Friday, February 28, 2014

You Have Enough {7QTs} {7 in 7}

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about how much an average person perceives is necessary in terms of financial resources to have additional children.  *Hint: you don't need as much as you think*

Of course, we are called to be prudent, but there is a delicate tension in that we are also called to trust.  Holding the tension of these two opposing forces and discerning God's will for your family - that's where we need to live.

I have two children, not by choice.  By choice, I would have at least three or four more....even if it meant I had five or six kids in this tiny little house of mine (2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 800 sq ft with an additional 400 sq ft in a semi-finished basement rec room I made myself this winter).  I'm working on my fertility challenges, even in this humble abode.

Here, 7 reasons you should stop looking at your checkbook and start looking to God's will:

{1}  You Don't Have to Pay for College, Seriously

I know many parents worry about the ever-increasing college expenses.  How will they ever pay for X number of tuitions?  You won't.  You don't have to.  It's not your job to only have as few children as you can set aside an extra $100,000 for. 

Now, I'm saying this as the third of nine children who paid for her own education....both a bachelor's and a master's.  I'm not horribly in debt.  In fact, I started my master's a couple years after I finished my bachelor's.  The month I started was also my last payment on my bachelor's student loan.  I have about $4500 left on my master's that I earned in 2010.  I could pay it off faster, but it's tax deductible.

Raise children who are hard workers, who are diligent, who are enterprising.  Send them to community college first.  Help them find scholarships.  Set aside whatever you can now, even if it's not going to be much more than books and fees for them someday.  Offer what assistance you can when they get there.  Or maybe they're actually called to be a plumber, mechanic, hair stylist, or some other profession that supports our world, but doesn't require a gazillion dollars in training. 

{2}  Your Kids Will Get Enough

I didn't ever have all the latest and greatest technology and toys as a kid, but you know what?  I had people to play with.  And I remember vividly the Christmas my parents ordered my brother the very first Nintendo.  We got stuff, not all of it, but enough for a magical, fun childhood.

{3}  You Don't Have to Have All the Patience

Patience is a muscle, it needs frequent practice.  Can't imagine yourself with X kids?  Well, so long as you aren't expecting multiples, it's a safe bet you've got some time to work up to it.  God doesn't seem to give me much extra of any virtue....I have to learn it through slow, painful lessons.  Patience takes time, but so does pregnancy (or adoption).

{4}  You Don't Need a Mansion

More space is helpful, but it's not a necessity (in most cases).  You are creative and a problem-solver.  You can do it....and there's a ton of other families who have laid out roadmaps if you need them.

{5)  Your Kids Would Rather Have a Sibling Than a Pony

They just might not realize it until they're adults.  But seriously, I have eight siblings and more than half are married.  I have almost 30 immediate family members.  Most of my siblings live within a short drive (less than 1 hour, most less than 20 minutes) of me.  Two of those siblings moved back from across the country just to be closer to family.  Sunday dinners are awesome in these parts.

{6}  Your Nursing Home Odds Go Way Down

Okay, maybe you'd like to live in a place of peace and quiet without people bothering you.  But that's just because right now you haven't had a solitary bathroom break in six years.  Someday, all those people will make sure you're well cared for....and even if that care means a nursing home is your best option, you'll have way more visitors to break up the monotony of jello.

{7}  Your Kids Are Pretty Awesome

Admit it, you make amazing people.  This goes for the ones you've adopted too....nurture versus nature?  Both and.  Who you are will make the people you nurture awesome.  And the world needs more awesome. 

Stop by Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Fences {7 in 7}

Continuing with the week where it's hard to blog because there's just so much great to read with 7 blog posts in 7 days....pretty sure all my library books will be due before I've even opened them at this rate.  There are THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY bloggers participating.  Just the 30 I know it's nearly impossible to know what the heck is going on.

Last week, it was a balmy 32 degrees (the wind chill is back down to -22 today) so, linking up with Theme Thursday for a look at fences, with some snow play mixed in:

Sweet Pea looks innocent, but that snow ball has Little Bean's name on it!

Get to work baby!

Notice that lovely gap in the fence?  Yeah, we had a tree taken out over a year ago and haven't put the fence panels back up yet......I hear the frost line is 40 feet down in these parts, so it's going to be a while longer!

Trying to protect herself from the baby bully

Why, yes, that fence does stop abruptly at this end too!

Working together to build a snow fort

And, the piece de resistance!

My little snow princess on her throne....and the fence has not been photo shopped out - just for today's theme!

Kelly was also awesome (every day, but today especially) to bring back Third Person Thursday.  So linking up with her!

"Hell is frozen", she thought.  "It must be cold there, I can't imagine heat being a punishment".  All around the house, the wind whistled.  Gusts tested the strength of every window and door.  

Ceiling fans lay dormant, a remnant of a forgotten time.  The glistening white of past snows had faded to a dirty gray.  All around the ugliness of nature in collision with man showed its filth.  

"This winter will not end.  We are entering a new age.  This is how we live now." she mumbled to herself while scraping the frost from inside the car window.  Pictures of apocalyptic freezes flashed through her mind.  

Annery's skin ached from the cold, the wicked wind biting into her as she navigated the ice field of her sidewalk.  In a final cruel trick, the sun returned to melt the piles of snow, just enough to create a hazard at every step as the melt froze solid each night.

The car started slowly, resisting the call to action, until finally giving way with a sigh.  The engine began its slow, unending battle with the world, fighting to maintain fluids in a liquid state.  Finally, the air blew lukewarm and movement was possible.  

Creeping from its spot, the car struggled through the icy spots of leftover snow.  Annery turned the wheel wide, all thought to lanes of traffic ignored in an effort to get around the banks of snow left in the street by 'clean-up' crews.  

The gauge on the car showed a dreaded state; gas was needed.  Annery grudgingly pulled into the station.  It was not the price she cared about, but the act of standing outside the vehicle.  In front of the sign reading that it was a state law to stay outside while the gas was being dispensed, Annery began to ponder the punishment for breaking this particular law.  "Maybe they keep the prisons warmer than my house", she thought.  "I could probably get a lot of reading done."

With temperatures 60 degrees below normal, Annery decides the punishment might be worth it, just to get out of the wind.  Luckily, the tank is full as she contemplates criminal behavior and she is saved the choice of freedom or warmth.  

Climbing back in the car, she thinks through the list of places she must go that day, and changes her mind.  Nothing needs to happen in this weather.  Perhaps she will never do anything again.  Annery cannot remember sunshine, her backyard seems a useless waste of space.  This is it, the beginning of the new ice age.   Archaeologists someday will look back on this time with fascination, meanwhile Annery's hopes fade like the Matchstick Girl's.

I did get my errands done, but it is truly a brutal winter we're having.  I do have a couple matches in my book, but I'm close to the end of my rope with this winter that's been going since the middle of October 2013.  I know I live in a climate with seasons, but last time I checked, there were four, not one.

Next week is read-all-the-posts-you-missed week, yes?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Belated Purse Dump and {WWRW} {7 in 7}

I'm late to the purse dump party with Kendra (who I get to meet this weekend at Behold!!!), but here goes:

I had to change over purses Sunday to travel for business Monday/Tuesday, but before I cleaned it out, I took a picture:

It's my favorite:  Cell fact, our relationship might be too close

Wow, I really have a lot of these:  Lip balms/glosses

I've been looking for those:  I know this rosary is in my purse, but it is always hard to find when I'm looking for it.  Maybe I should use a caribener hook to keep it handy like I do for my keys.

Huh.  That shouldn't be in there:  Should I pretend I don't use that bag of candy in there for bribery?  No, I know what that's in there.  I think probably the polar I really need one random toy just in case?

Most of this mess has now been transferred to a new purse.  Give it a few days and it'll look even worse.

Now - on to What We're Reading Wednesday!  Linking up with Jessica over at Housewifespice. 

This week, I'm re-reading a classic for a mom's book club next month.  Jane Eyre is the story of an orphan, told in the first person.

The story opens when Jane is about 10 years old.  Jane is abused by an aunt and cousins, and is eventually sent away.  She is sent to a charity school where events of cruelty and near-starvation are rampant. 

While the plot of the story is well-known by most, I'll still avoid the spoilers.....other than to say, Jane has a hard life, but in the end, I was at peace with her story.  Even though it was full of hardship, I felt she was happy in the end, and that made the tragedies of her earlier life not so great that they overcame the ending.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of modern literature.  Contemporary authors, with life stories or helpful tidbits about balancing the demands of motherhood have been the common fare of late.

Reading Jane Eyre reminded me what great literature is; how some books rise to the level of classic.  I have loved my more modern reads, but in a sense, reading such a great work re-calibrates the literary palate.  Like a fine wine or a decadent sweet, it won't be my every day meal, but every now and then, it's nice to step out of the stories that help me survive (all those how-to's and inspirational stories are definitely a necessary part of my survival!) and turn to something that is simply for itself.

You can get this work free on Kindle, so it's definitely worth a read, especially if the last time you picked it up was as an angst-y'll read a little deeper this time, I think.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{7 in 7} {Five Favorites} Business Trip Pictures

Linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary for 7 in 7 and Moxie Wife for Five Favorites.

I'm out of town on business yesterday and today.  Here are five pics, complete with his captions, that Hubby sent me last night.




Future auto mechanic


Working conditions in this sweat shop are appalling.  Curse you IK#@!


Totem spirit {Sweet Pea}




See, I'm not the only one that falls asleep watching My Little Pony

Friday, February 21, 2014

{7QTs} Plopping, Sleeping, and More

Linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about cool book moments, bestseller bling, overcommitting myself (again), and doing a 5K in a palanquin

 {1}  I'm trying out plopping after Jenna shared a post on Fine Linen and Purple about it.

Those hairs I didn't tuck in all the way are probably going to look weird

It's been in about 15 minutes and I'm going to take it out for the last take, because, really, if it takes any longer than that, it's not something I'll do regularly.  I'm a wash and wear kind of gal...I've surrendered to a wilder-than-usual mane and made my piece (mostly) with it.

{2}  I took about six photos before I got one I was willing to post.  Why?  They don't look that much different, they're all still me.  Maybe those Amish have something to it with the no pictures, just one more way to make ourselves a little crazier.  For instance, I'm now wondering if perhaps my left eye (right in pic) isn't bigger than my right....and someone remind me of this picture the next time I'm considering a new hair cut and can't figure out what face shape I have!

{3}  I'm a world class sleeper.  Time was, I probably could have medaled in it.  But, the last couple months, I CANNOT sleep.  I don't drink caffeine all day, I avoid naps so I'm tired, I exercise, I eat pretty well, but still, I go to bed exhausted and I'm up several times a night, just up, looking around, not to go to the bathroom or anything, just laying there in bed, staring at the walls.

My only thought is perhaps it's to do with the loss of Sweet Baby.  Did anyone else experience insomnia with a loss?  Or am I going crazy?  Or are my sleeping days over? 

{4} My Creighton book says something about insomnia as PMS symptom, but mine is a little more constant.  And speaking of Creighton, I'm going to schedule an appointment to see the Creighton Fertility specialists.  After charting and reading, I think there is something going on that might have a solution.  I'm anxious about making the appointment, going to the appointment, and what we'll uncover, so please keep me in your prayers.

{5}  As a result of learning the Creighton model, I bought Simcha's book and loved it.  So much so, I'm thinking of giving away a copy in celebration when I finally hit my first 100 "likes" on my Facebook page (small accomplishments are still accomplishments!).  I'm only 10 could happen :)  What do you think, would people be interested in such a prize?  Or has everyone already purchased their amazing copy?

{6}  Speaking of giveaways, I'm having one right now (ends Wednesday, Feb 26th) for a CD with a talk by Dr. Allen Hunt.

{7}  Okay, taking off my weird turban-esque do to see what happened (to the credit of my 8 y/o, she walked out of the bathroom to see me sporting my shirt on my head and said not one word....we're cultivating personal style/creativity in these parts!)

Here's the first picture I took:

Then I noticed that my husband's dresser was piled with all the folded clothes that have yet to be put away.  So I took six more, of course, and here's what I got:

The verdict?  My hair looks like this when it air dries.  After the shower, I squeeze out excess water and add mousse, crunch it up and leave it alone...then this happens.  (Thanks for the genes Mom and Dad!)  After I removed my turban, I flipped my hair upside down, scrunched it and then took a picture....or seven.  I might try this a couple more times to see if wrapping it differently helps, or maybe the point is for it to dry faster?  I think this might be great for someone with thick/heavy wavy/curly hair.  The tutorial says something about the negative effects of gravity on the curls.  Since I've had children, I have very fine, fine hair (which is unusual for redheads, usually we have fewer, but thicker hairs) so I'm not really fighting gravity more than my mousse can manage.  I do like however, that my hair was out of the way while drying and it seems to have dried faster.

Try it and let me know what happens to you!  I'm about to go out in a wind storm to take my kids to the museum, so this is the last it won't look like a rat's nest!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

{Five Favorites} {WWRW} Dr. Allen Hunt

This weekend, Hubby and I were blessed to have an opportunity to step outside the normal routine and attend a retreat focused on marriage.  It was hosted by Dynamic Catholic.  If you haven't heard about this group and the wonderful things they're doing in the Church, click on the link. right. now.  Evangelism is alive in the Church and the Holy Spirit is setting people on fire through their work.

We attended Passion and Purpose for Marriage with Dr. Allen Hunt.  He gave a series of three talks.  From my favorite talk, here are the 5 Things Women Need to Know about Men:


Men need respect more than love.


Men need to provide.


Men need sexual intimacy (this, my friends, is the point that will make your husband feel like it was a day well spent!)


Men do love, even when the don't communicate it well.


Men do know the most beautiful word (love).

On the way home from the talk, I read Everybody Need to Forgive Somebody, about book by Dr. Allen Hunt. The link will take you to a free copy (+$5.95 shipping) from Dynamic Catholic.  While you're there, browse the site, there's some great content.

In, Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody, you read the stories of 11 real people who have experienced the grace of forgiving or being forgiven in their lives.  Each chapter ends with discussion questions, as well as concrete ways you can implement forgiveness in your life.  For example, one way you can be an instrument of forgiveness is to carry a crucifix in your pocket to remind you of the forgiveness coming down on you.

One of the most moving stories (they're all pretty moving!) is the story of a woman who leaves her husband and has an affair.  Her husband actively loves and forgives her even through this time, so that after about a year, she wakes up one day and realizes the grave error she's made.  Her husband welcomes her back into the family and they pick up their lives again.  He offers her immediate forgiveness and never brought the matter up again.

This story truly stunned me that someone could be so loving, so forgiving, especially in a society that so easily discards the hard or uncomfortable.

For more book reviews, check out Jessica's place.

For more Five Favorites, stop by Fountains of Home this week.

For a chance to listen to the talks I heard this weekend, consider purchasing the talks through Dynamic Catholic - here

To win 5 Things Women Need to Know (the first talk) - enter here!  Giveaway ends February 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is my first time using Rafflecopter - so let's all cross our fingers I do it right :) 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Hearts

Have you heard about #WhatWomenNeed?  It's been suggested by a large provider of contraceptives and abortions that perhaps we need abortions and contraceptives for Valentine's Day.  No, thanks, I'm good.  And should any pro-choicer exclaim - well are you going to raise this baby?  Yep, just send me a line, I'll be right over to pick him/her up.  And, if you'd like to know a little bit about how this week has been going for me, stop over to check out Goodbye Again Sweet Baby.

The pro-life response to this message has been pouring love and happy faces through my Instagram account.

Check out some of the pictures at Upstate NY Prolife Advocates

Here's me, speaking my heart, with a picture of my baby in hearts with #WhatWomenNeed.

Stop by Cari's place for more Heart themes on this St. Valentine's Day week :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{WWRW} Gilded

Linking up for What We're Reading Wednesday with Jessica!

Amazon sends me a lot of emails.  I'm guessing everyone who has ever shopped there gets a lot of emails.  They're constantly in search of becoming my BFF by recommending everything under the sun to me.  They get a step closer when they send me emails that say my Prime membership qualifies me to a free book a month from their selection of four.  I scrolled through the list and found a cover that looked interesting *yes, I know*. 
Gilded (Gilded, #1)

Gilded is the story of a young (16) Korean American transplanted back to Korea by her father's job transfer. 

Her father (and deceased mother) were natives of Korea who moved to California ( you have a secret pen name?) Jae was born and raised in California, until the job transfer took her to Seoul. 

Six weeks in to her new life in Korea, Jae Hwa starts to have unusual experiences....of a supernatural kind.  A mysterious man appears in an impossible moment, mythical creatures are sent to her defense, in all, life becomes a little complicated for the sixteen year old. 

I hate to give too much away, because I don't like spoilers, so I'm purposefully going to be vague.  The plot centers around Jae Hwa being descendant of a princess highlighted in Korean folklore.  The princess escaped the demigod trying to kidnap/marry her, but not before she conceived a son.  That son, the princess bore in hiding, but the demigod returns to steal and imprison the first born female of each generation in the lineage of her family.

You guessed it, Jae has some unfortunate family ties. 

Some parts of the book seemed overly predictable (I sensed the ending pretty accurately for several chapters), but in all, I liked it.  Maybe I'm overly lax in my judgment since it was free, but I really liked the look at Korean mythology.  The book also had the appropriate cloak and dagger of a secret society, a young hero having to make a self-sacrificing decision and even a little love story.

Jae Hwa has a crush on her high school classmate, Marc.  There is some kissing and they do profess love for each other in a near death moment near the end of the book, but it's very PG, so while the really young readers may not be ready for the story, teens are probably mature enough.

The book sets itself up well for sequel (which I'm fully expecting given that this book is billed as Book 1 in the Gilded series!) and I'm looking forward to Jae Hwa's adventures in tackling high school and the Spirit World.  I'm hoping the other books in the series will tread lightly on the romance because the storyline is so clever, I'd hate to have it go south. 

Overall, I thought it was a strong debut novel for Christina Farley.  I'm trying not to hold the Editor's note of the Common Core curriculum guide to accompany the book against the author.....I can leave my feelings about creating robots out of this :)

For a taste, check out this opening line.  I thought it was a very strong moment for the author:

Stillness fills the empty stage as I press the horn bow to my body and notch the arrow.  I pull back the string.  The power courses through me, a sizzling fire in my veins.  I squint just enough so the mark crystallizes while everything around it blurs.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Good Bye Again Sweet Baby

This has been a particularly difficult week.  Sweet Baby's bio parent has decided that contact with us is not in her emotional best interest *cue two days straight of crying*.  The transition seems to be going difficultly for her still and there's concern on the other end that it is renewing her distress and hampering her ability to settle in to her new life. 

I could see how that's true and I really have to just trust the decision maker in this situation.  However, the thought of never seeing her again has broken my heart again, just when I thought the pieces were too shattered to possibly be broken any smaller.  I was wrong.  There is more pain to be felt, more tears to shed, more heartbreak to have. 

Just when I thought I was accepting and settling in to the new role I would have in her life, that bit part was snatched.  Even if it is in just cause, it makes it no less heartbreaking.  Perhaps even more heartbreaking because it tells me she isn't doing well.  Such a decision can only make me think she's traumatized and heartbroken too.  And that hurts worse, knowing that she's heartbroken and too small to explain that I didn't leave her, I want her, I didn't have a choice. 

She will likely go on to lead a happy life with her biological family, but the thought that she may carry in her heart feelings of abandonment over my place in her life breaks me down.  Although I had no role in how her early life played out across the drama of the court system, I will wonder for the rest of my life if she remembers me, if she blames me for leaving her, if there was something I could have done differently to make her transition easier. 

As parents, many of us have heard of or spoken the words, "I would die for my child".  There is no doubt that truly expresses the depth of my emotion for Sweet Baby, but I didn't know it would be this kind of dying.  Dying to myself, dying to what I want her life to be, carrying the weight of Little Bean's sorrow along with my own.  This isn't the kind of dying I expected.  I didn't expect to hold a sobbing 8 y/o in my arms while she gasped, "my baby, my baby" over the loss of her sister.  I didn't expect my 20 m/o to rub my arm when I couldn't hide the tears. 

In some moments, I feel guilty at the weight of my sorrow.  Because we signed up for this.  Because she's not dead, she's healthy somewhere, just not here.  How many parents would give their children away just to know that the cancer was gone, that the heart problem cured?  How many parents would never see their children again if it saved that child's life?  She wasn't mine to lose, she was mine to keep safe.  How can I grieve to the bottom of my soul what wasn't mine? 

Well, she was mine.  I gave my life to her for two and a half years.  Much of that time, it appeared we would adopt her and keep her forever.  I think that made it worse and better.  Worse to lose her, but better for the outpouring of uninhibited love she was able to experience in those early, forming moments.  Every holiday was precious because we might lose her and we poured as much love as we knew how into her.  But, I will wonder for the rest of my life if it was enough love. 

When I picked Sweet Baby up on July 18, 2011, I had an experience that tore at my heart for her birth mother and I thought that experience made me understand what it was for her birth mother to lose her.  That was but a glimpse, a taste.  This, now, this is the agony of losing a child.  It is a heartbreak barely survivable. 

It's a pain so intense, you're surprised there's still air in your lungs to breath, tears left in you to cry.  I feel like the birth parent giving my child up.  I thought I could understand before what it must be to give up your child for adoption, but that was folly.  Pouring your physical, mental and emotional energy into a new being for nine months and then having the strength to give that new life a better start than you could, that's a kind of sacrifice and suffering I never could have understood before. 

Having poured years into a little person and then having to walk away to give that little girl a fresh start, my compassion for birth parents giving up adopted children is at a different level. 

I used to not understand open adoptions.  I wondered why someone would not raise a child, but then want to be kept so in touch with what was going on in that person's life.  Now I get it.  Now I know what it is to be the person left with the memory of a child who has gone on.  Now I know what a picture or occasional letter would mean.  And I wonder if perhaps, God didn't plan it that way for a reason.  Maybe some day, we'll be adoptive parents, but we'll do it better, more compassionately than we ever could have without the gift of Sweet Baby. 

Because she's a gift.  Always, every time, no matter what has happened or will.  She is a gift.  And like any birth mother, I'll always live with that small, quiet hope in the back of my heart that she'll come looking for me someday.  And like any believer, I'll know that even should I never see her again in this life, the story doesn't end there.  In the end, it will be made whole....even if that means my heart has to break every day until then.

Thank you again for all your prayers, love and support.  Having this place to share my heart is a part of my healing and I thank you for investing emotionally and spiritually in my family with your love and prayers.

I'm also trying to convince Hubby that a puppy would be good therapy for me, but so far we're at an impasse.  Maybe I'll finish these organization projects I have going before I put on the full campaign :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

{Theme Thursday} Church Windows

Linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday this frigid Midwest afternoon!

jan-feb schedule

I had my picture taken before 7am, but six hours later, I finally have a chance to sit down and put it all together....mostly because I was so exhausted after the gym this morning that I fell asleep watching the Little Mermaid with the girls.

Last night, I had the joy of joining some other women for a discussion on delighting in our children.  The group is meeting weekly to encourage and support each other.  Really, it's a time to gather and share, which should help us be mindful throughout the rest of the week.  The hope is that I can find ways to delight in my children as God delights in all of us; to speak to them and nurture them more like we ourselves are nurtured by God.

At the end of the evening, we all shared a characteristic of Mary that we wanted to really work to emulate more closely.  I felt a calling to really embrace Mary's ability to suffer graciously.  She isn't complaining about the loss of her son at the foot of the cross, there's no account of her locking Jesus up for a couple weeks after that whole temple incident; throughout the Gospels, where we see Mary, we see her accepting any suffering that may come from her motherhood with grace.

Even in the acceptance of her motherhood, Mary is gracious and accepting, though she must have realized her circumstances as a young mother without husband would not be easy (thank God for a faithful St. Joseph to support her!).

It's been about six weeks since Sweet Baby returned home.  With such a wound to carry on my heart, it's hard to think about living graciously.  It's hard to be considerate and compassionate.

This morning, on my way home from the gym, I stopped by our church's perpetual adoration chapel.  I snapped a quick shot on my phone and ducked in to say good morning to our Lord.

Here is the door that leads to Jesus:

In more way than one, she is the door.  Praying that I can be a better door for my own family.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

{WWRW} and Creighton Updates

Monday night, we drove another 3-hour roundtrip to meet with our Creighton Model instructor.  Having learned the basics of two methods already, I'm feeling like a remedial student because much of it is review.

I have to just keep reminding myself of the efficacy of the model in achieving pregnancy.......our kids are super cute, that's GOT to be motivation!

And they're cool kids too!
So, we're still driving at least three more times for follow-ups and then we're hoping to start web chatting for follow-ups.  Here's hoping we can find the triggers for my super-low fertility and work towards healing my body.  Thank you for all your prayers and love!

My first read for What We're Reading Wednesday was a purchase directly related to our new practice of the Creighton model.  (The first month requires abstinence to set a baseline and then there are continued periods of abstinence for low fertility to increase likelihood of conceiving.) 

The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning
When you're of low fertility, there can certainly be a different dynamic in marriage from a couple actively practicing NFP.  So, to get a little emotional support for a different season of life, I bought Simcha's book, The Sinner's Guide to Natural Family Planning

The book, as the title suggests, is a good, practical guide to living a more peaceful, grace-filled NFP marriage.  Her humor was really my favorite part....well, that and the oh-so-practical tone.  I get the feeling from reading it that she's the kind of friend to whom you can speak frankly, deeply, personally.

She GETS it!  The dichotomy of the beautiful, flowery brochure of NFP and married life versus the practice and use in real married life was something she pulled out with such humor and realism.  She also gave such practical advice to grow in holiness and kindness through practicing NFP. 

Get it, read it, be renewed in your commitment to live in the fullness of truth and union with the Church.  Seriously.

BookCoverThe other book I read this week was Teaching in Your Tiara.  My overall impression is that I picked up this book four years later than I should have. In my defense, the book came out May 2013. 

I started homeschooling four years ago and I was the only person in my family who's ever done that.  I was concerned that I wouldn't do it right, that I would forever scar my daughter and that I was generally ruining everyone's life.  She was FOUR.

This book is a gift for any homeschooler.  The first half of the book especially is very practical, how-to-begin oriented.  I thought perhaps I wouldn't like the book, but I kept reading.....and discovered it had so much more to offer than just a how-to-begin primer. 

It was also kind of a walk through a lot of concerns I'd had in the past and her reasonable, humor-filled voice really reassured me.  It's always nice to read that you weren't the only one who went through something.....from the curriculum debate to the concern about less-than-enthusiastic family members.

Perhaps my favorite section was worrying about whether or not homeschooling would make your child weird.  The answer?  Yes, yes they'll likely be weird because the kind of parent that chooses to homeschool is likely to the side of mainstream....well played Rebecca, well played.

This is the kind of book that new homeschoolers should read as part of that initial research phase, but it also has a lot of sound advice and camaraderie to offer the more experienced homeschooler.  In all, such an excellent book.

I loved both my books this week and I think you should read them too!

Check out what everyone else is reading over at Jessica's.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Getting Ready for Sochi

We're taking a break from our regularly scheduled curriculum for the Winter Olympics....mostly because I want to watch them, and all that school work would really cramp my style :)

So, we're making a couple projects to get ready:

Lap books
Poster following USA medals

The lap books are going to fall into a few categories:

  • History of the Olympics
  • Women's Ski Jump (new this year!)
  • Skiing (her favorite!)
I figure that a few lap books will be good, with attached reports.  My strategy was one big project (history), one interest I picked (ski jump), and one interest she picked (skiing).

I'm sure we'll find more interesting and fun things along the way...I'm really a go-with-the-flow kind of schooler.

Our poster is what's been on the project list today.

 Supply List:
  • 100 pack manilla folders ($5.99 at Target) - you'll need these for the lap books, I also used them to make our medals
  • 1 each, bronze, silver, gold acrylic paint ($1.15 each at Hobby Lobby)
  • Foam brushes ($1.99 at Hobby Lobby)
  • Foam poster board ($2.49 at Hobby Lobby)
  • Circular punch ($15.49 on sale at Hobby Lobby)
Total cost:  $29.41 + tax

Making the medals:

Step 1:  Find an eager young painter.

Step 2:  Have her paint one side of the open manila folders so that you have gold, silver, and bronze.

Step 3:  Allow folders to dry.

Step 4:  Attempt to cut circles with the fancy new circle cutter you went out and bought SPECIFICALLY for this project.  Realize the cutter won't cut through the manilla folders, nor will it cut through a layer of aluminum foil which is, according to the package, supposed to sharpen the cutter.

Step 5:  Put the circle cutter back in the box with disgust and shattered dreams of a quick and easy solution.  Realize that now, your project total is really just $13.92 (and you'll have a ton of leftover folders for your next lap book project), so maybe it's not all bad!

Step 6:  Trace out circles on the manilla folders.

Step 7:  Find something on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon to watch while you spend the rest of the afternoon cutting out circles...every now and then, shake your head in disgust over the circle cutter debacle.

We'll be attaching the medals to our decorated board as USA athletes win medals.  Each medal will be labeled with the name and sport (because that will allow us to do math things later like the percentage of male/female winners, winners by indoor/outdoor sport, etc).  I'll probably have to stack the medals a little to fit enough on for our super-winning and awesome athletes - go 'Merica! (We won 37 medals in 2010, including 9 gold, so even if you're really optimistic like me, you probably can make do with a couple dozen each for your supplies :)

Tomorrow, Little Bean will be decorating the board (title, flag, whatever her fancy) and we'll start preparing the lapbooks (putting the two folders together, writing out the titles, etc).

I'm so looking forward to the Olympics!!!  It is such a wonderful, special thing and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your ideas on celebrations for Opening Ceremonies and what you do with your kiddos to commemorate the event.

Go 'Merica!!! One more, just to get you pumped too!