Friday, May 24, 2013

Family Pictures {Augustine & Gemma} December 2012

These Little People are my world.
He hugs her--a lot. 
Sometimes she likes it,
and sometimes it feels {and looks}
more like a choke hold to her and she screams.
Several times a day, I find myself saying,
"Be nice to your sister." 
"Be gentle."
I can't believe it's starting already...
maybe payback for all the fighting my sisters and I did growing up. 
Is there anything sweeter than the man you love loving on your babies?
Our babies are blessed with an incredible Father.
We just get each other. 
Of course, I would have gladly welcomed a boy or a girl
when Gemma was born, but I am so happy God gave me a girl this time.
I want to do all the things with her that I didn't get to do with my Mom
...and all the other things, too.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are grey.
The one who made me a Mama
and showed me that I could love a child
more than I ever knew possible.
Augustine is talking non-stop these days--
sometimes a little too much, if you know what I mean.
When the kids and I were in CO a few weeks ago,
Augustine talked Luke's ear off on the phone.
It was his first legitimate phone conversation,
consisting of more than just, "Love you, miss you, bye."
He talked about his plane ride, soccer, his friends--guy stuff.
Gemma kisses in her sleep--for real.
Whether Luke is going in to rock her in the middle of the night
or I am going in to nurse her,
she often gives us a few sweet kisses on our chest.
Last night, I went in to console her when she was more awake and she said, "hug, hug," and gave me the sweetest hug before she started nursing.
When I raise my voice out of frustration, Augustine often asks me,
"Mom, you a bad guy? {or, "Mom, you a mean guy?}. 
When I say no, he says, "You a nice guy?"
to which I reply, "I'm always a nice guy {ha!}"

He teaches me something{s} every single day--usually about love,
sometimes about dinosaurs or yaks. 
Gemma is full of personality. 
She is a go-getter, determined, and stubborn.
She is an extrovert, always smiling, and earns the admiration of passers-by everywhere we go.

Lately, we have been amused by her saying,
"Your welcome," {instead of "thank you"} every time we give her something. 
It makes Augustine crazy. 
She definitely has him wrapped around her little finger.
Each day when Luke comes home from soccer
she runs to the door with her arms in the air yelling,
"Dada, Dada!!"

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Family Pictures December 2012

In December I cashed in on a great Living Social deal and had our pictures taken professionally.  I love snapping pics of my kiddos almost daily--and I will cherish those spontaneous, candid shots forever--but there is something special about having a professional get behind the lens once in awhile. 

Gemma's face in this one is priceless--
Luke and I look so happy...not so much our children.

We typically go the Portrait Innovations route for professional photos, but I couldn't pass up this great deal, and we ended up with so many wonderful memories captured...and a lot less stress {seriously, I am always on the verge of developing an ulcer by the time I walk out of P.I.--"Here, are the 2,394 pictures I took of your children.  Let's narrow it down to five in the next 15 minutes"?!!?  If you've been, you understand}.
Sometimes they just need a hand to hold.
So as not to overwhelm you with too many pictures all at once, I am just posting family pictures in this post.  I will do three other posts--one featuring the kiddos, one of me and Luke, and one of our Christmas pictures.  If pics are not your thing, you may want to skip my next few posts...but this blog is mainly for me to look back on and remember what life was like at different stages of our marriage and family life, and I definitely want to remember this time in my life.

So it was a little bright out...
I want to remember that we had just moved to Colorado a few months earlier. Gemma was almost one, and Augustine was almost three. We chose to have our pictures taken in an open field with a barn a couple miles from our home. It was chilly out but not too cold for the middle of December.
I wish I could bottle up moments like these and keep them forever.
  Gemma started walking just two weeks later, taking her first steps on New Year's Day and never looking back. Augustine's little mind was a sponge that fall/winter, singing his ABC's, identifying colors, counting. Luke had finished fall training with the Rapids a couple weeks earlier and was adjusting to working full time in the office {at home}. I was loving our new home! Few days went by that the kids and I didn't see Aunt Cait, "T," and "Fawicitee."
We couldn't help but laugh hysterically at Augustine's "smile." 
Every time we said to say, "cheese," he made this face.
 We had just gotten home from a great trip to Minnesota to visit with friends and witness the Baptism of our Godson, Dominic.  We drove through the night both ways--it just seems to be easier that way with wee least a wee baby like mine who really doesn't like her car seat. 
I was wearing a new scarf and new earrings, bought specifically for the pictures--I needed some yellow for our color scheme.  We didn't have a lot of expendable money at that time, and on Christmas morning I realized my hubby had wrapped those items and placed them under the tree for me--clever guy.  Unfortunately, that may have been the last time Gemma let me put a headband on her for more than five minutes without pulling it off. 
*Quick disclaimer: uploading these pictures was a huge pain, and I don't know why.  It took forever--no, seriously.  So, I am not even going to bother with trying to fix that random watermark picture(?) or stress about ending all abruptly.  I just need to get onto the next batch of pics!  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Mother's Day

Mother's Day picture with Mother Mary after Mass
Not a great WIWS picture, but it's all I've got.  :)  The dress is from Ross {Surprise, surprise.  Since I pretty much only wear dresses to Mass, Ross is great place to get cute, inexpensive ones that I don't feel bad about if I only wear them a couple of times}.  I won't even go into the shoes and earrings because, well, you can't see them.

I had a great Mother's Day. 
Highlights include:
*the kids sleeping in until 9am, which is unheard of in this house {it must have had something to do with them staying up late for Luke's game last night}. 
*pancakes made by my hubby for breakfast
*a card and dance from my three loves
*staying in my pew with both the kids and my husband during the entire Mass--as in, we didn't have to take a fussy/squirmy baby to the back of the church {I think this was Gemma's Mother's Day gift to me :)}
*M&Ms and coffee for lunch, per my request
*a relaxing and delicious BBQ with friends this evening

Now the kids are tucked into bed, and Luke and I are looking forward to a quiet evening together.

Mother's Day has been a wonderful day for me to reflect on the blessing of Motherhood.  It is not something I take for granted, and I am forever thankful for my sweet children.  As Luke and I pray for another baby in our family {should it be God's Will}, I join in prayer with all those who struggle with infertility or who have lost babies due to miscarriage and still birth.  I also pray for those who have had abortions in the past, for their healing and their conversion of heart.  Being a Mom is hard at times, but I truly can't imagine anything else more rewarding.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mamas, especially my Mama in Heaven.  I know she is looking after me and praying for me incessantly, and she would be just enamored with Augustine and Gemma!!

Go see Fine Linen and Purple for more ladies in their Sunday best!          

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Greetings from VA!

The past month of my life has been quite a whirlwind! Remember how I was saying I needed to take a trip to somewhere warm and sunny and watery and that there was a slight chance we would be moving back across the country?

Well, I booked the trip {to Phoenix = sun!} as a surprise to Luke for his birthday...and about two hours later he told me we were definitely moving and that we needed to be in Virginia the very day that we were supposed to leave on vacation. Um, come again.

I could have stayed another week.
Without giving too much away, I told him that that wasn't going to work, and we ended up going on vacation {yeah!} but driving straight to VA when we got back.

And when I say, "straight," I mean we left Phoenix on a plane at 10pm on a Tuesday night, arrived at the Denver airport just after midnight, loaded up the car, and didn't stop driving {except to pee and eat} until 6am Thursday morning! At which point Luke slept for an hour and a half and then went to soccer practice. We must be crazy.

Thankfully, the kids slept really well both nights we traveled and didn't lose their minds completely during the long, LONG car ride. I remember thinking when we stopped for dinner on Wednesday evening that we must be in the home stretch...only to realize that we had only gone half way. HALF.WAY. 13 hours down, 13 to go. I almost cried.
Reading to his baby in his new bed.
We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived in VA to a fully furnished three bedroom apartment near Luke's practice fields. In an attempt to live simply, we had decided to move across the country in just our Camry, to rent an unfurnished two bedroom apartment, and to borrow or buy off craigslist the furniture that we needed. Perhaps God thought that would really push me over the edge because we were informed last minute that a furnished, three bedroom apartment was being offered to us for the same price as the unfurnished two bedroom! Thank you, Jesus! It wasn't until we arrived that I realized how difficult it would have been to acquire and move all the furniture we would need.
Relaxing with Daddy.
For the most part, we are adjusting well. Augustine misses his friends and that breaks my heart. He often asks if we are going to Tavian's house and many mornings when we leave the house he asks if we are going to "play with friends." Cash and Dominic have also been inquired about, and he lights up anytime we mention any of his cousins, aunts, uncles, or Bapa. He has had fun reuniting with friends at our church Mom's Group and enjoys playing with three little girls who live in an apartment near ours. Last week he was super sick--a high fever and green boogs {like science experiment worthy}, which the {slightly dramatic?} doctor diagnosed as an ear infection, tonsillitis, and strep throat!? Oh my. He was a bit pitiful, but a real trooper considering the circumstances, and was content to watch shows on the computer and drink juice as he recuperated.
Being silly :)
Gemma is Gemma. The cutest and most happy, while simultaneously mischievous and stubborn... plus a finicky sleeper and eater. She is so super lovable though that you just can't help but want to smother her with kisses all day long. She has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger for sure! She loves to be outside, says, "HI!" to everyone who crosses her path, and is very generous with her kisses. She just had her 15 month check up and has plummeted completely off the growth chart for her weight. Thankfully, her pediatrician is not worried--she is extremely active for her age and advanced in her motor and verbal skills. He said a lot of babies who nurse through the night have high metabolisms and aren't super motivated to eat real food if they are still nursing. Meal times are a bit stressful for our family as we try to encourage her to eat, but I am trying not to worry too much about it. I can't believe how much Gemma has changed just since leaving Colorado a few weeks ago. Sigh. Unfortunately, she seems to have caught a mild version of Augustine's illness, as have I. Seriously, the germs of winter/spring 2013 can leave my house anytime they want and NEVER come back again!!

Luke is doing really well with soccer. He is the Captain of his team, and both games he has been here for have resulted in 4-1 victories. And last weekend he got a great assist! Our manager for Little Kicks has been out of town for over a week, so that has been keeping Luke super busy!! He can't wait for her to return. :)

Given that we lived here for over four years and were only away for seven months, moving back to Virginia could be considered more of a "coming home" than a "moving away"--we have many great memories of our first years of marriage and the births of our babies here. Moving to a new part of town than we used to live in and being away from my family {whom I miss dearly} are big transitions, but overall it has been easier than I thought it would be. We already have friends and communities here, and we know Richmond and the surrounding areas really well. Plus, our lifestyle here is so familiar--soccer practice for Luke in the mornings, games on Saturday nights, and many of same activities we used to do {MOPs, church Mom's Group, story time} on weekday mornings. We are no where near being in a "routine" yet...we will probably hit that stride right about the time we move back to Colorado!

Yesterday Gemma and I were messing around with the Ipad, and we started looking through old pictures = not a good idea. I don't feel wanting here on a daily basis, but when I spent a few minutes looking at pictures of the kiddos playing in the backyard and in our Colorado house, I got awfully homesick very quickly. I know the Lord brought us here for a reason, and I feel SO blessed for all that we have here and for this time in VA, but I know it won't always be easy. If you would offer a prayer for our transition, that would be very much appreciated. Specifically, I pray that the kids adjust well and thrive here and that Luke's business ventures do well. Also, I know Luke worries a lot about how we will fare when he travels, so we could use some prayers in advance for that, too. Thank you! I promise to update again soon...real soon ;)