Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sheen's cause is progressing again!

Hat tip to Robert for informing me of this!

"Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, president of the Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation, happily announces that the Foundation has resumed its efforts to advance the cause for Archbishop Sheen’s beatification and canonization. In November 2010, Bishop Jenky initiated a pause in the eight year effort to promote the cause for Archbishop Sheen’s beatification due to questions with the Archdiocese of New York regarding Archbishop Sheen’s mortal remains."

Read the rest of the press release here.

As you all know, Almighty God healed my son, James Fulton, a stillborn who was without a pulse for 61 minutes, and Archbishop Sheen's intercessory prayers played a role in that healing.  Praised be Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

family planning

My friend Alisha has a great post about her feelings on having St. Gerard - patron saint of pregnant women - as her assigned patron saint for the year.  (You can have a patron saint assigned to you, too, courtesy Jen at Conversion Diary.  Check out the Saint's Name Generator.)

Reading Alisha's post reminded me of this story from my past and a new twist it has now taken.

The first seven months of Lydia's life were very, very tough on me.  I wasn't sure if I was cut out for motherhood but I knew I didn't want any more children.  I knew that the dislike of my vocation wasn't how things were supposed to be, and I also knew that my wanting to keep God out of my bedroom was not okay.  But I also felt like an angry, exhausted failure.  So I found my way to confession with my spiritual director, telling him that I didn't feel very pro life. He asked me, "If you found out you were pregnant today, what would you say?"

"Oh shit!" was my answer.  (just keepin' it real in the confessional)

Bennet was born about eight months later.

I have often joked that when I became pregnant with Bennet we were recklessly having sex, but now I see it differently.  Totally unintentionally, we were letting God plan our family.  At times it seemed irresponsible or overwhelming to have Lydia and Bennet so close together because of how hard mothering Lydia had been for me.  But now that I see my boys interact I know God wanted James to have Bennet as a big brother.  Those two boys love each other and light up when they see each other.  Travis and I are confident that Bennet will help James developmentally as much as all the doctors, specialists, therapists and tests.

God was setting the table for James at Bennet's conception, even before the world began.

(Alisha, this is not to say that I think you're supposed to become pregnant!  I'll leave that decision up to you, Jude and God.)

PS - I've heard women refer to babies such as Bennet as "oh what the hell babies."  As in they knew there was a chance they'd get pregnant if they were intimate but they said, "Oh what the hell!" and got busy. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

the struggle to master things

Bennet is 16 months and his vocabulary is beginning to take off. That's not to say that you'd understand most of what he's trying to say. Sock sounds like "awCK" and hot dog is "dhAWWgh" but the words are there and we are so proud of him.

Earlier this week he got into the buffet, a piece of furniture that is way off limits to the kids because of the quality and sentimentality of the piece. I went over to him and explained that he is not allowed to touch it and he looked at me, puckered his lips out and very carefully said, "Shhhh ssshh shh awrrry."

He'd never said the word before and I hadn't prompted him to apologize. I was so proud. Even

Mr. Pitiful

mmmmm Matt Costa.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I just had a totally wonderful parenting moment!

Lydia came to me and said she needed to go potty.  I told her to go on to the bathroom and I followed shortly.

As soon as she sat on the potty she looked at me and said, "You're a good mommy."

And then she began to pee!

Positive feedback and a toilet -trained daughter all in one moment!


As it turns out the biggest motivator for Lydia wasn't chocolate or Elmo's Potty Time or cute panties.  The biggest motivator was having all her friends be potty trained.  Just a couple of play dates with friends who used the potty instead of having their diapers changed and Lydia wanted to start using the potty, too.  But once she saw her friends, she also started requesting to watch Elmo's Potty Time over and over again.  And then the reward of 2-3 chocolate chips was also very helpful.

We're at about 50% now when it comes to being potty trained, but I'm super excited that we're finally on our way.

football and the perfect wife

When Travis married me I was think and pretty and hated football.

Four years later I'm fat but love the sport. 

Yesterday, as we sadly watched the Bears lose, I wore Hester's jersey, encouraged Lydia to change "Go Bears Go!", and dressed all three of my kids in their jerseys.  I watched the pregame - I love that Terry Bradshaw! - as I ate lil smokies.

I was so excited for a Super Bowl with the Bears beating the Steelers.  (I even know who the Steelers are.  And what town their from.  In fact, I can match most teams with their towns.  This is huge for me.)

Now, if I could only lose all the weight I've gained through my pregnancies and NICU, I'll be the perfect wife: a baker, a good cook, keeps a tidy house, thin, hot, likes football.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Florence + The Machine - Dog Days Are Over (2010 Version)

I love this song. Dont' you?

Watching this video brings one thought to my mind, "I wish I could be so completely wierd... and then be applauded for being so."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

update on James

My son is a little, ahem, backed up and he has been for a little while.  He also seems to have a little bit of acid reflux, though nothing too bad.

At his four month check up (James is four months old now!) the doctor and I discussed how we think those two things are to blame for a slightly limited appetite for James and his weight loss.

Yep, in the last two weeks James has lost almost a pound. 

Our hope is that a little laxative will help things along better than the prune juice has been doing.  We're also going to start a small prescription for the reflux.

The goal:  normal, softer b.m.s every day or two and 30ish ounces of formula a day.

Please join me in praying for these things for James - it'll be a really easy, healthy fix for Little Boy Blue and will help him grow big and strong.

Thank you and God bless!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

for Pete's sake

Our first child was miscarried at about six weeks; we named him Peter Mark.  I do not know why God allowed me to lose my child, but I do know that the experience created a very special place in my heart for other women who are grieving their child or bearing the cross of infertility.

As the years passed I have felt the Holy Spirit increasingly prompt me to offer up my hardships and to pray for those nameless women I carry in my heart.  I have also felt Him asking me to do more.

January 15th was Peter's due date.  In memory of him, I would like to make the 15th of every month a day to collect your intentions that are related to the pains and anxieties of infertility or the loss of a child.  Perhaps you and your spouse are trying to conceive.  Perhaps someone you love is beginning the adoption process.  Maybe you have lost several children, are pregnant again and worry about carrying your child to term.  For Peter's sake, please allow me to pray for you or your loved ones. 

Please leave your prayer intention - for yourself or someone you know - in the comment box.  Commenters may leave their name or be anonymous.  You may share as little or as much as you like.  With great respect, dignity, and affection I would like to pray for you, your pain, your grief, and your hope.  I feel it is a calling from God and a great honor. 

I, of course, invite all those who comment or read the comments to join me in praying for one another.

Thank you for this privilege.

7 quick takes

So this was written on Friday...

Do you use Pandora?  If you don't and you're a music lover then you're totally missing out on the awesomeness that is Pandora.  And I highly recommend creating a Mumford & Sons station.  

My husband bought me a brand new bread machine for Christmas.  I'd tried using an old one from a friend, and tried making Travis buy one off craigslist as a gift.  When the seller had a thick Asian accent Travis just dropped the ball.   But a year later I got a beaut of a machine and it makes me very happy.  Every time I use it I wonder, "When will the novelty wear off?"

Lydia wanted to draw a square the other day.  She knows how to write an 'L' for her name so I told her that drawing a square is a lot like drawing two 'l's.  She made the lines as I directed her and then in great frustration and disappointment said, "That's not a square!  It's a rectangle!"

Tonight, just two days shy of the four month marker, James rolled over!   We're so proud!

I have the cutest video that I've been trying to upload but blogger will not allow it.  But I will persevere and you will get another one of my "daily dose of cute" posts.  Don't you worry.

If you haven't signed up for the Behold Conference yet there is still time!  Our registration numbers are really climbing - we easily and quickly surpassed the number of attendees from last year's conference.
I was able to converse reacently with our speakers Jennifer Fulwiler of Conversion Diary and Sr. Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life and I'm really excited about their topics.
Jen will be sharing about her conversion, especially how motherhood opened her up to God, and about what we can do with the fears we encounter every day - fears of not having enough money, or being a good enough mom, etc.
The Sisters of Life will be giving a talk on the dignity and vocation of women, and one on all the ways satan strikes at the heels of women - especially through infertility.

Does anyone get Real Simple magazine?  I'm tempted to try all the smoothie recipes in the edition that just came in the mail - especially the pumpkin one.  If it's good I'll post it on my food blog.  Promise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spiritual Adoption

Watch this amazing video on spiritually adopting children who are at risk of being aborted - an idea that began with our beloved Archbishop Sheen.

I'm proud to say that I'm friends with some of the people who helped make this film. Also, the driving force behind this video also happens to be owners of Michael's Italian Feast. If you live in Central Illinois I strongly encourage you to give them your patronage. They're food is great and they're a devout Catholic family. They recently remodeled their Germantown Hills restuartant so it looks like you're eating in a quaint square in Rome and they're East Peoria restuarant has a nice hip-but-family-friendly feel.

Monday, January 10, 2011

a curse, a rejection, and a prayer

I have recently deduced that at some point in time, someone cursed my husband. You seriously cannot make up the stuff that goes wrong for my poor husband, and I never found myself in so many ridiculous situations until I married him.

So you can understand how happy I was when we heard one of the EWTN radio shows interview a priest who is also an exorcist.  A man called in who was seeking some help for himself and his sister because they had been hexed by a witch who had lived next door to them. 

The priest told the man that they needed to reject satan, and all his empty promises, and all his evil ways, and that they also needed to reject the power of the hex, to proclaim the Name of Jesus and insist that no witch's curse held any power over them because they are Christians.  The priest explained that when we believe in a curse we give it power, and so we need to not believe in it, to reject it, to insist that it cannot touch us because of our relationship to God the Father.  The priest also said the man and his sister needed to pray every day, throughout the day.

When I told Travis that I think someone cursed his family, he knew right what to say - that he doesn't believe in the power of curses and that satan's not going to have any control over what happens to him.  Good answer.

And then I had this thought:  Thank God for all the built-in opportunities to pray throughout the day.  Grace before breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Praying over my children as I put them down for naps and night time.  A morning offering.  A prayer for safety as we drive, or hear sirens, or watch the news.  A quick "good night" as I lay down.  I have been fairly overwhelmed at the thought of "praying throughout the day" but now I'm not.  Now I see that Holy Mother Church, friends, family and the Holy Spirit have taught me how to come back to God over and over again over the course of my day. 

I know that spiritual warfare is real.  I know that we are constantly surrounded not just by our Guardian Angels, but also demons who are attacking us.  It's a pretty scary thought, until I remind myself that I am a child of the Light, Travis and I have surrounded ourselves and our children with holy words and things, and that even praying over our cheerios is a victory.

So that supposed curse - it hasn't got any power over my family!

+ Praised be Jesus Christ! +

Friday, January 7, 2011

7 quick takes Friday

The Christmas Vacation Recap

Our Christmas was lovely and picturesque, filled with cookies, cocoa, carols, and the Christ Child.
Except that Travis was sick with bronchitis and Lydia had the croup.  And it was just two days ago that I remembered to put Baby Jesus in the stable.  And Lydia and I finished out Jesse Tree last night.  And we had to watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town a kabillion times. 

I think that movie (Santa Claus is Coming to Town) might need to be lost for a looooong time.  When it comes to the propagation of the myth of Santa Claus, well that movie is a class one offender, and the song that Jessica sings is SO annoying!  We can keep Frosty the Snowman, but I think we're going to need to buy some better Advent/Christmas movies.  I'm thinking the Veggie Tales St. Nick movie and a few CCC movies. 

James has had two cookie swallows in the last week.  The few swallows he had looked good - no aspirations - but mostly he refused to take the bottle.  The feeding therapist says we will continue with his thickened feedings and do another cookie swallow at six months when we introduce him to spoon feedings.

James also had a follow up appointment with the developmental pediatrician.  We have been warned by everyone and their brother that Dr. M is very pessimistic, Mr. Gloom and Doom.  So the fact that he was fairly positive with us makes us feel pretty good.  His thoughts on James:
- very tight hamstrings (PT gave us stretches.)
- reflexes / reactions are "brisk" and maybe too big (this might be "his brain still settling down")
- he moves around a lot (we don't necessarily agree with this, but he thinks it's "just him, ADD showing itself now, or his discomfort from his eczema")
- the MRI looked very good, but we don't know what the brain looks like deep down - what connections are made or not made, how the nerves are linked, etc.
- his eczema and cradle cap are horrible, the worst Dr. M's ever seen maybe (we've been battling those things for awhile and had just gotten a stronger prescription from our family doctor, which seems to be working really well)

Travis and I celebrated our Fourth Wedding Anniversary on December 30th.  (Yay us!)  And to celebrate we went to a cabin that a friend of ours owns on some old farm land by the Illinois River.  It was so great!  We went four wheeling and got stuck in the creek.  Watching my husband get us unstuck made me so glad I married a manly man.  :)  He made us a yummy shrimp pasta dinner while I baked chocolate chip cookies.  We watched The Town in front of the fire and then hit the hay. 

James was "conditionally baptised" last Sunday during Mass.  It was beautiful and over 60 friends and family joined us to celebrate James' life and the Sacrament.  After the Baptism our priest raised James up to show him to the congregation.  While everyone smiled and clapped, James waved.  It was so cute.

Pictures from the Baptism have made me realized that it is time for me to loose weight.  I am the fattest I've ever been in my life and I hate it.  I made a list of the top five reasons to loose weight.  Here goes:
#5 - I'm pre-diabetic.
#4 - My family has a history of heart problems.
#3 - My children deserve to have a healthy mom.
#2 - My husband is a keeper and I need to keep him.
#1 - When God fashioned me He did not intend for me to weigh this much.   He wants me to be healthy and beautiful, able to enjoy life fully.  That's not possible when I'm obese.
Wish me luck, folks.  It's gonna be a bumpy ride!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our Jesse Tree project made it to the Springfield, IL diocese newspaper. 

I made the bloody door, but they chose to highlight the Bethlehem ornament instead.  Probably because it's amazing.

Hats off to Molly for organizing the Jesse Tree ornament swap and getting a story in the paper!  Yay for being friends with good Catholic women!

Read about it here.