Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Morning Devotion

We have developed a great morning routine for our family devotion. I found three resources that really have engaged our children and can tell they look forward to each morning. We begin each morning reading three stories out of this picture bible. They beg me for more every morning. We have enjoyed several aspects of these stories, but mainly I have found three themes in almost every story that have really affected my own life. First, everybody is always moving looking for a better life somewhere usually to no avail. Second, most biblical figures began their lives being a man or woman after God's heart and once wealth or power came to them they soon forgot God. I always say after each story, "Once again..." and the kids say, "They forgot God." Lastly, most figures fall out of grace either through wealth, power, or for a man or a woman. I also noticed that everybody seemed very happy when their lives where simple. God's voice was clearer and they were happier. LEARN THE LESSON! John tells the kids different current events that relate to these stories. What is fascinating is that not much has changed since the beginning of time! Jealousy, restlessness, envy, murder, unfairness, war, drama. Repeat cycle over and over until 2013+. LEARN THE LESSONS! New Catholic Picture Bible
We just started this book after Christmas and again each story is fascinating and they always ask "Who are we reading about tomorrow?"

 Lives of the Saints: An Illustrated History for Children

MY FAVORITE. Technically, the booklet is for Lent, but I have learned from every word typed on these pages. There seems to be a beautiful silence that comes over the kids when I am reading this. Each day, the author gives spiritual challenges to the family to work on and are very doable for a child. She tells a little story about Mother Teresa which always focuses my day and reaffirms my mission each morning. This booklet will go down as one of my all time favorites for spiritual reading. I cannot believe the cost is only $2.50.  Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families

Lastly,  I bought a pretty little notebook at Barnes and Noble for our "Intentions."  Each morning, I ask the kids who their day is going to be for and who are they going to offer up all their sacrifices for.  Rose offered her day today for a little boy named Nathaniel.  He has a very serious form of cancer and today his parents were going to receive the results of his MRI.  Rose had to get a shot this morning and as I was holding her she turned and whispered in my ear, "I am doing this for Nathaniel."   She didn't even flinch.  What a little saint!  I feel that if they can understand the concept of offering up their sufferings for other people or intentions, they are going to light the world on fire.  You can do anything if you keep that goal.  I always tell them that nothing is too small or too big for God.  Even if you see a book on the floor and you return it to the shelf out of love for your intention, God is so pleased with your gift.

I also had to share this little gift my mother gave to me.  My mother orders our scapulars from Rose Scapular Company.
They are well made and recently provided the option for you to order your scapular with a brown THICK cord (not pictured.)  I LOVE them.  Please spend the extra $1.00 for the thick cord.  Their site offers a variety of scapulars worth your viewing.  Scapulars are spiritual armor, please wear one. 

  OL of Lourdes The promises attached to the Brown Scapular are incredible! Our Lady said,"Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular, shall not suffer eternal fire." This implies that she will intercede to ensure that the wearer of the Scapular obtains the grace of final perseverance and dies in the state of grace. In addition to this, the Sabbatine Privilege consists of Our Lady's promise to release from Purgatory through her special intercession, on the first Saturday after their death, those who meet the following three requirements:

 1. Wear the Scapular.
 2. Observe Chastity according to your state in life.
3. Pray daily the Little Office of Our Lady OR Observe the fasts of the church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR substitute the Rosary with permission of a confessor OR substitute some other good work with the permission of a confessor.

 In addition to all of the above, Pope Benedict XV granted an indulgence of 500 days for devoutly kissing your scapular. There was also an emphasis on the Scapular during the apparitions at Fatima and Sister Lucia said, "One could not follow the Message of Fatima unless he fulfilled the five conditions, one of which is wearing of the Brown Scapular all the time--day and night."  

                                                         The Morning Offering

O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (here kiss the scapular as a sign of your consecration), I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day. O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Clairvaux sings a few

Forced smartness against her own will. We think she included Soviet Nikita Khrushchev several times. Whoops.

Giggling sisters try it together

Clairvaux and her catechism
Who made you? God. Why did God make you? To know, to love, and to serve Him in this world so we can be with Him in the next.

We are beginning to struggle.

Not much to see here...keep moving.
My favorite.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What would we do without him?

I know our children won't realize until they are older what an outstanding father they had. They will have no idea the amount of yourself you gave to them. You invest every ounce of free time you have and give it to me or them. I know they think this is normal because it is what they've always had. Your dedication to their lives always inspires me to be a better parent.  You see every opportunity as a chance to grow closer to their hearts, make each individual child feel special and loved.  You know them as well as I know them.

This picture was one of my favorites.  We had just arrived home and I was carrying in Clairvaux and turned to see you playing and talking with Damaris in her car seat.  Her laughter could be heard through the home.  My favorite thing about our marriage is how much we enjoy our children together.  My mom always says to me, "I don't know two people who mutually enjoy and delight in their children like you and John."

Not intended to be a picture of BUNS, just cute that you were talking to Damaris.
Lillie's date night for ice cream, Barnes & Noble, and a trip to see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. 
We do not have a perfect life free of complication, misunderstandings, hard days, trying times. We don't have a life so different from everybody else in the world who is trying to live a good and just life. We are not special.

We have days that we look at each other and flash the "five more minutes" sign because they are almost in bed. We have days that life is just dull and ordinary, but as we always say that the inner peace that God grants to us each night is irreplaceable. You are a perfect husband and father.

 Not in the world's "PERFECT" sense, but perfect that you know God made you and made you for heaven. One of my favorite lines from Les Miserables "She has the Lord. He is her father. And you're his creation. In his eyes, you have never been anything but an innocent and... beautiful woman."

How does this fit here? I know you know God is your father in heaven and you are His creation. You are quick to apologize and to forget. You are first to serve. If I hope to imitate one of the many traits your parents taught you, I hope to imitate this one the most.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I am weeping buckets

I am literally weeping buckets of tears as this was so hysterical AND the volume was turned down on our camera so I didn't capture her voice.  WHY??????????  It was so adorable and why would the volume be turned OFF??????????  Anyway, the video is still worth watching.  She is singing all of the Presidents in order.  For a fun time, make sure you watch 1:03 and 1:27 in the video.  For a complete translation on 1:03, she is singing "Taft, Wilson, and Harding, Coolidge."  I think one can make out the 1:27  O-BOMB-A.  She is one quirky bird.  I weep still.

In other news, we went to the Post Office today for a field trip.  That one never gets old.  The kids love it every time.  It is so fascinating how the whole process works.  I find it amazing that we get our mail everyday with very few, if any, mistakes.
The lady in the middle missed her true calling in life.  She should have played for the WNBA.  She was in charge of boxes.  From her post in the middle, she could hit anyone of the orange buckets with precision.  It reaffirmed my instincts to protect all materials being shipped.
Do you mind?
They wrapped up the evening playing SORRY in the dark.  It was cute to see them sitting at the little kid table not recognizing that the sun was going down on their day.  The sky was actually bright pink.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

9 BIG months

She spends 3/4 of her waking hours underneath the table eating leftovers, Legos, or any other unidentified foreign objects. I am constantly fishing paraphernalia out of her mouth. She fights me like Legos actually taste good to her.
Fat little favorite
She has enjoyed our dollhouse.
You are crawling, cruising, standing, and in to everything. You played about the house all day today. I have always enjoyed a chubby baby deep into play. You know I watch you often. Although, it is true that you can usually be found under the dining table. You slept through the night very early which was a first for us. You weaned yourself at around six months. You are my first baby that I have made homemade baby food. We usually have sweet potatoes, squash, avocado, turkey or chicken, green beans, or pears.
The habits we enjoy about you are the way you flap excitedly with both arms and legs about everything. Sometimes, you are picky about eating so I sing the preposition song and then you eat. You are very attached to my hip with velcro. You pat me on the chest when I pick you up. You usually take a very long nap once a day. You are always content to play in your bed. You were so wild in the bath that I bought a bath seat to restrain you.
Our favorite look titled "The lights are on, but nobody's home."
Watching the snow

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our baby's perfect life

The most loved baby in America. You have been held, adored, carried, fed, read to, talked to, danced with, coddled, played with and kissed your whole life outside the womb. I tell your siblings often to leave you alone because they are always picking you up and taking you with them everywhere. I love it though. You have to admit that few images are cuter than a little 5-year-old with a baby slung on her hip. I love how Zellie heaves you up there. With my whole honest heart, I know that our next baby will be this loved.
My friend Erica and I were talking today. She just had her fifth little girl and we were watching one of her daughters dote over their newest little girl. We both agreed how much delight it brings to our hearts to watch our children with each other. I said, "If people only knew the joy." Nothing in my life has ever matched the joy and blessings each one of our children has brought to our lives and hearts. Everyone of them matter to us as if they were our only one. I was watching Rose and Zellie look through an American Doll Catalog together and it was so sweet how they grabbed each others hand while looking at the catalog together.
Now more than ever, I know my own life is passing quickly and not only are we leaving each child behind us as we (God willing) go before them, but each one of our children is a generation of people. Damaris will be a grandmother to somebody someday. As much as I try, my mind cannot understand the human capacity of each individual person. I guess, simply put, that is why we leave our fertility to God and His perfect plan. I know that I've written this before but CHILDREN are the only "thing" we can give to God that He does not have. It takes our "YES" for this to happen. If you think about it, He could have chosen any way to bring forth new life, but for some reason He chose the marital act which takes our "YES."
Clairvaux asks me at least 20 times a day if I want to play Spot It with her.  It is a great card game that she hasn't quite grasped the concept except that you are to name a picture on the card.  In the above photo, they were trying to play Spot It and Damaris wanted in on the deal. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Morning Sickness Plan of Attack

I have been preparing my arsenal before we even found out about our newest.  I know it is all very redeeming and rewarding, BUT if I can make it just a little less crazy town I think that would be nice.

*We've been taking Cod Liver Oil for several years now, but I finally bought the capsules for myself because my 1st trimester would allow for no such nonsense in taking the oil.  For my last few babies, I avoided it because the smell was horrific.  I wanted myself and the baby to have the oil so I splurged and bought the capsules instead of the oil.  Problem Solved.

I buy mine from Green Pastures

 Cod Liver Oil is scary good for you and the baby.  It contains 150% of your daily vitamin A & D.  These two vitamins are essential for absorption of all other vitamins.

Their website gives this description.
"Many of the great historical cultures had one sacred food which they relied on to ensure strong mind, body, and spirit; fermented fish/fish liver oil. The Might Roman Soldier was given a daily ration of fermented fish oil. The Stoic Scandinavian Viking had a drum of fermenting cod livers outside the door of his home. Grandma always had a bottle of cod liver oil in the back cupboard."

*I also take 2T. of coconut oil daily.  I have to choke this one down so we will see how long this continues.  I melt the oil in a small bowl in a saucepan first.

*My cousin is expecting her sixth baby and had terrible morning sickness.  She was able to find much relief after following a strict Paleo diet.  Her nutritionist recommended trying to get 100 grams of protein per day either with meat or nuts.  If you are not familiar with this diet, you can find thousands of recipes.  I have cooked Paleo all week and I heard no complaints from anyone.  I mean who wouldn't love a meatloaf with 2 lbs. of hamburger, 1 lb. of sausage and 1/2 lb. of bacon on top.  It was glorious.  I roasted brussel sprouts with bacon, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt  and pepper.  Again, I heard no complaints.  Tonight, we had chicken noodle soup with Kelp noodles.  The kids thought they were great.

*My favorite Grace posted her helpful tips on Morning Sickness.  I quickly purchased all her recommendations HOPING (Fingers crossed tight) that they will help.  I have made myself wog on the treadmill since before we were expecting so I hope to continue that insanity.  I have to admit that I should have known I was pregnant when One Direction's "What makes you Beautiful" made me tear up.  Wow.  Am I maturing or de-maturing? 

*Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary wrote a great post
"How I mostly cured Morning Sickness."  
She basically did a Paleo diet also.  I have printed this out and reread it every 2 seconds.

  • NO processed food. This includes basically anything that has been significantly modified from the form it’s in when it’s alive. No crackers, chips, cereal, granola bars, energy bars, tortillas, bread, pasta, yogurt with added ingredients, etc.
  • NO grains (except rice). No quinoa, oatmeal, breads, or anything else made from grains (including “whole grain” products). I did find, though, that I tolerated white rice okay.
  • NO sweets. This under the umbrella of the processed foods list, but it’s worth breaking out as a separate bullet point because I found it to be so important. Absolutely no ice cream, cookies, cakes, candy, etc.
  • No binge eating. This one wasn’t as huge as the others, but I found that if I ate beyond the point of being full, to the extreme of feeling completely stuffed, this would trigger hours of nausea later.
Her results were amazing.  Her morning sickness drastically changed after following this diet.

*My favorite Pro-Biotic "Prescript-Assist" came highly recommended from my favorite WAPF leader so I basically do what she tells me to do if it is easy.  You know, I buy Raw Milk for $9.00 a gallon and eat it with my Fruity Pebbles.  I know I drive her crazy.  I take Cod Liver Oil after we eat Papa John's Pizza. 

*I try to snack on Bubbies Sauerkraut. I have learned that lacto-fermented foods are soothing to the stomach.  I drink Ginger Tea all day. 

Sauerkraut originated in China, where it is known as "kimchi", about 2,000 years ago, about the same time the Great Wall of China was being built. The laborers who built the Wall got their nourishment from rice and a type of cabbage pickled in wine.
It wasn't until 1,000 years later that Genghis Khan plundered China and brought back the recipe for pickled cabbage, which his hordes then transported to Europe. The Germans (who gave it the name "sauerkraut") then learned to omit the wine in the recipe, replacing it with salt. Which gave us sauerkraut as we know it today.
It wasn't long before sauerkraut became a staple for seafaring men. It kept well without refrigeration and the high levels of vitamin C found in sauerkraut helped keep the ships crew scurvy free. (The same was done with cucumbers). The famous ship captain, James Cook, once ordered 25,000 pounds of sauerkraut to outfit two ships.

We will see how this goes as I know when cravings take over I will be the first to throw my sauerkraut out the window but at least I have a plan besides being face-down on the couch desperate for Chinese food all day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

C-Vo to the PT. Over and out.

As with all the big events in my life, I have trouble writing about them because I can't find the right words to express my excitement.  Thank you to all the kind readers who emailed, called, and commented regarding our newest baby.  I really do love babies.  I am so grateful we get to have another baby.  Childbearing is something I never take for granted.  They are such gifts.  
She was excessively brushing the enamel off tonight in her underwear.
Baby is carried around all day by everyone.
It is true.  Clairvaux self-potty trained.  For about a month, we would find her in the morning sitting on the abode. 
We would say to her, "Go get your diaper back on."  What the heck were we doing?  She was dying to potty train.  On Sunday, we finally let her do it and she only has had a few accidents other than that she takes her self and uses a whole roll of toilet paper at once.
Her best smile.  One shining moment.
We laughed all night at this one.  Her words "I am proud to call you my beloved mother.  You do well on cooking and handling things.  Thank you for being a nice teacher."  Thank you, Lillie.  My beloved mother.  Haaaaaaa!
Baby is always in on the bedtime action now.
She usually manhandles John's ears and nose.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baby's New Clothes

Baby has been looking very disheveled these days. I dress her adorable in the morning and then her rolls take over and I can tell she is uncomfortable so we usually strip her by the end of the morning. I finally had it. I told John I needed to buy her a few new clothes to accommodate her changing figure.
Before pic of the teenager (selfie)
She wouldn't let anybody dress her so I just gave in and let her wear her skivvies. It is so embarrassing when your underwear hangs out and you don't know it.
AFTER:  Although, I DID find the perfect shirt.
We pray it fits until September.