Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Campers

The Pruetz family is back and I have good news: We survived our first camping trip! We are tired, dirty and a little ripe, but we had a fun time.

We left Saturday morning for McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, about 70 miles north of here. We arrived at the campsite around 11:00 a.m. and met up with my sister and her family, as well as a number of friends. In all, there were about 40 people there! We immediately pitched our nine-person tent (borrowed from our neighbors, as our poor little four-person tent is no longer sufficient) and got settled in. Then the fun began.

There was talking. And eating. Todd took Gracie on a "hike" (in other words, he carried her on his shoulders for a couple of miles) and then took Devin down to see the falls. There was some sitting around and some playing of cards (the game, "Spoons," was hit) and then some more eating.

The thing about camping was this: I wasn't required to do anything. I didn't have to feel lazy about sitting around. There was no kitchen to mop, or laundry to do. The meals were divided up by family, so I didn't even have to worry about cooking until this morning. I had to make sure the kiddos were happy and making life miserable for anyone and the hardest part of the weekend was keeping the babies entertained. We weren't too keen on allowing them to crawl through our three combined campsites, so they spent the whole time held or in their Pack-n-Plays. They weren't thrilled and I had to put them in the van and drive them around to get them to take a nap yesterday afternoon.

But aside from these few bumps, it was a good trip. We agree that we won't be camping again as long as the girls are crawling, but my guess is we only have about six weeks left until walking begins anyway. I forsee another trip for us this fall (it's way to hot to camp during the summer in Texas).

On a completely different note, I start work tomorrow.

Didn't see that coming, huh? :)

My former employer, has been looking for someone to do some production work for them -- posting some blogs, proofing and posting feedback, working on client pages, etc. When I heard they were in need, I said, "I'll do this for you on a parttime basis, if you'll let me do it from home." The company's general manager and my friend, Julie, decided that was a good idea and so in my spare time, I'll be doing some work for the site. It's a perfect situation -- a few hours a day, some extra money and the ability to do it all from home. came through for me 18 months ago when they allowed me to work parttime in sales and, once again, they've created a perfect situation for me. What more could I ask for?

I'm actually really looking forward to the whole thing. It'll be nice to use that part of my brain that has not been used in a long while. While I don't miss the stress of holding down a career and a family, I do miss working and this should be a perfect fix for me.

In other news, Todd's new job is doing great. Not unexpectedly, he's already gotten accolades from the VPs and other high-ups and seems to have found a good friend in his boss. I don't doubt that he will go very far in this company.

The babies are doing great, too. They're all over the place and are pulling up on everything. They even pull up on the walls. That was the last step for Devin before he started walking, so as I said before, I don't think we'll be at this crawling stage much longer.

Devin had a great time camping and we're looking forward to doing some fun MOMS Club activities in the coming months, now that things have finally slowed down.

So I guess that's about it for us. More fabulous updates as they happen.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Few Prayer Requests

I could easily flood my blog with prayer requests every single day. I have a very active prayer community and all prayer requests that come my way are taken very seriously. But since this blog is supposed to be about my family, I try to keep posts like these to a minimum. I only post the requests that are very close to me.

This time around, my dear friend Jackie, has a nephew who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. His wife died from cancer a year ago and now he's facing this. It breaks my heart.

Jackie holds a very special place in my heart because she is the grandmother to a set of quadruplets. She prayed her four grandchildren into this world 15 years ago and she prayed my twins here last year. She understands me on a very deep level.

In addition to her nephew, one of the quads -- the only girl of the group -- is suffering from mononucleosis-like symptoms. She's tested negative for mono and everyone is puzzled by her symptoms. She's starting to get very frustrated, as she is a very active 15-year-old.

So I ask for your prayers for Jay and Ashley.

Lastly, I have an email friend named Stacy with whom I correspond every few days. Stacy and I have never met and never talked on the phone, but we're connected by our sets of monoamniotic twins. Her girls, Kelsey and Kaylee, are two years old and are precious. We keep up with one another via our blogs.

In the past few days, Stacy has blogged about her friends, Andy and Amber and their nine-year-old son, Brendon, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer -- non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He is undergoing chemo right now and will be in the hospital for a number of weeks. The hospital is more than an hour from their home.

Please pray for Brendon, Andy and Amber. They need peace and hope right now.

Because this little family is surviving on one income, the bills are already starting to pile up. With gas near $3.00/gallon (they live up in the Northeast), it's very expensive just to get to Brendon.

For this reason, Stacy is taking donations for the familyl. Please understand that I am not soliciting donations for this family. I do not know Andy, Amber or Brendon -- I've never met them, never seen them and never corresponded with them. Their story touched my heart and I felt compelled to share it with others, seeking prayers.

If your heart calls you to it, though, please let me know if you'd like to donate money to the family. I can give you Stacy's email address and you can either contact her for more information or use her email address to send money through PayPal.

Thank you all very much for your prayers for these three families. Prayer is a powerful thing and God hears every word of them.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Unplugged and Unincumbered

Greetings from...our living room! I am writing to you from the latest addition to the Pruetz family -- an Apple Mac Book. It's a fantastic, laptop computer with lots of bells and whistles.

We've had a desktop Mac for a few years now and while I'm still very much a PC person, I've grown to love the Mac in a lot of ways. Todd is a graphics guru and having a Mac just makes sense. Our desktop has served us well.

Recently, my dad has been bitten by the Mac bug. He got an iMac and has had a really fun time playing around with the functions that you just can't get on a PC. He's had so much fun, in fact, that he decided Todd needed an upgrade to his current computer and bought him a laptop. We'd been in the market for a laptop anyway (so we could take it on vacation and such), so what great timing! Todd was totally surprised by the gift and he and my dad are already planning on their first iChat and other fun events.

The Mac Book hadn't been in our house for 24 hours before Todd ran out and bought a wireless router. Not knowing much about how internet connections work, I didn't realize how easy it was to go from DSL to wireless. I thought you had to subscribe to a service or something, but you just need a router that converts the wired DSL signal to a wireless signal.

So now, instead of being tethered to my desk, I am sitting in my favorite chair in my family room, just typing away. It's pretty cool. I know wireless internet connectivity has been around for a long time, but to finally have it in your own home is a pretty liberating experience. :)

This weekend was a fun one for our family. Obviously, we had family in town. Dad and Jean came in on Saturday and we had a bar-b-que here at our house last night. This morning, the whole family attended 9:30 Mass where Addison, my niece and Goddaughter, took her first Holy Communion. Communion and the Eucharist are the benchmarks of the Catholic faith and to see Addy take the body and blood of Christ for the first time was something that brought a lot of pride into my heart. Our faith continues...

Afterwards was a reception at ZZ's house for about 35 people. It was lots of fun and the zillion-and-one kids there had a great time playing together.

We were supposed to go to a Fiesta event this evening, but a rainy day caused us to cancel.

Fiesta is a ten-day party here in the Alamo City. Over the course of two weekends and the weekdays in between, there are over 100 official events and hundreds more unofficial events. Some of the events can get pretty wild and wooley, like OysterBake and NIOSA (pronounced nye-OH-sah and stands for Night in Old San Antonio), while others cater toward families and youngsters. Falling under the latter category is the Fort Sam Houston Fiesta Event. We've never been, but our good friends Jennifer and Jesse and their two kids go every year. It's a family-oriented event with food and games for the whole fam, a paratrooper show and a firewords finale. We had planned to take a picnic out there and let the kids run wild, but it wasn't meant to be. Definitely next year.

We're also fans of the Pooch Parade which we won't be able to attend this year.

So, if you're planning a trip to San Antonio, you may want to consider doing so in April. Enjoy the events, the street parties, the stage shows and the parades. You won't be let down.

I know I've been promising to post photos of the kids and I swear, I will soon. I just need to actually take some. :) Thanks for bearing with me.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Year Ago Tonight...

I was all alone in room 159 of the Antepartum unit at Methodist Hospital. My day had been a traumatic one, leaving my two-year-old behind while he napped. I'd said goodbye to him as I tucked him in and he said to me, "You're leaving now?" I told him yes and he replied, "Now I'm going to cry." And he did. We both did.

I laid there that night, not sleeping much despite the prescription sleep aid and Vicodin I was given. I worried myself to death -- how would my family fair through all of this? Would Devin be traumatized? Would Todd? Would I? Would I ever meet my girls? If so, when? Would there be some sort of major set back in monitoring that would cause an emergency c-section? Would they survive? Would they be healthy, or would they face a lifetime of respiratory problems, vision problems, learning disabilities or retardation? How long would they be in the hospital? Would they come home at the same time? Was I ready for this?

It was a horrible night. I cried. A lot.

I remember commenting to Todd, on our way to the hospital this time last year, "I'll never forget April 17, 2006 for as long as I live. No matter what I'm doing on this day, throughout my life, I'll never forget April 17, 2006." I still believe that to be true.

I can't believe what a difference 365 days make. This time last year was such a horrible time of uncertainty and sadness. But it was also an awesome time of community and friendship. I never knew I was surrounded by so many wonderful people. God has blessed me abundantly.

Today, one year later, I'm a stay-at-home mom with three gorgeous kids. Devin is a kick in the pants who keeps me laughing and the twins -- labeled the "maybe babies" by Todd because they were such a maybe for so many months -- are perfectly healthy and developmentally sound. I'm not sure what I did to deserve all of this and I'm thankful every day for it.

Speaking in the present tense now, I'm back from my retreat and mostly rested up. No one goes on an ACTS Retreat and gets much rest and being a team member only exacerbates the problem. I was exhausted when I returned on Sunday.

But it was worth every moment of sleeplessness and late nights. We had 42 amazing women who really opened their hearts up to the Lord and His message. We couldn't have asked for a better group.

And we couldn't have asked for a better team, either. 24 incredible women who did exactly as they said they would do and made the weekend so special for so many. The retreat virtually ran itself. Tina -- the Director -- and I said, "Okay, it's time to move onto the next thing," and that's exactly what happened. Everybody moved onto the next thing. The team's organization and perserverance were amazing. I doubt it could have gone any better.

Upon our return to 11:00 Mass on Sunday, we had a united group of 68 women who sat together during Mass, spontaneously broke into song after Mass on the patio (our them song Companions on the Journey) and dined together on an incredible feast served by the rest of the Holy Trinity ACTS Community. It was amazing. Nothing short of God's work on Earth.

And now it's back to reality. But that's okay, because my reality is a good one. It's a great one, in fact.

It's night-night time for me. I'm going to bed. My own bed.'s good to be home.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Quick Update

I have a few moments of relative peace, so I thought I'd put some words down on paper (or screen, as the case may be).

We had a lovely Easter in Houston with my enormous family. It's funny how I grew up with two parents and one sister and now, suddenly, after a couple of "I dos" between my dad and stepmom in September of 2004, I have four more sisters, another niece, another nephew (and anther niece on the way, due in August), another brother-in-law and scads of family friends. So our once-small family gatherings have turned into an enormous undertaking.

We all gathered on Saturday at Heidi's house. In attendance were:

Heidi (who is pregnant with little Erin -- or so the campaign goes)
Ross (Heidi's husband)
Luke (Heidi and Ross' son)
Jaime (Amy's daughter who turned SIXTEEN on Easter Sunday!)
Diane (Amanda's friend)
Heather (Amanda's friend)

By my count, that's 22.5 people. It was a ton of fun! Easter in Texas was a cold, wet one. We had snow as far South as Austin! We stayed inside the whole day, but that was okay with us. The kids ran around like feral children while adults played cards, napped and talked. It was like Thanksgiving -- only colder. :)

Easter Sunday was cold as ZZ, Addy, Presley and I headed to Mass with Dad. But when we left church, it was clearing up and it turned out to be a beautiful day by the time the rest of the family returned from church (we're so big, we have to split it up).

The kids found their Easter baskets upon our return from Mass. The girls both got new outfits, a package of onesies, books and new sippy cups. Devin got the Happy FeetDVD and lots of candy.

We went over to Pa-Pa and Nana's house (my parents) and had our egg hunt there. Much fun was had by all! Jean cooked an enormous, beautiful and scrumptious meal for all of us, and before we knew it, it was time to go. We packed it up and headed back to San Antonio.

It's just now starting to warm up outside. We're all still in shock at how cold it got in APRIL! We're finally back into the 70s during the day and it feels good!

Tomorrow marks the first day of the retreat we have been planning for more than three months now. I am psyched and terrified by the whole thing. I just have to remind myself that it's too late now for any more planning. We just have to go with what we have gotten done so far and let the Holy Spirit take it from there. It's His show, anyway. We're just the actors.

If you're the praying type, any prayers you can send our way would be appreciated. Pray for our team -- that we will have the strength, knowledge and spirit to pull this off. Pray for our retreatants -- that they will come with open hearts and open minds and find God in new ways in their lives. And pray for our retreat -- that the light of Christ will be in everything we do.

Thanks for all you do. More info next week - and some pictures, too, since I've been really remiss in those!


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Muddling Through

Greetings again from Pruetz-land. Once again, I have gone way too long between posts. Like I said in my last post, I am working as a co-director for our church's yearly women's ACTS Retreat and as we draw nearer to the weekend of the event, I find myself more and more consumed with the job. I'm loving every minute of it and can't wait for the retreat to get here, but it's a lot of work and it's leaving little time for anything else -- including blogging.

Things are pretty status quo around here, though. Todd starts a new job at Southwest Research Institute on Monday and we're all very excited for him. It's been so much fun having him around, enjoying family time, but now it's time to go back to reality. I'm so thankful for the time we had, though.

The shortest Pruetzes are doing well, too. Devin's antics are the same, although he's recently picked up on a trend of being very verbally affectionate and physically snuggly. I'm getting lots of, "I love you, Mommy. I think you're cute." Oh it just makes my heart swell. It's hard to believe that he's nearly four years old. Where did my baby go?

The girls are doing great, too. They've been pulling up on things here and there, namely me if I'm sitting on the floor, or low window sills. But yesterday, it seemed to "click" with both of them, as they both started to pull up on everything. At one time, Todd was washing dishes at the sink and Gracie pulled up on his leg. It was like watching a cartoon - "Domestic Man and His Trusty Sidekick, Washer Girl!"

This morning, too, Gracie was standing at the coffee table. She reached out a chubby arm, grasped the edge of the couch and made her way over there. The first signs of cruising. Holy smokes.

I'm not quite prepared for this, for a number of reasons. First of all, Devin didn't take his first, unassisted steps until he was 14-and-a-half months old. He was just learning to pull up on his first birthday. That experience led me to believe that I had a few more months before the terror of walking twins began.

Secondly, the twins' first year has gone so much faster than Devin's first year. I guess that is because, with your first, you're totally focused on them and every little thing they do. With your second (and third, as the case may be), you are much more distracted and can't make a big deal out of every coo and wiggle and therefore, the time goes even faster.

Lastly, though, it's hard for me to grasp that Faith and Grace are nearly a year old because of their size. They are both now wearing 3-6 month clothes, which leads me to believe that they are about the size of a six-month-old. When you see a baby that size, you just don't expect for them to be pulling up and cruising. You expect them to be sitting and crawling and all of this just leads to another, "This can't be happening," moment for me.

On top of all of this, the girls are starting to talk. We've wondered for awhile if some form of "Daddy" and "Kitty" were coming out of their mouths, but now there is no mistaking it. Gracie is definitely saying, "Mama," and "Dada" and possibly, "Devin" (which sounds more like, "Daba"). We're not quite so sure about Faith's babbling, but I'm positive that she did the sign for Mama yesterday when she saw me. Fingers splayed out, thumb tapping in the chin. It was awesome!

That's about all from our neck of the woods. I'm not sure how much posting I'll get done between now and the retreat (which is the 12th - 15th), but I'll be back at some point.