Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alrighty. Your Intentions Are Mine (and for fun, share your predictions!)


Okay, dear readers, we've reached 36 and a half weeks here.
I would love it if you'd let me have any special intentions for labor and please, please don't be shy.  I'll be printing them up to keep with me when it's time to birth this babe.  This is actually incredibly helpful for me to get outside myself and do the labor thing well.  So, really, you're helping me.  Put 'em in the comments or on the FB page or you can email me privately at betterthaneden1@yahoo.com.

And just for fun and if you want to play, you're welcome to guess the stats of the newest Eden bebe - birthday, gender, weight, and whatever else you want to throw in there :)  Heck, I may just need your help with a name!  We have a few ideas but nothing set.  Names are the HARDEST!
I don't have any special prizes or anything…but maybe I'll think of something?  

Anyway here's the history:
John Paul - born at 39+1 weeks; 6 lbs. 15 oz.
Michael - born at 38+6 weeks; 6 lbs. 15 oz.
David - born at 39+1; 6 lbs. 15 oz. (no, I'm not kidding!)
Luke - born at 39+4 weeks; 8 lbs. 3 oz. (breaking the mold, that one)
All of the male variety.

This pregnancy:
This baby's 40 week mark is May 23rd.  
Pregnancy has been harder in some ways - more nausea, worse skin, more heartburn, more teary...which was leading me to think girl but the last few weeks I've been feeling pretty similar to the others so I may be switching back to boy.  I was carrying differently in the beginning but now look pretty much the same as the others.  I suppose most of the differences could all be attributed to me just getting old… ;)  Conception date is a little earlier from the others and would lead me to think a greater chance of girl.   In short?  I have no idea.  BUT, just to be abundantly clear, I have zero preference as to gender.  Really.  This baby is already who he or she is and in no way shape or form would I ever ever ever want them to be something they are not.  Really.  I have very little patience for some of the comments people make about their preference for the gender of my kids.  #steppingoffsoapbox  I have been thinking this one will be earlier but that could totally be all in my head.  Am I forgetting any other useful info?

Okay, let me have em and please keep me in your prayers, too, for a healthy, happy, holy birth.  I'd really appreciate it :)

There she is in all her awkward selfie glory...


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Easter Touches and a Few Other Goings On


Checking in with a bit of the {pretty, happy, funny, real} over at Like Mother, Like Daughter on this very chilly April day.  (Seriously…snow in the air.)

{pretty}
My Easter mantel was finally done this week.  I realized I have more Lent decor than Easter and that just doesn't seem right so I made a colorful little banner and finally added some fresh flowers.  They're already dying but for the couple dollars I spent, it was worth it.  Plus, now I get to plant them outside for next year.  White tulips are one of my favorites.

I needed some Easter color.  I think I like how it turned out, although the colors in real life are a little bit brighter than I thought they'd be.

A little behind the scenes.  Burlap is lovely but so very messy.

Our table which is in process of being retransformed into the changing table.

And a kitchen message

John Paul made this cross a few years ago all on his own and now I love that we can put it up on Good Friday (though this year it was pouring so it waited until Saturday).  On Easter we add the white cloth.  John Paul wove a crown out of willow branches to add.

The rain hasn't been as bad as they keep predicting and my yard and I are very very grateful for that.  We even got a rainbow out of it the other evening.  The boys were so excited :)

We've even had a couple of days of very springish weather the last few weeks!  Look at that sky!!  It feels so good to be outside in the sun and the hens are so very very glad to not be quite literally cooped up anymore.  The yard is still pretty mushy but sun.  Oh, the sun feels so nice.

{happy}
One of the things I'd really like to have done before baby is getting the porch set up.  Brian painted the floor over the weekend (yes, we have to paint it every year…the wood is OLD and the winter is brutal on it).  Once there's no longer a freeze danger I can grab some hanging flowers and get it all set for spring and summer porch relaxing.  So happy!

These boys.  They're crazy and adorable and exhausting.  We were hanging out waiting for Mass to begin in the church and they were running all over the stage at our school day.  Those faces get me.

{funny}
John Paul and Michael finished up their guitar lessons.  This was their big closing concert ;)  It was quite hysterical to see these two little homeschool preppy boys on the stage with their guitars jamming (word used very very loosely) to Yellow Submarine and Get Up, Stand Up.  I really hope we can keep up with practicing and learning because it's a skill I'd really like them to have.

{real}
Birth supply organization in progress does not hamper lesson time :)
I actually really like this part of nesting…getting all the supplies and things ready.  And it definitely makes it all more real.

How's your Thursday?



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This Post Brought to You by Pregnancy Insomnia


"I can't wait til the baby's born so I can sleep again."
Filed under:  Crazy things people with pregnancy insomnia say.

And it's really really true.  The last two babies (and dear God, please with this one) I have slept so much better after the baby is born than before.  Yes, you're waking up more BUT you can get right back to sleep when the nursing/changing/whatevering is done.  Not so when you're pregnant and insomnia hits like clockwork at 1:30 or 2 a.m. most nights and NO MATTER HOW BONE TIRED YOU ARE you cannot get back to sleep and you toss and turn your massively large stomach over and over in bed thinking about the following extremely productive things:

-why your husband will probably get cancer

-how you need to wash baby clothes but don't really want to (and feel guilty)

-how to put all the countries of the world in alphabetical order

-intermittently remembering to pray the Rosary

-the babies that are probably crying somewhere and feeling sad for them

-the laundry sitting in the dryer because you were too tired to fold before bed

-the blog posts you'd like to write

-the people you're praying for

and so on and so forth…

I've been up since 3:30 a.m. and it is now nearing 6 p.m.
Pregnancy insomnia.
BUT in its defense, today I've at least gotten a whole lot of things done.  Some days after a rough night, I'm pretty much a blob all day.  Today was one of those times when I ended up finally giving up at around 4:45 a.m. and (after a self-pitying cry) by 7:30, I had baked four loaves of bread, folded all the laundry, caught up on email,  bought a ceiling fan and curtain off Ebay, started washing all those baby clothes and two sets of sheets, and made breakfast.

By this evening I made three more loaves of bread (thanks to Rosie's recommended recipe), made a pot of soup (that totally failed…I will never succeed at lentils), brought down and organized all my birth supplies, taught the boys and got them through all their lessons, finished the baby clothes, washed two comforters, watched the boys through piano lessons, sold a wicker couch through Craigslist, began setting up the changing table, and figured out a new dinner all in time to get the boys off to baseball practice.

I mean, that's not the most productive day, but comparatively speaking to recent days and weeks, it was pretty darn good.
So I guess it has it's perks. 

Want to know some other things that made me cry this pregnancy?  Just for fun?  Sure you do.  It's fun to laugh at hormonal pregnant ladies (provided she's laughing with you…otherwise, I would offer a word of warning for your own protection ;)  I've been keeping a list for your amusement and my records of crazy pregnant memories:

-We started singing the wrong verse of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" one evening during Advent.

-I was reading the ending of Jotham's Journey aloud to the boys.  (It's very touching, okay?)

-There was a girl playing the piano really well at our co-op.

-I thought about soldiers.

-I was tired - crazy tired but didn't even realize it until I stopped moving - one evening out and my sister innocently asked me how I was doing.  Like a giant two year old, I was.  

-Every time I saw another batch of #prayforpaul photos and, of course, when he passed.

-I found out that my sister-in-law was pregnant!  (Pray for her and her tiny little one, would you?)

-I watched a Parenthood episode.  (Fine.  Every time I watched a Parenthood episode.)

-My husband was about to make a joke about me eating too many Hershey's kisses.

-Every time someone came out for their final reveal at the Biggest Loser finale.

-I was receiving my ashes on Ash Wednesday.

-I thought about giving birth again.

-People cancelled party plans.

-During Confession

-I heard a story of a girl dying from cancer on the radio.

-I watched the opening scenes of Up.

-I saw the weather forecast predicting a full week of rain.

-My husband fell asleep faster than I did. 

-I felt huge and ugly.

-My husband started rubbing my feet and it felt so. good.

So, yeah, the hormones are abundant in sleeplessness and tears around these parts.  
And I'm not complaining, for real.  I find great amusement over my own dramatics and know that I am truly truly blessed.  This baby is such a gift.  And this baby is so crazy active.  Watching my stomach roll is weirdly fascinating and I love when the boys get to see it or feel it, too.  I don't know if I'll ever be pregnant again.  I've been through enough to know that we just never really do know what will happen or where God will lead our family and that each child is pure gift.  So although this pregnancy has been crazy hard, I'm doing my best to remind myself what a blessing and gift it all is.

Because really, it all is…dramatic tears and sleepless nights included…it's all gift.



Saturday, April 18, 2015

20 Random Things That You Probably Don't Want to Know


So there's this thing going around Instagram tagging people to share twenty random things about themselves.  I've been tagged a bunch of times but the idea of typing all that on my phone makes me want to strangle something before even starting.  Give me a good old fashioned keyboard, please ;)  So I thought I'd share here (might as well make it an official post if I'm gonna do all that thinking and typing, amiright?) and then I can copy and paste to the IG, too.  

Speaking of Instagram, I ended up making my account private after reading and hearing some very concerning and ugly things about the safety of our kids and pictures.  I'd love to have you follow me and if you look non-suspicious I'll accept your request.  But gotta do what I can to protect these little people, you know?  Sorry the feed is no longer available in the sidebar or for those not on IG :(  Tell Instagram that they need to do a better job of safeguarding our images and I will totally change it back to public.

Okay, on to twenty things you never knew you wanted to know about me...

i.
I picked my Confirmation name because it was pretty.  Bernadette.  I'm still waiting to feel some sort of connection with her and I feel guilty that I kind of wish I had picked something with a bit more personal meaning.  Not that she's not awesome but I probably should have had a deeper meaning to my choice, huh?

ii.
My nicknames growing up were Goose, Mary-Tware, Ant, Shotgun, Kiwi, Foze, and Mofo.

iii.
I've never broken a real bone but in one year in high school, I managed to have my nose broken and my ACL torn.  The nose incident happened in my friend Megan's pool when someone jumped in and I was underwater where they jumped.  I still feel badly about the blood and the mess they must've had to clean up while I went to the E.R.  You can still see a tiny bump and scar on my nose.  The knee required only arthroscopic surgery to "clean things up" but I don't have a real ligament in my right knee.  It still acts up from time to time.

iv.
In high school I think I attended four Barenaked Ladies concerts.  They were my fave.  But I never threw macaroni and cheese because that's just gross.

v. 
I am definitely a sufferer of Angry Resting Face.  (I know, others prefer to call it by a stronger name but I don't like swearing….which doesn't mean I don't sometimes do it in a heat of the moment thing but I don't like using it in normal convo, you know?)  My lips naturally turn down and even when I may be perfectly fine and just thinking, I look way too serious and I think people really get the wrong impression of me sometimes.  It makes me sad.  Seriously, people, it's just my face. #thestruggleisreal

vi.
I love throwing things away.  Not in a wasteful way but I gain a lot of satisfaction by detaching myself from clutter and if I may say so, I am really really good at keeping clutter out of my home and inbox and life.

vii.
But I am very bad at making small decisions.  Choosing the restaurant, what to order on the menu, color choices, clothes shopping.  They put me in a small state of panic.  Malls are my purgatory…all the choices!

viii.
My first car was a boxy VW Jetta that I bought myself and I loved it.  When I finally had to sell it, I got $200 for it.  I've also owned a Mazda Protege (stick), Mazda 626, Nissan Altima (short-lived…got rear ended and it was totaled), Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Sienna, and now a Hyundai Entourage (that I need to hit with an umbrella to make start).

ix.
Despite growing up in a house with five sisters, I am abysmally bad at things like makeup and hair and putting outfits together.

x.
Which is probably because I was mostly a tomboy growing up, though I don't really like that word.  I loved collecting bugs, climbing trees, playing with my brother, and finding or buying various creature pets to keep in my room…hamsters, fish, salamanders, rats, mice, cats, stick bugs…  I couldn't stand anything I considered girly.  I used my First Communion money to buy a "science table" (which was really an MDF microwave cart) to store my microscope, ant farm, and various other sciency things.

xi.  
For several years during that time I wanted to be an entomologist.  I don't at all desire that in the least anymore.

xii.
Several times growing up I saw one of our cats give birth.  Looking back, I wonder if that's what helped me to view birth as a normal and really cool thing.

xiii.
I don't like bananas, pictures of myself, the feel of velvet, wet hair, confrontation, and those stringy, ligamenty things in whales' mouths that they use to filter their food.

xiv.
I wish in college I had double majored and gotten a nursing degree.  That would put me way ahead now in pursuing a midwifery degree.  At this point, the requirements and time would put me near retirement.

xv.
I really wish I had curly hair.  For most of my life it was partly wavy but in the last few years has gotten bone straight.  I think curly hair fits me better.

xvi.
I have a huge fear of heights.  And while I love the beach, the idea of the ocean totally freaks me out.  So does outer space.

xvii.
I went through weird period of my life where the idea of heaven completely terrified me.  I was in fourth or fifth grade and would cry in bed thinking about it.  It was something about the idea of eternity and going on and on forever.  A friend of mine recently shared that she went through the same thing and it was surprisingly comforting that I wasn't the only one.  Now I can't wait for it.  Rest and all.

xviii.
Okay, now another way weirder phase…for a short bit of time I used to pull off my toenails.  I think I did it five or six times.  Isn't that messed up?  Seriously, though.  What was wrong with me?

xix.
I first started college with a pre-law major.  I would have made a heck of a lawyer.

xx.
I love singing.  I will never ever be a soloist but I can carry a tune.  I was once asked when I felt most alive and the first thing that came to me is when I am singing praise and worship with a safe and like-minded group of people.

So…that's it.  Now you can tell me one random thing about you so I don't feel so weird :)

Oh, I'm supposed to include a photo, huh?  Instagram and all…
No, but seriously, pictures of yourself are the worst. 
 #blackandwhiteismoreflattering #swollenpregnantface #doneramblingaboutmyselfnow


Thursday, April 16, 2015

This Month in Boys - April 2015

-a monthly recap of some of the things I just don't want to forget-


John Paul


-scored a 97 on his Junior Festival piano performance.
-finished the guitar class he was taking with Michael.
-has been all into the new obsession of domino and block tracks and recording them ALL with my phone.
-has been rereading all the Mistmantle books.
-is a Seattle Mariner this year.
-made $26.25 picking up sticks and leaves in the yard.  We only pay them one penny for small sticks, a dime for huge branches, and a quarter per wheelbarrow of leaves.  Which should show you what a mess this winter left our yard.  Totally worth it.
-always wants to altar serve and will check at every Mass if there is someone there or not.
-predicts that the baby is a girl, will be seven lbs. four oz., and will be born May 17.

Michael


-scored a 98 (and didn't make one mistake!) on his Junior Festival (and first ever public) performance!
-is very excited to start baseball and will be playing on the Rays.
-despite being the one who prompted my putting them into guitar, was less than enthusiastic about the actual practicing and work involved.
-has decided to read The Hobbit.  He's gotten through page one.  But just the very fact that he's motivated to read something on his own is a very good thing.
-used to eat like a bird and now is more than making up for it.  He still has the tiniest frame but he's definitely getting taller.
-made $8.50 with his yard work contributions.
-is sure the baby is a girl, will weigh about seven pounds, and will be born on Papa's birthday (May 19).

David


-inspired by Michael Jr., has been keeping his bear (or really, the bear from my childhood) as his baby and wanting to bring him everywhere.
-was sick for Easter Sunday :(
-grossed $2.77 in yard work duty.
-all day on Holy Saturday and during the first part of the Vigil kept asking over and over if it was time to finally get to say Alleluia.
-is on lesson 70 in the 100 Easy Lessons reading book and is doing fabulously.  I can't even believe that he'll soon be six and I will need to start reporting him to the district next year.
-was signed up for tee ball until I came to my senses and realized that it starts the same week I'm due, I'm already overwhelmed with baseball for two, and he'll only be six and six year olds don't need to be playing on league teams and are easily distractible with other fun things (like new babies).
-loves playing "the floor is lava" game with Michael and Luke.
-thinks the baby is a girl, will be four pounds, and will be born the Sunday after his birthday (which would be May 10).

Luke


-is now a member of the big boy room.  Four boys in one 12x12 room.  It's cute and not going all that badly, surprisingly.
-Mama:  "Well, maybe if we pray, God might blow the clouds away."
Luke:  "Papa would blow the clouds away.  He's the best blower….Or John Paul.  He's a big blower machine."
-has been officially potty trained during the day for about a month.  Not night time all the way yet, but close.  He's my first where it didn't all just coincide.  With the others, one of the first signs they were ready was waking up dry.
-has really turned a corner with his behavior…except when he's overtired.  He still gives that impish little look when he knows he's doing something wrong and is trying to get away with something.  I'm more than a little nervous about the thought of taking care of him PLUS a new baby.
-raked in 79 cents with his stick work.
-is slowly losing his aversion to chocolate.  But judging from the bedtime after he had some, we'll probably keep its distance for a good long while.
-predicts the baby is a boy, will weigh in at four inches and will be born "at Lent…I mean, after my birthday (which is in...December)."



Saturday, April 11, 2015

The 34 Week Birth Prep Plan (and why I'm no birthing superstar)


So here we are.
I am officially 34 weeks gestated.  Twoish months to go before this wee one comes out.
And I should probably admit something here.

I don't want to do it.

I think people assume that when you're a birth junkie and a doula and enjoy talking about and advocating for healthier, better births, that you're super duper excited to do it yourself.  Not this time.  Proof in point:  Long before this baby was even conceived, maybe even a year, I was sick with a stomach bug that felt remarkably at points like labor.  I remember with tears in my eyes, pleading with the husband, "I can't have another baby.  I can't do this again."
I wasn't even remotely pregnant.
SO there's that.

Birth is HARD.  But you know, this baby has got to come out, y'all.  And I have to be the one to do it.  So slowly but surely, the Lord has been giving me more and more grace to realize that yes, I can do this again.  I'm no birthing superstar.  I love birth and I love being with women when they birth.  I love the strength that it shows and the raw beauty that a woman in labor holds.  BUT while with other births, I felt prepared and confident and, dare I say, even excited to take it on, this time I'm working through a lot of fear.  For some reason, while Luke's birth was beautiful and uncomplicated and on the outside went perfectly fine, it left me feeling like I could never ever do that again.  I was very much in my head during that birth and those raw sensations never really fuzzed over with time.  For up to a year after, I could still physically feel the sensations of labor.  From intel I'm gathering from other moms who have done this numerous times, there seems to be some sharing of this experience once you hit birth number four or five.

Anyway, God is faithful.  He will not bring me to that hour without giving me the grace and strength to do it.  In fact, the Sunday readings from a few weeks back really gave me some peace and perspective on the whole thing and a certain part jumped out at me and I think I have a 'birth verse':

I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
‘Father, save me from this hour’?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name.


And as Father talked about the seed falling to the earth and cracking open so that new life could burst forth, I felt a reassurance.  It wasn't a happy, fuzzy feeling (I mean, cracking open and all…I think I winced.) but a confidence being planted in my heart that I can do this again and He will be the one getting me through.  That this was the point of it all.  All.  Not just pregnancy but life.  Dying to ourselves for the sake of the other.

But at the same time God is also awesome because while ultimately it is His grace that gets us through, He puts a lot of that preparation for birth in our own hands.  I firmly believe that a great birth doesn't happen in a vacuum and it's not about luck.  There are plenty of things I can be doing now to prepare my body, mind, and soul for this birth.  So I've been coming up with a birth prep plan for this time around to prepare myself for the cracking.

Walking
At the beginning of this pregnancy I was going to the Y and doing some biking and swimming which gradually subsided as things got more difficult and my heart would feel off after.  Plus it was the worst winter ever.  My hope is that as the weather improves, Brian and I can start taking brief walks in the evening to just keep me moving, a little active, and not all blobular, which is exactly how I'm currently feeling.

Eating All the Dates
I found out about a year or so ago about a study that the NIH did on eating dates the last four weeks of your pregnancy.  The results were pretty stunning.  While it wasn't a huge study (69 women) the women who ate a regimen of six dates a day the last four weeks of pregnancy were more likely to go into spontaneous labor, had their membranes intact longer, were more dilated upon reaching the hospital, and (get this) had early labors that were almost cut in HALF (8.5 hours vs. 15 hours!).  My midwife has said she's noticed a difference now in the women who have done the dates.  There's something about them that seems to prepare a mom's body for labor.  So I'll be all about the dates those last few weeks of pregnancy.  If anything, it's not going to hurt, right?  Stay tuned for the verdict.

Prepping the Pool
I was on the fence about getting a pool again but I ended up getting one thinking I'd rather have it and not use it than want it and not have it.  I splurged and using a coupon code got the fancy one this time, too, because the tropical fish plastered all over the cheap one are visually offensive to my birthing sensibilities.  It is really nice having the water during labor.

Doing the Squats
Starting today I commit to doing 8-10 squats a day.  Which sounds like nothing, I know, but try doing them with forty extra pounds strapped to your stomach.  Squats are good for helping baby descend and for strengthening the perineum.  I've torn for all four births because I'm a Super Pusher and while my hopes aren't super high that it won't happen again, wouldn't it be lovely if this helped to prevent one??

Magical Birthy Herbs
I saw this stuff on Amazon while shopping for other baby things (that "Others Also Bought" toolbar is dangerous, isn't it??).  After reading the reviews I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it.  It's an herbal supplement filled with good birthy herbs.  So once I hit 36 weeks, I'll start it and see if the herb magic works.

A Sip of the Vino
There shall be a bottle of wine available for a small glass of midwife-approved vino to help me relax when the time comes.  Not sure if I'll be in the mood for it or not but I like the idea.

A Puzzle?
I've never heard of anyone doing this and this may be the oddest birth idea ever BUT I'm going to buy a puzzle for when labor starts.  I'm such a nerd.  Over Christmas I realized that when a puzzle is out, I get a wee bit obsessed with finishing it and can ignore almost everything else going on around me to work on it.  I have this idea in my head that if I start a smallish puzzle in labor I'll be able to focus on that rather than on getting too in my head and over analyzing the birth stuff.  And I totally plan on having a puzzle made that's a good birth visual because I find visualization very helpful while in labor.  

Bringing the Word
I plan to make a little visual of that verse up there and also have my Scripture cards on hand for Brian or anyone present to use as needed.  I'm not sure what exactly that will look like but I love the idea of being surrounded and strengthened by His Word during the birth.

Labor Serenades
There will most likely be some music on, I just haven't figured out what yet.  Last birth, I had the same perfect Advent birth song playing over and over for a good six hours.  We'll see what I can come up with to torture serenade my birth team with this time around…

All the Prayers
Most importantly, I'll be relying on grace and prayer.  I haven't been shy this time about asking other people to pray for me and for this birth.  And soon, I'll be asking for your intentions to help me use those contractions for all of you, too.  Brian and I have already started praying for my courage and peace and for a healthy and holy birth.  I've never been one to tell people when I'm in labor but who knows, maybe I'll even let people know via Facebook when things are starting this time around so I can have people praying me through it.  (No promises, though!)  But you could totally start some of those prayers for me now and I sure wouldn't mind ;)



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Late Easter Wednesday Quick Rainy Daybook


Outside my window...
It's still very cold here in Buffalo but, praise God, the snow seems to be gone?  It's been replaced by rain and more forecasts of rain.  So it's still lots of brown and wet, wet, wet yard.  (Never ever buy a house in a flood zone.)  We're predicted to have a near two weeks' worth of rain.  You can guess how happy I am about that ;)  It is slight madness to try to "spring" clean your house when the outside of it is filled with inches and inches of mud and muck.  I'm pretty sure these boys' have to change their clothes more now than they ever did as newborns.  (But yay for first floor laundries!)

Hearing
The hum of the monitor in the boys' room and the tumbling of clothes in the dryer.

Thankful for...
Him.
His plans, His grace, His forgiveness.
Easter.
Hope.  New life.  Promise.
And for Brian.  His patience with me is sometimes near heroic.

Thinking about...
Baby having.  All the lists of things to get done.  May is a lovely month but when you have other kids and a big family and live where we do, it's also a crazy month to go and have a baby.  There is SO. MUCH. going on in May and it's more than a little overwhelming to my type A personality.
So is having a fifth child.
I don't feel ready for that.
Pray for me :)
Trying not to think about the weather.  I can't control it but it has so much effect on what we can do, how we all feel, and everyone's general mood.

 Learning...
Well, this week is off due to all solemnity all week.  Yay Easter!
But I have been aiming to get done with a few subjects with the boys before May and baby.  We're nearly done with grammar and Michael is almost done with math.  John Paul already started on his next math level so that's fine.  Their guitar lessons end next week which is kind of a relief.  Michael finished his Latin and at some point I'll need to get that second level.  We're refocusing on handwriting and I would like to get through the beta level of CCM before the baby comes?  I plan on continuing some sort of simple morning routine throughout the summer to keep us all fresh but I would just like to have all the little loose ends tied up before the baby comes and we take a good and necessary break.

Struggling with...
   Oy.
Energy and sheer exhaustion.   Body image.  The chaos of four young children who have spent way too long in close quarters (yet still insist on all playing the same thing in the same four foot area of space).  The weather.  Boring pregnancy stuff.

From the kitchen...
This week for Easter it's easy and fun meals.  I've also been slowly filling the freezer for after this baby comes.  It feels good every time I put something in there that I will thank myself for later.

Creating...
A person.
And lists.  And birth plans.  I keep trying to force myself to knit and that just hasn't been working.  And I have it in my head that I should make an Easter banner for the mantle.  Whether it actually happens before Easter week is over is anyone's guess.

Reading...
At this moment, nothing.  I finished up A Time of Renewal, Mother Mary Francis' Lenten reading.  (Verdict:  good but not as good as her Advent one.)  Will be figuring out something new to read soon.  Our women's group is ready for another one so that'll be my spiritual reading…if anyone has a great light fiction they want to recommend, I'm all ears.

Going...
Not many places but dreaming of somewhere I could lay in the sun.

Around the house...
I cleaned the downstairs curtains for the first time ever so go me.  Lots of touch ups and little to-do things on the baby list.  A lot of the baby items have been brought out (but I'm waiting on cleaning the clothes til I hopefully can have my clothesline fixed and up for sunning those baby stains!  You know, those stains that mysteriously appear on the baby clothes while in storage…seriously, what is up with those?)

There are so many things to do outside and the weather has been so uncooperative.  Trying not to stress about what I can't change and let go and trust.  I just so love and look forward to having things done so we can enjoy that babymoon time to the fullest.  

Praying...
For this birth.
For several people welcoming or hoping to welcome new little people into their families.
For Paul.
For discernment.
For friends answering their vocations.
For the right baby name.

A picture thought to share

We did have one day last week that had some sun and we enjoyed it immensely :)



Monday, April 6, 2015

The Easter Picture Post


Alleluia!!
Happy Easter, friends!

Just jumping on quickly to jot down some of this year's Easter celebrating.
And this Easter was very different from last year, I would say.
Good…but definitely different :) 
We got to all the Triduum liturgies which was great and the kids did pretty well through it all.  We even braved the Vigil. 

The boys were very excited because it's Mass but WITH FIRE.  And yes, best shot I could get with the squirming and the sneaky pre-Mass phone maneuvering.

The older boys were able to serve which was pretty awesome.  Brian even got roped into being the candle lighter in the sanctuary when the lights got turned on.  All afternoon and during the first few readings, David just kept asking over and over whether it was time to say the forbidden word.  When it was finally time for the Gospel, the choir did such a fabulous job with the Alleluia…and (of course) I cried. 

This was the only way we survived.  About the third reading in, he conked out and was like this until the end of Mass.  He did this for Holy Thursday, too.  I don't think any of our kids ever did this so extra points going to the Luke for being awesome.

Poor David started a rough cough during Mass (of course…seriously, pew neighbors, I promise he didn't sound like a TB patient before we got there!) which lasted through the night.  Due to that and the sleeper, no cute family picture.  But I got the Paschal candle instead?

The cinnamon rolls for the morning were prepped once we got home and the boys were put to bed.  I'll take these over hot cross buns any day.  

I try to keep things simple for Easter baskets.  But I did realize this year that we only had three Easter books, two of which were board books.  So I added a few of those this year.  While I got them all put together, Brian hid the eggs, the "Alleluia" letters, and then the baskets.

And the good deed beans were transformed.

The next morning they were a little excited…this was as good a shot I could get before we let them loose.

This guy found a few eggs and then was semi-content to just play with the eggs and try to sneak candy.

While the other boys ran reckless, Luke plowed through his basket.

Some of the letters found...

    David rallied from his cold to find eggs and baskets and then quickly deflated onto the couch for nearly the rest of the day. 

Little brothers can be very nosy.


We had a few hours of just hanging out before it was time to head to my mom's for brunch.  Since David was deflating and getting pretty lethargic, we figured it best for Brian to stay home with him to not share those germs with the crowd.  Kind of a bummer.

When we got home, we treated the boys to their first ever viewing of Narnia (because Aslan is like Jesus, right?  It's actually a pretty Paschal-y appropriate movie, I think, though we did have to fast forward through some of the scarier scenes for the sake of the littles.)  and then had a quiet family dinner.  It didn't feel much like Easter and the frigid temps and snow falling didn't help much with that.  But thankfully, Easter doesn't depend a whole lot on how we feel.  Besides, we've got a whole week for the big celebrating left.

Alleluia, friends.  He is risen, indeed!
May the risen Christ draw us deep into the hope and joy of the Resurrection.


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