New Year's Eve has arrived! It's hard to believe....so much has happened in our family in the last year and it has gone by SO quickly.

2009 was full of blessings. We welcomed sweet little Judah to our family and we couldn't be more thankful.

Of course, we have had our share of struggles, as well. We feel very blessed, though, that this year came and went without too much sorrow in our family.

Unfortunately, I know that this is not always the case. For many people, this year came with tragedy, loss, despair, and events that they would love to forget.

Unfortunatley, I know about that first hand. One of the darkest times in my life came around a holiday. I know that sometimes this time of celebrating, when the rest of the world seems joyful and carefree, can be daunting and depressing.

It has been sixteen years since we lost my dad in a tragic accident on December 23rd. He was driving his tractor to the grain bin when he arrived at a railroad crossing. There were two tracks. One train was headed east and the other west. At country railroad crossings (as at this particular stop) there are often no bars, bells, or lights to indicate that a train is coming. This is especially dangerous in crossings where there are two tracks...there is no way to see or hear a second train if it is behind the first. So, as the first train cleared the tracks, my dad began to cross, not knowing that there was another train behind it. He died instantly.

I am not writing this post because I need to hear someone express their condolences (not that I don't appreciate it when people do), but that's not the point.

I am not writing to tell you how my life has been more difficult than yours. It hasn't. Everyone has their own battle to fight. Hundreds of examples far more devastating than my own circumnstances: Tragedy. Sorrow. Abuse. Divorce. Neglect. Depression. The list goes on and on. That is not the point, either.

I am writing for one simple reason. My life was forever changed by one devasting day.

My God was not.

God was, is, and always will be faithful.

He is the Most High.

He is our hope.

He is the Alpha and the Omega.

He is enough.

He Yahweh Jireh. He will provide.

He is our peace.

Everyone has to go through their share of crap "stuff" in life. Maybe you have already experienced it. Maybe you haven't. Maybe it has been big...a major loss...or a dozen separate heartwrenching events. Maybe you haven't seen much difficulty thus far.
No matter your situation, we live in a fallen world. There is just no getting around the fact that everybody has to suffer.

But, the real point of this post isn't the suffering. Praise God that he has given us a body of believers with whom we can share our struggles and our tears. We need to come together and mourn with those who mourn. He desires that we enter into those difficult situations and be a comforter. But, the real point isn't the suffering.

It's the victory.

So, in blessing or in trial, I rejoice in this new year. Not because I hope for better circumstances,(although I will be praying for God to intervene that way on behalf of many people), but because my hope is in the One that does not disappoint.

Our hope in 2010:

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Revelation 5:5
"Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed!"

Proverbs 18:10
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."

Isaiah 9:6
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

John 11:25
"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies"

Deuteronomy 32:4
"He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he."

Hosea 6:1
"Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up."


1000 Gifts (8)

I have been a slacker on these! I'm determined to keep it up, though...I have noticed that I really do need to write them down in order to remember how faithful God is.

141. Two napping boys
142. The anticipation of Advent...LOVE himself is coming. Are you ready?
143. Reconnecting with a life long friend sister after months of phone tag. Love you, Al!
144. Getting back on track with priorities
145. Getting some organization taken care of in our home
146. 10 days of time away
147. my sweet little one, sitting up and smiling at me
148. surpirse anniversary date night. I have the best husband ever!
149. FREE babysitter for surprise date night. Thanks again, Melissa!
150. (mostly) FREE dinner on surprise date night (because we each had to get a chef's special and an appetizer. SO GOOD!). Thanks for the gift card, Mom and Dad Pometto!
151. A mom who worries about me. We'll be careful, Mom!
152. warm house in the cold winter
153. neighbors who look out for us
154. talking with a two year old about who is a boy and who is a girl. :)
155. four years of marriage
156. the loving and honoring throughout the joys and sorrows of four years
157. learning about family history
158. memories shared of loved ones gone before us
159. the hope of Christmas
160. getting to share the joy of Christ, the peace of Christmas with my boys


1000 Gifts (7)

Psalm 34:1-3

I will bless the LORD at all times;

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul will make its boast in the LORD;

The humble will hear it and rejoice.

O magnify the LORD with me,

And let us exalt His name together

121. family traditions

122. teapots

123. chex mix (Mary's chex mix is the best!)

124. Psalm 1

125. that Judah can sleep through drumming and Roman pounding on the piano

126. first snow

127. feeding the squirrels with Roman

128. calloused hands of a hard working man

129. dancing

130. unique names

131. friends gathered round the kitchen counter...sharing, laughing, inspiring

132. miracles

133. second chances

134. that God has a plan bigger than my own

135. pizzookie

136. Christmas decorations

137. authentic people

138. people who are always trying to improve themselves and their relationship with God

139. when someone else does the dishes

140. freedom



Roman loves to build block towers.

Like every other little boy on the planet, he likes to build towers so that, in a moment of utter aggression, he can knock over his masterpiece and watch all the pieces go flying to kingdom come.

The construction/demolition process usually looks something like this:

  • "You want to build a tower, Mommy?"

  • I agree and we start piecing blocks together...up up up.

  • I watch him put together this blue print in his head (or lack there of), selecting just the "right" piece to place in each specific location.

  • At some point he usually reminds me that he is an "arch-ta-tec"

  • We have some moments where wobbling requires me to anchor the whole thing with my hands so that we can use every.single.block. in the most lop-sided creation in all of history

  • He puts the last block on and smiles with great pride

  • He runs into the other room giggling and shouting my "line" before I can get it out, "Just don't knock it over!!!"

  • A moment passes and he comes dashing back in, so excited and ready to destroy.

  • Blocks fall to the floor.

Although, lately, there has been one added step. If, for whatever reason, I am not there to anchor the tower as he builds, it usually ends up toppling a couple of times before he finishes. For example, today I was feeding Judah as he was building and I watched about a third of the tower collapse. He saw it coming. Very frustrated, he shouts "That's MY tower!!"

I have heard him say several times while building in the last week.

"That's MY tower!!"

I am always intrigued wtih the the way that he expresses frustration. Sometimes it creates frustration in me as well. Sometimes it evokes deep compassion. Sometimes it's just plain hilarious.

This time I laughed a little, and I felt bad for him, but mostly...I couldn't help but relate.

Don't we all have this feeling of self-entitlement? I know I do.

It's mine.

We want to be able to place the blame somewhere when things don't go the way that we had planned.

Often, there is no one to blame. It's just that life is frustrating sometimes. The car needs another repair...I don't want to spend waste my money on it. A friend asks for a favor that seems oh-so-inconvenient. I don't want to spend my time on that.

Sometimes it's that we, ourselves, have royally screwed things up. We have arranged our lives in such a way that suddenly, all the "blocks" are about to come crashing down around us. Unwise choices, burned bridges, words we can't take back.

And yet, when things don't play out the way we had planned, we too can be heard crying out in a moment of exasperation:

"It's MY life!"

Except that it's not.

As I recall, we were bought at a price.

In reality, there is no such thing as my job, my family, my possessions. Because it wasn't my work that got me there, my fertility that created life, or my talent that earned me anything.

Now, obviously, people work hard to get good jobs, and partner with God to conceive children, and save wisely to obtain things they need or want.

But none of those things are truly ours to keep. Need an example? Just look at unempolyment rates, a family who has lost a child, and the man begging on the corner.

Plans fail.

We grieve for one who was dearly loved.

Moth and rust destroy.

Sometimes life is ugly. Brutal. Unbearable.

The frustration, the sorrow, the anger build until we scream

"This is not what I had in mind for MY life!"

I have come to see that anything that we are blessed enough to have is on loan to us from God.

And I find rest in knowing the One who paid for evey moment...and has a plan for each event...good or bad.

I have some things I need to surrender - because they aren't mine at all.

They are yours, Lord. And it is all for your glory.


1000 Gifts (6)

101. That my brother is HOME safely and that he found a great job!

102. tucking little boys in bed - tonight I laid Judah down in Roman's bed with him while we sang and they LOVED it! They laughed so hard and rubbed each others' heads. Cutest ever. I am so thankful that they love each other so much.

103. twigs snapping underfoot

104. leaves crinkling and blowing

105. going on a walk with the boys with no coat on in NOVEMBER!

106. Christmas in South Carolina (can't wait!)

107. soft, sweet smelling, kissable baby head

108. when Joe has a day off and wants to spend it at the zoo with his family

109. sweet neighbors that mow our lawn

110. Mom's apple dumplings :)

111. learning something new and astounding during God time (do some research on Mount Moriah!)

112. surprises

113. cooking for people

114. all the placrs I have traveled

115. sweatpants

116. well-loved Bibles with worn covers and wrinkled, marked-up pages

117. Christmas music

118. women who are scared and alone, yet still make the difficult choice to keep their baby or to seek adoptive parents

119. priests, nuns, monks: obedient to a radical vocation; a life lived in total abandon to the Lord

120. pomegranates


1000 Gifts (5)

81. Mass

82. That I get to stay home with my kids. I could never thank my husband enough. I love every minute and I'm so thankful that he works so hard and has always made it a priority.

83. friends that are so incredibly generous with their time and resources.

84. a mom who will drop everything to come help me with a sick child. Love you!

85. parents-in-law that have always treated me like their own daughter

86. those times when you swear that you can audibly hear the voice of the Lord speaking directly to you.

87. that I don't have to have all the answers

88. Veterans...whether they sacrificed a few years of their time or their very life

89. the refreshed feeling I get after talking with a good friend

90. mommy kisses that make everything all better

91. warm gingerbread

92. our church family

93. wide open spaces

94. the ocean...the smell of salt, the sound of crashing waves, the feel of the sand in your toes

95. words. the perfect combination paints such a vivid picture and evokes such an emotional reaction

96. that Roman and Judah love each other so much

97. Dayton Oaks Camp. The beginning of the greatest Love of my life.

98. movies that so vividly portray the battle between good and evil

99. friends who aren't afraid to go "into the trenches" with you. the people who are willing to walk alongside you in the darkness and help you get back to the light.

100. strong men of faith who are willing to fight for Truth.

Laugh of the Day

So, after dinner I was telling Joe and Tony that The Lion King was going to be at the Civic Center. I told them how my mom took my brother and me to see the show when we were in New York my freshman (?) year of high school. I loved it. I was telling them that it's not so much acting as it is amazing music and, as my mom would say, "eye candy". They both kind of stared at me blankly.

"You know", I said, "it's people with these incredible voices singing and there are big colorful costumes and amazing choreography".


"It's cool music with lots of stuff to look at. Ya know?"

Then Joe says "Mmm hmmm. See, Tony doesn't know what you're talking about because he's never been to a Broadway show."

Tony: "You take that back! I saw Peter Pan!!"


1000 Gifts (4)

61. the sound of gravel crunching underneath my shoes
62. a little hand on my shoulder...waiting for attention
63. chai lattes
64. the glow and warmth of a fireplace
65. Roman dancing with no abandon
66. babywearing. LOVE my moby wrap!
67. cozy cuddle under the sheets after a long day
68. answered prayer
69. boys writing new songs in the basement
70. pausing for prayer - time stands still as we speak with the Lord
71. foot massages
72. Carter James. cutest nephew ever! I need to post more pictures of that little buddy soon!
73. trampoline...oh how I miss it!
74. the Pirate (Roman) and the Elephant (Judah) I had for Halloween. :)
75. a cuddly, rolly poly baby boy (17lb 10 oz at his 4 month appointment!!!)
76. the way Roman LOVES Murphy (his stuffed dog)
77. my education
78. people who love my kids
79. Clorox Anywhere. It's one of my essential household items. Can hardly go a day without it.
80. storms


1000 Gifts (3)

41. Rocking my baby
42. Healthy kids!
43. Jeans and a sweatshirt
44. Seeing pregnant women - the hope of new life is so refreshing!
45. Target diapers - these are my most recent fantastic find! (thanks, Kim!) They work just as well as Pampers or Huggies and they are a good $5 cheaper per case. You're welcome.
46. trees letting go of leaves...dozens drift down, slow motion.
47. Scarves
48. Our Honeymoon. SO glad we spent the time and money to do something really great! I think about it often...and covet another. :)
49. Cornmeal pancakes. a reminder of my childhood.
50. Hot showers. And I do mean HOT.
51. Baking. I love that you can put ingredients together and in a matter of minutes have a completely new, warm, fresh creation.
52. My grandma. She is so enthusiastic and young at heart.
53. Home videos
54. Washing machines. Even with a washing machine in my house, I am usually behind. I can't imagine how women stayed on top of laundry when they had to do it all by hand.
55. A card from a friend.
56. Flowers. Any kind. Any occasion. No occasion is even better!
57. Wine
58. Eating out - with no kids.
59. Painting
60. Decorating


Updates on the Kiddos

I feel like we are long overdue on some good Roman stories...so, here ya go!

Conversation #1
Me: "Roman, it's time for breakfast. What shall I make for you?"
Roman: "Uuummmm....cookies."
Me: (laughing) "UUUUmmmmm....no. We are not going to make cookies right now".
Roman: "I will make you a muffin." (meaning he wanted me to make him one. We still don't quite have those pronouns down!)
Me: "I was thinking toast or oatmeal..."

Conversation #2
When I went in to get Roman after his nap the other day, I opened the door and he said
"I have a surprise for you! Grandma's coming to see us!"
(again, he always says what he wants me to say to him - even funnier in real life because he uses the same intonation that I would have if I were actually telling him there was a surprise).

Conversation #3
Roman has a book about colors that he likes to read to me because it's simple and he can. The pages say sentences like this: "Red. This apple is red". Each color uses a piece of fruit as the example, but this is how he read it to me the other day:
"Red is apple."
"Bananas are yeyow." (yellow)
"Blueberries are yummy."

**Also, Roman is in this somewhat destructive stage...although Tony assures me it's not a stage. He says it's what boys do. According to Tony "I like to break stuff." When I asked him why he said "To see if I can. To see what happens."


Anyway, almost every day when I go into Roman's room after his nap, he has taken all the sheets off of his bed, all the clothes out of his dresser, and has all his books all over the floor. The other day he had even ripped a tag off of his mattress and torn it to shreds.

SERIOUSLY. Any ideas on how to take the destruction down a notch???

  • Has a tooth! His first tooth came in this week - it's on the bottom
  • rolls back to front (not front to back)
  • laughs hysterically at Roman doing pretty much anything
  • is such a cuddle bug!
  • thinks Old MacDonald is the funniest song ever
  • spends a lot of time jumping like crazy in his exersaucer. He really enjoys being able to sit up in it without being held.
  • loves his song ("Lion of Judah") and grins ear to ear when you sing it to him- yes, each of the boys have their "own" song - Roman's song is "Romans 16:19"
  • is huge. He weighed 17 lb 10 oz at his four month appointment!
  • has been a little grumpy, and a lot of drooly, due to teething
  • usually goes to bed around 8 or 9, and then usually wakes around 1:00 and 6:00
  • continues to be a very smiley, happy guy most of the time


1000 Gifts (2)

21. hearing the boys laughing at Joe in the baby monitor
22. silence
23. breastfeeding - it never ceases to astound me that God desined mothers so that they could sustain their baby's life with their own body
24. the smell of freshly baked bread
25. pictures that hold so many memories
26. living close to family
27. my wedding ring - a beautiful reminder to love and to honor
28. hearing the Word of God on Roman's lips
29. our amazing house
30. the teens in our youth group
31. the promise that the word "divorce" will never even be spoken in our home
32. the sound of the plastic covers on library books
33. the smell of the pages in an old book
34. opening a new book (can you tell I like books??)
35. sunshine
36. evening - when the sun is slipping down in the west but there is still just enough light to see
37. the faint smell of leaves burning
38. natural childbirth
39. Theology of the Body


1000 Gifts

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything, give thanks; f9r this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
Colossians 4:2
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Psalm 105:1
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."
-John Milton
Some will be large. Obvious. Some small...seemingly insignificant. All are mine...and they remind me that I am His.
And so I begin...
  1. a God who is faithful
  2. a husband who is Godly
  3. Roman James
  4. Judah Gerard
  5. family
  6. friends who might as well be family
  7. the sound of rain on my window
  8. autumn leaves...especially the bright orange
  9. music that captures your exact thought or emotion
  10. the mistakes I have made in the past. they have helped me grow
  11. that God doesn't remember my mistakes
  12. honey crisp apples...seriously...they will change your life
  13. combines harvesting tall, golden stalks for corn
  14. Natural Family Planning
  15. the sound of little feet running across our hardwood floor
  16. Roman's almost-not-breathing laugh
  17. Judah's hiccupy, squealing laugh
  18. being cuddled up in a blanket and listening to the wind blowing outside
  19. when someone says just the right thing at just the right time
  20. candles


The Rundown...

I have started to write several posts and just haven't been able to quite say what I want to say in any of them. So, hopefully one day, I will be able to spit out exactly what I would like for you to read.

In the meantime, here is a totally random rundown on what's going on in our house:

  • I am sick. Sad day. It was really bad last night but I am feeling a little better this evening. However, if I haven't mentioned it, I have the best husband EVER. He stayed home from work today to help me with the boys. He took both of them (and brought Judah to me so that I could feed him every couple of hours) so that I could sleep most of the morning. Then he took Roman to the library while Judah and I rested. Then after lunch, he made me take another nap and brought me lots of juice. He is amazing. :)
  • I am thankful for so many things. God has really been convicting me to have a thankful heart. I need to rid myself of a complaining spirit. I need to be satisfied in all that He is and in every way that he chooses to reveal himself in my life. I have been reading a new blog, Holy Experience, where the writer has posed a challenge to record 1000 things you are thankful for. I am going to start, so I may be sharing those things periodically.
  • I have been reading a FANTASTIC parenting book, Instructing a Child's Heart. Two things I am going to work on: 1. making the gospel the center of everything that we do as parents. It has given me some great ideas on how to bring discipline, daily life, and difficult times back to what life is really about. I want to be purposeful in everything I do and say in my home. 2. I want to be truly present with my kids (and in all of my conversations and realationships, for that matter). I don't want to be distracted. They will only be little for a short time and I want to savor every moment. In the same way, I have incredible friends...and I want them to realize how important they are to me when we are talking.
  • Roman is still awake - kicking his wall as we speak. How do I make that stop??
  • I really need to put some new videos up...you have to see how cute it is when Roman and Judah start laughing at each others' laugh and can't stop. :)
  • I love fall. I will save the details for part of a "thankful" post coming soon!
  • Let me know how I can be praying for you this week...I would be honored to lift you to the Most High.


Can't Resist.

So, I know that this is my blog and all. And it might not technically count as my post if I constantly link to someone else's blog...

But seriously, I can't resist.


Check out "More Congagious than the Swine Flu".



My Favorites

Roman quote of the day (after getting soap in his eye in the bath):

"That was very hurting."

And last night's quote (after catching a ball):

"That was very perf-tec!!" (if you're good at deciphering code that means "perfect"). :)

Judah laughs really hard when you "baa" at him. I won't tell you how I know this...


Oh, Ro...

Today while we were on a walk, Roman was enjoying the view from the stroller. We passed some lovely homes, some beautiful flowers...you know...the typical sights of the neighborhood.

As we passed a couple of mailboxes, he said "I should probably get the mail".

Not sure that the neighbors would have appreciated him getting their mail. :)


In Case You Were Wondering...

When your husband is sick, it is not...I repeat...NOT a good idea to take a two year old and an infant to church by yourself.


Thank Yous

Dear people that gave me baby gifts,
I am going to send out thank-yous. I promise. I am just a huge slacker. I procrastinate like it's my job. But, I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and generosity. We have been so blessed by all of the clothes and diapers and toys and everything else. And, like I said, the heartfelt, handwritten thank yous are coming. They really are.
Tired mom of two. :)


Also, Angels

Roman has a picture of his guardian angel in his room. He calls it his "angel guard". :) Apparently, the other night Joe listed off some names that he could give his angel. He chose Simon. I love that.


While praying before breakfast, Roman said "pray for Monica and Chrissy and Jon. Bless the diapers. Amen".

And silently I agreed. Quite frankly, Lord, I pray that you would bless the diapers... because they have been leaking a lot.


A Few (cute/hilarious) Moments in Time

Okay, these are long overdue, but I have been writing them down so I wouldn't forget because I seriously have the funniest kid ever. I laugh all day long! Enjoy!
  • Since Judah has been "talking", his favorite "word" is "ah-goo". (That's a lot of quotation marks). :) Roman will say "want to talk to Judah" and proceeds to get right in his face and shout "ah-goo".
  • I asked Roman if he wanted yogurt, toast or fruit for breakfast. "Yogurt", he responded. Then he added "I should probably get a spoon".
  • Roman has been singing "twinkle, twinkle little star" while sitting on the toilet. (This started because Grandma told him to "tinkle tinkle"...apparently tinkle and twinkle are one in the same). Anyway, Roman's version goes like this:
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
how I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
like a triangle in the sky...

  • Roman trying to tell Mary to close her eyes comes out "Mary's eyes off"
  • Roman counts to 10...then I have to prompt him with 11 but he will continue 12, 13, usually skips 14, 15...I have been trying to work on getting him to 20. The other day I continued "15, 16, 17, 18, 19..." I paused waiting to see if he would remember "20"...instead he enthusiastically yelled "JELLYFISH!"
  • While riding in the car with Joe's parents, their GPS said "turn left 2 miles". Roman piped up "Miles and Kim and Andrew".
  • At the end of reading On the Night You Were Born it says "Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the wonderful, marvelous night you were born". The picture shows a french horn and a saxophone, so I have been pointing them out to Roman and talking about the instruments...only now he always points and says "french trumpet!"
  • Since Judah got baptized, Roman often prays "thank you for baptism".
  • Trying to explain retirement to a two year old is a very difficult task. The librarian in Boone retired recently. Roman still says "go see Judi" every time we go to the library. So, I tried to explain, "Judi doesn't work at the library anymore. She moved to South Dakota because she is retired. That means she doesn't go to work now. We won't see Judi at the library anymore". Roman seemed to take it all in and then asked "Is she sleeping?"
  • The other night Mary and Tony watched Roman so that Joe and I could go out for dinner. The next morning, Roman told me he "ate french fries...at Old McDonald's".


Weeding out the Sin

I'm not much of a gardener. I wish I was. But I'm not. If you have seen my yard/shrubbery vast array of random plants growing in front of my house, this will not come as a surprise to you.

It's not that I hate yardwork or that I don't want to know more about gardening. I actually don't mind it and would love to. But, we decided that next summer will have to be the summer of worrying about the yard and redoing the landscaping...I mean, I we have an infant and a two year old...which = no time to mess with the yard work. :) (Although, I'm not sure that having a one and three year old next summer will make it that much more convenient. Oh well!)

Anyway, the weeds were seriously starting to overtake the front step, and I was a little worried about losing Roman in the "jungle" near the door, so I finally broke down and just decided to pull up a bunch of the mess. And it was a mess. It really was. And, well, you know how I roll. I had some revelations while digging through the mess. Maybe it's because it's only in the most random and mundane moments that I have silence enough to be so "enlightened". (you can stop laughing!) Maybe God just has a quirky sense of humor...but nonetheless, He gets his point across.

I started with the big weeds. The tall, thick, almost tree-like weeds. The most daunting. The most challenging. (Now for my disclaimer: I need you to know this does not mean that my yard is looking good right now. That is much too big of a goal. Mary and I cleaned out those planters last fall and somehow there are still who-knows-what-kind-of plants growing on top of bushes and hostas spilling out from underneath daisies. I don't understand it. ANYWAY, we are planning to pull it all up next summer anyway).

I thought if I could get the big weeds out of the way, it would look much better. It took a lot of hard work. I was digging and yanking, sweating and pulling. They just did not want to come out. They had set their roots down deep and they were there to stay. In some cases, I didn't get all the roots...obviously, we will be seeing those plants again. But for now, it will work. And it did look better, but not great.

As I struggled with the monstrous intruders, it reminded me a lot of my sin. Those big sins in my life that are deeply rooted, that seem to be "there to stay", and that take much time and painful effort to get rid of. I know my life would be much better without them. I know they are taking up room in my heart that could be filled with something far more beautiful and functional. But it takes work. It's not easy. I will have to dig down, get right in the middle of the mess...I have to be willing to get dirty (or admit that I'm unclean) in order to get rid of it. Let's be honest. I will have to get on my knees and cry out to God...because only He can help me get at the roots. It will be painful.

And if I don't?...Well, if I don't get the roots, the labor will be in vain. If the roots stay, there will be no opportunity for flowers in the spring. You see, at least I am the kind of person that sometimes strives more for appearance than for actually fixing the dark places in my heart. You too? But, the fact is, those weeds...those sins will return...bigger and badder if we don't do something about the roots - about the attitudes from which those actions came.

Now for the small weeds.

The tiny little green leaves crawling across the yard and amongst the flowers.

"These aren't so bad. They would be easy to get out.", I thought. "In fact, I could just leave them. I mean, you can't even see them from far away. And I could come clean these up another time...it would only take a few minutes."

(Ha. Yeah right. I'm way too OCD once I get started on a task!!)

ANYWAY, the small weeds were EVERYWHERE. Once I really got down on the ground and surveyed what I needed to work on, I realized that they were simply out of control.

They were wrapped around the base of every bush.

They were growing through cracks in the cement and through the wood surrounding the planters.

There were weeds that were so intertwined with other weeds that they sprawled all the way across the flower bed.

They were plauging the whole yard.

How would I ever get all of the tiny ones out. Again, the idea of leaving them there crossed my mind. It's amazing how lazy I am when it comes right down to it.

The small sins are the ones that I would really like to leave alone. They are the things in my life that I hold onto...because they just really aren't "big enough to worry about". They aren't even visable from far away. And after all, they are so "easy" to get rid of....


Do you have some of those?

They are the "secret gardens" that we tend in the back corners of our hearts? (that analogy is courtesy of our friend Archbishop Fulton Sheen). :)

We all have them.

Oh, we pretend they aren't there.

We think that maybe if we ignore them they will somehow magically disappear before next spring. We think that we have control of them - that they will be easy to eliminate. But, the truth is, they are plaguing our lives. People may not notice those sins so much but when we let the little sins go, we don't realize that they are wrapping themselves around the virtue in our lives...trying their best to suffocate every good. When we don't stop them they continue to permeate each area where God might be using us fruitfully, for his glory.

Large and small, let's get digging.


Family Time

We had an awesome week with Joe's family. I don't think we could have packed more stuff into the week, but somehow we had time to relax and just enjoy life together. What an awesome combination. :)

They arrived late last Thursday so we only got to chat for a little while that evening. Friday morning we made our oh-so-predictable trip to Dutch Oven Bakery. DELICIOUS. Roman was SO excited to see them and it was neat to see that they picked up right where they left off. It was like they had never been gone.

Friday afternoon, Joe and I (with Judah in tow, of course!) went to help Ryan and Kathleen decorate for their wedding. Tony and Roman met us later for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. It was such a fun day.

Naturally, Saturday was the wedding. I have been tagged in some pictures on Facebook. (Also pictures and videos of the family visiting. You wouldn't really expect me to be that on top of uploading pictures and videos so soon, would you??) Anyway, it was a beautiful wedding!! It has such a blessing to be a part of their relationship and we were so glad we got to share in their wedding with them. Roman was an excellent ring bearer...although, he talked (loudly) about his pillow all the way down the aisle. :)

Sunday we went to mass at St John's Basillica in Des Moines (where Tony and Suellen attended when they lived here). We went to lunch and then headed back to Boone to make food and head over to St Cecilia's for Judah's baptism! (Again, check facebook for the pictures!) It was an awesome night. Deacon Troy came to celebrate with us and, of course, all of my family, and many of our friends. We were so blessed by all of the people that came...people that probably were exhausted by the end of the weekend or traveled many miles or made other sacrifices to be with us. We are so thankful for all of you!! It was a great night of fellowship and joy for our family.

Monday through Wednesday were more relaxing days. We hung out at home, took naps, ate out, went to the park, drew with sidewalk chalk, played in the sandbox, did bubbles, got haircuts (I got 7 inches cut off of my hair!), went shopping, caught butterflies, did puzzles, read books, and hung out some more.

Thursday we went to the zoo! (Roman's idea of a perfect day = lots of family to play with and going to the zoo!) We got to feed lots of animals...fish, ducks, llamas, goats, and even giraffes! Of course, Roman didn't want to feed the giraffes, but he enjoyed watching the rest of us. When we got home we played outside some more and had a water balloon fight - which turned out to be more like "brothers chases sisters/wife with hose". Neat. That night Angie and I took Theresa to the pool.

We got a whole day on Friday to hang out with the fam some more. At the moment, I really coudn't tell you what we did...but we had a blast. :) They left Saturday morning and, I'm not going to lie, I definitely cried. It was just so great having everyone here. Roman has been talking about how "Grandma and Grandpa and Theresa went to South Carolina" and
"Angie went to Virginia". And he's already talking about "go see Grandma and Grandpa at Christmas". :)


a little more bragging...

Judah's two month stats:

weight: THIRTEEN pounds and twelve ounces. 95th percentile!!! I was SO excited! Roman was the 10th percentile for weight until he was almost a year old! We worked so hard to try to get him to gain weight so it's such a relief that Judah is gaining weight so easily!

height: 24 inches. 85th percentile!

He's a big boy! And he's healthy and doing very well.



A mom needs to brag a little :)

Some of the funny things Roman has been saying:

(instead of "Where could Roman be?"): "Where's Roman could be?"

When he wants something: "Please Mommy juice please" or "Please Daddy drums please"

Some of the incredible things Roman has been doing:

Putting together the entire "United States of America" puzzle Jim gave him. He can tell you that Roman lives in Iowa, Daddy was born in Washington, Grandma and Grandpa live in South Carolina, and Aunt Angie lives in Virginia. He knows several of the other states' names, too.

Singing along to songs. For example, pretty much any Vow of Silence song, "Better is One Day" by Kutless, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes...
Judah will be two months old tomorrow! He continues to be a fabulously good baby...eating well and sleeping well (most nights!) He has been sleeping a four hour stretch from about 11 to 3 and then waking up again around 5 and 7. Of course, this is not including the other night when he woke up at 2, 4, 5, and 6. Yikes.
He is a very happy little boy - lots of smiles and cooing.
We have another big week coming up! Joe's family should be arriving Thursday or Friday for a week long visit! We are SO excited to see them! Roman is excited beyond belief and we can't wait for them to meet Judah!
We also have Ryan and Kathleen's wedding a week from today! YAY!
Needless to say, it will probably be a little while before I post again. But, I'm sure there will lots of great stories and pictures to share when I do!


Quote of the Day

"If we knew everything God knows, we would will everything to be the way that it is."

-a priest that Monica knows. I stole the quote from her blog. Good one, huh? :)


Judah's Video Debut!


Still Catching Up...

Well, as you can see, I was still pregnant when this video was taken...that give away the not-so-secret that I am REALLY far behind on sharing pictures and videos!! Anyway, this is a pretty good example of what it's like to live with Roman. He just brings us so much joy...


Right Now...

Want a peek in at my world right now? Well, right now...

  1. Joe is standing on our neighbor's tool shed cutting branches off of a tree. Tony is helping. The neighbor is sitting in his lawn chair watching this process. (Dwain, our neighbor is probably in his 70s...a very sweet man who sometimes mows our lawn because he's so annoyed at how ridiculously long we let it get every week because he's so generous and helpful.) Occasionally, Dwain will get up out of his chair to come supervise and give some suggestions. He stands under the tree, hands on hips, and tells them of his vast knowledge on how to do anything regarding lawn or tree care. He was a farmer, you know.
  2. Roman is napping. Well, not so much napping as laying in bed singing "Happy Birthday" at the top of his lungs. But that's okay with me...he slept until 10:00 this morning!!!!! It was the best morning of my life. Not because I didn't want to be playing with Roman all morning...but because, at this point, I would do close to anything for an extra couple of hours of sleep.
  3. I know right now you're thinking, "How did you get a two year old to sleep in??" The truth is I have NO idea. It might have something to do with the fact that yesterday Joe only had one appointment so we spent the morning at the library, went out for pizza for lunch, then went to the zoo, and finally ended our day with DELICIOUS dinner at Kathleen and Ryan's new duplex! He didn't go to sleep until 9:45 on the drive back home. But I never would have expected that he would sleep until 10. God is good. :)
  4. Judah has been super smiley and talkative all morning!! He is such a good baby and I promise there are more pictures coming! I can't believe how much he has changed over the last five weeks!
  5. (Well, this one isn't right now, but...) Roman tried to pick Judah up on Thursday. Yeah. Praise God I was in the same room and it didn't end in tragedy, but it sure made me stop breathing for a while. Now I feel that it is no longer safe for me to leave a room - even for .3 seconds. Neat.
  6. While we're on the topic of Roman....a few tidbits (none of which fall under the "right now" title):
  • He is back to pulling poop out of his diaper. Awesome. Although, this time he was grossed out by it - hopefully that is a good sign for potty training?
  • He ate dirt on Wednesday. I know, I know...I am really good at supervising toddler play.
  • I gave him a bite of my yogurt the other day and he said "wow. that's amazing". :) You have to understand that Roman has a deep and profound love of all things dairy. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are his favorite things in life. One day he spilled yogurt all over himself and I actually caught him licking it off of his toes. Mmmm.
  • He has been trying to teach Judah how to "pound it" and how to "feed the chickens". I know what you're thinking "What the heck is 'feed the chickens'?" I don't think I can even explain. Just ask Roman next time you see him.
  • He asked me this question the other day: "Did you watch Laura the Carrot on the computer?" Uh...yes, that is a NINE word question. And for the record, the answer was "no". Not as exciting.
  • This one is from before Judah was born, but I still haven't shared. I was looking in the fridge for something to eat (because that's pretty much all I did when I was pregnant). I said "Roman, mommy's really hungry". He replied "Do you want some grapes?". Why yes, yes I do. Too bad we didn't have any. It was a nice thought. :)

You're probably wondering how you got to the end of this post with there really being no point to it whatsoever. In fact it was all over the place. I apologize.


Chrissy and Jon's Wedding

Well, I took some pictures at the wedding, and I'll share them eventually, but really, you all need to see what an amazing photographer Sarah Davis is. Check out these photos from Chrissy and Jon's big day (of course, I am a little biased, but I think the pictures of Roman are particularly cute!)


Why Yes, Yes, I am Playing Catch Up!

Roman playing in the rain...in May.

Fun With Frosting

There are really no words... :)


In the meantime...

So, I really should have titled my last post "Roman's Shenanigan" (singular). I realize I only shared one story when I had promised many...and the promise stands...I just couldn't get them all done in one post. Maybe better to spread them out anyway. Let's not get too carried away with blog story gluttony.

But, in the meantime, here's what we did today (because it was such a riveting day) :) :

  • Roman put together his Veggie Tales puzzles approximately 23 times. I even took a video (I also have lots of fun videos to post...you know, sometime before 2012).
  • My high school girls came over for our small group. We just started Captivating. If you haven't read it, you should.
  • I thought about what I'm going to say for my speech at Chrissy' wedding (on SATURDAY!!) I am really excited...but I'm feeling the pressure to get the speech done - how do you strike a balance between funny and sentimental, not too long, not too short, something meaningful to the happy couple and interesting for everyone else to listen to? Yikes. I mean, it's Chrissy. So, it has to be awesome. Pray for me!
  • We played in the sand box
  • Roman "drove" his play car. He told me that he was going to the mall. To "see water". (That means the fountain, in case you didn't catch on.)
  • I fed Judah and cuddled him...lots of times. :)
  • Roman tried to teach Judah how to "pound it".
  • Roman and I gave Judah sandwich kisses.
  • I changed lots of diapers.
  • I talked with Adam for a bit. I asked how his Grandma was doing. Roman stated "She's brushing her hair. She's talking on the phone". Hmmm...She lives in Fort Dodge.

Always a fun day with my boys. :)


Roman's Shenanigans

'm sure the suspense has been killing you. I mean, I told you that I had hilarious Roman stories and then I just left you in the dark for like...weeks. I'm sure we're probably in a fight. :) Well, let me try to make it up to you...Let me start by saying that anyone I have spoken with in the last month (yes, Judah is going to be a month old this week! What??? I know.) has probably heard this story approximately 13 times (so if you have, feel free to roll your eyes and scroll down. :))

Nonetheless, I need to share the story that will go down in history as what Roman did on the morning of Judah's birth. So, as you got to read in this post, I was up early having contractions on our big day. I woke Joe up to tell him not to go to work, and we were laying there talking about what the day might have in store for us when I thought I may have heard Roman up and about. I asked Joe if he heard anything. "No", he said "But, don't worry about it, I'll take care of Roman when he wakes up, you just get some rest while you can".

Well, naturally, when you know you're about to have a new baby, rest is virtually impossible. So, it wasn't long before I got up to shower and try to keep myself distracted for a few hours. When I got out of the shower, Joe came in, laughing really hard, and said to me "You'll never guess where I just found Roman!"

**You should know that since Roman has been in his "big boy bed", we had been struggling with getting him to sleep in the mornings. He was getting up around 5:30 most days. We were concerned that, at some point, we wouldn't hear him get up, and the Good Lord only knows what he would try to do knowing that we were still asleep. :) So, we had been closing all of the doors in the hall except for his and ours (including the pocket door at the end of the hall), figuring he would only have one place to go and we would definitely hear him open other doors if he decided to go "exploring".

Somehow, though, Roman managed to escape that morning. He opened... and closed...the pocket door at the end of the hall silently. (Seriously, he was not even two years old at this point!! How did he think to CLOSE the door?) Anyway, he managed to make his way out to the kitchen, remove a certain food item from the counter, and proceeded to get settled at the table for a morning snack.

So, around 6:30 Joe decided he was hearing Roman talking a bit, but it sounded far away. Better go check on him.

He found him sitting at the table...eating Oreos. He had chocolate all over his face and as soon as he saw Joe he said "COOKIES!"

I can't blame him, though. When I get up in the morning, I try to eat some whole wheat toast or some fruit...you know, my attempt at being healthy. But what would I really like to eat for breakfast? Oreos. And you would too. Don't lie. :)


Miracle #2

As promised, the story of Judah Gerard:

We found out that we were expecting our second miracle in October of 2008 - almost exactly two years after finding out we were pregnant with Roman. I wouldn't say that we were "trying" really hard to conceive, but we are always open to new life. We practice NFP, which has been an incredible blessing to our marriage. If you don't know much about it, you should seriously consider reading up on it a bit. Needless to say, we had been praying and had discerned that anytime during or after September would be a good time to get pregnant. We feel very blessed that conception came so easily with both boys.

I knew that there was a small chance that we had conceived, but I just didn't consider it to be a very likely scenario. In fact, I hadn't really been thinking about it at all until I realized I was a little "late". I decided I wouldn't say anything to Joe just yet. I waited a few days and then I started feeling pregnant. Tired. Slightly nauseous. One day while he was at work I thought I would go get a pregnancy test just to rule out the possibility. Ha ha! Well, naturally, it was positive. For the record, the second pregnancy test was also positive. :) I was so excited!!

Now I had to figure out how to tell Joe the big news. He was there when I took the pregnancy test when I was pregnant with Roman, so I was excited to surprise him a little. I remembered that Suellen had given us a T-shirt that Joe wore when Mary was born that said "Big Brother", remember? So, I dug it out, and put it on Roman before Joe came home.

Joe walked in, said hello to Roman and to me, sat down, loosened his tie, and asked how our day was.


He honestly didn't say anything about it for several minutes. Finally, he said "that's kind of a funny shirt, isn't it?" I laughed and replied, "well, you know what that means don't you?"

He stopped, smiled, and said "are you serious!?"

He got up and hugged me and Roman...he was really excited! It was a great moment with our little growing family.

My pregnancy was much the same as it was with Roman. I was tired, and sometimes felt a little queasy, but I was SO blessed to never be sick. Joe and Tony might tell you that I was more irritable or moody. They might tell you that I was increasingly anal about cleanliness, that I craved oreos, that I fell asleep mid sentence and cried about pretty much everything. They might say I was a little unpredictable. The important thing, though, is that I loved being pregnant just as much as I did the first time, although there were different circumstances that had different pros and cons. For example, I wasn't working which was awesome because that meant I could nap with Roman in the afternoon. On the other hand, I was chasing a little guy around the entire day, which was a lot more exhausting than sitting behind a desk.

It was so much fun to get to experience a life inside of me again. And this time, I not only had Joe to share it with, but I also had Roman. It was awesome to get to attempt to explain that there was a baby growing inside my belly. He came to a couple of doctor's appointments with us to hear the baby's heartbeat, which he loved. When we asked him what the baby's heart said he would reply "boom, boom, boom".

We had our first ultrasound when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. We didn't care if we got a boy or girl this time, but we were anxious to know which it was. We really enjoyed knowing that Roman was a boy and felt that it helped us "get to know him better" before he was born. We were super excited to learn that we were expecting another boy! He was looking healthy. Well, I guess I should say, what we could see of the baby was looking healthy. He insisted on laying face down on the placenta with his legs tucked in "indian style" and his hands by his head the whole time. Since the ultrasound technician couldn't get good pictures of his heart or his face, she asked us to come back for a second ultrasound so they could be certain everything was developing normally. We were excited because it meant we would get to see our little buddy again. And, we got to take Roman with us for the second ultrasound.

Before the second ultrasound, we decided on the name Judah Gerard. (See the book of Genesis to read up on Judah!) Judah was one of Jacob's sons and, therefore, became the patriarch of the tribe of Judah, through which the whole Messianic line descended. The name Judah means "praise". Christ is often referred to as "the Lion of Judah". (Actually we went with a lion theme in our nursery for that reason!) Gerard is Joe's middle name, after Saint Gerard Majella (the patron of expectant mothers).

Anyway, Roman LOVED seeing Judah on the "movie". :) He watched very intently, listened to his heartbeat, and kept saying "watch Judah again" after we left! I was so glad he got to experience that with us.

The rest of my pregnancy went very smoothly. I was surprised that I started feeling nervous about childbirth as we approached our due date. I guess with Roman, I had no expectations. I knew that delivering would probably be the worst pain of my life but, obviously, I had no way to quantify that. This time, I would have something to compare it to. I knew that I could do it. I had done it before.

It's easy to get excited for a baby. Not as easy to get yourself pumped up for excruciating pain. :)
So, I nested and waited. Was scared and excited. I tried to enjoy every moment I had with just Joe and Roman. I knew life was about to change drastically. It would never again just be the three of us. It would be better, but it would be different.

Similar to my pregnancy with Roman, I started dilating fairly early. Three weeks before my due date, I was at 2 cm. The last week I was at 4 cm. On Saturday (May 30), I passed my mucus plug. Too bad that doesn't mean much. :) Kind of like dilating, I knew it could still be weeks before I went into labor. Although, I was hoping that the combination of the two might mean that labor would start soon! I was ready.

So, Tuesday morning (June 2) I woke up with contractions starting at about 4:45 am. They were about 7 minutes apart to start with. Yay! I waited about an hour before I woke Joe up and told him I didn't think he should go to work that day. I got up and showered and started doing some last minute cleaning. I called my mom to tell her Judah was on the way. I ate breakfast and watched Veggie Tales with Roman.

Tony was so hilariously nervous. He came upstairs when I was in the kitchen making my breakfast. He peeked around the corner at me and said "are you ok?" To which I replied, "Yes! Remember, I told you, it's not like the movies. I am fine. I am having a contraction right now. See? Not scary." He was a little baffled by all of it. :)

Around 9 or 10 my mom came over to hang out with us. Joe brought some more boxes of baby clothes up from the basement for me to sort and wash and put away. (This is his idea of nesting...give me something to do while I'm in labor. :) It was actually perfect. It kept me busy!) Joe went and washed and cleaned out the cars. Mary came over around 11 or 12 to stay with Roman when we went to the hospital. Tony went to work. We had lunch and put Roman down for a nap.

A little after noon, I decided we should probably start timing contractions again. (My mom was so awesome to help us do that part!) They weren't hurting, but I hadn't really been paying attention to how far apart they were. They were very inconsistent for the next couple of hours. They would be 10 minutes apart....then 5...then 8...then 4.


I did more laundry. Adam came over. I Swept and mopped the floors. Vacuumed. Talked to my brother on the phone (in Iraq). I asked him how he was doing. He said "not in labor so better than you." Typical Jim. Love him so much. Roman woke up from his nap. We played with squirt guns outside.

Around 3:00 my contractions were coming 3 minutes apart. I was still not in pain, but was starting to feel a little more uncomfortable - i.e. I preferred to stand through the contractions. We waited about a half an hour to be sure they would stay consistent. Finally, about 3:45, we started packing our things into the car, said our good-byes to Roman and Mary and Adam, and headed to Ames. My mom followed us so she could be there too.

By the time we got to the hospital and got checked in and settled in our room, it was about 4:45. Jenny Atzen was the midwife on call that night. I had only seen her for a couple of appointments but really liked her. She came in and checked me right away and I was at 6 cm. Pretty decent progress. I was bleeding quite a bit, a good sign that I was dilating more. She said she thought I would have the baby by 10:00 that night.

I was hesitant to believe that. I didn't want to get my hopes up, considering they told me that I would definitely have Roman by 9 pm and he was born after midnight. Joe was also hesitant to believe it. He even made a bet with my mom. Joe said Judah woulnd't be born until after midnight. I am happy to say he owes her dinner. :)

I decided I would get into the whirlpool for a while to relax before things got too painful. My mom went to get Joe a drink and they hung out while I was in the tub. Then we decided to walk the halls for a bit to keep things moving along. We came back to the room and Joe and my mom ordered some dinner. We watched some of Evan Almighty. Jenny came back in and sat with us for about a half an hour. I so appreciated that she took the time to get to know us better and hear what we wanted our birth experience to be like. She was very laid back and made us feel super comfortable. I usually see Donna Deardorf (she was out of town), but Joe and I decided we liked Jenny just as much. She was fantastic.

The contractions started getting painful a little after 6. This time, I really liked sitting in the rocking chair. Without pitocin, the contractions weren't so intense and I had more of a break between them. The chair was perfect to keep me moving during the contractions and then rest between them.

I was so glad to have my mom with us this time. She was great. She was in the room and offered to help occasionally - rubbing my back and getting us whatever we needed. But, she stayed very low key and was quietly reassuring me the whole time. I so appreciated her being there.

A little after 7, I told Joe I was starting to feel more pressure and I thought maybe Jenny should check me again. He thought maybe I should wait longer. He reminded me how discouraged I got when I was in labor with Roman and they would come check me, only to tell me I hadn't made any progress. And, after all, we had only been at the hospital a couple of hours.

I decided maybe he was right. But, then, a few minutes later, Jenny came back in to see how we were doing, and I changed my mind. To our great surprise (and great JOY), I was at 9 cm!!!

We were shocked! In fact, Joe made the comment that he didn't even think we were in transition yet, because I wasn't "acting like I was dying". Ha ha. I knew I was graceful and all, but, come on... :) He was right, though. I was prepared to deal with a lot more pain. Dare I say, it had been a piece of cake thus far. I mean, it was painful, but it was nothing compared to contractions with pitocin...for 10 hours.

So, Jenny went ahead and broke my water. Almost immediately I had the urge to push, and they told me to go ahead and do whatever I felt like. My mom left the room for the pushing so we could have our first few minutes with Judah alone. Pushing seemed more painful to me this time. Maybe it's because the contractions were easier so the pushing seemed harder? Maybe because I didn't have an episiotomy and therefore, didn't have any local anesthetic? Whatever the case, that was the hardest, most painful part. But, praise God, it was only about 25 minutes until our sweet Judah arrived!

With that last freeing push, I felt instant relief sweep over me, and overwhelming joy as they placed our little boy on my chest. The first thing I said was "You look so much like your brother!" Judah definitely has his own distinct features, but the resemblance between our two babes is striking. He was beautiful and healthy and amazing. There are no words to describe the love.

Judah got checked by the nurses, and then we enjoyed some skin to skin time. My mom came in to see us. Soon, we decided to give breastfeeding a try. I was nervous because Roman wouldn't latch on at all, but Judah latched on right away and nursed for forty minutes that first night. I am sure the nurses thought I was absolutely insane because I was beyond ecstatic and kept saying really intelligent things like "I can't believe how good he is at this!!". Yeah.

Remember this post? That is what I call answered prayer. :)

I remember my mom telling me that when she got pregnant with Jim she didn't know if she could love another baby as much as she loved him. I thought that I was kind of silly...until I got pregnant. I knew I loved both of my kids...but the love I had for Roman when he was born was so overwhelming...I didn't know if I could feel like that again. I understood what my mom meant.

Lindsay asked me the other day what I thought about that now....if it the love was different. I think the love for the second child is different. It was different because I had felt that intensity before. It was definitely not less - it was just familiar this time.


Two years Ago....

Yes, this is what we were doing two years ago. Roman James turns two tomorrow and it is definitely a bittersweet feeling for me. I am so so proud of him. Words cannot describe the love that I have for him. It's hard to explain how it has grown deeper with each day of his life.

I mean, look how precious that sweet face is! (And you can definitely tell that he and Judah are related, can't you??) I was so instantly in love with him. It was so intense and overwhelming. I thought I could never love anyone more.

Then he just kept getting more and more charming. :) I have prayed for this boy. Prayed. I have cried and laughed with and for him more than I thought I could. The joy that he brings us is astounding...even on the days when we are dealing with "being two" and I feel like I am going to pull my hair out. ;) Our life was great before Roman too, but it's sort of hard to think about those times because Roman because he has changed our lives drastically.
And now...

How did that happen?? Can we please do something to stop the growing up business?? And yet, as I say that, can you really think of someone more fun to spend your day with than Batman or Rambo? ;)He is so much fun. Such a blessing. I have some amazingly hilarious Roman stories to share with you as soon as I have more than 5 blasted minutes to sit down and type them out. But, don't worry. I have been taking notes so as not to forget them - there are some pretty good ones coming. :)

I will share more about the birthday festivities later, but for now, please join me in rejoicing over this life. Roman is so unique and such a gift. I know he is going to change the world for the better. He already has.



Well, friends, I feel so blessed to be able to introduce to you the newest member of our family, Judah Gerard! He was born Tuesday, June 2 at 8:15 pm, weighing in at 8 lb 4 oz. He is 19 inches long, has brown hair and blue eyes, and he is a fantastic baby. We are not even a little bit biased. :)
At some point, I will get around to sharing more of the birth story, but for now, I will tell you that it was pretty much everything I had been praying for.
For now, I just want to share our little one with you.
Roman is doing very well as a big brother. Although he is still a two-year-old, and often is just totally oblivious to Judah's existence, he is very sweet to him when he does interact with him.

I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of the prayers, gifts, notes, and love that have been sent our way. Please know that it means the world to us.

These boys are, by far, the best thing that have ever happened to me.
With much love,
Joe, Ruth Ann, Roman, and Judah


Wizards, Shrek Feet, Sushi, and More!

Two things:

Just so you know, as I type this, Roman is watching The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's, the Veggie Tales version of the story of the Prodigal Son. Pretty entertaining.

I am currently taking a few minutes to sit with my feet up, as they are starting to look a little bit like Shrek's feet. (Not that they are getting green, but huge and puffy would be an accurate description.) Attractive.

Now, for the actual content of the post. Get ready...

I have started going to my prenatal appointments once a week, which is exciting. Last week I was dilated to 3 cm so I'll be excited to see where I am this week. I was at 4 cm for about 2 weeks with Roman, so it may or may not mean anything about Judah coming soon. At least it's less work for me to do later. :)

On Sunday, the high schoolers at GLORY (the youth group I help with at our church) threw me a surprise baby shower! I was VERY surprised. It was super fun! They were so cute and bought lots of lion-themed gifts for Judah (see Genesis 49:9 and Revelation 5:5). I LOVED it!

**Just FYI...I started writing this post on Friday morning. It is now Saturday afternoon. As soon as Roman's video was done, it became imperative that I read "Where the Wild Things Are". IMMEDIATELY. I, of course, was happy to be of assistance in such a dire emergency. :)

Anyway, it has taken me this long to get back to writing the post, so I'll just pick up where we left off...

I did have my appointment yesterday afternoon (still dilated to 3, everything is still looking good), and finished all of our pre-admission paperwork at the hospital, so I think we are ready to go. Inevitably, there will be more paperwork when we get there...social security card? birth certificate? who thinks about all of the paperwork?? :)

Joe surprised me with a fun "last date before baby" last night night. It was awesome. First of all, I love surprises, so when I called him on my way home from Ames to see what the plans were for the evening, and he told me Mary was at our house to watch Roman, I couldn't stop smiling. I am so blessed. We went to Fuji and had some delicious sushi and entrees. Then we went to Burgie's for some coffee and some riveting rounds of Checkers and Yahtzee. I Haven't played either of those games for about 10 years, but I'm proud to say that I dominated.

Then we stopped at Wal-Mart for oreos and milk, and then Redbox for Bride Wars and Transporter 3, and headed home to watch the movies with Mary and Tony (as Joe remembers from my pregnancy with Roman, I don't do well in Movie theater chairs while 9 months pregnant. We almost had to leave the theater during Spiderman 3 because I had to get up and walk around about 4 times.) Sorry, babe! :)

The weekend isn't going to slow down much. We have graduation parties, birthday parties, small group, and more. I'm glad to stay busy instead of sitting around thinking about and waiting for Judah to arrive. We'll keep you posted! God bless your weekend!!


They Just Keep Comin'...

Today as Roman was climbing up onto a chair, his shoe slid off of his foot. He picked up the shoe, looked at me and said "You lost your foot".



Profound...but Still a Two Year Old :)

Yesterday as I sat on the couch and watched Roman playing with some of his toys, he started in on a very interesting little converstaion with himself.


more playing

"Holy gospel"

he continued picking small toys out of his basket and rolling them around in his hands. you could tell he was rolling the words around in his head trying to figure out how he had heard them all used together.

"church. gospel of the church"

deep in thought

"the holy gospel of the church"

I sat there and smiled to myself. I was so filled with joy, recalling al the times I have prayed that the gospel would always be in his mind, on his lips, and in his heart.

What a blessing this boy is. And he GETS it. He's not even 2, but he KNOWS. I sat and prayed for the millionth time that he would grow to be a Godly man, someone who desires nothing more than to know, love, and serve the one true God. I want him to be passionate about his faith.

"gospel of church...and eat donuts."

and that's when I burst out laughing! He really does get it. I trust that he IS growing into a Godly man - I see it in him more and more each day.

But, come on, Mom, let's keep in mind that he's still a toddler boy. :) He is amazing.


Naptime and Forgiveness Go Hand in Hand

So, as I mentioned in the last couple of posts, Roman is doing pretty well sleeping in his bed. Although, it is still taking several tries to actually get to him to lay down and sleep. This is not a surprise to me (or to any of you, I imagine). :)

Today as I heard him creep out into the hallway for the 5th time, I was getting a little impatient. I found him peering around the door jam from his room, and as soon as he saw me, he ran back to his bed.

We have just been doing our best to be calm and consistent. We tell him gently the first time that it's time to rest and help him back into bed, and then continue with more seriousness, and finally no verbal (since what he desires is the social interaction) - just putting him back in bed.

So, I followed him into his room and sternly told him (for the 5th time) "Roman, it is time to rest. Get into your bed."

He jumped up and layed his head down on his pillow and said "I forgive you. Fanks. (Thanks)".

I had to leave the room so I wouldn't start laughing. It was too cute. :)


Another Amazing Mom Tribute

Also from Joyce...one of the most phenomenal moms I know.

Invisible Mother.....It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully
wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it t o me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work
they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become. At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there..'As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.Great Job, MOM!Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did. The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. This is beautiful and makes a ton of sense. To all the wonderful mothers out there.~I am in much debt to my invisible Mother.

Before I was a Mom...

Joyce sent me this in an e-mail today...so perfect. :)

Before I was a Mom, I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom, I
never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom


One month from today...

If only our computer was working correctly (I am using Tony's right now), I could show you that Judah is getting ginormous and that he is "supposed" to arrive one month from today. Obviously, he will arrive when he and God are darn well ready for his debut. :) But, roughly, one month. I can't believe how fast it has gone.

I am not yet to that point where I don't want to be pregnant anymore. That will come in a couple of weeks, I'm sure, but I am still really enjoying it. For most women, there are only a few times in life where you get to feel a baby move inside of you. I feel so honored that I get to experience this little life before the rest of the world sees him. At the same time, I can't wait for you to see him because I know you'll love him as much almost as much as I do.

I am getting to the point, though, where I am not sleeping as well, and I get a little irritated at having to pee approximately every 24 minutes. Still, so so worth it.


We took Roman to the zoo again the other day and he had a BLAST. So, we have re-started the never-ending zoo conversation. He will be happy to tell you that he "fed mamas" (llamas), and saw "fishies swim in the water".


Roman is doing pretty well adjusting to his "big boy" bed. He still tries to get up about 7 times before he actually falls asleep, and he sometimes wakes up, comes into our room, stands at the foot of the bed, and says "hi mommy. hi daddy. eat breakfast. pway wif toys." at 5:30 AM. I do fine getting up with him at 7... but 5:30??? How did I get up that early when I worked in Des Moines??? Praise God he is sleeping through the night though!! I imagine the transtion could have been a lot worse.


There are still several things on my "list" to get done before Judah is born, but we are really making progress. I actually feel like it's getting shorter. Joe and Tony got the garage cleaned out the other day (HOORAY!!) and several of the other small things. They are A-mazing.


Joe keeps having reoccuring "nightmares" that he wakes up covered in amniotic fluid because my water broke in bed. This makes me laugh hysterically because, somehow, he thinks that water breaking = similar to drowning in a tidal wave of fluid. Suzee was kind enough to remind him the other night that it's more like spilling a drink. Which should = not scary enough to make you have nightmares.


Anyway, I feel like I had more exciting things to share when I started writing this post, but apparently that is not the case. My apologies. I am sure I will have more, equally unexciting, things to share with you as pregnancy progresses and labor and delivery draw nearer. :)

In the mean time, God is good!

Psalm 100:3-5

3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations


Another Random List

1. It only took me two hours to get Roman to nap in his "big boy" bed today.

2. He is now sleeping peacefully...and talking in his sleep.

3. I am speaking at a high school lock in this weekend. My topic is "Freedom in Christ". I am super excited! I could probably talk about that for approximately 7 hours, but that probably wouldn't be very motivating to 16 year olds...or anyone. Please pray for my words to be those of the Lord and for them to touch the hearts of the teens attending.

4. Joe is cleaning out the garage right now! One more thing to check off the list...notice how I am not doing anything on my list right now. Nice.

5. We made this delicious pasta last night for Bible study. I highly recommend it. Super easy, too!

6. Roman and I built a fort yesterday because it has still been too wet to play outside. We had a blast...Elmo and Curious George even joined us for some fun story time.

7. If you haven't read this post on the Stuff Christians Like blog, you NEED to. I almost missed out. Thanks for the heads up, Monica!

8. My sister-in-law, Theresa, is getting confirmed on May 14th! She asked me several months ago if I would be her sponsor. I was SO honored and I am super excited for her. Unfortunately, that is 3 weeks before my due date and therefore, I am not allowed to fly to South Carolina! :( I am really sad, but please join me in praying for her as she continues to grow in her relationship with Christ!

9. Only 5 weeks until Judah!

10. I can't think of anything else exciting...not that the other nine had you on the edge of your seat. ;)


Adventures in the Life of the Pometto Family

Words cannot begin to describe the last two days in our home. Or my emotional state for the last 2 days (or 8 months) But, of course, I'll give it a whirl. :)

To make the irony even greater, let me start by telling you that on Monday evening I was talking to Lindsay on the phone and telling her about my compulsive nesting habits. I told her that we are getting everything in the house super organized in anticipation of Judah's arrival (and by "we" I a mean, I have a list, and I do my best to conquer one item per day. I also force Joe and Tony to check off as many things as they can everyday.) I also add about 5 things to the list everyday, which is rather counter-productive, I know, but I can't help it!!

Anyway, I was also telling her that "Roman is going to stay in his crib until after Judah is born". I mean, "he can't get out yet" and "there will be plenty of time for him to transition later because Judah will be in our room for the first few months".

Famous last words.

No sooner than 6:45 am on Tuesday morning, did I hear a loud thud emerge from Roman's room. Joe and I were both awake and knew that Roman was too - remember, he likes to talk to himself a lot. :) I have been slightly paranoid about him figuring out how to escape his crib for quite a while, but I thought to myself, "Ruth Ann, you are probably over reacting. I bet he just kicked the side of the crib".

Then I heard his closet door open.

I turned my head to Joe with wide eyes, "Did he just...? Oh my gosh. Is he...??"

Joe runs into Romans room and announces "He's definitely out".


He didn't hurt himself, and he wasn't destroying anything so I guess part of me should be happy.

To make the day a bit more eventful, later in the morning Roman and I were playing in his toy room when he decided he was bored and was going to head to the living room to see what exciting endeavors might await him there. Of course everything in our house is "baby proof".

I finished picking up the blocks that we were building (apparently very dull) towers with, and then headed after him. I could hear his voice but it sounded like it was coming from kind of far away. Now, Roman really likes to get into the trash closet and find the broom. He'll pull it out and say "I'm gonna sweep up". He has also successfully closed himself in the laundry closet in the past. So, I start looking over there. He's not in either closet, so I head back out to the living room. Keep in mind, he has only been without supervision for about 27 seconds.

That's when I realized that the sliding glass door, which was LOCKED, is now wide open...and Roman is outside...standing on the cement slab...with his sippy cup...

I stand at the door dumbfounded for a moment.

He looks up at me. "I see trees and skies".


Needless to say, I have been on the verge of tears for the last 48 hours because I can't even keep my child in the house, much less in his crib.