One step closer

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The garden is coming along, slowly. We worked on it last night into the evening (and by that I mean I watched Chris move things around where I told him to), and I came inside thinking how exciting to be another step closer to the garden I’ve been dreaming about. We’ve been clearing piles of tree trunks and broken branches, but I continue to notice new ones that need to be taken out. Last year one of our huge maples cracked in a storm, and we had to call the professionals in to remove an enormous limb that was balancing precariously above a path we frequently use. We breathed a sigh of relief when that was taken care of, but were left with a lot to clean up. Thankfully Chris has acquired some pretty mad skillz on the Bobcat, or none of this would be possible.

Maybe you remember that this all started kind of suddenly last summer? Well, in all my excitement, I sort of forgot that in order to actually grow stuff, sunlight must be factored in to the equation. I’m just a teeny, tiny bit worried here, friends. We are currently lacking in this department. We’re planning to take down a few more trees and some low hanging branches, but I don’t know. Might not be enough. I fear my neighbors have witnessed me walking around looking like a fool, staring at the sky and tugging on branches several (dozen) times a day. I’m afraid it may come down to us having to remove some pretty massive maple trees in the end. If I cannot convince the husband go along…well I guess I’ll just start planning my expansive shade-loving perennial garden (hello hostas!).

Since the warm days of spring have arrived, schoolwork has been, um, reprioritized. We’re (I’m) sliding into a leeeettle bit of a bad habit of getting started later than we should. Because, you know, sometimes in the mornings I just run out to check on the sunlight (again) really quick, and maybe notice a couple weeds around the flowers on my way back in, and then all of a sudden the kids are like “Mom, what should we have for lunch?”  So I’m going to have to work on that because we still have a lot to do before we pull the curtain on this show.

Spring Sacraments

On Sunday, April 10, the twins received their First Holy Communion!

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Little sister wouldn’t be left out!

Alexa

Alexa

Maya

Maya

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With Nana Teresa and Grandpa Dave

With Nana Teresa and Grandpa Dave (my parents)

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Cousins, siblings and Grandpa…just some of the family who came to celebrate!

One of their Godmothers, their aunt (my sister) Tessa! Three beauties!

One of their Godmothers, their aunt (my sister) Tessa! Three beauties!

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Personalized rosaries from this awesome Etsy shop!

A gift from their Godmother- beautiful cross necklace

A gift from their Godmother- beautiful cross necklace

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I completely dropped the ball on getting a nice family photo at church while the girls were still dressed up…I’m grateful to have this one, though!

 

On Tuesday, May 3rd, Hunter received the sacrament of Confirmation.

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With his Godparents, my sister Emily and my brother-in-law (her husband) Darrin

Hunter was blessed to be sponsored by one of his best friends dad (thank you Adam!), and Chris was honored to sponsor that friend in turn!

Hunter was blessed to be sponsored by one of his best friend’s dad (thank you Adam!), and Chris was honored to sponsor that friend in turn!

Handsome boys!

Handsome boys!

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Bishop Cozzens and clergy entering at the start of Mass (Thank you to whomever captured this photo…I stole it from the church’s Facebook page. Wait- do I need to go to Confession now?)

*edited to add a photo of the cake I made for for the joint Confirmation/Mother’s Day brunch we hosted a week after Hunter’s Confirmation.

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Landon’s 13!

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Thirteen years ago, this handsome young man came screaming into the world. And I do mean screaming, literally. Have I ever mentioned that my tender, laid back son was colicky for about the first five and a half months of his life? It’s a distant memory now (thank goodness!), but yes, Landon basically cried/screamed from the moment the doctor lifted him into the world, until he was nearly six months old. He was quiet when he slept or was nursing. And that is about it.  I remember standing near the kitchen sink with him- turning on the faucet to full blast and leaning in with him so he could hear it. Something about the sound of the water quieted him for a few moments. A few. We would also run the vacuum or the hairdryer for the same reason, desperately in need of a few moments of reprieve. My arms were bruised from swinging him endlessly in a carseat.  We received lots of opinions and advice at the time, all most of which was appreciated, but nothing seemed to work for Landon. He was a perfectly healthy baby. He was exclusively breast fed and never spit up. He slept through the night from pretty early on (If I remember correctly?).  His doctors and I could find absolutely no explanation for his crying.

He made me a better mother. He made me a better person in general.  I had the most intense bond with him, despite the daily challenge he presented to me. I experienced the powerful reality of loving fiercely while in the midst of trial and confusion. And more precisely, loving the very person who is the source of that trial. I think it made me love him even more. I was his advocate, first. An exhausted mother, second. I was defensive of his crying to those whom I felt were suggesting (even without words) that Landon was a burden to me. If you know someone who is struggling with their children, for any reason, I believe the best and most loving approach is to address the needs of the parent and not try to dissect the problems with the child (unless they ask for your opinion). Asking “How can I help?” is so much more comforting than “I think the problem is….” I just think that most parents want others to notice and affirm the goodness of their child, not their child’s faults. At least, that’s how I felt. Every baby, every person, is a blessing and nothing less.

We are continually blessed by Landon. He’s fun loving and has a great sense of humor. He makes me smile every day.

We went out for dinner as a family to celebrate his birthday. Landon was thrilled when one of his best friends unexpectedly showed up with his family, and we ended up sharing a meal and celebrating together.

Happy birthday, Landon David! You’re a gift to our family!

The twins are Eight!

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We celebrated the girls’ eighth birthday a day early this year because their real birthday fell on Good Friday. We spent the day as a family at the Mall of America, and finished with a great dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (no pictures, darn it!) We had a great time! It’s much more fun for the girls, now that they are tall enough to ride the “big” rides. Gigi and I had fun riding the little kids rides. I think we went on the Barnyard roller coaster 11 times.

Every year on their birthday, I’m reminded of the miracle that Alexa and Maya are. They are the girls I thought I might never have. They are smart and sweet and full of creativity. I will never forget the day I found out I was having twins, or the day I found out the twins were girls (sobbing with joy both times). And I will never, ever, stop thanking God for sharing them with us.

Florida

I’m finally sitting down to publish this post about the family trip we took to Florida in January! We had a wonderful time! There aren’t many pictures of the Disney or Universal Studios parks (too busy having fun!!) I hope we can go once more when Gianna is a few years older, though I know she loved every minute of it all, even at two years old. I’m so thankful for this special time together.

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Hunter- age 14

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Maya (7), Landon (12), and Braedan (10)

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Gigi (2) and Alexa (7)

Alexa took this photo with my phone- it is the only one we have of the castle at Disneyworld!

Alexa took this photo with my phone- it is the only one we have of the castle at Disneyworld!

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Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. Look closely and you can see Braedan (behind the woman with her arm up in the front), Hunter (behind Braedan in the black sweatshirt), one of the twins (behind Hunter), and Chris next to her (dark gray shirt). Landon and the other twin were also on this ride, but I guess we can’t see them (probably sitting next to Hunter and Braedan).

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Universal Studios- Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios- Islands of Adventure

Universal Studios- Jurassic Park ride

Universal Studios- Jurassic Park ride

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At the hotel pool

At the hotel pool

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Bonita Beach - (This is the beach I would frequent when we lived in Florida)

Bonita Beach – (This is the beach I would frequent when we lived in Florida)

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The kids with Nana Kay

The kids with Nana Kay

We stopped at the church where Hunter was baptized (St. Leo's in Bonita Springs). He is preparing to make his Confirmation later this spring, so it seemed appropriate to pay a visit to where his life a Christian began!

We stopped at the church where Hunter was baptized (St. Leo’s in Bonita Springs). He is preparing to make his Confirmation later this spring, so it seemed appropriate to visit the place where his life as a Christian began.

Life Happening

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I recently heard a quote that describes the way I feel about life lately…The days are long, but the years are short. I don’t know the person who coined that phrase, but she sure was on to something. A lot has happened since I last updated here. I’m homeschooling Landon, Braedan and the twins, but Hunter returned to our parish school for 8th grade this year. He’s adjusted well, and I can’t believe that we just registered him for high school next year. The plan is for Landon to return for 8th grade next year too. I’m not sure yet about the others.

We recently returned from a week in Florida, and although we had a great time, the kids were happy to see the snow. The boys have been teaching the girls to snowboard, which is so sweet to watch. They have such patience for it.  They’ve also developed a pretty efficient system of getting each other up the hill using a homemade ski rope set-up and snowmobile. I love to see them working together- taking turns, etc- because these boys can be pretty competitive with each other and let’s just say they don’t always play nice. It’s been great for them to have a shared interest like snowboarding.

Gianna has gone from toddler to kid. I recently found out that the twins have been potty training her, and it’s going pretty well. I have a pretty laid-back approach to potty training, but I never would’ve thought to leave it up to the 7 year olds…They are so capable!

These days are so full. Sometimes, full of joy. Sometimes, hurt and heartache. Some days have all of that. It’s all part of this wonderful, messy life we’re living. And I’m so grateful and humbled by all of it.