'Muff'in Dome

Folding Napkins

Evelyn loves ‘helping’ me fold the laundry. She’s been at it since before she could walk.

Just recently, she’s actually been able to help me. :) She’s responsible for folding the cloth napkins. She takes her job very seriously and works hard to fold each one just right. {Often, this also means keeping little sis from making a mess of her pile.} I am grateful for her help!

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Gathering My Thoughts : Summer Rhythm {And Answer Me This!}

Putting some thoughts to “paper” as we embark on a new week. {Inspired by Elizabeth Foss….}

Outside my window: Heat. We’ve had some scorchers past one hundred degrees the past few days, our first heat wave of the summer. We’ve been a little spoiled so far so I’m worried we’re in for it come July.

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Listening To: French Cafe radio on Pandora. I love the rhythm of the sweet love songs. I keep thinking of brushing up on French. This is helping to inspire me.

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Clothing Myself In: Tank tops and shorts. This is my ‘mom uniform’ of the summer. Sometimes I exchange the shorts for a skirt, but easy to don and easy to move in are essentials for me of my summer wardrobe chasing two toddlers around.

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Talking With My Children About These Books: We’re a little stale with books this week as we missed our trip to the library. Same as last week. Although I’m looking forward to picking up Train Song, recommended by a friend last week that just came in at the library. Just need to get out there and pick it up!

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In My Own Reading: I finished Marie Kondo’s, The Magic Art of Tidying Up, this week. Still thinking over her method and how I will incorporate any of it in my own household. I like her notion of throwing out things that do not inspire joy. It reminds me a lot of William Morris’ : “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” which I really appreciate and try to live. I certainly have some work to do in my home regarding purging but I just don’t think I will end up with things as sparse as she suggests. I’m also not into the animistic view she has regarding objects–thanking them for their assistance to you or greeting them. I am appreciative of the gifts God has given me but they come from Him, they are not living beings to be interacted with.
It was my ‘book that was originally written in a different language’ for Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge, as it was originally done in Japanese. Not sure which topic I will pick up next but I’m enjoying working through this list. It’s getting me outside of my comfort zone a bit in my reading topics.

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Thinking and Thinking: Of Friday’s decision by the Supreme Court on the issue of ‘same-sex marriage’. Here are a few thoughts that I had which I posted on a Facebook group today:

Yes, it is certainly a moral issue, but what occurred yesterday is more disturbing because of its political ramifications. The justices of the Supreme Court whose very job it is is to uphold the Constitution decided to blatantly dismiss it and acquiesce to the demands of the LGBT community on the basis that it was something they “wanted”. The States have voted AGAINST this time and again, and our justices decided to override the voice of the people. This is not how our government was established. I think it certainly paves the way for further abuses of power. I pray this can get sorted out. 

And I am most certainly praying for the CHANGE OF HEART amongst those in our country who are indifferent to this issue because this is very damaging too. I believe the majority of Americans are against it, but too much into this false understanding of “tolerance” to stand up for what they really believe in and are allowing themselves and true ‘rights’ to be trampled upon. If those who were against same-sex ‘marriage’ were as convicted those who are, I think this would die. {Justice Kennedy is an excellent example of this — read his Decision if you haven’t yet.}

Praying for our country and our children.

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Pondering: There is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage. After the Holy Eucharist, it has a power beyond anything that we can imagine. ~ Cardinal Raymond Burke

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: I’ve been working hard to get our yard cleaned up and our garden growing, so we head out most mornings immediately after breakfast to take care of things before it heats up too much. Chores are done and errands run in the morning too. Usually that is followed by Lucie’s nap, Evey’s nap, lunch, and hanging out inside in the afternoon reading, watching a show or two or crafting. It’s a good rhythm for warm summer days.

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Creating By Hand: Bouquets of flowers. I love fresh flowers scattered throughout the house so Evey has been helping me pick out bouquets {until our cut garden blooms!} at the grocery or farmers’ market that we bring home and throw together in vases. My mom puts together the bouquets at her parish and I’ve learned a few things from her about arranging so I’m trying to put that knowledge to good use adorning my house with beautiful arrangements.

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Learning Lessons In: Stepping back from overanalyzing and more doing, talking….

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Encouraging Learning In: ABCs — Evelyn is jumping into learning her alphabet organically. We picked up Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at the library recently. I hear her attempting to ‘read’ it herself. She tries to memorize most of the books we read repeatedly. This is working well with an ABC book as it is helping her memorize them without much effort. She also likes to do a Winnie the Pooh ABC tracing game on Daddy’s iPad so is also learning how to make them. I’m thinking of doing some more direct learning of how to write them with her. Perhaps while Lucie is napping.

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Crafting in the Kitchen: I hadn’t been baking much lately but this week Evey and I made banana bread muffins {we added shredded coconut and pecans} which were just the perfect breakfast addition for a couple mornings and an enormous pink birthday cake for Lucie’s birthday. Ever since the calendar flipped to June and Evey spied Lucie’s birthday on the calendar, she’s been talking about making a ‘pink cake’ for Lucie’s birthday. It just so happens that Lucie is in love with strawberries so I sought out a cake that would meet both criteria. This one from Smitten Kitchen fit the bill but it was the most decadent cake I’ve had in a long time. It was like a strawberry pound cake, adorned with the sweetest cream cheese frosting. We enjoyed every bite {and we still are!}. Hopefully, more baking this coming week….

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To Be Fit and Happy: I fell off the Barre3 bandwagon when I caught a cold earlier this month, but I’m going to try to take up some more physical activity this week. I have been working hard to clear the garden of weeds so there has certainly been some physical activity this week that has left me nice and sore. Evey keeps reminding me I need to exercise so that will help get me back on track. 😉

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Loving the Moments: My girls have been very affectionate this week. I’m loving the moments were we just sit together and enjoy each other’s company. Lucie throws out kisses every time she hears a loved one mentioned, or even spontaneously. It is just the sweetest thing. Evey, who tends to be always on the go, is actually pausing to sit with me and just be. Loving this too.

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Living the Liturgy: We had grand plans to do some sort of bonfire for the feast of St. John the Baptist this week but it didn’t happen. {Mostly due to the fact it was scorching hot outside already and we didn’t want to contribute to the heat.} We celebrated St. Josemaria’s feast with dinner out and a date night for my husband and I. He’s a great friend of ours and a big influence on our relationship. {We even had the opportunity to visit his resting place in Rome and attend Mass there on our honeymoon.}

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Planning for the Week Ahead: Fourth of July is on the horizon. Evey is into the red, white and blue and American flag so she’ll be helping me do some decorating this week. {Stars and stripes forever!} 😉 Also looking forward to seeing Steve’s family’s newly renovated cabin and helping them get moved in this week!

 

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Answer Me This! with Catholic All Year

This week’s installment of questions:

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1. How long have you lived in your current home? We’ve owned our home for a little over two years now. I’m still working to make the house ‘our home’ as we’ve been distracted with several things over the past couple years, but finally making some headway painting and creating the yard we want.

2. How do you find out about news and current events? My husband. :) He is much more up-to-date on what is happening the world than I am most of the time. I find out many things through Facebook, but if I want to know the world beyond what is reported there, he’s my ‘go-to’ source.

3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar? Nope. I’m rarely with cash these days. And I try to get coins out as quick as I can otherwise I have a hard time closing my wallet.

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Muscles…or mussels. Get it? haha. Part of a paella dish, one of the best foods I’ve eaten–also on our honeymoon.

4. What’s the craziest food you’ve ever eaten? Frog legs? We had them in Spain on our honeymoon as my husband is more adventurous than me when it comes to food {although I tend to be pretty open to trying new things} and he ordered them. Not a fan.

5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.) I had my adenoids removed when I was about 12. My wisdom teeth were removed along with four other adult teeth {canines} as I have the tiniest mouth on the planet and it just couldn’t accommodate eight entire adult teeth.

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6. What’s your favorite sport to watch on TV? Soccer or American football. Although I would still rather watch these in person. I like being able to cheer LIVE.

Defending Marriage, Defending Family {The Quoteable St. Josemaria Escriva}

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In the national life there are two things which are really essential: the laws concerning marriage and the laws to do with education. In these areas God’s sons have to stand firm and fight with toughness and fairness, for the sake of all mankind. ~St. Josemaria Escriva (The Forge, 104)

The ruling of the United States Supreme Court today saddens me greatly. As Bl. Fulton Sheen said, “Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” The foundation of the family is undermined in our country by this ruling, but it does not change the TRUTH about marriage: it is a union between a man and a woman. Saying otherwise does not make it so.

The growth of healthy and happy families is reliant upon its foundation: the union of a man and a woman in marriage. Families are better capable of flourishing when the couple which comprises its foundation are growing in love together. The union becomes fruitful and multiplies. {And I don’t just mean in the physical sense.}

Defending the family means defending the truth about marriage.

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Today is the feast of St. Josemaria Escriva. It is also the 40th anniversary of his death. Fittingly, the prelature of Opus Dei {of which he is the founder} is celebrating #JuneForFamilies this month. They are offering prayers and reflections on the growth of a family, the love of a husband and wife, and the relationships that grow within amongst children and siblings.

St. Josemaria had a special influence on the establishment of our family {which you can read about in our love story} and continues to be a guiding light in our daily lives. If you have not had a chance yet to read any of his works, I highly recommend doing so. The Way, The Furrow, The Forge {or all three in a single edition} offer short reflections, most of a sentence or two, that give great insight into living as a Christian in one’s every day life. He makes sainthood attainable for the layman.

A few of my favorites reflections relating to family:

A person in love doesn’t miss the tiniest detail. I have seen it in so many souls. Those little things become something very great: Love! (The Forge, 443)

Some people bring children into the world for their own benefit, to serve their own purposes, out of selfishness. They forget children are a wonderful gift from God for which they will have to render a very special account.
Do not be offended if I say that having offspring just to continue the species is something that….animals can do too. (The Furrow, 845)

No Christian married couple can want to block the well-springs of life. For their love is based on the Love of Christ, which entails dedication and sacrifice. Moreover, Tobias reminded Sara, a husband and wife know that “we are children of saints, and we cannot come together in the way of the Gentiles, who do not know God.” (The Furrow, 846)

Your task as a Christian citizen is to help see Christ’s love and freedom preside over all aspects of modern life: culture and economy, work and rest, family life and social relations. (The Furrow, 302)

“You won’t laugh, Father, will you, if I tell you that, a few days ago, I found myself spontaneously offering the Lord the sacrifice of time it meant for me to mend a broken toy for one of my little children?”
I am not laughing. I am delighted because with that Love, God sets about mending our faults. (The Furrow, 986)

“It’s very difficult”, you exclaim, disheartened.
Listen, if you make an effort, with the grace of God that is enough. Put your own interests to one side, you will serve others for God, and you will come to the aid of the Church in the field where the battles are being fought today: in the street, in the factory, in the workshop, in the university, in the office, in your own surroundings, amongst your family and friends. (The Furrow, 14)

“If any man comes to me without hating his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life too, he can be no disciple of mine.”
Every day I see more clearly, Lord, that family ties, if they do not pass through your most lovable Heart, are, for some, a permanent source of the cross; for others they are a cause of more or less direct temptation against perseverance; for others again, the reason why they are totally ineffective; and, for all, a dead weight which impedes their total surrender. (The Furrow, 214)

You have to learn to disagree charitably with others–whenever the need arises–without becoming unpleasant. (The Furrow, 429)

“Who said that to reach sanctity you need to seek refuge in a cell or on a solitary mountain?” That was what a good family man asked himself in amazement, and he added: “If that were so, it would not be the people who would be holy, but the cell, or the mountain. It seems they have forgotten that Our Lord expressly told each and every one of us: be holy as my heavenly Father is holy.”
My only comment was: “Our Lord, besides wanting us to be saints, grants each one of us the relevant graces.” (The Furrow, 314)

I am moved that the Apostle should call Christian marriage sacramentum magnum–a great sacrament. From this, too, I deduce the enormous importance of the task of parents.
You share in the creative power of God: that is why human love is holy, good and noble. It is a gladness of heart which God–in his loving providence–wants others freely to give up.
Each child that God grants you is a wonderful blessing from him: don’t be afraid of children! 
(The Forge, 691)

Remind others (and especially all those fathers and mothers, who call themselves Christians) that a vocation, a call from God, is a grace from the Lord, a choice made by divine goodness, a motive for holy pride, a call to serve all joyously for the love of Jesus Christ. (The Forge, 17)

A Year Full of Light and Life

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Sweet girl. Today you hit your first year milestone. I can’t believe you’ve been with us that long already. It feels like forever and it feels like yesterday you arrived. We are every bit blessed to have you in our lives.

You are a firecracker. Every bit, you fit your name. Those eyes. That smile. Your exuberance for life.

Your sister adores you and has from the moment she met you. Sure, you have your moments where you get on each other’s nerves, but those moments are few and far between. You roll around on the floor together giggling. You squeal in delight at each other, upping the ante each time. You’ve recently started this game where if you have something Evey wants, you run the other way with it, your eyes flashing with mischievousness. But you always give kisses and hugs to each other before bedtime. I hope you will always take care of each other and love each other fiercely.

Your outgoing-ness pushes me outside of my comfort zone, but I don’t mind too much. With you, it is easy to meet and make friends. When we visited New York earlier this year, you wanted to befriend every person that walked by. You wave, you flash that beautiful grin, and bewitch every passerby. You just want a smile in return.

You began walking a few months ago. Now, I have to run to keep up with you. Although your balance is still a work in progress…sometimes you get going too fast down the hall and crash into the wall, at the park you are overeager to walk on uneven surfaces and eat dirt too often. You can’t keep up with your growing height — under the table is now a dangerous place to play as the edge smacks you right in the head when you stand up. But it is so fun to watch you explore the world around you as you gain your newfound skill. The backyard is your favorite place to adventure.

Your first word was ‘boat’. I pointed them out in the marina while we were down in southern California and you took great delight in the little ones floating the harbor. You also love ‘doors’ — this is anything that goes to the outside, windows included. You point excitedly and shout ‘door’ every time you see one. You were easily taught ‘uh oh’ and now drop things from your high chair just so you can practice. You become very agitated if someone doesn’t pick the object back up after you’ve announced as clearly it doesn’t belong down there. It just needed to be dropped for a minute.

The past few weeks you’ve taken to a small stuffed bunny, which we call ‘bun-bun’. She’s your lovey and you like to carry her around with you. You understand when she has to sit on the couch while you eat your meals at the table. I place her on the arm and you go grab her when you are finished with your meal. The bunny was a gift to Evey when she was sick from Nancy on the train, but she doesn’t seem to mind passing it along to you.

You have incredible rhythm and bop to every beat you hear, be it the dishwasher running or a car driving by with a bass stereo blaring. You feel it in your bones. Your favorite toys tend to be the music makers — the maracas, the xylophone, the egg shaker. I’m eager to see what instruments you pick up as you get older.

You are a daddy’s girl through and through. Always have been. You’ve been happy in his arms from day one. He’s often better able to help you get back to sleep on those restless nights than I am. His arms are your favorite resting place. He loves to play with you and make you laugh those great belly giggles, flashing your toothy grin. {Already at an even dozen!} You are his favorite fan as he walks in the door in the evening. You run as fast as your little legs will carry you straight into his arms, squealing with delight all the while.

The expressions of your face say you have a lot you’re thinking about, a lot you want to express. I can’t wait until I know better what goes on in that active brain of yours. I have a feeling there will be a lot of creativity, tantrums, and inquisitiveness in the future.

It will be bright. Just as you are, my little Lucie {light}.

 

Love, Mama

Congratulations, Dr. Eric Muff!

It has been a spring of celebrations!

As I mentioned in my last post, Steve and I had a little “get-away” this past Sunday to San Francisco for my brother-in-law, Eric’s, dental school graduation. I had a great time sitting at the “adult table” with my hands free for brunch, and not having to worry about any cries of protest or breakdowns during the ceremony from little ones. It was a nice treat! 😉

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We feasted on a fantastic spread at the Top of the Mark at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill before the ceremony. I had to walk around a few times and admire the delicious food before I could make a decision about what to put on my plate. There was everything from basic bacon and eggs to fresh seafood and caviar to blackstone eggs benedict to fresh slices of beef wellington to made-on-the-spot omelettes to every type of salad you could imagine. And that doesn’t even include the dessert options!
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It was one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever partaken of.

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Oh, and did I mention, bottomless glasses of champagne?!

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A toast!

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Our three tables.

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The man of the hour and his dad.

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These are all the dentists in attendance. Dentistry runs deep in this family. :)

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And an incredible view from the 19th floor!

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The graduation ceremony took place at the Masonic Center about a block away.

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Because his father is also in the dental profession, Eric received his hood from him.

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Eric and his wife, Lindy. {A big congratulations to her too for supporting him through it!}

Gathering My Thoughts: The Beginnings of Summer & Answer Me This

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Outside my window: The heat of the summer and thoughts of making it outside to take a swim with the girls and Steve sometime this evening.

Listening To: The loud hum of the air conditioner. {Thank God for air conditioners!} Need to have it looked at before summer is in full swing. Although it may be too late…. Also, my daughters chatting and playing together. They adore each other and it makes my heart sing.

Clothing Myself In: Pjs still. There is a trend on Mondays that I just can’t break. We had a long weekend so my husband proclaimed it ‘pajama day’ so I’m only following orders, anyway. 😉

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Talking With My Children About These Books: Evey is on a birthday literature kick. {Well, it’s not limited too literature. She wants to bake someone a ‘birthday cake’ every day and celebrate someone’s birthday. Little party animal, that one. ;)} We picked up Bears and a Birthday and Happy Birthday, Bunny! at the library on one of our recent trips and we read them daily and discuss making Lucie’s birthday cake next week. Apparently, it is going to be the flavor of ‘pink’ — no exceptions. We’re also still making our way through books about trains. She really loves one called Locomotive. It is a beautiful non-fiction, Caldecott award book that is appropriate through late elementary school ages. Telling the story of a trip on the early railroad from the Midwest to California, she loves pointing out on the map at the front the spot that is Sacramento, where Daddy takes the choo-choo to work. We’re already working on our map skills at two-and-a-half!

In My Own Reading: These past two weeks have found me with my nose stuck in quite a few books. I finished Still Life, The Homegrown Preschooler, and A God in Ruins. I’m about to start The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve been waiting on it from the library for over four months. It’s a popular one and I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s all it’s hyped up to be. {And hoping that it has a profound impact on my house making too. ;)}

Thinking and Thinking: Trying to determine where God wants us to be as a family. Now that Steve has finished his Masters program, he’s trying to figure out where to go on with his career. But that also means the possibility of us moving to another location. It’s difficult discernment. Say a prayer for us, will you?

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Pondering: “A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.” – Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 

Keeping light-heartedness alive in my life….

Carefully Cultivating Rhythm: Last week was hard with the girls and I sick with colds. We’re still recovering this week but I’m hoping to get back a bit to our daily schedule. Although, there are a lot of activities outside the house happening this week so we’ll see how successful we are in this.

Creating By Hand: Mostly dreaming, but really determined to get out my machine, at least by the weekend, and get some baby blankets and knit jersey dresses stitched.

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Learning Lessons In: Patience. I’m running a little thin with it lately. Learning to take time for self-care makes this a much easier task.

Encouraging Learning In: Summer enjoyment. :) I want the girls to remember summers as times of {mostly} family fun and relaxation. Of course, we have chores and such that never go away, but it is important to slow down and savor this season a bit.

Crafting in the Kitchen: I want to bake…but I don’t want to turn the blasted, hot oven on. Oh, the conundrum. I have a trio of well-ripened bananas on my counter begging to be made into banana bread. Perhaps an early morning baking session is in the near future.

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To Be Fit and Happy: I signed up for the Barre3 classes online and even started one of the programs to help keep me on track. But: sickness. It seems like every time I start to make progress in getting active again, sickness rears its ugly head and sets me back again. I have been getting out the garden and putting in a good workout with the removal of that ugly Bermuda grass, so at least there’s that.

Loving the Moments: Very proud of my brother-in-law who graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry at UOP. Steve and I were able to have a little “vacation” while my parents watched the girls and we attended all the festivity over the weekend. I’ll have to share a post of the revelry sometime this week. Without babes in arms, I was able to take quite a few photos. {You’ve been warned! ;)}

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Living the Liturgy: We thought about and had the intention of doing the Enthronement to the Sacred Heart together as a family on the feast day. But it came and went. {I did write up a nice, little post about devotion to the Sacred Heart, if you care to take a look.} We’re not going to give up, though. Hopefully, sometime this week it will happen.

Planning for the Week Ahead: Much on the calendar this week. I’m going to attempt to keep quiet moments for us as a family even as we forge ahead through the week’s activities. It’s essential to our well-being, collectively and individually.

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Also, joining up with Kendra for her summertime series — Answer Me This — where you get to know us bloggers a little better through a series of fun, random questions that she posts each week for us to answer. This week’s:

1. Any big plan’s for the summer? We’ve taken our two big trips of the year {New York and Los Angeles} so we’ll be hanging close to home for the summer. We’re hoping for a weekend camping trip to the coast, a day trip to San Francisco, and some time at the family cabin in Serene Lakes.

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? I really can’t think of anything for this. Perhaps I am too much of a realist?

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride) I’m not a big fan of amusement park rides but I did enjoy the Medusa at Six Flags quite a bit in high school. Not sure how I would fare on it as an adult. {I seem to get motion sickness on swings now. No bueno.} I do enjoy the Ferris Wheel and Carousel, so we’ll go with those. 😉

4. What’s on your summer reading list? I’ve always got a stack of books a mile high so I’ll try to narrow it down to priorities. 😉 The one I mentioned above — The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — is next on the list. Then, Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation by Alexandra Horowitz and, hopefully, some writing and copywriting books to help me step up my game.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public? On a park bench in Swansea, Wales. That was glorious. Also on public transit a few times, but I don’t know if that counts. I think most people do at some point if they ride it.

6. What is your favorite smell? Lavender and red, ripe strawberries.

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7 Reasons to Inspire Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus ~ {SQT}

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Throughout most of my life, I’ve had a strong devotion to and love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There are many reasons why, but I’ve picked seven today to help inspire you to the same.

1. It is a human heart which understands our own. {and vice versa}

Christ is fully man so His is a divine love capable of being expressed in a human way. Learn from Him. He also understands in a very human way what we are going through.

2. It is the “fount of mercy”.

No matter how many mistakes we make, how many times we fall, this Heart of our Lord wants to forgive us and have us return to Him. His mercy is never-ending and all-encompassing.

3. It inspires Heart-to-heart conversations with Our Lord.

How much easier it is to speak with God when we discover a heart like our own! The humanity of Christ makes those heart-to-hearts that we would have with a close friend so much more easy.

4. It is a place to rest your weary heart.

Rest in His Sacred Heart when you feel overwhelmed, beaten down, sorrowful. He understands as He has been there Himself and will help you find a way to overcome.

5. It is ardent and constant Love for YOU.

The Love of our Lord is so IMMENSE! And He loves you as if you were the only person on this earth. He will always be there for you.

6. It is what unites all Christians — the Heart of the Body of Christ.

To be an authentic witness and member of the Body of Christ, it is important to connect with the Heart of the Body for He is our Lifeline.

7. It is the author of all that is beautiful and good in this world.

To see beauty, to create beauty, to appreciate what is good, to choose what is good–this is the place to learn.

 

Linking up with Blessed is She on the topic of ‘Heart’ this week and with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes. 

Here’s to Summer!

Summer hit with a vengeance the past few days.

Temperatures soaring near 100. The impossible dream of cooling off the house at night with the windows open. The roar of heat that blasts you as you open the car door to get inside. The need to drink gallons of water to replace all the water you’re losing from sweating.

But we’ve had an odd phenomenon the past week or so too. Humidity. Thunderstorms. Rain. How grateful we are. Every drop counts.

California is in it’s fourth consecutive year of severe drought. The ponds are non-existent, the lakes have turned into ponds, in some spots the rivers are just a trickle. It is a little hairy-scary.

We were planning on a large-scale garden this year, but as I watched the scant rain fall from the sky over the past few months, I began paring down my ambitious plans. It takes a lot to feed those thirsty veggies, especially when the earth is already parched.

splash-pad-splashing

We had a grand time visiting the few splash pads last year that were not shut off due to the drought. Thank the Lord they keep the recirculating ones running because life would be rather unbearable if we couldn’t get some break from the scorching temps. No sprinklers on the lawn as we’re not even supposed to water it, but just let it go brown. {Not too hard for ours considering the pine needles on top do a superb job of blocking half the sunlight.} We’ll be getting crafty with water play. Perhaps getting a soak down when the few plants we have need to be watered. Or taking out the kiddie pool for a splish-splash afternoon.

kiddie-pool-fun

My in-laws, who are close by, also have a wonderful pool the girls and I can sneak away to during the day or grab daddy to tag along in the evenings.

splashing-daddy

This summer will probably look like:

early morning trike riding

trike riding

sidewalk chalk painting

chalk painting alphabet

stick wielding

stick wielding

watermelon munching

watermelon-munching

bubble popping

bubble-popping

bonfire watching

bonfire

river sitting

river-sitting

beach digging

beach-digging

sunset gazing

sunset-at-the-station

fountain watching

fountains-in-roseville

whipped cream smashing

whipped-cream-smash

library visiting

horse-at-the-library

pie making

peach-pie-heart

afternoon napping

afternoon-nap

smoothie drinking

smoothie-drinking

ice cream eating

ice-cream-yum!

and let’s not forget: gin-and-tonic sipping {for mommy and daddy, of course!}

gin-and-tonic-season

Moments {Vol. 9}

chasing-bubbles

We found a bubble wand at Target this week that makes a phenomenal amount of bubbles in one go.
chasing-bubbles

The girls were having a blast chasing them while Daddy was cooking dinner at the BBQ.

tiny-dancer

We’re back at ballet after a couple months hiatus. She’s still in love.
tiny-dancers

They had a substitute teacher this week and she was very enthusiastic. :) {She’s wearing my old leotard and shoes now.}

planting-seeds

I’m trying to grow a small cut flower garden in the corner of the yard this year, so Evey helped me throw down some seeds during Lucie’s nap time one morning.

soccer-star

I think we have another soccer fan on our hands. She was born during the World Cup last year, after all.

adventuring-off

She ventured off the cement into the unknown the other day. It was funny watching her little, wobbly steps as she gained freedom into the rest of the yard.

little-garden-helper

Lucie’s idea of helping in the garden is plucking the flowers off the plants one by one. We’ll just call her Babyzilla.

storm-clouds-california

This weekend has brought some crazy, stormy weather. The thunderclouds rolled in on Friday night with some awesome lightening. {The last time we had one there was a tree between those two tall ones at the end of the road that got zapped and split in half!}

rain-reflections

Enough rain came down that there was still standing water in the morning. What a blessing for California!

Sunday-morning-treat

A sweet Sunday morning treat at one of our favorite breakfast spots in Folsom.

peek-a-boo

Lucie is always happy to be outside and adventuring!

pretzel-at-the-fat-rabbit-folsom-california

We also stopped in to an authentic London pub in Old Folsom for a beer and pretzel.

tickles

Lucie got some tickles….

kissesAnd mama got some kisses. :)

Caring for Oneself

reading

I get the impression that moms are feeling a bit burnt out right now. Perhaps its the school year coming to a close and the prospect of the summer in front of them. Perhaps its arriving at the mid-point of the year and looking at all they’ve accomplished {or haven’t}.

Or nothing remotely related.

I’m feeling it. The overwhelm has been washing over me much too frequently these past few weeks. I’d like to blame it all on the hormones, but I think that is giving more credit than is due to those finicky things.

What it often comes down to, and what the conversation has been about on the Net this past week or so, is self-care.

Do you take enough time for it? What does finding time for self-care mean to you? I’ve been pondering these questions, trying to find solutions to the wave of overwhelm inundating my life lately.

 



exercising with a baby

The means of self-care is personal to each. As Jenny touched on here, an introvert’s version of self-care is going to look different from an extrovert’s version.

What works for other more extroverted moms, like my little sister and some of my best friends, doesn’t actually revitalize me. And just as I need to be sensitive to the fact that my sister dearest could literally interact with another human being endlessly, for all 24 hour in a day, and nearly die of happiness for it, I also need to acknowledge that I need a good 1-2 hours of silence every night after bedtime just to feel like I’m no longer suffocating.

Summer is a great time for renewing this endeavor. With freedom from some of the normal daily tasks, there is more of an opportunity to set aside time in the day for oneself. Elizabeth delves into that more deeply here.

Sometimes, I have to be reminded that not every need must be filled by me. The bone-tired feeling? That soul-crushing fatigue? Usually they are the symptoms of self-reliance. They mean I’ve tried to save the world instead of trusting that God can accomplish His will in my life and the lives of the people I love. I take on every need as my personal mission, and I neglect to seek God’s wisdom and direction in filling the needs around me. I am certain His plan is more prudent than the full-throttle assault that is my default.

 

We need to lower our standards when they are too high to achieve any margin in our lives for rest for ourselves. Colleen writes about that here.

I think it’s OK to do any of the following if I’m feeling so overburdened by life, I’m are not quite sure how to get out of bed: 

  • put the television on for the kids so I can drink a cup of coffee or run on the treadmill in peace,
  • let the house get messy so I can read a book or engage in another pleasant activity, 
  • or scrap all the housework and put the kids in the car so I can go visit with a friend!

There are some days where it is just impossible. Sometimes we need to “fake it to make it” as Nell hints at here.

I’m not at my best. I look in the mirror and see the little kisses under my eyes called cosleepernumber3 and guiltily gave up sugar again as I was abusing it//turning to it for an afternoon pick up instead of a healthy snack//my clothing doesn’t fit like I’d like it to. But I can’t wait around for life to suddenly hand me a week of full-nights sleep, a personal trainer, and a chef. Instead, I’m determined to feel my best that I can be right now. 



There are ways to find time for ourselves. It is necessary for our well being and, dare I say, the well being of those in our charge. A burnt out mama makes for a burnt out family for a mother is truly the heart of the home.

As mothers, it’s easy to play the martyr sometimes. We tell ourselves that our children need us. We must be everything to everyone. But this is just not sustainable. We are not God. We must not play Him. {And, hey, even He rested on the seventh day.}

There are other wonderful people in our children’s lives and we must give them the opportunity to love on them as well. An engaging activity that distracts the kids while you compose yourself with a warm cup of tea and a chapter or two of a good novel is a good alternative too.

knitting and tea

Sometimes we need to step away so that we can be a better caregiver and nurturer when we are on duty  for them.



I’m working to take all of this to heart myself. I like to care for others — but I’m not good at being the one taken care of. Really, though, isn’t this selfish? How are others to practice charity if another does not accept their charity when it is given?

I maintained the unhealthy thought for a while that I could just keep pressing forward no matter how I was feeling. Always. If I was tired, I just needed to suck it up. Someone else’s need surpassed my need to rest. If I felt touched out, too bad, that little person needed to be held by me. If I was hungry, I could wait…and wait…and wait. Until I was so hungry, I was bursting at the smallest thing.

My patience for anything and everything just starts to go right out the window when I fail to take time for myself. I am learning this.

And I am learning how to make it happen.

Is making time for self-care difficult for you? How can you make it better happen in your life? I’d like to continue this conversation so I’ll be writing a follow up post soon about how we can. 

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