Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Custom that Embraced Thanksgiving



In the midst of a modern day Thanksgiving is this, "Day 20: I am thankful for my son's teachers, past & present. They have helped them to grow, while embracing their unique little personalities."  Are my kid's teachers better than yours?  Maybe, maybe not.  Am I bragging that they are?  No.   I am recognizing the people & things that make a difference in my life.  I do it to let them know how I feel & that I truly am appreciative of them.  I do it to put a smile on their face.  I do it to teach our sons about life.

Do we assume the Dad in front of us at preschool knows that we are thankful that he held the door for us this morning?  No, all 3 of us, 3, 4 & 33 years old, tell him thank you.  We make it known.

"30 days of thankful" is all the stuff I love about Thanksgiving.  Thirty days to make known the little, the big things that make my heart smile for an second, a minute, hours.  Thanksgiving is a time to make known the things that seem to go unrecognized for a majority of the year, while we are busy changing pissy sheets in the middle of the night, umpiring toddler basement baseball games & cleaning up bandaid trash strewn across the kitchen floor.
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Thanksgiving is about family flying in from Florida & driving from North Carolina to be under one roof 10 days before the actual holiday.  It is about being exhausted by the antics of 3 little boys, but enjoying eachothers company, even after being woken up at 5:45 am.   

It makes sense.  It is not braggy.  It is real.  The gratitude moves from your stomach to your throat as you erupt in laughter as Harlan tells everyone around the table that he is thankful for "Valentine's Day" & Emory for "Power Rangers." Everyone cries b/c this is real...real funny & real life. 

We all go through some define thankfulness that looks like well-dressed children, Harlan rocking his Batman Halloween costume & Emory donning his very best Angry Birds pajamas.  


Sitting in at the kid's table in Ciocci Lorainne's wall-papered kitchen, we watched the adult's, eating, drinking, drinking, drinking & drinking some more & laughing, as we did the same (minus the drinking).  My father pushed aside the fact that he couldn't stand his younger sister & they broke bread.  They held hands.  We said we were grateful & we meant it, just as we do now with our own little family.

Gratitude is publicly rejoicing in the gifts you've been given.  Gratitude is the quiet "Thank you." in your head before dozing off to sleep each night.  It's the timid celebration of the worst of the worst & how it makes you appreciate the best of the best that you've got.

My holy day is the sharing of a meal -- the making the best of things.  Warmth, be it by a space heater in the still of the night in the basement on an air mattress, as Uncle Peep knows the beauty of.  It's bellies full, of corn & mashed potatoes only, as Emory & Harlan know best.  Our biggest accomplishment: we were all sitting still, for 5 minutes before the boys were done -- loving each other in spite of our shortcomings.

I'm thankful that my husband still loves me fully, after being sent to the couch at 1 am due to freight-train decibel snoring.  I am thankful that my sons have teachers who deal with their nonsense while I am at work preparing to later deal with their nonsense.  I'm thankful for a mother who selflessly takes care of all 7 of us while under the same roof.  I am thankful for life -- though it be harshly lived.  I'm thankful for living in imperfection & I am proud to make it known in this season of thanks & I do not judge you if you shout your thanks from the rooftop, or whisper it in the quiet of your own mind.

Happy Thanksgiving...as I eat my Thanksgiving leftovers 8 days before the actual day.



Thursday, May 16, 2013

5 years

Way back when...before we were a family of 5, there was a little family of 3. Mind you, we became a family of 4 nine months & four days later...but none the less, there was a beginning to what is now the Fleischman Family.  Today we celebrate that beginning.  Here is word for word what was said & reflected upon that rainy, beautiful night 5 years ago.


The Wedding Ceremony of 
Kirsten Sitko
And
Matthew Fleischman
Friday, May 16, 2008
6:00 pm
The Lake House Inn
1100 Old Bethlehem Road
Perkasie, Pennsylvania
 
Kelly arrives at 5:00 pm
Kirsten and Matt will be getting some pictures before the ceremony
 
Officiant’s Welcome
 
Good evening, friends and loved ones of Matt and Kirsten.  My name is Kelly Fuddy and I am a non-denominational officiant with a religious organization called Journeys of the Heart. I am so pleased that Kirsten and Matt have asked me to be here for this special day in which they choose to stand before you all and share their sacred vows with each other.  It is my hope that their commitment today inspires us all to appreciate and to renew the commitments we’ve all made with one another – as spouses, in romantic relationships, as parents, as friends, as fellow human beings.  Let us now help them celebrate the moment they’ve been waiting for.
 
Processional
 
Peter and Pat
Rick and Marie
Kirby and Michelle
Guys come in from side – Matt, Chris, Richard, Sean, Peter
Christie
Kim
Katie
Stacy
Reagan and Colleen
Cameron
Joe and Kirsten
 
 
Presentation of the Couple
MARRIAGE IS NOT ONLY THE JOINING OF TWO INDIVIDUALS, BUT A UNION OF TWO FAMILIES. THIS WEDDING CEREMONY JOINS NOT ONLY Matt and Kirsten TO EACH OTHER, BUT FAMILIES TOGETHER AS WELL.
OFFICIANT:  WHO WELCOMES Kirsten AS A DAUGHTER AND AS LOVING    FRIEND AND WIFE TO Matt?
GROOM’S PARENTS:  WE DO
OFFICIANT:  WHO WELCOMES Matt AS A SON AND AS LOVING FRIEND     AND HUSABAND TO Kirsten?
BRIDE’S PARENTS:  WE DO
 
 
Words of Gathering
DEAR FRIENDS, WE GATHER TO HONOR AND BLESS THE MARRIAGE VOWS OF MATT AND KIRSTEN.  MARRIAGE IS A SACRED COVENANT AND IS TO BE HONORED AMONG ALL PEOPLE.  Your presence here is important to KIRSTEN AND MATT and they are happy and grateful that you have come to help them celebrate the delight they have found in each other. We come together from scattered places, from different backgrounds and traditions.   But for today, by the love we extend to MATT AND KIRSTEN, we are one community.  You, as the ones most near and dear to them, are the ones whose love has brought them to this time of their lives and has helped to mold them into the people they are.   May the tenderness you share with them today attend them for all their days. 
            ON THIS DAY OF DAYS OUR COMMUNITY IS SHARED, IF IN A DIFFERENT WAY, BY THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED BEYOND THIS LIFE.  THEIR ROLES IN KIRSTEN AND MATT’S LIVES ARE NO LESS REMEMBERED AND HONORED AS WE SAVOR TODAY’S JOYOUS MOMENTS.  LET US PAUSE FOR A MOMENT, AS WE RECALL THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHOSE PHYSICAL PRESENCE IS MISSED HERE, BUT WHOSE LOVE WILL ALWAYS REMAIN IN THE HEARTS, THE LIVES AND THE SWEET MEMORIES OF MATT AND KIRSTEN.  (Pause)  AND SO FOR TODAY, FOR HERE AND FOR NOW, NO MATTER HOW FAR WE HAVE COME TO BE HERE, LET US BE ONE FAMILY AROUND BRIDE AND GROOM, FOR THAT IS WHAT THEY NEED FROM US TO MAKE THIS A DAY OF PURPOSE AND JOY. 
 
 
Invocation/Meditation
AND NOW, WITH AWARENESS OF THE LOVE FOR WHICH WE HAVE GATHERED, AND OUR DEEP AFFECTION FOR KIRSTEN AND MATT, LISTEN TO THESE WORDS OF MEDITATION SO THAT OUR HEARTS WILL BE OPEN TO THE LOVE PRESENT HERE TODAY.  MAY  EACH OF US TO DO OUR PART TO MAKE THIS A TRUE CELEBRATION, NOT ONLY FOR Kirsten and Matt BUT ALSO FOR US WHO ARE GATHERED AROUND THEM.  MAY WE BE INSPIRED BY THE EXAMPLE OF THEIR LOVE, MAY OUR HEARTS BE TOUCHED BY THEIR JOY, AND DELIGHTED BY THE HAPPINESS THEY HAVE BROUGHT INTO OUR MIDST.  WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THIS (BEAUTIFUL SPRING EVENING) IN THIS BEAUTIFUL SETTING.  AND WE ARE MOST THANKFUL FOR THE LOVE THAT BROUGHT MATT AND KIRSTEN TOGETHER FOR IT SURROUNDS US AND PENETRATES US;  IT UNITES ALL OF CREATION AS IT BINDS THIS COUPLE TO ONE ANOTHER AND TO EACH OF US WHO ARE GATHERED AROUND THEM TODAY.
 
 
Sharing a Sign of Peace
Bride, Groom, Friends, Loved Ones and Attendants: every language has a word for peace.  Here are just a few:  pax, shalom, pė, Paz, SALAAM…in Irish,  síocháin, in Polish, Pokoj.
 No matter how you say it, there has never been a more important or appropriate time to caste aside differences and generate peace and understanding.  AS A SIGN OF Matt and Kirsten’s WISH FOR PEACE IN THE WORLD,  PEACE AMONG THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS, AND FINALLY DEEP PEACE  AND PROFOUND UNITY WITHIN THEIR OWN NEW MARRIAGE,   Let us now share with one another a greeting or a sign of that peace. may it go forth from this place into a world so much in need of it.
 
Tribute to Parents
DEAR PARENTS, Kirsten and matt WISH TO THANK YOU TODAY FOR THE GIFT OF LIFE AND THE WONDERFUL VALUES YOU SO CAREFULLY INSTILLED WITHIN THEM.  THEY KNOW THEY WOULD NOT BE THE PEOPLE THEY ARE TODAY WITHOUT THE CARE AND WISDOM YOU SHOWED IN RAISING THEM.  THEY UNDERSTAND, BY YOUR PRESENTATION OF THEM HERE, THAT YOU ARE BLESSING THEIR LOVE AND THEIR MARRIAGE.  THEY ASKED FOR ME TO EXPRESS TO YOU THEIR LOVE AND THEIR MOST PROFOUND GRATITUDE.
 
Prayer for the Family
We recognize today that not only are Matt and Kirsten joining their lives as a married couple, but they are becoming a family of three with Cameron – the sweet boy who is such a light in their lives.  I ask that we all now send our love to surround this new family as we share these words of hope and prayer: (maybe have Matt, Kirsten and Cameron join hands)
MAY THE DEPTH OF LOVE AND COMMITMENT MATT AND KIRSTEN SHARE FOR EACH OTHER BE AN ANCHOR FOR CAMERON AS HE CHARTS HIS OWN COURSE THROUGH LIFE. AS THE YEARS PASS, MAY THIS MARRIAGE BE A MODEL OF DEVOTION AND TENDERNESS THAT WILL CONTINUE TO TEACH HIM THE BEAUTY AND POWER OF LOVE IN A FAMILY.
MAY CAMERON ALWAYS KNOW THAT HE IS LOVED BEYOND MEASURE, AND THAT WHATEVER LIFE MAY BRING, HE WILL ALWAYS HAVE A PLACE IN THE HEARTS AND THE LIVES OF THESE TWO DEVOTED PARENTS. MAY MATT AND KIRSTEN’S HOME BE A PLACE TO WHERE CAMERON CAN RETURN OVER AND OVER TO FIND ACCEPTANCE, COMFORT, JOY AND PEACE.
MAY EACH OF US DO OUR PART TO STRENGTHEN AND ENCOURAGE THIS FAMILY, AND TO CREATE A WORLD THAT IS A WARM AND WELCOME PLACE FOR ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD.
 
Readings
Pat Sitko – it’s a surprise! 
May your heart be as patient as the earth
Your love as warm as harvest gold
May your days be full as the city is full
Your nights as joyful as dancers
May your arms be as welcoming as home
May your faith be as enduring as god’s love
Your spirit as valiant as your heritage
May your hand be as sure as a friend
Your dreams as hopeful as a child
May your soul be as brave as your people
And may you be blessed
Marie Teresa Clair – I have her reading – didn’t want to list it in case it was also supposed to be a surprise to you! 
 
Reflection
(prepared by Kelly) – I will find a way to work in some of the other readings/passages you had chosen. 
 
Counsel of Marriage
Kirsten and Matt, You are about to enter into a union which is most sacred and most serious.  Most sacred because it so deeply honors a union of love between two people and most serious because it requires of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self.  It will bind you together for life in a relationship so close and so intimate that it will profoundly affect your whole future.  That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes.  These elements are mingled into every life and are to be expected in your own.  And yet, not knowing which lies before you, you take each other in the sacred bond of matrimony.  May, then, this love with which you join your hands and hearts today never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go by.
 
Statement of Intent
Matt and Kirsten, you have been called to the covenant of marriage.  Before God and this assembled congregation of family and friends and on your own sacred honor I ask that you now affirm your consent and willingness to enter into this union.
Officiant:  Kirsten and Matt, do you come to this moment willingly, consciously and without reservation to give yourselves to one other in heart, body, mind and spirit through the sacred covenant of marriage?  If so answer “I do”
Both respond:  I do
 
 
Invitation of Community Support
Officiant:  Friends loved ones and attendants:  You are the witnesses to this sacred union.  Will you surround this new couple with your love, uphold them with your wisdom and, through the days and years that lie ahead, will you affirm them in these vows they are about to take?  If so, say “We will”
Officiant:  Close your eyes now and send your love and your prayers to surround them, so that they will have the strength, courage and integrity they will need in order to live every day of their lives in these vows they are about to take.
 
 
Exchange of Vows
I Matt/kirsten CHOOSE YOU kirsten/matt TO BE MY WIFE/HUSBAND / TO JOIN MY LIFE WITH YOURS / NOt ONLY AS YOUR SPOUSE / BUT AS YOUR FRIEND / YOUR LOVER AND YOUR CONFIDANT. / LET ME BE THE SHOULDER YOU LEAN ON / THE ROCK ON WHICH YOU REST / THE COMPANION OF YOUR LIFE. / WITH YOU I WILL WALK MY PATH / FROM THIS DAY FORWARD.

Ring Blessing
Affixed to this pillow are two beautiful rings. 
Rings are an ancient symbol, blessed and simple
Round like the sun, like the eye, like arms that embrace
Circles, for love that is given comes back round again and again
Therefore, may these symbols remind you that your love, like the sun,  illumines;
that your love, like the eye, must see clearly;
and that your love,  like arms that embrace, is a grace upon this world.
 
 
Exchange of Rings
KIRSTEN/MATT WITH THIS RING / I THEE WED / MAY IT EVER SERVE AS A REMINDER / THAT YOUR DREAMS ARE NOW MY DREAMS / YOUR HOPES ARE MY HOPES / YOUR LOVE IS MY BLESSING.
 
Declaration of Marriage
Matt and Kirsten, IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND THESE WITNESSES AND ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA YOU HAVE EXCHANGED THE WORDS AND PERFORMED THE RITES THAT UNITE YOUR LIVES.  IN SO DOING YOU HAVE DECLARED THAT, FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY HUSBAND AND WIFE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND ALL PEOPLE.  MAY YOU BE JOINED IN HEART AS YOU ARE IN LAW! Please share your kiss!
 
The Kiss
 
Final Blessing
Irish Blessing #2
MAY THE ROAD RISE TO MEET YOU
MAY THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK.
MAY THE SUN SHINE WARM UPON YOUR FACE,
THE RAINS FALL SOFT UPON YOUR FIELDS.
MAY THE LIGHT OF FRIENDSHIP
GUIDE YOUR PATHS TOGETHER. 
MAY THE LAUGHTER OF CHILDREN
GRACE THE HALLS OF YOUR HOME. 
MAY THE JOY OF LIVING FOR ONE ANOTHER
TRIP A SMILE FROM YOUR LIPS,
AND A TWINKLE FROM YOUR EYE.
AND WHEN THE SANDS OF TIME HAVE PASSED THROUGH THE HOURGLASS,
AT THE END OF A LIFE HEAPED HIGH WITH LOVE,
MAY YOU LOOK BACK TO SEE THE ABUNDANCE OF BLESSINGS THROUGH
THE WHOLE LENGTH OF YOUR JOY-FILLED DAYS.
AND, TODAY, MAY THE SPIRIT OF LOVE
FIND A DWELLING PLACE IN YOUR HEARTS.
MAY GOD GIVE YOU
FOR EVERY STORM A RAINBOW
FOR EVERY TEAR, A SMILE
FOR EVERY CARE, A PROMISE
AND A BLESSING IN EACH TRIAL,
FOR EVERY PROBLEM LIFE SENDS,
A FAITHFUL FRIEND TO SHARE,
FOR EVERY SIGH, A SWEET SONG,
AND AN ANSWER FOR EACH PRAYER.
 
Pronouncement 
It is my great honor and pleasure to introduce for the first time as husband and wife: Mr. and Mrs. Matt and Kirsten Fleischman
Recessional
 
Cocktails inside Lake House 6:30-7:30
Dinner Reception at 7:30 in tent

Friday, May 3, 2013

Our Little White Belt!


Breaking his 1st board

About 4 weeks ago Emory started Taekwondo at Next Level Martial Arts in Stowe.  It was a tough start, but Em has finally settled in & is loving class!  Yesterday he tested for his white belt & earned it!  We are so very proud of Emory!

Doing his 3 combo punches!


Right before breaking his board, someone needed a potty break!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Big Kid!

This morning our little Harlan peed on the potty for the first time! He actually agreed to sit on the potty for the 1st time this past Sunday,so I figured since he woke up with a dry diaper this morning, we would sit him on the potty& WA-LA...he peed!  Mommy was so excited & Harlan was too!  He ran into tell Emmy & to tell Gamma, who is in town visiting this week.  We even made up a little song about Har pee'ing on the potty!  So proud of you, my big boy!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pics

Happy to wake up to a new day!


Sunshine & Blue skies!  



We love picnic dinner!


Our 2nd time at the dentist!



Celebrating a great visit at the dentist! 


Stinky cow poo!!!


Tubby-Lovin' Boys!


Popcorn & best friends!


Sly Fox...our new favorite dinner spot.  Cheap, quick & kid-friendly.



Take-Your-Son-To-Work Day!





Our karate kid practicing patience.



Best Buds!

Our neighborhood buddies!  Don't know what we would do without these friends?!?  <3 p="">

Boys...

This weekend was a doozy!  We started off Friday night while Daddy was at a concert with some Kiwi Yogurt, followed by watching the airplanes!  We also did dinner "Movie Tavern" style!






Saturday morning was some relaxing with Scooby, Coffee & Snuggles!

The off to Crossfit with Mommy!  The boys were really good & had fun cheering Mommy through her workout!  As usual, they like to run to the car, so we played for a bit outside before hopping in the car to head to Walmart to get some stuff to do gardening!

 "Mom, we don't touch stuff like this b/c it is dirty & rusty!"  ...as they proceeded to play with it?!?

We went home & then headed to a friend's birthday party.  After naps, we waited for Harlan & snuggled some more.

We were doing great, having ball, planting our flowers and then...and then....BOOM!  Layla close-lined my baby & this was the result!  Thankfully a neighbor was outside & called 911 b/c this Momma had no wits about her & my baby was covered in blood & dirt.  An ambulance & 3 Police Officers showed up, I unloaded Emory on a neighbor & off Harlan & Momma went to the ER.   My baby boy was swollen, bloody & really hurting.  Two hours later, we were checking out & home.  Thankfully no permanent damage, just lots of cuts, gashes, etc.



At the end of the day...our doorstep was looking mighty fine with some fresh flowers, a new rug & some cute gnomes! 
Sunday was a LAZY day!  We all stayed in our pj's until 4 pm!  Har sat on the potty happily though for the 1st time!

 "Wisten...I hear the pee pee!"  ...not sure what he was hearing b/c there was no pee pee coming out?

After naps, we went to Target, pretended to fly a space ship & got some goodies...bomb pops!

All in all it was a good weekend with a big road bump right in the middle!  We are so glad that our baby boy is ok & that we had plenty of people to help us through a rough few hours!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Has Sprung

Life is crazy.  It is busy, it is hectic, but it is fun.  This weekend was no different, crazy, busy, hectic, but fun. Daddy has temporarily taken up a part-time weekend job, in order to make a little extra dough.  Meanwhile, we are left to our own devices to find some good, clean (ok, maybe not clean), fun!  We started the weekend off at Mommy's new gym.  Emory & Harlan had no clue what was coming, but they were 99% cooperative.  They watched Mommy lift & cheered me on.  I mean come on, what's better than lifting your a$$ off & having a sweet little 4 year old voice muttering "I love you, Mommy!" after every rep.  Mind you, there were some fights over the farting-toy that Emory brought along, but all in all the boys were good.  I finished out my workout with cardio, running up & down in front of the gym, around the gym, racing Emory, while carrying my little monkey piggy-back style.  We had fun...crazy, busy, hectic fun.  Afterwards, we went out for breakfast with our dear friends-neighbors for a fundraiser at Applebee's.  Lots of grimy, sticky window hand-prints, a few bites of pancakes & sausage later, we had full bellies & resorted to playing Iphone games under the table....crazy, hectic, fun.  We ran some errands & then headed home to play outside.  Spring time means Power Wheels time, so we spent a few hours outside riding the Power Wheels, playing bubbles, digging in the dirt.  The boys enjoyed a little picnic lunch outside & then everyone got grumpy & we headed in for naps.  After naps, it was more outside fun, then bathes, then yogurt, lots of yogurt for dinner & movie time, while Mommy & Daddy's friends came over for a visit.
Sunday Daddy had to work again for a few hours, so we went to a park in Schwenksville.  There is nothing the Fleischman brothers love more than exploring outside.  Throwing rocks into water.  Finding the perfect walking stick.  Climbing on trees.  Picking flowers.  It never ends.  As Cam called it, we were loving "Nature's playground."  I was in awe watching the boys.  The love each other & God's gift of nature so, so, so very much.  After 2 hours at the park, we headed home & were once again outside before lunch/naps.  After naps, Daddy was on duty while Mommy went out for a bit.  Everyone had fun at Cam's bball practice & then played in Daddy's new work truck & then enjoyed dinner outside, yet again.
Boys, thanks for a wonderful, crazy, busy, hectic, FUN weekend.  There is nothing I love more than spending time with you & creating memories.