Friday, November 27, 2015

Seven Color Me Grateful Takes

Happy (a day late) Thanksgiving!
How about seven things I find myself especially grateful for this Friday...

It still hasn't snowed yet.

Thank you, Jesus, for mild Novembers.

In breaking news in the world of Ben, guess who cut his first tooth on Wednesday?!? 
(See what I did there?)
And I had no clue.  
I'm fairly certain this is the earliest any of mine have gotten a tooth (but don't quote me on that) and while there were a few days last week when he wouldn't nap (not sure if it's related) he was still his happy clam self.  Besides some finger and random furniture chewing, there was nary a sign.   I've had very hard teethers and if this kiddo is not, then color me very VERY grateful.

Thank you, Jesus, for an easy teether.  At least for this first one anyway.

Our insurance company was trying not to pay our midwife's fee for all my prenatal care and being there for Ben's birth and the visits after.  Even though it was all preapproved and all that.  I don't know if the hospital transfer confused them but regardless they should have been paying.  Finally, finally, (after I called them out on social media...within 24 hours after I did I was contacted and had my own personal claim advocate) they are paying up.  We've gotten part of our fee back and now are working on getting the rest back (they accidentally charged us double the deductible) as well as fighting to have Ben's care covered.  But I'm so grateful to have this almost taken care of.

Thank you, Jesus, for healthcare and for burdens eased.

These ridiculous kids.  All week long they've been doing Thanksgiving crafts all on their own.
The did the ol' turkey handprint thing and then decided they need super authentic headgear.  Meanwhile, John Paul taught them about the first Thanksgiving and they learned what the feathers on the Native American headdresses represented which was quite...disturbing.

"We have to be serious because that's how they were back then."
These kids are so ridiculous and awesome.

Thank you, Jesus, for siblings and homeschooling and moments like these.

We had Thanksgiving at my dad's this year.  My stepmom made almost everything and it was delicious.  They even had crafts and a quiz game for the kids to do while we were there.

Chestnut roasting

And candy winning

Thank you, Jesus, for family and grandparents.

The soon to be four year old has been absolutely delightful lately.  He is my fireball and I try to soak in those moments when they come.  Just this past two weeks he's been SO eager to do his own lessons and has been teaching himself how to write letters.  He's been so proud of his writing and completely makes up spelling for words that he thinks he's writing.  It's been a gift in a whole lot of ways to see him grow in this way.

Thank you, Jesus, for this boy, for his spirit, for patience, and for (maybe?) corners turned.

 Just a little reminder that if you're doing any shopping on Amazon this year to use my (or someone's!) affiliate link.  If you go to Amazon by clicking here or on the link in the sidebar a percentage of anything you purchase goes to help me pay for keeping this blog up and for Christmas gifts and homeschool books at NO cost to you.  I'm so grateful for those that remember to do that.  In fact, just last week a pack of brand new, much needed underwear for a little boy's Christmas stocking was paid for by you :)  So thanks.  I really do appreciate it.
Thank you, Jesus, for all the ways You always provide for us and for those thoughtful people who help You.

Linking up with Kelly and Seven Quick Takes.
Thank you, Kelly!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Catholic New Year's Resolutions (with a free printable!)

Every year we do a little Catholic nerd thing and our family has a New Year's Eve party on the night before the first Sunday of Advent.  In the liturgical year, we are actually at the very end of the year and the new year begins this coming Sunday.  For us Catholics, that is a bigger deal than December 31 on the secular calendar.  Not that we won't celebrate then, too, because hey, why not?  (Also, #stillchristmas.)    

So at our house we have a party that Saturday night.  And by party I mean we have dips and dessert and maybe watch a movie and the kids drink sparkling cider.  (Except for that one who actually prefers to sip from my wine glass.  I like that kid.)  It's not anything extravagant but it's fun and gives a little nod of our familial head to time redeemed and the deference we have first to the movements and seasons of the Church.

This year I wanted to expand upon the idea a bit and we're going to incorporate some Catholic New Year's Resolutions into our celebrating.  Of course, these would also be great to do at the regular New Year's, too, if that's your preference.  Rather than the standard resolutions that focus more on losing weight, exercising, organizing and all that good stuff, these will be be the bigger soul changes we may feel called to work on.  

If we're really rockin' this Saturday, we'll make it to Confession before our party and then take some time to figure out on our own and together some ways we'd like to grow and change this liturgical year.  

I made a sheet for us to fill out and I'm hoping that this will become part of our little Catholic New Year's tradition.

The list includes:

One Virtue I Want to Grow in...

One Sin I'd Like to Eliminate….

One Book of Scripture I'd Like to Read Through…

One Other Spiritual Book I'd Like to Read…

One Way to Increase My Sacramental Life

One Saint I'd Like to Get to Know Better...

Any Special Intentions for the Year…

(Obviously, the kids will only be able to do this as much as they are able for their age.)

As a little gift I made it available for anyone who would like to print it out for your own use!   It certainly could also be used as a 'normal' New Year's resolution list, of course.  Simply click on the image to open it in a new window, then right click to save/upload it to your computer.

Hope it can help!
Happy Liturgical New Year's!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Your Marriage Wants More {A Review of Beloved}

Over a year ago my husband and I did something that turned out to be a beautiful gift to our marriage.  We knew we needed something because to put it bluntly, we were struggling.

Now, I'm sure your marriage never has issues so maybe none of this will apply to you ;)

But we struggle.
Sometimes it's just in the the little day to day ways but we've had some giant battles as well.  And to be honest. we felt a little lost as to what to do about it.  I mean, there just isn't a whole lot of practical help available, it seems, for those of us who want to make this thing work, who feel like things are supposed to better but feel like we're just making it up as we go along.  Heck, even if we weren't struggling, it's still a good and beautiful thing to want to be better and better at this marriage thing and to take steps to make that happen.

We ended up planning with some friends once a month to intentionally make that something happen.  Over drinks and snacks we went through a book that my husband and I had both read years ago (and greatly benefited from) and the DVD group guide that went with it.  It was a tremendous gift to our marriage, a turning point almost.  The simple act of intentionally making the time to work on our marriage and to do it with other like-minded friends in a safe environment?  It was huge, I think, in a lot of growth and healing and heart work that happened during those months.  

The program itself was good and fostered deeper discussion than we otherwise would have had but there was a lot it left to be desired.  It was a little bit hokey and some of the examples they used were a bit eye roll inducing.  Plus, it barely mentioned that little part of marriage and family called children.  So while there was a whole lot that was great about it, it was clear that the Catholic idea of marriage is a whole lot deeper and richer than what that series explored.  We left it wanting more.

I was given the fabulous opportunity of reviewing this brand new Catholic marriage series released by Symbolon and being distributed by Lighthouse and Ignatius Press.  It's called Beloved.  I haven't seen any other program like this available.

Similar to the program we previously used, it is a DVD based series however, it doesn't work off of previous reading.  The DVDs are the primary part of the program and the study guides work off of that.  The part I am most impressed by is that it is extremely flexible and it is designed to be used in a variety of environments.
It is set up so that it can be used for marriage preparation OR enrichment and in a variety of settings -
•Pre-Cana retreats and seminars
•Self-led study by engaged or married couple
•Marriage enrichment retreats or within a parish 
•Faith sharing groups/ study groups
•Within marriage counseling 
•One-on-one with a leader and a couple
We've previewed all the DVDs and I am so very excited that we are going to be putting the full program into practice firsthand within a group.  What I hope to do is first share my overall impressions with you here and then maybe give a few updates as my husband and I go through the questions and discussion more.  I'll share our deepest and darkest revelations and discussion just a little bit of the takeaways and thoughts from going through it as designed.

So here are my first thoughts after just watching the DVDs and giving a quick perusal of the books:

•The production quality is stellar.  Top notch.  A few minutes after my husband and I turned on the first DVD to preview, we looked at each other with the same thought.  "This is actually good."  (I'll be honest, I have a tendency to cringe at the many well intentioned but poorly designed or produced Catholic media.)  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that what Bishop Barron's Catholicism did for evangelization as a whole, Beloved has the potential to do for marriage catechesis.

•It is beautiful.  The way they talk about marriage and the visual and even the materials themselves are all beautifully and professionally done.

•The people they have working on this and in it are well known and respected - Edward Sri, Jason Evert, Leah Darrow, Matt Fradd, Teresa Tomeo, Curtis Martin, and more. But while that was a lovely surprise, the parts we found most engaging were the parts of normal married couples sharing their experiences.  Both Brian and I wish they had done even more of that.

•  It is centered on Christ.  Completely.

•  It is respectful of the privacy of marriage but opens the door for discussion on pretty heavy topics.

•  I wish we had something like this when we were getting ready for marriage.  We did the weekend Engaged Encounter retreat and while it was good, it glossed over a whole lot of topics that should have been addressed.  This program would be a huge asset to parish marriage preparation.

•As I mentioned above there are two tracts - one for marriage preparation, one for marriage enrichment.  The DVDs are the same but there are different books depending.  The first six sessions are more the Theology of marriage and the second six are more on applying it to your life, however there is a lot of good overlap.

•I was surprised that we found the first six sessions more engaging than the last six.  It seemed to us that the last six needed a lot more meat and we were hoping it would dive deeper into some topics.  We're hoping that the discussion and book will make up for that.  A few sessions were a lot of one person's experience and I think those ones could have benefitted from more of the off-the-cuff sharing that was in the first six.

The Mystery & Meaning of Marriage
EP1 // Does Marriage Matter? (34:19) 
EP2 // Entering the Story of Marriage (33:28) 
EP3 // Love Revealed (36:38) 
EP4 // Total Gift of Self (48:40) 
EP5 // A Sacramental Bond (34:32)
EP6 // Real Challenges, Real Love (48:07)

Living Marriage
EP1 // Christ at the Center (18:26) 
EP2 // A Deeper Unity (18:00) 
EP3 // Conflict and Communication (19:05) 
EP4 // Building a Thriving Marriage (18:30) 
EP5 // Protecting the Bond (20:41) 
EP6 // Sexuality and Authentic Love (20:22)

Listen, I know some people are very wary of programs and I soooo get it.  I am, too.  At least insofar as they become a replacement for the Sacraments or a conversion of heart and an overall cultural shift.  I am that person that sees what's behind a problem and wants to fix the cause not just the symptoms.  A program is not going to be the magic cure-all that fixes family brokenness that plagues so many families and then trickles out into the world and into the marriages of future generations.  But while I can pinpoint overall cultural wounds and know (or theorize) what will help be the fix on a larger level, that's not going to help us where we are right now.   

We are a wounded generation, in so many ways the casualties of the breakdown of the family.
But we are trying the best we know how to live this marriage thing and we need help.   This series provides a bit of that help.  A whole lot of us didn't have the modeling.  We don't have the cultural support and we are faced with threats to marriage far and above what other generations have fought.  We don't have a whole lot of practical support from our communities and parishes.  And quite frankly, we like to get together and talk about the stuff that matters and this gives us the backdrop to do so.  It has the potential to build good and life-giving community and support.
And that is a much needed and very good thing.  

So we're setting out to do this marriage thing we've been called to better.  To take some time and put in some effort and be more of what we know the Lord asks us to be for each other and for the world.  I hope maybe you'll even consider doing the same for your own.  I think something like this would make a GREAT Christmas gift for your spouse, your married (or soon to be married) children, or your parish library.

You can see more information by clicking on any of the images above or right here.

Please know that I don't take dedicated reviews here on the blog lightly.  If I don't feel comfortable recommending a product I've been asked to review, I simply don't write it.  I want my word here to mean something so if I write on it, I mean it.  I'm always nervous recommending things but I do feel strongly that this program is a gift to the Church and could really be a huge help to a few of you out there.  I hope it is :)

(And if you do decide to try it out, please tell them I sent you!)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Six Months of Ben

Six Months!
How can that be?  For serious?

Ben, you are just incredible.  And I mean that literally.  I sometimes can't believe that you are real.
You are nearly always happy and you bring our family so much joy.  It's verging on ridiculous.  You're still so intrigued by the fact that you have hands.  Since two months old you will stare at them, ponder them, and study them for a good few minutes at a time.  It makes me wonder the things you'll do with them when you're big.  You vocalize and it is so sweet and mild.  No matter how awkwardly your brothers try to haul you around or when your naps are thrown off and what you really want is just to sleep, you still smile like you're choosing joy.  I love it and I don't deserve it.  I'm pretty glad God gave you to us even though I was a little bit scared to death of the gift.  He's like that, isn't He?  Just asking us to trust and then blowing us away with what He had waiting.

Thank you, sweet boy, for being you.

Friday, November 20, 2015

On Meeting People Where They Are - The Danger of Homogenization

During the papal visit and throughout this Holy Father's papacy, there has been an increasing awareness of reaching out beyond our comfort zones as a Church.  The idea is growing and digging into hearts that we need to be stretching ourselves more to love, more to meet people where they are, and bring His mercy and love to the ones still unloved and not knowing the true Christ.  And thank God for that.  It is a beautiful movement of the Holy Spirit to seek to become more and more like Christ, to be a Church that invites every single person into relationship with the One who thirsts for them.

There has been a lot of talk of meeting people where they are at.  That phrase and idea is being used more and more frequently but with that beautiful desire, I see a tendency creeping into discussion and practice to homogenize the people who need Christ.  The irony, of course, is that the phrase then becomes a hypocrisy.  It is a subtle but foul arrogance that only certain people are worthy of our charity and time. The same ugliness that turns one's nose up at the welfare-using jobless drug addict can be behind the snubbing of the rich white privileged executive.

We as a Church must realize that Jesus wants them both.  

The same Church that strives to meet the marginalized must also meet the privileged.  They are poor in their own ways.  That meeting will look differently, of course, and that's the point.  There is an invitation that will meet the addict and one that will meet the executive.

We need both because they both need.

What evangelizes one person might not evangelize the other.  And that's why God created a Church filled with a diversity of gifts and talents and proclivities and temperaments.  We can all reach someone  and the someones we reach will not be the same.  Our task as individuals is to listen to where the Holy Spirit is asking us to share Christ, not to criticize and belittle where others are. 

Yes, we need to meet the homeless veteran and the crack-addicted single mom and the already wounded and cynical teenager.  But we also need to meet the 30 year old educated computer service techie and the entitled suburban workaholic and the Protestant minister who loves Christ deeply but feels that there is more truth to be found.  The world is an incredibly diverse place and there are many different types of people to meet.  How we meet will be as diverse as the people who need meeting.  We cannot homogenize the people who need Christ.  
It's all of us.

There is not one group that deserves Him more and one group that needs Him less.  He died for all.

Our Lord gave the Church a variety of gifts and temperaments and instruments to use to reach the variety of people He created.  Let us be careful not to fall into a trendy self-deprecation that minimalizes all that the Holy Spirit has been doing these last decades.  Let us be very very careful not to trivialize the ways that many people come to know Christ.  The beautiful liturgy that draws one man in will be the bowl full of soup that draws another.  The apologetics that persuade one woman will be the post-abortion healing of another.  The ways that the Church has grown in catechizing and renewing orthodoxy and redirecting the veerings of wayward teaching in the past few decades is a holy and good thing.  There is always room to be better, of course, and we should be constantly reevaluating how well we are reaching out and meeting the needs of all His people.  Yes.  We are obligated to do so.  But let us not forget that the New Evangelization has produced thousands of converts and a renewed catechesis that is continually bringing people home to Christ and His Church.  We must work to keep on going and expanding our efforts but we would do well not to forget all that has been done and renew our gratitude for it.

We need the theologian and we need the soup kitchen.  We need the parish priest and we need the cloistered nun.  We need the street evangelist and we need the blogger.  We need the foreign missionary and we need the stay at home mom.  The God of the universe has deigned to need them all and each one has a role in this great big Body of His.

We need to meet people where they are and to do so we need to realize that where they are?

It's as different as each of them.

St. Therese, patroness of the missions, pray for us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Advent Around the Corner

T - 10 days. 
But no stress.  Just a heads up so you don't end up feeling again on that Saturday (or even Sunday) like you're 'failing' before you've even begun.  (Which, you're not, by the way.  But there is a calm and peace that comes with feeling like you're prepared to prepare and not scrambling to do what you said you wanted to do.)

Get those candles, unpack those Jesse Tree ornaments, maybe get a little Christmas shopping out of the way this week*, and pray about how YOU as well as your family will be living in the wait this year.

There is lots written about Advent on the internet nowadays which is wonderful.  I love that the liturgical year (time redeemed!) has become such a living thing in so many of our homes.  God loves it, too, I think.  But there's not much at the moment to add to all that is out there or to what I've already written.  (But you know me, stick around and I probably won't be able to keep my mouth shut about it anyway. ;)  

Here's a roundup of some of my Advent writing that may be helpful.  And stay tuned below for a giveaway of one of my favorite Advent books!!

If you're really looking to dive into some Advent writing you can click on the links below for each day of my One Day Less daily Advent reflection series.  
Day 1       Day 2       Day 3      Day 4      Day 5      Day 6     Day 7
Day 8      Day 9      Day 10      Day 11      Day 12      Day 13      Day 14
Day 15     Day 16     Day 17      Day 18      Day 19     Day 20     Day 21
Day 22     Day 23     Day 24


And now the giveaway!
This one will be a quickie since I want to get it into the mail for the winner in time for Advent.  Leave a comment below and you'll get a chance to win one of my favorite Advent books.  

It is wonderful.  (It looks like it's only available in the Kindle version at the moment.  Our local Catholic bookstore carried it a few years ago, though.)  It was the book that inspired the One Day Less series.  It is profound without being heady containing short daily readings but not too short to be quickly forgotten.  It went deeper than most other Advent devotionals which I appreciated most.  I just love her and wish she were still alive because I'm pretty sure I'd somehow figure out my way around that cloistered thing and ask her to be my long distance spiritual director.

Anyway, leave a comment and be entered!  Share the giveaway on Facebook or Pinterest and you can come back and leave another comment to get another entry.  (U.S. readers only, sorry!)  Giveaway will be closed Sunday evening.  

Blessed Advent, friends!

*If you're doing any Amazon shopping I'd be so grateful if you used my link in the sidebar!  
Thank you so much!

Winner:  Ann-Marie!

{amazon affiliate links included}

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lovely November

I know I said it already but this November has been lovely.  No snow yet and mild temperatures.  So very much different than this time last year when we had the snowvember storm that trapped people in their homes for weeks and started off the coldest winter in the record books around here.  So so grateful.

We took a little trip to the park on Sunday trying to make something of the day.  Life has been intense (dare I say sanctifying…or at least asking to be) around here and we were trying to Sunday it up.  We even splurged and got donuts beforehand with money from the Christmas envelope saved from last year.  There is a wooden park at a school in the area that I remember being a magical place when I was younger.  It has hidden tunnels and rooms and so many cool features.  I remember when it was built and it was all the talk amongst my fourth grade friends.  The boys agree and begged to go to this one rather than the bike trail like I was thinking.  This was a better choice :)

(There were five turkey vultures passing by.)

These are my people.
I love them to pieces, even with all the sanctifying ;)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Being the Pacifier

He's just using you as a pacifier.

I hear that word, the accusation, and nerdy appreciator of etymology I am, my mind immediately works through the statement.
Pacifier; one who pacifies.  Pacify; to create or bring peace.  
And I'm left to wonder what's the problem? 

My kids never took to a plastic type of pacifier.  I'm normally grateful for that though there were times when I desperately tried it and would have welcomed it.  But maybe that's why I just can't relate to the negativity that seems to surround the word.  That word to me is a good thing.  Pacifier.  Something or someone who brings peace.  Not something offensive or shameful, from what I can tell.  You don't want him using you as a pacifier, do you?

Well, yeah.  Kinda I do.

My child is scared, lonely, agitated, overstimulated, hurt and I can easily give him peace by offering him a part of me or by merely being present.  Yes.  Yes, I do want that.  

I don't think I'm really the most peaceful of people by nature.  Not by a long shot.  (My husband is stifling the guffaws.)  But I want to be.  And with this simple thing I can be a bringer of peace.  I can train myself to be that bringer of peace.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, the pacifiers, for they shall be called sons of God."

Yes.  I'll do it.  The world is a wonderful place but it can also be a big and scary and violent place.  With this simple little act I can bring a tiny bit of peace to our little corner of it.  Comfort the mind and heart and body of one of His little ones.  By offering a part of me I can in some small way prepare and ease this little soul into that big and dangerous world.  In offering that gift, I can maybe even teach my children that each one of us is called in some way to be a pacifier, a bringer of peace to a troubled and anxious world.  Oh, it's tiny, I know.  I'm sure some will say I'm making a stretch.  But the little acts of motherhood are important.  Do small things with love, a little nun in Calcutta once said, and we say we believe it.  Then there are no acts of love too small.  I can bring peace with my spirit and words and I have the opportunity to do so with my very body.  With this small act of bodily love I can in a very tiny way be as Him.

"Peace I leave you.  My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you."

Our culture is weird about the body.  Worship it, shame it, abuse it, enslave yourself to it.  But don't receive it.  Don't gift it the way it was designed.  We aren't repulsed by the use of an object pacifier but if the baby needs to be soothed and mom puts the baby to her breast, that's seen as giving in, as setting them up to "use" you, as a hindrance to freedom and independence.  Some even think it repulsive.  This disordered fallen world takes something beautiful and giftable and twists it into something gross, an offensive habit to break.

It is hard, this gift of self each one of us is called to learn.  I fail daily.  I have so much more work to do and ways to learn it.  But this is one way that I can.  And, of course, there are certainly times when I need others to be the peace giver in their own God-ordained way.  There are times when for both our sakes it is better to help this little one learn gradually and gently how to be soothed in other ways, too.  But I won't cringe when I am called to be the one.  (Or at least, I'll try not to.)  I'll see the beauty and the opportunity and I'll do my best to give generously.

I am not called at the moment out into the world to do great things and bring peace to this world.  To march or fly to other countries or enact treaties or write new laws.  I can donate and pray and raise awareness in my own little communities but I cannot change the minds or hearts of masses.  I cannot do much tangibly to help when the world feels like it is crumbling with hate.  When it feels like the violence far outweighs the peace.
What I can do is be a peacemaker here in this little domestic church He's given me.
I can offer this tiny little gift to a little one in His name and maybe in that moment that is doing the small thing I can do to be a peace bringer to the world.  Maybe anyway.

So yes, I'll be the pacifier.  When I can, God and me willing, I'll choose to bring the peace.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Weekend Room Switcheroo

I'd like to try a thing where I post a little more often and think a little bit less about how or what people will think of whatever it is that I do post.  That schiz moves me into post paralysis.  I'd rather find that place again where I post the happenings in this life of ours (however mundane) or the thoughts in my head or heart (however muddled) because writing is helpful for me and I need help grasping the gratitude of this hard and beautiful life we've got here.  At least, that's how I'm thinking today.  We'll see how that plays out in reality.  

In that vein, yesterday we finally got to do the big room switcheroo.  We previously had all four older boys in one room which sounds quaint and makes my organizational type A heart pitter patter but in reality it was not working.  We have these two youngers who, no matter how much sugar they knew they would lose on their oatmeal, were waking the two olders an hour earlier than they would have gotten up.  Resentment and frustration were growing and we decided it best to split them up and take over the sorry state of a playroom for the olders.  I suppose we would've had to commandeer it once Ben was older anyway if we're going to stay in this house for the foreseeable future.

So the playroom of the past now is all big kid bedroom:
This room gets the best light of the house.  And no, it won't stay this clean but I will enjoy it and embrace it while it is and do my best to keep it this way.

Brian did a quick touch up of the floor paint last weekend since we'd be moving everything out anyway and it was in rough shape.  This room is on a separate electric (read: expensive) heater which is another reason we didn't want to use it as a bedroom if we didn't have to.  But we're going to try heating the room up before bed and then turning it off.  We'll see how it goes.  No closet so everything has to fit in those dressers.

I may opt for a different rug in here.  The former playroom rug we put in the little boys' room doesn't work well so I'd put this rug in there again and get a different one in here.  You know, in case you were wondering.

The boys were especially excited for the bed lamps and getting to read in bed.  (Truth be told, I'm excited for that, too.  Not only because I love the idea of them snuggled in bed and reading but because it means that we can send them up earlier and get some much needed adult time.  Truth.)

It may need a few more finishing touches but we were really happy with how it came together using all stuff we already had.  That dresser holds the Legos.  I admit I absolutely do not like the idea of toys in the bedrooms (more so for the littles) and would definitely prefer toys in a separate area.  But we're working with what we got and there isn't another space for them so strategic bedroom/library placement it is.

We found that print of a painting of Saint John Paul that we had forgotten about hidden in one of the boys' Rome trip workbooks!  John Paul had bought it with his saved up money at the Cathedral of San Rufino in Assisi.  I happened to have that frame for it and it made us happy to put it in his little corner.

And Michael was very much insistent that he bring the St. Michael picture into his new room.  He was absolutely delightful to work with and so excited for his new room.  When that boy has a project, he is so dedicated and enthusiastic.  

And the Middle Earthen wardrobe merits a place as well.  Obviously.

The little boys' room is so much brighter since we unbunked the beds!  We had two of those dark wood bunk beds in this little room and it made the space so much smaller and confined.  I'm a little hesitant to post these since it still needs more attention and love but whatever.

Like I said, rug is usable but definitely doesn't blend as well.  (I got it for $29 at a store closing sale seven years ago!!)  The room could use some more touches as well.  You can't tell but the walls need a paint job like you wouldn't believe.  We'll get there.

What every toddler room needs:  a looming poster of the Last Judgement to lull them to sleep…
(David's the best.  He adores that painting and asked for that for his birthday.)  

 This room needs some lovin' soon.  But for now, here's hoping that the new arrangement bodes well for sleep and brotherly love. 

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