Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Showering Baby H.

I held a baby shower last weekend to celebrate the soon-to-be newest member of our extended family. Around Christmas time I will become a great-aunt to yet another little girl. This will be #3 in less than two years! (And yes, I AM too young to be a GREAT Aunt already) But they sure are some precious little girls!

A few quick photos!

Diaper Cake

Baby Rattle Cupcakes

Baby Stroller Olympics

Cheering On The Competitors
(Great-niece #1)

Mommy-to-be Angie
(Great-niece #3 is behind that cake somewhere, I promise!)

All Tuckered Out
(Great-niece #2)

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, Angie! We can't wait to welcome your little girl to the family!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Behind These Doors

It's true that we often do not know what lies beneath or what goes on behind closed doors. Every person is fighting some kind of battle or struggling in some way. How often we pass them by without even a glance. We assume that all is well and each person is thriving, until we hear differently.

The same goes on here, in the land of Blogville. So easy is it to encourage another, praise them in their achievements and pray for them in their trials. But most often, it's much easier to portray a picture-perfect lifestyle and life free of pain and struggle. When I read the heart-felt, honest posts of another blogging wife and mom, my heart goes out to them. I know how very difficult it is to be brutally honest, even if you are virtual 'strangers' on the other side of a computer screen. It's difficult to do since, well then I'd have to admit after all that I am not perfect, have the perfect family nor lead a completely perfect life. It's easy enough to fill in my posts with the beauty of it all and a chuckle or two, but it's the hurting, honest ones that are tricky.

If you've read here for any length of time, you know that occasionally those heart wrenching posts do show up and most often they center around the same theme:my infertility. I do not write them for pity or even for you to acknowledge my pain, but I write them so that you see what the face of infertility looks like. And today, I am reminded that it looks like me. Perhaps it does serve as more of an outlet for me to share what I cannot even verbalize if we were to meet face to face. Most often infertility wears a mask and it's one of smiles and sunshine, while hiding the deep pain that we carry around in our aching hearts.

Had I ever had the chance to choose my cross, this would not have been the one I would've chosen for myself. But then, would any of use choose pain for ourselves if it did not help us to gain eternity in heaven? Fertility is a gift and I made an assumption that if you had it when you were twenty, you'd have it until you were forty. Today I am reminded that I do not have that gift fully within my grasp every month and pregnancy may never come to me with ease again. And I have to learn to be okay with that. One day. Probably not today.

I spent a lot of time in the early hours of this morning contemplating again an unknown future and unknown fertility. After dealing with the infertility for over three years, you'd probably think that with each cycle it gets easier or that you just press on toward the next. And most often, your logical mind prepares you and makes you do these. But then there are cycles where I just can't help but hope a little more than usual, being aware of every ache, sickness and symptom that leans toward feeling like pregnancy. With each day I pray to make it through 'just one more day' to get me further along in my cycle to indicate that we had finally achieved a positive.

All of that comes to a halt when there is evidence to the contrary. I cannot help but try and guard my heart and my head in order to keep me from despair. I am raw with heartache and feel as though I dare not even go beyond the surface of my emotions, so afraid of the complete grief that will consume me. But I rest today knowing that tomorrow comes with new grace, new hope. I also rest today because in those early morning hours, my husband felt my pain and sadness and consoled me by praying a rosary for healing and comfort for me as I wept. He also knew that today I needed him and to rest from the daily duties of being mommy and he stayed home from work. Such a wonderful man he is, that one.

Yesterday, words from a song that I learned as a teen suddenly rang in my ears:

They that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings
as eagles.
They shall run and not grow weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
Teach me Lord, Teach me Lord,
to wait.

And today I understand why I was being reassured with those words. I will continue to wait. I will continue to hope. I cannot help but eagerly anticipate what may be just around the next corner waiting for me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Have You Tried These?

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses

Pumpkin Harvest & Fall Febreze

It's autumn and it's putting me in the mood for the warmth of indoors and the smells of the season. There's nothing like a good pumpkin scented candle, but when that's not available I just spray a little of the Febreze limited edition spray instead. Makes my house feel all warm and homey in a quick minute.

My latest find at the store were the Hershey Kisses. They bring the season inside your mouth with the taste of pumpkin and spice. It's like eating a piece of pumpkin pie, minus all of the calories. Unless, of course you eat half the bag, well then you may just be better off with the piece of pie. I am not a HUGE pumpkin pie girl, but even I enjoy these new candies!

And just so you know, the Hershey's are on SALE this week at Target (2/$5). Worth mentioning and worth trying!

Happy Autumn Everyone!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Celebrating 7

I am officially the mom of a SEVEN year old! Can I believe it? Hardly. Lily has grown from a little peanut of a baby weighing in at 7 lbs. 8 oz to a little peanut of a girl at 42 lbs. My skinny-minny, she is.

Last weekend we were with a good number of Reed's family in Duluth, along with my parents, so we celebrated with cupcakes (somehow mommy managed to miss out on getting a photo of that-oops!). Yesterday, Lily celebrated with two of her dear friends when they came over to visit.

The Butterfly Cake:

The Crew:

Handprint Craft Project:

Happy Birthday to my little LuLu!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do Unto Others

We've put up the above poster on the pantry door in the kitchen. For those visiting us, I suppose it seems a bit odd. For those of us who live and exist here every day, it's a reminder. And for this mama who is trying to raise her precious children, it serves as a guideline in daily discipline.

The last few weeks have brought about an increased amount of infractions in the family kindness category. I wish I knew where it came from. Perhaps it's the sibling rivalry setting in or the kids' ages. Either way, it's unacceptable.

The poster serves as a visual for me to point out to the children how the hitting/kicking/verbal unkindness do not build up another family member. No, it's not ALL the time, nor is it wildly aggressive. It is, however, happening more than I would like in my domestic church.

Due to this behavior, it's also given me more time to teach kindness, love and care toward our family members and others. It also brings about discussion on our role as a family member and reminders that we are all in this together and we desire peace and harmony in our home. Some of this, lost on the children, but I will forge on.

How much easier is it to be kind and loving toward our neighbor outside our front door than it is to the ones who live with us? So much easier most often. It's easier for us to show our true colors and moods to those dear ones in our family, rather than those on the outside.

There is a lesson here for all of us. And a reminder that I am the mama who is at the heart of my home and need to guide it in such a direction that love, mercy and compassion are overflowing out our door.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fertile Surroundings

It seems that Colleen beat me to this post, but all last week I was contemplating how baby bumps in Blogville are becoming more rounded! Babies are on their way all around and I am so happy to be celebrating with each one of you.

Babies are beginning to arrive and coming soon to a number of my IRL friends and family as well. Remember this post?

I cannot help but praise God along with all of these women as they await their little ones!

Here are just a few of them, off the top of my head:

Mommy Business

Shower Of Roses

Bountiful Blessings

Meet Me At The Gates

Pinewood Castle

Heavenly Perspective

May you all be blessed during the remainder of your pregnancies!

And who knows, with all of the fertility around perhaps a little will rub off on me??!! I'm hopeful that it will.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chalice Of Strength

Until next June, Catholics around the world are being invited to pray in a special way during The Year Of The Priest. In our home we've been praying, but I'll admit I'm still searching for something more to do to honor our faithful priests. As I've said here before, a number of them are friends of ours and they deeply impact our lives. We are so grateful for them and their vocation.

This week our family is blessed to have the 'Traveling Chalice' in our midst in our home. It is visiting us from my hometown parish where the priest has asked that one of his personal chalices travel each week to a different home within his parishes. My parents asked us months ago if we would like to participate and we eagerly agreed. The priest there is a beloved man of God, Fr. Mark. If you have ever met this gifted man, you would know that he is a spirit-filled man with a true servants heart. He asked that this chalice would travel so that each family would be blessed with its presence and that each one would also pray that week in particular for priests throughout this Year of the Priest. Isn't that a wonderful idea?

So, yes, this week pray we will. I ask that you also intercede and pray along with us as well, wherever you are. Near or far. Please pray for priests in a special way and also pray for Fr. Mark in particular. He is currently on a six month sabbatical as he tries to return to better health. He is currently fighting his second bout of cancer. Yes, so close to Christ's heart is he that he has been chosen again to fight this disease.

This post is also timely because Fr. Mark appeared just last week on one of the major news channels here in MN as he shared briefly his story, his faith and HOPE.(Can you see why this priest is near and dear to my heart?) Fr. Mark's first bout with cancer was in his final year of seminary, before becoming a priest. He was given special permission by the Pope and the bishop ordained him early since they didn't think he would make it in his fight with cancer. Shortly after ordination, the tumors began to shrink and he survived. That was 19 years ago. He has spoken his story to many through the years and he has never forgotten to given God all the glory for his miracle he received.

Prayers are powerful and Fr. Mark knows and believes that. Just yesterday he shared that he can feel his tumors shrinking and this round of chemo is going so much better for him. That is why I am asking you to join me this week in prayer. Fr. Mark will receive four more treatments in the next couple of months and I know he would appreciate you prayers for his continued healing. You can read his journal entries on his Caring Bridge site and keep updated on his progress. Don't be shy, please sign his comments and let him know you are praying for him this week. I told him last week that I would be sharing his story with all of you and you'd send him an abundance of prayers!

Prayer for Priests

Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests. Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation. Set their souls on fire with the love for your people. Grant them the wisdom, understanding and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel. Allow them to experience joy in their ministry and help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest. Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tracy Has Wonderful News!

A baby blessing!

And she's due on Easter Day, April 4th! Stop on by and congratulate her over at Pinewood Castle!

Congrats again Tracy!

Hi Lo: September 11th


1) Last Friday I had another consult appointment with my long distance physician who has been giving me most of my 'doctor's orders' regarding the infertility issue. Although we have not reached our goal (pregnancy, if you haven't been following along), my progesterone and estradiol numbers were significantly higher. Those are good signs that at least the HCG shots I've been getting these last few months are definitely paying off. I'll continue receiving those in order to keep those levels where they should be.

2) Being that we took the two hour drive to my doctor as a family, we made a couple of stops along the way home for a fun time for the kids. It allowed for extra family time during the last week of summer vacation. Woo-hoo!

3) We're back in school! The first week is going well and we're all enjoying it. Major accomplishment since a certain little girl in our house was convinced the last few weeks that she didn't really 'need' to go to school and that she knew EVERYTHING already.

4) Reed & I celebrated our 8th anniversary!! Where has the time gone?! I won't lie and say that it will be our most memorable ever, but that's okay. We've got lots more to come! There were a number of things that happened that day, so we didn't go out for supper as planned. Instead, with the short notice I had I was still able to whip up a fantastic, tasty meal for the 4 of us instead and even the kids loved it!

5) My dear friend in Blogville, Mommy Monkey, made an announcement yesterday. She's having a baby!! Go congratulate her here. I'm so excited for her!


1) Although I had good results for my hormone levels, my doctor did inform me that PCOS still cannot be completely ruled out as a cause for the infertility issue. I will take a break from my meds. that are supposed to be helping with ovulation and she has put me on another drug, Metformin, that may give me some extra help and it is proven to lend a hand in women with PCOS diagnosis. I'll have a re-check in a few months to see if it helps. We're hoping that things will continue to make a change and that it will all lead in future pregnancy.

2) I lost three pounds. Yes, normally this would be a High if I was any other normal woman. Since I feel like I am already at an adequate weight and I wasn't doing anything in particular to lose the weight, it isn't necessarily the best thing for me since we are TTC. I'm hoping I don't have any more significant weight loss since I am already much thinner than I was prior to having my children.

How was your week? I hope it was a good one!

What were your Highs and Lows?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You Asked For It: Peanut Butter Muffin Recipe

Here's the recipe for the muffins we had the other day. Take my word for it-they are moist, have perfect texture and taste delicious! Hubby agrees. Serve them with some strawberry jam and it's like eating pb&j sandwich for breakfast. How I do enjoy a good pb&j!

Peanut Butter Muffins

2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Peanut Butter (I used crunchy)
3 Tablespoons cold Butter or Margarine, divided
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in peanut butter and 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat the eggs and milk; stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until muffins test done.

Melt remaining butter; brush over tops of muffins. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to a wire rack.

Serve with jelly if desired.

Yield: 1 dozen

Wordless Wednesday (Almost):Last Week of Summer

Otherwise titled:
'If you're gonna have your kids sit in a van for two hours to drive to an appointment, you better find some fun places to stop at on the way home'

Don't forget to stop for treats!

HT to Tracy! Thanks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School Success!

This will be more of a photo post, since that's the best way to show off our first day. I'm happy to say that all of the anxiety I've felt for the last several weeks as I finished the last of my lesson plans, picked up the last of my school supplies and re-organized the schoolroom, vanished as the day grew closer. After the cooperation and patience that each of my children exhibited today, I am so grateful for the opportunity to be their teacher AND mommy!

And I will continue to be grateful as we ease back into a schedule and routine in my household. I do *love* predictability!

All organized and ready to go!

Crafting Supplies

Prayer/Feast Day/Seasonal Celebration Corner:

Peanut Butter Muffins with homemade strawberry jam for breakfast

Working hard

Celebrating Mary's Birthday

Following Meredith's suggestion in her book Mondays With Mary, we created our Mystical Rose tree that we will use until the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary next month. We will add flower stickers to the tree each day until then each time we do something special to honor Mary or pray the rosary.

Lily declared it 'blue day' in honor of Our Lady's birthday!

Things went well all around and I am so glad to have made a good memory with my children as we celebrated Lily's first day of First Grade and Jonah's first day of Preschool!

We are also celebrating today because it's hubby and my 8th Anniversary too!

What a day it is at our house!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My 'Go To' Salad

Continuing with my salad recipes this week, is what we refer to at our house as 'Mike's Salad'. Not sure if it actually came from our niece's husband, Mike's family, but we think it did and so it is forever to be referred to as such.

I love this light and easy salad, since it adds some sweet fruits in it as well. So yummy!

Mike's Salad

1 head Romaine lettuce or fresh Spinach
1 cup Mandarin Oranges
1 firm Banana
1 cup Pecans or Walnuts (chopped)

Put together greens, oranges and nuts. Add banana just before serving.


2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Vinegar (white or apple cider)
1 cup Oil
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
1 teaspoon Celery Seed

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Of All That Defines

It's a blog carnival at Jennifer's Conversion Diary this week and when I read Mommy Monkey's post, I knew I had to join in. Jennifer is asking what our "defining post" is that captures the spirit of our blog.

I was almost sure I could fine the exact one and I think I did. If you follow me here, you know that I often share tidbits of everything and about my children. You also know that this blog was started through the journey of secondary infertility and although that is not what it is ALL about as it was in the beginning, it still defines a certain portion of this blog. You also know that my blog name was not chosen by accident. So, I chose the post Hope & Faith written this spring as my "defining post" to share with you.

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