Sunday, January 30, 2011

Checking In

What's new here you ask?

Well, not much. Just odds and ends that fill our winter days here. Good things, but non-baby arrival things.

Nothing monumental to share, but a few photos instead. Just in case my absence here starts to make you wonder if I've gone in and had the baby yet. Rest assured, I'll keep you posted.

Because, I'm sure you're all just sitting on the edge of your seat counting the days as much as I am...ha!

A few highlights from last week:

Lily had this peculiar incident again that started with sneezing and runny nose and within an hour and a half had escalated into this again...

She's had this before, but we still haven't figured out the cause. It wasn't a sudden onset of a cold since the sneezing/runny nose quit, but then the swollen eyes did last for about another day and a half.

We had friends over for a mommy visit and a play date for the kids. A much welcomed break to our week!

Doctor appointment for me (no changes), errands and a library run with the kids. Then we treated them to a couple hours at a local waterpark to splash away the winter blues.

They thoroughly enjoyed it.

My parents stopped in for a visit to see my rounded belly for one last time brighten our day. We had supper together and celebrated my dad's birthday which was last week.

It made my weekend since I'm huge, tired, restless a homebody these days.

We headed to Mass as usual in the morning and everyone was even chipper enough for a few photos, including my 38 week photo with baby.

This afternoon we headed out to an outdoor parish sponsored event, but it was rather cold so we didn't stay long. It included a snowmobile ride, horse drawn sleigh rides, ice golf and cocoa and roasted hot dogs. We didn't join in the snowmobile ride, but did enjoy a sleigh ride with friends and some hot cocoa.

Thanks for stopping in and catching up with me! We'll see where this week takes us.

For now, I've got a little boy who is on the couch sick. Let's hope it's a passing thing and no one else is affected.

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Just popping in to jump on the Thankful Thursday bandwagon.

For my husband who heads off to work in the dark of the early morning to provide for our family. He's been putting in the extra hours now so that he can take some time off and be home with us when baby arrives.

For my daughter who continues to grow up too fast and is gently pulling away, but still has enough tender moments to pat my belly and ask when the last time I felt the baby move. She'll be such a good Big Sister again and I think the baby may draw us closer in our Mommy-Daughter relationship.

For my son who still has his struggles with his temper and too much emotion that he doesn't know how to handle. Tough to deal with at times, but he's also taken great strides in growing up and becoming quite the little man. He's still my Cubbie.

For baby who continues to keep me on my toes in awe and wonder as we await his/her arrival. We've almost made it to 38 weeks together!

For my parents, especially my dad who turns 60 today. I have been so blessed by my relationship with my parents and that they get to share in my family's life as often as possible.

For Dr. K and his wife. With each appointment I am reminded how much we needed him for this pregnancy and how very blessed we've been by our Catholic physician throughout this journey. Without the patience and instruction from his wife and learning the Creighton model, we may not even be where we are today and pregnant. We are so thankful that they were brought into our lives at the right time.

For prayerful friends near and far who read here. Could you please send Patty some extra prayers in the coming days? Her sorrowful heart is aching through her loss and she could really use them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Preparing A Place

We've kicked things into high gear here in the last week or so to make room for baby. All of those final things I've been waiting to finish have finally all come to fruition.

And now we wait.

Fittingly, the kids and I were talking about the virtue of Patience last week at school. The book's definition was simple: Waiting with a happy spirit. We have that reminder on the fridge and we are actively trying to remember patience in all things these days.

The last details of the baby's room are complete

The clothes are washed

And a couple of new ones are waiting (Lily and I couldn't help ourselves)

Stripes and Hearts!!

With a happy spirit we'll wait for the precious baby boy or baby girl that will fill the cozy car seat.

Counting down the days!!

Friday, January 21, 2011


It's 20 degrees BELOW zero on my thermometer here in the tundra.

I've been awake since 2:45am with only a slight dozing off for maybe a half hour somewhere in there.

Lily has been up since about 5:00am and Jonah just got out of bed.

Things have got to start looking up at some point today, right?

Well, at least it's Friday and we virtually have a 'FREE' weekend ahead.

Here's to a Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Know You're From The Midwest When...

You see this photo and know instantly what it is...

For those of you unfamiliar with the Midwest, it's a little something we like to call Tator Tot Hotdish (or Casserole, if you prefer).

Don't feel bad if you didn't have a clue what I was referring to last week in my daybook and couldn't help but be intrigued.

This, my friends, is a Midwest/Minnesota staple in most every home. When you're scraping the bottom of the barrel for supper (yes, I said 'supper' not 'dinner') ideas, it's not uncommon to pull out the Tator Tot Hotdish recipe. My husband's family recipe is actually called Teeter Totter Casserole. Cute, isn't it? It's a good 'ol comfort food, no matter which way you prepare it. Trust me, there are many different versions and changes to the recipe depending on your exact geographical location and family preferences since it's pretty versatile.

Want to give it a try for yourself?

Here's the recipe I used last week for my family of four, but substitution ideas are in parenthesis:

Tator Tot Hotdish

1 lb. Ground Turkey, cooked/browned (or ground beef)
Salt & Pepper to taste
8-10 oz. Frozen Peas (or green beans)
8-10 oz. Frozen Corn (or mixed veggies)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (or cream of celery or cream of chicken)
1/2 cup Milk
1/2-3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese (or cheddar cheese)
Tator Tots (no exact amount, use as few or as many as you prefer

Mix meat, vegetables, soup, milk and salt & pepper. Put in greased pan/baking dish. May top with minced onion flakes if desired. Top with cheese and tator tots.

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until the tator tots are to your desired crispness.
Impossible to over bake.

Create a meal by adding a salad and a slice of fresh baked bread. Yum!

Monday, January 17, 2011


With the new year brought Jonah's first loose tooth. With the loose tooth brought the realization that my 'baby' isn't really a baby any more.

It also brought about that same reality for dear Jonah as he wiggled on that tiny tooth all last week. Through the pain (albeit magnified by my seemingly pain intolerant boy), he cried numerous days and groaned how solid foods would be a thing of the past until that tooth finally came out. Oh yes, he cried and wailed. One day, even exclaiming 'I want to be three again! I don't want to grow up! I don't want to loose my teeth!'

I was tempted to moan along with him and complain of my woes of adulthood. If a loose tooth is as rough as you've got it kid, well, then you've got it good.

But I didn't.

He was feeling his own growing pains and it wasn't really all about the tooth. I think he knows there are changes coming and it's finally time to grow up a bit more. We're trying to put a healthy spin on it and remind him that this is all part of God's plan for us. We grow up and there's always something new and exciting that we get to do that we couldn't before. He's grudgingly taking the bait...I think.

Any way, the tooth was thoroughly wiggled and pushed to and fro until it was finally hanging by a thread (or root as it were). In the meantime, his sister lost a tooth last Friday while eating her breakfast and did it with ease. It was one we weren't even aware was loose! Finding it no more of an incentive to just let mommy pull his tooth out and endure that last little bit of pain, Jonah waited.

Two days later, we were all finally put out of our misery and the little tooth was out. Relieved, Jonah realized now that it was over that the whole ordeal really wasn't that bad.

Life is like that, isn't it? Lesson learned and we move on to the next thing.

Now, I'm just hoping that this baby we're waiting on comes out in the end as effortlessly as the tooth. A girl can hope.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sprinkling Fun In Your Week

In an effort to ward off the mundane of daily living while staying at home and homeschooling, I frequently look for ways to liven things up. While not any great and wonderful ideas most of the time, I try to link them with a catchy name so that at least the kids get a hoot out of them.

While not always weekly events, I think we SAHM's do whatever we can to make things more fun and perhaps to make our days a bit easier too. Not to mention, if you live in the frozen tundra of winter white January days, you need to become creative when nasty roads and living out of the city limit you.

We try most weeks to brighten the beginning of the week with Muffin Tin Monday. Our family also just reinstated Wii Wednesday for the winter months, which we all enjoyed last year. We've also done Collage Friday in the past at school where the kids can create a collage out of just about anything to wrap up our school week.

Just last week I came up with Fun(lunch)Food Friday, where I actually make a little bit of effort to make something healthy and fun for lunch. Involving perhaps a little more prep time than other lunches, the kids seemed to think that with the catchy name it was 'the best lunch ever'. I had only made cheesy, chicken quesadillas, apple slices with a cream cheese/honey/peanut butter dip and frozen chocolate covered bananas. See? Not super creative. This isn't to say that our lunches are usually boring, but I don't typically plan out our weekly lunches so most often they end up being whatever I think of making when 11:00 rolls around.

How about you? What creative ways do you spice up at-home days with your children?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Winter Daybook

For Today...1.11.11

Outside My Window...steady snow which isn't accumulating to much, but a couple more inches to add to our increasing piles. No signs of sunshine any time this week.

I Am Thinking...about way too many things that can consume a pregnant mommy brain! Including every possible scenario on how to prepare our home both for my absence while in the hospital and for a newborn.

I Am Thankful For...a level-headed husband and his patience. Not to mention his confidence that 'everything will be just fine'.

I Am Praying...for an uneventful next few weeks and a healthy baby.

I Am Reading...Motherless by Brian J. Gail and refreshing my memory with tidbits of reading on labor/delivery and breastfeeding.

I Am Creating...a rounded belly that nestles baby #3 and snuggles him or her safely.

Baby This Week...still kicking and squirming, particularly at night. Should weigh over 5 lbs at least by now.

Favorite Pregnancy Foods...anything that doesn't give me indigestion/heartburn or make me feel too full. I'm running out of room in this belly.

Around The House...yellow and green, pink and blue. Without knowing baby's gender, there's lots to have semi-unpacked and ready for either.

From The School Room...keeping on task and sticking to lesson plans as much as possible. Last week was a great week, considering that we were just back from break and getting back into the swing of routine again. I'm hoping to keep that momentum going.

From The Kitchen...Chicken lasagna; Tator Tot hotdish and we'll see what else strikes my fancy this week.

For The Rest Of The Week...only a doctor appointment on Thursday that should take me away from home, which is good since our roads are slippery/icy and snow covered.

One Of My Favorite Things...the smell of Dreft laundry detergent in my laundry room.

Picture Thought I Am Sharing...this altar ice sculpture is the handiwork of youth and some adults at a parish in my hometown.

More daybooks can be found over at The Simple Woman's Daybook who hosts all of us who join in!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Keep Smiling!

Today's meditation from Small Steps for Catholic Moms


"It is above all in the home that, before ever a word is spoken, children should experience God's love in the love which surrounds them."

~John Paul II~


Dear sweet Lord, before I open my mouth to speak, help me to relax my shoulders and smile. Then, let whatever comes out of my mouth be an expression of your love.


How do your children experience God's love in your home? When we smile, our faces reflect the joy we have in knowing we are loved unconditionally by your benevolent Father. Smile at your family today-often.

Have a Happy Monday and Keep Smiling today!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mommy Matters: Postpartum

I'm getting ready to head into 35 weeks here in a couple days and I'm contemplating my postpartum days and weeks ahead.

I know I've read numerous great ideas and tips over the years, but for the life of me cannot remember a whole lot of them.

How about you, dear reader? I'm betting you've got a lot of input in this department.

What are you postpartum must-haves? Products you find beneficial to ease into post-baby days; soothing relief for breastfeeding moms; invaluable suggestions/recommendations you'd love to pass along...

You name it, I'll take it!! Share the good and the bad. The hits and the misses in all-things-postpartum.

I'm all ears!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Following Your GPS

This past Sunday, our parish priest made an interesting comparison that caught my ear.

He was talking about starting the new year and and following where God wants to lead us this year. It may be in an unexpected place or a course that we aren't prepared to follow.

He then made the analogy that the Holy Spirit is like our GPS along this path. Many times as we follow this course and see where it leads, we'll find ourselves a bit off route. It's then that the Holy Spirit acts and nudges us and much like the GPS, we may be need to be 'recalculating' along the way.

Have you ever used a GPS and not taken the turns and directions it suggested? If you have, then you know that all too familiar voice that prompts "Recalculating...turn left in 300 ft..." and so on.

What perfect imagery! I think I'll be hearing that one for a while. It's the perfect reminder that even when I get off course or find myself in an unfamiliar neighborhood, the Holy Spirit is still right there recalculating, prompting me in the right direction.

Now if only I remember to listen to those new directions and be open to the alternate route.

And I need to be sure to keep the GPS on and not turn it off out of sheer annoyance because I think I know the way on my own.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: One Last Look

Not completely wordless, but just had to share what is probably our last sneak peek at little one before arrival.

I had an ultrasound last week to check baby's size and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I've never had the chance to see any of my babies this late in pregnancy. What a difference in all of their grown features! And so much more settled in the reality that this little one will be making an appearance in a matter of weeks. Yikes.

Baby is looking really good and weighing right around 4 lbs. 15 oz. The due date is looking right on as well, so we're still heading toward the February 12/14th EDD. I'm sure this month will be flying by at rapid speed.

'Hello Mommy's Readers, I see you...'

Little smooshed up face, but those lips, nose and chin are precious. Even the ultrasound tech was giddy when we saw this one.

Happy Wednesday!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year = A Time To Reflect

As 2010 drew to a close I found myself with many moments left for reflection. Contemplating a year with more ups and downs than I may have ever anticipated at its beginning. It was in mid-December that my third Blogiversary also went without mention, mostly due to Advent and Christmas preparations and general slowing down of the season. It was this place, With A Hopeful Heart, that was sparked by an unexplained infertility diagnosis, an unknown territory for me. It was also here that I was drawn to more faithful reflection, new friends and more heartfelt writing and posting than I had anticipated.

In pondering 2010 and looking ahead to 2011, I couldn't help but be fascinated by God's grace and His perfectly knit plan. I do not take lightly that I am blessed beyond measure with an amazing husband, two healthy children and a little one stirring in my womb. I do believe I couldn't have become more grateful for all of these if I hadn't become more drawn to the crosses laid before me, but also the graces lavished upon me to carry those crosses.

The road has had plenty of bumps and many of them I shared here with you. The second half of this year was also filled with many roses amongst the thorns that were scattered upon my path. With watchful eye, many of these were not lost on me.

I look ahead to eagerly embracing what lays ahead of us in the new year. We mostly wait in anticipation that 2011 is the year in which our prayers are answered and Baby Blessing arrives. That alone makes this a year to definitely look forward to in our house!

Because, in His perfect timing and many lessons along the way, He fulfills His promise of LAUGHTER again.

Oh, how we are enjoying the laughing...

May your 2011 be blessed with health, happiness, tranquility, peace and lots of laughter!

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