Friday, December 14, 2012

7 Quick Takes: I need your help!

1.  I don't think we are going to close on our new house before Christmas will likely be just after.  This is disappointing, but I am just so thankful that there is a goal in sight, and I have already started organizing the few things we have here at my MIL's so that they can be easily packed and moved when it is time.  We are so excited about getting into our new place that we will definitely be moving things in the day of closing ;)

2.  Speaking of packing things up, there's no other way to say it other than my 6 year old is a hoarder.  She did not get this trait from me, as I seem to be some sort of organizational freak, so it is pretty difficult for me to walk into the room she and Ian are sharing and see her "piles" of "very important stuff".  Well, they must be very important to her because she does not want to seperate with any of her papers, drawings, magazines (think tattered American Girl Doll catalogs and National Wildlife Federation's Ranger Rick mag)... I wish I had taken a picture to show you, but this morning we worked on organizing, trashing and storing her "stash".  She did seem to take pride in the fact that afterwards, an actual full size desk was revealed from under her clutter treasures.  But seriously, I need some help with this.   Any suggestions for kids who just want to hang onto EVERYTHING?

3.  Ian had his 18 month well visit this past Monday at 20 months.  And *drum roll, please* he is in the 6th percentile!  Woohoo!  No, it's not a typo....6th, not 16th or 60th!  And yes, we are cheering!  If you remember any of my struggles with wee little Isabel (in the -3%) then this is a really big number for our tiny little kids :)  And he is holding his growth curve very well, so the doctor was absolutely fine with the way he is growing!  Praise God!  And after a one-night battle with what I believe was croup, 4 weeks of an on and off again cold, and pneumonia in our house, he got a clean bill of health- no ear infections and his lungs sounded great!  What a relief.  On top of that great news, I did not have to pay our usual $40 copay....somehow we had a credit on our account.  Great day!

                                             (Isabel when she was teeny-tiny -3%)

4.  I made jalapeno corn pudding the other day from this allrecipes recipe, and it was really, really good!  BUT, I adapted that recipe by adding jalapenos (from a jar), a small can of diced green chilies, 1/2 an onion, sharp cheddar cheese and diced ham, and I think it needed all of the above unless you really were looking for only the corn taste.  It turned out quite sweet tasting, probably from the can of creamed corn and that balanced out nicely with the spice of the jalapenos!

5.  Ian is obsessed with unloading the dishwasher.  Unfortunately, in Grandma's house, he can open and close her dishwasher all by himself, so you never know when you might walk into the kitchen to find him unloading the dirty dishes... :(  Gotta keep your eye on this kid!  But he is so cute when the dishes are clean and you ask if he would like to help!  He responds with an enthusiastic "YES!!!" and big eyes and a smile, you'd think he just won a trip to visit Thomas the Train or something.  He loves to hand over the silverware and will name each one as he picks it up, so hey, we are homeschooling him already ;)

6.  I am praying the Christmas Rose novena along with so many others and Joy Beyond The Cross.  My intentions during this novena are specifically for mothers who are trying to conceive and for a peace from God while they struggle with the rollercoaster of emotions while trying to have a child.  I remember that pain and the emotional journey of trying to add to our family all too well, so my heart is especially tender for these women.
7.  Finally, I need some suggestions as to what on earth I do with this space in our new house:

I am standing in the bonus room above the garage.  This will be our school room/playroom and one day include a guest bedroom...but I am really trying to figure out how to babyproof the deathtrap that is the stairwell.  So those are the stairs that go down a half flight and then turn left and go down another half flight.  There is the handrail that you see just on the right side...but the two little "catwalk?" areas on either side of the stairs are the issue.  I think I can run a baby gate from the wall closest to the banister all the way across the stairs and to the other wall.  So if you are upstairs and the gate is closed it will not be a problem.  But if a baby/toddler/kid coming up the stairs, I need something that will stop them from wanting to climb the left hand side (as viewed from this would be right hand side if you are coming up the stairs).  Any suggestions?  So far, a bookshelf or floating shelves secured to that wall would be the only idea that we've got.  Need creative help!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Flurry of Activity.

...times three.  To begin, Advent is literally days away and I'm totally unprepared.  Between all of my Christmas gear and Advent activities for homeschooling and decorating being tucked away in an unreachable spot in one of our three storage units, and not being in a house that I can really decorate I'm feeling a little scattered. 

I am in desperate need of the Magnificat Advent Companion....hoping that I can make it over to the Catholic bookstore before they are all snatched up!  That little booklet is always such a blessing to me in this busy season.

I guess a big part of my preparation for Advent in years past has been focused on decorating and doing activities with the kids.  During Advent our homeschool lesson plans change from the Catholic Heritage Curriculum to a mix of educational and just plain fun activities and lessons which lead up to the birth of Jesus.  I change out activities on our school shelves and this year I just feel kind of lost without my own space to be able to do that.  I am trying to incorporate some Advent prep crafts and such the best that I can.  Today we did this activity that I found on Catholic Icing.  Making our frugal dollar store candles into Advent pink and purple ones...along with our dollar store wreath and fake flowers. 

(I have to say the first two candles were "smoother" than the last two purples, but overall painting with melted crayons worked quite well, and Isabel enjoyed the instant transformation as much as I did!)

Now while I'm a little disappointed that we are not in the new house to be able to do all of this right now, I am excited and thankful that we are just getting a new home for Christmas!  And that is the second part of my flurry of activity....I am spending wayyyy too much time on Pinterest and Craigslist searching for new finds/ideas/creations for the new home.  I'm torn because it's fun to think about decorating and preparing a new house, and yet I don't want to be totally occupied by this excitement during this special season when I'm supposed to be focusing on preparing my heart

And finally, there has been a flurry of activity in my belly lately!  This baby who has seemed fairly inactive to me, has suddenly increased his or her movement quite a bit, and I've been enjoying it!  Very thankful to be able to feel this little one move around more and more!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anatomy Scan was.... *Updated with PIC*

a success!!  And by that I mean that first and foremost, the baby is growing right on track and looks completely healthy from all that they saw!  What a relief!  I have plenty of amniotic fluid, baby has all organs, a four chamber heart, a 3 vessel cord, my cervix has not begun to shorten, etc...everything just looks great! 

And the second success was that we stuck to our guns and did not find out the baby's gender!  I think our ultrasound tech was surprised.  I guess these days the majority of people do find out the gender; she seemed kind of amused by the suspense we were creating for ourselves ;)  I did press her a little bit and asked if she could tell for sure one way or the other what the gender was (really if the baby was giving her a clear shot) and she said that she definitely knew.  So that part was hard, knowing that she knew and the four of us (Rob, Isabel and Ian all joined me!) did not.  She made sure to write "patient did not wish to know the gender" in my chart so that the doctors and nurses would not slip up and say, "Oh, so it says here you are having a...."  I thought that was smart! ;)  I had dreamt a few days prior that somehow I was able to see the "parts" at the ultrasound and ruined the surprise for myself.

At this point I really think it's going to be a boy.  Of course we will just be happy with a healthy, live baby; part of me is hoping for a girl for Isabel, although a boy close in age to Ian would be great really whoever comes out will be just who God intended for us :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We're Under Contract!

FINALLY!  After selling our home back in July and living with relatives for the last 4+ months, we are under contract on THE home!  I don't know how many houses we have seen over the last year in this search for a home on unrestricted land, but God has finally opened up this house and we think it is just perfect. 

A well-built home that is big enough to grow our family, on nearly 4 acres of land out in the country....yet not so far away that it will feel like we are isolated from civilization! ;)  All well within our budget....God is so good!  And did I mention that we will have a tractor??  Oh, my husband and son (yes, Ian's latest thing is tractors!) are going to be in heaven!

I have to say that there were many moments when I wondered if God didn't just want us to live with our family, well.....forever.  And while it has been a blessing to save money while living with family, we are all ready to get into our own place.  Not to mention I was starting to get a bit antsy about not having a home in which to "nest"!  

Our closing will put us very near it will be a busy time of the year, not to mention a joyous reason to count our blessings! 

In the beginning of 2012, in this post, I wrote about having a hopefulness about the year.  I could never have guessed the plans God had in store for us......selling our home, getting pregnant with another little blessing, and finding a home that will allow us to be a little more self-sufficient and which is really a place we feel is going to be a great fit for our family! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

All's well at 16 weeks and a day.

We had another OB appointment yesterday for a regular check-up and baby seems to be doing just fine in there!  Isabel came with me to this appointment since it was the first appointment that they used a doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat (rather than having an u/s), which was a strong 140bpm!  I was really relieved to hear it, Iz was excited to hear it, and the doctor who was new to the practice, certainly knew nothing of the slight trepidation I have at each appointment as I wait to hear if the baby is in fact still doing okay. 

I have started to feel some stronger bumps lately, but I certainly don't feel them this point it's like every 3 days, so the days in between feeling the baby move are sometimes a little nerve-wracking.  Luckily between Isabel and Ian I am staying pretty busy ;) which may also be a reason that I am less-focused on what the baby is doing and perhaps even missing some of those movements.  The other thing that concerns me is that my belly is just not really growing very big yet...I know, it's only 16 weeks, but I was not very big with Mary Grace at 19 weeks and that is just three weeks away.  I remember thinking "I should be bigger!" with Mary Grace, so I have that little worry in the back of my mind.

Our anatomy scan is scheduled for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and in case I have not mentioned this yet,.....we are NOT finding out the gender.  I had some initial anxiety about giving up this "control", ie., knowing the baby's sex, being able to wash gender appropriate clothes, setting up the right colors for the nursery.  But LOL at this point we may not even be in a house by the time this baby is I am giving up that control to join my husband in the JOY of the SURPRISE! :)  He is really excited about waiting to find out, and I am slowly gaining excitement about not finding out. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

11 Weeks and 4 Days

I had the longest OB appointment ever.....and had the opportunity to pray for two different ladies while I was there!  Got to the office at 8:25am.  Saw the insurance lady at 8:30am, then the OB nurse who went over all the things not to eat, do or think about when you are pregnant...then had blood drawn, and then it was about 9:45am.  At that point I waited over an hour just to see the doctor, but while I was waiting, I overheard another patient greet a nurse and ask how the "babies" were doing (she was apparently pregnant with twins).  She responded that her water had broken at 22 weeks and she had lost one of the babies.  Oh how my heart broke for her.  I just prayed for her silently in my heart, because the nurse said she was so sorry, but "at least she still had one baby left".... yeah, that doesn't take away the pain of losing the first baby.  The patient handled it graciously, and I never saw her again....she was taken back for her appointment. 

So finally I get in to see the doctor and he explains that he had an ectopic pregnancy first thing in the morning, and that set him back at least 30 minutes, so everything was running late.  My second person to pray for!  I instantly remembered when they told me about my ectopic pregnancy; my very first pregnancy loss...and how numbing it was to think that I had a perfectly fine baby, growing in the wrong spot, that they would have to remove.  I felt so bad for the mother-to-be who lost her baby this morning. :( 

After my checkup I had opted to do all the diagnostic testing which includes blood work and ultrasound- nothing invasive.  Prior to Mary Grace I had never performed any of these tests with the mindset that "I wouldn't abort if something was wrong with my baby".....of course that statement is still true today, but now the difference is...that I want to know if something is wrong with my baby, if I need to start preparing for life with or without a baby that may have special needs.

So by the time that everything was done, it was 12:15pm!  I wish I had brought a snack!  I was starving.  The great news is that baby is measuring a day ahead (11wks 5days)!  The ultrasound looking at the nuchal fold was within normal range, and baby was alive and moving all around!  Heartbeat of 161!  Thank you God for a squirming, live baby on the screen!!!  I had of course prepared myself for the fact that things may not go well at this appointment.....just due to past experience.  So it's such a big relief (and almost a shock!) when things go right!

Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I'm back....with news!

To begin, I have to apologize for my unexplained absence over the last month and a half...wait, 2 months???  Is that right?  Ugh....I'm sorry.  Life has say the transition.  The kids and I are back with Rob, but we are not yet in our own house.  My mother-in-law has been gracious enough to let us rent from her until we get the right house.  We have started the homeschooling year and gotten back into the routine of co-ops and field trips....

And on top of all that....the news!!!

I'm 10 1/2 weeks pregnant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow...yeah, we were trying but I was not expecting God to bless us so soon, with my past history!  So we were kind of blown away and are VERY excited and grateful. 

Nausea set in at 5 weeks and I was pretty miserable until my first appointment at 9 weeks when my OB gave me zofran by day and something else for night.  We were both surprised that I had lost 7lbs in those first 9 weeks.  I had only thrown up a handful of times but it was really the nausea that kept me from wanting to eat or drink- anything!  Now that I'm on meds, things are much more manageable and I can eat again!  Not alot at one time, but it's a big improvement over not wanting to eat a thing.

Baby was moving during my ultrasound and we saw the heart beating away.  It is only one little bean in there (I was pretty convinced that I must be having two with the kind of nausea I was having), and baby was in the right place, measured right on track, and there were no cysts or anything unusual around my ovaries this time!  Unbelieveable!  Maybe this will really be a problem-free pregnancy!  I can hope and pray!

So 10 1/2 weeks gives me a due date of April 11th.  This must be God's sense of humor, because Isabel's birthday is April 27th and Ian's is April 5th.  Maybe we just make April babies?  Anyway, I'm getting too far ahead of myself....I am trying to take it day by day and be thankful for each day I have with this growing little babe...because I know how quickly things can change.  My heart has really been torn for the blogger friends who have recently lost babies, and my prayers are with you for God's healing.  Also heavy on my heart have been some special bloggers and friends still struggling with infertility.  My prayers are for you as well! 

I will try to be better about updating!  Sadly, I haven't been reading blogs very much either these last two months.  Trying to get things balanced while we are trying to find a home ;)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Time to talk about being separated.

Woah, that's a shocking title!  Luckily for me and my husband it's less dramatic than you think ;)  I'll give you the brief version:

May 25th our house went under contract.

July 6th due diligence was supposed to end.  (In NC due diligence is the time period that the buyer has between going under contract and once it ends, if they back out of the contract, they lose their escrow money).

July 3rd:  A digging machine busted the back left corner of our fence.

July 4th:  Supposed to be the buyers' last walk-through of the house before due diligence ends...they walk through and see a busted fence.  Of course we are now in July 4th holiday mode, so no one is available to fix the fence!

Had to extend due diligence to July 11th (also our 9 year wedding anniversary), in order to get fence fixed and appease buyers.

July 17th:  Initial date of closing...postponed until July 23!!

July 10th:  Moved nearly everything out of our house.

July 12th:  Took the kids, the dog, and the cat to my parents' house in the mountains.

July 13-15th:  Volunteered at a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend in Charlotte.

Since then......the kids and I (oh yeah, the dog and cat too) have been living at my parents' house in the mountains of NC, while my dear husband has been living at his mother's house 4 hours away (so he can keep working!)... so technically, we are separated...but just physically! ;)  We figured it would be a good way to save some extra money before we get into a new house, rather than having to rent in the meantime.

We have an offer in on a short sale house, but since it is a short sale, it could take months to hear back from the bank.  In the meantime, we are still looking for other houses.

The goal is to be back with Rob by September, because at that point, Isabel needs to be in Faith Formation on Sundays, and our homeschooling co-ops start back up as well!  

We all miss each other, and can't wait to get back together under one roof again, but are certainly blessed to have such generous parents who would let us room with them in this transitional time!  I think the kids think we are just on an extended vacation at their grandparents' house!

So that was my very busy July, and my excuse for a lack of blogging!  Not only have I not been writing my own posts, I have not gotten to read hardly any posts either!  I need to catch up.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quick Takes #14: "Ian Time"

1.  It seems like all I have time for lately are 7 Quick Takes (visit Conversion Diary for more)!  So this one is all about Ian.  We had his 15 month check-up today and the little guy weighed in at a shocking 18 pounds 15 ounces.  Okay, not shocking if you are me or my husband...but to the rest of the world, yes!  Our pediatrician is so laid back about his weight because his length and head circumference look great, and of course Isabel is a wee little thing too.  So basically the kid needs some cheeseburgers, fries and pizza, oh and top all that with butter and full fat ranch dressing.  Anyone have their fave toddler-friendly high-cal, high fat foods?  Hahaha...last thing you hear a mom ask for, right?

2.  When asked how many words Ian can say, I told the pediatrician "about 12".
They are:  mama
                pup pup
                uh oh
                Kee (our cat)
She said, "Oh that's should be about 3-6."  And I was like, wow, great!  Until I read the little take home sheet:  Your baby should say 3-6 words clearly.  Oh well that's a different story.  Lizard is more like "izz-er", shoes is "sooz" and peek-a-boo is more of an inflection than it is an actual spoken, understandable word ;)   Dada, Mama, Up, Pup Pup and Uh Oh are his perfectly clear words ;)  So he's right on target!

3.   The poor kid had 4 teeth break through over the last month.  The 2 bottom molars and the 2 bottom incisors.  He's been drooling, chewing his hands...some days have been rough on him.   One of his fave remedies for teething has been his toddler toothbrush chilled in the freezer.  I just pop it back in when he's done chewing on it and it's ready for next time.

4.  Have you ever seen the show Ultimate Baby Tantrums?  Well, of course you haven't because it doesn't exist, but if it did, they could easily showcase Ian and I could probably make a million bucks.  We secretly call Ian, Drama Baby.  He has throwdowns the likes of which I have never seen when he doesn't get his way.  At home we try to catch him before he throws himself backwards in pure dramatic fashion and lay him gently on the ground where he begins the screaming, crying, kicking, flailing routine.  At that point we quietly walk away, or turn our back to let him know we are not amused, interested, condoning or encouraging this behavior....and he gets the message, but boy he lets you know he isn't happy about it for a good minute.  I remember baby tantrums with Isabel but hers were mild compared to what Ian serves up!  Please don't be a wayward son.....Saint Monica, Pray for us!!!

5.  Besides the baby tantrums, Ian is tons of fun.  The kid loves to play games like Where's the Baby? (hiding behind a curtain, or better yet, where he hides behind his own hands and thinks we can't see him unless he peeks out!), Chase Me! (mommy or daddy crawl around on the floor and chase after him as fast as we can- who are we kidding, the kid is FAST 32 year old knees can barely take all that crawling!), or Chase You! (where he gets behind his plastic Tonka dumptruck and chases me around the house, crashing it into my heels).  His giggles and laughs are just the cutest and he really likes to be held upside-down and tickled under his chin lately.

6.  His new interest is feeding the pets.  "Ish", "Ish" for the fish...and they are always hungry, so we always have to feed them.  He has figured out how to open the cat's food container and will take one or two pieces of cat food just to carry around the house until he finds the cat or until he gets distracted and drops them.  Usually he drops them somewhere.  Nice.  And then the dog food which we keep in a minature garbage can with a flip-up lid, under a kitchen cabinet that is redneck-locked with a rubber band....(didn't I see that on a blog somewhere?)...anyway, the kid can get into all that and come out with a single kibble of dog food and he takes it to the giant german shepherd, Greta, and feeds her the one piece and then does it all over again.  After she eats it, he does the baby sign for "all done".  Hysterical!

7.  I'll leave you with a pic, just because.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Quick Takes #13

1.  We didn't win the bid for the house.  :(  I feel like I'm on a bad episode of Hunt.ers now!  I had a cry about it...yes, briefly, to get it out of my system....and we are continuing the house search.  The winning bid was over asking price, and well.....ours wasn't ;)

2.  So now I just thought I was anxious before.  We move out of this house in less than 2 weeks.  And we're really going to change things up!  When we move out, Rob will be staying locally with his mom, and I am taking the kids to temporarily live with my parents in the mountains....about 4 hours away!  When we initially devised this plan it seemed great...we can deal with being apart for the 30-45 days it takes to process the loan on a new house.  But's very uncertain how long we will be apart.  We may end up coming back and renting an apartment.  But we thought it would be a great way to save money (no house/rent) payment in the meantime!  And thankfully we have very generous parents!

3.  Our purple finch baby birds flew the nest this morning!  So happy that they survived since the mockingbird baby didn't fare as well.  It was so fun to watch them.  At the bottom of our stairs is the window to the front porch and the bird nest was in the hanging basket right outside that window.  Every time I would carry Ian down the stairs, he would do the sign for bird!  It was so much fun for the kids to watch those little guys hatch and grow.

4.  Am I the only mom out there nervous about swimming lessons??  I guess it's because I hated swimming lessons as a child.  Isabel desperately needs them.  There are children younger than she is swimming across the pool and she is still in those arm floaties in the deep end!  Yikes!  I know I need to get on the ball with this!

5.  And yes, back to houses....(uh broken record?)  Well I think all of this may be another move by God to get me to relinquish some of my controlling ways ;)  Like oh, back when I used to think I could control when I got pregnant??   Well, since we are moving in 2 weeks, it is unlikely that I will be here to really "find" the house.  That's pretty much going to be on Robert to go out and look at houses (although I will be obsessively stalking real.tor dot com.)  And that is driving me a little bit crazy.  Because looking at homes is alot of fun for me.  It's really enjoyable to walk through a home and ponder what you would do differently, what things you would keep, what color would this wall be painted, which rooms would the kids get, etc... I guess God wants me to let someone else be in control of all that.  I mean, some people by houses sight unseen!  Now THAT is trust....or maybe a little crazy ;)

6.  With many toys already packed, the kids are having fun using moving boxes in mysterious ways.  Of course there is the moving box as house, moving box as tunnel, and moving box as car, but yesterday we cut up a moving box and made it into pirate swashbuckler swords and scurvy gold.  Okay, I have no idea if those words all make sense together, but the afternoon turned from packing into pirate-treasure-finding-adventure-fun!  Then I took the slipcover off an old chair that we have in the master bedroom, and apparently it was like a brand new (errr... too old for them to remember) piece of furniture treasure and they were all over it.  With Ian able to climb up on the couch and chairs now, life is really getting dangerous interesting!

7.  It's going to be HOT today.  We have an excessive heat warning and are expecting 104 today, with a real feel of 108.  Yuck. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quick Takes #12

1.  Packing, packing and more packing...that's what has been going on around here.  I am a planner/organizer/list maker by nature ;) and I am so thankful that I started packing WEEKS ago.... we decided to forgo the POD because renting a storage unit and hauling everything ourselves is HALF!  We just couldn't waste that much money to go with the portable moving containers.  So I've been slowly moving minivan loads of boxes to the unit.  Wow.  We have too much stuff.  What's funny is that now that the "stuff" is packed, I am not really missing anything that has been packed up, and half of it I can't even remember!

2.  I'm really slightly stressed at the moment because last night we got a call that the foreclosure home that we have fallen in love with is in a multiple offer situation at the moment, and if we want to make an offer, then we must submit it by Monday.  Yep....fantastic.  Now I'm really kind of nervous about this, because it seems like it is absolutely tailored to meet all of our needs, but God will really have to work it out for us, if this is in fact the house He wants us to buy, because we truly have a price that we cannot go over, and I'm very worried that if there are multiple bids then one of those is going to beat ours.  Ugh....I feel like an episode of House Hunters!  Did you hear that that show was rigged???
In my head I am repeating that the Lord is in control of all of this and He will put us where He wants us, but in my heart I am kind of battling it out with nerves and wanting to do crazy, irrational things like sell a car and all the furniture in my house so that we could put down extra money to guarantee that we get this house!  *sigh*....okay, not really,!

3.  This morning I took the kids to the pool and we have a play structure/slide on the kiddie side.  Well Ian proceeds to climb under the slide and of course I'm there but I'm trying to let him be a little independent since he's learning how to toddle around in the water (so I'm an arms length away) in the 4 inch water and he goes under the slide and is squatting.  I say, "watch your head!" and he stands up and bumps his head on the slide, then instantly goes down to the water -which of course gets his face wet and sends him jerking back up, which bumps his head again, and that in turn sends him back face down in the water.... can you picture it?  Okay so it lasted for like a split second but seemed like it was an eternity before I swooped him out from under the slide where he was caught in the vicious cycle!  Poor guy....he was very traumatized for about a minute, and then was okay.

4.  Now back to the house we want to buy...because clearly it is still on my mind.  You see, I just don't think all of this is coincidence.  This foreclosure that we want popped up the same day we got an offer on our house (which is the same day I buried St. Joseph!)....and on Thursday, Rob tells me that he talked to our real estate agent.  I then casually tell him that I would like to go back out to look at the foreclosure home one more time.  He then sets up the appointment without my knowledge for that afternoon.  I find this out after I had already promised Isabel a trip to the pool at that time.  So at that point I was a little frustrated, but decided he's made the appointment to see the house, so we need to go.  Then our agent just happens to touch base with the foreclosure agent that night and that is how we found out that we just barely have time to get in on a multiple offer situation.  All of those things had to happen for us to be able to KNOW it was time to make the offer.  I think that is God working, so I really want to believe that He wants this house for us!  I guess we really just have to make the offer and wait and see.  If you feel led, would you pray for us over this house situation? 

5.  This bishop of Raleigh celebrated the Mass to kick off the Fortnight for Freedom at our new parish, St. Joseph's, last night.  It was my hope that our whole family would attend, but Ian did not take an afternoon nap yesterday and the Mass was to begin at 6pm.  He usually goes to bed by 7pm and without a just didn't want to have him at church for that.  So Rob took Isabel and I stayed home with the baby.

6.  Speaking of the baby....he's not much of a baby anymore.  What baby dresses up like Mr. Potato Head?

These are clearly toddler antics.  *insert sobbing here*  Come on NFP, work for me!

7.  The new profile pics for our family were taken last weekend at my sister-in-law's wedding.  She got married on this beautiful farm in Chapel Hill, and she was absolutely gorgeous!  I'll have to see if she'll let me post some pics of her (she's currently on her honeymoon -so don't want to post without permission) ;)  But we had a wonderful time and are so excited to welcome her husband into the family. 

Quick Takes is hosted by Jennifer; go to Conversion Diary to read more!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moving Out: Baby Bird and More!

Well, I don't think the bird made it.  We watched it get this big:

And then a few days later, the nest was kind of disheveled and the baby was no longer there.  Maybe it grew the rest of it's feathers really fast and flew the coop, but we are thinking something got it :(  Sad.  But within a few days we had purple finches nesting in the hanging basket on our front porch, so that has been a blessed distraction!

But really this post isn't just supposed to be about the birds.  It's really about what God has been doing in our life lately!  Our house has been up for sale since the beginning of February, and while we've been waiting for a buyer we've been praying for the sale of our home.  And of course I had heard about burying a St. Joseph statue in the yard....but this seemed like a lot of Catholic nonsense to me!  I mean, here I am making a point every time I speak to someone who may be unfamiliar with what we Catholics actually do to let them know that we don't pray TO the saints, we ask for their intercession.....and we DON'T WORSHIP Mary, we honor her as Jesus' mother, etc., etc.... Well, taking a statue and burying it upside down in the yard to help your house sell sounds a little,...well, superstitious? with Catholic craziness??  But on May 25th, after a friend lent me her statue of Jesus' foster dad, I decided that I would bury the statue and MORE IMPORTANTLY, start a novena....that is 9 days of prayer asking for St. Joseph to intercede (that is to pray to our heavenly Father) that we might in fact sell this house! 

We had a showing that morning.  I buried the statue around 3pm, and by 5pm our real estate agent called to say that the people who had come to look at the house were going to make an offer....and they did. 

I about fell out of my chair. 

I think God was smiling at me that day.  It wasn't so much that I needed to bury a statue in my yard to sell our house.  I think it has more to do with God wanting me to devote some serious prayer time to this petition (more so than my bedtime "oh and please send a buyer for our house"), and that he wanted me to ask other people to pray too (particularly St. Joseph)!  Well, it gets better than that.  We had decided awhile ago that we were going to be changing parishes, and had fallen in love with the atmosphere of respect and reverence that we found at a parish by the name of (none other than) St. Joseph's!  The 9th and last day of our St. Joseph's novena, we attended our first Sunday Mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church as parishoners!  I didn't even plan that one out!  But what a cool way to end the novena, starting out at a new church! 

So our house is under contract and fingers crossed that all goes well and we get to close it in mid July.  In the meantime we are packing and figuring out living arrangements, and all kinds of other fun stuff.  God is definitely working out all the details!  And if you want to pray that it all goes according to His plan, I would be grateful!! :)

Monday, May 28, 2012


So there have been an abundance of pregnant ladies around lately, and I have been loving it!  Remember back in the day, when I was not loving it?  When it was so hard.  I'd try to put on a smile and while I was happy for them, I was a wreck inside.  Losing baby after baby...not knowing if God planned for me to carry another little life to make it home to the waiting crib.  It was hard.  But God saw me through that pain and suffering, and brought me another little one, Ian.  And the joy of his little life has opened back up that joy that I have for other expectant mothers!  It's been a real journey, and to be back to a place of joy for not only myself, but true joy for others is quite a blessing.  I feel like I've come back around full circle to the beginning when I got pregnant with Isabel.  And it's putting that spark in my heart and that longing for another baby.  But for now, I'm nesting vicariously. 

Through the pregnancies of my friends!  And also through this little mockingbird family in our backyard.  Errr....what used to be our backyard.  You see, we had to move our fence line.  Apparently when the guy built our fence, he built it just over our property line.  And now, our new construction neighborhood is finally starting to build behind us and notified us that our fence was not on our property.  So we Rob, began to embark on the mission of moving the rear portion of our fence.  However, there was a  problem.  You see, this mockingbird pair had already begun building a nest in the jasmine which is attached to the fence.  And then, before we knew it there were 4 brown and blue speckled eggs.

So we moved the fence....all except for the piece to which the jasmine is attached.  The mother mockingbird was really concerned, but eventually she figured out her nest and eggs were just fine even though the surrounding fence had shifted. 

Then, the unthinkable happened!  The fence move took several days.  At one point, the 5 foot section of fence fell over onto the jasmine, knocking the nest.  All four eggs were cracked.  Oh, I was heartbroken!  So we kept an eye on them and that same day, the mother kicked one egg out of the nest.  When Rob told me, I couldn't stand it...I had to go out there and find the egg and see at least at what stage of development the baby bird had been.  And when I found the egg, the bird was ALIVE!  And covered with ants!  So I picked up the bird, still in its egg, and the ants kind of crawled out.  Isabel wanted to hold it...

So we put it back in the nest and have been checking on him.  And the mother accepted it back!

Three days went by and the little guy was doing well and I was starting to have hope for the other eggs that maybe their cracks were due to them getting ready to hatch instead of the unfortunate fence one point I even saw a beak stick out of an egg, so I knew that at least one more baby bird was still alive! 
And then....we checked the nest and this is what we found:

Our little survivor, beak wide open....but all the other eggs had been tossed.  Not just tossed in fact, taken away!  I know this because I was on my hands and knees at the base of the jasmine, looking through all the vines and leaves to try to rescue them...but could find not a one.

Some of our own "little birds" have made it, and others we've lost.  It's strange how I've been able to connect with a mockingbird (!) on hatching babies and raising them to leave the nest!   I'll keep you posted on this little guy's fate.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

When Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right.

This is the time in which we live.  Right is now wrong.  And wrong is now right.
Things are backwards.  And many are confused.
It has left me not knowing how to blog about I've said nothing until now.

We are about to vote on Amendment One here in North Carolina.  The measure states,
“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into
contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from
adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts."

If you are a Catholic in NC, your bishop is urging you to vote FOR  Amendment One this Tuesday.
There are many people who are opposed to Amendment One.  For anyone undecided, I urge you to check out this link

I have been appalled by some of the people who are against this amendment, and it has frankly left me speechless, sick to my stomach and very upset.  It makes me upset because I feel like this very dim lightbulb and the darkness seems to be creeping in around me.  ("I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8) I've had to temporarily remove myself from Facebook because I literally felt like the only one who was going to vote FOR this amendment, and I was overcome with this grief for people who are lost.

Because there is not another explanation for this.  They are lost.  Without the light of Jesus, without the Truth of the Gospel, they are like seeds caught up in the breeze and floating through the wherever the wind takes them.  They have no roots.  No good soil in which to plant themselves.

In the midst of all of this, I read a blog post.  This is for your discernment, but it certainly made sense to me:

2 John 1:9 Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.
“My beloved, cling firmly to the truth, for I am the Truth. Those who teach false doctrines, those who water down the wine of salvation belong neither to me nor to the Father, but are pawns of the enemy. My children, do not stray from the teachings, but embrace them, cling to them. Waver neither to the right nor to the left but let the teachings of Christ in his Church be the rudder that steers your life on a straight path to everlasting life. I have given you these teachings so that you will not be lost. Let the Church be your guiding star. Then you will never have to fear becoming lost.” 

And then I came to this blog and read the following: 

I believe few realize the prophetic thrust of Pope Benedict’s words that were carefully chosen on the eve of the winter solstice—the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.4 He was comparing the decline of Rome with our generation. He was underlining how “the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning” our society, are beginning to collapse:
…our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function… Only if there is such a consensus on the essentials can constitutions and law function. This fundamental consensus derived from the Christian heritage is at risk… In reality, this makes reason blind to what is essential. To resist this eclipse of reason and to preserve its capacity for seeing the essential, for seeing God and man, for seeing what is good and what is true, is the common interest that must unite all people of good will. The very future of the world is at stake. —Ibid.

And I realized that is EXACTLY what has been troubling me.  Moral consensus is collapsing.  What was right is now wrong, and what was wrong is now right.  And the question is not only where that will lead our society....but where will that lead the individual?  Where does it lead you, my friend?

When it is all right to kill your child in the's's her choice.  
When it is all right to for men to have sex with men and women to have sex with women...... why not?  Don't impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.  Keep your religion to yourself.  

Well guess what?  It's not...just...religion.  One day you will discover this.  You certainly don't answer to me.  You don't answer to the person next door.  You only answer to God Almighty.  And you will find out then.   But in the mean time, I am praying....I am praying that our merciful God will open hearts and fill you up with His grace.  Because He is the Only Way, the Only Truth and the Only Life.  This may mean nothing to you now, but I-will-pray-for-you.

"Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him."  Ephesians 4:18

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quick Takes Friday #11

 1.  Ian is walking!  And he had his 1 year well visit on April 12th and only weighed 17lbs 14oz....bless his heart.  That puts him in the -5th%....Isabel was around 15lbs at one year, so at least he is beating her weight! ;)  Oy, what can I say?  We make tiny children.  Ian's length and head circumference were around the 50% though, so that is great and the doctor was not really concerned with his weight considering he has an older sibling who did the same.  It is such a difference this time around...with Isabel we had test after test after test, and the pediatrician is so much more laid back with Ian's growth.  But it's interesting too, because Isabel was not a big eater.  Our ped used to say "some kids live to eat and some kids eat to live".  Isabel "ate to live".  Ian, however, "lives to eat" and so it seems a little bizarre to me that he does not weigh more than he does.

2.  Isabel's 6th birthday is coming up in just one week!  We are having a little party at a local playground, and hopefully it can be more about just a joyful, play-filled celebration with cake and ice cream and kids having fun, rather than a present-focused party.  Inevitably as the first of January rolls around (or basically as soon as Christmas is over), Isabel starts to ask about making her birthday list...that is all the gifts she would like to receive for her birthday!  Yes, 4 months before her birthday this starts!  Every store we visit, it becomes "mom, can you put this on my birthday list?"  I thought about countering this with the idea of asking guests to bring a can of food to donate to a food pantry/homeless shelter, in lieu of bringing a gift....and Isabel thought that was a great idea, but then I started thinking that seemed almost like "charging admission"....ugh...when did birthday parties get so complicated?  We ended up just putting "No need to bring a gift, just join us for cake, ice cream and play!"  Hopefully that will work!

3.  I tend to over-think things.  So this Consecration that I'm doing, it's really giving me trouble.  The thing is some days I think I'm doing pretty good, and then other days I'm distracted during the prayers and it just seems like it's not good enough.  I keep hearing people say, "Oh I wish I had done it better"...or "more perfectly", and so some days I feel like I'm already failing at it!  I know I can't do it perfectly because I'm just a human!   So the days that I get distracted, I try to offer that up and hope God understands.  But I'm still thinking in the back of my mind, "could I have done today better?"  I guess the answer is always, yes! ;)

4.  I'm trying out a homemade recipe for laundry detergent thanks to Hebrews.  I actually got it many months ago from her and I've finally run out of my real detergent.  So it was time to make it.  And so far, I love the homemade stuff!
1 bar finely grated fels naptha
1 cup washing soda
1 cup borax
1 cup oxiclean
Combine it all and use 2 Tablespoons for a regular load.   How easy is that?  None of that liquid mess where you have to let it congeal overnight or something.  My mom has tried the Duggar's recipe and wasn't very impressed with it (it's the liquid kind), so we think that the oxiclean is the secret ingredient to making homemade detergent work well! 

5.  Our ancient (read "not cool antique, but old and busted") dining room chairs started breaking one by one about a week before Easter.  Not good because we were hosting Easter dinner.  So, I found these old ladderback chairs off craigslist.  We are craigslist stalkers.  I swear I must look on there about 20 times a day, and Robert is just as bad.  So I found these chairs and drove out to a true farm, down a dirt road and up to an ancient (read "not beautiful, but old and busted") farmhouse which they were "remodeling".  I was a little bit scared to go inside because I thought the porch might give way as I stepped through the door, oh, through the cobwebs of the doorway...I don't think there was an actual door.  Anyway, once we somehow stuffed them (very creatively) into my minivan and I got home, we dusted and cleaned and scraped off spider egg sacks (it was pretty creepy)....and they turned out to be quite pretty....

2 captain's chairs and 6 with no arms....for $10 a piece.  No joke.  I thought this was a steal!  Especially when you see all the detail the chairs have.  No maker's mark, and some of the seats are more worn than others, but I'm just tickled with them!  I think they are gorgeous.  We are keeping our old and busted table until we sell our house and then are hoping to buy a big farm table :)  Then I'm hoping to have many more children to fill the table ;)  Well, I guess first things first. 

6.  Isabel told me again today, "Mom, I want to be a saint."  And then her eyes just instantly filled with tears, even as I was saying, "Isabel, you can be a saint!  We are all called to be saints."  Of course I hugged her close and asked why she was so upset and she said, "It's just like St. Therese.  I feel like it's impossible."  So we had almost the same conversation that we had before....that with God, all things are possible.  I reminded her she could ask Him for help any time, and He would give her His grace to do the right thing and to love Him with all her heart.   After that she was okay....but it was just so strange how she just was overwhelmed with emotion at wanting to become a saint, and the seeming impossibility of it all.  Bless her heart.  She truly has the innocence and love of a little child.  It is so precious to see.  God, help me in my vocation as her mother!  She made this beautiful little resurrection garden right before Easter.

7.  But lest you think it is all 'sweetness and light' at my house, it's not...these kids are just as wild and crazy as they are precious and adorable.  Like in the morning when I'm trying to do this:

and crawling around my legs through the bathroom is this:


I kid you not.  Those are my kids.  Well, it's mostly Isabel in that video, but in the car today??  Oh, if I had had my video camera.  Half the time I was tuning them out, and the other half I was chuckling to myself about how cute they were....all I heard was Ian repeating Isabel and Isabel repeating Ian....bah bah bah bah bah, mamamamamama, uh oh uhhhhhhhh oh, uh oh, uhhhhhhhh oh, gagun gagun gagun gagun.....anything she could get him to repeat and vice versa...they were soooooo noisy!  It was great and crazy all at the same time.   I can't imagine what life would be like with more, and at the same time, I can't not imagine it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Sin and Cake.

It was Easter Sunday.  We woke up and had a sweet morning letting the kids discover their Easter baskets, taking pictures, having breakfast and actually making it to Easter Mass 30 minutes early (!!!) to get our usual seat.  Ian, (unbelievably) sat through roughly an hour and 15 minutes of the wait and Mass....(this is a record for him!  He's usually out in the atrium before the first 15 minutes of church).  It was a beautiful spring day and we got home to start preparing for Easter dinner and celebrating Ian's first birthday with our family.

I put Ian in his high chair at lunchtime and scrape cut up spaghetti and steamed squash on his plate.  He takes a handful, shoves it into his mouth and starts to scream and cry.  Not because it's hot or painful...but because he doesn't want to eat spaghetti and squash.  How do I know?  Because he begans to scream bloody murder while he throws handfuls of food onto the floor.  Normally Ian throwing food on the floor is no big deal to me, he's a baby, right?... but for some reason, this Easter morning, the screaming and the throwing made me so angry, I was just absolutely overcome with this raging anger.  I told him, "No, we don't throw our food."  And picked him up and set him (gently) on the floor.  To which I got more screaming.  We tried again to eat a few minutes later, and it was more of the same, and I was fuming.  I let him scream hysterically on the floor until Rob took over and calmed him down.  Then I yelled at Isabel when she tried to offer her opinion on why Ian was screaming and not eating...that silenced her, but now she was in tears too. 

I went upstairs and lost it.  Okay, it was the first day of my cycle, but how could I have just gotten so angry at this little baby over eating/not eating lunch?  And how could I have taken it out on my daughter, and oh yeah, I failed to mention my lovely attitude toward my husband during that episode...all on Easter Sunday?!?  I cried and cried.  Then I got it together a little and came downstairs and apologized.  But I was OVERCOME with how awful, how ugly I had been,.... the complete horror of the sinful way I had just acted. 

Thankfully, the baby, my husband and my daughter were quick to forgive me.  As I know God is always quick to forgive, if we just ask.

But I could not shake the horror of it all.

Until I read my Total Consecration for Day 14.  You see, on Day 13 you start a whole new set of prayers, so the night prior I had prayed for the first time, "Holy Ghost, inspire us with the horror of sin." (their emphasis, not mine).  It didn't really mean much to me on Day 13, but when I read it on the night of Day 14, I knew darn well why I was so overcome with emotion. 

The Holy Spirit had in fact, shown me the horror of my sin that day. 

Now as to where all that anger had come from?  I don't know.  Maybe it was Satan.  Maybe it was hormones.  Maybe it was staying up too late the night before to make the beautiful cake that I'll show you below, for little Ian's birthday celebration.  The fact is, it doesn't really matter where the anger came from.  It was what I did with it that was sinful.  Maybe God just wanted me to remember what Easter Sunday was all about....His Son, rising to defeat the sin that we continue to stumble into.

Thank you God, for your forgiveness as I stumble every day, and especially on that most holy day.

And now,
the cake....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Year, My Sweet Boy!

Ian, one year ago you were born!  Time flies when you're having fun, and we have sure been having fun since you joined our family.  God has definitely been gracious to bless us with such a sweet a gift as you!

Happy Birthday, Ian Gerard!  We love you with all our heart!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Total Consecration

Let me start by saying that I have never done St. Louis Marie de Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus.

Last Wednesday, while we were in the middle of homeschooling, Isabel turns to look at me with her big blue eyes filled with a child's innocence and says, "I feel just like St. Therese.  I want to become a saint, but....(*dramatic pause*)..... I'm helpless!"  That came out of nowhere, but led into a discussion about how we are all called to be saints, and that all of us are helpless to achieve anything on our own, but with God's grace, we can definitely become saints.

Either that evening or the next, I just happened to turn on EWTN Live, and a man was on who talked for an entire hour about making St. Louis Marie De Montfort's consecration.  He said that we are all called to be saints, but (get this) sometimes we are helpless, but when we consecrate ourselves to Jesus through Mary, we can become saints....or something like that.  I started to pay more attention.  I gave up TV for Lent except for March Madness (we have a Duke vs. UNC rivalry in this household) and also for spiritually edifying, if the show is gonna draw me closer to God, or aid me in my spiritual journey, I'm all in.  So, I had started St. Louis Marie's True Devotion several years ago and never made it through the book.  And then at some point I had ordered the consecration steps booklet, but wasn't sure where that was now.  The man on tv was now talking about how you could even do a consecration for somebody a non-believer.. that was really something.  I could make a consecration for a non-believer and perhaps those prayers would help benefit the (spiritual) life of another person???  Well, why not?  We pray for all the lost souls/unbelievers at Mass and during our bedtime prayers....this would be another way to pray for someone in a specific way, and yet more than consecrate them to Jesus....sort of, in secret.

This got me really excited.  I like to do secret stuff....If I could pick someone I love and consecrate them to Jesus, and continue to pray for them, surely God will answer my prayer that they would come to know Him!  I'm in!  The guy on tv says that the next consecration begins March 26th.

So the next day, all of that was in the back of my mind, but I had other things to do.  Until Ian pulls True Devotion off my bookshelf and I find it literally staring me down.  I pick it up and thumb through it.   Set it on my bedside table.  Hmmm....I think.

Later that day, Isabel has pulled open my bedside table drawers (which she never does, but I know she did because everything is rearranged) and she has put my thermometer-  my NFP thermometer which is always supposed to be in the same place every morning so I can just slam my alarm and reach over and stick it in my mouth- that thermometer.... in another spot.  But what is lying on top when I pull open my drawer??  None other than Preparation for Total Consecration according to St. Louis Marie de Montfort!  Ahhhhhh!  Now I'm getting really freaked out, because I had no clue this booklet was in there....I hadn't seen it for two years! 

I open it up and I've left an email inside the booklet.  It says this:


Would you please send me a Saint Louis Marie de Montfort Total Consecration package?

My address is:

Thank you so much and God bless you!

Angela Holmes

dated.....Wed, April 28, 2010.

Guess when the consecration date is if I started on March 26th???  April 28th.
Guess who's feast day that is?  St. Louis Marie de Montfort.

So here we are... I think God was leading me here, and I am starting today, on the 26th!  Nearly two years after that email request!  God's timing, not ours, right?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Need a Rainbow to Brighten Your Day?

This was in my backyard Tuesday morning.

Gorgeous!  And I needed it because my day was just one battle after another.  Poor Ian has had insane constipation from his high calorie formula, and we have been dealing with lots of issues with that, like:  screaming baby while trying to pass a BM,
shoveling all kinds of prunes, plums, pears and other make-you-go foods down him,
killer diaper rash from going a tiny squirt at a time- all the time,
finally a 15 inch poop.  Yes, since your wondering, I measured it. 
(Since you're now questioning my sanity, I thought it might be necessary for the pediatrician to know exactly how much poop).  
The cat decided to throw up twice that morning.
Did I mention we are trying to sell our house?  Yeah, cat throw up and selling your house don't go well together. 
Luckily, God has already erased from my memory the other trials of that day, but He left me with one lasting photo of that glorious rainbow!

I certainly needed it to brighten my day.

And if you need a good laugh, search "yosemitebear mountain giant double rainbow" on  Another gorgeous rainbow and double rainbow guy makes me laugh every. time.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Three Year Anniversary 2/28/2012

Mary Grace, we remembered you in a special way yesterday.

And at the same time, we move on. 

We keep walking forward; time doesn't stop when someone passes. 
Although it can feel that way for awhile.

But the rest of the world continues on.

Yesterday, we went to the cemetary and for the first time, brought our newest little guy. 
It was a gorgeous day; warm and windy for February.
Isabel ran up and down the big hill that is littered with gravesites; looking for those tiny purplish-blue flowers that she had found just three years ago. 

And Ian crawled up and down the hill, leaving little time for reflections of grief.  Instead my thoughts were occupied with making sure he didn't crawl over graves, or pick flowers out of the vases.  So it was a much different kind of visit than we had had before on her anniversary.  But in the same breath, it was lovely.  It was lovely to be in this place now, having another precious child in our arms, alive and well.  It was a reminder of how God saw us through loss, and blessed us with new life. 

I didn't cry yesterday, which surprised me a little.  But I definitely felt the prayers of friends and relatives who remembered our family yesterday.  Thank you for continuing to bless us with your love!  We love and appreciate you!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pittman Family: Devastating Fire

Please pray for this homeschooling family here in NC who lost three of their eight children in a house fire on Thursday.  This is so tragic.  Jesus, help them!