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Category Archives: Thoughts

Moments {Vol. 3}

After a weekend of much-needed downtime, we’ve been busy, busy here the past few days. Evelyn’s birthday is coming up this weekend and we’re all about having an extended celebration throughout the week. Yesterday, we took the train with Steve down to Sacramento and spent the entire day out and about. Talk about one, tired mama here this morning. {It reminded me how wonderfully out of shape I am. :(}

Taking some time to rest in the moments of our lives here the past few weeks.

sliding EOn a day I was just at the end of my tether, I made the last bit of effort I could muster to join my friend at the park for our Moms’ Group get together. It was just us and our babes, and she made the whole day better. She talked me out of my frustrations and played with my girl on the slides while I got off my feet for a few minutes. It was such a blessing.

sleeping LAlthough she’s a good sleeper, she likes the Rock N Play just a bit too much. We’ve been {barely} working at getting her to transition into the Pack N Play, and she’s fighting us the whole way. {This day she took a long nap of 3 hours, but that was just a fluke, apparently.}

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A family dinner at the new table and benches made my brother, Gabe. {He’s the one looking toward the camera.}

D's birthdayWe celebrated the birthday of Lucie’s godfather with apple crisp and a candle.

dance partyCousin dance party ensued at the end of dinner.

L's danceWe’re still loving dance. I think she wakes up every morning hoping it is Thursday. I love her enthusiasm. 🙂

tomatoThis, folks, is a tomato. Not a bun. A tomato. She likes to point out other people’s tomatoes when we’re out and about, and asks for one her own. But that’s not happening anytime soon.

cozy on the couchWe had our dear friends over for a bbq last weekend. It was one of the first cold days of autumn here in California so cozying up with blankets on the couch was a popular choice.

apple pieApple pie was a must. It was a proper Fall dinner with slow-cooked bbq pork ribs, roasted squash, and this beauty for dessert.

"cake"Evey’s imaginative play is just blossoming right now. She’s been making “cake” out of cookie cutters and serving it to me on a plate. She’s taken to her mama’s passion for baking.

on the shelfApparently, her own bed is unsatisfactory. Or maybe she would like to live in a treehouse.

boppy time

We started on top of the Boppy but with our wiggling and trying to sit up….

boppy time 2…we ended up down here. And not too happy about the situation.

Team Girl, Team Boy…or Team Green?

ultrasound

There was no question when I was pregnant with Evelyn that we would find out whether we were having a boy or girl. Especially with our first, we wanted to plan out a nursery and pick out clothes based on the sex. I mean, we could have gone with yellow ducks and all, but it just wasn’t as exciting to me as picking out a closet full of smocked dresses or tiny suits with bowties.

When I was pregnant with Lucie, I thought about waiting until birth for a split second but the planner in me overcame it. And, well, what if we had a boy? I would need a whole new wardrobe! {Turns out I did anyway as they were born in opposite seasons so hardly anything that fit Evey when she was the same age is appropriate for Lucie now. With big ticket items, like high chairs and bouncer seats, we tried to go gender-neutral in the event someday we would welcome a boy to our family.} Steve was in favor of finding out too.

Our brother-in-law made a keen observation when, one day, we were talking about discovering the baby’s sex at the ultrasound. He mentioned that either way it was going to be a surprise — either at the ultrasound or when the baby was born. {I had the thought — well, maybe both because sometimes the tech gets it wrong! ;)} That kind of confirmed what we had chosen.

But, then, I was talking to a friend the other day on the phone who has chosen to wait until birth and she made a good argument for being more patient. She said that not knowing helps keep her focus on pushing as efficiently as she can while in labor because she JUST. CAN’T. WAIT. to find out! That’s a valid point too. If we’re blessed with other children, I might be persuaded to wait based on that reason.

 

What did you and your spouse decide? Why? Would you do it differently next time?

Remembering the Little Ones Lost

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-dayThis is strongly on my heart today.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

I have not lost one of my own children, but I do have two siblings in heaven whom I have never met — one who would be two years older than me and my brother, Seth’s, twin. Just writing that down brings tears to my eyes. I miss them although I have never seen them. My heart aches for their loss.

My heart is also aching for all my mommy friends who have lost a little one through a miscarriage, still birth or infancy death. I know too many. I am thinking of each one of you and praying for you today. Know that your little one is loved and remembered. He or she is your little saint in Heaven watching down on your family. I’m lighting a candle this evening in their memory.

wave of light

If you would like to leave your child’s in the comments, I will pray for him or her by name.

Focusing In

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Loving these prompts from In the Heart of My Home, Elizabeth Foss’ blog. I need a little help organizing my thoughts here this morning. It’s been a doozy of a week.



 

Outside My Window ~ Sunshine. In the 90s again today. Where is autumn? Cleaner air than yesterday but still smoke-ridden. It hurts my baby’s eyes. 🙁 Another fire was started very near here a few days ago. One of Steve’s commuting companions lost his house in the fire. Very sad.

Listening To ~ Good ol’ bluegrass. Enjoying a compilation of hits. Turned it on to distract Evelyn from something she shouldn’t be doing, but we all don’t mind the distraction.

Clothing Myself In ~ Pajamas still. Getting dressed doesn’t usually happen here until the afternoon unless we are going somewhere, mostly because I like to spend the morning hours doing chores.

Reading My Children These Books ~ We’re still big on trains here. We’ve been enjoying The Last Train and The Little Train the past few weeks. Also, enjoying books of the season on apples and pumpkins, especially Pumpkin Jack, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night, The Apple Pie Tree, and Apples. And this fantastic interactive book — Press Here. We like to take full advantage of all our library has to offer.

Reading On My Own ~ I just started Boys in the Boat and I’m really enjoying it. Daniel James Brown is a great storyteller who hooks you on these interweaving lives of the crewsmen and their coaches during the World War II era. Definitely a good read for history buffs. And it’s making me recount my days in the sculls.

boysintheboat

Pondering ~ What we have going on these next few months. I think fall and winter are always the busiest for us. Starting in November, we have Evey’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, three birthdays in January, four birthdays in February, and our anniversary in early February. Lots to plan for!

Quotable ~ When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. ~Thomas Jefferson It’s been feeling like that often around here lately.

Cultivating Rhythm ~ Trying to regain some semblance of a daily rhythm after having it upended while we were trying to escape the smoke from the fire. Also, we’re living with one car right now which means an early wake up most mornings so we can take Steve to the train station if we want to have a vehicle during the day. So regular naps and early bedtimes are important here right now to ensure enough sleep.

E baking

Creating By Hand ~ I’ve started my Christmas gifts early this year in the hopes I’ll actually have something to show for it come December. I can’t say much about it right now, except that I’m really enjoying getting into learning different knitting techniques and my stitches are getting better by the day. My tension is definitely improving.

Learning Lessons In ~ What I can handle and what I can’t. I’ve always had a tendency to overextend myself, but I’m learning what I’m capable of each day and to say ‘no’ to the things I really don’t want to be involved in.

Encouraging Lessons In ~ Responsible independence. Evey has been wondering off when we’re at the park without saying a word, giving this mama a heart attack. Trying to figure out how to teach her communication about what she wants and where she is going.

playing houseAbout 5 seconds before I turned around to check on Lucie in the stroller, and about 20 seconds before she was halfway across the plaza without a word.

Begging Prayers For ~ Those suffering from the nearby fire. For students in the midst of mid-terms.

Keeping House ~ Attempting to do a major cleaning after a much-neglected house the past month or so. Got the floors vacuumed yesterday and already it feels much better.

Crafting In the Kitchen ~ Enjoying some autumnal meals despite the fact it still feels like summer. {We’ll just crank the AC and pretend.} Made this chicken pot pie dish in the crock pot last night and enjoyed some baked pumpkin spice donuts last weekend for our Saturday brunch.

pumpkindonuts

Keeping Fit ~ Not keeping fit…yet. Picked up some 3 lbs. dumbbells at Target earlier in the week. I’m joining some friends starting Monday for a daily exercise routine for which we are going to keep all accountable. Hopefully. 😉

Giving Thanks ~ For my amazing husband, who has been working so hard, at both school and work, yet always making us his priority. He is such a great and loving father. I love watching him with our girls. <3

Steve and the girls

Loving the Moments ~ We wait for daddy to arrive on the train most evenings at the station. It elates Evelyn’s heart to no end to see the train pull up, her daddy step off, to brush her fingers against the train, to say ‘good night’ to the choo-choo.

Living the Liturgy ~ I’m following the devotions from Blessed is She daily. I’m really loving being to able to read the daily Mass readings along with a short meditation on them. Check it out if you haven’t yet! It’s especially great for those longing to go to Mass more often. Helps you keep up a little with the Church’s seasons.

Planning for the Week Ahead ~ Next week will be one of more major cleaning, thinking/planning Evelyn’s birthday party next month, and planning for next weekend’s adventures with family — looking forward to visiting with Uncle Steve and Aunt Cheryl driving out from Texas. 🙂  Also, getting our yard cleaned up for the winter. I think it might be too late for our fall garden.

Of water heaters and to-do lists.

Woosh!

This day has flown by at a rapid clip. Stephen and I made a to-do list yesterday afternoon as we were beginning to feel overwhelmed in the face of what the next 24 hours held.

Saturday evening I went in to give Evelyn a bath and found that the faucet would not produce warm water. Walked out into the garage to find it flooded and the water heater making a strange sound, like tea kettle would if you had allowed all the water to boil out of the pot. Steve quickly shut off the water main to stop the leak.

E bath{This was taken on a different day. I didn’t torture her with a cold water bath.}

Facing the prospect of a weekend sans water, we called around to see if we could get some help that night. Seems not many plumbers like to work on weekend nights. I can’t say I blame them.

We finally found someone to come assess the situation and possibly replace the water heater at 9 the next morning. Around 8:30, Steve found a message saying that the manager informed the workman who was to come to our house that they no longer serviced our area. Guess he didn’t get the memo.

Back to the drawing board on a Sunday morning.

We looked more local and a nice man by the name of Dave was able to stop by to look at it. Turns out our suspicions were correct: the bottom had rusted out. Thankfully, he was able to shut off the water flow into the heater so we could at least have cold water in the house. (However, we decided to forgo the penance and showered at Steve’s parents, but it was certainly nice to be able to flush toilets!) He scheduled a return for the following morning with a decent water heater (apparently, Home Depot doesn’t sell the good ones so we had to wait for the service center to open on Monday) to fix us up with hot water.

We are now the proud owners of a new 40 gallon water heater that, I swear, ups the water pressure on all our taps. That’s a definite perk.

We also had him install a gas line for the gas dryer that has been sitting in our garage since we moved in, 1+ year ago. We’re hoping that takes our utility bill down a notch.

resting with daddy

Other highlights of our to-do list included: clean leaves out of the gutters, mow the lawn, wash dishes, attend a concert (not all these things are chores!), finish up a magazine article Steve was writing, write thank you notes for gifts given to Lucie ages ago, fix car battery (that has been a rather involved process), move couches (postponed), and write up items on craigslist. (….and many more!) All of which was done in between diaper changes, feeding babies, napping them, cleaning up spit up and keeping the girls entertained. That’s a to-do list in and of itself.

King Fire

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Posting has been rough this past week as not only did we kill my laptop, but we’ve been leaving the house for hours at a time to escape the smoke from the enormous King Fire burning just east of us. It seems our town is the perfect pocket for the smoke to settle.

The air has been in the hazardous zone for the past few days. The particle matter in the air is very dangerous to breathe and even more so for little ones. It has been causing cold-like symptoms in both Steve and I. The girls can’t communicate quite how they are feeling but I can see they are suffering too. It has certainly increased Lucie’s spit-ups incidents, even to the point of making her vomit one day, and Evelyn has clearly been suffering from itchy eyes and a runny nose. They seem extra tired. I know I am.

smoky

We can smell it in our house. When I wake up with Lucie in the middle of the night, the smell permeates our bedroom. I noticed my hair even smells like I’ve been sitting close to a campfire. Our vehicles are covered in a thin film of ash. The sun burns a rosy orange color as it rises in the morning and sets at night.

The worst is first thing in the morning. The cool air allows it to settle close to the ground. We drive through a haze as we attempt to make our way out of town.

storm and smoke

They are expecting some cooler air this weekend, but also windy conditions which may counteract the good of the cool air. As of my writing this, the fire has burned just shy of 9,000 acres and is about 35% contained. Please pray for the safety of our firefighters and that they may get this under control soon.

Our Place of Missionary Work

my life's work <3

A woman shared this on one of the groups I am a part of on Facebook, and agreed for any and all to share, so I pass it along to you today. The thought really brought a moment of peace and gratefulness for my mission on this earth. Absolutely beautiful.

 

Ladies, I had such a moment of clarity and beauty at 1 am this morning as I knelt next to my 16 month olds crib- my hand inside so she would be calm and go back to sleep without me taking her out of her bed. My 3 year old on the other side of the room whispering for me to come lay with her…….

This is my adoration. This is my mission ground. These are the children whom God has entrusted to me- they are no less my ministry than if I was a nun in Calcutta, kneeling next to the bed of an orphan. This is my mission house- where I do the work of Christ.

I put my forehead to the ground as I love to do when I am alone in front of the Blessed Sacrament and had this gorgeous peace and clarity. This is our work ladies. It can be for our own children, our family, our neighbor, our spouse, our world. God Bless you all.

We Will Never Forget

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I was stirred from my sleep by the phone repeatedly wringing. It was early morning here in California, much too early for people to be  calling. When the second line, which had a phone in my room, started ringing too, it pulled me completely from my slumber. Why were so many people calling this early in the morning? I walked out into the living room to find my mother sitting on the couch crying. She looked at me through the tears and said, “We’re under attack.” The television was on displaying these two large towers, one of which had smoke billowing from one of its higher floors. Within minutes, I watched in horror as a plane came bombing into the side of the second tower, listening as the newscaster screamed in panic. They are usually so poised.

burning towers

It felt a tad as if the world was melting around me. The first few hours that morning were some of the most tense and scariest I have felt in all my life. We learned of another plane smashing into the side of the Pentagon. Another coming down in a field in Pennsylvania. Up and down the eastern seaboard. What next? What would keep them from the western side of our country?

It was horrific watching that plane crash. But then, the first tower came down. It crumpled like a sheet of paper. I just kept thinking, That can’t happen. This must be fake. There are hundreds of people inside those buildings. Just seconds before, the camera had panned in on a person waving a piece of cloth of some sort to let rescuers know there were people trapped on that floor. Like a game of vertical dominos, the tower came down on itself one floor after another.

The television was now showing people scrambling for their lives on the street, covered in a white film while pieces of paper floated down out of the sky around them. It was truly surreal. I felt so helpless. All I wanted to do was sweep those dear people out of harm’s way.

people of 9.11

At around noon time here in California, it seemed like the attacks had finally stopped. Now, we listened in as people searched in desperation for their loved ones. Life seemed at a standstill that day all over the U.S. Perhaps the world. We were united in solidarity for those suffering. In truth, we were all suffering. The attack killed 2,996 but it was an attack against every one of us. They were aiming at what we stand for, what we believe in as Americans

And everybody seemed to know somebody who died that day, be it a personal friend or relative, a friend of a friend, a neighbor. And there were the stories of the near misses — those who had for some reason or another been late to work that day, those who had been on a trip to NY only the week before and wandered the floors of those buildings, those who had missed their flights or were bumped to another.

I was on a crew team at the time. Nothing kept us from our exercise routine. But there would be no rowing that day as the dam below the lake we rowed on was closed and all the waterways surrounding it for fear it might be targeted.  It was a day of intense fear. Who knew what was coming next?

As I reflected back on that September day 13 years ago, I hope in my heart that this has ended. But, still, I fear it has not. Let us continue to pray for those affected by the horrible attacks that day and those who continue to be attacked for those same reasons. May God grant us safety and peace.

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