Thursday, February 24, 2011

This is what inspires vocations and running the Nun Run with Team All For!

OK, not only is it so awesome that this nun is in full habit, but she EXUDES JOY! 

The above picture comes from the 2nd Annual Nun Run Page which is an event of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration.   Go to the Joy Filled Family Blog to learn how you can be a part of a virtual team for this race.  They have great prizes for the speedy virtual racers!

I have joined the Joy Filled Family Blog on her team All For! to run this race! Won't you join us?

I am far from the finish line.
But I am on CHRIST'S TEAM.
His love ignites me.
...His power fuels me.
His mission compels me.
and to this race.
I will run STRONG and run LONG.
Who will join me?


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

$20 DaySpring Gift Card Winner!

And the winner is, thanks to  . . .

Comment #1:

Tina Fisher said...

If I could be so lucky! I follow and I happened to be at Dayspring the other day to eye the Mr & Mrs Collection. For some reason those coffee mugs really struck my fancy!

I will email you! Congrats.

The Derby

This weekend was my son's Cub Scout Pack's Pinewood Derby.  For those who do not know what it is, each cub scout starts with an official pinewood derby car kit and has to make a car out of it.  The cars are raced down a wooden track and the fastest car wins.  The cars are gravity driven. 

This was my son's first year in cub scouts and his first derby.  We had no idea all the ins and outs of building a fast car.  We let him choose the design, color, etc and he painted it.  He was assisted with the wheels, axles and weights by Grandpa M and Mom and Dad.

J was excited the morning of the derby.  We discussed good sportsmanship, etc.  I know he hoped he would place, but I also knew he would be fine if he did not.  The Derby started at 3 PM.  The Tigers went first.  Our Troop is the largest in the county, so there were approximately 30 cars at each level.  J is a Wolf and he was up next.  His car was in the second heat, so I positioned myself to try to get a picture of it.  I snapped the picture and looked over to my hubby to see how the car did. 
J's car is the white car on the right.

 J won the heat!!  

Then came his second heat, again, I really tried to snap pictures.  

Count down to start. J's car is the 2nd  car from the right.

Off they go!

Taking the lead!

The white blur about to win!

 J won his second heat! 

 After that, I stopped taking pictures.  My husband said, "You have to watch J's face when his car races."  So, I did when his car went again.  Again, J won his heat!  And he had the biggest smile on his face!

J won several heats and came very close to actually placing in his division.  We think his car missed placing by one heat! 

So, all in all, it was a good first Derby!  J has been carrying his car around with him all day today and is already planning his car for next year!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Thousand Gifts

146. a new pencil sharpener
147. nicely sharpened pencils
148. K reading to A
149. large redheaded woodpecker spotted by K
150. a boy who wants to copy the Declaration of Independence
151. for realizing the wonders of nature right in our own backyard
152. hearing my 4 year old teach my 2 year old his letters
153. K cups from freecycle
154. how the boys run from wherever they are when "our song" comes on the radio
155. a nightly report :)
156. a friend who watched the boys
157. a friend who was so kind and generous, who delivered donuts to our door after Sunday mass
158. my recovery run outside
159. speaking with my husband at a Valentine's Day Enrichment
160. the parish we spoke at
161. a young faithful priest
162. the couples we met after our talk
163. boxes of books on evangelization :)
164. co-op
165. J reading Green Eggs and Ham to his brothers
166. my funny Valentine and the card he gave me
167. a beautiful, warm, sunny day
168. a body that is sore and tired, but still can run
169. dirt bombs
170. press release
171. dinner out with hubby on Valentine's Day
172. actually getting a table at the restaurant husband in a navy blue pin striped suit
173. friends who are expecting new little ones
174. heart shaped pancakes
175. a surprise Valentine from my son
176. a run outside
177. being able to wear my running skirt
178. compression socks
179. a spring-like day
180. lunch outside
181. another sunny day
182. a trip to the park
183. a grandfather helping with the pinewood derby car
184. a boy who loves cub scouts
185. a husband who puts away laundry
186.  watercolor
187. noodle skeletons
188. fun at the pinewood derby
189. a room full of cheering boys, so excited to see cars race down a track
190. a fun run/walk with mom friends
191. a great 20 mile run
192. an ice bath
193. my hubby home this morning

Friday, February 18, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1.  Last week I mentioned we had some exciting news.  Well, my husband got a new job!  He will no longer be working for the Archdiocese of Washington, but now for the Church on the national level.  I am so proud of him.  If you know us and know anything about the Church and what would be at the national level, you can search for the press release.  Since the press release, he has gotten calls from people whom he went to Francisan University of Steubenville with to say they read the press release and wanted to wish him congratulations.  Someone from the admissions office for Franciscan called to congratulate him too!  I am happy for my husband as this is a promotion.  The other bonuses: no more night and weekend hours, we do not have to move since the job is just 5 min away from where he already works, and it's a pay raise :)

2.  Marathon training. (Warning: if you do not like whining, please skip to #3):  It is HARD. Even my 7 yr old, when I say, "It is really hard." , responds to me "Mom, its supposed to be hard.  It's 26 miles!"  Why does he have to be so smart?  Anyways, this week I am paying for last week's mistakes.  Last week I felt great after every run, so I let my normal routine slide.  I might have forgotten to ice and stretch a few times.  OK, most days.  Now, my muscles are in knots.  My legs are sore and my runs this week have been tolerable at best.  Plus, I have not been sleeping enough, so I am running on E.  This week I am trying to get back on track.  Yesterday, I took a 2 1/2 hour nap while A was napping, and my foam roller and I have become reacquainted.  I am at the peak of my mileage.  Right now, I really cannot wait for the marathon to be over.  I love running, but do not love my legs feeling like this.  Is feeling like this normal?

3. Homeschooling: In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I have been trying new things with our homeschooling.  I wrote that post about two weeks ago now and it was just auto posted.  So far, our new plan has been going really well. J is working harder which has given me more time to really work with K and A.  I think both K and A will start reading at the same time!  J has not complained when I have asked him to do his work over.  But, the thing that I love most about our new plan is that, each day at the end of school, I ask J how he feels he did at school and whether he feels he did well enough to earn a sticker.  I would have expected, that as a boy of 7, who desperately wants a Lego castle, he would say yes without even hesitating, but each day he gives a very thoughtful and in depth answer.  And, he has had a few days where he has said that he did not earn a sticker.  He is so mature for his age!

4.  J's first communion is on May 1st!  I cannot believe it is so close.  This week we got a letter in the mail, from our parish, stating that we have to attend a meeting for all first communicants.  J is in CCD Sat, mornings, so we have been prepared for all that comes.  But,the letter did state that they do not want any absences after March 5th.  Which is fine, but J really wants to come to the National Marathon (March 26, my husband would come down towards the end).  Plus, that morning there is a children's 1 mile run called the Monumental Mile in conjunction with the marathon.  J really wants to run it and be at the marathon, but that means he would have to miss, at least a a part of, CCD.  I am not sure what to do.  On one hand, J only misses CCD for illnesses.  So this would be one of the two classes he would have missed.  I do not like to pull him out of CCD for sports, etc.  I think that CCD should be priority. But, this is just once.  What would you do?

5. I have a giveaway going on.  A $20 gift certificate to the DaySpring website.  They have some amazing Christian home decor items, jewelry, books, etc.  Go enter!!

6.  The pinewood derby is this Sunday!  J has a great attitude about it.  I have been worried about how he would react if he did not win.  And, since we are letting him do everything on the car, there is a good possibility he will not win.  We have talked about it.  Then, out of the blue, J asked me, "Mom when you race, you usually finish in the middle, right?"  I looked at him, not sure where he was going with it and said, "Yes, most races I have finished somewhere in the middle.  But, with the marathon, I will probably be closer to the end. Why?"  He just responded, "Mom, I will be happy if my car finished in the middle."  One more reason that is was a good decision that I took up running . . . so many life lessons for the boys. 

7. The weather has been BEAUTIFUL here the past few days.  I was actually able to wear one of my running skirts yesterday!  I am so happy warmer weather is here.

Have a great weekend everyone!

To read more 7 Quick Takes, head on over to Conversion Diary.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Training for a marathon has taught me many things so far.  I think that is why God has allowed me to get to this point uninjured.  I am growing spiritually and in so many other ways.

One way is as a homeschooling mom.  I have not be a big lover of repetition.  Counting, addition, subtraction . . . all done over and over again, just to make sure the child has them "down" . . . um, no thanks.  I saw it as boring.  And who wants to be bored while doing school work?  I figured if J knew it, we could move on (plus it shows up on his math worksheets anyways, so why go through flashcards, etc if he has to do it on a worksheet anyways?).  I also did not see the value in having him do lots of handwriting work.  His handwriting is horrible, he struggles with it, and does not like it.  I know it will come in time, so why force it now?

Well, that was all until I started training for my marathon. 

I run. A lot.  Mile after mile. Day after day.  You could say, I am practicing for the big day.  The day I run 26.2 miles.  And, I know how to run.  I could probably run 26.2 miles tomorrow.  It would not be pretty, but I could get through it.

So, why am I running so much? Even on days when I do not want to? When I have to run on a treadmill and I am BORED during the whole run? 

So I get better.  So I get faster. So when I do run the marathon, I will be ready.

Isn't that what I am supposed to be doing for J?  Getting him ready for the marathon of life?  Sometimes there are going to be things that you have to do that will bore you.  That you won't want to do.  But it is so that you can become better and ultimately, achieve your goal. 

So, our homeschooling is slowly transforming.  I am not making J do hours of monotonous work, but I am having him do more copy work, more handwriting, and even more math.  And I am not accepting poorly done work.  Instead, we work together to correct the form of the letters and numbers, so that his handwriting becomes better.  I have been more intentional about teaching him the importance of working hard and doing things well.  I have explained, as simply as I can, that being a student is his vocation right now and by doing his work well he is serving God.

And, if that fails there's bribery to give him some incentive, if all of his work is done well and he has a positive attitude about school, he can earn a sticker for the day.  He also wants to copy the Declaration of Independence and I told him that if he does that well he can earn 5 stickers for that.  And after 50 stickers, he will earn this Lego Castle that he has been wanting. I will let you know when he earns the castle. 

We started this last week and so far it is going well!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Supporting Priests

We live in an amazing community.  Our parish priest is incredible.  He is a strong, faithful priest who serves our parish so beautifully.  He gives incredible, prayerful homilies that urge those who hear them to draw closer to Christ and to grow in their love for the Church. 

A younger priest in our town, at a parish just a few miles down the street from our parish, started Holy Hours for women twice a month and for men once a month.  He hears confession at these Holy Hours and makes himself available for confession after daily mass.  His reflections at the Holy Hours "hit home" and I can see a difference in myself and my prayer life because of the opportunities of frequent confession and Holy Hours.

We are surrounded by many other faithful priests too.  We have a priest friend whom we have dinner with regularly and whom our boys love.  He has been a wonderful example to the boys that priests are just normal people.  Through my husband's work, we have been blessed to meet so many great men who have answered the call to the priesthood and who are joy filled examples of what it means to say yes to God and the call of the priesthood.

Why am I writing all this?  Other than rambling, I wanted to say that I think it is important to support priests and tell them how much we appreciate their dedication to their vocation, to the Church, and to us, the laity.   Priests are overworked and, in my opinion, get more negative feedback than positive.  We need to uplift them and support them.  What can we do for our priests?

1. Pray for them.  Pray that the Holy Spirt may strengthen them.  Pray for seminarians that they may be strengthened in their call to the priesthood.  Pray for holy men to answer the call to the priesthood.

2. Tell them when you were touched by a homily or thank them when they uphold the Church's teaching boldly in a homily.   We need this type of preaching.  The Church needs this type of preaching and our priests need to know that we support them.  This can be done immediately after mass, but I think it is even more special to take the time to write a thank you note; handwritten (not an email), to tell the priest that you appreciated the homily.

3. Thank the priest for the time he takes to offer extra opportunities for your spiritual growth.  Let him know how much it means to you and how it has helped your faith life. 

4. Invite him over to dinner. Allow him to experience your family life.

And I know I have posted this video several times . . . but I will leave you with the trailer from Fishers of Men:

Monday, February 14, 2011

God's Heart Necklace Review and Giveaway

I do not buy a lot of jewelry.  I typically have the same earrings and rings on everyday.  The one thing I do change, is my necklace.  I love necklaces to make a statement and share a bit of who I am and what I love.  So I was so happy when I got the opportunity to  review the God's Heart for You Necklace from (in)courage which is a website and blog from DaySpirng

The necklace is inscribed with the words words created, chosen, celebrated, and cherished.  A small card that comes with the necklace explains each word.

Card Message:

In God’s heart, you are...


I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14 NIV


The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession.
Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV


He will take great delight in you…
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV


I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

I LOVE this necklace.  It is beautifully crafted and it is delicate.  The necklace looks very nice on and has a clasp and chain that allows you to adjust the size of the chain to fit your outfit.

The clasp in the back of the necklace

This necklace makes the perfect gift for any woman in your life.  Its message of God's love for the one who receives this as a gift is so clear and moving.  It is important for us to be reminded of how God sees us and how much He loves us.  And now is the perfect time to buy this necklace.  DaySpring is currently offering it at 30% off!
And, thanks to DaySpring, one lucky reader will receive a $20 gift certificate to DaySpring.

To Enter:
1. Go to the DaySpring website and tell me what item you like best.

Extra entries:
1. Follow me
2. Facebook, blog, or tweet about the giveaway (one entry for each separate one you do)

Giveaway will end on Feb. 21, 2011.  Goood luck!

(I was not paid for the above review.  I received the necklace in return for an honest review of the product.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1. We started co-op up again today since our long winter break.  I am not sure what it is about co-op, but it wears me out!!  I think I need a nap.

2. My son is a cub scout and next week is the pine wood derby.  For those who do not know what that is; each boy makes a car and it is raced down a track.  The fastest car wins. Well, today, after co-op, we went to the scouting store to get paint and weights for the car.  They had a lot of special tools to sand the wheels, etc, etc to make the car go faster.  This is our first pine wood derby and I have a bad feeling that there is much more to it than making a wood car and racing it down a track. 

3. We have had some exciting news around here the last week.  I will share it when it has been officially announced. And, no, I am not pregnant.

4. But, on the topic of babies.  I have not shared this yet, but we are seriously looking at and trying to start the process of adoption.  A longer post on that another time.  But, please pray for us.  There are lots of decisions to make.  It is overwhelming.

5. The National Marathon is in 42 days.

6. And, I think I am certifiable.  I have not even run my first marathon yet and I am already signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon as a part of the Run for Vocations Team.  This year the Archdiocese of Washington had to cut their charity team from 50 marathoners to only 25.  I got an email about this yesterday stating that the spots were going to be on a first come, first serve basis.  And so I replied immediately and said, yes, I want one of those 25 spots! 

7. Homeschoolng is going really well.  I have a post scheduled that is about homeschooling.  But, I think we have turned another corner.  J is doing most of his work without complaining.  He spends his morning reading.  And he is even reading to his brothers without being asked.  This morning he read Green Eggs and Ham to K and A.  It was adorable.

And I am adding another . . .

8. I am up to 100 followers!! I think I need to do a giveaway to celebrate! Maybe next week.

Check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Menu planning, eating well and cookbooks

So many times I get stuck in a rut.  I make the same meals over again, week after week.  I do try to work in new recipes, but if I do not plan our weekly meals, I stick to standards.

There are tons of places to get good recipes online, but I am still partial to a good, old fashioned, paper bound cookbook.  Luckily, I have some cookbooks that I love.  And, as long as I take the time on the weekend to plan our meals, I work in a lot of new and fun meals for the family.  And, the extra bonus . . . they are healthy too. 

Here is our menu plan for dinner from this week:

Monday: Teriyaki Stir Fry Chicken and vegetables
Tuesday: Shepherd's Pie (from the Clean Eating Cookbook)
Wednesday: Beef Broccoli Stir Fry (from Clean Eating Magazine)
Thursday: Chicken Lime Soup (from Clean Eating Magazine)
Friday: Homemade pizza with fresh basil and mozzarella balls
My favorite cookbooks:

1. The Best of Clean Eating Cookbook.  I have this cookbook and I love it.  It is full of yummy, healthy recipes.  The family has loved all of the recipes that we have tried from it.  But, I think I like the Clean Eating Magazine even better!   The best recipe so far: Orange Chipotle Chicken. Yummy!

2. The Master Your Metabolism Cookbook. By Jillian Michaels.  This cookbook has many, good healthy recipes.  I love the recipes for the muffins and pancakes in this cookbook.  They substitute maple syrup, honey and agave syrup for sugar and use yogurt too!  Although this is definitely not a "go to" cookbook, I really like it and am glad i have it on my shelf.

3. Eating For Life. By Bill Phillips.  It is old and many of the recipes are basic, but it keeps me grounded and reminds me what healthy eating looks like.

So, what are some of your favorite cookbooks or places to get recipes?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Can you tell which part of the laundry I like to fold and sort the LEAST?? 

Note: About three hours after taking this picture, I came home from the gym and my husband had sorted and folded the whole basket!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Father Who Gives

Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him?   Mathew 7:7-11
How many times have I read this scripture?  How many times have I poured over its words?  I KNOW these verses.  They are some of my favorite.  But do I live as I really believe it?  Do I ask? And when I ask, do I truly know that my Father, who hears my prayers, and knows how to give so abundantly to me, will answer my petitions in His time and His way?

Oh, but so many times my faith is so much smaller than a mustard seed.  I know intellectually, but my heart does not "feel" it.

And then I am overwhelmed. And reminded. This week, through a phone conversation with my husband.  A gift.  A blessing.  I started to cry.  Not because I was happy for my husband or for us as a family, but I was overcome by the fact that we have a God who takes care of us.  Who blesses us beyond measure just when we least expect it.  A God who is faithful and loves us.

And I cry too because I am sorry for my unbelief.  Sorry for not having faith that can move mountains.  Because I need it.  We need it.  Yet, even though I fall short so many times, God smiles and still showers His love. 

Yes, God is Good.  All the time.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Thousand Gifts

125. My mom who taught me how to cook by leading by example.  Thanks mom.
126. J and K doing school with A
127. Texts from my hubby
128. Boys being good while I was sick this week.
129. Opportunities
130. The smell of chicken parm. cooking
131. The boys playing happily at the kitchen table while I make dinner
132. Dixie Cup icers
133. Unexpected news on an expected phone call
134. Hours to be able to write
135. New songs on my ipod to get me moving
136. An unexpected, unplanned run outside
137. Reading the Gospel of John with my hubby at bedtime
138. God's faithfulness and generosity
139. A friendship forged over pizza years ago
140. "Letter" Hokey Pokey
141. A dancing to his school songs
142. K wanting to do "hard school" and anxiously awaiting "the guy" (AKA: UPS man) to deliver his new books to our door
143. New running mittens to keep my hands warm
144. Beautiful sunshine for my long run
145. Feeling good after 16 miles

Friday, February 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1. I woke up at 4 AM on Wednesday to get ready to meet one on my Personal Training clients and I promplty realized I was SICK!  I texted her and went back to bed.  I did not move from the bed or couch for most of the day.

2.  And because I was sick Wednesday, I missed two of my training runs this week.  Normally, that would stress me out, but I was a little less worried about it.  After running 18 miles for my long run this past weekend, I realized that I will be fine running the marathon.

3.  I think one of the reasons I got sick was because of all of my running.  I have been running A lot. I ran 108 miles in January. And I have gotten into a bad habit of running in the evenings.  Which means, I am too wired to go to bed early. So, I have not gotten enough sleep. And I have not been eating as healthy as I normally do.  It all adds up to one run down Katie.

4. Speaking of eating, I have been eating tons lately.  I am constantly hungry.  I can see why people who run one marathon end up running more.  It is because your appetitie increases so much to support all of that running and if you stop running, and continue to eat as much food as you did while training for the marathon, you will gain a lot of weight! But seriously, next week, I need to get back to my clean eating ways!

5.  The boys did not do school on Wednesday because I was sick.  And, because of that one day off, Thursday was miserable.  J ended up doing school until 4 PM!  I had to laugh at him though.  As he was doing a math worksheet, he would moan after each problem!! 

6.  I may be slightly insane for saying this, but I am sad that we missed out on all the snow that so much of the country got.  We have some snow on the ground, but I was really hoping for more.

7.  I think we are in need to a field trip soon.  Maybe the National Building Museum or Mount Vernon.

Want to read more 7 Quick Takes?  Head on over to Conversion Diary.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What more can I do for him?

He sits at the table pouring over books. Piles and piles of books, preparing to answer many questions today.  He writes down notes and studies them.  He goes to Adoration to pray for wisdom.  God's will  be done.  But that is not all. Countless nights he is reading and revising, chapter after chapter of his dissertation.  Years in the works.  Almost done.  And he works too.  He is incredible at his job.  I have gotten to witness him at work; give talks with him.  He is so gifted at what he does.  He has a charismatic personality and I am not just saying that because I am his wife ;)

Not only that, he is an amazing father and wonder husband.  He is an incredible man of God.  He does dishes without being asked.  He makes the bed.  He allows me to run off, literally, for hours, chasing down the dream of a marathon. 

I love my husband.  I am blessed to be married to him.  And, on days like today, I wonder, what more can I do for him?  He does so much for me, for our family, for others.  My contribution to our family seems so small compared to all of the sacrifices he makes for us.

What more can I do for him?  How do I love him better? Support him better?

Oh, I have a few ideas:

1.  Tell him I believe in him.
2. Pray for him.
3. Root my day in prayer.
4.  Do my vocation better.  Be the best wife, mom and homeschooler I can be.
5. Tell him I love him more.
6. Love him in his Love Language more.
7. Dust these books off and put them into practice again:
                - The Power of a Praying Wife
                 - The Love Dare
8. Thank him for all he does for me and our boys!