November 25, 2009

Can we watch a video of a dog putting on a sweater?

First, a little craftiness. Here are my design team layouts for KMA for the month of November (you can click on each layout and it will take you to the full-size image in my gallery at KMA):










So, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything here… it’s been an unusual month to say the least. I’ve spent the last 6 ½ weeks working on a project that pretty much completely consumed all of my free time. However, I am not complaining. It was an amazing experience, that is in fact still ongoing, although my part in it is complete for the time being. I hate being cryptic, or keeping secrets, but I will reveal more when I am able.


The boys were sick on-and-off the entire month of October. Which wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t good either. The cause of all this illness? Well, after much deliberation my husband and I decided to send Gabe to preschool (which could really be the topic of a whole other blog post, but I’m not sure it ever will be). He started back in September and has been sick often in all the time since then. Basically, he keeps bringing little microscopic friends home with him. Lovely.

Not sure what else to say. It’s been a strange month for me and I’m still catching-up on all sorts of things around the house. I’m not ready for Advent, but maybe that’s okay. I love our Catholic faith and that we have been given this special way of bringing on Christmas. This season for preparing our hearts to receive our Lord. We have some time to be quiet and to anticipate the joy. I find it comforting.

As for the title of this post, my sweets showed Gabe a video on YouTube of a cat flushing a toilet. Have you seen this? It’s pretty silly, and to a three year old it’s just downright hilarious. But even he knows that something about the video is just not right and that cats don’t flush toilets. So as soon as the video was over he wanted to watch something equally as outrageous; something that was beyond his imagination. What could be on par with a cat flushing a toilet? It’s obvious isn‘t it? A dog putting on a sweater. I love how children's minds work.

October 12, 2009

eating my words...in a good way

So a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we don't really experience fall here in Southern California. Well, maybe it just takes a little longer to get here than most places but it's finally arrived (now let's hope it sticks around). I am certainly enjoying the cooler weather and the chance to wear my cardigans (I have built-up quite a little collection...). Last week I made this:


It's Slow-Cooker Beef and Black Bean Chili. I like to add a chopped red pepper to my recipe and this time around I substituted the chili powder for a chopped chipotle pepper. Not a good idea...my poor husband. It was pretty spicy. Good, but spicy. It was comforting though and it was perfect for this weather we're having. To contrast with the heat of the chili I served it with a fresh corn and tomato salsa on top and for a drink we had a very refreshing pomegranate and lime spritzer.

The corn and tomato salsa was delicious. I really need to learn more about the true seasons for the various vegetables. I think I've just grown up in a time when you can get just about any vegetable at any time of the year. So I've never really learned what is in season and what's out of season. But, we've been getting some really lovely tomatoes lately and I'm not a big tomato person so I think that says something.

I should also note that I am a complete slow-cooker newbie. My mom didn't really use hers when I was growing up so it's kind of a new concept to me. I got one earlier this year as an experiment and I gotta say, I'm liking it so far. If the weather stays cool I think I'll be using it a little more. But I'll be sure to stay away from the chipotles...for now.

October 10, 2009

Just enough?

Last weekend our family was blessed to have a house guest. An old friend from Tucson and Nathan's godfather. He is an older gentleman, a little older than our parents, and although Gabe realized that he was not his grandpa he also quickly realized that he had many grandpa-like qualities. Gabe had a lot of fun with our guest while he was here.

Glen and I enjoyed his visit immensely. We stayed up both nights he was here and had long talks about recent life events and events long since past. It was so nice to talk with someone who shares our faith and our values and who has so much more life experience than we do. He is so open to God's will in his life (even when it has been painful to accept) and his experiences have provided him with true wisdom.

While telling us one of his stories he related the lesson he learned from that particular experience. He said that God always provides what we need. Which we all know... but in fact he stressed that God provides exactly what we need; never more, never less. I've been pondering that statement over the past few days and wondering if it's really true. I do trust that He provides what we need, whether spiritually, physically or financially (and I'm sure that sometimes we *think* it is not enough), but is it true that God always provides just enough? Never more?

Part of the reason that this has really stuck with me is that lately I've felt a little overwhelmed in my life - anxious is probably a more accurate description. I am happy with my vocation. I love being a wife and a mother. I do believe that many of the gifts and talents that God has given me are put to great use in our daily lives. But the other morning I was watching EWTN, an old episode of Mother Angelica's Spiritual Growth. By the way, have you watched this program? I get such a kick out of seeing Mother in her younger days. She had a special wisdom even then. Love her. But back to my point... In this program she said that sometimes we use the gifts that God has given us against ourselves. This really struck home and it helped to solidify some ideas for me. I think that the same gifts that help me in my home life are also hindering me. I am not necessarily an A-type personality (I am not an extrovert), but I am very goal oriented and I can be extremely disciplined when working towards a desired goal. Lately I have really struggled with how to use all of the gifts that I have been given. It is not that motherhood and married life are not enough. It's that I know that I have been so greatly blessed and I keep feeling that surely there is some way that I can use the talents and gifts I've been given to serve the Lord in other ways, not just at home...

There are things I have been desiring for my life but I'm not sure that they are what God wants for me. There are in fact so many things that I want to do but I find that oftentimes I simply don't have the energy or time to do them all. For a long time I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I wondered why I couldn't do everything that I wanted to do. Lately I've been wondering if the reason I don't have the energy to do all this extra stuff is because it is extra and not necessary, and well, not what I'm supposed to be doing in the first place. It's as if I had just sufficient energy to accomplish what was needed, but no more.

I have been praying about this, but perhaps not enough. I'm trying to be open to God's will in my life. But I have to say... it's hard. It is so so hard to die to self and serve His will rather than ours.

I've recently begun to realize that some of the things that I have desired for myself, while not intrinsically selfish or wrong, are probably just not part of God's plan for me. That has been hard to accept. Partly because I don't want to give up on my goals. But also partly because if that is not in the plan for me then what is? I am truly trying to discern God's plan and will for my life. And I know that I should not be anxious in the meantime. I have been thinking of this verse:

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

I know that He will provide and if we ask sincerely He will always answer us. I just need to be willing to listen. And I need to accept that His grace will be sufficient to accomplish His will.

September 25, 2009

I will follow...

I don't usually participate in challenges; they always seem to me more effort than they are worth. At least most of the time, but this one from Collage Press was a little too good to pass up. I love Collage Press' papers and I've been wanting to use some new things I've recently acquired too. Like my new Hot Air Balloon stamp set from Studio Calico, so I decided to give it a go.

I used the lovely cloud paper from the Knave of Hearts collection. And actually, the whole card was made using that collection (*sigh* I love those papers). I'm really happy with the way it turned out... sort of exactly the way I envisioned it, which doesn't always happen. I'm not so happy with the way it photographed, but that's what I get for doing it at sunset:



I plan on giving this to my sweetie. The wording is rather appropriate for our season of life; lots of decisions and planning for our family to be made. We work together of course, but in the end, I will follow him anywhere. And I know he'd do the same.

September 22, 2009

This week we celebrated Nathan's first birthday and I made these to celebrate:



Unfortunately, our birthday boy fell asleep in his high chair before we could get to our festivities.

So today we had our cupcakes before dinner and as soon as daddy came home from work (this was very exciting news to Gabee). We pulled out the party hats and the noise-makers and got down to business.

We learned very quickly though that Nathan liked neither. As you can see from the photos below:





Poor little guy. He really did not like the hats. He didn't even like us wearing the hats. As soon as we took them off though and he got a taste of his cupcakes (apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting), he was fine.





Happy Birthday little guy! Mommy and daddy love you more than you'll know.

September 19, 2009

First Batch

How do you know that fall has begun? Well, if you live in a state that actually has seasons, then you'll notice the weather starting to change. For those of us who are not so fortunate...we head to Starbucks (hereafter known as SB). Maybe not the deepest or most profound way to mark the beginning of a new season, but when I see the Pumpkin Spice Latte show up on the menu, I know fall has officially begun.

On a much similar note, I am also a huge fan of the pumpkin scone that SB sells during the fall and winter months. Have you ever had one? I think they are pretty good, even if they do have, in my opinion, too much frosting.

One night a couple of years ago, I was seriously craving one those guys but I really didn't want to make a trip to SB. So what did I do?

Well, first I should let you know that I have a husband who bakes. Yes, you read that right. He bakes. I should also mention that his specialty is scones. Scones!!

So what do you do when you want a scone and you have a husband who just happens to make what you think, in all honesty and sincerity, are the world's best scones? You ask him as sweetly as possible (and with your eyelashes batting just in case) to make you some. I went online and found a recipe that was based on Starbucks' pumpkin scones. Luckily we had everything we needed on hand and about an hour-and-a-half later we had pumpkin scones. They were good. Since that time, my sweets has perfected the recipe and made some adjustments to it and now, I really think his pumpkin scones are much better than SB's.

So, now to the point of this whole post, last week I was craving a pumpkin scone. Lucky for me, so was my sweetie. So we made our first batch of the season (I'm in charge of the frosting). And guess what? They were good.






September 4, 2009

Small Reminders of God's Love

Hmmm, so, I'm not very good at blogging apparently. Here's something I meant to post a couple of weeks ago, but just never got around to it.

I won't go into too much explanation here, but California is not my or my husband's home state and we have had a difficult time adjusting to life here. Really, I'm not sure I could go into detail even if I wanted to. Some of the things that have been hard to adjust to are easy to pinpoint, others not as much. There are many things about our lives here that are good and blessed and have brought us joy. I certainly don't want to seem unhappy or ungrateful for our many blessings. Because there are many.

One of the things that has been a gift in our lives is the absolutely gorgeous produce that is available here in California. We try not to be too particular about food, in the gluttonous sort of way. I learned from the nuns in school that being a picky eater was one form of gluttony; wanting your food to be just so or only eating certain foods. We do try to eat healthfully though; lots of fruits and vegetables and I try to limit the processed foods we eat. The beauty, freshness, variety and availability of all the fruits and vegetables here in California makes us aware of God's great gift of creation to mankind.

I got these figs a few weeks back and they were so beautiful and delicious. Such a simple thing, but it really did illustrate for us that God is good and that even in such a small thing as a fig he is so generous to us.


August 18, 2009

Routines

I have been thinking a lot lately about routines. There are so many things that I want to do in a day, and only so much time to do them. I tend to be the type of person who enjoys order and structure and a certain degree of predictability. With my oldest boy this was never a problem and as an infant he pretty much fell into a routine on his own; I just followed along. I was able to do what I wanted and needed to do because I always knew when mealtime and nap time would come and when I'd have a chance to accomplish a certain list of tasks.

Ethan on the other hand, seems to have no predictable pattern to his day whatsoever. He just sleeps and eats when he wants and it's not at the same times everyday (and forget about trying to get him to sleep or eat during the day when he's not ready - this does not work; been there, tried that, moving on...). I suppose that I don't really mind it so much. This works for him. I figure that if anything, I am the one who needs to adjust rather than forcing him into a schedule that he doesn't really like. Our day has a flow and a rhythm; just not a set schedule. And I think that's okay, it has just taken me a little while to get used to that. So right now, I am trying to figure out how to best fit in some other activities into the framework of our day. It is definitely a process.

And along those lines, I have found it just a little more than difficult to post to this blog. There are a few reasons for that,but the main one is just a matter of it not really being a part of my routine. There are a lot of times that I think of something I'd like to write about, or a photo I'd like to post, but it is not so easy for me to sit at the computer and actually do that. There are some logistical reasons for it too, and I'm pretty sure they are much too boring to detail here. And I'm pretty sure that the only person who reads this blog is my husband (hi sweetie!) so I'm not sure that I even need say all of this anyway. Basically, I am working on the logistical issues and I'm working on making this part of my routine. So hopefully, sometime in the near future, there will be more posts. And therefore more for my husband to read.

August 10, 2009

Favorite Things

This photo has two of my absolute most favorite things in it:




In no particular order: Nathan's deliciously chubby thighs and Gabe's feet (which are not necessarily small or cute anymore, in fact they are getting longer and more adult-like each day, or so it seems to me, but I love these little feet anyway).

August 2, 2009

The love of a child

Last night at dinner, completely unprompted and quite out of nowhere, Gabe proclaimed, "we love Jesus".

Yes, Gabe, we do.

August 1, 2009

July Layouts for KMA

I am a member of the design team at the online scrapbooking site Keeping Memories Alive. Each month we post at least four layouts on or by the 20th of the month. This month, as I posted below, I struggled to get my layouts finished on time. Sometimes the creativity flows; others times, not so much. But that is part of the creative process. And I've learned, rather slowly and reluctantly, that it passes.

My layouts for the month of July are posted below. You can click on each layout and it will take you my gallery at KMA where you can see the layout in more detail and you can see the supply list for each layout too.











July 29, 2009

God's Gift

This past Sunday, our precious Nathan was baptized and became a child of God, a member of the Body of Christ.


Here he is just after the ceremony. He is ten months old and is already walking (of course, crawling is still faster!). He does not like being held so much anymore and so he was quite cranky and fidgety during the ceremony. He did not cry though when the water was poured on his head - which was a pleasant surprise!
After the ceremony, he was happy to finally get a chance to roam free and to crawl and walk around. We love this little guy so much. It was truly a happy and blessed day for us.

July 21, 2009

Afraid

I think blogging is going to be difficult for me. You see...

I'm a perfectionist (well, I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist, but sometimes my inclinations overcome my intentions).

I read other blogs, like Amy's and I think, "I'll never be able to write like that". I know she is a writer and I am not. And she has lots of practice, and I do not. And...

I think I just have to do it. Just write. Just figure out what it is I'm trying to say in this space.

I'm working on it.

Something else I'm gonna work on is getting some photos loaded onto this page. It's kinda boring without them, no?

July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Deborah!

Today is my little sister's birthday (I won't say how old she is, I don't know if she is comfortable with revealing those sorts of details). In any case, I wanted to say happy birthday Deborah!! Hope you have a great day!

stuck

One of the things that I do when I’m really stuck, creatively speaking, is to go web searching. Tomorrow I’ve got four layouts due for Scrapbooks.com. And I’m not quite there yet. So, I’m doing a little procrastinating combined with trying to get the inspiration flowing. I did find some really cool new sites…

But it’s time to get ready for mass. So, in the proper order of things, scrapbooking will have to wait till later.

July 16, 2009

what she making?

One day while I was making dinner I heard my oldest son ask my husband, “what she making?” I couldn’t help but laugh. “She,” you know, “that woman” in the kitchen. It was funny then, and I still can’t help but laugh when I think about it (and actually, he now asks this almost every night at dinnertime).

And I think about that moment often.

When I was trying to think of a name for my blog, this memory popped into my mind. And I asked myself, what am I making?

Honestly, I’m not always sure.

What I am sure about is that of all the things I am making, the most important thing I do is to make a home for my family that is filled with love. God’s love. Christ’s love. Love for one another (John 13:34). That is definitely my most difficult task and one that I struggle with daily.

But life is not all seriousness. And when I’m not contemplating the deep mysteries of my faith, I’m making other stuff too (stuff that I am certain will not endure into eternity). I love cooking (in fact, I used to joke back when I was in graduate school that if I didn’t cut it as an engineer my dream job would be pastry chef). I make some pretty mean desserts - just ask my husband. And when I’m not in the kitchen, or doing a load of laundry, or any of the other millions of things a mom does, I’m scrapbooking. Again - you can ask my husband. Scrapbooking occupies a lot of my free time. And more than likely, that’s what I’ll be sharing here. Some thoughts on my Catholic faith, and my faith journey, some of my culinary experiments, and a lot of scrapbooking.

And in all honesty, I’m still not sure that I’m blogger material. But, we’ll see how it goes…

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