Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Year of Faith" Pilgrimage

You might remember from last year that my teens had to back out of World Youth Day.  The fundraising never came together and we were not able to cover the cost for four teens and mom.  At the time I was very sad, I felt like I had let down my friend Linda.  If you recall one of her dying request was to raise as much money as she could to send as many teens as possible on a pilgrimage.  She knew that a life enriching experience like a pilgrimage could secure a young one's faith.  Linda asked that instead of flowers that people considering giving money to send teens to WYD.  So backing out meant that I was letting Linda down and those that gave money at her funeral. 

After breaking the news to the kids, J and I called our good friend Fr. Tom.  He might be able to help us figure a better trip out.  He had been to Rome many time and loves history almost as much as I do.  I also realized that I wasn't the one that should take these kids but it should be the dads.  Linda was gone and she would want Kat to grow closer to her daddy not to me.  That felt right and Fr. Tom started to work out details with his friend Fr. B.  I admit that I was a little disappointed when they decided to use a travel company instead of just taking the teens and a few dads.  After their research they realized that for the little higher cost of going with a company the opportunities would open up.  Fr. B said that they didn't want to spend the entire time in Italy working out cab rides and going with a group would let them see more in the long run.
Then Fr. Tom was asked by another group of people to lead a group throughout the Franciscan Sites of Italy.  Our two priests realized that they could combine both trips into one great experience for both the teens and those with the love of St. Francis.  They spent months working out details with a travel company.  They really wanted to perfect trip for both groups.  The had to bargain a few times and rework some of the dates but in the end they had this nice trip all set and it was officially announced.
I admit that I was a little worried that there was no way we could make this happen.  It was still going to cost so much.  Then God surprised us with two more babies on the way.  I remember telling Father Tom about being pregnant and he was very happy for us.  Then when we announced it was twins he wanted to make sure it would not interfere with our plans to go to Rome.  Honestly I was very worried but assured him that if it was meant to be it would work out. 

Weeks went by and we knew that we needed to start raising money.  I had no idea where to start.  I was five months pregnant with two babies and scared that being pregnant would in the end keep the kids from going on another trip.  This trip was holding the promise to be perfect for the teens.(click here to see details of the pilgrimage)  I was feeling very down and out running errands when Fr. Tom text me.  He wanted to know if I had seen the latest from the Vatican.  I had no idea what he was referring to.  As it turned out our trip that was already planned with reservations made by the travel company were all set and the Vatican had picked the very day our group was to be in Rome to hold a canonization.  This would make the trip that much more exciting.  At first I was even more sad until Fr. Told me that one of the blessed to become canonized was Kateri Tekakwitha.  When I heard that I just cried and cried.  I knew the trip would work out from that point on. 
You see many years ago with my Sugar was just 3 almost 4 she was playing in her bed.  I heard her and went in her room to let her know she could get up and that nap time was over.  She told me that she didn't want to because she was playing with her Indian friend, Kateri Te-Ke-Wa-Tha.  I told her to have fun and went to the other room for a five minute break to read the local Catholic news paper.  I fell over when I open it to an article all about an Indian girl named Kateri Tekakwitha.  This woman was to be beatified that very weekend.  Our family has had a love of Kateri ever since that time.  Sugar picked her as her saint at Confirmation as well.  So when I heard she was to be canonized I knew that Kateri would make sure Sugar was there.  Why this saint picked my Sugar I will never know but their bond is beautiful and this saint always takes care of Sugar. 

The next week was a rough one baby wise.  I was down in the dumps and feeling very tired when two girlfriends picked me up for breakfast.  It was such a nice surprise and they both wanted to hear all about the trip.  When I finished telling them about the Kateri aspect of the story they both admitted that they wanted to send their teens as well.  After thinking about it a few minutes I realized that there really wasn't a reason why they couldn't join in.  I am so thankful they did because they were bringing a new energy with them.
We met the next weekend to discuss fundraising.  One idea that kept coming up was to sell Easter Lilies door to door in the two weeks before Easter.  I thought this was insane.  I tried to change the flower a dozen times, thinking that if we ended up with left overs we could work on selling them for Mother's day.  I was assured that it had to be lilies and I had to let it go.  I was nervous about investing tons of money into Easter Lilies when my family did not ever have them as a traditional Easter decoration.  I had to let go and trust my friends.  Plans were set, flowers ordered and signs needed to me made.  While trying to decide what to put on a poster to advertise our fundraiser, I was hit like a ton of bricks for a second time.  Kateri was at it again.  If you know anything about Kateri, you might know that her nick name is "LILY OF THE MOHAWKS".  Yep she is referred to as a Lily, this fundraiser was her doing.  I just needed to do the leg work and let Kateri do the rest.  She wants Sugar there, she really is our family friend, I hope she knows how much we love her.  I do hope that when I die and get to Heaven that she will tell me how and why she picked Sugar to spoil so much. 

So to update after weekend one of fundraising.  Each teen sold 50 lily plants by going door to door.  I know next weekend will go just as well when we get our second batch of 50 lilies each.  This will make a huge dent into what each kiddos owes the travel company.  I used to not think it would happen but the deposits of each kiddo was turned in and it is official.  I know in my heart that this October I will be sending off J, Goobers, Bear and Sugar with Mr. T and Kat and 4 more friends.  They will meet Fr. Tom and Fr. B and head to Venice and then see some St. Francis sites, the group will end in Rome and see some very hold people recognized as Saints by our Holy Catholic Church.  One of those people is Kateri and she has a special love for Sugar.  Maybe Linda and Kateri are working together to make this all happen.  These kids and their dads are in for a wonderful treat.
While we work our way through 200 more Easter Lilies this weekend, you will forgive me if I greet you with, "Wanna buy an Easter Lily?"  Thank you to everyone that has.  My kiddos are that much closer to their pilgrimage.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Babies are good, Mom is tired Week 24

We had another ultrasound this week.  The great news is that the babies are the same size as each other.  No one is growing bigger than the other right now, but both are still growing.  We saw the specialist twice and the reports both times is very good.  Bear asked that we "check again" and as it turns out we are still pregnant with two GIRLS!

The Baby on the left side decided to keep the title of Baby A.  She is nestled very low and looks planted. 
Baby B is on the right side and seams to be doing great, just like her sister.  Considering I am writing this at the end of Week 24 I am feeling better and better about the twins.  They made it another week.  To me that always means another week closer to them being healthy at delivery. 

Everything on me is great so far.  My blood pressure is just fine.  I have lots of feet swelling but the doctor assured my hubby that it was OK because the twins just mean I have that much more fluid in my body that falls to me feet with normal use during the day.  Thank you for all your prayers and please continue.

Cudas are back!

Sign ups were this weekend for our summer love, the neighborhood swim team.  You don't have to be a perfect swimmer.  You won't hurt the team even if you are bad.  You swim against your own times and just try to improve.  My kiddos love the atmosphere of creating the unity of this huge team.  We debate each year if we have the time and effort.  We did sign everyone up, well not everyone.  Then I was given some shots someone else got of my kiddos last year.  It really is inspiring.  She did a wonderful job with these pictures and really captured each kids personality or swim spirit while in the water.  I love them.  Thank you so much K for the great pictures.
 Coach Pooker watching one of her younger swimmers. 
 Goobers (maybe in mid flip turn)
 Bear, thinking he is all that
 Sugar with clear determination
 Possible was hurt last year and not able to swim.  She was often found cheering others on with Jumba close at hand.
 Pickle getting ready for the back stroke, nervous and yet in his element.
 Princess commanding a new stroke.
 Bagel is the real "swimmer" in the family.  She has the body, the skill and the drive.  I like this out of the water shot though, cause I love her smile the most.

A neighbor makes his own root beer and he gathered my little taste testers together for this shot.

This would be the family shot after Divisional with the team trophy. I don't think my kiddos help us earn it that much with their times but they did with their team spirit. Thanks again K for the great shots and for sharing them. These were very inspiring for Dad and I after paying to sign everyone up. GO CUDAS

Friday, March 23, 2012

Goober's Truck

Goobers is now 17 1/2. She will be 18 this summer. We let the kids get their drivers license and start driving when they are finished with high school work. Goobers is there. J and I have spent months trying to track down the right car for our second born. She is a beautiful but tough kind of young woman. She wanted a truck more than anything.
Our searching finally paid off, and it felt like it was without effort. There at the front of our neighborhood was this 1995 Ford 150. Goobers was in love. I don't get it as the truck was "born" in the summer of 94 just like Goobers.
The frustrating part is that it needed quit a bit of work done. The bad news is that it doesn't have a working heater, the good news is the air conditioner works fine and we live in Houston - who needs heat!?!
So now that we finally got the vehicle home she is thrilled. She will be working on her drive times and soon be a legal driver on the roads.

Looking at the size of the car she fell in love I hope she doesn't have space issues. Oh well she is very happy and I know she will give her best, like she does in all that she does.
We don't give our children everything. We feel that a car to get to and from college classes is a gift that we are honored to give. Then to see this smile let dad and I know that we were on the right track.  Be safe out there girlfriend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sewing Adventure with Sugar

Sugar has always been my crafty one.  She has been asking to learn to sew for a long time now. We encouraged her to pull out the old sewing machine that was stuffed in the closet.   She shared this with her Nanny, who pushed it to the next level.  She got Sugar set up in some classes.  So here we go. 
In the end that orginal sewing machine was beyond repair.  Sugar got a new one and now is ready to learn as much as she can.  Class #1 she made some pillow cases.  Class #2 a skirt was made for Princess and brought material home to make one for Bagel as well.
 I can't sew at all and I am so proud of Sugar and her pursuit of her interest. 
The kids are all putting in their requests of what she will make next and who she will make it for. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Week 23.6

A week without the computer. It was a long frustrating week. The picture was taken Saturday afternoon and my hubby wouldn't give me a few minutes to get a good picture. We were running all weekend. I am posting because I promise to keep these week by week belly shots going. Good thing they are on the blog as the file on computer is GONE with everything else. UGH. I am feeling very big and tired. I can't really sleep at night. I will write more about that later. Pregnancy insomonia is not fun! I get to the point that I hate the nights but am too tired during the day to make much sense of things. The twins are moving and doing fine. We will get to see them again this week with more of an update.

Shirt says, "Little Shamrocks on the Way!"  I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patricks Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Patrick protect us!

Not a call a mom wants to get while on the way home knowing that dad is out of town for the next two days . . . "Um mom, how do we get a SNAKE out of the house?"
The first thing I did, of course, knowing that my hubby has a snake phobia was to call him and tell him that God has sent a sign that it was time for us to move.  Dad did some research and called home.  When I got there the kids, with dad on the phone, had ruled out anything dangerous. 
The goal was not to hurt the thing but man those things can move when you put a snow shovel by them.  By the way Jumba didn't even know what the snow shovel was until I explained its shape to him (another sign it is time to move LOL).
Pickle and Princess watch "Billy the Exterminator" all the time.  They pretend to be exterminators every now and then but when a snake was spotted inside they climbed up on chairs.  Nice guys, make the pregnant mommy take care of it.  That isn't really a fair statement because Goobers and Sugar had it trapped and were working on how to get it out before I got home.
I think it is funny that the snake shows up this close to St. Patrick's Day, IF WE ONLY LIVED IN IRELAND - THIS WOULD NEVER BE A PROBLEM.  I am sorry but I think that I wasn't as gentle with the snake as I wanted to be, I don't think it made it.  Sorry to all you snake lovers.

The kids and the Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 3 weeks in March 2011 Being from the Midwest, I really don't get the love of this event. My kids do though. They spend lots of time and money making it down to the Rodeo. They went so often this year it is impossible for me to blog each visit. Here is a bunch of their various visits. They had a blast, you can tell.

The Rodeo - It's a Texas thing.