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.

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