Thursday, October 31, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Scary

This week's theme is Scary, and as tempted as I am to post a selfie before my morning ablutions, I think I'll pass on that kind of online glory :)

So, how about a little bit of supervised knife-play:

My nephews and Hubby preparing their strategies

Four giant pumpkins

Stabbing repeatedly

Children with serrated knives

Pausing his call to get to work

Four kids with knives, where should I worry first?

Ok, maybe with that little crazy in the back there

Or maybe with the guy who got out power tools

We survived!

 This morning, I was up bright and early with this little treasure....

So I made this

And, the piece de resistance....playing with flash, shadow, shutter speed...I captured a "scary" face from Sweet Pea.

She just heard words that scare her, nap time!

Stop by Clan Donaldson for more scary fun!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

{WWRW} 20 and Counting

Because things aren't going very well lately, I've been watching perhaps a little TOO much TV.  When I say perhaps, just trust me, it's actually WAY too much. 

One of the newer shows added to my online/tv subscription service was 19 Kids and Counting.  There were approximately 100 new-to-me 20 minute shows available to watch.  Over the course of the last month, I've watched nearly all of them.....I think I have 2 left. 

The Duggars: 20 and Counting <span class='s'>Special</span>Over the last month, I've been reminded of the truth that we get out what we put in.  Watching Michelle Duggar speak kindly and patiently to her children started rubbing off.  Being more prayerful and reflective started to seep in.  I found myself speaking more kindly to my children.  I could hear her kind voice re-directing a child in the back of my mind from the numerous episodes I'd watched. 

As I noticed her ability to act and speak with kindness to her children and her constant love and enthusiasm for her husband, I became a little more curious about her story.  So, last week, I picked up a copy of 20 and Counting from my local library....they're thrifty enough I THINK they'd appreciate that :)

The book was a neat insight into who they are and how they've grown and changed over the years.  Their family is undoubtedly recognizable because of its size, but I think they also exude some of that grace that the world is looking for. 

The story of their openness to children comes from a place of loss.  Michelle miscarried their second child, in part because of the birth control she took.  After that loss, they turned over their fertility to God.  That they are so well known is a resounding reminder of how scarce this view is in the world today.  They see children as a blessing, only always a blessing.  They have quotes from Mother Teresa in their book and adorning their walls that I catch sight of every now and then in an episode.  They teach their children to have a "servant's heart".  They are open to God's will for their family.

In their book, they talk about struggles, including five children in a two bedroom house, a robbery and the building of their current house.  It's truly an inspiring thing to witness this family.  Michelle is also very quick to point out how much love and support they've had from those around them.  If only I could find a little old church lady who just loved folding laundry too.....alas. 

Definitely worth the read to see how such a counter-culture family has made such an impact on the hearts of many simply by doing their best to be open to what they believe to be God's will for their family.

Check out Housewife Spice for more books to add to your list!

Dear God - Why?

Remember back when I was having good days?  Right now, it seems like a lot more of stupid things making me cry.  This week has been crushingly difficult.  There's really nothing I can point to as the know, other than that whole losing a kid thing.  Maybe it's the visit increase.  We went from Wednesday - Saturday with bio-parent to Wednesday - Monday with bio-parent.  So now, before she's gone for good, I have just a few more Tuesdays with her.

I don't get to see her in her Halloween costume this year, in fact, the visit change came with so little warning, I didn't have time to take her to the park for pictures like I've done every year.  I cried while putting her costume in her visit backpack.  I cried when we had to reschedule her dentist appointment...and I realized I just don't have enough time with her to be the one who reschedules.  I'm ignoring thoughts of Thanksgiving and Christmas right now. 

I'm an angry mess right now.  Sunday night, as I tried to drift off to sleep, I just had a moment where I prayed:

Dear God,

Why?  Why so much pain?  Why can't it be over yet?  I am at my end.  This is as far as I can walk.  I have nothing left to give.  I am broken, worn out, overrun.  There is nothing left in me.  You're going to have to carry me the rest of the way, or here I shall stay.  Whatever you're calling us to through and after this, maybe it could be not so heart-breaking.  I'm done, I'm done, I'm done.

Then I cried myself to sleep.   I slept the whole night through without dreams, until just as I was waking.  There were children everywhere.  They were surrounding me.  I felt overwhelmed.  Then I found a baby boy in a car.  He'd been left in there, no diaper, his legs covered with scrapes and scabs...he'd obviously been abused.  I felt every protective instinct inside of me spring into action.  This would never happen to him again, I would make sure.

I awoke, and I saw how very little my pain weighs next to the balance of what we've given Sweet Baby.  This is still a tremendous loss.  Right now, every day feels like an agony and adding on a single extra thing to my schedule feels overwhelming.  But really, how could I not have protected and guarded her these last 2 1/2 years?

So maybe that's why.  She needed us.  It doesn't make the pain of losing her less, but it makes it more bearable.

I wish I just had fun pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes to post today, but that's not where we're at in our lives right now.

A few months ago, I signed up for a retreat this Saturday.  If folding clothes and picking up toys turn into sob-fests, I'm thinking maybe I should pack a box of tissues for a day of introspection!

Your prayers are so appreciated.  I'm certain it is only by grace I'm able to function at the 60-70% I seem to be capable of these days.  Thank you for sharing in our burden as we walk this road.  Thank you for hugs, smiles, silly things that make me laugh, and just being a part of our lives right now.  Especially because I know I'm really not that likeable right now.  So, thank you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

{WIWS} Race Day

So, last week, I kept meaning to get WIWS posted....didn't happen.  Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday....and the Sunday before.

Sunday, October 20th
Shirt:  Resale shop
Linen Pants:  Old Navy
Earrings:  Dillards

Sunday, October 27th

Shirt:  Lane Bryant - given to me by a friend
Pants:  Old Navy
Shoes: (not pictured - very sensible Land's End black shoes)
Necklace:  Kohl's

I'm having a hard time picking out outfits now that the cold weather is upon us.  I have lots of pairs of dress pants, but I'm at a weird, in between sizes stage as I (still) struggle to lose the baby weight from that cute 16 m/o.  Right now, I'm in between my bigger and smaller sized pants, so it's kind of clothing limbo that results in this.....

The aftermath of trying on every pair of dress pants I own

I think maybe I need to find some cute Fall/Winter dresses that I can wear with boots and leggings and start giving that style a least until I'm out of pants limbo.

From this weekend, a few pictures of my latest fitness adventure that has resulted in being in between pant sizes for now, a 5K trail run my sisters, a friend and I did this Saturday.

Sweet Pea and I, ready to run

A friend and I waiting to start

The whole gang


Notice the parrot eating a cookie, Polly wants a cookie, not a cracker :)

So, the weight struggle still continues.  I've lost a couple pounds, but I measured myself this week and over the last three months, I've lost 15 inches total.  It's always slower than I would like, but my body IS changing.  I'm getting stronger and stronger.  Based on the fluctuations my weight has done up and down the scale the last few months, I'd guess I've probably put on almost 10 lbs of muscle....which makes me feel a little like I started with none, but it's showing me that there ARE results happening.  So maybe I  CAN do this. 

Still praying for another little baby soon, but working hard right now to make it a strong and healthy place for that baby in the meantime.

What I Wore Sunday linkupStop by Fine Linen and Purple for more WIWS.

Friday, October 25, 2013

{Three Reasons} Second Edition

Linking up with Micaela for my one of my favorite things:  3 Reasons I Love Catholicism. 

I love this link-up because it's such a reaffirming and positive thing to take a few moments to really reflect on why I love my faith.

Because I do.  Sometimes it seems like I'm spending so much time in the role of defender, I forget to be a giddy proclaimer of the joy, truth and beauty of the Church.  It's like a love affair when you're in the trenches of every day life, sometimes you have to step back and take that breather to remember why you're so madly in love :)



 My faith has been passed down in my family.  My father and mother frequently attended daily mass as we were growing up and I spent from the age of 2 to present day singing on occasion with my father at mass or holy hours.  Dad is a deacon in the Catholic Church.  

Being a motley mix of cultures, the Catholicism is the real culture of my family.  In April 2004, my father officiated my wedding.  In July 2005 and July 2012, he baptized Little Bean and Sweet Pea, respectively.  In May 2013, another precious moment of passing on the faith was when my father got to distribute Little Bean's First Holy Communion.  Handing down the faith, what a beautiful thing.



Just think about the Mass.  I've attended in different languages and still known what was going on....maybe the homily was a little less meaningful, but really, you can attend Mass in any corner of the world and be celebrating a tradition that has been passed down through the ages.  

The Sign of the Cross, the Rosary, so many prayers that we have passed down over time.  There's such a richness in our tradition.  

The vestments, the candles, the incense....the ceremony of it all.  So beautiful, so universal.  Such a heritage we have to carry on.



Got a question?  Don't know what the Church's teachings are?  You can look it up!  Es claro!  It is what it is.  You can know exactly what we profess.  How amazing to have a manual all broken down by section and subject that lays it all out.  In knowing the teachings, we can profess our faith so much more profoundly because we know EXACTLY what we're signed up for.....and that's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Letter W

Letter W...hmmm, I was thinking of making my children form a letter W on the floor and taking a picture from above, but then Mother Nature sent me something.

In the Midwest, we have two seasons, Hot and Cold.  The seasons are generally separated by a few weeks of a thing too fleeting to qualify as a season called Pleasant.  We had an unusually warm 20 degrees above average warmer.  October is making up for it.  When I got home from the gym Tuesday, I looked out the window from the breakfast bowl and saw something that made me say,


Green grass, leaves changing and....SNOW?!?!

 ....and in things that will probably horrify my hairstylist friends, I did something you're not supposed to do and experimented with my own hair color.....I know, I'm terrible, sometimes I cut it too!  I've colored my hair a few times before and the result has always worked out, so I wasn't that worried about experimenting....

......ooohhh, THAT's why you leave it to the professionals! :)  oh well, it was only a few bucks and a few minutes of my time and it's not permanent, so it'll fade out.  For now, I'm torn between actually really liking it because it's kinda punk rocker and not liking it because it's WAY darker than I was planning on going - ah well, if you're going to experiment in anything, you have to be ready for unexpected outcomes :)

For now, I'm going to enjoy being Punk Rocker Red until it fades back into my natural Irish Girl Red.

Stop on over at Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

{Theme Thursday} Orange - Pumpkin Patch Pics

I look forward to Thursdays.  Hubby works Tuesday - Saturday, so Thursday is our half-way point.  It's also Theme Thursday over at Clan Donaldson!

As I trust you can read, this week's theme is Orange.

Last week we headed to the pumpkin patch.  I posted a photo-edited shot from that trip for last week's submission, but I saved some shots just to share today.

So, here's a photo recap of our day at the pumpkin patch, and a little orange thrown in as well!  Complete with WAY more pictures than most of you probably want to see of my girls :)

Checking out the grounds

Breakfast time for the goats

Unsure whether she wants to touch them

Grabbing some grain

Pro-goat feeder - thanks to our local zoo :)

First time feeding goats - she's a natural!

Checking out the geese

Trying to speak their language

Thoughtful little baby

Running away

...and again

Hopping a ride on sis

Corn maze!

Look at those flowing locks!

Pat the bunny comes to life

She's captured it!

I remember them looking older in the painting...

 and if that wasn't enough orange for you...

Pumpkins and an orange tint :)