A Chapter in the Life (ch. 25)

Good Reads

Smartphone Detox – Mama Needs Coffee – I really enjoyed reading this post. I’ve considered going off the smartphone grid for some time, but have never taken the plunge. I’ve gotten rid of apps, cut down social media, and tried not to use it a lot, but I do identify with her desire to go back to a flip phone. Ultimately, right now, I don’t feel ready to go for it, but who knows! I really love the reflections in this post though, and how she realized how unimportant (in the grand scheme of things) she was when she made her smartphone dumb. It was such a healthy outlook!

Making Icons with Kids – Carrots for Michaelmas – I don’t think I’ve linked to this but I loved this when I read it! I really need to figure out how to save all those links I love so that I can remember to share them. 

Sorting out which Differences Matter – Whole Parenting Family – An older post but still a good read! Man, I’m so behind. 

Life Right Now

We ventured to IKEA today for the first time and had a blast being a lame, old, boring family strolling up and down the rows. It was a lovely experience! Eliot was so well behaved (it could have been the dumdum I gave him from my purse, but you do what you have to do). Eliot is also preparing hardcore for the arrival of little missy in July! He dressed his babydoll, put her in the car seat and carried her out to the car this morning, and is emphatic about the loss of baby’s hat every time it happens to fall off. He very carefully hands me the hat with a “hhhhaaaa!” And gently pats the baby upon receiving a newly dressed babydoll. His newest idea is that the baby in mama’s tummy needs to be wiped too, so he brings a wet wipe and tenderly wipes the area around my belly button, with a cute little “awww wight” (alright) when he’s finished. I am so looking forward to life with two littles!


Baby is doing well according to my checkups and everything is excessively average! She had her head crammed into my hip when I had my last sono so we couldn’t get very many views of her face. But she’s ten times more agreeable in my womb than Eliot ever was and her kicks are such sweet little things as opposed to the manly jabs that Eliot was determined to accomplish! I really enjoy noting the differences between each child. Everybody is different!

Last night, I got to go to my first real girls night out sans the toddler! What made it real? There were more ladies than I could count, and there was wine, and it went into the late (11:00—haha, I’m so lame) hour of the night! It was justified in the group of moms at church because we stuffed over 2000 Easter eggs for the parish Easter egg hunt. So we all, a little tearfully, a little joyfully, left our babies in the hands of our capable hubbies, drove across town, stuffed our faces with pizza and Girl Scout cookies and those of us who could, indulged in wine. The rest of us commiserated about missing cocktails and sleep ideas for newborn phases. I had a blast! Plans were made, friendships developed, and I’m so excited to be a part of such a lovely group of ladies who exude grace and dignity and charity! I finally feel in the place where I can see God’s hand working and inviting me to be a part of it. 


Yesterday morning, Eliot and I went to our book play group and then I stopped by the craft store to pick up paint for my saint peg dolls. Teach me your ways, oh wise peg doll swappers! We totally laughed about how difficult the faces were to paint last night when one mom showed her handiwork and said, “Saint john Bosco isn’t supposed to have creepy eyebrows!” 

Eliot and I are turning into quite the social butterflies as next week we have two play dates scheduled! Our big one was a huge success. We had somewhere around 8 moms and 13 kiddos under four with lots of pancakes and love to go around. This part of motherhood is one of my favorite parts. The community!


We finished our book study last month for “Divine Mercy for Moms” and it’s really been making me think how great it would be to get more involved as a family in the corporal works of mercy. Do you have family ideas? I also finished reading Everyday Sacrament and swiftly passed it off to daniel for some light parenting reflections at work during down time. It truly was lovely. 


This is my messy arrangement of squares from the Queen Anne Crochet-a-long that I did with Jen in March and it has made a great size for a lap blanket! I’m working on sewing them together now. 


We are in desperate need of garden soil as these little basil plants just keep on growing! It’s true what they say…you really can’t screw up basil from seed. 


I got to celebrate Easter Vigil with my candidate in RCIA and it was truly awe inspiring to be at the Vigil again. I also got to eat a lot of cake afterwards so there’s that. #pregnant But it truly was beautiful and I’m so proud of the 62 people from St. Rita’s who received sacraments!! It was a privilege to be a part of the program. 

I guess that’s all for now. Life is good!

Reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries and Marriage

Alternatively titled, “The Sorrowful Road of Marriage.”


Everyday during nap time, I try to spend some quiet time in prayer. Ever since the turn of the new year, I’ve been trying to put my energy and focus into my family where service and prayer are concerned, which has, oddly enough, been way easier said than done. It’s like the whole world turned against us when I made that decision, and whether it’s general business, major obligations, work snafus (can I type that on a blog?) or family disasters, time has evaporated and the job of both prayer AND vocational service seems almost impossible. Is it the devil? Maybe. Is it life? Certainly. But even when everything feels like a big failure (like right now), I’m still trying to keep prayer at the center of it all. It seems to be the only thing that actually helps maintain peace in this chaotic life.

I prefer to pray a rosary during naptime, because it’s manageable right now, allows me to spend some time prior to praying it to think about the needs of our life, and then allows me to let my mind raise up on the mysteries for meditation. I even bought a little seventy-five cent rosary ring at the store the other day so that I can sneak-use it while rocking the toddler! Today is Tuesday. The day we typically pray the Sorrowful mysteries (does that change during the Easter season? Catholic convert here, I’m not sure!) and it’s a major coincidence that Tuesdays happen to be the day in our family that seems the least holy… Little time, always a crisis, tons of “snapping” and zero patience. It’s like our family’s Monday or something… In any case, Tuesday will roll around, and I always find myself in that rocking chair with a way too big toddler in my arms, asking for patience in my marriage, holiness to increase within our family, and forgiveness to abound. I’m not even kidding. EVERY Tuesday… Maybe I should make it a theme: Tuesdays, the day of Marital Prayer. Well, as I was praying through the Sorrowful mysteries today, I realized that those mysteries, which are essentially the road to the cross, are exactly what marriage should look like in a Christian union.

1. The Agony in the Garden

The most memorable moment from this mystery has always been “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) Most of marriage is hard work. And when you get married, you may know that you will need to endure hardship within it, but you may not understand it truly, until you are right before it. When I stand before a problem in my marital union, typically a battle of wills, and a feeling of despair, I don’t want to deal with it. I want to be anywhere but there. Even if I’m in another room, knowing I need to “fix it,” I want to escape. Even if it’s not my fault. Even if it’s not just for me to fix it, it’s still my responsibility. It’s still what I’ve been asked to do. Just as it was not fair for Jesus to be asked to drink the cup that he drank, my marriage will not always be fair, and that’s what I’ve been asked to partake in. A lack of fairness. A cup of sacrifice. Standing before the mirror and looking into eyes that show hurt, feeling alone, feeling like the sacrifice is too much to give, that’s my moment of agony on this road. That’s my spouse’s moment of agony on this road. That is our time in the garden when we beg that God take the task away from us. It is also the moment of clarity, and the time of acceptance. It is the moment when we join our sufferings to Christ and allow His grace to flow through our very limbs, willing us to march our body to the task at hand, and be the great sacrifice. It is the moment we say, “Thy will be done.”

2. The Scourging at the pillar

He was falsely accused. He was abused. He was insulted through the preference of Barabbas. He was beaten. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) He endured a mortification of his senses. This was the beginning of His great sacrifice, and it hurt. Enduring the painful suffering for the purification of our souls. Being blameless… Nothing I could endure in my marriage could come close to that. But we are invited to meditate on this mystery, and join our own tiny mortification of the flesh to His. The part of this mystery that stands out to me in parallel would honestly be how ridiculous it was that Barabbas was chosen to be freed instead of Him. What were they thinking? What were WE thinking? “Let’s just free this horrible robber even though we know he should not be freed. We’ve all agreed on how rotten this person is, and how deserving he is to be in jail, and any other day of the week, we’d celebrate that the justice of his imprisonment has been accomplished! But today, we prefer him to this innocent, blameless, righteous man. We want Jesus to know how much we hate Him and how much we wish He were the dead one.” Isn’t that how marriage goes sometimes? Our rational brain disintegrates sometimes and we become animals who crave blood. We want to hurt the other one. We want them to know that our worst enemy is more trustworthy than our best friend. We want pain in the place of justice. We know just how to get it too–we may not drag our spouse before Pilot, but we know all the little tricks and triggers that inflict excruciating pain upon our spouse. We know the weak points, and we know the places where we can mortify our spouse. We become the judge and executioner within our marriage instead of choosing to extend mercy and freedom. This is the moment where we have the opportunity to take the punishment, the moment we have to extend kindness. This is the moment we are given to practice mercy, forgiveness, and understanding, and to stop beating our spouse into the emotional ground. We are given this moment to stop choosing anything else, and to choose our spouse over and over again—to practice our vows. “I do take you in sickness and health, in good times and bad, forever and ever. I will not cast you aside.”

3. The Crowning of Thorns

“And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.” (John 19:2-3) The mockery. The insult. The injury. How many times have I allowed the sarcasm out of my mouth. How many times have I mocked my spouse with my tone. How many times have I belittled, disrespected, and cut down my spouse with my words? I’ve been a viper at times. I’ve been toxic. I’ve been poisonous. Oh, the mockery. I’ve placed my own painful, disgusting, thorny, and brutal crown of words upon my husband’s head and forced him to wear it. This part of the road is the easiest for me to identify within MY marriage. Even as I try to escape this acknowledgement, I force him to wear it, by making a mockery of his pain. This realization affords us the opportunity to grow in humility, just as Christ endured humiliation so that we might gain mercy. Maybe this is the hardest one for me because I’m so prideful. Maybe this is the hardest one because I NEVER want to admit my faults, and I absolutely don’t want to take a heaping tablespoon of humility down the throat. Isn’t that why we hurt people with our words? Why we won’t say we are sorry? Because we have too much pride, and we throw our own sin upon another with our mockery. We are given many moments in our marriage to grow in humility, none more recognizable than the moment when we want to be sarcastic, disrespectful, and prideful. The thing about humility is…we don’t always want it. We know it’s a good thing, but it’s a difficult thing. And we don’t like difficult things. In this difficult moment, this is where our sanctification can start. We can experience the humility that Jesus experienced when his brow bled from the thorns we forced him to wear. In this moment, we can let go of our pride and be vulnerable instead, and we can stop inflicting pain. We can offer love instead. TRUE, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. This is the moment of our great, sacrificial, life giving love. 

  4. The Carrying of the Cross

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24) That’s the thing, isn’t it. No one promised us an easy marriage. And when we get married, sometimes our marriage can be our cross, because it is this difficult task that we’ve been called to, to love another with the kind of sacrificial love that Jesus has for us. Not that every moment is a battle. Not that every part of marriage is hard. But there’s a reason that completely non-spiritual people will even say, “marriage makes you grow up.” That’s a ridiculous way to say that marriage is not designed to just make us feel good and fill us up with happiness. We do get to experience those emotions within a marriage, but it isn’t the point or the end all. Marriage is designed to bring us to sanctification. It is designed to make us holy. To purify us of our greed, selfishness, and pride. Marriage is a way that Jesus gives us to “come after him,” and become one of his disciples! What a higher calling than just “I love that guy because he makes me happy.” Specifically, marriage can be a way that we can grow in patience, because sometimes, we endure trials within our marriage! Jesus also had to bear the trial of carrying the burden of the cross with patience. What a heavy cross it must have been, and he had to persevere in patience to get to the place of His death. He had to be patient to be able to sacrifice himself. So much of that resonates with me about marriage. Sometimes we have to be patient in the midst of an argument of injustice just to be able to put our own will aside, or our own needs aside.

5. The Crucifixion

So much could be said about this mystery and marriage. It’s just so fitting that marriage should look like the cross. Not even an empty cross, but a crucifix. We’ve seen how we need to accept our role and calling. We’ve seen how we need to extend forgiveness and choose our spouse. We’ve seen how we need to unconditionally love our spouse, and quit hurting them. We’ve seen how we need to be patient and commit to our marriage. And now, in this great passion, we see how we need to sacrifice. We need to sacrifice our wills, our needs, our desires, and our lives. The whole road leads to this. The whole of marriage comes down to sacrificial love. As a little realization on the side, it seems really fitting to me how many couples keep a crucifix over their bed, as a constant reminder that marriage is supposed to be just like that.

I’m so grateful to my husband that I can do this big, great, difficult, task with him, and that he bears with me with grace, mercy, and love, learning right alongside me.

 

 

 

Rocking Motherhood

My sweet blogging friend, Jen, at Into Your Will tagged me to participate in a blog train about how I’m rocking motherhood right now. It’s pretty typical for us all to think negative thoughts and constantly be trying to better ourselves through constructive criticism, the latter part being a good thing, but it’s not often that I see many mothers pinpoint what is working for them and what they are doing well in motherhood. I don’t think it’s a point of pride to recognize some of the great talents God has given us to fulfil our vocation, so I’m in full support of this little activity. I think it can only help, by keeping us aware of our strengths and bringing more positivity, light, and joy into a hard thing–motherhood. 


Speaking of, as I type this, I’m sitting in a rocking chair in our bedroom listening to my 22 month old sob for me in his room as my husband attempts to put him to bed. We had a week of stomach flu in the house which had me taking over bedtime duties, and our kiddo got used to mama putting him to bed, which is not going to be working for us as soon as the baby arrives, so we are trying to get back into our good bedtime routine and it’s not so fun. So, motherhood, nay, parenthood, is hard, and nothing is quite as it should be right now. That’s okay though, even though it is hard, it is good. 
1) As a parent, I want my child to know that I always make loving him a priority, no matter what I am doing. So, mimicking a great family from my childhood, I constantly stop what I’m doing and tell my son I love him. Not a passive comment, but rather, we have gotten into the habit of saying, “Eliot, guess what!” And he looks at us and says, “what?” In an almost reverent whisper. We finish by saying, “I love you, that’s what!” And he gives us the biggest grin, sometimes accompanied by “I bubboo too.” This happens multiple times an hour, multiple hours per day, and now he does it too. 

2) No matter how chaotic bedtime gets, we always begin with our prayer routine. Sign of the cross (which Eliot loves to do), the Our Father (which he bows for and is so cute), a “Goodnight Jesus and Mary” prayer, followed by another sign of the cross. Eliot has also added the collection of every crucifix in the house coming off the wall for a kiss too… I expect the routine to evolve and become more personal as he gets older, as we incorporate intentions into the mix. Prayer is another priority. 

3) I constantly consider my language to Eliot and try to encourage virtue and success with my words. This doesn’t just mean I watch those swear words (of course I do) but rather that I frame requests and praise intentionally. Instead of always saying, “that’s so sweet) when he does something nice, I say specifics. “That was so kind to kiss your baby sister!” Or “would you please be helpful to mama and bring me a diaper?” Instead of “it’s time for a diaper change, go get your diaper.” It’s only if willful disobedience occurs that we then take him aside and talk about the choices that he has and consequences. Most of the time, we never have to go there. 

4) I take fear seriously. I don’t belittle or dismiss a fear that Eliot has, but instead, I try to help him through it. We talk a lot, spend time encouraging him to tell us about it, and we discuss reasons we don’t have to be scared, but can have courage. If it applies, we also do as Daniel Tiger says, and “see what it is, we might feel better.” Right now, Monday’s and Thursday’s are rough because of the trash truck…

5) I persevere through distractions and difficult phases where reading aloud is concerned.  For a while, he would only ever let me read while he bathed. We are slowly getting back into regular book time aside from bath time, and we work hard to make read aloud a ritual, for all the good benefits from doing so in a family. Even if it means reading the same books repeatedly. 

6) I ask for forgiveness as a parent. If I yell, or lose patience in an obvious way to Eliot, I make a point of asking him to forgive me and asking if I can hug and say sorry. Every person deserves that, and if dr. Suess has taught us anything, it’s that “a person is a person no matter how small.”

7) I slow down to let my son help with everything, even if it’s impractical. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, writing grocery lists, etc… everything is an opportunity to show patience and encourage learning. 

8) When it comes down to the provision in our home, I try to invite a frugal mindset. He is a little young for this concept, but we try to be good stewards through shopping second hand for clothes, housewares, and toys, and finding coupons and sales for everything from hobbies to groceries. It’s more a family culture thing, I guess, but we want to teach Eliot these concepts to help him be a good steward too. 

I think I really only had about 8 things to notice, because everything else gets a little too specific and into parental preferences, more than I suppose I already did. Reading these posts has been really encouraging and has given me some great ideas for motherhood too! I hope my post helped somebody else that way.

Lots of General Blogging Chit Chat (set in the month of March)

The cycles and routines of life always continue, even in my absence to record them. It’s a really good thing I don’t blog professionally, nor do I make any sort of money writing whatsoever. But, I am happy to be here, now, typing up the adventures of our little family and recording the daily moments of joy and happiness, as well as the trials we must all face.

We all jumped into March and it seemed like only yesterday that we did so, but it’s already the twenty-second (isn’t that the way spring goes?)! I’ve been getting back into my planner and organizing my days, the housework, the meals, the money, etc. It’s like my brain is on a piece of paper.

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Saint Peg Doll Swap…

In addition to organizing life, I’ve been helping to organize some fun stuff with my mom’s group too! We are hosting a saint peg doll exchange (thanks to Amy for inspiring me!) and I’m doing Saint Paul the Apostle, so that’s very exciting! We won’t have the exchange until May (which I kind of need to start organizing) but we’ve ordered all of the dolls (fifteen people, fifteen dolls for each person) and sent out instructions.. I totally had thirteen dolls left over after I sorted the bags, so I really need to see if it was I or the factory who messed up the count, but I do hope no one is missing any dolls, although it is local, so not the end of the world if that is the case. I’m so excited about this event and it seems like everyone else is too. I’ve already met a bunch of new moms!

Getting social…

I’m also hosting my very first big play group (I’ve only done play dates with one friend for Eliot at a time) at the end of the month and definitely feel intimidated, but quite enthusiastic. I sort of just threw it out there in my mom’s group that I don’t have easy transportation but love hanging out, so a bunch of lovely moms responded and said they are coming with their kiddos! Aggh, scary! But, also, how exciting is it that right there, within the church, we have all of that wonderful community to walk this life and grow with as we live out our vocations? Anybody have any play date advice for me? I was thinking about keeping it simple and making a big batch of pancakes and having fruit since its a morning play date. It will be interesting to see how Eliot does in the sharing department. We’ve been working so hard with him on that one, because he really does want to share and is eager to please, but has become quite aware of the material world lately, and you can tell it’s difficult for him to see one of his beloved stuffed animals in the hands of a friend. We have this cute little devotional book that I try to read to him when he’s in the bath and we always focus on the one about sharing.

Community and the blessing of Church…

Speaking of wonderful community, I’ve gotten three separate batches of maternity wear, even nicer than I would buy for myself through the mom’s ministry at my church, and these are women that I barely know! I feel so blessed by their generosity, charity, and kindness. I’ve also received an entire box of little girl clothes for this little baby, and it’s been so fun dividing up the big dresser in Eliot’s room and sorting through them. I can’t believe I’m already six months and we don’t have long to wait before she arrives! I still barely feel pregnant most days. I was texting my sister and telling her how excited I was to have a little girl to put in dresses and such, and then I realized that my son, now twenty-two months, rarely wears any clothes. He’s always in a diaper (if even) and covered in sand. But one of my absolute favorite mom bloggers, Blythe, always lets her children be free in the clothing department (kids are kids) and is a big advocate of that, so she makes me feel more at ease! (I remember when someone left a nasty comment about her kids and she was so graceful about it, and so nonchalant that I realized right then that she’s one of my role models). Keep on keeping on, Blythe!

Edel!

And even MORE on mothers and community, I’m sad that I can’t make Edel this year (where all the cool people and blogging friends meet to be awesome Catholics together and have a retreat.) simply due to budgetary reasons. NOT because I will have a one month old with me. Daniel and I were seriously considering it this year (and I totally got permission from the most protective papa bear ever) because it’s in Austin, and we could road trip! The guys could have a nice little out of town adventure exploring the city while I partied it up with the babe, but, alas, maybe in a future year! (As long as it doesn’t coincide with ACTUAL births.) But you should go! And meet my super cool blogging friend, JEN! She wants to meet new people and gets to go, and I’m so happy for her!

Nesting, crafting, gardening, and more nesting…

Jen is also doing a crochet-a-long with me this month, where we are crocheting the same pattern of granny square to make blankets and such. It’s been so fun to chat with her via text as we manage to make squares even in the midst of busy motherhood. I’m definitely a crafter-for-the-sake-of-sanity kind of person. Just today, I tried my hand at dying fabric! I’m hoping to make the baby some swaddles out of this cute cotton gauze material, and I gave purple a go today. I didn’t ruin my sink, either! 😉

My container garden is really taking off, especially with the help of a certain almost two year old who loves to water my seedlings. I’ve got Lettuce, Zinnias, and Basil sprouting from seed, and a few herbs that I bought already started which have taken off. I also went nuts the other day and dug a tiny flower bed hedge in my courtyard and threw down some Sunflower seeds and more Zinnia seeds, so hopefully we will get some color this summer! Daniel is going to build some raised beds in our backyard, if the neighbor’s dog ever stops jumping our fence and hanging out back there… We’re hoping to have a fall vegetable garden back there and wanted to build the boxes before baby girl gets here this summer. He’s also going to build a little compost box for me so I can start messing with that before then. What can I say, I bought the man a saw for his birthday last month. We are both nesting like crazy. I really love that my husband nests right along side me every time we are expecting. We’re always a team, and I love that.

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Dying stuff

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The neighbor’s dog, in our backyard, for the upteenth time.

RCIA and church ministry…

There are about half a dozen other nesty sorts of plans in my head right now, but I always tend to overblog about projects, so I’ll leave that for another post, next time. RCIA is almost finished up as we near Easter, and I’m really excited! We’ve been going through a lot of rites at the church and had our first scrutiny, last Sunday, and it’s so neat to see all of this from the perspective of a Catholic Sponsor. I was overwhelmed when I went through it as a candidate, so it’s nice to take it slow. I do wish it was easier to be a sponsor as a mother, but I think I’m learning that itty bitty babies may not be the best time to be in that specific ministry, so Daniel and I are talking about him as a sponsor next time. The church is in desperate need of them! He’s sacrificed a lot so that we could serve the church in this way too, and just gave up choir for the cause. Practice and Sunday obligations were conflicting with the RCIA schedule and Eliot was being passed back and forth between us for a while, which just wasn’t doing the choir, or the RCIA group too much good. But he’s making the best of it and even told me today that he’s looking forward to hanging out with the boy tonight while I attend the meeting. I’m so lucky to have this guy as my teammate!

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7QT – nesting, reading, and domestic stuff

I wanted to do a chapter in the life post, but realistically, I knew I wouldn’t have the time to blog it. So I’ll stick to 7qt format and actually manage to blog a little. 

1) Tomorrow is Daniel’s birthday! I’ve forgotten it in years past so I made extra effort to remember this year and I actually have his gift already! I know, what a terrible spouse to forget a bday…in my defense, I was working a 10 hr shift that day and I remembered it by 5 pm!! I brought home balloons and dinner and the present was only a few days late… anyway, for this bday, we are celebrating with fire roasted hotdogs, pies, and good friends! I’m looking forward to it. 


2) I’m still doing Jen’s challenge but I probably won’t blog an entire post about week 3 because I’m so behind. But week 3 was about surprise and spontaneity for your spouse. While I wanted to go all out and book a trip to a drive through safari to feed exotic animals, the logistics just didn’t work out. So instead, I picked up a card and wrote him a letter’s worth of lovey wife stuff in it, and I could tell it made his day. Still focusing on the small stuff, I took Jen’s suggestion and told Daniel to go out sometime after work this week and do something he loves! Obviously it’s the movies. He will go either on Saturday or Tuesday and I’ll watch the kid, take care of the house and encourage him to get a beer after his movie. It seemed like the best rest for him since he’s been taking care of nighttimes with Eliot and has been wanting to go out with friends for a while. I’ve also been trying to keep the house clean and be as loving in that actions way as possible, because I truly feel that my taking on our life diligently with no complaint is a big surprise for Daniel, especially while pregnant. To be honest, I’m happy to do it. 


3) I’m still nesting big time. Want a list of tasks I feel I must accomplish in my nesting craze?

  • Paint the living room, kitchen, and dining area (Daniels totally helping big time)
  • Organize the baby clothes
  • Organize multiple mom’s group functions
  • Create a rope Moses basket for the baby by hand
  • Continue making baby hats like crazy
  • Plant lettuce, basil, zinnias, rosemary, and lavender 
  • Pin all the resources for raised garden beds
  • Decide on a paint color for the office
  • Rearrange Eliot’s room for the baby too
  • Decide on paint colors for the bathroom
  • Way too much research in EVERY KIND OF BACKYARD ANIMAL
  • Do all the laundry
  • Buy a new rug
  • Move furniture around
  • Arrange the gallery wall
  • Take and print family photos
  • Frame them
  • Etc, etc, ETC!!!

I have a sickness, y’all…


4) speaking of baby…want know what we are having? A BABY GIRL!!!! We are rounded out now 2 boys and 2 girls in the family. I can’t wait for her to get here! I sorted all of Eliot’s newborn clothes though and almost cried because mommy hormones are no joke combined with the realization that Eliot is no longer a baby. But I’m going to pass them on, minus a few pieces I’ll keep for future boys or for me to snuggle with and cry over when I’m an empty nester. I’m enjoying my stash of girl clothes though and my friend has invited me to go with her and her mom to a big children’s consignment sale in march, so I’m really looking forward to that!!


5) jen at Into Your Will and I are starting a crochetalong for the month of march doing a specific granny square pattern and I’m thrilled to start! I don’t even know what colors im going to do yet, but I’m excited!!


6) I’m still loving spring time and looking out my windows to see the beautiful blooms on the trees. I just love when they start budding and you can see life everywhere. Spring is such a wonderful reminder of the resurrection and of hope. It’s definitely my favorite season. 


7) I ordered “The Everyday Sacrament – the Messy Grace of Parenting” yesterday and I’m excited to FINALLY read it. I’m also finishing up “Good Families Don’t Just Happen.” It’s a really good book on family dynamic and raising wholesome children. “Parenting with Grace” is also on my currently reading shelf but I’m reading it with Daniel, so it’s a little slow. It’s the parenting book I recommend the most!


Thanks for reading today!!

A Month for Your Marriage week 2 (Affirmation via Acts of Service)

Hey guys! Here’s how I did for week 2 (as it’s really almost time to write about week 3—procrastinators gonna procrastinate).

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You know something really great? Jen’s challenge is really working. The point being that we spend this month enriching our marriage! But it doesn’t have to be one sided. I told Daniel about it, and he was very on board, and he has wanted to help too! So this week’s challenge, affirm your spouse with loving words, has actually been geared more toward me from Daniel! I took the challenge and changed it up a little for Daniel too because his love language has totally changed into Acts of Service, so I did more of the subtle acts during the week.

How did we do? Daniel spent a lot of time “hearing me out” and recognizing when I needed a little encouraging boost, although it’s hard to recall examples to write down. You know how sometimes you just feel more filled up than other times? I KNOW it had to do with how he was caring for me with all the loving words of affirmation!

Daniel’s language used to be words of affirmation, but sometimes I think it’s just dependent upon the season of life you are in. We were married while he was still in school, and he was in a season that needed a lot of encouragement! During that time, I worked, and didn’t need as much encouragement, but TOTALLY needed acts of service. When I got home, dog-tired, I didn’t want to do the dishes. I wanted to sit down and have someone affirm my value by recognizing exactly what I needed. I felt so loved when I would come home and the dishes would be done and our evening chores were taken care of for the most part! And Daniel needed lots of texts and letters and verbal encouragement during that time. It was hard for me to figure out how to speak his language since it just wasn’t mine! But now, we’ve completely flipped and he’s 100% acts of service and I’m words of affirmation.

Like I said, I think it’s because of the different seasons in our life. Staying at home with a toddler doesn’t afford a lot of verbal communication in general, and so sometimes I’m starved for it when Daniel gets home. And he works with kids, so he spends all day instructing and talking to his bosses and coworkers and is ready to relax when he gets home!

So I made a huge point to go out and get take-out one day so he just didn’t have to help figure out the meal. Sounds stupid and small, but I hate picking up take-out so Daniel does it most of the time, and this time, I went out, ordered from one of his favorite restaurants, and brought home the food, all while letting him hang out and play some video games. It was a really great day and I could tell he felt really loved by it.

Another way he feels loved and affirmed by me is if I listen to him in the morning as he tells me how he slept, and if it was a hard night, I let him sleep for another hour (we’re weirdos who wake up at the same time) and I hang out with Eliot. Eliot and I usually make breakfast together for Daniel and wake him up an hour later after he’s slept uninterrupted and feels better. I should mention, a reason Daniel doesn’t often sleep well is because he’s taken over the nights with Eliot ever since we got pregnant (and E sleeps almost the whole night by himself, but kicks Daniel the rest of the time after Daniel goes in to lay down with him).

So those are the simple things I did for this challenge, but I can tell it’s really helping Daniel and I to communicate better and to feel more full with each other. When we feel emotionally loved and filled up by each other, we argue way less and it’s like patience is just so much more increased within our relationship!

A Month for your Marriage link up (football togetherness)

Jen is doing a fabulous link up, called “a month for your marriage” and the link up for the first challenge is up until Monday! Go do it! Or jump in anywhere in the middle! She’s doing a new theme every week for the month of February and considering valentines is a few days away, this is the perfect thing for those February blues. Now, since I’ve procrastinated for several days already in posting about our first week, I’ll go ahead and stop to smell the roses on the old blog. 


The first challenge was about being together, spending time together and not allowing a “creeping separateness” come into play. She described how marriages can often fail because couples slowly drift apart and don’t focus on doing things together, but get more into the individual “my own hobbies and interests” mindset. Now anybody who knows me in person knows that I’m the clingiest person IN THE UNIVERSE, so Daniel would totally have to be trying to thwart me for us to have a creeping separation. Lol, sorry Daniel. I just loooove being with you!

But I took this challenge to mean, don’t just ask Daniel to spend time doing something I want to do, instead, focus on his interests too. I can’t say that we did much different than our average routine, mainly because I try to be with Daniel pretty constantly (I mean we had a couples wedding shower and a couples baby shower because we like to be together so much). But there are a few things I hold the line on in our marriage when it comes to “nope, I don’t wanna do that, I would rather be eaten alive by sharks.” Interestingly enough, it’s all tv stuff. I love watching tv. But I have always hated Batman movies and sports. And most movies. And guy shows. And “oh man, something else just blew up” movies. And shows… meh, you get the picture. 

So this past week, I decided to watch my first football game, attempt to understand and enjoy it, and spend time with my honey that way. We ate Super Bowl food, and I sort of understood the game, and I stayed for the whole thing! Daniel and I always watch formula one together, and we’ve never been big into other sports, but when Daniel told me that he wanted to get into football, I made the decision to join him so that we can spend more time together. I opened my mind enough to be able to enjoy the aspects that everyone can enjoy about football, food and commercials, and I feel like it was an enjoyable experience getting to be a part of Daniel’s life and getting to know him a little better. It was fun to watch him be a regular guy and enjoy the game! 

In addition to football, I also drove him to work a couple times this week just so that we could spend time together and talk in the car, (parents, y’all) and I could run my errands early. 

I’m excited to do this week’s challenge too and I’m loving this idea because I think marriage needs a support group and “check ins” from time to time. It’s nice to remember to focus on your spouse and keep him in mind. When doing something like this, it makes it so much easier to remember to pray for your spouse too since you’re thinking about him more during the day. I struggle to remember to pray for Daniel pretty often, but it is something I’m hoping to change this year.