Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I Wore Sunday {4}

Hello Ladies! 
I am looking forward to seeing what you all wore to go see our Lord today!  I need some inspiration, as I am experiencing a bit of a drought in the fashion department.  When we moved to VA, we only brought what we could fit in our Toyota Camry, in between the space taken up by the four of us.  I left a lot of clothes and shoes [as well as access to my sister's closet] behind.  Also, our budget is super tight right now, so I am not doing much clothes shopping at all. 
Today I wore a repeat outfit [except with different shoes and earrings ;)], but here are some WIWS pics from March that I had in my draft box but never got around to publishing.     

Cutest little koala baby ever!

"I'm going to do spaghetti legs until you pick me upppppp!"

Our priest gave an inspiring homily today about what it means to be truly free.  Our culture's view of freedom is basically being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it.  Whereas, a Christian view of freedom is being able to choose to do what one ought to do.  The opposite, of course, is being a slave to sin.  I feel like I am preaching to the choir, as many of you may have heard a similar talk at some point, but I came across this really good article that you should all read :). 
Here is a little excerpt:
Oftentimes we say, "Well, you know, because society says it’s okay, it’s okay." That is not true. All of us know what adultery does to families. All of us know that we are restrained from going up to another person and slugging that person in the mouth. There are consequences for those actions and society controls those actions, because it is a failure to love one’s neighbor. If we begin to tamper with human life and to say, "Well, this older person’s life is no longer valuable, therefore we’re free to kill her" or "This person’s suffering is so great, we’re free to kill him," where does it stop? How do we stop it? We’re the ones determining the value of the human person. Based on that kind of thinking, one can justify Nazi Germany, one can justify an act of terrorism, because humans are free to choose to do those actions. 
~Archbishop Samuel Aquila [written in 2004 when he was Bishop in Fargo]     
Deets on the clothes:
Sheer-ish top: Target, I believe
White tank underneath: Ambiance
Pants: Express
Shoes: NY & Co
Earrings: Old Navy
Bracelet: no idea...I've had it forever
Gemma is wearing a beautiful dress that was a gift from the Mom of one of my good friends.
She looks so fancy and pretty in it :) 
Have a great week!  Thanks to Fine Linen and Purple for hosting.

Friday, June 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes Sunday: Cute Videos + Random Rambling

1.  Gemma has a thing for her Daddy.  She lights up and gets really excited when she sees him.  It's precious.  Last weekend at his game, she went crazy when they introduced the players and Luke walked onto the field, so I decided to have a friend record her reaction this week...and she did not disappoint :).

2.  Luke's good friend and teammate, Henry, also plays for the Ugandan National Team.  He was in Africa a couple weeks ago playing for the team, and he came back with an awesome uniform for Augustine.  He wore it later that day when we went to go kick around the soccer ball.  It a good two sizes too big, but he still rocks it!  I love his finesse attitude after scoring--ain't no thing. 

3.  Our little Gemma is starting to sleep almost through the night {only getting up once to nurse}.  It is so great.  Luke and I should be going to bed earlier and relishing in 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but we aren't.  Still, it's amazing.

4.  My family and friends {and anyone who has tried calling/texting me} knows I am horrible about answering calls/responding to texts/having my phone with me/having my phone charged.  I can seriously go weeks with my phone on silent mode.  If I'm lucky, I will see it light up and answer it or I will see a missed call and return it.  I often read text messages, answer them in my head, and forget to answer them for real.  It's really bad.  Most often my family reaches me by trying my phone first...and then calling Luke's phone {which he always answers}.  I have been trying to get better about this for awhile but for some reason just haven't made much progress.  Anyone else have this problem and/or suggestions to help me keep my phone with me more often?  It doesn't help that Luke works from home because I can usually talk to him in person, but he is going to be traveling a lot in the next couple months, and I know it would mean a lot to him if I did better with this. 

5.  Several of the ladies from FOCUS are joining me for a Saint Peg Doll Exchange, and I am super excited!  I always want neat, Catholic toys for my kiddos, but they are often hard to find and a group of us are channeling our artistic sides and making our own {just like these that my friend, Mary, made}.  We have each chosen one Saint to paint in exchange for the dolls everyone else paints.  I am still deciding between St. Sebastian {patron of athletes}, St. Augustine {patron of theologians--and beer--and our little man's namesake}, and St. Patrick {patron of Ireland--which holds sentiment for me and the Pro-Life mission I did in Ireland--and my Mom's namesake/Augustine's middle name}.  There are just too many awesome Saints to choose from!  {Saint Gemma would also be in the running, but I think I am intimidated about painting girls--guys seem easier?}.

6.  Luke and I are way behind the times when it comes to popular tv shows {except when it comes to the Bachelor/Bachelorette, in which case we are only a day behind everyone because we have to wait until Tuesday night to watch it online...but we do watch it every.Tuesday.night online because it is just my favorite show...which is a whole other shameful post in itself.  Tangent over}.  Anyway, until a couple months ago neither of us had seen a single episode of Lost.  But now that we are into Season 3, I'm like all excited and nervous and wanting to talk to someone about it...and no one has any idea what I am talking about because they finished watching it in 2010 like the rest of America.  Any other show recommendations out there?  Keep in mind that we don't have a tv, but we have Netflix and I am super easily scandalized {for real}, which is why is took me years to feel comfortable talking about how much I love the Bachelor.    

7.  These are really my quick takes from last week, but by the time I got them finished it was, I just saved them :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Go see Jen for more Quick Takes.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Surprise +

I wrote this on June 9, 2011, after finding out about our little Gem.  I think it got stuck in "drafts" because we weren't ready to tell people we were pregnant yet...I think it's safe to tell people now ;) 

A few weeks ago, I was so sick and more exhausted than I could ever remember being.  I postponed a trip to my beloved Colorado to see my family over this exhaustion--it was that bad.  Within the previous two months, Augustine had had roseola, a week long stomach bug, two canine teeth cut, and an ear infection...needless-to-say I was getting very little sleep, especially when we throw into the mix that Luke was traveling for soccer off and on throughout this period. 

It all came to a head when Luke was on a five day trip to play games in Charleston and Orlando.  Augustine was sick, I was sick {and I rarely get sick}, and I was so tired I could hardly see straight. 

But things didn't get better when Luke got home.  I was still sick and tired.  Among other ailments, I had a sinus infection and couldn't smell or taste anything for a week! 

One evening, as I was making dinner, I got a tiny whiff of the Ranch breading for the chicken I was making and almost hurled.  A few times that week I had felt nauseous, but Luke and I had attributed it to either taking my antibiotic {for my sinus infection} on an empty stomach or to the fact that I couldn't smell anything right {I somehow thought my nose was confusing my stomach and causing it to be upset}. 

But that night at dinner, after taking a few nibbles of my Ranch chicken, I dramatically picked all of it up off my plate and moved it to Luke's plate in utter disgust.  "I can't eat that!" I said, "It's going to make me throw up!"  Mind you, I couldn't really taste it...but the little bit of flavor that was getting through was not going over well.  Of course, it was a new recipe that neither of us had ever tried before, so I kept telling Luke he didn't have to eat it if it was gross.  But being the great guy that he is, he spent the rest of the dinner convincing me that it really was good {to this day, I have my doubts and really don't think I will ever be able to try that recipe again!}. 

That night, as I rolled over to go to sleep, I realized I hadn't taken my antibiotic that evening.  Normally I would just get up and take it, but that night I was just too tired to even lift my head off my pillow.  "What is wrong with me?" I thought.
In the morning, I thought about taking my medicine again.  But out of the blue I got this nagging feeling that I should take a pregnancy test.  It was a crazy idea.  After all, I {to my knowledge...} had only ovulated twice since becoming pregnant with Augustine in March 2009, and based on my calculations there was no chance that I was pregnant.  But just as the thought went through my head, I saw an empty red, silo cup on the counter and figured it was meant to be.  I grabbed the cup and went straight to my bathroom, knowing that first-thing-in-the-morning pee is always best and that I didn't want to take my antibiotic until I knew it was safe if I was pregnant. 

As I searched for the test under our bathroom sink, I debated whether or not to go get Luke.  Finding out I was pregnant without Luke by my side had never appealed to me, so we always took the tests together...but at the same time, I knew the chances of pregnancy were very low, and I didn't want to hurt his feelings by getting his hopes up.  So as he worked away on his computer in his office down the hall, I took the test. 

Just as I was laying the test down on the counter to watch the results appear, Luke walked into our room and knelt down on the floor, facing away from me, to sort through the laundry basket. 

I couldn't believe it {yet, strangely, could believe it considering my life of late} when a + immediately appeared.  Without saying a word, I walked over to Luke and began tapping him on the back side...over, and over, and over.  He thought I was just messing around and didn't even turn around!  Finally, I said, "Luke!!," waving the test excitedly in my hand.  He looked up completely surprised and thrilled. 
Fear not--this is not my actual pregnancy test.
Suddenly everything made sense.  I wasn't going crazy after all.  I wasn't suffering from a mid-life {quarter-life?} crisis.  I wasn't an emotional, irrational mess for nothing.  There was a reason I was so tired I could barely function, there was a reason I physically removed food from my plate at dinner the night before, there was a reason my immune system was shot.  It's funny because looking back, I knew the only time I had been that tired before was during my first trimester with Augustine...and the only time I had felt that nauseous before {for those of you yet to experience it, it is quite the distinct sensation} was during my first 20 weeks with Augustine.

Since that fateful date, about a week ago, I have been tired and sick and nauseous...and excited and thankful and happy.  We can't  wait to welcome another little one into our family!  Although we don't know the exact due date, due to the fact that we kinda dropped the ball on keeping track of my fertility signs, we suspect the baby will be born in late January or early February.  Once we get an initial ultrasound in a few weeks, we will have a better idea. 

Please pray for us and for the baby!  Thank you!! 

**A little disclaimer**
Please do not let our "surprise" pregnancy deter you from using Natural Family Planning.  Since we were not trying to avoid pregnancy and were, in fact, very much hoping to get pregnant, we were not very attentive to my fertility signs.  We have used NFP very effectively to avoid pregnancy in the past, as well as to achieve pregnancy, and I would recommend it to everyone.  It is a completely natural, healthy, and moral way to space your children when practiced appropriately.  I should probably just write a separate post about it...but in the meantime, if you haven't heard of it, you should do some research on it.   

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In Case You were Wondering...

I am trying to clean a bunch of posts out of my "draft" box--hence all the posting I have been doing tonight...and will probably continue doing for the next couple weeks. 
Just doing a little house blog cleaning.
Some are really old--like up to four years old--but I figure I may as well publish them anyway.  I don't even know if they will show up in the current newsfeed or if they will just be accessible in the archives.  But happy reading either way!  It turns out I used to actually blog quite a bit...   

Learning this...

(and reminding myself daily):

Cheerfulness is a necessary consequence of our divine filiation,

of knowing that our Father God loves us with the love of predilection,

that He holds us up

and helps us

and forgives us.

Remember this and never forget it:

even if it should seem at times that everything around you is collapsing,

in fact nothing is collapsing at all,

because God doesn't lose battles.

~St. Jose Maria Escriva

I have to remind myself often that cheerfulness is necessary, given my distinction as an awesome daughter of God!! To be God's child and not be cheerful is to live a lie. For what more could one want? God loves me and wants what is best for me. I must trust and not worry.  I must hope in all circumstances, rather than getting upset when little things don't go my way.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

lean not on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

and He will guide you path.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Seventh Month

Mom thinks I changed a lot this month--I had a lot of firsts and seem like such a big boy to her now. I started solids half way through the month. For the most part, Mom offers me food twice a day, but I don't consistently eat yet. Sometimes I eat quite a bit, other times I hardly eat at all. In addition to rice cereal, oatmeal, fruits, and vegetables, I enjoy puffs and yogurt melts (finger foods). I am not at all interested in my mesh feeder yet, but Mom is excited for when I am--it will be so cute! My favorite food is carrots!!
With Aunt Bonnie, Uncle Mike, Aunt Cait, and Tavian in Chicago.
[6.5 months-ish...and, yes, from the same trip as my 6 month post] :)
From the day I started solids, my poops immediately changed. Leading up to starting solids, I was pooping nearly every time I breastfed, and most of the time it would leak out onto my clothes! Mom was doing lots of laundry. Well, the solids have essentially eliminated the leaking diapers...but now my clothes are messy from the food! To help with the mess, toward the end of the month Mom started bathing me every night before bed. I love it, and Mom loves how clean and fresh I smell.

No crawling yet, but I am certainly mobile! With a little maneuvering, I can get almost anywhere I want. Rather than playing on the rug in the living room, as soon as Mom sets me down I almost always roll until I get to the hardwood floor. Mom and Dad used to pick me up right away and put me back on the rug, but now they let me play there...although they don't understand the appeal, especially because all my toys are still on the rug!

Early this month, I didn't sleep too well because I was sick. But lately I have been getting up only twice to eat and that's it. Occasionally I will whine another time, but I can usually get back to sleep myself or with the help of some music.

Although I am trying solids a few times a day, I still nurse every three hours during the day.


Written 7/26/10

Wow! I have been a huge slacker in the world of blogging lately. I wish I had a good excuse, but I can't even come up with one--let alone a good one! Perhaps it is a general slacking in life that is spilling over into the cyberworld...or maybe it is just too hot to blog??
During our September 2010 visit to Colorado.

But just a quick update: Life is Good.

My husband is lovable and supportive and great.

My son is the cutest being I have ever laid eyes on.

And I am thankful each day for my many, many gifts, graces, and blessings.

Hopefully you will all hear from me again soon!

Sixth Month

Another draft that never got published.  In Augustine's voice, btw {knowing that makes the first few sentences significantly less creepy...}.  Written July 2010.

Me and cousin, Tavian, on our trip to Chicago with Mom and Aunt Cait.
Sleeping is definitely my biggest struggle, but even at that it isn't too bad. I continue to wake up and fuss several times a night. My music box helps a lot, and we are kind of in a pattern of me getting up at 10:30/11 pm, 1/2 am, and 4/5 am. If all goes well, the music helps with the first and last waking, and I eat in the middle. Unfortunately, I didn't have my music box in Chicago--although the first two nights were decent, the last two were difficult. My first night back at home was great, but we will have to see how it goes next month...

My morning nap is without fail about an hour and forty minutes after I wake up for the day. It makes going to Mass impossible most days, but Mom knows my sleep is important. I take another nap or two throughout the day, although I don't sleep very well at work {when Mom takes me with her to nanny twice a week}, which makes Mom feel badly.

Eating is still the same as last month: every three hours, with a little cluster feed as bedtime approaches. At the very end of the month, I ate my first solid food: organic whole grain rice cereal mixed with formula (it was my first time having formula, too). The next day I woke up sick, so we will postpone more solids for a week or so.

Mom is amazed at how I can get around just by rolling! I didn't master rolling until the middle of the month, but now I am a roly-poly. Sometimes, Mom will leave me in the middle of a blanket for a few minutes, and when she returns I am off the blanket (sometimes rolled onto the hardwood floor!). Toward the end of the month, instead of sitting in my bouncy seat in the bathroom, Mom let me play on her bedroom floor while she showered.

Friday, June 21, 2013

At Home Preschool

Just over a month ago, Luke suggested that I start a more structured approach to teaching Augustine at home. 

The conversation started when Luke asked me:
"Are you supposed to be, like, teaching him something?" 
Lol. :) 
"Of course, I am," I thought, "And I do."  Luke knows that I spend all day teaching the kiddos in one way or another, so he wasn't being offensive at all {though, truth be told, sometimes I am teaching them the wrong things...sigh}.  Yet, it also made me realize that there was a lot more I could be teaching him if I made it a priority and had a little guidance as to what was appropriate for his age.
What he meant by his question was:
"Maybe you could start doing some preschool lessons at home with Augustine."

Our back door where we hang lots of our preschool masterpieces
and colors, numbers, & letters to practice.
He thought Augustine {and I} could benefit from a more organized and formal curriculum, as opposed to Augustine mainly learning through conversations, observations, explanations, and books.  We read a lot of books.  So I spent like 5 minutes researching online and came across a free curriculum at     

And it's awesome.  If you have a preschool aged child who is not in preschool {or even if your child is in preschool and you want some fun supplemental material}, go check out the site. 
A watercolor "Noah's Ark" and verses to practice.
We have been doing preschool for five weeks now, and Augustine loves it.  Some of the stuff we are learning he already knows {see, I was teaching him something, Luke :)}, but it is still a good review.  We have been doing a ton of coloring, pasting, singing, practicing, and reading!  His mind is a huge sponge, and I had no idea he was ready to do so much learning. 
"Adam & Eve" and A is for ants.
I am planning on adding in one specifically Catholic activity or coloring sheet or song each week just to make it a better fit for our family, but I really love the Christian emphasis already in place.

Salt, glue, food coloring, paper, and water.  Good times.
Augustine is enrolled for preschool two mornings a week in the fall {since you have to sign up for those things like forever in advance}, and while Luke is still leaning toward sending him, I am definitely on the fence.  I am enjoying teaching him at home so much!  If we don't go the "out of the home" preschool route, I will definitely find some other social activities for him to do where he also learns to take instruction from other adults.  But even if we do send him to preschool, I am planning on continuing the abcjesuslovesme curriculum with him at home.

One of the best--and most surprising--consequences of following Luke's suggestion is that I actually feel more productive and less stressed out...even though I am putting more time and effort into our days than I used to.  Feeling like I am doing good by my kids, regardless of the time/energy/etc involved, goes a long, long way in bringing me personal fulfillment and peace.  And I also thrive on the added structure and routine to our days, though we only go by a very loose and totally flexible preschool schedule. 

There you have it, my thoughts on preschool at home in the summer.  Probably a topic that is not on anyone else's mind--because who {especially those with school-agers} would want to think about school in the summer?! :)       

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Soccer Mom

You are never too young to play soccer.
Augustine has been kicking a soccer ball since he could walk,
but since moving back to VA, he has really been into it.
He loves watching Luke play and cheering for him.
During the games he will ask me,
"Daddy just scored?"
 "Daddy get hurt?" 
At the last game he yelled from the stands, 
"Be careful, Dad!"
{He also yelled, "Dad.  Dad!  Hey!  Heeeyyy!!  Daaaddd!!"
It's hard to explain to a three year old that just because he can see his Dad, his Dad can't see {or hear} him...or stop playing in the middle of a game to have a conversation. :)}
At Luke's game a couple weeks ago, Augustine took 7 cents from his pocket to the merchandise trailer, and our sweet friend who runs it let him "buy" anything he wanted.
He wanted a soccer ball.
I can confidently say that at every moment since his birth we have had an average of four soccer balls, of varying sizes and materials {leather, fabric, plastic, etc}, hanging around our house...
but none have had the appeal as the ball he picked out himself.
The night we got it, he was kicking it around with some friends on the field after Luke's game.  Some of the bigger kids dribbled away with it, and he came up to me in the most genuinely sad and concerned way--with his bottom lip trembling and all--and fought to get out the words, "Mom, my ball," with tears forming in his eyes. 
{Anyone who knows my child knows a much more typical
response would include frustration and a loud cry}.
He hasn't stopped playing with it since.
The other day Luke grabbed a Sharpie and wrote
"Gunner Verc"
on it.
I know this sounds crazy, but I had to keep myself from crying.
Watching him share something like soccer with his Dad is enough to make me emotional...
but then when I add in how fast he is growing up and
becoming his own little person
with his own little ball
with his own little name on it...
well, that makes me cry.
I wonder if he will continue to enjoy the game as much as his Dad has. 
The chance of him becoming a pro are very small, but I wonder if he will choose to play in high school--and if his teammates will call him Gunner {his nickname}--or even just, "Verc," like his Dad was called by his teammates.
This whole Soccer Mom thing is getting real, and I love it!
Bring on the orange slices and Gatorade!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Prayers for Connor

Yesterday morning, the kids and I attended daily Mass.  As the service came to an end, a woman and her daughter quickly made their way to the exit with a large bag full of banana bread.  Then, as each person left the worship area, the lady joyfully handed them a small loaf of bread and asked them to pray for her nephew.  She explained that he was in surgery, and when I asked if there were any special intentions for the surgery, she disclosed that he was 15 years old and had tried to kill himself.  My heart breaks for that boy and for his family.  I am so moved by the way his aunt and cousin petitioned for prayers for him with a simple act of kindness.  Collecting the ingredients, making the batter, baking the bread, buying disposable loaf pans, and labeling them with a simple request took time and energy, but this woman acted out of love for her nephew and out of trust in the power of prayer.  Sometimes I lack in my zeal for petitionary prayer because I figure God knows everything I need already, and if He doesn't grant me something it must not have been His Will.  But the problem with that is that God wants us to come to Him with our desires and prayers--even if He doesn't answer them the way we think He ought to. 

I can tell you I have thought about that young man and his family a lot since receiving the loaf of bread from his aunt.  He has been constantly in my prayers.  And now, I ask you, too, to keep him and his family in your prayers. 

And, if you don't mind, I have one other prayer request...

My aunt and uncle lost their home today due to the fires in Colorado.  Tragically, they are out of the country traveling right now, so they had no chance to grab anything from their home before it was destroyed.  My uncle said on Facebook that all they have are the clothes they are traveling with and one laptop they brought with them.  I have not been able to get them off of my mind today.  I cannot imagine what they are going through--not even being able to grab a photo album or a cherished and sentimental item before losing their home.  Any prayers would be greatly appreciated. 

The power of prayer really is remarkable.  I think God and I will have a coffee date tomorrow morning.