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.

Well, you may be thinking that is why a link-up like Seven Quick Takes is a good idea. Of course, you are correct in thinking that, except I hardly ever have seven things to write about regularly. Plus there is the added commitment of trying to get the takes done between Friday and Sunday because if I haven't finished my takes by Sunday, then I always tell myself to just wait until next Friday. Then I forget, or I start to work on them but get sidetracked, and before I realize it, it's Monday again (rinse, repeat).

Or I could always type up a Daybook style post, but I have a similar mindset with the Daybook posts. I feel like they are supposed to kick off the week, so then I am held to posting on Monday, which is a deadline that I miss all the time, too. Honestly, if I post on a Monday, I prefer to type up a My Sunday Best post because I like the company of women that regularly participate in that link-up.

My point is that I decided that a recurrent but unscheduled post about whatever has me feeling chatty is what will work best for me here in this space. I like blogging. I like to be free to discuss what I want when I want. Plus, I just renewed my domain name, so sporadic, imperfect blogging is on the menu for at least two more years!

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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Sunday Best #11: I am Old and Tired!

Well hello again! If you read last week's My Sunday Best post you may have noticed that it was #9, so you may be wondering why this week's post is #11. The truth is that last week's post should've been #10, but I am too old and too tired, and my brain just can't keep up! I am just going to move forward with the correct post number like last week didn't happen. Thanks for understanding! 

Can you help me? 

I am tired. I am old. I need help, ladies. Someone recently shared a book about getting babies to sleep on their own, but I can not remember who it was or where I saw it. The mom said the book was very helpful. I think it was a Catholic mom blogger because I only read Catholic mom blogs, but I may have seen it in my Facebook feed or on Instagram. I now wish that I would have paid better attention to the title of the book. I need that book or any book or a bit of advice that will tell me how to get Mary Rose to nap and sleep on her own. She is my worst sleeper. I am so tired. 

She is waking up to nurse five times at night. At over seven months old, I think (and my pediatrician agrees) that is excessive. And she is not waking up happy. She wakes up angry and demanding. She takes two naps during the day. One is an hour (if that), and the other is half an hour. She is so different from my boys, who were all great sleepers. 

Being a seasoned mom, I feel like I should know what to do, and a lot of the advice I have gotten is to let her cry it out. I am not really into doing that. I am wondering if I should get The No Cry Sleep Solution. Have you read it? Is it any good? 

Anyway, how about a blurry photo of what I and the bad sleeper wore to Mass. 

I wore a Lularoe Nicole and a cardigan and shoes from Target.

We were both tired and cranky during Mass. She got to fall asleep and drool all over me while I sat there sweating. She sure is cute though. And I love her bunches. I just need some sleep!

Rant over! Visit Rosie and the gang for more Sunday fashion. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Sunday Best #9: I'm Back!

Hello! You may or may not have noticed that I took a break from blogging and even set the blog to private for a while. I also took a break from Facebook. I enjoyed my break, but I am ready to be more social, so here I am. The last blog post I wrote was a My Sunday Best, so it seems fitting to start back with another My Sunday Best post. 

Here is a lovely, blurry picture! My eight-year-old photographer likes to take three quick pictures rapidly without warning. This picture is the best of the three. The dress is a Nicole from Lularoe, the cardigan and shoes are from Kohls (last year).  Hey, I sort of match my carpet! Anyway, I have purchased quite a few new pieces of Lularoe recently. Several of the ladies that I had purchased from before are having going out of business sales. One of the first things I noticed when I finally signed into facebook after my break was that several of the groups I belonged to were going out of business and had rock bottom prices. I had to do a little shopping! 

You may or may not be wondering what I did during my break. Well, I did all the usual stuff like schooling and cleaning. I did a lot of knitting, a little reading, and some NCIS watching (there are over ten seasons on Netflix in case you are interested). I started running again, and recently, I eliminated meat and dairy from my diet. Again. I started suffering from painful inflammation again, so I knew it was time to clean up my diet. I am feeling much better, and I am only five pounds away from my prepregnancy weight, which means I am 30 pounds away from my ideal weight, so I am happy but not ecstatic about my weight loss. 

Currently, the boys and I are working on finishing school on or before June 15th. We are all very ready to be finished for the summer. Thomas will start High School in September, so I know I will spend quite a bit of time during the break planning his high school classes. Ralph is going into the 4th grade, so his schedule for next year will be much easier. Although, I think I may enroll him in an umbrella school because, well, I am not sure. I need to explore the thought more. If you homeschool using an umbrella school, like Mother of Divine Grace or Seton or another, I would love to pick your brain! Leave me a comment or link to your blog or blog post if you have any information to share. 

Mary Rose is seven months old, weighs 16 pounds, and is getting teeth numbers four and five. She is fussy, poor thing. She is usually a happy, easy going girl. She is not crawling yet, but she rolls around a lot. 

I, like most bloggers, have written many blog posts in my brain. I can't promise that they will make it here, but I do plan to post more regularly. I updated the About section and eliminated the rest of the tabs. I canceled my Amazon Associates account because I was tired of worrying whether I was doing the disclaimer thing right. I tried to eliminate the links in old posts, but it was taking a lot longer than I anticipated, so I gave up after making it half way through 2014. It feels good not to have that worry anymore. 

That's all for now! Please visit Rosie for better Sunday fashion! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Plans for 2017 and My Sunday Best #9

Happy New Year! We are nine days into the new year, and I am feeling good about the year. I spent time during our Christmas vacation writing lesson plans through the rest of the school year. Our last day of school will be June 15th! I also made a reading list from books that I own. Then I wrote a new grocery list and menu plan. I used to go to the grocery store and Sam's Club every week. Now I will go to Sam's club the first week of the month. I plan to visit the grocery store twice a month for perishables, and I will use Prime Pantry to purchase the rest of the stuff we need. 

Another area I hope to improve upon is documenting our life. Last year I only wrote 17 posts. It was the least documented year since I started the blog in 2011. Plus I realized that I had taken fewer pictures than I had in previous years. I set a goal to take five pictures a week and to update this space at least four times a month. Of course, I also set goals to spend more time in prayer, eat better, and exercise more. It sounds like a lot, but I enjoy setting goals for the new year.

Here's what I wore last night. It was cold, and snow and ice were on the ground from Saturday's snowstorm. There were not as many people at Mass. I think people were still scared to leave their homes.

I am wearing a Carly and leggings from LuLaRoe. My cardigan and boots are from Kohl's. 

Here is what Mary Rose wore to church.

Mary Rose's forehead rash is from the ketchup I ate the previous night. I have known for a month that tomato-based products give her a rash, but I did not think that two tablespoons with my dinner would bother her. I was wrong!

Please visit Rosie for more My Sunday Best
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