"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

Friday, October 30, 2015

Keeping it quick (7QT)

1. Link-toberfest
Hey! I won a prize! It pays to link up with Kelly. Thanks to her and all the other awesome ladies who donated!

2. All Saints fun
I teach CCD every week, and the whole family joined me this week to help with our (early) All Saints' Celebration. My classroom was the pilgrimage place of Assisi, Italy, so naturally I dressed the boys up as St. Francis.
(Because it was also the easiest costume EVER. Landon wore Logan's shirt, Chase wore mine, and I tied this rope twine around their waists. Cost approximately zero dollars. #winning)

3. In the kitchen
I found a recipe for teriyaki chicken (one of my fave things ever) and it was goooood. We ate it with Haley's fried rice recipe (minus the shrimp) in her Feast! book. Yummy.


4. What I'm reading

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - I LOVE books that take place in WWII, and I've heard good things about this. Not far enough into it to have much of an opinion, but so far I'm liking it.
  • The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart - Why is this book making me want to get rid of our phones and computers? That won't happen, of course, but man...I'm starting to wonder what the world will come to eventually. (I really don't know how to explain my thoughts about this book. Just read it.)

5. Chase
 Well, I've come to the conclusion that you can thank this little boy for the fact that we're so open to life right now. (Oh, and Aunt Jess, he needs a haircut when you're in town!)

6. Landon
His favorite thing to say about something is that it's the "biggest one EVER".
"I making the biggest snake EVER." Right, buddy. (Jess, he needs a haircut too!)

7. Memes by Logan
:)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Maybe you saw this coming

When I wrote this post a couple weeks ago about how having more kids would totally be worth it, I still wasn't sure how I felt about being pregnant. Yes, we wanted more kids, and yes, it would be worth the sacrifice...but holy crap, pregnancy is HARD.

I think I was writing that post mostly for myself, because I knew I was having fertile signs at the time and I knew that I could very well be pregnant soon. Very soon.

This past week I started to wonder if I was indeed pregnant. No major symptoms really, but a lot of cramping/whatever....and a lot of intuition. I kind of feel like these past few months were preparation for another pregnancy. Sounds crazy, and I can't even really explain it. I just felt it in my gut, ya know?

So I tested on Friday. Negative. Then I tested 2-3 days after that. Negative.

I normally DO NOT take that many tests, but for some reason this time around I was really freaking out about possibly being pregnant. I think it was not knowing that was killing me. Was I pregnant or not? WHEN WOULD I KNOW?

Well, as of today. It's official, y'all - we're having another baby! And you want to know my reaction when I first saw that positive test result? Pure joy. I surprised myself, really. I thought I'd have a panic attack or something.

It's so crazy to me that these last 2 babies happened so easily, especially after losing the first and struggling so hard to get pregnant with the second. (We've apparently figured out what supplement I need to take to actually ovulate normally!) And it's hard not to feel guilty when I still have friends who are desperately trying for their first little miracle.

I don't understand it, but I know God knows more than we know and that ultimately, His will prevails. I don't know what these next 9 months hold for our little family, and I don't even know if this baby will come into this world safe and sound. But for now, we will thank God for all our blessings and trust that He will carry us through. Just as He always has.

We appreciate any and all prayers :)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Lots of reading and another meme by Logan (7QT)

1. Link-toberfest
I skipped last week, but I'm pretty proud of linking up with Kelly for the 3rd time this month! This week's question is "What is your most popular quick takes post?" And I don't even want to link to mine because it just so happens to be my very first 7QT post AND link-up I ever did and, um, no. I was trying a little too hard. So I'll share the next most popular one - but there's actually a tie between Livin' the good life and An old-fashioned vacation (kind of). You don't have to go read those...I just want an extra entry into the giveaway!

2. Family adventures
We took our annual trip to the pumpkin patch this week, and the boys loved it. But man...it was hot. I thought it was almost November!! #welcometolouisiana

3. Links I loved
4. The boys
We've been reading a lot of books lately, and I'm just loving how they love books. Even Chase is all about books! I'll ask, "Do y'all want to read a book?" and Chase will toddle his way to the bookshelf, pick one of his fave books, and bring it to me with a big dimpled smile on his face. So cute. The other day, Landon was supposed to have changed from pajamas into regular clothes, but I found him in just his undies, looking at a book. I told him to put his clothes on, and he replied, "I'm trying to read this book first!"

5. Weekend getaway
Logan and I had our first overnight date since Landon was born (3+ years ago)! Unless you count the marriage retreat we went on last year. But I kind of don't, because a marriage retreat is a little different than living it up in New Orleans - staying in a nice hotel and eating at so many good restaurants. So, so nice, y'all. I'm so thankful that we were able to make it happen!

6. What I'm reading
  • How She Does It by Anne Bogel - this was a quick and easy read. I have become so thankful lately for Logan's unusual work schedule (and I use to hate it with a passion), and this book made me realize even more the potential his schedule gives to us to start new endeavors. 
  • The Winter of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart - Only about 20% in, but wow, it's making me think. I've already cut down on technology these past few months, so the whole premise was intriguing, and I'm really curious to see how I will feel at the end of the book.
  • Holy Sex! by Gregory Popcak - I finished this...and I really think every married person should read it too. It covers everything, and of course not everything will apply to your situation, and some of it is kind of hard to read (at least for me), but yeah. I wish I had read it in the beginning of my marriage!

7. Memes by Logan
I gave Logan the picture, and he delivered. Gotta love him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When all you want to do is run away (from your marriage)

I knew I was supposed to marry Logan. We started dating in high school, so we knew each other really well and had plenty of time to discern correctly – including a long period in college that we weren't together. By the time we got back together, we knew it was with the intention of getting married, so Logan proposed less than 7 months later.

Even though I know that Logan and I were meant to be together, I was not prepared to feel the complete opposite. You don't really plan to get married and then at some point wonder why you even got married in the first place.

I know some people – a lot of people, even – don't experience this. Some couples just always have a great relationship and never once doubt whether they made the right decision in marrying their spouse.

But for those of us who have doubted, let me tell you that you are not alone.

Logan and I have been married for almost 6 ½ years, and this past year we've finally gotten to a point where I can honestly say we are happily married. It might sound harsh, but for most of our marriage, it felt like a constant battle. With very different temperaments and very different love languages, Logan and I both felt unloved. He loves being around other people and thrives on physical touch and words of affirmation. I desperately need alone time and feel loved most by acts of service.

Add to that the trials of pregnancy loss, sub-fertility, high-risk pregnancies, and everything else. Needless to say, it's been quite a learning curve. But now we are (mostly) thriving! (Full disclosure: we still our have bad days. Lots of them, actually. That's what happens when 2 stubborn people get married. But overall, we are happy!)

So what do you do when you're stuck in a rut in your marriage? Maybe your husband never pulls his weight around the house and expects you to do everything – even when you already have too much on your plate. Maybe you realize that you're nagging at your husband too much but feel like it's the only way to get through to him. Maybe you feel like you're never on the same page as your spouse but can't figure out how to remedy it. Maybe you're just too dang tired to put any more effort into your marriage because it all feels useless anyway.
So what do you do?

The obvious answer is to pray. That should always be our first reaction – go to God with our troubles and trust that He will take care of them.

But that's not all. Yes, God wants us to have a great marriage, but we also have to work for it. God will give us the graces to do that if we just ask.

The main thing I've realized, when Logan and I are in a cycle of hurting each other (either intentionally or unintentionally) is that someone has to break the cycle. Logan and I can make sarcastic remarks to each other all day, every day, until one of us decides to cut the crap, apologize, and be willing to make things better.

But what if you always feel like you're being the “better person”? What then?

I hate to be blunt, but...sometimes we think we're being the better person when we're really not. And this is coming from personal experience...

I thought that Logan was always the one causing problems. He always procrastinated and never did what I (politely) asked him to do. I thought that “if only” he would help out around the house more, was more motivated about getting things done, etc. that things would be much better.

What's that verse about seeing the splinter in someone else's eye and not seeing the beam in your own eye? (Just looked it up. Matthew 7:3-5.) Yeah. That was me, alright. It was much easier to blame Logan for everything than it was to actually work on my shortcomings. To think about how I wasn't giving Logan the love and attention he deserves. To admit that I didn't have my crap together when it came to my prayer life and housework.

I know I'm not an expert so I'm not going to “offer advice.” But these next 3 things are what I remind myself of often! Maybe it will help someone else who is struggling in their marriage.
  1. Focus on fixing yourself. You can't change anybody else. (We can try, but it won't work!)
  2. Instead of thinking about everything you wish was different about your spouse, think of the good things. And don't tell me there isn't anything! You did get married for a reason. (Logan may not be able to renovate our kitchen but MAN he sure is creative, fun, has a great sense of humor, and likes to surprise me by cleaning the house sometimes.)
  3. It will get better. It might get worse first, but there's always hope. Keep praying, keep making yourself better, and keeping loving your spouse no matter what.
"Only by returning to the God who is love can men and women learn to love one another rightly." - Christopher West

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sometimes the hardest things are the most rewarding

It started all when I was pregnant with Chase.

Are you done after this? Do you plan on having more?

And then when I found out Chase was indeed another boy, it started again...

So are you going to try for a girl?

Well, ain't that something. People just assumed that we were done once we had two kids...except now they were both boys. So surely we would try again only because we wanted a girl, right? Everybody wants one of each.

First off, let me let you in on a secret (except it's not a secret): I would totally love having all boys. Honestly. Being a "boy mom" is so much fun. (I know I might change my tune once they're teenagers, but for now, it's awesome. Physically exhausting sometimes but awesome.) Logan really wants a girl but of course he'd totally be fine with another boy.

So why would we try to get pregnant again? We have two awesome kids, they play well together, they both sleep through the night, I finally have my crap together, and....well...life is good. Another high-risk pregnancy and then a newborn would mess that up. Allllll up. Why in the world would we do that to ourselves?

It's really simple actually: we love kids. We really do. Even though we go through hell for 9 months, then we don't sleep for months, and life is pretty crazy until their first birthday (give or take a few months, depending on the baby), we love it. And we don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

I know some people don't agree with that, and it's fine. Really, I get it. It would be easy to just call it quits right now. I'd be lying if I said it hasn't crossed my mind.

But it wouldn't be easy to think about what we could be missing out on. We'd get less sleep, have less money, yes...but more importantly, we'd have more fun and more love. Man, how we love our children, we love how they love each other, and we really hope we are blessed with more. I'm so thankful for my older brother and my twin sister, and I know my life is so much better because of them. I hope Landon and Chase feel the same way one day (although I'm pretty sure they would say that now!).

I also can't help but think that the whole childbearing/childrearing thing is making me holier (or at least giving me plenty opportunities to strive for holiness). Of course I still have my selfish and sarcastic moments, and I still struggle with pride - as well as countless other weaknesses of mine - but I know I'm much less selfish and prideful because of my kids. Not only do they provide you with more than enough opportunities to grow in virtue, you can't help but want to be better because of them.

Sometimes the hardest things in life are the most rewarding. The sacrifices involved in having another baby (or several) are completely worth it.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Get your crap together

So much is said about how moms need to take time for themselves, do things they love, and just make sure they're taking periods of rest amidst all of the craziness of life with small children. And oh yeah, make sure you go on dates with your hubby and keep the romance alive.

I always understood why we needed to do that - to prevent burnout - and that it's important to have a life outside of all your motherly duties - since one day your kids won't be living in your house anymore. But how, I wondered, HOW IN THE WORLD do we make the time to do all of those things??

Well. I am now at the point where I'm actually reading more, getting back to crocheting again, baking from scratch more, AND I feel like Logan and I spend plenty of quality time together. And it's not because I'm less busy....far from it. I'm currently teaching CCD once a week, in charge of a major silent auction, in a volunteer committee at church, helping plan a baby shower, and part of a playgroup (and kind of halfway in charge of it)....while taking care of 2 small boys, one of which has finally started walking and is into all.the.things. So what's the difference, you ask?

Pardon my french, but....I actually have my crap together for once.

Yes, I still have days where all hell breaks loose and I feel like I'm gasping for air by the time 6pm rolls around. And yes, there are some days where dishes stay in my sink all day or I don't actually put away all of the clean and folded laundry. Tis' life, sometimes.

But for the most part, I feel generally on top of things and not as overwhelmed as I used to feel. I started seeing a glimpse of that once I started decluttering like crazy, finding a place for everything, and just getting rid of everything that was more stressful than serving a purpose.

I should also say that making prayer a priority is a huuuuuge factor as well. Somehow, if I make time to pray, God helps me to do whatever else I need to do that day. Because He loves us like that.

It's good to make goals and want to do all.the.things....but you also have to set yourself up for success. I can say all I want that I want to write a book and open an Etsy shop, but if I can't even stay on top of housework and my other obligations, there's no way I'll ever achieve those goals. Ya feel me?
Gratuitous pic of a walking boy who needs a haircut
So, what do I suggest? Where do you start? How do you get your crap (ahem) together? (This is what worked for me. Take what you will and leave the rest, mmkay? I'm not an expert. We're all in this together.)

  1.  Pray pray pray. Don't make excuses. Just do it!
  2. Declutter. Get rid of crap! You don't need it! This may take weeks - or months.
  3. Once you think you've decluttered enough, you'll notice even more that you could purge. Get to the point where you can keep things tidy without much work. Again...it might take weeks. We have a lot of crap.
  4. Focus on one habit at a time - start with the one that makes you feel great about life. For me, it was an empty sink. So I stayed on top of the dishes. Took weeks for me to grasp it, but it's finally stuck!
  5. Start taking some time to do something you love. I chose to read. Once those dishes are done and the kids are sleeping/occupied, take a few minutes to sit and indulge in a book. 5 minutes is all it takes.
  6. Add another habit to maintain (while keeping on top of the first one). The next one for me was laundry - one load a day, all cleaned, folded, and put away. Don't start another load unless the first one is done. Trust me on this.
  7. Add another "hobby" to your "me" time. I started crocheting again. Making pretty things makes me happy.
  8. repeat 6 and 7

I suppose it all really started at the very beginning of 2015 when I realized I needed to change my attitude about prayer. And then the decluttering commenced. Now, as we're in the last quarter of the year, I'm finally feeling like I get it. It's possible to be on top of things, even with small children. It doesn't happen overnight, that's for sure. But God blesses our efforts! Praise Him for that.

Of course there are seasons in life that we need to give ourselves even more grace than usual - pregnancy, newborn phase, or illness - and I have yet to put this all into practice during one of those seasons. BUT I really think that if we stick to the basics, we will be just fine. Let's hope so, anyway. ;)

"God provides for all the temporal needs of His creatures without even waiting until they ask Him for them, and He grants spiritual gifts to those who desire them." - Saint Thomas Aquinas

Friday, October 9, 2015

Robots, adventures, and memes by Logan (7QT)

1. Link-toberfest
Thank goodness for 7QT, because otherwise I don't know if I would have blogged this week. The question of the week is "How many 7QT posts have you written?" This is #33 for me. Go check out all the other 7QT posts, by the way! Thanks to Kelly for hosting!

2. Family Adventures
It's still been SO HOT in Louisiana, but earlier this week it actually felt a tad bit cooler. So obviously we needed to make a fire.
And then we went to a park another day. Because life is just better when you get some fresh air! (But seriously, it's still SO HOT. Why can't snowball stands stay open year-round??)



3. What I'm Reading
  • The Secret to Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen - a few of my friends are going crazy reading all.the.books by Julie Klassen, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and read this one. I liked it!
  • Holy Sex! A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving by Gregory Popcak - should I not admit I'm reading a sex book? Oh well. I think the title is misleading anyway. I'm only 4 chapters in so I don't have much of an opinion yet...but I will say it's already making me look at how our daily lives can reflect our sex life. I guess I should stop saying the word sex now.
4. The boys
Are these hats too girly? Landon requested a red one (I've been crocheting more again! So nice!) so I decided to make Chase a coordinating one too...and they both just love them. It's pretty cute. 
So maybe it doesn't matter as long as they like them, right?
Landon finished up his session of soccer (well, it was supposed to be multi-sport but ended up being mostly soccer). And this kid is just so dang goofy and was totally the class clown. Just like his daddy.

5. Links I Loved
6. What happens when you leave Logan in charge

Lindsey (sis-in-law) and I had a meeting to go to during lunch one day, so we left Logan in charge of 5 kids (Linds took one twin with us). Max (7yo) was SO excited about Uncle Logan babysitting....and now I know why. Because who else would build robots and shields out of boxes?

7. Memes by Logan
Logan was all into DubSmash for awhile making some HILARIOUS videos. And now he's making memes. Never a dull moment with this guy.
 Well, if this doesn't make it obvious he's got a sanguine temperament...somehow he feels so left out when I'm texting my friends.
Maybe I should make this a weekly thing. Because you can never have too many memes. (Kidding. Kind of.)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Because my brain is mush (7QT)

1. Lots of fellow bloggers are committing to 31 days of blog posts in the month of October, and while it seems fun....it ain't happenin' in these parts. I feel like my brain is maxed out at the moment. Perhaps that's all the more reason why I should blog it out....but no. Can't commit to something else right now. Maybe another month?? (Why is it always in October???)

2. I'm in the midst of planning a large silent auction for Woman's New Life Center in the New Orleans area. I have every intention of dedicating a separate blog post for that! But see #1. Just in case I don't get to posting that, do any business owners want to donate to the auction? Hmm? I would love you forever. And you'll be saving babies. Email me!! Or comment and I will email you :)

3. Chase (who will be 15 months next week) is taking his grand ol' time walking. He took his first steps a month ago but decided that was enough. Until this week! He started taking even more steps. But his lazy (but cute) self still won't commit to walking. Sigh. My arms are SO READY.

4. Landon is just loving his little sports class we go to weekly. He says his favorite sport is t-ball, BUT he is pretty dang good at soccer. So I'm still holding out hope that he will be a soccer fanatic like his momma! ;)

5. I made this a couple nights ago. Logan must underestimate me because he was impressed! And I'm pretty proud too, considering it's my first piece of jewelry ever. (It's a decade rosary bracelet, if that's not obvious.) If you don't like it, just don't tell me, mmkay? Thanks.

6. I've really been working on keeping up with the housework, since I'm doing lots of volunteer work at the moment and just somehow involved in too much. (I don't get it. I'm really trying to simplify!!) The first thing I focused on was the dishes - keeping my sink empty as much as possible. I felt pretty confident in that one after several weeks (habits take awhile, yo), and have moved on to laundry. One load a day! And that's it! Seriously, I'll admit that some days the rest of my house is an absolute disaster but keeping up with dishes and laundry makes everything so much better.

7. Just gotta take a minute (cue sappy music) and say how much I appreciate this man right here. And I'm so thankful that God has given us the graces to grow closer together when life gets tough. I wouldn't want to spend my life with anyone else!

Go check out more quick takes at Kelly's. And link up! There's a big party going on over there this month!

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