Friday, February 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

I'm super excited to be linking up for the first time with the Quick Takes Friday Crowd. I've just recently started reading Jen's blog and she is truly inspirational. So here we go....

1) Hailey has been throwing some terrible temper tantrums this week and it has lead me to wonder if we have been spoiling her. She is so particular about the way she wants things and throws a hissy fit if you don't get it right. Example: giving the two of them slices of cheddar cheese at lunchtime to buy me three minutes to make the rest of their lunch. Hand piece of cheese to Hailey who looks at it with disgust. Wants a new one. Why? Who on earth knows. Its too thin? Too thick? Too small? Cut her a new one, plus a second, and all is well again. Same sort of routine for peanut butter on a spoon (how dare I put it on the pink spoon and not the yellow one....or some sort of ridiculous thing as that). I'm probably the one to blame for giving into her whims. Sometimes I have a low tolerance for the whining, and while I want to be consistent with disciplining, some battles just aren't worth fighting to me. Like the thickness of a piece of cheese. Hand the rejected one to Casey, get her a new one and we all move on. But until now. As it seems to be spilling over to more and more situations. The new method of dealing with it is, "Hailey, this is the one you get, it's fine, if you don't want it, you can sit in timeout." Then I place her in the corner, the food item or whatever, on the counter and she either eventually takes it, or walks away. Here's hoping things start to improve, still too early to tell.

2) Casey is starting another round of teething, joy of joys. Picked up more teething tablets at the store today.

3) We are heading to Canada tomorrow to visit my sister, her husband and their two kids for a few days! The university has spring break, so rather than be cooped up in our house with cabin fever, we are taking the 7 hr, 52 min road trip to visit some family! I am so excited as we've never been up there to visit them. She and I got married the same summer, almost 4yrs ago, and her hubby is Canadian, hence their current dwelling place. I can't wait to experience their life up there.

4) Speaking of which, I have packed nothing yet and really should get on that. I have a load of wash waiting to be moved to the dryer, and another one ready to go in. My most productive time is in the evening, after the littles are in bed, so I think I'm waiting till then.

5) Do you take it easy during naptime? I could be accomplishing things around the house right now, but I use naptime as downtime for mommy too everyday. If they are resting, so am I. Or doing something for me. I'll usually start with my daily prayer time, then either nap, read, watch a show, blog, or work out and shower. I look forward to 1-3pm every single day.

6) Fridays in Lent are tough for me. Especially because I don't like seafood. I'm trying to expand my horizons but it's slow going. I have no idea what we are having tonight.....

7) Isn't he precious? I came home from the store and found him like this. Luke said he didn't help him. Tired teething baby. Who I may have just heard wake up.....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pope Benedict

I know everyone has already posted about Pope Benedict's resignation at the end of this month, but I wanted to take the time to write down why this news was such a shock for me, personally. I have come to understand his decision, mostly with the help of wise and insightful blogs and articles, pointing out the humility and courage of such a decision, and the example he is giving the church and I admire him so much for it. And of course we are all sad he is leaving. I don't have any "claim" over him, I am a fellow member of the church and a part of the body of Christ. This effects all of us. But I have a rather rare experience to share from college, that I continue to marvel over, and is the reason why I feel a bond with Papa B.

In the spring of 2005, I headed off to Rome with 27 other juniors from my class at Christendom for the school's study abroad program. Of course, that happened to be the spring that JPII passed away and Pope Benedict was elected. Those events were life changing for me. It was incredible to be there, to say goodbye to one beloved holy father and welcome the next. I got to see JPII when his body was laid in state in the basilica (his wake essentially) and attend the holy father's funeral. That needs to be an entire blog post of it's own in order to do it justice. The whole experience was one of the most moving of my life.

So, having said farewell, it was time for the cardinals to elect a new pope. During the conclave, our professors were awesome and let us adopt a sort of conclave schedule for classes. Meaning, anytime we found out smoke was about to go up, we dropped everything and rushed down to the square. I'll never forget, we were hanging out studying for our Italian finals in St. Peter's square when the smoke went up...."it's gray, no, I think it's white, is that white smoke? I think it's's white!! we have a pope!!!" And we began jumping up and down and cheering.  After the Holy Father is elected, he is immediately lead to what is called "The Room of Tears" to take some time to let what has just happened sink in. Then some time later, he comes out onto the balcony to greet the church as pope! At this time, no one knows who it is. We were there when they announced his name, and he came out. We could not contain our excitement. Our Italian teacher, Madre Tayler, was right next to me, translating for us, and cheering as loudly as the rest of us.   All the cardinals were on the balconies to either side of him and I was struck with the beauty of their brotherhood, joy and pride for their new Holy Father. Pope Benedict's words were brief, asking us mostly to pray for him.

That night we celebrated on the roof of our hotel and a few of us went down one by one to take our oral italian final. Our teacher lived in Florence with her religious community and she would commute and stay for two days. Since she was leaving in the morning and because we had been at St. Peter's, we didn't get our exams done. So some of us had to take the exam that night and some in the morning. I had some wine in me, but I figured why not?! haha, it helped calm me and I knew Madre was in a really good mood due to Pope Benedict's election and I needed that on my side! She passed me, it was close, but she did :)

A few days later, we got to attend his inaguration Mass which was beautiful. And it was at this Mass, that a classmate of mine met the Swiss Guard who was nearest her. I was told she was flirting rather shamelessly with him. She came back to our hotel and told all of us she had met a swiss guard and he was going to meet up with us for drinks that night and bring some of his friends. We didn't really believe her. But sure enough, that night we had two swiss guards hanging out with our group. I do want to say here that I was not one of those girls who swooned over the guards. I was even semi irked by the girls who did. It was not that I didn't respect them, I did, very much, but I thought it was silly the way some girls acted toward them and even wrote about it in an email back to my mom saying I didn't get what the big deal was. But a few of the girls I was sitting with that night and I agreed, we should at least meet them, so when we go back to the states we can say we met one. We introduced ourselves and that was that. Or so I thought. The friend who the first guard had brought along was Marcel, and well, we kind of hit it off. The two of them hung out with us a bunch more times and Marcel and I got to know each other a bit. He asked for my email address and when I returned to the states we kept in touch.

I don't want to go into every detail but we ended up dating for a year. He even spent his two week vacation visiting me at school. Because of his position, guarding the Holy Father, he would occassionally have close interaction with Pope Benedict. One night, the Pope was on his way back to his living quarters and passed by Marcel. He stopped to greet him and then noticed an english text book on a side table of the hall Marcel was guarding in. He asked, "what is this?" Marcel said he felt the english language was important and good to learn. The Pope smiled and said, "I see....I think you have met an english girl." Marcel surprised said, "How did you know?" The Pope answered, "I know my Swiss Guard boys. Tell me about her." Marcel told him my name, where I was from and where I went to school. The Pope replied, "tell her I say hello."

You can imagine how I died. Marcel relayed all this to me via an email and I think I started visably shaking.

Ok, fast forward....the Pope would then ask about me from time to time when he saw Marcel, (calling me Margaret, which is my name in German) and even teasing, "when will you present her to me?"

And the most amazing part, while guarding the Holy Father during his vacation at Castel Gandolfo, during one of their conversations, Marcel mentioned my upcoming birthday, upon which Pope Benedict pulled a rosary out of his pocket telling him, "please give this to her for me."

I feel obligated to write a small disclaimer at this point.....this was all the last thing in the world I thought would happen to me in college. Yet here I was, that girl, dating a swiss guard, with the most incredible things happening! And by the grace of God, I handled it very maturely I believe. I didn't let myself get caught up in this fairy tale like experience. I didn't date him because of all of it. I sought spiritual direction. I let him come visit me so we could spend time together and he could meet my family. I was allowing God to work and see what His will was. I often said, when I good friend or family member questioned where my head was at, that he didn't even seem like a swiss guard to me, I knew him as a person and a friend. None of it was because of his position. Some people even questioned his integrity. Did all these things really happen? He could tell you anything and you'd believe it. I understood the concern. But when he came and visited me, that was particularly something that was heavy on his heart. He flat out asked me, in all sincerity, what I had thought, what was my reaction to all the things he told me over the phone, letters or email about the holy father. He said he was very worried I wouldn't believe him. And then he relayed the stories to me again, in person.

It obviously did not end up working out for various reasons. And I am thankful for knowing him. And for this close connection I have felt with Pope Benedict because I met Marcel.  I love our Holy Father so much, and will miss him dearly. I am so thankful for his leadership, and wisdom with which he has led the Church. I feel so grateful that I had this extremely rare insight into his personality. His thoughtfulness, kindness, care for others...his human-ness.

And let me just say here, that when this story comes up from time to time, my husband likes to say, "yeah, my wife dated a swiss guard. And she chose me." :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I Wore Sunday, vol 5

Linking up again with the ladies of Fine Linen and Purple. And welcome to the unsolicited tour of our restrooms...

downstairs, upper body shot

upstairs, for a full body shot

Today was very cold with blustery wind so that goal was to dress warm, I love wearing this scarf, I remember the day I bought it in NYC from a street vendor like it was yesterday, and not 2006. 

The kids were decent at Mass, Hailey occupied herself nursing her doll, imitating the other two mommies in the crying room with us. It always makes me smile. Casey just spends his time walking back and forth between Luke and I, tossing cheerios on the floor, stepping on them, watching me clean them up, and trying to come up with an escape plan. 

The outfit details:

Top: Ann Taylor Loft
Scarf: NYC 
Pants: this is embarrassing,...Burlington Coat Factory, 2002. I bought them right before heading off to college. They don't look as old as they are. Truly. 

Have a blessed week! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Prayer and Sacrifice Jar

Just thought I'd share a little Lenten idea I had. I got the idea from somewhere, wish I could remember, a blog I read?.... but I've been wanting to do this for a while and decided Lent was the perfect time. I cut up 40 strips of paper and wrote a prayer intention on each one. Some examples are: end to abortion, mothers considering abortion, those who are homeless, people struggling with addictions (porn, drugs, alcohol....each got their own slip), President Obama, conversions of a few people, etc. Then every morning during Lent I'll pull one out and offer up my day, sacrifices, (you know, the trials and tribulations that abound as a stay-at-home mom of littles), and prayers, for that intention. 

I even bought this jar at a yard sale last summer with the intention of doing a prayer jar. Maybe I'll work up to having a 365 days of the year jar! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Highs and Lows

Today has been mostly highs, some lows. Time for a little shameless husband boasting. This morning, Luke let me sleep in which is always wonderful. Then I went grocery shopping with the kids and got back in time for a late lunch around 12:30. I had texted him to see if he would be able to help me unload, since I had a lot and the kids were starvingstarvingstarving. He said he would be there. Well, he walked in the door with take out buffalo wings for him and I for lunch. What?!? I was JUST thinking as I was driving home about how we were talking a few days ago about getting some soon from our favorite place on main street, and Monday's are half off, but that tonight probably wouldn't work because he has bible study with his guys. (It was also on my mind because I was devouring a bag of Hanover Buffalo Wing pretzel bites as I was driving home. I was starving too, don't judge me! haha) So when he surprised me with wings for lunch it was like he had been in my head or something. I love that man.

Then I made these. We just needed some in the cookie jar for Fat Tuesday tomorrow. Wait, there's one missing....who in the world? Not I said the mother. Right. "Kids you can have one if you eat a good dinner. Now don't watch me as I hide in the corner and eat one."

*are you keeping track of what I've eaten today? Why is this post turning into a food post? I should definitely work out later. Yikes. 

Sharing. Sort of. We're learning.

Of course we also found out this morning Pope Benedict is resigning at the end of the month. I was sort of a mess of emotions about it this morning, but more about that later.

Time to make dinner. I'll spare you the knowledge of what we're having.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What I Wore Sunday

This past week went by so fast, and I feel like we hardly did anything but you know how time still flies when you are busy feeding, cleaning, more feeding, more cleaning little ones!

This Sunday I pulled out an outfit I haven't worn in a while and remembered how much I love it.

Look at that girl - head back, knee bent, toes pointed. haha, I love it!

Mass was a little chaotic again, we hung out in the cry room the whole time. When I'm distracted the majority of the time by the kids, I try to grasp one thing (either from a reading, the homily or eucharistic prayers) to meditate on in the midst of meltdown city. Today it was Peter's trust. "But Lord, we have fished all night and caught nothing. But at your command I will lower the nets." It can be hard for me to trust when I don't know the outcome of something. Trusting in God requires Faith and so that was my meditation during Mass today, asking the Lord to increase my faith and seeking ways to surrender and trust Him more in several areas of my life.

We then had a good friend over for brunch, followed by lots of down time! 

Outfit stats for those curious:
Top: New York and Company
Skirt: New York and CO
Boots: Famous footwear (and yes I will probably keep wearing them very week till the weather gets nicer!)
Accessories unseen: pearl earrings and pearl bracelet

Hailey: dress from Target, leggings from Kohls.

Now head on over to Fine Linen and Purple and see some other beautiful daughters of God :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Model Family? Hardly.

When Hailey turned two over the summer, I began to be a little concerned over her lack of vocab. Long story short we started her in the Infants and Toddlers program that's free in the state of Maryland. A speech therapist comes to our house for a 45min session every other week. Hailey loves her and has been doing great. She has made incredible strides, both of our moments of communication frustration have decreased by leaps and bounds and I couldn't be more happy with how its gone.

At her last session, I asked our therapist what she thought of Hailey's progress, and did she think it was time for her to be re-evaluated. I basically was trying to ask without being too blunt if it was time for her to dismiss Hailey because I didn't want to have her keep coming, taking up our therapist's time, if Hailey was doing well enough. She told me that if we tested her and found her to be "typical" for her age, then she would be dismissed, but she added, "if we don't test her, then we don't find out, and then we can just keep going." They re-test anyway as part of the program after 6 months and it's only been about 4 for us. She then said, "I  also just really enjoy working with your family, you are like the model family." I stumbled around my words and said something like "no, no..." She said, "yes, really, you are."

It was such a sweet thing for her to say, and it did make me feel proud of our little family. Our children are happy, loved, clean, dressed and fed. But then it got me thinking about it more. What else does she see in the other homes she visits? I am so blessed to have grown up in a stable, loving have married a faithful, virtuous Catholic man, and be raising our children in a house full of love. These things are normal to me and all I've ever known. What a blessing and a gift. And it made my heart ache a little wondering what other types of homes she witnesses. It made me want to be more patient, gentle and loving toward my husband and children.

Because that's the thing. We aren't the model family. Not in the slightest. Maybe to her...and I am more than grateful for her words of affirmation and the opportunity to be a witness to her. But we aren't the model family. Not in my book. I look to the Holy Family, St. Gianna and Pietro Molla, Louis and Zellie Martin (St. Therese's parents), to name a few, as my role models. I strive to imitate these holy men and women, and fail many times.

My only hope is that in being a model to Hailey's speech therapist, she is seeing Christ in us and may grow closer to Him.

Now I'm going to go to bed, and hope that by going to bed at a reasonable hour, I won't be Mrs. Grumpy who greets her children in a ugly mood in the morning.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

October Baby

Have you seen it? I finally did, and it was incredible. I have been wanting to see it for what feels like forever (I'm not dramatic at all), and we discovered it came out on Netflix watch instantly. Neither Luke or I had seen it, so we had ourselves a little movie night a few nights ago. It was extremely moving and of course I was crying by the end. We ended up talking for a while afterwards about the pain of abortion, the beauty of adoption and essentially, the sacredness of life. The girl in the movie, Hannah, survived a failed abortion attempt and when she found that out, she had to deal with the emotions that came with that knowledge. Her mother not wanting her. To the point of trying to kill her. How many others are there like her? To live with that pain....gosh, I can't imagine. And the beautiful scene where she forgives But then, what about the children who die in the womb because they are unwanted. Killed. They don't survive. They don't get the chance, the blessing, to live with the pain of being unwanted. At least Hannah lived. To have a life with pain, versus no life at all. My heart aches over the babies aborted every day. I look at my children and my heart can't contain all the love I feel for them. I pray for this country, those mothers who are afraid, and feel like it's their only option, I pray for their strength and courage to accept life, cherish it, and offer that child up for adoption, or seek help to keep the baby. May we all increase our prayers and efforts to end the holocaust that surrounds us.

What I Wore Sunday

Here we are again! Linking up at Fine Linen and Purple...

This outfit brought to you entirely courtesy of Old Navy. Well, the shoes are Target, but still, that like never happens. And I know I bought the pants and jean jacket on the same day, 5 yrs ago, but not the shirt. Are wide leg pants even in anymore? I'm starting to wonder. 

ps: I love that Casey was giving me kisses, and that's why he's blurry. And I love that the photo of my grandparents (huge life role models to me), and St. Gianna Molla are behind me. 

This necklace was my mom's and it's not an heirloom or anything, but I like it. And need to wear it more. This might have been the second time I've worn it, ever.

Today we went to 4pm Mass on campus, which was an added time today for the Superbowl. Since we are in Raven country, our chaplain was doing his best to accommodate. The kids were unusually good. We sat in a pew for 96% of Mass, and the other 4% was when Luke took Casey to the back for like 15min around communion time. Hardly a major interference. This never happens. We were also relatively on time for Mass. AND on the way out I met our neighbor! A sweet gal, who is a junior and lives a few doors down from us with a few other students and we had never met them. She was so sweet, we had such a nice chat, 

Anyway, then we headed over to the seminary for the game/party. Our goal was to leave at halftime and surprisingly the kids lasted! Casey would clap along with everyone else and Hailey kept asking "Barney? Why? (Super Why), ChooChoo (Thomas), King Cole?" Over and over and over again. I tried unsuccessfully to explain to her that it was everyone else's turn to watch football. Finally, I checked my phone to see how good my signal was inside (sometimes it's goofy on the mount) and I was able to open my netflix app and get Barney up and going. Her delight was off the charts. 

Hope you all had a lovely Sunday! Go check out more of the pretty ladies and get inspired by their modest Sunday attire!