Gathering My Thoughts as October 2015 Begins {Throwback Thursday}

Outside my window:  Wet, cold, cloudy.  It’s been cloudy for the better part of two weeks (though the sun shined on the Pope when he was close by in D.C.!), and it’s been raining for six days straight.  I hope the sun comes out tomorrow, as I’m so tired of the dreariness.

  Listening to: Children’s toys playing little jingles, the dryer going (so my husband can have clean clothes for work tomorrow), daughter asking for ice-cream (although it’s about 60 degrees) and Bobby grading Latin tests.

Clothing myself in:  Yoga pants, college sweatshirt, warm slippers.  I’m not particularly happy about the cold weather arriving, but I do like my cozy clothes.   

Talking with my children about these books: The last time we went to the library we got out some books on autumn.   We’ve read Winter is Coming and It’s Fall!  Ironically, the leaves haven’t even started to change, but we’re talking about fall and Grace is looking forward to the snow. 

 In my own reading: Sadly, I haven’t read anything for quite awhile, except to try and squeeze in the daily readings and Blessed Is She meditation.  Oh, and do blog posts count?

Thinking and thinking: About being a better wife.  I feel like a read so much and seek so much encouragement for mothering, but don’t spend nearly enough time working on my primary vocation as a wife.

Pondering:  “Nothing great ever comes about without great desires.”

Carefully cultivating rhythm: Always working on this.  Right now, a consistent dinner, evening and bedtime routine has been my main focus. 

 Creating by hand: There doesn’t seem to be any time these days for myself.  Dishes, laundry, cleaning, and then reading, playing, crafting, going out with the girls fills up the day.  Maybe some things will be done for Christmas.  We’ll see.

Learning lessons in: Being little, entrusting myself to Mother Mary for the smallest needs of my day, because I just can’t do anything on my own.  Finding a balance of rest, work, prayer and time with the girls, and my husband.

Encouraging learning in: Crafts and working on writing letters.  Grace has begun to show a lot of interest in “craps” (crafts!) and will paint/glue/tape quite happily be herself.  We’ve been enjoying our once a week pre-school co-op, working through Catholic Icing, and I’ve been working on writing letters with her.  So exciting that she has begun to write!!

  Keeping house: It’s been hard.  I need to figure out some way to consistently keep the house straightened out, instead of needing to do major cleaning every week or two.  Just so discouraged by how big the house is, and how quickly every room because covered with toys on the floor.  Not sure how to contain them…

Crafting in the kitchen: Happily, I have been baking again, and enjoying autumn bounty.  We went apple picking last weekend, so there was apple pie.  I also made these yummy Pumpkin Pecan Scones and applesauce and more scones on in the future.  Time to start baking my own bread again, too.  

 To be fit and happy: So looking forward to getting back outside, after all this rain.  I’ve also really noticed lately how quiet, peaceful and beautiful it is to be at church for Mass.  Even with the kids, being at my beloved college chapel has lately been very calming to my soul.  I feel the need to prioritize daily Mass twice a week again, especially since 4:45 Mass is back, which is great when I miss 8:30 and 11:30.  Prayer with little kids around, especially ones who rarely nap simultaneously, isn’t easy.  But just being at church is so good for me, and probably them too. 

Giving thanks: For a snug house and warm clothes, and no flooding in the basement, despite all the rain.  Praying for the people down South who are dealing with such terrible flooding. 

 Loving the moments: Last weekend we attended our favorite Rappahannock Farm Tour, when farms and such all around Rappahannock county are open to the public.  This was our third year, and we revisited some old favorites, and checked out a few new places.  Some of the best moments were Grace’s first ride on a horse, Theresa playing in the apple orchard, taking fruit in and out of the baskets, the miniature donkeys and horses (so much cuteness!), and Grace feeding a goat.  We also saw miniature goats, including one that followed people around like a dog, nudging them to be pet, as well as two fluffy puppies who loved Theresa and kept licking and playing with her.  And to finish off the day, dinner at our favorite Griffin Tavern. 

 Living the liturgy: Mass, pizza for dinner, and reading about St. Therese accompanied her feast day.  And saying at least a decade of the Rosary every day as a family is my goal for October, and maybe it will establish a habit. 

 Planning for the week ahead: Hoping, hoping, the clouds will clear and the grass will dry out, and we can get outside!  Kids and mom are going crazy here!  Also, plans to visit friends, to get out of the house, and maybe something special for Our Lady of the Rosary.

Gathering My Thoughts in May {my favorite month}

Outside my window: A gorgeous spring day.  A thunderstorm blew through this morning and in its wake came a clear blue sky and a sparkling world washed clean by the rain.  Then the sun began to heat things up and fluffy white clouds have begun to adorn the sky.  We have had a lot of unseasonably cold days, combined with clouds, fog and rain, so the sunshine and warmth are doubly welcome.

Listening to: The rocking of the baby swing and the hum of the washing machine.  There’s also the faint sound of birds and little girls playing outside, and the creak of the screen door as children go in and out.

Clothing myself in: I dressed in a nursing tank and stretch capris to work out this morning, and its so warm I never changed.

Talking with my children about these books: I haven’t been reading much to the kids.  I’ve been encouraging them to spend time outside, and my husband is doing the bedtime reading.  I’d like to read to them more; perhaps we can have outdoor story time!

In my own reading: Daily meditations and blogs are about all I’ve been reading lately.  I choose a whole stack of books from our home library to read (since I can’t get to the public library right now) and would like to start reading them.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Thinking and thinking:
About balancing mothering, housework, working from home and time for myself.  Ever since the beginning of April, when I was first home with three children and needing to work 10-15 hours a week (emailing for the non-profit I work for), and wanting to pray and exercise every day, I’ve really struggled with how to balance everything, especially time with the girls and the cleaning, cooking and laundry.

Pondering: “The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.”

Carefully cultivating rhythm: Morning prayers and exercise are giving a good start to my days.  Now I just need to work on the rest of the day, and finding a rhythm for the girls.

Creating by hand: Has not happened in a long time.  I yearn to make some sundresses for the girls, and see some progress on a quilt that’s been in the making a long time.  I really don’t know when these things will happen, though. 

Learning lessons in:  Trust (in God’s plan for me and our family).  Humility (that things are not going to happen the way I plan, expect, or hope).  Asking for help, especially inviting people to visit us, since we can’t go anywhere.

Encouraging learning in: Playing outside and with each other.

Keeping house: The house was cleaned for Cecilia’s baptism party last week.  I’m trying to keep the living and dining rooms that way.  The kitchen, bedroom and laundry: epic fails.

Crafting in the kitchen:  Made meatballs for the first time.  Delicious.  Going to make them again tonight.  Also looking forward to our first salad of the year from our garden.

To be fit and happy: I’ve been doing a 30 day fitness challenge group, and the support is actually helping me persevere with daily exercise.  I’ve also been drinking so much more water, which is really making a difference in how I feel every day.

Giving thanks: For friends who come spend time with my kids; online community; and beautiful, handmade gifts.

Loving the moments: When the big girls are in bed and I’m rocking and nursing Cecilia and looking out at the sunset over the fields and hills, as they gradually turn more green and vibrant every day.

Living the liturgy: May is my favorite month of the year.  Springtime and honor Mother Mary-what can be better?  Planning to involve the girls in picking flowers and decorating our Little Oratory to honor the Blessed Mother.

Planning for the week ahead: Set up some play dates this morning, need  to do some meal planning, and hoping and praying that the laundry gets finished and the kitchen gets cleaned (despite a broken sink pipe!).

Gathering my thoughts: End of Summer Edition

  Outside my window:  Dusk.  The evening clouds drift across the moon.  I see our dying tomato plants, which will soon feed the chickens. 

 Listening to: Crickets.  Silence, blessed silence, after the girls are finally asleep.
Clothing myself in: A comfy sundress.

Talking with my children about these books: Summertime in the Big Woods.  I love the beginner Little House books, with their beautiful illustrations and early introduction to the Ingalls family.  And many of the things Laura does in this book, are like my daughter’s own summer.  Like helping in the garden and collecting eggs from the chickens. 

 In my own reading: I am trying and trying to finish “My Antonia,” my reading challenge book of the month.  But its been tough finding/making the time, and not being too tired at night.  I’m also being blessed by my “33 Days to Morning Glory” reading for my reconsecration on September 8.  My prayer life has severely suffered this summer, and this is a wonderful way to “restart” my devotions.

Thinking and thinking: About how I can fully entrust my life to the Blessed Mother, especially by asking her to “lend me her heart.”  About having a home of my own, not renting.  About how hard this summer was, and ways to keep life, and future summers, from being so stressful and crazy.  About seeing the tender care of Mother Mary in every aspect of my life, especially where things have been difficult.  About how to get Theresa to sleep through the night.  I think she finally needs/ is ready to wean, and this may make it easier. 


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves  

 Carefully cultivating rhythm:  One of the biggest challenges of this summer was the lack of rhythm, schedule, predictability.  I am thoughtfully trying to establish a reasonable and flexible, yet predictable, schedule for this fall.  My husband has returned to school (he’s a teacher) and I’m slowly trying to establish the schedule.

Creating by hand: I had hoped to sew a little this summer, but it never happened.  I did create a lovely birthday poster for Theresa, which is a tradition I started with Gracie.  I’ve also been clipping my abundant flowers and creating colorful bouquets. 

Learning lessons in: The need for grace.  The need for rhythm, a schedule, a certain degree of predictability for myself and my family.  The need for our own house, our very own home.   

 Encouraging learning in:  Gracie is anxious to start “school” (pre-school coop) and I’m trying to point out moments for learning every day.  We’ve been looking at the map of the U.S., seeing where family lives, and trying to read together more.

Keeping house:  Another monumental struggle.  Between the demands of the girls and my own exhaustion, cleaning that needs to be done is taking a long time, and just keeping the kitchen clean is hard.  I really need to see about having my mother’s helpers over… 

 Crafting in the kitchen:  Not much baking around here, since its been hot.  But I did make a key lime pie for my husband’s birthday last weekend.  A real one, with three limes and no food coloring.

To be fit and happy: I feel too hot and tired to exercise, but doing something would probably help.  Need to think about that…  Trying not to push myself too hard when I get tired, and to spend time outside with the girls, when they are whiny and needy.   

  Giving thanks: For my girls, and our new baby, due in March.

Loving the moments: When the girls are happy and want to play, read, snuggle.  Being outside in the glorious, cooler weather.  Listening to the choir at the college chapel, now that school has started again. 

 Living the liturgy: Getting to Mass for the Marian feast this month has been the best we can do.

Planning for the week ahead: Hoping to create and maintain some order in my house.  Adjusting to life with Bobby back at work.  Praying for patience and energy.