Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Costume in the Works...

Well, this year we are dressing up John as St. Jean Vianney. I had some help getting ideas and articles of clothing for his outfit, which is coming along nicely. The hair, however, is another story. St. Jean Vianney had a pretty unique hairstyle. See for yourself:

In trying to capture this hairstyle, we acquired a wig and I gave it a hair cut. I'm not sure the resemblance is close enough. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Week Off

Last week I took a break from the computer. I have found that I spend WAY too much time on the computer and it has become unhealthy. I took a week off in order to clear my mind so I could be more objective about my obsessions.

During my years growing up, I always had access to the computer, video games, and TV. Screen time has taken up a lot of my life. I would hate to know how much time I have wasted doing mindless things in front of a screen during my life. But it stops here!

I think having John has spurred my sudden disgust for screens - and when I say "screens" I mean anything on the TV, computer, phone...). Sometimes while I am on the computer I will look down and see my precious baby looking at me while I sit in staring at the screen. This made me wonder what kind of things he is already learning from me. I bet he is learning that the computer is very important (insert sarcasm!). Whenever the TV is on, John will stare at it - so I know he already has the inclination to watch screens. For example, my mom was holding John at Mass last Sunday. Fr. Lappe showed a video for the "Catholics Come Home" campaign. The second the video began, John twisted his head around to watch!

I want John to grow up wanting to play outside and go places. I want him to have real experiences instead of vicariously watching characters on a screen living fake lives. In a way, this really relates to being pro-life (in the general sense of the phrase) because I want him to be out in the world living, as opposed to sitting on a couch and wasting his time.

Lately, I have been craving real human contact - not the superficial contact that I get on the computer on by watching TV. While I was driving in the car the other day, I was looking at the people around me in their cars. There we were on the same road, feet away from each other, going in the same direction, and I will likely never speak to them. How sad it is that we live our lives in close proximity to other people but we are very far away in our minds and hearts.

In my generation, we feel the need to "veg" by doing something mindless. I am tired of vegging. I want to use my mind. I want to be productive. Most importantly, I want John to use his mind, be productive, and have an active and full life - lived for God.

Turing my disgust into action:

So what now? My life is very interwoven with my time on the computer. I plan my meals, get recipes, get emails, read, stay up to date with friends, blog, shop...

Last night, Andrew and I were talking about all of this. We know that the computer and internet can be used for very good things. But Satan can turn these good things into vices. So, I will still use the computer, but only in moderation. I think moderation is the key.

I will do this by only spending a half an hour each day on the computer (yes, I am actually going to time myself!). I will still do all the good things I have done on the computer, but just less frequently. In this way, I hope to be a good example for John and spend more time doing my motherly duties.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

John in his car

John loves playing in his car.
He is beginning to figure out how all the toys on it work!

This picture is just plain funny!

Here is a video of John today:

Bellingham Pictures

Here are some pictures from our trip to Bellingham (Oct. 2nd-4th):

Fr. Qui-Thac and us

John and Fr. Qui-Thac

John and Oliver - meeting for the second time!

Uncle Lou and John

Cousin Sydney and John

Date Night

We try to go on a date night every month. I have some milk stored in the freezer for John on such events. We leave John with my parents for a few hours. They love to have special time with John! This month, we tried out our skills at put-put golf... Andrew won. Then we went down near the ferry to have some beer and pizza. We had a great time! I love dating my husband! =)

John loves Jesus

I like to keep this picture of Jesus on the floor with John. Hopefully he will look at it often and learn that Jesus is his best friend. I may need to move it when John starts banging toys around (which is already beginning...).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Housewife Resources

Please notice that I just added a box with links to my favorite housewife related websites. You can find it if you scroll down on the right side of our blog. I am most excited about the new site I found called the "Crafty Crow." Enjoy!!

Wisdom from the Cure d'Ars

Today I read about St. Jean Vianney's goals as he began his position as pastor of the church in Ars. The biographer said, " every pastor who has at heart the welfare of souls" should have the same resolutions:

"... to get in touch with the people as early as possible; to make sure of the concurrence of those families who enjoyed general respect; to make the good yet more perfect; to bring back the indifferent; to convert open and public evil-doers; above all, to persevere in prayer to God from whom all blessings flow; to sanctify himself so as to be able to sanctify others, and to offer expiation for the sins of those who refused to do penance for themselves."

In this year of the priests, let us be every thankful for our priests who live out similar goals. We are so blessed to have priests who embody their role as "Father" and tend to our spiritual needs.

St. Jean Vianney ~ Pray for us!

Friday, October 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes ~ Vol. 10

Hosted at Conversion Diary

1. Friends: We hosted our friends, the Hardwicks, from Monday through Thursday. They were here to put on the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) - WARNING: link contains graphic images - at the UW on Wednesday and Thursday. We had a lot of fun with them! Janet and Darius have five wonderful and beautiful kids. It was fun to watch John try to interact with them.

2. GAP: Andrew, John, and I were able to go to GAP yesterday. Andrew went for the whole day, while John and I went for the last two hours. The whole time I was there, I had a great conversation with a woman who was "on the fence" about the abortion issue. By the end of our discussion, she seemed to largely agree with the pro-life side. She still struggles with the issues of rape and when the mother's life is in danger (which is a small fraction of the abortions that occur). I am so glad I was able to get through to her.

3. Christmas: I have decided that I am going to try to make most of my Christmas presents this year. When I was younger, I would always make gifts for my loved ones. It is great for me to make presents because I put so much time and love into them. Come Christmas morning, I am always SO excited for everyone to open my gifts. I already have ideas about what I am going to make... I better start now!

4. Milestones: John is starting to sit on his own! He is still working on building his core muscles, so he flops over pretty easily. But he is able to support himself for a good chunk of time before falling over. We have been practicing on the bed, then it won't hurt when he falls to the side.

5. Fixing things up: Our bathroom underwent some fixing this week. The fan for the shower was not working well because some birds thought the vent would be a lovely place for their nest. So my parents had their contractor come and replace the fan. This involved taking the ceiling apart, replacing the moldy insulation, installing the new fan, and putting new sheet rock on the ceiling. My parents also had blinds installed in our living room and kitchen. I'll be showing before and after pictures soon!

6. Organizing: We finished organizing all of our junk in the garage. It is now neatly organized in my "Duggar boxes!" We feel pretty proud of ourselves! We also donated a lot more stuff that we didn't need anymore. It is so liberating to let go of unnecessary clutter!

7. Random: As I was eating dried fruit this week, I wondered - why are dried grapes called "raisins," while any other dried fruit is called "dried _______ (mango...)"?

Friday, October 9, 2009

7 Quick Takes ~ Vol. 10

Warning: Extremely cute pictures!!

1. Organizing: Last week I worked on organizing all of our junk in the garage. We tried to get it done by the time my parents came home from their week long trip to Oregon. We almost did it, but I have a little more to do.

2. Visit to Bellingham: We went up to Bellingham last weekend. It was jam-packed with good visiting. We had dinner with my Grandma on the way up, dinner on Saturday with Mom, Dad, Lou, Jenna, Cousin Erin, Bill, Sydney, Uncle Pat, and Francine (an honorary Grandma), we also visited with Fr. Qui-Thac, and we spent time with our good friends Katelyn, Jon, and Oliver Ralston! It was so great to see everyone!

3. Synonyms for weird: I realized that I say "weird" a lot. In fact, I think it has become a problem. Now that I recognize it, I notice myself almost saying it a lot. Most commonly, I relate thoughts by beginning with, "It's weird because..." So in order to help myself, here are some synonyms for "weird" that I might try using: strange, bizarre, peculiar, unusual. I know everyone has their words and phrases that they tend to say a lot. It's peculiar because the word I use all the time is "weird." Very strange, indeed!

4. John: Just a few days ago, John started getting up on his knees during tummy time. For a while he has been able to lift his chest off the ground. Now he just needs to learn to do these two things together! Then he will be a crawling machine!! It's bizarre being with him every day and not noticing all his little advancements - then when someone sees him who hasn't in a while, they tell me about how much he has changed!

5. The Front Lines: Yesterday I was at the 40 Days For Life vigil for two hours. I was nursing John while waiting for the next person to show up. The next person came and brought some graphic abortion signs. I am fine with these signs, though I typically shy away from holding them - not because I think they are inappropriate or wrong, but because my pride gets hurt when I am yelled at. Anyway, I was nursing John and these signs were right next to us. A woman drove by and yelled out her window, "You should be ashamed of yourself!!" I don't really get her logic. Why should I be ashamed of myself? Because of the pictures? I think the pictures are pretty shameful, but that has nothing to do with me. On a similar note, when John and I were protesting with Andrew, someone told us that they felt sorry for our child. Andrew responded, "At least he's alive." So true.

6. Moment of honesty: I am still working on thank you cards from the baby showers that were, um, *cough* six *cough* months ago. I feel terrible! I did a bunch this week, but I am no where near finished. If you gave us a gift and have not received a appreciative note yet, don't worry! This is going to be my priority over the next week.

7. And now for the cute pictures:

Thanks Cousin Hilary for the hand-me-downs!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Living with Less

So far, every year that we have been together, Andrew and I have gone to his parents house before Christmas to help decorate the tree. It has been a great tradition - Mom St.Hilaire sits on the couch with her boxes full of ornaments and carefully unwraps each one. She hands the ornaments to us and we decorate the tree. This has been a neat way to be a part of the family because I get to hear all the stories behind the ornaments. Maybe I'll take pictures next time and share the stories on our blog.

Anyway, there are some ornaments they have that date back to their first years of marriage. They are all homemade because they could not afford to buy new ornaments. This year, I found myself thinking about how we have very few ornaments to decorate our tree. Instead of immediately thinking "I should make some!" My thoughts went directly to "Where should I buy them?" Even though we are likely in a similar financial state as Andrew's parents in the beginning of their marriage.

This brings me to my point: I have realized that it is so easy to buy things that we want, even if it would be better financially to live with less. Credit cards have really given people in the middle and lower social economic status' the opportunity to live like they are wealthy. But this comes back to haunt so many people who are now drowning in debt.

It did not use to be this way. Before credit, if you didn't have the money for something, you simply didn't buy it. Now life seems so much more complicated because it is so easy to get whatever we want. After realizing all of this, I have decided I don't want to live that way. I want to be simple. I want to only spend what we have.

Another story I've heard from Mom and Dad St.Hilaire is when their first daughter, Jenny, was born. They did not have a rocking chair and desperately needed one to sooth her. Instead of buying one, Dad carved two pieces of wood into curves and nailed a chair on top of them. He says that he did not have the right saw to make perfect curves, so when they rocked in it, it was uneven...but it worked. After John was born, we also did not have a rocking chair. We searched around for a used one, but didn't find one that we liked and could afford. Then, seeing our need, Mom and Dad St.Hilaire generously bought one for us. Needless to say, making a rocking chair did not cross our minds!

I am currently reading St. Jean Vianney's biography. Last night I read a part about after he was ordained and was assigned to the parish in Ecully under Fr. Balley. It describes the two of them taking a pilgrimage and they only owned one umbrella. So when it rained on their pilgrimage, they both huddled under one umbrella. If this were my situation, I would be tempted to pitch out a few dollars for another umbrella. But they did not have the money for another umbrella, and they were able to manage with just one - so even if they did have enough money, why waste it?

So now I am making a goal of living with less. I hope this will help my family to be better off financially, as I am the one who typically does the shopping. Part of this goal will involve bringing every purchase to prayer (which, I honestly have not been doing!). I also hope this will help teach John not to buy every little thing he wants.

"Lord, please help me to buy only what I need and spend only what I have. Amen."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Planning Monday ~ October 5th

Here is our menu for the week (we are not so sure about our plans for the weekend, so I am just planning meals for Monday through Thursday):

Monday - Taco soup - we already ate it. Yum! We like to eat it with a dollop of sour cream and we scoop it up with tortilla chips.

Tuesday - Three Cheese Manicotti served with veggies and toasted sourdough garlic bread.

Wednesday - Breaded pesto chicken served over linguine with Rhodes dinner rolls.

Thursday - Chicken and rice casserole (we didn't eat it last week)

Check out other menus at orgjunkie!

Promoted by God

I am writing to share a difficult decision that we just made: I will not be continuing with my practicum and student teaching. It is hard to explain exactly why, but we have put a lot of thought and, most of all, prayer into our decision.

We highly value me being a stay-at-home mom. We will make whatever sacrifice we need to live on one income so that I can stay home with John. We believe that having a parent at home full time is the best gift we can give to John and any future children.

Also, right now our priorities are to get out of debt and save money to buy a house. With the possibility of me teaching in the future being such a huge variable, we would rather put our money to things that we know we will need.

It is likely that I will be able to walk away with a bachelor's degree in Education because I have all of my course work done, which would be great! Either way, I do not regret all the hard work I put into teaching at Star of the Sea and my teaching program. The last two years have been a great experience and I know it has given me tools to be a better mother.

Now that we have made this decision, I feel a lot of peace in my heart. I chime in with Susan, a caller who recently proclaimed on the Rush Limbaugh show, "I was promoted by God to be a mother!" I can't find the words to express how much I love every minute of being John's mother (yes, even at 2am...)! I gladly accept this promotion! =)

The hardest part of this decision is thinking that people are going to be disappointed in me for not finishing. But as my friend, Caitlin, told me today, God won't be disappointing in me for choosing to be at home to raise John. In fact, I think He is pleased.

Disclaimer: I must note that by writing this, I do not mean to condemn mothers who choose to work. I know that everyone needs to do what is best for their family.