Friday, December 3, 2010

7 Quick Takes Vol 9




1. Today is my younger son's 2nd birthday! Happy birthday Mark! You have filled our world with smiles and snuggles and we are so blessed to have you in our lives!





2. Along with this wonderful celebration, our family has been excited in finding out that we are expecting baby #3! The baby is due August 4th and I began my morning sickness the day we found out. One of the few times I truly feel blessed to be somewhat sick, although this might be a lesson in finding redemptive suffering in all times of pain.




3. Advent has begun! It is not always easy to remember with all the celebration that is taking place everywhere you go that Christmas begins on the 25th and that this time is our time in the desert to prepare, but it's one that Mr. ADM and I want to practice, remember and show our boys. Because of the pregnancy, I have not had the energy to do everything I'd like for this time, but we do have our Advent wreath up (along with our creche minus Jesus and the wisemen). The beautiful reflections from our beloved Pope Benedict XVI have helped guide us along this path. "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5).





4. Along with Advent and working on my store, sewing, I have been organizing and preparing for a wonderful event that is happening this Wednesday! We call it A BIG Fundraiser for little Logan. If you live in the area, please stop by and help a really great family who is near and dear to my heart. To find out more visit http://www.prayforlogan.com/.

5. Also, tomorrow our family will be attending a beautiful Christmas performance by the dance studio where my sister dances. It's called The Promise and tells the Christmas story through dance. Once again, if you are in the area and get a chance, this is a performance you don't want to miss - more information at http://www.turningpointedance.org/.

6. We had our first snowfall this week! I was so excited that I jumped out of bed and opened the curtains in the living room where we have our biggest window and got the boys to come over and we all ooohed and ahhhed. I hope my children have a love for snow like their mama. It was only a small dusting, but the weatherman says some heaftier accumulation tonight! We may have to dig for those snowboots tomorrow morning! Mr. ADM and I always burst out into the "Snow" song from White Christmas whenever it snows - I love our tiny tradition :).

7. I am determined to make it out to the Christkindl Market in Chicago this year. No and's, if's or but's about it. I've wanted to go for the past 3 years, since I discovered it and just have never made it to the city. I spent a semester studying abroad in college in a little town in Austria. Because I went my fall semester, I was able to take part in many Advent/Christmas traditions in that country - including several different Christkindl markets! I've been told that this one is great, so I'm really looking forward to it! Not only that, but I'm going to meet up with some wonderful friends who have been through my journey of motherhood the whole way through :).


God bless and have a great week!

For more 7 Quick Takes, stop by http://www.conversiondiary.com/!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Writer's Block

I am not a naturally-gifted writer. The parts of English I aced were all math-related - grammar and writing objective essays. When it comes to being creative, my gifts lie in the areas where you tell me to make something, give me a pattern/a piece of music, and then I make it/play it/do it. Somedays, I think to myself, "Why did I ever decide to have a blog of my own?" I think it's because I hope for that creativity.

I do know I'm gifted. God blessed me with many talents. I love to play music and create things with my hands. I love being a mother and a wife. I love dancing, shopping (does that count as a talent?), and listening. Sometimes, I need to remind myself of that. But that doesn't mean this blog is going away. It just means that I need to stop telling myself I don't have the ability or talent to keep a blog going - I just need to go back to where my talents are and find some way to post it on this website :).

Happy and blessed Advent all!

Monday, November 22, 2010








My shop is finally open for business!


Come on over and visit!


I currently have infant bibs and toddler backpacks for sale


More to come soon!




p.s. There will be a Black Friday sale - so be sure to stop by for more info on that!




A few sneak peeks:





Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Brushing up a Bit

We've been settling into our new house and slowly getting back into a routine. We still have one room to finish up for sure and our storage room is a royal mess. Since moving in, money has been tighter than it's ever been, but we are happy to be back on our own and having consistency in our lives.

The house that we are renting was built in the 60's or 70's. It's a split-level and the owners did quite a bit of work in the house (such has expanding the kitchen/dining area and putting tile down in the lower level) several years ago. Still, it is very much a rental house with its all-white walls and neutral coloring everywhere. Thankfully, our landlords gave us creative freedom to make it our own, and slowly, we are planning on doing just that. It's nothing drastic or major, since this house is not our permanent residence forever, but is the first place we've lived where I am itching to decorate a little or update maybe. We've hung pictures and added a few coat hooks in the front area. I have a million ideas running through my head and am sharing a few with you in this post, so hopefully, some day down the road, I can show you the actual projects in completion.

The first one is for our living room. When I saw this post @ Love Actually blog, I was inspired. She found it through another and I immediately thought, "This would look so cool and bring our livingroom up-to-date!" That is one room in all our living spaces that has felt completely "Grandma-ish," meaning outdated. We had couches that were given to us from my mom's garage sale find that were seafoam green with pillows that were a peach, off-white and seafoam green, along with these massive lamps in the same seafoam green with very decrepid lampshades. They were the most comfortable couches I've been on and we were so grateful for them, but they were from the 90's and you could see it pretty plainly. We did add a couple darker wood side tables that I love and now, we have a new camel-colored couch. I love it! Our area still lacks something and I know these pictures will be a nice addition (along with replacing our curtain with something adorable!).


The second project is for our front area, which is not separate from our living room. It's a small area at the front door that's tiled. We have no front closet to hang coats or put shoes inside, but I've found something, I'd love to do to help keep the area neat and organized, plus add a little charm to it. I've always loved Pottery Barn, but obviously, they are way out of our price range, so I've asked Mr. ADM to build me something similiar to this.


Mr. ADM's dream room for the boys (or himself)The third project is painting our boys' room. The walls in that room are pretty dirty and the bad areas have been spot painted, so it needs a solid coat of something. I'm not sure what color to paint it. I'm thinking blue. I don't know if I want to theme their room or not because all we have in the room are their toddler beds, a cubicle with different colored bins for their clothes and a mini-nighstand. If I do a theme, I want it to be something simple. Maybe dinosaurs, cars or space themed? Do you have any good ideas for little boys' rooms?

Other than that, it's mostly little things here and there that need replaced or added. I want to make some pillows for our couch and possibly curtains too. Some hardware needs to be replaced in the bathroom and curtains in a couple rooms. Looking forward to slowly making this our own! It feels good to be home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!



Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

Friday, September 17, 2010

7 Quick (Really Quick) Takes!


1. Moving is so much easier when you're already packed up from the last move :). Mr. ADM brought up the boxes from the basement and storage and put them in one room and then put the furniture in another room. He's got a method and it's a very efficient one, so I let him do all the planning!

2. Having help is also a major plus! Thanks to all the men who are giving up a few hours of their day to help us out! Thanks also to my mother-in-law who will be taking care of Matthew and Mark and keeping them out of trouble.

3. Naptime is my favorite word of the week. I think the combination of a really hectic week and lack of routine along with the whole upheaval of moving has overwhelmed the kids (I know it's overwhelmed us!). They have been cranky and crankier all week long. Naptime is happening soon in this house today!

4. I cannot say enough good things about COCONUT OIL right now. It's really helped clear up Matthew's eczema and is good for you, so it's great to bake/cook with too! And I'm going to finally sit down and make the homemade deoderant which uses the coconut oil.

5. I am SO looking forward to decorating our new house! It's still a rental, so I can't go hog-wild, but our landlords have given us more freedom than we've had in the past with apartments we've rented and I'm SO excited! I have some crafty ideas already in my head and hopefully, I'll have the time to do these things, one by one. We shall see. Look forward to blog posts about my projects, which I have found from other blogs, of course!

6. I have begun a novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy. I've never prayed this one before, but I really like it. It's beautiful.

7. We're taking the plunge and homeschooling this year. My mom, who watches the boys when I work, has started some simple things with them and I'm hoping to be able to start up more myself once we get moved in. So much running through my mind and so many ideas and I'm SO looking forward to it! I'm also set on making the boys' play area more in the style and method of Montessori. That is the project I think I'm most excited to work on!

Have a blessed weekend! To see more Quick Takes, visit www.conversiondiary.com!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Apple Pickin'


I thought summer flowing into fall would bring a nice peace and tranquility to our lives. Summer was full of weddings, travelling, helping my parents move and juggling interviews and finding jobs. Now that fall has hit full swing (although technically not fall quite yet), our time has not gotten any less hectic. That's okay though. We say when we move next week, a routine will be set and we'll finally get that free time we have been talking about for 6 months or so.


In the midst of the chaos, we have been attempting to make Sunday the day it was meant to be, the Lord's Day. For us, this means no shopping if possible, going to Mass and then coming home to do as we please. That usually entails long naps, some computer/reading time, and a nice family dinner. However, even that can get hectic or seem to slip by without us noticing and then Monday comes back before we know it. This past Sunday, however, seemed to flow quite nicely and I felt like I could cherish the moment.


Being that we just started our new jobs, finances have been extra tight as we save up to actually live in a place on our own again. It's worth the sacrifice and we know what it is to scrimp n save, as we've been doing since the beginning of our marriage. So, when the two apple trees in my parents' yard seemed to be full of ripe fruit, ready to be picked, we seized the moment to go "apple pickin'." Matthew went apple picking for the first time last year and had a blast, so I knew Mark would love it too! We spent the afternoon picking apples and made a delicious apple crisp that night with our freshly picked apples. It was free and got a job done that my mom needed while having a wonderful family-bonding experience all in one :)! My boys love fruit (they get that from their daddy) and we're hoping (*hint hint*) that my mom will have time to make some apple sauce or teach us how to do it.

What's your favorite apple dish?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Journey Never Ends

And it has only just begun.

It's been a crazy time around here and I've barely had time to breathe, much less post. I promise, dear friends, that a *real* post is in store later this week :).

God bless!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

This Pretty Much Sums Up How I'm Feeling...



(Picture courtesy of my brother and his new fab camera :). Mr. 1-yo was in the sandbox, eating sand, and I looked out and told him that we don't eat sand and this is what happened ;).)

I've been running around, going non-stop since summer hit! A women's expo this weekend and down to Texas (for the first time!) for a really good friend's wedding! Then, I come home, potty-train Mr. 1-yo, and to Ohio for my brother-in-law's wedding. My, how time flies!

Big prayers for the job search as Mr. H continues to interview and tries to find a teaching job or something where he can do math all day. I've been looking as well.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Modest Is Hottest!

Hello fellow bloggers! I know, I know - it's been awhile. This month has flown right by and I've barely had time to catch my breath. With a (small) blessing in disguise, I am sick this weekend with what I think might be a stomach bug of some sort. Not really sure and it came out of nowhere, but the good news is that it's allowed me to slow down to a halting stop. My weekend full of plans went out the window and I've been doing nothing but lying in bed, catching up on my blogs and dreaming big dreams again.

While doing my blog-browsing, I've come across several really cool clothing ideas relating to modesty. Modesty has always been drilled into my head from the time I even knew what fashion was. My mom was always a big stickler for modesty and when I was a teenager I hated it. I pushed the limits and I rebelled a bit. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but at that point, I was in major selfish mode. Once I began college, that all changed. I did a 180, much to the relief of my mother. I not only made sure I dressed modestly, but I promoted it with wild abandon, because part of living a chaste life is to be a modesty queen. As the saying goes, "Modest is hottest." Men should love us for our inner beauty and should be able to appreciate our outer beauty without having to be tempted with lustful thoughts. We should embrace our feminine curves, but do so in a manner that leaves more than enough to the imagination. Don't flaunt it - save it for that one man who you'll be spending the rest of your life with - the one who will only have eyes for you.

I sometimes fall short, even now, with what I wear. It's not on purpose, but it's a constant work in progress. It's not always easy finding stylish, modest clothing today. It's definitely possible, but there are some styles out there that are so adorable, if only they had a sleeve or were 3 inches longer or were 2 inches closer to my neckline or...you get the point. So, I found a couple ideas to help "modestify" your wardrobe if you find something that needs some modesty built into it. I know I'm going to try out these ideas!


Coming from Welcome to the GOOd Life, here's a tutorial on how to "modestify your summer dress." Love it!



This is from Getti's Accessories and is the perfect solution to those tees that are a wee bit too low cut or if you're like me and have a toddler who likes to grab for the top of your shirt to use to pull down as he falls off your lap, it'll keep you from accidentally exposing yourself to the world. :)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back to business


I'm SO excited! I've been wanting to help out with our income since Mr. 3-yo was born and tried various things, but just never really got my feet off the ground for one reason or another. I felt guilty at times, especially during the time that Mr. H was out of work, that I was not doing anything that was helping earn a little extra. However, I came across this company, ThirtyOne, and thought, "Now this is something I CAN do!"

ThirtyOne is a Christian-based company for women that sells a whole variety of products that are practical mixed with a little vanity. They mostly sell different types of bags (purses, backpacks, totes, etc.) and many different accessories that go with these. Their products are cute and versatile and can appeal to any woman or girl. They have a child line as well as a teen line. Their name is based off of the Proverbs 31 woman, which I love! Once I learned all of this, I was hooked! I talked with Mr. H about it, and prayed and thought about it for awhile and then decided to dive in! Two days now and I've already booked parties and have a contact of someone who's also interested in becoming a consultant! I feel like God is really working here :).

So...if you're interested in looking at the products, please feel free to stop by my website: MyThirtyOne

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. H!


Happy birthday, Mr. H! We love you! You are such a blessing in my life and you have made this journey we all are travelling that much sweeter by being my partner, my husband, my friend.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wonderfully and Beautifully Made


A couple weeks ago, when I signed up to be part of the 31 Dress Dare, I thought of it as a beautiful way to express my feminity and more fun than any other reason. I never dreamed that in this time I would fight a battle.

I have always struggled with body image. I don't know very many women who don't. In our society where God has been forgotten so often and we rely on our own control, we have skewed our perception of what true beauty is. Most days, I have small, miniscule thoughts regarding my physical beauty. I don't dwell and the most that happens is I notice a blemish on my face, but do nothing to hide it. Since being married, I've had many less occurences of feeling ugly or worthless, because I have a husband who tells me often how beautiful I am and I can see in his eyes that he means it. But these past couple of weeks have been the exception to that rule.

I have felt ugly. I have felt worthless. I have felt fat. I have felt like a blob. I know that I am not ugly, worthless, fat, or a blob in my head, but it's been a struggle to believe that in my heart. I know in my head that my worth does not lie in what this society defines as beautiful, but that I am priceless because I am a child of God. It's been so difficult to believe that in my heart. As I woke up each morning, all I could see in the mirror was my imperfections. That thought followed me throughout each day and I felt weighed down. I felt spiritually attacked and I felt helpless to make this weight go away.

Then, I came to a point where I broke down. Last night, I let it all out to my husband and to God. Once I let the floodgates come out, I realized how wrong I was to think that I was anything but beautiful. I know I am made in God's image and likeness. I know He doesn't make junk and now I feel it in my heart. I plan to get a sticker of some sort or maybe a dry erase marker and write a reminder on my mirror so that is the first thing I see when I look in the mirror. Maybe then I will take those negative thoughts and give them to God. I know Christ suffered and died for me as I am, not if I lost those 20 lbs that just will NOT go away or not if my face was silky smooth and my hair was shiny. Christ does not care what my physical beauty looks like, but where my mind and my heart are and that they are in unity with His. So, thanks Dress Dare for reminding me of this. I did get a wonderful lesson from this opportunity.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Crafty Mama - Mickey Mouse

A couple weekends ago, we celebrated Mr.3-yo's 3rd birthday with his friends. It was a blast and I have a couple pictures of the things I did homemade, minus the food :).


Invitations


Mickey Mouse costume minus the gloves, which Mr. 3-yo STILL asks for :).


Mickey Mouse(ish) pinata

We had Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse ears for all the kids and the kids played mostly with balloons that we had scattered all over the livingroom. We went outside for a few minutes to break the pinata which was fun to watch. I realize now that 3 year olds are a bit young still to break one, but it was enteraining to watch them try. My teenage sister ended up breaking it for them and they all loved gathering the candy. Mr. H decorated the cupcakes and we enjoyed a lot of good food (I <3 Tastefully Simple!). All in all it was a hit and Mr. 3-yo was definitely very happy (mostly to wear his costume and see his friends).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Baby Belly Just Will NOT Go Away!!!

This Dress Dare has been an interesting journey so far. I am enjoying the whole "dress up" factor and feel very feminine. I love not feeling overly frumpy and the fact that the weather, for the most part, has been conducive to my skirt/dress wardrobe. What I have discovered on the other side of the spectrum is how much weight I still have left on me and exactly WHERE that extra weight is from having two babies.

I know I'm not obese and I know that I am beautiful (at least I know this in my head), but the pants I wear vs. the skirts I own hide those imperfections on my body differently, or rather lack the hiding. As I'm wearing skirts and dresses every single day, I am running out of them much more quickly. As my selection dwindles, I've been daring to try on items of clothing that I have not worn in a really long time. And for good reason. They just don't fit like they used to. This depresses me quite a bit. I've successfully lost 10 pounds in the last year and am where I was before I was pregnant with Mr. 1-yo, but I have another 20 pounds to go to be where I was when I first was married.

I know I do not have to be stick thin, but I would like to fit into my skirts. I'd love to tone back those areas that have become more "round" from having two beautiful babies. I'd love to not feel so self-conscious when I put something on and would REALLY love to have it fit well, so I don't worry about adding extra bulges because it's a little too tight. My goal for these next two months is to work on a few of those areas by exercising, toning and eating much healthier. We'll see if I reach it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

7 Quick Takes Volume 7

1. First and foremost, I'd like to invite all of you (well, at least those of you who live in the Chicagoland area) to a beautiful dance performance. My sister is part of the company and they do a wonderful job in combining their faith with their love of dance.



2. Day 2 of the Dress Dare is in play - I am wearing a denim dress I bought at Target last year with a scarf as my belt at the waist. I bought this pretty pink, flowery scarf at an H&M while in Austria. Back when I used to fit into their clothes ;). I'm really enjoying this. I know I said it before, but I LOVE wearing skirts and dresses.

3. Mr. H came into our bedroom this morning after getting ready for the day and said to me, "We need to either make our bed or get the laundry into a basket because it smells funky in here and I'm guessing it's related to one of those two things." I'm a little confused, not gonna lie, about this. How exactly would making our bed or putting our laundry into a basket help get rid of the smell? LOL. I made the bed and laundry is next on my to-do list. I'm actually not JUST putting it in a basket, but bringing it downstairs to wash, so maybe that is it. Neither of us really smell though...

4. Have I mentioned that I love, love, love this warm spring weather we've been having? My boys will play outside all day when it's so nice outside. In fact, on Tuesday, we went out and put in our garden. Mr. H and I worked hard getting that in while the boys spent their time in the sandbox, chasing birds in the yard (Mr. 1-yo especially!), and "helping" us out as well. My mother-in-law bought Mr. 3-yo gardening tools for his birthday this year, including the most adorable little wheelbarrow. Here's a couple pictures:


Mr. H and Mr. 3-yo hauling clay dirt to dump


Mr. 3-yo helping dig holes


Both boys helping out (yes, Mr. 1-yo is wearing Mr. 3-yo's underwear over his diaper)

5. Mother's Day is this Sunday and I'm looking forward to a low-key day. Most of our Sundays actually are full of rest and relaxation. We've been trying really hard to remember to keep it holy, so it's been nice to do a lot of nothing those day except spend time with the family. We are planning on taking my mom out to brunch and then my dad and Mr. H will be making us a nice big dinner. Yum yum!

6. Did I ever mention that I finished my first novena? Thanks to some wonderful Catholic mommy friends online, I was encouraged to pray the Divine Mercy novena. I've started many novenas throughout my life, but not once have I made it all 9 days. It really isn't that difficult, but for some reason I would always forget after day 3 or 4. Mr. H and I committed to saying the novena and we made it all nine days without forgetting! I am so proud of us and looking forward to saying another one together. Prayer really does keep us alive and healthy. We've also started committing to spending one evening a week in spiritual growth - meaning, we don't watch TV or play boardgames or anything else we normally enjoy doing once the kiddos are in bed. We read/pray/listen to a speaker/etc. This week was our first week doing this and we prayed a Rosary (with the boys right before bed) and then read the book of Esther from the Bible. Esther was always my favorite Old Testament woman and Mr. H had never read anything about her so we started there. He loved it!

7. A friend of mine had a quote on her facebook the other day. It said, "Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same(Francesca Reigler)." I had just said this to Mr. H the other day when we were talking and I think I haven't really applied this to my own life. I want to not just be happy, but moreso have true joy. And I know that only I can make that happen. I can have a pity-party every time something doesn't go exactly the way I want it or I can be content with the way things are and continue to learn and grow.


Oh, and can I add a P.S.? The Vintage Pearl is giving away 5 $50 giftcards to their store today! Visit their blog to enter. I have been eyeing their jewelry for months now and have given hints and flat out told Mr. H that I would LOVE a necklace for Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy friends!

To read more 7 Quick Takes, stop by Conversion Diary!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

31 Dress Days


Over on good ol' Facebook, I was invited by one of my sister's friends to be part of an event called 31 Day Dress-Dare. When I saw I was invited to this event, I was very intrigued. After all the words "dress" and "dare" were in the title, so it must have something to do with fashion. The summary of this event is for women to commit to wearing a dress/skirt every single day of the month of May. Now, I'm 6 days into the month already, so I'm committing to the remainder of the month plus 5 days in June. I like this idea. I've read many of the posts, including the one about the 31 Day Dress-Dare, on the blog, and I'm really excited about this.

Why have I committed to wearing dresses/skirts this month? Is it because I am anti-pants for women? Is it because I'm waging a war? No. Being a woman who loves her jeans, I am certainly not the person to say that I think all women should be wearing skirts/dresses. However, I do believe that women generally appear more feminine in skirts or dresses. That's not 100% the case, I definitely know, but as a general rule of thumb, I believe that. I think this world needs women to learn how to embrace their femininity. After this whole "feminist" movement, women today don't know whether to be the beautiful creatures God created them to be or to attempt to become the exact opposite - men. I think too often, we are told that being equal with men means that we must be the same. That is not the case. Just because we are different does not mean that we are less human, less valuable. And just because we are equal doesn't mean that women have to be exactly the same as men in all things.

Along with this bigger message, personally, I am very excited about this idea because I know I've been "letting myself go" a lot lately. Being a mother of two little boys keeps me busy. I never forget to shower or brush my teeth, but there are many days where it's just easier to slip on a pair of old jeans and a worn out t-shirt. Being 20 lbs over my pre-baby weight has also kept me from buying too many clothes in these bigger sizes. It took me almost a year to lose 10 lbs but I've finally done it and with that has come a better sense of self, whether that be right or wrong. I know that when I wear skirts/dresses, which usually only happens on Sundays for Mass, I feel more feminine and beautiful. I know that my husband loves to see me in skirts and dresses. He finds me extremely attractive because I LOOK feminine. I want to embrace my femininity. So, today was day 1 of the Dress-Dare. I wore a pretty pastel lime-green skirt that my mom bought me at a garage sale for probably $1 or 2 and a black 3/4 sleeve ballerina-neck shirt and I felt beautiful. I hope I can make it the whole way, as I only have a few skirts, but I think it'll be worth it.

Oh, and did I mention, it's been a dream of mine to be able to wear skirts and dresses all summer long? Perfect excuse to do so! :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

So much to do! So little time!

Spring has sprung and with it comes a rush of places to go, people to see and projects to finish! I have a list of things I need to accomplish - most importantly for Mr. 3-yo's birthday party coming up this weekend. It's going to be a Mickey Mouse extravaganza! (Pictures to come next week)I'm making Mickey Mouse ears and a pinata and a costume for the boy. Mr. H is in charge of the cake and a whole slew of other projects. We have a sandbox now (Thanks, Nicole!) and bought sand toys and I'm praying there's good weather for the party.

In the midst of all the choas that has been happening and will continue to happen, Mr. H and I were able to take an afternoon and evening to spend some time together. I must say that when we don't have a date night for a long time, I realize the benefits of having a regular date night. It's been months, really. We had one last week, sort of, but it was rushed because my (beautiful sister) babysitter had places to be :). So, yesterday, we took the afternoon to run errands and then out to eat and Confession and Mass. It's been a LONG time since I've been to Mass (or even Confession) without my dear boys. It was such a nice feeling to be able to concentrate fully on the Mass. I felt such a rejuvenation! And I was also reminded of my vocation as a mother - that there are going to be many Masses of not being able to fully concentrate (or concentrate at all on those bad days), but being able to show my children the beauty of our faith. That's what's important. That's what really matters. I pray I can be the example they need to appreciate the fullness and richness of the Catholic faith. I pray they will always be strong in their faith, embracing Christ, and being way holier than I am (provided I become as holy as I should, as the Litany of Humility says). Speaking of children, here mine come! Have a blessed morning!

Friday, April 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Volume 6

1. This week has had its ups and downs, to say the least. My big up was this beautiful spring weather we've been having. The boys have spent each day outside for a good part of the day and loved every moment of it. The tulips, my favorite flower, in my mom's landscaping have been blooming and it's so nice to see green and vibrant colors everywhere now! It's nice to be able to head outside and not expecting to be hit with a gust of freezing cold air. I am very thankful for this beautiful weather!

2. With that said, my allergies are also in full bloom. I was thinking this morning that I'm thankful that these allergies mean that spring is finally here, but I can't say I'm excited about the allergies themselves. I just hope my children don't have to deal with these like I have.

3. The down of this week has been learning to be grateful in the hardtimes. Mr. H has had a rough month at work and we've been really struggling with complaining about our living situation and our lack of money. Seems ridiculous now that I'm writing it down, but at the time it seemed legitimate. Then, after writing to a group of women who've "known" me online since I was pregnant with Mr. 3-yo, I was reminded that we are NOT alone in our situation and that I really need to look at the blessings in my life: I have my faith and the freedom to practice it. I have a supportive, loving, faithful husband who would lay down his life for his family (and saved my brother from a hornet!). I have two beautiful boys that all the money in the world could not replace, even a piece of them. I have family that stands behind us in the way we've chosen to live our lives. I have friends, both locally and far away, who are always there for me. And really, I have all I need and then some...really, ZERO need to complain, and certainly zero reason to despair.

4. Speaking of my boys, they have been blossoming right before my eyes like the flowers outside - so quickly! Mr. 1-yo's word of the week was "NO!" and he's been saying it over and over and over. At least, it's in context so he means "no" when he says "no." He's also learned to say "please" but sometimes he's really stubborn and refuses to say it. And when that happens, he doesn't get what he wants. Mr. 3-yo learned to count to 30 by himself! He skips a couple numbers but he can do it and we didn't teach him :). And potty-training has been going so well! Less and less accidents. We still have night-time to work on, but overall, I am so relieved to only have one in diapers again :)!

5. I'm really excited for summer - I am signing Mr. 3-yo up for swim lessons!!! When he was a baby, he hated the water; he was terrified of it. Last year, when Mr. 1-yo was put in the pool and loved it, he decided to give it a try and has loved it ever since. So, swim lessons, here we come!

6. One of my closest friends from college is moving with her husband to about two and a half hours away from us! Mr. H and I are beyond excited about this! I've missed her so much (and she has an awesome husband too who Mr. H likes to hang out with)! She's lived so far away since college so 2 1/2 hrs is nothing. Now, if only I could convince everyone else to move here ;)...

7. I'm so thankful that we have the crucifix that we can meditate upon in our Catholic faith. It's a constant reminder to be grateful and to know that what I'm going through right now is not even a smidgen of what Christ went through FOR me, for us. I can't even put it into words, but it helps to keep me humble (and I need way more humility for sure).

Want to read more 7 Quick Takes? Stop by Conversion Diary to check out more!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Book Review: How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?



Rachel Balducci, the author of How Do You Tuck in a Superhero, is a Catholic mom of 5 boys and 1 baby girl. I have been following her blog, www.testosterhome.net, for about a year now. Being the mom of 2 boys instantly made me intrigued about her blog when a good friend recommended it to me. I loved it from the beginning! She has funny stories and conversations she has with her boys, but also writes about her faith and topics that are very serious. She has inspired me to enjoy these moments when boys will be boys. When I read that she had written a book, there was no doubt I was going to buy it. It was worth it time 100! Her book is a light-read, so it was something I could pick up right away and didn't want to put down! Even my husband, Mr. H, who is pretty much all sci-fi books and nothing else wanted me to keep reading out-loud to him.

The stories are full of humor and the joy of raising boys (and children in general). They really show how Rachel loves her children and loves being a mother. They are full of adventures that every boy goes through and it's so fun to hear it from the perspective of a mom. When reading it, Mr. H had laughed through several of the stories because he remembers doing the exact same things growing up. I laughed remembering the times my 3 brothers had similar adventures and even more recently when I married Mr. H and he joined in on my brothers' fun. I can see a little of what I have to look forward to. Even if you don't have boys, it's a read that is well worth it and one I'm sure any person can relate to and enjoy! From Legos to swords to dinner conversations to savoring the moment, each page is truly a gem :).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Happy April! (pictures, pictures!)

A very belated Happy and Blessed Easter! It's been a busy month and I've not had time to post lately, but am back on the wagon again!

I thought today I'd post a couple of things that kept me busy up to Easter...a couple craft projects:

The first project was a toddler backpack from Made by Rae . Now, I have to say first that I am a very novice sewer. I never took formal lessons, so I did have a couple mess-ups with this project. However, I am very proud of it. I made it for a friend of Mr. 3 yo (formerly Mr. 2 yo who celebrated a birthday this past week!) and he LOVED it! :)




Second project on my list was making matching ties for the boys and Daddy for Easter. I was bound and determined to do this, so I took patterns from a blog I love (The Purl Bee) and made all 3 of my boys their matching ties. I didn't get a close up of them, but here's a picture of us at Easter to show them off :).




Mr. 3 yo also celebrated his 3rd birthday and enjoyed every moment of it. Here's a picture with his cake that he picked out himself :).



Hope you all enjoy and I hope to be back more often writing again!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Songs That Warm My Heart

My husband started a tradition with our sons that he had grown up with in his own family. Singing before bed. Actually, it was really started by both of us - him, because of the memories and me, out of desperation to try anything to soothe my child to sleep. I used to sing the "Hail Mary, Gentle Woman" song to babies, even when I was babysitting because it is such a soothing song. To this day, it's my favorite song to sing when one of my kids is upset. My husband grew up with his mom and grandma singing songs to him and his two favorites were "You Are My Sunshine" and "The Alphabet Song." When Mr. 2-yo was about 15 months, he started sleeping in his own bed and Daddy was the one to put him to bed most nights. Thus began the tradition and Daddy would sing those songs to him. Somehow in the mix, "Edelweiss" became a night-time song as well, and to this day, no matter who tucks Mr. 2-yo into bed, he requests those songs. Last night, my mom (his grandma) put Mr. 2-yo to bed because neither my husband nor I were home and instead of requesting those songs, he sang "You Are My Sunshine" to her. We thought it was so precious and so today, I asked him to sing me "Sunshine" as he calls it. Hearing his little voice belt out those words made my heart melt and almost brought tears to my eyes. My little boy is growing up! He's taking those words that have been given to him for over a year and a half now and gifting them back to us. It's moments like these that really remind me of the beauty of being a parent.
video

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Praying, praying, praying!

Praying today that this health care reform bill does not pass...and if it does, praying that our country does not go under.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things Fridays Volume 1

As I've been spending my Fridays doing 7 Quick Takes, I thought I'd spice things up a bit here and alternate that with "Kids Say the Darndest Things" from Mystical Rose Design. Today's my start and I know that there are plenty of things I'm sure Mr. 2-yo has said today that would be quote-worthy, but I can't think of any at the moment. So, I'm digging into my archive (I do keep a notebook of updates for each of the boys, although I'm not terribly great at keeping it up-to-date very often)...

Mr. 2-yo: "These cookies make me happy!" Two seconds later..."These cookies make my face red! See?" He then sticks his tongue out to show me the "red" on his tongue. He just ate a gingersnap.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Out of Ideas!

Ever have those times where you're in a posting funk? That's been me for the past couple of weeks. I want to post, but when I try to think of something to come up with, my mind draws a complete blank. In the midst of my lack of ideas, I received some pictures in my email that I wanted to post, so voila! Here's my answer:

A couple weeks ago, I "hosted" a moms' craft night. It was small, but my dear mommy-friends and I had a lot of fun experimenting. We decided to make simple ribbon headbands and it looked way easier on the tutorial than it was in real life, mainly due to my sewing machine that was in constant friction with the hairties. However, we had some great conversations and managed to make a couple and took a picture to show them off :). I used some leftover ribbon I had, but now I want to buy some really cutesy stuff and add some embellishments to them to make them super cute so I can wear them all the time!





Now, I just have to come up with the next crafty thing to do...any ideas?

Friday, March 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday Volume 5

This Friday, I thought I'd mix it up a bit and theme my post. I'm sharing with you 7 of my favorite blogs that I follow:

1. bettybeguiles.com - I found this lovely lady over at FaithandfamilyLIVE.com. She's a Catholic mom and wife who has the greatest fashion posts! She shows you how to dress both fashionably AND modestly while making it simple enough so that a busy mom can look cute with minimal effort.

2. testosterhome.net - My dear friend, Elena, found this Catholic supermom of 5 boys (soon to be 6 kids total) who's humor keeps me laughing and humility & insight keep me reading.

3. katiebeverleyblog.com- This blog belongs to a dear friend with whom I attended college. She has her own photography business and has taken some beautiful pictures of my own family, back when we were three (the top picture and profile were taken by her). I love visiting and admiring her work (and wishing I could take such beautiful pictures myself! :))

4. hsjoy.blogspot.com- This is the blog of a friend of mine who was my Confirmation sponsor and my mom's friend growing up (she's still good friends with my mom). She is the mom of 7 beautiful children and I love reading her open honesty and have learned much from her!

5. loveactually-blog.blogspot.com - A very cute blog I happened upon today, actually! It's all about ideas for couples and it's crafty and cute and I'm totally taking some of these ideas for us!

6. organicmamas.blogspot.com - Another blogger from my college days (although, we didn't actually know each other then...our husbands grew up together). Very crafty and such great ideas for educating your child(ren) and living an eco-friendly, natural lifestyle.

7. kari-youcanmakeit.blogspot.com - I LOVE this blog! I want to make everything that I've found on it! This is where I've gotten so many crafty ideas and links to more great crafty blogs!

You can find more great 7 Quick Takes here!

Friday, February 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes volume 4


1. Wow! It has been a busy month or two. My 2010 has been moving so quickly I can barely catch my breath! We have been house/dog sitting this past week. It has been a fun time, and although I dearly miss my king-size bed, it has been a nice time to be a little family of 4 again and gives my parents and siblings a small break from all the chaos we bring as well.

2. With this treat of family time, I've also gotten a good dose of TV. I don't miss TV, but when I get a chance to watch it, I do enjoy it. I've been watching a lot of "Say Yes to the Dress" and "What Not to Wear" along with the cake-off shows and a random thing here and there. Mr. 2-yo has enjoyed a little Playhouse Disney each morning after breakfast as well. I've also been able to do much of this while exercising on the treadmill. I do NOT like treadmills. ;p

3. On a more spiritual and much deeper note, this Lent has been unbelievable so far! In a very positive way. My dear husband and I have been journalling and meditating on a specific topic each evening before bed and then share our thoughts in our journals and discuss afterwards. It's been a truly blessed time together and I am so thankful that he thought of doing this.

4. Our new obsession in this house is stickers on the face. Both Mr. 2-yo and Mr. 1-yo love putting little stickers all over their faces and request that I join in on the fun. It's been pretty funny to see us all walking around with random dots all over our faces. My husband was shoveling the walkway yesterday and we were watching him from the front door. When he got the front porch, he looked up and was startled to see our stickered-faces. It made me chuckle.

5. Back to being on our own...it's also been nice to cook and bake again. I know I can do it still with my parents, but there's no need for me to do much because my mom handles it all. I don't mind having the break, but there's something special about fixing a meal that is especially meant for your husband (and your children...) after he's had a long, hard day at work. Thursday night I made chili dogs (which isn't hard but the husband requested it), spaghetti and strawberry cupcakes. He was so touched and that made my day!

6. Has anyone played Settlers of Catan? My husband and I are boardgame junkies and this has been our most recent favorite. We have been trying different ways to play this game and it's been a lot of fun. We found out from some good friends of ours (who we frequently play boardgames with) that you can actually buy "expansion packs" that offer even more varieties of playing this game. Now, I know what to buy the husband for his birthday :).

7. Anyone super-coupon? I was really into it for awhile and then we moved in with my parents who buy all the groceries and don't buy much junk food (which is a lot of what you buy when super-couponing, it seems), so I stopped. I got back into the toiletries part and now with one of our local grocery chains offering really huge deals, I want to enter back again. I'm a little scared and overwhelmed, but I know I have to get past my inhibitions and just go for it. Hopefully, I will!

Check out more 7 Quick Takes over at http://www.conversiondiary.com/!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We're All a Little Nutty Around Here...

I have been searching for the perfect laundry detergent. For my diapers. I could probably use anything that does not have a fragrance for my clothes, but my diapers and their stinkiness have been a sore issue with me. I love cloth diapering. I would not do it any other way. They've saved us money, are incredibly cute, and eco-friendly, but they have their downfalls too. The main one is stink. For some reason, I have had constant stink issues in the last year. It's been beyond frustrating as I go through detergent after detergent after detergent to try to find one that will work without me resorting to bleach. Well, I think I've finally found one I love and I wanted to share my find :)...



Soap nuts. I found these little nuts (literally) through one of my local and favorite cloth diapering stores. The lady who runs this business came to do a demonstration and I thought, "I've tried everything else; might as well see what this is all about!" So, my dear husband and I took the kids and went to the demonstration. Now, I have to tell you that my husband is not one to be convinced just because a product is said to be "natural" and "organic." We are still going over the pros and cons of organic food vs. non-organic. When he saw these, he was not only intrigued, but thought trying these out was a great idea! We took a couple samples home and I loved them so much, we went back and bought a bag, along with the brightener and stain remover to try those out as well.

Soap nuts are organic and natural. They are not a detergent, but act like a detergent does in that they clean and sanitize your laundry. They are not expensive at all ($12.99 for up to 85 loads!) and they do not have all those additives and fragrances that seep into your skin and blood that normal detergents contain. They also act as a natural softener as well. I've never been a huge fan of fabric softeners and haven't ever used dryer sheets, but these little nuts make my clothes incredibly soft! Using the brightener with the soap nuts for my diapers has FINALLY gotten rid of the stink! And an added bonus is that my diapers are brightened and look so clean! If you'd like to learn more, visit Yoreganics website. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Packer Fan and My One-socked Boy



Mr. 1-yo, who fell asleep before pajama-time, in his typical one-socked style.






Mr. 2-yo sporting his Packers jersey quite proudly :).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And Thus Begins Our Journey

Today begins the first day of this Lenten season and I feel like I have not been blindsided by this day for the first time in many years. It seems to creep up on me and then pass by with me barely realizing it. Each year I always say that I want to grow and I want to really focus on Lent and each year it seems like I fail. This year may be no different, but I hope that is not the case and I feel like I'm already on this journey.

Starting out this month already working on becoming a better me has helped me embark on this journey that much more easily. I have begun the hike up the mountain of betterment and I have already started wearing-in my boots. I have done okay working on not complaining. And I think I have done pretty well keeping my actual complaining words to a minimum. Now, I need to work on my attitude. Something else that has made me more alive and aware of the work involved in this journey is that I have a partner with whom I will go down this road - my husband. We have tried to keep prayer in our lives and we have succeeded many times and failed many times as well, but we have always gone through Lent separately. Last night, we sat down and talked about what we wanted to give up and where we wanted to head - individually, as a couple, and as a family - in this great journey. We didn't just talk about Lent, but the time we have left on this earth, be it minutes or many, many years. We know that if we want to raise our children to love God as much as we desire to then we have to live our faith and live it together. So, this Lent, I will have the man I married at my side, encouraging me to grow, and I will do the same for him. After all, that's what marriage is for :)...

Also, head on down to Relevant Radio's 40 Links for 40 Days for some great meditations and such to help you on your Lenten journey.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Little Beauty before the Ashes


Set me as a seal on your heart,
Set me as a seal on your soul.
As strong as death is love,
Unyielding as the grave,
Nothing will quench its flame,
Nothing will quench its flame.

Kiss me, my love,
That your name be on my lips
You intoxicate my being
With the fragrance of your presence.

How beautiful you are
My darling
Show me your face,
Let me hear your voice.
Sweet as the dew in the early morn,
Like a lily among the thorns.

Set me as a seal on your heart,
Set me as a seal on your soul.
As strong as death is love,
Unyielding as the grave,
Nothing will quench its flame,
Nothing will quench its flame.

I looked for you,
The one my heart loves,
I looked for you, but did not find you.
Searched through the night,
Until I rested in your sight,
Now I will never let you go.

'Cause you have stolen my heart,
My sister, my bride,
Stolen my heart with one glance of your eye.
Your lips so sweet,
Adorned with honey,
My hands, they drip with myrrh.


Set Me as a Seal by Matt Maher



Once you experience authentic love, how can you even glance at the counterfeit?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lenten Sacrifices

Sacrifice. That is rarely a word that this world looks upon with any positivity today. And yet, in our Catholic faith, it's a word that is central to life. It is so easy to reject the notion of sacrificing, but the rewards are far greater if we embrace it.

With NaNoCompMo, sacrifice has been in my mind a lot more often than normal. My eyes are being open more and more to the little ways I can hold my tongue and become self-less in one way or another. I'm seeing that even when, and maybe especially when, I'm having particularly stressful, exhausting days, that I have not really done much sacrificing. Many times the stress is there because all I can think is, "What about ME? Why ME? What's in it for ME?"

This Lent, I am still not sure what I plan to sacrifice. There have been many ideas floating through my head. Whatever it is, I want it to be a challenge. I want to grow from it, not just be a little inconvenienced. What are you doing for Lent?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Weekend Craft Project

We've been sick here with the flu - all of us. Thankfully, my dear husband seemed to get by with the "mild" version and seems to be somewhat on the mend already. Mr. 2-yo is good except that his voice is still scratchy and he still coughs a bit. Mr. 1-yo has had it the most miserable and has been on my chest for the last three days, as I slowly recoup as well.

However, before most of us caught this bug, the boys and I had planned to attend one of Mr. 2-yo's friend's birthday party this past weekend, so I went straight to work on a birthday present. Because I have no little girls of my own yet, I love to be able to make things for others who do and this friend was no exception. I set out and because I wasn't exactly sure how much tulle to get (and JoAnn's was having a major sale on their tulle), I ended up buying enough to make 3 tutus, 2 fairy wands, and 2 doll tutus. I made one set for another one of Mr. 2-yo's friends who's birthday party we missed a while back and another tutu for yet another one of his friends (he has a lot of friends who happen to be girls, I'm realizing). Unfortunately, I seem to always forget to take pictures, so my dear friend was kind enough to let me use hers to show off the tutus and fairy wand. Her daughter loved them!

Also, here's where I found out how to make both.



Friday, February 5, 2010

7 Quick Takes volume 3



Err...8 today!

1. Checking the mail is one of my favorite daily activities (minus Sunday, of course!). Sending letters the old-fashioned way is pretty much non-existent in my world, but I still enjoy checking the mail. I really should start writing letters more than the "thank you" notes I send out after receiving gifts. It would be a nice, personal way to keep in touch.

2. As I walked outside, I was pleasantly surprised to find it snowing! I love snow! I do not really enjoy cold weather, but I do enjoy snow. I could watch it all day. It brings a little joy to my life during these cold, cloudy days.

3. Another project finished! I am so proud of myself and it isn't even the last minute! I am making gifts for a couple of Mr. 2-yo's friends and I have had such a blast doing this. They are for two little girls and since I don't have any daughters yet, being able to create things with pink and lots of prettiness has put a smile on my face. Not that I wish I'd have girls over boys because there's not a single ounce of truth in that. It's just harder for me to make my boys much of anything since most of their interests are more things made out of wood and such, which is not my specialty :).

4. I have been trying to lose weight since I was in college. Really. I'm not fat, but since I've had babies, it's been practically near impossible for me to lose the weight I gained. I know I could do it with more discipline and effort on my part, but I just never really had much drive, other than looking at myself in a mirror or longingly at the pre-pregnancy clothes I still had in my closet. Since Christmas, I've been making more of an effort and trying to exercise a little more regularly. I am proud to say that I am at my all-time lowest weight since I had Mr. 1-yo! One measly pound away from being where I was when I became pregnant with him! My goal is to drop one pants size by the end of the month and it looks like it may actually be a reality!

5. NaNoCompMo has been a challenge but such a growing experience for me! I really wasn't sure how I was going to make it through even one day without complaining. I wasn't sure what constituted as complaining, but I went straight for it anyway, and with the exception of a few instances, I've been really good and growing so much from it!

6. I love that Mr. 2-yo loves wearing glasses. Since both his daddy and I have been wearing glasses since elementary school, I'm hoping that this love of glasses continues so that should he actually really need them, it won't be a difficult transition. For now, he's happy to wear sunglasses or protection glasses (the kind you use in chem lab) all day, even when he's sick, like today. I need to take a picture.

7. Valentine's Day is coming around the bend and I have to think of something to make my husband. We never really go "all out" for this holiday, but always do something small and generally homemade. I need ideas.

Oh, and go Colts and Saints this Sunday! (Not sure who I'm rooting for yet. I was going for the underdogs - the Saints - since they haven't made it to the Superbowl before this year, but my dad brought up that Peyton Manning is a good Catholic and from UT, the area we used to live, so who knows. The husband suggested we all just sport our Packers gear ;))

(For more Quick Takes, visit ConversionDiary!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's a Girl

Last weekend, I went to a baby "sprinkle" (basically a baby shower but on a somewhat smaller scale) for a friend of mine. We all volunteered to bring something to this celebratory event and I offered to bring the banner. Now, I really love being crafty, but am horrendously bad at finishing projects. When I have a deadline with someone else, it keeps me going so that I actually finish something. So, I made the banner. With having two young boys, it's rare that I am able to use so much pink, so I went a little wild :)! I am not a professional photographer and the light came in through the curtains, but here's a picture of the banner:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Becoming the Best Version of Myself

I am an avid reader and love to read as a way of relaxing after a long hard day. The books I read are not of a widespread variety, but with the few genres I do enjoy, I read as many as I can. My top two favorites would be Christian chic lit and self-help/growing-in-my-faith books. Christian chic lit are those easy reads when I've had a full day of children, housework, and running five million errands. Self-help books (only of the Christian/Catholic variety generally) are there when I want some short, serious reading time.

I have slowly been reading Matthew Kelly's Rediscovering Catholicism over the past couple of months. It takes me a while to read a book when I want to really focus on every single word and take some time to reflect on what I've read. It's worth the long stretches of time for me. With this particular book, I happened to find it in my mom's bookshelf full of children's books from homeschooling and political books that belong to my dad. Since I was familiar with the author and have liked his books in the past, I picked it up to just poke through it. Once I began, I was hooked. Around this same time, I went to visit a good friend who lives on the other side of the state. She happened to have listened to a talk on CD that Matthew Kelly gave about "becoming the best version of yourself," and couldn't stop telling me about how wonderful it was and how I should listen to it.

Isn't it funny when God seems to give you a nudge? In his Rediscovering Catholicism, Matthew Kelly talks about "becoming the best version of yourself." He talks about how saints became saints because they strove for this goal. And isn't that our ultimate goal? Like the Litany of Humility states, we pray that others become holier than me provided I become as holy as I should. We should be on that road of constantly striving for holiness, of being as close to Christ as we can become. That, tied with No Complaining Month, really set me thinking about this. Matthew Kelly says that when we do anything, we should be asking ourselves, "Will this help me in my goal of becoming the best version of myself?" and if the answer is "yes" then we should act. If the answer is "no" we probably should find an action that will. While suppressing the urge to complain over the past couple of days, that question has been popping into my head. I have found myself not only accomplishing a little bit more because I can't waste the time whining or finding excuses not to do something, but also diverting my attention from time-wasters to working on things like making dinner a little extra special for my tired husband who works hard all day or playing a few more minutes with the boys, when I usually would go find something to do on my own. I know laziness is a vice that I tend to act out in abundance and I know that it is one of many, many things that prevents me from growing in my walk with God. I pray that I can keep this up and that this question is always a conscious question I ask myself when faced with decisions, whether they be seemingly inconsequential or essential to living. Only then can I keep moving towards becoming the best version of myself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February Is NaNoCompMo!

And what is that you ask? Well, you should check it out at Homeschooling with Joy's blog!

NaNoCompMo stands for National No Complaining Month and it is a challenge I desperately need in my life. So, from here to March 1st, I am making the heartfelt attempt to not complain. I will let you know how this goes and I challenge you to take part in NaNoCompMo as well! :) God bless!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pro-life Is More than Anti-Abortion

I am pro-life. And by pro-life, I do not just mean that I am against abortion. I believe that every human life is sacred - those just conceived, those growing in the womb, those born and growing, those who are adults, and those who are dying.

After listening to a conversation yesterday about family-size, contraception, and "I've been on the Pill all this time that when we're done having children, my husband is getting snipped because it's his turn to do the work," I wept. I had no words to contribute partly because I was scared to be different and partly because I didn't even know where to begin. These women (who are dear friends) know my husband and I are hoping for a large family. They know we use Natural Family Planning to determine if we need to avoid conceiving. But there's so much more that I wish I could say and explain about WHY we don't use artificial birth control and WHY I would never make my husband lose his fertility or take mine away.

Where do I begin? How do I tell someone that I refuse to contracept, not just because the Pope says "no?" How do I explain the Theology of the Body in one small conversation? That our bodies were made to be united as one and that when we vow to love each other through sickness and health, rich and poor, til death do us part, that it is all-encompassing? That when I am united physically with my husband that we are saying to each other, "I am giving you all of me and I am accepting all of you" because that is the true meaning of love?

I embrace my husband's fertility because that is part of his masculinity and his masculinity is what makes him male and separates him from me but also is what God created him to compliment my feminity as well. To take his fertility away is to deny God is in control of our lives. To remove what makes him masculine is to say I do not need him, that I do not value his human dignity.

I embrace my own fertility as well. Not everyone was meant to have a dozen children and I know that. I do not know how to say, "While we desire to have a large family, we are perfectly content with the two God has blessed us with, should we be unable to have any more." Maybe that's all I need to say. I am not against two-children families. What I am against is this blatant attack on women by the lie that we need to only have two children and to go about that, we need to ruin our fertility and take the reins from God, telling Him that we know better than He does. How many babies have these women truly lost/aborted because the Pill did its job?

I will not ruin my body by taking a pill that works against nature. I will not take something that can eliminiate my ability to bear children (even permanently), to be feminine. I will not consume a pill that can give me migraines, prevent me from losing weight, assist me in gaining it, cause breast cancer, and only change the symptoms of a possible problem. I, personally, am against using the pill medically, unless every other option has been exhausted. There's a great place to get more information on helping women with problems that the Pill is commonly prescribed to "help" them. It's called the Pope Paul VI Institute (www.popepaulvi.com). They are filled with doctors who help women get to the root of why they are having problems and work on a solution instead of masking it with a pill that can do so much harm to your body.

I believe my marriage, even with the rocky parts, has been so solid because we have been open to life. We have not taken the reins and we have trusted that God knows best. We do not view children as another stepping stone in marriage and we believe they are truly a gift and not a "right." We do not view the marital embrace begrudgingly, but have come to see the beauty in "becoming one" and that we are renewing our marriage vows each time we take part in this act. We are working with God and that brings such joy to our lives.

What I have said is not even an ounce of what I want to say, but it's a beginning. I'm so afraid of rejection when I know the Truth shall set everyone free! They may not want to hear it and I don't know that I will have the courage to bring it up, but I pray that if God wants me to be a light for Him that I will find the strength to say the words He wants me to say.

Friday, January 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes volume 2



1. Well, I had planned on posting daily, but this week has exhausted me like nothing else really ever has, except getting mono back in high school. The reason for this: babysitting I have been watching three other children to add to my own two who are all 3 years and younger and let me tell you, it's energy-sucking! Three days of this and I think I can pretty much do anything now - jump across buildings, have ten more babies, maybe even pull an all-nighter except I'm no longer in college so what's the point? Plus, I'll have a baby waking up in the morning now and that'll be no fun.

2. The reason for babysitting is due to something for which I'm requesting prayers. LOTS of prayers. And it's more someone than something. My dear friend who normally babysits for a friend has a son who is about the same age as Mr. 1-yo (so, he's one). He was born with three holes in his heart and areas that were underdeveloped or not developed. I'm not a medical person, so I don't remember. He is back in the hospital (which is why I'm taking babysitting duty over for her) with a number of other problems and the doctors are stumped with some of these problems. So, please pray they find the answers and can fix what's wrong! Thanks!

3. Since, those are really long "quick" takes, I'll make these ones super short. I'm reading a fantastic book called Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. Excellent read! Easy read. I highly recommend it!

4. My mom's good friend who was my Confirmation sponsor and is now becoming my friend as well (isn't that transition from childhood to adulthood crazy sometimes?) introduced me to Matthew Kelly with his book A Call to Joy. It took me a couple years to pick it up and actually read it (Sorry, Laura!), but once I did, I was hooked and I love his books!

5. Speaking of that transition, I am wondering how you went from addressing someone as Mrs. X to Firstname when you got older...I'm still not sure what to do in some situations. Some are more natural, but some are still hard for me to say. And how do you have your children address adults? I'm having a battle that I'll save for another day to expand on with that and am just curious.

6. REALLY off topic, but I hate waiting for our W-2s. I enjoy doing our taxes, but I hate waiting for those darn little slips of paper. Mostly, because we move so often so I'm never sure if we'll get all the ones we need. I got in trouble for that one year and never again.

7. I'm off to a baby "sprinkle" (a shower but smaller) tomorrow for a mommy-friend of mine. I made her banner and will have to post pictures once it's completely finished tomorrow :)! SO excited! I love it when my creativity gets put into concrete projects. And actually gets finished. Beautiful!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Little Humor for Your Day

When asked, "What does a chicken say?" Mr. 2-yo matter-of-factly answered, "I'm a chicken."

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Little Cloth Diapering

I am proud to say I have been cloth diapering for almost 3 years now. It all began when I was pregnant with Mr. 2-yo and was on a great Catholic parenting board, looking for advice on pregnancy and having a baby. I spent many, many hours on that board while at work because my job really gave me nothing to do but sit on the internet 8 hrs a day. I was looking for ways to save money, as I knew we were going down to one income and we had enough debt to keep us barely staying afloat.

I've tried most types of cloth diapers that are out there - pockets, one-size, prefolds, fitteds, snaps, velcro, snappis, and on and on. I've enjoyed trying them all out and my top two so far are pockets and fitteds, I think. However, my all-time favorite diaper that I've tried out so far has been the Gro-baby diaper.

Mr. 1-yo when he was much smaller in a Gro-baby diaper in Kiwi

When we were trying to figure out how we were going to cloth two and how many more diapers we would need, I came across this diaper. It was brand-new and not even being sold yet when I had Mr. 1-yo, but I was eager to try it out. The testers had only great things to say about it and I was having stink issues with my pockets that were made of microfiber. These diapers' inserts are made of organic cotton and I knew that cotton was easier to keep stink-less than anything synthetic. They also said that you can use the cover for up to 3 changes and that made me excited as well! Now, that we've been using them for about a year, I will keep buying this diaper.

Pros: Organic cotton insert (we've had less stink issues), one-size and the snaps are easy to snap together, velcro for tabbing together the waist (The husband prefers velcro for a better fit), easy to take insert apart from outer cover, LOVE the colors!, ZERO leak issues!, very soft :)

Cons: Velcro tabs do not stay together in the wash and with a couple of my diapers I've had issues with the velcro sticking at all, so my son's lost a few diapers while moving around.

I have yet to come across the perfect diaper, but I will say that this is the most satisfied I've been with a diaper yet. Way to go, Gro-baby!

Friday, January 22, 2010

7 Quick Takes volume 1



1. First, I'd like to say that today is The March for Life, held primarily in Washington, D.C. Each year, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when abortion was legalized in this country, many generous people walk through D.C. to commemorate the loss of all those who died due to this "freedom of choice" law. 1/3 of my generation is not alive because we have been given the ability to kill our babies without consequence. I am praying for all those on the March, for all those who give themselves to the pro-life cause, and for all those who have given into the lie that this is all for the betterment of women and that this is a right. I pray for an end to abortion, to euthinasia, to contraception and to anything that leads to this culture of death that seems to surround and infiltrate our culture.

2. On a completely unrelated note, my family has a cold. All except the husband. Thankfully, he doesn't because he is the one who works all day and is in constant contact with people. Let's hope we get better soon!

3. BUBBLES! I think I will now recommend bubbles to any new parent as an easy, relatively inexpensive way to keep your child(ren) entertained. My boys have loved bubbles since they could see more than 6 inches in front of them. Today, with being cooped up due to our colds, I've been blowing bubbles for them to chase, pop, and giggle with delight.


4. Both the boys have really taken to singing in the morning. I love hearing their babbles and, sometimes, I can understand a little bit of what M1 (the 2 1/2 yo) is singing. It's cute and puts an immediate smile to my face, even if I'm not feeling my brightest.

5. On the other side, I've decided to start potty-training M1 this week. I'm going for the 3-day method that I know a few have used (both with and without success), so we'll see how it goes. I'm all ready - went shopping yesterday to get treats, little prizes for going poop in the potty, high fiber snacks just in case, and TONS of little underwear. We're set and ready to go!

6. As I sit here, M2, my 1 yo, is pulling ALL the tissues out of the box...and tearing them in half. He tried to eat toothpaste this morning and this kind of mischief seems to be the norm for my second. I'm learning to be stretched in so many ways with two completely different personalities in my children and I'm learning to laugh in this journey. I love my children!

7. There's nothing better than some kisses and hugs to make your day go better! :)