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 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!