Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's Still Winter

The cold temperatures have returned and we received more snow again the other day. Our world here is again a Winter Wonderland. A reminder that we live in MinneSNOWta and winter is never considered 'over' until sometime in May! Oh well. It's a time to look how far we've come and that this too shall pass, even if it is another month for sure (probably longer) before we can officially put the season behind us. I eagerly await spring with its brown grass (no really, it doesn't truly get green until late spring) and flowers peeking out everywhere. I just had to take a moment to look back at some of the cute pictures I was able to capture over the winter. I will admit, white snow does make for some treasured memories for my children's photo albums!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Quick Take Friday

I'm going to try hard this week to keep my Quick Takes, well, Quick.

Here we go!

1. The biggest thing I have to mention is the newest addition to our extended family.
Our nephew and his wife brought baby Maria Lynn into the world early Monday morning. At only 6 lbs. she is a precious sight and a beautiful little girl. I can't wait to have sweet Maria around to watch her grow. Her birth has also sparked the song from Sound of Music with the line, "how do you solve a problem like Maria?" to repeat and repeat in my head! It's hard to believe at 30 years old, I am great-auntie for the second time. I have another little great-niece, Olivia, who is 10 months old. That's just crazy to me, especially since we're still hoping to keep having more of our own little additions yet in our home. Of course, Miss Lily is thrilled to have another little girl around!

2. Last Friday, I decided to have the kids work on collages. I pulled out stray craft materials out of the bottom of the crafting drawers and then added feathers, buttons, pom poms, foamies, stickers and whatever else my hands could carry. I put them on the counter and let the kids go crazy and create their own collages. They did great! We're always doing projects and crafts around here, but it had been awhile since we had done collages. They were some pretty neat projects when they were all finished. They enjoyed it and I loved their finished projects so much that I decided to declare 'Collage Fridays' every week. We'll see what they come up with today!

3. We have this children's music CD in our home and somehow it just managed to get lost under a pile of stuff. I recently discovered it again and we've been listening to it these last couple weeks and the kids love it. I like to listen to the cute little Catholic songs too! It's cute to see my kids jumping around dancing and after only hearing the disk once or twice they were already singing parts of the songs while playing around the house. I love it when I find a CD that's good for the little ears in my home, but isn't annoying for mommy (like some children's music Cd's tend to be). I strongly recommend this one if you have little ones in your home!

4. We're trying to plan a Winter Getaway. I better explain, before you're thinking we're going to Mexico to escape this cold weather (I wish!). Last year, hubby had a hip surgery in February and prior to it we decided to take the kids to a local hotel that had a huge indoor water park. We found an inexpensive winter rate was available, including water park tickets and we went for it. We ate pizza in our room and just stayed one night, but the kids thought it was wonderful. We called it our Winter Getaway and it kind of stuck. We assured the little ones this winter, back in December, that we'd once again continue the tradition. Well, March is next week and we still haven't settled on a date to go. It's kind of been one thing or another that comes up and it keeps getting pushed back. We're really looking forward to doing it, but we better get on it soon or we'll have to call it our Spring Getaway. And who really needs a Spring Getaway in Minnesota? Not me. I'm all for Spring and no snow. I'd rather have something to look forward to (even if it's not Mexico) in the winter, even if it is local and only for an overnight.

5. Did you see this picture yesterday?
I did and boy did it make me upset! Ok, so the picture was one thing, but somewhere above it I read the headline 'Faithful Catholics around the world celebrate Ash Wednesday' and that probably irked me even more. I mean, really?! We're talking about faithful Catholics and a picture of VP Joe Biden in the same article? UGH. Who wrote this? Oh wait, biased media. All I can say is that they could've found thousands of Catholics around the world to take pictures of that would've actually fit the 'faithful Catholic' stereotype, who are not the Vice President. But, it's Lent and I don't even want to get into it any further, just had to mention it though.

6. We're trying to keep our household focused during this season of Lent on prayer, fasting and repentance. I put together a Lenten Mantle. Ok, we don't have a mantle, but we're using the top of our entertainment center instead. Below is a picture of it. Simple to put together, but very effective. After only 2 days of it being there, it's already taken on meaning for me every time I enter the living room.

7. To finish today, I have a little story from in my home this week. I have to preface it by mentioning that almost 5 years ago, at 8 weeks pregnant I miscarried. We named our little one Natalie Noel. Lily & Jonah know of our little one and quite often conversation drifts toward Natalie and the angel in Heaven she is to both of them. With that, here's the story that the kids told me the other day. I wasn't present when it happened, but they told me the whole conversation later. Lily & Jonah were out playing in the snow and trying to climb a tree. Jonah was stuck at the base of the tree and couldn't get down because there was ice below. Lily reminded him that Natalie always helps and that she was right there watching them. Jonah then asked her where Natalie was and Lily told him Natalie is an angel and that they couldn't see her, but angels are always helping us. Later on, Lily got stuck up higher in the tree and was afraid, Jonah kindly reminded her "Don't worry Lily. Natalie's here." This story was precious to hear from my little children. I would've liked to have been there to hear it as it happened...Maybe not, it may have caused some heart break...

Visit Jen for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Name Meme

Jaime tagged me for this one! Give it a try!

Copy the questions from my post and paste them in a new post on your blog. Erase my answers and put yours in. Use the first letter of your name to answer ALL of the following questions. If the person before you has the same 1st letter pick a new one. You CAN NOT use anything twice, and you CAN NOT use your own name for the boy/girl question. After you are done, tag 5 people.......

1. What is your name?: Sarah
2. A 4 letter word: such
3. A boy's name: Sebastian
4. A girl's name: Sophia
5. An occupation: scientist
6. A color: salmon
7. Something you wear: sweater
8. A Food: sushi
9. Something found in the bathroom: shampoo
10. A place: Spain
11. A reason for being late: So Sick!
12. Something you shout: "Sit down!"
13. A movie title: Shrek
14. Something you drink: Strawberry Daiquiri
15. An animal: Squirrel
16. A song title: "She Was Watching" by Mark Schultz
17. A verb: sing

I've decided not to tag anyone since many of you are on your Lenten Journey and that may include less blogging time. So, instead leave me a comment if you decide to do this meme so that I can check it out!

Happy Snowy Thursday!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Do You Do That?

Have you ever heard people talk about how children notice everything that you do? I have. My husband and I have talked about it too. We've seen how our kids have an amazing ability to pick up on something we said or did once and it becomes their favorite thing to do/say ALL THE TIME! It still amazes me how we can say something negative or bad and they hear it from across the house, but I can repeatedly ask them to do a simple task over and over again in the same room and it's as if they don't even hear.

Well, the same goes for our little quirks we do as parents. It's something how those little people become our little mirrors sometimes.

Here I am. I've been 'called out' by Lily. The other day she came up to me and asked me how I rolled my eyes. I told her that it isn't a good habit of mine and I really shouldn't be doing it. She then asked me if I could teach her to do it too. I tried to explain that it isn't something to be taught, it's just like whistling, one day you just figure out how to do it. I then re-emphasised how eye rolling REALLY is not something to learn to do and is actually a bad behavior and habit. She walked away and didn't ask again. I did catch her though today trying to roll her eyes and she even asked me if she was doing it right!! Ouch. I guess she figured she's ask the 'pro'!

I know eye rolling has become something I am quite good at and I'm sure after all these years I don't even know I'm doing it, but after this rude awakening with Miss Lily, I need to become very aware that I'm doing it and the message it is sending to her. I guess I've got a little project to work on during Lent now, don't I? It's funny how those things just drop right in your lap when you least expect them.

Here's to a LWER (Lent Without Eye Rolling)!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Domestic Church: Room By Room (Volume I)

I've decided to post a book review of the above by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle in weekly segments as I read it. The book is done in a format that I think will work well for a weekly review.

In case you haven't heard of this book, hopefully my very amateur review will help you decide if it is one you'd like to add to your own library. It is available from Circle Press. This book can be used as a part of a study group or for individual use. Each chapter is broken up into 'rooms' for the reader to contemplate different topics and identify them as rooms in their domestic church. My hope is that each week I will read the chapter for that week and then be able to give you several points to ponder and excerpts as well in Monday's post. Hopefully. I think it will also serve as a wonderful way to walk the journey of lent as I focus on my domestic church in the process.

I am really enjoying this book so far and in the first chapter I have already repeatedly gone back to re-read what I've highlighted in order to refocus my meditations on the subject. As I said, this book is written in Study Guide type format for weekly meetings with other women and mothers. It comes complete with thought provoking discussion questions at the end of each chapter as well. It is much more than a study guide though, because it brings to light Catholic teaching through Scripture, papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the words of our great Saints. They are sprinkled throughout as a wonderful addition to the eloquent words of the author.

This Week's focus:

The Foyer: Our Blessed Mother Mary and Motherhood

How can I aspire to imitate such an amazing Mother as Blessed Mother Mary? That's a big question. Mary's "Yes" to the angel Gabriel was a courageous "Yes" to God. It was not a mediocre surrender to God's Will. It was a full, complete surrender to her becoming the Mother of Jesus. What is my answer when I am asked for that surrender in my vocation of wife and mother? I must admit, it is not always the full-hearted "Yes" that Mary gave. I should consider all of my responses to God as a mother, reflecting upon my willingness-or lack thereof-to accept everything that God has for me. This is not always easy as a mother, but I desire that complete "Yes" to my motherly vocation. Like Mary when she visited her dear cousin, Elizabeth, while with child herself, I desire to have Mary-like sensitive attentiveness to the care and needs of others. I love that phrase! Sensitive attentiveness. I will admit that sometimes I do not have sensitive attentiveness towards members of my family and that it does not always come easy. This will be a wonderful phrase to stick on my fridge for this week so that I may become more aware of improving it in my domestic church.

How can we as mothers and women follow Our Blessed Mother more faithfully and discover peace as we follow her "Yes" with sweet surrender? Here's a few things to ponder from the book that I picked out for this week:

A mother can learn from Mary by asking for God's grace to entrust herself completely to him with the "full submission of intellect and will".

For mothers, it means service first in her family and then reaching out to the world. At times, good intentions and a mother's loving heart may cause her to stretch herself too much to administer to the needs of others outside her home. It's wonderful and holy to want to help, yet mothers must remember that their love begins first and foremost at home. Being sure that her family is properly cared for before she embarks in other areas of ministry will ensure that she is not inadvertently neglecting her family in the process of helping others.

Silence can ironically be found in the busyness of a mother's day as a mother learns to retreat to her heart even as she is involved in the care of her family. Within the "silence" of a mother's heart, Our Lord can speak.

It is when she realizes that Our Lord actually wants to use her attentiveness to her family's needs that she will understand the value and prayerfulness in performing little things with great love. The mother becomes an everyday example to her family as she raises her children in holiness and goes about with a prayerful heart, striving to emulate the Blessed Mother's virtues.

Isn't that just beautifully said? I think these are all such important things to remember as mothers. I am striving to keep in mind that my small acts throughout the day and my little prayers and offerings in my mind and heart bring holiness and blessing to my home. How important are the needs of my family and the manner in which I attend to them! They are my simple offering that I give daily, along with my morning offering of all my works,joys and sufferings that I pray before the day begins pulling me in all directions. This week I have a lot to focus on and meditate upon as I enter the season of lent. I will need to write some of the quotes down in order to call them to mind frequently this week. I just wonder if I'll have enough room on my bathroom mirror and my fridge to hold them all??

Blessings this week as you focus on your domestic church's foyer!

Next Week: The Garage!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Quick Take Friday

1. I recently saw an ad for Shape Up Shoes in a parenting magazine. The ad cites that they are ideal for us moms who are busy (which is ALL of us) and don’t have time to spend exercising. They also claim that in wearing them 30 minutes a day we can lift buns, tone legs, and strengthen your core. Ok, they got me. I’m in relatively good shape, but would LOVE to have the stronger core muscles and the toned legs. Not so worried about the buns, I must confess. And yet, I am skeptical and very intrigued by this product. I read the testimonials on their website and it seems that there are some happy costumers out there. I am still quite interested…so, the torn out ad from the magazine still sits on my counter by the computer.

Why can’t I decide if these ‘revolutionary’ shoes are for me? I think one reason is the cost. Not that they are expensive, but I always debate on anything I buy for myself and rarely rush into a purchase. The other reason may have to do with deciding whether I really am a busy enough mom to qualify for them. I usually do have time to exercise and try to set aside time throughout the week to do it. However, on the other hand, the shoes are also supposed to help with circulation, which would be great for me considering how many hours I am on my feet each day. Hmm…I’ve got to think more on these..Will I be able to justify the purchase??

2. I have a confession to make. I just realized yesterday that I have become a library junkie! Hey, not that that’s a bad thing. No, really though, I’ve loved reading and books since a young age and I am so happy to have children and be able to nurture them through literature. We always continue to add to our home library and we used to make occasional trips to the local library, but in the last 1 ½-2 years the trips are more frequent. Now I am realizing that any chance we get, I like to drop in and pick up some books. Although we don’t live in a town big enough to provide a local library, we have three towns within 20 minutes of us that do. And boy, do we use them! I am glad to be an at-home, homeschooling mom who can take my kids to the library at any time of day and enjoy wandering down the aisles and looking in the bins of books to pick out the new adventures that await us. The kids enjoy making their choices and adding them to our growing stack to take home. I enjoy enlightening my children’s minds and teaching them a love for books and for reading. Now, if only there were a Starbuck’s inside the local libraries like there is at Barnes & Noble.

3. I am happy to announce….Gotcha! See, you thought I was going to announce something really exciting. Ok, sorry. No, I am happy to announce that I am at peace. In a groove. Settled. Content. Whatever you want to call it, I am there. It’s hard to explain, but for me it’s a very good thing. Not that I was not before, but you know how it is when things just seem to be all in line. Ducks in a row. Rainbows and sunshine. Dare I say, perfect? I know, not really, but as close as we can get it here on earth.

This week I am feeling a sense of calm and peace from just about every angle and in every area that has given me struggle and hardship: infertility, discipline, motherhood, etc. I am choosing to embrace my vocation of motherhood more fully and a spirit of patience and gentleness. I am working on nutritional aspects of my health to hopefully help with my infertility issue. In doing even these little things, I am finding my heart and my spirit at peace. This is SO important as I take care of my little domestic church and I realize that. Is every issue completely resolved? Not hardly. But I know that I am trying and I am doing what I can for today. I cannot even begin to express the shadow that infertility can cast on so many areas of your life when you are in it. The darkness and sadness can some days be overwhelming and can cover all of the joy and happiness of life and things going on around you. I have learned though that it cannot defeat me. I have remained strong in prayer and in the truth of faith and in the hope that God will provide me with the grace and strength I need to get through this. The weight is enormous at times, but a week that’s been as good as this, helps me remain faithful to my hopeful heart.

That said, why do I feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop? For things to go sour? Human nature I guess. Or is it pride before the fall?? Yikes. Hope not. Stay tuned.

4. Did you realize that the season of lent is upon us? Probably. Unlike me, who last week was wondering what all the hubbub was about when it was mentioned everywhere in the Catholic circuit. And then I looked in our parish bulletin last Sunday and realized it’s next week. Where was I? I think I was somewhere in the thought that it’s a few weeks away and I have lots of time yet to dwell on what we’ll be doing for out Lenten journey. Oops. Guess not. So, I was glad when I found this Lenten Adventure to sign up for and they will send me emails throughout the season to help me along. Check it out and sign up for their FREE emails!

5. I am so excited when I open my email Inbox and see that I have comments from my blog!! I know, a little silly. I can’t tell you how I enjoy getting a comment from someone new, so I return the favor and find out about them and checkout their blog. And then there are the faithful friends that I’ve suddenly made from miles apart. What blessings! Let me say, I am amazed to have found so many faithful women and moms. Each day I am honored and graced with reading the words of some blessed women. Each writes from the heart and inspires me in my daily walk in the Catholic faith and in motherhood. I have begun to blog WAY more than I used to and I look forward to it. Not that I have so much to say or do it with eloquence, but I have always loved to write and I enjoy sharing the little bit I do with others. And yes, I’ve probably become a blogging junkie now too!!

6. My little Jonah, has at times been the thorn in my side. Bless that little boy, but he is a tough one. Perhaps he’s been this way all his life, but most evidently so in the last couple years in toddler hood. He is strong-willed, determined, and stubborn. Whatever you want to call it. But it wears on this dear mommy daily, so I have changed my approach especially in the morning.

I enjoy having my routine and getting myself all ready to greet the day, including my prayer time, before little ones wake up. When little boy arrives early in the morning and I haven’t done those things, it makes for a rough start to the day. Add that to the fact that little boy is not a morning person and it’s a recipe for a bad morning. Literally, he wakes up crabby. Most mornings he comes out of his room and within minutes (and some days even seconds!) he is grouching about in our home. I think he’s really still tired and shouldn't’t even be out of bed. (It is usually well before 7:00 am when his little feet come pattering down the hall)

I’ve decided to approach it differently these days and just leave him alone until he’s ready. I don’t push him to eat breakfast right away and some days I even allow him to watch cartoons for a while before breakfast so that he can be alone until he’s ready. It may not be the best solution, but so much happier in the morning. The days go a little better, but not without stubborn fits and determination from that little boy. We’ll get through it. With a little love and discipline. A friend recently said of her boys, “they’re either going to drive me to the grave or help me work off my purgatory time here on earth”. Oh, how true.

7. Last Friday, Reed and I were able to spend our special day together and celebrate Valentine’s a day early too. We did not go to the movie and dinner as we had planned, but instead spent the afternoon just the two of us together and ended with dinner out. We had a wonderful time just being together and most importantly, engaging in uninterrupted conversation. We enjoyed a nice, early dinner and we were home by 6:30 pm. I know, early, but we were ready to get back to the kids. It was good for us to reconnect throughout hubby’s 3 days home for the weekend, since his long hours at work have not allowed that recently. I’m always thankful for time with Reed to rekindle our love..And when he plans it, all the better.

Visit Jennifer for more Quick Takes today!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lucy & Dwight: My Look Alikes

Nothing exciting to post today since we all have some strain of sore throats/cold headache/tired ickies in our house.

I thought I'd post these recent pictures instead. Lily is fascinated by the character of Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia movies and with her shorter hair, well, she's VERY Lucy. She likes to dress up and then ask me if she looks like Lucy. Here she is the other day, complete with curled hair (as much as her straight hair can be curled!), cape and pretty dress.

Do you watch The Office? If you do, you are very familiar with the character of Dwight. We have this old pair of glasses that we acquired from somewhere and occasionally they resurface. When they do and Jonah finds them, we have Dwight in our house. Here's our little Dwight.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It Wasn't Worth It

In an effort to uncover my 'unexplained infertility' issue, we've tried a lot of things and so far none have exposed the problem. So, we press on. Currently, I am undergoing nutritional testing with a chiropractor to watch what areas of my body are out of balance and need a little help via nutritional supplements and also to keep a closer watch on what types of food I'm putting in my body.

Trust me, I am reluctant in this whole process. I've used the reasoning that "I just want to live and enjoy life and not worry about everything I'm eating!!". Ok, but truthfully, I am becoming aware. Very aware.

The doctor has me keeping a daily food log of meals, snacks and fluid intake. I'm only in my second week, but it is quite revealing! I consider myself healthy, mostly based on my activity/exercise level and my body weight. I also consider our household in the 'healthy' category since we are not a family that eats pre-packaged, processed foods very often. That being said, keeping this food log has helped me become aware of what I'm eating and when, as well as when I get cravings and what I eat to feed those cravings.

After my re-check on Monday with the doctor, he's asked that I try for the next two weeks to decrease my wheat and sugar intake to 1 a day for each. Yikes! Not so tough with the wheat, but the sugar a bit more difficult. Again, not that I am eating sweets and sugars all day, but those tempting Dove chocolates do call to me quite often!

So, this week I am working hard to attain the goal the good doctor has set for me. Yesterday, I tried hard. I worked hard. I drank water like a fish. And then, after supper when my cravings could no longer be subdued, I gave in. I had reserved and waited all day for my 1 sugar for the day and I was craving chocolate. I decided to go for it. Hey, why not use my daily allowance rather than skipping it all together? I'm a woman and I NEEDED chocolate! I must tell you that chocolate AND peanut butter are my failings. With that said, I chose to indulge in both last night. I went ahead and put my peanut butter and chocolate chips in the microwave to melt a bit and then sat down to enjoy it. WHILE WATCHING THE BIGGEST LOSER!! Yes, I ate THAT, while watching other people exercise and lose weight!!!

Worst part? My stomach hurt almost instantly (perhaps it was guilt!) and I didn't enjoy it one bit! Somehow, the taste that I have grown fond of and come to rely on when cravings strike, was just another thing in my mouth that didn't taste good at all. Oh, it really was not worth it!! I literally felt like drinking gallons of water to wash it all away and get rid of it.

Lesson learned? Probably (until next time). Most importantly though, I may be learning that I don't really NEED that sugar as much as I think I do. I think this whole food log thing is coming at the right time. It will work perfectly with the season of Lent and will help me with my prayers and fasting.

Here's to a faithful, fruitful Lenten Season!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Too Fun To Pass Up

I found this photo meme over at Margaret's blog and couldn't pass it up. I thought it was fun for a Tuesday!

Do you want to play?

Here are the rules:

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store pictures on your computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder, and post it on your blog.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag four people to do the same.
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)

Here's what I found:

I was so happy to find this one!! It's one of my favorites from a couple years ago. The picture has my two lovelies, Lily & Jonah on the left and my nephews, Jack & Cole on the right. It was a summer afternoon when we were at my brother's hobby farm and we were trying to get a picture of all the kids. There they were, together in the wagon and I took this shot. I still chuckle when I see it because the boys all have a similar expression and are squinting in the sun. Too cute!

Glad to share it with you!

I won't tag anyone, just comment and let me know if you did it.

A Little Cleaning and Organization...

....goes a long way!

Over the weekend, I felt the urge to attack my linen closet in the bathroom and do some major purging. It wasn't really that it was THAT bad, but more that it felt cluttered and disorganized and bursting with STUFF. I am an organizer. I like things functional and organized, so when something like a closet suddenly feels overwhelming and messy, I drop everything and get right to it. I started by tossing everything I no longer use (hair products, lotions, etc.). Then I went through all of our over the counter meds. and got rid of anything that was expired (trust me, more things than I realized!). Finally, I went through the linens and put aside any that I no longer needed/used/liked for Goodwill. After taking EVERYTHING out of that closet, I re-organized the small things back into baskets and everything else on its proper shelf. I even had extra space so that our toilet paper could be put on a shelf instead of on the floor by the laundry basket where it used to reside. In the end, I had a pile of stuff for Goodwill and a garbage bag full of junk to throw. Not bad. What a rewarding project!

Here's an organizing tip for you: Perhaps someone has already come up with this one, but I had a *light bulb* moment while re-folding my linens to go back in the closet. I took each set of linens that were folded and put them inside one of the pillowcases for that set. I then folded over the excess pillowcase and all was contained in a neat package. I love that the whole set is all together and I won't have to go hunting to find the complete set or have fitted sheets unfolding every time I take something off the shelf! It's going to come in handy too during the night when we are delirious and need to make an emergency sheet change for a certain little boy!! (You can see the neat packages on the top shelf in my completed picture.)

*Disclaimer: from the pictures it may be hard to see the difference, but there really was a lot of stuff hidden in the back of that closet!*

Mission: Disaster!

Mission: Completed!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

She Did It!

Lily did it...heck, WE did it!! We survived without each other! As you read here, my little girl was off to her first birthday party...without ME yesterday. And she survived. I survived. I knew we would, but I was so proud when we actually did!

Just as I expected, she had a lot of fun making crafts, playing on the Wii Fit, dress up with the other girls and eating pizza and cake. My little girl is growing up and I'm glad I gave her a little room to test her wings yesterday.

Before the party:

After the party, with her crafts and goodie bag:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

You Can't Go By Yourself!

In my house, last night:

Sister: Tomorrow I'm going to a birthday party.
Brother: Can I come too?
Sister: No, only I was invited.
Brother: But I'll miss you so much. You can't go by yourself.
Sister: It's only going to be girls there and we'll just be sitting around.
Brother: I like boring things.
Sister: You'll have fun staying home with mommy and daddy.

Here is where daddy and mommy intervened and offered to have as much fun as possible with Brother while Sister is away.

Growing up is hard to do and there are lessons to be learned...together, we'll all get through it. But today, our house is going through some growing pains...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Can You Help Me?

I am requesting your help, blogville mommies everywhere!!

I would like to do a Nature 'club'/get together for 4-6 weeks here in the spring once the snow has melted. I am hoping to do a rotating, weekly get together of young children either at the homes of our homeschool group or at local parks and go on nature/adventure walks and discover what spring is bringing us.

I am possibly looking for a simple nature guide for young children that may be helpful/useful in our walks. Do you know of one and where I can get it? I will be doing some searching at our local libraries, but if you have a good one you can suggest please leave me a comment.

I appreciate it! Thanks!

Quick Take Friday

1. Ah, Friday again. Today I am especially excited because hubby will have a 3 day weekend due to President's Day on Monday!! Hooray! I so look forward to these. There's just something about the extra day with daddy that livens up our house. We don't have much planned right now, besides a Marriage Course to speak at on Sunday morning, so we'll see what we end up accomplishing around here. One thing fairly high on the To-Do List is finishing our taxes. We started them last weekend, so hopefully we can put the final touches on them and call it good. I know Reed would like to get back to working in the basement again. He's been slowly working on hanging sheet rock and other things down there, not so much to completely finish the basement, but just get it to the point where it's a bit cleaner/somewhat finished. It was probably late fall since he was last able to have any amount of time to putter down there. He's deserved the break though, especially after all the work he put into finishing a room down there to make our school room!

2. Lily has been invited to her first birthday party on Saturday. It's just a few hours and it's only with the birthday girl and two other girls their age and it's at the home of a family we know from church. Not a big deal, I know. But for this mommy, it's been tough. Earlier this week I was having such anxiety over the whole thing. I realized that the anxiety was stemming from my own fears and insecurities. I know that Lily will be fine and will have a lot of fun. That wasn't really the issue (ok, it was a little bit). Part of my concern was coming from the thought of my 'baby' being away from me for a few hours WITHOUT ME. You see, she has only ever been with relatives when Reed or I couldn't be with her and when she's been together with friends, it's always been when I've been with her and us mommy's have been in the next room chatting. I was also concerned that she'd feel like an 'outsider' since she's homeschooled and the other girls are not or that she'd miss me/need me and I wouldn't be there. But I've realized that I have to let her go because it's best for her. If she needs me, I will only be 15 mins. away and will gladly go get her. It's part of learning and growing up and I have to let her do it, no matter how tough it may be on me. I can't keep her from things she'd truly enjoy due to my own fears and anxieties. Rest assured, tomorrow I will be eagerly counting down the hours until I can go and pick her up and see that everything turned out just fine and she had fun, without me.

3. We are scheduled to speak at another Marriage Course on Sunday. We managed to commit ourselves to several courses in the next few months, but then we should be done for awhile. We began our speaking a couple years ago and only did our own personal witness to NFP in our marriage, which is only 15 mins. at most. Last fall we began the sexuality talk, which is 1 1/2 hours long. Definitely a difference! As I have been brushing up on our witness for this weekend, I've noticed that my couple of note cards for this are nothing compared to the pages required for our other talk. We've enjoyed this ministry and helping out as we are able. I also realize that there may come a day when our home is filled with more children and helping out may be cut to a minimum. I think that we'll also have to do some more praying on the matter, but after our next few commitments to the NFP witness we may have to step down. At least for a little while. Not because we don't like to do it, but because of our own struggles with infertility. It has been 2 1/2 years of trying. As time goes on, it may be difficult for the engaged couples to whom we speak to identify with us as a couple practicing NFP and yet who are deemed infertile. We openly share this now with the groups that we present to and we do honestly share with them how long we've been trying to conceive this time. For us, we know the benefit and blessing of NFP, but I fear that to those hardened hearts who are less willing to hear the truth, they may see the 'benefits' of us being infertile and not 'really' having to follow the rules of NFP. Again, we still need to pray a bit more and hopefully things will turn around in the meantime. Unfortunately though, if they don't, my heart will break again as I have to give up something else because of our infertility diagnosis. But for now, we'll press on and pray for open hearts on Sunday morning.

4. On Tuesday of this week, the kids and I were able to get together with homeschooling friends in the morning to enjoy indoor playtime at a local gymnasium. It was equipped with lots of balls and things to play on/with, so the kids enjoyed it. It has been a long winter here and the weather has been warmer, but nasty with ice/freezing drizzle, etc. in the last week. We needed to get out and the kids needed to see their friends. And mommy needed to see her friend too! After the gym time was over, we went to Pizza Hut and our oldest girls (both in Kindergarten) used their Book It certificates for pizza. It was a short adventure, but I was so grateful for the conversation and the good time. Once again, a reminder how we all need it and I need to schedule more of these and get some Mommy's Day Out planned with a friend or two. It was also a simple reminder again why I love homeschooling and the ability to be out during the day and yet still be with my kids. I was sure to remind Lily too what a privilege this was for us and it was only possible because we homeschool. I also pointed out how all the other kids who were in school in a building had only been sitting at their desks the whole while we were out and playing and having fun. Ok, so I laid it on a little thick...but still, my point was received.

5. Today is the 8th anniversary of Reed and my engagement. We always try to acknowledge it in some way along with Valentine's Day. I mentioned last week how I was really struggling coming up with gift ideas for hubby and for plans. Thankfully, Reed came up with a plan and arranged for his parents to take the kids tonight. So, we'll be seeing a movie and going out for dinner. Something we rarely do together. Trust me, we both are so looking forward to it!! In honor of our engagement, I'm finishing today's Quick Takes with photos.

This one was taken on the evening we were engaged:

6. Our Engagement Ceremony:

7. The summer before our wedding, building our house:

The day before our wedding (needless to say, our house wasn't ready for 6 more months before we could move in!):

Visit Jennifer for more Quick Takes!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our Lady of Lourdes

We are celebrating in our home today and I've also declared it "Blue Day" in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes. We're all wearing something blue from our closets (hubby even joined in and wore blue to work today!) for the occasion. Thanks to the wonderful ideas I found at Shower of Roses, we did a special craft this morning and enjoyed these Blueberry Muffins . Oh, so tasty!! We also enjoyed blue jello with our lunch and we'll have white cake with light blue frosting for dessert at dinner tonight. Can't wait! This afternoon we'll sit down to read the story of Bernadette and Our Lady and watch our Bernadette kids movie as well. What a beautiful day to celebrate!

Lily working on her craft project:

Completed projects (Aren't they cute?):

The kids showing off their blue teeth after lunch:

Hopefully I can show the completed cake pictures later!!

Our Lady of Lourdes, Pray For Us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Red Envelope Pro-Life Campaign

I received the following forwarded email yesterday in my Inbox. I found it interesting and certainly worth passing on. I also found that Jamie had a post about it and there's also a post today at Faith & Family about the effort. I have heard that it is spreading all over, so hopefully together we can all do our part and reach the 50 million mark. Wouldn't that be amazing!!?? I know I'll be stopping at the store to get my Red Envelopes and getting them sent out. How about you?

Dear Friends and Intercessors:

This afternoon I was praying about a number of things, and my mind began to wander. I was deeply distressed at the symbolic actions that President Obama took as he began his presidency. Namely, that he signed executive orders releasing funds to pay for abortions, permission to fund human stem cell research, and federal funding for contraception. I have been involved in the pro-life movement for nearly 20 years, and it pained my heart to see a man and a political party committed to the shedding of innocent blood. This man, and this party lead our country, but they do not represent me or the 54% of Americans who believe that abortion is wrong and should no longer be legal.

As I was praying, I believe that God gave me an interesting idea. Out in the garage I have a box of red envelopes. Like the powerful image of the red LIFE tape, an empty red envelope will send a message to Barack Obama that there is moral outrage in this country over this issue. It will be quiet, but clear.

Here is what I would like you to do:

Get a red envelope. (You can buy them at Kinkos, or at party supply stores.)
On the front, address it to:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington , D.C. 20500

On the back, write the following message:

This envelope represents one child who died in abortion.
It is empty because that life was unable to offer anything to the world.
Responsibility begins with conception.

Put it in the mail, and send it. Then forward this email to every one of your friends who you think would send one too. I wish we could send 50 million red envelopes, one for every child who died before having a a chance to live. Maybe it will change the heart of the president.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

From The Recipe Box

I made this recipe the other day and was absolutely delighted when the alterations I made to it turned out. And the kids love them too! Just sharing a recipe thought for your Sunday. Here is the original, along with my modifications in parenthesis. Enjoy!


3/4 cup Flour (1 cup Flour)
3/4 cup Granola or Toasted Wheat Germ (1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal)
1/4 cup Sugar (I omitted the Sugar)
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/4 cup Honey
1 Egg
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 c. Raisins (3/4 cup dried Apple pieces)

*Grease an 8 inch square pan. Combine flour, granola, sugar, baking powder & cinnamon.
*Stir in butter, honey, egg & vanilla; mix well.
*Stir in raisins.
*Press into pan. Bake until lightly brown. Cool.
*Cut into bars & wrap individually in plastic wrap.
(I put them each in a snack size plastic bag)

***And no, the above picture is NOT my personal Recipe Box. I wish it were though, it's kind of cute! ***

Friday, February 6, 2009


I know there are a lot of websites out there with games for kids and we have quite a few of the trusted ones listed in the kids' 'Favorites' list, so that they are able to access them when they have earned computer time. I know that I've found this one before, but somehow I never listed it in our 'Favorites' so I forgot about it. We rediscovered it the other day and thought I'd share it with you in case you hadn't seen it. Lily loves it and it has a lot of wonderful Catholic content and games/activities as well. She especially enjoys clicking on The Morgans' house and dressing up baby Grace!!

Maybe your children will enjoy it as well! Try EWTN Kids!

Quick Take Friday

1. We have had some warmer weather here in the last week and it looks like we'll be blessed with it for a few more days. Of course, by warmer I mean we're actually in the 30's people! Yesterday we spent a couple hours outside enjoying the heat wave. Oh how glorious it is to go outside and not come in the house freezing after half an hour! It was so nice to get out there and breathe fresh air again and feel the sun. The kids and I had a lot of fun since there is so much snow in our yard. We made forts and had a snowball fight, 'painted' snow and went for a walk too. Of course, I know too well that these days are only temporary and any day now the cold temps. and snow will return, but for today I'll pretend that spring is just around the bend.

2. This Sunday is Honoring Marriage Day. We will be spending a portion of the morning helping (hopefully) almost 40 engaged couples prepare for their marriages, by presenting a talk on Sexuality at our diocesan marriage course. We started giving this talk last fall and although we were a bit leery of doing this particular presentation in the beginning, I think it's actually been a good fit.

It is at times a difficult task to present the Church's teaching on this subject and there are sometimes couples who obviously do not agree with what we're saying (trust me, some of the facial expressions speak volumes!!). Surprisingly, we usually do get some really good feedback afterward and are always happy to hear a number of them strongly committed to following the church's teachings on sexuality and contraception. We always hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will guide and direct us as we speak so that the couples hearts would be open and hear what they need to hear. I will admit that at times I do not eagerly look forward to taking on this task of 'enlightening' couples, but I know the importance of it and that more young couples are needed to carry the torch in this ministry. Not that we are an extraordinary couple, just an ordinary couple answering the call.

I will look forward to our talk this Sunday though because it will be a wonderful way to celebrate and honor our marriage as we share about our relationship with the couples. Please keep us in your prayers Sunday morning!

3. Well, Valentine's Day is next week and I'm feeling a bit lost. Not that Valentine's day is a big day to celebrate for us, however, we usually do something because we are also celebrating our engagement (Feb. 13)day and it kind of just coincides with Valentine's day. We usually don't make a big deal out of it or get one another expensive gifts, but with a week left I am really scratching to come up with SOMETHING. I know it will all come together, but I'm a planner running out of time!!

4. I am on facebook. You know, the social network everyone is talking about? Any way, I have been on there for well over 6 months and find it useful to help keep in touch with relatives and some friends who I may not normally get a chance to email. I like to use it because I can type a quick line to someone and be done. It's also been great for a few of my out of state mom friends and I, because long emails catching up every few months were too exhausting and they just weren't happening. Any way, in the last week or so a fair number of my friends on facebook have been sending me these '25 Random Things' or '25 Things About Me'. I have found these quite insightful and interesting since there have been a number of them that caused my jaw to drop. Literally. Well, I have yet to do my list. I just can't quite seem to get the gumption to do it. I'm not sure I can come up with 25 things. And, I really want mine to 'say' something about me (my priorities, likes/dislikes, etc.) that a few people may not already know. See? It's just taking way too much time and thought out of my day. I think I'm not ready just yet. Maybe another day.

5. In our home, for the most part, hubby has become the grocery shopper. Not for any particular reason, except that when gas prices went up and children became part of the equation in our family, it just made more sense. He drives into a "bigger" city (by that I mean that we live in a town of a couple hundred and the city he drives to is like 10,000) every day to go to work where there are a number of grocery stores and a Super Walmart, so grocery shopping just became his thing. He gladly does it and I must say, he does it efficiently and is great at it! I usually pick up things that are a better bargain at Super Walmart since he'd just rather not go there and get groceries. It's fine and we've worked our system all out. One thing we find is a better bargain at Walmart, is milk. It's considerably lower in price.

Yesterday, hubby needed to stop at Walmart for a couple things on his way to work, so he was also going to get milk while he was there. After arriving at work, he always emails me to let me know that he's there, etc. In his email he mentioned that while at Walmart he felt like there was something that he was forgetting, but he had gotten everything on the list. As he was typing, a bell went off and he realized that it was milk he had forgot! He was upset, but realized that he had not written it on his list and hence, forgot. He decided he'd just stop for the milk on the way home. I knew this and was figuring him to be at least 10 mins. later arriving home than usual due to the stop. Hearing him arrive at his usual time, I was surprised. As he walked in the door he declared,"I guess I just wasn't meant to get milk today. I forgot to stop after work." My reaction? Instead of laughing it off, I was disgusted. I didn't say much, except "I can't believe you forgot it again. You didn't write yourself a note to stop after work? You drove right by Walmart and didn't remember to stop? Great. Now there's only 2 cups of milk left. Hardly enough for cereal in the morning." Ouch. Thankfully, Reed doesn't get easily angered.

After he left the kitchen, within seconds I was embarrassed at my lack of understanding. Why would I make such quick comments, without just brushing it off? Ugh. Sinless I am not. A work in progress. I did apologize after he came back into the kitchen. Another reminder for me that he is a wonderful husband to even help me out by picking up groceries and I should be grateful. And, not to grouch over forgotten milk.

6. We are experiencing a rough pattern with Jonah and his sleeping habits. He is daily getting up around 6:00 am! Months ago I had rearranged my morning routine so that I could get up early enough to shower, get ready and have prayer time before the kids awaking. That meant getting up at 5:45 am. It's not working out with Jonah's new waking hour, however. I'm hoping that something changes soon on his part because I really don't want to have to get up even earlier. I know I could do it if I needed to, but I enjoy my sleep when I can get it and lately I have been so exhausted in the evening that I'm falling asleep on the couch. To everything there is a season. I just hope this is a short, passing one.

7. Lily and I were talking yesterday and she mentioned something about next year and school. I quickly asked her, "oh, do you think we'll be homeschooling next year?" She looked up at me and smiled and said, "of course". Not a big deal? Maybe not, but since we've had a couple bouts of her frustration over homeschoolng and of asking when she'll go to 'regular school', it really made my day. Although we've talked about it a number of times, it was like she maybe actually understood that our plan is to continue homeschooling. We then began a discussion on next year and First grade. I mentioned that there is this little girls club that I had been reading about and that I'd like to start in our homeschool group. Her eyes brightened. A club? She asked a bunch of questions and was so THRILLED at the prospect of being in a club!! She started naming off all the things that the girls could do..crafts, play time,prayer and snacks. It was so cute! I also told her that in this club she could earn badges...with a sash! Wow! I've never seen a little girl so excited!! Not so excited though when I mentioned that we won't start it until the fall. Now we've got something to look forward to!

Be sure to check in with Jennifer for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Valentine Centerpiece

Thanks to Jamie for her Valentine's ideas!
We created the centerpiece yesterday. It was a lot of fun and it is so cute! The kids enjoyed it and it was a simple project to help decorate our house for St. Valentine's Day. Lily enjoyed coming up with some 'alternative' messages on the hearts (besides the usual conversation heart sayings): Follow Mary, Jesus loves you, Be kind, Love others. And I guess she's taking the 'Go Green' PSA's and commercials to heart, because she even added a 'Love the earth' heart as well!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Noah's Ark Replica

Have you seen this???

I received an email with pictures of this project the other day. It looks like the replica has been open for awhile, but the pictures were just too amazing not to share them. Maybe your children will enjoy them as much as mine did. Too bad it's in the Netherlands, otherwise we'd have to seriously consider making a family trip to see it!

Check out this site to see the story behind the project and the man who built it. Be sure to scroll down to click on the thumbnails too!

Excellent work, Mr. Huibers!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (rewind)

Ok, generally I am an on-the-ball, efficient, organized momma. I am still working on that in the Saints feasts and Church celebrations department. Excuse me, but I'm gonna get better! Really.

Any way, yesterday was the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and due to my lack of planning, I only realized this during my morning prayer. Oops. I did some looking in mommy-blogville and found some great ideas for recipes and crafts. With my limited time and lack of supplies, the best we could do was bake a cake and focus on the offering of St. Joseph ad Mary: two doves. We had read a short story of the Presentation during school and then I had Lily give a brief (prompted) re-telling of the story at mealtime with daddy. And, since we have two children, it worked out perfectly to have each of them bring their dove offering/candle to the table and we ate by candlelight. Not bad for last minute I'd say.

Today is the feast of St. Blase (a name we almost gave to Lily, had she been a boy!). I'm going to do better today. We have Mass at noon and will receive the throat blessing.

I'm looking for an excellent book that will help our family celebrate these feasts (simply and with ease) and I've seen lots of options out there. Do you have a favorite book that helps guide your Catholic family celebrations?

Monday, February 2, 2009

I've Been Interviewed

Here's how it works:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me".
2. I will respond by e-mailing you 5 questions.
3. You update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You include this explanation and an offer to interview others.
5. When you receive the comment from another, you will send them
5 questions.

Thanks, beautiful Lerin, for the interview!

1)Tell me how you and Reed met and fell in love.

I must say, I enjoy telling this story. Reed and I currently help in our diocese with the marriage prep. courses and when I get to tell our story, I fall in love all over again!! I like to label our story as a 'whirlwind romance', you'll see why.

I had served a year with NET Ministries and had been given the opportunity to work for a number of parishes as a youth minister. I worked for three amazing, young priests. One of the priests is an outdoors man. He loves to hunt and fish. Every year he invited a number of friends and other priests over for his annual Wild Game Feed in the winter. He cooked and prepared all of the food that he had caught throughout the year, with the help of a friend of his from his seminary days (who, after discernment of a year in seminary, had not pursued priesthood). The event had always only been open to males, but this priest decided that he would begin to invite a few couples and of course that included women. Since I was on staff with him at the time, I was one of the ladies invited.

I had heard about this friend of his who helped do the cooking (in case you haven't guessed it yet, it was Reed) and thought he sounded wonderful. I tried to meet him that evening while at the Game Feed, but I think we only engaged in a short conversation. I was intrigued though. Reed was also friends with one of the other priests I worked with at the time and occasionally I'd try to ask questions about him, but I never got much info. besides finding out that he was indeed single. The following summer, I was invited at the last minute, one evening for supper at the parish house and found that Reed would also be there, along with another priest. I was eager to go in order to hopefully learn more about this Reed guy. We were able to engage in a bit more conversation, but mostly with the rest of the group present. As time passed, I found myself wondering about Reed.

That fall, I was putting together a Confirmation retreat for high school students and needed a few males to help me out. I was striking out with every male I knew or even once knew, to help out. I got the great idea to give Reed a call and hoped and prayed he could help, because I was running out of time and desperate. I did call him and asked if he'd please give me a hand for a weekend retreat. He said he'd think about it and call me back. He eventually did decide to give me a hand. I was so glad and secretly was looking forward to the weekend, mostly to spend time with him. We were able to talk quite a bit that weekend and I realized that he was a really neat guy. I was so intrigued by him!!

Weeks followed and I think we had a few phone conversations. One day, he asked me to come to dinner and told me he wanted to cook for me. I was so impressed that he'd want to do that for me!! As the day got closer, I really was starting to feel something for him and knew that when we did get together for dinner, I needed to speak up and say something. I had it all planned out, 'I really enjoy spending time with you and would love to be great friends. However, I wouldn't mind something a bit more serious either. If I am to date you though, it is only with the intention of finding my future husband, not just to have someone to hang out with. Mostly though, I'd really like to be good friends.' As we sat engaged in conversation after dinner, I found myself nervous as I led up to my speech. As it turned out, he was feeling the same way and wanted to bring it up as well!! We were on the same page!! So, Dec. 16, 2000, we decided to start dating. Things went quickly and we easily began discussing issues like children, faith and marriage withing weeks.

I had fallen, exactly as I had always envisioned, quickly and deeply in love. Reed was the strong, devote Catholic I hoped for and the thoughtful, kind, considerate, gentle and loving man I dreamed of in my husband and father of my future children. Long before Valentine's day, we were discussing marriage and knew that we were meant to be together. On the evening of Feb. 13, 2001, we had already planned that Reed would come over to my parents and stay overnight so that we'd spend the whole day together on Valentine's day. Reed was ready and waiting for me when I got home from work. He stayed for dinner and afterward we were going to go to evening mass to meet up with our friend, Fr. Joe, who was one of the priests I worked for and also a close friend of Reed's. After supper though, Reed suggested we go visit Fr. Joe at the rectory before mass, so we should leave early. I agreed and as we drove the 10 miles there, I kind of noticed that Reed was a bit more quiet, even perhaps a bit uneasy. I thought nothing of it. We arrived at the rectory and no one was home. Reed mentioned that Fr. Joe had said he may be running late and we could just go on inside. We were sitting in the living room when Reed started reminiscing about our relationship and our first meeting, here, in this living room at the parish house. Before I knew it, he was digging something out of his pocket and asking me to be his wife and marry him!! I was so surprised!!

He had worked hard and taken care of every little detail...he made it special by arranging with Fr. Joe that no one be home. He knew how much I didn't want to get engaged on Valentine's day like so many other couples, so he was hoping the ring would be ready sooner, but the jeweler had just called that afternoon and he had picked it up only hours earlier. He had gotten off work early and arranged to meet with my parents before I arrived home in order to ask them first if he could marry me. I learned all of this later and was amazed at this wonderful man. My future husband. In keeping with our 'whirlwind' story, we only had a 7 month engagement and were married on September 8, 2001.

2) How did you choose Lily & Jonah's names? And what other baby names are you dreaming of using one day?

Names for our children gets a little tough. My husband has definite likes and dislikes. He doesn't like names that are 'popular' or 'trendy' or any that have any relation to anything that he can remember (a movie star he doesn't like or some kid in school he never liked, etc.)So, for Lily, that name actually came up well into the pregnancy and I mentioned it because I heard it on a show once and for me, when I thought of it I just thought of something beautiful and peaceful. Also because the lily flower is often presented with the saints as the symbol of purity. Reed did not like the name. I had kind of given up on it and a couple weeks later he came to me and said that it had grown on him and he really liked it. So, for Lily, our girl name choices going into the hospital were Lily or Josephina (or Josie for short). When she was born, we looked at her and knew she was our little Lily.

For Jonah, I loved the name Noah, but being that it was trendy I knew there was no way we'd be using it!! I even printed off the list of top 100 baby names from the year before and made sure that any names I presented were not even on the list or very far down there!! Jonah was a name that was definitely not on there! We both liked it and it made the cut for our final list, along with Jude. After Jonah's birth, it was actually a few hours before we decided on his name. He just seemed that he could be either a Jude or a Jonah and we had to decide so that we could call family and give them the name. So, Jonah it was!

As for future names I'd love to use (and I'm always coming up with more!!): Lucy, Gianna, Monica, Catherine and Josephina for girls. And for boys: Jude, Matthias, Josiah, Aaron, Gabriel, Aidan and Tobias. Keep in mind, this is my list, Reed may not agree on some of these!!

3) Tell me about your life growing up..where did you live? Brothers/Sisters? Favorite things?

I am a pure Minnesotan and have live here all my life. I grew up in a small town of around 700, Holdingford, with two Catholic churches!! In the 'old' days, they were separated as the German and Polish churches. Some people still see them that way. We belonged to the 'Polish' parish. I just have one brother, Joshua, and we are 15 months apart. We couldn't be more different! He was bold/strong-willed and I was the shy/quiet little girl. As for favorite things, I wasn't picky I don't think. I liked Barbies, Strawberry Shortcake and any dolls. I also loved to play with my kitchen set of things and pretty much anything involving imaginative play. I always played in my mind that I was a mom of 9 children!! Reading has always been one of my favorite things to do. I loved it even as a child. I was content to sit and read as long as possible and my brother was much more active and always wanting me to do something with him.

4) How did you make the decision to homeschool?

Well, after attending public school through my 9th grade year, my brother and I were homeschooled. We had friends who homeschooled (and back then, that was very rare!) and after a very tough year in 9th grade, I actually asked my parents if we could homeschool and eventually convinced my brother to try it as well and join me. So, I had known homeschool for a few years and knew that it was tough, but definitely worth it for me! Reed's knowledge only came from what I shared with him. We talked about it periodically as Lily got older, but before she was 5 we decided to attend the Catholic homeschool conference closest to us in the spring. I thought it would be good for Reed to see in person (and not just in a catalog or online)the materials and curriculum out there. We also wanted to make a decision at that point because we were being overrun with questions about school and where we'd send Lily, if she was in preschool, etc. The precious winter we had spent some time looking into the possibilites at the closest Catholic shcools as well. After seeing the different things and attending the workshops at the conference, I think it became more clear for both of us that this may be tough to do, but we needed to try it. Reed's concern mostly came in realizing that I'd have to take on most of the work with it and didn't want it to overwhelm me. So, we went ahead and decided that it was a good thing for our children and for our family.

5) If I took you out for a birthday lunch and pedicure, where would you want to eat and what color would you pick for your toenails?

Ooohhh, this is tough!! Mostly, I'd say anywhere we could just sit and take our time eating and chat the afternoon away!! But, if I had to decide, I'd choose either some place with Italian food or Baker's Square (which I think are all now closing!!), because I love their pie!! Nail polish color? Some tone of dark pink/mauve. I seem to gravitate toward those colors!!


Do you want to be interviewed? Leave me a comment and I'll see what questions I can come up with for you!

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