Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Another Sweet Bedtime Story

I really wanted to save this one for an Easter gift for little G but I just couldn't. She was so excited when a package came in the mail and I was excited to check out this book with her! It is ADORABLE! It has all the elements of a delightful children's book: nice illustrations, rhyming storylines, and 'touch and feel' portions the such as the curly sheep hair or the soft kitty fur. One of G's favorite parts is that the tractor appears on almost every page and she loves finding it and pointing it out-- it has even become the fourth word she can say, haha! My favorite part is the end where all the animals on the farm are asleep and we're reminded that God loves us too and watches over us while we sleep so we can say "Night, night, God." We have several books of this author (Amy Parker) and each time I've been impressed with the quality of them. My only con to this book is that some of the 'touch and feel' parts on each page are not easy for kids to see/feel. Most of them are the furry animals, which are great, but there's also a few that are a little trickier or less tactile, like a glittery sun. There are also a couple rhymes that feel like tongue twisters (sheep dreaming of hoppy, happy days). Very minor criticisms but just keeping it real! Overall, this book was be a fabulous gift or addition to your own library! 5 stars.

[Thank you to Booklook Bloggers for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Friday, February 23, 2018

Quick Takes (and Good Riddance, February!)

Okay, so not really but kind of? Normally, February is one of my favorite months (thanks to my love for Valentine's Day and my penchant for celebrating my birthday all month long) but this year it was just not a very fun month due to sickness, third trimester hormones, home repairs, and glooooomy weather. I'm quite ready for a fresh slate of a new month with March next week.

1. We finally have almost all our home appliances repaired or replaced that broke down this past month. Totally first world problems, but I'm definitely grateful to be using the washing machine and the dishwasher once again!!

2. There's that fine line in blogging once you're married and have a family of not sharing too much, but the month wasn't the greatest for our marriage either. Lots of disconnect, feeling pulled different directions with our missions and ministry, and miscommunication. Thankfully, we seem to be on the up and up. It's amazing how the little things can improve a marriage. I've also realized (thanks to Kirby's fabulous series!) that my love language might just be more of Quality Time than I realized instead of Words of Affirmation!

3. My mother is law is here to visit and that's been hugely helpful this week. The toddler has also slept (almost) through the night for three nights in a row and it's amazing what better sleep can do for your mental outlook. So was the isolated afternoon of gorgeous weather-- we went from 20's and 30's to a day of 69 degrees!!! Little G and I spent over an hour outside walking and playing at the park. Give me ALL the vitamin D!!!!

4. I've been making lots of comfort food these winter months and have tried to increase the amount I make for certain meals so that I can freeze some extra for post baby. Yesterday I was able to freeze two meatloaves. Today I'm planning to make a double batch of muffins recommended by Jen and will freeze a dozen. It's kind of my lazy freezer meal planning. ;)

5. Have you watched any of the Olympics? We've enjoyed having it on each night more than I thought we would! I generally thought I was a bigger fan of the summer ones, but it's been fascinating watching the skiing, skating, and even bobsledding! (Though I can't watch bobsledding without thinking of the movie Cool Runnings! lol!)

6. If you're Catholic, you know the current conversation starter is 'how is your Lent going?' I'd say mine is off to a decent start, but I'd like to be more intentional about it. I gave up social media, which is always helpful for me to reprioritize and have the extra time and presence throughout the day. I'm also committed to praying a daily rosary for our marriage and have been trying to use naptime more for prayer. Today I prayed the Stations of the Cross, which is always strangely comforting and nostalgic for me...probably because we went to them weekly when I was growing up.

7. Unfortunately, the abortion clinic I mentioned to you has pressured the local hospital to sign a transfer agreement with them so they can remain open. This is devastating news for all of us. My husband mentioned the grave reality that in a way the blood of all those children who will be killed in our town is on the hands of the hospital board members who voted in approval. It's very disturbing to us that a hospital would stoop to a partnership with an organization whose sole purpose is to end life rather than save it. We plan to change hospitals now for our services but are continuing to work and pray for a change in the agreement. My husband was on national Catholic radio with Teresa Tomeo to discuss the situation and he did a wonderful job. I was so proud. Please keep us all in prayer as we continue to fight the decision.

I hope you all are staying warm and cozy and fighting the winter blues with me! Do something to treat yourself this weekend (or at least on Sunday because, you know, #Lent). ;) And for some extra clicks, check out the rest of the quick takes gang at Kelly's!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

God Bless My Family: A Children's Book Review

So to offset my doom and gloom post of yesterday ;) I thought I'd review this precious little book. There's nothing like puppies to take away the blues. For the past week as we all recovered from The Plague, we watched a lot of TV and read a lot of books to little G. This new one is so sweet. As G gets older, I realize how significant the content of books is for her growing mind! It's so important to me to have wholesome and faith-filled messages. I want her first impressions of faith to be joyful, warm, and loving-- just like her Heavenly Father is. This book is a great one for that. Each page there are different pictures of "puppy families" and words describing  the blessings of different family members-- aunts, cousins, brothers, mothers, and so on. It's very cute to see the different dog breeds and the different activities they are doing (baking a cake, racing outside, etc.). My only cautions with this book would be that 1) not everyone may have or be close to all the members mentioned (sister or brother, even grandma or grandpa), and 2) some of the descriptions are stereotypical and a child might wonder why their aunt doesn't bake or their sister doesn't play dress up. Probably miniscule things, but just keeping it real. Other than that, we're thrilled to have it on our bookshelf. 4.5 stars.

[Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary review copy. This review contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Spiritual Battles

In about a month's time, I've been in the hospital for early contractions, we all developed the worst stomach flu ever in one weekend (esp when you're third trimester preggo), and we've had multiple (expensive!) appliances break down: my car brakes, the garage door, our dishwasher, and today the washing machine (naturally the washer and the dishwasher would be out of commission as I'm continuing to clean up the massive amounts of laundry and dishes after last weekend's Plague).

To say the least, dear friends, I am utterly overwhelmed.

We heard yesterday that our last local standing abortion clinic has been ordered to close by the state. This is what my husband has been working towards in his job for several years now and it's incredibly good and grace-filled news. Not only do we believe in the sacredness of all human life, but this particular clinic has been sited for multiple issues that would have shut down any other medical facility much sooner (an OB with a child porn record, transferring an emergency patient to a hospital in an employee's car, and more). Women deserve so much better than that (and they deserve better than abortion...but that's another post.) The clinic plans to appeal the order so the war rages on.

Are the crosses my family is experiencing directly related to such happenings? I don't know. My husband is a firm believer in spiritual warfare. I am a little less quick to link the ordinary happenings but this time around I'm inclined to agree. It's just been too much and too coincidental.

Whatever the case, it's been excellent preparation for Lent next week.

Please say a prayer for us-- and also for the clinic to close its doors for good for the sake of our women and children-- and let me know how I can pray for you!

Friday, February 2, 2018

{Really} Quick Takes ;)

...just to let you know I'm still alive.

1. Poor, precious G either had a fast and furious tummy bug or ate something disagreeable at dinner. She got sick over twelve times in two hours and continued on through part of the night until finally stopping and sleeping around midnight. Saddest thing ever as a parent. She's doing much better today but we're just taking the day slow with lots of crackers, water, and even some Barbie Rapunzel movie time. ;)

2. Naturally, our weekend is unusually packed so we're going to have to play it by ear with what we can or cannot keep on the schedule. I will probably cancel my book club in the morning to have some more rest and a slow Saturday morning as a family. We may be visiting a dear friend in her new home for dinner tomorrow and then on Sunday we plan to host a Super Bowl party (which in my mind = good food).

3. Winter is starting to get a little long, which is rare for me. I think it's the realllly cold temps we've had because I can't even bundle us up for a walk. I am enjoying my cozy naptimes with crocheting a blanket for the baby and reading the book Caroline: Little House Revisited, by Sarah Miller. The book is just like the Little House series but for adults and from Caroline's perspective. I've really enjoyed it so far and am amazed at her strength in traveling over the prairie with two littles and one in the womb!

4. I'm also getting a little tired of winter food and have been craving anything from a farmer's market. ;) Tell me what you're eating or making lately and inspire me!

5. I'm planning to make chili for the Super Bowl party and possibly that delish buffalo chicken dip. When I was pregnant with G, I used to eat Red Hot by the jar poured on tortilla chips. I loved everything spicy with her.

6. So proud of my hubs lately. He does such great work for our diocese. His latest endeavor is a pornography recovery/support group for men that meets monthly. They've seen some powerful things happen in the men's lives and it has made my husband even more passionate about the need for men in the church to have other male friendships and accountability/mentoring.

7. It's my birthday month. :) I used to 'celebrate' all month long, haha. Which pretty much just meant using my birthday as an excuse for anything fun, celebratory, or tasty to be enjoyed shamelessly. ;) Maybe I should do that again this year...but then again Lent is happening in a couple weeks! ;) I've started to reflect on how I want to grow/fast/pray...would love to hear your ideas!

Happy Friday, happy weekend, happy Super Bowl!