February 23, 2010

18 Months

We had Mary Ellen's 18 month checkup last Friday morning.  She did great considering we were at the doctor's office for 2 hours, and she woke up at 5 a.m. that morning!  Yeesh!  We got through the trauma of the shots and then had a good long rest that afternoon while Hattie stayed for lunch bunch at school - a rare treat for Hattie!

Her 18 month stats put Mary Ellen at the 90th percentile for height and the 50-75th percentile for weight.  Perhaps my predictions of her being a tomboy will play out on a basketball court someday?

At 18 months, Mary Ellen can say quite a few words; about 15, I think.  "Ball," "more," and "Dada" being her favorites and most commonly used words.  She is surely a daddy's girl who loves to eat :).

Even though Hattie had more words at this age, I think Mary Ellen is better at getting her point across sometimes.  She is passionate (my kind way of saying hot-headed ;)!).  She's a girl who knows what she wants and is bound and determined to get it.  I think I can recall a few women in her life who she gets that from :)!

She is a daredevil.  While she isn't really climbing on things yet, she tries, and she has less and less fear about things like heights.  She loves when I spin her round and round.  She loves playing outside, digging in the trash can, and unraveling the toilet paper roll.  She is mischievous with a capital M!

But she is also my cuddle bug.  One of the best parts of the day is when she wakes up while Hattie is still in her room napping or having quiet time, and I go into Mary Ellen's room and rock her with the lamp on and rub her little head and soak up the baby in her who is fleeing too fast!  She lets me hold her as long as I want in those moments.  And we usually stay that way until Hattie is up.  It's our sweet time together that I cherish so much.

So here we are at a year and a half, Mary Ellen.  You make this age wild and crazy and fun.  You are a beautiful, unstoppable toddler, and you wear me out most days, but you have my heart, and you make me chuckle and laugh constantly.  I love who you are becoming.  I'm a little afraid of your intensity sometimes, but I pray that you will give that intensity to the Lord and do great things in your life for Him, little girl.  Your mama loves you so!

February 16, 2010

40 Days for Life

Remember man, thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.

These are the words spoken by priests, on Ash Wednesday, as they mark the sign of the cross on the foreheads of men, women, and children of all ages.  It is one of my favorite traditions in the Catholic Church.

Lent is a penitential season which begins with Ash Wednesday tomorrow.  The ashes on our foreheads remind us of our mortality and are a sign of repentance.

Basically, all I am is dirt without Jesus.  And everything in me that is not of Him, my sin, is filth and death.

We worship a God of LIFE, a God who can take the nothingness of dirt and ashes and breathe LIFE into it.  We worship a God who calls us out of our deathly slumber into eternal LIFE.  We worship a God who holds all LIFE precious in His heart.

There is a worldwide 40 days for Life Campaign during Lent.  This means that for the next 40 days of Lent ahead, we are called to prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism to promote LIFE.

Catholic churches around the Houston area have organized peaceful activism at the new planned parenthood abortion center (3601 Fannin) that will be opening soon.  So for the next 40 days of Lent (excluding Sundays), between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., you can go and pray silently for the end of abortion outside the facility.  Park across the street from the abortion center and walk over.  You don't have to be Catholic to go.  You can bring your children.  You can stay minutes or hours.

I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is "Abortion", because it is a war against the child... A direct killing of the innocent child, "Murder" by the mother herself... And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love... And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts...Mother Teresa 

America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless. If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace, then America, defend life. - Pope John Paul II 

If you are interested in going or learning more about this campaign, go here.

February 12, 2010

The Story of How You and Me Became We

Well, I have to start with the first time Sean and I met because the date is so providential and shows how perfectly God works in our lives.  He lets up know that He is the Divine Thread weaving our lives together, and we all aren't a bunch of random molecules floating around a randomly placed universe.

It was the summer of 1998.  My best friend, Christie, invited me to her parents' annual 4th of July party.  I went, and upon arriving, spotted this tall, handsome, blonde stud in the background.  I was later introduced to him as Sean, Christie's cousin.  Heelllloooo, Sean! :)

That afternoon and evening we talked and hit it off, but I didn't really think anything of it.  He lived in Kansas and was just down for a few weeks of the summer visiting family.  We were both about to be seniors in high school, a most exciting year ahead of us!  

Nothing came of that night in particular, but it's so significant to me because exactly 8 years later, on the 4th of July, we gave birth to our first child, Hattie, who is such a perfect marriage in looks and character to the two of us.  And I can't help but think about how clueless I was that day.  I had no idea what God had in store for us, and how surely, He must have been smiling down on us that night as we literally and figuratively set off fireworks in Christie's front yard.

I didn't see or hear from Sean for another year and a half when he was somehow solicited to pick up Christie and me from a weekend baby-sitting job in another town and bring us back to school.  We were finally all in the same area, attending our first year of college.  I was so excited when I heard that he would be the one to pick us up!  We rode to our college home in Sean's little red truck, with Christie between us, as we talked and got to know each other all over again.  That encounter led to a first date inquiry, and with butterflies in my stomach I said YES!

Our first date was the best date I've ever had.  Sean came from College Station to Brenham, where I was attending Blinn, to pick me up.  We then drove to Lake Somerville and had an amazingly easy conversation by the water as the sun was setting.  It was one of those conversations that just flows so perfectly.  I felt like I had known him forever.  It was warm and flirty.  I thought he was so handsome and funny.  Then we went to dinner at the best restaurant in town - Casa Ole!  After dinner, we saw a bad movie.  Then I gave him a tour around Blinn's campus, which was more like a high school than a college.  It wasn't the best of dates when you consider what we did that evening; rather, it was the chemistry and the connection we shared that made it so divine.  Neither one of us wanted the date to end.  Eventually it did because all good things come to an end, but he didn't kiss me goodnight that night, and I was glad he didn't because I liked him way too much.

That night, I went up to my room and wrote in a journal I still have today.  In it, I wrote, I hope I marry a guy like Sean some day when in my mind, what I was really thinking was, I hope I marry Sean some day.  But I was too scared to put that on paper.  I had fallen too hard, too fast; I had never ever felt like this before, and I had to protect myself from myself.

From there, we casually dated on and off for another year since we were living in separate towns, going to separate schools.  Eventually, though, I moved to College Station to attend A&M, and we became a couple.  

We had bumps in the road, for sure, because we were so young to be so certain of anything.  But God always helped us find our way back to each other, and that familiar, warm feeling between us never left.

And what more can I say that won't sound cliche?  I won't even try!

The rest is history.


We lived happily ever after.

All I know is that I have tasted love at first sight, and second sight, and going on the twelfth year of sight since I first laid eyes on my husband, and nothing has ever tasted so sweet on this earth as what we have together.  No, not even a cupcake! :)

Happy Valentine's Day, honey!

February 10, 2010

Cupcakes and Love

This morning I made some Valentine's cupcakes for my playgroup for tomorrow morning.
Nothing says love like cupcakes to kids.

While putting the M&Ms on them, the girls started to get antsy, so I decided to give them each half of one that I had messed up on.  I knew it would buy me a few minutes of quiet time while they enjoyed licking up every last ounce of sugar from their halved, flaw-filled cupcake.  It was a goof on a cupcake we could all enjoy!

So I sat them down and gave them their half of a cupcake.  Then I decorated and watched them eat.
Mary Ellen, not really sure what it was, stared at it in complete awe for a moment.  She had this look on her face like, I know this is going to be good, but I just don't even know where to begin!!  She took her time with it, trying to understand how to eat it and savor it.  Each bite was followed by her licking her fingers.  She wasn't going to miss a morsel!  It took her forever to finish eating it, which I was thankful for!

Hattie, on the other hand, ate her cupcake quite differently.  By the time I turned around to look at her eating it, she was done with nothing on her face but a tiny trace of the cake she had just devoured and enjoyed.
I couldn't help but think about how differently they ate their cupcakes, and somehow, in my mind, that thought transitioned to thinking about how differently we fall in love.  I have no idea how or why my brain made this connection.  It just did, and now I'm sharing it with you :).

I was, for sure, like Hattie was with her cupcake, when I met Sean.  I took one look at him and knew he was going to be delicious (okay, I know that sounds a bit racy, but really, I'm just trying to keep the analogy between love and eating going strong, so bear with me!).

When I met Sean, I fell for him completely.  Lost all of my guard.  Knew very early on that he was the one.  Was intoxicated in a way that, other than love, only chocolate can make a woman feel.  I had never tasted anything so sweet.  We quickly fell in love, stayed in love, and the rest is history - it was a whirlwind in my hopeless romantic mind.

But I know not all love is like this.

I don't know if it's because we were young or if it's because God knew He had to hit me hard with a ton of bricks for me to even recognize real love when I saw it, but our love grew quickly, and we never gave it a second thought, atleast I didn't.  Sean was more cautious but still, I can safely say, head-over-heels.

However, I have known many who were friends first, those who eased into a lasting relationship, savoring every step of the way.  There are so many stories that begin with the antithesis of It was love at first sight.  Those are mostly funnier and better stories, in my opinion, maybe because my own love story is so different.

So I guess what I'm getting at is what's your love story or your parents' love story?  I'm being nosy.  I want to hear them, and at what better time than now to share them!  I'll share mine, too, soon, mostly because I think it'll be fun for my girls to look back on it one day while their sifting through Mommy's ol' blog.  And also, I love to reminisce about those days of new love.

So post yours or your parents' love story on your blog, in the comments (the short version of course), or email, and then let us know so we can come over and read it.  Then we can all sit back and read 'em while eating a cupcake any way we'd like.

And I realize that I have like 4 readers for my blog, and going private keeps things cozy, so even if no one gets around to doing this before Valentine's Day, be on the lookout for a good love story read from me ;).

I think this Hallmark holiday is getting to me!

February 4, 2010

Why Do They Have to Grow Up So Fast?

These pictures were taken approximately one year apart.  Hattie's hair is so much darker; I didn't even realize, and I can't get over the baby face she still had last year.  All the while, I was thinking she was such a big girl.  I demanded so much from my then two year old baby girl.

And as much as Hattie's hair has darkened, Mary Ellen's has lightened.  The then baby has toddler written all over her face now.  Mary Ellen was just starting to sit up a little this time last year.  Now I just wish she would sit still for a little while every day.  She's all over the place.

They are growing up too fast for my liking!  I think I need to invest in some toothpicks to keep my eyes open 24/7 because if I blink, I might miss something.  And God knows, I don't want to miss a thing.

February 2, 2010

My Little Love Bugs

It's been a while since I've update about the girls, so here's what my little love bugs are up to as we near Valentine's Day:

* wants bangs ......... is begging for bangs!  It took me forever and lots of hair fixin' throughout the last 3.5 years of her life to grow those bangs out, so I am reluctant, but I also feel like I should give in and take her to go get them cut.  I mean, it's her hair, but ........... I like the no bangs look on her.  We'll see.  I just find it funny (and scary) that she has such an opinion about her hair at 3!  Double scary that her two best-friends at school have bangs.  Let the assimilation begin?  Or teach her to have individual style and love it?

* loves to color.  She spends about 3 hours a day just coloring; however, her record of actually finishing a page she starts to color is not good.  She starts one picture and either gets bored with it and moves on to the next one or makes one tiny mistake and can't stand it so moves on to a different picture to color.  We have a lot of half colored pictures in this house.  One of our current main arguments right now is about not wasting and finishing something you start.  I wonder if this is a glimpse of what our arguments will look like for the next 15 years.........

* is in the stage where she loves to dress herself and changes clothes 15 times a day.  Then she proceeds to change her shoes 15 times a day because the shoes have to match the outfit, even if the outfit doesn't exactly match.

* makes this excuse when she does something wrong: "But, Mommy, sorry.  I'm just little.  I didn't know any better."  Gee, she picked up on the excuse that Mommy gives for her little sister really fast!

* has informed us that she is going to marry Paul.  Paul is the cutest little cotton-blonde haired boy in her class and comes from a very nice family, but Sean and I are pondering more and more over the idea of Catholic {ALL GIRLS} School.


* does not love to color but loves to just eat the colors.  I discovered this fact the other day when I found her sitting (hiding) in a corner with a half-eaten, blue crayon in hand and blue molars in the back of her mouth.

* also loves to eat spinach.  It's a frequent affair these days that I will cook a big pan of spinach, and between her and me, there is none left by the end of dinner.

* has started biting me when she's mad at me.  This little one has quite the temper.  If she doesn't get her way, she will retaliate in the form of chomping down as hard as she can on my shoulder!  I am trying desperately to nip this in the bud.

* loves to be outside and explore.  She's our little tomboy.  She can often be found throwing fits (or biting my shoulder) when going from the car to the house or vice versa because all she really wants to do is GET DOWN and PLAY whether it's freezing, sunshine, or pouring rain.

* wants to do everything her big sister is doing.  If Hattie's playing in her room, Mary Ellen wants to be in there.  If Hattie has juice, Mary Ellen wants juice.  If Hattie is coloring, Mary Ellen wants to be eating the crayons.  It's fun and frustrating since a 17 month old can't always do what a 3.5 year old can do.

We are enjoying (most) of our days and looking forward to the days ahead!  I love watching them grow and develop and blossom before my very eyes.  They are my little love bugs!

Wisdom From the Pope

“The inalienable dignity of every human being and the rights which flow from that dignity - in the first place the right to life and the defense of life - are at the heart of the church's message." Pope John Paul ended his address, saying: "In spite of divisions among Christians, 'all those justified by faith through baptism are incorporated into Christ...brothers and sisters in the Lord.'" Pope John Paul 2