Friday, October 31, 2014

Our 2014 Cast of Saints!

I am quite excited to have our costumes done for our party tomorrow and I'm really happy with how they turned out!  Behold our cast of saints for the year (with some costume notes for future reference or in case in can help anyone else out there!).

Saint Anthony of Padua

John Paul picked his favorite saint of late as his saint this year.  This is the first year that he and Michael did not choose a saint with a sword.  I made the habits (don't look too close ;)  John Paul sewed the fish by himself.  He wasn't into carrying a Christ child doll around and there is nary a baby doll in our house anyway.  So he opted to carry the traditional lilies (from Hobby Lobby) and the homemade fish in honor of his favorite story about Saint Anthony preaching to the fish.

St. Francis of Assisi

Again, I made the habit and Michael made his bird.  I love it!  And check out both of their homemade tonsures that John Paul fashioned out of some craft fur!  To my delight, Michael was going to go the real tonsure route.  Today, though, he got a little nervous about the close encounter with the clippers and backed out.  According to Michael, "I look just like him!!  Except for my missing tooth.  But maybe he lost some of his teeth when he was old."

St. George the Martyr

That face!  The tunic is a simple white pillowcase with a red felt cross hot-glued to the front.  The cape and head covering are from the dress up hamper (head covering sewed by Grandma years ago).  The sequinesque "armor" I put together for John Paul a few years ago when he was St. George.  They're just pinned to his clothes.  Sword courtesy of the dollar store and cardboard shield courtesy of John Paul.

St. John Paul the Great (giving you his papal blessing)

This costume is making an appearance yet again and has had such a great run.  It's eight years old.  I made it when John Paul was a toddler!  It just needed an ironing and a new crucifix attached to the crosier.

Happy All Hallow's Eve!
Have a wonderful weekend and may all the holy men and women intercede for us all.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fun Updates, All Saints' Day, and Some Opinions Needed

Outside my window...
A brisk gray fall day

Thankful for...
a healthy bambino!
I had my first appointment with my midwife the other day!  We had a small scare when we couldn't find the heartbeat after looking for about five minutes.  I'm over ten weeks along now and that was unusual for me to not hear it by this point so we were kind of surprised.  I wasn't really worried and felt at peace since I've been so sick but Brian got pretty scared.  So we headed over for an unexpected ultrasound straight from there just to make sure everything was okay.  And baby looks beautiful.  He or she was flipping all around and waving and even had hiccups!  Heartbeat perfect.  It is so so incredible that this wee little one just an inch and a half long had hiccups and all his or her main parts.  Oh, and there was only one.  Not gonna lie, I've had a twin feeling this pregnancy since it's been so intense but nope, just one in there :)

Little kumquat baby is measuring at exactly what my due date guess was.  This was the first time I wasn't exactly sure on the whole conception date so it was nice to have that affirmation that my guess was right!

I do have a small subchorionic bleed that is really common.  A lot of women have them and never even know it and they heal on their own.  But since we happened to have the ultrasound, it showed up.  The tech just said I should avoid lifting really heavy things or exerting myself too much and I was like, "done and done."

Also so thankful for two amazing births I doulaed at this month.  One at home and one a home birth after cesarean.  What a blessing to be there and share in such incredible moments.

Thinking about...
 ah, things have been nuts lately.  Once All Saints' Day is over life should calm down a bit?  I'm looking forward to that.  Settling in for cold weather and preparing for Thanksgiving and Advent and Christmas.  Hot cider or tea in hand, finally having some evenings where both Brian and I are home, hopefully not feeling yucky anymore...that sounds delightful.

how to take help.  It's kinda nice :)

Struggling with...
you know, first trimester stuff.  Grateful for only a few weeks left and (hoping!) to feel much better soon.

From the kitchen...
frozen, gifted, and easy meals.
Two more friends made dinner for us and I was able to use them on days when it was SUCH a blessing.  How nice is it to have a meal made for you???  So nice.  If I had the choice of any sort of luxury, I think it would be having a personal chef.   

A gift of custom-made donuts also arrived on my counter this morning.  Seriously.  Custom-made.  Long story short a friend of ours has to do huge bulk orders at this bakery and the owner offered him some special donuts or something and our friend requested some for me!  Peanut filled with homemade bavarian cream.  Oh my goodness.  The best two donuts combined into one.  Amazing stuff.

All Saints' Day costumes!
I even pulled out the sewing machine.  John Paul and Michael's are done and I just need to do some ironing and organizing for the littles.  I should be doing that at this very moment but I haven't popped on here in far too long to share.  Plus, typing means I can lay on the couch :)

our group just finished These Beautiful Bones by Emily Stimpson.  REALLY good.  I highly highly recommend it.  On my own I finished My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell which made me cry.  Very good memoir.  Next up is the copy of Edith Stein's collected works that just arrived in yesterday's mail.  A bit headier but I'm looking forward to it.

 to our All Saints' Day party on Saturday.  It's on the 1st this year so we're not sure what's happening on Friday evening yet.  It's going to be in the forties and rainy (because Buffalo) so that might decide it for us anyway.  Someone really needs to move Halloween or some sort of similar pseudo costume neighbor celebration thing to like, August or September, right fellow Northerners?  I'm not anti-Halloween necessarily but I am anti-walking-around-in-the-freezing-cold-and-rain-with-tired-wet-kids-on-a-darkly-lit-country-road. Maybe it's a better night for hot cider, a warm house, caramel apples, and a good saint movie?

Around the house...
housework has been at a minimum.  It helps so much that Brian has been so on top of things the last few months.

for so many who long to conceive.  It's such a fine line sharing our blessing while knowing others suffer and long for the same.  I can't explain it but I do think of that often and try very hard not to take this gift for granted.  

for those who have lost children and are grieving.

for all of you who shared your intentions with me.  Thank you for letting me do that.

Worth a Click...

Tweedle Dee and Twaddle Dum:  Balancing Quality Children's Lit with All the Rest another great one from Molly.  I love her list of requirements for books.  We go by exactly the same model.

Halloween {A Failed Catechesis on Holy Death} by Melody.  Some very thought-provoking stuff.

I used to be good at collecting links to share with you...should I do that again?  Most of what I find share-worthy I've just been sharing on the FB page.  Any opinions on the matter?  What say you?  Do you even care?

Oh!  And opinions on the new headshot photo?  I finally updated that blurry shot from years ago.  I thought it wasn't that bad but when Brian saw it he was all, "why does your face look like that?  Why are you scrunched up?"  (Don't worry, he's the same guy who tells me I'm beautiful - and means it! - when I'm feeling my grossest.  It's just funny that the one time I think I look decent is the one time he disagrees :) )  So, is it awful?  Too scary close?  Do I look scrunched??  

A picture thought to share...

I think this updated pic, however, definitely beats that first one :)

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our Saint JPII Feast Day {phfr}

Yesterday was the first *official* feast day for Saint John Paul the Great.  Though we've celebrated the last few years knowing this would be the feast day, it was even better now that he is officially proclaimed a saint!  I still can't even believe that we got to be there.  Blessed beyond belief.  Our John Paul was pretty psyched about celebrating the feast day, so much so that he took over a lot of the work so that I could do that whole lay on the couch and grow a baby thing.

But first unrelated picture of a sunflowers my mom brought over to congratulate us on our new little one!  Isn't that nice?  It made me cry but then again...yeah.

John Paul got all into the tablescape even going so far as to iron (for the first time) the tablecloth?!?  He brought down his special JPII mementos to decorate and made place cards.  I made this polish sausage and cabbage soup (which was surprisingly awesome and super easy) in the crock pot.  (Recipe notes:  I didn't have caraway seeds and added some salt, a touch of ground pepper, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.)  We then inaugurated that gifted Polish pottery tureen on the perfect day to serve it up.  The kids were not interested in the soup as I knew they wouldn't be so we also had our Polish sausage pizza and veggie sticks.

The best touch of all were the miter-folded napkins that John Paul looked up online.
You can officially learn how to do anything on Youtube.

It was delicious even if a bit sloppily decorated :)
There's about a third left in the fridge at this very moment and I'm really not sure how I'm not going to eat it.

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for some {phfr}!
God bless!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Lord, Why Did I Do This?

"Why did I do this?"
She sounded so tired, so exasperated, a hint of fear in her voice as she worked her way through the contraction.  I was there supporting her as her doula as she worked to birth her second child.  It was clear she was now remembering that there was no way out but through and she knew from her last birth what through meant.  She was scared and she was doubting herself.
I hear those words or words like it at almost every birth.  “I can’t do this.”  You see that spark of fear in their eyes as they near transition and they realize what is being asked of them.  A complete gift of her body, her self, the surrendering of her hopes, her fears, her very body to the work of life.  There are no guarantees, no easy way out....
I was honored to be asked to be a monthly contributor to their blog and I (because I have no other things going on????) said yes.  Please hop on over and follow their ministry and also take the time to follow them on Facebook!  They do beautiful work.

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