Saturday, December 30, 2017

Three Words for 2018

Create. Enough. Finish.

Three words for 2018.

But people usually pick one word for the year, right? Yes, that is correct. And it has always been my habit to choose one word in the past. But not this time. I wanted one word. I really did. But there was a battle inside me between the words create and enough every time I tried to narrow it down to just one. Honestly, I didn't want either word. I wanted a calm word like rest or a nice word like delight. 

On Friday Jen Fulwiler announced that she had developed a Word of the Year generator. I was excited and convinced the generator would solve my problem for me. One press of the virtual button, a few seconds of anticipation, and my word read bold on my phone screen: FINISH. A groan and momentary thought of "seriously" flashed through my head. Finish? What?

As I sat at my kitchen table, phone still in my hand, my thoughts drifted back to create and enough. Much to my surprise, I no longer envisioned them fighting for the coveted place of Word of the Year. No, they were at peace together, bonded by the word finish. The three words formed a circle, where one finished the other began.

Still not convinced that I should focus on three words in 2018, I let my thoughts and my hands move on to more pressing matters, such as the dishes and getting the kids to bed. I awoke this morning searching for coffee and a solution to my word problem. Throughout my day I have tried to get rid of one or more words without success. The three words want to be together, and they want to be mine for all of 2018.
So be it. Challenge accepted.

To stay focused on the three words and because I like being thorough, I have come up with three guidelines for myself.

1. Finish one work in progress before starting a new project.
2. Create new projects from stash.
3. Do not add to the stash in 2018 because I have enough.

Now that I have a plan, I am excited to see how it unfolds. I love this time of year. Being able to review one year while anticipating a new one is thrilling. I enjoy looking back at the moments, both good and bad, and making notes about lessons learned. Promises of more experiences to savor and opportunities for growth abound in the new year.

Good-bye, 2017! You were more exceptional than I could have envisioned. Hello, 2018. We have much to accomplish.

For more posts like this one, you can read about my words for 2014 and 2015.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Remembering November {7QT}

1. November is full of birthdays! Chris turned 43 earlier this month. We also celebrated Chris' brother and his wife's birthdays, and our nephew's birthday. I also celebrated two of my closest and oldest friends' birthdays. We eat a lot of cake and ice cream in November!

2. I love my Fitbit Blaze, but during November, I only wore it while working out. I needed a break from wearing it all day, every day. Wearing it to track my daily steps had started to feel like a negative instead of a positive thing. For example, I was allowing myself to be irritated when I needed to use both my arms to carry items while I was walking. I would think about all of the steps that my Fitbit wasn't registering, and all of those missed steps would frustrate me. All of a sudden my daily average of 14,000 steps felt like a failure because I knew that I had walked more than that amount. The worst part about my irritation was that usually, I was carrying Mary Rose with one arm and necessary items, like laundry baskets or groceries with the other hand. Seriously, I should not have let needing to carry my child while getting chores done upset me so much. I decided that I needed a break from the daily step goal, and to only focus on my workouts. Taking the break from daily wear helped me to break my obsession with the daily step goal. Looking back at my workouts for November I am not completely happy with the results. I exercised eight fewer days than the previous months. Overall, I am glad that I took the break because it did help me chill out and not focus on getting all the steps, all the time. But now that it is the first day of December, I am back to wearing it all day. I need the accountability to stay on track. Hopefully, I will remember that my Fitbit is a tool to keep me focused on my goals and not a taskmaster that makes me a resentful grump.

3. Chris was on vacation from work for a week this month. It was fantastic having him home for eight days in a row! He painted three rooms, purchased a not entirely new but new enough car for the family, fixed our roof, power-washed the patio, and accompanied me on various errands. We spent an evening at Hershey Park. The weather was mild, and the park was decorated for Christmas already. The lights were beautiful, so Mary Rose and I had a great time walking around the park looking at the decorations while the guys rode the rides. We had a great time together!

4. We had a lovely Thanksgiving day. In the morning, I made a triple batch of sweet potato casserole, and double batches of green bean casserole and pasta salad while catching up on episodes of TLC's Long Lost Family. Then in the early afternoon, we put the dishes I had prepared into the car and headed to Maryland to spend the rest of the day with Chris' family. We had such a great time, and I didn't look at my phone one time! Unfortunately, that means that I didn't take any pictures to document the day. I am hoping that my sister-in-law will email me a few pictures when she has the time.

5. Speaking of TLC's Long Lost Family, I can relate to the show since being matched with my biological father through AncestryDNA. I cry every time family members meet each other for the first time. Why I weep when complete strangers meet each other is beyond my understanding since I did not shed a tear when I met my father for the first time this past October.

6. On Wednesday I took the kids to get their pictures taken to put into our Christmas cards. It was the first professional picture of all four of the kids together. I think they turned out cute. Much cuter than the quick photos I took of them in the mall parking lot! 

7. The craziest thing happened yesterday evening. There was an earthquake! I was standing in the kitchen when I heard a loud "Boom!" Followed by a rumbling and the entire house shaking. Once it was over, we went outside to look around. Our neighbors were out too, so we talked to them about what we had experienced. All of us thought there had been an explosion, but since we didn't see smoke or hear sirens, we weren't sure what had caused it. A little later the news programs reported a 4.1 magnitude earthquake. We don't experience earthquakes often, so that is why we didn't automatically think an earthquake had caused the disturbance. I did not like it, and I hope that I never experience another one. 

For more Quick Takes, please visit Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Sunday Best #19: The Beach and New Boots

Happy Sunday!

Thomas has Confirmation prep class after Mass on Sundays. The class isn't long enough for us to drive home and back to church again to pick up Thomas by the end, so we try to find fun things to do around town while we wait for the class to end. Today we stopped by the beach. The weather was beautiful and a little warmer than I expected. 

I snapped a quick picture of Chris and Ralph and then asked Chris to take one of Mary Rose and me. Apparently, we were more concerned with our lovely surroundings then the people whom we were photographing! I am wearing a Lularoe dress and a cardigan from Kohl's (both have made an appearance in previous My Sunday Best posts). My boots are brand new though! I got them for a very affordable price from Amazon. 

Chris and I thought Mary Rose was awful during Mass. She entertained herself by pinching us and singing when everyone else was silent. Not a mean look did we receive, though. All of the older ladies who turned and looked had a friendly smile on their face. As we walked out of the door, Father smiled a huge smile and said enthusiastically, "There she is! She was so good today!" 
I am very thankful to be members of this parish that is full of kind and joyful people.

Please visit Rosie at A Blog For My Mom for more My Sunday Best

Monday, October 30, 2017

Five Favorites: Knitting Socks

After years of saying I was going to learn how to knit socks, I finally did it. In March I cast on my first sock. So far I have finished one pair of socks and a single sock. Currently, I have three socks on needles that are almost ready for toes. Some people knit socks exclusively, but I like to have sock projects to knit on when I need a break from my larger shawl and sweater projects. Plus, a sock project is very portable because it is so small.

The yarn on the needles is Anne with and E by Nomadic Yarns. The yarn ball is Luna Lovegood by The Yarn Jar.

I wanted to knit socks, but I kept putting it off because I am not a lover of double pointed needles or the magic loop method. I would not be a sock knitter or enjoy the process so much without these five things.

1. This YouTube tutorial by Tina of the Simply in Stitches channel.

Tina has a total of nine videos that take you through the entire process of knitting vanilla (plain) socks from cuff through toe on nine-inch circular needles.

2. ChiaoGoo 9-inch circular needles
I love these little needles. I love them so much that I own four pairs of them. They are sharp but not too sharp, and they are affordable.

3. Bulb Stitch Markers
I did not have these locking stitch markers when I first started knitting socks. I did not love using a slip on stick marker on such a small needle. A couple of months after I started knitting socks, I received a few of the bulb stitch markers in a yarn purchase, so I switched to using them. I love the way they clip onto the stitch instead of hanging off of the needle. Plus I use them to mark every twenty rows so that I know my socks are the same length.

4. Self-striping Yarn
I can confidently say that I will cast-on all future socks projects with self-striping yarn. It is thoroughly enjoyable to watch the stripes form, and knowing that the color change is only a few rows away encourages me to keep knitting. Knit Picks sells an affordable self-striping yarn called Felici, but they do not offer it all year long. Etsy has a lot of shops with self-striping yarn from independent dyers. Two of my favorite self-striping indie dyers are Nomadic Yarns and The Yarn Jar.

5. Fish Lips Kiss Heel
The tutorial above follows a pattern that uses a slip-stitch heel flap with a heel turn and gusset. I enjoyed knitting it the first two times but not as much the third time. I decided to try the Fish Lips Kiss heel from Sox Therapist, and it was a game changer. I have knit the Fish Lips Kiss Heel several times now, and I will not go back to original heel flap and gusset.

Are you a knitter? Do you knit socks?
If you are not a knitter, you may want to check out my Fall in Love With Knitting post.

Please visit Ashley of The Big White Farmhouse blog for more Five Favorites.

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #8.

post #7 Fall Fun: A Visit to the Orchard
post #6 I Am Grateful: Meeting My Father
post #5 My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress
post #4 My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One
post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like it's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Fall Fun: A Visit to the Orchard

Monday morning Mary Rose woke with a runny nose and a cough. By Tuesday evening the rest of us were coughing and sneezing. I worried that we would have to back out of our homeschool group's scheduled trip to a local orchard at the end of the week. As the week progressed our symptoms remained the same, but we kept up with our schoolwork, including getting together with another family for science and Latin class. The moms that I talked to about our cold symptoms didn't mind that we might pass the cold on to them, so we kept our plans to meet at the orchard this morning.

The weather was a lovely sixty-six degrees. It wasn't busy, so there weren't lines, and the kids got to play on everything freely. The highlight of the orchard's Fall Fest is a corn maze. The older kids made it through the entire maze, but the moms and the younger children only made it about a third of the way before giving up. While we waited for the big kids to finish the maze, we sat under a tree and ate snacks. As we left, we stopped in the store to buy donuts to take home with us. We had a wonderful time! 

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #7.

post #6 I Am Grateful: Meeting My Father
post #5 My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress
post #4 My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One
post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like it's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Am Grateful: Meeting My Father

Last Monday I met my father for the first time in 41 years. I didn't cry, despite being positive that I would sob. Every day for eight straight days we spent a little time together, talking, piecing together the years that we had missed. I enjoyed my time with him.

It is hard to express my feelings and thoughts over the last twelve weeks. It is a difficult situation, and I believe it has to be lived to be understood. Since the first time my father contacted me, my feelings were all over the place, from hopeful to uncertain, annoyed to tranquil. Underneath all the wavering emotions, was one worry. Could we have a relationship together as father and daughter?

Seeing my father's face quieted my concern. The DNA that he gave me is no longer just words on a screen, but flesh and blood standing in front of me. Finally, I can acknowledge who he is to me and appreciate our shared connection.

I am grateful that my father overcame his rough childhood. I am thankful that he has a loving family, friends he enjoys, and hobbies that keep him busy. I am glad that he made the time to visit with my family and me and introduce us to some of his family. I am thankful that we have the time ahead of us to learn more about each other, build relationships and be a family.

I am full of gratitude to Chris and my mother for the emotional support through the hard years of insecurity and angst. They encouraged me to keep moving forward with the meeting when I let the worry overwhelm me and were physically there for me (and the kids) last week.

I am thankful for my friend, Julie, for buying me the DNA test in the first place.

I am full of praise to God, the author of my life. With His grace and peace, I continue on this journey. My story is unfinished. May God's will be done.

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #6.

post #5 My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress
post #4 My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One
post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like it's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

My Sunday Best #18: A New Dress

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Sunday!

Despite Mary Rose's rambunctious behavior during Mass this morning, my family and I have had a wonderful day. After Mass, Thomas went to his religious education class, and the rest of us visited Walmart for motor oil and Halloween candy. Then we drove back to the church, parked the car, and took a quick walk around town until Thomas' class was over. Now we are home relaxing.

Earlier today in the automotive section, they looked so cute standing there in their Sunday best that I had to take their picture! 

This picture was taken before we left for Mass, hence no shoes, but after Mary Rose tried to rip out some of my hair, hence the mischievous look on her face!

I recently bought this Chaps dress from Kohl's. They sell it in two different prints, so I purchased each one. They are currently on sale. Several of the dresses that I bought from Lularoe last year are no longer suitable to wear outside of the house because the fabric is very worn out, so I have been on the search for new dresses.

This evening Chris is going to stay home with the kids, and I am going to have dinner with my father and a few other family members at a local Mexican restaurant.
Last Sunday, I asked for prayers regarding meeting my father for the first time. I know that you have been praying for me because I have felt covered with love and peace all week long. Thank you.

I pray you have a great week! 

For more My Sunday Best, please visit Rosie at A Blog for my Mom

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Sunday Best #17: Mary Rose Turns One!

Happy Sunday!

This morning we went to the 11:00 Mass. Mary Rose was not on her best behavior. Chris and I had to pass her back and forth repeatedly, but we all managed to make it to the end of Mass. Despite her crazy antics of face smacking, hair pulling, and head-butting, the kind lady behind us made sure to let us know that she was the sweetest baby who was able to make it through Mass. The people at our new parish really are super friendly.

Thomas had his confirmation prep class directly after Mass. His class is an hour and fifteen minutes, so the rest of us picked up a snack and visited three different parks in town. The weather was warm, but not too warm, and humid. It was pleasant to be outside, but the humidity made my hair look crazy!

Chris took this picture of us at one of the playgrounds that we visited. 

Last week was a busy week for us.
We celebrated Mary Rose's first birthday on Wednesday. I can't believe that my baby is already one! She is fun and very feisty, running around the house and getting into everything. We just had a small family gathering for her Wednesday night. She liked her cake and ice cream, but she didn't love it. She only ate a couple of bites of her small slice of cake and just a few tiny spoonfuls of her ice cream. The boys really enjoyed their first tastes of cake and ice cream, so Mary Rose's disinterest was a little surprising to all of us.

These are the best photos of her birthday. Very sad, right? I need to pull out my old Canon Power Shot because I am tired of poor quality cell phone pictures!

The next day, Chris and I celebrated our twenty-first wedding anniversary. We didn't do anything special, but he did bring home gorgeous orange roses and dark chocolate. He knows me so well! I am excited to spend the next twenty plus years with him. In case you missed it, you can read how we met here.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Tomorrow my father and I will meet each other for the first time. I would appreciate it if you would please say a prayer for us.

Please visit Rosie at A Blog for my Mom for more My Sunday Best.

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #4.

post #3 Day Trip {September 2017}
post #2 Blogging Like It's 2011
post #1 My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day Trip {September 2017}

The last day of September was a Saturday, and Chris had taken the day off from work. Chris rarely has a free Saturday, so we were determined to do something fun. Everyone had an opinion of how we should spend the day, but after a little deliberation, we settled on spending the day hiking. 

After a bit of research, we decided to spend the day hiking at Susquehannock State Park in Pennsylvania. It was our first time there, and it did not disappoint. We had an excellent time walking the scenic trails. The park has a little over five miles of trails, most of them are easy to travel with children. The Rhododendron Trail was the most difficult to hike, as the path was rough and overgrown in a few spots and poorly marked. However, we enjoyed hiking the Rhododendron Trail, as it was only a little over a mile to walk and had stunning views. 

On our way back to Delaware, we stopped in Maryland at Elk Neck State Park to walk to the Turkey Point Lighthouse. At just under a mile, the hike is easy and pleasant, ending with the beautiful views of the old lighthouse and the Chesapeake Bay. This trail is an old favorite of ours, and I am sure we will visit it again in the future. 

The kids and I are thankful that we got to spend the day with Chris doing something that we all enjoy. Hiking is definitely at the top of our list of favorite day trip activities. 

What is a favorite day trip activity that you have done with your family in the past? What day trip are you hoping to take in the future? 

This month I am participating in the Weekly Writing in October challenge hosted by Bobbi at Revolution of Love. My goal is to write eight blog posts this month. This post is post #3.

post #2 - Blogging Like It's 2011
post #1 - My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Blogging Like It's 2011

You may have heard about the writing challenge that happens every October called Write 31 Days. It is a lofty goal, and not one that I am up to doing. However, my friend Bobbi has a more doable challenge over at her blog Revolution of Love. It's the Weekly Writing in October challenge, and it is more my style! 

For several weeks now I have been thinking about how I miss blogging and reading blog posts like in the good old days. I have made it my goal this month to blog like it is 2011: writing about family updates, my knitting, and maybe even a daybook post. I averaged eight posts a month in 2011, so I am going to write eight posts this month or die trying. Don't worry. I am only kidding about that last part! 

Random photo of trees because the post felt like it needed a picture and it's October!

You may be wondering why I want to jump back into updating the blog more regularly when I have been such a sporadic and uninspiring blogger for the last two years. I have been asking myself that question lately. I walked around for a couple of weeks trying to sort through my thoughts about blogging, until I finally thought, "Duh, you have written about this before! Go read it on your blog!" 

Three posts helped me to remember why I enjoy blogging. Tell Your Story and Eyes on the Good Shepherd reminded me how encouraging and faith building blogs can be when writers are honest about the miraculous and the mundane happenings of life. 
The advice that I shared in Evolution Of a Blogger reminded me to worry less, pray more, and write every day even if you only publish one or two posts a week or month. 

I am excited for October! This post is my second post of the month, so I only have six more to go.

Are you taking part in Write 31 Days or the Weekly Writing in October challenge? If you are please let me know in the comments. I would love to visit your blog.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

My Sunday Best #16: Hurrah! It's October!

Happy first day of October! I love October. The cooler weather and beautiful foliage make me happy. Plus we celebrate our wedding anniversary and now Mary Rose's birthday in October.

I haven't updated this space in a while, so I decided that since it is Sunday and the first day of October that I would type up a quick My Sunday Best post. This morning the weather was cool and perfect for sweater wearing, so I wore a LuLaRoe Nicole dress and a new cardigan that I bought from Ross several weeks ago for a great low price. While Mary Rose had a lot of summer dresses, she does not have as many cooler weather dresses, so she wore a long sleeve top with leggings that have an attached skirt. I think she looked cute! Here is a mediocre cell phone picture of our church outfits.

About eight weeks ago, we started attending Mass at the church where our homeschool support group meets. We have been members of the group for around seven years, and we love the families in the group. However, since we were the only family that was not parishioners at that church, we felt that we missed opportunities to see our friends. After discussing it for almost a year, Chris and I finally decided that it was time to make the switch, and we are glad that we did. Our new parish is much smaller than our old one and does not have a cry room or gathering area. At first that made me nervous, but Mary Rose has been behaving (mostly), and everyone has been friendly and understanding. In total, we are spending about 40 minutes extra in the car, but it has been worth it. We couldn't be happier, and the kids love seeing their friends at Mass every week. 

Have a wonderful week and fabulous October! 

For more My Sunday Best, please visit Rosie

Monday, September 4, 2017

My Sunday Best #15 and Another DNA Update

Happy Labor Day! 

It has been almost two months since my last blog post. I didn't plan to take a two-month break, but life has a way of changing one's plans in surprising ways. Before, I get into the surprise of my life (I had thought that finding myself pregnant one month before my 40th birthday was the surprise of my life, but I was totally wrong), how about a picture of Mary Rose and me in our Sunday best. 

I took pictures every Sunday of our outfits, but I decided to show three weeks of our Sunday attire because a couple of our outfits were repeats. Plus, I shared one of our Sunday Best photos to Instagram. Isn't Mary Rose the cutest? She is cutting more teeth right now, so that is why she looks so grumpy in the last section of the picture collage. She is growing so fast! We will celebrate her first birthday in October. Time really does fly! 

Next up, the big news. 

On July 21st, my father contacted me.

He had his DNA tested through AncestryDNA, and in addition to receiving his ethnicity results, he gained a daughter, me. After what I imagine to be a moment of shock, he contacted me through email, and then later in the day through Facebook. We have been getting to know each other through texts and phone calls. He is coming to visit in the fall. 

I didn't write about it sooner because I couldn't. Writing is how I process my thoughts and feelings. Honestly, I didn't want to explore some of the emotions that I knew were begging for my attention. Looking back, I can see now that I spent the first couple weeks in shock, which is entirely understandable. The man I had decided I would never meet had contacted me, and I was learning that some of the things I had thought I knew about him were not exactly correct. 

Once the shock wore off, old emotions and memories resurfaced. I got angry. That emotion surprised me. After all, I thought I had already moved past the negative feelings of my childhood and into a place of security and comfort. I didn't know where to direct the anger or how to let it go, so I took it to confession. It was the right decision. I left the confessional, having received wise counsel, feeling more focused and better equipped to move forward, away from the anger and into a place of acceptance. 

Here is where I am today; I am no longer fatherless. The man whose DNA I share is alive and well, putting forth the energy to get to know me, and being open about his life so that I may get to know him. I am unsure of what our future relationship will look like, and I have no expectations because, let's be real, feelings for another person aren't automatic just because of shared DNA. What I am certain of is that this is a perfect time for us to start this journey together. There have been 41 years of life experiences, personal development, and maturity that has brought us to our current life situations, which include people we love and trust and who support us in our decision to build a relationship with each other. 

We both have choices to make about the future. Right now I choose to be open to learning and understanding the man who, by right of DNA, is my father. 

In case you are unfamiliar with my story, you can read about it here, here, and here

For more My Sunday Best, please visit Rosie

Monday, July 10, 2017

My Sunday Best #14: Temperaments and Mass Behavior

It's Monday morning, and Mary Rose in napping so right now is the perfect time to share a few personal details on the internet unabashedly!

How about I start with what Mary Rose and I wore to Mass. I wore a Lularoe maxi as a dress with an Ann Taylor cardigan. Mary Rose wore an adorable outfit that my aunt gave her. I love the way it bubbles out around her chubby legs!

For the last several weeks I have been rereading The Temperament God Gave You, and The Temperament God Gave Your Kids, written by Art and Laraine Bennett. I am very interested in the four temperaments, and I am trying to use what I have learned to better communicate and relate to my family members. My husband and I took the quiz, as well as our oldest son. Our youngest boys did not take the quiz, but I know what their primary temperament is based on the information in the books. My husband is choleric/sanguine. I am melancholic/phlegmatic, and our oldest son is phlegmatic/sanguine. Our middle son is melancholic, while our youngest son is sanguine. I first read the books about three and a half years ago but did not get the rest of my family involved with learning about the temperaments. This time around everyone is involved in the temperament discussion, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. We have had a blast learning and discussing each other's temperaments.

I think that our Mass behavior is the perfect example of our temperaments in action. My husband, a choleric, leads our family by dictating where and in what order we sit. Ralph, a sanguine, thinks that Mass is the perfect place to see and most importantly be seen. Thomas, a melancholic, sits quietly, looking serious and a bit embarrassed by the rest of us. Holden, a phlegmatic, has always been quiet and content to follow everyone else's lead. As a melancholic, I feel a little sorry for myself because I am sandwiched between the wiggly baby and the outgoing nine-year-old yet again, longing to be able to participate in Mass with my full attention. 

Have you read any of the books about the four temperaments? Do you know your temperament?

If you are not familiar with the four temperaments, I encourage you to get the books or at the very least take the quiz and read about your temperament. 

Please visit Rosie for more My Sunday Best

Monday, July 3, 2017

My Sunday Best #13: Three Sunday Outfits and a DNA update

Every Sunday for the last three weeks I have taken a picture of what Mary Rose and I wear to Mass, but I have been so busy that I haven't made the time to write a My Sunday Best post. Well, not today, friends! The laundry can wait!

Working backward, yesterday I wore a Lularoe maxi and an old but not faded black t-shirt. Last week I wore a Lularoe Irma with an old skirt. The week before that was Father's Day, and I wore a dress that is from Torrid. I wore the dress through my pregnancy. I love it! There you have it. All three weeks of Mass attire presented to you with poor quality photos!

Speaking of Father's Day, this year I thought about my father a lot. I have never met my father, and I usually do not spend time thinking about him. I made peace with that area of my life years ago. Last year in my first ever My Sunday Best post, I wrote about my Ancestry DNA results. I enjoyed getting my results and learning more about myself. Growing up, all I knew about my father was that he had been raised in the foster care system in Brooklyn, and he told my mom that was Puerto Rican.

Recently, Ancestry started placing people in genetic communities based on their DNA results. I was placed into one genetic community, and it is very likely, like 95% likely, that I belong to that community.

At first, finding out that I am part of the Eastern Puerto Rico genetic community made me laugh and then made me feel satisfied. I will never know my father, and I am okay with that fact, but knowing with a 95% certainty that I belong to the ethnic group that he identified with makes me happy. This Father's Day I thought about him more than I had in a long time, and I decided that I should make an effort to pray for him daily. Praying for him will be good for both of us!

Anyway, I am still thankful for the friend that gifted me with my Ancestry DNA kit. It is like the gift that keeps on giving. Seriously, it keeps giving me cousins! Now I am up to 1,677 fourth cousins or closer. My mother also had her DNA tested, and it has been fun comparing our DNA matches.

Have a happy week!

Please visit Rosie for more My Sunday Best posts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Sunday Best #12: C'est la vie!

Yesterday, our oldest son, Holden, turned 21 years old. Also, Mary Rose hit her 8-month mark. This morning I am drinking my coffee out of a mug that says "C'est la vie." I bought the mug a couple of months ago, and it instantly became my favorite. Not only because it holds 16 ounces of hot, delicious goodness, but because it sums up how I feel about my life. Not in the negative way that the phrase is often used to acknowledge a disappointment. No, my mug is lovely, covered in flowers and swirly script. It proclaims "That's life" in a boldly beautiful way!

On Saturday a family member cackled, "Tomorrow your oldest turns 21, and your youngest isn't even one year old yet! That's crazy!" I smiled and replied, "It's not crazy. It's my life." I thank God for it, and for all the people, big and small that He has placed in my life. What a blessing it has been to sit and talk to my son, the man, about college classes and work schedules, while holding a wiggly baby on my lap. I know it looks undesirable to other people, but to me, it feels like perfection, a gift. Yes, life is a beautiful gift.  

I am wearing a Lularoe Carly.

My life isn't perfect. There have been days, weeks, and months that have been hard, with moments of sadness and feelings of loneliness and uncertainty. But those times seem so short compared to the years that have been full to bursting with happiness. 

This is the life. My beautiful life. And I thank God for it!

Please, check out more Sunday attire over at Rosie's blog. In case you missed my update about finally getting some sleep you can read that here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Feeling Chatty: Sleep Habits, Stretching, and Shoes

Here at the Saint household we are all slowly getting better from a spring cold. I think colds in the springtime are the cruelest because they keep us from being outside and enjoying the company of our friends and family. Over the last week, we had to miss making mulberry jam with friends, a nephew's graduation party, and Mass. Needless to say, we have had disappointed spirits around here in combination with runny noses, coughs, sore throats, and headaches.

Since we were too sick to go to Mass, I can't join Rosie and the gang for My Sunday Best, which stinks because I am feeling chatty. Then I remembered an idea that I had a few weeks ago about creating a recurrent post with tidbits of information about what's new in our life and the things that are keeping us busy.

Thank you to all that responded to my cry for help! Truly, you blessed me with your suggestions and commiserations here and over at Instagram. There were several book suggestions. After reading the reviews, I decided to buy Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child because it appeared to be the most comprehensive book on children's sleep habits. It arrived on Thursday, and by Saturday I started implementing the author's suggestions. Since we were under the weather and stuck at home, I figured it would be the best time to start. The author said it would take four to nine days of twenty-four-hour sleep training to break the old habits and build new ones depending on which method I decided to use. He offers several methods that range from crying it out, modified cry it out, to no cry. I am happy to report that it has been, dare I say, easy to get her on a new schedule. Yesterday, she took two daytime naps, one for 90 minutes in the late morning and one for two hours in the early afternoon. Last night, she went to bed at 7:00 pm, woke for feedings at midnight and again at 5:00 am. She is currently still asleep (it is 6:30 am Tuesday morning). All daytime napping, night sleeping, and night feedings have taken place in her room. I am rested and refreshed as I sit here sipping my coffee. The best part is that she is a happy baby during her awake periods. She is content to sit and play on the floor or play in her exercise thing for extended periods of time. I wasn't the only one feeling old and tired. I know now that she was sleep deprived, too. I wholeheartedly recommend this book! *

Since I am not feeling tired anymore, the question begs to be asked do I still feel old? The answer is no. I may be 41 years old, but I am active and healthy. Plus, I have a baby. Old people can't physically have babies, so nope, not feeling old. One thing that I try to do daily to help ease any aches and pains that my middle-aged, mom body may be feeling (stiff lower back, achy hips, and tired feet) are flowing stretches called Essentrics. My mother has done them every day for about two years. She loves how they make her feel. She gifted me several of the workouts, including the one for pregnancy, and I now love them, too. Check out the website for more information, and a good amount of mini workout videos. A tip to help you, watch the instructional video about the Neutral C. The best part is that as long as you are wearing comfortable clothes and have 5 to 10 minutes, that is all you need to benefit from the workouts. If you have more free time, like 15 to 20 minutes, then you can complete a full workout. You may need a chair if you want to work on your lower body, but you don't need shoes!

Speaking of shoes, look at those huge shoes in the picture above! Since the third trimester of my pregnancy, I have had to wear size 11 shoes. Ugh! It is very hard to find women's shoes in size 11. So far, I have purchased two pairs of running shoes from Amazon and a pair of black flats from Target. My summer shoes still work because they are all open toe, but if my feet stay a size 11, I will need to replace my winter shoes in the fall. What is your favorite place to buy shoes online?

Well, this is way longer than I planned. I told you that I was feeling chatty. Until next time, friends!

*It took me two days to finish this post. I wanted to add that things are still going well. Last night she slept for 11 hours and woke up to nurse three times.

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