Swimming with Zsa

Thursday, May 31, 2012
The girls were lucky enough to go swimming with Zsa nearly every day when we were down on the Cape. Abby was such a little water bug. She was even trying to do butterfly, I kid you not. Hannah was a little more timid in the water, but she warmed up and was kicking away in no time.

Here are the girls with Coach Zsa.
Coach Zsa
Listening to their coach.

Little swimmer.

 Abby doesn't look so sure about this whole swimming thing.

Zsa sure had fun.

I Just Can't Help Myself, Meet Stella

Since Declan is on his way to being adopted by a loving family, I thought I would become a "Guardian Angel" for another Reece's Rainbow child. Don't get me wrong, I am still praying for Declan and his family and I will continue to do everything in my power to bring him home. But I feel called to help the still-waiting children find their Mamas. 

This little one captured my heart the moment I saw her. Without further ado, meet Stella.  
Her little face kills me. I just want to kiss those chubby cheeks. I said this about Declan too, but something about her reminds me of my own children. 

She's 4 years old right now, which means she will be transferred to an adult institution next year. She has HIV, but is taking medication and I'm sure with proper medical care in the U.S., would do extremely well. 

From her profile:
"She is a communicative and sociable girl and likes to babble. She has recently turned 4 and will be transferred this year. Although she doesn’t have many words, she likes to try to talk. She is often smiling and tries to attract the attention of adults. She is in a decent baby house in a mixed group with HIV-positive and HIV-negative children. The orphans with HIV are treated the same as the other children. Many of the nannies working here have teaching degrees. There is a games room for psychological relief and rehabilitation. They do drawing to develop motor skills and sensory abilities. Stella is taking anti-retroviral medication. Additional photos and video available. Married couples only." 

For more information about adopting and raising a child with HIV, check out this website:

Let's find Stella her Mama!

Picking My Battles

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I like to consider myself a fairly strict parent. Generally speaking, we have pretty high expectations for our children's behavior.

But there are few areas where I completely indulge my kids. Like jumping on the couch. Well, not jumping per se, more like falling from the arm to the cushions.

Looks like fun to me!

Amazing News!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Declan's Mama and Daddy have found him!!!! Praise Jesus!

Last week I received an email from a woman who said she and her husband are in the preliminary stages of trying to adopt Declan. They've just begun the adoption process, so please pray everything progresses smoothly.

I told her she made my day, my month, my year. I feel like I'm getting to adopt him myself, I am so, so excited!

Thank you to everyone who has helped get his picture out there! 

eShakti Giveaway

Friday, May 18, 2012
Because you're all such wonderful readers, I'm doing another giveaway.

Need a new dress for a wedding or a graduation? Want to treat yourself for a belated Mother's Day, your birthday or just because?  Now's your chance!

eShakti is launching their new Spring-Summer line and has offered me the chance to give away an item to one of my readers. Whatever you want, for FREE!

All you have to do is:

1. Visit eshakti and tell me which item you would want if you won.

2. Follow eshakti on Facebook or Pinterest. 

3. Let me know that you've done so.

That's it! The giveaway will run until the end of May and I'll announce the winner on June 1st. 

I think if I won (if I could win), I would choose this dress. I love the navy blue color. 
I really love the deep blue color of this dress.

Or this one:
I'm digging the ruffles.

Okay, your turn!
This blog post by All You Who Hope about choosing her children over her phone really resonated with me. Sometimes I spend way too much time on the computer. I'm sure if I actually paid attention to how many hours a day I spend online it would be somewhat frightening. So I'm going to pull back a little from the wonderful world wide web and spend a little more time with the wee ones.

I have a few posts I plan on writing soon, but I can write those during naptime. And I'm going to be doing a giveaway for eshakti on my blog soon. One lucky reader will win something from their new Summer-Spring clothing line, so stay tuned!

Cute picture of Matthew and Hannah on the "sing."
So for now, Hasta la Vista!

Best Mother's Day Present Ever!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Matthew planned a surprise Mother's Day gift which he finally gave to me last night. It started with dinner out-pizza. Then Matthew had me drive as he directed me to the surprise destination. I'll be honest, I had absolutely no clue where we were going or what we were doing. Matthew likes to keep me guessing, so he was giving me little obscure hints as we drove along.

We drove and drove and the scenery started to get more and more rural. We were in the boonies. I joked Matthew was taking me somewhere to kill me. But then we came along to a sign that said: Hanson Rod & Gun Club. Oh my gosh, I was going to shoot guns!

I was SO excited when I figured out what I was going to get to do. We've talked about going shooting together before. Matthew is a good shot, or good shooter, or whatever the term is, but the only gun I've ever shot is the one in the arcade. Little ol' me, shooting a gun. Awesome!

The club sponsors a Ladies Night once a month and Matthew had registered me as my gift. (The people running the class thought it was pretty much the coolest Mother's Day present ever.) There were about ten women there and most of them had some experience. But despite my complete beginner status, I still had a ton of fun.

There was a safety and instructional class beforehand and then target practice. Let me just say, shooting a gun is hard. To hold the gun steady and properly aim takes a lot of concentration and strength. It was a workout! We used .22 caliber automatics and I even hit my paper target when I was shooting. I also hit the metal pole that was holding the paper target, which my instructor said was actually harder to hit than the paper. Haha! Right now my target is proudly displayed on our refrigerator.

Anyways, hands down, best gift ever. And I got a T-shirt that says, "I shot like a girl at Ladies Night" and the Rod & Gun club logo. I am so wearing it the next time I go grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

I can't wait to go back! I can't believe I forgot to have my picture taken. I wish I had remembered!

The Grandparents are Coming, the Grandparents are Coming!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
My parents are coming for a visit in less than a week. We are super excited!

My Dad will only be able to stay for a day, but my Mom is staying for the whole week. Our plan is to stay on the Cape the entire time they're here. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Even if it doesn't, it will still be a fun mini-vacation.

Every time I mention to Hannah that Bumpa and Grams are coming to see her and that they're going to take her swimming and to get some ice cream, she says, "Okay, let's go!" Unfortunately, she does not yet have a concept of time, or the words "tomorrow" and "soon," but nevertheless, she is ready!

A Happy Mother's Day

Monday, May 14, 2012
We enjoyed a nice walk around the Public Gardens. We fed the ducks, we ate a picnic lunch and we relished the sunshine.

I feel so blessed to be a mother. I know that motherhood isn't a guarantee for a woman. Children truly are a blessing and I am blessed. I have two great kids. They are so good and so much fun.

Admiring the swans' nest.

Enjoying a chocolate croissant in Beacon Hill.


This picture makes me laugh, I think it's the teeth.

Cuties on the bench.

Kiss for sister.

Baby blues.

Me and my girls.

Happy Mother's Day

Sunday, May 13, 2012
"A mother is the most important person on earth. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any Cathedral -- a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body."

                  - Joseph Cardinal Mindszent

And the Winner of the Declan Drawing is...

Saturday, May 12, 2012
My lovely assistant.

She loved helping.

If you had 6 entries, your name was in there 6 times.

Pulling out the winner!

Attempting to read the name of the winner.

The winner of a brand new Kindle Fire!

Mandi from Catholic Newlywed!

Congratulations Mandi!You are the winner of a brand new Kindle Fire!

Thank you again to all who donated to Declan's adoption fund. Truly, I thank you. I'm sure Declan's Mom and Dad, wherever they may be, thank you as well. And if he could, this little guy would thank you too.

God bless!

Check out this Video

Friday, May 11, 2012
This video is incredibly touching. I couldn't help but tear up as I watched it. What a courageous young mother and what a beautiful little boy.

I’m convinced that God chooses very special people to be the mothers (and fathers) of children with special needs. Either the people are amazing to begin with, or they become amazing through the gift of their child, but it takes someone very special to raise such a child. God knows what He's doing and He doesn't make mistakes.

Last Day for Declan Drawing

Today is the final day to enter the giveaway for Declan!

A brand new Kindle Fire could be yours!

To enter either share about Declan on Facebook or your blog and/or donate to his Reece's Rainbow adoption fund here.

The giveaway will close tonight at 8:00pm. Good luck and thank you to all who have entered!

I'm all for Attachment Parenting and all, but...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm all for Attachment Parenting and all, but c'mon.

Time Magazine Cover. May 2012.

Not to be weird, but at least the mom on the cover is good looking. But that kid is going to have some serious Oedipal issues.

The Eucharist

Originally this post was supposed to be published on Monday, but I couldn't get my act together in time.
This past weekend marked the First Holy Communion for many of the children at our parish. The priest gave a homily about the power of the Eucharist. It was a beautiful homily and a nice reminder about the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

When one of my best friends converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism, she had her First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation all during Easter weekend. It was like Catholic boot camp. Following the Mass of her First Communion, a man she had never met came up to her and pressed a small token into her hands. As he did so, he whispered "the secret to the universe." As quickly as he came, he was gone.  When she looked down to see what he had given her, she discovered a tiny gold pendant which was engraved with an image of the Eucharist . I don't believe she ever saw that man again, but she certainly has not forgotten what he said, nor have I. We like to think he was her Guardian Angel. Incidentally, this friend is now a Religious Sister of Mercy and has a great devotion to the Eucharist. Coincidence? I don't think so.

So often in the ritual and routine of the Mass, it's easy to forget that the Eucharist is indeed a miracle. The God of the Universe comes down from Heaven to assume the appearance of bread and wine. He loves us so much that he wants to be intimately united with our bodies.  Christ has assured us that "Whoever eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:54) This is no small thing, nor should it be treated as such.
Fulton Sheen had an interesting commentary in his book The World's First Love (my favorite book ever) regarding motherhood and the Eucharist. We often hear women say how they'd love to gobble up their babies. There is something in us that compels us to want to completely consume that which we love. (I can't find the exact quote right now, but I will.)

Recently I watched a documentary on the Church and exorcisms entitled The Rite of Exorcism: Myth, Mystery & Hope. It was extremely interesting, to say the least. In one of the interviews, the priest remarked that he had brought the Eucharist with him to one particular exorcism. During the course of the exorcism, the demon would not stop wailing and screaming in response to the presence of the Eucharist. The priest went on to add that it was sadly ironic that a demon could recognize the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and yet many Catholics cannot. What a powerful statement.

When thinking of all the children who will receive their First Holy Communion, I am reminded of a point in The Way. "Treat him well for me, treat him well!" Words, mingled with tears, of a certain venerable bishop to the priests he had just ordained. Would that I had the power, Lord, and the authority to repeat that same cry in the ears and in the hearts of many, many Christians! (#531)

"Treat him well for me, treat him well!"

Productive Morning

My wonderful mother-in-law took the girls this morning for a couple of hours. She’ll often offer to take the girls so that I can have a little time to myself. It’s a win-win situation. She wants to see the girls and I don’t mind having a few hours to myself.

It’s amazing how much I can get done when it’s just me in the house. I want to brag for a moment how much I got done in the last three hours:

* Scrubbed the bathroom. Really scrubbed, like with bleach.  (I was embarrassed at those pictures from yesterday.)
*Dusted and vacuumed the living room.
*Mopped the kitchen floor (another dreaded chore that I always, always put off doing.)
*Did a load of laundry.
*Graded my students’ math homework from Saturday.
*Created the final exam for my Math class.
*Organized our health insurance information.
*Went for a run.
*Stopped into the chapel during my run to pray for a few moments.
*Mailed all our Mother’s Day cards.
*Took a shower and shaved my legs.
*Got dressed.
*Wrote this blog post.

I feel like a rock star.

One More Day to Enter

Just one more day to enter the "Declan Drawing!"

By either promoting Declan's cause on Facebook or your blog or by donating just $10 here, you can enter to win a brand new Kindle Fire!

Thank you so, so much to everyone who has already donated! Declan now has over $200 in his adoption fund. You guys are rockstars, seriously!

I just read yesterday, that around 50% of adoptions happen due to word of mouth. We can make that happen for Declan. So thank you also to everyone who has blogged or Facebooked about Declan. I just know this little guy is going to find his family soon!

Thank you again!

Swimming on a Rainy Afternoon

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
At exactly 2:41pm this afternoon, I was close to losing it. It was raining outside. Hannah refused to go down for a nap and it was starting to be a very long day.

Hannah did something she wasn't supposed to, I forget what, and annoyed, I growled at her. I laugh now because it seems stupid, growling at a 2 year-old. I also gave her the evil eye to let her know I was none too happy with her.

She just kinda stared at me, a little scared, a little amused. Then we both started to laugh. It was then that I realized I wasn't going to win this naptime battle, so I changed course. I put the girls in their bathing suits and filled the bathtub. They were going swimming.

They had a ball splashing and playing in the tub and I enjoyed watching them.

It was a simple thing, but I feel like I won a small battle with myself this afternoon.

There's a quote on my Mary Englebreit calendar for this month that says, "There's no way to be a perfect mother, but there's a hundred ways to be a good one." I needed to be reminded of that.

Cuties in their suits. Please excuse the gross grime on the bathtub.

Splashing is fun. Can you tell I hate to/just don't clean the bathtub?

After swimming, we made oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies. Mothering crisis averted.
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