Holy Week and Thoughts on Motherhood

We’re almost there!! The links on our Lenten chain have all been broken, we dropped off a big bag of canned goods to our parish food bank box and our hearts are ready to shout Alleluia The A word from the rooftops.

After a really hectic day with the kids, Ben sent me off to Holy Thursday mass all by myself while he put the kids to bed and I had some time to exhale. It was perfect. We are so blessed with a friendly, brotherly, humble priest who washed twelve of our parishioners feet. Among them were two sweet little boys and I couldn’t help but see how precious they are in the sight of God and yes, we should wash even their little feet. Isn’t that what I do every day? I am the first one to beat up on myself if the day is not going smoothly or I have lost my cool with the kids. But even on those days and in those moments, I am still choosing to care for our children. Dressing them, wiping bottoms, making lunches, filling cups, nursing, changing diapers, reading a million books, answering questions and on and on it goes.

Is it easy to choose joy every day? No. Was it easy for Christ to accomplish his mission during His time here on earth? No. Why should I expect my journey to be any different than His was? All I can do is my very best and leave the rest to God. I am not perfect but by His grace I am enough for my family. I know He will give grace and make up for the many ways that I am lacking. So for any other parents out there struggling today with the thought that you are going to scar your children for life, let me say this: You are going to scar your children for life. You are not perfect and neither am I and our kids will figure that out eventually and when they do? We just point them in the direction of a perfect God and Father who loves them and will never mess it up. He died to make sure of it. Can I get an Amen?

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Baby Days

The early days with Oliver started out very early since we came home only a few hours after he was born. We woke up in the morning all under the same roof and the girls came very excitedly into our room to meet the little brother they had been waiting months for.

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My mother and Ben were total rock stars taking care of the house and the girls so that I could rest and get to know our new little guy. It’s funny looking back through these pictures because they were only taken a few months ago but it feels like a lifetime away. Oliver will soon be 3 months old and I frankly have no idea where all of this time has gone! I do my best to be in the moment but honestly sometimes it is a fog for that first little bit. I know we spent a lot of time at home together and it worked out well that way since it was Winter anyway.

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Lots of snuggles. Lots of silly play. Lots of being in their underwear and playing dress up. You do what you’ve got to do to get through it!! Here’s a little look into our days..
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One Thousand Gifts and Lent

I am admittedly a little late in our lenten preparations this year but isn’t that what Lent is all about anyway? Preparing? Making ourselves ready, begging His grace to help us start new? start fresh? With that in mind and also with Oliver in mind we are keeping things very simple this year.

The girls helped me make a purple paper chain that they are taking turns ripping a link off each day. We also freshened up a little corner of our living room and made it into a family altar as a place to come back to throughout the day as a reminder to pray. We’ve been adding canned goods here and there to our bag to be brought to the food bank sometime before Easter. All small, easy things to do with little ones that make such an impact on their little hearts.

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As for me? Well, I was originally going to go with “isn’t nursing enough?!” as my sacrifice but I don’t mean it in the way it sounds. I love nursing my babies…there is nothing more peaceful or delicious than a sweet little one falling asleep in your arms while you nurse. The sacrificial part for me is the being tied to the couch while the other kids destroy the place! ha! It really isn’t so bad but I decided that in this season of motherhood what I need most is to stop complaining, stop looking to an easier time, stop missing out on all the good, holy things happening right in front of me.

I read One Thousand Gifts a few years ago now and had good intentions to start my very own gratitude list/journal but never got around to it. This Lent I am starting. I probably won’t list all of my gifts but today I thought I would share how I began..

1. A bowl full of colored pencil shavings

2. Crispy potato bits in the pan

3. Husband who started my coffee before he left for work

4. Counting down the days to Alleluia

5. Sleepy, nursing boy in my arms

6. Joe Zambon helping me start the day

7. Girls who “read” aloud to themselves

8. Dark chocolate and ruby red strawberries

9. Anticipation of mom’s night out

10. Sweet girl who prays for the poor

11. The lullaby of the dishwasher

12. Sweet friends who brought a meal and new cartoons

13. Homemade play dough “cookies”

14. Dough rising on a grey day

15. Middle of the night baby smiles

16. Unexpected happy mail

17. Knowing it will get easier

18. New recipe to try excitement

19. Getting ready to do our taxes

20. Health of mind and body

21. Good talks with sweet sisters

22. Gluten free chocolate goodness

23. My love coming home in a few hours

24. News of good friends being blessed

25. Knowing that I’m all he (Oliver) really wants

Lenten Things

We had a very blessed Lent and I wanted to post some pictures of our time so that I can look back and remember that it was not all struggle. Lent is difficult for me. I suspect that it’s mostly because it is always at the tail end of Winter, which I already loathe. I assumed last year that I was struggling through Winter because Abigail was finishing nursing and I felt like an emotional wreck. I’m now seeing that I probably have some seasonal depression that I need to speak to my doctor about. It’s a dreadful feeling when you feel low and exhausted and like the sun might never shine again and you just wish you could shake it but you just can’t.  No amount of just trying to be happier seems to work for me and I expect that I may need to actually exercise to help fight the winter blahs next year.

Ben worked quite a lot throughout Lent and so the girls and I took to having our own adventures and had great fun. I would say their favorite thing we did together was when we baked Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. We used The Pioneer Woman recipe and had great success. On Holy Saturday we spent a good chunk of the morning coloring black and white Stations of the Cross and hanging them up in our little Easter tree.

I was reminded this Lent how small I am, and how important it is that I remain that way. God is good!

Lent is Here

We began our Ash Wednesday with the sweet gift of being able to attend mass together. Ben starting work later in the morning does have its perks!

After lunch we all had a rest and then got up and began discussing (as much as you can discuss anything with toddlers) what we would be doing as a family for Lent. I offered a few suggestions of things we could do and Lucy was very pleased with the ideas. We got ourselves an empty bin and made up a sign that read, “Food for the poor people”..at least that is what Lucy told me her sign said. Her fascination with the poor began on the feast of St. Brigid when we read a story about her life and the ways she helped care for the poor in her community, often by way of her parents pantry. We are keeping things simple and trying to lead by example rather than talking their little ears off.

I placed their little table against a wall in our living room and covered it with a purple play silk and gathered up a little basket of Lent/Easter related books and also a few small crosses and rosaries. They visit this little table often throughout the day and it makes me smile to see them take such interest in the stories about Christ’s life. Their favorite book right now is a french Children’s Bible that my grandmother gave to Lucy when she was just a baby. They are loving hearing the old testament stories and ask me about a million questions about them. It is reminding me how important it is for me to be reading scripture and continually growing in my relationship with Christ if I have any hope of helping my children see Him.

In other news, Abigail will be two years old this Saturday and we are having a very small family get together for the occasion. If the snow holds off we are thinking about barbecuing for the first time since the fall. The weather has been so mild, we thought, why not! Also, Ben’s birthday is coming up the first week in March. I confess, I really enjoy birthdays celebrated during Lent. It somehow gets me through those final weeks of winter blahs. I am feeling more myself now, but to be honest..these last few weeks found me really tired and really down on myself and my parenting. Having toddlers is a joy in so many ways but man, the emotional rollercoaster of it all is sometimes enough to almost take my breath away. We seem to be coming to the other side of it for now, thankfully.

Finally, I am working on some new hats for the girls and after ripping them out twice I finally figured out how to make the right stitch! Yay! I can’t wait to show them once they are finished.

I’ve now got a Lent and Easter board on Pinterest if you’re interested. I find Pinterest so useful for gathering ideas that I can easily go back to and find.

Sorry for the lack of depth here today. It has been a long day and I am knackered.  I hope to be back here soon with something a little more lent related.

Well…Happy Lent! ( Is that a thing? Can I even say that?)

 

This Week

This week I returned from a three night stay at my sisters house in Moncton. I fell in love with my new little niece Rose who is just a tiny piece of heaven. I also had tons of fun hanging out with sweet Jude.

I listened to anything and everything sung by The Civil Wars because they are just. that. good. The really funny thing about this group is that the leading lady, Joy Williams was a Christian singer until just a few years ago and I saw her perform in Halifax.

The girls and I were spoiled by my lovely husband on Valentine’s Day. Gorgeous flowers, lobster and wine. He does work at the market after all.

I made several batches of Cranberry muffins to make my way through the 4lb bag we bought at the market at least a month ago now.

We put Abigail in a toddler bed. I should have known she would attempt to get out of her crib much sooner than her big sister. First it was the playpen and then the crib. We’re still getting used to the switch and I imagine it will take a few weeks to settle into a new routine. It has now really hit me that we no longer have a baby in the house. Abigail will be two years old next week. I plan on crying the whole day.

I am thinking about preparations for Lent and what we will do as a family. I’m thinking about special meals, feast days, almsgiving.. things the girls will understand and get into.

I finished knitting myself a hat made of alpaca. It fit Lucy. I will take it as an excuse to knit another hat with alpaca. It seriously is a dream to hold in your hands for long periods of time…deliciously soft.

Ben will only have Monday off this week so I am mustering up all my mama strength to power through the rest of this week and trusting that God will give me grace as I call on Him.

Having a great week…and yourself?

I Hope This Is It!

After seeing disappointing house after disappointing house, we have finally found ourselves a gem. The girls had been sick all week and it was a terrible time getting them to and from houses only to find nothing that suited us. We finally went to see a lovelyyyyyyyyy semi-detached home in Timberlea, only minutes away from the city (Seaport Market, here we come) and still within reasonable distance to Ben’s workplace. We prayed a novena to St. Joseph in hopes that he would help us find the right home for us. Our novena ended on Friday and we found our house on Monday. St. Joseph is the man!

I am trusting that there are no crazies out to get me online so I am posting the link to the house we just bought! All that is left is the home inspection next Monday which we are fairly confident is going to go really well. This house is just amazing. When you walk in it is a split level house. The 3 bedrooms, main bathroom and laundry room are downstairs and the living room, dining room, kitchen and half bath are on the top floor. There is a fenced in backyard, a shed, a good sized deck. There is definitely room for a veggie garden and plenty of room for the girls to play. It is in a subdivision which I am told has lots of children. It is actually just around the corner from the house we originally put an offer in on, i.e we can STILL WALK TO CHURCH! (until it closes and moves to the bigger location in a year or two)…but still! In the meantime we will enjoy that so much. The people that live there now have done so much work to the place, it’s gorgeous. It is move in ready. There are no carpets, no wallpaper, the paint is beautiful. The toilets are brand new low flow eco-friendly toilets, new dishwasher and all appliances included. I never ever imagined that we could find something so lovely for our price range. I feel so totally spoiled by God. He never stops surprising me that’s for sure!

Our closing date is April 28th and providing it’s all a go we will be moving in on the 29th. There is much to be done. Too much really. I’m just trusting that if we consistently do a little everyday than we will be in good shape come Easter. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, they have been felt and are very much appreciated!

I’ve meaning to share what we have taken on for this Lenten season but it never felt right to tag it onto a post. Since we are already into Lent I thought I may as well. This year I decided to pray with the girls a little more throughout the day. To do that I turned our television cabinet into a prayer bench of sorts. Each day at some point we pray a decade of the Rosary. We also come in the mornings to say good morning to Jesus and Mary. On this prayer bench is a purple cloth (my scarf) topped with a small statue of Our Lady, a crucifix, some rosaries, a few spiritual books (for young and old) and a crown of thorns which is actually just a wicker wreath I bought for 25 cents at a thrift shop. It isn’t fancy and it only cost me 25 cents, but just this gathering of holy things and placing them together creates a special place for prayer.
I can’t tell you the times I have knelt down at this bench and prayed for grace to get through the day. I typically sit in my rocking chair to pray but having a bench that is low enough for the girls to reach makes for a more family friendly prayer time. Already this lent, I have given thanks, cried, praised, begged and found strength all while kneeling at this little family altar. I found this really interesting, just scroll down to where it talks about family altars.
As I mentioned last week, I have given up facebook for lent and it is proving to be very difficult mostly with our awesome new house news that I can’t share with the rest of our friends who don’t visit this blog. Spread the word, okay? I am so grateful for the extra time I am getting to do other things in our home though. It is cleaner in here than it has been in months, and I am finally finding some new motivation to meal plan. I think this also has something to do with Spring finally being here. I hope you are seeing some signs of Spring where you are, having a really blessed lent and finding strength in Christ for this journey. Please keep those prayers coming just until everything is finalized. Thanks!