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 :).


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! :)