Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wedding Cake

Alexa, over at Randomly Selected Thoughts, asked her readers to post a picture of their wedding cakes. Here's mine!

There was a fountain underneath the 2 main layers, and miniature bridesmaids were walking up the staircases. It was very beautiful, and tasted YUMMY too! We love Rich's in Milwaukee for cake ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Feast of the Archangels

Today is the Feast of the Archangels. (it's also L's 5 month birthday!)

I gave the boys holy cards this morning of Raphael and Gabriel, but somehow didn't have any for Michael. I did find a wonderful coloring page that included St. Michael's prayer for them to work on today.

We read about the angels from Saints and Angels, and will be making a devil's food cake later today for St. Michael. I also pulled out a picture of my grandfather, (who was named Gabriel) and we talked about him and his life.

I was going to make an angel's food cake, but decided to save that for the Feast of Guardian Angels on Tuesday.

I found this wonderful prayer to the angels that we'll be saying as a novena starting today. There's a special intention that we're praying for, and I have faith that we'll be taken care of.

Bless the Lord, all you His angels. You who are mighty in strength and do His will, intercede for me at the throne of God. By your unceasing watchfulness protect me in every danger of soul and body. Obtain for me the grace of final perseverance, so that after this life I may be admitted to your glorious company and with you may sing the praises of God for all eternity.

All you holy angels and archangels, thrones and dominations, principalities and powers and virtues of heaven, cherubim and seraphim, and especially you, my dear guardian angel, intercede for me and obtain for me the special favor I now ask ...

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

Blogger Meme

I've been tagged by Deb over at Ukok's Place! (Thanks, Deb!)

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo Mass?
I attend the Novus Ordo Mass and have never attended a Traditional Latin Mass. There was a notice in the bulletin last week that our former parish is starting to have a TLM and I considered attending, but the Novus Ordo is all I have ever known.

My parents remember the TLM and my mom has mentioned in the past that she missed the Latin hymns - but she doesn't attend mass regularly anyway. I know my great-grandparents and grandparents fully embraced the NOM and I admit I don't understand the fuss that is kicked up by some Catholics. I go to mass to be in the presence of our Lord, and while I am sometimes frustrated by the way certain things are presented (like never going with the responsorial psalm in the missal!), I am blessed that I can sit in the presence of Him.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?


3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
I'm Catholic. That is label enough, isn't it?

4. Are you a comment junkie?
I enjoy receiving comments, but it doesn't make or break my day when I don't receive any! I read many blogs that I never comment on, but I still enjoy reading.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
Sometimes, but not very often.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
Not that I can remember.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
I don’t want to be on anyone’s blogroll if they don’t want me on it.

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
I usually check my bloglines account first, to see who has updated recently.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?

10. What are you reading?
The Awakening by Kate Chopin, The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley, Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Stories of St. Francis by Margaret Mayo, and too many children's books to list!

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?

I have no idea what that site is ?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Day in the Life Post

Woke at 1AM to feed the baby. Fell asleep in living room recliner. DH came to bring us back to bed at 3:30AM and woke the baby who decided she must eat again. And woke again at 5AM. And again at 7AM. And again at 8AM.

Around 8:30, DH woke the boys and fed them breakfast and got ready to go to work. I hurriedly dressed, checked the diaper bag for supplies, and hustled the kids over to the baseball park. N played his last tball game for the season (actually, his last tball game ever, since he moves on to coach pitch next year.) L started crying the last 5 minutes of the game. Went over the empty field for the awards ceremony. L continued crying and I had no safe place to nurse her, since there were hundreds of people around the big, empty field and my kids were near their teams. N received a medal. C received a trophy.

C was supposed to play his last game of the season, but L was still screaming, and I was exhausted and I pleaded with him to come home. He agreed. (I'm still guilty over not letting him play the last game . . . )

Stopped at Sonic to pick up lunch. L stopped crying after 3 minutes in the car. Ate my breakfast burrito as driving, as I knew L would want to eat immediately after getting home.

Climbed into bed with L and told the boys they could watch a dvd. DH still at work. Nursed L and dozed while listening to podcasts. DH arrived home around 1 (only one call today, and no sale.) Once DH was home, I fell asleep soundly while L nursed and slept.

Woke around 3. Suggested we go swimming and everyone hopped in the pool. DH suggested we try and get tickets for the D-backs game tonight, but I wasn't interested in dealing with the crowds and the late night for the kids. Got out of the pool around 4:30 and everyone got dressed. I fed L.

Realized we forgot to thaw the chicken we were going to have for dinner. Realized there was nothing else in the house since I need to go to the grocery store. Decided to go to Pei-Wei's ( I love their Vietnamese salad rolls!) Loaded the family into the van and headed over there.

L sat contently through 80% of our meal. I knew she would want to eat, and when C suggested we stop at Barnes & Noble, I agreed. I love that they have nice armchairs throughout the store, and I knew I would be able to easily feed L. Went to B&N and browsed for a while before settling in to nurse. Everyone found at least one book they wanted.

There is an ice cream place next to B&N, so we went in and had ice cream. Drove home and the boys got into their pj's while I fed L again. Watched the end of the Diamondbacks game (they won!)

DH tucked the boys into bed. N got out of bed 4 or 5 times before finally staying put. L asleep for the night around 11:30. DH & I crawl into bed and fall asleep.

It was a pretty nice day! Even though it was a rough night, it was unusual that I got to take a nap -- so it all balanced out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

not enough

In July, a local, Catholic homeschooling family organized and put on a Catholic homeschooling conference. It was fairly small, but well-attended and a great resource. I volunteered to man a table and got free shipping and saw some great catalogs. Soon after the conference, the mom emailed our local group and said she couldn't commit to another year, but would share all her info with anyone interested.

When I first read her email, I thought "OH! I want to do that!" but sat on it since L was still so tiny and I was a bit overwhelmed. A month or so ago, I emailed her and asked if anyone had come forward to take it over and she replied they hadn't. I expressed interest in taking it over, and she was excited! We emailed a bit back & forth, and earlier this week she emailed me with many more details. One thing that jumped out at me was her statement that she hadn't had time for homeschooling for 6-8 months while planning it.

Whoops! I started thinking long and hard about what this conference would entail, and had to realize that I shouldn't take it on. Slacking off on homeschooling just cannot be an option for our family -- and if I wasn't homeschooling, then I shouldn't be organizing a homeschooling conference!

I called her today and told her that I couldn't take it over. She was extremely understanding, but I felt bad about the whole situation. I had been excited about the prospect of actually doing something like this, but had to face the reality that it was too much to take on by myself.

I feel almost useless these days. Of course, I'm a mom and a wife and all that -- but it feels like I'm not doing anything worthwhile to make a difference. I need to find something (other than raising my kids -- which I KNOW is important and worthwhile, etc.) but I need to find something that is just for me, perhaps. Or just about me might be a better way to phrase it. This conference would have given me more of a purpose, but at this point the cost would have been too great.

I have more to say about the subject, but L is fussing and wants her mama.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mother Talk Review: Money for Nothing

Who hasn't wondered about the people who win the lottery, or fantasized about what they would do if they won? I was interested in reading Edward Ugel's book, Money for Nothing, to feed my voyeuristic side.

Mr. Ugel falls into a position selling lottery winners lump sums of cash in exchange for their future payments. The book is about his personal story much more so than the story of any lottery winners, but it was still interesting to read about his life.

After finishing the book, I'm not sure what message the author was trying to share. I feel like he wrote the book to share a lesson with his readers, but I'm not sure what it was. He seems to feel dirty by what he did, but the reality is that he is filled a need.

Perhaps I feel a bit sensitive because my husband is a salesman, earning 100% commission. He works hard, helping people fill a need that they have (he sells heating and cooling). Many times the author would write of a sales technique, and appear embarrassed by it -- but often it was a simple sales techniques used by salespeople in a hundred different industries. Perhaps the lesson had nothing to do with his stint as a salesman, but was instead about personal choices and money management. I'm just not sure.

I did learn things that I never knew about the lottery industry and what happens to individual winners. It fed my fantasies for a few days about what I would do if I ever won, (and my hopes that I would handle my winnings intelligently.) I can see how a sudden windfall could wreak havoc in many lives, but I still think that the company he worked for met a need that people obviously had when they got in over their heads.

Overall, the book was okay. I think I would have liked to know more about the individual winners, rather than the author's ongoing struggle.

I'd be happy to pass it along to one of my readers. Please comment, or email me, with your lottery-winning fantasy and I'll choose someone to receive the book.

well baby check, 4 months

Well, she's still tiny. But right on her growth curve, so no worries. She weighs 12 lbs, 7 oz and is 24 3/4" long. Her weight is somewhere between 10 and 25%, her length is square at 50%. She's met all her developmental goals plus some.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

post partum?

I don't think I necessarily have the postpartum blues, but I think I may have a case of postpartum anxiety.

I have a LOT of anxiety right now and I'm trying to work through it but it feels like I'm covered in prickers at the moment. I've got the basics okay -- as in the kids are all fed as needed, everyone has clean clothes each day (even though the piles of laundry keep growing - I can't seem to get on TOP of it), the bills are being paid (I handle the books in the house, DH earns the cash), lessons are being taught (even though we took a couple days off last week.)

All that being said, I'm still on edge. I cry at the drop of a hat. I have scary thoughts of DH being in a car crash, or worse. I have another strong anxiety that I won't give words to, but it has gripped me tight. I can barely do the minimum housework -- and haven't been able to touch anything beyond that. There are projects I really need (want?) to get done before my parents visit in November, and they add to my stress level.

DH is being wonderful, and the kids are just fine. It's just me. I know I'm not tooo bad because I'm not having panic attacks over driving (usually a sign for me that I'm not doing well.)

One of the odd things is that I'm extremely calm outwardly. I'm not losing my temper or outwardly freaking out about things. But -- inside?? It's like a cactus in here!

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Matthew 6:28

I have this verse copied in various places around the house, and even tucked into my wallet right now. Maybe that's why I'm able to appear calm and composed.

I would appreciate prayers, though, that this can pass.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I love Apple!

A few months ago, the cd drive on my MacBook started working intermittently. I wasn't using it much, so I didn't do anything about it. (plus I was hormonal and pregnant, and then I had a newborn.) And, then, when we had the free time to take it to the Mac store, I hadn't backed up. And, then, DH told me that I would likely lose it for a week so I put it off some more.

Today, finally, I made an appointment for their "genius bar" and took it in. About 10 minutes later, it was back in my hands with a brand new cd drive and even a new keyboard cover (I have the white one and the oils from my wrists discolored the wrist rest area.) My appointment was for 2:15; they helped me at 2:10; we were out the door by 2:25.

The boys played on the computers that they have set up for kids, L was perfectly content, and I have a working cd drive! Now I can start copying music again to load on my ipod ;)

Touchpad deadbolt: Making life easier: 1st in a series

Last summer, I somehow lost DH's keys. I put them into the mailbox down the street to get our mail, and forgot to remove them from the box. When we realized they were missing, the keys were gone. Thankfully, we had extra truck keys -- but we realized it would be pretty easy to figure out whose house the keys belonged to so we had to change our front door lock.

We chose to replace our deadbolt with a touchpad keyless deadbolt and I have LOVED it ever since! (the link isn't to the one we have - but it's just like it.) I don't have to struggle with my keys to get in the front door. The boys both know the code (and also to keep it secret), so they can unlock the door for me when we come home. It's a simple push button from the outside to lock it. There's no chance of getting locked out by accident -- since you don't need keys!

The only thing I wish ours had was a glow panel, but the few times I've been stuck in the dark I've used my cell phone to shed light on the numbers.

A key still works as backup, so I keep one on my keyring in case the batteries go dead (although we changed them this summer - just in case!)

It didn't cost that much more than a traditional deadbolt, and it has made our lives much easier! Sometimes it's the simplest things that make life easier.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

toe grab

I mentioned that L started grabbing her toes last week -- finally here's a picture of her intense concentration at trying to figure out what to do now that she grabbed them!

positive reinforcement

It is such a joy to have our choices validated, especially by near strangers.

At the ball park today, I was nursing L. One of the coaches saw me and said "Oh! How I remember those days! Except I had one on each side! I nursed my twins for a year -- no matter where I was! And I had no patience for people who gave me a hard time about it in public!" I told her that I thought she was awesome :)

Then, a few minutes later, a man said "Not that I'm looking -- but it's awesome that you're nursing and that hooter hider is the best! My wife used hers all the time - but yours is prettier than hers was!" (My cover up was made by a WAHM, found on ebay. It is made from a very light material, has a neck strap so it doesn't slide off, and has boning near the top so it sits away from the baby a bit and I can look down and see her easily. It's an off-white background with large lavender roses.)

A few random words of encouragement can make such a difference. I'm sure neither of them realized what a boost they gave me today! I hope I can remember to be as encouraging to those around me!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mother Talk Review: BOB Books

When I started researching homeschooling a few years ago, I heard great things about BOB books. I admit, though, that when I first looked at them I was completely unimpressed.

The books had no color, were extremely short, and there were only a few words on each page.

Even though I wasn't impressed, it seemed that everyone else thought they were wonderful, so I bought the first set last summer for my oldest. I quickly found out why everyone thought they were wonderful -- quite simply, they ARE wonderful. The lack of color, few pages and few words are exactly what an early reader needs to focus on the words and build confidence in reading. I had been used to the elaborate picture books of the first 5 years of his life, without really thinking about whether they were good for children learning to read.

When my oldest sat on the couch and I handed him the first book, he quickly devoured it and wanted more. He had to call his dad, his aunt and his grandma that night to tell them he could READ! He devoured the first boxed set in the first week and we eagerly went to the store to buy the next set. Once he mastered these books, they sat on our shelves. They are not exciting, or even interesting, so they are not books to read over & over again. But, they did help him sound out words, learn some sight words, and most importantly -- build his confidence. That early, simple practice helped him progress to reading just about anything.

I have another son learning to read this year, so I was excited at the chance to review the revision recently published. Even though my oldest is reading chapter books these days, he wasn't sure about lending his brother the books he first read.

I noticed some differences in the new set right away. There's a bit more color in these books -- but still not much. The books are better labeled on the front, which is nice for me when trying to keep them in order. And, I think the box is sturdier than the one we had last year -- unfortunately that box is long gone so I can't do a side-by-side comparison.

The real wonder of these books, though, is the effect on children. My 2 sons have VERY different learning styles and I was envisioning more struggle this year. In the weeks leading up to sharing these books with him, we worked on recognizing lower case letters and increased practicing the sounds letters make. I honestly wasn't sure he would be ready by the time the books arrived, but thought I could easily share C's success last year in this review.

When the set was delivered, I showed it to N and said "Hey! Your own set of BOB books arrived today!" His eyes lit up and he replied "I'm going to READ today!" We sat on the couch and I handed him the first book. We went over the beginning sounds in the front of the book and he was off! Before I knew it, he had sounded out each word of the book and read it from front to back. The next thing to do was call his dad; and then he needed to play pirates.

I was shocked, I admit. I didn't expect him to catch on so quickly, and I was once again amazed at the simplicity of these books. It was the perfect amount of learning for my very wiggly and easily distracted little boy. The next day, he pulled out the 2nd book and sat down with his dad to sound out the words and read it through. And, again on the 3rd day. On the 4th day we reviewed the first 3 books and he did great. We continue to work on a book every other day or so and I know they will help him build his reading skills.

He is very proud of himself, and looks forward to the day he'll read chapter books on his own. He knows that his brother started out with BOB books and is confident that they'll help him learn as well. I am glad that I didn't let my initial impression keep me from bringing these books into our home!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

toes & misc

Last week, L discovered her toes! I still haven't gotten a picture of her grasping those tiny toes -- but I'll work on that this week.

I just got a call from DH asking if I thought he should go to Lubbock, TX for the week. Ummm, well, I would rather he NOT, but if leads are as scarce this week as they have been the last few weeks, then I guess he should go. I have a load of work shirts in the washing machine right now, so when he comes home in an hour or so he can finish packing and head out. Hopefully it will be a profitable week for us. I'm not looking forward to it, but I know we'll manage just fine.

N is going through another stage of night difficulties. He's always been a struggle to get to stay in bed at night, and he seems to be smack in the middle of another phase. I need to shake things up to find a new way to cope, and I haven't yet hit on the magic solution. I think there's a part of him struggling with the new addition, and starting classes, and just growing older. I need to find a way to help him through this time. Unfortunately, L likes to cluster feed from around 8 to 10 -- and when DH isn't home I'm trying to placate her as well as put the boys to bed. The biggest trouble I have with him right now is that he won't STAY in bed. He gets up 5-15 times before he finally stays put . . . always with a request or comment. We have stopped granting requests -- no more drinks or food after being tucked in. We're always willing to give him a hug & a snuggle. I'm trying to give him some one-on-one time during the day and perhaps I need to try harder. Last night I told DH that we have to stop even speaking to him when he gets out of bed -- just lead him back to bed. I don't know how to do that while I'm breastfeeding though?? Any ideas? Please feel free to comment!

Umm, no transition here -- I"ll just jump to a new topic :) Dinner on Sunday was very nice and I think our guests enjoyed themselves as well. It felt great to entertain again -- we used to do so quite a bit in years past and have totally gotten away from it. I know DH felt great about it as well, as he already invited a different family to dinner next Sunday! (which reminds me I may need to cancel that as he'll be driving home on Sunday.)

DH went to the doctor on Monday and has to go get a bunch of bloodwork drawn. As soon as that comes back, his doctor is also scheduling him for a sleep study. There have been various niggling things for a while now, and I'm glad I finally got him to the doctor. He hasn't been himself for a few months now and I'm worried. He rarely goes to the doctor as it is, so getting him there was quite the feat!

I guess this was a bit of a brain dump. Maybe someday I'll write coherent and well thought out posts . . .

Sunday, September 09, 2007

company & couple time

We're expecting company for dinner any moment now. DH has been friends with the husband for a few years now, but this is the first time we've invited them over. L thankfully decided to take a rare afternoon nap, so we were able to whirl through the kitchen, living room and bathroom to get it company-ready.

Unfortunately, that meant dropping piles in the laundry room, boys' room, and our bedroom that will have to be dealt with later . . . but at least the house can be seen and we won't be embarrassed! I'm glad that I put forth the initiative to make this dinner happen, as I know it's important to cultivate friendships and we haven't done much cultivating "couples" friends in the last few years.

It's been a busy few weeks between homeschooling, errands, and caring for kids. I know that DH is feeling neglected these days, but I'm at a loss at how to fix that right now. We've had a few opportunities for good familytime, which has been wonderful (!), but we haven't had any couple time in longer than I can remember. How do YOU carve out couple time in your marriage? I'd like to think that we can weather this, but I know from past experience that he really struggles during this infant-stage, and a dear friend's marriage trouble brings this even more to the front of my mind.
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