"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Our week in pictures: all the fun things

The weekly post in which I share very unprofessional iPhone photos of our daily life!

We had a very full but very fun week. It was just really nice, and I can't help but think that God knew we needed some momentum to get through Holy Week...because man, it's been quite a difficult Lent. But I guess they all are, aren't they?!
I love that my boys have relatives close in age to play with!
It's official. Landon will fall asleep anywhere.
This dude is all big boy now

Chase likes trampolines!
Seriously, this indoor trampoline place was so.much.fun.
Foam pit!

Marley really loves Chase now (and vice versa) and it's so cute
I thought Landon wouldn't go down the crazy tall inflatable slide but he proved me wrong…and did it several times!
We woke up bright and early yesterday for our first 5K as a family of 4
Playing at the park while we waited for the race to begin

Logan jogged with a friend so I walked with the stroller and had to push it up this crazy bridge. I almost died. (Ok maybe not really but damn it was hard!)
My friend Lindsey was with me though so she pushed for a few minutes while I tried not to die.

Eating carrot soup like a big boy
My little chubster!

If you made it this far, congratulations. That was a lot of pictures. :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Clutter, podcasts, and JPII (7QT)

1. Random thoughts
I feel like I have been spending so much time cleaning the house lately, yet it's still not clean! It has taken me allllll week to clear off our sofa (a breeding ground for STUFF) and I have yet to finish clearing off our kitchen counters. What gives? I have a list of projects I want to do as soon as I "catch up" on housework, but as soon as I get close, the cycle repeats and I have to clean everything all over again! Seriously. This is frustrating.

Maybe I just get sidetracked too much…because I definitely spent much of Saturday night rearranging our living room while Logan was at work. It was like I was nesting but I'm not pregnant. I'm just in this mood where I have to get rid of everything that stresses me out and I want everything to have a purpose. I'm so sick of clutter!! End rant.

2. Happenings this week
Logan took off an extra day this week so we could have more time together and catch up on things around the house. We also went to a party at this fun indoor trampoline place and then today I took the boys to meet some friends at an indoor inflatable place! I don't remember what else we did other than go to the library a couple times. But it was a good week.

3. Pictures from my camera
I will bombard you with more pictures from our family day last week, but in the meantime, enjoy these from that day:
 We took a little intermission while Landon took a quick nap
I don't ever think I will get over this cute dude and his picture-taking abilities!

4. What I'm reading/listening to

I'm almost finished Jesus the Bridegroom! Other than that, I haven't done much reading because we've been decluttering the house. But I have listened to some podcasts while cleaning:
  • Fountains of Carrots - my faves are Episode 9 with Leila Lawler (seriously, I've listened to this one twice) and Episode 14 with Tyler Blanski. But really, they're all good! Haley and Christy are so much fun.
  • Read Aloud Revival - I've only listened to a few episodes, but it really has inspired me to read more to Landon and start making regular trips to the library. 

5. What I'm thankful for
  • PTO and an extra day with Logan at home
  • Etsy and all the people who make cute stuff so I don't have to
  • A baby who naps well

6. What's on my heart and in my prayers
  • People discerning their vocation, especially our friends and family
  • Our friends who are pregnant. So many new babies in 2015!

7. Words that spoke to me this week
"To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others.–Pope Saint John Paul II

Catholic All Year has a cute printable of that quote that I printed out and framed to have on display :)

Go see Kelly for more quick takes!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Motherhood and prayer: praying the rosary

Just chronicling my adventures in prayer…if you already faithfully pray the rosary every day you might want to skip over this one ;) and this is not an explanation of what the rosary is - there are way more qualified people to do that for you. This is just me, a tired mom, attempting to incorporate the rosary more into my daily life!

I just want to start by saying that if I read a post about someone who was praying the rosary everyday, I'd probably think, Man, that girl is HOLY. I don't know if I could do that while taking care of little kids all day. I'd probably think the same thing about someone saying they went to daily mass every morning with their kids. So let me just say...please don't think that! I've hesitated publishing this post for weeks because I didn't want to make it seem like I was this super holy mom that's got it all together. Because I don't. I've just really been convicted lately to focus on prayer (after slacking off for some time), and the rosary has played a big part in that. I do think that we all are capable of growing spiritually if we're willing to put forth effort - just like anything in life, hard work pays off! And in my experience, if my prayer life is where it should be, the daily trials of life just don't seem as terrible.

I should also mention that everyone goes through periods of dryness in prayer.not to be confused with lack of prayer. I've been there and it's not fun, but it really is only temporary! So don't be discouraged. 

Okay. Now for the real post!

My family occasionally prayed the rosary together throughout my childhood, but I didn't learn how to pray the rosary well until my college years - and by "well" I mean actually knowing how to pray without looking at a pamphlet to remind me of either the prayers or the mysteries. It was during a time where I prayed the rosary every single day - I have vivid memories of walking around campus with a rosary in my hand. (I feel like I was so much holier back then!)

Sadly, I have not devoted that much time to the rosary - well, prayer in general, if I'm being honest - since having kids. Excuses abound - there are diapers to change, mouths to feed, cleaning to do, and I need more sleep. 
"The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary." -Saint Francis de Sales
Until recently. I'm really trying to rekindle my love for the rosary (as part of my mission to pray more). But in order to not set myself up for failure, I was not all like, SAY A ROSARY EVERY DAY! BE HOLY! I started out just aiming for 3-5 times a week. Then once Lent started, I've been praying a daily rosary. [Full disclosure: Like I said earlier, please don't think I'm super holy because I'm most definitely not - I failed miserably and did not pray the rosary on Ash Wednesday…the very first day of Lent. Sigh.]

This is absolutely not a "how to pray the rosary" post but I definitely need to mention how important it is to know that the whole point of praying the rosary is to meditate on the mysteries….not just to mindlessly repeat the same prayers over and over. Which can be hard when you stay home by yourself with kids all day and may not necessarily have 20-30 minutes of silence to really, really focus on the mysteries. Heck, it's hard even when you have all the time in the world! I can't tell you how many times I'm halfway through a decade and instead of thinking about the Agony in the Garden or whichever mystery I'm on…I realize I'm thinking about what happened earlier that day or what I need to do once I finish the rosary. Oy vey. (That's not really praying the rosary)

This might sound bad, but…it didn't take me long to realize how many excuses I can make in my head to avoid saying the rosary. Oh, I need to fold the towels first….or wash the dishes…or or or.. But I fight fight fight that instinct to make an excuse and just pull out my rosary beads instead. And it doesn't take me long to realize that it was the best decision of my day! Graces abound when I pray the rosary.

And as time goes on and I delve deeper into the mysteries every day, my desire to pray the rosary grows. Because really, the rosary is a beautiful, beautiful thing…thinking about Christ while praying with Mary. Oh, how I love our Catholic faith!
"Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother."- St. Padre Pio
So, how do I pray the rosary with 2 little kids around? Especially since one usually doesn't nap and talks nonstop unless the TV is on? Does anybody care?

Well, for any curious minds
with a little creativity. And resisting the temptation to do something else that's less important. And jumping on an opportunity the minute it arises.

It's usually when I put on a movie for Landon and Chase is napping. But I've also prayed the rosary while Chase is awake (since he's still not mobile) and I've even resorted to throwing both kids in the double stroller and going for a walk - my rosary ring comes in handy for this!

I also have the option of praying the rosary once the boys are in bed if Logan is working the evening shift but I try not to wait until then because I have the tendency to doze off. Just being honest! And of course on days that Logan is not working we try to pray the rosary together. [Waking up before the kids can be an option toobut I'm not there yet and really would rather wait until later in the day when I know I won't be interrupted by kids waking up.]
You always leave the Rosary for later, and you end up not saying it at all because you are sleepy. If there is no other time, say it in the street without letting anybody notice it. It will, moreover, help you to have presence of God.” - St. Josemaria Escriva
Obviously, what works for me won't work for everyone else. Just having 2 kids makes it much easier to find half an hour of time (especially since one is not mobile yet)…but of course if your kids are old enough to pray with you, I think that's a great idea. We're not at that point just yet, though. (If you do try to pray the rosary with your kids I would totally start with one decade at first and progress from there.)

It's all about finding what works best for your family. And that will look different for each family - and it will also look different in different seasons of life. Just adding a second kid to the mix has drastically changed when and how I pray! 

The point I really want to make is that a daily rosary is possible, even when you're a stay-at-home mom and feel like you don't get 2 minutes to yourself. It just takes some effort but trust me, it will be so, so worth it.

A couple resources on the rosary (not being paid to endorse these, I just really recommend them!):
  • Dr. Brant Pitre's talk Contemplating the Face of Christ with Mary - he makes you want to pray the rosary!
  • St. Louis de Montfort's book The Secret of the Rosary - Kindle version is only 99 cents on Amazon! I'm just reading a couple pages at a time because it's one of those books where one page can kind of blow your mind (you know what I mean?)
Of course, there are countless books/talks/etc on the rosary but these are ones I've read/listened to recently. Feel free to share your favorite resources on the rosary with me! I really want to find another book with meditations on the mysteries, since I find that helps me focus on them more.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our week in pictures: a whole lot of loving

The weekly post in which I share very unprofessional iPhone photos of our daily life!

We were cleaning out the garage and Logan found his old rollerblades! Whaaaaat?!

Photo bomb by Marley
We drove to New Orleans for a fun family day and both boys were knocked out when we got there. Can't resist a car ride….ever! Even at 10:30 in the morning.

Fun at the insectarium
I hope that dog realizes how loved she is
Landon loves feeding Chase. But sometimes Chase doesn't know what to think about yogurt melts being shoved into his mouth.
Landon was not thrilled about going to church on Thursday (for St. Joseph's Altar) until I said there would be cookies!
He's been "cooking" up a storm lately and I love seeing his creativity
Landon was holding Chase's hand letting him press the buttons but of course I missed that precious moment on camera
Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Social media, Creighton, and St. Joseph (7QT)

1. Random thoughts
I've been thinking a lot about social media lately and it seems like every blogger has Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I'm only on Facebook (a personal page, not for my blog...except not during Lent), and I'm seriously thinking about deleting it permanently once Easter comes because I do not miss it AT ALL. And I'm realizing how much time I wasted on it and how much it kind of stresses me out. How do you handle all of these other social media sites?? Seriously. My little introverted mind wants to know.

2. Happenings this week
Logan had a ridiculous work schedule last week so this week we made it a point to spend both of his off days doing family things, one day at home and the other in New Orleans. And it was lovely. And I will bombard you with pictures soon enough.

We went to the intro class for the Creighton Model (a form of NFP), which is long overdue because I've been wanting to learn it since our (relatively short compared to some) days of infertility. And now I'm hoping it will come in handy as my cycle has yet to return and my reproductive system is kind of crazy. Functioning, at least, but crazy.

I took the kiddos to our church's St. Joseph's Altar yesterday and that was nice too. Except when I first walked in, realized I was the youngest person by at least 20 years, and a nice elderly woman asked if I was babysitting. Um, no. I'm just a 28-year old that looks like I'm still in high school.

3. Pictures from my camera

He's been asking me to play soccer a lot lately [insert big smiley emoji!!!] so I can't wait to register him for another session of SoccerTots.
From our day in New Orleans. More pictures to come, of course.

4. What I'm reading
  • Jesus the Bridegroom by Dr. Brant Pitre - ongoing
  • Creighton Model Fertility Care System by Dr. Thomas Hilgers - see #2 on why I'm reading this. I read the 2 chapters on making observations so I can actually chart. jfaklsdjflasjdlf. That's how I feel about that right now. (Maybe it's a good thing we took the class during Lent.) And maybe I sound crazy if you're not familiar with Creighton…and if you are, is it normal to be a little overwhelmed at first?!

5. What I'm thankful for
  • Warm weather!
  • Fun feast days
  • Logan and my boys

6. What's on my heart and in my prayers
  • Our hard-working priests, especially my parish priest who is having health issues
  • Those under spiritual attack
  • One of my best friends who lost a baby a year ago today

7. Words that spoke to me this week
"St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life.–Saint Josemaria Escriva

Go see Kelly for more quick takes!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A visit to the eye doctor….and some rambling

When I went to a new eye doctor recently, I had a couple surprisingly pleasant conversations with people and thought I'd share...because unfortunately it seems rare these days to actually enjoy talking to someone you just met. I know I have friends with so.many.stories. of rude and disrespectful things complete strangers have said to them! So how about a little positivity?!

The lady doing all the initial exam stuff and picking new contacts for me was very friendly and probably in her 40s or 50s. I left the occupation part of my paperwork blank (I haven't worked since I got pregnant with Chase, and there's no plans of returning at this point), so I'm assuming that's what prompted her to ask me if I was a stay-at-home mom. When she found out that I was, she exclaimed, "Oh good! I love hearing that."

I wish I was kidding when this was one of the few times anyone has looked positively at me being a stay-at-home mom. Normally the responses are "Must be nice" or "I could never do that" or "What do you do all day?!"

I have many things I could say to those comments, but this is a positive post. :)

So! The nice lady asked about breastfeeding since I had checked the "pregnant or nursing" box (I'm still nursing some…and not pregnant, just to clarify), so we started talking about my kids and all. Somehow that led to talking about ultrasounds and having high risk pregnancies and how I lost my first baby. 

Now, I don't usually tell people I just met that my first baby didn't make it because 99% of people don't know how to respond to that, especially when when they find out I knew I was having a boy and that it happened relatively far into the pregnancy. But somehow I knew this lady could handle it. And how refreshing it is to be able to talk to someone about new life and death all within 10 minutes and not feel completely awkward.

Then the doctor came in to check my eyes (they're perfect by the way...I'm nearsighted but they're healthy otherwise!). He asked me if I ever considered Lasik surgery to which I responded "Not really" and said how the thought of it kind of freaks me out. Because, um, it's my eyes.

He replied, "...and you're a mom?" As if surely nothing could bother me since I deal with bodily fluids all day. Which is true. So I said with a laugh, "I'm a nurse too! Well, I was. I stay home now."

Let me tell you, without a beat, this man turned and looked at me in the eyes and said, "You're still a nurse. Once a nurse, always a nurse."

Again, I wish I was kidding when I said this was a rare thing...someone not looking down on me for giving up a career (one with lots of potential, I might add) and still recognizing that I will always have my college degree, even if I don't use it (as an employee…all that knowledge definitely comes in handy as a mom).

All of that being said, I don't mind being considered "just a mom". Of course, I'm much more than that! But there's nothing else I'd rather do than be at home with my kids. I know God has called me to this vocation, as crazy as it seems sometimes (finances and all), and I've really been trying lately to embrace it wholeheartedly - in the midst of blowout diapers, temper tantrums, and the inability to use the bathroom without the baby crying or the toddler busting through door. Heck, the dog has been adding to the fun lately by pooping on my freshly mopped floors.

But oh, how much better all of these seemingly inconvenient things are when you look at life as something to enjoy rather than to just get through.

It really is a beautiful life, this whole mothering thing, and what makes it even more beautiful is when people (including strangers!) recognize that too and are supportive of it. I realize that not everyone is called to be at home with their kids all day, every day….and that's okay. I certainly don't judge anyone for it.

Because after all, we're all doing what we think is best for our families. And for me, right now (because I know very well things could change), I'm called to be with these guys:

And I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins." – Jim Stovall

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our week in pictures: smile

Landon made a horse out of his pancake so Jake could ride it. Clearly, he is his father's son.
Trying to figure out if he wants to eat the yogurt melt
I was feeding Chase and Landon wanted to take over.
He actually did really well!
His smile gets me every time :)

I started making a photo book each year and Landon loooooves looking at them

It doesn't matter that a train passes our house a couple dozen times a day….he is thrilled every.single.time.

Connect Four keeps this kid entertained for hours


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