Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Homeschool Sewing Fun


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hidden Mickey Fun

So, there's no hiding that we are a Disney family!  All it took was Neil and I going for our honeymoon, and we fell in love with the place.  We couldn't wait to have kiddos and share with them the "magic" of Disney World - the "happiest place on earth".  And truly, next to Mass/Adoration and time spent at home as a family, our third favorite place would have to be Disney.  Truly!  And, for any non-Disney lovers out there, I have to say - that you can't really know unless you've been there.  So, no judging please....  ;)

Of course, we love the rides, shows, and food, but another small but HUGE thing we love is strolling through the park and being a spy and finding the Hidden Mickeys sprinkled here and there.  So, when we are not getting our Disney fix through an actual vacation, we listen to Disney Parks music, watch Disney movies, watch ride/show videos on YouTube, look at and watch our own pictures and videos and stay up to date with friends/family making trips there and even a couple Facebook groups devoted to sharing Disney things multiple times a day.  This is SO much fun because we can experience the joy in a small way be seeing pictures and hearing about others who are at Disney that very day.  And on one of these such boards on Facebook the other day. this sweet lady shared what her husband had gifted her with for their anniversary.  He spent 60 hours and created this Beauty and the Beast doodle for her, and included 14 Hidden Mickey's in it.  (note:  a hidden mickey is the shape of Mickey's head and ears -think Where's Waldo - Mickey style!).



I couldn't keep this find all to myself, so I immediately shared it with the kiddos.  What fun they had searching for them and the hunt-and-find was a success!  All 14 were found!!!


The talented man that created this has his own Facebook page as well, where you can see his drawings and doodles - aka: beautiful pieces of art!  Feel free to visit it and see the talent he has been blessed with.  You will be WOW-ed!  I tried to convince Mario and Fone to take a stab at creating something like this, because they are both amazing at drawing.  We'll see - maybe the next Hidden Mickey creation I share will be one of theirs?!!

For more on Hidden Mickeys, be sure to check out....
**Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World®'s Best Kept Secrets
**All Ears on Hidden Mickeys
**Some examples of Hidden Mickeys at Disney World (abc News article)
**Huffington Post article on Hidden Mickeys

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Trusting God With My 9th C-Section



**This story was first published here at Catholic Mommy.  Lis interviewed me about my upcoming 9th c-section.**

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I swallowed deeply as I reread her answer. This will be her 9th C-section. I know the risks and her faith is evident… but I couldn’t stop myself form asking more questions and then sharing the answers. Because the world has to hear this. The world has to hear the complete trust she has in God and believe that God is bigger than any other decision in our life.

This interview is with Katie Young, a homeschooling blogger of 8 kids. You can read more about Katie at her blog, Raising Young Ones, and be sure to pray for her upcoming C-section. (If you are pregnant, please add your due date in the comment section and we will also lift you up in prayer!) Hail Mary…

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We haven’t spoken in a while… what provoked this writing? Are you pregnant?

Katie: I am. Almost 22 weeks (update:  I'm now 29+ weeks!!!). Section already scheduled for 36 weeks. 9th c-section – Oy! ++Jesus, I trust in You++
People, and SO many Catholics, are just mis-informed and justified in their own contraception/sterilization mindset. It’s heartbreaking for me to know, see this, and get comments all the time, especially when I am pregnant in one of these high risk pregnancies.



That feels so soon

Katie: I know! The time is flying by SO fast!


You are courageous. Not everybody sees the beauty in what you are doing

 How are the rest of your kids doing? Do they understand it’s high risk?

Katie: I just remember you were one who said I need to share this more and it’s been on my heart ever since we saw those two pink lines to follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings.


Absolutely.

Katie: They do know. They are so wonderful about it and know all we can do is pray and have faith.


That’s wonderful

Katie: I’m already getting comments from Catholic friends who are clearly blinded by and justified in their own actions of contracepting and sterilization.


Why do you think people feel justified to tell you their beliefs when you obviously have made yours?

Katie: Goodness, I have my thoughts on why they do share this, but my pregnant hormonal self probably won’t say this very gracefully. 🙁

I’m sure we both know though….

Satan is good at planting lies and helping people feel justified in their sin.


That’s a sad truth. I think fear consumes so many people too

Fear to lose their loved ones and the fear of the unknown. The more strength you have in Christ, the more you look forward to Heaven, the less scared you are

Katie: Yes!!! 🙂


Is this your seventh or eighth child? Is the baby a girl or a boy? Has she been named?

Katie: This will actually be our tenth baby! Our first little one made it heaven before we could meet and hold her (miscarriage). God willing, little Edith will be our 9th baby here though! So, yeah, she has been named – after St. Edith Stein/St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.



Have all of your pregnancies been C-sections?

Katie: Yeppers!! I tried SO hard to have baby #1 naturally. After 21 hours of labor and fetal distress near the end, my doctor did an emergency c-section. When he was born, my doctor laughed and said “no wonder he couldn’t make it out on his own – he couldn’t fit!” He had a large head and was 9 pounds! LOL For the second baby, our plan was to have a vbac. But weeks before delivery, I had a lot of pain near my incision and my doctor thought it was better we have another c-section for fear of rupture.


What does your recovery time look like after having C-sections with so many children?

Katie: 4-6 weeks, which is actually normal recovery time for all c-section patients. Once baby is here and born, I’m just a normal c-section patient. Thankfully! 🙂


What makes your pregnancy high-risk? What are the possible consequences?

Katie: My multiple c-sections (this will be my 9th). Every c-section has its risks, but for me, I am also carrying the weight of an over-worked, stretched, weak uterus that has had surgery 8 times already. The most serious risk is death – for me and baby. 🙁


So many of us have difficulties trusting in God for small things. How do you put something this big in His hands? Do you have any special prayers or devotions that you do for your pregnancy or baby?

Katie: Oh boy!! That’s a hard one… this life is our temporary home to prepare us for our Eternal Home. It is my actions and words here that will prepare me for that life. I hope and pray I make it there!! And, yes, it is through all my actions, including my “yes” to being open to life with high-risk pregnancies, that will hopefully help pave the way.

We could definitely chose sterilization and/or contraception, because it has been suggested/encouraged after my 3rd c-section and all my c-sections after by doctors/friends/family (and even priests!!), but we know that is choosing against God and not trusting Him. However, we do use NFP. We are not perfect at it, obviously. We try our best and it has created some spacing between babies.

Devotions? Absolutely!!! We find out baby’s sex as soon as we can and give that beautiful precious gift a name (there are so many references in the Bible about the importance of names – even at the beginning when God gave Adam and Eve the privilege of naming the animals of creation).

What a powerful witness of being pro-life that we have in giving that baby a name as soon as we can find out the sex! It’s amazing to hear our other children (and even family/friends!) refer to the baby in womb by NAME. She is a person. She is loved and cared for so deeply. And we already know who she is – Edith! So through naming our babies we pray endlessly for their patron saint to intercede for them and the pregnancy.


Most doctors tell women with multiple C-sections to have smaller families due to risks. I know we’re not in the medical profession and can’t tell women what to do, but what made YOU choose to keep having children?

Katie: Kinda hinted earlier on why… it is our choices and actions and words here that will hopefully pave our way to Heaven. This is one of those HUGE choices – choosing to trust God or choosing my own will. It is where being pro-life takes on a whole new meaning. It goes to the root of where that life is formed to begin with – through the sexual act.

Should my husband and I be the ones to tell God “no”, that we will no longer be fruitful, that the gift of fertility He has given us is too much of a risk for me? Or should we trust God with this cross and burden of my high risk pregnancies, and remain open to life (only using NFP) and let Him be the one in charge?

Obviously we have chosen the latter. It’s tough, for sure. It would most definitely be easier if we did contracept/choose sterilization. But we are not called to live a comfortable, easy life. We are called to live in faith and trust in God’s perfect plan for our lives.



Can you talk about what it means to say “yes” to God’s plan and what that looks like in your life as a mother of a large family?

Katie: Yes, Lord, my husband and I will remain fruitful in our marriage, despite not knowing what the outcome is. You are the Author of Life. You chose when life should begin and when life should end.
Yes, Lord, I will wake up daily and put one foot in front of the other and love and raise the children you sent our way.
Yes, Lord, I will do my best to live a virtuous life to my husband, children, family, friends, and know that I will fall and fail often and run to You in reconciliation.
Yes, Lord, I will be Your hands, feet, and heart to those around me as best as I can.
Yes, Lord, I will change the messy diaper for the umpteenth time today.
Yes, Lord, I will continue doing the laundry and cleaning up after all these goofey kids.
Yes, Lord, I will love and accept my husband and children for who they are and be grateful for the mercy they (and You!) have on me when I flop.
Yes, Lord, Yes!!! Here I am! I come to do Your will!
(my “yes-es” are that daily/hourly/minutely choice to be His servant!!! I could go on and on with this one – lol!)



Obviously you and your husband are both pro-life. How does the rest of your family/ extended family react to your pregnancy?

Katie: Some think we are CrAzY. Some understand and respect what we are doing completely. Some just smile and don’t say a word. Some do share their concerns (of losing me and baby), but still love us anyways. I think they all learned a few babies ago, that it doesn’t matter what they say, it is God whom we look to for guidance in all choices in our life.

It has definitely been rough at times, and hurtful things were said in the past But through them loving us and us loving them, regardless of the differences in our choices/words/actions, we can experience the mercy of God and we are blessed to still remain very close to all our family.


What are some of the things people are saying? (If you want to copy and paste quotes form your FB but do it anonymously?)

Katie: Probably some of the worst/hurtful things that have been said….


  • “God will forgive you for becoming pregnant again.”
  • “It’s clear God doesn’t want you to have a big family.”
  • “If you die during your pregnancy/delivery, that makes your husband a murderer.”
  • “By continuing to have babies, you are not caring for and thinking about your other children.”

A lot of times and more often than not, we get the “we’re done” comment. It’s hard to know what this truly means… “we’re done” trusting God? “we’re done” having babies and prefer a more comfortable enjoyable life? “we’re done” with the fertile stage in my life and know no more life can be formed?


  • And, of course, the “don’t you know what causes that?”  To which we love to reply, “Yeppers, we are just really good at it.  And, you?”   😉

After having shared recently on FB my hormonal/pregnant thoughts on our story (being open to life even with my high risks pregnancies) I am overtaken by the love/care some friends/family show…


  • “Beautiful words and sentiments. <3 Your life as an offering <3 I am also very familiar with this hormonal roller-coaster as I care for my 6 on earth and entrust 5 more to Our Lord…As we all strive to live out our vocational calling, may we be reminded that His yoke is sweet, His burdens, light and He knows our journey+++ May God continue to bless you and all your precious “fiats”<3Love, prayers and blessings to you, friend.”
  • “Amen! Love you! You’re a beautiful example and living testament to being pro-life and entrusting yourself completely to God’s divine Providence! Praying for you and Edith daily!”

Also, here is another comment of love/acceptance/support from a non-Catholic friend who has very different views from me, yet it is still one of love and acceptance….  (This one brought tears to my eyes!)

  • “While our lives and views are different… I love, admire and adore you.  I always wish nothing but the best for you and your family.”

Other comments that have me concerned though are those Catholics who also have health issues/high risk pregnancies that have already chosen sterilization/contraception and are proud to have done so and are justified in choosing to go against God’s plan for marriage/trusting Him.  I was thankful a sweet friend did bring up that NFP is ok, but most of the time, this is not what people turn to when health risks arise.

There is still that element of trust and a pregnancy could still happen.  It’s hard to know what to say when fear overtakes them and is the basis of that decision.  It is definitely harder to trust God, because there is still that element of the unknown and putting your life fully in His hands.


What is your favorite thing about the newborn stage for a baby? What are you most looking forward to once baby is born?

Katie: Their complete love and utter dependence and acceptance of us as parents.  The snuggles.  That instant bond between older siblings and new baby.

Once Edith is in my arms and I am all stitched up and get that “how lucky I am” from doctors/nurses/family/friends.  But, we all know, that lucky is a lot more than a lucky – it’s a BLESSING from God indeed!!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Another Marian Swap



A few weeks ago, 15 other moms and I swapped Marian pegs that we had painted.  This was my second swap (see first swap here), and it was such a favorite that I wanted to offer it to my local mom painter friends as well.  I wasn't planning on taking part in the swap, but sometimes God makes it clear when your supposed to do something.  This was one of those times.  A sweet mom from our homeschool group had signed up to do this swap (many months in advance) because the last one had filled up.  So when the time rolled around for this Marian swap, she had to back out because it was going to take place right when her baby was to be born.  So, the words just came out of my mouth (or email rather - lol!) - "I"ll do the swap and give you all the duplicates that I already have."  When all was said and done, I think I gave her 9 Marian pegs.  And when I gave them to her, of course, I had to let her know these were in exchange for a meal (since I always try to make a meal when moms have new babies), but have been SO crazy busy with pegs, Little Flowers, school, fall activities starting, and just surviving my own pregnancy, I haven't had an opportunity to get that meal to her.  She was so sweet and understanding and these beautiful pegs will last her much longer than any meal anyways.

Enough jabbering (lol!), here are the beautiful Marian peg dolls.  I have included both a front view and a back view.


Our Lady of Lourdes, Mary Undoer of Knots, Our Lady of Good Success, Our Lady of Hope



Our Lady of China, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Stella Maris, Our Lady of Ransom/Mercy



 Our Lady of  Vailankanni, Our Lady of Knock, Our Lady of Czestochowa, Queen of Heaven



Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Our Lady of Siluva, Our Lady of Snows, Our Lady of LaSalette

Here are my two littlest getting out and setting up all our Marian pegs on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary this week....



++Our Lady, pray for us!!++

Friday, September 2, 2016

Book Detectives: Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Today was our first homeschool co-op and I volunteered to teach Book Detectives this semester, with a focus on liturgical living and celebrating feast days.  I taught the Pre-K/K group and 3/4th groups today.

Here's what we used for materials....



PreK-K group
We started the class by talking about books and I had each child share a favorite book or what they like to read about.  I then shared one of my favorite books - the Bible.  So I began with this book and read to them the first story in all children's bibles - the story of creation.  And, of course, we sang the B-I-B-L-E song before actually reading from it.

Then, it was time to move on to our saint story.  It was a no brainer who would we study - the soon-to-be St. Teresa of Calcutta (in 2 days!).  I read the smaller printable book St. Teresa of Calcutta (available at Real Life At Home).  There are many St. Teresa Calcutta books that are just coming out to help celebrate her canonization, but aren't even available for shipping yet..  So, I had to be creative and thankfully, this little book worked great!!  I still prefer picture books for this age, as it helps capture their attention the best, but I had to use what was out there.  (The book on the top left is absolutely beautiful and I very much recommend it - but not for this age).  As I was reading the printable book, I think I was asked at least 17 times when snack time was, so I let them eat their snack as I finished reading the book.  And, then I gave them each a coloring page of St. Teresa of Calcutta (also available from Real Life At Home).

3rd/4th grade group
I had taught many of these kids before, so they were familiar with how to be a Book Detective.  But since we had a couple new students, I thought we better review WHY we read books and HOW we read books.  I teach them four simple questions to ask every time you read a book....

1.WHO?
2.  WHAT?
3.  HOW?
4.  WHAT?

We say this a few times until it sounds like we are chanting them.  And then the giggles follow. It's fun to say and easy to remember.  But then, we expand upon the single words.....

1.  WHO is story about?
2.  WHAT is the problem?
3.  HOW is the problem solved?
4.  WHAT did you learn from the story?  (WHAT does the author want to teach me?)

Simple, simple, simple!!!  For this group, since they were a bit older, I would have loved to have read the Mother Teresa book by Demi, but it takes a little longer than our class time allowed.  Thankfully, once again, God provided perfectly for our learning time on St. Teresa of Calcutta.  We read a short story about her from the Book of Heroes from Amy Welborn.  If you don't have any of Amy Welborn's books on saints, I highly recommend them!  They read beautifully to kids with many places to pause naturally and ask them questions to draw them into the story.  After we read about Mother Teresa, I had the kids work on the "All About Saint Teresa of Calcutta" sheet (available from Real Life At Home).  And, I couldn't pass up printing these beautiful Mother Teresa quote coloring pages  for them to color as well, although most kids took them home to work on, since class time was up.


The (Cool) School Kids - 2016/2017

We have already completed three full weeks of school here at the Young Family Academy.  Things are going great so far!!  We wanted a good head start before young one #9 arrives in a couple months.  That way, we can take a little school off once she's here.

We started our homeschool co-op today, so I thought that it would be a good day to take back-to-school pics for the year.  The two littles, Rose and Yoda, didn't go to co-op though.  Instead they got to have a playdate at their grandma's with two cousins their age.

Here's our students for the year...

Fone


Mario

Melody


Ariel

Max


Pookey

Rose

And da momma and da baby (Yoda)....

(Poor little Yoda was not fond of the waking up early part.  Thank God we could bring him to Grandma's with an empty belly, since she didn't mind feeding him a bowl of Rice Krispies.  So here he is about 2 minutes before walking out the door - couldn't even open his peepers)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tips for Traveling to Yellowstone with Kids



What I learned about Yellowstone 
(and some tips for you)....


#1- We were not prepared for the #s (parking lots are nutso - they need to expand upon them for sure)

#2- Pit toilets are gross!!  many of our kids wouldn't even use them and would hold themselves until we reached a real toilet.  So take advantage of the nicer toilets when you see them.  Make everyone go or at least try.  

#3- Skeeters are nasty, so have bug spray handy and constantly reapply (that and sunscreen)

#4- High elevation can cause sickness (vomiting!) and being short of breath (this really affected me being pregnant!).

#5- Lots of curvy roads, cliffs, mountains and my weak tummy/nervous self had a hard time with it all (Sea bands helped me tremendously!  That and prayer....)

#6- Pack a picnic lunch and lots of snacks and drinks.  There are not many restaurants in the park and with all the driving that you do, it's best to come prepared with your own snacks and meals.


#7- God's magnificent beauty - you will be filled with wondered and awe



#8- Be prepared for the many dangers - a life was lost in Norris during our stay.  Use an ergo or a sling for your baby, so that you have two free hands for hand-holding two more kids.  And, even though your bigger kids and teens are really smart and invincible, give them rules and explain the dangers to them as well.  Not all of the paths have rails and it could be very easy to slip off with the crowds alone.







#9- Be respectful of the wildlife - this is their home, we are their guests.




#10- You will get to experience many different cultures - more foreigners than Americans it seemed.  (This group of Chinese tourists jumped in our family picture and photobombed it)


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To see the other places we visited on our trip Way Our West, click the image below....


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