Thursday, December 9, 2010

BabyBeat Fetal Doppler Giveaway!

Attention all my dear pregnant mommy friends!!!

 Chari at Take Time To Smell The Rose is giving away a BabyBeat Fetal-doppler that you can use at home to listen to your baby's heartbeat! This is so perfect because there just seem to be soooo many pregnant ladies out there right now! I would just love to spend time each evening with Paul and Lil' Man listening to our Jelly Bean's heartbeat. I know you and your families would enjoy it too.

I love that Baby Beat also offers recordable dopplers so you can keep a recording of your little one's heartbeat and send it to proud grandparents.

Take a moment to check out both Chari's blog and the Baby Beat website!

Happy Feast of St. Juan Diego friend's! I am making sombrero cookies today in his honor. Are you doing anything special?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Your thoughts on family time...

Last night after dinner my husband and I took turns reading to Lil' Man and then, after his bath, he ran around in his pjs with so much stinkin' energy that I just wanted to plug myself in to him and share some of that same charge!

Paul and I were discussing how nice it is to have family reading time, but Lil' Man want the same 5 books read over and over and it does become slightly monotonous for Paul and I. We were trying to think of other activities we could do together as a family, but its hard because most of the games or ideas we had were just too difficult to get a two year old to go along with. We go hiking and to the park, but evening home are going to become more frequent the bigger I get and the colder Wisconsin becomes! I was thinking about some of the Montessori learning methods, but I am not yet an aficionado on said methods.

After we watched our crazy child "dance" (aka jumping, rolling, bouncing) to a toddler cd, Paul pulled out a remote control helicopter/spaceship thing and let Lil' Man chase that around trying to knock it out of the air. It was fun and cute and I managed to get some fun video footage of my boys playing together.

Soooo, does anyone have any thoughts on evening family activities with a two year old??? I will take any ideas!

In other news, we just discovered that BOTH of our dogs (both of whom my parents have been watching since we can't have them in our apartment) are pregnant!!!! Anyone want a puppy for Christmas (maybe Epiphany)??? Just figured that it couldn't hurt to ask!

Enjoy your Friday and have a wonderful weekend! We are looking forward to our town's Christmas parade on Saturday (who ever heard of a "Christmas" parade before thanksgiving?!?!). :-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's the Holiday Season!

Which means that it is time for me to get my Christmas cards printed and ready to mail out after Thanksgiving! Crazy as it seems Thanksgiving is next week and Advent will soon be upon us! I always try (and rarely succeed) to have all gifts and cards taken care of before Advent begins, so I can focus on what's truly important- preparing my heart and my family to once again to receive Christ and celebrate His sacrifice for us.

This year I am using Shutterfly to print all of my Christmas cards for the first time. I have made a lot of photobooks using Shutterfly and just love how they turned out! I love cards with family picture on them and now that we have an adorable toddler underfoot we seems to have hundreds of precious poses to choose from. The only hard part is limiting the number of pictures to just my favorite "card worthy" ones. The great thing about Shutterfly is that I really don't have to limit the number of picture I can use by many. They have great cards that can have multiple images such as this one:



Or this one:
 
You can check out their beautiful photo card collection here: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery

Last year my brother gave my husband and I a canvas print of our wedding picture. It was one of the most special gifts! Consider giving an impossible to shop for Dad a canvas portrait of his family. The ideas are endless!
http://www.shutterfly.com/home-decor/canvas-wall-art
My brother will be getting a family photo calendar from us this year to remind him of his family since he is living far away.
http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars/wall-calendars

And for those bloggers out there, Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… sign up: http://bit.ly/sfly2010 !!!

Hope you are as inspired as I am!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tired.

I apologize that I pretty much stink at blogging these days. I have thoughts to share, creativity to express, pictures of all the fall adventures my men and I have been having. What I don't have is energy or time. And when I have one or both of those to important elements, they get used for exciting things like housework.

I was so tired today because I didn't go to sleep until 3 am (indigestion+back/muscle pain=insomnia) that I felt the way I imagine it must feel like to be "hung over" (something I have never had to actually experience- PRAISE GOD!). And then I felt guilty all day because I've needed Paul so much recently to help me with Lil' Man and to take care me that I know he is feeling torn between work and home. Sheesh.

We did have a wonderful weekend. The week will be equally wonderful, but crazy busy. Prayers are appreciated. We will be off to California Friday morning, but home by Monday night. Tomorrow is a huge Catholic Charities event that I'm excited to attend and Wednesday I am hosting a large dinner party. All good. All exciting. But pray that God gives this preggo body a little extra steam. And that Lil' Man survives Friday's journey that will include 7 hours in the car and 4 and a half on an airplane, a time change for two days and then Friday's journey in reverse on Monday. Guardian Angels be with us!


I do hope to be a better blogger soon. Don't give up on me yet, friends. May God bless everyone as the joyful and hectic holiday season quickly approaches!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Mission Theme (Ennio Morricone)




Soooo, I had the Theme from the Mission as one of the many songs in my playlist at the bottom of my blog. Recently it was playing the song from James Bond or Mission Impossible instead of  The Mission Theme. SO NOT COOL! It was driving me crazy so I went in and took the song off my playlist.

I must report that you will now be hearing a mix of Christmas music in with my regular selections. I am sorry. I hope it doesn't drive anyone crazy, but I love Christmas music! I control my self by only listening to it in private during the year or only listening publicly after Halloween. I know, I know, but there are very few "Thanksgiving" songs, so what's the big deal???

Anyway, if you haven't seen The Mission or heard its soundtrack, I highly recommend them (fyi: It is not a movie for the faint of heart and be sure to watch it before having the entire family view.)!

Enjoy!

Mommy Mocktails!!!

Know a pregnant mom who could use a pick me up? Here's an idea!

Virgin Cocktails!


Since the beginning of my pregnancy I've had a hard time keeping anything down, especially water or any other fluid. Slowly, I have gotten better, but I still am having a hard time drinking. Early on water tasted bitter and now I just don't feel like drinking it. Adding slices of lemon or lime has helped, but...and all the teas I normally enjoy I can't have and I've been craving soda more than normal.


Interesting Fact: I've read that green tea inhibits cells growth, making it great for cancer patients and, obviously, bad for growing babies! They also say that green tea blocks folic acid which is especially important to the baby's development during the first trimester.

I made a decision that if I make drinking a festive occasion, similar to how I feel about sitting down to a soothing cup of tea, it may be easier for me to drink more. I started small by picking up a bottle of cranberry juice, a bottle of lemon-lime soda (caffeine free), and a lime. Through out the day I would drink a "mocktail" of 1/4 cup soda, 3/4 cranberry and a twist of lime. It helped!

When I went to visit my pregnant friend, Diana of the Lake of Shining Waters , on my way to Tennessee, I brought along two martini glasses, cream of coconut, frozen strawberries, pineapple, cherries and assortment of other goodies for us to try inventing something tasty.



First we tried just blending pineapple and coconut for a pina colada. We thought it was good, but Diana's - husband thought it was lacking and said he'd stick to the alcohol-enhanced version. We added in some strawberries and we were quite pleased with the result!



When I got home to our farm, I went through my bookcase and found a book called Salvatore Calabrese's Virgin Cocktails. I have been enjoying all the pictures of luscious fruit and funky looking drinks. There is even a tasty looking recipe for virgin eggnog- just in time for the holidays! The book includes drinks entitled Cantaloupe Caper, Coconut Grove, Forest Fizz, Island Surfer and Lean Machine (Which this pregnant stomach can't handle the thought of! It is a combo of carrot, spinach, celery and parsley.).

Since I have begun guzzling grapefruit juice (I've always liked it, but baby seems to enjoy it too!), I am fond of the Coconut Grove. Here it is if you'd like to try it!

Salvatore Calabrese's Coconut Grove
3oz pineapple juice
1 2/3 oz coconut cream
1 2/3 fresh pink grapefruit juice
garnish- segment of grapefruit and spiral of orange

Place ingredients in blender with a scoop of crushed ice. Blend for 10 seconds and pour into a tumbler. Garnish with a thin segment of grapefruit and a spiral of orange. Serve with a straw.

If you are looking for a gift for a pregnant friend, you can consider getting a book of non-alcoholic drinks and adding them to a basket with some ingredients and a couple of cocktail glasses. Some women may have trouble with fruits and veggies during the first trimester, but many (not all!) are able to handle them better by their 4th month. This is a great way to sneak healthy things into the diet!

Feel free to share any other inspired  ideas!

God bless and don't forget to pray for the Poor Souls today and to get out and VOTE!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Very Important Reminder

I am leaving in the morning to visit my dear friend, "Diana of the Lake of Shining Water". After visiting with she and her family for a few days, Paul will meet me at their home and we will head down to Tennessee for an exciting couple of days with my family. I can't wait!!! It will be our first time home since our big move.

I won't be blogging until I get home, so I thought I would direct you to one of my previous post that I feel I personally needed to be reminded of once again (Oh my weakness! Lord help me to be a better wife, mother, friend and Your daughter.).

You can link to it HERE 

The whole mouse thing sounds much worse than it was now that I read that post again, but the marriage stuff is something that is a very important reminder to me, especially now that I have a two year old underfoot and I spend most of my day having toddler level conversations.

Hope you find it to be a helpful reminder too. Have a great week, friends!

Fostering & Other Fun Thoughts

Hubby and I both managed to wake up early this morning and we were able to enjoy the luxury of sitting in bed together each doing our morning prayers in peace and quiet. Bliss!

I'm attempting to pack up summer clothes, pack things that are taking up much needed room in our apartment and prepare for visiting our house in Tennessee for the weekend. Unforeseen circumstances are making packing impossible right now, so I decided to take advantage of this time to enjoy a steamy mug of coconut tea that Paul and I brought home from our last trip to the BAHAMAS and a coconut crunch donut. Have I ever mentioned that I'm obsessed with coconut??? I know it won't be long until its so cold here that I will be longing to be back on a white sandy beach, but for now I'm enjoying the fall weather and enjoying the memories of a warm, wonderful time spent with my dear husband.





This picture was on our Christmas card last year. We drove all over the island on our moped to find that banner!

Anyway, I thought I'd share a little bit about how Lil' Man came into our life. Since before Paul and I were married we had discussed adoption. After we lost our first baby and then struggled for the next two years with fertility issues, we realized that adoption might be our only option to start a family of our own.

We honestly hadn't thought a lot about foster care. We knew that we wanted a permanent family and we knew other families who had become foster parents in hopes of adoption only to have the children placed back in the home after they had been told that it would be almost impossible for the child to go back to their birth family. It was emotionally difficult to give back a child whom they had hoped would be part of their family forever. They were able to see the blessings and graces that came from their time with the child[ren], but it is still difficult.

We also knew a family who has blessed many children's lives by taking them into their home in a strictly temporary situation. But, Paul and I realized, that at least for now, that wasn't what God was calling us to do.

Paul and I knew that we couldn't start a family while we were still trucking, so our first step was for Paul to quit trucking. We hoped that not being on the road would be less stressful on our bodies and maybe God would allow us to get pregnant. Our new job situation was wonderful, but our salary would only be a quarter of what we were making before, so we knew that we wouldn't be able to meet the "USCIS Income Requirements" for the type of adoptions that we were looking into.

We had several people call us at different times to tell us that there had been a baby saved from abortion and the mother was now looking to choose a couple to adopt her baby. Both times this happened we prayed and discerned that those children were not "our" children. It was kind of strange since we were almost desperately wanting to adopt, but in those moments we just knew that God had a different plan for us.

We knew that in God's time he would provide the finances and would lead us to the child he was calling us to help. Our only real concern was that we knew we wanted a large family and we knew that most children in foster care and in orphanages have been sexually abused. We were concerned about the physical and emotional damage that had been done. Many children who have had such experiences abuse other children, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. Very young children who have been abused act out things with themselves and with other children with out even realizing what they are doing. Trying to protect and keep all of the children safe and healthy can be very difficult despite even the best efforts of a parent.

There were just so many things to take in to consideration. Put we knew that God had put a desire on our heart so strongly that He had a reason and He would share it with us when we were ready. We just had to be open.

I can't go into a lot of specifics about our situation, but the basics story is that a week after Paul gave his two week notice we got a call that a mutual aquaintence was being deployed for an extended period of time and need a place for Lil' Man to stay during that time. There was no social work involved, etc. (there were some legal papers to be signed and taken care of, but it was very different than a "typical" foster care situation". It was God just saying, "The timing is right, if you are open to My Will you can recieve an incredible blessing that will change your life!"

Unlike previous calls we had recieve, Paul and I both knew that if it worked out it was totally God's Will and we were completely ready for this to happen. We found out a few days later that it probably wasn't going to happen and, though disappointed, took it in stride and knew God had a plan- looking at so many negative pregnancy test will helps you cope with those moments!!!

A few weeks later, on our wedding anniversary, Paul and I were out at lunch with friends when a recieved a call from a familiar number. I stepped outside to take the call in private and was told that Lil' Man would be coming to live with us for at least 6 months, if we were still open.

I walked back in, sat down at the table and began to cry when I told my husband that we were getting a baby! My heart was pounding so hard and it was honestly one of the most incredible feelings. We knew that it was only a temporary situation, but for as long as it lasted we would be able to love a child and bring him closer to God. It was the greatest wedding anniversary gift ever!

A week later we were able to meet our Lil' Man at a park and it was love at first sight. Days later he came home with us and our life has never been so blessed, so joyful, so crazy and so messy!!!! It's perfect.

About 1 month and 1 week after Lil' Man came into our home, God gave us our second miracle baby! Every night Lil' Man prays for "his new baby!" and asks to see him or her (while trying to pull up my shirt enough to look in my belly button!

Only God knows what is in store for this crazy little family of ours, but for now we are enjoying every second we have together. Please pray for us and for God's Will to be done in all of our lives.

Also, my apologies to those who are interested in how an "actual" foster care process takes places. I must say that I am grateful that I don't know, but I do wish I were able to answer your questions. If God is putting that desire on your heart, He will also put the resources in your hands. I am praying for everyone who is going through the process fostering and/or learning about it. It can be a blessing to both children and families.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Fallen Warrior

Today was the funeral of a thirteen year old boy who was my student and whose family I've been close to for many years. Noxah was in a Little League game 15 months ago when he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. They discovered that he had leukemia. After battling these many months, Noxah went to God this past Saturday surrounded by his family, friends and priest.

Please pray for his family. He has young siblings and I can only imagine his parents grief. He was a dear, sweet boy and I am sure he is now interceding for us all.

If you would like to read more about this little warrior and see his picture you can go HERE

God bless those who He calls to suffer for His Name sake.

Eternal rest grant unto Noxah, O Lord! And let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day One: It's a long way to Gitchi Gummi



We packed and left early Friday morning for our trip to the Porcupine Mountains on Lake Superior. I was losing my breakfast only minutes before we left our house, so I was worried about how the drive would go. I managed to survive the entire way thanks to prayers and a lot of Tums. We enjoyed a beautiful picnic lunch on a lake in Michigan on the way up and we were very surprised that it had warmed up to 81 degrees even that far North!

A fun post-lunch photo with Nee-Gaw-Nee-Gaw-Bow in Wakefield, MI!


It was a long drive with Lil' Man not napping as much as I would have liked. The girls that were riding with us were saints for patiently handing toys and snacks to him and having him shake them awake when they would try to nap!


When we arrived at the Porcupine Mountains we split up. Paul, Lil' Man and I took the less steep 3 mile trail to Mirror Lake where we were all staying for the next three days. The ranger informed us that we weren't allowed to take the stroller with us (later we found signs that said no motorized wheeled vehicles and I think the woman had misunderstood that it was just a stroller- oh well!), so we had to coax Lil' Man into walking as much as we could.  Not a fun task!


Like Linus from Peanuts, Lil' Man carried his blankie the entire time. After he tripped and scrapped an elbow and his arm, Paul had to carrying him for at least 2 and a half mile along with his 55+lbs pack. Lil' Man is not so little! He currently weighs somewhere over 35 lbs. and had all his weight on Paul's neck, so Paul got him to sit on top of the pack!

Lil' Man enjoyed his throne (for the most part!) and was fascinated by the chipmunks!

I wasn't really as prepared as I should have been. In my mind, three miles is nothing and I really didn't think I'd have any trouble, but with my pack and being pregnant I really had to be careful. Even relatively mild inclines left me drained and puffing, so I stopped a lot to make sure I was getting enough oxygen to the baby. When we got to a difficult area, my wonderful hubby insisted on carrying both of our packs! The man is a saint! He had to carry mine across his his chest. He is hard-core. :)

It was such a relief to arrive at our cabin. It was so cute and well off the main path (unlike the two other cabins on the lake). We couldn't believe how nice it was for a rustic cabin! There was a bunk bed, beautiful wooden table with benches and a chair, a wood stove with a supply of firewood, a hatchet, bow saw, buckets, and pots for cooking. We had packed in all those things (well, not the firewood) not knowing that their would be anything in the cabin. It even came with a canoe, paddles and plenty of life jackets- even a tiny one for Lil' Man! 


After unpacking, we paddled out onto the lake to find the rest of our group. We didn't know where they would be, so we just enjoyed paddling until we found several of the girls filtering water out of the lake for dinner.

I wonder how they got the name "Mirror Lake"????  : )

After catching up with the rest of the staff from camp, we paddled back to our cabin to pick up a few things. Paul ran up to the cabin while Lil' Man and I sat in the canoe waiting. Lil' Man had been sitting near the back with Paul and I was in the front. As I looked at the lake, Lil' Man and I chatted about the colors and the water. Before I knew what was happening, I felt the boat rock and turned just in time to see Lil' Man falling into two inches of mucky water that our canoe was sunk into. His feet were still in the canoe, but everything else was wet and covered in old leaves. It was sad and hysterical all at the same time. I took him back to the cabin to change him and find Paul. Paul took this video clip.
video

The highlight of the entire weekend, in my opinion, was when Paul, Lil' Man and I left the staff camp after dinner to head back to our cabin. There was a new moon on Friday night. It was an inky, pitch black and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Floating in the lake with out a single thing to take away from the celestial view made it the most breathtaking sight I have seen since Paul and I were working on Sequoia Lake in California. The Milky Way was indescribable. The entire night sky looked like the photographs you see in an astronomy book. 

It felt as though we were in the nursery rhyme about Winken, Blinken and Nod because not only were the stars dazzling above us, but it felt as though we were floating through them! The lake was mirroring the heavens! Every so often a huge fish would leap out of the lake startling the stillness and causing the stars to float about in chaos. We drifted in awe on the lake for so long that Lil' Man fell asleep (he swayed this way and that before plopping backwards!).
It is moments like those that make you feel the awesomeness of the power of God. I feel sorry for those who only see a breathtaking sight and have no one to thank for it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Off to the mountains we go!

The camp staff (including Paul, Lil' Man and myself) are going on a retreat up north along the Boundary Waters at Porcupine Mountain State Park tomorrow. We will be hitting the road after breakfast at 6am, so we have been doing all of our packing this evening.

This will be our first back country camping experience with Lil' Man. We are blessed to be staying in a rustic cabin on the water, but it will be a several mile hike with gear (winter clothes, food, cooking supplies, sleeping bags, etc.) into the cabin, so we can't bring the pack-n-play and other things Lil' Man is used to having at bedtime.

I've never had to think about packing in and out disposable diapers. Paul's boss was saying that we'd need ziploc bags for the diapers to keep the scent from attracting bears and other critters. Lil' Man has never slept on the floor or in a bunk, so it will be interesting to see how bedtimes go and I've pretty much realized that naps just aren't going to happen!

We have taken him camping (with the pack-n-play and a car full of supplies) and he LOVES it! I am looking forward to an exciting weekend with unique challenges. Any suggestions?

The other special treat that hopefully won't last the weekend, is that my morning sickness had almost completely gone away for several days, but is slowly creeping back. Is that normal? I was great for several day, spent a few hours for the following three days feeling queasy at times and then threw up once yeasterday and a couple times today. Yuck. Its amazing how a few days with out can erase the memory of the yuckiness until it comes back and then all you can think is, "How did I manage to forget this so quickly?".  I'm praying that labor will turn into a far distant memory very quickly afterward.

Sooooooo, I was sitting on the couch feeling yucky and Paul was packing my bag for me and he calls out for me to try it on to make sure the weight is okay. I had a sudden flash of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride toppling over backwards as her fiancee puts a large backpack on her. Hmmmm!

Luckily, I didn't topple!


So here I am sporting my pack and my mini-baby bump. All I have to add is my Tums and ziploc bags in case I get sick and need them to keep from feeding the fishies in Gitchi (Big) Gummi (Water)!


Paul, taking his pack for a test drive.


Lil' Man watching Paul packing. Lil' Man had just pulled off all his clothes and was running around the house doing a diaper streak!

Anyway, we'll be back in a few days. Hopefully with lots of beautiful pictures and wonderful memories. When we are back and I have some time, I will be blogging about fostering ;) and a few other fun things. Please pray for our adventures!

God bless, friends!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eternal Song Family in the News

By the way friends, I never posted that an article was run in the Rhode Island Catholic about Paul and I this past summer. Someone mentioned that I should share the link in case anyone wanted to check out the article, so read all about it HERE .

Many thanks to Laura Kilgus from the RI Catholic for this beautiful article and for being such a wonderful and amazing person. I pray that people will find the article inspiring.

A little bit of trucking fun:

This is a picture of me making Christmas dinner (hamburgers with mushrooms) for Paul and I last year at a truck stop in Virginia. It was pouring rain outside, but we were warm, cozy and happy to be together inside. : )

It is so funny to think about how much our lives have changed since last May when we stopped trucking.

This year we will spend our first Christmas at home since we've been married. We will have a loving two year old with us to experience the joy and magic of Christ's birthday. And I will be over 5 months pregnant and waddling around like Mrs. Claus! God is so good!

Good night and God bless, friends!

My Papa

Paul and I are getting ready to head up into the mountains this weekend for a staff retreat. When we get home we will have two weeks before we head back down south to visit my family and our farm and I am just sooo excited!

I was skimming through some pictures from last autumn and I found this picture of my dearest papa taking a little cat nap! It made me homesick, so I just had to share it and ask for my readers to send up a quick prayer for my wonderful father who still doesn't fully know the love of God.



Half asleep, but smiling anyway!

I "splurged" the other day and bought the most adorable onesie that says, "I love my Grandpa!". I say that I splurged because I spent all of 5 cents on it. I love the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Shop! and I love my baby's grandpa!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Save a Life, PLEASE!

Before I go to bed, I have one favor to ask. Please follow this link: http://bit.ly/VOTE4RR and vote for Andrea from Reece's Rainbow in the People Magazine contest to give $10,000 to a charity. After having a child with down syndrome, Andrea began Reece's Rainbow to help find children in orphanages with disabilities (namely, down syndrome) adoptive families before they are instiutionalized at the age of 4!

In just a few short years she has helped hundreds of children and families come together and has literally saved these children's lives!

I have shared my love of this organization on my blog before, but now this is a chance to really help these little ones. Please, please take a few moments to vote and maybe check out the Reece's Rainbow blog and/or website to learn more about them.

My brother-in-law, Daniel, will soon be 22 and he has down syndrome. He is one of the most joyful and alive people I have ever known. I can't imagine how different his life could have been if he had born to a different family, been raised in an orphanage and then institutionalized. What happens to these children is literally a crime.

Please pray for all of God's Holy Innocents.

I wasn't told!

Both my boys have been in bed and sound asleep for hours! I, in turn, having been sitting on the couch for hours BURPING! I feel like a 12 year old boy! Of all the things I expected to happen during pregnancy the one thing that never occurred to me was that I would have ongoing indigestion that would rear its ugly head at night when I crawl into bed.

My wonderful husband had to work all weekend after a busy week and worked until nearly 10pm each night (his mornings usually began at 5:30!). Monday morning he got up at 4:30 to drive with friends an hour away to pray for 2 hours in front of an abortion clinic as part of the 40 Days for Life. He came back, worked until 10pm, worked at home until 1am and then got up at 5:30 to go to a mens Bible study at our church before starting another day of work. When he fell asleep on the living room floor at 7:30 I sent him off to bed and decided to remain in the living room (so I would not wake him with the noises coming out of me!) where I would be somewhat sound proofed.

My 12 week ob appointment was this afternoon and hearing my little angel's heart beating again was indescribable! I must say that I LOVE my ob! She is a wonderful Catholic mom herself and just made me feel so at peace about having her as my doctor just by the way she speaks about life. I was really nervous when I realized I was pregnant in a new state and had no idea if I'd find a good doctor.

I've always wanted a home birth or to at least be able to deliver at a midwifery. All but one of my sibling were delivered by Mennonite midwives at a midwifery clinic. But, living in an apartment that adjoins the apartment of young, single women that my husband is supervisor to just didn't seem like the best place to give birth.

The midwife that I called was not Catholic and actually delivers at the local general hospital. The ob that I chose is the mom of one of our counselors, spent time in the convent, is 10 minutes from my house and delivers at the Catholic hospital 15 minutes away.

The hospital itself has just redone the spacious delivery rooms with skylights and jetted tubs and you stay in the same room for delivery and recovery. If you have to be at a hospital it might as well feel more like a nice hotel, right?

My dear husband has been at all my doctors appointments. As we were waiting in the lobby he was kicking himself that he hadn't brought a backpacking magazine with him. In response I handed him a copy of Pregnancy. He didn't want it, but I made him read it anyway. Well, he found an article for dads and read that ONE article before tossing the magazine aside. He laughed as soon as he began reading because the author began by questioning why ob office never have anything for fathers to read and listed the only reading options he'd seen. Paul actually dug through the basket filled with magazines to see how accurate the authors list was. He had pretty much hit the nail on the head, but in his search Paul actually discovered a lone copy of Popular Mechanics that he carried like a security blanket until we left the office.

I don't think being referred to as my partner instead of husband by a nurse made him feel any better either. We did ride our motorcycle (for the 1st time in ages!) to the appointment, so his masculinity seemed to be immediately restored as soon as he revved the engine. :)

So that is how our day began, continued and ended. I hope your days was equally interesting.
I think I'm going to watch some of the Dick van Dyke Show on Netflix and then hopefully fall asleep!

Thank you, Lord, for good doctors, amazing husbands, miraculous babies, Dick van Dyke (the greatest tv show ever made!!) and TUMS!

Meander Down Memory Lane

I've been reading Colleen from Martin Family Moments story of how she met her husband and it took me on my own trip down memory lane. Colleen and her husband met while studying abroad in Austria with Franciscan University of Steubenville. Both my husband and I studied there as well. I had a few pictures in a file on my desktop that I thought I'd put up for fun just to give you all a small taste of some of my favorite memories.


My first glimpse of where I'd be living for the next several months. I thought I had stepped through the wardrobe and into Narnia.


In the spring, once the snow melted, we took pictures in the field overlooking school. Little did I know at the time that the friend who hoisted e on his shoulder for this picture would become my brother-in-law in just a few years!


Wahoo!!! I love joyful, happy memories!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

You, Me and Baby make...4?!?!

Colleen, you're good at this game! :) 

Paul took his dream job working as a program director for a Catholic camp that offers year-around retreats and outdoor education. We packed up and moved North. I arrived at Camp, exhausted, on Friday night. Sunday morning (August 1st) we realized that I was pregnant! A lot of joyful tears were spilled that day. 

God is so good! In June God gave us Lil' Man and in July He gave us a miracle baby. The day we discovered that I was pregnant was also the day our new insurance began and Paul's job was starting the next day! God provides so well! I was thrilled that my mom was with us, helping us move, so we were able to tell her minutes after we found out. She was such a blessing because she stayed a little longer than planned to help me with Lil' Man since I was exhausted.

Exhaustion quickly moved into the realm of non-stop morning sickness and I rapidly lost eight pounds because I was unable to keep anything down. It has been an interesting experience going from being a brand new mom of a two year old to being pregnant and having two little ones demanding from me in very different ways. Its good practice, but it is a unique situation.

Being so sick made me feel at first like I just had a never ending case of food poisoning. We went in for an ultrasound when I was just over 6 weeks and the baby was so tiny. It didn't truly hit me until we heard the baby's heart pounding 156 beats per minute that this really wasn't food poisoning it was my own sweet baby making his or her presence known. That was when I REALLY began to cry!  



Our little jellybean is at 12 weeks now and I go back to see the doctor tomorrow. My morning sickness has eased up, but it is by no means gone yet. I have been so sick and busy that I haven't had a chance to blog or email or do hardly anything else, but I have been wanting to. Hopefully, as I feel better I will be able to do more.

I have a lot to share about our new town, the new job and our current adventures. Being so sick leaves me stuck in the house most of the time and anything that reconnects me with adults is such a blessing!

It is great to reconnect with my friends in the blogging world. I missed you all! :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My little Peach

Life has been wild this summer! So many changes, so much excitement and, as always, so little time!

Paul, Lil' Man and I enjoyed a wonderful couple of months at home in Tennessee. Our family gathered for our annual family reunion, we made trips to the river for kayaking and swimming, friends from all our came to visit and we celebrated my 30th birthday (ahem, I mean the first anniversary of my 29th!)!



The farm was so beautiful this summer. Paul made me the coolest tire swing known to man. I spent hours eating ice pops in my hammock while snuggling with Lil' Man. We rode our horses and chased the baby pigs when they made their escape. We rested.




My sisters were inspired to have a family gathering at our local u-pick orchard. Paul, Lil' Man and I came home with 20 lbs. of fresh, sweet peaches! I made peach ice cream and cobbler. I had planned canning peach butter, but I was short on both time and energy and ended up freezing bags of sliced peaches.





Two of my younger cousins spent about a month with us. Paul created a tent town and we all camped by the spring that runs through our woods. I read Nancy Drew to the girls by the campfire as we ate s'more made with reese's peanut butter cups. In the morning, all of the kids played in the misty stream. It was all very dreamy.









Paul and I took Lil' Man to the drive-in to see Toy Story 3. We rolled out a play mat so he could play with his little cars and Mr. Potato Head while the adults enjoyed the movie.



Time flew by and before we knew it, Paul and I were rushing around the house packing for our move to Wisconsin. I hate packing. I hate the process of moving. I survived!

We left Tennessee and drove through unbearable heat to Illinois. I was driving alone with the baby in a car that was packed well beyond capacity and very much without air conditioning! Paul was leading the way on the motorcycle and pulling a trailer with our kayaks and mountain bikes. People kept pointing as he drove by!

After we made it into Illinois, the sky burst open and poured rain. I was in the middle of changing a very stinky diaper in the grass on the side of a hill. Paul stood over the baby trying to keep him dry, but it didn't work very well. We were a sight!!!

That evening we made it to a dear friend's house. I told Paul I could go no further, for now, so he left the next day to get our house set up while my friend and I visited and our small people played.

By the time I made it to Wisconsin, Paul and my mom ( who had driven out from Ohio), had moved in all our furniture, had Lil' Man's crib and toys waiting and had made my life 10,000 times easier! We spent the next day unpacking dishes and exploring our new town. Paul was excited to begin his new job and we were thrilled to get to know our new community, but God had one last crazy surprise in store for us here in Wisconsin...!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lil' Man & The Name Game!

Paul and I have been debating over what to name our Goldwing since Easter and we had finally just gave up trying to call it anything other than "the bike". That was until Lil' Man came along!

I don't know if during his "past life" he knew someone with a Screaming Eagle or what, but he calls every motorcycle "Eagle". So, "the bike" is officially "the eagle" now. Just thought I'd share in case anyone was still wondering what name we had settled on!

Have a beautiful weekend. God bless America!

You, Me and the Baby Makes 3!

Well, dear friends, many have you have read my post over the past year about Paul and I struggling with being unable to get pregnant. We know that God will gives us a baby of our own in His time, but it has still been a very emotional and difficult road. It's always hard when you know that God has a perfect plan, but you really want a hint as to what that plan is, well, our Dear Lord has finally given us a hint!


For the next six months, Paul and I are blessed to have the opportunity to foster an angel whom we shall be refering to as Lil' Man!   Isn't he precious??? He's won't be two until autumn, but he is a big smart boy with


a lot to say.  We know that it will be hard to only have him directly in our lives for such a short time, but every minute with Lil'Man is a joy and a blessing. We know that God will bring us peace when we need it most! Paul and I are just so amazed by the miracle that this small child is.

We found out on the our wedding anniversary that he would be coming to live with us. It was such a gift to receive that news, because we were hoping I might be pregnant at the time and then discovered that I wasn't. In the end, God had given us an anniversary baby! He just came in a different (easier!) way!!!

Every day has been amazingly joyful, fun and exhausting! I love finding trails of Cheerios around the house and hearing my name called early in the morning. I love seeing him reach up out of his crib for either Paul or myself.

Every day I am discovering new ways that I am in awe of my husband and his natural paternal instincts. Ladies, I hate to brag, but I married a baby rockstar!!!! Lil' Man spends part of most days playing with a plastic screwdriver right next to Paul as he fixs all the many things on his Honey-do List. They are the cutest guys I've ever known!


I apologize for the gushing and the exclamation points, but this girl is walking on sunshine and it feels great! I am still walking the walk with my other sisters who haven't been able to get pregnant yet, but I feel more peace knowing that this is all part of God's plan.  I am hopeful God will give us another baby to love when he takes Lil' Man out of our life.  I am still  praying all the time for all the children who are alone and need love, for the parents who are struggling and for all of us who want a baby in our arms! As JPII said, "Be Not Afraid!" and I might add, because God answers all prayers!



I tried and tried, but could not flip this picture! I had to post it anyway.

God bless you, my friends! Thanks for letting me share my joy with you!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bucket List- ICE CREAM!!!!

Soooooo, we were visiting Paul's best friend in MI last week. Her mother was telling us that her Bucket List included trying all of Baskin Robbins flavors! How fun is that? She has finally decided to check that off her list.

Her goal is to spend time with her grandchildren trying the different flavors. If she took all 9 grandchildren on each trip and bought them each a cone of a flavor per day/week or some such thing, then her husband has decided that they would have to take out a mortgage on the house to buy that many cones. Sounds like a complex word problem for a homeschool student to muddle over, doesn't it? The next problem to solve would be to determine how much excercise would be required to burn off samples of all 31 flavors!

Last I heard, the plan was to share cones. Either way sounds tasty to me!

Hop on over HERE to drool over all the yummy classic flavors!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

18 wheels to 2 wheels- A Wild Ride!

Made you think that I'd stopped blogging since we aren't trucking, didn't I??? Well, sorry, but that is sooo not true! :) We have been civilians for all of 10 days, but that has not stopped us from Livin' La Vida Loca! I'll quickly share the bullets version of our last 10 days:

Saturday May 15th- First day home from trucking. 6am Paul and I got up to head to the Springfest conference in Shelbyville, TN. In attendance were the son of St. Gianna Molla, the Papal Nuncio and many others. Not in attendance was ME! I got up to go and I was so sick that I went straight back to bed. Blah! That is where I spent most of the day.

Sunday- Family and friends from far and wide came to celebrate the baptism of my nephew, Lil Dude. It was a beautiful, all-day extravaganza. We had a cook-out at my brother and sister-in-laws. Long, but wonderful day.

Monday- Worked on cleaning up the flood damage in the basement. All. Day. Long!

Tuesday- Still cleaning up the basement and getting new carpeting for the basement.

Wednesday- We got the travel itch already! We spent the day driving down to Atlanta to buy a trailer for our motorcycle. Beautiful day. Baaaad traffic! 

Thursday- Drove back home to Tennessee from Atlanta. Spent 3 hours at home and then left to drive the motorcycle up to Wisconsin. We made it as far as Nashville before getting caught in a downpour. We parked under an overpass and went to see a movie. Praise God, the rain had stopped by the time we came out. Unfortunately, we were so behind schedule that we had to ride until 3 am. Brrrr!

Friday- Spent the day riding in and out of the rain. Made it to Wisconsin Dells in the evening and had a very nice time at a camp up there. I had never really seen Wisconsin before and I enjoyed it.

Saturday- Toured the tourist area and drove out to Devil's Lake State Park which was very beautiful. We bought Slurpies, ice cream and pizza. Took a ferry across a lake. Found a beautiful stone church named St. Joseph's in Baraboo where we visited Jesus :-) We drove down to Indiana and went to Indiana Dunes State Park to camp for the evening. We made S'Mores before bed. It was a nice and relaxing day.

Sunday- Drove out to Michigan for the going away party of our best man who has joined the Marines. It was a lovely cookout and we really enjoyed catching up with our dear friends. We spent the night at my husband's best friend's house and had a Lost party to watch the finale- which we LOVED! Such great times.

Monday- Our Two Year Wedding Anniversary!!!!!! We went out to lunch with friends. Had a cook-out with more friends and then enjoyed some down time at a local park where we watched lots of baby geese and ducklings. Sooo cute! We had some fun news that I will probably share on here soon- keep us in your prayers.

Today- Spending the day being completely lazy!!!! Such bliss.

That, my friends, is the run down of our living a "normal non-trucking life." There will be much more adventure to come, but I wanted to take a quick moment to catch people up on our new life. God bless, friends!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Exciting and Emotional

Paul and I are pulling in to the trucking terminal right now to turn in our truck. We will no longer be trucking and it's a little bit emotional for me. We've lived in a truck ever since we got married- two years next week!

We are excited to start doing the marketing for the books and trading in our 18 wheels for a two wheeled motorcycle. But, being a woman, change is emotional for me. Pray that we follow God's leading, do His will and that God will bless our newest adventures.

I have to go clean the truck- PRAY FOR US, PLEASE!

What the flood dragged in

We usually experience one decent flood per year on our farm. Once the flood waters have disipated there is always something fun and fascinating to see. People are displaced from their homes and so are animals. While home I saw a pink salamander and a large rubbery-looking black salamander. While walking my dogs, I found this cute lil'guy. Surprisingly the dogs didn't eve notice it!

Awww, he's cute!

It looks like a long green noodle!

And then there was this fine fellow, who was walking smack down the middle of our driveway- an entire field (maybe 3 or 4 hundred feet) away from water!

Now that you've seen this guy you have to check out this Crawfish Boil Recipe and Pictures ! I don't think I could eat this guy- he's just too much fun. And sooo fiesty! Like a small yappy dog, he didn't realize he wasn't big. He was ready to pick a fight with anyone he could get close to!


Paul and I drove through Mississippi and Louisiana last week. I had never been in the Deep South before we began trucking, but I have really enjoyed traveling through that area. I always enjoy driving through the swamp on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.


 Here's some of what Wikipedia had to say about it, "The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is actually two parallel bridges in the US state of Louisiana between Baton Rouge and Lafayette , LA which carries Interstate 10 over the Atchafalaya Basin. With a total length of 96,095 feet (29,290 m) or 18.2 miles, it is the tenth longest bridge in the world by total length." and "The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest swamp in the United States. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. The Atchafalaya is unique among basins because it has a growing delta system with nearly stable wetlands."

Calling Baton Rouge

In honor of our going off the road, enjoy this youtube video of Garth Brook's Callin Baton Rouge. Its our favorite trucking song!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Splish-splash!!!

I have been scolded for not posting pictures of our farm during the huge flood a week and a half ago, so I figured I had better post them quickly before I get into too much trouble!


When it first began raining we were all enjoying the craziness of it. The water was coming down so heavily that I could ony see a feet away when looking out the windows of the house. The rest of the family wanted to go down to the spring on our property to play in the water, so I stayed with my new nephew, Lil' Dude, while his parents and the rest of the "younger set" went off to play!


Lil' Dude didn't mind the rain coming down outside!


They came home cold and muddy, so they "showered" under the downspout before going in the house and enjoying hot showers.


I know! Scary, right? :-)


That night I was alone at my house when I went to check the basement and discovered a river running through it! I was in such a panic that I didn't even have time to take pictures...can you imagine???  I baled out water with a 5 gallon bucket and managed to clean up the mess. At one point I was running up the basement steps to pour a bucket out on the lawn and I stepped off the concrete into about a foot of water. I hadn't expected it to be so deep! I lost my balance and went sliding through water and mud. I've had finer moments. Like a little kid needing their parent, all I wanted to do was cry for my husband to come save me. I survived on my own and did manage to handle the situation even better than I thought I could.Two of my couches will probably have to be tossed since they had been sitting in the "river," but Praise God, that seems to be the worst of it.


A friend tried to drive up my drive way and had a wall of water splash up over the windshield of her van and flooded the interior. She never did make it. I could have pulled out the kayak and paddled over to my brother's house (NO, I am not exaggerating!),but I was too scared of the basement flooding again to leave the house unattended.


Once the sun came out, the water started going down and there was no longer a moat around my house I wadded over to visit my sister-in-law. I borrowed her camera and took some picture of the fields and trails under more than 10 feet of water in some places! My driveway and the field below it were literally a lake.

 
The horses seemed happy to come down from higher ground so they could say hello! 

Many of our friends (Mary!) have gone horseback riding down this trail and enjoyed a bonfire in the clearing. The water in this clearing is about 12 feet deep!


Welcome to the lake at Andrews Spring Farm!
Lord, I know I prayed that the rains would fall soft upon my fields, but this seems a bit extreme!


The dogs had fun playing fetch in their very own lake in the very own yard.


Well, ladies and gentlemen, this concludes our tour of the lake, ehem, FARM. We hope you enjoyed the tour and learned a lot. Please be sure to stop and visit us next time you are in the area and want to do a little fishing!
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