Wednesday, November 30, 2011

He's back!


David was on an elk hunt in Payson, Arizona.  (He has a brother that lives up in the mountains there.)   Last night he was greeted with hugs and kisses as he came in the door bearing gifts.

This trip had been set up since last winter...kind of a 'thank you gift' from his brother.  We stayed in a holding pattern all fall but after assessing my stable pregnancy and feeling confident with it all, I told him to go ahead.  We literally waited till about a week before to go ahead with the plans and it all worked out quite well.

He stocked the fridge and pantry before he left.  We had a delicious lasagna dinner delivered one night from our kind neighbors. We used gift certificates for pizza another night.  On Sunday, I took them to a restaurant for a nice mid-day meal.  

I also had an emergency plan set in place with friends in case anything happened. 

I know he needed his get away even though it wasn't the best timing.  He's been working triple time to keep the money coming in.

Being self-employed, we have to purchase private insurance.  Having a history of c-sections, we are not able to pick up maternity coverage.  None.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  

**What really ticks me off about the Obama Administration is that they are trying to force Catholic establishments to carry insurance that covers birth control and sterilization procedures.  Really, what is the matter with this picture when they won't force insurance companies to offer coverage to women already expecting?!  What a backward society we live in.**

We just finished paying off the very large hospital bill and Dr's bills from my miscarriage and D & C (from last winter).  Now we have an even larger hospital bill looming in the near future once Baby Joy is born.

Not sure if you all realize this, but being self-employed doesn't come with fringe benefits like group health insurance nor vacation pay :)

But we are not complainers.  God handed us this life growing inside my tummy and I am so blessed to have a husband who is pro life. This type of pregnancy can push a lot of couples over the edge.

I am very close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and know that He will help us through this pregnancy, delivery, (and the finances).  



My husband, being a sole provider has to carry a somewhat different kind of weight.  He trusts... but worries.  He is coming from a different perspective.

So this is why I encouraged him to get away while the door of opportunity was opened.  

In reality...I really, really missed him.  I will not encourage him to be away from us for a very, very long time :)  

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A little FYI...

Winter Wonderland has the most amazing scent for a Christmas candle.




I order one each year from Village Candle company.  This one has been around for years and they only carry it at this time of the year.  

From the website..." Siberian Balsam and cedarwood finished with a hint of Sweet mandarin "


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And a picture that I have to share.  This boy absolutely loves corn flakes with


 bananas cut up on top.  




Studying religion the other day....talking about how almighty God is....we


 also discussed how God knows EVERYTHING.






Stan:  Yeah!  He even knows the really, really hard guesses!






Oh to be like a child ...




Have a good night!




~  Patty  ~

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Car Seat Update

Thank you all for your advice.  Everyone (FB friends as well) has talked about the Graco Snugride so I found this particular Graco Snugride 30 on Amazon this morning.


Bonus!  I also found an old Amazon giftcard and was able to apply it to the purchase which significantly dropped the price.

Add some free shipping in and it was my big Cha Ching moment for the day!

I really love the blue and chocolate color scheme...that is what our bedroom color scheme is...and since baby Joy will be rooming with us for the time being, chocolate is the main color we are using for the baby's bedding.

Thanks for your help!


~  Patty ~

Monday, November 28, 2011

Confusion

Too many choices!

Infant car seats.

It's been 12 years since we last shopped for one and SO MUCH has changed.

Not to mention sticker shock!

At any rate, I was mentioning to a friend that "back in the day" they didn't make the car seat/ stroller travel system and I was always envious of moms who did have the systems when the manufacturers came out with them.  Talk about convenience for the parents!

I thought about that route.

But...

Now they make these universal metal framed strollers that you can hook up just about any car seat to and they are lighter, easier, and take up much less space in the trunk.

And it is less expensive.

Me likey!

My kids do not last more than one year in an infant car seat, (if that) so I'm looking to see what is a safe, comfortable infant car seat that is not astronomically expensive.

Ha ha!  I remember growing up as a kid, my family would take those vacations from Illinois to northern Wisconsin and my folks just popped a baby mattress in the back of the suburban and let the baby sleep back there.  We didn't have car seats!

Suggestions?  What have you recently purchased and would you recommend it?

Too much for the brain for one night.  Off to bed for me.

~  Patty  ~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A New Year

A new liturgical year that is.  (a.k.a. Church Calendar.)

And it begins with Advent.

For Mabel's baptismal birthday, we bought her an Advent candle making kit for $12.


(It states for ages 6 & up...there's no way my 6 year old could have done this properly without a LOT of guidance.)


Ester and Mabel went to town rolling up their beeswax candles for the Advent wreath.




Didn't they turn out pretty?


And bigger than we thought they would!


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It is also a new birthday year for my mom as well!

Grammy celebrates her 70th birthday on Sunday, November 27....Happy Birthday, Mom!!


 Losing a spouse is so terribly awful and sad and tragic.  I cannot imagine losing my husband, the love of my life. My mom lost hers after being married almost 45.


Instead of crawling under a rock to wither away from total heartache, she has chosen to be courageous even when it is so very difficult.   Facing new challenges and being forced to reinvent life as you know it....I'm not sure I could do that.


I'm proud of her for so many reasons::

~ In her late 60's, she has learned to drive herself to an airport over an hour away, park the car and hop on a plane - by herself....



~ At 70 she has learned to ride a jet ski!



~ At 70 she will go horse back riding!




~At 70 she can rock a cowboy hat (my kids LOVE this photos because she has never EVER worn a cowboy hat!)




~ Okay, so this one isn't new to her, but she still will occasionally will light up a cigar...a brand her father use to smoke....one that has a particular smell that brings back warm, happy memories of him for her.


(Ha!  Ha!  For all of you who are gasping in shock...she lights it up and pretty much lets it smolder...it's all for the smell :)


~ At 70 she enjoys a day at the beach with her family.  Cheers to you, Mom!



~ At 70 she still loves going into grocery stores even on vacation (part of cooking all her life for so many people!)


~ She still manages to remember all 26 grandkids (plus one on the way) with a birthday present and Christmas gift each year.  (We try to talk her out of it each year!)

~ And even though this week was a particularly hard one for her with her 49th  wedding anniversary falling on Thanksgiving day and her big birthday without Dad, she keeps on living with hope and faith and love and courage.

That's what makes her so amazing to me!

(Unfortunately, my family was the ONLY family unable to be with her because of my pregnancy.  Not being able to travel that far was a giant bummer for my gang since we haven't seen some families in three years!)


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And to all of you~

May all of you find the peace and comfort in your hearts and homes this Advent season.

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful 4....


Among so many things, these in particular...

~   my parents, who would have celebrated 49 years of Holy Matrimony this day (Dad passed away five years ago this fall).  Even though my father is gone, their marriage is still a model marriage for my siblings and I.



~ For my daughters who love to cook and bake.  It made preparing our family dinner that much easier for me:)


(Sally made the apple pie all on her own!  Ester and Mabel shared in preparing the pumpkin pie with a little help from Mom.)

~ For  brave little boys.


(The day before, he came up to the garage and informed David that he was ready to take off his training wheels.  Sure enough!)

~ For Baby Joy!  God willing, just 9 weeks from today we will meet him or her :)

~ For keeping this idea from Family Fun (years ago) and watching the kids have fun with it this morning.




(I used  fall- colored scrapbook sheets to cut out a bunch of number fours.  Then we wrote what we were thankful for on the back and tied them to the light fixture.)


Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

~  Patty  ~

Friday, November 18, 2011

(Sigh...) TGIF

We had a good week.  Did you?

~After finishing up on our Advent plans here and here, David cleaned all the upstairs carpets and then decided to wash all the outside windows.

I believe my husband is nesting!


~We celebrated Mabel's baptismal birthday on November 16.  Oh how she loves her faith and what a bright light she is in our household!




~We passed on Little Flowers and Little Womans clubs.  The girls were a little disappointed but they completely understand that mom needs to rest.

~The Littles are really ready for Thanksgiving break.  They piggy-backed enough to take four days off next week without getting behind.  (It is much harder to piggy-back courses when the kids enter Jr High.)

Interesting posts from fellow bloggers...

~I read something disturbing about The Salvation Army.  You can read about it here.  I never knew about this and it really made me sad.  Thank you, Heather, for bringing it to our attention.

~Check out these beautiful, chocolate, Christmas candy bars here!  Where I do not have a Rite-aid near me, I do intend to send my husband out to hunt them down!  Thanks, Kat, for the heads up on them :)

~Many of you now have bare trees standing in your yards or neighborhoods.  Our trees are in full golden bloom right now.  I just LOVE this time of year in north Texas.  Tiffany summed up my thoughts exactly in this beautiful post here.

Have a wonderful weekend and if you are traveling ahead of the holiday? Safe travels my friend!

~  Patty ~



Pumpkin Muffins

Sally has been working on her service hours for Confirmation and decided to help out the Lady's Guild at church with their bake/craft sale this weekend.

She  baked  pumpkin muffins  and let me sum them up in three words...

Crazy easy yummylicious!


Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) Libby's pure pumpkin
1 spice cake mix


That's it!

Directions:

1. Mix the pumpkin and cake mix together.  (It will be a little sticky when finished.)

2.  Fill up each muffin tin (we filled to the top since these do not rise) and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

*Note:  I put cupcake liners in and sprayed with Pam to make sure they would not stick.

3.  Serve with or without powder sugar.




Serving:  20

Great for company over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Bonus...they make your house smell sooooo good!  Enjoy!

~  Patty  ~

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brainless But Present

I think my blood is flowing backward.

I know we are not suppose to swear, but I could swear it is.  Honestly!

My brain says one thing but my mouth...something completely different.  There seems to be a huge void where the connections are suppose to be.

Most of the time when I speak I catch my family looking at me confused followed by laughter. How crazy I must sound!

My symptom has a name but I cannot recall what it is.

No joke!

I do know it is caused by pregnancy hormones and I know my 'old self' will return afterward.  But for now, I suffer :)

Today I am 28 weeks.  I am officially in my third-trimester! Can I get an Amen?!

Back in June I thought this day was as far away as  Mount Kilamajaro's summit is to me in Texas. Only through the grace of God (and abundant prayers from so many of you) have I made it this far.

I am soaking it all up; every single move, kick, and bump.  Every single sick feeling, food adversion, ache and pain is being absorbed.

Okay, I guess I could do without the karate kid planting one directly on my cerclage.  Happened twice now.  David had to just about scrape me off the ceiling it was that painful.  And in the middle of the night during a sound sleep to top it off! 

Even though I let complaints slip from my lips onto the ears of my closest friends, I tell you I am enjoying this because I never ever thought I would be here again in this moment.  Praise God!

Went in for another doctor visit today. (Cue  drum roll...)

A good visit, but they are revving up the preventative medicine::

*Baby weighs almost 3 pounds - Cowabunga!

*I'm measuring at 31 weeks (and I'm only 28 weeks) - Holy Toledo! - Side note:  I have always measured farther along...always had big, hearty babies...as did my mother and my mother-in-law...only their babies were much bigger than mine!   :)

*Cervix has shortened but still passes muster  - Praise be!

*Repeat of the fFN test.

*Progesterone shots to begin next week....weekly...for six weeks.  This is a natural preventative for pre-term labor.

*Cervical measurements weekly now.

*Was told to get "out of bed" when I need to eat and use the bathroom.  Hmmmm.....that one is almost impossible (to that degree) with other kids in the house.


All in all?  Not too bad.

I feel absolutely positive that I will make it till at least 36 weeks.  At any rate, Baby Joy is due by c-section at 38 weeks.  That gives us a January 26 birth date!  10 weeks from today!  Holy smokes!

I'm in no hurry.  I truly want time to stand still for a little bit so to savor every single moment in this state!

Big thanks to...

*kind neighbors and friends who call and say, "I'm heading to Walmart, do you need anything?" 
*kind neighbors and friends who have stopped in with a dinner to help out....or a gift card for pizza...or a visit that brings a welcomed smile :)
*kind friends for prayers and more prayers, cards and well -wishes, text messages and voice mails to say, "Just thinking of you...You're in my thoughts...You're in my prayers!"

And just so you know, my mother said that it brings her great comfort while living so far away from us she knows we are surrounded by so much love.  So I can say  my mother thanks you all as well :)

Oh Yes!  I must add...at this time of the year...thank you Amazon and UPS   (sigh...I just love the sound of the big, brown truck, don't you?!)  I told a friend recently that if David unleashed me on Amazon at this time of the year, I could do some serious damage!  Ha ha ha!

~  Patty  ~

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Advent Traditions







Advent Traditions~

There are so many beautiful traditions in the Catholic Church which we are richly blessed by.  They are gifts.  They are there to help us grow in and enrich our faith, making our faith more tangible for all ages.

Deciding what traditions to carry on or start with your own family can be overwhelming, especially for young parents.  At least it was for me.

I realized that you  don't have to do it all and most importantly, it all depends on what season of life one is in.



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Earlier this fall, I was honored to be invited to participate in an Advent project that would allow me to share some of our family traditions with you all. I'll have  more information on this at the bottom of this post.  But for now, let's get started!

1.  Get Organized!

* I actually have used this amazing Advent/Christmas binder to organize my Advent/Christmas season.  I cannot  tell you how invaluable this is!

* I also keep my Advent necessities in a bin that is easy to reach...


On a shelf in our master closet.  All I have to do is pull it down and everything I need is right there.


2.  Make It Shine!


*  No matter what, I truly believe if there is only one tradition you should have, it should be the Advent wreath.  Here is a beautiful explanation of the Advent wreath.





* As a child, my parents placed lights in the windows throughout the house during the Advent season.  It stems from this old and beautiful Irish tradition!





3.  Jesse Tree - with a twist, or I should say with a swap!

Our homeschool group recently completed this swap.  I just posted about it here.  It is a must see.   Add a twist with fun to yours and make memories for a lifetime!




4.  Advent/Christmas Children's Literature.


* I came across this treasure a couple of years ago... Christmas Mosaic.



I purchased mine here.

It is a treasury of children's literature for the Advent/Christmas season.  The author, Cay Gibson, beautifully ties together children's literature and organizes it in such a way you can reuse the study year after year and never be bored.

Examples of what we read last year...all books are organized by the theme of each week during Advent.

Week One:  Advent/Decoration/Preparation stories




Week two:  Giving/Santa Claus/ St. Nicholas





Week three:  Family 


















Week four:  Nativity/ Angels









(I found most of these books at our local library...some I purchased through Amazon.)

These book suggestions  just barely  scratch the surface of her recommended reading list.   She even has a list for pre-school age children...teens...Christmas movies...recipes...art work and more!

 *  This Year...we will do a Christmas Around the World theme found in Christmas Mosaic.  I've been slowly purchasing these since late summer...


Huron Indian Tribe Christmas




 Romanian Christmas




Polish Christmas




Caribbean Christmas



South African Christmas




Russian Christmas




New Mexico Christmas




Mexican Christmas





Swedish Christmas



(There are about 8 more titles on her list, but they'll have to wait until next year.)

5.  Adult Advent/Christmas reading material.   Another "must have" for adult spiritual journeys through Advent.  

I like think things lite...easy to wrap my brain around.  I highly recommend this one for starters...


This is filled with beautiful and meaningful daily scripture and prayers by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

6.  Feast Days and Holy Days 

Advent is filled with feast days and holy days and I learned that in my house we need to be careful with how much we reflect in a celebratory manner because the spiritual journey for my Littles quickly turns into a season-long fiesta!

Pregnant this year, I've narrowed the list of activities to this...

December 6 - Feast of St. Nicholas 

*We put out shoes the night before and wake to see what St. Nicholas has brought...


 (2010 - All books, movies, and toys are always shared.)



* An old tradition, we feast on Candy Cane Coffee Cake...




Pray it is chilly enough in Texas to really enjoy these...


* And discover different ways to celebrate through the St. Nicholas Center.

December 8  - Feast of the Immaculate Conception

* Mass.  

December 9 - Feast of St. Juan Diego 

* We listen, read, and watch...



December 12 - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 



* We read.





* Mananitas.  Not sure if we will be able to enjoy it this year, but I have the post from last year here.  

*  A trip to our Cathedral in downtown Dallas or visit the shrine at our parish (see photo above.)

* Mexican fiesta/dinner.

December 13 - Feast of St. Lucia

*  (Some new traditions this year!)  We will be using this night to go view Christmas Lights throughout the area.   I got the idea from  here.  

The kids are really excited for that one!

* St. Lucia bread ... recipes from here

* Craft

* We read.  (A couple of new ones to go with our Christmas Around the World theme.)





6.  Church activities.


*  Anything at church that we can participate in...Reconciliation...Extra Masses...Holy Hours...feast day celebrations.  


*  Las Posadas.  A beautiful tradition preparing for the Nativity celebrated in the evenings from December 16 - 24.










Living in Texas, there are so many beautiful, cultural traditions.  We have celebrated Las Posadas in the past.  This book does a wonderful job telling the story for children...










7. Joy-filled Noise.


As our parish priest told me just last week, our faith is to also be lived with joy.  Amen!  And music can bring such joy to a person's life.  I start at Thanksgiving :)


My favorite is this one...




I found it on Amazon a few years ago here.  (And paid a lot more!)


But I have so many more :)




Our Christmas music collection started when we were first married.  I just picked up one or two new ones each year. 


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My invitation~

This Advent Traditions project, hosted by Jen at Forever, For Always, No Matter What, was put together by a group of Catholic bloggers  to share some truly lovely and enriching Advent traditions with all of you.

And as you all have your own beautiful traditions that you have carried out throughout the years, or even if you have just started with your own with hopes and dreams for the future, these are just some of our  favorites.

Grab a cup of hot coffee or tea and relax while you  link up at Jen's Advent Project to view these other Catholic bloggers and their family traditions!


A Slice of Smith Life

Catholic Baby Steps

Family At the Foot of the Cross

Love My Little Flower

Forever, For Always, No Matter What


Peace to you and your families in this upcoming Advent season!


~  Patty  ~

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