Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Five Favorites

Five Favorites, hosted at
My Baby Lydia's baptism!
This past Sunday we had Lydia baptized and it was so wonderful.  Since I just converted at Easter of this year, this is our first child to receive a Catholic baptism, and it was beautiful.  Our other two children received baptism in the Methodist church since that's where we were attending at the time of their births, but when we had our marriage convalidated back in October we did a Profession of Faith for both of them.  It's so nice to have our whole family in communion with the Catholic Church now!

Amelia's 6th Birthday Party!
Amelia told me a week before her 5th birthday party that she wanted Lalaloopsy for her 6th birthday party.  Always planning ahead!  She has been insistent all year that she still wanted Lalaloopsy for this party, so that's what we went with.  I made the cake, which probably turned out to be one of the ugliest cakes I've ever made, but I'm working on letting go of that.  :)  Needless to say, I'm not terribly disappointed that we didn't get any pictures of that cake!  Amelia is wearing a dress that my mom found at a yard sale that I think looks like the perfect pattern for a Lalaloopsy party.  It just looks to me like the type of fabric you might find on a Lalaloopsy doll.
After Amelia's party and Lydia's baptism (busy weekend!) my dad and stepmom took Amelia with them to their house (4 hours away!) to stay for a week with them.  She is having a great time swimming, riding her bike, meeting new friends, and wrapping Granddaddy and Grandmommy around her finger.  :)  I'm having a good time only chasing two kids instead of three!
CATO Fashions!
I LOVE Cato because I can ALWAYS find something that looks good on me and doesn't cost me an arm and a leg.  I'm a curvy girl, so it can be challenging to find something that I feel comfortable wearing and that fits well.  I went to Cato last Friday to look for a dress for the baptism because I have lost over 30 pounds since having the baby almost 3 months ago, and I am getting really tired of all my ill-fitting clothing.  I was very lucky to find the adorable black dress and bubble necklace that I'm wearing in the first picture and got the whole shebang for $25!  The necklace actually cost more than the dress because the dress was on clearance!
Fantastic Godparents!
We got so lucky with the godparents we chose for our daughter.  Joe and Connie are fantastic friends, great parents to their own teenage daughters, and faithful Catholics.  When we mentioned that we thought it was funny that Lydia would be our only child with godparents since we didn't have to choose any for the other two at their baptisms, they said, "We'll just take them all on!"  So Amelia and Thomas now have "honorary" godparents, if nothing else!  They love our kids and have told us how honored they are to take on the role of godparents.
That's all for today!  For more favorites, visit Hallie!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Favorites: The Post Partum Edition

Linking up again with Hallie at Moxie Wife for Five Favorites!


I went to my post partum OB appointment this week, and let me tell you, I'm thankful for a great midwife.  She is a mainstream medical professional, but I was so thankful to have someone who didn't try to push birth control on me!  She of course asked me what we were going to be using, but didn't try to push hormonal birth control or abortifacients on me, which I was pretty nervous about.  She did actually mention using natural methods, which was a real shock to me!

Fertility Monitor
Speaking of natural methods, I love this thing!  I've had it for 10 years and it shows no sign of slowing down.  I bought it initially when I was trying to conceive way back during my first marriage.  I successfully conceived my first child during my second marriage (no children conceived during the first marriage, thank goodness!), and was super excited when I found out it could be used to try to avoid pregnancy too when needed.  It gives me a little reassurance during this post partum time when I'm unsure of my signs.



I have breastfed all of my kids with varying levels of success.  My first daughter was breastfed exclusively for the first 6 weeks then partially breastfed until she was 10 months old.  She was in daycare during the days and I didn't know enough about my rights to know that I could have taken a break during my work day to pump milk for her.  My son was exclusively breastfed for the first 6 weeks as well, and then only received breastmilk in his bottles for the first 5 months of his life.  After that point I was getting overwhelmed with the pumping and decided to go ahead and let him have formula during his time at daycare.  I continued to nurse him when he was with me for another few months as well.  Currently the baby is 7 weeks old and she has only ever had breastmilk.  She has had maybe a dozen bottles so far, only when I am not available.  I'm hoping that I am able to exclusively breastfeed, or bottle feed breastmilk, for the full year, but we'll see how it goes.  I don't take for granted that I've so far never had supply issues.  But you never know from one baby to the next what your body is going to do, right?


The ultimate example of motherhood.  I wish I could be even a fraction of the mother that she is.  I know I will never be as good of a mother as our Blessed Mother, but I can sure try.

Living Space

Enough said!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Theme Thursday: Dad

Joining Clan Donaldson again today for Theme Thursday, this time we're talking about Dad!

I love this picture of my dad and my son, even though the picture is now 3 years old.  This picture was taken on our first family vacation, and by family vacation I mean my parents, all of us siblings, and our children.  Since this picture was taken there have been 3 more grandchildren added.  It was such a fun week spent on the banks of Lake Michigan in a tiny town called Beverly Shores, Indiana. 

I love watching my dad and my kids together.  He has a bad back, but it doesn't matter, he's always on the floor wrestling with them.  He will say, "I probably won't be able to get out of bed tomorrow, but that's okay, we're having fun!"  My dad is kind of amazing too.  When I was 17 my parents divorced and we lived with him as my mom was unfit to take care of us at that point in her life.  He was suddenly thrown into single parenthood with two teenage girls.  At 41 years old he was left to navigate the waters of training bras and estrogen on his own.  The poor guy couldn't help but get embarassed when we'd make the monthly grocery shopping trip and he'd have to ask us if we needed to go through the "feminine" aisle.  If the answer was yes he'd respond with, "I'll meet you in the next aisle!"  He remarried a few years later, and while I have a great relationship with them now, there was a time in my early 20's when I didn't speak to them for almost 3 years.  Blended families are hard, but he never gave up on any of us.  I'm glad he didn't.  They have been married for 15 years this year, and I honestly can't imagine my family any differently.  My parents' divorce was painful, but I'm thankful to have my stepmom and my two stepbrothers in my life too.  And I'm especially grateful for my awesome dad and thankful that he loves us all so much.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Theme Thursday: Girls!

When we were pregnant with Amelia, we went to the 20 week ultrasound and had already decided that we were going to find out the gender.  For whatever reason, we were both convinced that we were having a boy.  When the tech moved the wand into place and asked us to guess what we were having, we had no clue how to respond as we really didn't know what we were looking at!  She said, "It's a Girl!"  I was shocked and excited as I looked over at John.....and saw his face fall and his entire body deflate!  When we left the room I asked him how he was feeling.  He said, "A girl will be good.  I don't know what to do with girls though, and I was really hoping to have a boy first, then a girl, so he could help me be his sister's protector."  Of course as soon as Amelia arrived she had him wrapped around his finger.  I remember immediately after giving birth to her, looking up to meet John's eyes and seeing them full of tears.  We did have a son 2 1/2 years later, and I think he will still be his sisters' protector.

Meeting Baby Sissy

 These two are going to be partners in crime.  Amelia had been praying for a baby sister for a LONG time.  I was willing to oblige, but her daddy didn't want any more babies.  Of course God knows better than we do what we need.  As I've said in a previous post, Lydia was a very unexpected surprise.  I had just had my IUD removed due to a possible early miscarriage and having just learned about its abortifacient properties (that I was of course NOT informed of when I had it placed).  I couldn't morally continue to use it knowing that bit of information and also having just learned what the Church believes about contraception (I'm a Catholic convert and this was during the midst of my conversion).  We don't have any NFP instructors near us without having to travel quite far, so I was trying to learn NFP on my own.  When I got that positive pregnancy test, I almost cried.  I knew what the reaction would be from my husband, and I was right.

Partners in crime

Several rough weeks went by before John was okay with the idea of another baby.  As the pregnancy went on we both became excited about the prospect of a third child.  Amelia had been saying all along that she was having a baby sister.  We tried to prepare her for the possibility of having another baby brother, but she would have none of it.  "I already have a little brother, so I'm getting a baby sister." 

Keeping Baby Sissy occupied while Mommy cleans

We took Amelia with us to the 20 week ultrasound so she could be with us when we learned the gender.  The ultrasound tech started the scan and asked, "Do you want to know the gender if we're able to get a good view?"  I told her we did and she proceeded to move the wand to the area in question.  She asked, "Do you want to guess or do you want me to tell you?"  John and I looked at the screen, and having seen both of our other children's ultrasounds immediately knew what we were seeing.  In unison we said, "Looks like another girl!"  We repeated it to Amelia and she immediately responded with a loud cheer.

I love the look on Lydia's face.  You can tell she thinks Big Sissy is pretty awesome.

As the tech left the room for a minute to check on something, John said, "Oh good, I think we were all hoping for another girl, especially since Amelia was already convinced that we were having another one.  That's good, I was wanting another girl."

I said, "Yeah, just think, Daddy.  You get to pay for TWO weddings now!"

The look on Daddy's face was priceless.  :)

Join Cari for more Theme Thursday posts!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Five Favorites Vol. 1

Five Favorites, hosted at

Joining Hallie and the much cooler crew for my first round of Five Favorites!


Our newest blessing, Lydia Irene.  She is 6 weeks old this week, and has been such a joy.


Watching Big Sister Amelia be a big helper.  She has so much love for her little sister and it has been so much fun to watch her thrive in her role as Big Sister to her Baby Sissy.


Watching this Little Man adapt to no longer being the baby of the family has been challenging.  Thomas was the baby for 3 1/2 years before his Baby Sissy arrived.  He has been acting out some, but he LOVES his Baby Sissy completely.  Every time we turn around he is in her face trying to love on her.  He means well, but he can be a little rough with her.  Overall he is doing better than we expected.


This husband for almost 8 years and father of my 3 kiddos.  We dated for 6 weeks before we got engaged.  We were married almost exactly 6 months after our first date.  You know when you've found your match.


We are so thankful for Amelia's fabulous Kindergarten teacher.  Amelia started out the year well but as we got closer to Lydia's arrival she started having trouble controlling her emotions at school.  She had several outbursts that got her in trouble and weren't consistent with her normal behavior.  Mrs. A was so good at helping her through the issues and also helped her succeed in her learning.  She finished the year reading at a mid-year first grade level and far surpassing the expectations on all of her testing.  I'm so grateful that she cared so much about Amelia.

Go see Hallie to check out more favorites!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

What I Wore Sunday Take 2

What I Wore Sunday linkup

I was actually excited about this week's WIWS outfit.  I wore it to work earlier in the week and liked the way it went together so well I decided to do it again today.

Boots: Favorite Lane Bryant boots from last week
Flounce scarf: handmade by my mama

 You can't see the colors of the shirt or scarf as well in the full length shot, so here is a close up of the rocking scarf.  The shirt is the same color as the deep cobalt blue in the scarf.

I was reluctant to spend the $40 on the pair of jeans, especially since they are maternity and will only be worn for limited amounts of time.  But I am seriously happy that I spent the money.  They are the most comfortable pair of jeans I've ever owned, maternity or otherwise, and they wash up well and wear very well.  Unlike some of my other maternity jeans they don't lose their shape halfway through the day and become saggy or loose.  I love that they are skinny jeans but they are cut much more flattering for someone like me with a full figure.  If I could afford to, I'd buy at least one or two more pairs.  They work great with my riding boots as well as ballet flats, so I love that versatility.

On a whole, I'm much more excited about this week's outfit than last week's.  I can't wait to see what everyone else wore this week!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ours is a "Star Wars" kind of marriage...

No, one of us is not part of the Empire and the other a part of the Resistance.  He's not Darth Vadar and I'm not Princess Leia.  Although I can be a little Leia-ish at times--snarky, sarcastic, sticking to my guns even on things that don't really matter.  But he's definitely a Han Solo kind of guy, which is why I do refer to him as Mr. Solo on this blog.

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.......Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen 'anything' to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything.  'Cause no mystical energy field controls my destiny.  It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense."
~Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope

That quote really sums up Mr. Solo's outlook on life, as far as I can tell.  I say as far as I can tell because in seven years of marriage we've never been able to get more than 5 minutes into a discussion on faith and God without both of us getting frustrated.  We are on the same page on a lot of issues in our life together, but religion has never been one of them.

Mr. Solo was raised on the Catholic conveyor belt, as so many others have.  His parents made sure he was baptized, received First Communion, was confirmed, etc.  He went to Catholic grade school for 3 of his grammar school years.  The took him to Mass every Sunday from the time he was about 4 years old (he was a rambunctious child who tended to be a tad disruptive during Mass) until he was in his early twenties and still living at home.  They did everything they thought they should do to try and raise up a good Catholic boy.  But they never taught him the "why's" of it all.  They never taught him about a personal love of God and Christ.  They gave him the tools, but they never showed him how to use them.  As in so many others, this has resulted in him turning away from the Church and not really understanding why we "have" to go.

I was raised Methodist my entire life.  For the first 11 years of my life we lived literally less than a block from our church.  We walked there every single Sunday for church services and Sunday School.  My entire extended family went there and we took up 3 whole pews in the sanctuary.  My parents made sure I was baptized and confirmed, the only two steps needed in the Methodist church.  I think the main difference though is that my parents and grandparents tried to actually discuss faith with us and my grandparents especially have been lifelong examples of living their faith. 

For the first six years of our marriage this differnce in faith didn't make much of a difference.  He wasn't interested in returning to the Catholic Church, and I had no interest in ever attending, so we went to my family's Methodist Church.  This was okay for a few years while a sweet lady pastor was in the pulpit.  I felt like something was missing in our church that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but she was so sweet and our family loved her so much that we were willing to stay put just because of her.  When she retired, the missing piece felt even bigger.  I could no longer ignore the fact that I just didn't feel comfortable there anymore, and I still couldn't figure out what was missing.

I started looking for a new church for our family.  I did what any sane person would do when confronted with this problem--I started by looking in the Yellow Pages!  :)  I know, I know, sounds ridiculous, right?  We live in a town of 25,000 people.  In this tiny town, there are like 30 churches, of probably 20 different denominations.  I started by looking up the church online if they had a webpage and narrowing down from there.  If the churches didn't have a webpage I'd look up the national or state webpage for the denomination to look at doctrine, etc. and see where we could feel comfortable.  I immediately eliminated anything Mormon, extreme fundamentalist, and Baptist because Mr. Solo would never in a million years go with any of those, an of course I knew that Mormon was definitely out of the picture anyway.  I then started eliminating any that were extremely liberal in their teachings like Unitarian, United Church of Christ, etc.  Anything that taught that abortion, gay marriage, etc. was okay was NOT going to be the place for us.  I also immediately eliminated the two local Catholic parishes since Mr. Solo made it pretty clear that he didn't really want to be there.  I finally narrowed it down to staying with the Methodist church but going to a different parish or Lutheran. 

I decided to start looking a little deeper at the doctrines and guidelines of the Methodist and Lutheran churches to understand what they really taught.  The more I dug, the more I knew I couldn't attend either of those.  I was starting to lose hope.  Finally, I decided to make a last ditch effort to find the right place for our family.

I started going through a 40 day prayer devotional that I had used in the past to great success.  It's called "Give me 40 Days" by Freeda Bowers.  I started out my 40 days by making my list of prayer items and made sure to include direction for our family on what church to attend.  About 10 days in I was still not getting direction so I decided to do a modified 7 day fast.  I couldn't do a full, hardcore fast, so I prayed about it and felt led to only consume bread and water or juice during the day, and having a small amount of whatever I was feeding my family for supper.  Even this modified fast was enough to open huge doors in our life.  Only a few days in I felt so much clarity from God, and I've also never felt more emotional in my entire life.  Everyday around 2:30 pm I would feel inexplicably emotional.  I can't explain it.  I would sit at my desk at work and fight tears for an hour until I could get myself back under control. 

During that time of fasting and clarity, God opened doors for us to attend the Catholic parish of John's childhood.  It was such a great experience and at this same time God was making it very clear to me that we were meant to be at this church and that our family needed to be in unity in the Church that Christ himself founded.

I informed Mr. Solo after much thought and research and soul searching that I had decided to join the Church.  I had hoped to receive a more enthusiastic reaction from him than I got.  It wasn't exactly positive.  His reaction also wasn't positive when I informed him that I wanted to get my IUD removed after believing that I experienced an early miscarriage.  He was supportive of the IUD removal because of all the trouble I'd been having with it and from the possible miscarriage situation.  He wasn't terribly supportive of my desire to use NFP.  He was especially unsupportive when during the second month of trying to get the hang of NFP we found out I had gotten pregnant.

So currently I am in RCIA with full support of my husband for me to go, but he doesn't want to come with me.  He goes with me and the children to Mass every weekend.  We are 17 weeks pregnant with our "Oops, Mama screwed up the NFP chart" Baby.  We are at a crossroads trying to figure out what to do after this baby arrives.  He wants to get a vasectomy.  I don't want him to.  He doesn't want to use NFP because he doesn't trust it and he doesn't have enough trust in God to believe that God knows better than we do what we can handle.  I refuse to go back to the IUD now that I know how it REALLY works.  It sucks, but all I can do is pray for God's will to be done.  I don't know what else to do, really.  Sigh.