I've been absent. So much going on. I've had a baby, I'm in training to receive my doula certification, and we are in RCIA officially and I'm terrified, yet relieved. Such is life. So I will just leave you with this sweetness for now...
Just wanted to drop in real quick to share a few Easter photos, and give a quick update on things happening around here. =o)
Will got to go to an Easter Egg hunt at church. Abby was with her AHG troop doing Trash Bash that morning, so it was just me and the little man having some one on one time!
He's a ham, and was very forgiving that Mommy forgot to bring his basket. He didn't even seem to mind. =o)
He loved the egg race they had! His team won, but he cried when they did because there were no more eggs to run across the room, haha!
On Good Friday we spent the morning at a local goat farm. It was a beautiful day! Adam was injured and couldn't join us, but we plan to go back in a couple weeks.
Will called this "MY goat". He loved her, and they were buddies for quite a while. She didn't mind him giving her all kinds of love. He was so happy.
We all got a turn to try and milk one of the goats. It was easier than I thought it would be! I even got it in the bucket before spraying myself. Abby did better than I did though. We have a natural goat milker on our hands.
Abby kept picking up the little babies. They were SO adorable! I think she is too.
This is the best shot I could get of the 2 of them together. They were both just running around and loving it so much it was hard to get them still at the same time!
We worked on some craft projects throughout the week. Here is Abby's Maundy Thursday activity. Will made one too. It looks the same, but more scribbly, haha.
This is Will's Palm Sunday branch he made with his handprints, and in front is Abby's Good Friday project she made of the cross.
And here are Abby's handprints, with Will's cross. I don't know why they got switched around, or why I even know which cross belongs to each child since they are practically identical...
Our family on Easter morning! Next year we will have another little guy in the photo with us.
Will hunting for eggs at the house after church on Easter Sunday. He got hot and tired pretty quickly and quit before all the eggs were found.
I just loved his little outfit!
And Abby just looked like a beautiful princess.
Hunting for eggs in the front yard. Excuse the landscaping... its a work in progress, lol.
Abby found the last of the eggs by herself since her brother quit on her. I think Daddy had to go out and help rescue the last egg that was missing though. Daddy hides the eggs REALLY well... TOO well
Hope you all had a blessed Holy Week and Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!!!
Wow, is it 23 weeks already? And is it ONLY 23 weeks? How can time during pregnancy go so quickly and so slowly at the same time? Although, I do think this is the "fastest" pregnancy I have had as far as time seeming to just fly by. I wonder if that is due to this being my 3rd ride on this roller coaster, or if its just because I'm older now, haha. Let's go with 3rd ride. I like the sound of that better than "older".
So am I ready for this baby yet? Nope. So I'm certainly glad that I still have many more weeks to go. I do have clothes for this little guy, and the cloth diapers are already ready. I decided this time around to make it easy on myself and cloth diaper at home, but use disposables outside of the house. I think this will be less stressful for me, but will still give us a big money savings. We have a few toys and things I have gotten out and cleaned that were Will's. I have a little baby shelf prepped with all the diaper stuffs and early toys. But... yah that's about it. Haha. I obviously have so much more to do. Like - buy a car seat! And I do want to get a pack and play this time around, but really there isn't much else we "need". I still have my lovely baby wrap that Will was in constantly for about 6-9 months. There are a couple other things that I WANT to have, but are not necessarily at all required. I'm sure I will get everything I need to get before Aaron decides to join us. Hopefully!
As far as how I am feeling and doing, its actually pretty incredible! I started some meds to get my depression issues in check during the pregnancy and before his arrival - and that seems to be going well after a short adjustment period. My PPD was so bad after Abby was born, that my doctor and I really have tried to reign things in and get in under control before Will was born, and now before Aaron too. But really I am feeling just wonderful! I don't think I have ever been this mobile during a pregnancy. So far I am still up and running around with no issues, no swelling (sometimes I feel like my feet are starting to swell, maybe some of you know that weird tingly feeling that hints it is going to happen... I dunno) but so far I've been able to keep it at bay by propping my feet up throughout the day and taking it easy when I feel it happening. I am measuring big - I always do, thanks big children... and I feel WAY bigger than all the other pregnant women I know who are due around the same time as me! No real pain, been able to sleep fairly well considering I am typically a tummy sleeper, and just going about our business. I still get nauseous occasionally, but it isn't so bad (I have never had nausea go on so long before!)
So that's about it. We're just hanging about and doing our thing. We had a stressful week last week, but that has all settled down and things are back to normal around here. Until this weekend when company arrives from Florida for a week - so we will see how that goes! The kids want to take our guest to the zoo, and I am sure she will want to go to some of the art museums around here. We're going to go to the antique shops nearby and just spend an afternoon having a yummy lunch and browsing around and hopefully enjoying some beautiful Spring weather while we are out. Looks to be a fun time!
Oh, and on a side note - I got the kids their Easter outfits from Zulily. Spent hardly anything, and they are going to look really fancy, haha. I guess I didn't realize how long and poofy that dress was from the picture... so Abby is going to look a bit royal, haha. And Will in his outfit looks like a little English gent. Its hilarious! I can't wait to share pictures in a couple weeks. =o)
This post is going to be pretty personal, which caught me off guard when I realized how close to my heart it truly hits. I had been thinking of posting about this topic for a while, as it was something that recently has been just hitting mine and Adam's hearts at the same time in the new area we live in... but until recently I didn't realize how truly connected I am and have been prepared for this cause. Its odd, because I don't really have any true experience with this issue, but so many things that have happened in my life are the same troubles that affect so many of the people who are in the position I am about to talk about. So please, I am going to ask that if you do choose to comment, be careful with my heart.
As you know, we have moved recently to a new part of town and are finally in a home of our own (albeit owned by my parents technically, but still "ours"). We have been so blessed and are so thankful to be here, we truly are. However, the area we live in is not considered "wealthy". We are near the edges of a couple very wealthy parts of the city, but we are a suburb of those I guess you could say! However, I wouldn't call our area particularly dangerous or anything either. Its fairly normal, but it is definitely more city like than we were accustomed to where we lived previously. Almost anytime you go somewhere, you will see a homeless person. Usually they are on the side of the road near stop lights asking for money or food, but you can often see them just wandering around, camped out off to the side of a street, or eating some cheap food in a parking lot.
It really breaks my heart, because some of these people are out there just because they can't find a job in this economy and one thing led to another and they ended up on the streets - which hits so close to home because when I was pregnant with Will, Adam lost his job unexpectedly, and was unable to find work for almost 6 months. If it had not been for unemployment, and both of our families giving us money to live off of every month, we would never have made it, and would have been homeless ourselves. But I know there are other homeless people out there, who are homeless because they aren't looking for a job, or can't hold one down. I know they suffer from mental disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, and it wounds me. I want to reach out to them even more and hug them - because I know what it is like. I myself have never been an alcoholic or drug user (let alone abuser). But, my dad has. And I do know what it is like to suffer from depression and other mental illness, which makes it impossible sometimes to just go about your daily life. On days when you can't even hardly drag yourself out of bed, and even if you are awake you are unproductive and your hours just disappear, it is impossible to hold down a job in that condition. All you want to do is run away and escape and hide in bed. It just all seems better alone and in bed, because everything else doesn't seem to matter anyway. Either that or it just hurts. My heart breaks and wants to reach out to these people who are suffering in their bodies, minds, and spirit. I know what it is like to cry out to God to be healed of these problems, or for Him to grant healing to someone you love and need in your life so desperately, and for that prayer to seemingly go unanswered.
But I have learned that all of the trials and hurts we all go through, all of our deepest struggles, will be turned from evil and pain into goodness for God's purposes. Someday we shall all come out of these struggles and God will be glorified when we see the wonderful healing and purpose behind all of these things. One day recently, after church, my little family had gone to lunch and were heading over to a gardening store to browse and grab a few things. As we passed a spot that I often see homeless people asking for food or money, I said to Adam that I felt like we needed to do something for them. I had heard before of the idea of making little bags filled with food, snacks, notes of encouragement, Bible verses or a Bible, bottled water, etc. to keep in the car and hand to homeless people as you pass by them in your vehicle. I brought this up to him, and he without hesitation said DO IT. He had been having the same thought in his mind recently that we needed to do something to show these people that we care.
So, our family has started our own little tiny ministry if you will. We have paper bags that we have filled with things, and we have a little plastic box in our car that we keep 3-4 bags in at all times, so that whenever we happen to pass someone, we are ready to show them the love of Christ. Our first bags were not perfect or what I ultimately want to give out, but they had water, and some snacks, and a little note in there with a Bible verse and letting them know that we had said a prayer for them. I don't tell you this because I want you the attention or pat on the back for doing something... but this has just been touching my heart SO much lately, and it is such a simple thing that can be done by any family in any place in this country. If you feel at all pulled towards these people, who are children of God and still in need of His and our love, I would ask that you consider doing this with your family as well. My children have benefited so much from making these bags as a family, and are always so excited to hand one out the window to someone in need and to tell them that God loves them. We are saved to do good works, we are called to love our neighbor, and we are called to serve the least of these.
As I give these bags out, and pray for each of these people we meet, I am reminded how if not by the grace of God, that could be me. That could be my Dad (thank God he is not homeless, although he and his family all struggle greatly day by day). That could be any of us, but by God's grace. I am more thankful for the things I do have, the people I have, the love and grace of God. I have no many struggles and personal sins to deal with and get over. Oh my they are so great! But I feel healing in this ministry. I feel hope and love and peace and goodness. And I pray that even just 1 soul is helped by a silly little bag I threw together in my kitchen, and that just 1 person out there is as blessed by it as I have been.
Well, we ended up sharing the baby's name with most everyone we know anyway (fail on us, guess we can't keep a secret, lol). So I might as well share it with everyone. ;o)
And the name is......
It took 14 weeks of debating, but we got there. I'm glad to be done with that part! Now to stock up on baby things... most of which we gave away after Will outgrew it since we didn't have room for storing it, and so many people we knew were in need at the time. I figure it will all flow back in somehow as we need it. God always seems to have it worked out just fine.
Hooray! I got my camera and computer to speak. Apparently a video on my camera was causing problems because it was corrupt or something, so I had to delete it. So sad! At least my pictures are all ok. So here we go!
On Valentine's Day we made some sprinkled pink cupcakes! Abby loves to bake, and did great!
I was brave and even let Will help put icing on a few of them. He was our master sprinkler though.
Here are a few of our goodies from that day.
Yum! They turned out great!
Our new internet provider came out to install that day, so we shared a cupcake with him. The kids were so happy to do so, and I think the guy was a little bit excited to get a cupcake too, haha!
Will turned 3! This is him at his family birthday party - and we still had 27 people in the house.
Will was SO excited to get this slide for the backyard! We are so glad he enjoys it. Small enough not to scare Mommy, big enough that it will get used for years to come still. I HIGHLY recommend this slide if you are looking for a good one for the backyard.
And here is me! I am about 18 weeks along in this photo, at 20 weeks now, but me and baby are both measuring at over 21 weeks! Guess I get to have another big baby this time around.
Oh, and we found today that...
It's a BOY!
Name is all picked out, but I don't know if we are ready to share. I will keep you posted. =o)
p.s. Forgot to add, baby looks great and healthy! Only thing is there is an echocardiac focus in the heart (basically a little calcium deposit in the heart). Some of you may remember that Will also had this and we knew about before he was born. This baby seems to only have 1 spot, whereas Will had many. Basically, what this means is absolutely nothing. Babies with down syndrome have the deposits more often than babies who do not, but just because a baby does have the deposit does not mean down syndrome is indicated. From all other indicators and measurements, our baby does not appear to have down syndrome. Of course, we are praying for a healthy baby and that indeed the deposit means nothing as it did in Will's case (and Will's case was much more concerning, because there were so many of the deposits), but even if our little one is indeed born with down syndrome, we would be equally thrilled with this sweet life God has entrusted to us.
Well, I have been WANTING to post some pictures and whatnot, but my camera and computer do not want to communicate with each other properly! It is very frustrating. So many pictures to share, and the inability to do so. Hopefully soon I can get them cooperating again.
In other new - tomorrow we find out the gender of this new little baby! I am SO excited and can't wait!!! We even have names picked out, for either gender, so we can start calling baby by name right away too. =o) We might decide to share. I don't know. Only if you all promise to pretend to love the names no matter what. Haha! Any guesses? Ellen, you already know so you can't guess!
And as a side note, we got wings for dinner tonight. Yum! Although, this preggo is having spicy food issues. Its like hormones or something have magnified my mouth and skin reaction to spiciness, and its very difficult. I still eat it anyway, cause I just love spicy things oh so very much.
AND, my bedroom is clean. Even the closet. It feels so good to have it back to ...clean. I was going to say normal, but yah, clean is probably not the normal in this room. It seems to be the catch all shut the door and hide it all away room. So its nice to have it back to what I WISH was normal.
Oh, and we got Abby her own cell phone and line. I feel crazy and said I would never get her one so young. But, she is the oldest, and I often send her in little gas stations real quick to grab things, and she runs over to friends houses to play now (ones that we know and approve of) and we just feel safer with her having a phone. Plus if we need her to come home right quick, we can just get her on her phone or send her a note, rather than having to dig out so and so's number or go down to fetch her. She only has approved numbers programmed in her phone, and she has tons of rules with it, but I do have to admit that I feel safer with her having it for me to contact her, or for if something goes wrong for her to reach me really quick from wherever she is. Plus - I am paranoid about kidnappers. I'm sure its growing up just seeing all the stuff in the news and the tv shows about it...but I am. So her phone has family "tracking" on it, and wherever her phone is, I can locate her. If anything horrible ever did happen and she was in some kind of danger, then hopefully she would be able to keep the phone on her person somehow or atleast near her location, so we could find her. I know that's probably so ridiculous sounding... but it comforts me. I worry far too much, obviously...
This blog is going to be my mostly personal blog - family stuffs, my personal thoughts, etc. But the other blog is going to try to be a more professional and useful blog, lol. Hope you enjoy it! As I mentioned, its barely there, but its there. =o) I'm even on twitter over there! You should really check it out!
Today my William is 3 years old! I can hardly believe it! I feel like we were just driving home from the hospital with him looking so tiny in his little car seat, and now he is 3. Sheesh. Where does the time go? I love that feeling, of feeling like Will has always been in our family. It doesn't feel like he has ever not been around. He is so wonderful and funny, and just brings such joy (and chaos) to my days. Oh but how boring our days would be without him! He has been so different than Abby was, and it to has been so funny to me as I watch him grow and see how his personality develops and who he is, and how different these little people really are. Will has brought a whole new set of parenting dilemmas, and just a whole new dynamic to our entire family. Even though some days we are all just holding our breath waiting for Will's next adventure, I think everyone in our family agrees that we are all, and the world, is so much better having this little man in it. I am sure all parents feel this way, but I really wish you all could really get to know my sweet Will as we do. Oh he is certainly mischievous, but the happiness he just radiates, the compassion he has for those around him, the cuddles he craves are just so miraculous. We have been so blessed with our William. Happy birthday baby Will, we all love you so very much!
I think I have a Zulily problem...
But, I have finished shopping for Abby's nice Spring and Summer wardrobe (except shoes). And I have her and Will's Easter outfits (for a steal!). I've also already got their swim stuff for summer - and I saved a TON on Zulily with that. We always do the swim shirts and shorts for sun safety and modesty purposes, and I usually spend $30-$50 easily on each swim suit because of this - not this year though! I was very excited to get that bargain. The only thing I need to worry about now is their play clothes and their feet being shod appropriately, plus a couple things for Will. Oh, and I guess baby clothes too, once I know what to buy, haha.
We're going minimalistic with the clothes this season, and I think its going to be great. Great for saving money, great for buying better quality and less quantity, and great for my laundry room which is constantly overflowing!
Anyone know where to get some cute boy clothes though, for a good price? I need a couple cute weekend/going out outfits for Will, but Zulily hasn't had anything that was reasonably priced for boys, I thought. Tons of girls stuff! But the boy stuff was just eh.
Doctor's appointment was yesterday - and everything is basically perfectly perfect. I am textbook apparently - which is good! My OB is now doing the ultrasound appointments differently though - so instead of getting my orders and scheduling my own at the hospital, she goes through a certain doctor and I have to wait for them to contact me and set up an appointment. Super boo! This means I am probably going to have to wait a bit longer than I had thought to go in and find out boy/girl. Oh well. Isn't that what pregnancy is - 9 months of waiting? If you're lucky. I know some people who have gone on for quite a bit longer. I am so impressed by them! I don't think I have the mental capacity to hang on, maybe that's why mine always come a few days before the due date! So anyway, now I'm just waiting. And that's about it. But the appointment went well and all is going exactly as it should, so I'm a happy camper. =o)
I read this on a forum I stumbled across ,and am now quite curious who Fr. Sophrony is. =o)
As Fr. Sophrony instructed Fr. Seraphim, "Read only that which inspires you to prayer." So it is with everything. Dress in a manner that inspires you to prayer. Speak in a manner which inspires you to prayer. Watch only that which inspires you to prayer.
I used to wear skirts the majority of the time. And I've gone through phases in which I wear skirts, then stop, then get back into it, just back and forth. I'm at a point, where I am about to start wearing them again. Lately, particularly at church, I have found myself having to pull up my pants, been worried when leaning over that the pants might slip too low despite wearing long covering camis, been worried about them being too tight on my hiney and showing the panty line or whatnot, and that this might be a problem for some people, and that I didn't want to have that appearance. Not that I am at all thinking my amazing beauty or feminine loveliness is going to be a grand distraction or something, haha, but I feel like it is disrespectful to my husband, to myself, as an example to my children, I could go on. So, I think I need to recheck myself and my wardrobe yet again, and see what changes can be made to better reflect my faith and beliefs. Am I separating myself from wordly things, or am I letting my wardrobe become very wordly and am I not paying attention to the negative things I may have let in? Time to re-evaluate.
We are in the process of slowly switching over to a more Charlotte Mason approach to our little school. I've found we typically end up just reading books and dreading doing most of our workbook and traditional textbook work anyway. So I've been reading up on it a ton, looking at a thousand websites it seems like, but we've slowly started to get it figured out.
What I am doing to start, is adding in a day of nature study and switching from our traditional handwriting/penmanship curriculum to a copywork book. We are also taking out a few subjects that I have come to find basically pointless for us right now. We have already made the switch to a new math curriculum - which isn't Charlotte Mason per se, but is much different than a traditional textbook approach to the subject. And as we slowly start getting new materials trickling in, we will begin switching out those subjects one at a time with our new materials, until we have completely made the adjustment.
Although it took me quite a while to look into the method and decide what basic "outline" we wanted to follow, I can see that once the original "stuff" is all ironed out, its actually going to be much simpler to stay on target, on schedule, and just covering the material in general. Its already looking to be a lot less work on a regular basis than what we were doing previously, and it will be much more flexible with scheduling when unexpected sick or sanity days pop up.
There are a ton of online resources out there, but the most helpful and comprehensive I have found would be Ambleside and Simply Charlotte Mason. I prefer Simply Charlotte Mason, mostly because it is much less intensive reading I think, and for my reluctant reader and with a new baby on the way, looks much more doable. I especially like that many subjects are already laid out for you to do as a family, whereas Ambleside has a year by year approach. While I do prefer that "in my mind", I know that realistically it would not be feasible with the way our family dynamic is right now. Also, Simply Charlotte Mason website has many videos and free ebooks available to help you get started, and some items also available for purchase if you feel the need to add those into your lessons or would like the extra support those items have to offer. I myself am ordering a few things to help get us started!
Even still, we aren't following the scheduling completely - I doubt anyone fully does! Every family will have to adjust things. For example, we are not starting with ancient history. We've tried to do ancient history for years, and we end up just failing at it, haha. And now that Abby will be entering 4th grade, I really feel uncomfortable with her not having more knowledge of American history. So we will be doing basic American History for a year, and then jumping back into a more chronological approach to History following that. Although I may take a bit of time at some point to do a brief study of Texas history as well before we move back into the chronological world history. I have time to make that decision though! Also, I think this is all going to be much easier for Adam and Abby to keep up with when the baby is born.
Speaking of the baby - I go in next Tuesday for another appointment. I really love my OB, so I'm very happy with the decision we ended up making in regards to the prenatal care. I am still concerned about the hospital, but the further along I get in the pregnancy, the less important that really seems to be. I think the Lord is just really giving me some peace now with this pregnancy, as there is so much other stuff on our plate right now. I do worry sometimes, just because I haven't felt movement yet (I did very early with Abby and Will), even though I know that this would be very early to feel movement anyway! And my belly is growing by the minute it seems, so I know everything is just fine! BUT, anyway, on Tuesday I should be getting my ultrasound orders, and from past experience they can get me in for the ultrasound appointment within a matter of just a few days typically, so we should know by end of next week if we have a little boy or girl! Well, if we receive cooperation of course! We are having naming difficulties, and I know that once we know the gender, it will help us to focus in and eliminate some of our arguing! Haha! Any suggestions are welcome, cause we've got practically nothing we can agree on at this point. I've also decided not to share the names we decide on, because recently when discussing a name I liked very much with Adam's family, they were so critical and rude about it, I just decided I was done with that! I don't want to hear that stuff this pregnancy. Right now I'm so at peace and comfortable with the pregnancy, I don't want to let in added things like that which are just unnecessary and will end up upsetting this senstive pregnant woman!
My Abby girl, is a perfection-ista. (Yes. I made up a word.) She is the absolute definition of a perfectionist, but with a much higher level of drama and flair than I have ever encountered before. So this is her new dubbing.
I struggle quite a bit with schooling her for several reasons.
1- I am a perfectionista too. And we feed each other. Somedays, its insane.
2- Because I don't know how to handle my own tendencies with much grace, its difficult to help her do it too.
3- I have an almost 3 year old son running around. Although, I guess I can't blame Abby for that, haha.
But today I stumbled across this blog post, and I think I see hope. I suggest you read it if you have a child who struggles with not "getting" it on the first try, or who won't try things they don't think they can do, or who breaks down in uncontrollable tears with any little failure. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. You just aren't there, yet.
I stumbled across the other day in a curriculum search, an Orthodox Charlotte Mason curriculum that used a book called "The Prologue of Ohrid". I thought I would look into it on Amazon, and was a bit shocked at the very high price (especially considering its in 2 volumes!). I may have found it online though - although I'm not sure if its exactly the same as the book or if its just a portion. But I have begun reading the daily readings, just because I find it to be so fascinating to read about the saints, and the daily readings also include some poignant reflections and contemplations.
This is the contemplation that I read today, and I found it very hopeful and encouraging. Maybe some else will too.
To contemplate the Lord Jesus as the Cornerstone:
1. As the Cornerstone in building personal character;
2. As the Cornerstone in building the family and a nation;
3. As the Cornerstone of every good intentioned social transformation and inspiration of mankind.
Shame on you Komen. Shame. You had gained so much support from so many - talk about bending to political pressure. I'm sad about your decision - and very upset because I'm sure a lot of prolife people donated money the last couple of days, and will now be unable to get that back. I'm glad I held off on sending funds your way.
Lesson learned - support your local charity groups, or those run by the church.
SERIOUSLY?!?!?! Oh how long I have prayed and hoped for this! And according to this article, it certainly seems that Komen is changing their tune - and it seems a lot of people aren't very happy about it.
I on the other hand, am absolutely thrilled! I have often received quite a lot of flack, even from fellow Christians, for not supporting Komen because of the Planned Parenthood link. I was told I was "going too far", that the money only goes to screenings not to the abortion services so its not a big deal, etc. My opinion (and I also feel the facts of Planned Parenthood's financial practices) were different than those claims. I feel this is a great step for Komen to make! They can fund different local groups that offer the same breast cancer screenings to low income or in need individuals (without the added abortion facilities involved), and still be serving those in need and meeting their mission. It also makes it so much easier for people who strongly defend the prolife cause, to be able to donate or get involved with the organization.
Can we all just say, "yay!"
Although, I really wish people would stop saying its "politically motivated" and a politics issue. Yah, cause people killing babies is all about politics, and not about life and death and murder. Ya know.
I REALLY need to get back into a better prayer routine, and just a routine in general, because I have really been noticing lately that while I am doing marvelously with my intellectual understanding of faith (as much as we can as creations even begin to fathom God - everyday I realize more and more how truly mysterious and miraculous God is, and that when I try to put Him into a box that our minds can fully comprehend, that I am diminishing so much of Who God is, but I digress...), I am absolutely neglecting the more spiritual and important aspects of my faith in prayer and presence of God (and in my household routines).
I want to at least at this point, get back into a regular morning and evening prayer time. I was able to do it this morning, but with much difficulty. I know that at first it will be difficult, not only because it is a habit that I must get back into and is hard for my undisciplined self to stick with, but because I know there are forces at work that would try to prevent me.
And yet I know that my whole life, I will struggle and I will never be where I truly ought to be, and that feeling of where I am and how far I truly am from where I should be, is going to always be the case, although hopefully it will become smaller as I grow in age, in faith, and in my journey to become like Christ. Father said on Sunday, that if we find ourselves in a place where we do not feel we need to grow, to change, to become more like God, where we are complacent and think we have done enough and have become enough, then we are in danger, and we are no longer reaching towards God.
At least I know for now, I do not feel that way, and I can't imagine ever feeling that way. I know I have so much to do, and there is so much I beg God to change in my heart. Oh I need it broken and softened and molded so differently. I plead with God to soften it towards the people of this world. As I have grown into the person I am now, the times without God have allowed my heart to become shriveled and tough and turned away from so many things that should stir it. I know we all have those wounds and etchings upon ourselves and our hearts that leave us not only scarred, but leave small pieces of our hearts that we will not share with others or with God. I am afraid to give Him those pieces of myself that I hold so closely. They still hurt, and it may hurt more still for Him to fix it and heal me. At what point will enough become enough and I fully offer those secret pains up to God in prayer and abandon and let myself be changed?
And on a completely different note. School has been delayed this morning because the kids are busy coloring pictures together. I think that's an ok reason to push our routine back, just a little. The stack of fireworks and squiggles growing next to the computer makes me smile. =o)
I make mistakes. A lot. I mess up on a lot of stuff. I repeat the same mistakes over and over and over. And so do my kids. And they will continue to do so. No amount of wonderful and amazing parenting on my part will stop them (ha). So, I'm trying to be more realistic. I'm trying to realize mistakes are going to be made, and most likely those same mistakes will be repeated over and over and over. Whatever issues and sins my kids struggle with, they will most likely continue to struggle with. And I can't fix it. I can only love them, do my best to guide them, and pray because really, its not up to me at all. Cause really, I haven't done such a great job at fixing myself yet.
But its hard. Because I want to blame myself. It seems logical. And because of course, we want better for our kids. And maybe, because for me anyway, having well behaved kids may be a bit of a pride issue for me. So yes, I want my kids to be wonderful people because I love them and want the best for them and hope for them to serve God and become more like Him, but also...because I don't want to be the parent of "those" kids.
I feel like this should be 2 separate posts, BUT, at the same time, I feel silly posting one thing immediately following another, within seconds of each other.
First thing, and most importantly, I heard about this movie today which is coming out to some theaters on March 23 - called October Baby. The issue of abortion and the right to life of innocent babies, is something so dear to my heart. I think for a lot of moms it is, because we know how precious and perfect each little life that God blesses us with is. We see their differences, their faith, their personalities, we hope for their future and their lives and their faith. We are their caretakers, and we know how precious each one is. We feel them and know them before they are born. We know and feel it deep in our souls that from the very moment this child was conceived, that it was a child. A life. A child of God.
And so, I would ask you, that if this movie is in a theater near you, that you make a way to see it. Lets support this film and its message!
And now, onto my second "post" - I have been starving. I don't feel sick anymore, but most foods sound GROSS. I just don't want to eat them. Except for one thing - Greek food. Oh my. I love Greek food normally, but this baby must be my little soul baby, because goodness my NEED for Greek food has quadrupled. And since buying Greek food is expensive - I have been forced to attempt to make some. My past attempts have been utter failures - BUT I have since found some promises Youtube videos that I think will be quite beneficial, haha. So we have some Dolmades cooking and a lemon-dill sauce to pour over them right now, and I am hoping hoping hoping (!!!!) for a delicious dinner this evening. It smells good, so surely it won't taste too terrible eh?!
*UPDATE* - The food came out absolutely delicious, and I was very happy with it! So I thought I would post the recipes/instructions (they are very detailed, forgive me) in case anyone else would like to give them a whirl, especially since I had already typed the recipe out to send to a friend who loves healthy homemade and unusual foods. So it was not trouble really to come paste it here as well! They really are tasty. =o)
grape leaves (you can get them in jars, usually near the olives or in the "world foods" sections of some grocery stores) - the California variety are usually the best to use that we can get here)
about 2 lbs of ground meat - it is best to use a mixture of a lean beef and lamb (but you can just use beef), or you can also use turkey for a healthier version. (There are even vegetarian recipes out there...but I don't care for that, haha)
1/2-3/4 cup of uncooked rice (if you use white, Jasmine is best, but I typically just use a regular brown rice)
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
1/4-1/2 yellow onion minced (depending on how much you like onion)
1 clove garlic minced
chicken broth (enough to cover)
Step 1: Rinse the grape leaves using steaming hot water. Then them soak and swish them around with a spoon, being careful not to rip the leaves. I usually soak them for 5-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pat dry and stack on a plate ready to use for wrapping. Step 2: Mix the meat, rice, dill, parsley, salt, pepper, 1/2 large fresh squeezed lemon, onion, and garlic together in a large bowl. Mix very thoroughly by hand Step 3: Take one grape leaf and lay it out, again carefully because you don't want any rips or tears in the leaves that you use to wrap. Remove the stem before stuffing - I usually just snip the stem off with a pair of kitchen scissors that I only use for food. Take a little ball of the mixture, about the size of a small meatball, and place it in the center of the leaf. I have included a link below which is the best way I have found for wrapping. If you think you need a larger ball of the meat mixture - trust me you don't! If you stuff them too full they will rip when cooking (the rice will swell as it cooks). As you finish wrapping, set them aside in a dish with the folded side down to keep them from unwrapping.
How to wrap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYbDIgW96-c&feature=related Step 4: When you have them all ready (It should make around 2 dozen depending on the size of your grape leaves), use any ripped or leftover grape leaves to line the bottom of a large stove pot. If you don't have enough, you can use lettuce, cabbage leaves, etc. Place the uncooked dolmades into the pot, very close together. If you need to it is ok to layer them. Pour hot chicken broth over the dolmades, just enough to cover the tops. Squeeze the other half of the lemon into the pot. Use a small plate to lay on top of the dolmades to help hold them down as they cook. Cook on a medium heat uncovered until it reaches a slow boil. Then turn down to simmer and cover and cook for 1.5 hours.
Chicken broth (about 2 cups)
1/2 large lemon (or 1 small lemon)
1 tsp dill
1 tsp parsley
sprinkle of salt (optional)
Step 1: Heat chicken broth Step 2: Use flour to thicken Step 3: Add dill, parsley, and lemon, and salt if you think it is needed Step 4: Continue to heat until it is the thickness you like. Serve over Dolmades.
I serve the dolmades on a plate, and then pour a spoonful or 2 of the sauce over them. I also like to make lemon potatoes (easy to google) to serve with them sometimes.
(Abby enters room)
Abby - "Mommy, can I have this cereal?"
Me - "Yup that's fine"
Will - "Don't talk to my Mommy!"
Abby - "She's my Mommy too!"
Will - "No she's MY MOMMY!"
Me - "Will, you have to share Mommy. I'm your Mommy, but I'm Abby's Mommy too"
Will - "Abby's crazy."
Alright, so. I'm not sure if I'm ready to really openly discuss this. But hey, here I go anyway. I figure that even though I want to keep certain things "quiet" and to myself, that this blog and so many of you have over the past few months (and some of you years!) been there with my family and me through our growth, changes, trials, joys, everything, that I have to kind of be somewhat open even if I feel like I don't totally want to.
And honestly, I'm not sure WHY I don't want to share this. It feels intensely personal all of a sudden. I've shared my faith and my journey so openly before, I don't know why this is hard for me. For some reason it just feels so much bigger right now.
So, for now we are "suspending" our path into the Roman Catholic church. We're not saying no - we're just saying hold on a minute.
You see, recently, when we moved, we were ready to start RCIA classes. Together as a family, join the church, we were looking forward to it and felt it was really as close as we had ever found to the early church and believed their claims to apostolic succession (still do in fact, that isn't the issue), so it felt like the right step. But as we hunted for a parish to be a part of and to start RCIA in, we came across multiple issues, stumbling blocks if you will, in trying to begin the classes. Adam pointed out - could this be "the devil" - I know, saying that sounds so weird sometimes, but I mean really we thought about it, could he be trying to place things in the way of our conversion to the church? But it didn't feel like that. And we prayed about. And things for some reason just felt like, we have to pause here. Something isn't right. We considered if we were just not ready, and so we needed to be more confident and ready in this decision, even thought the decision to enter RCIA is not binding that you will join the church, its just classes. About this same time, we stumbled across a "debate" if you will, between an Orthodox Christian priest and a Roman Catholic priest, basically regarding the East-West schism. And we thought, whoa wait, there are other churches claiming this same apostolic succession?
So, we are looking into it. Whether or not anything comes of that, I don't know. But we are learning about that faith too, just as we are continuing to learn about the Catholic faith. And we are researching history and liturgy and the Bible and so much. We are visiting services and asking questions, and its just this big learning process. What I really am so pleased with right now though, is that the Orthodox church has been so much more personable to us, and has offered us learning experiences and a welcome that we never received in the Catholic faith locally - not online though, the Catholic community online that I have experienced has for the most part been extremely loving and welcoming (except for one website that shall remain unnamed but which I refuse to go back to!)
So anyway. That's where we're at. Still learning. Still growing. Still changing. Still seeking. But God has his hand in all of it.
Sigh, Oh God. How long have I been having it be more about me than you? Turn me about, I am pleading.
Today is a good, good day. I heard this song on another blog, and I can't believe I hadn't heard it and fallen in love with it previously.
Heard the buzzing of the honey bees
Making honey just for me
and life's alright
I think I landed feeling fine
Just another perfect day
I think I'll walk this way where the trees do sing
I'm feeling part of everything
And all my troubles seem to fade away
They disappear with everything that you say
And now my weary head don't feel the same
The skies look brighter I can feel, feel the change
Feel the change
All the money in the world could never buy this
So lets go to where monkeys dance
And music floats throughout the land
And all my troubles seem to fade away
They disappear with everything you say
And now my weary head don't feel the same
The skies look brighter I can feel, feel the change
I can feel, feel the change
Today is glorious. And, I DO feel part of everything. I love that feeling.
We're unpacked, we're getting settled, things are getting done. Paint is slowly going up one room at a time, and someday things will be as we want (maybe. or not.) It's really beginning to feel like home already, and its such a relief. Big smiles all around.
But in other ways, we are unsettled. The home is great. The yard wonderful. But it is weird not being surrounded everywhere else by the sights and things and places we are used to. It's different.
And we have some other things, un-house related, but definitely family and home related, that are stirring up and being moved in odd and intriguing ways. It is all so personal and close to heart right now, that I don't want to really openly discuss at this point (no worries though, all is happy and well in the Taylor house, with every big and little person). But my soul is being moved about and twisted and molded in ways unexpected, and I think its a good thing. Its just in that uncomfortable stage right now.
In other news, I ordered Will's birthday cake for next month from RJ Goodies. I am SO thrilled to be back on this side of town, just so I can have a delicious cake for all birthdays. YUM.
So, I wanted to wait and blog when I had some pictures. But since my camera is.... somewhere. And I know it is out of batteries and that I don't have any replacement ones at this time... well. This is what you get! So sorry.
The move went well. There are always things I wish would have gone differently - I guess that is the control freak part of me. It is best that I just go handle the kids and the dogs while other people do the moving - and not just because I'm pregnant. We probably wouldn't have any friends left after our moves if I was around during the actual moving of things.
So, I'm not going to list all things that were broken, bent, crushed, damaged, because of how things got moved. Nope, not gonna do it. I'm just going to move on and be happy its all over with. See, I'm growing as a person! ;o)
But it is SO nice to be in a house, with a yard, with space.
Here is a quick list of things we have realized since we moved into the house:
1. Our kids are not nearly as loud as we thought they were.
2. It is eerily quiet not being able to hear all the neighbors and their goings on.
3. Our kids are going to be very very tan this summer with all the backyard playing I see in their future, just based on the amount of time they have spent outdoors the past few days!
4. Daily baths for the kids are no longer to be hoped for, they are absolutely REQUIRED.
5. We are going to lose weight just from walking around the house and getting from one side to the other.
6. Our apartment was way tinier than we realized when we lived there. And we still aren't sure how we fit all of our stuff in it, now that we see it in the house...
7. I can put dirty clothes in the washer at night, have the washer set on a 9 hour delay, and have clothes ready to be thrown in the dryer when I wake up. I woke up this morning and felt like I had been super productive. Adam woke up and just thought I was insane and had been doing laundry in the middle of the night, haha.
But I am pretty much settled in here. Adam seems to be too, although today was his first day back at work so we will see how the commute treats him. Apparently this morning was great! Lets hope the afternoon goes just as smoothly. I only have 1 box left in the living room to unpack, and then I need to finish getting the laundry and clothes all situated in their respective closets. Other than that, and just little things laying about that need to be put away, I'm done and unpacked. Of course, then I get to start painting and fixing things.... but I'm not focusing on that just yet, haha. Abby is settling well, although she is already worried about making friends and missing her old ones. We have joined one homeschool group, but I may be looking for another. It just so happens that all their events fall at times where we won't have the vehicle and/or have other plans already on those days. Abby does keep saying it is weird being here without her Meme though. This was her grandma's house up until last week, so its a bit strange for her to be here and have us be "alone" in the house. Will is doing great during the day, and ok at night. He gets a little scared in his room by himself, so for now I am laying down with him to help him go to sleep, and he comes into our room if he wakes up in the night. I'm ok with that for now, but after a couple weeks we are going to start transitioning him out of all that - definitely want him to have a good sleep pattern established well before baby comes in July. Even though I'm sure at that point his schedule will get messed up a bit and he will need some extra care, I think having it laid out well beforehand will make it easier for him to transition with the baby. That is my plan and hope anyway!
Ok, gonna go try to finish up this unpacking today. Then I can start thinking about Abby's room and painting tomorrow.... oh boy!
We are moving in 2 days. And today Adam broke his finger.
Our moves always, always, ALWAYS go wrong somehow, someway. I have decided this is counting as our bad thing for this move. NOTHING else will go wrong!
Today I am frustrated. So absolutely frustrated! I'm trying not to be. I'm trying to let it go and figure out an alternate plan of action. But, yah. It's not working out so well I suppose.
Ok, well that feels a little better. Do you all just need to go be by yourself and scream sometimes? I will pretend you said yes so I don't feel crazy. Moving on.
2 things are frustrating me - church, and UPS. Kmart used to be on my list, but now UPS has surpassed them in terms of frustratingness. So Kmart is not on my list of targets currently - however, I still would recommend you absolutely NOT EVER shop there. For real. Maybe someday I will get over my trauma I experienced there and can share the story with you. But it won't be today.
But the main thing today, right now, in this moment, is the RCIA process. Oh my goodness. Really? I feel bad complaining. I feel like, it could have been a good thing, it SHOULD be a good thing. But, I feel like its all such an unorganized thoughtless mess (at least with the parishes nearby our new home). Sigh. There is a parish nearby that we absoltely will not go to - my parents used to go there and my poor mother was so mistreated and abused during her times of service there, I mean really, and a deacon screamed at me there once, that I just refuse to step into that parish. So, we have 3 others in the nearby vicinity. There are some others up a little further north of us, but the drive between us and there is just a bit farther I think than we would like. I mean, I want something nearby, ya know? Close to home, part of the neighborhood. So my hopes were on the closest parish to us. Their RCIA program is year round and can be started any time, which is GREAT for us! We were so excited. Except they don't have childcare. So we are moving to a new place, where we don't know anyone at all, have no one to watch our kids, and we want to join the church, but we basically can't because we have no childcare. Oh sure we could bring the kids - but really? Can you imagine dealing with 2 almost 3 year old William in a class setting with other people? Ha! It would be a disaster. Not only would I never hear a word being said, but it would be so distracting for all the other people there. No way is it going to happen. So, our other option is another parish, further away, and filled with...very rich people. I'm sure they are all very nice. But, I feel uncomfortable around them. I'm sure its a problem with me and not them. But, I feel that way. And again, its a further drive than I was hoping for. But what can you do? They have a year round program, and they have childcare. And I think its free. I hope its free. If its not, well, then its not very helpful either. Sigh. So right now, I'm just at a loss. None of my options are sounding good. I just feel sad. I feel like things are just not working out, and I'm emotional and frustrated. So, I've passed it on to Adam. I obviously am in no position or emotional state of well being to handle this right now. So I've laid it in his hands. Usually he gives tasks like this to me to figure out, cause he really doesn't care, but I think he realized I'm just...pregnant and crying all the time. This pregnancy is wreaking emotional havoc. I can't wait for my appointment next week, because I really need to discuss this with my doctor and get it under control (I tend to get depression during and following pregnancy, so I know its begun and I need to handle it).
So. Yah. I'm in a mood. And not happy. But Adam is always there to help me when I can't handle it. He's so good. =o)
I'm moving in 10 (ok, based on it being after midnight, I guess now 9) days.
But I'm freaking out.
This is a huge deal for my little family. We are going to be in a house. We can paint it. We can do what we want to it. We can LIVE in it. It is HOME.
And I'm not ready.
And I'm worried, because, well its what I do. What if something goes wrong? What if we end up not being able to afford it for some reason? What if what if what if??? These can't be thoughts from my wonderful God who I know is in control and taking care of me and my family for the best, always, whether I think so or not.
So, I may be missing for a while. I have to finish packing and cleaning, and I need to kind of refocus myself and just get settled a bit I think. This is a good and happy time, but change is hard for me, even if its good change. =o)
Ok, so that title is kind of mean. Cause I don't really know.
But the internet thinks IT knows.
Anyone heard of the Chinese Birth Chart / Gender Predictor? I of course think its silly really, but thought it would be fun to go check it and see not only what it says this little baby is going to be - but also what it had to say about Abby and Will.
If you do go try it, you are supposed to calculate everything by your lunar age and the lunar month, not by our typical age and month system. So keep that in mind if you go play the game too. =o)
And the results are...
That Abby was going to be a boy. Eek sorry gender predictor, missed that one.
That Will was going to be a girl. Yikes. 2 wrong. Thats no good.
And, this baby, based on the Chinese chart, says the baby will be a boy. So, are we all thinking girl now? Haha!
I honestly, have no real preference. I just want a healthy baby that will stop making me sick! (ha). But when I think about it, I know a boy would be more convenient just as far as the kids ages and playing together and getting their rooms set up, but at the same time, I do miss those little frilly baby girly things. Abby is definitely moving out of that age. Either way, I'm good. I just don't know how much longer I can stand not knowing. I am not one who waits for it to be a surprise! Its a surprise no matter when I find out, hehe. But with Abby, I couldn't tell. I had no real idea if it was a boy or girl. I just kept trying to logically deduce the answer. With Will, I KNEW it was a boy. No doubt in my mind. This time, I don't know. I find myself going through a lot of the same things I did the first time around, trying to use logic and weird signs to determine what the baby was. So not effective. Should find out in about 5-9 weeks I guess. I never know when the doctor is gonna send me in for the ultrasound. Somewhere between 16 and 20 weeks I am assuming. Excited!
Oh, but if you ask Will if the baby is a boy or a girl, he will tell you that its a purple baby. Because his favorite color is purple. So he is REALLY hoping not for a brother, or for a sister, but for something purple. 2 year olds - they just don't get it.