Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Patio Redo!

So we just lived through a few weeks of this...








While it wasn't anything TOO major, it was ripping out all of our old walkway and back patio (pea gravel from the 60's-80's). Thankfully it was all outside stuff, but man, having your backyard/front door surrounded in dirt/sand for a few weeks does make it TOUGH to keep from tracking it inside. Plus, all my kids saw was a giant sandbox- and I'm pretty sure then men who worked hard didn't appreciate it being moved around nonstop.


But, the final product made it SOOOO worth it! We LOVE the new look!




We also put in a new wrought iron gate! 






And just for good measure, here are some "before" pics...

Front walkway (and ugly landscaping!)

Kids sitting on it- which was SUPER uncomfortable! 
Not to mention it tore up our feet all summer while we walked on it to and from the pool!

Back patio (and more ugly landscaping that is now gone!)



Amazing what a difference ROCKS can make! Loving our new look- and wanting to complete a few more "projects!"

Monday, January 27, 2014

Say Your Name

Sweet Charley Kate just learned how to say her full name over the weekend. We tell her all the time what her name is (and often call her by all 3 names- usually when we are fussing!). She has never repeated her last name until today!

I think the way she says her first name is just adorable. For several months now when you ask her her name she will say, "Chawdey." She introduces herself at gymnastics and to other people. I have been meaning to get it on video because I just love it so much.

So tonight we were laying in bed and she was being kind of silly and so was I. She started singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and I wanted to capture that on video, so I started recording. Once she finished, I asked her to say her name, and she surprised me and said all three names! It was just to die for and I'm officially obsessed! You can tell by my reaction that I wasn't expecting it- and then she was so proud of herself and giggly!

I just love this little girl! (23 months old!)





And because I love to look back, here is Jay at 25 months saying his name! Also obsessed!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More Fun

Daddies are just more fun. Period. 




(Yes, I realize my daughter has no pants on. Thankful for a daddy who doesn't care :))

Monday, January 20, 2014

Investing

Ahhh...

We just back from our church's 6th annual marriage retreat. Anthony and I have been on the planning committee for the last 5 years, and it just gets better each time!

We are so blessed that our church invests so much into growing strong marriages. We have actually had a historically "older congregation" until about 7 years ago. A fantastic Honeymooners class was created and that class has grown from 3 couples to over 75 couples! We've had to split the class once already (some of us graduated to the "Young Marrieds" class that was created due to the large number of newlyweds) and are looking to split yet again. Our church likes to keep the classes "small" so they remain intimate and discussion-friendly. Plus, when you get too many people, you inevitably have a harder time connecting with others, specifically outside of your little "group." 

Anyway, because our elders and ministers value strong marriages, they restarted an old tradition of marriage retreats for anyone who is married. For only a small (to the couple) fee, you pay for a weekend away- room and meals included. The church subsidizes the rest and it is amazing! 

The last three years we have gone to Hyatt Lost Pines. We are there Friday afternoon-Sunday afternoon. All meals and both nights at the resort are covered. It's an insane deal! 

Some of you might be thinking, "Ummm, holding hands and discussing feelings and sitting around in your cabin is NOT my cup of tea. No thank you." And you know what, it's not mine either! 

This is really just time with your spouse and friends and a weekend away. We have had excellent speakers (and men of all ages have loved the speakers, so it's definitely husband-friendly) over the past years. They give you straight, Biblical principles to apply to your marriage (no talking about feelings, no holding hands, no pointing fingers, etc). It's always funny, enlightening, and applicable. 

There is hanging out with friends, meeting new friends, card/domino games, resort activities, and LOTS of free time with your spouse (which we spent getting pampered at the fabulous spa!). 

The food is phenomenal and no kids (new babies excluded) make for a perfect weekend!

Sadly, I took not ONE picture all weekend. Oy. 

We had 75 couples this year- with a waiting list! It's so amazing to see how it's grown and how much it blesses people. This is probably one of my favorite weekends of the year! 



Anthony's sweet parents came in on Friday to watch our kids and Jay and CK couldn't have been more excited! We knew they were in great hands all weekend are beyond thankful that they are willing to watch our little ones. They also know how important it is to nurture a marriage and are always so great to let us spend a little time together. 

After a fun time Friday night we passed out at 1130. We woke up Saturday morning and I looked at my phone in disbelief- we slept until 7:50!!!! I think it's been years since we've done that! I was actually a little embarrassed to tell people how late we woke up! Ha!

Saturday morning we are a ridiculous breakfast, had great sessions, a yummy lunch in the gorgeous weather, then went for a long walk, shot some hoops, watched a flag football game, then headed to the spa. I got a glorious mommy massage and felt wonderful. We played dominoes with friends, ate a fantastic dinner, had another session, then hung out with some of our best friends. 

Sunday morning was our last session and a short church service. Anthony said a beautiful prayer during the service. And it's times like those that all of the silly stuff gets put away (the bickering, the irritation over little things). When you get to see your husband (and a relatively new Christian) being a leader in the church, it's just magical. I was sitting by my best friend Courtney who knew both of us very well in college. She knows Anthony's journey as a new-ish Christian (but always a good guy). She leaned over to me as he finished and said, "I get emotional every time he leads prayer. It never ceases to amaze me." And I totally agree. 

It's fun for me to look back at our years together and see how far we've come. We were such different people in college. Our priorities were so off, our hearts in the wrong places. As we have grown up over the years, we have grown together in our faith. I'm so thankful that we can look back at our first marriage retreat and laugh at how far we've come. 

I'm so very thankful for this weekend each year and so very thankful for our church family. We truly are blessed beyond measure. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Argh

I'm in SUCH a blogging funk as of late! And it's so frustrating! I sit down often to type and either the creative juices aren't flowing or I have no good material. 

I blame the crazy busy holidays and lack of time, and now that I'm out of my routine it's just gone. 

The past few weeks have been spent getting back into the swing of things post-holiday. 

Both kids have done wonderful being back in school and I'm reminded of just how much I love this school. For both of them to be so happy to go and see their teachers and friends just makes a momma glad. 

It's also been great getting back into seeing friends regularly, lots of play dates, cooking healthy meals more frequently, more quality family (just the four of us) time, and just being us

We had SUCH a great night last night once Anthony got home- perfect dinner (kids both ate a ton of what was served- no arguing or coaxing into eating), they both sat nicely at the table, we all had wonderful conversation together, then playing after and baths and bed routines were seamless. Of course I love nights like that. The world just feels right

Anyway, I'm seriously desperate to get back to my regular blogging. Hopefully new material will just come flooding in 😊


Cousins visiting from Wisconsin

Char having no problem being the center of all the boys! 

My kids loving on Auntie Michelle and Uncle Scott and their pics of the Sydney Zoo! 




Friday, January 10, 2014

Another Look Back, Part 8

Written November 11, 2013

(This is the last of these looks back! Crazy it's already over!)


Well, we had our final first trimester check up today. It was another incredible appointment!


We had a high-tech ultrasound which was just amazing. We got to watch that precious child kick and dance and hiccup and move all over! We watched its little hand wave and its little legs stretch. We watched it arch its back and curl up in a ball. How someone could ever think that life doesn't begin in the womb is beyond me. That precious little heart was just beating away! It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen!

I won't lie- I was incredibly anxious heading into this appointment. I was just so so nervous. My heart was pounding and my eyes were teary as I laid on that table in the dark. I was so scared she wasn't going to see anything. But then that baby popped up and it was a little sigh of relief. Once it started moving I really did shed some tears. I was so relieved. I was so scared! I'm so thankful Anthony was there with me, holding my hand, and that he knew how anxious I was (and he was too).

I could watch my babies forever! I just love seeing their movements and what they are doing all crammed in that tiny space!

The ultrasound tech was great- and even had a guess at the gender. She said she knew it was early, but there was no evidence whatsoever of this little nugget being a boy!!! I about fell off the bed when she said that!!! ANOTHER GIRL!?!? I would have bet my right arm it was a boy!!!!! I was just certain! I definitely teared up and and Anthony was honestly speechless. I mean, he didn't move a muscle- except the fact that his eyes got HUGE. I actually nudged him and said, "Babe, are you ok?!" He just kind of nervously chuckled and said something like, "Wow. Didn't see that one coming!"

At this point we don't know for sure. I know a LOT of people who have had the ultrasound tech guess at the gender at 12 weeks and be proven wrong. We had the blood test today to determine the gender (most accurate test out there!) so we should find out in about two weeks! EEEEEK! I would seriously be shocked if it was a girl!

Plus, we had a boy name totally picked out! We are at a loss for girl names! I like certain ones and Anthony likes others! Oy...

Anyway, everything looked great- and so we told the social media world today! Because of how anxious we have been this pregnancy, we have told very few people. Only our immediate families and very very close friends. So a whirlwind started today when we unleashed the social media hounds- and that's always so fun. It just reminds you how many people out there care for your little one (or are just shocked that we CHOSE to have three kids three years old and younger!).


Today we also told OUR kids the big news! We knew this wasn't going to be a huge reaction, but we did want to tell them.

I pulled Jay on my lap and explained to him that I had a baby growing inside my tummy and that soon it would come out and be all of our baby. He got the cutest little wide-eyed smirk... then a full smile... then excitement! Then it was over! Ha! Every time we asked him if he wanted a baby brother or baby sister (or what he thought it was going to be), he said, "I want a baby brother AND a baby sister." Tough luck, toots!

And then Charley. We told her, and she just smiled and kept on playing. Ha! Didn't phase her at all! Though after the influx of babies recently in our lives, I'm pretty sure once the baby comes she will be all kinds of excited! That girl is a natural!


Anyway, that's all for today. I have a few (very grainy!) pics of our 12.5 week old baby in utero. Pretty cute if I do say so myself! (Oh, and a 160 HR and measuring about 4 days ahead of schedule...)


Sweet little side view

Little hand!

Frog leg!

Profile!! Love!

Arched back!

Face! Straight on view... 




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas 2013

I never posted about Christmas.

Mainly because it was a whilrwind of non-stop for about two straight weeks. Michelle came in the week before, then Kiki and her family, then we had nonstop Christmas family activities, then we had Christmas, then we went to see Anthony's family, then we came home and slept for 10 days. Just kidding on the sleeping part- though I wish it was true!

We had the BEST year yet! I loved getting to see every single person of both sides of our families. We are so blessed with such loving parents and siblings and nieces/nephews. We are so thankful for the memories and traditions we build each year. And we are so thankful that we are so blessed to celebrate how we want!

Most of the rest of this post will be pictures... :)

Decorating the tree

Santa's Wonderland

 Lunch with Santa at church

Mom/Daughter day! 
A fun tradition (and the thing that makes me look most forward to having daughters!!!!)
Sidenote- this year my dad started a Father-in-Law/Sons-in-Law lunch! So cute!

Christmas Lights in Prestonwood!

Cookie baking with the cousins at my parents' house!

CK just ate the icing by the spoonful :/

Second annual Moriarty grown-up dinner! 

My guy!

Christmas Eve this year we surprised my mom with a tacky sweater attire!
Some of us may have gone shopping in her closet! :)



Seesters on Christmas Eve

Jay and his PawPaw (whom he is VERY much alike!)

My parents and their grands! 7 total plus two on the way!!!

Daughters and grands!
(CK would take Michelle as her mom if possible- she didn't leave her side all week!)


Family on Christmas Eve!

Matching PJs!

Cousins in matching PJs!

Christmas Day! 
The sons-in-law and their mullets!

Christmas morning!!!


Christmas morning sleepy!

A favorite new gift!

Fam on Christmas Evening


Squillante cousins!



Always thankful for the holidays- despite the non-stop chaos and fun times, I'm always a little thankful it's over and we can resume normal life, too! There is just something about our little world that makes me extra happy! :)