Friday, July 26, 2013

Seven Quick Takes

Linking up with Jen and all the others...

I can not believe that it's the end of July! Where has this Summer gone? In less than 1 month Samantha will be starting 5th Grade! 5th Grade!! This is crazy to me since when I first met her she was 4 1/2! Well, Miss almost 5th grader has spent the last week at a Christian camp and returns home tomorrow. She went last year for the first time and has been talking about it since we drove her home! I am praying that she is on fire for the Lord and shows it by playing Barbies with Juls (per Juli's request at the news of Samantha's return!)

Speaking of Juliana, do any of your children become COMPLETE MANIACS right before they show visible signs of being sick? For all who know Juls, she is pretty high energy, but earlier this past week she was more hyper, more defiant, more tantrum throwing then normal. And then, BOOM, on Thursday morning she woke up with a cough and a runny nose. I have noticed this in the past and another friend has mentioned to me that it happens with her kids too...

Why do you blog? Do you care if anyone reads your blogs? I mean, when all the well known bloggers started out, did they have that desire to become "famous" in the blogging world? Or, where they just gifted writers who were recognized for their God given talents? Do you want to be "famous" in the Catholic world? I believe there is a part of everyone that wants that seat of honor, but Jesus was quick to say this was not, in fact,the most honorable. 

I was able to get out of the house kid-free twice this week! ::Happy Dance:: And one of the times it was to a Book Group with the Pittsburgh Catholic Momma's. We are reading "My Sisters' the Saints", by Colleen Carroll Campbell and the saint she spent talked about this week was Terese of the Child Jesus. Known for her little way, Terese was wise enough to realize that not everyone is made the same. Not everyone is going to be the wise teacher, or the gifted student but even the meek and relatively unknown or unnoticed person can serve the Lord completely. In the small ways that we live. Which is why I asked the previous question about blogging. I am more comfortable being unknown or unnoticed but there is a fire inside of me that wants to break out and let the Holy Spirit take over. Not just in blogging but in may other aspects of life.

The second night I got out was to a fellow (Pgh)Momma and blogger Nicole's Usborne Book Party. She is hands down one of the most fun people I know in Pittsburgh. You having a party, you want Nicole there! Bright eyed, quick wit and to top it off, a good Catholic woman! Any way, she sells these AMAZING kids books...have you heard of them? Usborne Books! Check them out! They are addicting! And kids love them! I didn't get any this time (yet) but I did schedule a party! Holla...Free books! :)

So a few post back, I asked for prayers for a special intention. Please, please, please keep praying. Out of respect for the parents, I won't go into much detail but they were given word that their child has a metabolic disorder that will end their child's some point. The tell tale signs have not begun to show and the babe is seemingly normal and healthy as can be. It could start as early as 2 and as late as 15, but the outcome is the same. Pray for miracle. Pray for God's will to be done. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill them with all the graces they need to deal with such a diagnosis.

This is the first weekend since April that we haven't had a birthday, been on vacation/out of town, or a holiday party!!  So, we decided to have a cookout, to celebrate my sister in laws birthday! :) Grilled delicious food, cake, ice cream and good AMAZING company, Oh twist my arm...

Happy weekend ya'll! :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Anniversary (How we met)

 I attempted to set this post to publish automatically on our anniversary (July 18th) but it didn't :( And then I thought, well it's too late, but ya know what? I spent A LOT of time typing this so...happy belated anniversary to Mark and I (we're celebrating this Saturday at a Pirates game!)

 Today my hubby Mark and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary! Our anniversary is also his little sister Marie's Birthday and this year our newest nephew Philip Joseph gets baptized on our special day. Apparently, it's a pretty awesome day!!

Mark and I knew each other for 16 months before we said 'I Do', 9 months before we got engaged, 5 months before we did an engagement/break up novena, 3 months before we said I Love You and 1 month before we met in person. We met online, to be specific. On a whim I started an account in late 2007 because my dear friend Martha had done so and after a dating hiatus of 18 months, I thought it was high time to actively start pursuing my vocation. See I had a very unhealthy relationship in college that really did some emotional damage to me and I needed to just have some Me and Jesus time to heal all those wounds. That Jesus, man He works wonders when you let Him in!

So, I started my account, posted pictures, thought WAY TOO LONG about my profile page and spent WAY too many hours looking at pictures and profiles of prospective husbands (yes I say husbands, I was done dating for "fun"...never leads to anything Holy. Never Ever.) I searched all of the DC/MD/NOVA (Northern VA for those not familiar) and met a guy. Chatted with him but it turned out he was still head over heels for his ex and I became a relationship counselor. Not what I had in mind. So I expanded my search to 250 miles from my zip code... and guess who popped up? Mr. Mark Gruber! :)

For those unfamiliar with the way Catholic Match works, you are able to see who has viewed your profile, which I liked and disliked equally. Part of  me wanted to browse unencumbered but another part got excited when my profile was viewed by someone I found interesting. Well, I saw Mark's profile picture (cute!) and the first two lines of his profile went something like this, "Third of 14 kids, previously married, annuled, have a 4 year old daughter, am an engineer and I live in Pittsburgh, PA." My reaction was 14 kids?? That woman is a saint! (and she is, she really really is) I wonder how many kids he wants, aside from the one he already has. And where the heck is Pittsburgh (cut me some slack...I'm an East Coast girl who was never good at Geography. I knew Philly and that was all). So I viewed his profile, he saw my view and being the gentleman that he is, wrote me the first email. That weekend of the first email was also my BFF Jen's birthday and we celebrate birthdays for DAYS, sometimes weeks, so emailing was not on the top of my list. But, as soon as the festivities came to a close, I emailed back, apologizing for my delayed response and thus began our daily communication.

We had been emailing for about 10 days when I had major knee surgery and was LAID UP on the couch for a good 2 weeks. Since Mark worked on his computer 90% of the time, our emailing became more frequent and talking on the phone was brought up. I figured we had disclosed some pretty personal info over email (divorce, annulment, Samantha for him, faith struggles, family/housemate problems, major medical problems for me) that chatting on the phone didn't seem like such a big deal. So, one night he called and of course I was in the SHOWER! All day I had been giddy and waiting to hear what his voice sounded like and I miss the call! Every girl knows what I am talking about...that first phone call. :) I work up the nerve to call him back and BAM, he answers. His voice was music to my ears. The voice behind the 1000s of words I had read, the words that made me fall in love with this man. Oh I was as smitten as smitten could be and we HIT. IT. OFF that first phone call. Talked for almost 2 hours. I had to work early that next morning and we were coming to a close and you know what he did, he asked me to PRAY WITH HIM! I was floored. Deal sealed. I knew this man was the man I was supposed to marry. Yes, I am aware we hadn't met in person, but when you know you know!

About a week later, I am driving home from Physical Therapy and I get a call from Mark asking if I had plans for the following day.
 "Um, no...why?" Mind you, we lived 248 miles apart (crazy right, the search on the computer was 250 miles...2 miles farther away and I wouldn't have met my match!) and wouldn't have made plans on Friday at 6pm for the next day.
 "Well, I'm driving back from SC and thought my friend Beacham and I would swing by so we could meet." (Swing by actually meant drive 3 hours out of their way but that's what we'll do for love!)
  "Sure, that'd be great" said the me that has no spontaneous bones in her body and plans are made days if not weeks in advance! Commence freak out! What to wear, where to meet, over analyze everything I had written or said in the last month, oh and not to mention I was on crutches with a giganticly swollen left knee and couldn't walk more than 10 feet without needing a break. And a turtle would have beaten me in a speed race. Great first impression!

So I was brave and decided to let him meet me at my house (one of my house mates was home, don't worry. Although she was. She thought he was going to abduct me!). I smile now looking back at the first meeting. I was all dolled up in a Polo button down, nice jeans, hair done and he was in an old work t-shirt, work jeans, worn out sneakers and he hadn't shaved in at least a week, which for him means full grown beard and neck beard! This epitomizes our personalities! He had also been testing equipment for his job in the factory and field for a week and I soon learned he never bothered with shaving while traveling. He was ruggedly handsome, irresistibly charming, perfectly patient and I was hooked. All three of us went out to a late lunch, then headed to Adoration for a bit (major score for him!) and then to Panera for coffee/smoothies (it was Saturday evening during Lent, I had given up anything but water and milk with breakfast and he wanted to treat me to my vice!). As we walked from Panera to the car, knowing that he was driving the 4 hours back to Pittsburgh, and as I used his arm to support myself (remember the bum knee?), I thought to myself, please don't go! Please don't let this be the last time we see each other. Please be "the one"! And he was. He is. He will always be.

Happy Anniversary my love.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

7 QT's (vol ?)

Joining Jen and all the others for a quick 7 recap
Last Saturday was my hubby's birthday! The big 3-1! We did a blow out party last year to celebrate so we thought we would keep it simple and go out on a DATE!!!! He did get to hang out with friends early in the day and do manly things like ride on a tractor and pull down a tree (Que: Tim the Tool Man Taylor - ARGH ARGH ARGH with a little chest beating)! He came home early enough that I could get a shower and get all prettied up for him before his Mom came over with his sister's kids and babysat all 6 kids by herself! I figured out that at one point in her life she had kids very close to the ages of the 6 of them ( 7, 6, 5, 4, 2.5 and 8 months...that woman is a saint!). We went to Outback (yum) and saw Man of Steel (eh, it was okay) but most importantly we were alone! It was great! 

Speaking of alone, Mark and I were chatting in the car the other day and some how the topic of being home alone came up. He jokingly asked the last time I was in our home, alone. I thought about it and it's been 8 months at least, but probably more like 10. And for an extended period of time, over a year! He looked me point blank in the eye and said "I'm so sorry. I'll take the kids away soon!" But honestly, I don't mind being home with the kids what I do miss is being able to OUT of the house with out the kids! 

I did get to the gym this week for the first time since Miriam was born. There are innumerable excuses as to why but I will spare you. Anywho, I got there just as the biggest storm of the summer was rolling in. I watched a black cloud a least a half mile to a mile wide,  roll over the parking lot as I pedaled away on the bike (darn knee). I watched light posts bend and trash and leaves swirl around. And then the lights flickered and went out. No amount of getting healthy is worth risking my life, so I was out! Traffic lights were going out all over and the power was out at home. The one time I go to the gym...figures! 

So I mentioned in an earlier post this week that Samantha's Mom and Step-dad bought a new house. It was going to be a pain and a serious sacrifice on our part to keep up with the way things are now. We got word yesterday that the contract fell through and they are no longer moving into that house! I have always been one to believe that everything happens for a reason. They will move one day and when that day comes it will be a struggle but I am breathing a sigh of relief that life can continue as normal for a bit longer!

I would ask for prayers for a special intention for a family member. Getting some tests and check-up on Monday, so please add that to your list. 

Next week is Mark and I's 4th anniversary! In some ways I can't believe it's been 4 years and in others I feel like we've known each other forever! Maybe I'll jump on the band wagon of all the other bloggers telling their "how we met" story soon.

In completely unrelated news I just got the Iphone 5 and got a sweet new case for it! 
Oh probably close to 8 years ago I went to Miami with a college friend and the artist Romero Britto had artwork displayed throughout the city and a show room in Key West. I was in love! Bright, bold, colorful art! It spoke to me! He also does work with Disney! Love it! 
iPhone 5 Hard Case - Britto, pop art, cubism, bright, colorful, heart, graphic designs, retro, hipster, miami style
I got the one on the left from this Etsy shop
And to top it off, I was able to trade in my 4S Iphone for $200 towards my new Iphone! AWESOME!!!

Have a great weekend! Hope you have as many cookouts as we do! I love Summer!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Moving and more

No not us, well, not that I am certain of, but we got word on Sunday after picking Samantha up that her Mom and Step-Dad had put an offer on a house and it was accepted.

So, they are moving. About a half hour North of us. Which means, things are going to change.

This news didn't come as a complete surprise because we've know for some time that they were looking and Samantha is always telling us of all the houses they look at and the cool/scarey/weird/exciting facts about them. She is very excited about this house, as she should be. It's a very cool thing to move into a new house! (One dream I always had as a child was to move some place new but that never happened. My mom still lives in the house I grew up in.) And it's wonderful to see her eye light up with all the possibilities for exploring the large piece of property surrounding the house, but it's also a bit sad for us.

For years we have been blessed to live with in a couple miles of her Mom making school, activities, weekly switches and life in general, pretty easy. (I use that term loosely. Divorce is not easy) A 5 minute drive if something was forgotten. A pop over and drop off an important paper from school. Soccer, dance, gymnastics, girl scouts and all the other activities. Fairly painless coordinating of schedules. And as far as we can tell, school is staying the same this year but not sure about the years to come. There's alot of change that is going to happen. Change that directly affects our family and change we don't have much say in. But, for Samantha's sake and so that Mark can continue to be as involved of a father as he is now, we will make any and all sacrifices.

That's what being a parent is. It's loving completely, fully, without reserve and filled with endless sacrifice. And with a blended family, particularly being on the Dad side of things, it's seriously considering uprooting your family from a home they love, putting your career on hold (or a slower track), all so that you can be an involved parent. So that you won't be looked upon as an uninvolved father simply because your 10 year old daughter will now be a half an hour away every other week. (I have a hard time when I am at the store for an hour away from the girls. I have no clue how he handles being away from her for a whole week!)

This kind of life isn't one that I ever dreamed I would be apart of. Divorce wasn't something I encountered until College. I was sheltered. The world was different. Divorce isn't natural. It's hard. It's ugly. It's emotionally and physically damaging to children and the spouses.I pray that all possible options can be tried before people just jump towards the divorce route. Living a life seperate from your kids is unnatural. Living a life still involving a person you have known so intimately and have a child with but no longer being married to them, starting a new life with a new family is hard and takes years to adjust to. Mothering a child who isn't your own but you care for as your own, treding carefully not to love too much for fear you may step over some invisible boundary of "natural Mom teritory only" is draining and watching your husband cringe as she calls another man Daddy, is NO FUN AT ALL!

And of course we worry about her making new friends, if she goes to a new school how she will handle it, adjusting to a new home, new routines, new everything! I pray that the normality of our home helps her in this time of transition and I am ever so grateful for all the friends that she has in this neighborhood. So, so grateful.

Pray for us. Pray for Samantha. Pray we are gracious, understanding and selfless. Pray, pray, pray!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


 So we went on Vacation as a family and it was marvelous! It was the 5 of us, plus Mark's friend Beacham who is practically his brother as they have been friends for almost 2 decades! And we brought along his sister Emily who is 21 and possibly the sweetest, most selfless person on this earth! I asked her last July if she would be up for coming with us this summer and she, without hesitation, said yes. Really, a free trip to the beach with the only stipulation being you have to help with 3 littles...I would totally have went too! Oh and my sister and my two nieces (my other sisters "grown" girls, almost 19 and almost 14!) were there as well! They are the super tanned beauties in the pictures below!

We left at 8:30pm Friday night and drove the 7 hours without issue. Arrived at my sister's beach house that she rented for the summer around 2:45am. Miriam and Emily were sleeping pretty much the whole trip (Emily's was drug induced as she apparently gets more car sick than she realized!). Juliana and Samantha were in and out of sleep, as was I because I feared Mark would get lost in the dark in an area he had never driven before. Granted, Beacham was navigating and they had 2 GPS systems going, I being the control freak that I am, couldn't relax until we pulled into the driveway.

And as we unloaded what we needed for the night, Miriam woke up and was ready to go! She had just slept about 6 hours and thought it was time to play! Bless Mark's heart because after I fed her, he took her outside on the screened in porch and walked with her for a bit and then laid down in the car with her on his chest. The beach house was great but not big enough that a crying baby wouldn't have ruined everyone's little amount of sleep even more!

Saturday started around 7:30am for me and Miriam, at which time I plugged in Dunkin Donuts to the GPS and found me some COFFEE!! :) Grabbed some bagels for everyone too. We lazed around and then headed to the beach. We were all a little groggy but we weren't stuck in beach traffic!! Which, if you've ever been to the Eastern Shore, you know how bad it can be!

Later that day we checked in to our place and got somewhat settled before we went to Mass. The next 6 days consisted of breakfast, cartoons for the kids (a real treat b/c that is not normal at home), bathing suits, beach, pool, lunch, naps, beach, pool, showers, dinner, dessert and back to the beach!

I miss the beach. The feel of sitting with the sand between my toes and reading a good book. Sand castle building. Chatting with family. Crashing in the waves. Playing at the pool with the kids. I love the beach!

Oh and MIRIAM STARTED CRAWLING while we were away!! So exciting!

This was the first time i saw her crawl! It was so wonderful to see her on the move!! Now she's into everything but it's okay. It was bound to happen!!

Our Trip in Pictures

Sisters on swings

Mark and Juls in the far right corner...there footprints in the foreground of the picture

The girls on the trip! Hence the reason Mark insisted Beacham come! :)

Big sisters on right. Little sisters on left. Imitating Juls when she is trying to get Miriam to look at the camera!

The sunset on our last night.

Hope you and yours have as wonderful as of a vacation as we did!! :)

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's been a minute...

Apparently I have been off the blogging train for almost a month! Wow, time flies when you're having fun and fun was had!

June was full of traveling. Lots and lots of traveling but that also meant it was filled with birthdays, baby showers, THE BEACH, family, friends and YUMMY FOOD! Seriously, June was an awesome month!

The weekend of June 14-16th, I took the two littles with me down to MD to celebrate my Momma's bday and my sis in law and bro's baby shower! A nephew...carrying on the Perry name! Super excited about that! It was a great weekend but I will say, traveling with 2 small people makes for an exhausting trip. Thank goodness for my amazing sisters and nieces who bent over backwards to help in anyway they could. A big shout out to my sis Christine who helped clean up Miriam's vomit after I had the genius idea to try and switch formulas. DUH! Won't do that again.

While I was away, Mark hosted Samantha and 3 friends for a 10th Birthday party and sleepover! I told him her was crazy but he didn't want to hear it! :) All went well except they didn't go to sleep until 2am! That so wouldn't have happened if I was home...When the cat's away...

So after traveling 5 hours home that Sunday, we had a family birthday party for Samantha which was so wonderful but I was wiped! And then, the next day I had to clean up, unpack and start packing for the beach. Packing a family of 5 for a 7 day trip is no small task and it took 5 days to accomplish, not to mention the menu for the week at the beach, related shopping list and all the other list made in weeks prior! But, IT WAS SO WORTH IT!! If you are questioning whether you should go on vacation, do it! Pull the trigger and go! Memories last a lifetime. And that's what spending a week together is all about, making memories. I will post some pics of the trip in the next day or two but here's how it went:

Left at 8:15pm Friday and arrived at 2:30am at my sister's beach house (no beach traffic, holla!)
Go to the beach and hang. Checked into our place at 3pm. Went to Mass.
Sunday - Friday - got up, bathing suits on, beach and pool all day, dinner, ice cream, beach, bed.
Perfect. Couldn't have been better. 

I have spent the last week unpacking and cleaning, celebrating the 4th, more picnics, more food and tomorrow is Mark's birthday. A date night for us!!

Hope every had a happy and blessed 4th!