Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Ardent Charity of The Blessed Virgin Mary - The Ten Virtues of Mary Series





Mary's virtue of ardent charity, or love, has been described as the most important and overarching of all Our Blessed Mother's virtues. So no pressure writing about it today, oh no.

Ardent charity describes not Mary's generosity towards her favourite non-profit organizations around the Nazareth area, but how her love was solely focused on God in her every action, every decision, every act of her will and mind. We aren't used to thinking in the theological terms of charity equalling supernatural love, but that is exactly what charity is; the theological virtue that gives us the grace to love God for His own intrinsic goodness and love our neighbour out of love for God. Mary was so infused with the grace of this virtue that everything she did was an act of love for God.

I'm just going to let that idea sit with you a minute. Every choice Mary made, every action she accomplished in her life both big and small, every thought and act of her will was done for love of God. Can you imagine all of your actions done for love of Christ? Directed towards that love? Chosen with that love in mind? That is a powerful, marvellous thought that summons up depths in our hearts and spirituality that I don't think we ourselves believe our own puny souls capable. Or at least I don't. I picture that singular, powerful, burning love of Mary as the pinnacle of holiness. Everything that Mary's life was done out of this love, and that is what makes her the perfect example for all humanity. But how can I emulate such an otherworldly love? How to I grow in this virtue?

I know I want to grow in this virtue of ardent charity. I think if we boil down most of our spiritual struggles we'll find at the bottom the desire of our hearts to do the Lord's will in our lives, and to do His will with love and out of love. I know that my motives to love God often come from places of wanting to earn love, to meet expectations, to show God that I'm worthy of His love. These are all motives focused on myself, and done from a place where only my ego resides. I am not loving God for His own sake, because of His boundless goodness, or His limitless love.

But Mary choose to do every action from sweeping her floor, cleaning up after a toddling Christ-child, or walking up the hill of Calvary out of love for God. She held this love as the most important part of her life, she operated purely out of this love with zero self-importance or ego invading this powerful expression in her life. She made God's love known to the whole world and the entire course of history because of this ardent love. Mary's life was the perfect human cooperation with God and she is our perfect guide for living a life of virtue because of it.

Mary's life of perfected virtue is because of her relationship with the Trinity. She loved God who also was her Son, but what gave her the grace to love God so entirely was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is the part we tend to forget, we forget that her relationship with God was not just with the physical human person she saw everyday, her own son, but how it also was a relationship with the Holy Spirit unseen within her soul.

We too experience life with the Holy Spirit through the sacraments, but how often do we try to cultivate this important relationship? I know I waste a myriad of opportunities to pray to the Holy Spirit. There are times where I feel defeated by my own small sins and could pray for the Holy Spirit for help but never do. Or what about teaching our children about God and the faith but so often come up short with the right words? I know the Holy Spirit is the fount of wisdom, but I hardly ever remember to ask for help when making a difficult decision or in asking how to deal with others with love instead of indifference.

In Mary's virtue of ardent charity I see the true beauty and power of love. It is a love the saturates the heart, mind, soul, and strength of a person. A love that transforms a young girl into the most important woman in history. But even more mysterious is the fact that the virtue of charity is given to all of us through the sacraments and living a life of grace. By treasuring the grace given to us, by appreciating it, by praying to the Holy Spirit we can grow in the same supernatural love which Mary exhibited. That's a marvel that Mary knows transforms lives and brings love to the world.





It's been a privilege being a part of this wonderful series. I have learned so much about Mary's virtues through this series of posts, please check them all out in case you've missed any - you'll really feel a boost to your spiritual life by reading these beautiful and practical approaches to learning from Our Blessed Mother. And thanks so much to Olivia for coming up with this great idea for a series, make sure to visit To the Heights tomorrow for a wonderful wrap-up giveaway!

ten-virtues-mary-series-promo
This post is part of a series on the Ten Virtues of Mary, hosted by To the Heights and running every Tuesday until the middle of December. So if you need some help in the virtue department, here's a great place to start ;)
October 7 - An Introduction to the Ten Virtues of Mary - Olivia of To the Heights
October 14 - Lively Faith - Molly of Molly Makes Do
October 21 - Blind Obedience - Kendra of Catholic All Year
October 28 - Constant Mental Prayer - Jenna of Call Her Happy
November 4 - Heroic Patience - Kelly of This Ain't the Lyceum
November 11 - Profound Humility - Carolyn of Svellerella
November 18 - Angelic Sweetness - Regina of Good One God
November 25 - Divine Wisdom - Britt of The Fisk Files
December 2 - Universal Mortification - Abbey of Surviving Our Blessings
December 9 - Divine Purity - Gina of Someday Saints
December 16 - Ardent Charity - Christy of Fountains of Home
December 17 - Massive GIVEAWAY at To the Heights - Just in time for Christmas








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Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Advent and Christmas Picture Books in Our House







I have an obsession and it is Christmas picture books.

It's becoming a bit of a problem since I pull out a whole Christmas bin devoted to books we read for a glorious month a year, but I just can't help myself. I just love collecting them, and there are so many great children's books about Christmas.

Don't pull out your sleeping bag just yet though, I'm not going to go through our whole collection, but I will share the books we added this year. For the last couple years I've decided that giving Christmas books is the perfect gift for St. Nick to bring because the kids get to enjoy them before Christmas, and it seemed when I gave them for Christmas gifts they weren't enjoyed too much.

All that aside, don't get any fantasies in your head that my kids drool over books as much as I do. They'll probably all grow up into adulthood with a phobia of seasonal fiction, but what are moms for right?

Onto the show!



Ishmael: The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem

This sweet and thoughtful story is the tale of a shepherd boy who journeys to Bethlehem and witnesses the angel's message of Christ's birth. The story also explores friendship, forgiveness, and Christ's mission of peace. This well written story is probably best for the older elementary aged kids, but Gemma enjoys it already and the detailed illustrations help bring the story to life. Ignatius Press is the publisher and I continue to enjoy their children's section, they're doing a great job publishing quality children's books that are neither trite, nor boring.







The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie de Paola

Tomie de Paola. Need I say more? We already have The Friendly Beasts which was a big hit last year, but this tale is equally enjoyable and so far everyone has asked for multiple readings. The pictures are lush and colourful as always, and I think this one is a good one to own for all ages. Also; I purchased the hardcover and it's beautiful and big. I cannot emphasize the importance of always buying hardcover. They last 100 times longer than paperback and are usually so much better quality. I know...I'm a book snob.











Home for Christmas by Jan Brett

Just like Tomie de Paola you cannot go wrong buying any and all books by Jan Brett. This one is about trolls and it's wonderful. Not inherently religious, but I'm ok with that, it has all the brilliant animals Brett is famous for illustrating and I love her troll characters. Again, I bought it in hardcover and it. is. awesome.










Merry Christmas, Curious George

This isn't an original Curious George, but I bought it thinking it was, and I'm a little disappointed. I am not a fan of rip-off Curious George because the originals are so wacky and bizarre that the generic modern rip-offs pale in comparison. But I'm making this one time allowance because Max is a huge Curious George fan and he is in love with this book this year. That sound you hear is my lowering standards.








The Night Before the Night Before Christmas! and Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever!

My boys are addicted to Richard Scarry. So I thought I should jump on that fad and just buy them all the Richard Scarry Christmas books ever made. The boys will honestly sit on the couch and just look at them for whole tens of minutes on end and, well, there's just no price you can put on that kinda attention getting. Also, beautiful and durable hardcover all the way.














Christmas in the Manger

Could Christmas board books be any cuter? I swear I own all of them, because...five babies...but even with my bias to both babies and Christmas books I think Christmas board books are in a category of cuteness by themselves. Nora kisses baby Jesus at the end of this one, so it's a memory maker. It can retire in the board book hall of fame practically!





And that's this year's contributions, but doesn't it add up quickly when you're just buying each child a book? It's a definite perk of having a lot of kids - you build collections quicker than you can say "up on the rooftop..." You can gift any of these books for Christmas, there's still time with the wonder that is Amazon, a mom's best friend this time of year!




Some links may be affiliates, fyi!






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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Choosing Peace This Advent When You're The Mom To Littles (And a great book giveaway!)







Well, everyone, we're almost to the middle of Advent. We've got a finite amount of time left to prepare ourselves and families for the coming of Christ. And don't I know it that there are varietal mountains of things to get done and do for Christmas. If you're like me and have a handful of small people who depend upon you, trying to keep your sanity can become something like walking a tightrope until December 25.

I know how much work you're already doing. Right now just keeping my kids alive and our house afloat takes up a lot of energy. I hit the couch exhausted by 7 pm because five little people have needed me for their 60 cups of water, 10 times of getting everyone dressed to go outside, the preparation of every meal, the patience to deal with the spills and upsets and tantrums. It's a lot, it's important, and it's our daily duty and vocation.

As Christmas and Advent roll up I can feel the pressure to do more things, and a growing endless to-do list grows in my head. But I can't change the fact that even adding one more activity to our day can throw a wrench in our entire day, sending me spinning in a swirl of catching up and getting by.

But I want to buy all the gifts, and give everyone in our lives a small token of how we treasure them. I want to send all the Christmas cards, bake all the cookies, decorate all the things, celebrate everything there is to celebrate in this wonderful season! I also want to prepare, observe, sit quietly and appreciate the anticipation that Advent is meant to be.

Right now with all these little kids I've got to accept the fact that all that needs to happen and the time and energy I have don't quite match up. Even with simplifying, prioritizing, and selecting there's no getting around the fact that life with small children involves a lot of elbow grease and that Christmas adds even more to our plate. The reality is I need to pace myself and slow myself down. I have to come to grips that only the most important events will get us out of the house and only then with a good helping of effort and more work.

I've whittled things down, chosen carefully, but still the nagging persists in the back of my mind: "Do more, do more, do more..."

So, what's a girl to do?




I've gotta tell myself the sassy advice I doled out last year: calm-the-Jesse-Tree-down!

We can't get around the many things we need to do day in, day out as the mom to little ones. Even by parring things down there will be a lot of work for us this holiday season, there's no getting around it as we prepare our homes and families for Christmas, but we can choose mental peace this Advent. 

I don't have to give into that nagging temptation to do, to do, to do. This is so hard for me because if I have a spare moment instead of settling in the peace I feel hear the urge to keep doing, knock some more chores off that Christmas list, or even -- do more! I feel as if I may turn into a slave to these terrible temptations of lists in the back of my mind.

I feel like the lists and things that need to be done must consume all my time. But the fact is they really don't. Sure, it's a lot that needs to get done and most of it will need to be done by me, but I'm being a bit melodramatic in thinking it will take all 14 days left in Advent and all 24 hours of each day to complete them. The truth is if I devote a bit of time everyday to the intimidating NEED TO GET DONE list I'll make loads of headway. I enjoy the time I spend baking cookies while listening to my favourite podcasts with the kids, and I can wrap presents while watching Peaky Blinders with my husband. I can focus on enjoying entertaining friends and family because no one ever remembers if I had another appetizer or dessert out on the table - they remember the great times of being together.

At the end of the day the nagging to-do list can rob me of my mental peace. Mental peace is one of the gifts of Advent. God calls us to change, prepare ourselves, remodel our interior selves to better receive Christ at Christmas. But we have to actively choose to say no to the disruption of our inner peace and choose internal quiet, even from our own minds. I keep reminding myself that what needs to be done will get done, and it will get done little by little, I don't have to turn myself into a grump to do it, and I don't have to kill myself for a list of my own making.

It's really amazing how just making that simple, conscious choice to not do, do do, not struggle to get the endless done, to pace my work, changes how I approach my day. It tweaks my attitude towards one of mental peace. The many things that need to be done still need to be done of course, but my attitude helps in figuring out how to best do those tasks, maybe even enjoy myself while doing them, and making time and mental space to enjoy this festive season. We can't do it all as moms of littles, but we do a lot. Let's make the choice for our own peace this Advent.






One of the biggest robbers of my mental peace on a daily basis is figuring out what the heck to have for dinner! If I know what feast day it is that's a major bonus, but putting both those things together -- I need some help. That's why Haley and Daniel's book is the perfect tool for you and simplifying your mental load, and not just in the busy times, all year round. 

Haley, from Carrots for Michaelmas (and The Fountains of Carrots Podcast, ever heard of that??) along with her husband Daniel have created great, flavourful, healthy, and easy to prepare meals that coordinate perfectly with 10 feast days from the liturgical calendar. It's a great resource to pull out if you see a feast day coming up because you know you're going to have a great food option that brings dinner and celebrating the life of the Church together with very little hassle. 

More Feasts! also has more than just recipes, like simple ideas and activities for celebrating the feast days in your home, as well as thoughtful spiritual reflections that are worth the price of the book alone!

You can buy this great ebook for only $3.99 from Carrots For Michaelmas. (And you can get another 25% off by using the code: HAPPYFEAST until Dec. 25.) Haley is also giving you a great deal on their first liturgical cookbook, Feast!, by pricing it at only $4.99, regular $7.99, till the end of Advent. 

These books are more than worth adding to your collection of cookbooks and your regular weekday rotation of recipes, and as they are ebooks the low price makes it a really wonderful deal! But -- Haley is being a sweetie and allowing me to give one away to one lucky duck today, so just leave blog comment for your chance to win! I'll declare a lucky winner Saturday, Dec 13. 














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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What I've Been Reading Lately







I haven't had a reading recap in a while and I think I should get on it before I hit you with a bombardment of Advent, Advent, Advent! Or; All Advent, All the Time! (I'm still coming up with a jingle.) Do you give books for gifts at Christmas? They're obviously some of my favourite things to receive, but I know it can be risky giving books when you don't know what exactly the person likes to read, but if you have a clue as to what they enjoy then hopefully these reviews can help you out.





Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

I know, I'm two years late in reading this one, but I do need to officially state how much I enjoyed reading this which caught me off guard because there were so many conflicting reviews of this book. I thought it was going to be frivolous or with a bad sense of humour, but what I found was the sense of humour was sarcastic and spot-on, the writing style interesting and surprising, and the story oddly heart-warming. I also got a kick out of it since going to Seattle a couple weeks before reading because the novel takes aim at Seattle culture, it's technology industry, the weather, and the five-way intersections. I enjoyed that I kinda got the small Seattle jokes. I think this would be a great book to give to a girlfriend who's got a sense of humour (which should be any good girlfriend, btw). 





Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

Every once in a while I need to read some kind of foodie book. It's a genre that's taking over my literary life somehow, and I'm not sure if it's simply because I'm falling for a giant trend or that I just love the celebrity, high-food culture, or because I've been a loyal fan of Top Chef since it began. Either way I didn't know what to expect from this book since stereotypically chefs tend to live rough lifestyles, but Samuelsson proves a very honest writer of his life experiences. I appreciated how he treated so many things about his life; from being adopted by Swedish parents from Ethiopia, his mistakes made in his youth, what he missed out on by devoting himself to work, and his appreciation of his Ethiopian heritage with a fair and humble honesty, you never get the impression he's making things sounds better for the book. He's clearly a genius with food, which plays a part in the book but is no means the foot he leads with. A good book to give to the foodie in your life, or anyone who favours a decent memoir/autobiography.





Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

I flew through this book even though it's got a good amount of bad language and drug use - fair warning. It's a strangely compelling novel about the life of a ballerina, her marriage and son, and her past. The writing is vivid and very well done while bringing the world of professional ballet to life. If you've got a friend who likes chick-lit but also has an eye for a literary novel, this is a mix of both worlds.






This was the book about World War I that I mentioned a while back that I happened to be reading around Remembrance Day. It amazingly was not a depressing account of World War I, but realistically told a soldiers harrowing experiences as well as a touching yet accurate account of life on the home front. I really enjoyed that the main character is from Nova Scotia and that the book highlights Canada's important sacrifice in the war. This was a very readable historical fiction novel, with a great story to make the war not completely overwhelming to the reader. If you're an avid historical fiction reader I'd definitely recommend it, and if you have a historical fiction fan to shop for this would make a great addition to their library.





Arleen is an upcoming guest on the podcast so I wanted to read her book before talking to her and I'm so glad I did. Arleen does a great job talking about chastity and why it's important in an approachable and relatable way. She doesn't give anyone easy answers, but presents the beauty of Catholic teaching head on. She lays out why chastity is important when single because sex is meant for marriage, but she also does justice to the virtue itself by emphasizing that chastity is something every person in every state of life is called to, even us married folk! I love how she distinctly clarifies the very important difference between abstinence and chastity; they're two drastically different things. This would make a great gift for any single Catholic you know, not because it is patronizing, but because it shares the story of someone walking the same road when often it feels like if you're single and not having sex you're a complete anomaly. 





I'm linking up with Jenna because, hey these are 5 books, so head over there for some great faves of this week. 
Also, links are affiliate, so if Amazon is your current shopping choice by clicking through my links a couple cents of any purchase you make will go to me and helping keep up ye old blog, thanks!                                   





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Friday, November 28, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 108



Are there no quick takes because of American Thanksgiving yesterday?? Am I the only one doing this? Hello? Hello??


{one}



Another week, another child's birthday. And, oh look, my life is flashing by! But at least another kid is closer to the age of reason, looking on the bright side! 

My oldest son is 6! How can this be?! I was literally just birthing him, and now he's practically a man and...existential crisis! 

But hormonal freak-out aside, Dom is now a boy, not just a toddler or preschooler. And he's all the wonderful things that go with boys. Impetuous curiosity, loveable sense of humour at the silliest of potty jokes (even learning to read the word "but", and still laughing every time he reads it even though he knows it's not actually "butt"), amazing knowledge retention to the point of remembering each ad for a video game he's not allowed to have, or the names to sports teams I didn't know exist, an ability to willfully assert his will with a little newfound logic, rambunctious bravery to try new things (as long as they're not too messy) without the hinderance of pesky repercussions or injury. All in all having boys is really great.



{two}



I think Dominic's birthday party may be blizzard-ed out this weekend. It's been blowing and snowing so much the last couple days and it's only supposed to get colder I have a feeling we might be snowed in this weekend and not have any visitors willing to risk their lives to try and get out here. These are the downfalls of having winter birthdays in Canada. Maybe next weekend?



{three}

I'm sorry if this take either revolts/bores/enrages you but I just noticed everywhere I got there are small baby girl shoes. Nora's kinda a shoe-aholic already and she squeals with joy when she get shoes put on every day. It's hilarious. But her feet are so itsy-bitsy tiny that she has fit in the same shoes for almost a year. So naturally I've bought her a couple more pairs, and there's always boots, and Gemma hand-me-downs. Oh, and the small fact that I am a terrible housekeeper and let them pile up everywhere. Just look:









I know my husband and I complain that they're always everywhere, and I wish babies' things would just put themselves away most nights, but it's really sweet and wonderful to have baby shoes all over your house. I'm just stating this fact so that I burn it into my mind as a happy memory. It's such a drag to forget the cute stuff, right?



{four}

This week my hero Jen finally put her radio show up as a podcast for us cheapskates who don't go in for satellite radio and I'm been stalking binging my way through every episode. The other day I was listening to Jen's episode where she's so humorously and touchingly describing Edel, and how much fun we had, how very much needed it is for the weary Catholic mom etc. as I was driving the half hour into town for groceries that we desperately needed. I park at the post office, go to reach for my purse on the passenger side seat and see no purse. I hadn't even thought about it until I finally put the car into park half an hour from home. I'm not the definition of harried mom now am I?! I was on the verge of tears thinking about the time I'd have wasted and no groceries and baby's naps ending while they were at my mom's house and the cold and the bad roads when I thought to dig around the car and lo and behold found a book of cheques. I was saved. Because when you live in a small town the grocery store still takes cheques because they know where you live and can track you down if they bounce! It's a good thing I bought a ticket to Edel '15 was all I could think of, and then laughed a little at myself, then sorta wanted to cry...



{five}

I'm beginning to feel like should get my act together and think about Christmas gifts. I need to come up with some knock out ideas for my husband who is impossible to shop for...and my love language is not giving gifts...and I'm scouring Hallie's amazing list as we speak...

I also keep finding things that would be perfect gifts...for me...



{six}

Advent is upon us! I love Advent, let's all take a deep breathe and remind ourselves that the exact point of Advent it to chill out. Not for extra stuff. I'm just reminding myself, because I think the way we best celebrate and practice Advent is doing what comes natural to us and our families. It's a fine line sometimes, I know. Here's some of my past Advent posts if any strike your fancy:






{seven}

I'm not sure what our weekend has in store for us with this terrible weather. I do know that I'm going to be digging out the Advent stuff if I'm not making birthday cupcakes. I'm going to be hauling out of Christmas and Advent picture books which will give me a kick towards organizing our kid books which are basically taking over the whole house. I think we need more bookshelves!

I'm also going to be working on a "How to Listen to Podcasts" tutorial for anyone who's wondering how to listen to podcasts or what are some of the best apps. It'll be at Fountains of Carrots soon hopefully, we'll also have a new episode out next week!

Hope everyone has a wonderful first weekend of Advent!






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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Finding What Sticks with Holy Heroes





A couple weeks ago Gemma and I were working through her catechism lesson and one of the questions was "What is the four week season that prepares us for Christmas called?", or something to that effect, and I believe her exact words were: "I don't know WHAT you are talking about!"

In other words, we're doing all sorts of things right over here!

That was a moment where I both wanted to freak out -- because Advent is one of the seasons we have actually practiced in all 7 years of Gemma's life -- and simultaneously needed to remind myself that we're not trying to shove our children full of facts, even religious ones in a year...or seven. Teaching kids really takes a childhood and we've got to try to remind ourselves that all the work we're putting in is meant for a long term goal; a person who has a well-rounded knowledge of the Faith and a real relationship with Christ and his Church.



Since we're in it for the long haul, it's especially nice to have different options that teach the faith to give our kids since we don't know what's going to stick when. (Like the term "Advent" for instance?)

I think Holy Heroes is a great resource for giving out kids different ways to learn about the faith. Holy Heroes has great stories on the saints on CD so that kids can listen to an entertaining story about great lives. We listen to Glory Stories in the car on our frequent trips to the city. The kids are strapped in and desperate for entertainment, and I'm desperate for some non-fighting, so this definitely kills two birds with a holy stone! I appreciate that the Glory Stories are meant for children, but that the lives of the saints aren't being watered down at all. We listened to the story of Blessed Miguel Pro this past weekend for his feast day and I learned a lot, I'm not gonna lie!




Another great option for kids to listen to are the Rosary CDs. These are especially great if the kids are having "quiet time" and playing with Legos, I find my kids will naturally slip into praying along with the cd and it's quite adorable.



This Advent Holy Heroes has come out with an Advent Adventure Activity book complete with activities for every day of Advent. This is pretty much perfect for Gemma who loves a good workbook. I think it'd work well for elementary age kids who are looking for a little more hands-on work along with Advent stories. The book is divided into two helpful levels so kids who just want to colour and pay more attention to the overall stories in the readings can colour and do activities, while the higher level offers great questions from what is the meaning behind the colour of the priest's vestments in Mass that Sunday, to crosswords with Advent words and more. I think this book is the perfect resource for kids who are beginning to want more than simple colouring pages and a little more "meat" to what Advent is all about. The activities are mercifully free of adult participation as well, which in my book is a plus!

I wanted to let you know about this great Advent resource now so you can get it by the beginning of Advent this coming weekend, Holy Heroes is also offering this 10% off coupon for all my readers, just use the code: "10foundations".

Holy Heroes provided me with these great books and cds seen here, but you're getting my good ol' honest opinion! 





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Friday, November 21, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 107




Joining the wonderful Jess, er, I mean Kelly for some quick ones today!


{one}



Thank you so much to everyone who listened to our first podcast this week! Both Haley and I are really blown away at how well it was received, especially since we were both very nervous and apprehensive to release upon the world our very unprofessional-feeling-to-us podcast that was full of "ums" and "likes". We think we get better, and we've got some really great episodes in the works that we think you'll love! 



{two}

This podcast business is what has been taking up the very small amount of free time I have and that's why I feel I've been neglecting to post much here. I ran up against a lot of annoying technical difficulties that I swear weren't because I'm completely technologically inept, but I think I may be cursed. Anyway, I wish I could say that I grew in patience but I doubt it. My husband said I hadn't encountered that much frustration and difficulty since my last giving birth to a human. And he's probably not wrong.



{three}




So. Wasn't a great week in our house. Or maybe just for me, (kids seem so impervious to strife sometimes it can be frustrating!) but I am really feeling toddler exhaustion. Is that a thing? Because I think it should probably be in the Journal of Psychology as a legit mental syndrome or something. But I've had seven years of constant toddlerness. I've had at least one toddler between the insane ages of 18 months and 3 years for that entire period and I am feeling so very weary of the constant battle that comes with having irrational, yet very independent and strong willed little people ruling my life. Yes, it's a stage they grow out of, but when I've always got a kid in that stage...well...what use are mothering platitudes?? 



{four}


It's not my first rodeo obviously with these two toddlers now, I've had a really great toddler, a fairly active one, a downright mischievous one, but I never knew how strong willed someone only two years of age could be until child number four. So stronger willed that he screams in anger as a default respond to asking him a question, a full on tantrum can begin simply by asking him to do something. It is so incredibly exhausting I just don't know how to describe it properly. I don't think it's anything other than a personality/behavioural issue because he can be incomparably sweet when he wants to be, and is very smart for his age. He seems to go in waves of difficult behaviour and when the bad wave hits which is probably a growth spurt or something it seems impossible to even love him. He's constantly pushing away, running away from positive attention, isn't even happy when his own outrageous toddler demands are met. It just leaves me felling so awful and frustrated and angry. 



{five}

Wow, my takes are so happy today aren't they?? We need something happy...at least it didn't snow 7 feet here this week! 



{six}




I'm writing over at Blessed Is She today! Do stop by and sign up for daily devotions alongside the day's Mass readings, it's such an easy way to add a little prayerful intention to your day.



{seven}



I can't believe my little Irish twins are both 5 years old right now! It's amazing that they're so big so quickly. I know...total mom moment...but when they were born and there was just a plethora of babies I couldn't imagine them being 5. I still can't imagine them any older now either. But they're so cute, fight like banshees sometimes, and are self-proclaimed "best buddies." Kinda the sweetest. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! 







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