.

When I got home, I went straight to Lacy's house. Her Mom was trying to keeping it light, trying to be optimistic, trying to keep the hope. Everyone acted like everything was going to be ok--like Lacy was just going to turn up. I welcomed the chance to pretend, too...it was a nice break after the relentless crying I had been doing, but I didn't really think everything was going to be ok.

The house was full of people, all gathered to distribute "missing persons" fliers around the city. I don't think I will ever get the image of that missing persons flier out of my head. A lime green piece of paper with a picture of Lacy, smiling--so happy, so full of life.

Spring semester classes started on Tuesday.

"Please go to class, girls," Lacy's Mom urged us Monday evening.

We went--the three of us, Amanda, Angela (our other "best" friend), and myself. But by about 10 that morning, we had all received messages from Lacy's Mom asking us to come over.

None of us wanted to go alone.

We met up on campus and drove together.

When we walked in the house, things were different. Instead of people sitting and talking and questioning and planning and sharing stories (and crying), everyone was cleaning. The air was stale and smelt like Lysol.

Lacy's Mom led us into her room, where Avril Lavinge's "I'm with You" was playing on repeat...

I'm waiting in the dark.
I thought that you'd be here by now.
There's nothing but the rain, no footsteps on the ground.
I'm listening but there's no sound.
Isn't anyone trying to find me?
Won't somebody come take me home?...
I don't know who you are but I...I'm with you.
I'm looking for a place, searching for a face.
Is anybody here I know?
Cause nothings going right and everything's a mess and no one likes to be alone..."

She told us Lacy wasn't with us anymore.

"Did they find her body," I asked through tears, wondering how she could so confidently make such a bold statement.
"No, they found him," she answered.

The tears didn't stop for about eight months.
In the days and weeks to follow, we learned a lot about Lacy's last few hours on earth.
To be honest, they were pretty horrific, and as numb as I am to the details at this point, there is no use in going into it. In short, Lacy was "pulled over" by a police impersonator just feet from her home. He kidnapped and killed her.

I really struggled through that spring semester and summer--so much so that I took the fall semester off from college and moved to Minnesota to live with my sister and her family for a few months. (I hope they know what an important time that was for me--thank you, Sarah!). Staying in CO was making it difficult for me to heal--it was too hard to be surrounded by constant reminders of Lacy. But I am happy to say that I did heal! Slowly but surely, I became more and more myself again...and God brought me even closer to Him than I started!

Just the other day, I was reading an incredible and inspring, yet tragic story. (It is worth reading for yourself: http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-liver-transplant-death-txt,0,3369112.story?hpt=T2 ).

The premise of the story is that a man, named Ryan, dies performing an act of heroic generousity--and what really touched me is the way his family reacted to his death. Ryan's Father shared the sad news with the Ryan's brother, saying:

Ryan's gone, but we still serve a good God.

Nothing could be more true. Like I said earlier, bad things do happen...and they will continue to happen in each of our lives--but we still serve a good God!

Through my tears, through my heartache and my anxiety and my fear after Lacy's death, I never forgot that my God is a good God. Even when I was too emotionally and physically exhausted to pray and even when I couldn't hold back my tears, I reminded myself that I was just sad, not mad--that I was just tired, not without hope. My good God was faithful to me and never let me go.

He showed me, in new ways, how beautiful and priceless life is;

how I shouldn't take anything for granted;

how I should live each moment of my life to the fullest;

how what happens on this earth is nothing compared to what He has waiting for us in the next;

how He LOVES each and every one of His beloved children (even those who do very bad things--please pray for the man who killed Lacy) more than we can ever, ever imagine!

Life is not always easy. And life does not always make sense. And there is pain and suffering and evil in our world, but nothing is greater than God, and He is always enough to get us through even the toughest times.

This lesson has been valuable in my life many times since Lacy's death...and it is very comforting. This is not to say that I am not a total cry baby at times (I am...ask my husband...), but behind the tears of saddness is a strong conviction that God is in control...and that He will get me through it...and that there is a purpose to everything that happens in my life.

And there I find peace.

Happy Birthday, Lacy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

My You-Tube Debut

...you may find this video amusing if you know Luke or myself.

The first 45 seconds are definitely my favorite!

**For a little background, in Europe (where soccer--i.e. futbol--is hugely popular) WAGS is a trendy term referring to the Wives And Girlfriends of the world's greatest soccer players. Here is the U.S., WAGS aren't such a hot topic, but recently some interns for the Richmond Kickers interviewed a few of the team's WAGS for a brief, and funny, video.**


Friday Favorites: Beer

I love having favorites...those things in life I can count on to always:
taste good,
provide quality entertainment,
sound pleasant,
look great,
work effectively,

My "favorites" in life give me comfort and bring me a lot of joy.
I though it would be fun to share some of my favorites and also to hear what others love.to.love.

So this week I will divulge my favorite...
beer --> Blue Moon!

Blue Moon is brewed in my homestate of Colorado and tastes so refreshing...if you can appreciate a wheaty brew (it's a lighter beer--in appearance, not calories!--, so if tend toward Sam Adams or Guiness, this is probably not the drink for you).

According to the official Wikipedia (haha) definition: "The beer is orange-amber in color with a cloudy appearance because it is unfilitered. It is also spiced with coriander and orange peel in addition to the hops found in most beers. Blue Moon has a more pronounced orange flavor than many other beers of the style, and also has a slightly sweet flavor."

Definitely garnish Blue Moon with an orange slice...it brings out the sweet citris flavor!

Blue Moon--and, well, alcohol in general--is a rarity for me these days, as a breastfeeding Momma, but on occassion I savor a cold beer after the little one goes down for the night.

What is your favorite??

If You Haven't Seen this Yet...

Sit down (with a tissue) and watch this amazing video:


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Augustine's Weekly Wee-View

I had a busy week with lots of travel and time with family...
1) I got a tooth! Monday afternoon I bit Daddy's finger, and he noticed a little more than my gums in there! It looks like another one will come through today or tomorrow--bring on the steak!

Can you see it?? It's there!

2) Mom, Dad, and I spent Friday night at VA Beach with a bunch of Daddy's family. I went swimming and loved it. We all went to Daddy's soccer game together Saturday night...and Daddy was Man of the Match!

We played at the beach...

and the pool!

Go Daddy! (He is #4...in case you were wondering...)

3) After I went to sleep for the night, Mom and Dad went out for frozen yogurt and left me with Uncle Stephen (...and Nana and Gaga). It was only the second time I have been away from them--the first time was Valentine's Day, and Uncle Anthony watched me sleep while Mom and Dad went out for a late dinner.

4) Mom thought it was really cute that I rolled right into the bathroom to be near her while she blow dried her hair the other morning.

5) We met my Great Aunt Barb, Great Uncle Ken, and second cousin, Kristin, for lunch on Sunday. Aunt Barb was visiting all the way from CO...she is very special to my Mom and loves babies!