"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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

5 things that have been making our marriage better

Everyone has things they do to keep the little flame alive in their marriage, and while this is certainly not an exhaustive list, these 5 things have played a big part in life being oh so good lately! I'm not an expert. Just sharing what works for us! :)

Focus on each other's love languages.
Logan and I are complete opposites when it comes to love languages so this is still a work in progress - for me, anyways. (Logan's love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation, and mine are acts of service and quality time) Personally, I struggle with this because I am NOT a very affectionate person (other than kissing my kids a million times a day), nor do I throw out compliments very often, but lately it's been very obvious to me how Logan responds positively when I randomly hug him or play with his hair…or tell him he's looks gooooood. And of course I just LOVE when Logan washes the dishes for me. Seriously, it's the best. I hate dishes.

Do something new!
For us, this was playing Monopoly a couple weeks ago. It definitely was a good change from sitting in front of the TV! It's so easy to get in a rut in marriage, just doing the same ol' thing…so change things up sometimes. Like maybe go play mini golf for a date instead of eating out like you normally do!
On our honeymoon, blissfully unaware of what was to come in the next few years ;)

Pray, both together and individually.
We pray together at night when Logan isn't at work, but I'm really realizing how important it is that we also pray individually (and holding each other accountable!).
Example: I've been praying the rosary a lot the last few months, and this month I noticed that Logan was suddenly being much more helpful around the house and wasn't arguing with me as much. He said he was "turning over a new leaf" and it wasn't until a few days later, when I told him I noticed he was different, that he told me that maybe it was because he started praying the rosary again on his way to work (he did that as his Lenten penance last year and then kind of got away from it). So even though we usually don't pray the rosary together, I realized that as long as we're both praying, things are good. (I'm referring to our relationship...not life in general. Because praying doesn't make everything perfect!) The rosary is awesome, by the way.

Do things without being asked and without complaining.
This is so simple, really…but took me awhile to realize that I could just take out the garbage myself instead of having to ask Logan a million times. Because it's more aggravating for me to ask Logan over and over when I could just do it myself and be done with it. And once I started doing that, Logan noticed and started being better about it!
On the flip side, when Logan just takes the boys in the morning to change their diapers without me having to ask, while I'm getting breakfast (and my coffee!!!) ready, our mornings go much smoother. Teamwork, baby.

Renew our wedding vows often (ahem).
This is referring to the physical act, of course (although renewing them verbally is a good thing, too!). Yes, sometimes we're just both so dang tired, and Logan's work schedule along with us learning Creighton often interferes with it…but if we go too long without being intimate then things get rough. Logan gets moody and I start not caring about the fact that we're not doing it. Which is not good. So get to it! (I know this isn't possible for some people at certain times in life for one reason or another…we have to abstain when I'm pregnant, thanks to my incompetent cervix. So, so hard.)

Go check out more 5Faves at Rachel's blog, who's hosting for Jenna this week! And if you're bored, and not tired of hearing about Logan and me, you can read this post I wrote about marriage a few months ago.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blogging, baby hair, and St. Louis de Montfort (7QT)

1. Random thoughts
I keep thinking about this blogging thing and am contemplating a blog redesign. Any suggestions? For long-time readers, what do you think about when you think of my blog? I really, really want the design to reflect me and things I write about. Fellow bloggers, did you just use a free template? Or paid someone to design something? I feel like such a novice...

Also, I'm going to really start connecting more with other bloggers because I'm suddenly realizing how helpful it is to have blogging friends. They know so much!

2. Happenings this week
The boys and I got back from Asheville, NC. And then we were bombarded with pink eye, diarrhea, and colds. So it's been real fun around here and we didn't leave the house except for a doctor's appt. But I really need to go to the grocery store...

3. Pictures you haven't seen
Now that I have a new camera (!!), I probably won't use blurry iPhone pictures anymore. You're welcome. And to save you the trouble of reading an entire blog post about Chase's first haircut, I'll make it a quick take! I'm in a giving mood, what can I say?
 It became apparent on our Asheville trip that it didn't take long for Chase's hair to go from this...
 …to this. Hot mess. At 9 months old. (But he's a really good baby, I promise!)
 But thankfully my sister is a licensed cosmetologist and trimmed it up a little bit.
 Chase wasn't sure what to think…just like his momma, who wanted to wait closer to his birthday...
...but I guess what's done, is done. ;)

4. What I'm reading
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder- I finished this and now I want to read the rest of the series! 
  • Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid - finally finished this one
  • Voice in the Wind, Mark of the Lion Book 1 (Francine Rivers) - I was gifted the Mark of the Lion ebook series for my birthday last summer and kind of forgot about it. Probably because I don't read fiction often. I'm not far enough into it to really have an opinion yet…
  • The Secret of the Rosary by St. Louis de Montfort - just reading a couple pages of this at a time as I rekindle my love for the rosary
P.S I'm on Goodreads now! Because I read too many books at a time and need a way to not forget I'm reading them. ;)

5. What I'm thankful for
  • my comfy bed
  • baby laughs

6. What's on my heart and in my prayers
  • Those struggling with infertility - it's awareness week, y'all! Although really they're in our prayers daily.
  • People who are sick, especially children
  • Those pregnant after experiencing a loss

7. Words that spoke to me this week
"I agree that we must be neither too credulous nor too critical, and that we should keep a happy medium in all things in order to find just where truth and virtue lie." - St. Louis de Montfort in The Secret of the Rosary

Go see Kelly for more quick takes!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beware of the snake

I had a meeting one night last week, and initially, I was going to leave both boys at home with Logan. But then he made plans with friends to go eat dinner and watch the New Orleans Pelicans (basketball) game, since a win would mean a playoff run. So I took Chase with me to my meeting and Logan was going to drop off Landon with my sister-in-law, Lindsey, on his way to dinner.

The weather was bad, so I wanted to leave early to allow plenty of time to drive slowly and pick up dinner for both Chase and myself on the way (I was going out of town the next day so we didn't have much food in the house). Logan insisted I let the weather pass, so I waited (very reluctantly), and by the time Logan said I could leave, the route I had planned to take was backed up with traffic – which I knew because of the maps app on my iPhone (does anyone else check that before they leave? It's so neat.). So I took a different route, thinking it would be better. It was about 4:45.

To make a long story short (because I do have a point to this), I met frustration after frustration – rude drivers, terrible traffic, hard rain, and nowhere to stop for food. I felt completely stuck, and to make things worse, I had a pounding headache. I was also completely mad at Logan for not letting me leave earlier. Because surely my evening would have gone perfectly had I been able to leave earlier, right? (I'm ridiculous sometimes. I know.)

The actual meeting itself was fine, aside from still having a headache, but the way home also led to more frustration, including a train that stopped traffic for 15 minutes while Chase was very fussy (which is totally not usual for him).

I picked up food – finally – and then picked up Landon. By the time I got home, it was almost 10pm and both boys were wide awake. Which never happens because my kids can never resist falling asleep in the car.

Logan got home 5 minutes after I put the boys to bed, and by that point I was aggravated, exhausted, and just wanted to go to bed. And possibly cry. Which was not ideal since it was Logan's and my last night together before my trip. Plus I still had some packing to do.

I told Logan I really wanted to talk about my evening but somehow he did not understand, which made me even more annoyed.

So we both sat in bed, awkward silence and all. It could have gone two ways, really: 1) just call it a night and go to bed stewing in my frustration, or 2) talk it out, however difficult it might be, and end on a positive note.

Obviously, the latter is what should have appealed to me, since I didn't want to go out of town with hard feelings hanging over us. But man, it would have been so easy to just go to bed. Easier than talking, for sure.

I really wish I had the words to explain it well, but let me tell you, I have never in my life experienced such a battle between good and evil in my head. I felt the devil taunting me, to just hold on to my anger and blame Logan for my rough night. After all, he didn't let me leave when I wanted to! Which led to having to take a different route and not having dinner until 8:30 and having to deal with a fussy baby who was also hungry. Not to mention the fact that Logan got to have a fun night with friends.

But then I also felt God prompting me to just talk to Logan honestly, to let go of my pride, and make things right. I wasn't being fair to blame Logan for my rough night. Yes, I had a right to be frustrated, but there was no point in making him the bad guy. He's my other half and deserves better than that.

So I had a choice. Thankfully, God sent me some extra graces at that moment, and I was able to convey to Logan what I was feeling. And the Holy Spirit just really spoke through Logan then, because he said how we need to be aware of when the devil is trying to ruin this good life we have going right now. It's so, so true.

At that moment I remembered a dream I had a few days before which I had forgotten to tell Logan. In that dream, a snake bit me. Twice.
The snake at the zoo was looking for a way to escape. Not cool.
I've never actually been bitten by a snake before. I stay far away from them, because they are the worst creatures on the planet and I always, always associate them with the devil (don't try to convince me otherwise). So when I woke up from this particular dream, I was a little freaked out and wondered if that was a warning, in a sense, that the devil was going to be all up in my business.

I told Logan about the dream as soon as he mentioned the devil, and then I just laughed. Because really, why had I not seen it before? I knew I was being ridiculous. I knew I was holding onto my anger, I knew in the big picture that there were worse things in life than what I had just gone through. Yet I was still so angry the entire evening. Of course the devil was involved. He likes to creep in, almost invisible - just like a snake -making us harbor hard feelings against those we love most. Too sly, that devil.

But because it led to a really great conversation between Logan and me, and we knew we had defeated evil in that moment, I don't regret everything that happened that day. It was as if I could feel evil leave the room as soon as we made things right. I hope I never forget that feeling – the triumph of good over evil.

Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Road trip to NC

My parents drove up to Asheville, North Carolina to visit my sister's family for her son's birthday, so I decided to tag along with the boys. I haven't been there in almost 5 years, so it was long overdue! It was exhausting – it's a 12-hour drive from New Orleans to Asheville, not including stops – but it was fun and I'm glad I decided to go.
 These two had a blast together.  

There was a lot of just hanging out at my aunt's house (where we stayed)...

 Will opened some birthday presents

A busted lip didn't even ruin the fun!

We also went to the Nature Center..

 There was climbing
 and not climbing
and just general cuteness

And then there was William's 3rd birthday party! I'm going to dedicate a post just to it because my sister did such a cute job with it, but here are a few pictures from the party:

 Rain doesn't stop little boys from having fun!

I still can't get over how freakin' cool it is that my twin sister and I have boys so close in age (6 weeks!). Will even called Landon his brother at one point. So cute.

And that's exactly how I felt when I got back to New Orleans at 11pm last night. Chase has been trying to cut his top two front teeth the whole trip which meant no sleep for momma. Plus the whole time change thing messed with my head. Hopefully the transition back to our normal routine goes smoothly! (And yes, blogging is the first thing I wanted to do today. Because priorities.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

This blogging thing

I've been thinking a lot lately about blogging and how I want to change things up. Logan and I started this blog after we lost Levi to keep family and friends updated on test results and how we were dealing with the situation (do any of y'all remember when Logan used to post too??). I can't believe that was over 5 years ago.

Of course, the blog's content has changed some, as we went from trying-to-conceive and being foster parents, to finally conceiving again and having eventful pregnancies.

I will always post about my kids (because they're adorable, let's be honest), but I'm feeling like I want to balance things out a little bit. It seems like my posts consist of either mostly pictures or just words with no pictures at all. So I think I'm going to stop doing my weekly picture posts - “our week in pictures” - because a lot of times it keeps me from posting other stuff. Like my crazy thoughts.

I don't know if I'm making any sense. But I do know that I consider the “theme” of my blog all about embracing God's will for my life, not only in the big things but also in the seemingly trivial things. I want to write more about that.

I haven't really tried to grow my blog or make money from it - although I'm not opposed to that - I'm just not sure how much time and effort I want to put into doing all of that. I just want to write!

So! If you have any suggestions/comments/whatever about how to keep this blog balanced and not boring, please tell me. :)

P.S. I changed the header (is that what it's called?? under the title) because I wanted it to be related to the blog title (can't remember why we named it that? Read this). I also changed the little part under my picture to the right and added a picture of Logan so he's not neglected. Check it out!
The hubs and me at the French Quarter Fest last week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sweet tooth, baby (5Faves)

Well, I don't know about you, but everyone in our house has a major sweet tooth (Chase hasn't had any sweets, yet, but I'm SURE he will love them like the rest of us). I also love to bake, so it's a win-win. Here are our favorite 5 desserts…that have also gotten rave reviews from friends and family! (Click the names to see the recipes)

1. One bowl brownies - these are what I make when I need a last minute dessert because I always have all of the ingredients on hand. It's super quick to make, and bonus is that I use exactly one (adjustable) measuring spoon, 1 measuring cup, 1 bowl, and 1 spatula. So I also make these if I don't want to deal with a bunch of dirty dishes. Seriously, if you like your brownies to be fudge-like, try these! You will need a glass 8x8 dish, though.

2. Cookie cake - this is Logan's favorite dessert! I also make these for birthday parties and it is often requested when my friends get together for a girls' night in. People are surprised when they find out I made it from scratch!
This one has icing over it, but trust me, it's a cookie cake!
3. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - these are my favorite! In order to not eat all of them in a few days (because I would), I freeze some of the cookie dough…already scooped out to make it easier to bake later.

4. Chocolate chip dip - this is yet another requested dessert when we get together with friends. It's super unhealthy (fair warning), but oh my goodness, so good. And super easy to make. I serve it with animal crackers!

5. Sugar cookies - these are another favorite of Logan's! His aunt makes them every holiday so she passed along her recipe when we got married. We started the tradition of making these during Advent on Gaudete Sunday. Landon loved decorating them! I also made them recently for a play date so all the kids could decorate some. (Okay, so I couldn't find a similar recipe online because there are sooooo many variations…but if you want to try this one let me know and I can email it to you! It has almond extract which makes them awesome.)

Our new Advent tradition!
Decorating a cookie last week when friends were over
Now go make one of these desserts! It's still Easter, after all :) And don't forget to check out more faves at Jenna's place!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Oh, baby names

After reading this post and also reading the post she links to, I started thinking a lot about baby names and thought it'd be fun to write about our boys' names and how/why we chose them. I kind of feel like I've written about this before…but maybe I'm just thinking about how many times I've thought about writing about it. Anyways...

Now first! Let me just tell you that Logan is the absolute worst about names. I'm not kidding (and have several friends who will testify to that). I prefer more traditional names, and it's even better if they're biblical or Catholic saints, but Logan likes modern names (for first names) and will.not.budge. on that preference. He doesn't really care about middle names, though, so we basically compromise - a less traditional name for the first name and a saint name for the middle name. Because he's so stubborn about first names, I've learned to just go with that and be happy that I [almost] get free reign with a middle name. Pick your battles, right? Right.

Levi Anthony

When we found out we were pregnant the first time, picking names was easy - Levi Anthony for a boy and Makenzie Clare for a girl. We were settled on those far before we ever found out the gender. Levi was my absolute favorite boy name before we got married, and I still love it to this day.

Anthony is Logan's middle name as well as his dad's middle name and his grandpa's middle name, so Logan had always said we would use Anthony for our first boy's middle name since it was a family thing. And I was all "okay, cool" since St. Anthony of Padua is such an awesome saint and I very much wanted part of the name to be Catholic.

And then when we lost Levi, we totally considered - at first - using the name Levi again (because I love it that much), but with a different middle name. But we just didn't feel comfortable doing so because losing Levi was still too new. So we thought about using it for maybe our 3rd or 4th kid, if we had that many, and if it was a boy. But obviously our 3rd boy later we haven't used it, and I'm fairly certain we never will now…because Levi is very much a big part of our family, even if he isn't here with us.

Landon Gerard

Now here's where I remind you again of how ridiculous Logan is about baby names. Landon was literally one of two boy names that Logan liked. (The other one was Luke, if you're curious…which is surprising because it's pretty traditional, I think! But I have a cousin named Luke which is why we went with Landon.) Because I was put on bed rest so early in the pregnancy and it was a very scary time knowing we could lose another baby, we prayed often for St. Gerard's intercession as the patron of expectant mothers.

Honestly, I didn't really like the name Gerard, but I love St. Gerard, and I knew we had to name Landon after him. And it really has grown on me!

We found out at 12 weeks that Landon was probably a boy, so I'm pretty sure we had decided on a name by the time the gender was verified at 14 weeks. (Seriously, that 12-week ultrasound picture is pretty convincing!)

Chase Michael

Ah, another boy. Should I remind you again of how picky Logan is with names? Yeah. It seems to get worse with each kid we have.

He still liked the name Luke, and I did too…but I did not want another "L" name. I didn't even want Landon to be another "L" name (since Logan and Levi was enough, thankyouverymuch), but I didn't have a choice since the only names Logan liked started with "L". We already had people asking if we were sticking with the L theme and I was like NOPE. Nothing against people who do that…I just already call my kids the wrong name accidentally and do not need the extra stress of having similar sounds.

We found out Chase was a boy early on at 13 weeks, and it took another week or so after that to decide on a name. Mainly because Logan nixed every name I threw at him (seriously, not kidding). But somehow, we narrowed it down to Cade or Chase. Most people we asked like the name Cade, but Logan and I really felt like Chase was the name! And I seriously love it now. I can't believe I considered Cade, actually…funny how our taste changes.

Logan let me choose the middle name again, and I liked Joseph or Michael, as they're two of my favorite saints. But I ended up choosing Michael because 1) St. Michael totally had our back during a very spiritually-rough pregnancy, and 2) my brother Michael is Chase's godfather.

So there you have it! Our name stories. I didn't mention how we could never decide on a girl name for either Landon or Chase…probably because we found out early on that they were boys. Which is probably good since Logan and I can never seem to decide on a name until we know the gender.

I love talking baby names - except with Logan, HAHA. And I especially love hearing the stories behind the names! Because even if I don't like a name at first, I find out why someone used that name and I'm like ohhhh, I like it! Thankfully, we haven't had any problems with deciding on final names before the baby arrives…probably because I find out so early (thanks to the many ultrasounds). Logan and I would probably kill each other in the hospital if we waited until then to find out the gender and decide on a name. But we're just crazy like that.

P.S. Logan totally agrees that he's difficult when it comes to naming our kids. Just saying. :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Our week in pictures: cousin love

At my friend's house on Easter


It will be so fun to see all 3 of them running around one day

First snowball of the season!
Little man fell asleep while drinking his bedtime bottle.

Hosting a playdate is exhausting ;)
So glad these boys love each other!


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