Sunday, January 29, 2017

One Post a Month: January

Since I have been an incredibly slack blogger, I've decided to do a post a month for 2017.  I mean, that is 12 posts. 
For. an. entire. year.
I can't fail at this, right?  ;)

I won't guarantee what will be in these once a month posts, but I will guarantee to do one each month.

For starters, I am glad to see 2017!  I LOVED getting to see Cooper meet all his milestones and all that beautiful baby newness and joy that comes with adding a child to our family in 2016.  His first year was such a blessing.  I found myself staring at him a lot over the year and being mesmorized that God would see fit to bestow this little gift onto our family.
Cooper is cruising everywhere, eats like a horse, is by far the biggest baby we have had (finally we had a kid break 20 pounds by 1 year!), and says "uh oh" and "go-go-go".  I would love to have another easy baby like him.

My New Year's Resolution was to drink more water.  I am happy to report I am succeeding!  I aim for 6 16 ounce glasses a day, so 96 ounces/day.  What's crazy is that sometimes I am still thirsty.  Before this I was a terrible water drinker.  I was just too busy before to stop and think "I need to drink", but my dear husband and I now compete to see who can drink the most water each day, so that has helped to keep me on target.

On the farm, we are getting ready for baby goats in just 3 short weeks!  We love our dairy goats here.  We raise only Lamanchas, and recently created a Facebook page for our farm, Bearded Acres.  Lamanchas are one of the less common dairy goat breeds in our area, so it is a neat way to connect with other goat people who also love this particular breed.  I will be really happy to get back to drinking our raw goat milk.  While they are pregnant, our goats are dry (not milking) and we have been drinking grocery store cow's milk.  And when you are used to fresh goat's milk...well, there's obviously no comparison.  Regardless, it's about to get busy around here.

While life trucks on with all of our daily happenings, I can't help but feel like I am watching the majority of the world slip into this dismal abyss. Woah, she jumped off the deep end with that one, you are thinking!  But truly, are there only a few sane people around anymore?  I have this deep sense of needing to become detached from everything I can that is not spiritually beneficial.  TV, Facebook, media & news....  I don't think my family will let me throw the tv out, but I feel like we are short on time for preparing our spiritual "nests" if you will.  I keep thinking, if Christ came tomorrow, am I ready?  Have I done everything in my life today that He has asked of me? 

Deep thoughts, I know.  But I can't shake them lately. 
Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Your hearts.  Your homes.  Your family. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Father times two!

Our "confession church" has a new priest.  Woah, what did she just say?  Yes, we have what I have dubbed our "confession church".  It is a parish only 7 miles away and we pop in there on a Saturday afternoon when we are in need of the Sacrament of Confession, because it is soooo close and sooooo quick.  But it is not the parish at which we regularly attend Mass.

So I just thought Isabel and I were going to pop in to confession, but there was a long line which filled up the entire back pew nearest the confessional.  So Iz and I went to the next row, thinking it would be clear that we would be next in line.  It wasn't clear to the people who came in next, and they did not speak any English.  So we got bumped back by 2 people.  Confession here lasts from 4pm to 4:45pm, because Saturday evening Mass starts at 5pm.  It was 4:42 when I got into the confessional, and this wonderful new priest greeted me with a warm double handshake and told me, "Thank you for coming today!"  He was so warm and joy-filled....Jesus was practically seeping out of him.  That sounds weird, but he just radiated Jesus' love.

He gave me 2 Our Fathers for my penance.

I thought to myself that was a little strange.  I mean, I've been given just one Our Father, or an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, or a triple set of those, or a rosary....but never just 2 Our Fathers. 

Regardless, I went and slowly prayed them.

Then we went home.

And at home, I had some time after dinner to open up my favorite new book The Ordinary Path to Holiness, to the next chapter. I'm reading this book at the speed of slow, because I don't want it to ever end.  And yet I do, so I can know all that I can learn all it has to offer.  Anyway when I opened the page, it was this:

So I began to read it.  So many goodies in this chapter, I can't give them all away.  You need to go read the book, but from the CCC (2763):
The Lord's Prayer is the most perfect of prayers...
In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire,
but also in the sequence that they should be desired. 
This prayer not only teaches us to ask for things, but also
in what order we should desire them.
Wow.  So the next evening, Ian opened up the children's Bible to read the next chapter (we had skipped reading a Bible story on Saturday night).  And it was this:
A one page Bible "story".  Simply The Lord's Prayer.
Our Father times two.
Now, I haven't quite figured out what the Lord is telling me here other than I'd better get focused on this prayer and spend some time meditating upon it.  Maybe pray it twice a day? ;)  I mean, it couldn't hurt.  But clearly, it's a sign, right?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pretty sure it's broken.

My big toe, that is.  On my right foot.  You know, the driving foot.

Yesterday morning I scrambled to make a grocery store run and pack up all the kids, make sure meals were planned, swimsuits, sunscreen, bug spray, sleeping bags and various other camping accouterment was ready.  Because yesterday was the first day of homeschool camping weekend, which has been one of our favorite family activities for the past 3 years.  Typically, I send them off to a campsite, roughly an hour away and then I join them with the baby in the morning, returning home in the evening so I can take care of a.m. and p.m. goat chores. 

I was so excited. 

They had all been shipped off (well, except for Cooper, obviously).

It was 6 p.m. Friday.

I decided to go out into the garage to search for a backpack so that while I was with Cooper in the Ergo on my front, I could easily carry my baby gear on my back.

My mistake was that I entered the garage barefoot.

Or maybe that I didn't notice the 2.5lb brick-sized transformer or transistor, or whatever the heck Rob told me the black-box-shaped-thingy-with-wires-hanging-off-it was that fell 5 feet, straight onto my foot, as I pulled out the backpack upon which it sat.

At first I thought, "Oh crap....that was really bad, but's going to be okay."  Until I started to feel nauseaus from the pain. was just a smash... got in, assessed it...still hurts, but at this point Cooper needs to go to bed, so I go and nurse him with my foot starting to throb and put him to bed.

Goats need to be fed before the pain gets worse.....have to feed goats.  Just truck through it.  But, our 90 year old neighbor is out and of course he wants to bring 2 loads of vegetable scraps to the goats, so I need to help him, because he is, well, 90 years old.  At this point I am not limping....I guess I was pumped up on adrenaline...and this is good, because I did NOT want him to know that I was in pain or he would have tried to help me feed the goats.  *Goat feeding time can get pretty rambunctious!*  I did not want any more injuries for anyone!

While I am helping him, he tells me, "Angela, Robert picked a good wife to get all those kids ready for camping, and their clothes packed up and such.  You're a good wife."  That was so sweet of him, I think I was blushing....or else I was starting to get really hot because I thought I was going to pass out.  Might have been the pain creeping in.

I finish the chores and get inside and reassess and it doesn't look horrific!  You know, like if you googled "broken big toe", you would get all kinds of abominable looking toes.  And mine is just red, not really even swollen, but my nailbed is definitely black and awful looking.

I put my leg up and by 7pm I realize I need some ibuprofen because it is really starting to hurt enough that I could actually tell when the ibuprofen "hit" my system and started to take a tiny bit of the edge off.  I tried to go to bed around 10pm and the sheets on the bed hurt my toe.  So I went back out to the seemed like there was absolutely no position in which I could get comfortable.

I realized that I would not be joining the camping group the next morning.  I could barely limp to the kitchen for more ibuprofen.  How the heck was I going to traipse around a campsite, with roots and all, down to the lake, carrying a baby in the ergo when I could barely hobble to the kitchen?  Heck, I wouldn't trust myself to drive with that foot!

I started to let the disappointment sink in as I realized the situation.  Coupled with the guilt that I would be leaving my husband on a camping trip with 3 of the 4 the pain of my toe.  Argh.  But as I thought about it, I realized that I needed to just accept it.  Accept the pain.  Heck, who am I to be whining about a broken toe when there are people with way harder and more painful situations at this very moment? Grow up, Angela!  This is an opportunity for God to work!

I finally got some sleep.

When I woke up in the night, I took it as an opportunity to pray for others.  To pray for the safety of the campers.  To pray for those who have turned away from their faith.  To pray for a sick friend.  To pray for the nation.  To pray for a mother who lost her baby a few months ago.

Don't complain, just pray.  Don't whine, just let God work.  I can always be His tool if I cooperate with Him.  In. every. moment.  even the broken bone type of moments.

Cooper woke up twice to nurse.  When I got up this morning, my toe was painful, more swollen and stiff, and it was all I could do just to make it out to feed all the animals, let alone think about milking them.  I turned the babies loose to their mamas and let the babies do the milking this morning.  But over the day, the pain has been better.  I've rested and iced it, spent a lot of time lying on the ground playing with the baby.  Read, prayed the rosary, prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, talked to God, listened to music.

For whatever reason, I wasn't supposed to be on that trip.   Disappointment happens every day.  Pain is all around.  But so is our Lord.  Always with us.  Always with a plan that we cannot fully see.

Just trust.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Sleep Training? What Sleep Training?

He's a dream baby.  I don't know what else to say.  The first night of sleeping in his own room, in his own crib, I nursed him at 6:30pm then put him in the crib.  He cried for 10 minutes, and I went in and held him for a few minutes, then put him back down.  He cried for 15 minutes...and let me stop and explain "cried".  Because Caroline's "cry" was screaming until she scream/cried herself to sleep...well, for hours.  Cooper's "cry" is more of a fussing...he was not doing a full screaming type of cry.  His cry is just....well, more laid back.   It's like he has a cry to fit his personality....laid back cry for a laid back baby.  So he fussed for 15 more minutes, I went back in a 2nd time held him, and then put him down and that was it....he just fell asleep.  And then I was anxious and couldn't sleep all night and he did not wake up for 8 hours!!!  When he did, I nursed him and laid him back down and there was no fussing at all...he just rolled over and went back to sleep for another 3 hours.

The next day I put him in the crib for his nap and he literally just laid down and went to sleep.  What?!?!
It was amazing.

And so it's pretty much continued.  Not all naps have been as easy as the first, but as long as he is tired then he is pretty happy about going to sleep in the crib.  And night time has provided us with at least 8 straight hours of him sleeping, then a quick nursing session and then right back to sleep. 

I am just in awe.  And so thankful.  I am thankful for all my children, but boy, after dealing with Caroline being such a difficult sleeper for so long, it is a super duper blessing to have an easy baby who likes to sleep!

Coop turned 6 months yesterday, and I just can't believe it.  Each baby I have makes me want another baby.  That seems like such an odd thing to say, but I just can't imagine that Cooper would be our last, although I know all too well that my fertility is completely in the hands of my Creator.  And I will be happy with His plans for our family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A 6 month hiatus.

Wow....I had a baby and never intended to drop off the face of the blog world, but that is certainly what happened!  Unfortunately, I cannot completely blame it on the baby.  Because he is SUCH a GOOD BABY!  And the fact that he will be 6 months old this Sunday makes me want to cry.  All of our babies have started out their first 6 months of life co-sleeping with us.  And our bedroom just happens to be where my desktop resides.  And that desktop is my preferred medium for creating blog posts, so let's just say that for the last 6 months, once the baby goes to bed, the computer gets turned off and so blog posts have not been born.

But tonight, my friends....tonight is the very first night that I put Cooper down in a different room.  In His Own Crib.  He cried for about 30 minutes (during which I went in twice) and then after putting him back down the 2nd time, he just went to sleep.  And now he has been asleep for 2 hours.  So we will see how it goes.  Really I have no clue how it will go.  The old routine was:  nurse him to sleep in the bed, slowly inch my way off the bed like a ninja so he wouldn't wake up, and then go back in and nurse him if he did wake up. 

The last 6 months have gone by fast.  When I just had my first baby, the days were long, the nights were long, but these days with 4 kids....there is always something going on and barely a moment to think before the next diaper needs to be changed, dishwasher unloaded, garden tended, goats can fill in a number of daily activities.  So life is busy.  But it has made me realize that I need to slow down and reconnect myself with God.  Because I have just been going through life in this blur and not really growing in my spirituality, at least not in the way that I know needs to happen.  Perhaps more on that in another post....I mean, who knows how long I've got before the baby decides to wake up!  Besides that, I've got to tell you about the baby goat with the broken leg, my thyroid nodules and difficulty swallowing, snakes in the barn, 3 birthdays in April, making goat's milk mozzarella cheese for the first time, and the new kitten.

Anyway, I just wanted to say, "It's good to be back!" and hopefully I will update before Christmas ;)  In the meantime, here is an updated pic of my hooligans.  Clockwise from top:  Cooper, Isabel, Ian and Caroline.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Our Newest Bundle!

Welcoming Our Newest Bundle!
Cooper Thomas
10lbs 1oz


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Trip to D.C.

Wow, this was such a neat trip.  On Tuesday of this week, we woke up early, took care of all the farm chores and headed up to Washington, D.C....about a 4 hour trip from our house.  We arrived near 10:30am at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.  The monastery has replicas of the shrines that you would find in the Holy Land, and it was beautiful.  I handed the camera off to Isabel and she just took all kinds of pictures.  We toured the main level of the church and then had a tour of the replica crypts below the church.  The entire tour was about 1 hour.

From there we grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed over to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and ducked down into the crypt church to attend the Solemn Mass of First Profession to witness the first vows of ten sisters of Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara which is part of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word.

Although people did take pictures during the Mass, I did not feel comfortable doing so, nor could I have as Ian fell asleep on my lap during the first reading and slept through the entire Mass (which lasted from 2pm until 3:45pm!)  But it was so beautiful....there were so many priests and brothers there, the family of the sisters, the other nuns in the order, the celebrant was Cardinal McCarrick, the singing and atmosphere was other-worldly!  What an inspiration to all of our homeschool friends who attended this ceremony....particularly those who God may be calling to a religious vocation.  (Maybe even Isabel!) ;)

And after the Mass, I also have zero pictures of these beautiful sisters...but it was like attending a wedding.  Their faces were just all smiles and glowing! 

We went upstairs to the main part of the Basilica and found a chapel for our family to make our own family was appropriate that we stepped into the Chapel of Our Lady of Czestochowa (as our home parish in Raleigh is a Shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa!).  There was also a mosaic (well, almost everything in the basilica is made of mosaic tiles) of Saint (Pope) John Paul II, which was really neat because our sweet homeschool friends gave us one of the holy cards of JPII that they had been handed when they walked into the vows Mass (we had come in minutes too late and they had run out of these holy cards, so I had no idea until she handed me one of theirs for us to keep) and it is not just a holy card, but a 2nd class relic of one of his garments!  So walking into the chapel with both of these images was really a little smile from God.  We literally had just enough time to kneel down and pray this consecration prayer that I had found online before Caroline was just at the end of her little 2 1/2 year old "rope".  So it was a disappointment that Isabel was not able to see, explore, and pray at this magnificent is just gorgeous and every nook and corner calls your attention to God's glory!  What a place!



The next morning we woke up and swam in our hotel's rooftop pool (enclosed and heated, thank was still chilly, but the kids loved it).  Then we went to visit the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial which led us by the reflecting pool and both the WWII and Vietnam Memorials.  The younger kids were pretty uncooperative with pictures but I suppose that was to be expected as it was a long walk from the monument to the memorial and back to our car, and they had exercised themselves quite thoroughly already in the hotel pool..... ;)  So the pics that we got were just what we got!

This field trip was a great reminder that planning a trip with little ones never ends up exactly how you envision it in your mind ;)