Friday, February 25, 2011

And I'm the winner...

of the really crappy blogger award!!!

My hopes and dreams of keeping this blog up to date are slowly flying out the window. I still haven't put the boys' 2009 books together. Heck, I haven't even finished blogging about 2009. I feel the need to recommit myself though. Lent starts in roughly two weeks. I have big plans...that I won't be sharing all of. One of those that I can share is a promise to write daily and catch up this blog.

Lately my thoughts have been leaning toward starting a whole separate blog. An additional space to write my thoughts, struggles, and insights into the world of being a young Catholic mother. Instead, I may just open this blog back up and intertwine the two. This is definitely something I'll ponder and pray on.

Today though, I feel like writing a bit about the evolution of my Catholic faith. Probably very boring to most, but to me it is who I am. It shapes every aspect of my life. Without the Church, without Christ, I would be nothing.

I am a cradle Catholic. This isn't always seen as a good thing in the Church. The converts usually seem to be much more on fire for their faith than those that have been around since they were baptized as infants. It's sad really, but that's a post for another day! My mother is Catholic and my father was raised (half-heartily) Lutheran. I definitely believe that my faith started with my mother. Every Sunday morning, she brought my brother and I to church, 99% of the time she did so without my dad. He felt the need to only attend three times a year...Christmas, Easter, and Mother's Day. I often look back at these days in amazement at what a wonderful influence my mother was for us. I personally believe she struggled with her faith a lot during these times, but what captures me is her commitment to not stop going.

So, all during my childhood, I was a regular on Sunday mornings. I participated in CCD, youth activities, and every retreat I could convince my parents to let me attend. And then, I went off to college. Church suddenly wasn't as important to me anymore. God truly stepped in during my sophomore year and introduced me to a boy that He would use to change my life.

This boy was also a cradle Catholic whose parents were both Catholic. Like myself, he could always be found in church on Sunday mornings as a child. But unlike me, he didn't stop going when he went off to college. And well, for this boy, I would've done just about anything. And he wanted us to go to church. For the next three years we stayed pretty active in the Catholic church on campus.

Fast forward to years later, The boy and I were now married with a couple children and our church life hadn't changed. We attended every Sunday and felt like good Catholics. In 2008, our world shifted. We were introduced to the Cursillo movement, and suddenly we realized that we weren't Catholic at all. We didn't practice many of the teachings of the Church, and we left our faith at the door every Sunday as we walked out of Mass.

Most people who know us well, will tell you that we've changed drastically over the last two years. Our first big change was to fully embrace the teachings on Natural Family Planning (NFP). After challenging ourselves, with an open mind, to understand why the Church teaches what they do, how could we not live this way. We have fallen in love with this wonderful gift that God provided us with, but that doesn't mean it has been easy. We have struggled with criticism and skepticism.  It's really been shown to us just what Christ meant when He said that following Him would not always be easy. The blessings that we have received through NFP are immeasurable and are absolutely worth every struggle.  We also now make a very active effort to follow all of the teachings from the Magisterium. We no longer want to be "cafeteria Catholics." Each Sunday we want to know that we are fully in communion with the Church, so that we are truly worthy to receive the most precious thing Christ left for us here on earth...His body and blood.

The evolution of my faith, our faith, definitely isn't over. If one ever gets to a point where they think they've learned enough, well they're probably in trouble!! God is so far beyond human understanding; how could we ever understand it all? We have so much more to learn, and there are so many places that we can continue to improve. Right now, we focus on our ministries and callings. Mine as a mother and Gregg's as a father and provider.

One thing is absolutely certain...we praise God daily for the Church and our faith!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The neglected third...

You remember how after you had your first child you couldn't wait to expose them to everything?  Zep went to the zoo before his tiny baby eyes could even focus in on the animals.  He went to his first playgroup at only 3 months old.  And then with the second born, things sort of slowed a bit.  You still remember to get their picture taken during the first haircut, but taking them out of the stroller at the zoo so they can see above the walls and actually catch a glimpse of the gorillas suddenly doesn't cross your mind anymore.  If we ever make it to number four or five, I worry we may forget to even put them in the car before we leave the house!!

It suddenly occurred to me that the child that we call Sunshine has never really had a chance to play in it!  So out we went on one of the first beautiful days this year.  She mastered climbing the stairs on the playhouse.  I would then maneuver her around so she could go on her tummy, feet first, down the slide.  She did it over and over and over again.  She eventually moved off to crawl through the grass a bit.  I think Bright Eyes really enjoyed giving his little sister a tour of the backyard.  He kept close behind her through it all!

Can you believe how bald my blonde baby is???  Bald and blonde??  I swear I birthed her!!

February 17th, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First hike of 2011!

We're spoiled here in the deep South!  For several weeks in February, the weather was gorgeous.  Not too hot and not too cold.  It was the perfect weather to throw a backpack together and head to the woods.  We decided to revisit one of our most favorite places to go letterboxing.  It seems that a bunch of new boxes have been planted over the last year, including one that has a Lost theme.  I think there were 12 boxes total...we managed to snag only 6.  We hiked a total of about 3 miles.  The boys would've kept on going if it wasn't for the setting sun and tired parents. 

I attempted to take some pictures of Sunshine while we were out.  In my mind, I was hoping to save some money on her 12 month pictures.  As it turns out, I'm far from a professional.  Hope she doesn't mind that we've become cheap as the number of children have increased!  :)

February 13th, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

First lost tooth!

After what seemed like months, Zep's tooth finally bit the dust.  Hubby and I are wimps in this department.  Neither of us dared to pull it out.  My wonderful neighbor was our hero!  She came over for a quick visit, spotted the culprit, and quickly went to work.  Within two seconds, she was holding the tooth in her hands.  Zep didn't flinch a bit and was so proud!  He had to call and tell everyone!!  The tooth fairy made her visit during the night and left him a whopping $5.  He's currently working on the next wiggly one...he's hoping to save up enough for an XBox game.  I don't have the heart to tell him that the tooth fairy doesn't pay as much for the second lost tooth!  ;)

Determined not to be upstaged, Bright Eyes insisted on posing for a picture as well...

February 4th, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bright Eyes and Sunshine Stats...

Bright Eyes:

Weight:  34 lbs ... 29%
Height:   3 feet 3.5 inches ... 26:


Weight:  19.65 lbs ... 45%
Height:  28 inches ... 38%
Head Circumference:  18 inches ... 82%

February 1st, 2011