Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When Christmas Comes

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

I love that the house is decorated, there are plenty of cookies and treats to eat and family time abounds. A couple extra days when hubby can be home with us and we can relax and just 'be'. This year it seemed especially significant that while we awaited the Christ child, we were also embracing our last Christmas as a family of four and eagerly celebrating the upcoming birth of our newest addition. While still several weeks away, it has not been lost on us that baby will be our most precious gift yet.

I thought I'd toss in photos of ways we've been enjoying our Christmas days.

Gingerbread (pre-baked, pre-packaged) House on Christmas Eve

One of my favorite things, celebrating Christmas at church, amidst the poinsettias

Birthday cake for Baby Jesus

Christmas smiles and sibling love

Christmas morning gift opening

All sorts of goodies for me

Full hearts and a happy, healthy family

Any wonder that this is my favorite time of year?

Hopefully your household is still enjoying the days of Christmas and is happy and healthy too!

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Christmas Greetings

From Our Front Door...

And our Winter Chalet...

Where another seven inches of snow fell yesterday evening and last night......

To Yours, whether it be white, green or brown out your window....

Many Wishes for a Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Morning At My House

Nestled in the forlorn parts of snow covered MN, an up-too-early child wonders. And an out-of-sorts-too-tired-yet-to-be-awake mom, begins another day.

My boy: "Is the 24th the first day of Christmas?"

Me: "No, Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas. December 25th." (said for about the millionth time in the last week)

My boy: "Oh. On the 25th then Santa comes!!!"

Me: "Well, yes, but more importantly Jesus is born. That's what we celebrate, remember?"

My boy: "What??!! Jesus gets born all over again??!!"

Oh goodness, little boy, can mommy finish her coffee first before we get into a discussion on the true meaning of Christmas? Child of mine, have you really missed the point every time we've discussed this?

I sense a long day ahead.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Minute Gift!

Simple and Easy? CHECK.

Inexpensive and Fun? CHECK.

Kid-friendly? CHECK.

I've done gift mixes in the past and always enjoy giving them. The recipient even loves them too! I prepared these the other day within minutes. I happened to have the extra jars to swing it and used those this time. In the past I've even sewn up some super-beginner type gift bags for each mix in inexpensive Christmas fabric or scrap fabric I had at home. Be creative!

All finished up, including the tags with instructions:

Would you like to give it a try? Here are the recipes I used:

Apple Crisp Mix

Cinnamon Pancake Mix

M&M Cookie Mix

Friendship Brownie Mix

I found a whole sleigh full of jar mix recipes at Recipe Goldmine that would be fun to try!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Daybook

For Today...12.16.10

Outside My's definitely winter. Temps. are warmer than they were over the weekend, but still only in the teens. A few inches of snow fell again overnight.

I Am Thinking...about Christmas lists/gifts and Christmas plans.

I Am Thankful For..a warm house and plenty of reasons to just stick around the house these days.

I Am Praying...for Christmas peace and joy for those around me who need it. And maybe a Christmas miracle or two.

I Am Reading... Where Angels Go and numerous other Debbie Macomber Christmas books. Easy, quick reads that I can enjoy when I've got my feet up.

Baby This Week...weighs close to 4 lbs and is about 18 inches long. He/She is starting to be a little less active, but has hiccups quite regularly. We'll see what the doctor says next week and if I'll have that last ultrasound.

Favorite Pregnancy Foods...fruit and summer sausage (still). The cookies all stashed in the freezer don't even sound appealing most days, but that's probably a good thing.

Around The House...decorated for the season. Reminders why it's the most wonderful time of year.

From The School Room...daily lessons through next Wednesday, along with simple Christmas projects. Big success for Jonah in learning to read and actually eager to do so.

From The Kitchen...attempting to create meal plans, but without much success. Eager to find something that sounds appetizing. Christmas baking is complete.

For The Rest of The Week...perhaps a trip to the theatre to enjoy The Voyage of The Dawn Treader as a family; coffee with a friend on Sat., weather permitting; an evening Christmas get-together Sat. evening.

One Of My Favorite Things...the rocker/recliner we bought last winter. Although simple, it's particularly cozy and inviting for this pregnant mama.

Picture Thought I Am Sharing...

Find more daybooks at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Header!

Ever see those fun and creative headers on someone else's blog and wish you could do that too?

I have SO MANY times!

Thankfully, a bloggy friend recalled my mentioning header frustration despite how many times I've tried. She sent me a link with a tutorial on how to leave aside the complicated PhotoShop way of doing it and try it in Picasa.

It worked!

Did you notice my header? This was my first attempt and it was MUCH easier doing it using this tutorial vs. the many times I've tried doing it in photo editing software.

Click on over to Clover Lane if you're looking to freshen up your header/banner or just looking for simplicity in achieving it.

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

Our family in cut-outs, created by the kids and myself:

Aren't we cute?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reality Check

This arrived at our house last Friday:

And it's amazing to me how its presence suddenly made the reality of baby's birth so much more real. I mean, I'm carrying around an extra 20-something pounds and I feel the baby move daily. But, the reminder that this little one will soon be in our arms and in this car seat. Wow!

In case you're wondering, the car seat we chose is this one.

Okay, I will try to lay off the baby related posts for those of you who may be getting tired of them. It's hard though since it's kind of on the front burner at our house. Bear with me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wrapping Up Baby Week

I just read the perfect post to wrap up Baby Week here on my blog!

One of my favorite Bloggy Buddies is having a BABY and just announced it today.

Congrats Colleen and Phil! I couldn't be happier for you and I cannot wait to read all of your baby posts in the upcoming months.

Stop on over and give your Congrats to Colleen on baby #5 at Martin Family Moments today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Say A Prayer Please

I'm asking for your prayers that are needed today for baby Hazel's parents. I found out this morning that they had become pregnant and just this week found out that there is no heartbeat for baby and are in the midst of a miscarriage.

If you can keep them in your prayers in the coming days and weeks, I'd appreciate it. Not only are they now grieving this child, but with the coming holidays as well as the one year anniversary of Hazel's birth and death in January there are rough days ahead. There is sorrow and unanswered questions that consume this young couple.

Please help me wrap them in love and care with your prayers.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baby Blessing: 30 Weeks

We're 3/4 of the way there!! Woo-hoo!

Goodness, I can't tell you what a relief that is. Every week that passes really is a reminder what a blessing this little one is already and will continue to become.

I'm now having doctor appointments every other week, so it's another reminder that the time is coming closer. Yikes. At my appointment on Monday, everything was looking really well. No new major developments really. My weight gain is right on track and I haven't had any other pregnancy related issues that are abnormal. Just the usual stuff. I am measuring just a little less than the 30 weeks that I am, so we will see at the next appointment if Dr. K will schedule another ultrasound to check baby's size and fluid, etc. I told him he wouldn't have to twist my arm for another chance to see baby before he/she arrives.

I am keeping up with twice weekly progesterone shots and counting down the number of times that I'll have to keep them up. Looks like I just can't get them quite high enough to kick my needle habit :) No really, I'm not addicted, they are essential for me. So far we've been through roughly fifty of them during this pregnancy and just have about another dozen left if I do have to carry them out through 36 weeks. We're in the homestretch now.

We are finding ourselves in the midst of cold temps. here and steady days with school, baking and resting for mommy. Grateful for the Advent season to keep us mindful of the birth of Christ we await and to also just 'be' as a family. Just being at home as many days as we can is so relaxing and peaceful.

The kids are still debating baby's gender, but I think both are resigning to accept whatever God has already planned. Although, the other day Lily did say "you better just let the baby be a boy since that's what Jonah wants. Otherwise, he's gonna have a fit if he doesn't get his way." Again, a prompt reminder from me told her that whatever gender God created is already done and it is what He sees best for our family right now. We'll see how that all works out.

Lily still is enjoying patting/rubbing my belly and feeling the wonders of the baby's movement. She seems to always be amazed when I have her touch the belly when baby is right up against it and a whole section is hard. She usually responds wide-eyed "oh my gosh!".

Jonah is fulfilling Big Brother roles already and as often as he remembers most days, he helps mommy and baby. He especially likes to bring me a glass of water in the evening when I'm resting on the couch and make sure we're comfortable. He still calls me 'pregnict', which is absolutely endearing. If I let out a gasp in quick, unexpected pain from the baby, Jonah is sure to hear it and respond from the other room with an "are you okay mom?". Quite the little man.

Baby is keeping me guessing and I don't know that I have any strong inclinations on gender. Many things in this pregnancy seem similar to Lily's, but I just can't be sure. Time will tell I guess. That's part of the fun with waiting on finding out until baby arrives and it adds even more excitement to all of that work of labor and delivery!

Here's my latest pregnancy photos for this week. See? I'm looking pregnant and rounded and I'm gaining weight, despite what you may have thought earlier! Not too bad.

**Note: Please pardon that these are not exactly my favorite photos. We were rushing out the door for church and I had Lily take these as long as I was somewhat 'dressed up' more than normal. My hair is leaving me wondering these days, so it's pulled back most often. Maybe not my best look??!! You get the point. Hope you enjoyed them any way!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Boyhood Baby Wonders

All things baby seem to be topics of conversation these days and most often in unexpected ways. It's kind of fun to hear how my children perceive pregnancy, labor/delivery and babies. And a lot of times, downright funny.

My little man has occasionally let us inside some of those dear little thoughts going on in his head. So precious that I had to post them so I remember them later.

Recently, he was lamenting how even when the baby is born that we will have no idea of its gender.

Me: Well, of course we'll know baby's gender after he or she is born. Then there will be no more questions.

Him: No, we still won't be able to tell. It might not even have hair. We have to wait to see if it gets long hair and then we'll know if it's a girl and if it doesn't and the hair is like mine, it's a boy.

Me: Um, really? Are you sure about that? Can you think of ANY WAY that we'd know right away after birth if you had a brother or sister?

Him: No....????

Me: (laughing) Can you think of ANY differences that you and your sister have?

Him: No....well, she wears pink sometimes.....that's all....

Me: Are you sure there's no body part that would tell the two of you apart?

Him: (clearly thinking VERY HARD) Hmm. (he's got nothin')

Well, that was interesting. I guess we're more modest in this household than I thought!


He's got my best interests at heart too, because he came up with this one at the table:

Boy: Mom, just so you know, it's gonna hurt A LOT when the baby comes out. They'll pull it out of a hole in your belly and it will hurt but then it will be done. And there. The baby will be here.

Mom: Oh really? You do realize I've done this before and know that it will hurt, don't you? But yet, mommy still wants to do it again so we can have another member in our family. By the way, mommy doesn't have c-sections and they don't make a hole. You've seen my belly. No scars.

(In enters sister in the conversation)

Her: About that...I still haven't figured it out. How does the baby get out??

Mom: You know what, that's a different conversation for a different day.

Thankfully, she was good with that answer. For now.


And lastly:

"Wow! Then there will be THREE children in our family. I can't believe it!! I think I'm going to pass out when there's three of us. It's so surprising!! "

You've got it buddy, we're all just as amazed as you are. It's been a long time coming.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Babies Abound!

It seems that I'm keeping some pretty good company lately. There's a new batch of blogger baby announcements that have been keeping up the Blogville population. Hooray!!

I enjoy reading how each of you share the news and I love being in the company of many wonderful women who are open to new life.

I wanted to give a shout out to all of you, so please pardon my pregnant brain if I've forgotten you. Be sure and let me know though in comments. I try to keep each of you and your baby on my prayer list. Congrats again, Mamas!

Allison at A Broken Fortress

Hope at Memoirs of a Hopeful Housewife

Aimee at The Mother Load


There's also Sarah at More Than Enough who is due VERY SOON.

And of course, there are a couple of my IRL friends who are expecting too!

If you are among the wonderful women who still wait with empty arms either through infertility, recent miscarriage or other reasons and I read from you or you read here, know that you're in our nightly St. Andrew Christmas novena prayers.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baby Week

Though not intentional, it's looking like I'll be posting a few baby posts this week.

Just letting you know in case you'd rather not read mushy baby news, baby update or quips from home about baby.

But then, who doesn't want to read that stuff?

You were warned.

Happy Second Week of Advent!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mommy Matters: Diapers

Today I'm wondering about all things DIAPERS!!

In the past we've used disposables all the way and never questioned further. While not a fan of pricey designs, styles and brands, we always opted for something inexpensive from Target or Walmart. I mean, c'mon, these things hold bodily fluids from priceless little people, but really I'm not crazy enough to spend a fortune!!

As we progressed into quite a number of years without diaper wearers at our house, we're now preparing to be thrown back into full-on diapering routines again. While contemplating and waiting for this baby over the years, we've heard and read about gDiapers, FuzziBunz, Bum Genius and the like. We really thought that was the route we'd go when a baby arrived again. It seemed like a lot of work, but expense-wise even with the initial sticker shock prices we'd still come out way ahead.

BUT, now we're sitting almost 10 weeks away from EDD and we're still undecided. We've gone back and forth in this area. In fact, I've already starting stocking up on the disposables. But, that's also because I've heard that either way, disposables are the way to go in the beginning because the reusable, washable, eco-friendly types are just plain difficult to get to fit just right on those newborns.

It's crunch time ladies and we've got a decision to make!!

I'm looking for pros and cons and any input on the eco-friendly types. I'm looking for deals. I need to know how you save on disposables. Where do you find great prices or coupons? I'll take any and all of your suggestions you're willing to pass on.

I know there are a bunch of you frugal, moms of many out there who have done your homework. Would you mind sharing your tips?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Tradition/Novena

Today begins the St. Andrew Christmas Novena! We joined in last year and enjoyed adding this to our Advent prayer as a family.

Of course, the novena can be prayed for any petition to be obtained but it is also known to be prayed by/for those wishing to conceive. I believe that our Advent prayers last year were leading our family in preparation for our child we are awaiting the arrival of this year. Believe me, this year we will be praying with heartfelt gratitude to St. Andrew during this beautiful season.

This year we will pray too for so many blogging women I've met whose hearts and arms still remain empty this coming Christmas. We will especially be praying for Mr. and Mrs. B who continue to walk the infertility journey. Mrs. B over at Joy Beyond the Cross offered St. Andrew novena chaplets she made to her readers. I just received mine yesterday and my kids will appreciate it since they enjoyed counting and following along faithfully every evening last year.

Join me in this time of preparation (today until Christmas) in prayer as we make way for the child Jesus to be born in our hearts.

Blessed Advent to all of you!!

Monday, November 29, 2010


While teaching Jonah a lesson in responsibility recently, I was reading the chapter titled 'Responsibility if you have a Sister'.

I read "They cry, get their feelings hurt, and show emotions more than most boys. They are also made smaller and more delicate than boys."

He looked at me puzzled and asked, "what does the word delicate mean?"

While I was searching my brain for a more understandable word for him, he replied, "is that kind of like irritating?"

I suppose to him it probably is. Girls are such unique, complex beings for a five year old brother to understand.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Card Ready?

With the passing of Thanksgiving comes the thoughts and plans for Advent and Christmas. Although we've varied our Christmas card throughout the years between regular greeting cards and photo cards, I'm planning on going with a photo card this year.

My go-to place will be Shutterfly again. I love the ease of using their site and I enjoy the deals especially this time of year. Several years ago I began the tradition of making a photo calendar for hubby to hang up at work. I now do it every year and I think it's always his favorite gift! I've found so much versatility with doing my calendar at Shutterfly and I can find lots of ways to add my TONS of photos each year too. So much more fun to put his calendar together when I don't have to limit my photo number on each page. That calendar is jam-packed each year! Last year was the first time I tried a photo book for my parents as a gift. I compiled photos from throughout the year of time we had spent together and the places we had gone. What a great way to remember the highlights from the year and treasure them. The photo book was a big hit and I'll be creating another one this year again too. Photo books are perfect gifts and so much fun to create!

I couldn't believe all of the card designs on the Shutterfly site! It's hard to pick and choose, but I did single out a few favorites.

A few of my fav Christmas card designs:
Family Wall Red

Nativity Blessing

Diamond Flurries

But with so many to choose from, I don't know how I'll decide!

Of course, finding the perfect photo may be difficult, especially when you have ones like these for options:

Check out Shutterfly's great deals and more of their Christmas cards here. If you are looking for Holiday cards, you can check out this link to find your favorite. Give the perfect gift of a photo calendar like I do and get started with this link.

Are you a Blogger? There's even a 50 FREE card deal for you over here!

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

At Home Manicure

Who needs Oprah's Favorite Things when you've got bloggers who share their finds?! And let me add that ours are far less expensive than Oprah's any day.

I received the Seacret Dead Sea Manicure Set as a birthday gift and I LOVE it!!

As a mom with rare moments for doing a little something extra for myself nor with the assets to afford regular nail care, this product is wonderful. Not a high-maintenance mama, I've never cared to spend salon prices maintaining me. I have, however, enjoyed when my hands are silky smooth and nails look decent.

This product only takes minutes to use every couple of weeks and makes my nails look healthy and shiny, as if they were cared for in a salon. I quickly file and buff the tops of my nails and there are no more flaws or ridges. They seriously shine as if I had clear nail polish on them. And it lasts for weeks!!

Treat yourself or give your hubby numerous hints for this Christmas gift item! It's great for getting and for giving too!

**I'm sure you may be able to find this at some malls depending on your area, in addition to online. My friend found it at MOA for those of you who are local.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ready For The Voyage?

Our family cannot wait for the upcoming Narnia installment, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader! Arriving in theatres December 10th, it's only a couple weeks away!

Reed has been especially fond of Narnia since a very young age, Lily is in love with the movies (and perhaps some of those darling male actors) and I've grown to enjoy the Narnians as well.

I'm not sure if we'll catch it in the theatre, but I certainly hope we can. We've had to wait two years for this and have been counting it down, hate to miss it!

How about you, are you a Narnia fan and looking forward to the movie debut?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Early Morning

I am awake much too early, but cannot sleep.

Baby and I cozy up on the couch in the chilly morning and we enjoy the stillness here.

Together we await the morning light.

He/she stirs and wiggles about while I silently type.

A little one so small and yet so strong that every movement is felt.

It's hard to imagine what it was like before.

A weary heart longing for this moment.

Silent hours shared between the two of us getting to know each other.

Mother and child.

My mind skips ahead several months.

We are here again, but baby is sleeping cradled in my arms.

Imagine the time we will spend together.

Precious moments that we will share.

And perhaps some very sleepless, unhappy nights.

Changes ahead for all of us, but so worth it.

I try to imagine it all, but can't.

So in awe am I of this little wonder and of the God who chose to bring him/her to bless our family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Time For Thanksgiving

Some of you may recall this prayer request. Almost a year later, there's good news! We just found out this week that my cousin is in REMISSION!! His cancer that was found last year and his original diagnosed cancer, are both in remission.

Praise God!

We are definitely celebrating this miracle and thanking God for His healing touch that He laid upon him. Thank you for your prayers too!

Our family is now offering prayers of Thanksgiving for this wonderful news. Please join us in this season of Thankfulness.

Discarding And Reorganizing

I love blogging. I love the little place here in cyberspace that has allowed me to meet so many amazing women of faith, excellent role models and faithful friends.

But sometimes my blog list needs a little revamping. Don't get me wrong, I love reading others' posts. Sometimes though there are certain blogs that just don't 'hit' me as much as they did once upon a time. They last for a season and then I move on. Have you been there? It's not that the writer has nothing important to say, it's just not as pertinent in my life. At some point I came to realize that it's just fine not to be everyones Follower.

Recently I took another look at my list of Favorite blogs and realized that a number of them were ones I just barely skimmed their content when they popped up in Google Read. I do love Reader, don't you?

I also have a habit of Reader becoming a file cabinet of sorts. If there is a post I want to come back to to reread or even if I don't have time to comment and want to later on, I 'star' it and keep it in my Starred File. Every so often I need to do some housekeeping in that folder too because there is just too much stuff in there. Again, a post maybe inspired or touched me for a season (or a day or two) but no longer has the same affect. I've had to learn to let go of those precious Starred posts that just take up space.

Rest assured, if you are a faithful reader/follower/commenter here, I'm still sharing the journey with you and still reading from you. And even if you think that I am not out there reading your posts because I'm simply not commenting, rest assured that I still stop by. I'm just a little more silent these days.

I've also noticed that my numbers in Sitemeter have gone down a bit in recent weeks. No biggie. It's not like my pregnant brain has allowed for a whole lot of profound writing as of late. I hope you don't mind. I also hope the my frequent baby updates and pregnancy related themes have not become too much for you. Bear with me, really, there are other things going on here in our house, but the growing belly seems to be in the forefront of our minds. I'm sure you understand.

I still value my faithful readers and though far away, faithful friends. Thank you for always coming back here and encouraging my days!

And thanks for making it to the end of this otherwise rather boring, blogging housekeeping sort of post.

How do you keep your blog reading list to a minimum? Are you a blog junkie too?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Visiting The Poor Clares

The Poor Clares are a cloistered, contemplative order, seeking union with God through a life of prayer and sacrifice, in the spirit of St. Clare, to whom St. Francis was mentor and guide.

No photos were taken. No children were restless. It's as if the serenity of the Poor Clares convent there upon a hill was a secret retreat. An hour and a half from our day that quickly brought joy and memories.

Our Little Flowers group decided to take a trip to the Poor Clares after learning about St. Clare and the virtue of JOY at our last meeting. Working ahead on our next meeting's virtue of GENEROSITY and our first meeting this year on MERCY, we knew that we could also bring along groceries for the Sisters and put into practice what we're learning as a group.

As it turned out, six of the girls from the group could make it, along with their moms. I also ended up bringing Jonah along and hoped I wouldn't regret it lest he become bored and antsy. You know, I think he enjoyed it just as much as the girls did! When we shared our stories with daddy in the evening, Jonah could rattle off many of the details of the Sisters lives as easily as Lily. I couldn't believe it. He sat still and listened intently.

The girls were wonderful and listened as well as asked excellent questions throughout. Of course, I was ready to jump right in there with them since I was utterly fascinated too!

From what I knew of the Sisters, I knew that they had three Sisters that were Externs (nuns who do not take the vow of Enclosure and therefore are free to take care of the external business matters for the monastery) and I assumed that we would be speaking to one of them. Instead, we walked into the Parlor and there, on the other side of the golden grill stood a beloved Sister in full habit. We actually got to spend our time with Sr. Barbara who is one of the Cloistered Sisters. What an honor! And there, as she stood and shared their daily lives with us, the peace and joy that she also radiated was beyond explainable. She was on that side and we were on this side. She lives a life of simple poverty, prayer and dedication as a bride of our Lord and while there she was on the other side, she also so beautifully shared the mystery of her life within the walls of their community.

There are so many things I'd like to write here and all that Sr. Barabara shared with us, but words couldn't even begin to express or explain them all.

Our visit left not only a memorable impression on myself, but also on my children. What a precious gift Sr. Barbara and the Poor Clares bestowed on us that day. Hopefully this will be a treasured memory that will stay in our hearts and we'll be able to make a return visit in the future.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Geocaching

Inspired by a spark of curiosity while recently reading the Boxcar Children book The Box That Watch Found, Lily and daddy checked out geocaching online. What a fun hobby!

Borrowing my in-laws GPS, we downloaded a couple of nearby locations and went on our adventure. It was cold out there today, but we didn't get any accumulating snow yesterday so we figured we'd better head out while we had the chance.

What a hoot!! We went to three locations and at least were able to locate one of them. It was a lot of fun as a family though and I'm pretty sure we just found a great family activity to do next summer that will also be baby friendly. We can't wait!

Bundled up and ready to go

On our way

Some of us searched

While others played

Daddy found it!

Have you ever tried geocaching? If not, give it a try. Our family highly recommends it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...