7 Quick Takes

Where do I even begin. What better way to let you know what’s been going on with us than with 7 Quick Takes.

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1. We’ve moved!! Yay!! I am exhausted. It has been the craziest month. In less than a month we have packed our house moved across the country and Dylan has started school. The good news is we’re back in CA where all of our friends are and it’s 70 F for most of the year. Goodbye humidity and bug bites.

There is only one word I can use to describe how I feel since coming back to Cali: loved. I feel loved. It is an incredible thing to know that I have people here, a support group, a Church community. It’s not that the people of SC we’re mean, but I was just starting to get to know people and make some friendships. I’m sure if we had stayed longer we would’ve been able to cement some wonderful friendships that were just beginning.

2. We baptized baby Karina. It was a beautiful rite performed during mass. The godparents were Fran and her husband. They travelled all the way to SC only to have us arrive in CA two days after they got back.

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3. Before moving we took our first professional family photos. It was a great experience that we truly enjoyed and the pictures are gorgeous. Our photographer was Tim Zielenbach.

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4. I have relaunched my food blog Dora’s Table on wordpress.org in hopes of monetizing my blog. It has gotten a full makeover. Stop by for some yummy recipes.

5. My baby sister is getting married Oct 4th. The kids and I are traveling to Mexico for about a week. I’m so happy for her, but why do I feel like she’s being taken away from me? We are looking forward to spending time with family and have the rest of the family meet baby Karina.

6. Last week they announced the location for Edel 2015. They chose Charleston, SC! Hello, don’t Jen Fulwiler and Hallie Lord know I just moved from SC? Oh well, it looks like I will hopefully be returning to Charleston. I love Charleston by the way. It really is a beautiful city with great restaurants.

7. I have become a homeschool convert. Fran started homeschooling a year ago, right after we left to SC. I showed my support as best I could, but I was unsure of whether homeschooling her 12 yr old was going to be the best thing. I had met home schooled kids before and they always seemed weird and a bit awkward. I just assumed it was due to a lack of socialization with other kids.

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Fran and Lucas during school

Now that we are back, I have been able to spend some time with her now 13 yr old and I was even at her house for a day of homeschooling. He is a completely different kid! He is polite, has a great attitude towards his parents  and those around him, and he is able to handle more responsibility around the house. I’m glad I bit my tongue and let God do his work. Could I ever homeschool? I don’t think so, but never say never.

There is so much going on right now, but it’s all good. We are truly blessed.

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Mary, Help Me: A Mother’s Prayer

A friend gave me this lovely little prayer book called: ” The Original”  Mother’s Manual by A. Francis Coomes, S.J. It has many wonderful prayers, but this one is definitely my favorite. I find myself praying it more often now, since bedtime by myself with a newborn and a 5 year old is really trying my patience. I know we’re just adjusting and things will get better, but more often than not I feel like I need to shout out to mother Mary for some help. Ironically after they finally fall asleep I can’t help but feel that I am so blessed. Look at these little faces..

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Mary, Help Me

Holy Queen, mother of mothers, consolation and protectress of all Christian motherhood, Mother Mary help me.

In all the trials and sorrows that come into my day, dear Mary, help me.

When I am tired with my labors and despondency is upon me, dear Mary help me.

When all looks dark and I find none to speak a consoling or cheering word, dear Mary, help me.

When I am wearied by the weight of countless vexing little things and my patience is sorely tried, dear Mary, help me.

In the impatience and rudeness of others, by the example of your mildness, dear Mary, help me.

When others speak sharply to me and I would speak harshly in return, that I may show the gentleness of your own kindly speech, dear Mary help me.

When my efforts seem to bear so little fruit and to be so little appreciated and I am discouraged, dear Mary, help me.

When a thousand worrisome distractions and annoyances come into my day and it seems so hard to keep my peace of heart, dear Mary help, me.

When all others seem to fail, then especially with the sweet support of your gentle aid, dear Mary, help me.

In all things, Mother, assist me! That I may, like you, with patience turn all my trials into spiritual treasures; that I may grow ever more like you, the cherished Queen of the most holy family, dear Mary, help me!

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The Joy of Being a Mom

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I’m several weeks into being a mom to two little babes, and I have to say I’m enjoying it so much more this time around. When we had our first munchkin we were young newlyweds, starting out our professional careers, we had a high needs pre-term baby, and a cancer in our immediate family. To be honest, on top of evrything else, we were also selfish. I wrote about this many times on my other blog, complaining how hard motherhood was and listing everything I had to give up.

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I just want to say to all those new mothers out there, knee deep in diapers, laundry, tantrums and tears, that it gets better. The diapers and laundry keep on coming over the years, but you get stronger, wiser, more confident, your heart just gets bigger and bigger, and the love, oh the love, it just keeps on coming. There are still days when I’m reduced to tears or I want to pull my hair out in frustration, but now I can appreciate all the things I was too self involved to notice before. Whatever it was I used to complain about doesn’t matter anymore, now I bask in the smiles, coohs, the hilarious things my 4 yr old says  and imagines, stories before bed, the addictive baby smell, and the connection shared through breast feeding.

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I guess you could say I’ve finally stopped being a twenty-something girl playing house and grown into my true vocation: to be a woman, a mother who loves her own by serving them. I used to think that I had given up everything to be a mom, my career, my hopes, and dreams, all of that now came in 3rd or 4th place in matter of importance. I was wrong, boy was I wrong! All those things still matter, in fact they are very important, an unhappy and unfulfilled woman is an unhappy mother as well.  All those things are just not going to happen on the time line I had planned or the way that I envisioned them. They are now in God’s hands, like they should’ve been in the first place.

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Motherhood has also changed some of those hopes and dreams and has helped me discover who I truly am and given me an amazing purpose. We get to mold these little bundles into people! Can there be a job more important than that? Sometimes this can be daunting, to think that we can teach them so many good things but that we can also make mistakes, but don’t worry, that’s why we have mother Mary to help us along this adventure full of love, laughter, tears, and unexpected surprises.

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Maybe it’s just the new mom hormones, but I love being a mom right now! I hope you do too. If for some reason you don’t, remember God entrusted those little ones in your care for a reason. YOU are their mommy, enjoy their unconditional love. Not everyone knows what true love is.

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The Rising: A novel

With baby girl being only two months old I have not had time to do much, other than breastfeed and try to keep our 4 yr. old from destroying the house. I have, however, had time to read a lot! I recently  read a book that I have to tell you about. It’s called The Rising: A Novel by Robert Ovies.

This is the story of 9 yr. old CJ who has the power to heal and rise people from the dead, his dedicated single mom Lynn, his self-involved father Joe, and their family friend Father Mark. As soon as the family discovers CJ’s power they must face many challenges, and between trying to keep him safe, his dad trying to profit from the situation, and Fr. Mark who cannot seem to grasp what is going on, CJ’s future seems uncertain.

Throughout the book you will find yourself wondering whether you believe in miracles or could believe in them. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but I will tell you that this book is a thriller, but also a love story that will evoke powerful feelings about being a parent and what we are willing to do for our children.

This is definitely a good read. If you’re interested you can find this book on Amazon. Hopefully my next post will be something other than a book review, but for now,  I have to go back to feeding my little one:)

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Something Other Than God

something other than god fulwiler What Im trying to say is: MY BOOK COMES OUT ON TUESDAY!!!!

What does it take to write a book? I’m sure Jen Fulwiler would agree you need scorpion killing powers, a subscription to Netflix, massive multi-tasking skills, and a sense of humor.

Jen’s long awaited memoir, Something Other a Than God, is finally out in the world!! I bought it on Amazon the day it came out and couldn’t put it down. It is the story of an atheist woman in search of the truth, which leads her (to her surprise) to find God, and finally to realize that the Catholic Church is where she needed to be all along.

I have been following Jen’s blog, Conversion Diary, for some time now, in fact she was one of the bloggers that inspired Fran and I to start this blog. It is that same inspiration and candid honesty that she brings to this book, where she shares the details of her spiritual journey.

I guess I could tell you some of the details of the book, but really, you should go out and buy it!  However, I will tell you that Jen’s story really led me to reflect on whether I’m happy where I am in my life right now, and whether I am doing God’s will, or at least trying to do God’s will.   Sometimes it’s so easy to get carried away in our own needs and wants, that it takes somebody like Jen to remind us that we should always be asking ourselves, “Is this what God wants?”

When I finished the book all I could think of was how fortunate those of us who were raised Catholic  and are raising our own children Catholic are, because we do not have to fear death. As a child I too came to that realization that we would all die, and even though this made me sad I was never afraid. I couldn’t have told you then why, but now I know that it was because I believed in heaven. Not everyone has that reassurance.

We all have a different spiritual journey and God calls us all in different ways, but we are all searching for Him whether we know it or not. Which leads me to ask you: are YOU happy or are you still searching for something other than God?

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You can find Jen’s book, Something Other than God here,

The Power of Prayer

We’ve been home for about three weeks now and everything is going great. Baby girl is gaining weight, she weighs a whopping 5 lbs now!!

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We’ve settled into a newborn routine: feeding, sleeping, and diaper changing. My mom flew in from Mexico to help out, and boy did she save our butts. She is a true blessing in our lives.

Again I have to thank you for all of your prayers. It has never been more apparent to us how powerful prayer is and how fortunate we are for the Communion of Saints and our family, the Church. We have received so much support in the form of prayer, meals, visits to the hospital, and more. There really is such a thing as southern hospitality!

We are enjoying every minute with our little girl. Last night, I was doing a feeding at 3am and in my zombie like, sleep deprived state I suddenly realized that I have two kids, and I panicked. You see, my hubby works in the restaurant business and works incredibly long hours, nights, weekends, and holidays. This means that most of the time I parent alone. This of course is not news to me, and I knew this well before we decided to have another baby. Yet, now that show time is upon us, the task seems daunting, especially with summer coming up and our 4 yr old munchkin will be out of school.

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I was talking to my sweet mom about this and she said, ” Honey, you have two hands, one for each child. The time to worry about this is when you have three children and you’re out of hands.” Gotta love some mom wisdom!

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your prayers. If you are in need of prayer, please leave a your requests in the comment section and we will put you on out prayer list.

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Baby in NICU: Still Learning to Trust

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I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe by telling you how much my heart aches for leaving our little girl in the hospital, or maybe by describing in gory detail what recovering from a c-section is like. Mmmm, how about we start with the joyful news instead, our baby daughter was born 12 days ago! She is beautiful, has a full head of hair, and has the most beautiful smile.

She was born at 33 weeks (7 weeks premature) and weighed 4 lbs. 3 oz. She is currently in the NICU, but she is doing very well. Please pray so we can bring her home soon.

My water broke at 32 weeks, at work, yuk! We immediately went to the hospital and that’s where I’ve been for the last two weeks. They were able to stop labor, but I was put on hospital bed rest so the baby could stay in my belly a little bit longer. On the home front, we have been in survival mode for the last few weeks. My mom flew in from Mexico to help out, my husband has been running himself ragged with home and work, and we had to call anyone and everyone for help with our 4 yr. old munchkin. After one week in the hospital I went into labor, but she was in a breech position, so she had to be delivered by c-section. Our greatest fear was that she wouldn’t be able to breathe on her own, but to our  joy this wasn’t the case!

Through all of this ordeal we have received nothing but support from friends, co-workers, and family. We are truly blessed. I have been asking everyone for prayers and I continue to do so, and we have experienced great peace in our hearts, and I’m confident it’s because of those prayers. I know deep down that, ” in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”(Rom 8:28), and that he is faithful. I’ve also realized how much I need and rely on my husband, we truly have become a team.

Proud big brother

Proud big brother

Through all of this it has never been more clear to me that God really wants me to trust him, and that trust is something I struggle with, but when your baby is in the NICU you have two choices: either you put your trust in God or you fall into despair.  We’ve done a little bit of both.

She’s been in the NICU for 12 days now and I think we’re on the home stretch. We hope to have our little girl home to celebrate the joy of Easter with us! Please keep us in your prayers and I will keep you updated.

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