February 28, 2013

So Thankful

This week I am so thankful.... Thankful for life, for family, for getting my hair cut for the first time in 9 months, for sunny days and swimming pools, thankful for sleeping babies, for good babysitters and for happy hour at Outback. But at the TOP of my list of thankfulness is for my 2nd set of parents who are visiting all the way from icy Cleveland for 10 whole days. Woot woot!!

We just love having Gramma Boda (Nene) and Grampa Boda (Papa) visit. Their love for our little family is palpable and overflows into each jam packed day that they are here. Our kids can hardly contain their excitement at their arrival. Heck, I can hardly contain my excitement.
Isaac wouldn't leave Papa alone for a second. 
And Grace wanted to sit right next to Nene while eating her pizza. 
While Hope later passed out on her lap. 
And of course g-free pancakes were made the next morning with Grampa.
Having Nene and Papa a part of our daily lives, makes our world a happy place. (And I am not just saying this because they read my blog!!)  When they visit they engage in all that we do and get down in the dirt with us through all the playing, laughing, melt downs and tears. They pray with us and for us and always make us feel like we are doing a super stellar job with our child rearing, even when our three olders are being rotated in and out of time out at a constant speed.

We are truly blessed to have them in our lives and I am so thankful for their love and support. I know I am getting a little mushy (like usual), but I like mushy and I really like them. My thankful gauge is cranked to a full tank every time they visit and makes it more fun to keeping chugging along in this life full of beautiful babies, stinky diapers, boo-boos and the like.

February 26, 2013

Big Bike News

BIG news here in Boda world.
 Drum roll please.... 
Our almost 5 year old Isaac is officially riding a bike on his own. Yea!! We couldn't be prouder of him. Matt has been working with him for awhile now, but it was actually Isaiah who somehow taught him how to take off with no pushing or guiding from an outside person.   

Learning to ride a bike seems like such a pivotal happening in a child's life, going from a little boy to big boy. It is hard to believe that I now have two "big boys" riding bikes. Life is definitely moving forward and though for short moments this brings slight nostalgia and a tear to my eye, I really am just SO grateful to take part in these 5 amazing lives (counting Matt) that God has given to me.  

Here are the pics and a video (which seems to only load on a computer-not iphone for some annoying reason that I can't figure out) to prove that our Isaac is now a riding bike machine. 

February 25, 2013

Happy 18th!

A little ways back I introduced my sister Maggie to you here and now in the blink or two blinks of the eye she has turned 18 years old.

During my non-showering, 20 years old, spring chicken days,  I was this on Fire for God girl, traveling on REACH (a youth ministry team) and counting down the days till Maggie turned a mere 3 years of life. I was overcome with love for her as a baby and I still am!

Like I have said before, she has always been special. So special.  Independent from the time she could walk and bound 'n determine to make her mark on our family and now the world. For the first 15 years of her life I was probably too hard on her, treating her like I was her mom and she was my child. Thank God for Matt and my mom helping me to see the error of my ways and telling me that all I needed to be was simply her sister. And that is what I have become and love to be, her big sis.

One oh-so fond memories I have about Mags is that when she was little she always loved animals and kitty cats. My family has the cutest tradition at Christmas time of having all the kids reenact the nativity story for the rest of the family. One of the little girl cousins would of course play Mother Mary and the rest of the girls would be beautiful little angels. But Maggie always chose to dress up in her lion, cat or cow costume in order to be an animal that sat by Jesus' manger.  It was so incredibly sweet.

The reason that this shout out is late, her birthday was Feb. 22, is because I have spent countless hours trying to put together a movie montage. I am so amateur at this, it is almost embarrassing, but all for love of Mag.

Marjorie Lynette,
I love that I have entrusted two of my babies to you, as your God children.
I can't stop smiling that you have chosen to go to my alma mater FUS as your college of choice. I am sure that as well as your bachelors you will get your MRS there (wink, wink).
I love your hair and the way that you do your makeup.
I love your smile and how you are always up for a good time.
I love that you love Matt and my kids. And that you are willing to watch them if I want to take a nap.
Sorry for the times I have been too hard on you; know that even in the midst of that I do love you so much.
Sorry that I have been so boring the last 7 years due to child birth and child rearing. Hopefully someday soon I will be fun again.
You are a gift. And God has such big and amazing plans for your life.
I love calling you friend and sister.

This video is for you! :)

February 19, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday

Good ol' faithful Facebook informed me 7ish days ago that our Pope Benedict XVI was resigning. When I heard, via a news feed (yes, kind of embarrassing to admit that, but true none the less),
my initial reaction was one of shock and "really? what the heck is going on". 
But after much (I dare say) sporadic reflection, in between diaper changing, nursing Hope, and playing football with the boys, I have found that my real reaction is one of sadness.

This is not because I am scared of who is to replace him; I have complete trust in the Church that all will be well and good. I have always been more of a simpleton when it comes to my faith believing that God is in control at all times.  

The thing that saddens me is the plain fact that I haven't really taken the time to truly get to know Pope Benedict. Of course, I do love him and whole heartily at that. He has been such a great shepherd and leader of our Church. It is just that I haven't taken the time to read or study his writings/documents to any depth that is worth mentioning. My much holier half on the other hand has read every book and document that Pope Benedict has written during and before his Papacy. And believe me I have no qualms admitting, and honestly quite like it, that Matt is completely more holy and smarter than me.

Pope Benedict is so amazingly theological and intellectual. Even though one of my majors was Theology with a concentration in Religious Education (had to put that in there), me being in the sleep deprived, kid induced state of life for the last 6 1/2 years, I find it hard to not fall asleep or turn to my fast gripping novel or easy read, romantic love story after only reading a page of his work.   

Also, I have always felt such a huge bond to Blessed JPII. I was able to see him on 3 different blessed occasions and JPII was the Pope that I was completely taken by during my high school days of "first falling in love with Jesus". 

So with that being said, now that the Pope is leaving I am drawn to him in such a new way. How it works that way with me, I know not.  His complete humility and ability to hear God and do His will has stolen my heart.  It couldn't have been easy to make that decision to step down (after all it is the first time in what? 600 years for a Pope to do this), but in all humility he did. I have a hard enough decision picking out a restaurant and then picking out what I am going to eat, so I can definitely learn from his example. 

Pope Benedict the XVI, Team Boda loves you and thanks you from our big and littles hearts for answering God's call and for being our oh-so-humble servant. 

February 18, 2013

My Little Poser

This weekend I took care of my sweet niece and nephew, Mia and Ziggy. It is always a fun and crazy time playing with our cousins. Without fail when the girls are together we end up painting nails, usually multiple times. One bright morning after slathering on the paint the best I could while balancing Hope in one hand and the brush in the other, I got my new handy Iphone5 out to take pictures (so that later I could show Matt all of the hard work I did that day). 
Like any normal person I said, "Ok girls show me your nails."
This is what I got. 

Grace says, "Over here." 
 Me: "Why aren't you smiling." No response. 
Me: "Oh, your posing?"
Still no response, just this face.
Then the girls together.
 "No, girls this way"
 Me: "Gracie girl what is that face?"
Grace: "I'm posing."

 And she wouldn't stop

  Foot turned awkwardly inward, like a natural model, which she definitely did not learn from me. 

 Then she was done and they went off to ride their scooters. 

I did catch one pic of smiles. 

February 17, 2013

Sanctifying Sunday

Matt is back and seems to be on a fishing/ boat/Jesus theme. Enjoy.

It's that time of year again!  Amazingly, time does continue to pick up speed, maybe as fast as the asteroid that hit a Russian town east of Moscow, 19 miles per second!  
So, with a sonic BOOM Lent is here again.  
(Our prayers go out to the 1,000 people hurt and severely injured in this "act of God". Poor God, He only gets credit for the crazy and terrible- a topic for another time.)

This season of the year is one of my favorite times.  Incredibly, I love it because it reinforces my deep attraction and desire for a Gospel way of life.  Not to go too theological, but the anthropocentric reality of Jesus and His incarnation get's me really excited.  It's always been a battle within the spheres of theology and worship (and me) to not fall into the trap of monophysitism.  Simply put, letting Jesus' divinity overshadow his human nature.  

For example, the other day during our nightly ritual of reading the Bible I asked Isaac, "Why did Jesus get into the boat with His disciples?"  Obviously I knew the answer and was hoping in proud anticipation that Isaac would regurgitate the route response.  I could hear him say, "Well of course dad, Jesus wanted to get to the other side to rest and pray."  However, my silly presumption was blasted away.  
Isaac simply said, "Dad, he got in the boat because he likes to fish."  
Yes,  He did like to fish. 

He was always in the boat, out of the boat, walking on the water, telling them where to fish, and even when He was resurrected from the dead built a fire and cooked fish.  
Of course, He was human...a divine person with two natures....

So, it's lent.  The latin root translates "spring".  I hope that's right!  I didn't look it up and am relying on 7 years of Latin!  
If it doesn't translate that way, it should.  
Spring, a movement from the cold, dormancy and infertility, to vigorous growth and life.

Lent is historically referred to as a desert time.  Jesus went into the desert and so should we.  I love the Gospel simplicity.  It's sooo human to get off track and get distracted.  While Jesus was in the desert he was tempted with the classical allurements of all human life, no one is immune, from the enticement of power, pleasure and pride.  (Everyone-- Bishops, priests, religious, non-religious, parents and even the pope!  Hat's off (no pun intended) to BXVI for his humility.)

All peoples of all cultures and all times can relate to this.
Jesus' message can be understood by all because it is simply human.  Who can contest the human need to "check ourselves"?  Even a mildly spiritual person, or even an agnostic or even a atheist can understand the value of purifying ourselves in mind body and soul.  I saw a show the other day where 4 girl roommates went on a digital fast!  Each one of them got headaches and went through physical withdrawals!!!

We are invited to the desert to overcome dissipation and distraction.  When I think of the consequences of forgetting who I am and what I am about it is a sobering reality of how far I can get away from the core message of the Gospel- - Abundant life - - - LIFE to the FULLEST!

So, Jesus "liked to fish." 
Isaiah once told me that Jesus liked boats, because he liked to swim.  
Yes, "he liked to swim."  I'm sure he did.  

Deserting the Dessert for the Desert is a good thing for these 40 days- for everyone.  If you've never fasted, try it, even if you're "mildly spiritual."

February 14, 2013

Lent 2013

Lent is underway folks and I am pretty excited to dive in, which is so nice because I can't say that I have felt like taking a swim during lent in a long time. 

Matt had the great idea of together giving up night time TV.  
Last night was the first of 40 quiet nights in our home. And let me tell you, Oh-it-was-glorious. We cleaned (always cleaning first), talked, caught up, read, played with Hope, and went to bed.
It felt like it should be, not just talking between commercials or stopping mid sentence in order to focus on our drama show of the night.
We were just together.
It felt like how it might of been in the olden days when the couple sat by the fire after the kids went to bed, the wife knitting and the husband smoking a cigar. (We did neither of those things, but it still felt like that.) 

I am also giving up all things sweet and taking quiet time with God everday. 

And last but not least, my sweet and holy father in law, who is also my life coach by calling me once week with an amazing pep talk on life, told me to find one thing each day during lent to focus on that I am thankful for and to make that thanksgiving a prayer to God.
So, today I am thankful for my Matthew, you are the best valentine I could ever ask for. I don't know how I would live life without you. Sappy, but true

This is how she rolled at Ash Wednesday Mass. 

February 13, 2013

Beach Time

Even after 8 years of living in Naples, it still never ceases to amaze me that in the middle of February we can go to the beach. 

Our most docile and well behaved child at the moment. 
I think this how I stand. 
And maybe this is how I talk?
And definitely this is how Matt contemplates the Universe.

February 10, 2013

Santcifying Sunday- GET IN THE BOAT!

The main motivation for this blog is to capture our family life.  Things seem to be quickly moving along and we want to be able to look back on and to have something for the kids to look at as they get older.  Hopefully, I never come off as preachy! Just attempting to document and share the good, bad, holy, and sometimes ugly events of our young family.

With that said and out of the way...

Kristin and I are involved in a family ministry called "Families in Christ."  She claims that she is not involved, however, I beg to differ.  She watches the kids when I go to meetings, sneak away to read and write, and go to the actual event.  We're a team, even if it doesn't make sense to her... and I should at least get brownie points for saying this, right?

FIC in a nutshell is family catechesis.  So, all the kids that are involved in religious education have to come with their families once every four-six weeks from 9am-11am for a presentation on that Sunday's Gospel, with prayer, song, games and skits.  I imagine that there are close to 500 people that are present, whom we get to joyfully share the Gospel with.

Today's Gospel is from Luke's account of the calling of Peter, James and John and the BIG catch!  I love the Gospels because they seem to me to be so real and earthy.  When I share these messages I try to make them fun and give a couple of points that maybe, just maybe, families can take home.
Fishing in the Keys
This Gospel is earthy and dirty for several reasons.  For example, Jesus is being followed by a mob of people, similar to today's movie stars or  rock stars with fans and the paparazzi.  There are so many people that Jesus decides to get into Peter's boat.  But, this is when I think it gets really fun.  Peter's not even in his boat!  He's out washing his nets.  Can you imagine getting into your car and looking in the driver seat and seeing not your husband or wife, but, Jesus.  Jesus sort of hijacks his boat and tells him to get in...

So, in today's message I echoed over and over, following the Jesuit tradition of repetition to nauseam.  I would say, "get in the" and everyone would yell back, "boat!"

What's the point?  Well, when reading this scripture I've always focused on the big catch that happens when they listen to Jesus and almost break their nets and sink their boats.  If that didn't catch my attention I would focus on "leaving everything behind" or even the whole, "I'll make you fishers of men."  Certainly all of these elements have significant impact in the story.  But, this whole issue of Jesus just jumping in Peter's boat intrigues me.
Uncle Mark, a true fisherman.
For brevity's sake, I believe that Jesus needs to be in our boat and we need to "GET IN THE BOAT".  When he's in the boat and we get in we can catch so many fish, the symbol for life, that our ship may sink and the nets break.  When we're in the boat and he's not, we try to fish all night to no avail.... I guess it's not that unique of an insight.  I can now hear Carry Underwear singing, "Jesus take the wheel or rudder (Ha!  Get it?  car=wheel/boat=rudder)."

The second part of my talk which I started off with the joke, "this story sounds fishy" and got a laugh or two and giggle from the mom in the corner was focused on family life, peace, joy and conflict.
One of my favorite people in the world is Jean Vanier.  He says, "The most fundamental role for a parent is to help children believe in themselves, in their own value, and to develop their personal conscience, and not just to fit into society according to parental desires or pressures from peer groups."  This is the essential mission of the parents to affirm the uniqueness and dignity of each child.  Yes, we are all made in God's image.  We are made for love.

How did I tie this together with the boat theme?  Especially when Isaac picked up my iphone and proceeded to play games on it as I was speaking.  Or, when asking the kids who they would like to meet, John Fusco told me that Justin Bieber is in jail. Or, when one of the kids told me that they really, really want to meet Niki Minaj (which I replied that I really wanted to meet her so we could have a long talk- civilly of course).

Isaiah and baby Isaac fishing way back in the day with Mom.
Simply put, to land this plane, if Jesus is not in our boat and we don't get in, how can we really communicate to our children that they are created in love, for love, and destined for eternal love?  If I can't get this right, how can I get anything else right?

So this is what I shared today with the families of St. John the Evangelist in Naples Florida, as I juggled Isaiah (6 1/2) and Isaac (almost 5) at their table.
The boys don't really mind that I give talks- for now!  I ask them what they think when I'm up there and they don't say much.  I hope one day they can look back at this and realize that I wasn't perfect but I was really occupied by loving them as best I could.  That I was really trying to have Jesus in my boat and I'm trying to GET IN THE BOAT.

Right now I think they actually like that I do these things.  I heard Isaiah sheepishly but proudly say to his friend Liora, "Yeah, my dad's giving a talk today."  I'll take it for now!  It'll be a different story when the teen years fall upon us.
Liora and Isaiah 

February 8, 2013

7 quick takes

Lent is fastly approaching and I am preparing to do something BIG for Our Lord, I just haven't figured out what exactly. So far my thoughts are 1. I need to spend more time with Him everyday, thus, quiet time with Him alone each day and 2. Giving up sweets, which I have never yet attempted to do in my 34 years of life. For the past 6 years and being constantly pregnant, giving up any sort of food or treat just didn't seem like a logical option for me, in my not so logical state of being. And as far as the years pre-preggo, I think I was just anti-giving up sweets, I don't know why....possibly because it is just so stinkin hard. So we shall see.... I will keep you posted... talking to my 5 readers of mom, momloboda, Maggie, Sahmy and Colleen.
Back in the day, Grace taking her prayer time. 
Since Hope has been a whopping 2 months old, every time I down my favorite drink of hot steaming coffee in the morning, by noon I am sick as a dog for 2 hours. At first I didn't know what was going on and was like "uh-oh I am pregant". But no I am not. So with process of elimination, all roads lead to that hot black liquid. Three times in the last month I have tried just alittlelittlebit of the black heavenly and 2 hours later I am sick. So sadly, I know its the coffee. My mommy friend at the park told me today that it is probably my hormones and will go away, so I am praying HARD that I can have this addicting and satisfying meal, I mean drink, soon once again in the mornings.
We have been having 5 oclock dance parties here at the house, inspired by a friend from far far away who posts hers on Facebook. (I will spare you pictures of me getting my grove on). For some reason though, the dance parties always end in tears or someone getting hurt.
How is this possible. I don't know.
But it is still worth the 7.5 minutes of blissful fun.
Isaac is doing some sort of dance in the tent tunnel?
Dance time always turns in to gymnastics of sorts. Isaac never ceases to amaze me with his uber flexiblity. 
Hope is just getting so big and Grace is constantly trying to deck her out with necklaces, bracelets and bows. "Hopie like it," she enthusiastically says. 
The girls and I prepared a welcoming home from school snack party-par-par in our driveway. Smoothies made of strawberries, bananas, hand full of spinach (artfully disguised by me), almond milk, and probiotics. 
Grace running to see dada, zah, and doggie. 
Hope has definitely found her voice!  
And her thumb.
Award for best baby holder for the week goes to.... Zah.