Monday Morsels #25

Hi yall! Well, life has certainly changed since my last family update! Without wasting any time, here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

clare 2nd bday

My sweet firstborn turned two! Goodness gracious, how the time flies. We started the day with her two year check up which thankfully didn’t include any shots. Then we stopped to get a Birthday donut, went to the neighborhood pond to feed the “quack quacks”, and played at the park. We had one of her favorite meals for dinner plus cake of course. As much as I wanted to have a big celebration for her, I loved our simple day together and honestly, at 40 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t have handled much more!

family of 4

Then two days later…our precious daughter Catherine was born! Things happened pretty quickly and labor went as smoothly as possible. We are totally in love with this little lady! Life has been full of visits from family/friends, meals delivered, and adjusting to being a family of 4 (most adjusting from a certain toddler) and while we’re tired, life is beautiful. I actually hope to finally write a birth story for both girls soon, so stay posted for more info besides “hey! we had a baby!” if you’re into that sort of blog post.

baptism catherine

Then 9 days later, little Catherine was baptized and brought into the Church. It was sort of last minute since we weren’t totally sure when she’d arrive but worked out just perfectly and also happened to be the feast of Pentecost. So fitting! Our sweet little saint smelled of chrism and peacefully slept through the whole thing. Who could ask for more?

ordination

Then besides the everyday crazy life in new baby land, we’ve been right in the middle of busy event season and trying to attend what celebrations we can manage. First off was the ordination of our friend, now Father Joseph Keating. I have to get used to calling him that! We became friends during my college years and it’s been just beautiful seeing his vocation unfold. When we met, he was a vibrant youth minister, then entered the seminary, was sent to the NAC in Rome for his studies (we even got to visit him there while traveling!), had the honor to sing the Gospel at the Easter mass at St. Peter’s this past Easter, and now is officially a priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Congrats to you, Fr. Joe, and I can’t wait to see where God takes you next on your journey!

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One of the youth from our former parish invited us to her graduation party which was also a blast. I was her confirmation sponsor a few years ago and got to know her really well during our time there. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and know she’ll do great things at Benedictine College. The party was full of yummy BBQ, cake, and a fun photo area with props. We got to catch up with some old parish friends and Clare wore herself out with an inflatable ball. Good times all around!

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We also got together on my side of the family to celebrate the May birthdays in the family. Which is my mom, Clare, and now Catherine too! So it’s basically now a party for grandma and her granddaughters, which I know she loves. We had tons of delicious food as always, a variety of desserts, gifts, and great company. Clare had a cookie cake that grandma made especially for her, since she’s a total frosting and cookie girl. (which baffles her cake loving mother) Catherine got to meet most of the rest of her Texas family and it’s such a blast having more littles in the family now, running around and playing during our gatherings, plus plenty of arms wanting to hold the babies. It’s a beautiful thing!

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Our Beautiful News

Sorry that I’ve been pretty MIA around here lately. Besides the busy mom/wife life, having something going on practically every night lately, cookie decorating projects, and planning a blogger event in my free time, another thing has been taking up lots of my time.

….growing a baby.

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That’s right, we’re having a(nother) baby! Kiddo #2 is due in May 2016 and we are thrilled. Plus apparently we’re consistent and are fans of May babies. 😉

As I’ve mentioned before, we struggled with infertility for years so had no idea how easy or hard it’d be to get pregnant again. Well it looks like that laparoscopic surgery worked wonders in our case, because this time around, we did nothing to make it happen. Like, no drugs or anything. Truly miraculous!

We got the positive pregnancy test on Labor Day. I waited a little longer than I usually would to take the test just because I halfway thought my body was doing some final adjusting after I completely stopped nursing. Little did I know, my body was adjusting to something else!

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It was a blast telling our family. We got a “Big Sister” shirt for Clare and used that to break the news as we got together with both sides of the family last weekend. It’s so wonderful having a loving and supportive family who are beyond excited about our growing family.

Unfortunately this time around, I’ve had some morning sickness. Blah. Not to the point of throwing up (thankfully!) but just that lingering nausea and overall ickiness that has been lasting till about noon. No fun, but I’m hanging in there. And any morning sickness tips are very welcome in the comments.

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We had our first appointment last Friday down in Austin since they’re currently monitoring my progesterone levels. I do have to take a supplement for now but thankfully my levels aren’t quite as low as last time around. Now I’m working on finding a new birth center since we’ve moved. Luckily, there are several in our area to choose from, so we just have to find the right fit.

Please pray for us and that baby and I are healthy during this pregnancy. Know that yall will be in my prayers as well, especially those who are struggling with infertility. It still feels bizarre that I’m at this point after the many years of wondering if we’d ever get here! But as my buddy St. Padre Pio always said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

Monday Morsels #12

Happy Easter Monday! He is risen! I hope that all of you had a wonderful Holy Week and beautiful Easter Sunday. Sorry I was MIA for a little bit – Clare and I both caught a nasty cold last week and then with the busyness of the holiday, I decided to put the blog on hold till things got back to normal. Luckily we’re at that point now! So here’s what we’ve been up to lately…

fish fry muenster

We were invited to a fish fry over at St. Peter’s in Muenster which served as a World Youth Day fundraiser for their parishioners who are going next summer. The people were so friendly, the food was delicious (I’m a sucker for fried catfish and hushpuppies!), they had an awesome silent auction, and served over 500 people total! Their parish actually has the most people going to WYD in our whole diocese and they’re doing such a great job preparing for the pilgrimage. Also while there, Clare tried her first lemon – it was pretty hilarious!

baby shower

My cousin in law is having a baby girl soon and had a lovely baby shower. With family, friends, fajitas, and frozen margaritas, needless to say it was a great time! I can’t wait for Clare to have another little one to play with in the family. I also made some decorated sugar cookies for the party favors in the shower colors of pink and grey with a monogram “H” for baby Harper. Clare partied hard and had a lollipop to keep her entertained while gifts were opened. It made for a happy, sweet, and sticky baby!

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I love Holy Week so was pretty bummed that I had to miss mass on Holy Thursday due to that darn cold we had but offered it up. Luckily we were well enough on Friday to go to church that evening for the veneration of the cross and holy communion. (the cross at our parish even had a relic of the true cross within it!) Clare was quite the trooper even though things went way past her bedtime. Also Jason was off work so it was really nice to have him home and incorporate some special prayer time throughout the day as a family.

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Since we aren’t quite at the point where attending the Easter Vigil is doable, we decided to wake up early and attend the 7 AM Easter mass to beat the crowds later in the morning. Despite the sleepiness, it was well worth it even though that mass was still pretty packed! I loved dressing Clare in her pretty Easter dress and celebrating this joyful day with her for the first time. Easter hymns are some of my favorites and of course I jammed out to Matt Maher’s “Christ is Risen” which is my annual Easter anthem. Then we went home and since we gave up sweets/desserts for Lent, I’d made some homemade cinnamon rolls to get the holy day started! Along with that, I also made some lemon bars and Jason stocked up on some candies, ice cream, and even bought some special raspberry gelato for me. He’s a keeper!

easter 2015

Then we headed over to my Aunt’s house to celebrate Easter and some March/April family Birthdays too. We enjoyed a delicious meal of ham, potatoes, roasted carrots, salad, green bean casserole, rolls, and had a variety of desserts to finish the feast. Clare sported some pink bunny ears and got some fun Easter basket treats. Plus our new family tradition of playing Bingo has continued and made for some hilarious and entertaining moments.

So now we continue to celebrate the octave of Easter and get ready for Divine Mercy Sunday! And on to some fun linkage for your enjoyment. 🙂

A sweet poem by my friend Lauren that makes me want to stop and sweep my porch.

Some tips for drying herbs in the microwave. If you’re into that sort of thing.

What a beautiful thing. Way to go Sweden – I wish we had paternity leave options like you do!

Another lovely photo series featuring moms with their one day old babies.

Hahaha, this really makes me want to order an “Ariana Grande” and see what happens!

I saw this article floating around and loved it. Penguins are my favorite, but then add a sweet old man and tiny sweaters and I’m a goner.

It’s Not Going Anywhere

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I’d always heard that motherhood tends to bring your selfishness, imperfections, and struggles to the surface. Oh how I understand that now. There have been countless times in the last 9 months that I’ve had to side bar even my tiniest of desires. I didn’t realize how accustomed I was to doing things pretty much whenever I wanted before becoming a mom. It’s not easy, learning to be selfless and offering up your wants for the good of another. Especially when that other doesn’t understand that mama just needs a minute. Continue reading

Busting Your Baby’s Cold

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Clare recently had her first cold and to be honest, I had no idea where to start with treating a baby! After seeking advice from moms and Google, I got the hang of it, found out what was safe, and busted that cold in no time. So in case any fellow new moms need the same help I did, here’s a list of the products and tips I used to get my baby girl back to good health.

Feel free to leave any other helpful tips or products in the comments! I know this won’t be the last time we face the common cold so any other advice would be appreciated!

Continue reading

White Eyes

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Everything about a baby is so beautiful – from their tiny fingers and toes to smiles and nose. But one thing I’ve been so enamored with lately is my sweet baby’s eyes. Sure they’re big and brown and have so much expression, but something that Jason pointed out has really stuck with me. The whites of Clare’s eyes are just so…white! They don’t yet have the veins or spots that us old folks have gained over the years.

I’ve reflected on this fact for a while and thought about just how pure her little eyes truly are. They haven’t witnessed the true hurt, pain, and sin that’s in the world. They haven’t been strained from staring at a screen for too long or studying all night. The most scandalous thing she’s seen is her parents smooching. Oh how I wish it could stay that way.

But little girl, I know that you’re going to see plenty soon enough. And I know that I can’t shelter you from all that’s bad in the world. You’re going to see tears and heartache. You’re going to see men and women disrespecting the dignity of others and not living out theirs in full. You’re going to see war and violence on the news. You’re even going to see your own parents fall short in our vocation as husband and wife and as your parents.

Know that I promise to lead you in the right direction – to teach you what is good, right, and holy. I will do my best but ultimately it is the Lord who will be the lamp to your feet and the light to your path. I pray that you follow Him. When you witness those atrocities that are allowed in the world – follow Him. When you’re tempted to view things that are unholy – follow Him. When you have tears in your eyes someday – follow Him.

Keep those beautiful eyes on Him, baby girl. He makes all things new and won’t lead you astray. This I can assure you.

Help bring the girls home!

Friends, I wanted to ask for your help on behalf of two friends who are adopting. Besides being an exciting and emotional time, it can be a crazy expensive process so they have reached out to family, friends, and complete strangers for financial help. If you feel called, please donate $1 or $100 – whatever you can afford. Lets help these beautiful parents bring their baby girls home!

lauren ann

Lauren and her husband have struggled with infertility for years, which is how I connected with her. They felt called to adopt and have now been selected to be the parents of a baby girl at the end of October. One fun thing is that they had a special puzzle made and will write donors names on the back of each piece in memory of all who helped bring their baby home. (Also, this week, donors will be in the running for a Mary Kay prize!) Check out their blog and donation info here!

hahn family

Sarah and her husband have four beautiful kids and recently entered the pool to be selected as adoptive parents. Thinking it’d take a while, they were happily surprised to be picked for a baby girl born in September! She was born a little early on the 8th – luckily they were able to be present for her birth and have named her Francesca Chiara. Check out their donation/info page here – there are only a few days left to donate!

Adoption is such a beautiful life giving blessing and we should truly help and support those who are able to give these children a loving home. I’d hope that people would do the same for me and Jason if (God willing) we also get to adopt someday. Thanks for anything you can offer either financially or in prayer!

PS: Sorry for missing yesterday’s Monday morsels – I’m off to such a great track record. I’ve been in deep with a big project (more on that tomorrow) so promise I’ll pick it up again next week!