Thursday, October 30, 2008

Graced and Gifted

This has been on my to-do list for quite some time, and I'm just now getting to it. Oh, well.

I received Kimberly Hahn's book Graced and Gifted as part of the review program for the Catholic Company. I was excited when I read it, because I knew I was in for some great advice. I was not let down. Graced and Gifted has got to be one of the best homemaking resources I have. It's full of practical ideas for homemaking and also in living a faith-filled life. It's a study on the Proverbs 31 woman. Before, I looked to the woman from Proverbs 31 as an unattainable ideal, but Kimberly Hahn has broken down the ideas into practical wisdom that I can actually aspire to in my everyday life. Not only does she give her own ideas to make our time as homemakers more efficient and joyful, but throughout the book, she gives many other resources as well.

I had to promise myself when I first started reading this book that I wouldn't just jump in with a new project because I was excited about it. Instead, as I read, I kept a list of ideas and things I would like to implement, along with the other resources the book offered to help with the task. I was glad I did this, because I was able to go through, once I finished reading, and decide what was most important to implement first. I started with organizing, and worked on my bedroom and set-up for our new baby, and moved on to our desk and organizing our papers.

I then moved on to organizing housework by using an idea I got from Graced and Gifted using 3x5 note cards for each task. I won't go into detail about it here, but if you get the book it starts on page 115. This is a system that so far (for the last month) has worked for me, and instead of making endless lists that I'm unable to finish and moving everything to the next day, this system allows for those things that I don't get done. It's also one that is easy to restart once I've fallen away from it (as I'm sure to do, especially when the baby comes).

Besides housework, Kimberly Hahn provides wisdom on time management, feeding our families, being frugal women, and even gardening. At the end of each chapter, she provides a section on the sacraments, and how they relate to the life of a homemaker and the woman of Proverbs 31. I definitely recommend this book for any woman who takes her homemaking seriously.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Graced and Gifted - Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Frosting Inspector

After testing both the taste and texture of his birthday cake frosting, my dh said, "Honey! You NAILED it this year! The first cake you ever made me for my birthday turned out...well, weird. The second had butter chunks in the frosting, and last year's frosting turned fudgey. This cake's frosting is perfection. Great job!"

Psst...don't tell him I followed a recipe from the back of the cocoa box. ;-)

Persistence In Prayer

This morning I read about Jesus healing the paralytic in Luke 5:17-26.

One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, "Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- he said to the one who was paralyzed--"I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home." Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today."

It was interesting to me that Jesus forgave the paralyzed man his sins, because of the great faith of his friends. When they could not get the man through to Jesus the first time they tried, they went even farther and came in through the roof. How incredible is that?! How many of us would be so persistent to have a friend healed?

It brings to mind the story of how St. Monica prayed for 17 years for her son before St. Augustine was finally converted. One priest is said to have told her that it was not possible for a son of so many tears to perish. This persistence in prayer is what is important. We are told this so many times in the Gospels. Praying for our friends and family, especially those who are wayward, is giving them a gift. The grace may not be realized right away. It may not even seem perceptible to us, but just like in the Gospel, God works on the heart first. Perhaps it may not even be about something quite so dramatic as St. Augustine's conversion, but how many of us are in need of prayers? I know I could use as many as possible. When nothing else can be done, the answer should always be prayer. I plan to incorporate a prayer for friends and family into my day. Won't you join me?

Saturday, October 25, 2008


After dropping off the first load of groceries, I headed downstairs for the second (DH is out of town). When I came up, I saw that a large, white, blue eyed rat had gotten into the produce bag. Here's what he did to the tomatoes (sorry, it's a little blurry):

I was able to catch up with the sneaky rodent and snap a picture while he was still hanging onto a piece of the evidence:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Hope He's OK

To the person who came here from googling "low grade fever after dresser fell on him", I'm not sure if you found what you were looking for, but I'm praying he's ok.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nesting Much?

Hmmm...You think? Wednesday after my morning sabbatical, I got inspired to work on our bedroom and get a few things set up for the baby. I did this during Fritter's nap, when I usually nap as well, and regretted it for the rest of the day. I basically exhausted myself. I took it easy that night, and the next day I had my relaxation visit with Jen, my doula. She did some guided relaxation with me, and then gave me a short back and foot massage. I'll remember next time to not forgo the nap in the name of nesting. ;-)

So, here are a few pictures of what I have set up so far. No before pictures, sorry about that, but they were boring anyway.

My nursing spot. Complete with a journal, pen, spiritual reading, and a couple of reference books.
The bottom drawer is for a change of sheets and mattress pads, and extra blankets and swaddlers.
The top drawer is for nursing, burp cloths, a pump, pads, Lansinol, and hand gel.
The baby's bedding is already laid out and stored to keep it dust free.
Under the bed is a quilt for laying on the floor or bed with, and all the gender specific (all boy of course) clothing up to size 6 months. If we have a girl, these will easily go back in the garage, and then we'll need to purchase some. We have a lot of gender neutral clothes to get us through until then. I'm fairly certain in the garage, is another bag of clothes with a few girl outfits we got at Fritter's baby shower. I just need to find them.
And finally, a view of my side of the bed so you can see just how close we'll be.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

To Whom It May Concern

After a rough morning, management has decided that the rest of the morning, and possibly the rest of the day will be a vacation day. Pajamas are the attire of choice, and although not necessary, slippers are a bonus. Have a good day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Afternoon Napping Dream

I have to get this down, because if I don't I'm sure to forget it and it was really strange. A little background info. Fritter and I went shopping today for pants for him and my godson. We looked through rack after rack of clothes marked 2T, and passed many racks for other cutie pies.

To the dream:

Fritter and I went into a store that sold baby animals after looking through a bunch of different catalogs to see which stores were having sales. This particular store was set up like a Country Buffet, with several different heating tables, and sneeze guards to protect I'm not sure what, since all the animals were already behind glass.

Each table had several different stations, again like a buffet line, where a different animal was displayed. Above the animals were little tags reading the ages of the animals. 3-6 months Here! 1-2 years Here! The one I particularly remember was for kittens that read 1-2 years Here! Under the glass were several different kittens, but they all were immobile like they were stuffed. It was assumed that once you bought it, it would come to life.

One lady that was looking at the same heating table as me had a very large white sheep dog on a leash with her. When I say very large, I mean the biggest dog I've ever seen. It's head was as high as mine, and it was nice and chubby and fluffy like a sheep dog should be. This was a particularly loud, misbehaved dog and she was having trouble controlling him. Why she was looking at the cats in the first place, I don't know, and I think I must have been weirded out by that in the dream too, because I moved to a different heating table.

All of a sudden, her dog (on it's leash) ran around my heating table, dragging the lady behind him. The leash was one of those retractable ones, and spun across my throat, choking me. I remember yelling, "I can't breath!" several times before I was let free. My throat burned as bad as it did after the bratwurst incident. I was very angry, because I had a singing recital that evening (now you know I'm dreaming!). I took down her name and phone number and promised to sue, and Fritter and I left the store.

Isn't that a weird dream? I still keep getting the images of the immobile cats behind their signs.

Baby's Crib

We finally decided that instead of buying a new bassinet, (even though it would take up less room in an already crowded apartment), using the vacant crib was a better idea. The problem we had, though, was that our bedroom was designed really strange. The door to come in is set in an angled wall, a very large window takes up another wall, and the door to the bathroom and closet take up yet another wall. So the only walls open to put a bed and dresser against are right across from each other. This doesn't leave much room to walk through the bedroom. We also keep our bookcase in our bedroom, which was against the same wall as our headboard. Keeping things the way it was only left room for the baby's crib right up against the window. Sorry, but no.

My dh suggested that since the closet is a walk-in, we could put the crib in there and turn it into a small nursery-like room. The problem there is that the ventilation is not very good, and how would we get to our clothes?

There was a small amount of room across from our bed, right next to the dresser, but the crib would have covered part of the door to get into the bathroom. I could just imagine us trying to go in there in the middle of the night and bumping loudly into the crib, waking the baby. I know now how important it is to for me that the baby sleeps, especially at night. ;-)

So, we eventually decided to move our bed over as far as we could while still allowing space to walk around it to get to the closet and bathroom. Then we moved the bookcase to the spot next to the dresser. We moved the nightstand from next to my side of the bed and put the crib in where the bookcase used to be. It's not perfect it covers a small part of the window, but the baby's head will just go the other way. I've thought about putting plastic over the window to really make sure it's sealed, but dh doesn't think it's necessary. The crib is a little too close to the bed, but it acts like a guard, so at least I won't be falling out of bed anytime soon! ;-)

Overall, I think it works for us right now. Eventually, we may move Fritter's room around and put the baby in there when he/she gets a little bit older. Hopefully we'll be in a house by April, though, so that may not happen.

Seeing the crib up in our room, really makes it real to me that soon we will have another little baby in our home. As nervous as I am about having two kids to take care of (can I really do it?) it's also soothing. It seems right. And I'm also very excited.

Today I'm sorting through Fritter's clothes to decide what fits and what doesn't, and see what we need for him. I know he's going to need some long-sleeved shirts (can you believe it got down to 45 last night?!), a pair of brown dress shoes, and some warm pj's. I need to decide on pants, ect. though. Tonight, dh is bringing up the baby clothes from the garage so I can sort and wash those and get them put away. I'll feel better once that is done.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pride and Humility

In reality there is perhaps no one of our natural Passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself...For even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility. - Benjamin Franklin

Oh, how true is the last part of that statement. I constantly struggle with my pride, and I'm just now realizing how rooted it is in every part of my life.

I mentioned before how I decided to take the advice of my spiritual director and start with a very small thing to conquer before moving onto the next. I've been working on waking up at 6 when the alarm goes off and not hitting the snooze button to go back to sleep. While I have not been perfect at this, I am beginning to rely on my one hour of my time. This was apparent to me this morning when Fritter woke up early at 6:30 and cried at his door. Generally if he wakes up before 7, he'll play happily in his room until I come to get him, but not this morning. This morning he needed his mom.

I grumpily went to get him, all the while thinking how unfair it was that I didn't get my whole hour to myself. But when I opened his door, and he looked at me with his big blue eyes and gave me a hug, I realized just how prideful and self-centered I can be. Here I am, complaining about not getting to be alone for a half-hour more, when my son just wanted to be with me. I snuggled him, changed him, and gave him his breakfast, and he was ready to play independently while I ate my breakfast and read my daily blogs.

So I did a little searching online about developing humility, the enemy of pride. Christ mentions pride and humility so often in the Gospels, that had I really been paying attention, I could see how important humility really is. There are so many books and websites about this virtue that it almost seems hard to know where to start. I say almost, because I should know to always start with prayer. I found the Litany of Humility that I'm going to start praying everyday. I'm also going to put a copy of it on my fridge to remind me every time I see it.

Besides praying, I feel I should actually do something. Right now, I feel I should work on my tone of voice. I know this seems like it doesn't go along with pride, but trust me, in my case it does. I raise my voice needlessly at Fritter and at my dear husband too frequently. Because, of course, it's all about me. So lowering my voice and concentrating on speaking calmly is my habit to work on, until I'm more in control of it. And just because I'm working on a new habit, does not give me the excuse to give up on the one I've mostly cultivated (thanks be to God!).

Litany of Humility
Taken from Confraternity of Penitents

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Praying For A Healthier Week

Whew! Am I glad last week is over. Wednesday after his nap, Fritter woke with a low-grade fever. To make a long story short, we ended up taking him to a pediatric clinic in our area that is open all night long, with a fever of 102.6 and after he vomited twice. He was diagnosed with strep throat, and started him on antibiotics on Thursday morning.

Thursday afternoon, he refused to nap, and when I went into his room, I noticed he had a couple of what looked like small mosquito bites on the side of his face. Thinking maybe there was something in his room that could be biting him, I changed all the sheets, scrubbed the mattress pad thingy, and dusted and vacuumed everywhere. I never saw anything, but I was hopeful I had taken care of it. That night he had a hard time falling asleep, and by 10 I was so tired, I brought him in bed with me. DH slept on the couch ;-).

He started seeming better Friday, but I noticed two more mosquito-looking bumps on him. Saturday morning he had one very large bump on his cheek and another on his head, and he was complaining of itchy eyes. I realized (finally) that he was having a mild allergic reaction to his amoxicillin. So I called the pediatricians office, and they ordered him a new antibiotic.

Also, Saturday morning, DH had a list of things he wanted to get done. He left after breakfast to get the car washed and vacuumed, and when he got back he was pale and sweaty and feeling really tired and yucky. He had a fever and so went to the Urgent Care (so much better than the ER) to get a throat culture. It came back negative, but the doctor said it was only 60% accurate and since Fritter had strep, he put DH on an antibiotic.

After an entire weekend of Fritter getting better and my poor DH getting sick, it's Monday. My hubby went to work this morning, despite still feeling really bad. He called around 10 this morning to ask what to take to get his fever down. I asked him to come home, but he said he had meetings to go to that he couldn't miss. *sigh* I'm beginning to think that DH doesn't have strep after all, and has a case of the flu or something.

Thankfully I haven't gotten sick, and am doing my best to stay healthy and nurse everyone else back to full health.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Can It Be?

Has Fall really come to Arizona? Our high today is only 85! That's right, 85! Tomorrow the high is 84! I'm thinking we're going to be outside this weekend.

It's not going to last too long though. We're back up into the high 90's next week. The seasons are teasing me. But before long, it will be soooooo nice.