Monday, November 23

Weekend update

Well we've all been sick, big surprise. Two Fridays ago Beth woke up hoarse and it's gone downhill since! Beth, Luke and I have all been struck with the same head cold, lots of congestion, runny noses, sneezing and coughing. And it's lingered around the house for over a week, it seems only now do I not feel like I'm wiping Beth's nose every 10 seconds. I've been plagued with awful headaches, and Luke and Beth are just on the border of being cranky in the sick sort of way, if you know what I mean. It hasn't been so much fun, but Ryan has put up with us and taken care of all of us; what a good man. Needless to say, we didn't do anything this weekend except go to Mass on Sunday. It was kind of nice to not feel the need to do anything- usually on our free weekends we feel like we *should* be doing something.

Beth is loving her magna-doodle so much these days, it's her favorite toy right now! She draws people, traces her hand or her dolls, and is writing a few letters. It's the best toy in the world because it's so easy to clean up, ha!

I haven't been taking many pictures lately because the snot glistens in the camera flash (haha) but here's one of Luke from a couple of weeks ago. He really enjoys climbing right now, anything he can stand on or climb into is just awesome! He's still not walking yet though, but he's standing for longer and longer periods of time. I have a feeling when he does decide to walk, he will actually run.

Saturday, November 21


Look what Beth can do!

Thursday, November 19


Surprise! Ryan and I went to Miami!

For those that didn't know our little plans, Ryan had a conference in Miami scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. After a lot of hesitation, I decided that I'd tag along and leave the kiddos at home with Grandpa and Grandma. Ryan and I left on Monday and arrived safely in Miami, got our rental car and headed to Coconut Grove to stay at the Sonesta. It was a very snazzy hotel, within walking distance of their little touristy shopping area.

Monday night we walked around and found a new restaurant that had just opened their doors and offered their menu for half price. Score! The food was good (not great) but considering what it would have cost, we were pretty content! Since I wasn't feeling very well we headed back to our room and called it an early night. Turns out I was feeling the beginnings of a very serious head cold! I was up all night because I couldn't breath and my throat was on fire- my night that was supposed to be full of peaceful restful slumber was one of the worst nights of the year! Figures.

Tuesday Ryan went to his conference and I took it easy in our room. At the prompting of nearly everyone on the planet, I had started to read Twilight on the plane and really got into it, so I spent a good chunk of the morning just reading in bed, trying not to think of the pains in my head. For lunch I told myself, I'm in Miami! I have to get out of this room!, and put on my walking shoes. I walked to the little touristy area, found a cafe with a table in the shade on the street, and ordered a nice lunch and read my book some more. ;-) Sadly, I noticed my lunch didn't have much taste, due to the major congestion and therefore lack of taste. But it was soooo relaxing, just being able to sit around and read! I have to admit, I definitely felt like there was a huge chunk of my brain that was going duurrrrrr because it's used to being constantly occupied solely on my children. Without having them with me meant this part of my brain didn't know what to think about!

the view of biscayne bay from our hotel room

I walked through a few shops before heading back to our room to get ready for our early dinner. We had dinner scheduled at 5:30 so that we could see the sun set, and before that we grabbed a drink with Ryan's friend at the conference and her family. At our dinner restaurant, we got the VIP treatment for some reason, all because I asked the concierge where we should dine that evening. She made the reservation for us, and they wound up giving us a free appetizer and a free dessert! We were overlooking the bay at sunset, it was very beautiful and Ryan said some of the best food he's ever tasted. I ordered the cheapest thing I could find (lobster bisque) because I knew I wouldn't be able to taste it. :-( We brought dessert home and I tasted that and ate it for breakfast!

in front of the hotel on our way to dinner

Wednesday was a lot of the same, except I'd slept better since I'd acquired some Tylenol PM. I had another relaxing lunch while Ryan finished his conference, then we checked out of the room and drove up to South Beach (which was actually north from where we were). We had just enough time to walk along the beach and admire the gorgeous water before we had to leave for the airport. I finished my book on the plane home, and nearly died during decent because my ear plugged up and I thought my ear drum was going to explode. Flying with a head cold is a BAD idea; the doctor told me today it puts you at a much higher risk of turning an ordinary cold into an infection of some sort. So I'm on antibiotics now, waiting for them to kick in!

south beach

We heard the kids did fantastic, despite their runny noses and probably the same variety of head cold I had- though they both checked out fine at the pediatrician this morning. I'm sad the vacation wasn't what we'd hoped it would be but I was very grateful for the chance to relax a little!

Sunday, November 15

Children live here

(the letter "H")

(a person, most likely a self-portrait)

(chalk everywhere!)

How blessed am I to have constant reminders around my home that we have been blessed with children? Stickers on the cabinet, crayon on the tile, magnets on the floor, chalk on the sidewalk and toys everywhere! Our house might not look like a museum; certainly there's enough dust to prove otherwise! But it's a home, and it's our home!

Tuesday, November 10

Trip to Austin

Last Thursday afternoon we hit the road to go to my parent's house. My brother Matthew turned 17 (!!!) so we met everyone there for a long weekend. It's soooo chaotic when everyone is there- Michael came in from medical school and so my parents, all 6 siblings plus Ryan and our two kids were all in our little house! I absolutely love the chaos though. It's such a joy to me to be part of a large family, even though it's hard to see it sometimes when I'm caught up in all the drama of what an 8-person household entails. But I love that we're all getting older and we can all "hang out" as life-long friends and not just siblings trying to pull each other's hair out (or burn eyelashes off, whatever. ;-). As wild as it was growing up (and Alex wasn't even born until I'd already left the house!), I wouldn't wish it were any other way. Gosh, we (I) thought we had it so rough because we didn't necessarily have all the latest-and-greatest gadgets, and some of us had to share rooms... And we had our share of family problems... But really. We had love- and we still do. I really hope I can raise my kids just as well! I hope they respect us as well as I respect my parents, love our faith as much as I was raised to love mine, and love each other as much as I love my siblings. I hope Ryan and I have a boisterous house full of chaos and love.

alex and luke being silly in the kitchen. luke admires those uncles!

matthew was such a good sport with that mean cake i made for him!

beth has discovered her love for the finer things in life- chocolate cake.

michael discovered some icing.

a cool new rope swing in the backyard. so much fun for two boys!

david and luke playing in the backyard. probably chasing a cat.

beth found him!

luke and michael, i wish i had one of my brothers here every day to play with him!

Monday, November 9

Standing up

I took this video last week, Ryan is determined to encourage Luke to stand and walk. Luke can stand on his own for a few seconds before he falls- I think he'd just rather crawl since he knows that works (and since he's pretty quick too!). Today he might have taken his first step, it was teeny tiny but it was unassisteted and he didn't fall! I'm not sure if we're "counting" it or not!

Wednesday, November 4

Monday, November 2

Silly Boy

Luke has been such a goober lately! He's so smiley and happy, I am just adoring this phase. We had the Kick and Play out since we'd loaned it out and brought it back home again (Emily, was this yours?) and it's Luke's favorite new toy! He crawls in and giggles hysterically! We've also been playing games with his Nuks (pacifiers) where he has two in his hands and he'll spit one out to pop the other in. He'll go back and forth between them for 20 minutes, smiling at them and talking to them. It's so funny! He'll put it in upside down then smile huge, because he knows it's in the wrong way, then he'll grab it, throw it across the room and stick the other one in. This boy!

there's a smile under there!

Sunday, November 1

Shopping Tip

As I flipped through the newspaper coupons yesterday I realized it's already time to think about buying presents for Christmas! Okay maybe you're in the camp that refuses to shop this early, but I'm pretty sure I've read that the best time to buy presents for the cheapest prices is in late October through November.

But that's not my tip. Recently I've discovered It's a website that offers you rebates (how much depends on the store)for making just about any online purchases, and your rebates come to you four times a year via check or paypal. For example, if you place an order at Old, you will earn 10% cash back if you click through ebates. Ebay is 2%, and unfortunately Amazon doesn't work with ebates yet. You get $5 for just signing up, and if you put in my email address ( as a referral then I'll get $5 too!

Check it out! I've already made over $5 back just by ordering a book on and some stuff from Gap Kids. :-)


the princess and the frog

Pics of our little trick-or-treaters. Beth had a great time going door-to-door with Grace and Colin, Luke stayed home with daddy to pass out candy. Our street was crazy busy this year from dusk until about 8 pm, then it died down (thank goodness!). Beth binged on candy last night but hasn't even asked about it today... So a couple of little mice are taking care of the bucket... ;-)

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