Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Nothing is far from God. -St. Monica

Visit Saint Quote of the Day to read the beautiful confession of St. Augustine (her son) sharing his experience as his mother was nearing her death.

And, visit Catholic Fire, to learn more about St. Monica's life.

~~~

St. Monica, patron saint of married women and mothers, pray for us.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Catholic Woman's Almanac {CWA1}: Manic Monday

Joining Jenny for my first {CWA} link-up! Posts will be filled with phone pics this week since we are taking a family vacay!!! WOOHOO!

Counting the Gifts
::My husband! He does so much for us. He makes our little life possible! And, fills this home with so much love even during our challenging times (and believe me, I am challenging on no sleep).
::Bigfoot is the sweetest big brother! He is so affectionate. I love his innocent and beautiful spirit.
::Linus has one of the best smiles ever. ever. ever. ever.
::We are going to the beach this week! I grew up going to the beach near my hometown. It holds some of my most favorite times. I feel like I'm going to visit one of my best friends who I haven't seen in years!
::I love our family - immediate and extended!
::Today is Aunt Red's birthday! She has been such an amazing blessing to us and we love her so very much!


Sending Up Prayers
::Praying Aunt Red has an amazing birthday, filled with His Perfect and Joyous Love. 
::Praying for my husband on his first day at his new job.
::Praying for my boys.
::Especially praying for Linus. He has such a hard time when we travel. He will cry till no end, which makes us have a million stops in our already long trip.
::Praying for all mamas with new babies. The first months are the some of the most trying. And, sleep deprivation is no one's friend!
::And, praying the St. Monica Novena for special intentions.


Mulling it Over
::Just finished listening to a good friend's radio station. So much food for thought! She hosts the Culture Lifeline on the Guadalupe Radio Network on Mondays, from 1-2. Definitely tune in if you ever have a chance! She's amazing!


Reading
::I Love the Pebble in My Shoe. This post always helps me re-focus. A friend from college wrote this. You should definitely check her out. Her and her family are wonderful in so many ways!
::It Doesn't Have To Be This Way By Ginny Sufuert - My first homeschooling read. I have a list. This one is the first. 

Homeing
::Packing, Laundry, and Cleaning, Oh MY! Since we're leaving tomorrow, I have a ton to do!!! A TON!


Learning
::One day at a time, I'm learning to deny myself and put the wonderful men in my life before me. I'm sleep deprived and often let that rule how I interact with GeekMan especially. Not cool. Not fair. I'm learning and trying to push through my sleepless nights and be a better and more loving wife.


Creating
::This post right here. Because that's about all I got right now.


Visiting
::Different blogs on my FEEDLY while nursing little Linus. So many good posts today. These are a few blogsites I've visited today that have been so encouraging:

The Catholic Wife: Husbands See What Wives Reveal
And all things this FEEDLY add.


Capturing
::Little Moments
Brothers
This was right before Linus kicked his Dada in the face. This is a typical evening in our home. Bigfoot likes jumping all over Dada while Linus is rolling his way all over the place.

Friday, August 23, 2013

7QT: Words of Rest for a Sleepy Mama

Sweet Linus decided that he wanted my friend, sleep, and I to really break off our friendship last night. It all started with him being pretty fussy to go down for the night and got totally out of hand with a cry party from midnight till 4:30AM - respectively. I joined in on the cry party around 4AM as I thought it only right to not let my little guy party alone in the middle of the night.

I'm sure I don't have to fully explain how exhausted and defeated I'm feeling today, so I won't. But, I will share these 7 scriptures that are encouraging me to keep a little perspective, as well as, helping me feel His sweet Love whispers give me the strength I desperately need.


I lie down and I fall asleep,
and I will wake up for the Lord sustains me.
Psalm 3:6

And now your servant says, 'May the word of my lord the king bring me rest, for my lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil. May the LORD your God be with you.'
2 Samual 14:17

About Benjamin he said: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.
Deuteronomy 33:12

But you have given my heart more joy
than they have when grain and wine abound.
In peace I will lie down and fall asleep,
for you alone, LORD, make me secure.
Psalm 4:8-9

When you lie down, you will not be afraid,
when you rest, your sleep will be sweet.
Proverbs 3:24

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
Matthew 11: 28-30

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7



How do you get through the most difficult/sleepless days?


Thank you to this and this site for the Words my soul and little heart needed. For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Theme Thursday: Lunch

I heart food! It does something to me. They say a way to man's heart is his tummy, well food affects my mouth-heart in the same way! My name is Amanda, and food makes me happy.

Me + Yummy = Happy

I not only enjoy stuffing my face eating delicious foods, but I also enjoy making it. Breads are fun! Baking is my favorite! And, I'm starting to get a better hold of making meals to mine and my families delight. I have a new found affection for all things crock pot and have some random favorites that are my go-to. 

Today, Bigfoot and I had some spaghetti. I make our sauce and think it's pretty yummy (nothing insanely awesome, but good for us) and use some whole grain spaghetti pasta or angel hair (I prefer the angel hair).

So, before I get to our food pics for Theme Thursday (Bigfoot was quite the foodie today), I'll share how I make spaghetti for our little family.


Spesgti (according to Bigfoot) Recipe:

Ingredients:
1/4tsp + 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning,
1/4 + 1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsps dark molasses
3 cans of tomato sauce (the small cans)
1 can of diced tomato
1 lb of ground beef (turkey or chicken work too)
1 box of noodles
Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( about a couple tablespoons)

What I do with the ingredients:
1. Ground the meat with 1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Meanwhile boil water to get noodles cooked.

2. Once meat is fully cooked, add tomato sauce and can of diced tomatoes. Stir to mix.

3. Add 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning, 1tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 2 tbsps of dark molasses. Stir and let simmer. (The longer it cooks the more the flavors infuse. Sometimes I let it sit for awhile, and others, I just stir in the noodles and serve.)

4. Once noodles are cooked, drain, add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help keep them separate. When that's been tossed, mix noodles in with your sauce or serve noodles with a blob of saucy on top.


There you have it. The spaghetti that keeps on keeping on in our home. Bigfoot is a major fan and GeekMan likes it too. I've added mushrooms before (which is always great), onions, crushed red pepper, cheeses (but since we aren't enjoying that party anymore, I haven't included any in awhile), and randomly mix up the amount of spices here and there; but, what I just shared is what it typically looks like.

Ok, onto my Theme Thursday pics! Bigfoot was quite the treat today. Spaghetti for lunch with apple for dessert. ENJOY!

I walk away for 5 minutes and come back to this party.
Smile please! 
Okayyy already, Mama!
Spes-g-ti!!!
Spesgti party!
The party was ev-ery-where - especially on his little sweet face!
Enter seriousness here. The boy is all focus when it comes to his fruit.
Until Mama makes a funny bird noise. I know. I have skills.


Head on over to Clan Donaldson for more Theme Thursday pics!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Five Favorites: Cloth Edition

Never say never! This could not ring more true than with cloth diapering. I never ever ever EVER would have imagined that I would be that mama who would use cloth, but here I am in all my crunchy glory.

Prior to Bigfoot's birth, I had a few friends dabbling in cloth. So, these lovely ladies are the ones who struck my curiosity. Not to mention, their littles and their fluffy bums were so adorable! I couldn't say no just yet. I started looking into cloth on my own and thought I would at least give it a try since there was a whole cloth diapering community that swore by these cute diapers.

So, here are a few of the reasons I fell for these cute fluffs for my boys.


1. Our budget and cloth are buddies.  We bought our little diaper stash prior to Bigfoot's debut and we still use those bad-boys today. They grew with him from infancy to toddlerhood. I have never known what it feels like to buy diapers weekly or bi-monthly, which plays nice with my personality. Early on we set aside some of the baby gift money we had received and TADA! We were set!

 All together I think we have spent close to $550 for diapers. This includes everything we got for Bigfoot and the dozen more we have gotten for Linus. I think that's a pretty good deal for going on diapering two littles two and under. Our actual overall out of pocket is really around $175 since we used money that was gifted to us. Pretty sweet! Check out this site and this one too for cost breakdown visuals.

2. Easy Peasy. Now, I know not everyone thinks so, but they were for us! Maybe it's because we started with one-sizes and moved into pre-folds/covers? Or, maybe cloth and I were just meant to be? Haha. Regardless, cloth diapering has worked for us and easily thus far. Sure, we've had some occasions where troubleshooting was necessary, but a little research at any cloth diaper forum/blog and I've found a multitude of lovely people who have been there, done that, and have lived to share.

3. Husband approved! In fact, my husband prefers cloth diapers. At first, he was hesitant, but loved the money-saving factor. He was on-board to start for that reason alone. And, for the most part, he can handle his own in the cloth world. Honestly, the handful of times we've used sposies GeekMan has always said something that has hinted towards missing our cloth stash .

And, not only is he a fan of our cloth stash; he is majorly a fan of cloth wipes.

Cloth forthewin for the GeekMan in my life!

3. Poopsplosions and/or leaks have been RARE. Throughout the two years that I have been cloth-diapering, I can just about count poopsplosions on both my hands. That is awesome! And leaks are a close second with about another two-three hands. Normally, if either of these problems happen, a little troubleshooting on how the diapers are fitting, maybe they need a strip, or something else of the like needs to be fixed. Look it up, fix the problem, and ON-CLOTH-WARD!

I know a good deal of people think of POO when they think of cloth, but I honestly haven't touched so much poop as I have when dealing with poopsplosions/leaks from sposies (the same sposies that have a note explaining that all poo should be dumped in toilets and not in trash - see, there is some poo-handling with sposies too, or should be.).

When it comes to "disposing" of the diaper, breastfed infant poo is water-soluble so I just dump those stinkers straight in our dirty bin, whole-like. As for big boy poo's, I dump those bad boys in the toilet, and then proceed to dump the dipe in our dirty-diaper bin. Done! No poo touched or at least no more than sposies IMHO.

4. They are CUTE!


See what I'm talkin' about?? SO CUTE!

5. I'm saving the planet! {Insert my SuperMama ego here} Well not really, but sort of! At the end of the day, cloth is cloth. You know what you're getting. No surprises. No chemicals. No landfills being filled. I've never been one to stress about landfills and chemicals and such (I know, I'm horrible), but since starting our cloth journey, I've been a smidge more thoughtful about it all.

For instance, because we are using cloth, regular diaper creams are not our friend. In turn, I learned the awesomeness of a few specific essential oils and coconut/olive oil! Now, Bum cream = au natural! I know that's just something small, but learning about the essential oils helped when we had our bad case of Thrush (with both boys!), works well in laundry, awesome for a cloth wipe solution, and a few other small home to-dos.


So, there you have it friends, we cloth diaper! Head on over to Moxie Wife to see some other wonderful favorites!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mystery Ingredient Monday: Keeping it Simple

Linking up with Tasha over at A Clan's Tale for Mystery Ingredient Monday! We're keeping it simple over here today  because 1) this simple goodness is a childhood favorite of mine, and 2) things have been settling down a bit, but not enough for me to get my bake on.

So, with that, these are the delicious strawberries we picked up at the grocery store the other day. They have been absolutely yummy! And, toddler-approved!
Growing up, I used to love LoVe LOVE! strawberries with powdered sugar. Not sure if any of you out there ever had them this way or not. Honestly, I'm not sure if this is a common occurrence in other households, but I know in mine, it was. Or at least my memory of favorites tells me it was.

All you do is cleanse strawberries and  dip in powdered sugar. Insert said powdered-sugar-covered strawberry and smile a happy smile, while your tastebuds do a happy dance.
Add some flavored coffee with your favorite cream, and your welcome!
 Head over to A Clan's Tale to see more (actual) recipes on how to enjoy strawberries!

&

Prayers for a good start to your week!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Simple Saturday: Half-year Cinquain for Linus

Linus
Playful, Rugged



Rolling, Grabbing, Exploring


Quick to squeal and smile
Brother



~~~

Linus
 Funny, fussy
  Growing, Teething, Traveling
Giver of Joy and Snuggles
Son


Happy 1/2 year little Linus!
You are now 18 lbs 4 oz and 27 inches long!

Love you,
Mama

~~~

Friday, August 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday: 3-2-1 and some!


3 Things I Am Thankful For
::I'm thankful for my husband planning a date night to celebrate our engagement anniversary (yup, we do this, and it's great!). I get to have the steak and margarita I was wanting in this post! Woohoo! And, as excited I am about eating out with the hubster, I am most excited to spend some QT with him! EXCITED!!

::Seeing how Bigfoot isn't old enough to hold down the fort, we are so very thankful for our friends who will be watching Bigfoot and Linus! We're hoping to squeeze in a dessert too, but we'll see how Linus does. Our friends, God-sends, I tell you! They seriously have no idea how they are blessing us!!

::Lastly, I'm thankful that things are starting to come together! The past few weeks-month, I have been an absolute hot mess! But things are calming down a little. I'm getting a little more sleep and feeling slightly more normal on the day-to-day. Wahoo! Mama feeling slightly more normal ForTheWin!

2 of My Favorite Sounds
::Love, LoVe, LOVE hearing my boys laugh. It's the best sound EVER!

::My next favorite sound would be the sound of quiet stillness. It's a good sound. I do miss it. Whether it be the quiet stillness of outside, in a home, at a retreat, or in front of the blessed sacrament, all very nourishing.
1 of My Favorite Smells
::Breastfed baby's breath!!!
Now that I'm done with my 3-2-1, let's see what I can fill these quick takes with. As I mentioned in QT#1, things have been hectic, changing, busy, exhausting, and rejuvenating. Lots has happened and lots more is to come. I'll probably be sharing all of it in more detail in the next few months, but since things are still in the works, all I'll do now is ask for your prayers.
Can I just say, I love my husband. He is pretty amazing. When things were terribly rough for me, I was absolutely miserable to live with (as much as he assured me I was not). He was working late and overtime, which meant I was doing so as well. And, if you know anything about me, I am not an OT type person. While I was working in mental health and as an interpreter, I would put in my hours and that was that. I treasured my time. I guarded my life outside of work. Anytime I put in extra hours, it weighed on me. It exhausted me instantly. I know my limits and OT is one that I would try not to cross in me pre-baby life.

Now, trying to explain to my boys about how I am not an OT person hasn't worked out as well as it did with my previous bosses/co-workers. They kind of just look at me funny and start running/rolling around like crazy.. or crying.. or they decide to make a poopy ..or {insert anything and everything under the sun that would make me get my job as a mama ON}. It's how things are right now. It's our season. With God's grace and LOTS and LOTS of prayer, I hope I can approach mama overtime with grace and love.

Feel free to pray for me in this area too. I'll milk all the prayers I can get!

Funny thought: I think my days are starting to be defined by what link-up there is on said day. Most days my brain is scrambling to recognize what day of the week we are participating in. But, no worries! Blogging community to the rescue! I go to nurse sweet Linus, pull up my feedly, and VOILA! I know what day it is! It's pretty awesome. And, very reliable. So, thank you all you wonderful bloggers who keep me in the know!

Speaking of you wonderful bloggers, you all are seriously so wonderful! I have so much to say about this little gem of a community that I have stumbled across. I'm still pretty new, but my goodness! Such a blessing!


~~~~
Ok, that's all I got for today. And, I need to pack these boys up so we can get to Mass on time before our dinner date!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

{Beautiful, Happy, Funny, Real}: He chose me!

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}, but for today my Pretty is going to be Beautiful. It's just a bit more fitting for the story being told.
round button chicken


~~~
Four years ago, my now husband, decided that he would ask me to be his wife on the Solemnity of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. On this beautiful feast day (which I look forward to every year!) he chose me. He decided that I was the one he wanted to love and choose to love on a daily basis. I was the one he wanted to choose Joy with. I was the one he wanted to struggle with. The one that he wanted to journey towards Heaven with. The one that he wanted to start a family with. The one he wanted to grow old with till death do us part. Four years ago today, he beautifully proposed to little old me, because I was the one for him.

When he asked me to marry him, a special part of our journey started. And I will be forever thankful to him for making our special day - the very day that started our journey towards forever - so incredibly beautiful


{Beautiful}
To share a little background of the pictures to come:

We were long distance at this point. And if you know anything about long distance relationships, you know they are challenging. Our weekends were our time. This weekend, years ago, we met up in College Station for a wedding. Our beautiful friends were getting married on this exciting day.

At this point in our relationship, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was soooooooooo ready for this man to propose. As much as he chose me, I had already chosen him too! So, after we attended our friends' beautiful wedding, I found myself griping to my good friends about how obviously, he was not going to propose to me today, or this weekend, so we should all go out and have a good time! My friends agreed and encouraged me to be excited. 

While getting me excited about how much fun we would have that night, they kept encouraging me to dress nicely. All I kept saying was that I wanted to sport my non-bra needing tank + comfy pants+favorite comfy sandles! Haha, it's how I do! Looking back, I don't think my friends thought I was dressed nice enough, but for me, comfort was all that mattered on my non-engagement day. That and hot wings! Hot wings and beer were what I was wanting for dinner because, I'm that girl. So, hot wings and beer it was.

We all went to have dinner and it was great! Also, while eating, Fr. Brian showed up. My friends, who were all in on the secret that was being kept from me, shared with him that today was in fact the day I had been praying for. So, he decided to come to our table and give us a special blessing. I found it odd, but awesome! Who doesn't like to receive random blessing? It's really special to look back and remember that his special blessing was specific for the engagement journey that was to start directly after dinner.

Now, my sweet husband and I had driven to the restaurant together, but we did not leave together. He had gone to the bathroom and was taking FOR-EV-ER and me and my impatient self who was ready to get her fun on, decided to leave with my girlfriend who left behind her boyfriend (now husband) to wait for him. Yah, I was really sweet.

Sweet friend, who I love so much, and I got in the car to get some good parking and wait for the guys. Upon arriving to the parking lot, sweet friend looked over at me and gave me a note. 

GeekMan asked me to give this to you.

I took the note and immediately started to cry. She looked at me and laughed.

Now you know why you needed to dress up?!?

She handed me a phone with some headphones. He had made me a playlist of all our songs with a couple new ones that were special to the evening. I listened to these songs every time I was being driven to a new location (there were four). The note she handed me looked something like this:
The notes were clues to four different locations. Each location had about three clues all pertaining to our dating journey. It was pretty amazing and all things sweet and thoughtful. 

My friend was the driver for the night, and I couldn't have been more happy to have shared this awesome time with her. Also, we had a bunch of other amazing friends stationed throughout the journey taking pictures (Promise these aren't all selfies!). This whole bunch are forever special to me/us. They gave us both such a gift that evening! As much as we were so grateful for their picture-taking and driving skills, we are even more thankful for how they selflessly loved us that night!

The first note took us to a chapel where 24-hour Eucharistic adoration was always held. GeekMan and I had both spent many an hour in this chapel during the later part of our college years. Never together, but definitely sharing our hearts with Our Lord about our lives and each other. 
The next note took me to the place where we first met.
The story of how we met is quite the interesting, funny, and special one that I definitely need to get down in writing soon. But for now, know that it was a Film class that had our paths cross. A film class that I thought would just let me watch fun movies (The class didn't happen how I thought it would. And, no fun was had for me in the end.). And, a film class where lots of fun was had by GeekMan since he was a movie buff and because he got to see me, of course!

So, with that tidbit of information, my notes took me to the building where our film class was held.
At this point, I was wondering when I would get to see GeekMan to hold him and hug him and love him! But, the hunt was not over yet. The next location disclosed from the note I found at the foot of our film building took me to a Marian grotto at a different church that was so special to our relationship. We attended many a Mass here and received so many spiritual blessings from people we met there, the priests, the organizations, retreats, and so much more!

Below is a picture I'm including for Theme Thursday. The theme today is faith! Our faith lives were so nourished in this place. Not only in the grotto, which is where my next set of notes was found.... 
...but, also for our engagement story. I know Our Lady was praying for us this evening and throughout our relationship. I know, because I asked this of her. And, what mother would not respond to her child's request for prayer?
My last set of notes took me to my final destination. It was to the park that had a very special bridge. It's the bridge where we walked, many years back early in our sophomore year of college, and held hands for the very. first. time. 

 The journey up to this point was amazing and filled with so much love and reminiscing! I was crying tears of joy and happiness the whole time (We're talking major snot-face here!), all the while offering prayers of thanksgiving to Our Lord for blessing his little daughter so abundantly.

So that lengthy bit of our engagement story is my beautiful.


{Happy}
So happy was I throughout this little scavenger hunt! But, not as happy as I was when I finally got to meet him on the bridge.

Prior to seeing him, I found our friends. One of them set up a video that he had made for me to watch while I wait for him on the bridge. The video was a compilation of pictures of our relationship. Old and new. Fun and funny. And all things in between. {Insert incredibly embarrassing snot-faced me here too}.

Once the video finished, the amazing man that God blessed me with, walked up to me and made me the happiest women in the world. I'll let this next series of pictures share my happiness.




AMAZING! I had never been so happy ever before! Not in this way. This was a special happy.

 {Funny}
Now enter funny. After he proposed and I said, "YES!!!" our friends started cheering and running towards us. But I wasn't just yet ready to share that little moment with them. I wanted just a tiny bit more time to relish and take it all in. To hold him and tell him I love him over and over and over again. So, GeekMan hollered, "Not yet!", wherein they all immediately quieted and returned from wherever they had been hiding.

Awkward!

After I had my moments, he yelled out, "She said YES!", and then we were surrounded by all the wonderful friends that helped make our hearts feel so full.

Next, the girls were asking to see the ring. The very ring I hadn't even seen! It was so dark, and as much as the ring is the outward sign of our promise, I was just elated about the promise. We all laughed a bit and found some light where we could see my little gift. It was beautiful!

Another funny is this picture below. If you know anything about my husband, you know he is famous for closing his eyes for pictures. We took a handful and they all pretty much looked like this:
And the last funny is that my sandle (my most favorite pair) decided to break on me. There was no fixing these sandles which left me walking back through the park with one sandle in hand and the other on foot. I was that cool kid at her own engagement party.

 {Real}
At the end of this day four years ago, GeekMan made a promise to me. And, the most real thing about it all, is he has kept his promise.
My husband blessed me abundantly on that very special day. The day that started our special journey towards marriage. The incredible journey that has brought us to where we are today - two beautiful boys and lots of love later.


i love you, babe.

&


~~~

Found this quote from The Catholic Wife via her FaceBook page and had to share:

"The Feast of the Assumption of our Lady prompts us to acknowledge the basis for this joyful hope. Yes, we are still pilgrims, but our mother has gone on ahead, where she points to the reward of our efforts. She tells us that we can make it. And, if we are faithful, we will reach home. " - Christ is Passing By, 177

Mary, Mother of Our Lord, pray for us.

(Head on over to Fine Linens and Purple for more Feast of the Assumption posts!)
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