Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Family Advent

It's several days into Advent and I've been reading post after post of amazing Advent plans. You all have such wonderful ideas and book lists galore!

For some reason, Advent snuck up on me and I was unprepared. Some place in my brain I am still stuck in September. Not sure why.

When one of my kids asked on Saturday morning what book we were reading this Advent season as a family, I sat with a blank stare. I hadn't a clue. In fact, I had completely forgotten to research and purchase something for us. Shoot!

To Amazon I went and found that the author of Jotham's Journey (a past Advent read we all enjoyed)had two other books to choose from. I ordered both so as to be prepared next year and not be caught off-guard again!

We'll be reading Bartholomew's Passage this year, after it finally arrives today or tomorrow. We'll be starting a little late, but we'll be sure to catch up. Within a day after purchasing these books, I read from several bloggers and facebook friends that they too were planning to read Bartholomew's Passage. Looking forward to reading along with so many of you!

Throughout the weeks we'll also pull out a number of excellent Christmas books that I've bought over the last few years. In addition to those, I've got a mile long list of them requested from the library. I've gotten my list over the years mostly from Jessica that she posted again this year.

Our other Advent family tradition that we will again do this year is the St. Andrew Christmas Novena. It has blessed our Advent abundantly and our evening family prayer time as we prepare for Christmas. We prayed it two years ago in hopes of our own little one and last year we prayed it again and offered it for Mr. and Mrs. B. They are expecting Baby B this year in a couple of weeks! This year we will pray it for Baby Gem and a safe delivery and many bloggers/friends/family who are expecting little ones in the coming months.

The novena starts TODAY, St. Andrew's feast day!

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Prayer to Obtain Favors

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (November 30) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

No other big plans here for Advent, but I think a few small traditions are wonderful memories to make with our growing family. If you have a prayer request you would like our family to pray for during our Advent novena, please leave a comment or email me (see sidebar). We'll gladly include your intentions with ours.

Happy Advent!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving From My Turkeys

From Lily:

From Jonah:

From Gianna:

From all of us here at our house, to all of you, wherever you may be...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Partly To Mostly Foggy

I was very relieved when I read Patty's post last week and found that I was not alone.

I thought perhaps I was losing my mind or that it was just MY connectors that were a little less than, well...connected. Good grief! Several times a hour day I find myself questioning some of the most obvious things or forgetting the most basic of tasks.

Is this normal? As the pregnancies add up, does my IQ and brain wave frequency decrease? Or maybe it's the close proximity of pregnancies this time around.

Restless/interrupted sleep?(Gianna still doesn't sleep through the night)

Well, I've been blaming 'pregnancy brain' in hopes that it was a good enough excuse.

It's some of the smallest details, but really things that are so every day and basic that I don't feel like I should have to think so hard about. It's peculiar though how often there is the missed connection somewhere that keeps causing the brain fog.

I'm hoping this will all come to an end soon, but if sleep deprivation is the main culprit then we might as well count on this continuing for at least another year.

Thankfully, my children aren't old enough to admit me to the Funny Farm yet. Although, maybe hubby is about ready to. Doubt it. He'll probably keep me either way.

PS..When I wasn't busy losing my marbles yesterday, I took a Sunday Snapshot. It's a small glimpse into my world at a certain point on a Sunday. Go check out Snapshots from a Sunday to see what others were up to yesterday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snowy White

Today brought our first snowfall and although that does not necessarily mean that winter has officially started, in my book it pretty much does.

So begins winter survival, snow packed country roads and more snow/winter gear to pile on before heading outdoors.

Surprisingly, my nine month old enjoyed the sled ride and snow blowing at her face far more than I anticipated. The girl was smiling more today in the sled than she has over the last two weeks donning her winter coat in the stroller.

Now it's back to the couch with me to nestle in my cozy blanket, the smell of warm chocolate cake out of the oven and the sound of my daughter practicing "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays" on the piano.

I hope you are enjoying your Saturday!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just Write: A Day Late

I love this idea! And, since my blog posts are lacking and just faint whispers in my head, today this seems ideal.

I've got ten minutes before lunch....and....GO!

My 'big kids' (that's what we're calling my two older kids these days) are watching HUB. One of the couple measly channels we get after we put our DISH network on suspend for a bit. It was an effort to reduce tv watching, but also cut down the budget. We opted for getting a local guy to come and amp up our outside tv antenna so that some channels are available to us on regular tv. We also got a Roku that allows for instant watching/tv shows that we can't get via the antenna.

Anyone confused yet? Bottom line: we are saving money and enjoying the freedom of less tube time. The drawback will be missing all of the Hallmark and ABC Family Christmas specials.Oh well.

Gianna weighs around 20 lbs. and has gotten to be too much to carry in the infant car seat. Growing 8 month old + growing mama belly = time for a new car seat. Although the infant car seat will again be filled come February, putting it away for a time still makes me tear up just a bit. Our time with Gianna so far has flown by and my heart is so full. I almost cannot imagine what life was like before we were a family of five. I know that something was missing and God definitely filled that void. Now, it will be times two in just a year.

A doctor visit and a slew of labs left me with mostly good news. Twenty eight weeks tomorrow and right now my weight gain is five pounds shy of this point last year with Gianna. That makes me feel good, mostly because I know that getting the weight off later may be more difficult. I'm thinking though that if ever there was a time to go for the gold and gain weight, now would be it. Not willing to take that plunge though. Is that wrong? The weighty issue kind of gets me thinking lately. My other labs revealed no gestational diabetes, my thyroid is normal and completely being off my meds. for the last month is just fine and lastly, my progesterone number rose rather than fell this week. The relief to be off thyroid meds. is wonderful. Still on progesterone shots, but feeling more ok with it this week. It certainly can't be much longer now, one way or another.

My kids are now fighting over playing in the basement and some disgruntled argument ensues. It goes like this-on again, off again, bittersweet sibling stuff.

Although random in post writing this is, it's me writing. These are the things that flutter back and forth, back and forth in my head these days as the clock hands fly around and around.

The timer is sounding and children's tummies are calling.

Thanks for joining me in Just Write. It's random and not perfectly written, but that's the point. Other Just Write posts are linked over at The extraordinary ordinary.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Realities Of Motherhood

The other evening as I rocked Gianna back to sleep I got to thinking.

That alone can be alarming considering that I think my brain is working at only half-power lately.

As I rocked back and forth snuggling my little one I also sat there misty eyed. The day had been long, I was tired, Gianna had been peacefully sleeping and now was suddenly startled and awake again. I had found out that my progesterone number had dropped since last week and I was anticipating another progesterone shot within minutes. I am tired of those things and was so hoping that my number would sustain and get me off of them for the remainder of this pregnancy. No such luck.

I wearily rocked my sweet baby girl as my other baby, current in-belly resident, kicked and moved. I couldn't help but think how it's the beginning of sibling rivalry or perhaps camaraderie. I half embraced the moment as the other half of me became overcome with emotion.

I am human. I am mom and I am wife. Like most moms,

In that moment the reality of motherhood grasped hold of me and I thought of how overwhelmed and restless I felt. This would all only be magnified when a new little one enters our house in mere months, while I trip over toys, run after a one year old, school my older children and wear my super-mom cape as I fly around the house. I could not imagine how she does it and still remains sane. I pondered for a moment so many women I know who hold in their loving arms child after child who they lovingly raise. Far better are they than I, for being able to care for and manage so many blessings.

Overcome, I then realized that every reality of motherhood and day in the trenches most often can easily be outweighed by the rewards of motherhood. The daily graces that I cling to and desire. Difficult days like these aren't forever and most often don't last, although they seem to pile up and feel like they never end. There are so many good days that are filled with enough moments and memories to fill the mommy scrapbook in my heart.

A peace and serenity came over me.

I looked down at the sleeping baby in my arms, inhaled her sweetness and kissed her one more time before laying her back in the crib. I watched her peaceful sleep and knew that sometimes we need to face the realities in order to more fully see and enjoy the rewards of motherhood.

Although it isn't always glamorous and perfect, this is my vocation and I wouldn't change a thing about my daily reality.

I closed the door and turned to face my other reality-a sharp jab in the behind.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Smile! Your Children Are Watching

During a recent school day, my youngest student caught me off-guard during a particular difficult teaching moment.

"Mom, keep that smile on your face!", he shouted.

I stopped what I was doing and kept the smile.

He smiled back at me and said, "I think I know why some people have a smile on their face ALL the time...."

He paused.

"It's because they don't have children."

While his little observation initially made me laugh, it's given me something to think about since then.

How often do my children see me smiling? So easily I share my grin with a friend or even a complete stranger out of kindness, but not as often with those I love.

Does my face reveal the contentment and joy that fills me on the inside? Sadly, probably not nearly enough.

This has left me wondering how often my children see me happy and know that I feel blessed to be their mom. Too often I am preoccupied with so many things and tasks and demands of daily living. I think that I easily wear that on my face and forget to crack a smile. Worry and anxiety quickly stomp out the true happiness that fills me on the inside.

My son ought to know that children are the light of the household. Children do bring joy and smiles to life. They are a blessing. MY children are all of those things to me and MY house. As his mom I need to remind him of that and show him, even if by a simple smile.

When I least expect it, my children may be watching and gauging the happiness of our household by the smile or furrowed brow that I display. Let my children never wonder if our family is truly happy or if mom and dad love being their parents. A simple smile on my face should be able to reassure them.

In addition to many hugs and 'I love you', what an easy and simple gift I can afford to give them every day.

'Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.' -Mother Teresa

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Baby Love

For Colleen and anyone else who enjoys baby bump photos.

Baby Gem and I today, at 26 weeks:

Now, before you all leave comments on how small the bump is or that you can't see it, etc. (because I know you all too well), keep in mind that Lily took the photo and it's not zoomed. Also, the light pink shirt is forgiving. I did do my best to show the belly, but I could only turn in so many different angles and have m little photographer take so many shots. I'll do my best to wear something tighter and unforgiving next time.

This was one of my first baby belly shots this time around. I just keep forgetting! I suddenly realized last week that I haven't been nearly as vigilant with the photos with this pregnancy. Trust me, we are growing bigger and thriving as the weeks keep flying by. Eager for the end, but also firmly grasping each day and moment as Gianna keeps sailing through her first year.

Speaking of my little eight month old, I had my photographer snap this photo with my out-of-womb baby:

Baby love, all around.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Hooligans

Excuse the poor picture quality and lighting, I quickly snapped these photos as we were heading out the door trick-or-treating. Good thing I did, since Gianna had enough of Halloween and the night life by time we made it back home.

My police officer and his rowdy jailbirds:

Mommy's lil pumpkin:

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