Tuesday, June 30, 2015

While I'm Away {Answer Me This}

My family and I are vacationing in Maine this week. The goal is to swim and hike a lot and to eat lobster a lot. Kendra's link-up is fun and easy, so I took a few minutes to schedule this post before I left. I do not know if I will get a chance to link-up it up at Catholic All Year, but if I do not I hope Kendra doesn't mind! 
On to the questions! 


1. How long have you lived in your current home? 

We moved into our current home in December of 2006. We had it built for us in a new development, and we love the house most of the time. I think our main problem is that we moved from a house in the country to a neighborhood. Some people like to live in the country, and some prefer a neighborhood. We are country dwellers, and now we know it for sure! 

September 2006


The picture is poor quality but this is what Holden and Tom looked like when we moved in to the house in 2006. 


2. How do you find out about news and current events? 

Will you hold it against me if I list AOL and my Facebook s my main news sources? Hmm...

3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?

Surprisingly yes! I just got a fresh $20 bill from the ATM and then bought an unsweetened tea with it. Combine the change from the tea with the coins in my purse and I can easily make the change. 

Proof!


4. What's the craziest food you've ever eaten? 

Just last week I tried Vegemite. I did not like it. My sister-in-law, Abby, spent a semester abroad and brought a small jar home with her. I tried a tiny bit on a spoon. It tasted like a mixture of beef bouillon, soy sauce, licorice, and beer in my opinion. 

5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed? (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc.)

None. I am whole. Haha!

6. What's your favorite sport to watch on TV? 

My favorite sport to watch is football, but I also enjoy watching basketball and tennis. I also enjoy watching most of the Olympics when it on the TV.  


For more answers to the questions, visit Catholic All Year

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #6 {link-up}

It is week six of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 



I got a bit more stitching done on my second sackcloth towel. My family and I are on vacation in Maine this week, and I did not bring the towel to work on during our trip. Instead, I brought a new cross stitch project that needs to be completed in less than two weeks. Eek! I will show you a sneak peek next week. 

Now it is time to show off your projects! Link-up below! 



The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project. 



Monday, June 22, 2015

Dads. Who needs them? {Answer Me This}

Obviously, everyone needs a dad, but some of us aren't fortunate enough to grow up with a dad. I didn't plan to participate in Kendra's Answer Me This link-up this week because it is about dads, and since I do not know my father I didn't feel I could properly answer the questions. But I thought about it, and I decided I should answer the questions to the best of my ability. I don't know why, it just seemed like a good thing to do. On to the questions and answers!



1. What's the best thing about your dad? 

I have never met my dad. I have never seen a picture of him. I was never even told anything about him until I was almost twelve years old. I wrote my story and how I found healing earlier this year, Searching For My Father and Finding Peace

My grandparents raised me, and it wasn't an ideal situation, but it worked. I remember being a young child and asking my grandfather if I could call him Dad. He told me that he had children, and I was not one of them so I should continue to call him Pop-pop. I remember being hurt, although he didn't say it with meanness, more matter-of-fact. He was the father figure in my life, though, and I appreciate all that he did for me. He passed away in March 2012. 

Despite pregnant face or maybe because of it, I think I look like my grandfather. 2007

2. If you've got kids, what's the best thing about THEIR dad? (If you don't, feel free to substitute your grandfather or another father figure.) 

I think the best thing about my husband is that he is himself, always. We met as teenagers twenty-four years ago. He is still the same hard working, slightly grumpy but playful prankster that he was when I met him - only better, wiser. If you want to know more about why I love my husband you can read this post I wrote in 2013.   





3. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you? 

My grandfather taught me how to drive a stick shift and how to check the oil in my car. 

4. What's something you have in common with your dad? 

My grandfather liked to eat cereal for dessert, and I think it makes a great dessert as well. 

5. What's the manliest thing you know how to do? 

I don't really think of these things as being manly, But I know how to check the oil and tire pressure in my car (my mother taught me how to check the tire pressure). 

6. Who is your favorite fictional dad? 

Honest, reliable, and brave, Arthur Weasley is one of my favorite fictional dads. Although not a traditional father, Mathew Cuthbert is also a favorite of mine because of his unconditional love, acceptance, and quiet devotion to Anne. 



Yesterday was Father's Day. The boys and I celebrated their dad, and I think he had a good day. We didn't have any big plans. We started the day with Mass. We saw my father-in-law at the church and wished him a happy Father's Day. Then we went home and spent the day there working on different areas of the yard and house. We had a simple dinner of cheeseburgers, potato salad, and sliced cucumbers, and then brownie sundaes for dessert. 

Several times through the day, I thought about my grandfather. He was a good, hard-working man, and I am thankful that I had him in my life. I also thought about the man who is my biological father. Although he has always been completely absent from my life, he is still a part of me. I will never wish him a happy Father's Day, but I pray for him, and that is enough.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #5 {link-up}

It is week five of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 

I finished the sugar skull sackcloth towel for my cousin and then decided to start a new one. After all the towels come in a set of two! I used another coloring page that I found here and transferred it to the towel with tracing paper (making sure to press harder than I did last time). 





I have a full week ahead of me, and then it is up to Maine for a family vacation. I will schedule the post for week six of the stash blast, in case anyone wants to link-up. I truly appreciate the few of you that join the link-up regularly. Thank you, Ruth Anne, Ashley, and Maria! I enjoy seeing your projects and progress! 

One last thing, I have decided not to do a giveaway this month. I have been so busy and forgot to make the proper arrangements for the giveaway. The giveaway series will resume next month! (Read more about the giveaway series here.)

What have you been working on? Did you finish any projects? Link up below! 



The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer is for link-ups... {Answer Me This}

... or something like that.

Kendra at Catholic All Year has brought back her Answer Me This link-up for the summer, and I am happy to join the fun! 

1. Any big plans for the summer? 

Yes! We are driving up to Maine for a week at the end of June. Chris's sister and her husband rented a big lake house and invited all the family to join them. There is family gathering from Delaware, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. It should be a lot of fun! 

Here at the blog I am hosting a Summer Stitching Stash Blast link-up. I started it to motivate me to finish all the cross stitch and embroidery projects that are stashed in my craft bins. It is in week four, and there are twelve more weeks to go. If you have any needlework or sewing projects that you need to finish, I would love if you joined the link-up. 




Also, I am going to start watching my 18-month-old niece four days a week. The boys and I are excited to have her spend a few hours during the day with us. 

We are keeping up with our summer school schedule. It is very relaxed, and I like keeping up with our studying. The boys are not sure if they like it or not yet! 


2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child? 

For a few years, I believed that the Easter Bunny had fangs and glowing red eyes. I thought that if I saw him he would bite me. I am not sure where I got that idea. 


3. What is your favorite amusement park ride? (can be a specific one at a specific park or just a type of ride)

I love Disney World. I have been there twice, and my favorite ride there was Soarin at Epcot. I loved it. We are planning a trip back to Disney World this fall, and I can't wait. It will be Ralph's first time there. I know he is going to love it! 


4. What is your summer reading list? 

I am currently reading 
Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence  Jenni Catron
The Complete Stories Flannery O'Connor



To be read
A Poetry Handbook Mary Oliver
Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love Sally Clarkson 




5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public? 

Once. I fell asleep in study hall my senior year. The boy next to me tapped me on the shoulder and told me to wake up. I told him to let me sleep. 


6. What is your favorite smell? 

I love the smell of Chrism oil, cinnamon, vanilla, spearmint, and the Yankee Candle Sun and Sand scent. Currently, I love the smell of the Method Pure Naked Body Wash in Magnolia. 




Check out all the answers to Kendra's questions here

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #4 {link-up}

It is week four of the Summer Stitching Stash Blast. 

What a week! This week Holden turned 19 years old, so we did a little celebrating on his birthday. Then another day the boys and I spent the day at the beach. We had a great day! We love the beach and hope to make it to the beach at least once a week this summer. Also, I have been a little under the weather, and I hope it passes soon. 

Now about my stitching this week! After noticing my cross stitch project had a mistake last week, I decided to take a break for it and work on another simple embroidery project from my stash. I knew I had a couple sackcloth towels in my stash, but I wasn't sure what to do with them. I checked out Pinterest and decided to stitch a sugar skull. I intend to give the finished towel to my cousin. 

I found free printable coloring pictures here. I printed a couple and then transferred one onto the cloth with tracing paper. It was too light though, so I went over it with my transfer pen. Then I picked out the embroidery floss from my stash. 




I am almost finished with it. I should be done, but I didn't work on it for several days because of the busyness of the week and my low spirits. I hope to finish it soon and start working on another. 

What have you been working on? Link up below! 





The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.

- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 

- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.

- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer Stitching Stash Blast #3 {link-up}

It is time for week three of our sixteen week Summer Stitching Stash Blast!

I continued to work on my Dainty Spring cross stitch this week. I love cross stitching, but it moves along slow for me. However, this Summer Stitching Stash Blast is motivating me to make time to stitch every day. 

Here is my progress: 


Looking at this picture, I just realized I miscounted. I am off by two rows! Looks like I have some pulling out to do. Oh well, just count that as pulling out session number six for this project, so far.


I also completed a small, simple embroidery project that I promised I would stitch for a friend. It is very satisfying to start and finish a project in just a couple of hours. 




Halloween stitching in June made me thankful for the long summer season ahead of me. Last week was full of rain and cooler temps, which would feel perfect in October, but not in June. I enjoy the fall season but only after a hot, sunny summer! 

I have enjoyed seeing what everyone has been working on so far. I can't wait to see what you worked on this week.

Show me your stitching projects! Link-up below! 



The rules:

- Write a blog post showcasing your current and recently completed needlework and sewing projects. If you would like to combine your stitching post with another topic, such as a daybook, weekend happenings, book review or what your wore to church, that is cool with me.


- Any post that is not about needlework, sewing, or stitching in some form will be removed from the link-up, as will any post that is offensive. (I do not see that happening, but I need to say it.) See the first post for a the full description of needlework. 


- Please place a link to the most current Summer Stitching Stash Blast in your post so other stitchers can find the link-up.


- Show the other bloggers some love by visiting them and leaving a comment. We all know how hard it is sometimes to finish a project. A little encouragement may be just what she needs to complete her project.  





Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Prayer for God's Guidance {Printable}

Over the next few weeks, the boys and I will be committing to memory the Prayer for God's Guidance. 




I made a simple printable for the prayer using PicMonkey
When making prayer graphics, I like to keep them simple. PicMonkey offers a wide variety of fonts, but the boys need to be able to read each word, so I highlight only a few of the significant words with different, but easy to read fonts. I add color and small embellishments, but nothing that distracts from the prayer. 

I made several different color combinations so each one of us could have one that was special to us. Then I had them printed in the 5x7 size. I used Shutterfly, and they turned out great. We will frame them and keep them by our beds. 

I am sharing them here for your personal use. Just save them to your computer and print them yourself or with a company you trust. 










A couple weeks ago, I shared the printable I made for An Act of Hope. You can find it here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Should've Been Happy {my battle with postpartum depression}

Twelve years ago, today, I gave birth to my second son. After several years of secondary infertility and a previous miscarriage, it is safe to say that I wanted this baby more than anything in the world. My husband wanted him, as did our seven-year-old old son. He was welcomed into our family with joy and was loved beyond words. 



Despite all the love, we spent the next seven months miserable. There was a cloud of sadness, anger, and apathy hanging over us. I cried all the time. The baby cried all the time. My oldest looked at me and said, "You are not the mom I used to have." And my husband, he had no idea what to do, but he knew something was very wrong. 

The memories of the first seven months of my second child's life are unclear. It is like watching a movie through a haze, many moments are fuzzy, and other moments completely gone, large gaps of nothing. I don't have many actual memories, but I know that I wasn't myself. I didn't act like myself or think like myself. My behavior was that of someone else's or rather like a very lost and ruined me. 

The few memories I have are very clear though. I remember nursing my son and crying the entire time, every time. I remember that my son did not gain weight fast enough. I remember my doctor encouraging me to supplement with formula. I remember family encouraging me to stick with breastfeeding longer because it was best, and after all I didn't have any trouble nursing my first son. I remember feeling ashamed and confused because all I had wanted was this child more than anything, and I was failing him and my oldest son. I remember feeling useless, hopeless, and wanting everything just to end. 

Summer 2003


Finally, after seven months of toughing it out, I bought a can of formula and stopped breastfeeding with the encouragement of my husband. After the first 48 hours, I started feeling better. Within two months, the fog lifted completely, and my son and I were very different people. He was a happier baby. I was back to feeling a bit more like myself, a bit broken but on the mend. Finally after nine months of despair, I began to feel the overwhelming excitement of mothering a new baby, that same feeling I had after my first son was born.

Looking back, I know that I should've talked to my doctor about postpartum depression. But when I was in the thick of it, I couldn't make proper decisions for myself. I didn't want anyone to think that I was ungrateful for the child that I had prayed for so fervently. I didn't want anyone to think that I wasn't strong enough to perform the daily tasks of mothering that I saw so many women around me doing with such ease. I kept thinking I would wake up one morning better. I didn't. I needed someone to tell me "Hey, I see that you are struggling. Let's make some changes so you can get better." And I needed to hear it many times to believe it.

Today, my second child is happy and healthy. He is almost taller than me and looks a bit like me with his curly, dark hair. He is also a sensitive child and has a tendency towards melancholy (just like his mother). When I look at him, I feel this deep connection to him. Sometimes the depth of the connection surprises me but is not shocking that it is there. We fought the battle him and me, and we survived. I wish we hadn't suffered those first months together, but wishing doesn't change things. 

Summer 2004


Last week a group of amazing women shared the stories of their battles with postpartum depression and anxiety. Their stories inspired me to tell my story. It is only through open, honest conversation that the isolation of depression will end, and healing can begin. If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, there is help. Please talk to your family, friends, your doctor. You can find more information here.   



Joining Sweet Little Ones for Tuesday Talk

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