Thursday, January 30, 2014

Small Success Thursday #5

Here are a few of our small successes from this week:

We've had a bunch of delicious meals this week.  I shared the recipes here.

We made it to Mass EARLY!

Quick pic with Harry and Jane before Mass
These two are the best of friends and get along great.  Here's Jane doodling in her tutu, tiara, and jewelry galore, and Walt's looking through a Thomas yearbook.  I love how he sits.

I'm learning to "get 'r done" and not let "the perfect get in the way of the good."  I decided our deep freeze needed some organization so that we would actually access all of the food.  I am using some old cardboard boxes that I labeled to separate our frozen packages of chicken breasts, ground beef, chicken thighs, soups, etc.  It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done.  

I'm making it a daily priority to get down on the ground and PLAY!  The kids love our imaginary playtime together, and I do, too.

Despite having a household full of sick kiddos for a good portion of the week, everyone remained in good spirits--including me.  Poor Harry had the worst of it.  Here's his sad sick face.  You know it's bad if Happy Harry is sad!  The Nosefrida (The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator) saved the day!

I've been able to have some regular prayer time in the afternoons while the kids nap.  I fear Jane might be outgrowing her nap (NOOOOOOOO!), so afternoon naptime might turn into girl time & quiet reading together.

Working on Bible Timeline
Harry rolled over from his back to his tummy!  I was able to snap this picture seconds after it happened.

"Now what do I do, Mom?"
I'm getting stuff packed up and moved out to our storage center.  We decided to make it a color-coded move to make unloading easier when we get to our house.  Black is for storage!

Philip and I went to our first appointment with a Catholic clinical psychologist.  I didn't know what to expect, but, wow!  Everyone should go!   I learned some really helpful strategies to manage my anger and uncover what's going on between my ears.  We also learned helpful insights into our communication styles and how to help one another.  

Also, I'm pleased to report that my symptoms from postpartum depression are nearly gone!  I've been off of the progesterone shots & pills for nearly two weeks, and I've been getting along well without them.  Hopefully, my body will keep doing its thing and start producing the appropriate levels of hormones to keep things in balance.  In the meantime, we are all so grateful for this time of healing.  I owe a lot of it to our little saint.  I'm so thankful for all of your prayers and support, too!  Thank you! 

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Your turn!  What are your small successes from this week?  Come on over to CatholicMom to share and join in the fun!  If you're using social media, use the hashtag #SmallSuccess.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Favorite Dishes From This Week

I thought I'd do a short & sweet one about food to mix things up!  Here are a few of our favorite recipes from this week:

Sauteed Chicken Breasts With Creamy Chive Sauce

Olive Oil, Garlic, Chives, & Romano Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I don't change anything with the chicken recipe.  Delish!
I substituted 2 heads of cauliflower for the potatoes recipe to sneak in some veggies.  It was a delicious & easy alternative to mashed potatoes.  I had some heavy whipping cream on hand, so I substituted that for the evaporated milk.

Pork Chops Piccata 

With Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I don't change anything in the pork chops recipe.  It has orzo & spinach in the recipe, so I treated that as a side.  To prepare the roasted brusssels sprouts:  cut off the ends, slice thin, place in single layer across baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast at 350 for 11 minutes (or until lightly browned).  

Italian Meatballs

Whole wheat pasta (we're having bow pasta) & side salad

Notes:  It's still in the crockpot for tonight, but it smells like a winner!  I love how easy it is.  I made way more changes than I usually do to this recipe because our recipe allow us to shop at Walmart and not a place that sells "grassfed ground beef" or "almond flour."  I'm sure that version is delicious, though!  :)

Pork Roast With Sweet Potatoes, Apples, & Onions

Notes:  So easy and so delicious!  The kids loved it last night, and they devoured the leftovers today at lunch.  We didn't change anything to this recipe, and it turned out just like the picture.  I love these "one pan wonders"!  Hooray for easy clean-up!

Beef With Snow Peas

Notes:  I don't change anything in this one either.  It's from Ree (aka The Pioneer Woman), so you know it's gonna be good!  Yes, as I established in a previous post, Ree and I are on a first name basis.  This girl knows her food!

I serve it over brown rice.  

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Your turn!  What are your favorite dishes from this week?  Did you make a delicious but easy weeknight meal?  Please share!

Friday, January 24, 2014

"My sister and my favorite saint"

The kids and I were watching EWTN's footage of the March for Life on Wednesday.

I think about Thérèse often, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about her since watching the March for Life.  All of the images of the unborn are painful reminders of the precious baby I never got to meet.  

When we were watching the March, a young woman passed by the screen holding this image:

Jane said, "Mommy, what happened to that baby?  Why is it bleeding?"

I explained that the light going through the baby's arm made it look red, but that the baby was not bleeding.  I showed her how a flashlight made the same thing happen to my fingers.  I said that the picture was of a beautiful baby growing inside of her mommy's tummy.  

Jane thought about it for a few seconds.  She put her little hand on my hand and said, "Mommy, you have two daughters.  Thérèse is in heaven.  She is my sister and my favorite saint!"

Woah, Holy Spirit!  Thank You for teaching me through my children.  I blinked through some tears, and I hugged Jane as best I could because I was feeding Harry.  I said, "You're right!  We love Baby Thérèse in heaven, and she's always praying for us.  She loves you very much, too."  

Since that moment, I've been thinking almost nonstop about our little saint in heaven.  I've realized that my postpartum depression started on the anniversary of my miscarriage.  I'm still grieving the loss of our little baby.  I desperately love our sweet little Harry, and I've received so much healing through his precious life, but he will never replace Thérèse.

My dear mother-in-law "gets it" and gave me this necklace for Christmas.  All of our children's initials are on it--including Thérèse.

I wrote in a previous post that I was nervous about stopping my progesterone therapy for the postpartum depression.  Since I stopped my shots and oral progesterone last week, I've had some good days and some bad days.  

Since the March for Life on Wednesday, I've been asking our little saint, Therese, to intercede on behalf of our family.  I kicked myself for not thinking to pray to her to help heal me from my postpartum depression.  It brings me so much peace to know that our baby in heaven can help bring healing to our family on earth.  It's amazing to think that the baby I never got to hold can help me to be a better mother to the babies I am holding today.  

St. Thérèse pray for us!  I hope we're making you proud!    

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Small Success Thursday #4

Here are a few of our small successes from this week.  Per usual, it reads more like a week in review, but I consider another week a success!  Besides, it's my blog, and I'll do it how I want!  :)  

Here we go:

I'm getting down on the ground and having more fun with the kids these days.  Here's a "shed castle" that Walt and I built together.  He's finally developing his own interests separate than Jane's, and he's constantly asking me, "Come and build a tower, Mommy!" or, "Come play cars with me, Mommy!" 

There's a lot more laughing around here, too.  Jane decided she'd accessorize her Rody.  She looks good, huh?

I'm getting better about letting the little things go.  Jane found every single hair accessory she owns and threw them throughout the front living room.  The floor was covered several minutes after I snapped this picture.  When I asked her what she was doing, she informed me that she was "practicing to be a flower fairy."  She seems to think that she's going to be a flower girl (aka "flower fairy") someday, and she has big dreams of my little brother getting married in the near future.  I let the hair accessories hang out on the floor, and I resisted the temptation to pick them up.  I waited until after a morning play date, and I let Jane pick them up all by herself.  This is "small" successes, right?

I'm enlisting the kids to help get the house spic and span.  Walt loves dusting!

Philip and I went out to dinner at a great Spanish restaurant called España.  (Hooray for LivingSocial!)  Sipping on some sangria and eating the delicious tapas brought me back to my semester abroad in Salamanca.  Those spaniards know how to live!  Here are a few pics from our yummy date.

Either Philip has a knack for catching me at my most glamorous moments, or I didn't want to stop eating the delicious food for a picture.

Our drinks.  Raspberry-infused mojito for me, red red wine for Philip



Ohhhhhhhh, the mussels!

Nom nom nom


The family rosary is such a part of our routine that Jane and Walt asked their babysitters to pray it with them when Philip and I went out.  Yay for sweet Catholic high school girls that prayed with our children!

Adventures in home improvement continue before we list the house in a few weeks!  We went to a carpet/flooring store last Saturday.  I consider it a success that nobody had a meltdown, and we were able to get exactly what we were looking for at a great price.

Our parish had a fun Trivia Nite.  Our team theme was "Words With Friends," and we spelled out "GENIUSES."  We had a great time, and you wouldn't believe how great all of the other teams' themes and costumes were!  Wow!  We really need to step it up for next time.  It was a fun night with friends.

I finished our "Circle Time" board.  Here's a post explaining how I made it and how we use it. 

We had our monthly dinner with my side of the family on Sunday. At one point in the evening, we realized ALL 6 of us were in the same room without any of the in-laws and just a few of the babies.  My brother said, "Woah!  Look!  It's just us!  When was the last time that happened?!"  My parents and Philip came in to snap a few pics.  It was fun to hang out with the original 6--even if it was just for a few minutes.

Harry is adored by his big sibs.  Really, they can't get enough of the guy.  They're incredibly gentle and sweet with him.  Who knew the best part of their morning would be putting Minnie Mouse on Harry's head and laughing hysterically?

He's the happiest baby ever.

Your turn!  What are your small successes from this week?  Come on over to CatholicMom to join in the fun!  If you're using social media, be sure to use the hashtag #SmallSuccess.

Monday, January 20, 2014

"Circle Time" Bulletin Board

I finally put the finishing touches on our "circle time" bulletin board.  As I mentioned previously, I'm "pseudo-homeschooling" Jane and Walt to help us find more of a schedule at home.  Hands down, their favorite part of our new schedule is "circle time."  (I'll be writing a post about our schedule and schedule chart later this week or early next week.)

During "circle time," I lay out a blanket for everyone to sit on.  I sit with my back to the bulletin board, and Jane and Walt face me.  Here's the board:

I'll describe our routine with the board before showing you up-close pictures:

We sit "criss cross applesauce" and begin circle time with prayer.  We say the "Morning Offering."  Just a few weeks into the month, Jane and Walt already know it!

After the Morning Offering, we pray for the Person of the Week.  The Person of the Week is a friend, family member, or other person that we pray for Sunday-Saturday.  We print off the person's photo to go on the Person of the Week purple sheet, and we print off 3 intentions that we will pray for that week for that person.  We try to contact the Person of the Week ahead of time to ask them for their intentions.  

After prayer, we move on to the calendar.  I ask for my "special helper" to help me.  Jane and Walt alternate days.  The "special helper" helps stick the day of the week, month of the year, date, and Saint of the Day to the calendar.  We mention which mysteries of the Rosary we pray for that day of the week and look at the Happy Saints Liturgical Calendar to see what we are celebrating next Sunday at Mass.  The special helper also puts the "Yesterday," "Today," and "Tomorrow" sticks in their appropriate pockets.  We sing our "Days of the Week" song at this point.  Then, we put the arrows on the appropriate month/season and talk about today's weather.

At this point, my "special helper" goes back to their spot on the blanket, and we stand up for our morning stretches.  We do 10 jumping jacks followed by a bunch of stretches.     

So, how did I make it?

I used:

  • 1 4' x 3' bulletin board (on clearance from an office supply store)
  • 1 calendar kit from a teacher supply store
  • Templates for Saints of the Day, Day of the Week pockets, "This Sunday Is", etc. from Sanctus Simplicitus' Liturgical Year Bulletin Board
  • Velcro squares
  • Laminator & laminating pockets
  • Cardstock
  • Brads to spin the arrows
  • Laptop & printer to print off our prayers

The Month:

I used the teacher supply calendar board and "Today's Date" box rather than the Sanctus Simplicitus Liturgical Year template.  I attached velcro squares so that the kids could attach the day of the week, month of the year, and date.  Then, I attached velcro squares to the empty calendar, and I attached the opposite side of the velcro square to the Saints of the Day.  I printed these saints from the Sanctus Simplicitus blog.  (This is a good time to mention that the blogger is a sedevacantist.  This is a schismatic group that does not follow the current liturgical calendar.  However, many of the materials on the blog are very beautiful and useful for circle time.  You'll just find some minor differences in the liturgical calendar, saints, and other places like the mysteries of the Rosary, so know that ahead of time.)  I am trying to stay one month ahead with the Saints of the Day, and I make any revisions that are necessary to bring the saints up to date.

There is a tradition in the Church to have special devotions on each day of the week.  (For example, Sunday is "Blessed Trinity," Monday is "Souls in Purgatory," Tuesday is "Holy Angels," etc.)  I used these pockets from the Sanctus Simplicitus blog to help the kids practice their days of the week.  They put "Yesterday," "Today," and "Tomorrow" craft sticks in the appropriate pockets each day.

I took this picture before attaching our family member's face to the purple person of the week paper.  I attach an index card or small sheet of paper with that person's weekly intentions on the green page.  I put velcro squares on the Joyful Mysteries image (also found on Sanctus Simplicitus).  I had to create my own Luminous Mysteries image because sedevacantists split from the Church before Blessed John Paul II introduced the Luminous Mysteries. 

Weather and prayers: 

I used the teacher supply materials for the weather and season portion of our circle time board.  I simply laminated the card stock, laminated the arrows, and stuck brads into them so that the kids could point the arrows to the corresponding month/kind of weather/season. 

Below our season and weather section are our daily prayers.  I typed these up on my own.  I created a "Morning Offering" and "The Angelus."  I want to start praying The Angelus with the children at noon or as close to it as possible.  I love the 19th century painting called "The Angelus" of the French peasants pausing from their work to pray.  Below those prayers is our Prayer to St. Joseph (our family's patron saint for 2014).  I imagine I'll switch out some of these prayers as the children master them and are ready to move on to others.      

Liturgical Calendar:

I wasn't able to use the liturgical calendar from the other blog, but I did use the "This Sunday Is" template.  I purchased and printed this adorable liturgical calendar from Happy Saints.  It's an e-poster that prints off on 8.5" x 11" paper.  I laminated mine before attaching it to the bulletin board.  I typed up what's happening in the 2013-2014 liturgical calendar every Sunday, and I put those words (for example: "Ordinary Week 3") in the "This Sunday is:" box.  Here is that doc.  I love having the liturgical calendar in visual format so that the kids have a better understanding of where we are in the calendar in relation to the seasons of Advent and Easter.  They love the bright colors and kid-friendly pictures.  

So, what do I do with all of the extra pieces?  I have the pieces separated by kind in sandwich bags inside of a canvas tote.  Maybe I'll upgrade to a desktop hanging file system or something like that down the road.  For now, the sandwich bags are getting the job done.  Before we start circle time each morning, I get out the pieces that we'll need.    

We love our bulletin board, and we are loving our circle time!  

What would you include in your bulletin board?  Do you have any suggestions of things you would add? 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Going to get help. "I think I might have postpartum depression."

In a previous post, I wrote about the night Philip asked me, "Honey, do you think you might have postpartum depression?"

I'd like to pick up with the day I went to get help.  

I pulled up to Sancta Familia's parking lot for my appointment.  Sancta Familia is a Catholic Medical Apostolate dedicated to treating its patients as unique children of God from the moment of conception to natural death.  As I wrote in my previous post, I chose to make my appointment with Sancta Familia because I knew that one of their nurse practitioners was trained in the Creighton Model (this meant that she would be very familiar with the hormonal irregularities that can occur during the postpartum phase).  To learn more about Sancta Familia, please check out their website.        

When I walked in the door, I knew I had chosen the right medical practice.  A lobby separated two rooms.  To my right was the medical practice.  To my left was a chapel.  After completing some paperwork, the sweet receptionist invited me to wait in the waiting room or the adjoining chapel.  I opted for some quiet prayer time.

I knelt for a long time, praying for God to help me calm my nerves.  I was anxious about the appointment, and I still wasn't sure what my diagnosis or treatment options would be.  I prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to be humble and honest about what had been my everyday reality.  I prayed that He would open my ears to hear the medical advice I sought.  I prayed that I would be brave enough to do whatever it took to get better.  

After awhile, I sat back to take in the chapel.  Isn't it beautiful?  It was pretty amazing waiting for my appointment with God in the tabernacle.  I loved having the images of the Holy Family to look at.  When I looked at Mary, I asked her to intercede for me as a wife and mother.  I asked her to help me follow her example in perfect obedience and trust.  When I looked at Joseph holding the Christ Child, I pictured Philip at home, holding our babies.  I prayed that Joseph would continue to watch over our family.  In fact, I think this was the moment I decided he would make a great patron saint for our family in 2014.  Joseph stayed by Mary's side even though he got more than he "signed up for."  I prayed that Philip would find comfort and peace in Joseph's example--that sometimes marriage gives us more than we sign up for, but God will reward us for our obedience and faithfulness.  I knew that my depression had been difficult for Philip, and I prayed for God to bless him for his devotion to our family.  

When I sat back, I noticed this card on the seat next to me.  It's a "Prayer to Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician."  I read and re-read the prayer until the receptionist tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that it was time for my appointment.  

 Deep breath...

After getting my height, weight, and vitals checked by a nurse, I waited for a few minutes in one of the exam rooms.  The Divine Physician hung on the crucifix on the wall above the exam table.  Yup, this was definitely the right place.

Moments later, my nurse practitioner, Teresa, walked in.  She asked why I came in, and I said, "Well, my husband and I think I might have postpartum depression, but I'm not sure.  I thought you could tell me what you think and we could go from there."

Just like that night on the couch with Philip, Teresa went through a list of symptoms of PPD, asking me to say whether I had them with a "no" or "yes."  I said "yes" to almost every single one.  

From there, Teresa let me know that she has been treating women with PPD for 14 years across the country.  Through her training and time in practice, Teresa is very familiar with the way a woman's hormones fluctuate before, during, and after her childbearing years.  Teresa explained that a woman's progesterone levels plummet from the moment she delivers the placenta.  Until a woman's cycle returns, women with PPD experience fewer symptoms when given progesterone therapy.  (The Pope Paul VI website explains the use of progesterone therapy to treat postpartum depression here.)  Progesterone therapy works very quickly (unlike antidepressants, which may take weeks to take effect), is relatively inexpensive, and works with a woman's naturally occurring hormones.  When a woman's cycle returns and her progesterone levels come back to normal, she should experience fewer PPD symptoms and should wean from the progesterone.

Teresa prescribed a course of 5 progesterone shots every other day, and she gave me the first shot at my visit.  I asked her how quickly I should expect a difference, and she said, "Within hours."  She said, "My favorite part of treating women with postpartum depression is calling them the next day and asking, 'How are you feeling?' because they almost always say, 'Great!'"  

Teresa reassured me that the depression wasn't just something in my head.  I left knowing that PPD is a treatable medical condition and that I would not feel bad forever.  I left my appointment at noon, and I felt like myself again by 3 p.m.  I had more energy, I wasn't anxious, I didn't have angry outbursts.  I felt ready to tackle the rest of the day.  

Philip and I were thrilled, and Philip called my prescription in to the pharmacy.  Fortunately, being married to a doctor meant that he could give me the shots from home instead of going in to the clinic every other day.  Unfortunately, the pharmacy filling my prescription couldn't get the progesterone oil in for four days.  This meant that I felt great for a few days, but I started to have a reoccurrence of the symptoms.  

When I finally got my second shot, I felt the same relief within hours.  The progesterone comes in sesame oil, and it's very thick, so the needle that dispenses it is pretty big.  It needs to be injected in my rear end for the best results.  It definitely doesn't tickle, but it's worth the discomfort for the results.  

After that second shot at home, I continued to feel better, but I noticed that my symptoms would start returning by the time I was due for another shot.  When I reported this to Teresa, she suggested supplementing the shots with oral micronized progesterone.  This way, I would receive a slow, steady dose of the hormone in addition to the shots.  Teresa suggested taking 1 progesterone pill a day and bumping it up to 2 if I still felt the symptoms.  

I took 1 progesterone pill daily on top of the every-other-day shots.  I had more good days than bad, but  I still had bad days with angry outbursts, anxiety, exhaustion, etc., so I decided to start taking 2 progesterone pills daily.  Since I started taking 2 progesterone pills daily on top of the every-other-day shots, I feel like I have a handle on things.  

Unfortunately, breastfeeding was becoming one of my contributing stressors to the PPD.  After a lot of prayer and anguish, I decided to start weaning Harry at nearly five months.  Harry was used to taking bottles of breast milk, and he didn't even seem to notice the difference between breast milk and formula.  The morning after he had his first bottle of formula, my cycle returned!  Cycling again means that my body is amping up to start producing healthy levels of progesterone on its own, and I need to start weaning myself off of the progesterone shots and pills.  I am scared.  I finally feel like I'm in a good place after battling PPD for a few months, and I'm nervous about what will happen when I start to go off of the progesterone.  I am supposed to immediately discontinue the shots, continue on the pills for another week, and see what happens from there.  I agree with the logic behind this decision, and I know it's the right thing to do, but I don't want to experience a relapse.  I know I am in good hands, though.  I know that the worst that can happen is a brief relapse, and I can resume my progesterone therapy.  

In the meantime, I am going to schedule an appointment with a Catholic therapist, and Philip is going to come with me.  We have some stressful times ahead with listing the house and moving.  I want to make sure that I am equipped to emotionally handle these stressors when they arise.  I've always struggled with managing my anger.  I want to make sure that I am modeling appropriate emotional control around the kids, and I want to have that control for myself.  It feels awful when you're losing it--yelling, clapping your hands, clenching your jaw.  I don't want my children to learn those behaviors from me, and I don't want to continue doing them.  I want them to know that it's okay to feel however they feel, that it's good to talk about whatever they are feeling, and that there are good and bad ways to handle our feelings.  In a lot of ways, I am grateful that God allowed me to suffer during this time so that I would pursue therapy--not only for my sake, but for the good of our whole family.  I know my treatment from PPD will be much more successful with therapy in conjunction with my medication.

So, that's where we are now.  I am waiting and praying that the PPD symptoms won't return as I wean off of the progesterone.  I pray that therapy will be healing and helpful.  

My amazing nurse practitioner, Teresa, agreed to do a Q&A interview about postpartum depression to publish on the blog.  I will be sending her my questions soon, and I look forward to sharing her responses with you.  I think it will be a great opportunity for women to learn more about progesterone therapy for PPD.  I hope you'll stop by to learn from her years of experience.  

A dear friend said something that only a dear friend could.  After I gave her an update on how things were going with my PPD, she suggested that maybe God was allowing it so that I could share my story with others.  Maybe she's right.  After I shared my story about miscarrying Therese, I received so many messages from women that experienced something similar.  Since sharing my story about my experience with PPD, several women have reached out to share their stories with me.  Miscarriage and postpartum depression have been two of my biggest crosses so far, but I am ultimately grateful for them because they have been sources of great healing.  

It makes me think about that scene in Genesis when Joseph forgives his brothers for intending great evil against him.  He says, "you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" (Genesis 50: 20).  No matter what happens to us in this life, God can use it for good.  So, whether or not I have a reoccurrence of my PPD symptoms, it is unlikely that this will be the last cross God asks me to carry.  The good news is I don't have to carry it alone.  Even if He gives me more than I can handle, He will give me rest, and He will use it for good.    

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Small Success Thursday #3

Here are a few of our "Small Successes" from this week:

I finally got around to making Jane and Walt's tie blankets.  We had bought the fleece on sale before Christmas, and then the chaos of the season delayed the project until this week.  Jane has a Disney Princess blanket, and Walt's is (what else?) Thomas.  The kids love that they got to pick out the materials and can sleep with them at night.

Pseudo-homeschooling is still going well.  I finished the "circle time" bulletin board calendar.  (More on that another time)  I love having the kids do "tray time."  I set them up with a project while I'm busy doing something that needs to get done around here.  Here's Walt coloring alphabet pages with dot markers.

You know he's concentrating when he does that thing with his lips.  His dad does it, too!
Here's Jane stringing cut up straws on a ribbon.  

Excuse the post-nap bed head for both of them.
Here's Jane matching the lowercase letter to the uppercase letter with clothespins.

Tray time helps me to be successful at making our family dinner when Philip is working long hours.  What is it about 4-6 p.m. that makes the little guys so unruly?  

We had this fantastic stew for dinner last night.  

It's called Slow Cooker Stout and Chicken Stew.  I've never cooked with a stout before.  It kind of made me want to revisit high school chemistry because it was fun watching the stout caramelize on the stovetop...then, I remembered how much I despised lab write-ups.  I get a ridiculous sense of accomplishment when dinner is ready to go before noon!  Gotta love crockpots!  I think I might need a bigger one for recipes like this, though... 

It was a liiiiiiiiiiiiiittle snug
Jane tried to evangelize the window guy.  She was carrying around a cross that I received for teaching religious education a few years ago.  The cross doesn't have the Corpus (Jesus' Body) on it.  For little Catholic Jane, this is a strange thing.  She said to the window guy, "LOOK!  Jesus is MISSING!  Do you think He escaped when the bad guys were sleeping?!"  (Jane refers to the Roman soldiers as "the bad guys.")  The window guy loved it!

I decided to abandon housework yesterday afternoon while Jane and Walt napped.  It was Harry's idea!  I was able to finish an entire book while snuggling him and sipping my coffee.  

Crème Brulée creamer?  Yes, please!  How do you like my iPad cover?  It was a Christmas gift from my boyfriend.

Jane and Walt got their haircuts the other night.  Mr. Walt has never liked getting his haircut.  He usually sits in Philip's lap while Philip tries to restrain him and the stylist does her best to get the job done.  To our surprise, Walt decided he was ready to sit by himself and happily allowed the stylist to do her thing without making a fuss.  (Nevermind that Philip had an episode of Thomas on his phone playing the whole time...  Baby steps!)  

I *FINALLY* finished the magnetic schedule for the fridge.  I'll write a more thorough post about it another time.  Walt helped me set it up while Jane was at preschool this morning.  

When Jane came home, she said, "Now, I know everything about my schedule!  This is AWESOME!"

Things got a little crowded on there, so I'm separating the day's activities by the part of day (wake up-lunch, lunch-snack time after naps, snack time-bedtime).  The kids LOVE being able to follow along with our day.  I'm going to get some cute, colorful magnets that the kids can move themselves as we move from one activity to the next.  I love that I'll be able to remove it easily when we start having showings next month. 

I had this brilliant idea this morning when I was working on the menu/grocery list, and I had to share it because it will be such a big help!  (At least I thought it was brilliant!)  We like to buy our chicken and beef in bulk.  It's great for our wallet, but it stinks when I forget to pull it out of the deep freeze in time to thaw for dinner.  I *FINALLY* realized I could set a reminder for myself using my iPhone.  When I was done making the menu, I asked the male Siri guy (whatever his name is) to "remind me to thaw 2 pounds of chicken breasts on Tuesday at 8 a.m." and "remind me to thaw 1 pound of ground beef on Thursday at 8 a.m."  This is going to help so much!

I published my first post on my series about postpartum depression yesterday.  What a response!  I am so encouraged and uplifted by the outpouring of messages, e-mails, texts, and phone calls I have received.  Thank you for your kind words, prayers, and continued support!

Your turn!  What are your small successes from this week?  Come on over to CatholicMom to share and join in the fun.  If you're using social media, use the hashtag #SmallSuccess.