Monday, February 28, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays (Gifts #31-40) & Make Your Home a Haven (1)

Today I am linking up with Ann at a Holy Experience  for Multitudes on Mondays as well as with Monica over at the Homespun Heart. These two gals are just a couple of my favorite bloggers in blogland. There are certainly more of you, but these two hold delightful linky parties!

Last Fall, Monica hosted "Make Your Home a Haven" week and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, after spending a week really focusing on the many little ways that I might make my home a haven for my family, I was moved to rename my blog her Little Ways to remind myself how to do ordinary acts (laundry, meal preparation, parenting, etc.) with extraordinary love, just as beloved  St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  It can be no coincidence that I discovered St. Thérèse at the same time that I discovered Monica's blog.  It can only be a God thing!

So, here are a few things I did last night in order to make my kitchen (the heart of any home!) a haven for my family this week...

Okay, admittedly the coffee pot is for me, but oh how this little step of prepping the night before allowed me to wake up in such a happy mood this morning!  Now...I just need a programmable coffee maker!

For my little man, I prepared breakfast the night before.  Lately, our routine has been to get up and nurse then get myself and the older two ready for the day.  By the time we all head downstairs for breakfast, Luke is more than ready for  his solids.  Usually, I'm doing some mad dash trying to fix eggs, Eggos, etc. for the older two while mixing up rice cereal.  And since I've been disorganized of late, I've run out of frozen pumped milk and have resorted to formula.  *ugh*  Next thing I know, rice flakes are flying and formula is dripping all over the counter top.  Not a conducive way to start the day!  Today, it was so nice to just add water, shake, pour and stir.  Little man ate at the table in his high chair with us.  It was a lovely way to start our morning...which included saying Grace!

Last night, I stayed up late cleaning, decluttering, and organizing so that my kiddos might wake up to this!  I set the table for breakfast the night before and even though our meal only consisted of orange juice and toast with peanut butter, eating off of pottery and drinking out of glasses seemed to set the tone for good table manners.  Breakfast was such a joy today, and Mary especially loved the little added touch of flowers and candlelight at the table!

Finally, this is what greeted me when I came downstairs this morning.  I stayed up extra late last night to get my kitchen ready for the morning.  Counter tops decluttered, dishwasher loaded/run/unloaded the night before, sink scrubbed and ready for a new day!  Our kitchen had such a calming presence this morning...especially important since this room opens directly to our family's basically one long room at the back of our home!  No hiding the mess here!

So to express my thanks to God above for all that he has blessed me with, I am appreciate of the following...

#31  French Vanilla coffee creamer

#32  Hot coffee first thing in the morning!

#33  A wonderful, sturdy, and beautiful home.  It may not be the largest on the block or the most professionally decorated, but it is our "home".

#34  Blog friends that host fun parties for us to connect with each other.

#35  Lives of the Saints who have gone before us and show us an incredible love and dedication to our Lord.

#36  St. Thérèse of Lisieux

#37  The last day of February...hooray!  March 1st is "unofficially" Spring in my book!

#38  The invention of the flat iron when I can do nothing else to control my daughter's unruly waves.

#39  Mary, Ben & Luke

#40  Neighborhood friends who check up on me and help me out in a pinch!

Please come back later this week to see some other Little Ways that I make our home a haven!  Blessings!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Princess and the Kiss...A Story of God's Gift of Purity

As promised, I wanted to share with you the gift Mary Catherine received from Mommy and Daddy for Valentine's Day.

Several times, while visiting the Catholic bookstore, my daughter has asked if we could purchase The Princess and the Kiss.  Usually, I'm on some mission of my own, and with limited funds, put her off. This time though I stopped and took the time to see what it was that intrigued her so, and had captured her heart.

The Princess and the Kiss by author, Jennie Bishop, is about God's first kiss and saving that kiss (moral purity) for the one that you are going to marry.  While the fairy-tale setting enthralled my daughter, the message intrigued me.  This story is a creative way to gently introduce the idea to my six-year old that she is wonderfully and beautifully made, created by God, and chosen to fulfill a special purpose on this earth.  Whether that purpose be to live life single,  as a wife and/or mother, or a call to the religious life, her purity is a gift from God not to be taken advantage of, but to be given only to the one she finds worthy.

It was the perfect gift to give her for Valentine's Day!

To learn more about author, Jennie Bishop click here.

Mary's favorite page in the whole book!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Got Books?

Mary Catherine has taken off with reading.

I really can't explain it...her daddy's brains...her mama's passion for books...her kindergarten teacher...being read to while still in the womb...(only because I was teaching 3rd grade while pregnant with her and did "read-aloud" because I love it that much!)

...I have no idea the reason for her reading success, but she's light-years ahead of most of her classmates.

Or maybe this is the reason

Little brothers make a great audience! Be sure to come back tomorrow when I share what Mary Catherine received from mommy and daddy for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Baby Christmas Ornament

Look what I received in the mail...

...a gift from my best friend!  Although I received this after the holidays, it is still so very special to me!  When I received it in late January, I just couldn't bear to pack it up even though my tree and ornaments had already been packed away.  As March draws near, I know it is time to put it away for discovery and delight next December!

Besides the fact that I FORGOT to purchase my own child's "first Christmas" ornament, there is also a lot of sentiment behind this purchase. 

Like me, my best friend has struggled with infertility, but our stories have traveled different paths.  One woman has experienced the gift of life three times (really...we really do struggle with infertility!), while the other has yet to give birth.  Most recently, after hitting our 40s, one of us got pregnant and carried to term, while the other finally achieved pregnancy, only to miscarry. 

For the first time in my life, I was "the fertile" one. 

It was an odd the shoe didn't quite fit and was pinching.  And while nothing could dampen the joy surrounding the birth of our youngest child,  my heart was heavy when it was time to "share the news" with her.  Best friends since 15, at 40+ our babies would have only been 3-months apart.  It just wasn't meant to be.

When I received this gift in the mail, it was almost as if she gave me the gift of forgiveness. 

Forgiveness?  Yes, forgiveness. Forgiveness for "getting" to have a 3rd baby while she so desperately only wanted one.  Permission to let go of the guilt I carried for nine months in addition to the weight of pregnancy.

We do not know, nor can we always understand God's ways.  It is only through prayer (God, Please make your will be my desire.) that we can reconcile the difference between what God wants for our lives and what we want for ourselves.

Thank you, Shannon, for the gift of forgiveness. For loving my children as your own.  For being my best friend for over 25 years.  I love you like a sister and cherish our friendship!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays (Gifts #21-30)

Welcome to Multitudes on Mondays hosted by Ann at a Holy Experience where we share those little things in life that matter most...and that are true Gifts from the One Above.

#21  The occasional Midwestern blizzard which requires us to slow down and help our neighbors!  Not less than five cars found themselves stuck in front of our home as the road curves and begins to climb uphill.  

#22  The occasional Midwestern blizzard which allowed for me to practice "random acts of kindness" which involved hot coffee and tea for all those folks the next morning as they returned to dig out their abandoned automobiles!

#23  God's beauty in the form of sunshine reflecting off of the newly fallen snow which sparkled like diamonds!  (Notice the Big Wheel which did not get picked up before the blizzard set in!)
#24  Paper snowflakes created by a six-year old's most precious hands.  (Yes, she "assigned" a snowflake to each relative in our extended family!)

#25  Pink cheeks!
#26  Modern medicine!  Prednisone (for an eye infection I had in February), Cortisone (for the inflammation in my foot), Walking Casts and Night Splints!  ;)

#27  "Winter Cupcakes" to celebrate blizzards!  (White cake mix, white chocolate chips, homemade vanilla butter cream frosting)

#28  "Snow cones" made with freshly fallen snow and homemade grape syrup!

#29  A reprieve from the winter weather and the random 75 degree day in FEBRUARY!

#30  Rice Cereal.

I can't get enough!

Mama needed to get some bibs!  Oh the things you forget between babies! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hello Sweet Readers!

To My Regular Readers and Newest Followers...Hello!

I hope that you are all doing well.  By now, I'm certain that many of you have become used to my random disappearing acts!  :)  Just when I seem to think that I have this blogging/parenting/living thing down pat, :) life seems to hand me another curve ball.

Nothing drastic to report, just trying to juggle physical therapy appointments with daily living. 

As some of you know, I was experiencing a lot of foot pain back in December and at my husband's assistance, I made an appointment with the podiatrist.  X-Rays revealed a fracture in my heel...a secondary symptom, albeit a painful one, to my primary complaint...plantar fasciitis.  Five weeks after being casted on December 23rd, I got the green light to wean off the walking cast and wear tennis shoes...all.the.time.

Ugh.  I mean, tennis shoes are great when you're working out, but they aren't that attractive with your non-athletic outfits.  *sigh*  But, I'm being good and sticking to the  "no bare feet" in the house rule as well as "tennis shoes at all times" rule.

In addition, about 3 weeks ago I began physical therapy to correct my walk, and develop strength and flexibility in my ankle which I lost to the chronic pain and repetitive injury of the plantar fasciities.

This past Thursday, a follow-up appointment found me getting two cortisone injections in my foot to combat the inflammation of the plantar fascia ligament and a new splint from AirCast that I wear to bed.  This keeps my foot in a flexed position, lengthening the ligament to keep it stretched.  (Even with physical therapy I have been unable to walk on my foot in the morning...limping to get baby, use the restroom, etc.)

So, I have been striving hard to put myself first.  This has meant listening to my body and doing what is best for my health.  With physical therapy two times a week, and the other responsibilities that I have taken on including Daisy Scout Leader, PTA Room Mother, and carpool driver for ballet, School of Religion, etc.), I pretty much crumple into a heap at the end of the evening! 

I am still nursing our littlest one full-time (which takes a lot of energy in and of itself), but we have introduced solids.  Luke has taken to eating solids like a champ!  He loves food.  His current favorites are carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash.  This week we are trying out sweet peas and green beans.  Rice and oatmeal are favorites too!

Here are some pictures of what we've been up to since February 11th. Hard to believe that our precious little one is 6 1/2 months old!  Time flies!