Annie tried volleyball this spring with five of her little second grade friends.

TJ was the coach!

As our children are getting older and we have moved into the stage of playing sports, it's so interesting for me to watch them.  You wonder if they are going to have any idea what they are doing, will they "get it"  or even if they will like the sport.  We're still in the stage of just trying sports out for fun, as I think it should be.  We don't start our children at a young age in a sport and spend an insane amount of hours practicing while pushing them to be the best.   If they are good at something, then that's great!  But I won't be pushing my children into sports and making plans for colleges to come and visit any time soon.  I want them to just have fun, try different sports out, and be active. 

 Obliviously, it gets tricky the more children you have.  Keeping family time and just being together a priority gets harder and harder the more practices and games you add to the schedule.  Even just taking all the kids to each sporting event was difficult this spring.  We're learning the balance of being involved in sports verses time together as a family.  Right now we still only have two that are involved with practices and games, but I can tell that George will joining the ranks soon. And boy is he ready to swing something, be it a baseball or golf ball, the kid likes to swing! 

It will be fun watching each child find their thing.  What they will like to do and be good at.

(above photos courtesy of Kevin Clark!)

We celebrated the girls last game with an ice cream sundae party at the Vacek's house!  What fun we had.  And hey, the girls may not remember how to yell got it as the volleyball is coming towards them, but I do believe they will remember the awesome sundaes they made!

Thanks TJ for coaching Annie' team!

Three Weeks

It's three weeks until we move.  Three weeks to savor the lasts....
the last time baking bread on my kitchen counter, the last morning sitting on the front porch reading my favorite books, the last walk around the boulevard, the last bath in our tub, the last dinner made in our kitchen, the last picture taken out by the flowers on our front porch, the last rock in the rocking chairs watching the kids ride their bikes, the last walk down to the park, the last run through the streets in our neighborhood, the last family movie night in our basement, the last early morning Sunday pie...   So many lasts.

I know how to clean every inch of this house.  I know how to close the front door so quietly as not to wake anyone up early in the morning as I slip out to run.  I know where the squeaky spots are on the floor upstairs and how to avoid them in the early morning hours.  I know what time of day and where the sun will be shining in from the windows to take the best pictures.  I know how to pull the back door shut so tight or else it will fly open even on the slightest windy day.  I know not to panic when the wind does blow in the middle of the night.  It just SOUNDS like our bedroom is going to break away from the house.  I know that there will be wasp nests in our shutters on the front porch.  I know just how far to pull Sherman into the garage, how to leave the bathroom light on at night for those who will be getting up to use it later, how to turn the fan on in the bathroom as background noise to help Evelyn fall asleep.  I know every inch of our kitchen floor because I've wiped that sucker down fifty thousand times after many many dinners. 

We have so many good memories from the five years that we have lived here.  But now I'm ready to make new memories starting in our new house!  I can't wait to figure out where everything will go, which furniture goes where, what room will be used for what, who will sleep where, organize my kitchen, explore the yard and see what is growing, and find a home for ALL our stuff. 


Mother's Day

I've had the privilege of celebrating eleven Mother's Days as a mother.  Over those years I have come to learn a thing or two about that special day!  There is a lovely book that I read which laid it all out so well...so well that I have changed my outlook on the whole Mother's Day...day.  I hope to pass along this to my girls who will one day become mothers themselves.  

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in her book, Mrs. Sharp's Traditions 

The new mother holding her first miracle enjoys the best Mother's Day.  After that, Mrs. Sharp suspects for many women (although they are hard-pressed to admit it) the celebrations of Mother's Day is a slow exercise in the law of diminishing returns.  Why should this be so?  First, mothers are rarely remembered as they would like to be, because few of our children know us as individuals with personal preferences.  Usually we are so busy nurturing and meeting everyone else's needs while the family is growing up that we fail to articulate our own wants and desires.  The second reason disappointment looms is because when Mother's Day rolls around, most of us forget that we are not our husband's mother.  We are hurt because our husband did not remember us.  Dear Reader, the day a husband annually remembers his wife with special, loving gestures is called the "wedding anniversary".  Yes, it is lovely when a husband expresses his appreciation for our efforts as a mother.  However, Mrs. Sharp believes it is a far better gesture for husbands to remember their own mothers rather than expecting daughters-in-law to do it every year.  Of course, in a young family Father must take on the responsibility of helping little children prepare or obtain a small gift for Mother.  But Father's encouragement should be necessary only until a child is ten years old.  After that, the fledgling celebrant is on his or her own.  This means, in the course of any lifetime, there is bound to be the occasional dry year when someone forgets to remember Mama.  Mrs. Sharp's next suggestion is for her younger women friends.  Dear Reader, this year decide no matter how the day turns out, from now on you will observe Mother's Day in your own special way: by reflecting on the intangible joys that come from being a mother.  Celebrate yourself.  Treat yourself to a lovely token of esteem, mentally toss out the past year's accumulated burden of guilt, and start anew.  Remember, it is only the first one hundred years of motherhood that are the hardest.  After that, you're home free. 


I am working on giving up expecting anything on this day.  I have learned that when I expect something, I am ALWAYS disappointed.  I've also grown to learn that my job as a mother does not have to be rewarded in one day with large gifts.  Even though my job is hard and demanding, just the gift of my children should be enough.  Don't get me wrong, I remember struggling those first few years of Mother's Days.  Seeing friends get massages, trips away on their own, elaborate gifts made me wish for more.  But now as I get older, I can honestly say that is not my desire. 

 I love how Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote that we are not our husbands mother.  SO TRUE!!!  I was so pleased with TJ taking his mom out for a lunch date Sunday afternoon.  What a good example he is setting for our children.  He also assisted with the making of my brunch that I found when I returned home from my run!  Thomas and Annie were so excited to give me my breakfast and that made me happy. 



I read somewhere once to try and serve my husband and children MORE on Mother's Day than on any other day of the year.  And even though that's what I do every single day, I found myself getting trapped in the idea of ME, ME, ME.  I DESERVE....(fill in the blank).   Once I remembered that I don't deserve anything really, that everything I have been given has been given to me as a gift from God, and that I am not TJ's mother...it was only then that I really began to find happiness on Mother's Day.

I felt such gratitude and happiness on Sunday morning.  I decided that I would go for a long run early in the morning.  Then came home to a delicious breakfast outside.  We sat and watched the kids playing and my heart was full.  Thank you TJ for helping the kids to make a special morning for me!


This could have been my real Mother's Day gift....a quiet Monday morning, sitting at the computer working on turning my blog into a book, smelling the beautiful peonies I got from my mom, and sipping delicious coffee!

As I was walking to the pond Monday with George, Evie and Pete, I was thinking about myself as a mother.  I feel very confident that I am giving our children the best that I can, but none of this would be possible without TJ.  He gave me the gift of motherhood (along with God, of course!) TJ and I give them the example of a loving marriage.  We have given them life, siblings, a home that houses good meals, clean clothes, and creative excursions.  We have given them the opportunity to grow in their catholic faith.  We teach them how to pray and foster a relationship with God.  We teach them right from wrong.

My hope for myself is selflessness.  That I will think of others first and look for ways to serve.  To show more kindness and love to my family and not just to friends and strangers.  To not expect anything, but delight in everything.  To be the mother that God has created me to be.


Morning of the Marathon

I always get excited for the morning of the marathon each May.   Getting up early, packing a breakfast to eat in Sherman, coffee, and cheering.  Lots of cheering!  We go to the same spots and jump out of Sherman to cheer each year.  This year Kim and the kids came along with us.  We had such fun standing and cheering for the ten thousand runners to "keep it up"!  My eyes were bouncing around in my head as I scanned the ten thousand runners to find TJ so as to be able to shout out as loud as I could and cheer him on! 

I was so proud of TJ for running.  He doesn't always get in the miles that he would like to as he's training, and yet he still can run the 13.2 on race day.  He sets such a good example for our children too! 

It was weird this year because I had actually registered to run it.  I had been running with my good friends and mentally trying to prepare myself to be able to run it so shortly after Pete was born.  But the closer it got to race day, I knew I wasn't going to be able to run.  My knees and back were bothering me and I opted to take the kids out and cheer for everyone instead.  Even so, from the sidelines I was wishing that I had done it!

We are so proud of you TJ!


About a month ago, TJ and I made an offer on a house in an area of town that we have been longing to live in for years.  It's super close to our church and school, close to our friends, and pretty much everything since it's in the middle of town.  TJ and I had had enough of the twenty minute drive to and from school each day.  And now that the kids are getting more involved with school activities we knew that living close was a must. 
Our house sold four days after we listed it!  What a bonus for us to have it sell so quickly.  Being the sentimental gal that I am, although I have been looking forward to moving for years, I am already going to miss this house. 


We're growing and learning at a rapid rate these days at our house.  George took off on his bike with no training wheels and now he's a two wheeler bike riding machine.  Learning to ride without training wheels ranks right up there with losing the first tooth for me....I find it extremely sentimental to watch my child learn how to muster up the confidence it takes to balance on two wheels.  And then watch them ride around and around like they've been doing it for years.  It's so awesome!

Evelyn is no longer scared of the toilet!  She has mastered going in the toilet like a pro.  Thank goodness.  I will remember this when I worry that someone will never learn a skill.  It can be done.

Pete is growing every day.  Really.  He's 15 pounds 6 ounces.  Chunky monkey.   I love to squeeze him.  He is so smiley and such a pleasant little boy.  Unfortunately, I think that I need to eliminate dairy from my diet.  His skin has dry rough patches, he spits up after nursing, and his diapers are consistently green...all signs of a milk allergy. 



Thanks to my sister and her new found talent of bow tie making, the boys in our homes will be looking like this for quite some time.  I'm sure of it!