Friday, July 26, 2013

Patience is a virtue

And one I am terrible at.

I feel like I'm waiting for so many things to happen right now...

The team arrives in town on August 6th and with that means the start of the school year. Luke will work long crazy hours till probably mid October.

We are moving - at some point. It is starting to feel like it will never get here. Basically because we thought we would be moving in July, then realized our lease isn't up till August 31st. When you move every summer, details become a little hazy. We have the new place all lined up, that's not the issue, its just that we have to stay in this crowded tiny townhouse till our lease is up in order to avoid paying rent in two places. Definitely don't want to do that, so staying it is. Luckily I hadn't started packed yet before we realized all this. But still. I want to pack. I want to move to the bigger house. I've already organized and decorated all the rooms in my head!

I'm 7 and a half months pregnant. Oh I've mentioned that already? Yep, and getting that "I am now definitely in the 3rd trimester" feeling. And the baby inside me is only going to get bigger and more uncomfortable. I need to prepare for birth, I need to prepare for another little person to join our family. I'm having crazy pregnant lady mood swings. I need to rest. And eat well. And take care of the kids. And still cook dinner......

And we have to move.

I seriously feel like I am waiting for a very very big storm to hit. I am not usually an anxious person, thanks to prayer and God's grace, but with everything that is about to happen, all this waiting for what's around the corner is starting to drive me crazy. Because it's big stuff! It's going to be stressful! And I can't even really do anything to prevent or decrease the stress. The timing of it all couldn't be worse. The beginning of the school year and all that entails, is one thing, then add a move, extremely pregnant wife and new baby coming a few weeks later.

I'm praying for strength, peace, patience and the gracefulness to help carry my family through this storm as stress-free as possible. As the husband, Luke is the head of the house, but the wife is the heart. I know that so much of my mood and attitude dictate the rest of what Luke and the kids are feeling and how they respond to everything as well.

So if you could, keep us all in your prayers! Gracias!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

4 Year Anniversary

Yesterday was our 4th wedding anniversary and although it was a low key day, it was still very special. Our anniversary tends to always be surrounded with craziness of life. Usually moving. We try to stay consistent. Our first anniversary, Hailey was only a month old and we happened to be moving that day. We moved from Loveland, CO, to Greeley, CO, which was 30 minutes east of Loveland to be closer to the University of Northern Colorado where Luke was serving with focus. We hauled our tired selves to a local Italian restaurant at 8pm that night where we sat in a booth behind the loudest group of adults ever. But the food was good. 

Our 2nd anniversary I was 6 months pregnant with Casey and we were getting ready to move back across the country to Maryland. I remember getting roses from Luke which I then proceeded to delicately transport in the front seat of the volvo when we moved on the 28th, 4 days later. They are still dried in a vase on my dresser.

Our 3rd anniversary we timed to be in Buffalo, NY visiting my parents and went out on a fancy date at this place called The Epic. We still talk about the insanely amazing food we ate. 

This year, I'm 7 and a half months pregnant, and getting ready to move again in a month. Just across town thankfully. And since the students and our team aren't back yet, we were without any babysitters, and therefore it meant a night in. Which honestly was ok. We spent the morning at the lake, let Hailey skip a nap (so she she would crash earlier), and had a nice steak dinner after the kids were in bed. Luke gave me a beautiful pair of earrings and we watched some of our wedding video. We have done this on our anniversary before (year 2 I think) and it's always really great to listen to the homily Father gave that day. 

And since I'm a sentimental gal and all, here are some pictures from our wedding:

Our Lady of Victory Basilica, Buffalo, NY. My dream as a little girl of getting married here came true.

the beauty takes your breath away

exchanging vows

my turn

my sister made our cake (extra desserts were also on hand) and the cake topper was my grandparent's.

We had made the decision not to do the garter toss, and Luke surprised me instead by washing my feet, as Christ had washed the feet of the apostles as a sign of his humility, love and desire to serve. As our friend who was our DJ called me to the dance floor, and Luke escorted me to the chair, he explained what Luke was going to do, and why, (Luke had written out what he wanted him to say), and then he played the Matt Maher song "Your Love is Extravagant" while Luke washed my feet. There was not a dry eye in the room.
still makes me emotional looking at these pictures
So in love.

And 4 years later..... 

steak dinner in, 2 kids in bed, one on the way....

And the next morning, he brings me breakfast in bed saying, "Happy anniversary again honey."

Luke, I would marry you all over again. In a heartbeat. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Age Milestones

Casey, 18 months old
Casey is entering toddlerhood and taking it by storm. He loves to explore outside and is in full discovery mode these days. Can't stay away from dirt and puddles and listening/obeying is not his strong point. He is so quick and gets away from me in the blink of an eye. Taking them out front to ride their bikes has become nightmarish for me lately. His current favorites are Thomas the Train, reading books by himself or being read to, still teething fiercely on the corners of his blankie, following Hailey around and doing whatever it is she is doing, Signing Time dvds from the library, and dance parties in the living room after dinner. Words he says: knock knock, more, no more, Mom, Dada, Tase, cheese, tank you, yes, no, oh no, duck, truck, ball, boat, moon.

Hailey, 3 yrs. old
Hailey is still into playing dolls, kitchen, tea parties and has recently watched Cinderella and is completely in love. She bought a new doll with her birthday money, and surprise surprise, it looks identical to the one she already has. So now she goes every with "two babies" as she says. She still wants to push them in her little doll stroller wherever we go (Mass, library, park, road trips, walks...everywhere) She loves to kiss and hug and snuggle the baby in my belly and shares her blankie with him, spreading it out on my tummy. She is finally sleeping all night in her toddler bed, but needs to be taken back and re-tucked in at least once a night. Likes to mother Casey all the time, sometimes being rather mean and bossy which she gets in trouble for, but otherwise, brings him his blanket when he is sad, will ask him, "ohhh, need hug Tasey?" tells me when he is poopy, tries to wipe his face and nose, brings him his sippy cup and will put his baby quilt on him in his bed if I forget.

It's a constant back and forth of them being the best of friends and the worst of enemies, but that's just the way it goes.

I love you, Hailey and Casey!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rushford Reunion

Time to document the most wonderful family vacation ever! It took place June 19th-23rd at our aunt and uncle's summer house on a lake in western New York. We grew up going to the lake house as it used to belong to our grandparents. When they put it up for sale a few years ago, we were all thrilled when my aunt and uncle were the ones who purchased it! They have been saying for some time now that we should all still feel welcome to come down whenever we wish. And if one of us is ever in town during the summer, we will usually go down for the day. But this was the first time we asked them if we could all come down at the same time, stay for several nights and let our kids experience being at the lake house with their cousins, the same way we had! They were so happy to hear our idea and were so gracious and generous in letting us all come and stay. It took quite a bit of planning to coordinate all our schedules, husbands take time off work, and each planning our road trips and flights from all over the country (Arizona, Indiana, Canada, Ohio and Maryland).

Did we have a blast? I'll let the pictures do the telling...

this quickly became every child's favorite chair to snuggle up on.

last day being 2! I get so nostalgic around my children's birthdays!

Luke's artistic masterpiece, for his Barney obsessed little girl

it was so much fun to get to celebrate her 3rd birthday with everyone!

I love seeing the joy on her face

My grandparent's come down for the day for Hailey's birthday. 

a fishing pole! She was super excited to fish with her daddy

Cecilia and Casey, just 4 months apart in age, such sweet little friends, spent their days throwing rocks.

trying to catch minnows like her big cousins.

Jerry and Anthony, also three yrs old and best friends.

Monica or Mary? Too far away to tell....

such a sweetie, fell asleep on the pontoon boat.

she was so timid to get one the boat, but once there, she had the time of her life and is still talking about it.

Captain Aunt Maureen and her little sailor

They are all wondering why in the world we are making them do this.

Although terrified at first, Casey warmed up to it.
the beauty of this lake gets me in the depths of my soul. I'm serious. That good looking guy and little man there do too :)

I want to go back.

I laugh every time I see this picture! They had such a good time together.

getting ready to fish for the first time with her new pole!

Yep, it's been framed, on the shelf. Just priceless.

There were a ton more amazing pictures that my sisters took and we've all been gradually sharing online with each other. I think I need to put this vacation in it's own photo album. It was such an incredible time, we hope to make it an annual event!

Feeling so blessed....

Moments to Remember

These two....

gosh, how they melted my heart that evening! So sweet! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Williamsburg, VA

Before Luke left for focus summer training, we went out of town for a mini family vacation. Luke knew the woman who is the head of hiring for all of Bush Gardens Amusement Park in Williamsburg, VA and she was able to get us free tickets to both Bush Gardens and the Water Park.Williamsburg is also known for it's incredible history and has preserved the most incredible downtown area of old colonial Williamsburg.I was so excited! (side note, even though I had the American girl doll, Samantha, I always had a love for Felicity. Seriously, the colonial era speaks to my romantic heart.) But on with our trip....

Our plan was to leave Monday morning, super early, and head right to Bush Gardens for a full day at the park. Theeeen we realized that it would be a 3 and half hour drive, right through Monday morning rush hour DC traffic - which could easily add up to an hour an a half, and then expect to be full of energy, ready to have fun at the park all way that was going to work. So we quickly packed up and left after mass and a quick brunch on Sunday. Since Jamestown was just minutes away, we wanted to stop there that evening and see the Pocohontas trail, the ship in the harbor, etc. Well, we got there at like 6:30 and the park had closed at 6. Such a bummer! We didn't think to check online, we were really kicking ourselves. So we went to downtown Williamsburg to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere a bit. It is so quaint and you can really imagine what it must have been like.

We then checked into the Days Inn and put the kids to bed. An uneventful night. But we were there, ready to hit the park at 10am when it opened.

Monday morning the forecast was NOT good. Thunderstorms and heavy rain from 10am till like 3 or 4pm. We drove to Bush Gardens anyway hoping maybe it wasn't going to be that bad and quickly blow over. The sky was definitely saying otherwise. We debated in the car for forever, my vote was no, Luke wanted to try. So we got out in the mild drizzle, walked into the park, rain was getting heavier, got our tickets, rain still increasing, and we ducked into a souvinour stand for cover to revisit the "should we really be doing this today?" conversation. We agreed....not happening.

So we went and walked around the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center and saw a 30 minute video about life back then. It was kind of cheesy but I liked it. Since it was still raining, we went back to the hotel and let the kids take their usual naps. When they got up, the rain had stopped and we went swimming in the outdoor pool at the hotel. It was kind of cold, but the kids still had a blast.

Dinner that night at a local pizza place called The Library. It was sooo good. Apparently the pool wore Casey out.

Head falls lower. Didn't fall asleep though, once that pizza arrived, he chowed down.

That night we went back to a different part of colonial Williamsburg and explored some more.

Candy shop where Luke indulged his sweet tooth (he denies he has one)

view of the other side of the street

He needed to roam so we stayed outside the candy store

Time to see what they got us!

Time to go
Tuesday was sunny and beautiful and with everyone well rested we were so ready to take on Bush Gardens! We didn't know what Hailey would think of the kid rides, and she ended up loving them! Casey was a good sport about watching with me.

He's just trying to imitate Oscar the Grouch's eyebrows here.

She's telling me, "Go faster Momma!!" Sorry Hailey.

The elderly gentleman who was in charge of this ride asked how old Casey was and if I thought he would hold on. When I saw how slow the thing was going, I kinda was thinking Casey could handle it too. So we let him ride as well, on Hailey's second time around and at first he didn't like it, but then relaxed and enjoyed it a ton!

Probably her favorite ride. She loves flying on airplanes.
Luke got to go on a few rides throughout the day while the kids and I were either looking at animals or taking a break. We did do one water ride as a family and Casey HATED it. Looking at the pictures they take of you on the ride afterwards, we just about died because of the look on Casey's face. Complete horror. I think we got him and Hailey ice cream after that.

Another highlight of the day, that I never want to forget was the Celtic Fyre performance we watched. Throughout the park, in the different countries, are stages and theaters where shows are performed at regular intervals throughout the day. The Celtic Fyre Irish dancers was said to be one of the best shows so we made sure we made it to that one. It was truly incredible and beautiful. Hailey was mesmerized and didn't want it to end. She LOVED the dancers and was clapping and bouncing in her seat the whole time.

The next day we went to the water park but the kids were sooo not into it. Like, at all. And they are normally obsessed with water. It was kind of baffling but I think when it came down to it, they were just still exhausted from the day before. They were lacking the stamina for day 2 of park fun.

where Hailey camped out almost the whole time.

finally someone was ready to have fun

We didn't stay long at all, and left around 1:30pm. Which was fine, especially considering we didn't pay for it! No need to feel guilty for not getting our money's worth or anything like that. And we had a long drive home ahead of us. Plus, the kids were just tired. They konked out on the car ride home, but woke up refreshed enough when we stopped to have dinner with a mission partner outside of DC at Chipotle to be bouncing off the walls and drive me nearly crazy.

Final memory from this vacation. The amount of pee in Hailey's car seat. For whatever reason, she could not hold it at all. It was like, "Mommy, I pee pee please!" "Ok, Hailey, wait till we stop the car. One minute." Pull over a minute later so she can go and she's already gone in her sear. It happened 4 times I think over the course of our vacation. (Once instance resulting in us on the side of the road, a cop pulling over behind us, assessing our situation and still being a jerk and writing us a ticket. A $90 ticket for failing to obey the "stopping for emergencies only) signs all over the highway. Well, sorry sir, this was an emergency, she had to pee and otherwise she would have gone in her seat. His response, "If my kids can't hold it, I tell them to go in their seat." Gee, thanks for the unasked for parenting advice. He was ridiculous. And then 2 hours later when she's telling us she needs to pee again and we're telling her we can't pull over on the side of the road, just a few more minutes till we can on an exit and she pees in her seat. Where are you now, cop? Case in point.) And it was just weird because she never does this type of thing and it probably was just the heat and amount of water she was drinking. Ohmygosh though, SO gross. We took her seat out once we got home, so I could take it apart and wash the padding in the washer, and the leather seat and floor were wet with pee too!! Thank goodness for leather seats though.

It was such a wonderful and special family trip though. And timed so perfectly by Luke so that it helped sorta sustain me during his absence. Good job, honey :)

And good job to you, if you made it through this long recap!