Thursday, January 30, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Barns

jan-feb schedule

I should pay attention.  It wasn't until Micaela mentioned looking for a barn in California that I started thinking about this week's Theme Thursday *make sure you check out all the fun with Cari!*

Barns.....ummm, I live in corn country.  This seems like such an easy-peasy assignment given where I live.  I mean, my friend lives in a converted barn (if only I'd had the time/foresight to drive out to her place for a shot!).  So, sometimes when it seems so easy, it starts to wiggle in your brain that maybe you should be more creative than just snapping the first one you see on the way out of town.  This is where I start over-thinking.

I very nearly gave you a shot of our Little People farm house, but I'm pretty sure it's packed in the attic still from our basement remodel.

I also had to go to the lovely DMV today (for the record, they're always super-nice, I just hate all errands).  The DMV used to be about a mile from my house - they moved it a few years ago to a more "central" almost 40 minutes from my house.  I remembered as I was getting ready that there happens to be a unique barn on our way.

I pulled up, took out the camera, realized I had forgotten to stick the memory card back in, thanked the maker that there was a small amount of internal memory and snapped a shot.  I thought it would be a pain to get the photo from the internal memory to the removable card, but my camera is a genius and as soon as I stuck the card in, it promptly asked me if I'd like to transfer the internal pictures to the card....why yes, yes I would.  Thank you genius camera for making my day a little easier.....especially since I spent from 11am-12:15pm waiting in line for a couple sandwiches from a local place that's closing on Saturday (amazing sandwiches, not sorry I waited!).

The barn I captured is a converted barn that has become a theater.  Local actors put on productions on a stage that has audience seating on three sides.  The first floor features concessions, the ticket office and a reception area.  The upstairs loft is the theater.  Seats where the hay bales used to be folks *real seats*!  If you're ever in the area, it's a fantastic way to take in local talent.

f 8.0 - 1/30 - ISO 200

Sunday, January 26, 2014

When the World Keeps Moving {Weekends with Chesterton}

When you're struggling with a loss or infertility, there comes a moment or a series of moments when the world takes a leap ahead and the leap takes you further into the realization of what isn't.

If you're longing for your next little one, this probably comes through someone's own announcement of expectation.  When you see the leap their life will make and you're still stuck in neutral gear.  Even after years of secondary infertility, this is still the hardest of moments.  Because I am truly so filled with joy for the sister, friend, fellow blogger, whomever is experiencing that gift of new life.  But that joy for them always renews the longing.  Really, it's never far from the surface.

It brings to mind thoughts like, "when is it my turn?".  But it's not about turns.  It's all about our roads to heaven.  Mine likely won't include a Duggar-like clan.  I may never need more seats than a mini-van....or even a sedan.  My longing brings me to Christ.  In a way that those mothers are brought further down the road of sanctification by additional children, mine seems to be an emptier road.  On the good days, I trust that I need this way; that this path has a purpose.  On the bad days, I question my way and doubt that I will feel the sunshine of grace upon me again.

The knowledge resides in me, learned after many years of questioning and doubt, that these moments can be my next step on the journey too.  I truly am not stuck in neutral gear idling away while I wait for life to start with a sudden increased and abundant fertility.  My next step in grace may seem imperceptible to most.  My next step forward is nearly invisible to the outside world.  It looks as if perhaps, I'm just running in place, but my next step forward is to choose to live in those moments of joy with those around me.  Today is not my day to make such an announcement.  Indeed, that day may never come again.  But I will not let that rob me of the joy of new life.  There may be a pain in my heart or tears in my eyes that my way does not include a "quiver full", but I am no less exuberant about the beauty of new life, no less joyful over the beauty of a large family.  Perhaps I am more exuberant and more joy-filled at the sight of a newborn or a large family, because I have learned at great personal price how truly remarkable they are.  I have learned in years of barrenness what abundance could not have taught me.  

For this, I will be glad in my heart for those who are expecting and I will wait in joyful anticipation with them, whether it be a first, a sixth, an eighth....let us not lose the spirit of rejoicing. 

Truly, the only object of our liberty is the gift of life.  May we live it abundantly, even when the blessings we pray for are more scarce than we would wish.

Linking up with Amongst Lovely Things for:

G.K. Chesterton quotes and commentary

Thursday, January 23, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Catching People Unaware

Theme Thursday over at Clan Donaldson today!

jan-feb schedule

Every time the toddler sees a camera, she starts least Little Bean was a little easier to catch.

Years of being ignored pays off

Is that Mom with the camera? Run!

Moments later, Bert helps me catch her unaware

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

{WWRW} Island of Fog

Linking up with Jessica for What We're Reading Wednesday, where you can see my tastes vary from medical texts to children/tween literature.

Today it's tween literature. We got a tablet for Christmas, and a week or so ago, I started looking for Kindle downloads for Little Bean.  I always start with the free books and work my way up.  Well, this book looked promising and is zero dollars on Amazon right now, so I added it to the Kindle library.

After a certain author included a theme in his latest book that I felt inappropriate for Little Bean, I've been more wary of new books, which is probably for the good.  So, before letting her read a book that Amazon labeled as good for 6-9 year-olds, I decided a little vetting was in order.

This book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world.  Out There is mysteriously tainted with a virus that will not die.  A handful of families are now living on an Island of Fog, protected from out there, but isolated and living completely off the land.  Each family has one child....and it is those children that provide the mystery and plot for the story. 

It was a good read.  It's only a couple hundred pages, so it's a relatively short read compared to some YA tomes.  I'll be letting Little Bean read it.  There was some mention of a breeding program in relation to the children (ie, they were the product of), but it is a passing mention and in no way goes into any of the details that would surround such a program (except to say that the process was randomized regarding magical abilities). 

It was a good enough book that I think I'll be looking for the next one at the library...perhaps after the list of suggestions I ordered through the library after last week's reviews.

Looking forward to reading about what everyone else has read!  Stop by Jessica's to find out all the books that should be on your list!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sweet Pea Has a Picture Day

I bought a coupon on a coupon service in November, thinking I would get a family Christmas picture....well, the vortex of the holidays sucked me in and the coupon was expiring this week, so I ran Sweet Pea down to the photo place and got some pictures taken.  The coupon included three images on CD....which is always a hard choice because unless your kid is going through an awkward phase, you generally want them all.  But, I managed to leave with a three image CD and only a couple extra sheets of photos, the "extras" totaling less than $20....not too bad overall. 

The sheets won't be ready for a couple weeks, BUT enjoy with me just how cute Sweet Pea is at 19 months!

I got the outfits at Halo Heaven, which gives me no $$$, but I just want you to know what a great deal their stuff is....and seriously cute too!

Have a wonderful week :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

{7QTs} All About the Birthday Boy/Guy

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about Benedictine Beer, LinkedIn fails, and complaining with metricsToday, my oldest nephew turns 13!  He's the guy who made me an aunt.  I remember exactly where I was standing when I found out my sister-in-law was in labor.  I remember driving straight to the hospital from the local community college where I worked/attended classes.  I sat with my brother (who had the panicked look appropriate for every first-time father) and my sister-in-law.  I remember my sister-in-law's mother handing me my brother's car keys (pretty sure that was the only time I ever got to drive his little sports car).  Since the baby was four weeks early, not everything was quite ready - I ran and filled my brother's car with gas and picked up some supplies from their house.  In honor of his ever-approaching journey to manhood, here are 7 QTs on this kid (not so much a kid anymore).

1.  Always ready to lend a helping hand

2.  A little more laid-back than his younger brother these days....

3.   Still not too cool to carve pumpkins with his family (but he drew the line at a costume this year)

4.  Always the one holding a baby (nice face Little Bean)

5.  This perhaps says the most about his heart...this wasn't prompted

6.  Always ready for a game

7.  We're all so blessed to have him as part of this crazy crew

Happy birthday to one of the best young men I know.  Visit Jen for more quick takes.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's Wednesday and it's time to talk about books!  Linking up with Housewife Spice for What We're Reading Wednesday :)

This week, I have two to share.

I checked back in with an old classic when I found a 99 cent download on Amazon.

 The collection doesn't include Anne of Windy Poplars or Anne of Ingleside, but most of the books are in the series.  I reread Anne of the House of Dreams.  This is one of my favorites...although as soon as I say that, I start to think perhaps Anne of Avolea, or Anne of the Island, or Anne of Ingleside are  my favorites.....Rilla of Ingleside is the most heart-wrenching. 

Anne of the House of Dreams starts at the beginning of Anne's married life.  She has a beautiful love story, so reading about the start of her married life is made the sweeter by starting from the beginning with Anne of Green Gables.  The tale has the characteristic mix of sweet, lovely moments and sadness.  It's written in a style long forgotten and the flowery language might cause impatience in the more modern reader, but I truly believe no girlhood should pass without the advent of Anne. 

I would recommend 11 being about the perfect age to start the series, but as you can see, I haven't yet outgrown them.

The second book I read this week was a little less entertaining:

Hubby and I started learning our third (yes, I know, THIRD) NFP method.  Creighton Model has a reputation of being a helpful model for couples with low fertility.  Being in that camp, we're making the 3 hour round-trip every other Monday to learn.  A core part of Creighton is the relationship with the instructor.  Follow-ups are essential to build confidence for the user and help tailor the model to the couple and their goals. 

As part of the intake, I had to fill out a form which asked how many children we'd like.  "All we can" was not an option, so I had to pick a number.  I was so tempted to enter something like 11 just to freak the teacher out.  I entered a more realistic goal of 6....semi-realistic (given that I'm already 32 and only have 2) maybe, but probably more realistic than 11. 

The book covers all the details of the Creighton Model for the beginner.  So far, I'm thinking this model might be a little tedious to practice, but hopefully effective for bringing many more beautiful little people into our family. 

I'm offering up our drive for those mamas hoping to conceive or anticipating the arrival of their dear one.  Prayer requests welcome :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Beginning of Creighton

Last night marked the beginning of learning our third (that's right, THIRD) NFP model. 

When we were newly engaged, we learned the Sympto-Thermal method (temps and symptoms, as the name suggests).  When we were TTC after Little Bean, we learned the Billings Method (no temps, based on observations). 

Well, feeling like NFP flunkies, we made the 3 hour round-trip to start learning yet another way to track my sub-fertile self.  For those who might be interested, here are my take-aways:

  • Relieved I don't have to wake up at the same time every day to take my temp.  Those two mornings I get up at 5:15 would've meant a whole week of thanks.  Delighted to discover no temp taking in Creighton.
  • If you've learned Billings, the first session of Creighton is going to be A LOT of review.
  • If you don't vibe with your teacher, find a new one.  Luckily, I felt that connection with our teacher from the moment she opened the want someone you feel a certain level of comfort with if you're going to have such personal and candid conversations, for sure.
  • We need a ton more Creighton teachers.....I shouldn't have to drive 90 miles four more times in the next 8 weeks just to find a teacher.  Anyone?  Anyone?  They prefer those with a nursing degree already, so, who's ready?!?!?
  • They should tell you when you schedule that there's a month of abstinence when you first start charting, just saying, it's a good fact to get out of the way up front.
  • That 76% effective statistic in helping infertile/subfertile couples achieve pregnancy (in combination with NaPro specialists) is what will keep me driving 3 hours every two weeks.  
Now, before we meet again in two weeks, I have to get my homework done:

I'll keep you updated on what we learn.  Praying for all those mamas expecting or hoping to expect as I offer up our drive especially for them.

Monday, January 13, 2014

{WIWS} and {Weekends with Chesteron} Beautiful Things

Linking up with Amongst Lovely Things for Weekends with Chesterton 

GK Chesterton quotes

and Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

What I Wore Sunday linkup

Late to both parties - let's get started!

Dress:  Old Navy (not an affiliate, just thought you might like one too!)
Scarf:  Charlotte Russe
Boots:  Skechers
Girls' dresses:  one of my many Zulily finds :) (if you're new and click this link to shop, I'll get a credit)

I'm trying to get better about having pictures taken of me.  I'm still sitting at the top end of my "normal" range, but am hoping that the challenge from Ashley to do 40 miles in January will help get me back on track.  So far, I've logged 9.6 in about a week.  It'll be a close race to the end of January to get another 30.4 miles in, but it's a great challenge and I love seeing Ashley's Instagram updates to keep me motivated. 

This Chesterton quote struck me as especially fitting for a What I Wore Sunday post.  Even on the Sundays when I don't link up, I am inspired by the other women striving for 'order and beauty' to put my best foot forward for Mass each week.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Bear/Bare

Time for Theme Thursday with Clan Donaldson!

I was walking through my local big box general store yesterday and saw this:

I can only assume that large retailers are now getting in on Theme Thursday.

Last night, we babysat for bio dad and had Sweet Baby and her younger sister in our care.  It was the first time we'd seen Sweet Baby in three weeks and I think Sweet Baby's sister was freaked out by Hubby's beard, but it was overall good to see them.

Sweet Baby is still suffering the trauma of moving houses.  Every time she's slept over at our house the last few months, she's woken up every hour or so to make sure I'm still there.  So, it was a long night of reassuring her I was still there. 

In the morning, we took it slow as I got three babies instead of the usual one ready.  By 10am, I had everyone bundled and ready for their various locations.  (Seriously, how does anyone do it in fewer than 2 hours?)  Sweet Baby and her sister were bundled into my car for daycare and my MIL came to get Sweet Pea and Little Bean for some fun time.

Dropping off Sweet Baby's little sister was a piece of cake, but Sweet Baby got agitated from the moment we walked into her room.  She started outright sobbing when I tried to leave.   The teachers in her room know the situation and they were very kind about it.  They offered to hold her until she calmed down after I left.  They reassured me that she wouldn't be left in a pool of tears, but that they would sit with her until she was okay.  The poor sweet girl sobbed and called out for me as I left and I was less than dry-eyed as I walked away.

With Sweet Pea and Little Bean otherwise engaged, I took the opportunity to spend a Christmas gift card at my favorite hobby store that my babies have enthusiastically called "wobby wobby".  I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock in my car when I walked out, but I spent an hour perusing the aisles BY MYSELF.  I can't tell you the last time I got to just look at and touch everything I wanted with no one asking me for anything or trying to jump over the side of the cart. 

I followed my shopping with a couple orders of crab rangoon for lunch and I felt much better about the harrowing drop-off.  Especially since I picked up a couple embroidery pieces to try out (on the advice of Jenna) and LOTS of pretty, sparkly beads....I am a magpie, so much shiny makes my heart sing.

I'm looking forward to some crafting and if something turns out well, I'll be sure to share.   

{Which reminds me that I'd like to submit CRAFTY as a Theme Thursday word.  My SIL is a native Mexican and thought we were calling her shady/suspicious every time we remarked on her creative-handiness.  There's word-play in there for a fun TT}

So, for all of our amusement, BARE:

Bare feet

Anyone have a baby that actually keeps socks on?

Friday, January 3, 2014

7 New-to-me Blogs {7QT}

With all the link-ups going on lately (Dwija had a big party at her place), I found some great new-to-me blogs this week....I'm probably exceedingly late to the party, but here are seven bloggers I'm looking forward to getting to know this year in the written word:


Domestic Apologist:  Catholic mama of two, living out her calling in Washington.


A Woman's Place:   Catholic mama, Etsy shop owner, recently weathered Christmas without electricity.  From my ancestral stomping grounds of Michigan.


Everything to Someone:  Her blog is named after a wonderful G.K. Chesterton quote....what's not to love?  Plus, she takes beautiful pictures!


Barefoot and Sometimes Pregnant:  This one gave me a sense of deja vu....probably because I follow along at her sister's blog :)   This mama is expecting in June and blogs about homeschooling, celebrating liturgically and her life in general.


We Make This Look Good:  With a title like that, how could I not click the link-through?  Mother of special needs children with a delightful sense of humor.


 Heart Hearth:  A couple of blogging mamas.  If you do nothing else on this site, check out the pictures of Jenn's daughter's hair here!


Ardent Devotion:  A young blogger with beautiful pictures and that young zest for life (I sound one hundred....feel slightly younger).

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about galleys, daily logs, resolutions, and words for *last* yearCheck out Conversion Diary for more 7QT!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Ridiculous

It's Thursday.....or so they tell me.  I'm among the ranks of thoroughly muddled mothers trying to figure out how to recover home and habit from weeks of holiday revelries.  Linking up with Clan Donaldson for a Theme Thursday:  Ridiculous.  Since we're being ridiculous, here's a ridiculous number of pictures from our Christmas.

Happy New Year!

St. Nicholas Day

How did he know she wanted press on nails?

A Christmas outfit I never got around to photographing Sweet Pea in

December 15th - Special Christmas Party for Sweet Baby before she left on December 20th
All my favorite people

Sweet Baby with my brother

With one of my sister-in-laws and my oldest nephew

My godmother made her new slippers

She loved opening presents

This is so them

With both babies

Christmas festivities
Excited to open

Trying to get Sweet Pea excited

A rare picture of me from Christmas - with Little Bean, the Christmas musician

Yes, she does live on cheese

Wet onesie competition

Trying to tell us it's time to go

Christmas morning at our house

There's no prettying up before presents

Matching shirts

I can't imagine what princess was mad about

She got everything she wanted; pretend food and puzzles :)
And that's just the quarter of pictures I'm going to subject you to.  Hope your Christmas was merry and bright.  Prayers for a beautiful New Year.