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2012 Goals

I have been trying to formulate these for a few weeks now.  And my goals for the new year span many different areas. So here we go:

1. Daily prayer time in the morning. 
Last year, at a Holy Hour, the priest mentioned 7 Daily Habits for a better spiritual life (from St Jose Maria Escriva) :
1. Morning Offering
2. Spiritual Reading/ Scripture Reading 15 minutes a day (12 min spiritual reading/ 3 min Scripture reading)
3. Holy Mass
4. Recitation of Angelus or Regina Coeli (Easter)
5. Rosary
6. 15 min mental prayer
7. Examination of Conscience at end of day

So, my plan is to, by the end of the year, do all 7 of these each day, with the exception of daily mass.  The boys and I will go to daily mass once a week.  As much as I would like to go everyday, it is an interruption to our school schedule and I have found that the more structured we can be with our school time, the better and faster it goes.

2. Rejoice in the Now
This comes from a lot of reflection through Advent.  I touched on it in…

How did I do this year??

At the beginning of this year I wrote this post about my goals for the year. Since we are coming to the end of 2011 and 2012 will be quickly upon us, I want to review how I did this year with my goals:
1. Pray more. Pray the divine office every morning. There is something about the rhythm of the Divine office that I need and crave right now.
~ We got a subscription to Magnificat which helped tons with this.  I started most days with the Magnificat and daily mass readings.

2. Make a Holy Hour once a week.
~ I started well with this one, but did not do a good job with it once summer hit!


3. Regular date nights with my hubby.
Could have done better with this one too.  I knew when I started to really want a date night, that meant it had been too long since our last one.  But, we do got out a good amount together!



4. Read all the books on my “To Read” book list.
Did not do too well with this one.  I read a lot this year, but the problem was was that my "To Read" list grew faster than …

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours! May you have a blessed Christmas Season!

All I want for Christmas . . .

is my two front teeth!  My oldest can sing this one this year!!

Rejoice

Rejoice
A word that has surrounded me this Advent.  In a conversation. In mass readings.

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul,
Isiah 61:10
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
Luke 1:46
Brothers and sisters:
Rejoice always.
1 Thes 5:16
I will stand at my watch
   and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
   and what answer I am to give to this complaint.


 I heard and my heart pounded,
   my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
   and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
   to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud
   and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
   and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
   and no cattle in the stalls,
 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
   I will be joyful in God my Savior.
Habakkuk 2:1, 3:16-19


Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I a…

This is the better

I think God is trying to drive home a lesson to me this Christmas season.

Like so many others, we live in a home. We purchased this house several years ago.  My dream home? Far from it.  Although it is big enough for us, it often feels small and cramped.  There is strange stucco on the walls in the hall way. Paneling in too many rooms to admit to.  A powder pink bathroom with wall paper.  Metal kitchen cabinets with fake wood paneling.  And a kitchen floor that is peeling up everywhere. I am well acquainted with my home's flaws.

I have dreamt about moving to a bigger, nicer house. I have dreamt about totally remodeling this one.  But, seven years later, we are still in this house.  And the only remodeling we have done is to add more dents to the kitchen floor, stains to the carpet, and holes and dings to the walls.

Maybe I am having "The Seven Year Itch" with my house.  But, this year, more than others, I longed for a remodel.  I longed for a new home.  And the more I lo…

Tis the season of giving

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'Matthew 25:34-41

Every year our parish has an "Angel tree" where parishioners choose an "Angel" from it.  On the angel is a boy or girls name, his/her age and his/her Christmas list.  These children are from another parish in DC and come from a family who cannot p…

Running Ramblings

I have several posts in the works for this week.  If I get time to actually sit down and write, you may see them.  But for now, I need to write about running.  More for myself than anyone else.  So, feel free to skip this post if you want.

Since running the Annapolis Half Marathon about a month ago, I have hit a slight slump and snag in my running.  Between travelling for Thanksgiving and trying to rest my IT band, I really did not run much.  By the time Thanksgiving was over, my lower back (sacrum) was really bothering me and even a 4 mile run caused my IT band to feel very sore.  I am not sure if it was the long hours in the car or the uncomfortable bed at my parent's house, but whatever it was, my sacrum was out of whack.  And right before the half marathon, I had a chiropractor tell me that that was what was causing all my IT band issues.  The sacrum would be out of alignment, causing the my glute muscles on the right to be pulled excessively, which causes a pulling of the IT …

7 Quick Takes

1. I am married to a doctor!

My husband is now a Doctor. (D. Min.) I am so proud of him and this totally deserved a whole post onto itself.  He has worked so hard over the past 8 years juggling the doctorate program and work and family life.  He was selfless in all of it and always put the family first.  We have enjoyed the last few days.  We have just sat around and talked at night because we could, he did not need to study anymore! I have been calling him Dr. everyday. Our 5 yr old keeps on asking him when he will start healing people.  My husband has tried to explain to him that there are other types of doctors, but it has yet to stick. 

2. Sickness
We have been through our rounds of sickness lately.  And now it seems to be my turn.  I do not feel horrible, but I have a stuffy nose and have been coughing most of the week.  I have not run or exercised since Sunday.  I feel like a sloth and cannot wait until I can kick this cough out the door so I can exercise.

3.  Potty training
A …

A Child's Heart

If any of you read my blog even somewhat regularly, you may know, or at least guess, that we are pursuing adoption.  We have not started the stacks of paperwork yet. No home study.  No background checks. Nothing yet. We have been waiting until my husband defends his dissertation (which he does on Monday . . . please say a prayer for him!).  But, there is a folder stacked with agency information.  Plans made. We are just waiting.

But, several weeks ago a possibility came our way.  An order of nuns we know has a mission a world away.  And at that mission they have been caring for twins for the past year.  Twins that have no mother.  They had been praying for the twins to be adopted.  And, friends that heard these prayers, thought of us.  When I was first told, I was excited.  I knew it was a long shot.  A real long shot.  But I know that we have a God that can move mountains.  That if He willed it, those twins would find a home with us.

The whole family was there when I was told of the …

Happy Feast of St. Andrew!

We love today's Feast.  Not only do we have our own little Andrew, but today is the start of the St. Andrew Christmas Novena.


Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)
Imprimatur
+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897


Last night we all made our chaplets for the Novena.  And this morning we had them blessed after mass.  We then enjoyed Feast Day donuts and prayed the Novena together! 
And if you want a BEAUTIFUL St Andrew Novena Prayer card, go to JOYfilled Family! She made a great one! 



Annapolis Half Race Recap

This past weekend I ran the Inaugural Annapolis Half Marathon.  When I first signed up for this race, my plan was to go for a PR and a sub-2 hour half.  About three weeks ago, my IT band started to feel sore again, so I scaled back my runs.  At the first sign of IT band trouble in a run, I would stop running and would cross train.  So, I dropped the idea of a sub- 2 half, and just went for a PR.

The race was supposed to begin a 7AM.  I live about 1/2 hr away from the race start and I planned on getting to the race about 45 min ahead of time.  Well, I got stuck in traffic.  The exit was all backed up and it was stop and crawl to get into the parking lot for the race.  It took me an hour and 15 min to get to the race and I got out of my car at 6:58 AM.  Luckily, most runners were stuck in the traffic too and they delay the start by 15 min.  I am not sure why the traffic was so bad.  I have been to this venue for races before and have never had problems getting into the parking lot befor…

Bribery Works!

For the last several weeks, I have been potty training my 3 1/2 yr old.  He has been reluctant to say the least.  The first week, he would say, "No underwear, Mommy. I wear diapers."  He would even go so far as to get a diaper and put it on himself.  But, after a great deal of persistence, he would put on his Thomas the Tank Engine Underwear and go on the potty.

The only problem.  He REFUSED to go #2 on the potty. So, for the past two weeks, I have consistently had to clean messy underwear.  By the middle of this week, I had had enough.  I had to find that "thing" that would be the hook to get him over his fear and just do it.

Then I remembered.  A few months ago we got this amazing toy pirate ship at the thrift store.  It was way too nice to just give the boys, so we told them that it would be a Christmas present.  Well, A has not forgotten about the ship and asks for it, almost everyday.  I had the hook!

Last night I told him that if he went #2 on the potty, he w…

Healthified Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup has become a favorite in our family.  It is fairly easy to make the whole family enjoys it.  It is perfect for cold fall nights.  I have adapted this recipe from Allrecipes.com to make it a bit more healthy.


Italian Wedding SoupIngredients:1/2 pound ground turkey meat1 egg, lightly beaten2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese1/2 teaspoon dried basil1/2 teaspoon onion powder5 3/4 cups chicken broth, low fat, low sodium version2 cups thinly sliced spinach2 cups cooked orzo pasta (1 cup uncooked)1/3 cup finely chopped carrot DirectionsIn medium bowl, combine turkey meat, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil and onion powder; shape into 3/4 inch balls. Bake these in the oven at 350 for about 10 min, or until browned.In large saucepan, heat broth to boiling; stir in spinach, chopped carrot and meatballs. Return to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook at slow boil for 10 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Add about 15 min before se…

The Real Reason I Run

Time alone. A sense of satisfaction.  Setting goals and working to obtain them. Having fun.  A great time for reflection a prayer.
These are all reasons I like to run.  I feel good when I run.  But the other week I was reminded of the REAL reason I run.  The real reason to run.

Two weeks ago, I finally had my stress test to rule out a heart issue.  The stress test was a "vitality test" that not only monitored the heart, but my breathing and oxygen consumption as well.

The good news is that my heart if fine.  It showed no arrhythmia.  There was no negative change in blood pressure.  All was good with my heart.

Actually, all was great with my heart.

And a few days later, I got the full results of the test.

My % body fat is in the "athletic range"

My resting metabolism is higher than even predicted based on my weight and % body fat.

My exercise capacity is 120% of that predicted for my age, which means my body is "younger" than my actual age in years.


So the rea…

Sweet Potato Muffin Recipe

I had to share this recipe.  This recipe is adapted from the Sweet Potato Muffin recipe from Runner's World Magazine.  I made these and everyone in the family LOVED them.  They really are light and fluffy.

Sweet Potato Muffins
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (preferably pastry flour) -I used pastry flour
3/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (I used safflower oil)
1 cup pureed or mashed cooked sweet potato
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 375° F. Grease 12 muffin cups or add paper liners.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

In a bowl, whisk butter, oil, sweet potato, egg, and buttermilk. Fold wet mixture into the dry; stir until just combined.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Enjoy!!

Wordless Wednesday

A nice reminder when I am stressing about cleaning the house.

Our trip to Jamestown and Yorktown in pictures

This post is a month in the making.  In September, we went to Williamsburg for three days during Williamsburg's and Jamestown's homeschool weeks.  This time we went to Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center, and Yorktown battlefield.  Here are some of the pictures of the fun we had:








Top 10 movies I could watch over and over again

I am not much of a TV watcher, but I love a good movie.  My favorites tend to be ones that I can watch over and over again.  If I have tons of laundry to fold and want to watch a movie, I can guarantee that one of the movies listed below will be the first to be chosen.  Go to the library to pick a movie?  If one of the movies on this list is in, it will come home with me.

So here are the top 10 movies I can watch again and again:


1. Pride and Prejudice (BBC Version)  Who cannot love Darcy and Elizabeth?  And even though I have seen this movie more times that I want to admit, and I obviously know how it ends, I cannot wait to see if Darcy and Elizabeth get together!

2. Persuasion (The newer BBC version).  Also a Jane Austen book.  And it may actually me my FAVORITE Jane Austen book.  Other than the scene near the end where Ann is running through the streets, I love, love, love, this movie.

3. Emma (BBC version).  I,love the scenes between Knightly and Emma.  Their relationship is so mu…

Wordless Wednesday: Jump Shot

Trying not to jump on the bandwagon and a giveaway

I do not like thinking about Christmas until Advent. And, I really, really do not like seeing Christmas decorations up already in stores.  But thanks to Shutterfly, I AM thinking about Christmas cards already.  I wish I could say I have the card chosen and designed, but I do not.  No great photos from family vacations from this year to use, like we used on our Christmas card from Shutterfly last year:
But, what I do know is that I will be getting my cards from Shutterfly again this year.  For the last several years, we have done photo cards.  It is the perfect way to show family and friends that do not get to see us all the time, how the family has grown and how big the kids are getting.  Last year was the first year we used Shutterfly and I will tell you that their quality is incomparable!  The cards turned out beautifully.

Shutterfly has a great selection of cards to choose from.  They have religious Christmas cards such as this beautiful one.
These are some of my favorite Holiday and …

7 Quick Takes

1. Back to Blogging I have stopped wearing the splint on my thumb.  I still cannot use it much, as it hurts when I do, but it has a bit more mobility, so I feel like I can type without "hunting and pecking."

2. Back to work in the kitchen I started our minor kitchen re-do in September, about one week before I broke my thumb.  Now, over a month later, only one set of cabinets has been painted and two others are bare, with the doors off.  But not much longer.  I started to paint again this week.  After several failed attempts at making them look nice (it is hard to paint metal cabinets after all), I think I have finally found what works.  I am hoping we have all of the kitchen projects done before Christmas.

3. Homeschooling Have not talked about this much, but it is going really well.  Things are clicking and this is the first year I can say that I am enjoying it.  All boys are working well, without (much) complaint.

4. We are not home yet. A friend, and blogger, announced that they…

Wordless Wednesday: I caved

I am not one to decorate for Halloween, but after my 5 yr old begged for a spider web on our house, I acquiesced.

The definition of me

I am not defined by the house I live in.

I am not defined by the clothes I wear.

I am not defined by the number of miles I run or how fast I run them.

I am not defined by what time I get up in the morning or go to bed at night.

I am not defined by the homeschool curriculum I use or the grade level my children work at.

I am not defined by the number of kids I have.  Or don't have.

The only thing that tells me who I am is Life in Christ.

His life.

His love.

His blood out poured for me.

By that alone I am worthy.

By that alone I am defined.

By that alone I strive to live.

You know you have boys when . . .

Your children work diligently to get their school work done quickly so they can spend the afternoon at the archery range!


(No pictures of K shooting the bow and arrow.  He is too big for the "play" one and not big enough to use J's without my help!)

Love note from my son

Earlier this week, I was taking laundry into the bedroom and this was on my pillow . . .


It is from my oldest son.  He wrote it and slipped quietly into my bedroom while I was helping his brothers with handwriting.  It was not prompted by my husband.  I love moments like this.

Wordless Wednesday: The Hair Do

Male movie stars may spend hours of time (and a lot of money) to get this look, but all my boy needs is a little sweat and dirt (and mom to run her fingers though his hair) to get the "just got out of bed" look.

Blogging Break

Won't be blogging much in the up coming weeks.  I broke my thumb while trying to get our double jogging stroller ready for a family run.  I am finding that most tasks are taking me a bit longer, including typing.  So, for now, I will not be blogging much. 

But, I have lots to share . . . pictures from our trip to Williamsburg, J and I running a 5K together, homeschooling, and my running goals.  So, I do hope to get some things posted soon!

Getting on my soapbox

I do not get on a soapbox often. At least, not on my blog.  I started the blog to journal about our family life so family members who live far away can see what goes on in our daily life.  But today, I am upset enough to get on my soapbox.  Indulge me.

This morning, I received an email from a friend that stated everyone should watch this video.  Please click play.



I cried while watching the video.  Maybe after viewing countless children from around the world on Waiting Child lists that have similar disabilities as Emmanuel just waiting for a family, waiting to be adopted and seeing this man who was adopted and how his life can speak to the beauty of all life . . . well, it is touching. 

And then I was on Facebook and a friend posted a link to this article:
Jury Gives Parents $4.5 Million Because They Missed Chance to Abort Disabled SonRead the article.  Yes, their son is missing his arms and one leg.  And the parents were upset because they missed the chance to abort him.  And they wa…

7 Quick Takes - Back to School Edition

1. We started school this Wednesday.  I had been pretty stressed about starting again and had not slept well since we came back from vacation.  But the first three days of school went well.

2.  I have instituted a formal system of bribery in our school.  The boys earn Monopoly Money for various school work (doing extra work or reading, getting 100% on  a test, knowing the answers to questions when I ask, good handwiritng, etc, etc).  The boys save up the money to buy things like an extra field trip, an ice cream sundae party, no math day, etc.  So far the boys are doing great.  My oldest counts his money every morning.  He wants to earn the school lunch party with the lunch of his choice (Papa Johns pizza).  The whole money system has caused impromptu math lessons with advanced addition and subtraction.  So far I like this!  Thanks, Mom, for the idea!

3.  I forgot just how messy my house is while homeschooling.  Up until about 3 PM, most of the house is a disaster!  There are books o…

Wordless Wednesday: Chasing Rainbows