Monday, September 30, 2013

Better than meeting Willy Wonka

I intended to write a post about what I did on Friday, but, what I got to do pales in comparison to what my husband did on Friday. He gets to do things that are so much cooler than what I get to do.  At least I get to say that I am married to him!

As I hopped into the van on Friday, ready to head off onto my adventure, I noticed I got an email from my husband.  The first line said, "I got a yellow ticket!"

A yellow ticket?? The only thing I could think of was Willy Wonka and a golden ticket.  Did he mean a golden ticket?? An Italian Willy Wonka?? Was he consuming way too many chocolate bars while in Rome? 

Then I read the next line . . .

"I am going to meet the Pope at 2PM!"

He proceeded to write that the Pope was speaking at the conference he was attending and that after that, several of the attendees would get to meet the Pope and shake his hand.  They called out the names of those selected, and my hubby was one of them!  He was given a yellow ticket!

And there is his yellow ticket, around his neck!

He said that meeting the Pope was surreal and it is hard to even remember the moment. My husband decided to speak to the Pope in Spanish (and his Spanish is not very good), so he rehearsed what he would say again and again. 

I am so happy that my hubby got this moment!  He works so hard and this meeting was such a gift and a blessing!!

If you want to see the photos of him meeting Pope Francis, there are tons here.

Run for the Little Flowers Update!! Important!

Hi all.  I cannot believe what has happened in the last few days!  Registrations have been SLOW. The run is doing fine, but numbers are much lower than last year.  I placed the order for the medals weeks ago (due to length of production) and the shirt order this past Wednesday.  I ordered enough shirts for everyone who was registered, plus a generous amount in every size based on the average number of registrations we have been getting everyday.

But, between Friday and today, we have gotten a lot of registrations.  So many, that we are SOLD OUT OF MEDALS AND SHIRTS!!

I am thrilled, and sad all at the same time.  I still want to accommodate anyone else who may want to run/walk in this virtual.  So, if you have not registered and still want to (and you want a shirt)  PLEASE leave a comment or email me at: katiepetko (at) yahoo (dot) com.  I may place a second shirt order or I might be able to add more shirts to the order I just placed.

Thank you all for you support!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

7 Quick Takes- A parenting mistake, some laughs, church leaders, and some of my faves!

Happy Friday!! Wahoo!  It is the end of the week.  Thanks, Jen, for hosting!!

1. Noah
On Tuesday, I took the boys to the Sight and Sounds Theater to see Noah.  I have heard a lot of great things about that theater and the promotional video of Noah looked like it would be a fun show to see.  The production was great, but there were parts that were mildly traumatic and it was one of those "what were you thinking" parenting moments.  We were sitting in the theatre, which looked amazing because it felt like you are in the Ark, surround by the animals, but then the rain started, and the door of the Ark closed and, well, you could hear the suffering outside of the Ark.  Noah's brother pounding on the door to get in.  Crying.  Rain. Suffering.  Then nothing.

Now, I know that IS the story of the flood, but I just thought "cute animals and the rainbow." I forgot about the suffering and annihilation of almost every human and living thing on earth.  So, if you live near one of these theaters, think twice about taking your young kids. You may scar them!

The whole thing made me think of this Tim Hawkins routine on Noah's Ark . . . you have to watch it!! It is only a minute long . . .it will make you laugh!!

2. Still time to register for the Run for the Little Flowers

Medals are ordered and shirts are ordered, but you can still register!!  Watch our Facebook page for regular updates. I will post there and on the original post when all the shirts are gone.  So please register!!
3. I'm a Beachbody Coach

You may notice the Beachbody link on my sidebar.  And although I had sworn off all direct sales type of companies, I have jumped in to become a Beachbody coach.  I did it because I really like Shakeology and love discounts.  Plus, they offer personal trainer certification classes that I want to take and that count for my continuing education credits.  Plus I get those at a discount too. So, it is a win, win situation for me.

If you are interested in any of Beachbody's workouts, their Reset program or nutritional shakes, click on the links on my sidebar. Any money I get from it, will go directly to our adoption. 
4. Lunch with the Pope

My husband is in Rome for work right now.  The other day he sent me an email that said; "Ask the boys . . . Did Daddy have lunch with the Pope?"

When he Skyped me later that day, he shared that they were at lunch after the Wednesday audience and who walks in to join them???  Yep, Pope Francis.  My hubby was just one table away from him.  I told him that he should have gotten his napkin for me . . . Let me share the background story . . .

My hubby has had several meals with Cardinal Dolan.  I am not shy in professing my love for this church leader and I jokingly I asked my husband to get the Cardinal's napkin for me.  Yes, I did!  And, yes he did.  I have Cardinal Dolan's napkin (and the Cardinal does know . . . . my hubby told him the whole story).

So, when my hubby told me he had lunch with the Pope, I told him that he should have gotten me his napkin.  I am sure if he had told the Pope the whole story, he probably would have given it to my husband!!


Have you seen her stuff???  LOVE!!

6. Good to Me
Listening to this one a lot right now.  Holding on to HIS promise.  He is so good to me!

I put all my hope on the truth of Your promise
and I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I’m bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me, good to me
You are good to me

I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night raise my head up and hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
and the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
all my life
I will trust in Your promise

7. Little Flower Cuteness

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Yay! It is Friday!  It appears that I am only finding time to blog on Thursday nights, while my hubby is out of town. So here it goes . . .

The cough/croup thing that has been plaguing our family has caused me some pain.  The cartilage in my rib cage is inflamed and my intercostal muscles are strained.  I had been in a lot of pain, but thanks to my doctor for pain medication, I can get through my days again.  But, that is not why I brought this all up . . .

Because of the pain, I went to my chiropractor. While treating me, she abruptly said, "Are you set on adopting a special needs child?"  This was followed by statements like, "Are you prepared for . . . ", "It will disrupt the peace in your home., "The child will not speak English."

Now, I know she was well meaning.  But, how do you explain to a person that even though you know something may be hard, that is no reason NOT to do it? That sometimes the blessings that come from it will far outweigh the difficulties? 

When I told my husband about the encounter, he said, "Why is it that I think those same things, but the minute someone else says them, I recognize it for what it is?  Satan trying to plant doubt in our minds."

He was so right.

One more hoop!
Our fire inspection for our homestudy is next week.  Say a prayer that we have everything in order.  The Fire Marshal made it sound very basic, but I am heading to Lowes to get new smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and one of those rope ladders, just in case.  I do not want to have to get reinspected because everything is not in order the first time around.

Work widow
There are 30 days in September.  My husband is/has been travelling for 15 of those 30.  And 8 of those are the last days of the month. Not that I am counting or anything.

Perfectly imperfect
That should be the name of our homeschool year.  We started late due to illness.  Our last two weeks have not gone well, thanks to educational testing, doctors visits, and my hubby travelling.  Strangely I think it is all a part of HIS plan.  I am learning to let go more and more of my own expectations and where I want the boys to be in their learning and what I want our homeschool to look like, and just allow it to be a bit more organic and meet the boys where they are at.  We have hired a tutor for K for reading, which is so good because it allows me to have time with A and J and it gives K that much needed, focused time on reading. K's tutor is his Godmother and he just loves working with her (and she makes him cookies!) I am holding off any other major decisions/changes to our schooling until we meet with the educational psychologist to get J's results and see what truly is best for him. 

"I am only going for the food"
My 5 yr old, A, loves to tell people that he is going to go to China to get a baby brother.  The other day, he came up to me, with this little bag and shared with me how he is going to pack that bag with some cars so that he can take it to China and he will play cars with his new brother and keep the bag next to the bed at the hotel.

As he so sweetly is telling me all of this, my oldest walks through the room and says, 

"I want to go to China too, but I am only going for the food."

Apparently his love for Chinese food outweighs his desire for another brother!


Do not forget to register for the Run for the Little Flowers Virtual 5K before September 25th to be guaranteed a t-shirt.  I will order extras, but only a limited amount, so do not wait, register today!

OK, so these boys are no longer in Little Flower Projects' care, but I just had to share how much they have grown! 

June 2012
September 2013


 I think they are two of the cutest twins and I not-so-secretly want to adopt them.  But, that is not why I am posting their adorable little faces.  YOUR registration fee helps precious little souls like these get the love and the care they need.  I could preach on how China needs more organizations like Little Flower Projects and New Day Foster home because the care that children get in their homes is exceptional and those children are given an environment to thrive in.  Orphans in typical orphanage sleep in cribs WITHOUT mattresses, and blankets.  Their basic needs are met, barely.  They live in sterile rooms, and have very little interaction with their caregivers.

So, when you register for this run, you are allowing more children to be cared for in a better environment.  YOU help to give hope for a future for orphans such as these.

Stepping off my soapbox now . . . (register)

Happy weekend everyone!
Thanks, Jen for hosting!

Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes- A plea, adoption updates, and tackling a fear

Another week has gone by and I have not posted.  When summer was here, I kept thinking that summer felt so much busier than the school year, but now that the school year is here, I am wondering just what I was thinking over the summer!!

But, it is Thursday night, my hubby is away for work, again, and the house is quiet, except for the clicking of these keys on the keyboard . . .

If you get a moment, please share about this run on your blog, facebook, pinterest, instagram or your preferred social media.  The numbers are much lower this year and I just want to get the word out more.  I am totally OK with the run being smaller, because ANY money that goes Little Flower Projects from this run is a gift, but I want to do all I can for them.  So, if you have time, please share about this fundraiser for a GREAT cause.

This little girl with thank you for it!


2. I never shared . . .
This happened about two months ago now, but my boys got to serve at a mass with Cardinal Wuerl!!  My oldest is an altar server at our parish and we knew that he was going to be serving at the mass, but when I went back to the area where the servers were getting ready and saw this . . .

I got very a little nervous.  He's 7.  He hasn't even had his First Communion yet. And he cannot sit still at mass.  And he would be sitting close to the Cardinal?!?!  Excuse me nice, old, Franciscan, but what are you thinking?!?!

But K was a ROCK.  He held the Cardinal's miter during mass (J held his staff).  And K was so good.  I was so proud of my boys!

3. Conquering a fear
I do not like bridges.  Not all bridges, just long, tall ones.  Especially driving over them with my kids in the car.  And we live fairly close to one too.  The Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  I try to avoid going to the Eastern Shore unless my hubby is in the car with me.  I am weird, I know.

But, it is time to face this fear.

Yep, I am running it!  The 10K Across the Bay! I think this will probably be one of the hardest races I have run (basically you are running up ONE BIG HILL) and the scariest (because I have heard you can feel the bridge sway).  But, I figured this is one way to tackle this fear once and for all!

4.  Adoption Update

I got an all-too-familiar email this week.  We have a new homestudy coordinator. AGAIN.  This is our third.  Our other two moved away.  One of our reference letters was MIA.  And I was being told I needed to get inspections that I knew we did not need,  and we needed to pay ANOTHER $1,800 before they would complete our homestudy. 

All of that, in one email.  I was worried and concerned.  Our homestudy is going slowly.  From other people I talked to, their's just seem to go easily, everything done at the same time; 2 months and done.  So, with this new information all coming at once and the crawl that our homestudy seems to be moving at, I began to wonder if we had signed up with some sort of scam agency.

Thankfully, we have not.  I called the next day, shared my concerns and suddenly the missing reference letter was found, and I was assured that they would get our homestudy done as soon as possible.  I also found out that the main reason our homestudy is taking so long is because of Maryland law.  The man at the agency referred to our state as the "gestapo" when it comes to how the paperwork is done.  While I am sure that it is a good thing that they want to make sure all the paperwork is done and approved before homestudy visits, for this adopting mom, I wish I lived in a state that was a little more relaxed about it.

But, it looks like we are close to the end of our homsetudy . . . . just a few more hoops before we more to the next level of paperwork!

5.  LOTR Crazy
(That's Lord of the Rings for all you non-fans ;-))

Do you see the Ent face??
My kids are currently on a Lord of the Rings kick.  They have set up a camp in our backyard and pretend to be Riders of Rohan awaiting battle.  We go on nature walks and they search for Ents.  K was so excited when he found this tree.  He begged me to take his picture next to the Ent! 
6.  Loving this Verse . . .
7. Little Flower Cuteness
My 7 takes would not be complete without an adorable orphan shot.

Happy weekend everyone!!  For more Quick Takes, visit Jen!

Friday, September 6, 2013

7 Quick Takes- The evening edition

I realize that I have been neglecting this space lately.  I miss writing, I really do. I like to catalogue what we are going and life here.  I miss writing the funny, "what they said posts" too and I realized., the other day, that my kids are getting too old to say too many off-the-wall zany things! Oh, man, I miss the funnies!

But we are hanging on here and life is moving forward.  And this is what we have been up to, what I haven't been up to and some complete randomness thrown in there! Happy Friday everyone!

Go visit Jen, for more inspirational Quick Takes!

1. Homeschool

We officially started school this Wednesday.  I had wanted to start WEEKS ago, but with the sickness that has been in our house, I just could not.  This was the first week we all seemed to be well ENOUGH to make it through our school work.

The first days of school went well.  There was only a minor amount of wailing, by K (2nd grade) who lost all confidence in his reading ability, even though he read over the summer.  So we had to start at the most basic of readers, but by today he was back on track and reading what he should. 

If you notice in the pictures, the boys ARE all wearing the same ties and shirts . . . this is no accident.  Thanks to Catholic All Year for the idea, I decided to have the boys wear "uniforms" for school.  (Thanks to OLD NAVY for their super cheap school uniform section!)

Working away.
 My 5 year old LOVED the idea and could not wait to put on his tie.  J was not a fan, but has been a good sport.  I did this in hopes to make school time different.  I know that is counter intuitive to homeschooling, but my boys really needed to learn that they could not just walk away from their work and go play legos whenever they wanted to.  And playing soldiers or legos in a shirt and tie just in not as fun or comfortable.  So far it has worked really well.  I am not sure if it is because we are in the "new school year honeymoon" or if the uniforms are really helping, but it seems to be a positive change.  Plus, I am a sucker for a man in a shirt and tie, so I love seeing the boys look so cute everyday!


 2. What I am not doing . . .

 Working out
I MISS working out.  It has been about two weeks since I have had a real good workout.  I, pathetically, attempted a run this week.  I had to stop about four times in a half mile due to coughing fits.  I gave up.  So, it is rest and working real hard to get this cough kicked out of my body and our house for me right now.

3. Adoption paperwork
I sent this stack of notarized paperwork, with a BIG check to our homestudy agency today.  Just. A. Little. Bit. More.  And we will have all our paperwork DONE (for now)!  I feel like we should get an  award for taking the longest to finish our homestudy!  In our defense though, I just talked to someone who said they did not have to do so many of the forms that we have had to do.  I am not sure if it is a China or agency thing.

4. Maybe some funnies . . .

We are learning about China right now in homeschool.  And as I read to the boys about China, A looked at me and said in an emphatic tone,
"Mom, let's just go there now and get our Chinese kid!"

5. Syria
I am NOT going there.  Except . . .What is he thinking???

I like what the Pope is thinking much more  . . . .


Do not forget, I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one lucky Run for the Little Flowers Participant!  Register before 9/10 to be entered to win!
7. Striving to be this woman . . .

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another Run for the Little Flowers Giveaway!

School has started. pumpkin spice lattes are in the air, and we are getting closer to the Run for the Little Flowers!!

We are over 50 registrations and I want to break 100 this week!  We are having another giveaway!!  All people regsitered before Tuesday, September 10th, will be entered in a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card!

And if we break 100, we will giveaway a $40 giftcard!

So, go register here!  And tell your frieds to as well!