Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Big Kid

...just got his first big boy bike. No matter the heat, humidity, or sun, he has been riding his bike as much as he can. He comes in all sweaty under his helmet. Cools off, drinks some water, and goes right back outside. He's adorable.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grand Family Summer Adventure - Part 3

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.

After visiting with the B family for about a week, we spent some time in Louisiana with one of my husband's brothers and his family. We had gotten a little teasing visit in on our trip out to Georgia, and now we really got to spend time with them.

One of the days we were there, they took us to the Alexandria zoo. If you are ever in the area, check it out. It was only $5 per person and another $1.50 for a train ride. And for a smaller city, it really is a great zoo. Most of the time you see the animals up close. We were so close, in fact, that the alligator snapping turtles thought the little ones were lunch.

To visit the lions, you walk inside a dark cave area. Because it's bright outside, it really takes your eyes a few minutes to adjust. As I walked in with Fritter and Ladybug, I heard my husband yell, "Grab Fritter!" And then a loud roar. With heart pounding, my eyes adjusted, and this is what I saw:

He was not a happy lion. And in fact took swipes at most everyone that came inside the "cave". It took some time for my heart to slow its rhythm to normal. I don't believe humans were meant to be that close to such an animal.

Fritter and JG enjoyed driving the jeep on a safari.

And all the kids loved feeding the fish with Aunt L.

We then rode the train, which took us around the zoo. It's a short ride, but worth the $1.50.

Another day we filled up the baby pool for the kids. Ladybug was not happy with the state of things. And Fritter was a bit hesitant at first. But soon he was happily splashing his dad and consequently being dunked by said father.

Mostly we spent our time just enjoying J and L and getting to know little JG. It was equally as hard leaving them, and hopefully we'll see them around Christmas time (hint, hint). ;-)

Just because I can't get enough of those big brown eyes.

One our way home, we stopped again in San Antonio and this time got to explore the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower. It really was worth the stop, as it was such a gorgeous church.

There is a painting there of St. Therese done by one of her sister's. We were told this painting was carried in the procession during St. Therese's canonization.

We also drove by the Alamo, and were impressed by San Antonio's downtown area. So much history! One day DH and I are going to visit without the kids and with more time so we can really explore it.

We stayed in a hotel in Ft. Stockton that night, because it had been raining and all the tent sites were soaked. I have decided that I prefer RV parks to hotels. We got home mid afternoon the next day and were so happy to be home (and take showers).

Thus concludes our Grand Family Summer Adventure 2010. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


We are so excited to announce that we are expecting another baby. We found out on Sunday, and are probably 2 or 3 weeks along. Please pray for the health of our little baby, and that if it be God's will we can meet little "Cub" in April.

I am feeling good so far. A little extra tired maybe, and just a little sick. As crazy as it sounds, I'm praying I start to feel a lot more sick in the next couple of weeks.

And Fritter has already requested a baby brother, so I guess we'll find out in April. (Again, God willing).

Accept my humble gratitude, most holy Trinity!
Thanks be to the Father, who manifested unlimited power within me by drawing forth from nothingness another human soul and giving it to my care.
Thanks be to the Son, who has revealed his eternal wisdom within me by fashioning another flame of human life so delicate that it can neither be seen nor heard, so strong that it will live forever.
Thanks be to the Holy Spirit, who has shown his everlasting love within me by forming another human heart to spend its days on earth in praising God and returning love for love.
Omnipotent triune God -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- receive my humble thanks and my undying devotion.
**From a Mothers' Manual by A. Francis Coomes, SJ

Friday, July 16, 2010

Grand Family Summer Adventure - Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

It was a relief to get into Atlanta. Originally our arrival was going to be a surprise to all the kids, but the oldest two found out through the grapevine. It was still fun to pull up and see the surprised look on nephew C's face. Fritter immediately got in on the action and ran and ran and ran his pent up energy out.

Here's a picture of all the super cute boys, left to right: Fritter, J (the cutest Godson ever!), N, and C.

A fun shot of all the kids.
Left to right: C (being goofy), Godson J, A, M (Ladybug's favorite person, and such a sweet girl), Ladybug, N, and Fritter.

One exhausting adventure started out by a simple trip to look at furniture for niece A's room. This is niece A. Isn't she cute?

We planned to go grocery shopping afterwards and knew we would be home late. What we didn't know was how late we would be. The drive to look at furniture was about 45 minutes from SIL's house. But unlike the west, where there are no trees and the roads run in 90 degree angles of each other in most places, the trees in Georgia (and much of the east) block all of the view. And the roads are just kind of placed wherever. Before we even got to where the furniture was, I was completely turned around. Had my SIL gotten sick of me and dropped me off somewhere, my situation could have been hopeless. Thankfully she didn't, and it wasn't, and we found where we were going.
And best of all, we found our way out. By then, though, it was 9pm and neither of us had eaten dinner. SIL found a place to eat, but as luck would have it, the workers must have seen us coming and locked the doors as we were arriving. No food for us. Meanwhile, niece A happily munched on the french fries she had gotten 20 minutes earlier.
So we decided to eat after grocery shopping. The particular Walmart we had chosen to shop at was undergoing a major renovation and most of the shelves were either empty or covered with plastic. This is what SIL had to go through just to get bread.

Eventually, the shopping was done, fast food was consumed, and we could laugh about it.

On the Saturday before Independence Day, DH and I had planned on looking at Civil War stuff with BIL and niece A. But BIL had a better idea and took us to the Atlanta History Center. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend checking it out. Make sure you pick up the free audio tour while you are there.

The museum also features the Tullie Smith Farm. It's a working farm reminiscent of the 1860's or so. Again, very cool and worth the stop. A great place to have some fun. DH mistook a replica Privy for the real thing. ;-) Don't recognize the reading material? It's Mitten strings for God.

My dear, dear husband really felt like a rustic guy while visiting the farm.

And that same dear husband tried to fix the cannon for niece A.

He almost didn't get out of the way before she fired.

I love my husband. He makes things so fun.
For the last part of our stay in Atlanta we went to SIL's friend's house for a July 4th party. The amount of chaos that 100 Catholic kids can create is amazing. And loud. And so much fun. We met some great people and ate really great food. When dark came, they lit up the cul-de-sac skies with fireworks which Fritter really enjoyed. Ladybug wasn't sure about it at first, but soon enjoyed herself as well.

It was hard to leave the B family. Hopefully it won't be another 2 1/2 years before we see them again.

Stay tuned for Part 3. You'll hear about a crazed lion, water babies, and a wonderful pedicure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grand Family Summer Adventure - Part I

I mentioned before we left for vacation that we had made a pact to camp along the way instead of staying in hotels and to not buy any fast or convenience store food. Did we succeed? We did. Mostly.

Before I get into that though, I have to highly recommend both Magic Circle RV Park in Willcox, AZ and Top of the Hill RV Resort in Boerne, TX (just north of San Antonio). Both places were clean and the staff was welcoming and friendly. I can't recommend them enough. Because we came equipped with our own camp stove and dishes, it was actually nicer than staying in a hotel. And I'm not entirely a pioneer woman. We set up Ladybug's playpen in the back of the van and I slept on the bench seat. Fritter and my dear husband slept in the tent.

So about the food. First, my planning worked out great. The only time we failed was our second morning. We had planned to be on the road by 6am to make Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower. But we were tired and slept in, so the morning was a rush. There wasn't time to boil the water for our oatmeal, so when we stopped for gas we also bought $11 worth of donuts, muffins, milk, and coffee. And we still missed Mass at the Basilica and had to catch it that evening in Alexandria with our family. So it wasn't that much of a sacrifice for a little extra sleep. ;) My heart was set on seeing the Basilica and my husband really wanted to see the Alamo, so we planned on spending more time in San Antonio on the trip home.

I know some of my readers know or live in West Texas, so you will understand when I say that without planning it's possible to be ready for a stop and not have anywhere to stop. And gas prices between El Paso and San Antonio are outrageous. (If you have a trip going that way, I highly recommend gasing up in Las Cruces or El Paso and then driving 65mph for optimal gas mileage so you won't have to get gas until San Antonio.)

So I planned a good stop for us in Las Cruces, NM at Veterans Memorial Park. The kids were ready to get out of the car by then.

It was a nice clean park with a great war memorial that my husband enjoyed while the kids played on the playground.

Then we raced the clock to get to our final stop for the day in Boerne, TX. Because we lost two hours that day, it was dark by the time we got there. Thankfully the RV park was lit enough for us to get dinner done and set up the tent.
As I mentioned above, our first trip into San Antonio did not work out as planned, and we were anxious to get to Alexandria to see dh's brother and his family. We stayed the night in Alexandria and spent just enough time to squeeze the local cutie before leaving early the next morning for Atlanta. (Nephew JG).

Not many of the stops between Louisiana and Georgia played out as I planned, but we did find a nice park in Birmingham, and I experienced my first encounter with fire ants (ouch!). We were very excited when we saw our first glimpse of Atlanta. Don't you just love pictures taken from the car?

Stay tuned for the Grand Family Summer Adventure Part II where I'll tell about cute kids, a nightmarish shopping trip, and a gaggle of Catholic kids watching fireworks in a cul-de-sac.

Fritterisms OR Hail Mary, Holding Grapes?

This morning as Fritter was looking at the raisin bag during breakfast, "Mama, is that Mary holding grapes?"


Fritter asked what I was doing as I tried to establish how the ants were getting into the kitchen. "We want to keep the ants outside so they don't get into our food," I told him. "But Mama," said Fritter, "we can share our food with them!" I don't think I'm that good at sharing.

Monday, July 12, 2010

We're Home!

And had a great trip. I am still working on unpacking, and we are still trying to reestablish our little routines. Also, Fritter caught pinkeye on the final part of our trip, and I have a sneaking suspicion it's from all the public restrooms we've used. Yuck! But he's been on eye drops for 24 hours now and is starting to feel better. That's the good news. The bad news is that I don't feel that great myself. I promise to blog about our trip soon.