Monday, May 30, 2011

Beach fun

Beach babe

About once a year we pack up all the kids and make the hour and a half drive to Galveston Island to have some fun at the beach.

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We had a perfect day at the beach this year. The weather was perfect with a nice breeze and it was warm enough so that the kids weren't cold when they were wet but not so hot that we were sweltering under the bright sun. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky.

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I'm so glad that we have been able to do this for our kids. The quick drive to Galveston isn't all that big of a deal and we just pack PB&J to eat, but it sure makes a lot of good memories. All that's necessary is the water, the sand and a few buckets and shovels and my kids are happy for hours. And, maybe a few seagulls.

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But, I never even saw the ocean myself until I was in college. Actually, Eric was the person who took me on my first trip to the beach. Eric has been the person that created many opportunities for many firsts for me, which is one of the things I love about him. He constantly expands my horizons.

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He also let's me have all the time I need to take about a bazillion photos every time we go to the beach.

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Keeping track of four active kiddos while I snap away certainly isn't easy.

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But, he's a good man and he loves me. And, I love him.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer break is coming

My older kids only have one short week of school left. Monday they are off for the holiday and Friday is just a half day of school. I'm looking forward to the summer... and I'm not.

I'm looking forward to more relaxed mornings, not packing lunches, NO HOMEWORK!, and much less busy schedules in the evenings. I'm also looking forward to time in the pool, more produce from our vegetable garden, and eating more watermelon than is probably healthy for me.

But, for the first time ever, I'm not really looking forward to having all my kids at home all day. Wow. I can't believe I just wrote that! I've always been the mom who loves having all her chicks home with her. And, I still feel that way for the most part, but I'm feeling a little anxious, too.

Last summer was very difficult for me. Clara was still a tiny, nursing around the clock infant, potty training Gustin was going absolutely no where and the dynamics between Gustin and the older kids were tough. Gustin was trying to figure out his place with respect to the older two (I now understand why being a third child is hard) and his sometimes aggressive, always stubborn personality was really starting to show itself. And, I was going through postpartum depression.

I keep reminding myself that this summer will be different. Clara only nurses briefly once in the morning and once at night now. The postpartum depression is long gone. The potty training still isn't complete (Gustin does pee in the potty now, but only manages to not poop in his pants a few times a week), but it is definitely improving lately. Turning 4 a couple of weeks ago seemed to motivate him a bit, thank the Lord!

This summer will not be a repeat of last summer.

But, Gustin is still a very strong-willed child. There are days where he fights me over absolutely everything! Earlier this week he absolutely refused to eat his favorite lunch and voluntarily refused any snacks or any other food until dinner time and only ate a couple of bites then. It's a control thing for him (just like the potty training) and he won't do anything that he doesn't decide he wants to do.

Please, don't get me wrong. I love this little boy very deeply! He is strong-willed, but he is also very generous, attentive and loving. He cracks us up all the time and is so very imaginative.

But, I pray every day that God will give me the wisdom and courage to be the mom that Gustin needs me to be. He's forcing me to grow and to learn to be patient with a capital P and sometimes it hurts. But, motherhood is my vocation, which means it's my path to heaven, so I shouldn't expect it to be easy. In fact, without Gustin here to help smooth out my rough edges, I wouldn't have nearly as many opportunities to grow as a person. He's helping me on my path to sainthood, and, hopefully, I'm helping him on his path as well. So, every night when I say my prayers, after I pray for the Lord's grace and guidance, I also thank God for my little boy and for the amazing opportunity to be his mother.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Testing... testing...

Is anyone out there? Does anyone read my neglected little blog? I wouldn't blame anyone for abandoning it. More than three months without a post. Wow. Pretty pitiful.

I do miss my blog, though. I miss interacting with all you wonderful Catholic women (do any men read this blog I wonder?). I don't know when I'll be posting again, though I do hope it will be soon. But, I know better than to make any promises at this stage of my life. Maybe things will slow down a bit once school is out? Maybe not.

I did have an amazing experience this week that I'd like to briefly share with you all. Our pastor approached a friend of mine recently asking her if she wouldn't mind getting together a few mothers who had experienced natural childbirth. He had be spending a lot of time contemplating the Blessed Mother and wanted to speak with some women about motherhood so he could deepen his own relationship with Mary. So, a mother of four who lost a child as a toddler, a mother of 5 who is expecting her sixth child and myself spent two hours with our priest talking about everything from pregnancy to childbirth to nursing (the emotional and spiritual sides, not the gritty details as our pastor was quick to point out.) It was such an amazing experience! I was on an intense spiritual high afterward. I learned so much speaking with other mothers, whom I highly respect, about our vocation and the insights that our pastor had were profound. It would take many more blog posts to communicate everything that I experienced that day and I really don't think that I'm a talented enough writer to do it all justice. I left with a deep sense of gratitude for motherhood, our Blessed Mother and the priesthood.

I'm praying for all you mamas out there (and all of you patiently waiting for the opportunity to be mothers)! Please remember to pray for our priests. They need men and women faithfully living out their vocations as mothers and fathers just as much as we need them to be holy priests.

And, finally, I'll close in a way that is becoming a tradition on this blog, with a picture totally unrelated to the post content. Enjoy!

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