Wednesday, April 30, 2014

{Five Favorites} Mother's Day

To my husband and anyone else looking for ideas, here are my five favorite present ideas for Mother's Day:


This necklace from Call Her Happy:

I gave one of these away on my blog, still my fave.  *Bonus* Jenna is running a Mother's Day special - 20% off with the coupon code CALLHERMAMA.

Peacock Necklace - Mini Embroidery Hoop Necklace


This rosary or one of the other beautiful ones by Allison:

MADE TO ORDER Gold White & Cream Burnt Sugar Swarovski Crystal Pearl and Crystal Copper round Rosary w antique gold Our Lady of Grace center


This headband from Designed by Chloe (ok, I'm not sure if I can pull it off, but I love it so much!):

Boho Headband in Sand/Taupe Chevron Stripe- Teen Accessory, Hair Band, Bohemian, Wedding, Yoga Headband, Hippie


This flexi (size small) from Mandi's shop:

So pretty!


This filter kit at Amazon: (this link will take you there, but I'm not an affiliate, so go back to one of your favorite bloggers and click their affiliate link and search canon rebel t3 filter)

For more favorites, stop by Moxie Wife!

{WWRW} Sisters Eight

It's been a while since I've linked up with the wonderful Jessica over at HousewifeSpice for an installment of What We're Reading Wednesday.

Annie’s AdventuresMostly because I haven't been reading....or what I have been reading has been work documents, and there's just no amusement for the masses in me sharing about a new employee, confidentiality of the clients, and all.

With working more, it also seems to be stretching my time with the girls.  I've been working mostly during afternoon nap time, while LB does school work or chores.  Well, LB came home from a library trip with Hubby this week with a favorite book of ours.  She suggested we read it together.  Mostly, she's been reading it to me, which is great for her read-a-loud practice.  It's also been a nice way to spend a little more quality time together while I've been working more.

We've read some of the books before, it's been a while, so LB suggested we start back at Book 1.  So, we're re-reading Annie's Adventures.

The story is about a set of eight sisters (octuplets) who find themselves mysteriously alone.  Their parents vanish and the girls discover mysterious notes about special gifts and talents they possess, and that only by unlocking them can they discover what has happened to their parents.

Each girl gets her own book dedicated to her discovery of powers and it goes in order of birth (although they're each only separated by one minute).  Each girl also has her own cat, and the house includes quirks, such as a cleaning robot and  a hair cutting machine.

We love these books.  I'm so glad that LB brought these books home from the library.  We only got through #6 last time, and I'm looking forward to discovering what actually happened to their parents.  I have no perceived dignity that makes it hard for me to admit that I'm eagerly awaiting the answer, probably at least as much as LB. 

Stop by Jessica's for more reads you should check out.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Answer Me This - Vol. 3

Linking up with this week's Answer Me This over at Catholic All Year!

1.  Do you hate happy clappy church music?

No.  I hate church music that becomes a performance over being a form of worship.  That can be any kind of music.  If you chant with a prideful heart, seeking recognition over praising our Maker, it's no better than the happiest, clappiest of music sung as a performance.

I love all forms of music in Mass (maybe love is too strong a word, I have a hard time with older hymns sung in a pitch only those of us with classical training can reach - take it down three steps choir director!!!), but I hate clapping for a musician at Mass.  If you're clapping for the musician, you lost focus on who we were all praising together in that moment.  We are praising the Maker of all music, not the musician, when we're in Mass.

If you've ever had a hard time nailing down why you prefer some music over others in different churches, perhaps it's been the presentation/attitude with which the music was offered as part of the Mass.  It is first an offering, a praise, a way to give thanks.

Praise God that we have wonderful, talented people offering their gifts for all of our benefit at Mass, but I don't find it any more appropriate to clap for the musicians than I do to clap for the lectors, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, or even the priest.  I've been one of those musicians many, many, many times in my 3+ decades, and I've been uncomfortable every time someone clapped because of something I did at Mass.  I know I can sing an Ave Maria that'll make you cry.  But, you're not crying because of my voice, you're crying because of the beautiful gift I am sharing that brings you a moment closer to God.

Sing joyfully to the Lord - in chant, in old hymns, out of those Glory and Praise books I grew up with, with newer praise and worship songs.  Sing to Him.  Sing for Him.  Stop worrying about what you're singing and start rejoicing in who you're singing for.  Also, I don't want to hear it that you think you sound like that warbling pelican in Little Mermaid, open your voice and do it.  Give back to God what He gave to you.  If it's not pleasing to your ears, it's still pleasing to His heart.

*steps off soapbox*

If you're looking for inspirational, beautiful music to listen to on your way about town, I heard this musician at the Behold Conference 2014 and was so inspired by her gift.

2.  What is your priority?  Eating or sleeping?

Sleeping.  Sleeping is my favorite.  My babies start sleeping at night between 6-8 months.  I don't sleep well in pregnancy and life stresses tend to give me insomnia, so by the time I've found out I'm pregnant and then gotten the baby to sleeping through, it's usually about a year and a half between full nights.  If there's any silver lining to infertility, it's that I'm sleeping all night these days.

3.  What type of milk do you drink in your house?

Whole milk.  I read something, somewhere that talked about the fat solubility of certain hormones, and that removing them basically unbalances the hormones in what we're eating when we go for low-fat/fat-free options.  I don't know where I saw the study, or even the scientific validity, but the premise stuck with me.  We should be eating our food the way it comes.

Even if there wasn't research suggesting low-fat milk isn't the way to go, it makes sense to me to eat food as close to its original form as possible.  We eat butter, not margarine; whole milk, not skim milk; home baked goods over pre-packaged.  We are by no means the ideal health foodies, but whole milk is part of my effort to make our food choices as natural as possible.

4.  What is a book that changed your perspective on something?

Not precisely a book - shorter in form and about ten times harder than a normal book to unpack the knowledge - Mulieris Dignatatum changed my life and my marriage.

I read it with a group of women as part of an Endow study group.  Which is probably the only way I really could have gotten so much out of such rich and complex materials.

Mulieris Dignatatum is a letter from St. John Paul II (first time I've said that!!).  It's in on the nature and dignity of women.  It gave me a new understanding and appreciation for who am I and who I was created to be as part of God's design.

I have a new understanding for myself as gift to my husband and children.  For the beauty and unique genius of woman.  Mulieris Dignatatum has made me a better wife.  It has given me an appreciation for the strength that it takes to truly be what I'm called to be as a unique and beautiful creation.

Even if you don't follow the study from Endow, get together a group of holy women and read and discuss this together.  It's beautiful.

5.  Who is your favorite saint?

This is kind of like picking a favorite sibling....or exactly like picking a favorite sibling in the "brothers and sisters in Christ" perspective.  St. John Paul II is especially beloved.  His feast day is October 22nd, and is the due date of our little saint.

When I was in college, I went to Rome for the Jubilee with a college group/pilgrimage.  Our group was recognized by name and received a special blessing from him.

Mother Teresa is another especially beloved of mine.  Her dark night of the soul lasting decades, through which she still an inspirational voice of peace, life, and love.  She so vividly lived out God's love, she was invited into circles and beloved by groups of people who wouldn't give a typical Catholic the time of day.

That's amazing.  That's my goal.  I want to so vividly radiate the love of Christ into all those around me that they are drawn into seeking that joy and love in Him too.  I want to be a face of joy in the midst of hard times.  That I so markedly fall short so many times is a reason I look to the life of Mother Teresa.  It is possible.  Mother Teresa is a reminder to get up and do it all again today, even if it's the same thing I did yesterday and I feel no closer to achievement.  That lifetime of love, doing the same things over and over again, that adds up.  Do it with joy and you can be a radiant light of love with others to find their way home.

6.  Introvert or extrovert?

Introvert.  My exact personality trait list is INFJ.  Here's a section from the Portrait of an INFJ.

The Protector

As an INFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in primarily via intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit with your personal value system. 

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types. 

INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world.  On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous. They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. 

Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions. This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be. Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk. 

Really, my personality type isn't an excuse, I need to clean this up!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

FINALLY - An Answer

God is so good.  So. Good.  After 7....that's right SEVEN years, I have an answer.

There is a problem.  It's not just in my head, it's not just stress, I don't just need to relax and it'll happen.

Last month, I did a complete hormone profile by having my blood drawn every other day for a couple weeks.  Turns out, I have fantastic estrogen.  Like, twinsies levels of estrogen.  So, why am I not up to my ears in babies?


My levels are about a third of what they should be.  There's just not anything going on there.  Nada.  Nothing.  Zilch.  That hormone that supports pregnancy?  Not there.  That hormone that protects against risk of breast cancer?  Not there.  That hormone oh-so-necessary for normal, healthy weight loss?  Not there!  That hormone that helps prevent ectopics?  NOT THERE!

I got off the phone and cried tears of joy.  I'm going to start injections timed to my cycle to correct my hormones.

That sliver of hope I had left in my soul just experienced a dramatic increase.  The stone has been rolled away.  I am an Easter person and Hallelujah is my song!

There are no guarantees, that's not the way life works.  But it looks good.  It looks really good.  My Lent is ending and Easter is coming.

Through all the dark moments of infertility, God has been good.  Through all the heartache and pain over losing SB, God has been good.  In this moment, I am overwhelmed by the blessing of knowing.  I am overwhelmed by the joy at the prospect of this happening again:

It's fitting that this happened during Infertility Awareness Week.

My hope has been renewed.  I am profoundly grateful for the modern medicine that can find these answers.  I am profoundly grateful to a friend who had the courage to hand me a book that started me on a journey towards learning Creighton and seeking out a NaPro doctor.  I am also grateful said friend (who has a background in nursing) has also agreed to help me figure out giving myself the shot if I can't figure it out (the doctor said it should be intuitive, but we shall see). 

Happy Easter.  He has risen.  Alleluia.  Alleluia.  He has risen.

As I begin routine injections, my prayers will remain, as always, with those who are expecting, those who are struggling with infertility, and those who are overwhelmed by the gift of their fertility.  May God bless you this Easter season.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Answer Me This {Vol 2} WIWS - Easter


Linking up with Kendra for Answer Me This....good thing this link-up is live until Wednesday, because I'm just barely making it this week!

1.  What did you and your family wear to Mass on Easter Sunday?

We rocked coral and navy blue as a family this year:

All the ladies had navy blue sweaters....but the temps in our town jumped from 45 to 80 overnight and we were all a little overheated!

Hubby:  shirt - Old Navy, pants - Old Navy
Me:  dress - Old Navy (sparkly sandals from Target, not pictured)
LB: dress - Target
SP:  dress - Target

For more WIWS, check out the ladies at FLAP.

2.  Easter Bunny:  thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs up.  Way up.  

3.  Do you prefer to celebrate holidays at your own house or at someone else's house?

I would love to have a house big enough to host....perhaps in a few years.  But for now, someone else's house.  We celebrated with family at my brother's house.

4.  What is your favorite kind of candy?

All the Sour Patch Kids.  I. Need. Them. All.

5.  Do you like video games?

I don't play them, but I like them from the perspective that Hubby and LB get in good quality daddy-daughter time over the PS3 :)

6.  Do you speak another language?

I can understand bits and pieces of French, Spanish, and German, but alas, to my great chagrin, I am not fluent in any of them. 

Now go over to Kendra's and check out everyone else's posts!  And check it out, I'm tagged for next week - woot! woot!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our Story: 10 Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today, something new was made.  With family and friends looking on, two became one.

I cried my whole way through my vows.  When I listened to the video later, it sounded like I was laughing.....

My father, a deacon in the Catholic Church, officiated the wedding.

....after he walked me down the aisle :)

I was so excited to walk down that aisle.

...and even more excited to be married.

We were surrounded by family and friends.

....and my brothers took good care of tradition.

There have been difficult days, months, and even years.  We have been stretched past the breaking point more than once, with only that promise we made keeping things together.  But the hard-earned truth I have learned is that the better is better when you've made it through the worse together.

This is our life.  One or both of us could have thrown in the towel more than once.  But, we promised not to.  We made more than a contract, we made a covenant.  We celebrated a sacrament.  An oath that we will live out the rest of our lives.  And our lives are better for the covenant.  We've built everything together.

We married young-ish.  I was 22, Hubby was 26.  We didn't wait until we'd established careers or had a house.  We moved in together after we got back from the honeymoon.

Everything we have, we've done together.  Our house.

Our children.

Our love.

Marriage can be hard.  But it's worth fighting for.  Because it is so good.  Forming a life from the ground up together is so good.  Raising beautiful, crazy, sarcastic, creative children together is so good.

Ten years ago, I made a good choice.  Every day, I get up in the morning and try to make good on that choice.  I choose to love and serve, honor and obey.  Not so simple, but oh so beautiful.  

A few days ago, I linked up with Kendra for Answer Me This.  The question about the piece of random advice got me thinking about wedding advice.

My mom's marriage advice:  Never marry someone who you don't want to have kids just like.

My dad's marriage advice:  Pick a winner and then be his cheerleader.  (He followed that up with, you've picked a winner, now just be his cheerleader.)

I believe, from many I've talked to lately, that marriage is under attack.  Everyday and big stresses seem to be directly attacking the framework of our lives.  Evil seeks to destroy what is good and many of us have felt that friction and pressure in our marriages of late.  Those little annoyances (or big stresses) are turning us against each other, when really, we should be striving even more to unite in those moments.

The first step in battle is to know your enemy.  Look at your beloved.  He is not the enemy.  That division comes from within your heart.  That anger boiling inside you may indeed be righteous, but pray for compassion.  Acknowledge your own failings.  Forgive wrongs done against you.  In all things, pray.  If you have only anger to offer up, offer up your anger.  Dwija shared many beautiful and heartbreaking stories of those who could use our prayers right now.

As we look forward to the Resurrection with great expectation, take a moment to thank God for not only the greatest blessing of His Only Son, but for the beautiful wisdom and planning for our sanctification through our spouses.  That guy snoring and keeping you awake?  He's your road to Heaven.  Tread lightly and with love.

To my husband on our anniversary,

I'm glad it's you.  I'm so glad I said "yes", and then "I do".  I'm so glad you've never quit on me when I've been more than anyone should have to tolerate.  And I'm glad I haven't quit on you when you've been the same.  I'm glad this is what my life looks like, and it's exciting to know we have, God willing, so many more years ahead of us to keep writing this story.

That cliched meme is right, of all the love stories, ours is my favorite.  Because it's real, it's us, and no one could write it but you and me.


Your wife