Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent Tradition/Novena

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

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

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

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

Blessed Advent to all of you!!

Monday, November 29, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Card Ready?

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

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

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

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

Nativity Blessing

Diamond Flurries

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

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

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

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

Happy Shopping!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

At Home Manicure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ready For The Voyage?

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Early Morning

I am awake much too early, but cannot sleep.

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

Together we await the morning light.

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

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

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

A weary heart longing for this moment.

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

Mother and child.

My mind skips ahead several months.

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

Imagine the time we will spend together.

Precious moments that we will share.

And perhaps some very sleepless, unhappy nights.

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Time For Thanksgiving

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

Praise God!

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

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

Discarding And Reorganizing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 15, 2010

Visiting The Poor Clares

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Geocaching

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

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

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

Bundled up and ready to go

On our way

Some of us searched

While others played

Daddy found it!

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

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Daybook

For Today...11.9.10

Outside My Window...another nice day on tap before the cold air hits again later this week.

I Am Thinking...about Christmas lists and Baby names. What a combination!

I Am Thankful For...family time over the weekend; free movie matinee of Marmaduke at the theatre; lunch with grandpa & grandma at Pizza Hut; numerous odds and ends completed around home. Sweetness!

I Am Praying...for a mom from our homeschool group who is due with triplets (all girls) around the same time I am. I know she'd appreciate any extra prayers we can send her way.

I Am Reading...A Gathering of Angels by Katherine Valentine

Baby This Week...26 weeks and moving around regularly with frequent jabs that catch mommy off guard; enjoys responding to big brother and big sister by kicking back; he/she should weigh around 2 lbs. by now.

Favorite Pregnancy Foods...summer sausage, bagels and any cereal. Nothing fancy.

Around The House...little by little hubby is adding the finishing touches on the family room/playroom in the basement. This should allow for Baby's Room to be rid of the Little People/Polly Pocket World it has become.

From The School Room...steady days starting 2nd quarter and a number of fall/Thanksgiving projects will adorn the bulletin board once again.

From The Kitchen...going day by day lately with the menu plans, but I'm frequently using my Betty Crocker app on the iPod Touch for recipe ideas. I've found quite a few keepers lately.

For The Rest Of The Week...Norwex party tonight; visit to a Poor Clare's convent an hour away tomorrow with our Little Flowers group; Reed is off from work for Veterans Day on Thursday.

One Of My Favorite Things...the way my growing belly has become a bongo drum and source of entertainment for the kids. Not to mention Jonah's growing fascination and love for baby. Too sweet.

Picture Thought I Am Sharing...

Check out more Daybooks at The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Last week as I flipped channels on the television late in the afternoon, something caught my eye. The Backstreet Boys were reuniting as part of a surprise on a tv talk show (which shall remain nameless).

This I had to see.

I mean, I liked BSB back in the day and probably was more of a closet BSB fan than most girls at the time. But they were five guys...and they were so dreamy. You know you liked them too, just admit it.

Remember these album covers?

I think we all had our favorite. Mine was Kevin and sometimes even Brian.

So I waited and I watched for them to appear on the show. I had to check out how the guys had aged (and some of them even grown up).

Suddenly an unknown, forgotten giddy feeling came out of the blue while I watched. I could suddenly remember almost every word to their songs. It felt odd to be in my thirties and remember a day prior to my twenties when Boy Bands were all the rage. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing or hearing BSB or N SYNC (yup, you remember them too?).

They still had their harmonic sounds and their boy band ways, but now they're all grown up and we're all a little wiser. But man, it's amazing how a moment like that with all five back together again singing I Want It That Way can bring out the schoolgirl again.

I was smiling as I listened and I think I was even *blushing*.

And yes, when hubby arrived home I told him the whole story and we had a good laugh over it. I reminded him that even back then when I was single it wasn't like I 'even had a shot with one of those guys'. It was more about the mesmerizing ways of those handsome boy bands that caught most girls eyes. It seems so silly now and pretty hysterical that I still blush just by the mere mention of it. Oh boy.

I even half-heartily joked about hitting their concert when they are on tour in the spring with New Kids On The Block! No really, not gonna happen.

I mean maybe IF I were like a big fan or something. Hypothetically speaking.

***This slightly embarassing flashback moment brought to you by the slightly hormonal pregnant woman on the other side of the computer screen. We never need speak of this again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

100 Days (More Or Less)

Check out my Baby Ticker on the sidebar!

We're officially just 100 days from our due date. Hooray!!

I know, it's still a ways off, but I know with the holidays ahead that the weeks are going to fly by. We're so excited....and I've got some work to do in baby's room and some shopping to be done too yet. Yikes.

Most importantly, we cannot wait to meet our healthy baby boy or girl and be amazed at the preciousness of a new little one in our home once again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mommy Matters: Infant Car Seats

We're in the market for a new infant car seat for baby. We had a Graco Snugride with our other two children and I saved it because it was in such good condition. I then found out that due to our lengthy wait on baby news, it was far beyond the suggested time for upgrading.

So, we've got some car seat shopping to do. It's not exactly the most fun thing to do in the grand scheme of baby preparation shopping, but it does come down to my child's safety so it's kind of important, right? Except, that when I'm looking at car seats it goes beyond safety. It becomes about carrying comfort, color, style and fabric. Oh, and price. We are talking about putting precious cargo in this little thing, but seriously I'm not gonna pay $300 for one of these! I'm more in the less than $125 range.

I'm also finding it difficult to find neutral/unisex fabrics in these car seats. Does everyone find out baby's gender before birth and buy a gender specific car seat?? Good gracious. And then there are just plain ones that have black or gray, but I'd like to have a little bit of color/style in the fabric. And of course there are themed ones (jungle, Pooh, animals, etc.) which I personally just don't care for. I also want to like (no, I don't need to LOVE it) the thing since I will be lugging it around for a while and hope to use it again for another child.

I think we've narrowed it down to either another Graco Snugride or the Baby Trend brand since they seem to fit all of my criteria.

Here are a couple I've found online that I kind of like, but am not particularly attached to:

Graco Snugride in Lively Dots

Baby Trend in Mesa

Hubby doesn't really have a preference in this sort of thing and will be fine with whatever I choose. I could use your suggestions.

I'm wondering if you have a favorite brand? What's worked for you? Any current deals out there you're aware of and can share?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gentle Reminder


You will effect more by kind words and by a courteous manner than by anger or sharp rebuke, which should never be used except in necessity.

~ St. Angela Merici ~


Give me your voice, Lord. Help me to see that the words I choose can build up or tear down. When I grow tired of repeating myself and want to give up or shout, inspire me with a better way to gain my children's attention. Give me grace to correct fairly and inspire virtue. Help me to say out loud the things that are good and true about my children. I want to encourage them.

~ Author Unknown ~

Monday, November 1, 2010

For All The Saints

Click the video for the sung Litany of Saints. One of my favorite hymns that is rarely heard. This version is similar to the one that was song on our wedding day and is one of our most precious memories.

Happy All Saints Day!!

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