Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Luis!!!

It may seem kind of random to post Wedding shots on a birthday post but for Luis and I it all blends into one big celebration (our birthdays and anniversary fall within 2 weeks).
So today we are on our way to 4 Line Rd. to kick off with a birthday celebration for Luis. There may be some surprises in store for him and I'll post pictures later about that...
To my husband and best friend- Happy Birthday Luis!
I really am the lucky one in the relationship.

Monday, December 22, 2008

One more wish

I forgot to add to our wishlist:
For Sharon Isabella (or "Isabayyya" as the boys would say) to have a perfectly smooth surgery and a miraculously easy recovery for Christmas.
It sounds like the first part of the wish was already granted- thanks be to God.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

All we want for Christmas 2008

For Grandad Pierce to be home from the hospital and no more bacteria in his blood.
For the sniffles my children have to clear up before we head out to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
For Luis' birthday celebration on December 23rd at 4 Line Rd. to be a smashing success.
For all of us to enjoy good sleep over the next 2 weeks despite the fact that we're dealing with 8 young cousins off schedule under the same roof.
For Alexandra Marie, the youngest cousin, to stay healthy especially for her baptism on December 26th.
For there to be no stress, tension or unexpected hospitalizations over the next 2 weeks.
For us all to take nothing for granted and appreciate every moment we have together.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Quote of the week

Sunday night is trash night during which Luis dutifully collects all the trash from the house and places it on the curb.
As he was passing me tonight with a huge bag from the upstairs diaper pail he said, "This smells like the elephant cage at the zoo."
I thought it was an appropriate quote of the week.

Advent flies by

December is the fastest month of all if you ask me. Here I'm posting a picture of our Advent wreath two weeks ago with one candle and it's already Gaudete Sunday today. Jen & Matt have really good news but I'm waiting for them to give me the okay to blog about it:)
The boys have really enjoyed the wooden blocks that Grandma and Grandpa Brown brought for Thanksgiving. They're constantly constructing various structures from imaginary castles to train tunnels.
And here are some goofy pictures of them playing around with the butterfly nets of the Elefun game.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Litany of Humility

I've been praying for humility lately. The Litany of Humility. Don't ask for it and don't look for it anywhere. Because when you do, your husband or someone really close to you may take a horrible picture of you. And you may feel compelled to post it...for humility...or a good LAUGH.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December in Old Town

We are very resolved to spend the rest of our lives in Old Town Alexandria, VA. We probably won't be a suburban or country family. We're okay with this. (Well, Luis is relieved that I'm finally okay with this and am no longer blaming my motherly problems on that fact that I can't let my kids run out freely in a beautiful safe meadow for hours on end).
Anyhow, part of our family culture here includes parades. Several times a year some impressive parades walk the blocks surrounding our house. It is thrilling. The December parade is the Scottish walk. The boys literally shake with excitement as we set up our chairs and stroller and bundle up for the event. Luis and I always prepare ourselves an extra sweet mocha cappuccino (does that not reveal how "cityish" we've become or what?!).
We love this part of American culture.
What you cannot see in one of the pictures is that there was a party going on in the town home. The guests at the party were viewing the parade from the many floors and windows- so cool!
The kids especially love that every so often one of the parade characters throws candy in their direction. We get to cheer on different military branches walking in uniform and enjoy the solemn sound of bagpipes.
Gabe is really in love with bagpipes. But somehow I don't think that instrument will find it's way into our home.
Well, maybe if we do move to the country some day we will construct a wonderful sound proof room...

When a girl doesn't get her chocolate

She spotted some chocolate chips on our counter but it was too late and too close to bedtime to afford her the luxury of a chocolate fix. So we said "no" and let her pout. But she looked so cute we had to take a picture.

I couldn't resist

The new header picture is probably going to be our 2008 Christmas card. I couldn't resist posting it. We had a fun time trying to get this shot. Gabe was originally going to be an angel. He would not hear of it though. He looked at the wings and the halo and gave us a 3 yr old "I will not OBEY" attitude. But when offered the shepherd's stick he relented. In fact, he was pretty enthralled with his shepherd staff...as evidenced by this shot.
John Paul made a good St. Joseph we think. And Monica surprisingly took to her Marian role quite easily. She willingly kept her hand on the baby Jesus during the whole shoot.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fall Moments

Gabe loves his shovel. The fallen leaves provided plenty of material to dig and throw around. John Paul squeezing Gabe's face a little too hard but very cute. It must be all that excitement from riding the Gator. Luis gets his tractor fix at Mom and Dad's house. The boys enjoy riding it with Daddy. Somehow John Paul has me convinced that it's safe to ride down the slide with Monica on his lap and then practically crush her at the bottom inches from our brick patio. And I think it's so cute that I actually take a picture of it.

Thanksgiving 2008


I've been wanting to post so much over the past month it's become an overwhelming nagging feeling. I've suffered a classic case of overload. Our lives really picked up in September and there have been so many bloggable moments. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas ahead, I'm going to attempt to get back into the habit of posting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


So my dear family & friends,
You may be wondering why I have not blogged much over the past 5 weeks.
Take a guess why:
A. We've been so busy with the start of the school year.
B. We've been so emotional about Jen, Matt, Lydia & baby Heil moving to California that it's been impossible to put into words the loss we feel...not to mention the emotional turmoil a few weeks ago when Dad almost died again.
C. I (Cal) have lost all memory space on my camera and am too stubborn to buy a new stick in this economy SO we've taken almost no pictures for almost two months...and I'm not savvy at downloading pictures onto the computer...yes I'm a technophobe.
D. All of the Above.

If you guessed D., you are correct!
I've been checking your posts (Mom, Cath, Teresa, Cathy, Jaye & Jacqueline) and will start to comment again soon.
Love you all!


Em sent me a nice little inspiring tidbit:

"When God wants an important thing done in this world or a wrong righted, He goes about it in a very singular way. He doesn't release thunderbolts or stir up earthquakes. God simply has a tiny baby born, perhaps of a very humble home, perhaps of a very humble mother. And God puts the idea or purpose into the mother's heart. And she puts it in the baby's mind, and then--God waits. The great events of this world are not battles and elections and earthquakes and thunderbolts. The great events are babies, for each child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged with humanity, but is still expecting goodwill to become incarnate in each human life."

Thanks Em!
PS- I'm not announcing a pregnancy or anything.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cousin Compassion

Yesterday morning in the car on the way to school John Paul brought up a topic that seemed close to his heart.

John Paul: "Mommy, do you think if we build a house around Freddy's pumpkin plant a squirrel won't eat it again?"

How sweet. He remembered the post from Bergy Town awhile back explaining Freddy's eaten plant. What good brotherly/"cousinly" love.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Today was the feast day of St. Therese the Little Flower. It's the middle name we chose to give Monica because we love this saint. One major thing that got me through the pregnancy with Monica was reading books on St. Therese at night. Her life was so little and humble yet so extraordinary in her capacity for confidence and hope.
Monica doesn't quite understand all of this yet. Today she toddled around with a runny nose in a cute dress. She's breaking in some molars so her sleeping patterns are horrendous. BUT she's still huggable, kissable and downright giggly most of the day. She's a little person with lots of joy- just like her patroness.
St. Therese- pray for us!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

We laugh
we believe.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Perfect Contentment

It's been almost a week since our long visit to Philly for Dad's critical phase of hospitalization. Throughout all the agony, my kids were immune to the reality of suffering and possible death. Instead they had a ball at Grandmom & Grandad's house. We're ecstatic that Grandad will be returning home soon. We look forward to visiting again for a coming home party.
John Paul and Gabe especially love all the features of the house providing mobility for Grandad: his wheelchair, the ramps and wide open spaces...and of course the "rocket" van. Not to mention the completely boy friendly yard complete with dirt paths and large grassy terrains. The neighbor boys next door are always using Mom & Dad's dirt paths in the woods and offering our kids the use of their swings and trucks.
One of my favorite memories of that crazy week was taking a break to push Gabe on the neighbor's tire swing that sits alongside Mom & Dad's garage. As I pushed him on a perfectly clear, crisp September morning I watched this little person lean his head back as he swung. On his face was the look of perfect contentment. I didn't have a camera to capture it but it's an image deep in my memory.
Children really do hold the secrets to letting go and being joyful in the moment.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Go to Mom's Blog Now

Mom's going to start posting updates on Dad at her own personal blogspot:

From now on, the above address is where you'll find updates on Dad.
I'll be resuming my personal blog for "the grandparents" and of course anyone else who cares!

Slow steady recovery

Thanks again for all the prayers! This is Lorrie instead of Carolyn who has been extremely helpful in communicating the medical updates. Last night Fred experienced respiratory distress, which could have been caused by the kidney stone. With a dose of morphine, extra oxygen, and a "nonbreather" mask he became comfortable enough to get some rest. The pulmonologist said Fred was doing "Okay" on the 6 liters of oxygen, and he needed physical therapy to get his muscles that support his lungs stronger. We need to remind him to use the incentive spirometer (the little plastic device you breathe into to get feedback about how you're moving air).The chest Xray is stable; pneumonia in one lung but not getting any worse. The procedure that Fred had on 9-16 was to insert a catherter in Fred's right kidney and allow all the bacteria filled urine to drain from his body. The kidney stone is lodged still and blocking urine from passing along the normal route. The plan now is to have the kidney stone dissolved by the urologist during an outpatient visit, so hopefully it won't cause Fred too much pain between now and then. Something that has been tricky since Fred's brain injury 4 years ago is his ability to describe pain and be aware of where it 's located. Fred was very restless the night before I brought him to the hospital and now I know that is a big red flag for him. When the nurses ask Fred if he's having any pain he almost always says no. His last two incidents of respiratory distress were triggered by pain. He's going to have a rehab consult soon which will be extremely helpful. Fred's hematologist is thrilled that his platelets are almost back to normal today, as well as his blood clotting time. "You won't be needing me anymore!" Fred's nurse today commented that she's never seen such clear urine draining from a nephrostomy bag, which is attached to the catheter placed in Fred's kidney. Thank God for that wonderful intervention which really saved Fred and got everything moving in the right direction. Fred needs lots of rest to continue this recovery so we ask if we could hold off on visitors while Fred is in the ICU. In a very weak voice today he asked when he can go home- can't blame him! What a wonderful thought! He will need to be infection free as determined by the blood cultures, and he may need some inpatient time at Bryn Mawr Rehab. We are so thankful to God for sparing Fred, and for the support of our beloved family and friends!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On to Recovery

I was hoping to be able to post with this news so here it is:
Dad is off the ventilator and feeling comfortable.
They took the tubes out of his mouth. Oh the relief that must have been! The nurses immediately asked him how he felt and he said, "much better," with a scratchy voice.
He looks like a different person from 2 days ago.
Each doctor that comes in (and there are many involved here as always) is happy with his slow steady progress.
He still has the infections (pneumonia & sepsis) but his body seems to be working in the right direction.
So he'll be in the hospital until he's totally free of the awful bacteria.

So it's been another close encounter with death for Dad/Grandad/Uncle/Brother Fred Pierce. By Monday we were all thinking this infection might take him in that direction. He came close but it looks like he'll be with us for a little while longer!

Thank you for your prayers. Mom believes that's what pulled this thing around towards a hopeful direction over the past 48 hours. There's still a recovery to be gained, but let's be honest, this is nothing compared to what they've endured in the past.


This has all been quite a scare with an unknown outcome. I just got off the phone with Mom and dictated all of these seemingly good things:
Dad is showing slow steady improvement.
They are weaning him off the ventilator and hope to be done by this afternoon.
The Dr. from infectious disease is confident that they are treating him with the right combo of antibiotics.
His platelets are slightly better and his white blood cells are down a little (this is highly important).
The pulmonologist (lung Dr.) was positive about things turning in the right direction.
The cardiologist (heart Dr.) said that blood pressure and heart rate were okay- seeing slow steady improvement too. This is nice positive contrast to what he was saying two nights ago- whew.
The kidney stone is still there- we're not sure how it will be resolved- hopefully when it passes it won't cause too much stress on the heart and lungs.
Overall, once this grave blood infection is resolved, we'll know how much the heart was affected long term.
Dad slept decently last night, seems comfortable and isn't identifying any pain (back to the old thumbs up technique for communication! Tubes in the mouth aren't conducive to verbalizing).
Mom is a trooper as always. She's taking care of herself and getting sleep. We're trying to make sure she eats. Every health care professional at Paoli Memorial now probably knows her by name!
While Dad rested post procedure, we enjoyed a meal with everyone on the back patio at the house. Matt, John and Luis left to go back to DC last night. Now it's Jen, Greg and I with all of the kids. Woo hoo! There has been tremendous support from Mom & Dad's network of friends providing help with childcare and meals- a true godsend.
We hope these trends continue to be good and Dad's pain decreases steadily.
I hope to post later when Dad is hopefully off the ventilator and feeling comfortable.
Thanks again for everything.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time to conquer these infections!

Okay everyone!
It's hard to relay all the complexities of Dad's situation. Bear with me here. The procedure to put the drain in the kidney was successful. This does not mean he's out of the woods.
In fact, he had a bad episode immediately following the procedure during which he was in so much pain he looked like he was in agony for about 15 or 20 minutes. He is so weak and was trying so hard to breath. His vitals started looking alarming and they had to give him morphin for the pain. This is where the fine art of medicine is delicate. They had wanted to wean him from the ventilator today around 4 or 5 pm. But they can't do that because his pain was so concerning they gave him morphin (my spelling is probably way off here). The morphin slows one's breathing on one hand (not good for his lungs which should be off the machine as soon as possible) but relieves him from the immense pain and allows him to sleep on the other hand.
So now it's a "wait and see" game over the next couple of days. We hope and pray that his body will efficiently get rid of these infections with the aid of the antibiotics and kidney drain. His heart and lungs need to survive all of this stress. On the positive side, his vital signs have all remained stable.
The blood tests they do over the next couple of days will obviously indicate where things are going.
This is the best I can do at this moment in trying to sum up the past few hours.
Mom is doing okay. We were happy right after the procedure to hear that it went okay but the pain we saw him in was rather sobering.
Mom is so strong and has taken such tremendous care of Dad. I know she'll continue to do so after all of this.
So let's continue storming heaven for total healing!
And we know this suffering is never wasted. It's always for something good and greater than we can see or comprehend. Dad is certainly a treasure with all of this he's going through. And it's our honor to go through it with him whether it be in person or not.
Thanks so much for all the prayers.

Prayers for the Procedure

So here is the latest from Jen & Mom at the hospital:
Dad's vital signs are better BUT he's not out of the woods yet.
He slept comfortably last night.
He's off the blood pressure support because his blood pressure was stable
The kidney numbers look better.
The white blood cell count was down- this is a good thing

Here's the bottom line:
He's having a procedure at 11am to "FIX the PLUMBING."
This will take between 1 & 2 hours.
The obstruction in his kidney needs to be fixed.
The procedure will drain his kidney.
But this is much like renovating a house, they will go into the organ and there could always be surprises and risks.
So dad is still in critical condition and needs prayers that this procedure at 11 is successful.

Some good news....

While Dad Pierce's condition is still grave and risky this morning, there were some bits of good news last night as Mom Pierce and I (Luis) kept Vigil around midnight.
Dad Pierce's INR levels were at 1.9. This is the rate at which his blood clots. This is below the 2.0 at which his blood needs to be to have the necessary clotting during surgery, which is good news.

He also seemed to stabilize some last night as his blood pressure was up even with no medication (meaning his heart is at least hanging in there), his urine looked good, and the urologist and nurse are quite positive. Dad Pierce also remains in good spirits and was his usual "rock star" self as the Goslins and a priest from the abbey visited.

We realized he was in some pain from the kidney stone, so the nurse gave him some pain meds and he was sleeping like a baby most of the night.

That being said, the risks of the surgery are still the same, and the cardiologist remains very concerned about his heart. The longer the infection remains in his body and the longer his heart is compromised, the more long-term damage could be left. So we need prayers for his heart as well as a successful surgery and clearing up of the infection.

The doctors seem to think that moving up his surgery from 11:30am would not increase his suvivability, so as of now 11:30am it is.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Urgent Prayers Needed

At this point we're realizing that Dad is gravely ill. The bacteria in his bloodstream is affecting every part of his body and his heart is failing him. The procedure to help the kidney stone issue is scheduled for 11:30 tomorrow. We hope that it's not too late. Please pray hard that Dad survives the night and can recover from this overwhelming infection. We should know within 24 hours if he's starting to improve.

Dad Pierce will have Surgery Sometime Soon

Updated 2:30pm

The kidney stone is major concern. However, the usual surgery to put a coil around the kidney to take care of the kidney stone is risky, as Dad Pierce has thin blood and bleeding is a dangerous risk.

They have been giving him plasma with the goal of thickening his blood sufficiently to do the surgery. A successful surgery would eliminate the cause of the overall infection, etc. However, the surgery is risky for obvious reasons (bleeding, his overall condition, etc.)

They want to do surgery ASAP, could be today. That is all we know for now.

Jen and Matt Heil arrived at the hospital and Dad Pierce did smile at Jen and was happy to see her and when Matt said he was looking forward to the Eagles game tonight Dad Pierce gave a thumbs up.

Latest Update on Dad Pierce

As of 11am this morning (Monday), we have found out that Dad Pierce has a kidney stone, which is what has caused much of his current condition. He is on 3 different antibiotics. The doctors cannot treat the kidney stone normally because his blood is so thin, and he would be in danger of excessive bleeding, so instead they are trying to thicken his blood artificially so they can then treat him.

Dad Pierce is conscious, although sleeping alot. When Mom Pierce's friend, Barb Skay, went in the room, he woke up right away and smiled at her.

Mom Pierce is holding up but having a very hard time between sleep deprivation and trying not to blame herself for this happening, so please pray for her and her strength of body and heart. We are trying to re-assure her that she could not have prevented this and are focusing on Dad Pierce pulling through and recovering.

We should know more by the end of the day as they move forward with how to treat his condition.
Thanks for all your prayers and support.

Things not good

It's early Monday morning and I just got a call from Jen. She talked to Mom and found out that things took a bad turn last night. Dad's body is under so much stress from the sepsis and high levels of lactic acid that he started hyperventilating. So with this respiratory distress, they had to put him on a ventilator with full oxygen and bring him to the ICU. So this is not where we were hoping to be.
Jen & Matt are driving up there today and Luis and I are making similar plans.
Please pray.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ongoing Dad Update

I talked to Mom a bit more at length and have more details to add to the ongoing update.
Last night Dad had some respiratory distress but was stable this morning so he's been able to stay on a regular floor without having to be moved to critical care. He has been receiving many fluids through an IV and this may have overwhelmed his body and heart so they gave him some medication to help pump the fluids through more efficiently without the strain.
The consolation today seems to be that his VITAL SIGNS ARE OKAY. His blood pressure is normal and fevers under control.
Regarding the Blood infection (scary I know) and pneumonia: Mom will meet with someone from infectious diseases to discuss the blood tests. They took some Ctscans and x-rays today so they'll have more information to work with. There could be a bladder infection involved here.
We are hoping and praying that his body reacts well to all of the antibiotics. They hope to see his platelet count go UP. This would be a wonderful trend to see over the next few days! (I'm trying not to consider the possibility of this not being the case.)
Dad seems to feel much better than he did Saturday morning but claims to feels aches all over his body. I spoke briefly with him over the phone as did Jen and he seemed to be his normal self.
Mom is a trooper. She is taking this all so well. She's gone home to sleep at night and then continues during the day to be Dad's beloved wife and greatest advocate. Dad has done so well under her care for the past 4 1/2 years! Please pray that she can remain peaceful.
All she asks for is prayers. No request for visitors yet even though I've been ready to jump at the word. They're hoping for the best. Dad will be in the hospital until the coast is completely clear. If all goes well, this will be at least a week.
So, we join in the rest of the prayers of the world...
for the hurricane victims
for the families in crisis all over the world in the midst of war

It's no coincidence that today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross- our hope!
Love you all.

More Serious

Hi Everyone,
I just briefly talked to Mom. Things have actually gotten worse with Dad. Dad has been diagnosed with a blood infection. So this is now the most serious things going one. The glucose and even the pneumonia are not nearly as threatening as a blood infection.
Please pray.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dad's in the hospital

Just posting a quick update. Mom brought Dad into the Paoli hospital this afternoon. His breathing had been labored and his heart rate worrisome in addition to some other unpleasant symptoms. He was calling for Mom about every hour last night so she was so exhausted this morning it took her awhile to get him to the emergency room. They took him right away at the ER. He's on 2 antibiotics for pneumonia in the left lung, oxygen and an IV for dehydration. I talked to Mom as she was going back home to get some rest. Her biggest concern is the fact that they found his glucose levels to be very high which could indicate diabetes. She's trying not to worry too much about this because it would come with a host of complications.
I'm posting this because I left a bunch of messages wondering if anyone had heard from her. Once I finally was able to talk to her she asked me to relay this information to Jen, Cath and anyone else so she could get some rest.
So, please pray!

Friday, September 12, 2008

So Cute

John Paul filled out a survey for school last week:

Favorite Food: EGGS
Favorite Color: RED
Favorite Toy: TRAINS

We know these things as parents but it tickles my mommy heart to imagine him confessing these loves to the preschool aid last week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sep 11

Today we're appreciating the break from the political noise about the election to the focus on the victims of 9/11. It's something I haven't attempted to explain to the boys yet but I'd like to take them to the Pentagon memorial sometime. It's quite busy over there today as well as I'm sure at ground zero in NYC. As our family has continued to heal from our own trauma on 5/22/04, I can only imagine the magnitude of healing that must continue to take place in the hearts of the thousands of families affected by the immense national trauma we remember today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Love to Teresa

To my dear Aunt Teresa (who feels more like an older sister than an aunt!),
Happy Belated Birthday! You have always been loads of fun to be around. I also see you as a person who lives her beliefs to the fullest both in the big and little things. You inspire me as you live your vision of what real love means. I hope this year brings more joy than ever before.
Carolyn & Family

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Back to Schooling

Thank you all for responding to the post below about MiddleEarth. It's a theme worth pondering that I'll probably want to post on again and again. Perhaps it's my attempt to escape into delusional thinking??? Just kidding. Our life here is quite good despite the emotional turmoil I've admitted to over the past week. What can I say? I'm a self proclaimed Drama Queen. It's in my genetic composition.
This is our first full week of school. Our school plan for the year only fell into place a couple of weeks ago.
Frankly, schooling has been something I've obsessed about since John Paul was an infant. I've taken Montessori classes, read way too many books on many different homeschooling methods, purchased over 2 different preschool curriculums to try at home, toured different schools in the area...and pretty much exhausted myself in this pursuit.
I have no long term plan at this point. I've only come to the realization that this year I don't want to be alone. Last year was wonderful with very few commitments and long days at home with the boys while Monica napped like a champion. But this year we're all ready for a little more.
The school of our parish is very good but the preschool is 5 days a week. I could not come to peace with the 5 day a week schedule no matter how hard I tried.
So 2 weeks ago I decided to think outside the box. I enrolled us in a small Catholic academy that's 10 miles away. It's in a humble building and only graduates about 10 kids a year. The curriculum is focused on the "word becoming flesh," hence the name "Angelus Academy." The preschool program loosely uses the Montessori method while maintaining some actual structure. Two days a week (Mon & Tues.) I'll drop John Paul off where he'll be in a classroom setting for 3 hours. Wednesdays we have off. Thursdays and Fridays we're in a Co-op program during which I'll bring all of the kids and work with other Moms to follow the programs that have been planned. This is what I'm most attracted to. I get to show up and learn from other more experienced mothers and teachers! I feel a burden lifted.
So we're in for a trial year. And I'm honestly looking forward to the growth and challenge of it all.
Last week the Co-op had not started. Because of Labor day John Paul only went to school on Tuesday. Luis came with us to drop him off. John Paul was hesitant and wanted to observe everyone for awhile. But after about 15 minutes he was ready to jump in. I had a lump in my throat for the entire 3 hours...this I'm realizing is quite normal thank God. When I picked him up he seemed invigorated. What's even better is that he sang the whole way home.
Ahhhh, if only Mommy could switch emotions that easily!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Shire Vs. Rivendell?

This past weekend I got into a fun discussion with Robin, Em & Luis about where we'd want to live in Tolkien's MiddleEarth. A fun little fantasy worth discussing I'd say.
Luis and I thought we'd prefer the Shire. Very simple. Franciscan and Therese'esque if you're talking in Catholic spirituality terms. You know- staying small & joyful etc. etc. living in rolling natural hills with lots of good ale. Definitely our style.
Robin & Emily would prefer Rivendell. The flowing dreamy lands, the foresight, the beauty and special mystical powers. Quite appealing too.
So I want to hear from my dear family and friends who actually check this blog (which is only a handful.)
What would you prefer?
The Shire or Rivendell?

Tribute to Robin & Emily

So much has been going on over the past week I feel utterly behind! John Paul started school this past Tuesday. Did I mention I was a bit emotional about this?!
I've been keeping up with all the family blogs but haven't posted any comments. But I want to say that Jaye- you're in my prayers as you deal with this new diagnosis for Sharon and the scare of seizures. And congrats Benny Anthony for walking! Cathy & Mark- please don't stop blogging just because the school year has started- we still want to hear about your life in IL after all your adventures this Summer. Mom- thanks again for the Monica post. Jacqueline & Cath- Keep the pictures coming! I'm cutting "HeilStyle" a break since Jen is totally pregnant and moving to California.
This past weekend we were blessed with a visit from a dear friend of mine- Robin. I'm lucky enough to have a dear friend living next door (Emily) and another who lives far away in Boston but has graced us with two visits in the past year (Robin). The pictures above are actually from this past Fall's visit.
This past weekend my head was not quite on straight. (Did I mention my crazy mother emotions reacting to my oldest starting school?!!!). So I didn't get any pictures. BUT I wanted to post some anyway even though it was almost a year ago.
I love the ones of Robin stopping to smell the roses with the kids. The truly remarkable thing about Robin is the way she lives...and I mean truly lives. When life deals you crazy cards and you can still find joy in the smallest of things, you are a hero in my book. Robin lived through a nightmare over 2 years ago when her husband was killed in a really freak accident in Boston. She lived through it and is still living to the fullest...with faith.
Emily and I love when she has an excuse to visit us in DC! And the picture of Gabe & Em is priceless.
I'm lucky to have such good friends.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Birthday pictures from last week

Last week Beth (Monica's godmother) had us over for dinner and we celebrated Monica's birthday with a scrumptious dinner & cake. Our original plans had been cancelled in order to go to North Carolina. Beth made up for it! I'm so grateful to her for her enduring friendship.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm having trouble downloading more pictures from the NC visit and from last night during which Monica's godmother Beth hosted us for dinner.
So in lieu of that, I'm posting about the feast day today of St. Augustine. We chose Augustine as John Paul's middle name. He is also Luis' patron saint. And of course St. Monica is Augustine's persevering mother who we named our Monica after. So you could say we are kind of a Monica/Augustine family. We love these two.
One of the things I love best about Augustine is that he explored and sought truth for so many years. I've never read his entire "Confessions", but I've heard it said that it's one of the first psychological works. The man understood the workings of the human person in it's crazy complexity. He sought to understand truth. He fought to live it. He fell many times. He kept on searching. And all the while his mother quietly prayed for years on end for him.
Yesterday I had a hard day. I'm sleep deprived because we're still recovering from our North Carolina trip AND I've been staying up too late reading these great novels by Regina Doman. AND I'm emotionally anxious about the transition into the school year which starts next Tuesday. AND I had scheduled us for activities all day (what happened to the "less is more" resolution?) AND committed to make a meal for a friend who just had a baby. By mid afternoon I could feel myself losing it with the kids so I called my dear husband and begged him to come home so I could get out to clear my head. I drove out to the Poor Clare monastery. To me, it's the most peaceful place around. It's a simple chapel with lots of light and an aged incense smell. AND it's extra special to us because we had the privilege of burying our first child in the front underneath the Crucifix. This was our child we named Gabriel Grace who we lost on March 7, 2003 at 6 weeks gestation. Even today the rose bush we planted in his honor still blooms bright yellow/orange flowers for several months a year underneath the Cross.
I'm mentioning this to put the following Augustine quote from "Confessions" into context. It's on days like yesterday that I need to read things like this. Days when I feel very very far from peace & goodness. It's my favorite:

"Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you!

You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for you.
In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.

You were with me, but I was not with you.
Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.

You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for you.

I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

So it's time to stop blogging to go help wipe John Paul's bottom. (I'd better do it before Gabe tries!).
But I'll end this post with a quote from the Mass for today that I found comfort in:

"Lord, renew in your Church the spirit of Saint Augustine. Filled with this spirit, may we thirst for you alone as the fountain of wisdom and seek you as the source of eternal love."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Visit with Gram

Surprisingly Gram seems to be sort of fine. She's on antibiotics and doesn't show signs of passing at any moment. In fact, we had quite a good visit with her on Saturday as we pulled up to the hospital in Greensboro. She was her usual self and looked so cute in the hospital bed. I was expecting much worse given her age and the fact that pneumonia can be so severe. The kids really enjoyed the hospital "adventure." She loved Monica especially and kept on commenting on the fact that she may have red hair (this was repeated over and over!) even though Monnie is a solid brunette. The thing that hasn't changed about Gram is that once she gets something in her head, it DOESN'T leave. Of course she called me "Jenny" more than once but that's par for the course with dimensia (spelling correct on that one?). She's the same old gal and I love her to death. Some highlights included the boys romping around on the hospital couch in her room...Monica learning how to play catch with her with a small rubber football. (Who would have thunk it? A 96 yr old woman and a 1 yr old playing catch???).
Then of course we enjoyed seeing all the relatives in NC on Sunday for a brunch at the Messick's. I have more to post on that later.
For now, I'll share some pics from the hospital room on Saturday.
To put it bluntly, I thought it was going to be an emotional "saying goodbye to Gram" visit and it turned out to be a party type get together!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pray for Gram

Hi Everyone,
We got the news today that Gram is sick with pneumonia. She's in the hospital. Her vital signs are okay but she's having trouble staying awake so it seem she is quite weak. At 96, it's understandable if her body doesn't recover. So, we're all praying that she's at peace in her weakness. We're going to attempt a caravan tomorrow morning to see her. More to blog about later...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One Year Ago Today

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


We just got back from another miniature vacation (we are so lucky in this department!). This one was to the beach in Lewes Delaware with some really good friends. It was a three day trip complete with 2 full days at the beach, boardwalk pizza, late night games, wonderful uplifting conversations and my personal favorite...outlet shopping!
If you're reading this, thank you Jan & Ryan!

Tomorrow is Monica's first birthday. I really cannot believe it.
We may go out to a local waterpark for the day. We'll see...
Don't worry, I'll try to use a minimalist approach in the planning of the day- no trains after 8 pm!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Overplanning & Kid Overstimulation

We've been recovering from a wonderful time with Grandad & Grandmom Pierce. I should actually call it "The adventures of Fred, Lorrie, Cal and kids Summer 2008 Trip." We really rocked the Strasburg/Dutch Wonderland scene for 2 days. If you can imagine me piling all 3 kids into the double stroller, Dad wheeling around with his motor wheelchair and Mom keeping us all in line...it was rather crazy but very fun. And did I mention that my biceps are still aching?
Dutch Wonderland was incredible- what with the added Disney type things they've added since I was there as a kid! The kids were mesmerized the whole day.
I had planned a "quick" visit to a friend's house (Mark Oles) who has a really deluxe train setup in his backyard to complete our day at Dutch Wonderland. We dragged the boys away kicking and screaming because I wanted to fit in the visit to Mark and his trains. Surely, I thought, this would complete the day for the kids. My brilliant plan was to keep them awake in the car with ice cream (it was already after 8 pm), run over to Mark's for 15 minutes to see the trains and hop back in the van for a peaceful return to Malvern. I haven't learned yet that kids do suffer from over stimulation. AND one shouldn't voluntarily plan something that interferes with a day at an amusement fantasy world for kids...a park you'd spent an obscene amount of money to enter in the first place!
But I am a daughter of Lorrie. I MUST fit everything in! (Mom & Dad- please laugh with me over this).
So back to the ice cream. It did seem to help keep the kids awake. But I was pushing myself so hard that I actually reached a low point when I reached my weary hands into the McDonalds bag of fries (which of course were to keep Monica busy during the short trip) and proceeded to dip them into my ice cream cone. Then it hit me. This was surely a sign that I had gone way to far. Fries dipped in ice cream? I had overdone it.
The boys of course did love the trains. Dad did too (he successfully wheeled all around Mark's backyard.)
But I did learn my lesson.
My whole life I've been able to overplan and fit ALOT into my days.
But now I'm a Mom. When it comes to kids, enough is enough!
So maybe this post will serve solely to remind myself for future trips to let my wild ambitions go and strive for the "less is more" philosophy with my poor kids.
And maybe you all got a little laugh out of it.
Especially my parents.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


So I don't know about anyone else but I've been faithfully checking HeilStyle when I can and haven't heard any more fun news from the Matt/Jen/Lydia/Decemberbaby family in a while. I know they're on vacation right now in California, but can't they give us some love with a few little posts now and then?
Okay folks, let's see if this works...

Strasburg/Dutch Wonderland

Hi All (AKA anyone who cares),
Yesterday we enjoyed the Strasburg Railroad museum and train. It was pretty much amazing. The museum is priceless with a kid shop section that the boys loved with a passion. It was a long room just filled with all kinds of mini train exhibits complete with several kid sized train tables and a reading corner with train books galore. It felt so authentic- like old men who have been obsessed with trains for decades had spent years of their lives constructing every inch of the room. We rode the Strasburg railroad with Mom & Dad. It was an exciting process as they weren't exactly as handicap accessible as the steam train at Disney. But Mom managed well and Dad survived.
Today we head out to Dutch Wonderland and hope to stop by Mark Oles' house afterwards to view his home train exhibit.
Overall, we've enjoyed this small tour of Lancaster. I have a feeling we'll be back sooner than later to Strasburg...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today Grandmom/Mom is 54 going on 30 (Luis scored some brownie points last night using this remark!). So far it's been a great day- Luis made omelettes for all of us and I decorated a little breakfast tray with flowers from the garden (it looked quite "chic" if I say so myself). We went to Mass and are heading out soon to explore the winery in Chaddsford and look forward to a meal at a bistro nearby. Yesterday we celebrated with the Anthonys, Grandma & Charlie. It was a "skit worthy" visit with all sorts of fun one liners (to be blogged about later) complete with a very late night departure. There was Olympic game watching, flashlight tag, snacking on cereal and lots of great conversation in the late hours of the night. Anyhow, today is the real birthday during which we are honoring Mom for who she is. There's been some quite unlikely weather including rainstorms and hail. Right now Mom is searching the sky for a rainbow- but we all know she's loved by us and God regardless of if there's a rainbow on her birthday!...
Ta Ta for now.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Heading to the 4 Line

Today we're heading to 4 Line Rd. for a few days. Luis will train back on Sunday and I'll stay with the kids for a few days to enjoy Dutch Wonderland and possibly the Strasburg railroad. Mom's birthday is Sunday the 10th so we hope to spend some quality time over a good meal. The kids are really looking forward to it. I'll post more later...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grandad's Rocket Ship

John Paul & Gabe are obsessed with Grandad & Grandmom's Toyota van. They do not see it as a handicap accessible vehicle but as a rocket ship. This is because I'm a slacker Mom and allow them to watch TV. Their favorite show is "Little Einsteins," an outgrowth of the Baby Einstein videos. The show is based on the idea that four children go on adventures around the world in a vehicle named "Rocket." Each show highlights a real piece of art and a real composer. It's actually quite clever for a kid show, and I don't mind it at all. So anyhow, when we visit the Pierce grandparents, they operate under the illusion that the Toyota is actually an incredible rocket...and it really rocks their little world. Grandmom always allows them to take turns pushing the button to open and close the back. They also think Grandad's wheel chair dropped from heaven or something. I really appreciate this. I'm thankful for the little hearts of my children that aren't old enough to understand what most of us perceive as severe limitations. They only see the excitement, adventure and wonder of it. The picture above is another one from last year. It may have even been Mom's first visit to Alexandria with Dad for Jen's 30th birthday. The boys were enthralled with the van in our parking lot and could have sat in it all night. So I'm posting about "Rocket" because to me it's another sign that life is always more interesting through the eyes of a child.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another last year post

So I'm still stuck in last year because of my photo filing. Here's a shot almost exactly a year ago when I was too pregnant to function and battling a few infections. John and Greg both came out at different times to help me out. Here's a shot of the boys playing with their very cool Uncle John. I think I was supposed to be resting and I was out back doing some home projects. I go crazy nesting when I'm pregnant. When Greg came out it was so hot we could barely stay outside. So he helped me lift the kids into the car and we drove to this kid's gym called JW Tumbles and let the boys run around. To this day I still get a kick out of the image in my head of Greg towering over all the other Moms and babies at the kiddie gym! Greg- as I always say- you're a stud!
Anyhow, I'm posting this random shot of the boys stirring something for me in the kitchen sometime last Fall. This past year I had every good intention of enrolling them in gym classes and was in love with the idea of John Paul going to a Montessori atrium once a week. Well, reality set in when Monica was about 2 months. John Paul enjoyed his first few sessions at the atrium but then went on a stubborn strike refusing to go near the place. The gym classes never happened. I got overwhelmed by the expense of it and the thought of rushing them all out of the house to get to a "class" on time. In addition, Monica was my first baby to only sleep in her own bed for hours on end. So we stayed home. And sometimes I wonder what on earth we did. So to wrap up my post, I'm reflecting on this picture because it shows me that we actually did "do" things this past year. It worked for us. So maybe we were shut-ins, but we did bake once in a while!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Year Ago

I'm meandering down memory lane with pictures because I'm in the midst of catching up on 3 years of photo filing and scrapbooking. I finally realized that if I did nothing with the pictures they might as well be thrown out so I've adopted a "slap happy" style of throwing them together into books. So far I've got most of 2005 & 2006 into albums. Anyhow, the pics above are of the boys sharing a baguette in the style they love best. John Paul is peering through a hole in the park play tube thing. Gabe is smiling brightly after a bath.
Just random shots to share!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Random moments of...beauty?

I have come to accept that my idea of beauty has been redefined and refined by having kids. Some little person thought our tiny Mary garden would look much better with a car parked in the midst of it. I've accepted that the flashy red retro car does somehow coordinate with the bright pink roses.
And I'll revisit my obsession with kids sleeping. The next picture is one I shot of Gabe passed out again but this time on the couch. If you'll look closely he's actually clinging to a slotted spoon thing from the kitchen. If you're a conspiracy theorist like my cousin Jason, you'll assume that I wacked him with it to get him to sleep! Gabe went through a phase of needing to grasp any large kitchen utensil and bring it with him everywhere...I mean everywhere. To the point that when we took a weekend trip to the beach last Fall he sauntered down the boardwalk with a large stainless steel soup ladle dragging along the wooden panels. He certainly caused some heads to turn and many grins. But here in this shot it's Mommy who's grinning from behind the lense because my angel is napping. A real moment of beauty.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In the spirit of Birthdays...

I never got around to posting this pic I snapped at John's birthday brunch we celebrated at the super snazzy place he works at. So think of this as a retroactive shout out birthday picture that should have accompanied his birthday post on June 8th. Love ya John!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Gram! 96!!!

This is a Happy Birthday tribute to Gram Pierce who turns 96 today! I know she won't be reading this, but I think it's worth writing anyway. I'll see if I can get lucky and catch her on her phone line today. Gram is quite a woman I don't know where to start in honoring her. The pics above are from my Wedding day- the first few I could find on file in my computer. I thought she looked absolutely lovely on that day in the bright red dress. And there she is hovering over Dad's shoulder as he tried to tie his shoes...And there is one with Mom and Grandma Barbara that's so nice. Gram has an incredible life story. One of my personal favorites is that of her Wedding before Grandad Jack went off to war...the way she raised little Uncle John on her own for awhile...I give her a ton of credit for giving birth to all boys! Later in life after Grandad's death she'd always break out into "This is the day that the Lord has made" and could always be found strumming her guitar, blowing a kazoo or other silly noisemaker instrument and attempting to play that little omnichord thing she had. She really finds joy in the simplest of things. I know now she's often the life of the party at Greensborough Manor.
Another highlight for me was asking her to be my Confirmation sponsor in 6th grade. I always felt lucky as a child that she gave me a lot of personal time and attention. I loved going to plays, concerts or anything she invited us kids to. And her apartment was always stocked with random kid toys. When I was learning to drive somehow I convinced her to allow me to practice in her car. She was a true sport when I ran her it into the side of the house and only asked me to cover the charge of her broken headlight. (The dent in the house wasn't fixed until the home renovations were done in 2004!) There's so much down memory lane I should just stop now.
Anyhow, I'm hoping that we can get down to NC VERY soon for a visit with her. We were totally bummed to miss the 4th of July opportunity due to our crazy virus (Luis still has gross scars all over his hands!). But we're waiting to see how much longer Sharon Isabella & Jaye will be out of town before we reschedule. Here's hoping that I can reach Gram on the phone today...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Childhood Bragging

Teresa brought up a wonderfully fun topic in her comment on a post below- bragging as a child. So I thought I'd open this up for all of us to spill out what we bragged about as a kid.
So first I'll speak for Luis. Actually Luis carried his bragging habit into adulthood. In the process of getting to know him, one of the things he bragged about was that his father was the food scientist that INVENTED Honey Nut Cheerios. Yes, he said "invented." Well, Honey Nut Cheerios happened to be my very favorite type of cereal growing up. So this was actually a mysteriously attractive quality that intrigued me about my prospective boyfriend.
After we had dated for awhile and I flew out to MN to meet the fam, I was fairly excited to confirm this wonderful truth with Mr. George Brown. Well, Mr. Brown set everything straight for me explaining that he had indeed helped in the process of getting Honey Nut Cheerios out safely in the grocery aisle but he had NOT been the original "inventor."
At this point I had found enough other attractive qualities about Luis to stay with him so there really was little harm done. Thankfully.
How's this for a provocative way to get mt husband to acknowledge my blog?
Luis- I invite you to defend your memory and your story.
Everyone else, I'd love to hear about what you all bragged about...

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad Brown, Cath & Tom Berg

This week is a marathon of birthdays and anniversaries. Yesterday was the anniversary of my dear in laws AnaMaria & George Brown. A day late but heartfelt none the less!
And a Happy Anniversary shout out to Cath & Tom! A great day to share with the feast of Sts. Ann & Joachim- parents of Mary.
I could write pages about both couples and what they mean to us but I'll leave it at that for now...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Jack Berg & Lydia Heil!!!

One year ago today Jen & Matt welcomed their first little girl into the world. I'll never forget the phone call from Matt that Jen had gone into labor. I always say if there's a woman who was made to go into labor in heels and a nice black maternity dress it would be Jen. And she did! It's been a blessing to be in the same town for the first year of Lydia's life. She is a darling with a BIG personality. Gee- I wonder who she inherited it from??? Could it be her mother or father? Or both???
Two years ago today Cath & Tom welcomed Jack into the world. I remember being sooo happy for Freddy that his brother had come into the world. There's nothing like little boys wrestling, playing and being boyish. I must say Jack is such a handsome kid I joke that I have a crush on him! And his smile...it takes up 75% of his face like his mother's.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This was taken sometime in the months immediately following Monica's birth. I was transitioning the boys out of an afternoon nap and they were, well, very tired come 4:30 pm. One day they both passed out mid-play when I was out of the room. I'm so glad I grabbed this shot. Why does a mother's heart swell a little more with love when her kids are ASLEEP?!!!

White House Gardens Tour

Hey everyone- The above header picture was taken a little while ago while we were enjoying a tour of the White House gardens. These tours run a few times a year. One of our good friends works at the White House and was kind enough to accompany us and give us more of a detailed description of the landscape (like which trees were planted by which president and the history of Jackie O's rose garden etc.) It was a wonderful experience despite the intense heat and the fact that we had waited an awfully long time to ride the metro as there had been some emergency situations that held up the whole systen. Above is a shot of the oval office I snapped when we passed it. Anyhow, thanks to Peter & Barbara for making sure we got a great tour!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tribute to Jake

For those of you that don't know, Jake the dog died today. I may have acted cold hearted towards that creature sometimes, but I really want to express my sympathies for Mom, Dad, Cath (the original "owner") Greg & John. Jake was a form of companionship and unconditional love in his little slobbery way. Not to mention the fact that he offered good pet therapy for Dad ever since the accident. So my heartfelt love goes out to all who are letting go of Jake today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A cheesy thank you to Angie

So anyone that has gone grocery shopping in the past week and cares to look at the tabloid headlines must have noticed that Brad & Angelina welcomed 2 more babies into their family. In my own little way, I'm consoled that there's a wildly famous woman out there finding great fulfillment in mothering...and to many children at that. Luis and I don't exactly share a common world view with Brad & Angelina. But for those of us who may be excited about having a larger family or adopting some day, I'm going to take a corny moment to say, "Thanks Angie!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Dad's comment on the Drama Queen post down below:

"dEAR Carolyn, You are so right.I used to see those drama queens every day, but it's slow for me right now unless it's a vacation.I get to se the grand kahuna right every day." Lov, Dad

Mom/Grand Kahuna- We love you!

Thank God we can all have a sense of humor about ourselves. Life would be really sad if we didn't see how crazy and silly we really are. Somehow it comes out more with family. At the beginning of the Beach Week, Cath and I were speculating that there would probably be some tensions- a totally inevitable reality when adult siblings live together under the same roof for more than 3 minutes.
My final thought is:
What is it about being with family that makes one act like a 10 to 13 year old and not an adult?!!! I'm sure some of my aunts could relate when they're at Sandy Cove.
I like remembering what John Paul's namesake said about the matter: "Family is the school of love." Sometimes I want to jump out the window and find a different "school" but isn't that just all part of the testing?

A Brief Moment

Our dinners usually consist of 2 entrees. One for us and one for the kids. We've just very much given in to the "kid food" mentality because frankly we like our "adult" dinners. It's hard to have a crossover dish available every night that pleases everybody. The other night Luis grilled BBQ chicken and corn. (BTW, if you've never grilled corn- do it! With olive oil AND basted in butter- I'll never boil corn again.) We all enjoyed it immensely. As Gabe was scarfing down his corn and chicken, he looked over at Luis with a satisfied stained face and said, "Daddy, thanks for making this. It's REALLY GOOD." It was one of those genuinely precious moments I wish I could bottle up and enjoy later on.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too Many Drama Queens in One Place

Oops. Did I really just admit that?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Boardwalk Picture

Not bad!
PS- To see really nice pictures of the beach go to:

Jen rolls her eyes at our blogging addiction but just wait- she'll be hooked within a couple of months I know it!

The Truth Revealed

Yes, the below picture is of the grandchildren- John Paul, Gabe, Freddy, Jack, Monica and Lydia. The only ones missing are Gemma and Heil baby in utero.
So there you have it. The blackmail picture of the century. Poor Kids.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oops- How did this happen?

How did this many small children fit into one bathtub? I mean, their mothers must have not been there- what a hazard! And if they were there, they surely would not have taken pictures of this scandal!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hand/Foot/Mouth Disease

Dear Virus,
I do not like you. Now that you have been through all of us, I hope we never have to have you in our house again. Now that you've done your business with us, can we have our life back?!
An annoyed Mommy in Alexandria VA
PS- For all friends & family- if you've had flu-like symptoms, your hands and feet feel like they're perpetually falling asleep and you are getting rashes and sores in your mouth, hands and feet that resemble chicken pox, then you have met the friend I mentioned above. Don't worry, it goes away eventually.
PPS- Shout out to Sharon Isabella today. We're so sad to miss your party but we hope to get down to NC asap. Love to all of you!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anniversary Legacy

Today we're celebrating Mom & Dad's 32nd Wedding Anniversary. We're celebrating a real legacy of "loving until it hurts" (as Mother Teresa so well put it). Although they are not living the charmed retirement they always probably dreamed of, they are accomplishing in these years something far more beautiful. They are living a supernatural love, a love that transcends the most painful realities, a love that sees someone's worth not in what they can "do" but in "who they are"...a love that gets up and perseveres after countless falls, a love that is not about self satisfaction but about self gift, a love that reaches for joy in the midst of nightmares & humiliations. They are living the great paradox of the Cross...REAL LOVE. Thank you Mom and Dad. I'm sure the effects of your legacy will be eternal.