Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Birthday Party

This weekend, we attended a birthday party for Ava's friend Michael. It turned out to be a gorgeous day! A local photographer, Amanda Arnold, took some beautiful pictures that I wanted to share!

Ava and her friend Madison

Ava learning how to stand up!

A family shot :)

Ava being all cute and stuff...

The birthday boy!

Happy Birthday, Michael!! Thank you for a wonderful time!! I can't believe our babies are growing up...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Calling All Cloth Diaper Wizards

It has recently come to my attention that I am spending way too much money on disposable diapers and wipes, and I will soon be doubling that figure.

To be fair, there are plenty of deals to be had out there. True frugals would never pay more than 5 dollars for a jumbo pack. I just don't have the drive to play the drugstore game these days. I also try to stick to more natural, eco-friendly products for my little sweetheart's tush, and those obviously come with a higher price tag attached. Although I'd like to say I am purely motivated by a love for the earth and a desire to keep the approximately 1,000,000,000 diapers that will be used by all of my children out of a landfill, I am primarily concerned with the effect that harsh chemicals will have on Ava (especially since she has struggled with eczema). Of course, the fact that most "natural" products are usually eco-friendly is a huge bonus :)

But here's my problem: I have no idea how to cloth diaper a baby. And I'm pretty sure that's my only alternative (unless I want to potty train her at 10 months...but I'm going to go ahead and throw that idea right out.) Come on, YouTube! Why aren't there any videos of someone changing an actual poopy cloth diaper on an actual human baby?? Wet pails, dry pails, combo pails, tri folds, pre folds, post folds (ok, I might be making that one up...), all-in-ones, pocket diapers, soakers, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! There are a few sites I've seen that include a cloth diaper vocaulary lesson, but I need pictures! Charts! Diagrams! SOMETHING!!

So calling all diaper wizards of the world - Do you know of a good web site, video, or have personal experience that you'd like to share on the subject? Where do I even begin??

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Pentecost!

Two years ago, I was confirmed in the Catholic faith. Looking back, that day seems like a lifetime ago! The days leading up to my confirmation were filled with so much anxiety and doubt. I felt sure of where I was being called, but so unsure of myself. There was (and still is!) so much left for me to learn about the Church and the great deposit of faith, and I thought that because I didn't know every last bit of Catholic theology, I was going to be a bad Catholic or that I was making an uninformed decision. There was so much unrest in my life leading up to that point, but the thing that stands out to me when I remember that day was the overwhelming sense of peace that I experienced. There was a calm that came me that morning like I've never experienced before - it was truly a gift from the Holy Spirit.

Stephen and I like to do something special to commemorate the anniversary of the day we received the sacraments. It's nothing too fancy, but tonight we made some delicious orange chocolate brownies and said a prayer for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which I'll share at the end of this post.

Today, I'd like to take time to thank everyone who prayed for me and mentored me in the days leading up to my confirmation - especially my wonderful husband Stephen, who was always there to pray with me, to answer questions about the faith, and to be a shoulder to cry on through all my difficult soul searching. Did you ever know that you're my hero?? :)

Happy Pentecost, everyone!

(And also, for those of you interested in learning more about the sacrament of confirmation, click here for a great overview that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know and more!)

Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, by St. Alphonsus Liguori

Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favors, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.

Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next. Amen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our family is growing...

I'm sure most of you have heard the news by now, but I thought it was about time I made a blog announcement (also, it's about time to start WRITING in this blog again...)

The newest member of our family is expected around December 10th!!! Although if she's anything like her big sister, we might be waiting until Christmas!! And yes, the baby is a she until proven otherwise!! We'll be finding out for sure on July 19th :)

I was very bummed about not getting that cute little bump when I was pregnant with Ava until I was about 6 MONTHS along, but I don't think I'm going to have to worry about that this time !! I'm 11 weeks today, and I'm already hitting that awkward stage where I look like I just ate a few too many cookies. (And for the record - yes, I had already lost the baby weight from Ava!!) Check out the comparison:

This is most definitely my Finer Thing this week!!