"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

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Pictures

Man, why did I stop doing these? It was so fun to look back and remember everything that happened. I tried to just pick one picture per month but of course some months had SO MANY THINGS happen and there was no way to just pick one. So, briefest of brief recaps accompany each month's picture(s). (Okay, now I'm realizing why I stopped doing them...THEY TAKE FOREVER. Just found unfinished posts from 2014 and 2015 in the deep abyss of my drafts folder. Hahaaaaa.)

January

I was pregnant, helped host Lauren's baby shower, and I just couldn't get healthy (morning sickness, cold, pink eye...fun times).
I think I was around 14 weeks in this picture, getting the cerclage placed. And I really would be totally okay if I never had to do that again.

February

I opened an Etsy shop (which is still on vacation LOL #thirdbaby), Logan's godson was baptized, Mardi Gras, our gender reveal, just to name a few.
 We found out we were having another BOY!
I mean, this one was too cute not to include. Right?

March

Logan and I went on our second marriage retreat! I highly recommend it.
We decided our baby in utero would be called Aaron Joseph, so obviously we had to celebrate on St. Joseph's feast day.
Easter!

April

We took professional pictures for the first time in almost 3 years and had fun at the Woman's New Life Center's annual 5k fundraiser.




Our team raised the most money!

May

Landon finished another session of SoccerTots, Chase had eye surgery, and Logan turned 30!

(We just had his follow-up in November and all looks good so far so hopefully he won't need another surgery!)


June

This was one of our biggest months! Landon turned 4, we went on our mini vaca, Landon and Chase had a joint birthday party, and Aaron was born!
 I was 35 weeks pregnant, hiding under an umbrella and drinking lemonade.
Cowabunga dudes!
Why does this feel like forever ago??

July

This was another big month. Chase turned 2 years old, Aaron was baptized, my grandmother (MoMo) passed away, our godson was baptized, Lauren and her family visited, and I turned 30! Plus there was the whole adjusting-as-a-family-of-5 thing.

 This might be one of my favorite pictures of all time. Welcome to the Church, Aaron!
Rest in peace, MoMo!

And this is where I stop recapping everything because daaaaang this is taking too long.

August


September


Landon started preschool!

October

Boo at the Zoo
Annual pumpkin patch visit
All Saints celebration/Trunk or treat at church

November


Our Christmas card picture session via self-timer (#budget)

December


Whew, major fist bump if you made it this far. Happy New Year's Eve!
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Still Christmas


Day 5 of Christmas y'all!

12 Days of Christmas

We've gotten better over the years about still celebrating Christmas, but mannnn it's hard when the rest of the world is like totally over it already. Ugh. I had actually written a separate post about our 12 day plans and never posted it because professional blogger I am not. But hey! Maybe it's a good thing because the only thing we've done so far is hit up a lights display that also had fake snow and a carousel to ride. We do have big, BIG plans though to decorate a gingerbread house, do this Nativity craft I bought on clearance, and read lots of Christmas books (okay, okay, we don't have lots...but I did buy 2 "new" ones from the library for 50 cents! hollerrr), and have our annual party with friends.

Seven years today 

Today marks 7 years since Levi went to Heaven. How is that possible? Some days I can hardly believe we have 3 more boys now because it still feels like yesterday that I was in the hospital with Levi. It's crazy, though, how I consider him one of my biggest blessings now. (Heck, he's the reason I started this here blog!) Please pray for us, Levi! We love you so much.

Birthday? Remembrance day?

One thing I have always struggled with is what to call today. For some reason I've always felt weird saying it's Levi's birthday, because it was a stillbirth. But I also feel weird just saying "Levi's day." What do y'all think? Should I just get over it and say it's his birthday? Pregnancy loss can be so complicated sometimes. (I know I probably sound ridiculous talking about this SEVEN YEARS LATER.)

Bikes!

We asked Logan's parents to buy Landon and Chase bikes for Christmas and they generously agreed!


Landon has totally got the hang of it now and sadly Chase is too short to reach his pedals but still loves his trike. And check out those helmets!

Writing space

YOU GUYS. Logan is the best gift giver! Look at this picture (from before we moved in) of a little nook in our bedroom - between the closets.
We've put different things there over the past few years, including my vanity, a pack'n'play, and more recently, my dresser. But Logan decided to revamp it as my Christmas present...
...into my very own writing space!! That opens into a little desk. Seriously one of the most thoughtful gifts ever and could probably double as a prayer space (which is what I thought it was when he first showed me). Now if only I could get the chance to use it! (As I sit at the kitchen table, typing with one hand, holding a nursing baby with the other while the big boys watch a video about St. Juan Diego in the next room.)

Mini vacation

Logan was able to take off a few days so we could spend Christmas at my parents' house, which is always really nice because they serve yummy food and live in a beautiful neighborhood and it just really feels like a mini vacation. Logan works pretty much every holiday that we stay home for so it was REALLY nice to have 5 straight days with him.
Landon looks mad but he was just being goofy!

The elf pajamas, y'all.

Baby's 1st Christmas

Now let me please bombard you with cute baby pictures since it was Aaron's first Christmas.
The only thing we got him was a teething rosary from Chews Life and he loves loves loves it.



His new friends ;)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas!
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Visitors, fried eggs, and flip flops in December (7QT)

1. We had visitors this weekend! We went to vigil Mass so the lighting isn't the greatest. Mass also involved a diaper blowout (right before, thankfully, and explains Aaron's casual onesie - and he had looked so cute! boo), lots of spit-up and passing around of the 3 younger boys. But we survived! 4 boys, age 4 and under is no joke. Linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best! I'm wearing a Nicole dress from LuLaRoe. I may or may not have a few of them...
Lauren and her little family are always a joy to have over and I'm thrilled that they're now only a couple hours away. We will be making these visits a regular occurrence. It's so fun seeing the boys all play together!


2. I've been getting rid of most of our baby clothes as Aaron outgrows them and even getting rid of some before I put them on him. After Landon and Chase, I did not feel inclined to get rid of much, and it totally worked out since we kept having summer babies...and all boys. But now I'm like AWAY WITH ALL THE THINGS. And it's pretty freeing. (Totally not saying we won't have another baby. I just don't think we'll need many clothes if we do have another one, and consignment stores are great for that.)


3. Fried eggs are my new fave thing to eat, especially now that I'm avoiding milk and cheese. I'm weird and have to have the yolks cooked completely, which might defeat the purpose of fried eggs, but oh well. Fried eggs for breakast, lunch, dinner, mid-morning snack. Whenever! Fried eggs on hamburgers. GIVE ME ALL THE FRIED EGGS. With avocado on top, thankyouverymuch.


4. Louisiana weather is so weird. We'll have a couple of days that require jackets and maybe scarves and then I'm back to wearing flip flops the next day. Followed by a day of cold weather. But I will admit that I totally love it. It is depressing though, to have Landon ask where the snow is and tell him that it doesn't get cold enough down here for that. (Last time was 8 years ago when Logan and I were engaged.)
December 2008, y'all. I haven't seen snow since.


5. Gahhh my baby is so cute. I know I say that all of the time. I don't care. He's cute! This week he started belly laughing and it's pretty much the greatest thing ever.


6a. Well, this picture perfectly displays Chase's goofiness. I don't understand how a human being can be so frustrating and destructive (oh, the stories I could tell) while simultaneously being freakin' adorable. Those dimples are his saving grace, I can assure you.
6b. Landon had his first school performance this week and did really well as the cutest camel ever. ;) He's growing up so fast these days and I'm kind of in denial that I'll have a kindergartener next year. Soon I won't want to post these kinds of pictures because of his possibly-embarassed future 14-year old self (sob) but maybe I'm just getting ahead of myself.


7. Well, the year is almost over and I haven't quite reached my (second) reading goal of 75 books. But I'm close! And there's still time! I plan on posting about my faves that I read this year which should make a really good list because man, I read some good ones.

I know I won't be able to read as much next year since Aaron will be crawling and walking and all so I'm still thinking about my goal next year. I just love books and am so glad I realized this past year that I can actually make time for reading. (The short answer: don't watch TV.)


Also linking up with Kelly. Go check out everyone else's posts!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Little graces just when we need them

If my last post wasn't any indication, I'm struggling a bit in this thing called life right now. And I really don't mean to sound like I'm complaining - I'm fully aware that I am so, so blessed. No major stuff going on. Just a lot a lot a lot of little stuff. So much so that there have been way too many moments where I can't decide whether I should laugh or cry.

As someone who has the tendency to get depressed (thanks, melancholic temperament), I've learned to look for the bright side in life. A lot of times I fail miserably at that, but heck, I'm trying. And what I'm realizing is that more often than not, God sends little graces (AKA gifts, consolations, take your pick) to make whatever life is hitting you with just a little more bearable.
While it certainly was not a joy to be woken up at 2am to the sound of my kid throwing up on our carpet, it only happened once and nobody else succumbed to that illness. 
While I've been dealing with a bad sinus infection, the day I felt the worst happened to be the day that Logan was off work so I was able to take a nap. 
While it was SO FRUSTRATING to get all of the boys ready to take Landon to school just to realize my van was completely dead (the day after Landon missed school already because of sickness), we ended up having a pleasant day at home - probably the most pleasant in a very long time.
So after realizing that while yes, there have been a lot of frustrations lately but that they've also been accompanied by positive things, it didn't come as much of a surprise to me (because God needs to reinforce things due to my stubbornness) when I was reading the First Reading today and realized it included one of my favorite verses:
"For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back." (Isaiah 54:7, NAB)
Sometimes it feels like God just lets us drown, so to speak, for a little while. And while he's not doing it to be cruel (actually just the opposite), it's hard. But I know that it's because of those difficult times that I'm able to realize when life is oh so very good. And it's also because I've seen how God has rescued me from those bad times that I'm able to see that he sends us little graces at the exact moment we need them.
"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul." (Psalm 94:19, NRSV)
Cute baby = big consolation

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Despite the best intentions

Advent is one of my favorite - if not my absolute favorite - times of the year. Maybe it's because for every single one of my 4 pregnancies, I was pregnant for all of Advent. For obvious reasons, it's much easier to get into the Advent spirit when you're carrying a precious baby in your womb just like Mary did.

When I was pregnant with Levi, we found out on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (today!!) that he was indeed a boy. And that was probably my favorite Advent ever - pregnant, with a boy, just like Mary was over 2000 years ago. Even if we didn't get to celebrate Christmas quite the way we were anticipating.

I really do have the best of intentions every single year to slow down, pray more, spend more time with my hubby and kiddos, and basically, just focus on Jesus, Mary, and the beauty our Church has to offer this time of year. Being pregnant really helps with that, especially because the last 3 times I've been in the throes of morning sickness (and with Landon I was on bedrest!).

This year, though, I feel like I'm failing big time - even though we don't have any major events going on like several of my friends (i.e. moving, pregnancy, etc.). I don't remember the last time I've been this behind on laundry, the baby and I are still holding on to a cold the big boys had last week, said baby is also cutting his first tooth, I think we've only done our Jesse Tree 3 days (despite starting it early), there's baby pee on my bed sheets (proof that he nursed alllll night....size 4 diaper couldn't even handle it) that will contribute to the worsening laundry situation, there's poop in the baby's carseat due to an unfortunate diaper blowout situation, and, um, I'm tired. So tired. Oh, and I also realized this morning we need to pack up all the 6-month clothes and bust out the rest of the 9-month ones because big boy keeps growing. As babies do (though why does it seem to happen overnight??).

Did I mention the laundry situation? Right.

Between the baby's endless nursing and the big boys waking up earlier and earlier, I'm finding my morning quiet/prayer time is being oh so limited too - despite the fact that I've been setting my alarm for months and even started setting it earlier. I'm really, really trying to slow down and create quiet space/alone time in my life. But still I'm finding myself praying Morning Prayer in bed as I nurse the baby, just to wake up and have approximately 30 seconds of journaling time before one of the other boys wakes up. Sigh. Life isn't exactly cooperating with me at the moment.

I can't even blame the holiday craziness on everything either- our Christmas cards went out last week, I have 95% of our presents done, and we did stockings on St. Nicholas Day so those are done too. Yet I found myself, on perhaps the coldest day in Louisiana this fall thus far (it's in the 40s! go ahead and laugh away you northerners), rolling up to preschool drop off this morning wearing a t-shirt, pajama pants, flip flops, and glasses, in lieu of real clothes and contacts. For the first time this year. What the heck is happening? (The kids were dressed, at least...)

Despite the best intentions, my Advent is not looking like I hoped it would. Sometimes you just can't plan around the craziness of life.

But perhaps it's what God planned for our little family this year. Because there is no doubt in my mind that all of these unplanned situations and frustrations - and the ridiculous lack of sleep going on in my house right now - is what has me clinging even more to the fact that Jesus is coming. We'll celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, yes, but He's coming too. It could be next year, next month, heck TOMORROW, and it won't matter how far behind I am on laundry or how much sleep I'm getting (or not).

What matters is that our souls are ready, our eyes are looking heavenward, and our hearts are at peace because we're resting in Him. And I'm going to keep making time for prayer and silence, no matter what life brings my way, because we don't know when Jesus is going to make his grand entrance. Gotta be ready.

We've got this. (Right?? I hope so.)
"Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, 
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand." 
-James 5: 7-8, NAB

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