Monday, January 19, 2015

Another Teenager in the House!

So, last week was Soccer Boy's 13th birthday!  I need to get his birth story posted but it involves non-digital pictures and I have to figure out our new printer's scanner so it will have to wait.  His birthday weekend involved another cold weather storm (figures).  They were predicting sleet but thankfully it really wasn't that bad out this time around.  His birthdays always seem to involve winter storms, the days surrounding his birth were filled with lots of snow.  On his actual birthday the family celebrated by picking him up some Smokey Bones nachos and playing a few games of his newest gift:
Ticket to Ride!
The game takes some time to play (think Monopoly), so we've only played it twice.  Firstborn won the inaugural game (just barely, only 6 measly points ahead of me)!  Doug won the second round.  We picked up an ice cream cake, per Soccer Boy's request, and headed to my folk's house a day ahead of the bad weather to celebrate with them.  He finally got his fishing cake (reference goldfish cake from last year).
Happy 13th!

The whole gang...

We were supposed to go to a local indoor gym, but when we arrived they were closed due to the expected bad weather.  Since we were out and about I went ahead and took the kids shopping at the pet store and Toys R Us to spend their Christmas money.  It was a real treat for them because we avoid that store like the plague.  Taking the kids there tends to give them a case of the "gimmies" Berenstain Bear style.

This past weekend we finally made it to the postponed gym date...
Soccer Boy on trampoline

Firstborn scaling the cargo net
Game Boy & Princess in background

Still working the net

Princess on ring swing

Game Boy on obstacle course

Flipping on the trampoline
It was a really neat obstacle course and they had a worker there to teach them how to use the equipment properly.  He also taught Firstborn how to do a official "drop" (landing bottom first, legs straight on the mats).  He was allowed to do a drop off the platform that was something like 20 feet up, suspended from the ceiling.  The actual drop was only maybe 10 to 12 feet to the mat, but still crazy high!  I wouldn't have been able to do it, but Firstborn enjoyed it.

So now I guess we're the parents of two "official" teenagers!  Firstborn will be working on getting his driver's permit soon.  Good times ahead!!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Starting the New Year Right - In 7 Quick Takes

Thanks to Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum for hosting 7 Quick Takes (check out the new logo).  I'm linking up there to start the new blogging year on the right foot...

1.  Here I thought we were finally getting healthy at our house.  But no, the fun is not over yet!  Doug and I are still in recovery mode and I had to take Toddler Boy in to the doctor's office this morning.  He appears to have what everyone else is dealing with, runny nose, congestion, cough, high fever for days on end.  He also is the lucky recipient of an ear infection.  Hi Ho, Hi Ho it's off to the pharmacy I go...
Poor guy, taking a much needed nap
2.  This is quickly adding up to lack of sleep for days on end again.  Because I guess God decided I didn't learn the whole insomnia patience lesson well enough the the first time around.  (Or it has something to do with having more than one child).  Maybe I'm not the type of person who should be responsible for multiple children?  This whole illness/lack of sleep/stir crazy quarantine to the house situation is showing me ALL of the spiritual areas in which I am sorely, sorely lacking.

3.  Doug and I ran out together to return some of the videos we had rented over New Years.  I'm assuming this qualifies for "couple alone time"?  When we got back to the house we actually sat outside in the cold car, in the dark, in the driveway for probably 15 minutes while I poured out to him all this insecurity about motherhood that I've been dealing with lately.  Neighbors probably think we're crazy (and they would be right)!  The next day I was cleaning off a shelf and ran across a book I had received as a gift a few years ago that I actually haven't read yet.  So I was thumbing through it and came across this section:

"Now, most young mothers will tell you that they have to resist the urge to take their babies back from others who are holding them, because maternal instinct tells you your baby is really comfortable only in your arms.  But when I saw Jesus holding Christopher, I had no urge to take him.  I could feel that he was just as at home in Christ's arms as he was in mine.  It was that feeling - the reassurance that Christopher was not just in good hands, he was in God's hands - that enabled me to give him completely over to God.  It was then and there that Jesus gave me the peace that passes understanding and carried me through the next week in the hospital...

It was in that moment I learned to let go of the need to be in control and learned that God was my true source of power.  Trusting in Him rather than myself - that was the secret, and that was the lesson I learned through this.  But I was enabled to hand over my baby to Him only because the hands into which I relinquished him were loving, strong, and powerful."

excerpt from Mommy Grace, Erasing the Mommy Guilt, by Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman

Love how God orchestrates these little instances in my life.  Maybe the chapter spoke to me because I've been dealing with sick children lately, or because I've had a baby in the NICU and intimately knew that out of control and helpless feeling that a parent experiences.  The book is a pretty light read, the chapters are short but encouraging.  Perfect for this season in my life.  It reminds me how God always has my back and He always provides what I truly need.  He continues to feed my soul.

4.  Saint Name Generator.  I've got to hand it to Jen, I love this little invention.  Last year I got Mother Teresa, which was interesting because I had been drawn to her writing for other reasons and the generator just kind of confirmed what I was already doing.  Over the summer Firstborn and I checked a secular book out of the library that documented her life.  I started keeping a list of all her quotes that I would randomly come across that spoke to me.  Maybe I'll do a post listing them all and link it back here.  This year I got Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.  I'm especially interested in his writings concerning uniformity with God's will and excited about what the new year has in store.

5.  Along those same lines, I'm thinking of doing this book as my Lenten read this year:

Leila over at Little Catholic Bubble recommended it.  I admit that I'd like to start reading it right now, but I don't think I have the time to devote to it (see number 3).  My bible study group is finishing up the book on JOY and I want to use my spare mental energy to get the homeschooling kick started in the new year.  So I'm forcing myself to not purchase a kindle copy and get a head start.

We got our new Kindle Fire in the mail over the holidays and I just recently had time to get it up and running.  For now, this one is going to be my kindle and the old kindle will be for the kids.  I'm sure that plan will bite the dust the first time I need the kids to watch a video on it (like, when we're driving down to Florida on vacation).  But for now it's mine, all mine!

 I'm really enjoying the Christmastide season this year.  Maybe it's because we've been so sick that we really weren't able to celebrate properly on the actual day.  The last time I was able to receive communion was at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.  I've been pretty much home bound ever since.  I will admit that the house is looking quite a bit better.  When not on nursing detail I've been using my spare time and energy to declutter and clean.  I've even been cooking!  I think my family forgot I know how to bake.
Cranberry Almond Cinnamon Rolls!!
This is a recipe I snagged from a 2002 Dierbergs flyer a number of years back.  You can substitute raisins for the dried cranberries and pecans for the almonds and it's just as good.  Here you go...

1 pkg. (16 oz) hot roll mix (or if you have a homemade yeast roll recipe, use that)

1/4 C. butter, melted
1/3 C. sugar combined with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pkg. (5 or 6 ounces) dried cranberries
1/2 C. sliced almonds

1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Prepare dough according to package directions.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll into 10 x 15 inch rectangle.  Spread butter evenly over dough, then sprinkle cinnamon sugar, dried cranberries and almonds over dough.  Starting at 15 inch side, tightly roll dough jellyroll style.  Cut into 1 inch slices and place in greased 9 x 13 pan.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.  Combine glaze in bowl and drizzle over rolls.  Enjoy!!

8.  Bonus take...because you all know here in the U.S. that Season 5 of Downton Abbey is airing tomorrow night, right??  Even Doug has begrudgingly started watching it with me, I'll make him a fan yet.

Please ignore all the poor style and choppy writing, I haven't had much sleep lately.  Wishing everyone a healthy Christmastide season!!