Sunday, June 26, 2011

She made it!!

My girl made it all the way to the top of Katahdin!! They were scheduled to hike on Saturday, so they got up bright and early Saturday morning only to be greeted by downpours. They decided to reschedule the hike to that night. I wasn't too crazy about that idea but since I had no way of getting in touch with anyone I just had to deal with it. So I had a glass (2) of wine and then went to bed and prayed till I fell asleep. A night hike is something that more experienced hikers do and since my baby was hiking for the first time in the dark I was one very nervous and worried Momma! I knew the Lord was watching over her as well as her uncles and Daddy and one very special Angel but it was still tough.

The entire family were meeting at Pelletier's Restaurant at 1pm so I kept busy with the other kiddos until it was time to leave. When I got to the restaurant and laid my eyes on Ava I wrapped her in a big bear hug and then cried tears of relief. She was a sight for this Mommas sore eyes! She looked beyond exhausted but she was still standing.

I can't even begin to describe how proud I was of that girl! Shawn said she did awesome, not one complaint. The only trouble they had was when they reached the top and it started to hail and Ava got very cold and ended up vomiting so Shawn let everyone know they needed to head back down after they scattered their Dad's ashes. Shawn and his twin brother had to keep huddling with her between them to warm her up and her Uncle Jeff gave her his jacket but she made it back down that mountain.

I noticed after they got back home and Ava was showered and rested that something was different about her. This trip, this journey that she took matured her, brought her closer to God and gave her a confidence she didn't have before she left. Shawn said he bonded with her like never before. He said he had such a good time with her and was so very proud of her. As worried as I was I am so glad she was able to make this trip with her Daddy and uncles and cousin, it will be an unforgettable memory for her and for Shawn.

Friday, June 17, 2011


This weekend is a bittersweet weekend for my hubby. This weekend he, his brothers, our oldest daughter, Ava, and our oldest nephew Reece will take Paw-Paw's ashes to Mt. Katahdin. For those of you that don't know, Mt Katahdin is a mountain in Maine, it is one end of the Appalachian Trail. Before Shawn's dad passed away he expressed his wishes to be cremated and his ashes to be spread on Katahdin. Every year all four brothers along with their dad would camp at and hike up Katahdin on Father's Day weekend. So on this weekend we will celebrate the father's in our family by paying tribute to a great father who is no longer with us in this life.

Because the hike to the top of Katahdin is 9 miles Shawn and I felt we needed to prepare and test Ava to make sure she was capable of handling such a rigorous hike. Last month Shawn took Ava and Anabelle up Cadillac Mountain on a 4.5 mile hike, they did awesome!! They had such a great time and couldn't wait for their next one! We decided to try them on a longer hike, a 7.4 mile hike up Cadillac and to go camping the night before so she could have both experiences.

So last weekend we headed to Mount Desert Island for the girls first camping trip and my second camping trip ever!! We had such a wonderful time! We left the two younger kiddos at home with my parents and spent some much needed quality time with our big girls. We built a campfire, and set up the tent and our picnic table.

We then headed out for a walk on one of the trails at the campground. We found an Amphitheater where the girls put on a short impromptu dance show for us!

After our walk we went back to camp and cooked our steaks, roasted our marshmallows and then snuggled into our tent for some light reading and a good nights rest. We woke up the next morning to the pitter patter of rain on our tent, and since hiking in the rain isn't really any fun and can be dangerous, we decided after breakfast to pack up and head out.

We figured we would just drive around the island for a bit since we were already down there and had some time. We came across this trail called Wonder Land, it was pretty short and the rain had lightened up so we thought we'd check it out.

It was a lovely little trail that lead us to the ocean and then looped back to where we parked our van.

We also went to see one of the lighthouses on the island and some of the beautiful old Carriage trails as well as some of the ginormous houses! Overall it was such a great weekend and the girls had a wonderful time despite the rain! We will definitely be doing some more camping and hikes this summer!

I pray that Shawn and Ava and the rest of the group get safely up the mountain and safely back down and that this weekend turns out to be everything the boys are hoping it will be. Happy Father's day to all you Dad's out there. We miss you so very much Paw-Paw.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Communion

On May 15th, my oldest daughter, Ava made her First Communion and was Confirmed. She did such a wonderful job, very reverent and respectful. I couldn't be more proud of this sweet, thoughtful, intelligent young lady. I think she really gets how special this is and really wanted to partake in receiving these sacraments. I don't think I got it at this age and sometimes I still don't feel like I get it. I am proud to call myself Catholic and I'm proud to raise my family Catholic. I'm so grateful that there are so many resources out there for learning more about my faith as an adult. There are so many blogs out there that encourage me to relearn my faith. My favorites are Conversion Diary, Betty Beguiles, Melanie Pritchard, and my local pick and most recent addition to the Faves list, A Gift of Grace.

I'm grateful that I have all these women to look to for inspiration, and help on raising a Catholic family in today's world. It's both a difficult time and a wonderful time to raise a Catholic family. Difficult for obvious reasons, we live in a world that is morally corrupt, a world that doesn't hesitate to end an innocent life because they were conceived at an inconvenient time. A world where less is more in terms of clothing, and most people don't know the meaning of the word modesty. A world that sells everything with sex and makes "hooking up" a very acceptable and normal part of the single life. A wonderful time because there are many resources that help us understand the teachings of the church, many people who are being re-educated in the faith and are passing that on to their own children. Larger families who are open to life (including ours) are making a big comeback. There are more young men being called to the priesthood that are listening! When I was younger I never wanted to cause my children to stand out and go against the grain because that would make their lives more difficult. Now that I'm all grown up I realize that my children do stand out and do go against the grain, because they have more then one sibling, are (for the most part) well behaved, well mannered, well dressed children that listen and obey and have a heart for God , and that makes me the proudest mom in the world. We love you Ava Lusena and you are everything we ever could have hoped for in a daughter!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Memorial Day

Happy Belated Memorial Day my bloggy friends!! How was your Memorial Day? Did you watch a parade, grill out in the backyard, go to the beach, visit a memorial?? I was blessed to be able to spend this Memorial Day weekend with my family.

We started the weekend off with some dinner at my mother-in-law's with my hubby's twin brother and his family and thier younger brother. Then we headed up the road to the ballfield where they all use to play Little League for a fun family game of Softball. Even Maw-Maw took went up to bat and we discovered that she's pretty darn good at hitting the ball!

On Sunday we had all of my hubby's family here at our house for a lovely cookout. The kids played outside for hours while the guys hung out around the grill and the ladies alternated tending the children and the kitchen. I love having big gatherings here, it reminds me of when I was a yound child and all of my Mom's family getting together. It was always my favorite thing to do, and is still some of my fondest childhood memories. Little Landon spent hours with his big cousin Reece, he is such a special young man. I have been able to watch him grow from the time he was born and now he his 13, taller then me and quite a handsome guy.

It was also a little strange to have everyone here excpet my father-in-law. It was really the first holiday gathering with everyone since his passing and he was definately missed. I kept expecting him to walk into my kitchen and strike a conversation about the Lord, his greatest passion. I have to admit, I use to try to duck out of these chats at times, but now I truely miss them. It's funny how true the saying "you don't miss something till it's gone" really is.

On Monday my oldest, Ava, was in our town's parade, she walked with her softball team. It was a very short parade, from where we were standing we could see the beginning and the end at the same time..... After the parade went home to relax for a bit until my family arrived for our second cookout of the long weekend. Being an only child, my family's gatherings are much smaller but I'm working on making up for that with my own larger family!! ;)

Overall it was a wonderful and blessed weekend, and reminded me how greatful I am to all the men and women who have served our country, including my father, father-in-law, grandfather, and grandfather-in-law. Thank you to all you have done and continue to do for this great nation.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Sometimes I feel like all I do is fail. Do you ever feel like that? Do all women feel like that? I hear about other women working outside the home and I think wow, they must really have it together, to be able to take care of their home and families and still go to work and use their brains for organizing, for taking care of a sick person, for adding numbers, making phone calls, running a business, etc. It seems like I can barely remember the date most days. Even friends who stay at home seem like they can manage it all. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, emails, kids, errands, and they get all done and even make time to exercise and volunteer! I'm a stay at Mom, and I'm busy, and it's a full time job and blah, blah but you know what I don't do a very good job at it. I set these goals in my head, I'm going to clean on a schedule, I'm going to stick to this diet, I'm going exercise x amount of days of the week, I'm going to play with my children more, be a more loving, patient Mother, and so on. But I never follow through for more then a few days, then I get so frustrated with myself. I compare myself to other women, I put myself down, I throw the towel in and think, "I'm never going to succeed." It frustrates the living daylights out of my husband. I've always struggled with my self-esteem, since I can remember. I'm not sure what really brought it on for me to be honest, it's just always been there. So how do I stop comparing and stop putting myself down and just start doing it? I went to a concert yesterday afternoon and watched this amazing women use her gift to touch an entire church full of people, most whom she had never met before. She came from such adversity and rose to super stardom in her home country and then she gave it all up to come here to the United States and restart her life. She was filled with the Holy Spirit as she sang, and I thought to myself, I want to be like that. There I go again, wanting to be someone other then myself, but maybe instead of trying to be her I can look to her for inspiration. After all she is doing this tour to touch people, to share her gift with others and spread the story of our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe I can take away a small part of what touched me the most which was her genuine belief in and devotion to God and make it a part of me. Maybe by making that small part of her a part of me it will spread to the other areas of my life and I will start succeeding little by little. Most of the time I want to do it all and do it all perfectly or I just don't bother, maybe it's time for me to take it one small step at a time. Maybe if I set my sights on Him, through which all things are possible, I can manage to change my life for the better. So instead of focusing on giving up something for Lent I'm going to focus on having self-discipline and living my life the way I really want to live it. The way He really wants me to live my life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Dream

I had a dream in the wee hours of the morning this morning. It was a beautiful dream, one that had me weeping for real. I don't believe it was just a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in my mind during a certain stage of sleep. I believe this dream was a gift, from God, and my father-in-law too. I was so moved by this dream and I shared it with Shawn before he left for work this morning and he suggested that I write it down. I don't have a journal these days but this is like a journal for me so I figured it was the best place to "write" down this dream before the memories begin to fade away.

In my dream Shawn and I were at his Mom's apartment, it was just the three of us, no kiddos there running around to bug Uncle Jeff, or to chase away from unsuspecting plants. We were sitting on the couch talking when all of sudden my mother-in-law looked up and gasped and said "Bob?!". Shawn and I looked up startled and saw him standing there in front of us. He looked like his old self again. Filled out, bearded with salt and pepper hairs with those dimples of his that my son inherited when he smiled.

When my father-in-law, Bob, was ill, a few months before he passed away he grew extremely thin and frail and shaved off his beard and rarely smiled.

Bob smiled and said "Well yes Sue, of course it's me". She was so shocked that words escaped her as she stared in disbelief. Suddenly we all realized that he didn't realize he had passed away. He went into the kitchen and got the keys to his truck, Paw Paw's monster truck as we all liked to call it. When he came back into the living room Sue said "Honey where are you going?" He responded, " I have a few errands to run and then I was going to get the mail." Sue looked at Shawn and asked if she should tell him, Shawn said he thought she should. So Sue looked at him lovingly and said "Bob, honey, you know I love you and I'm so glad you're here right now, but..." Suddenly realization washed over Bob's face. "I know, Sue, it's okay, I just forgot, things got a little confusing on my way here." With that she stood up and hugged him and Shawn and I followed her, tears streaming down our faces. How, why, what is going on all came tumbling out of our mouths. He said "Sue, I saw him you know. It's amazing there, words cannot begin to describe what I saw. But the Lord told me I needed to come back here to let you all know I'm okay, that I'm more then okay, I'm whole again, nothing hurts, there is no more struggle for me now, I have peace. And he wanted me to share with you the truth" Sue wanted to know how long he had here and he told her not too long but long enough. With that we all decided to spend some time visiting outside where this family spent much of their time together. Shawn went to get the phone to call his brothers and Bob came over to me and put his arm around me and said something about being sorry he didn't reach out to me while he was here.

My father-in-law was never a very emotional man and I never felt that loving father feeling from him, I often felt kept at a distance.

He put his arm around me and said " You know I love you, right?" I said " Yes and I love you too"

It was so emotional for me to hear that, I cannot relive that scene in my dream without welling up with tears.

We went on to visit for several hours, each of the boys spending some time with him doing different things, I didn't get to see what, but he went for a walk on a trail with Shawn and I. I walked ahead so Shawn and his Dad could have some time together just the two of them. I knew that Bob would be giving him some wonderful wisdom and I thought it should be done without me. Later in the day we were all outside under the shade of some trees with a group of strangers when all of sudden I realized that we were saying Mass. Shawn's Mom and Dad who had long since left the Catholic church and Shawn's brothers who were all in very different places with their faith and belief in God. There was no priest saying this Mass, Shawn's father was with us in the crowd but was leading all of the prayers, we all were looking up toward God. Shawn and I looked at each other stunned and then that look of realization washed over our faces this time. This is where we were suppose to be, this was the truth.

For this to be a part of this dream was actually quite stunning to me as Shawn's father often preached against churches in general but even more specifically against the Catholic church. Shawn and I often find ourselves questioning and wondering about teachings and practices in the Catholic church and I have been praying for some time that God show me the "Truth".

We had the Eucharist and concluded Mass. My dream skipped to another scene, outside of Sue and Bob's apartment. "It's time", Bob said. Sue began to cry and Bob wrapped her in his arms and said to her, " Sue, it's going to be okay, you are going to be okay. I will always be looking down on you and you will not be alone, you have our boys and their families. You are surrounded by love. One day you will see me again." Not long after that we all said our goodbyes and then Josh, the oldest son, walked Bob up the hill past their apartment and he disappeared into the air.

I woke up after that and laid in bed with my eyes closed savoring the memory of the dream. I have never had a dream about a family member that has passed away nor have I had a dream so vivid and so full of emotion. It was a beautiful gift, one that I will never forget.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mourning and celebrating

I'm sorry it's been so long, again, since I posted last but I honestly haven't felt much like posting lately. I haven't been able to find the words to post lately. On January 5th my sweet father-in-law went home to be with our Savior. He took his last breaths in his home surrounded by his loving wife of almost 40 years and his four boys. I got to be a witness the night before when they made the decision to bring him to the ER to get his pain under control. I witnessed the most beautiful outpouring of love and prayer I have ever witnessed. My husband and his brothers all wept and told him how they loved him and were there for him. They read to him from his Bible, verses of encouragement, mostly Psalms. It was so amazing to watch. I am so grateful that he is at peace and that he is with Jesus Christ, he devoted his life to reading God's word and now he is in his Kingdom! We are really trying to celebrate the life he lived, but I am so sad for the memories that we won't be able create with him. I am sad that my son will never know his Grandfather in this life. I am sad that we had to watch such a strong man whittle away to weakness and frailty. It is a process and one that I have to admit most of us are going through really well but I worry about my youngest brother-in-law. He is my age and is divorced with a son who lives with his mother several states away. He lost his wife, his son, his job, his home, his vehicle and his license. After his wife left with their son he took up drinking heavily which led to the loss of everything else. He is living with my mother-in-law and has been for awhile now so he had to help with his father's care for the last month or so of his life and it has taken a toll on him. He is laid off for the winter and is falling into a depression. Please pray for him, his name is Jeff and I love him like he's my own brother and I'm really worried about him. Please also prayer for the rest of the family for understanding and peace.