Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It Doesn't Always Go As Planned

This Christmas I was taught a lesson in just living in the moment and surrendering my preciously laid-out, perfected plans. Lest you forget, I'm a planner by trade and by choice and I hang on plans that I have laid out weeks before an event. That is just how I operate.

But when a winter storm is predicted and it's threatening to ruin your Christmas, well, at some point you have to make a decision. You either go for it and stuff everything into the van in order to travel on over to your parents or you wait it out with the understanding that you just may be foregoing the beautiful family Christmas you have been anticipating for months.

We chose to wait. And at some point I had to be okay with the fact that this would be my very first Christmas in 31 years that I would not spend Christmas day with my parents. I will admit, I cried and was emotional as I flip-flopped back and forth between staying and leaving. Afterall, the rest of my family who were to also be in attendance at my parents' home, would not be able to arrive due to the storm. Although I dearly wanted to spend the time with my parents, we would also be missing those who could not join us. Our family enjoys extending the Christmas Season for as long as we can, so who's to say that it has to be done ON December 25th? My parents assured me that they would be fine and we didn't need to venture out with the kids on the snow-covered roads.

In the end, it did all work out and we spent four days mostly hunkered down at home. Doing nothing in particular, but spending time together just the four of us. We played outside in the snow and went for walks. Visited the family who is near (just down the driveway and next door), played with our new gadgets and we ate to our hearts content.

Even though it wasn't the Christmas I had envisioned, it was a memorable one filled with many treasured moments as a family. That's what was most important, afer all.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Christmas Eve:
It's snowing!

It's still snowing!

Snow, snow, snow....shovel, plow, shovel, plow. And repeat.

I'm hoping for a lull in the weather after the 15 inches (roughly) of snow we have received over the last few days. Staying hunkered down around home, which led to a different kind of Christmas for us. I'll save that for another post though.

Enjoy your Christmas Weekend!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From Our Home To Yours....

....Merry Christmas!

Peace and blessings to you and yours this Christmas Season!

Monday, December 21, 2009


A little boy dancing around and this sing-song rhyme on his lips:

'It's time for Christmas. For Christmas. It's better than birthdays. Than birthdays. Because you get more toys on Christmas than on your birthday. On your birthday.'

Sounds like I've got my work cut out for me in the next four days. I think Christmas reminders are in order and a little brushing up on Christmas/gift etiquette and manners.

Oh boy. We'll be busy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hi-Lo: December 18th


1. Last weekend we spent plenty of time around home baking and outside sledding. It was a relief after the previous weekend. Wonderful family time.

2. On Monday, I had lunch with two friends. It was so nice to catch up again and visit, minus the little ones.

3. I'm feeling better this week, after having a rough time last week. Food wasn't enticing and my tummy was very upset (which would lead you to make an assumption here, but no, it wasn't that). I concluded that it had to do with my hormonal changes and my Metformin. It seems that it's working for me and making good changes, but my body doesn't always like that and respond well to it. SO GLAD this week was better!

4. Sweet baby girls were brought into the world this last week. Congratulations to Meredith and Jessica on their baby blessings!

5. I received Stacey's cookbook in the mail the other day. It is so darn cute! (Why don't you have one yet?!) I'm eager to try many of the recipes, but I had to whip up this yummy Cinnamon Coffee Cake first:

(Psst....I have an extra copy for a giveaway this winter...Stay Tuned!)


1. My third Great-Niece still has not arrived. We're hoping she makes it in time for her pre-Christmas debut! Hang in there Angie!

What were your Highs and Lows this week?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


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Two years ago I began my existance in this secret society and that sometime seemingly only exists in my mere imagination. A simple member of the community in Blogville/BlogWorld.

I started out needing a place of hope, a place to write and share, a place all my own. It was here that I hoped to find my strength to continue delighting in the Lord with a Hopeful Heart. The day I began was intentional. It was not a random day to just start up a blog. While already in the midst of an infertility diagnosis, I chose to work on nurturing my hopeful heart here on a day that my family already held as a day of hope in our home. Every December 17th is remembered and commemorated as we honor our Christmas Child who was due to be born this day. We remember our child, Natalie Noel, who was miscarried at just nine weeks.

Look how far we've come. Although some things remain the same, others do not. I have been able to open my heart and share it with more of you than I would have imagined. In doing so, more often than not, I have received great healing and strength.

And the wonderful friends I have met! And how much I have been encouraged and supported in my journey of faith, motherhood, womanhood and home education! So much more than I had imagined!

Thank you for visiting me here and honoring me with your presence. Thank you for finding what I write interesting enough for you to comment. Thank you for your generous prayers. Without readers, I wouldn't have as much of a purpose in my typing. I'll keep praying for you, and you keep praying for me. And one day, just maybe we'll get to meet in the real world outside of a computer screen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Several things came upon my path yesterday and in the recent week that I couldn't help but notice.

Although these weren't any huge 'light bulb moments' or heavenly enlightenment followed by choirs of angels, they were enough for me to string together as little pearls of hope. Reminders that God is up to something very good and (hopefully) very soon it will be revealed.

Last week, Elizabeth shared of a friend who recently stated on facebook that she was "laughing as Sarah laughed today" and Elizabeth made the quick connection that this friend was expecting. She found out later that, Colleen was indeed pregnant.

This struck me and has stayed with me since then. The laughter of Sarah. And for a number of reasons I can relate. The name, the barren womb, you know, all of those things. So I have pondered the story of Sarah and Abraham and their prayers for a child and that when Sarah found out she was to bear a son, her response was to laugh. I then recalled a class I once went to while single, given by a priest and he happened to read the scripture verse about Sarah's finding out her pregnancy and I remember him repeating and emphasizing the response, "and Sarah laughed". That has always struck me and stayed with me. And now, I know why. Thinking on it, I think that is exactly the same way I too will respond, hopefully one day again soon. Laughter at God's greatness and goodness that He would see fit to answer my prayers.

Yesterday, I pulled a book off of the shelf. One I had even forgotten was there. It was a journal for Mom-to-Be that I had while pregnant with Lily. Each day had a scripture verse to pray and it encouraged praying for your child within your womb. I found it peculiar that it would suddenly stick out among the others and I'd be drawn to it. I flipped through it, remembering the days of pregnancy so long ago. And then I came to the scripture verses in the very back of the book and my eyes immediately fell upon this verse from Genesis 21:6:

And Sarah said, "God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me."

It seemed only fitting that I'd run across another verse on the following page, during this Advent when our family has specifically been praying to St. Zachariah and Elizabeth:

Do not be afraid, Zachariah, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son. Luke 1:13

Fittingly enough, upon returning to my computer in the afternoon, I came upon a blog with a sidebar scripture of the day. Yesterday's was from Job 8:21:

God will let you laugh again; you'll raise the roof with shouts of joy.

I continue to wait in joyful hope this Advent and I know that when I laugh again, you will hear it and join me in the celebration.

Happy Third Week of Advent!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Yearning Heart

I'm reminded that even in Advent, my heart aches. This is my MOST FAVORITE time of year, but I still haven't gotten the hang of living through it in complete joy. Five years later, my heart still yearns for the child we were supposed to have the week before Christmas. Our Christmas Child. And secretly since, I have still yearned to bring home a Christmas Blessing one day. A newborn to hold and cuddle in the late hours as the room is only illuminated by the Christmas tree. Yes, perhaps that is a bit too fairy tale and unrealistic, but I still dream it any way.

Instead, I find myself trying desperately to cling to the Child that is brought to us Christmas morning as I long to find the peace of mind and heart that the season should bring.

'Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord' ~St. Augustine~

Monday, December 14, 2009

Goodies In The Kitchen

Our kitchen has been hustling and bustling most every day throughout the last week. Cookies and Goodies are produced most every day and our freezer is filling quickly. This is the most wonderful time of the year! My favorite, remember?

Do we perhaps have more than enough treats for our little family of four? Well, of course, but there is just something about the time spent in the kitchen with the kids and the sweet aroma that fills our home. While all of the delicacies are tempting, we do tend to ration them out quite nicely and they serve their purpose well into the new year. We also do our best to share them with family and we arrive bearing Christmas goodies when we go to visit. Although I am no Martha Stewart, I do my best and I also realize that not everyone has the time or energy to put into their own cookie creations. It's a fun family memory and tradition to share with our children while they are young.

Treasured moments...except when mama is shouting at the little elves about accurate measurements and to keep their grubby paws out of the mixing bowl! Little sneaks, they are. All part of the fun, I suppose.

Here's a little of what's been filling our kitchen:

Caramel Truffles (seriously, easier than you'd think)

Cookie Dough Truffles pictured here with Jubilee Jumbles

Chocolate Cookie Bark(super easy, kid-friendly recipe)

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Can anyone name the common ingredient in all of these? This mommy loves her chocolate! Should we meet after the holidays and you notice I'm looking a little plumper, let's just agree not to mention it. Alright?

Happy Advent Baking!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Our Busy Schoolroom

'Tis the season for Christmas preparation! And we're gearing up with lots of coloring pages, crafts and numerous projects.

Each day, we're creating an ornament for our Jesse Tree along with Holy Heroes Advent Adventure. And then there are plenty of printable coloring pages, crosswords and word searches that they offer too!

I found these online that we'll use for coloring and some will be used in conjunction with other planned crafts:

(Check out Apples4Theteacher, to print yours. And here, for the religious themed ones.)

If your basket is filled with Jan Brett books for the Christmas/Winter Seasons (shh..don't tell, I think I've got EVERY one from our local library!), then you can find plenty of printables like these, over here.

I've also pulled out an old issue of The Mailbox magazine for Dec./Jan. and found a good number of reindeer, gingerbread man, Santa and snowman simple craft projects. I hope to share them as we finish them.

With all of these fun projects we are keeping busy, but not overly so. We're taking our time and enjoying it all as the winter weather settles in around us. Enjoying our days and preparing our hearts this Advent.

Did I mention all the baking that's going on in the kitchen?! We'll save that for another day. Oh, the goodies!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thoughts On St. Nick

Yesterday was the feast of St. Nicholas and we celebrated. Where, then, are my photos? Well, they are captured in my memory this year and not on my camera. And I'm okay with that.

A whirlwind of a weekend that kept us moving from one place to another, pretty much left the camera in my purse as I became more tired by weekend's end.

You see, we aren't big 'movers and shakers', my family and I. We enjoy getting out, but enjoy simple bliss at home on a weekend too. This past weekend was a busy one for us. We headed to my parent's house an hour away to spend the afternoon on Saturday and the night as well.

There was a Holiday Tour of Homes in my hometown we decided to take in. It was only four older homes with an abundance of history, but they were all decorated for Christmas. Some, more than others and I'll admit that I should have photos of the first home in particular. Oh was it gorgeous! Every nook and cranny was decorated tastefully, creatively and beautifully. But then, the owner's daughter did admit that her mother has over 30 bins FULL of decorations for Christmas. (And I complained about bringing out our 10 or so!) After the tour, we headed to Saturday evening Mass and a special guest arrived for the children afterward. Yes, good St. Nick made an appearance and brought treat bags with an apple and candy for the kids. And Jonah? He hid under the pew! Oh yes, he still wanted the bag of goodies, but wasn't about to come out for them. Bless her heart, an older lady after Mass found that Jonah was without and went and found him one of the leftover bags.

And overnight rest and then it was up at 5:30 am. For little boys who had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of treats from St. Nick all week, the time was none too early. But then, upon seeing that his gift was a book and a small set of Kid K'nex, instead of a beloved Thomas the train item....well, you can only imagine. After all, everyone wants to wake up to a little boy crying and shouting because he got a gift, right? No, we didn't have the cute little child all grateful for the thoughtfulness of St. Nick like many other blogging mom's did. But, he did come around...eventually. Credit to big sister though, she thoroughly loved her gift!

With that wonderful start to the day, Hubby and I got ready and made our half hour drive that morning to speak to engaged couples at our diocesan Marriage Course weekend. Do you remember our topic? Sexuality, in case you forgot. I wasn't feeling well, dealing with the nerves I usually get and then making a bad choice and chugging a cup of hot cocoa just before speaking. That hit me fast and left me feeling less-than-chipper about speaking on the topic at hand. I did muddle through, thanks to Reed's assistance.

And on from there we went. Picked up the kids in a flash at my parents and then off to our homeschool group's St. Nick party. I brought my cookies to share and there were plenty of other goodies and snacks for potluck. Afterward, the children sat for a story and were surprised with a visitor. Any guesses? Also want to guess which little boy ran from the front of the room? Yup, mine. Again, St. Nick treat bags for all the children, followed by a Talent Show from the children who had the courage. Of which, my children, had none. We've gotta work on that.

It was a wonderful weekend to celebrate St. Nick in many realms and be reminded of my fond childhood memories of our St. Nicholas traditions and my uncle who dressed up each year, stood outside, blessed our home and left us treats. All while we watched and knelt from our dining room window.

It also brought to mind that next year we should change our St. Nick traditions and just stick to an orange and some candy for our kids. It would make the heartbreak of children so much easier.

Did You Get That?

During school this morning, while learning about Love of God and using our My Jesus and I flip chart.

Teacher: So, Mary and Joseph lived with Jesus in Nazareth. Joseph was a carpenter. What do you think a carpenter is?

Student: I don't know...(thinking)...A guy who makes carpet stuff for people.

Teacher: Well, yes, carpenter does sound like someone who would do something with carpet.

It's amazing how we forget to teach the little basics sometimes. And, the things we hear and understand aren't exactly the same as our children interpret.

It was good to have a little chuckle on a Monday morning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Faith Like Potatoes

We recently watched this movie through Netflix as a family. And we all really enjoyed it. But I must ask, what is with me and movies with accents recently? We struggled to understand large portions of this movie and ended up opting to get those subtitles working in a hurry! Of course, this also came in handy as some of the characters spoke in Zulu.

It seemed like a rather simple, straight-forward plot identifying a man's journey back to simple faith. In the beginning, we were stunned by the anger (and probably underlying sadness within)that the main character, Angus Buchan, exhibited.

We watched as the Buchan family, farmers, moved out of the conflict in Zambia to South Africa and struggled with their mere plot of land. They meet many challenges throughout and their faith is tested. This leads Angus to a deep conversion as his desires turn toward those of spirituality and faith and away from the wealth and prosperous farming he had tried to attain.

I enjoyed the characters and watching the beauty of the South African people. Many lessons to be learned, I'd say. I must admit, that the character of Simeon especially touched me. His timid and forbearing nature shined through. Acting or not, it was a believable character anyone would fall in love with.

Probably not my absolute favorite movie (am I that hard to please?), but an inspiring one for sure.

Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Today begins a beautiful Advent novena. Elizabeth has shared about this prayer a number of times, but this is the first time I will be joining in.

Read more about the novena/chaplet from Elizabeth here.

The following prayer is to be recited 15 times each day from November 30th (the feast of St. Andrew) until Christmas.

(If you would like to print the prayer, click here)

In our home, the novena will make a wonderful addition to our family Advent evening devotion. What a beautiful prayer to pray together!

In reading Elizabeth's post, I also found that St. Andrew is also patron of women desiring to conceive. Another reason this will be perfect for our family to pray as we continue to wait in joyful hope for a Christmas miracle baby.

St. Andrew, Pray For Us!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas Gift Deal For You!

Do you have a chef/cook on your Christmas list? Are you looking for some new recipes? Would you like to support an at-home, homeschooling mom?

I've got the gift for you!

A dear friend IRL and in blog world, Stacey, has used her culinary and creative talents to compile a cookbook. You won't want to miss it!

She has just put it up for sale on her blog through PayPal. And, because she is so generous and thrifty, she is offering a discount only until Sunday!

So, get yours now!! What are you waiting for??!!

Please take the opportunity to support Stacey's work and get a little Christmas shopping done too.

Oh, and might I say, I am especially fond of her SUPER EASY, make ahead and freezer friendly Breakfast Burritos and Sandwiches. Oh.so.yummy.

Thank you Stacey for sharing this with us! I cannot wait to get mine in the mail!

Remember, click on over here to get your copy (or two)!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(Almost)Wordless Wednesday: Gobble, Gobble!

Turkeys, Pilgrims & Snow! Oh my!

Projects from this week:

Pilgrim Hat snacks:

Thanks Jamie!

Outdoors Today:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Final Week!!

I'm checking and double-checking my lists. Running the numbers on the calculator and consulting the Christmas budget. Checking the pantry and pulling out recipes. I'm literally picking my brain to be sure that I have everything covered.

You remember when I mentioned almost a month ago that I had a goal? And that it was to be out of the stores BY December 1st? That's next week. You know what? I think I'm gonna make it.

I've shopped in-store and online. I've cut down our gift giving. Made a couple of cuts in our Christmas card list. I am minimizing stress.

The Christmas cards are written out (we kept it pretty simple this year) and addressed, gifts tucked away and even a couple of more time consuming and heartfelt gifts have been created and ordered. Even our Advent book basket/craft projects/family reading are shaping up. There is sweet relief in all of this. More than I had imagined.

Of course, there will inevitably be something that I missed or forgot. But then, that's why I've got hubby and I'm sure he'll make an emergency stop in the store for me if needed. It should only be for a gift certificate or two or the obvious groceries I couldn't stock up on.

But I will be out of the stores and in the comfort of my home next week. And if last week's quick run into the local Walmart is any indication (of which was already playing Christmas music), well, then I'll be avoiding a whole slew of crazy shoppers and their nasty coughs and colds too.

Prayer Request *update*

Earlier this month I asked for immediate prayers for a family member, but at that time I was unable to share more information. I am now able to share a little more with you and once again ask that you continue those prayers.

The prayer request was for my cousin, who is just a few months younger than myself. He is a physician who is working on finishing his residency at the Mayo Clinic. He is very intelligent. He is most humble. He is a husband and a father to two dear little boys. He is loved and supported by many. He has cancer.

Just over 7 years ago, the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was diagnosed and was predicted to progress quite rapidly due to the amount there was in his body. It was decided that my cousin stood better odds by waiting it out, without drastic treatment. He did have some removals of small tumors and lymphs through the years, but no chemo or radiation. He continued to be watched and monitored and several times over these years we have been notified that certain tumors have become bigger. Through all of this, my cousin pressed on and continued with life and living each day to the fullest. It was only until this latest occurance that his fellow colleagues in his unit were told that he was sick. All of these years, he didn't even tell them. He worked the gruelling hours of residency and surgery and has done his best to be present with his family as much as he is able.

Earlier this month, he was hospitalized due to extreme pain he was having. The PET scan revealed that one of the tumors had grown to the size of a grapefruit. His cancer has become more agressive. He immediately began treatment through five different types of chemotherapy. Each with its own side effects and dangers.

So, I come to you today to again ask that you help me wrap your arms around him in prayer. Today, he will begin his second round of treatment. This is an especially difficult time with the holidays approaching, but also with the unsettled realities. My cousin and his wife are strong Catholics, in fact, she is a convert. Our family is filled with prayerful Catholics. And yet, we also realize that there is strength in numbers and the cloak of prayer from faithful prayer warriors is powerful.

Please continue to pray, especially today. Perhaps, if you can, again pray to Our Lady of Good Remedy. Thank you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweatin' To The Rosary

Almost two months ago when I clicked to read my daily dose Faith & Family Live! and spotted this one, I must admit that I was slightly confused. I re-read the post title and literally thought that it was the weirdest thing I'd heard in awhile. I mean, I've heard of both exercising and of praying the rosary and have done both, clearly. But had never heard the two intertwined quite like this.

Feeling oddly inspired to learn more, I went on to the website to learn more about The Rosary Workout. At the time I was in a sort of exercising lull, if you want to call it that. I felt that I was at a good fitness level and really lacking the inspiration toward my exercise routine. I get like that sometimes. The more I read, the more I figured there really wasn't much too lose and lots more to be gained.

How could I not at least test it out and try it? I could add spiritual growth and renewal at the same time as working toward continued health. I could use the extra prayer time. I could use a new way to lead me into deeper meditation. I could use some guidance from someone who clearly knew fitness. So I tried it.

Seven weeks later, I'm still on my Rosary Workout journey. Although I was tempted to skip ahead since my fitness level was more advanced than 'beginner', I did at least follow along the first few weeks in order to walk through the process and find the rhythm and beauty of the workout. I am at a level now where I am doing it three days a week and there are a few other days that when the weather is still nice I take a walk with the kids or some other type of exercise instead. I did eventually jump ahead to where it fit my fitness level a little better and am just about into the interval training. I'm enjoying it. It's allowed for more frequent praying of the rosary and again feeling wrapped in the arms of our Blessed Mother.

The Workout is very well laid out and designed. It can be for the most beginner of beginners, the postpartum mom who is ready to get moving a little more and for those of us in the frigid Midwest it will be wonderful to keep up with in the winter months too. It can be simply implemented with or without exercise equipment (elliptical, recumbent bike, treadmill,etc.) or used just plain old walking or jogging. Pretty versatile and easily accessed. No excuses or limitations. I like to try other exercise routines on the days I don't do this workout and if I am able, but adding this each week certainly lends a hand in keeping my routines from becoming just that and then to my eventual lack of interest.

If you are looking for something new or for something inexpensive (did I mention it's just under $10 and is in ebook format?) to jump start you in the right direction, I'd give this a try! If you are looking for a deeper devotion to Mary and greater consistency in a meaningful, prayerful rosary, this is a great tool.

Obviously, if you have not exercised in awhile and have physical limitations and conditions, as with all exercising, consult your doctor before beginning.

*Editor's Note: For the record, I decided to use the above post photo of a random, exceptionally fit woman, rather than one of myself. Being all modest and all. Well, that and that I don't feel like I look anything like that woman! We're all a work in progress and it all starts with tiny steps...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Flowers

We finished our second Little Flowers Girls Club meeting last week. I've been meaning to blog more on it, but struggle with actually getting photos taken at the meetings.

I've enjoyed leading the group and doing the planning. Of course, none of that would even be possible without the many posts that Jessica has so willingly shared. I mean, really, why reinvent the wheel when everything has been so wonderfully laid out for you? Jessica has faithfully blogged every meeting and shared photos, documents to make copies from, coloring page links and craft ideas. How much do we all *love* that woman??!! Thank you again!

So, I have faithfully used her suggestions and our group is enjoying it. I did venture out a little bit on projects based on our group size (just 6 girls for now) and what I could find locally at the craft stores.

We create folder pages for each month, with the saint, verse and virtue on each. This will be a wonderful keepsake for them as they fondly remember their days in the Little Flowers Club.

We held the first meeting at my home and I was in charge of snacks too. This was my feeble attempt at decorating cupcakes with our flower of the month, the sunflower. The girls liked them any way.

Here are the girls this month, working on their folder page for "Hope" and the Ivy flower.

At last week's meeting I was able to get a photo of all of the girls minus one who didn't make it. Aren't they cute with their sashes on? No badges yet since it was just the second meeting, but for the first meeting I had found sunflower buttons to give each of the girls as they began their time in our club.

And finally, here's our craft projects so far. Last month the girls each made a pipe cleaner sunflower and this month they decorated a flower pot to keep their Little Flowers crafts in. As the year goes on, I've found some creative ways to make some of the flowers that are presented each meeting and each girl can keep her flowers in her keepsake flower pot.

The club is proving to be a lot of fun for both Lily and I and something to look forward to each month. But then, who wouldn't look forward to sashes and badges; flowers and virtues; crafts and snacks; friends and fun? It's a win-win for everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mama Bear

Do you ever feel like a big mama bear? We get all protective of our little cubs and Lord bless that person who may ever stand between us!! We will smother our cubs and take care of them until our dying day, bless our souls.

But sometimes, this mama bear gets weary and drained. Tired and tried. And you? Well, the last couple of weeks my little male cubbie has taken to an even earlier rising time. To say that this dear child has ever been on a consistent, set routine in his sleeping habits would be the blunder of the year.

The thing is this: He's getting up at 6:00 AM! Understand that at best, in a good phase, he'd sleep until 7:00 or perhaps even 7:30. I don't think that it is the time change, although it does seem incidental that he fell back into this latest pattern about then. Realistically, I think it was about time. We had been having too long of a 'good run' with him and it was time to switch it up.

Is it the worst thing? No. The part that is a major issue with me is that hubby has been leaving for work earlier (5:30am) and that leaves me to start the day. Just mama bear and her cubs. That also leaves me with starting the day by 6:00am. I had made this transition months ago in order to allow me to get ready/showered for my day, along with my morning prayer time. I NEED both. I NEED to do both right away in the morning! So, you see where there's a problem.

Thankfully, I've been able to maintain Cubbie's nap most every day. He needs it. I need it. I need the down-time or extra time with his sister and it works best at that time. Even if naps were eliminated due to his early rising (I'm already anticipating that you mama's are ready to suggest that in my comment box), which we've tried, he's still way too tired in the evening. Left alone, by supper time he's in a heap and zonked out on the couch. Due to that and most recently, my own sanity, I keep the naps. This is a strong-willed, energetic, spirited little boy we are talking here. And he can be a VERY ANGRY bear cub, very easily and very quickly in the course of any given day. Do you see why I am weary?

I'm muddling through and realize that it is but another stage and season. It will pass and we'll be on to the next (O Lord, please let it be a good one!!). But for now, should I be short and cross with you, you will understand. I will do my best to keep a smile on my face and a glimmer in my eye.

Excuse me though if we cross paths and I am not in the least bit chipper, because some days I feel and look more like this:

*Editor's Note: I realize that all of you mom's reading this who have more than two children and many more that are younger than mine, are probably chuckling at my complaint. And rightfully so, I give each of you credit at the amazing things you do each day for your children and I don't know how you do it so faithfully. But for me right now, this is just the lot I've been given. Not by my own choice, but by God's plan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Advent Plans

I think I've got it all figured out and we're ready to roll into Advent. I asked, you answered. I knew you'd come through and help me out.

Thank you!!

I perused, I clicked, I read, I made lists and now I've got an idea of where we are headed. Relatively simple for this year, but there are just SO MANY ideas if you look for them.

I checked out these places:

O Night Divine blog

Love2Learn's Advent reviews

Elizabeth's Advent/Christmas reading lists on her sidebar

Tracy's Circle Time/Advent Plans

Jessica's December book list on her sidebar

From there, this is what I did:

1. Signed us up for the Advent Adventure through Holy Heroes. We enjoyed all they offered for Lent, so we should enjoy it for Advent as well. I also found out that this year they will walk us through Advent using the Jesse Tree, which was one of the many suggestions I received. So, I'm not going to have to do any further looking on that subject.

2. Ordered these:

**From Adoremus Books:

Destination: Bethlehem (for our family Advent Adventure this year)

Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers (for our bookshelf)

**From Catholic Company:

Advent Reflections Come, Lord Jesus (for my own Advent season reflection)

3. Put these on my library list and will request them this week:

Christmas in the Barn

Christmas in the Country

A Christmas Story

The Donkey's Dream

The Legend of the Candy Cane

The Legend of the Christmas Stocking

The Legend of the Christmas Tree

The Light of Christmas

While Angels Watch

Ideas, ideas, ideas! There are so many options. I think we'll have a good start with what I've listed here and perhaps whatever else we plan along the way.

I've filled this post with lots of things for you to clickety-click on, but if you are still looking for great ideas hopefully this will inspire you to just head on over to those places. Have fun with it and prepare away!

I'm looking forward to celebrating the beautiful season of advent peacefully, while preparing our hearts for the birth of Our King.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On A November Saturday

This family of four took a break from things that we 'should' be doing and decided to enjoy it together on a family outing.

* We surprised Jonah by recommending we make the hour drive to go see his much awaited Thomas movie in the theatre. Dare I say how excited he was? If you've interpreted anything here about my dear boy, you know that perhaps we should've named him Thomas instead.

Might I add that the movie, seriously, wasn't all that bad. Perfectly timed at 50 minutes and it included 4 'shorts' to equal one film. A new engine was introduced and more recently newer ones were included, along with the old favorites. The engines were also the newer version (we like to call them the "funny faces" version), which are the ones who talk and their mouths and eyes move. So much more enjoyable for us parents who are tired of the plain old ones since we've seen them OVER & OVER AGAIN.

And yes, there were plenty of little boys in their Thomas shirts with their parents and grandparents. Plenty of little laughs. Plenty of gasps from the adults when something went wrong. And plenty of shout outs from the crowd. Cute kids movie and for my HUGE Thomas fan, it was perfect. Even Lily tolerated it quite well.

I think it's gonna take awhile to get "Splish, Splash, Splosh. I'm gonna need a wash." out of my head though.

* While we were in that city, we visited the HUGE craft store there that I *love* so much. They just happened to be having their big Holiday Open House with 50% off sale. I had a 30 minute time limit in order to catch the movie, to which I'm sure hubby was most grateful. Found some simple items to add to my Christmas decor. That was thrilling for me!!

* After hearing about Jamie's visit to the new, nearest ALDI last week, I was tempted to give it a try. And well, we were in the right city so we gave it a try. Thanks to Jamie's failed trip, I was one step ahead and knew what to expect. Say, for example, the quarter that it costs in order to get your cart from the cart corral. Or the fact that you should bring in your own reusable bags if you have them. Another note of information if you haven't been there would be that they only take CASH & DEBIT cards. NO credit cards or checks. Good to know. Thankfully, our half-full cart did not exceed our cash on hand.

Kind of a different change of pace there with some definite differences from conventional grocery stores, but we did save a good chunk of change and we kinda liked it. We don't have conveniences like this type of store near us, so when we do our usual run for those items that last us awhile, it will probably be added to our list of places to stop along with Sam's Club.

* We used Lily's October Book It certificate at Pizza Hut and enjoyed our lunch out. But being a bit cautious around public places and especially more so this year, the overly crowded Hut did bother me just a bit. We'll have to take our preventive measures now that we're back home.

There you have it. Although this is not a typical Saturday for our little family, it is fun to have little adventures out like this one. It is nice to take advantage of our growing-up-too-fast children and be able to just GO somewhere. I just don't always remember that and see it that way.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hi Lo: November 13th


1. I'm still basking in the glow of sweet memories from last week's concert.

2. We had some warmer weather last Saturday, so Reed and I were able to get all of the Christmas lights hung on the house. No small task for homeowners of a two story home!

3. I got some great deals due to some great sales last Saturday. A little more Christmas shopping done at Christopher & Banks and a local home decor shop. Found a number of additions that will look wonderful on my Thanksgiving table.

4. We held our second Little Flowers meeting this week. We had so much fun! It's SO worth the effort when your little girl says the next day that "the whole meeting was so much fun."


1. Lily has a cold. And a runny nose. *sniffle*

2. Jonah is back to a too-early morning routine. Those aren't ever good days in this house. It leads to a weary mommy and very growly little boy.

3. I pulled something in my lower back doing something ordinary early in the week. Still hurts, just not all the time. Hoping to avoid the chiropractor's office. It's been enough to keep me away from my exercising, which isn't good since I was just starting to fall back into a good routine.

4. Reed found out that a couple of moles he recently had removed need further surgery/treatment since they were skin cancer. Neither should be a big deal, but with the one he will have to have the skin removed in the area layer by layer and tested until they get to the layer that is without the cancer. Thankfully, it isn't bad enough that they are concerned since he can't even get in for that appointment until January.

How was your week? What were your Highs and Lows?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Because Manners Are Just For The Holidays

Apparently, my daughter has decided to take it upon herself to get this house crackin' in time for Thanksgiving. She decided to single out her brother today at lunch.

"Jonah, you really need to work better on your manners. It's almost time for Thanksgiving. Stop talking with food in your mouth, no yelling at the table, no playing and STOP showing people your food! Chew with your mouth closed."

And while she was at it, dear brother left the table and got this ear full:

"And another one! Don't leave the table until everyone is finished!"

Well then, my work here is done.

Truth be told, we could use a little manner maintenance. Little girl not excluded.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Feeling Like A V.I.P.

Since I shared with you on Wednesday that I was eagerly anticipating an evening out at a concert on Thursday, I figured I'd share the details and the photos. Not really that you probably NEED to see them or wanna hear about it....

However, Reed and I rarely take an evening out, so for me it was worth mentioning and sharing.

Okay, and I'll admit it, I just had to gloat a little. Yes, I am human.

Having pulled a few strings by merely asking how we could attain the best possible seats since we were huge Mark Schultz FAN-atics, we were granted a favor and even invited to the pre-show 'Meet & Greet' with the artists. To which I was MOST THRILLED. I'm geeky like that when it comes to Mark Schultz concerts. Which, ahem, this was number *FIVE*!!

We got this photo with our favorite Piano-Man, Mark Schultz, and the gals of Point of Grace:

Aren't we cute??!! Probably doesn't look so good that I am leaning more toward another man and less toward my own man,huh? All I can say is that I get so star-struck and giddy as a schoolgirl...tehe...

These were our seats:

Which were FRONT & CENTER. And merely 10 feet from stage!!

Basking in our 'Date Night' glow:

The gals from Point of Grace were on stage first. And let me tell you they can put on a concert! Great band, beautiful harmony and such gorgeous women of faith. In a way, you can't help but compare them to the Dixie Chicks. Remember them? Any way, POG ladies have similarities with them and even pull off a bit of a country twang as well.

And then, after intermission, Mark came on stage. We roared, we hooted, we hollered. (Well, I don't know what everyone else did, but with me being giddy and all that's what I did!) And we all geared up for some sweet entertainment. We sang along, laughed and were on our feet as Mark pulled off another exciting concert.

And the piano! Yes, there was plenty of Mark behind the piano doing what he does best, playing and inspiring with his voice, music and lyrics. He's such a wonderful performer and storyteller that the audience is quickly drawn in. It's like an evening with a friend. And I take it all in and thoroughly enjoy.every.minute.of.it. Sweetness to my soul.

And a little more singing with POG's back-up band:

With all of the special treatment and with such an excellent concert, it made for a very memorable evening out/date night for which I am most grateful. And not too soon will forget.

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