Monday, February 18, 2013

Fun at the Skating Rink

Dad & Princess (Firstborn in background)
Not bad for first time on roller skates!
Thought I'd post some pictures of our family outing to the local skating rink on Sunday...

This was not "technically" Princess' first time on skates.  She's gone skating before and she practices at home too.  This was the first time she really got the hang of it and was able to skate solo, at least on the carpeted areas of the rink.

Eating popcorn, yum!
This is what occupied most of our almost 2 year old's time at the rink.  While his older siblings were skating he was content munching away on popcorn, drinking soda and playing with the arcade games.  He only wandered away from us once (and that was on Dad's watch, not mine,

Me and Toddler Boy
I spent a lot of time in the roller rink as a junior high schooler but that day I was in my tennis shoes because someone had to be able to chase the littles around on foot.  Doug opted to do the skating this time, maybe we'll switch on our next outing.  I still have my roller skates from back then, and they still fit.  I think I wore them one time skating last year.  I was rockin the high top tennis shoe skates with the multi-colored wheels and shoelaces...gotta love the 80's style!

Firstborn wearing the in-line skates
Game Boy enjoying a hot dog
We got there early enough to snag a table at the concession area, so that worked out well considering three of our family of seven were not skating.  Our church hosted the event and had a buffet of pizza and soda (but we went ahead and got the kids hot dogs and popcorn too).
Soccer Boy's cache of prizes won in the arcade area!
He gave one to Game Boy, which made him very happy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1.  Chocolate is something I decided to give up for Lent this year.  So it doesn't surprise me that I made myself a cup of hot chocolate this afternoon (to go with my hubby's homemade whipping cream he whipped up Wednesday for strawberry shortcake...that I DIDN'T eat...due to it being Ash Wednesday).  I digress, anywhoo, I drank about half the cup before I realized that it was hot CHOCOLATE, as in what I was not supposed to be consuming for the next 39 days.  I chalked it up to a loss and finished the mug (yes, it was one of those days)...

2.  I'll blame my inability to focus on anything for more than 5 seconds on the lack of sleep I've had this week due to Toddler Boy being up at night wheezing.  When I say wheezing, I mean struggling to breathe so much that we debated taking him in to the E.R. a few times but luckily the old hot shower steam treatment did the trick.  After 4 nights of this and him developing a croup cough on top of it I finally took him to the pediatrician's office to have him diagnosed with bronchitis.  Poor guy, with his new meds he (and I) finally slept through the night  last night but I'm still trying to catch up on the other 3 nights that I missed.

3.  St. Valentine's Day was our dog Minnie's 3rd birthday.  We adopted her from a rescue agency and normally you don't know the actual birthdate of rescue dogs.  However, we do know Minnie's because she was born in an animal shelter.  Her mom was left tied up pregnant, in labor, to the fence outside the shelter in the middle of an ice storm when the workers found her.  Some of the puppies had already been born and didn't make it but Minnie was one of the four lucky ones.
Minnie as a puppy
Minnie was Firstborn's birthday present and is technically his dog.  In honor of her 3rd birthday he wanted to go out and get her a gift from the local pet store.  She likes stuffed toys and rope tugs so he got her one of each.

Minnie all grown up
Yes, they are standing on our frozen pool (because I'm that Mom)
4.  Speaking of dogs, we picked up a stray last weekend at my folks house.  It was in the evening and we didn't want her to get eaten by coyotes (plus the weather was going to be turning bad) so we brought her home.  Soccer Boy was ecstatic, he has been begging us for a dog ever since his last birthday.  He says he has been praying for a dog and has been calling her "Spot".  I asked my mom to call around to see if her neighbors were missing a dog and we found out where she came from yesterday.  The owner has other dogs and told mom Soccer Boy could keep Spot.  Now the dilemma, of course Soccer Boy has grown attached and Spot has been sleeping in his room.  She is a really sweet dog and Soccer Boy is old enough to take care of her...any thoughts??
Soccer Boy and "Spot"
5.  The announcement of Pope Benedict's "retirement" has been in my thoughts a lot this week.  I came into the church while he was Pope and I really admired him.  I know others have felt closer to Pope John Paul II but he was such a charismatic Pope, it would have been incredibly difficult to walk in his shoes.  I respect Pope Benedict so much for the choice he has made, it could not have been an easy one.  I am grateful to him for the sacrifices he offered while serving and I'm praying both for him and for the Church as she seeks the Holy Spirit's wisdom to select the next Pope.

6.  Running out of things to type so I'll throw out that the season finale of Downton Abbey is this weekend.  I've been avoiding spoilers but I've heard the rumors that it ends badly.  The last episode was so good and wrapped things up so nicely.  I was wondering what was to become of Sybil's husband and like how they found a spot for him.  I loved what he had to say about everyone using their special gifts and talents for the good of the family.  Warm, happy feelings all the way around.  So of course the finale is probably going to drag me through the wringer.  Sigh...

7.  It's St. Valentine's Day, and I haven't spent any time with my significant other so I'm signing off.  If you get a chance, please say a prayer for my sister.  She is in the hospital tonight trying to get over a lung infection and could use the prayers.  Thanks!!

Happy St. Valentine's Day!!  Go check out more 7 Quick Takes with Jen at Conversion Diary

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nursing and Fasting

Lent Begins!!

It is Ash Wednesday, and as usual I am conflicted.  I've been thinking about this for a few weeks (read...ever since I turned the calendar to February and realized "holy smokes, Lent is less than two weeks away")!!  I'm somewhat new to the whole "fasting" thing, it wasn't something I grew up practicing in my Presbyterian church.  I was first introduced to it when my family started attending a local charismatic church.  They were hard core at this, sometimes I would hear of the truly devout going on weeks long water only fasts.  I had a relative who once did a 40 day water only fast (she wanted to prove to herself that the bible was true and Jesus could actually fast for that long).  I got to say, I was impressed.  When my appendix ruptured I was on a forced two week fast, I can testify that after the first couple of days my body kicked off the hunger signal.  It is much harder to fast one day because your body is screaming at you EAT, EAT, EAT the whole day.

I have friends who are Muslims and I'm pretty amazed at their devotion to fasting during Ramadan.  During that month long time period Muslims are required to fast on all food and drink from sunrise until sundown.  It is a pretty impressive discipline to master.  Our Lady of Medjugorje asks the faithful to fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays.  I have done this a few times (I like using rye bread rolls myself...hope that's not considered "cheating").  Sometimes I make it through the whole day but there are times I can only fast breakfast or breakfast and lunch and that's it.  Fasting is not for the faint at heart!!

Today is Ash Wednesday, which means Catholics are required to fast (one regular meal and two small meals that don't add up to the one regular meal, no meat, no snacks).  The fast isn't required for pregnant or nursing moms so technically I'm off the hook (because I'm still nursing).  However, I feel GUILTY for even considering not doing it.  Mentally, I realize these feelings I'm having are not the proddings of the Holy Spirit because they are very condemning.  They run something along these lines...Why would you not fast?  You've done complete no food fasts before while nursing so you must be looking for an excuse.  How hard is it to give up meat and snacks for the day?  If you can't handle that you are weak, if you truly loved Jesus like you say you do this would not be such a struggle.

I realize my struggle is not with fasting, but with my vocation and the station of life I currently find myself.  My husband and I have been called to the vocation of marriage.  We have been blessed with five children to care for and raise here on earth.  I find that I have spent a long time pregnant and/or nursing over the last 14 years!  I am blessed, overjoyed and humbled by that statement.  Although it feels like I will forever be caring for a nursling the reality is that this will constitute a short amount of time when compared to my lifetime.  It is not selfish to eat or modify the food fasts I do in order to produce milk for my baby.  All too soon there will come a time when I no longer have a nursling at my breast and then will be my time to fast.  There is a season and time for everything and I need to learn to be content in the season God has placed before me.  My struggle is contentment, being patient and content in doing the work God has asked me to do.  Being content in my work means not looking at what others are doing and second guessing my calling.  Maybe I should be doing XYZ like so and so.  God does not require me to follow so and so, He calls me to follow HIM.

That does not mean I'm throwing the whole Lenten season out the window!  No, I am entering into the penitential season and picking up my cross and following in my Lord's footsteps.  I am still planning on giving up a favorite food treat for the next 40 days.  I'll commit to "meatless Fridays" and make sure to get my protein in some other way so my milk supply doesn't suffer.  I'll focus on praying more and cutting out the excesses in my life so I can better hear and obey His voice.  I'll work on modeling and teaching this to my non-Catholic children.  I'm following how Jesus wants me to follow (which might mean no all day food fasts for me this season).  It might mean not attending morning Mass today because my baby is sick, even though I was looking forward to it.  Jesus has fashioned my cross perfectly and it is what transforms and shapes me to be more like Him and ultimately to become more like myself, the person He created me to be.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What I Wore Sunday

So, this is the first time I've done one of these posts.  I'm usually the one behind the camera, but I've enjoyed reading some of the other "what I wore" posts.  As a general rule I usually don't blog on Sundays but I was taking pictures of the boys sledding in the snow so I had my oldest snap a few of me in my church outfit.  Really, I try to wear comfortable clothes to Mass and church because I'm usually chasing little ones around and/or nursing so I need practical.  Also, I usually don't change clothes and end up wearing it the rest of the day.  I will change these boots at some point because as cute as they are and as practical as they are in the snow they are not particularly comfortable.

So we woke today to 3 inches of snow on the ground!!  I know I am the reason for this, because I just commented yesterday on a friend's blog here that I wanted one more sledding day before the early spring that the groundhog predicted this year.  So here's what I wore to 8:00am Mass today (after I cleaned all the snow off the van)...
Look at all the beautiful snow!!
I just got the scarf recently (a gift from our donation to World Vision) but the pink shirt I wanted to wear with it has been MIA for a few weeks...must be a casualty of our laundry room right now.  So I opted for the green shirt instead.  The scarf has pink flowers with green leaves woven into it (you can't see it from the picture).  I chose my standby jean skirt that I got from Kohl's a few years back and I have gray tights on under it (they don't match but you can't see them anyway, and it's cold outside)!  Then there's the brown boots I got at our favorite consignment shop last year.  They were a great find, you can't pick up boots for less that $80 around here.  Not sure if blue, green and brown all go together but I thought it looked good.

I was happy that I managed to make it to Reconciliation yesterday evening.  Normally my family goes to our protestant church's Saturday evening service so I can't make Saturday evening Reconciliation at my Catholic church.  But Doug was doing the grocery shopping and was running behind so we decided to go to Sunday morning late service.  I was at Reconciliation for an hour and when I got home my hubby was like "what did you do that you were gone so long"!!  Haha.  No, I was the only one there so I took the opportunity to visit with the priest for awhile.  I enjoy talking with him and we must both be long winded, so there you go!  I don't know why more people at my church don't avail themselves to that sacrament.  It's a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how my spiritual life is going and whether I'm on track.  Knowing I would have to confess it later has kept me from overtly sinning more times than I can count since becoming Catholic.  It's one thing to confess your sins privately to God but a whole other matter to confess it to an actual person.  I'm sure Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He gifted us with this sacrament.

This Sunday post is becoming long enough so I'll wrap it up and get ready to watch the Super Bowl!

Go see what everyone else is wearing to church at Fine Linen and Purple