Friday, 12 September 2014

7 Quick Takes – Where We Talk Baby, Doctor Who, The King’s Daughter and Beef



7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
-1-
Bumbo baby


Rosie is finally holding her head up well enough to use her Bumbo! Depending on the kind of mood she’s in, I can usually get a good 20 minutes of non-holding baby time! I’m a little bit of a Bumbo rule breaker though and have put the seat on the kitchen counter BUT I swear she was being supervised the entire time. Rosie loves being up high and watching me cook or clean or whatever. The cat however is not happy because the counter is usually her domain (don’t worry I Lysol the counters a few times a day) so she spent a good portion of the day sulking. I can’t wait for those two to become best friends and keep each other entertained.

Rosie watching me eat yogurt this morning. Her expression is like "Woah, that's not breastmilk! How could you eat that?"
-2-

My crush on the Doctor

I started watching Doctor Who on Netflix a few weeks ago. I figured it would keep me from getting bored during the day when I’m alone with the baby. I liked the ninth Doctor and was disappointed that he regenerated at the end of the first season but that was until I got to know the tenth Doctor. What followed was a growing crush on a fictional character that resulted in me binge-watching 3 seasons of the show. I was sort of obsessed thinking I could sometimes hear the TARDIS appearing while on walks with Rosie. Unfortunately, this Doctor also had to regenerate and I’m now trying to get used to this new Doctor who just seems really geeky. I’d gotten about 20 minutes into the first episode of season 5 before I realized that I needed a break to mourn the death of my favorite Doctor. I haven’t quite healed yet, but I think I will start watching the show again soon.


Dane should dress like this for our next date night.




-3-

I got 99 problems and the beef is number one


I finally got around to making my freezer to crockpot stews I’d been planning on doing since before Rosie was born. Oh well, better late than never. I decided it was time since large bags of potatoes, carrots and stewing beef were on sale this week. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the stewing beef when we went grocery shopping this weekend, so I purchased the root vegetables and planned to go back this week. But since I have terrible luck, the store was still sold out of the beef when I went early yesterday morning. I had to pay $1.50 per pound more for the beef from another store which made the stews so much more expensive than I planned. I’m happy that I have the stews; I just wish the beef had been available.


*Reading this over just now, I realize how insignificant my problems really are. You know life is going well when your biggest worry is the price of freezer to crockpot stews. Or is it that your life is really boring? Who knows! Either ways I apologize for blogging about the price of beef.*


-4-

Baby talk


In other Rosie news, she has really started cooing lots lately. It’s hilarious to watch her because you can tell that she’s really trying to communicate with you. We were at my parent’s last night, and my mom stood Rosie up on her lap (yes, I said stood, she likes to be upright and on her feet) which made her start to oooh, and aahhh about everything around her (Rosie, not my mom – if my mom was doing that there would have to be wine involved). It’s amazing to watch her discovering the world around her. I really hope God blesses us with more children and we get to see babies discovering the world over and over again.




-5-

Talking babies


Speaking of other babies, if I got pregnant today, the baby would be due in June. That means Rosie would be 1 year old or just shy of 1. I think I’d be ok with that which is kind of a relief. Any sooner than that and I would lose my mind. I don’t think I’m going to get pregnant since I’m exclusively breastfeeding and all, but since we are not using birth control it’s something we always need to be aware of.  Unless we decided to abstain for the next year, and even though I tried to sell the idea to my husband, I don’t think that is going to happen. It’s a scary thought however, and so when we said grace before dinner I prayed “…and please don’t let me get pregnant…”, to which Dane had to add “…but let your will be done…”.  I’m happy my husband reminds me to stop trying to be a control freak and to trust God, but I guess that’s what marriage is all about, helping each other get closer to God.


-6-


My FBE ( Favorite Book Ever)
This is definitely a MUST READ!




Since I haven’t had the time to go to the library, I re-read my favorite book “Jeanne, Fille du Roy”, by Suzanne Martel. The book is originally written in French but I think it was translated into English under the name “The King’s Daughter”. I first read the novel when I was 9 after my mom recommended it. I had a hard time reading the end, and I remember my mom reading me the last chapters as I cried.  Over the years, I’ve picked up this book over and over again, and I’m just as impressed with the story every time I read it. Without giving anything away the story is set in the seventeenth century and, the main character, Jeanne Chatel, is an orphan raised in a convent who goes to New France as one of the King’s Daughters. There she marries Simon de Rouville , a hunter and builder, who is in need of a wife to raise his two young children after the murder of his late wife by the Iroquois. The story goes on to tell of the young woman’s many adventures in the woods of New France, as well as the blossoming relationship between her and Simon.  Jeanne is gutsy, witty and resourceful making her a great role model for young girls. There is also a catholic influence in the book, with cameos from Saint Marguerite de Bourgeoys and Saint Marie de l’Incarnation.  One of my favorite lines from the book is when Jeanne describes a childhood crush as “beautiful like the statue of Saint Michael” which makes me think they did not have a large frame of reference for handsome men.


You can purchase the book in French here and the English version here.




-7-

Define: baptism
Rosie is getting baptized on September 28th at the same church Dane and I were married in.  Although the ceremony is being done in French, I figure language is a human thing not a God thing, and Rosie will be baptized regardless of what language the baptism is done in. We are starting our baptism classes on Monday and we are meeting the priest briefly after mass on Sunday.  I’ve been trying to think about baptism and what it means to be baptized. I don’t want to go into it blindly, and I want to understand so I can truly appreciate the significance of it for my daughter. If you have an explanation, please feel free to send it to me!





Find more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary

Friday, 5 September 2014

7 Sleep Tips for the Tired New Mommy

I know everyone says “sleep when the baby sleeps” but if you have other kids or you are a neat freak or you simply aren’t a great napper that is not always possible.  Now I’m not a sleep expert and I haven’t gone through the teething phase, but this is what helped us when Rosie decided that 3 AM was playtime/morning.
-1-
Co-sleeping
Co-sleeping with teeny tiny newborn Rosie
We’ve co-slept since day one. The expert say it’s not safe, I say it’s the only way I get to sleep at all especially since Rosie is still waking 4 times a night to feed.  In order to ease my mind, I did a bunch of research about safe co- sleeping and this is what I found. First, you get one pillow which is tucked in under your arm and as for blankets never have them higher than the baby’s belly button. Second, tie up your hair, wear long sleeves if it’s cold and make sure there are no strings or loose fabrics on your sleepwear. Third, sleep on your side with one arm tucked under the pillow and the other loose over the blanket (to keep it from moving). Tuck in your knees and your baby should sleep on his/her back in the space between your lower arm and knees (like a baby nest). Fourth, the baby should always sleep with the mother and never between the parents.  Fifth, sleep with the baby as far from possible from the side of the bed, and once they get squirmy get a bed rail (cost about $40.00).  Fifth, dress the baby according to the weather and account for the extra heat coming from your own body. Sixth, never co-sleep if you smoke, are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are obese, are extremely tired or if you bottle feed your baby. Finally, when the baby wakes to nurse, don’t get out of bed (I was an idiot and doing this for the two first weeks), and instead nurse lying down by pulling down or opening your top (made easier by wearing a sports bra). That way you get to go back to sleep and the baby will eventually fall asleep while nursing (usually).

-2-
Get into a routine

Most people need a bedtime routine to signal that it’s time to sleep and babies are no different. When Rosie was first born, there was no routine and we had a very difficult time getting her to sleep. Now, we start around 8:30 – 9 PM getting her ready for bed.  If people are over past that time or if we are still out, it seems to mess her up and we spend the night trying to calm her down because she is over tired. We begin by darkening the room and Daddy changes her diaper and puts her in a sleeper. Then I nurse her a bit and once she’s full Daddy takes her and they both fall asleep. I get ready for bed and once I’m ready we bring her to bed, nurse her while she’s still drowsy and usually she will fall asleep shortly after her feed.  Develop a routine that works for you and stick to it.
-3-
If you don’t need to get up … don’t

For a little while I was still trying to get up early even if Rosie was still sleeping. Then one day I realized that if I didn’t need to get up what was the point of waking up at a specific time? Clearly we both need the extra sleep and so now I sleep until she wakes up in the morning. If you have other kids, maybe Daddy can handle the morning routine or you can slip back into bed as soon as the other kiddos have been dealt with (television anyone?).  Most importantly, don’t feel guilty about staying in bed.  After all, you are up multiple times a night.
-4-
Be boring

Rosie spent a week deciding that 3 AM was morning. She would want to play between 3 and 4 AM and then cry from 4 to 6 AM. It was awful. At first I used to get up and play with her, then rock and bounce her while she cried. That got old very fast and so I decided to try and stay in bed the next night.  Like clockwork she woke up at 3 AM but since I refused to play with her, get up and turn on lights, she only stayed up for 2 hours. Then the next night I stayed in bed again and was very brief and boring when talking to her. That night she only stayed up an hour and a half.  Soon enough she understood that night was for sleeping and now she usually sleeps through the night with about 4 brief wakes up to feed.
-5-
Go to bed later

I look serene but really I'm thinking "Sleep! Dear God, please sleep!"

If you know that your baby only sleeps for 6 hours at night, don’t go to bed at 10 PM because you will wake up at 4 AM. I find it much easier to stay up later than to get up at a crazy hour. Decide what time you will want to wake up and then got to bed at the appropriate time. For example Rosie usually sleeps 8 hours so I go to bed at midnight and we will wake up around 8 AM. Honestly, I must say that I’m actually enjoying my late nights Netflix watching.

-6-
Things will change

Realize that eventually your baby will sleep. This is just a phase and it will not last forever. How many people do you know that don’t sleep at night? Very few and even if your child is a night owl, they will get more manageable and distractible.  This thought helped me get through many sleepless nights.
-7-
Pray
Some nights (or strings of nights) are just so awful that all you can do is pray. Even if it’s just “Lord give me strength”, prayer has gotten me through the worst sleep-deprived moments. As soon as I pray, I instantly feel able to get through the rest of the night (even when Rosie is screaming her head off). So arm yourself with a rosary and hang in there Mama.


Get more 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary by clicking HERE







Thursday, 4 September 2014

We’re Not Trying to Get Pregnant But…


When I told my doctor that we weren’t planning on using any birth control she almost passed out.  She just didn’t get that it wasn’t just artificial birth control that we didn’t want to use, it was all forms of birth control including condoms and the “pull out” method. I think her reaction is pretty typical since most people keep telling us that breastfeeding doesn’t always prevent pregnancies. But why should we be trying to avoid a pregnancy? Yes, we have a 2 month old. No, we aren’t trying to get pregnant but if it were to happen we would be happy – scared but happy.

Before my mom starts freaking out, I’m not going Duggar here and actively trying to get pregnant. Lord knows I’m having a hard enough time taking care of one baby, I can’t imagine trying to take care of two right now.  However, if God blesses us with another child even if it is sooner than I expected, I’m not going to complain. After Rosie was born, the hubby and I decided that we didn’t want to stand in God’s way if he wanted us to conceive again. Whether that happens next week, in a year or in 5 years is not up to us.

I know that seems crazy especially since I’ve been guilty of judging other women for getting pregnant so soon after having a baby. I realize now how wrong that was since pregnancy is not a sign of being irresponsible, it’s a sign of God’s love, a miracle.  Being told we were going to miscarry Rosie and seeing her heartbeat at 6 weeks made me realize that. 

Now I’m not bashing natural family planning, but I think that right now if Dane and I were to use it, it would be used with a “contraceptive mentality”.  For those of you who are wondering what I mean by that, I’m talking about the mentality that views children as a burden.  The mentality that tells you to wait until you are financially ready to conceive, the mentality that says you should enjoy being  newlyweds before getting pregnant and the mentality that dictates that women should wait a reasonable amount of time before conceiving again.  If we had listened to that mentality, Rosie would not be here.  

My husband and I are both big believers that God would never give us something we could not handle. When we first got pregnant with Rosie, we had no idea how we would manage financially. But in the following months, Dane started his own company and was able to increase his salary, making up for the extra expenses and the drop in my income.  I have no doubt that God will make sure we can provide for the next child regardless of when we conceive again.

So if I find out I’m pregnant again in the coming months will I cry? Oh yes and worry and doubt. But I will also rejoice and welcome this new life into our family. Because honestly, who wouldn’t want another one of these?
Finally sleeping after a two hour fight to get her down for a nap.


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Morning Offering? ... More Like Morning Shortcoming


This morning, I woke up and somehow remembered to say my morning offering. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this prayer, it goes more or less like this:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer thee all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of thy Sacred Heart in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, and for all the intentions of the Holy Father.  Amen

Yesterday, Kendra at Catholic All Year created some awesome prints of this prayer and I promptly put one up in my cubicle thinking I was once again doing a stand-up job at promoting my catholic faith in the workplace.  

That lasted about half an hour before I started realizing how terrible I am at living my day for Christ. Because the truth is, I’m often forgetful of the fact that Christ is ALWAYS with me. (I’d like to think He only shows up for the good moments, like when I stay for adoration after mass.) Today, He was with me when I text –argued with my husband over the price of a stroller, He was there when I was ungrateful for my job, He was there when I was annoyed by my co-worker and He was there when I thought mean things about a customer while on the phone.

The sad thing is all of that happened before 12 PM and I literally can’t think of one nice thing I did today to glorify Christ. When you get wrapped up in your day to day, it’s easy to forget about Him. But He never leaves you even when you are being the world’s biggest grump and feeling sorry about yourself because you’re 7 months pregnant and wishing you could wear pyjamas to work.  

The morning offering has a way of reminding me that this day does not belong to me and so I should make an extra effort to live it like Jesus was physically standing next to me, possibly whispering encouraging words in my ear. He knows that this pregnancy has been sucky for me, and he knows that I’m sick of work and that I’m stressed out over moving. However, He also knows (and I do too)  that I’m capable of doing better than that and seeing the words of the morning offering reminds me of the promise I made to Him just a few hours ago.

Thankfully, I know Christ doesn’t hold this morning’s failures against me and I can try living out the rest of my day like I had originally intended - without beating myself up or wallowing away in guilt.  He will keep forgiving my shortcomings every day until the day I die, and if I really mess up, I can always go to confession and have the slate wiped clean. How lucky are we that we have a God who loves us so much that He will keep forgiving us regardless of how many sins we commit and how many times we commit them?

Friday, 11 April 2014

7 Quick Takes – Where I Gross Everyone out by Talking about my Night Sweating

--1--
The Palmiest of Sundays
This Sunday will be Palm Sunday and although I LOVE waving around those palms, it always reminds me of the first time I was an altar server. I was 8 or 9 and had just completed my “training” – which let’s be honest, was just a bunch of kids in one room pretending to pay attention. I was scheduled for my first mass on Palm Sunday with an older/ more experienced altar server. Well I showed up, but my trainer never did. I was stuck doing the altar serving all by myself and to add to the confusion, mass started at the back of the church which completely threw me off. Thank God the priest that day was patient, and he guided me through the entire mass, letting me know what to grab and what to do. Other than the “deer in the headlights” look I must have had, I think I came out of it generally unscathed – that is, unless you count the terrible psychological trauma I endured.
--2--
Pregnancy and Night Sweats
 
I’m 27 weeks pregnant today which means that I’m in or almost in my third trimester – some doctors will say 27 weeks, others 29 weeks – I say I feel big enough to be in my third trimester therefore I am in my third trimester. Pregnancy developments this week include the swelling of my hands and feet (Goodbye wedding ring and nice shoes), severe heartburn, shooting pains in my pelvic region and hot flashes. The hot flashes are seriously getting out of hand though. No matter what I wear to bed, I will wake up drenched in sweat. Dane keeps telling I stink in the morning, like I can’t smell or feel how sweaty I am. I would like to see how nice he smells after sleeping with a little furnace strapped to his stomach.
--3--
A Week without my Husband
Last week, Dane went to Lake Louise for his brother’s wedding. Since my pregnancy is borderline high risk ( ok it is high risk… I just hate to say that because it sounds scary) I was told no travel until this baby has vacated my womb.  That left me alone for four days which is the longest I’ve ever been a) without Dane since we started dating and b) home alone.  The first day was hell, I spent most of my time crying, but by day 3 I was starting to enjoy the quiet. Boots was calmer, I watched girly movies and shows, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted AND the house was clean. But regardless of the all that, I truly missed my husband and I am so glad he is home. However, it seems like the house got messy as soon as he walked through the door so I’m guessing that’s just something I’ll have to live with as long as he’s around.
--4--
A Tale of Two Houses
Since Dane and I are set to move in about 2 weeks and we have the keys to our new house, we’ve slowly been starting to pack up/ move over our belongings. My parents came by last Saturday and we powered through the office, the guest bedroom and most of the basement. After they left I was able to pack up my pre-pregnancy clothes, shoes and some of my purses.  I also got to packing up some of the kitchen appliances that I won’t be using in the next two weeks. All in all, our house in the Bay is slowly emptying out and soon enough, we’ll only have the big stuff to haul over to our new place.  Although it does make me feel like I’m in a house limbo at the moment since we’re not really settled anywhere. I can’t wait for all this to be over so I can start nesting!
 
--5--
Sell, Sell, Buy, Buy
Speaking of the move, I’ve taken to Kijiji once again to try and get rid of some stuff I do not want to bring to the new house. So far I’ve sold my dining room table and the bed in the guestroom (to hopefully be picked up tomorrow). After speaking to the buyers, I’m glad I didn’t over charge ( we sold for way under what they are worth) since both the items are going to people who are having a hard time financially.  Even though Dane and I aren’t exactly wealthy, we can still try to make life easier for others when we are able to. It kind of makes me angry to think of how much Dane and I paid for the dining room table and the bed, since we were very naive and didn’t understand the real value of things. I would hate to do that to someone else.
 

 
And since we’re already talking about good deals, Dane was able to find an awesome used dining room table for me! I can just imagine our family sitting around the table, complaining about how they don’t like supper and asking me why they have to eat [insert food here] when Daddy gets to pick around it.  We also bought an island to put in the kitchen for extra counter space and a cabinet for extra storage. I think that will make our new kitchen a little bit more functional, since right now it has about 5 inches of available counter space and limited storage.
--6--
Cranky Boots
 
Boots is not the most easygoing cat around. Actually, between her mood swings and her constant need for attention, I’d say she’s high maintenance. Over the last couple of weeks though, she has been very cranky with everyone but me. I don’t know if its spring or the male cat that prances in front of the windows every day, but something has got that cat really angry. When my parents came over to pack she was being a complete brat, hissing at my dad and just generally being unpleasant. Dane thinks it’s because she can sense something big is coming (i.e. the baby and the move), my mom thinks she needs to be socialized. Either ways, I’m hoping this recent episode of crankiness will end once we move to the new place and she gets used to her surroundings. In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best to ignore her when she’s in a bad mood and give her attention when she’s being a good cat.
--7--
Delivery Confession
Dane and I ended up going to evening mass in Orleans last Sunday since he got home so late on Saturday night. I guess this will be our new parish since it’s closest to our new home.  After mass, they had an hour of adoration and confession for whoever was interested. Since Dane and I had missed our Lenten retreat, I hadn’t had a chance to go to confession and I had promised myself I would go as soon as I got the chance. Well “as soon as I get the chance”, turned into whenever I find a convenient time and a convenient time had turned into me ignoring the fact that I needed to go to confession.  So when they announced that confession would be available, I knew that I needed to go (even though I just wanted to go home).  It was like God was saying, “I’ll make this real simple since you can’t be bothered to come to me, I’ll bring confession to you”.
I told Dane that I needed to go and asked him if he wanted to go and he declined because he wasn’t prepared. I was disappointed but you can’t force someone to go to confession. I then got on my phone and used the confession app. I mean it wasn’t the greatest examination of conscience but it was all I had available.  Once I was done, a little line had formed near the confessional booths, and I went to take a spot.  As I was waiting, I saw Dane get up and join me in line. He told me that he had asked God to make him more humble and while waiting for me he had read that confession is a good way to be more humble. He knew, just as I did that God, was calling him to the sacrament of reconciliation.  Which proves once again just how important it is to be open to the influence of the Holy Spirit, since without it neither Dane nor I would be in a state of grace.
 
-----------------------------------
 
Well that rounds up my week! Now to get back to packing and preparing for Holy Week!

 

 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

An Open Letter to Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles


 “There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality.  There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist -- whatever you want to be -- and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.” – Beyoncé Knowles

 

Dear Mrs. Knowles,

I recently came across the above quote from your interview with “Out Magazine”. Although I can appreciate the sentiments expressed, I cannot say that I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. Yes, women should own their sexuality, but not in a way that allows a woman to pose with her breasts exposed in a magazine.

Sexual freedom does not allow me to engage in sexual acts with whoever I want whenever I want. Neither does it allow me to act unchastely whether in word, dress, or deed. Furthermore, sexual freedom does not give me the right to have control over my God-given fertility via unnatural means. Finally, it does not give me the ability to choose to end a life when the repercussions of this so-called “freedom” have surfaced.

When sexual freedom is described to me as such, I can’t help but think that the sexual revolution led all women a step backwards.  Instead of enjoying the benefits of the marital embrace, women are being duped into giving away part of themselves to men who could care less about them. Instead of being respected and cherished for their hearts and minds, they are being lusted after for their body and sexual prowess. Instead of openly accepting the gift of fertility, they are forcing chemicals down their throats and interrupting their natural cycles. Finally, instead of lovingly accepting new life, they “choose” to kill their offspring.

I’d like to know exactly how the above equates to freedom, when to me it sounds a whole lot more like slavery.  Slavery to a society that has tricked women into believing that this type of “feminism” is what we should be working hard to achieve. Women truly are better than that. We are better than the promiscuous, irresponsible, murderers that society is trying to make us become.

When I think of sexual freedom, I think of making love to my husband who truly loves and appreciates all of me. Engaging in the marital embrace with him does not degrade me, hurt me or leave me empty but rather brings us closer together as a couple. Sexual freedom also makes me think of my wedding vows, when I promised that I would honor my husband for the rest of my life. Those vows mean that the things I do, the things I say and the things I wear need to be respectful of our relationship. Finally, sexual freedom means truly accepting the gift of fertility that God has given me. There is nothing more liberating than handing over that aspect of my life to God and lovingly welcoming new life into our family.

Women need to wake up and realize what is going on. They need to stop allowing their true nature to be altered by societal ideals, and get back to who they truly are. I am a woman and I can proudly admit that I am submissive to my husband and that I am fragile. That does not mean I am not free. It means that I trust that my husband will make the best decisions for me because he loves me and that he will take care of me because he realizes just how fragile I am. There is nothing more liberating than knowing that I have someone who loves me so much that he will sacrifice himself to make sure I am well cared for.

To me what is truly crazy is that women would rather be objectified, degraded and used by random men than be submissive to their husband. I’m sorry but I’ll take the kind of love my husband gives me over feeling as though I “own my sexuality”. Especially considering the fact that my sexuality never really belonged to me; it belongs to my husband and to God.

And so Mrs. Knowles, I ask you to reconsider your statement for the sake of all the little girls out there (including my daughter and yours) who will one grow up into women. Because,  I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather have a submissive and fragile daughter that finds a man who loves her for who she is, rather than one who “owns her sexuality” and is used or lusted after by strange men.

Thank you for your time,

Justine

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

May It Be Done To Me According To Your Word

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which means that Dane and I get to have dessert tonight BUT more importantly, it means we are celebrating the moment the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her she would conceive and bear the baby Jesus in her womb.  This is a HUGE moment in the history of Christianity because THIS is where it all began.  (This is part of the reason that us  pro-lifers are ALWAYS saying that life begins at conception. )
 This year, possibly because I’m pregnant for the first time, this story hits me more than ever. Here is this young single girl, who has never “known” a man but is being told that God has chosen her out of ALL the women in the world, to bear the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Mary is troubled at first, possibly because it must have been upsetting to see an angel appear to you, and also because he says the Lord has found favor with her, which she thinks is a really weird to greet someone.  However, she listens to him and in the end just calmly agrees, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:38.
Ok so God has just dropped this HUGE bombshell on her and instead of whining or asking Him to pick someone else (*cough cough* Moses), she just agrees to it.  Handmaid can also mean servant so basically she is saying “Lord I am your servant, do what you want with me and I’ll gladly go along with it”.  I’m willing to bet this was NOT an easy decision to make. First she’s just agreed to be a young, unmarried mother who just happens to be pregnant with the SON OF GOD. Then to add to her worries, she has to somehow explain to her fiancé that no, she didn’t cheat on Him, she conceived a child by the power of the Holy Spirit. And yet, even with all of that going on she gladly agrees to what God is asking of her.
Now, I’m not going to go comparing the conception of my child and my future children, to the conception of Jesus. Those are two completely different situations. However, Mary’s willingness to accept this life into her womb is similar to the decision that married catholic couples have to face almost every time they are intimate.
When you are married in the Catholic Church, they ask you if you “Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”. For some, that may mean will we one day have children, but in reality it’s not that easy. Accepting children from God means that you let Him decide when and how many of these children you will have.  So essentially, you agree to give up control of a huge aspect of your of your life, one that influences pretty much every other aspect from finances to leisure.
When Dane and I got married, we agreed to let God make that decision for us. We did not use birth control but we also didn’t plan our “intimate times” around my fertility cycle. It was scary to think that every unitive act between my husband and I could change our lives as we knew them, but there is also a beauty in trusting God with that decision.
Knowing that every time we made love could possibly lead to the creation of our child, a brand new life, made every act so much more meaningful. I remember sitting there wondering afterwards if this was the time that we had (with God’s hand of course) conceived a baby. It was a scary at first, but then when I got my period after our first month as a married couple, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.  I cried and Dane had to remind me that since we agreed to be open to life, we had to welcome life WHEN God wanted it. That month had not been our time to conceive and we had to trust that God would decide when that time would be. I didn’t have to wait very long after that because our daughter was conceived two weeks later.
As we have more children and the stresses of life start taking their toll on us, I’m not sure Dane and I will be as open to life as we are now. I know it will get tougher to say yes to God’s plan as we worry about providing for the children we already have. But I also know that God doesn’t give you things you can’t handle and if He blesses us with a child He will give us the means to provide for it.  I think it’s during those tough times that we will have to turn to our Mother Mary and ask her for the grace to gladly accept God’s will, just as she did when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

You Are Dirt and You Will Always Be Dirt

Today is Ash Wednesday which means mass, ashes, fasting and the beginning of Lenten penances!
 Usually I’d be grouchy by this time of the day, but since I’m pregnant I don’t have to fast which means I’m in a surprisingly good mood. It’s not like I’m indulging in sweets and junk food. I packed a meat free lunch and I’m having boring foods which include: bread and peanut butter, a banana, a can of tuna, an orange, bread with margarine, an apple, chopped vegetables, a yogurt, a container of cottage cheese, raisins, almonds, vegetable juice and boring “healthy” crackers.  For supper, I’m making mac and cheese using a Velveeta loaf and a side salad.
 
That folks is what eating for two looks like. Considering I couldn’t stomach anything during my first trimester I’m trying not to feel guilty for having become a culinary vacuum. But then I get texts like this from my husband, and I start to feel like I’m not being very pious.
 
So after I’m done my Ash Wednesday “feasting”, my husband I are going to Church to receive our ashes. I’m kind of excited because we didn’t get a service last year and so I didn’t get to walk around with dirt on my forehead. Thankfully, Father very casually decided that we would have a service at 7 pm. The decision came during his homily on Sunday when he asked if people would show up for the service, and parishioners nodded, and the decision was settled.  
Speaking of receiving ashes, I remember my aunt telling us a particularly funny story about a little boy going to an Ash Wednesday Service. When they questioned him about what the priest said when he received the ashes, the little boy responded “You are dirt and you will always be dirt”.  I know they don’t say that (they say: “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”) but I still laugh every year imagining the priest telling me I’m dirt.
But today is not all about ashes and “feasting”, it also means that I need to begin my Lenten penance. After a lot of thought I’ve decided on two things for Lent, (well actually three but the third is iffy). First, I’m going to give up an half an hour of sleep every day in order to clean the house. So instead of sleeping in, I’m going to wake up and clean the kitchen or vacuum or just tidy up. Today I managed to clean the bathroom which I think is pretty good considering I am not a morning person.  So when I’m grumpy and tired, I can try to remember that I’m suffering alongside Christ. But the good thing is its not needless suffering because my house will be clean which means I get to spend more quality time with my husband on weekends.  Second, I’m going to say a rosary every day. I find my devotion to Mary (who leads us to Jesus) has been lacking lately and I think the rosary is the perfect way to get back in touch with her.  The third Lenten penance is iffy since I don’t know how tempted I will be, but I’m tentatively giving up sweets because that’s what my husband gave up. I feel like it would be unfair to eat sweets in front of him BUT my cravings during pregnancy seem to be donuts, chocolate pudding and chocolate. That means that I may or may not (probably not) be successful.
So that marks the beginning of Lent 2014 for me! I hope everyone is having a good Ash Wednesday and for those fasting out there, remember catholic fasting is one regular meal and two small meals that do not equate the regular meal (don't starve yourself).  

Friday, 28 February 2014

7 (Relatively) Quick Takes – About Moving, Napping, Food, Kijiji and Boots



--1--

The Brason’s are moving!

After a winter of spending close to $700.00 a month on ONLY heating (oil is soooo expensive, never EVER move into a house heated on oil), Dane and I have decided that it’s time to find a new place before the baby comes.  We spent a week looking at places for rent near where we live, but none of them would be practical for a little crawler. So after some discussions and some tears, we’ve decided to move back to the east end of town to be close to our parents.  Since Dane is now working with my dad and I’m about to go on maternity leave for a year, we no longer needed to be situated in the west end. We signed the rental agreement last week and we will be moving into a cute little 3 bedroom townhouse at the end of April.

I’m excited to be moving into a house that functions better for us (not to mention having an en-suite and walk-in closet) but I’m not looking forward to moving while pregnant.  My belly gets in the way of everything AND I’m not allowed to lift anything so I’m really hoping to get lots of help with the packing (*cough cough* sisters).  I know I will also miss our 1 acre lot, having no traffic, the country roads and the people at our parish, but I know this decision is for the best.  

--2--
 

Napping at Work

I wish they had a nap room at work.  Working full time and being pregnant is taking A LOT out of me. I would nap during my lunch break but there are not private spots for me to sleep and it’s freezing outside so I can’t go sleep in my car.

Most of the people I work with have never been pregnant before (because they are men), so I get very little sympathy for my condition AND I’m pretty sure if they caught me sleeping at my desk I would get fired.  To make matters worse, my tiny bundle of joy has decided that she likes to practice her karate moves in the middle of the night which is keeping me up. Between the kicks, getting up to take half a bottle of tums, and going to pee 8 times a night, let’s just say I’m not getting the beauty sleep I need.  I hope I find a solution to this soon because I’m about to turn into a zombie.


--3--

Salmon Cakes

Now that I’m no longer repulsed by food ( thank you second trimester) I’ve been trying lots of new recipes in the hopes of adding some variety to our boring old menu list. I think I’ve been doing a great job (though I could be biased because I want to eat EVERYTHING lately), but the recipe I’m proudest of are my salmon cakes. Dane HATES fish and so I feel bad every time I cook it because he eats it like I’m serving him a plate of worms. However, the salmon cakes I made on Tuesday night were a HUGE hit. My husband actually said “MMMM” and he ate one of my portions.  Essentially you mix crackers, 2 cans of canned salmon (bones and all) egg and onions together. Press them into patties, coat them with flour and fry them in a pan for about 10 minutes. I served mine with garlic aioli which seemed to give them the extra flavor they need.

 
--4--
 

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner

It’s Shrove Tuesday next week and that means that Catholics/Christians everywhere will be going to their parish hall and stuffing themselves silly with pancakes, sausages and syrup.  I had NEVER heard of this tradition until I started dating Dane and I thought it was so weird.  Maybe it’s because I’m French Canadian and this is just not something that we do, or it could be because I never really paid attention to the church events around me.  However, I decided to look into it and the reasoning behind the tradition makes total sense. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday which means the beginning of Lent, a time of penance and fasting.   Apparently, everyone wanted to get rid of their rich foods (cream, milk, sugar, etc…) before Lent started and so, the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper began. If you ask me though, I would have a Shrove Tuesday Steak and Shrimp dinner because that seems a lot more indulgent then pancakes, but I guess our ancestors didn’t have access to those foods.


--5--

Lent “Resolutions” ???

Speaking of Lent, I’ve been putting some thought into what to give up. Since I can’t fast from food I also have to think of what I should fast from on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. So far the only thing I’ve come up with is Facebook/ Twitter. I’ve also thought of fasting from smoking, drinking and casual drug taking, but I don’t do those things anyways so I don’t think it would count.  If anyone has any suggestions please let me know or else it’s looking like I’m going to be MIA from social media websites (and every friend I have on Facebook is now cheering).


--6--


A Day in the Life of Boots

Boots, our cat, has gotten very clingy lately. I mean she was always clingy but the past few weeks, she’s taken it to a whole other level.  I feel like I can’t do anything without her following me. I’m hoping that maybe moving into the new house will make her more independent.

Lately, this has been her everyday routine. In the morning she wakes up at the same time as Dane and follows him around the house until he leaves. AS SOON, as I hear the door close, she is in bed with me either sleeping in Dane’s spot or on me. Then she whines when my alarm clock goes off (and doesn’t let me snooze), until I get up and go to the bathroom. I have to leave the door open when I shower, and she sits on the bath mat waiting for me. When I get out of the shower, she runs to the bedroom and watches while I do my hair, get dressed, etc… The only time she leaves me alone is when I’m blow drying my hair, because she hates loud noises. During that time she runs around the house like a maniac and when I turn the blow dryer off she comes running in the room panting and out of breath. Then she cries when I leave for work and I can see her doing those sad eyes (like Puss In Boots from Shrek) from the window. When I get home she is waiting for me at the door and follows me so closely I almost trip on her. She watches me cook supper and whines for attention and then she goes to do cat stuff for about two hours (which includes sleeping, secretly playing with her toys and flirting with the cat that lives next door). When she reappears, she tries to sit on my belly as I’m watching television and then around 10 PM she goes to the bedroom and waits for us to turn on the humidifier. (She loves the humidifier and can stare at it for hours.  We still haven’t figured out why.)  Sometimes she will get into bed with us right away, other times; she will go play and comes back within an hour. She will then sleep in our bed until Dane gets up and repeat.


--7--
 

The Kijiji Challenge

Since we are moving soon, are poor and are in need of some new furniture, I’ve been looking to Kjiji in order to find some nice used pieces.  I’ll be honest, there is lots of junk on Kijiji, but if you are patient and scroll through 14 pages, you can sometimes get lucky. So far, I’ve been able to get a nice little 3 drawer dresser for the baby’s room and a cute white rocking chair that barely needs any work done to it. I spent $30 on each of the items, and I’m really happy with what I got. Next up on the Kijiji challenge, a television and a TV stand for Dane’s “caveman” as my dad would say (because he’s French and sometimes gets expressions confused).