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In this episode: The family goes out for Italian in an effort to induce labor, followed less than two days later with actual audio footage from the birth of Lillian Grace Willits!
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So this year we’re thinking about doing something wacky. We hear there is something called a “vacation” where a family can go and have fun and relax and do stuff together away from one’s home. We’ve attempted said “vacations” in the past, but we usually end up staying home because of the costs and instead I do yard work.
Other past vacations have included removing wallpaper from a bathroom, building shelves in the garage, painting multiple rooms in the house, and smacking my head on ceiling beams in the attic while putting down plywood flooring.
The last time we had one of these so-called “vacations,” it was a pseudo one. Our friends Kristy and Daniel were getting married, she happened to be from a part of Florida near a beach, so we combined the two and stayed for a couple extra days. That was almost two years ago.
Prior to that, the last time we took the family anywhere was almost five years ago, and it was for one night. We were visiting my sister in Florida and decided to kidnap my mom and go stay at a kid-friendly hotel in Orlando for a night. No theme parks or anything. Just swimming pool and fun, which was good for us at the time, but very short-lived.
Before that, the last time we really went on a genuine vacation was the summer before Tommy was born, so that would have been 2003, I think. So we’re going on six years since actually going on a vacation.
This year, now that we actually have a job with vacation time again, for the first time in several years, we’d actually like to go somewhere that would qualify as a real vacation.
Here are the top two things we’d like to do, but have quickly discovered we apparently cannot afford or ever will be able to afford:
Go to Rome
Take a Cruise
We have never been out of the country before, and really have no clue how to do it. Furthermore, we have no idea how feasible it would be to take our kids out of the country. Jennifer and I have passports, but we really don’t want to pay for passports for the kids if we don’t plan on taking them out of the country any time soon.
The Cruise thing, lately, has been our top want. And I realize that during Lent, talking about wants is sort of pointless.
We used to think Crusies were frivolous, pointless, wastes of money. Now we think they are frivolous, pointless, wastes of money that we want to go on.
The idea of not having to clean or cook for seven people for a couple of days has become really, really attractive for Jennifer. Therefore, it’s an attractive idea for me. What makes her happy and content makes me less likely to get in trouble.
Unfortunately, to go on a cruise with this many kids means we’d need two rooms, so we’d probably end up bringing my mom along or something to help out, and therefore, it would cost us even more.
Also, unfortunately, going on a cruise with this many kids would also cost as much as a decent used car. Are we just not looking in the right places?
So at this point, we’re trying to figure out what to do, what vacation options are available to us, and if it’s possible for us to even do something.
We don’t want to charge a vacation with credit cards since we’ve worked so hard to eliminate all of our debt except for our house, so whatever we end up doing, we want to start saving for it now so we pay for everything 100% with cash.
But like with so many things, we’re clueless about vacation possibilities. So help us out, if you would. Do you know of any awesome family vacations that won’t break the bank? Again, a cruise would be awesome, but we’re thinking it’s just going to be impossible until we’re 73 years old.
What about something like renting a lake house somewhere or something along those lines? Seriously, we’re vacation neophytes so we have absolutely no idea what is doable.
So bring on your suggestions and links to great deals! And many thanks in advance!
As we launch into another Lent, we invite you to download and pray along with these stations of the cross. Here’s the link: Stations of the Cross
Also, if you’re looking for additional audio reflections and talks for Lent, here are a few more we’ve produced over the years that you may have missed:
Total Consecration Podcast (all the prayers for St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary)
If you’d like to invite us to give a talk to your parish or group, be sure to check out our contact info on this link. Though it’s usually just me that travels to give talks, sometimes both Jennifer and I are able to travel together to give combined talks, as well.
Some of you may not know that even though we host a show on Sirius/XM Satellite radio, The Catholic Channel (Sirius 159/XM 117) is actually run by the Archdiocese of New York for Sirius/XM. So we work closely with both the Archdiocese as well as Sirius/XM. It’s hard to explain, but it seems to work quite well.
Anyway, this morning the following press release was sent to us from our bosses at the Archdiocese. This is big news not only for New York, but also for listeners of The Catholic Channel and Catholics around the world. Congrats to New York, and a hearty welcome to Archbishop Dolan!
From the Archdiocese of New York’s Communications Office:
ARCHBISHOP DOLAN APPOINTED ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK
RETIREMENT OF CARDINAL EGAN ACCEPTED
The picture to the left is the first family photo we’ve managed to take since Lily was born. We don’t get many photos taken with all of us in the photo at once and I admit it’s strange to see just how much all of us have changed since our last family photo. Continue reading
We’re barely at mid-February, so I was quite surprised to find these blooms on the trees in our front yard.
I just hope that we don’t get a sudden cold spell that will just kill them all. But then again, March is right around the corner.
After seeing these, I’m excited to see if the new trees we planted in November will start to take off in the next few weeks.
Overall, it’s been a very good week. I still ended up doing more work than I planned on, but since I’ll be flying solo on The Catholics Next Door for the next month, I suppose it was necessary.
But we did get a lot of good time in with Lily, as well as the boys. And today we took Lily to Adoration for the first time. We only stayed for about 15 minutes, but it was nice to bring Lily before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and sit there for what time we could in prayer.
If you would, please keep praying for Jennifer. Because of the pregnancy, labor, and delivery, she’s very behind on a lot of tax stuff for Rosary Army as well as our family and is feeling quite stressed out about that at the moment. This is always the busiest time of the year for her, so having a baby in the middle of it has just made it even more stressful. Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the prayers you’ve offered up over the past week, as well.
She’s been doing great, but the doctor at the hospital wanted us to bring her in after 48 hours just to make sure everything is continuing to go well.
And believe it or not, but it sure seemed like she just smiled and cooed at me for the first time. Both Jennifer and I were surprised because we didn’t think babies ever reacted that early.
She’s nursing like a champ, she’s sleeping well, and she’s just been an awesome baby so far.
We’re praying constantly that she stays that way!
Now that we’re at home, the boys are at school, and Jennifer and Lily are sleeping, I thought I’d post other photos I took from my phone over the weekend.
I imagine there will be plenty more taken this week, as well, and I’ll continue to post them here!
Lily has been poked, prodded, and tested all morning and now we’re just waiting for the final paperwork to be processed so we can check out of the hospital and head home.
When we get home and have better Internet access, I’ll upload some more photos and maybe I’ll even open up a uStream window for a few minutes so you can see Lily live. Stay tuned.