Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa and Snuffins

The boys know that Santa's real name is Saint Nicholas! Yes! But they still think he is a big guy who dresses in red and has a big white beard. I guess we will work on the true story of Christmas bit by bit. At least they know Christmas is Baby Jesus's Birthday! They love playing with their Manger set, and give Baby Jesus rides on their Thomas Train.... it is very cute. Joseph likes to sing "Baby Jesus! Baby Jesus!" to the tune of Away in a Manger.... very cute!

Leo in green, Joseph in Red and of course Mr. & Mrs. Clause... Candy cane envy!


Leo with Santa (above)
and then enjoying his candy cane... sticky goodness!

Joseph with Santa (above)
and then enjoying his candy cand (below)

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Outdoor Fun

What could be more fun then two little boys and an orchard full of fallen leaves?

A morning full of looking for stray walnuts, kicking leaves and finding sticks to give the dog to chew on.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Finding Time

There are a lot of excuses for not getting things done, not just the day to day tasks of dishes and washing cloth diapers, but the big things like re-painting the kitchen, bathroom, dining room etc... But the new curtains are mostly up in the dinning room, and the bathroom has its first coat of paint, and even a second on 3 walls. I've begun to realize that it really isn't about having enough time. There is plenty of time. What I have been lacking is enough energy and motivation. These things come from good nutrition, exercise and a good nights sleep. I know, not a revelation for the ages! Not a new concept. Just something that so many of us have a hard time putting into practice.

I get so caught up in taking care of my boys (husband and kids) that I forget to take care of myself! This might sound impossible to some people, or very familiar.... I didn't even realize it was happening! The other day my Dr. told me she thought I looked great, and I laughed, hard. She gave me a funny look and I responded "Its amazing what a bath and some new clothes will do for a girl!"

So recently it has been about finding the time for myself, for prayer, for exercise. The time spent on these simple things makes it seem like there is more time for the day-to-day.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Frugal Friday

There is nothing better then homemade bread; unless its homemade cookies! I've always loved homemade bread. My dad attempted it a time or two during his running, health food, raw veggies for dinner phase. I loved the running, and the homemade bread, the fact that my dad had a weakness for hot dogs and that there was a great hot dog stand not to far away. Then in college I had a roommate who was also a running health food fanatic. She at least made stir fry with her veggies. She also made wonderful bread. I have just never had the patience. It isn't the labor involved in kneading the dough. I hand mixed clay in my ceramics class; great stress reliever. Bread just never worked for me. Until bread makers became widely available and reasonably priced. I just never thought I'd be able to buy one for $7.10. Yup! That's right. The cost of two good bakery loaves of wheat bread and I can now make my own at home!



Happiness is homemade bread! Especially at this price! Did I mention that it is an expensive brand that would have retailed for more then $200? Yup! I NEVER would have spent that much for a bread machine! Used machines of this brand sell for $150 or more on Amazon! So I saved $200 and get home made goodness! I think that is a pretty frugal find don't you!?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WIP

Welcome to Work In Progress Wednesday! I finally attempted socks this past week! I had a child free day to wander through a few yarn stores, a book store or two, as well as a fabric store. I found a lot of inspiration for WIP posts! Aprons from some lovely fabric are sure to follow. But for now, its socks.

Yeah for my little green sock! It wasn't very hard at all! I would definitely recommend the book Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I also found another book at one of those wonderful stores I visited last week, that does two socks at one time on circular needles. The instructions in the Sensational Knitted Socks book are for 4 dpn (double pointed needles), 5 dpn, or two circular needles (one sock at a time). Looking forward to knitting several socks in both of my new sock books!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mission Monday

I've had this idea for a while now, but have not had the time to act on it. I want to do a few post a week, Mission Monday, Work in progress Wednesday and Frugal or Feasting Friday. Instead of waiting until I have time, I am going to make time for these posts, and for the effort that goes into them. They are not a waste of time, but a source of inspiration and support for the work that I am attempting in my home. Its like the saying goes "a person needs at least 10 minutes of prayer each day, a busy person 20". Hopefully the effort I put into these post will help me in my Mission.

In my Mission Monday posts I would like to share experiences that gave me insight, inspiration and/or the strength necessary to continue my Mission.

"A third similarity between sacred and domestic liturgies is that it takes time to learn to perform them with familiarity and ease. The British author C.S. Lewis occasionally complained about the tendency of prayer book editors constantly to 'update' the words of the liturgy. He didn't care what particular form the liturgy took, he said; all he wanted was that they choose a form and then leave it alone. His point was not that liturgy should never change. His point was that if he was constantly unsure what to do and say next, it made it very difficult to enter into prayer with concentration and serenity and an openess to grace.
The routines of housekeeping have the potential to be similarly disorienting. If we are unfamiliar with the myriad tasks and subtasks involved in planning menus and cooking meals or in picking up and cleaning house, we may feel just as confused as the Baptist who has stumbled into an Anglican church and is frantically searching for the right page in the prayer book while trying - and failing - to sit, stand, and kneel at the right times."

Friday, June 19, 2009

What am I doing here?

No, its not some existential question about the meaning of life or my place in the world, rather it is a question about my blog's place in the blog-0-sphere. What am I doing here, on this blog? I started it with the intention of using it to help inspire me to create a more loving christian home. I wanted to use it to reflect on my own thoughts, and those of other Christian moms in the blog-o-sphere. I also wanted to occasionally show off my knitting skills, as unimpressive as they are.

I have been trying to schedule my time, and have mentioned my Home Management Notebook before. I have schedules for everything from cleaning the kitchen to washing cloth diapers, to grocery shopping and trips to the park, but I do not have any time set aside for myself. I assume that after the boys go to bed, I will have time to myself, but that never works.

So I am going to create a schedule for blogging, and some of the thought, prayer and reflection that goes into it. I kept a journal all through college, and it was always very helpful when I would take the time to pray, reflect and write about what was stealing my motivation and time. If I didn't take the time, and did not put the proper thought and prayer into my journaling, it became a negative whine fest that only added to my deteriorating mood. Here is my attempt at more positive and thoughtful blogging about keeping myself connected with Christ and enjoying my role as a Catholic stay-at-home mom.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Home Management Notebook

I have been trying to develop and use a Home Management Notebook. I have found that the weeks I actually stick to my plan I have more energy, less stress, and a cleaner house! All good things. There are a few resources I have found that help me get organized, and have given me some great ideas to create my own custom schedules. As I develop my Home Management Notebook I plan on posting the files here for anyone who finds them to use them. I just have to figure out how to do that, if it is possible.... hmmm... didn't find anything in Blogger's help just now, must keep searching!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! You might think to yourself, "Wait, wasn't Easter a while ago?". Well, that is the great thing about being Catholic, Easter is not just a day, but a season. We do not celebrate the important moments in salvation history for an hour or two, but for weeks. Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter as well as Ordinary Time make up the Liturgical Calender of the Catholic Church. This allows us, as busy and procrastinating, often prideful and even selfish humans many opportunities to hear the call of the Father.

During Lent, I often thought about Christ's death and Resurrection. I contemplated my own sins and their contribution the Christ's agony on the Cross. I looked at my life and tried to see opportunity where I could only see frustration, to feel blessed instead of frustrated. This was a difficult journey. One I am only beginning to take, beginning to understand.

If Christ died for me, to destroy death, and restore life, my life, then how am I honoring the sacrifice He made for me? Am I living up to that self-donating love that Christ exemplified?
I am not. But because of Christ's love, I can be.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Corinthians I think....

Friday, February 27, 2009

Is Sock Knitting Hard?

I have been called a good knitter. I am not sure. Like most things, I lack self confidence in this area. I have knit a ton of scarfs in many different textures and colors, baby booties, a couple of toddler sweaters and a skirt. I want to knit a pair of socks, but I'm afraid. Is sock knitting hard? I already knit in the round on double pointed needles so I don't know what my hesitation is. Its only socks right? I found a video on You Tube that I like. She makes it look so easy. I think its what I need right now. I need to tackle something that makes me hesitate. Something that will boost my confidence. Something that has nothing to do with cleaning the house or trying to organize it, or trying to keep the boys entertained. Something for me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

icky slimy dirt

We have had a lot of rain here in CA lately which is great if you are a dry-land farmer, but presents a few problems if you are a stay-at-home mom of pre-school aged twins. After a couple weeks of steady rain any outside play time involves mud, or as Leo calls it, icky slimy dirt. It wasn't full on mud wrestling, but there has been mud tossing and a few attempts at eating mud pies. Hands have gotten quite dirty, and faces have been smeared with muddy streaks. Now, I'm not one of those moms who who freaks out over dirty hands and faces, so we played in the icky slimy dirt. After all, kids and clothes wash, and letting the boys play in the dirt and mud is preferable to me losing my sanity because I'm couped up in the house for a week with two active toddlers.

The Saturday before last, we had a break in the rain. It wasn't much, but enough of a break for me to run the boys out to the vineyard to play with Daddy, Fawpa and Aunt Sarah while I finished loading up the car (diaper bag and what not) for a trip to town to get groceries. When I got out to the vineyard, the boys were excited to see me and wanted to go to town. They really like driving the big truck shopping carts. Aunt Sarah and Daddy loaded the boys in the car while I took care of the big buggy stroller. I wasn't thinking about the fact that they were wearing muddy boots. About half way to town Leo said "icky slimy dirt" and Joseph answered "eat dirt". Now I had been looking back at them, as usual, smiling as they talked to each other and handed toys back and forth. What I didn't see was Leo pull mud off the bottom of his boot and shove it in his mouth. That is until he said "icky slimy dirt" and did it again. I pulled over as soon as I could, grabbed a spitty rag and said "No! Don't eat dirt!". Leo responded by spitting the dirt out, and then sticking his tounge out so I could wipe it, along with his mud streaked face and hands. I had thought ahead, and brought the little tennis shoes so the boots were quickly removed. I just didn't think they had to be removed before they became a muddy buffet! Now I know!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My trip to the ICU

About 10 years ago, I was working for as a research assistant for a company doing research at Stanford. It was a very enjoyable job. It was stress full, and the hours were long, but I helped save lives. I also had amazing access to top doctors. When I went into arterial fibrillation with a tachycardia rhythm of over 250 beats per minute, the doctors in the Stanford ER were able to convert my heart to a normal rhythm within a few hours. After several trips to a cardiologist, and all kinds of test, nothing was found. The doctor told me that I need to get more exercise , better sleep, work less and avoid stress. Nothing was wrong, it was an unexplained event. I didn't really think that was a good answer, but it was the only one they had.


For 10 years, I didn't have any heart issues. There were a hand full of times I felt tired and light headed and was told to go to the ER to get check out because of my history. Nothing. Until last Saturday. Now I have had other heath problems in the last 10 years. I have Fibromyalgia and Lupus, which has caused all sorts of problems, including arthritis. My current doctor, who is normally very vigilant, and a good doctor, started me on a new medication for the arthritis. Unfortunately it increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. I didn't think anything about it since I have never had either of these issues. Unfortunately it reacted badly with what I am now being told is Lone Aortic Fibrillation Disorder. Basically, it means that my heart can slip out of rhythm for no real apparent reason. The new arthritis medication didn't cause the arrhythmia, but it contributed to the problem. So now I have to get a full cardiac work up. The best case scenario would be that I don't have to take any heart medications, and that I will only need to be monitored occasionally. At worst I will need surgery to relax the muscles in my heart, or possibly a pace maker.


The worst part of the experience was the effect it had on my boys. I am a stay-at-home mom to my ID twin boys who are 20 months old. They were with my when it started. We were only a few blocks from the church where my DH was working. Thankfully I was still able to drive. If I had to pull over I would have had to call an ambulance. He took us to the ER, where I almost fainted. I ended up laying in the middle of the ambulance bay, waiting for them to come out and get me. My DH was getting the boys out of the car in the parking lot. I told him I was feeling fine, but as soon as he pulled away, I almost collapsed. The boys saw me in the ER, and both of them freaked out. Joseph is more sensitive, and he was screaming so I told my DH to take them home and ask his mom to come over. We live out in the country and it took him almost 2 hours to get back. The next day, because we didn't have anyone to watch the boys, my DH brought them to visit so he could at least see me for a few minutes. They were both upset, and Joseph was clinging to my whimpering.Every time one of the machines beeped he would scream. That night (Sunday) he was crying when my DH went to put him down for the night and kept asking for mama and saying "mama medicine". On Monday when they picked me up from the hospital, I thought that little boy was going to explode. He wouldn't let go of me, or let me out of his sight. If I so much as went to the bathroom, he would scream "mama no bye-bye". They have both been very snuggly with me, and have said "mama medicine", and "mama no bye-bye".


My hope is that I will be able to get my Fibromyalgia under control without medications, or at least find one that won't have such severe side effects. I also hope that I will be able to take care of my babies. The exhaustion this week as been unexplainable and unbelievable. I love being a stay-at-home mom, and I love my babies more then anything. I just want to be healthy and my babies to be happy. I don't think that is too much to ask! If you read this please say a prayer for me, and for all moms who live with a cronic illness.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bikes in the Vineyard Part 2

video

Bikes in the Vineyard Part 1

video

Flesh is Weak

This last 16 months, since I was diagnosed with Lupus, have been some of the most frustrating of my life. Although, there is now a known cause for my episodes of exhaustion, my headaches, joint pain, muscle pain, even blurred vision and miscarriages, the calm has not arrived. Usually, for someone who has suffered a long illness, a diagnosis brings relief. I can not say this is the case. I have been given a diagnosis, but I don't fell I have been given much else. I am supposed to stay healthy, get exercise, and try to avoid getting any cold, flu, virus or other infection which could aggravate my immune system. I also should get plenty of rest, and avoid stress. All of this is easy for a stay-at-home mom with toddler twins.... oh wait, that would be if I lived in an alternate universe. In this one, it seems almost impossible. Most days, I feel blessed to have made it until my wonderful husband walks through the door.
The past few weeks, months even, have brought a deepening exhaustion. I've taken up coffee. I never really drank coffee before. I tried it in college and became so wired I could not study. All nighters were useless. I do drink soda, often two or three a day, but in comparison to a good cup of coffee, the caffeine doesn't add up. These days I am at two to three cups of coffee to make it through the day. I sleep 8 hours a night, and still find it difficult to wake up, let alone get out of bed. I eat well, get a bit of exercise and plenty of sleep. It doesn't seem to help. The doctors solution is medication. I'm not ready for medications and their list of side effects, not to mention the increased risks they bring.
The most difficult thing about Lupus is convincing people I have it, and that it can be devastating. Having only been diagnosed in the last two years, friends and family are still learning about Lupus, and what a Lupus diagnosis means. For the most part, my Lupus flares have been mild to moderate. I am always worried that they will get worse, and not taking the medications will no longer be an option. I am always worried that I will become so ill that I will not be able to care for my children. Some days, I feel like I don't do everything I could for the Snuffins. They would definitely like more trips to the park, more time playing in the vineyard, or more rounds of 'Break the Mama'. My exhaustion has already had a negative effect on the state of my home.
I get the impression sometimes, that people see me as lazy or selfish, because they don't understand the extent of the illness. This is the most frustrating part. I want to be one of those people who claims that other peoples opinions do not matter, but I am not. I don't validate myself solely on the opinions of others, but as most people, I want those opinions to be positive, to reflect the reality of my condition and personality.
My flesh has been very weary of late, but my spirit is optimistic and guided by the Father's will.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year

At the onset of a new year, it seems like everyone begins to talk about life changes, resolutions, and new starts. Me, I'm just struggling to keep myself upright and moving forward. I have wanted the same things for quite some time, the new date on the calender changes nothing.

I want a well organized house. Hopefully this isn't as far off as it seems.
I want to be able to cook dinner every night, unless my husband wants to.
I want to have more time to knit, not just things from magazines, but my own designs. I also need time to get those down on paper before I forget them.
I want to be able to explore my love of photography.
I want to build a loving home that is a safe place for my family to grow in, go out into the world from, and be a safe place to return to.
I want to follow the path that the Father has set before me with faith, love and grace.
I want to live well.