Thursday, January 1, 2015

I've moved! See you at The Life I Need!

After 3 years of writing at Hallelujah is My Song, my blog has a new home.  

Hope I'll see you over at The Life I Need!

Friday, December 5, 2014

See You in 2015!

I've decided it's time to say "yes" by saying "no."  I'm getting off Facebook for the rest of December, and I'm taking a hiatus from blogging, too.  

It's time to be still.  

It's time to prepare my heart, our family, and our home to welcome the Christ Child.  


I want this Advent to be a holy one.  So, this month, instead of coming up with new blog posts or wasting time on Facebook, I'll be *trying* to imitate John the Baptist.

"He must increase, but I must decrease."  (John 3:30)  

To that end, I have a few goals:
  • Finalize my 2015 Board of Spiritual Directors.  (Thanks for the inspiration, Lisa!)
  • Continue to start the day before the children wake up in quiet prayer.  It's a game changer!
  • Since Advent is the start of a new liturgical year, it feels like the perfect time to create new resolutions.  During the rest of Advent, I'll be re-reading A Mother's Rule of Life and revisiting/revising the 5 P's I came up with last Lent.  Our home, our family, and our hearts have changed since then.  It's time to make some updates!  In case you don't remember, the 5 P's are:
    1. Prayer
    2. Person
    3. Partner
    4. Parent
    5. Provider
I will be making baby steps to start implementing my new resolutions, and I'll share 'em with you once I'm back in 2015.  Until then, I pray that you and your family have a blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!  Please continue to send your prayer intentions while I am away!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Put It To Work 8

Put It To Work

Happy Monday!  It’s time for Put It To Work, our weekly opportunity to swap prayer intentions.  The goal of Put It To Work is to actively unite our intentions to the cross for one another, putting the prayer intentions “to work”–especially in times of suffering (no matter how small).    
Please put these intentions to work this week:
  • For my friend, Geoff, as he mourns the death of his father who passed away suddenly over the Thanksgiving weekend
  • For a prayerful, peaceful, and holy Advent season for our family
  • For forgiveness and healing within families--especially as Christmas approaches
  • For the repose of the soul of my uncle.  We are approaching the 6-year anniversary of the day he took his life, and he has been on my mind a lot lately
  • For my patience on the home front 
  • That Philip and I will continue to work everyday to further strengthen our marriage
What about you?  What prayer intentions can I start “putting to work” for you this week?  I’ll add them to my prayer journal and bring them with me to my prayer time throughout the week.

 Thank you for praying for us!  You’re in my prayers this week, too!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving #2

We got to celebrate Thanksgiving #2 with Philip's side of the family on Thanksgiving Day.  I love how celebrating the same holiday with each side can simultaneously be so different but equally fun!

While my side of the family is HUGE, Philip's fam is small but mighty.  Philip's mom, dad, brother, and sister joined us for some feasting and fun.  They generously worked with our schedule, coming in the late morning and staying until the kids' afternoon nap time.  We packed a lot of fun into our day!

A quick selfie before the doorbell rang
A quick selfie before the doorbell rang
Does the table look familiar?  After washing everything and freshening up our centerpieces, we were ready for round 2!
Does the table look familiar? After washing everything and freshening up our centerpieces, we were ready for round 2!
We had a little more elbow room the second time around
We had a little more elbow room the second time around
Harry loved sneaking over to the kiddie table before the feast
Harry loved sneaking over to the kiddie table before the feast
Sneaky smirk
Sneaky smirk
Harry loved terrorizing Muffy during her visit
Harry loved terrorizing Muffy during her visit
And he stole a lot of cuddles from Uncle Connor
And he stole a lot of cuddles from Uncle Connor
After the feast, it was time to play!  Mimi brought an adorable game of Thanksgiving Bingo that she printed off.  The kids LOVED it!  It didn't hurt that she and Maddy had gone to the trouble of bringing prizes for each winner, too.
Paying close attention and marking off their pictures
Paying close attention and marking off their pictures
Why not use two crayons?
Why not use two crayons?  Walt's like the lady at the church hall bingo night with bingo markers blazing in both hands!
And then the magic began.
And then the magic began.  "BINGO!!!!!"

After a few rounds of Bingo, we played one of our favorite family games, Guesstures.
Papa loved it
And we loved watching Papa!
Maddy was an expert player and a great sport about the tough words she drew
Harry tried his hand at the game, too
Trying to get us to guess the last word before it disappeared
Mimi did a great job, but I was a lousy team mate and couldn't guess "pucker"!
We somehow forgot to take a family picture, but we DID manage to get a sibling shot in between rounds of Guesstures!


It was a fun day of feasting and fun with family.  After everyone left, we took a GLORIOUS Thanksgiving afternoon nap!  (I write about naps a lot, don't I?  Well, I suppose it's because I'm so grateful that my children love sleep as much as I do!)  It was the perfect ending to our Thanksgiving #2.

Friday, November 28, 2014


I turned 30 on Wednesday, and it was the most perfectly quiet day!

Since it was the day before Thanksgiving, there was no preschool.  The day started with Philip letting me sleep in while he took Harry to our favorite donut spot, Conroy's Bakery Shoppe.  Philip woke me up with a sweet kiss on the forehead.  "Honey, Harry and I got some donuts!  Want to come downstairs and have breakfast together?"  Who doesn't love starting their day with a cuppa coffee and a Conroy's apple fritter???  Nom, nom, nom.
My loves after breakfast
My loves after breakfast
After that, Philip went to work, and the kids and I enjoyed a quiet day around the house.  We played, we did a little housework, and I got to enjoy listening to the newly released podcasts of the Jennifer Fulwiler Show while I folded laundry.  I might have over-indulged and listened to all of the available episodes at once.  Can't wait to hear more!  No preschool drop-off or pick-up meant we could have a lazy morning together.  After lunch, the kids gifted me with a glooooooooooorious nap!  I snapped this pic of Harry after I laid him down in his crib.  My cup runneth over!
Nighty night, Harry
Nighty night, Harry
Walt slept in his bed, and Miss Jane snuggled up with me and Monty in my room.  We laid down at 2:15, and we woke up right as Philip was calling us on his way home from work at 5.  What a nap!  

While the kids played, Philip and I worked together to make one of my favorite dinners, Tandoori Chicken With Yogurt Sauce over jasmine rice with purple grapes.  
Tandoori Chicken With Yogurt Sauce
Tandoori Chicken With Yogurt Sauce
After dinner, Philip surprised me with a cookie cake for dessert.  "Jane and Walt helped me decide what to put on it."
My personalized cookie cake
My personalized cookie cake
All of my favorite things!  A princess tiara, a magic wand, a race car.  I couldn't have designed it better myself, kiddos!  I had some help blowing out the candles.
Harry thought his fingers would get the job done
I love Walt's face in this one
Everyone enjoyed their cookie cake!
As if the day could get any better, Philip and the kids outdid themselves with their presents this year.  Remember what I told you I wanted?  I GOT IT!!!  Philip got me a gift certificate to a cleaning company so that I can get the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned on a regular basis.  YAY!!!  That way, I can enjoy my gig at home without the nagging need to scrub the toilets.  Philip also got me a gift certificate to a local spa.  I jokingly said I want to return the spa certificate to get more services from the cleaning company, but...doesn't that sound brilliant?!  I'm seriously considering it.  I'll take a sparkling clean bathroom over a pedicure any day.  Call me crazy, but I like what I like!
After bedtime prayers and stories, we put the kids to bed, and Philip and I had a little at-home date night.  We opened some bubbly pink moscato and watched The Family Man with Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni.  I like the Rotten Tomatoes plot summary:
Wall Street playboy, Jack Campbell is at the top of his professional game with little time for anything else. Jack's lavish, fast-paced lifestyle drastically changes one snowy Christmas night when he unwittingly stumbles into the middle of a grocery store holdup and in a bold display of self-preservation disarms the gunman. The next morning he wakes up in a suburban New Jersey bedroom lying next to Kate, his college sweetheart who he left in order to pursue his career, and to the horrifying discovery that his former life no longer exists. As he stumbles through this alternate suburban universe, Jack begins to feel strangely comfortable in this new role of loving husband and father to two children. Jack finds himself at a crossroad, where he must choose between his high-powered career and the woman he loves.  
Sure, the critics might say The Family Man is nothing more than a sentimental modern-day It's A Wonderful Life, but that's precisely why I love it.  We bought the movie a few years ago, and we watch it every year before Christmas.  I chose to watch that movie on the night of my 30th birthday because it's exactly how I feel about life these days.  Just like the main characters, Philip and I chose to get our family out of the fast lane of trying to keep up with the Joneses.  These days, we're enjoying our very quiet, very normal, and very ordinary lives in suburban Nebraska.  Quiet, normal, and ordinary = exactly where I want to be.  

When I read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, I loved her many Secrets of Adulthood.  One of them in particular continues to ring true:  What's fun for other people may not be fun for you--and vice versa.  Philip and I are happiest when we embrace the things we really enjoy doing together and actually do them instead of what the world tells us we'd enjoy.  At 30, one of my favorite parts of marriage is finding these interests and figuring out ways to enjoy them together.  Some people might look at how I celebrated my 30th birthday and think, "Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaame!"  I say, "It's my birthday, and I'll be lame if I want to!"

30 is already shaping up to be a fabulous year in my lame book.  Six months after moving to Lincoln, I think we've arrived at our new normal.  
  • I'm learning how to take my gig at home less seriously and slow myself down long enough each day to enjoy motherhood.  Let me tell ya, life's better for everyone these days!  With fewer commitments, more play dates, more date nights, and more "holy leisure,' it's easier to find the graces to thrive through the week.  
  • I FINALLY took a sewing lesson, and I'm starting my first sewing project this week.  
  • I'm putting together my 2015 Spiritual Board of Directors (more on that later) to bring a little focus to the new year.  
  • As a BIG TREAT, I'm going to the 2015 Edel Gathering with my dear friend, Amanda
  • I'm reading some fantastic books for fun and for Well-Read Mom.  
  • GodTeens has been one of the best gifts we've given our whole family.  We're looking forward to the rest of our 4-year journey with the teens.
  • Philip and I are both committed to further strengthening our faith and our marriage.  Ya gotta love feeling equally yoked to your honey!
Cheers to 30! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving #1

Philip and I got to host my side for Thanksgiving on Saturday.  What a fun, fun day!  Philip has always really enjoyed cooking, baking, and entertaining, so it's a treat to get to have our family here for celebrations.  We had a great time selecting the menu together, assigning dishes to family members, and working together to prepare for the big day.  We didn't even fight once!  Yay!

Philip insisted on making 2 birds this year.  The original plan was to smoke 1 and brine/bake the other.  After the first one smoked so beautifully, Philip decided to smoke the second as well. 

First, the food:
Veggies and spices to add flavor while bird is smoking in the grill
Bird #1
Da Bird & 2 chocolate bourbon pecan pies
The pans of water, veggies, and turkey "stuff" to make the gravy
While he was pumping turkey #2 full of buttery goodness, Dr. Phil joked, "Even turkeys need shots!"
Gobble, gobble!
Good gravy! Ya outdid yourself, Philip!
My favorite picture! We learned a new cooking technique called spatchcocking a turkey. Basically, you apply pressure like you're giving the bird CPR, and you crack the bird's sternum so that it cooks flat. Between giving the bird shots and rescue compressions, I'm sure glad Philip had all of his medical training!

Second, the table:
You might be Catholic if Thanksgiving with your immediate family (Mom, Dad, siblings, spouses, kiddos) requires a dining room table with two leaves, two banquet tables, a kiddie table in the entrance, and a big kid table in the kitchen. I! LOVE! IT!
It was so much fun to have all of the adults and wee little babies in the same room!
Up close of the table setting. I used recycled wine corks for the place cards. I cut the bottoms off of them so that they'd lay flat and slit a cut at an angle for the name card. I wrote everyone's names in cursive with a gold metallic marker on espresso-colored card stock. 
There's a whole lot going on in the middle of the table. Atop the gold and silver metallic table runner are mason jars with cranberries, greenery from our shrubs, and float candles. I mixed in a few hurricanes, votive candles, more greenery, and faux fall vegetation (pumpkins, gourds, pears, berries, red Maple leaves). I alternated gold and silver chargers beneath the white dinner plates, and I used cloth napkins in fall colors.
Third, the fun:
Pictionary after dinner. My sister-in-law Katie is able to give my dad a hard time like no one else, and she totally dominated this round of Pictionary. Ha! Go, Girl Team!
Poor Dan had to draw "stick out like a sore thumb." We weren't using a timer, and he persevered for what felt like 5 minutes. My family is just a *TAD* competitive, so you can imagine the heat he felt in his five layers of clothing. Love you, brother!
The girls!
Jane and Lucy got their hair done. Do you like Lucy's bandaid? I think she had a little scratch and Jane helped her apply the largest one possible. It certainly got the job done!
After the party, Philip and I found this on our bed. Fortunately, everyone's coats that were on the bed were spared. I hear a product called Goof Off (not to be confused with Goo Gone) is supposed to help get this stuff off of my bedding. Oh, well! It's just stuff, right? Not even some purple nail polish on our ivory bedding could ruin our fun Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving #1 was a blast, and we're just as excited to have Thanksgiving #2 with the Boucher crew on Thursday!  Safe travels to everyone who will be journeying to celebrate and feast with their families!  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!