The BIG Announcement!!

LVlogofor blogIn memory of our sweet girl we have started a nonprofit organization, Laurencia’s Victory (  Our first event is the L.O.V.E. 5k Run (Laurencia’s Orphans Victory Event) benefitting orphans and adoptive families.  The L.O.V.E. 5k Run is going to be held 3 days before Laurencia and Valencia’s birthday.  Everything is explained on our website.  We sincerely hope you join us in celebrating the Life of Laurencia and help us help others in her memory.  Now GO REGISTER!!!!

LOVE RUN FINALSaturday, August 23, 2014

Run or walk along the beautiful, scenic River Road

Start/Finish at St. Michael Public Works Bldg 3150 Lander Avenue NE, St. Michael, MN 55376

MN USATF certified course

Fun prizes! Little Lambs (kids) Fun Run! Butterflies Diaper Derby!

   Balloons for the kids to celebrate Laurencia and Valencia’s first birthday!


5k Start Time: 8:30 am RAIN OR SHINE *

5k Registration/Fees**:

Prior to midnight on August 1, 2014 (includes t-shirt): $25.00

After August 1, 2014 (t-shirt not guaranteed):               $30.00

Race Day Registration: 7:00-8:00 am

Online Registration: (Links to ZapEvent from Home or LOVE 5k Run pages)

Mail-in Registration:  Click on link above

—Early Packet Pick-Up (optional) on Friday, August 22 from 5-8pm St. Michael Public Works Bldg (race Start/Finish location)—


1st – 3rd Place Overall male and female (not eligible for age group awards)

Age Group Awards: 18 & Under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & over

Top 2 males & females in each age group receive award

Butterflies Diaper Derby/Little Lambs Fun Run Start Time: Upon completion of 5k participants, on lawn of Rec. Center, start in order of youngest (derby) to oldest (ages 9-11)

Diaper Derby & Fun Run Registration/Fees: $10.00 includes finisher medal (run) or prize (derby)

Prizes for top 2 boys/girls in each age group

Butterflies Diaper Derby – crawlers only!

In memory of Elizabeth Goble, an identical twin, like Laurencia, who had anencephaly

Little Lambs Fun Run: 5 & Under; 6-8; 9-11

Race hosted by Laurencia’s Victory, a MN nonprofit organization. Our event is an affiliate member of the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). Through the RRCA, we are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

* In the event of extreme weather, Laurencia’s Victory reserves the right to cancel the L.O.V.E. 5k Run.

** All fees are non-refundable.


Getting busy living

We are all dying, every day we are one day closer, in fact.  But, like he says in the movie, every day we get to decide whether to get busy living or get busy dying.  I chose a long time ago to get busy living.

Last weekend, that meant this:


I know, I’ve already innundated my FB page with way too many photos of our adventures from Saturday.  Who wants to see me when they can see Lencia’s new toofers or Mae Mae’s piggytails and antics?  Thought so.  I don’t blame you.  I thought I’d post some of ’em here anyway because I have a little story from the day.

Matt and I decided to go along with my brother and his wife to a benefit for our church’s Catholic school.  A great cause!  The theme:  Kentucky Derby.  Since the actual Kentucky Derby was taking place the same day, my brother was headed down to Canterbury Park to watch on the big screen and partake in the festivities there as well.  The brochures for the school charity event and for Canterbury said to dress up derby style, meaning, wear a big, fancy hat.  Sold.  As soon as my SIL told me about the theme this year I was all over it.  I love hats.  I love big hats.  I love wearing big hats.  A more perfect marriage could not exist, me and a big hat.  Well, ok, me and my hubby are pretty great together too.

SONY DSC(Trying to steal a kiss under there)

But big hats!  Oh how I adore thee.  Hair messy?  No problem,  enter: big hat!  Feeling crummy about your physical fitness?  I have a solution:  big hat–nobody will be looking at the rest of you!  Like being a girly girl?  Big hat to help you out!  Want to have some whimsical fun for no reason at all?  Shop for a big hat—-with feathers!  See?  The benefits are endless.

The hat:


Suffice it to say, I had a fun time shopping for accessories for the event.  Nellie and I joked that it was as if we were going to prom.  Coincidentally, as Matt and I passed through Monticello on the way to the events, we saw a bunch of kids taking photos for prom down by a little scenic wayside area.  We considered going down there, we thought we’d totally blend in.  Minus the gray hair and wrinkles.


When we arrived at the Park, some other people were dressed up but we must have looked especially legit because some guys in the parking lot yelled to Pete and Billy:  “Hey, you look like you know what you’re doing, give us some tips!”  Little did they know I was maybe at this track one other time in my life, when I was 18. I didn’t understand it then and I don’t now.



As an aside, I have pondered the following question for some time (ok, only as long as it took me to post this but still..): Why the heck did I feel it necessary to kick up my foot and/or purse my lips in every photo?  I may have been a tad overly excited at the idea of going on an all day date with my hubs.

Here is Pete schooling me on the finer points of horse races. I still have no clue what he was saying. I did learn that what I always knew to be true is still true: gambling is….a total gamble. So I don’t do it 🙂


I actually have two stories, the other one involves my brother and his cohorts really, as in, really and truly thinking they won BIG only to realize they did not.  Good times.  Sorry, Pete, it was funny, epic actually.  You had to be there.  Although, these photos pretty much convey how it went down.


(note the two bear-hugging in the background)

Back to my little story.  My greatest worry last weekend was which dress to wear with my big hat, black or white?  Oh, the agony!  Matt was surprised I got any sleep considering the sheer magnitude of the choice before me.  Ha!  Ok, so in the end, I went with the white dress.  I bought this dress for a very special occasion.  I only ever wore it one other time, on that very special day.  Laurencia’s funeral.

As we were driving along I told Matt, “You know, it’s nice, being able to wear this dress to a fun, happy occasion, to continue not just living but LIVING.”  I hope my girl was proud of me, for carrying on and not just existing and not being sad all of the time.  I hope she knows I am happy because of her and not in spite of her.  I still love life.  I still have joy.  It’s magnified, in fact, just from having had her my life.



Easter and The Great 75 Degree Snowball Fight


Though it’s been a few weeks already, I wanted to share our Easter photos and some videos. This year on Good Friday I went to our church’s Living Stations.  It takes place at our historic church and it was beautiful and very powerful.  I took the older kids and by the end of it, we all felt more connected to Jesus and what this time of year really means.  Watching the actors take Jesus down from the cross, covered with a white garment, and his mother Mary walking behind, following her dead son, was tough.  I was trying hard not to be selfish and think about me but gosh, it was so hard.  All I could see in that moment was me walking behind baby Laurencia’s casket.  It was real.  It really happened to us and it really happened over 2000 years ago.  I went to Easter Vigil mass by myself and was waiting for that joyful Easter feeling but it never came that night. I just felt sad, about the dying part. The mass was about the Alleluia, the Resurrection part, you know, the entire reason we celebrate Easter, the basis of our faith, Jesus rising from the dead so we can have eternal life?  Yeah, that part.  Well, for whatever reason, it was only serving as a big, giant reminder that Laurencia wasn’t here, since she’s there, because of Easter.  It’s beyond wonderful, but she’s still not here.  Of course, I’m happy for her but I could not get myself to be happy at the time.  I just dang wanted her here.  After mass, in the dark of night, I went and put a little tiny Easter basket on her gravesite. When I got home I put an egg under her picture.

Then morning came, and with it shrieks and squeals of delight.  Mae was into her chocolate Easter bunny faster than you can say “thecrashisn’tgoingtobepretty”


and the kids were showing me their trinkets and running through the house on their hunt for eggs.



My joy began to build as I watched the kids experience their own joy.  I’m not sure when I became cognizant of not feeling crummy any longer but I snapped out of it.  Partly because I had to get everything ready for the ensuing masses.  And partly because of the fact that the sun finally came out in full force.   WHAT AN AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL DAY.  Stellar.  Even compared to normal weather, well, at least what I remember as normal weather.  In three words: IT. WAS. AWESOME.  We had blizzard conditions THREE days prior, school was even two hours late in our neck of the woods, on the Thursday before Easter.  The final count was about 10-12 inches of snow.  Here is a photo…of the THURSDAY BEFORE EASTER, just in case I didn’t make that clear:


And then…then, the Heavens rejoiced and sun burst forth in the most glorious way.  Yep, it was as if we were celebrating the Resurrection or something!

Twenty-seven of the grandkids were here, I tried to wrangle as many as I could for this swing set photo, squirrels (Look, no more snow!  Well, almost, see below):


Then you have the older girl cousins, so pretty


And some little girl cousins


Maggie gets two pics on here because I’m her fairy godmother, and this was too cute not to share


And these two


And then there’s this guy


And this guy (um, cutest baby contest anyone?)


By the way, he’s doing great!  For those who don’t follow the FB page, Benny is my nephew born just a week before L and V.  He’s the little guy who was on life support and had big, big struggles.  Hard to believe now isn’t it?  Beautiful miracle boy.

Of course, we had the annual egg hunt:

We were all enjoying being outside and being together.  The daddies were using the  only remaining piles of snow left near the barn as an outdoor cooler for their “refreshments”.  Until….until someone realized, “hey, it’s a PILE OF SNOW”.  And the first snowball flew.  After that, it was all out war.  At some point I ran to the house to get my camera.  And at another point I yelled to the kids to ATTACK the daddies.  The big wimps used the barn as a fortress.  Here is the video and photo proof:





It was a non-discriminating fight.  Even little Charlie (Nick’s Charlotte, 1 year old) was in on the action.  And if you ask Anna’s Marek (3 years old), he’d tell you he was fighting with the best of ’em.

They polished off that last bit of snow in style.  I think it was about 75 degrees in the sun.  It felt like 85.  It was so warm many of the kids were even barefoot, save Celia who had moon boots on, which, surprisingly worked given her space alien piggytails.  So there you have it, a snowball fight…in the middle of April…in 75 degree sunshine.  Only in Minnesota….

Laura’s family wanted a photo and it took a few tries to get Butch to behave but eventually I prevailed–bwaaa ha ha Birch, I win.  And this just in, Laura has another one in her tummy–congrats guys!



The kids also had a kickball game that lasted at least an hour or so.  When that was over, the little boys were scrambling about the yard, climbing trees, flying kites and being boys.  The girls were playing various games, running around and being pretty princesses in their Easter dresses.  The adults were either chasing kids or chatting in the sun just soaking it up.  My dad (Papa) said at least 100 times, “This was the best day, just the best day.”

It was a good day, an Alleluia kind of day.

risen christ

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.  Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”