Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes about sleeping like a baby, the weekend forecast, and fears

1. My child is a nap-striker. Which would be just fine if I didn't want to read or write or bake or nap or work or sit and stare out the window...
As I rock and bounce and shhsh him for at least an hour a day, I'm always left wondering, "Should I just try cry it out?" But then I start thinking about him standing in his crib (because he does not stay laying if he's not soundly asleep) and reaching for the door and crying and I just can't bring myself to do it. I always wonder though...what if he actually isn't feeling good? How can you tell the difference between a baby who is fighting sleep and a baby who genuinely needs his momma?

Funny thing is, I guiltlessly let him cry when I need to take a shower...

2. Speaking of sleep, we've had a few rough nights around these parts. My 10 month old has indeed slept through the night before but now is waking up at least twice per night and usually one of the times he's up for a good hour. Ugh. It feels like we're dancing and he's leading and if I do something wrong he crys.

Bounce bounce bounce with his head in the crook of my left arm, on his side, while sshsh, sshsh, sshshing and then sway sway sway, little bounce, little bounce, sway sway, little bounce, sway sway sway sway, little bounce, sshsh sshsh, stand perfectly still and then little bounce, little bounce, sway, still still...until he's so sound asleep he's snoring. And then I gently lower him towards the mattress and those little eyes "pop!" open, back arching, waiiiilll. Back to the bounce bounce bounce...there was one night where I literally tried 10 times to lay him down.

And, yes, I have most definitely tried to lay him in his crib awake but then there's just screaming and gnashing of tooth (because he only has one!). I've tried to lay him down and sit next to the crib, I've tried holding his hand or rubbing his back or even rubbing his feet...

Truly the only thing that works is saying Hail Marys until he falls asleep and stays there when I lay him down.

I should also mention that this isn't an every night occurrence and I'm not feeling desperately tired or weary or anything...truly I should just stop complaining and remember it is indeed a baby whom I've been blessed with caring for. He surely won't be a baby for long and so it's pretty much a gift that I get to hang out with this little baby in the middle of the night....right?

3. Oh! And he (finally) has a tooth! It only took him ten loooong months, six of which we were positive his fussiness or having trouble sleeping "must just be teething..."  Why, yes, we are first time parents, why?

4. This weekend's weather doesn't exactly look....promising. -25 for the "RealFeel"? I think that means that the RealFeel for my weekend will be 71, because I don't want to leave my house. But, to look on the sunny side, this must be one of the last frigidly cold weekends we have, right!? I mean...the Polar Vortex will need to move on and visit other planets soon, right?! This arctic weather definitely makes me anticipate spring that much more. Think of how much we're going to enjoy it once it hits even 50 degrees. I'm positive you will see people sunbathing and running in shorts...

5. Lent begins on Wednesday and Brandon and I have been discussing what we'd like to do together this year to prepare ourselves and our souls for Easter. Our #1 goal is to be upstairs by 9pm so that we're asleep by 10. For some reason it always takes us right around an hour to get ready for bed. What is wrong with us? Well, actually it's because this is when we get in the bulk of our chatting for the day. Which leads to our #2 goal: no smartphoning after 9pm. Both will be quite the challenge for us.

6. Yesterday I blogged about FUDs and how they can get in the way of positive thinking and living in the present moment. We all struggle with FUDs. Can you think of a fear, uncertainty, or doubt you're experiencing right at this moment in life? 

Now here's a little inspiration for your weekend. What I want you to do is take the next minute and a half to watch the video below. Overcome that wolf within--you can do it!

7. Happy last Friday of Ordinary Time! Feel free to indulge all weekend and party like it's Fat Tuesday! ;)

Today's post is linked to Jen twice (and has anyone else ever noticed that her link-ups are all about the number 7?!) Number 5 for 7 posts, 7 days and an addition to the 7 Quick Takes link-up.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shooing the FUDs Away

Earlier this week I was hanging out with three friends and their babies, all under 2 years of age with Silas as the youngest at 10 months. All four little ones were playing nicely for the most part, going from toy to toy peacefully and taking redirection calmly when they probably shouldn’t grab a toy out of another kid’s hand or throw that ball at someone’s face. Us mommas were happily sitting against the four walls of the room, chatting about life and baby names and remodeling projects and spring while sipping tea and intermittently playing with our littles.

If you cropped out Silas and I from this room you’d see basically our typical weekday afternoon at home: I hang out on the floor watching as he sprint crawls towards a toy, chews on it for a bit, and then sprint crawl towards another. We look at toys and name their colors. I hold him on my lap while flipping through a book and then tickle his tummy just to experience one of his perfect little chuckles and smiling eyes.

Yet this felt different.  Sitting in that room of toys, light streaming through the window-covered walls, chatting with three other stay at home moms felt like a retreat from everyday life. I noticed how free this afternoon conversation felt. It was missing my typical distracted train of thoughts, the ones that somehow plow me over without warning, chugging along filled to the brim with my “shoulds.” Why didn’t I finish the laundry yesterday? The sink really is starting to get full. Do I read enough books to him? I should try to be on my phone less. This carpet needs to be vacuumed and look at all those handprints on the fireplace doors.

I facilitate a class at a university in town and today we talked about our FUDs: Fears, Doubts, and Uncertainties. Everybody has FUDs, showing their annoying little faces in many corners of our lives.  My own doubts distract me, cause me to mistrust my ability to raise this tiny child into a confident, humble, Lord-loving, joy-finding man. I’m uncertain if I’m as productive as I should be, as focused as I could be, as domestic as I need to be. I fear what could happen if I lose the balance between me-time and we-time.

It’s so easy to be controlled by our FUDs. Like an oil spill, our fears and doubts and uncertainties leak into our thoughts, drip, drip, drip into the ocean of our minds, tainting reality. Dwelling on the “could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve” takes us right out of the here-and-now, instead thinking hard about the past and future, on what cannot be undone and what has not yet transpired. Our fears, uncertainties, and doubts blur what is good and true and takes away the gift of the present.

While watching the babies play I was relaxed and engaged, both in the current conversation and in what Silas was doing. There was no mom-guilt, no distracted thoughts... things I “should” be doing didn’t even cross my mind, because I was there to socialize and that was exactly what we were doing.

It made me yearn for this peace when I’m at home, sitting on the floor just me and Silas. While of course cleaning around the house and laundry all need to get done, Ican't allow doubts or fears or uncertainties to motivate my behavior or overtake my thoughts. I’ll be aiming to control the FUDs that sneak in and instead choose to focus on the gift of taking care of my son, enjoying these peaceful, fleeting moments with him.

Today's post is number 4 for 7 posts, 7 days. To read more and maybe find a few new blogs to follow, visit Jen!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Five Favorites (vol. 11)

Just like many women, I use a plethora of products to beautify myself...but rarely do I talk about them. Today I'm coming out of the dark and sharing my five favorite, tried-and-true beauty products:

Would you like to witness a miracle? Use this mineral veil after applying the rest of your makeup. It makes your face look flawless and keeps your makeup in place all day. I learned about this stuff when I was 17 and have since received it every year for Christmas from my mom. In high school and college I was never a foundation wearer--sometimes I would wear tinted moisturizer, but that was it! For my wedding day I bought the BareMinerals Foundation (in Fairly Light for this very pale girl!) and liked it so much that I've used it almost every day since. The mineral veil is $20, and that may seem like a lot, but I promise it always lasts me right around a year (and then Christmas comes around and what do I receive!?...)

Let's just say I've been around the block with many a mascara, always searching for the right one. I tried out Full 'N Soft per Grace's suggestion and oh my sweet goodness gracious I really like it. This stuff stays on but doesn't get flaky and makes my lashes look longer and fuller without feeling heavy and clumpy. Cha-ching!

For the nights when you know you really should wash off your makeup, but you really don't feel like it (otherwise known as 23/24 nights over here.) These are the best. Pre-moistened but not drippy, they make my face feel tingly clean but not dried out and can even take off waterproof mascara in a cinch! I once bought some generic brand because I'm frugal and a sucker for a good sale...for the following 50 days my face wasn't quite so happy and I was wishing I had spent the extra $.30. SO worth it.

I have used this eyeliner literally since I began wearing eyeliner because it's what my mom uses too (thanks Mom!) I've always worn it in Espresso because black eyeliner just seemed like I really wanted to be goth or something. What I love about this is what you don't have to do: you don't have to use a sharpener, you don't have to press hard, and you don't have to find a sponge because there's one attached! It goes on nice and smooth and doesn't smudge. Winning!

So I'm sure this must be cheating or something because I've already talked about LPAD in a previous Five Favs but I just wouldn't be able to face the mirror if I left this off of my favorite beauty products post...I love it for every season and there's no convincing me that another color will ever take it's spot in my heart.

Do you have any beauty fav's I should know about? I'm pretty susceptible to trying new products and would love to add something to my ever-present Target list!

Today's post is killing birds with stone: Number 3 for 7 posts, 7 days hosted by Jen and an addition to my favorite link-up hosted by Hallie

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The best toys aren't toys.

So if you follow me on Instagram this post is going to be bore-ing and somewhat redundant. If you don't, read on and you will see the kinds of things that are a ten month olds fave things ever. (hint: they're not toys!)

Yes, even chins make fabulous playthings...
Other un-toys of note: cardboard, eyeglasses, fake trees, wooden spoons, air vent, fingers, pot lids, antennas, chairs, knobs, pencils, fireplaces, remotes, and blinds.

I realize that having posts full of pictures is treating this like a photo album instead of a blog. I'm aware of the situation and will rectify it at my earliest convenience. --Management

Today's post is number 2 for 7 posts, 7 days. To read (much) better ones, visit Jen!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Blame Game

Lately I haven't been blogging as frequently as I'd like. So that I don't have to take responsibility, below are what I choose to blame my lack of writing on:

Mostly, though, is this guy:

In attempts to rectify my lack of posting, which obviously isn't my fault at all, I've chosen to join Jen and more than 275 others and participate in 7 posts, 7 days

If you like hearing from me, you're in for a treat of a week! Subscribe via email or bloglovin' or feedly or whathaveyou and wait anxiously at your keyboard because there's 6 more posts coming atcha! If you're not interested in following my random thoughts throughout the week, you may want to take me off of your feedly for a little while...

Happy Monday!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Christian Community: Part 2

Last month I posted about Christian Community, what it is and a few examples Brandon and I have experienced. We have experienced the fruits of community in our engagement and on our wedding day, and have come to know that we are called to bring one another closer to the Lord through embracing our marriage as a Christian Community.

We met at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students Conference in 2010. You can read more about that here. What’s interesting is the place we were each at in our lives when we traveled down to Orlando:

Brandon was two years out of college, meeting with a spiritual advisor and discerning his vocation.
I was in my senior year of college and had just started dating a guy who was completely wrong for me, out of a selfish desperation to be dating someone.
At the time Brandon was feeling like the priesthood might be for him. When his sister, Justine, invited him to attend the conference, he knew going could be a great way to continue his discernment and grow deeper in faith.
When my friend Sara asked if I’d go, I also know it would be a great way to grow in faith and was really hoping to get concrete answers to some of the “big questions” about the Catholic Church that I kept being asked and asking myself.
Brandon would tell you that he was specifically going with the intention of determining what his vocation was…

And, well, I definitely got my answers and he definitely found his vocation!

The next year was full of weekends behind the wheel and evenings on the phone. About six months after meeting we had this super intense, up until 2 am conversation which included defining what we thought we wanted our lives to look like years from now, Christ’s in our relationship, and whether we thought our country boy and suburb girl lives could ever truly match up. Brandon came to the conclusion that maybe they didn’t and I reassured him that yes, they would. We were instantly both more serious about where our relationship was headed. It was also right around this time that we began praying together, mostly over the phone at the end of each day. This pinpoints when our relationship became a community. Although we had talked about our faith extensively, it was at this time that I knew I could lean on him, make myself vulnerable to him. Brandon accepted me for who I was; even if it happened to include an abundance of flaws and hot mess of figuring out quite a challenging year of my life!

I can vividly remember laying in my bed in Kansas City, propping my phone between the pillow and my ear so that I could have my hands folded and still hear him. It was incredible how the simple act of praying together felt so intimate and also so comforting. We were in this life thing together, through sufferings and tribulations and joys.

By October we danced around the topic of a pretty little thing that would fit on my left hand. Exactly one year after meeting Brandon, he proposed and, of course, I said yes. We really wanted to keep our eyes on the prize of marriage and avoid getting caught up/obsessed about the logistics of the wedding day. While I have to admit that I really luh-ove planning events and definitely enjoyed all things wedding planning, we frequently had conversations about how life would be when we were married, how we would deal with arguments and chores and all the other mundane, not-so-romantic parts of having a spouse. We read a few books together, met with the Deacon at the parish we were to be wed, and attended a day-long retreat through the Diocese. Because we were planning for a wedding but focused on preparing for a vocation.

On our wedding day we had two very powerful examples revealing how necessary and beneficial a community steeped in Christ is to the success of our marriage.

First of all: the photos. Around our guestbook sat framed pictures of our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents on their wedding days. “Because they loved one another first” was the reminder that we could not have reached this day, the one signifying our love for and commitment to one another, without the people before us. Without the influence of this community, we would not be who we are today, nor would we be fit to begin life together.

During dinner, in which I ate almost nothing and Brandon ate almost two plates full, we took a moment to look from table to table, reflecting on how many of our dear family and friends were present. Never again would we be in a room with so many people we cared so dearly for: we could physically see each of the many communities we’d been part of gathering together—all to celebrate us! I remember feeling both overwhelmed and humbled at how much God has blessed us by the people in our lives. It was, and just the thought of it continues to be, such a powerful testament to the importance of community.

Although cliché, Christian community begins at home. It was first within the confines of our own little apartment, in the sacrifices and joys of living together, in the conversations about who does the dishes “right” and who’s turn it is anyway, that our community was being built. Word by word and action by action and dish by dish. Remembering that no community is perfect, I am so blessed and proud and humbled by the little one we’ve built.

We try to use a passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians as a set of guidelines for being part of a Christian Community:
“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.”

You may want to take a minute to recognize the communities in your life that follow Paul’s guidelines shared above. What are you particular gifted at? Are there some communities which would benefit from following them more closely?

Although we have so much more to learn and experience, there are a few lessons Brandon and I have been grateful to experience in our short time of being married that I’ll be sharing Christian Community: Part 3. 
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