Preschool

It’s preschool at home these days. And already, people are surprised that we’re homeschooling. “Well, that’s alright, preschool isn’t actually required…” was one answer I got. 

After all, preschool is about playing and developing, from what I can tell!

Here’s what my preschooler has done on her own today:

  • Listened to a book on people in different times and places
  • Built a sand castle
  • Picked, cleaned, and arranged in a serving dish cherry tomatoes
  • Built a tower and then a castle from blocks
  • Decorated for the feast of the Archangels and found the story about St. Raphael in her picture Bible

I’d say we’re doing alright just living and playing together!

Basilicas and Berlin

Yesterday, November 9th, was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

688px-Berlin_1989,_Fall_der_Mauer,_Chute_du_mur_18 It was also the celebration of the Lateran Basilica.

How have I never seen the connection? Two physical structures. Two symbols of world views.

According to Whitaker Chambers’ Witness, “The Communist vision is the vision of man without God.” Communism is Man vs. God. Man without God.

What is the significance of the Lateran Basilica? It is the Cathedral of Rome. The symbol of the Church, the Papacy, the Rock, and God’s promise to never leave His Church alone.

Who triumphed over Communism? God. Who will always triumph over evil and man’s pride? God.

The Berlin Wall stood for all the evil of Communism and it fell on the feast of the Lateran Basilica–which stands for God’s Holy Church. How can we take this symbolic correlation into our own life? Listen to the words of St. Caesarius of Arles from yesterday’s Office of Readings:

Lateran_basilica

“My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil. I shall speak clearly, so that all can understand. Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be.”

“Rabbits?” We’re never supposed to be like animals

There’s so many reasons NOT to get overly excited over every little thing that Pope Francis says. First of all, he’s just expressing his own opinion–not everything that any pope says is actually “infallible” unless explicitly spoken “ex cathedra” (more on that here). Secondly, the media is always misconstruing what’s being said! It’s useless going into a frenzy unless you take the time to really read the text and context of whatever the Pope says.

"like rabbits?" photo by Andre Mouraux via flickr

“like rabbits?”
photo by Andre Mouraux via flickr

In this case, was he saying we shouldn’t be open to large families? Was he saying that NFP should always be used to avoid? No, he said that the Church doesn’t require people to constantly have children. He was saying that we are human beings, called to exercise responsible parenting. In context: the Church doesn’t say the poor in the Philippines have to have children–then he adds that the poor in the Church often see children as their greatest treasure. It’s beautiful!

Once again, Simcha Fisher has provided great explanations and some of the full text to provide context.

About the Pope’s “don’t be like rabbits” remark

Gender reveal and baby names

Our Pumpkin had her second birthday last month, and it just so happened that we were able to see our Baby #2 on Pumpkin’s birthday.

The following weekend, we had a birthday party, and Pumpkin got to unwrap a big box of…

Pumpkin's birthday present--pink balloons because a little sister is on the way!

Pumpkin’s birthday present–pink balloons because a little sister is on the way!

…pink balloons!

With both of our pregnancies, we’ve found out the gender of our little one at 19 weeks. I’ve heard that the surprise at birth is amazing, but I love the surprise at 19 weeks.

Why do we find out early?

One reason is the help in preparation… Such a relief this time around to know that all the pink clothes from the first time can be handed down to the next baby!

But, beyond a doubt, the biggest and best reason in finding out our baby’s gender during pregnancy is that we avoid referring to our baby as “it.” Not only can we call Baby, “her,” but we also start calling her by name and tell everyone what her name is.

We’ll still be surprised at birth when we get to see our little girl for the first time, but for now, we have a little idea about who she is–and we can’t wait to meet her!

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Pregnancy announcements: The when and why

You’ve probably seen the news that Jill Duggar Dillard–a newlywed from the show 19 Kids and Counting–is expecting. She’s shocked the mainstream world by announcing her pregnancy right away. Jill explained why they made their announcement so soon:

Jill Duggar Dillard and husband announced pregnancy right away. Could you?

Jill Duggar Dillard and husband announced pregnancy right away. Could you? photo: Jill Duggar Dillard via twitter

…believing that every life is precious no matter how young, we decided to share our joyful news as soon as we could.

With our first pregnancy, we told everyone within about five hours of finding out we were expecting. We even announced it on Facebook, so I really do mean everyone!

Since then, I realize that a lot of people wait to announce mostly to protect themselves from having a loss be the topic of every conversation–but surely, sharing with close friends and family is always a good idea–prayers and support don’t hurt. I do understand that feeling of wanting safety and privacy. Once again with baby #2, we announced to family and close friends right away, but waited to announce to everyone (via this post) until quite awhile later (14 weeks or so…). It would be hard to have a happy announcement, a loss, and then all the questions from people we don’t know very well. But, we did love announcing the Pumpkin and baby #2 to those who really value and celebrate life.

Why did we announce immediately?

1. Being Parents

One reason we didn’t see any reason to wait was that regardless of whether our baby made it to birth or not (which, thank God, she did!), we knew that we’d always be parents from that moment on–and we wanted people to know it too!

2. A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small…

I guess there was also that realization that there’s no magical week at which the baby becomes a person. Our little grain-of-rice sized baby was already the person who had completely captivated our hearts.

3. Prayers

We had so many people praying for us right away–it was wonderful! Surely the prayers did help keep our baby and myself healthy and safe throughout the pregnancy–if we’d lost her, I know the prayers would’ve helped us with the grace and strength to grieve and learn to carry-on.

4. Childhood experience

When I was growing up, my parents experienced the majority of their pregnancies ending in miscarriage. Usually, they told us kids about their pregnancy early on, but once, they decided to spare us the highs and lows of pregnancy followed by loss, and they waited to tell us. Well, instead of celebrating and loving that little life while it was a part of our family on earth, us kids only found out about the baby during the miscarriage because our mom needed our help during the miscarriage. Even though there were more miscarriages to come, my parents’ told us early from then on so that we could share in the joy–even when sorrow was to come.

5. Changing the norm!

Although I can see why people need to do what’s best for them as they grieve a loss and sometimes that means keeping it private, more people need to at least consider it. Announcing your pregnancy before 12 weeks is fine. If it feels right for you, do it! Especially if that means telling some of your closest, most supportive family members and friends. Celebrate life from it’s very beginning!

Like Erika Anderson said over at the Daily Signal,

Not everyone will be as comfortable as Duggar about sharing pregnancy news so early, but there’s absolutely no reason it should be taboo to do so. In fact, it may help some recognize the truly scientific humanness of unborn babies at every stage of life.

What do you think? Would you consider announcing your pregnancy right away?

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Love stories…

I loved reading this post from Sarah Bessy about the love that doesn’t show up in movies and songs. It’s a reminder to cherish our own love story and pass it on to our children. Also, a reminder to cherish our continued and growing love as our family grows.

My thoughts on this in no particular order:

The first time we held hands--and someone happened to catch it on camera.

The first time we held hands–and someone happened to catch it on camera.

1. This year, our anniversary was very much a loving one–but definitely not like in the movies! The Hunter came home from a long day at work to cook very bland food (cheese ravioli with no sauce!) for his morning (read: all-day) sickness afflicted wife. I had laid on the couch all day with Pumpkin watching kids’ shows, and the most I could muster for The Hunter was a little hand-made card that Pumpkin helped me decorate. But what true love!

2. Our love story is full of stories from the time getting to know each other in highschool to the time The Hunter asked me out…and I said “no.” I liked him, but he was younger than me… That guy never gave up! It wasn’t until three years later that his patience paid off!

3. The time The Hunter drove all the way across the country to see me and pick me up from the airport on the other side.

4. When I was abroad and walked around every where with my first generation iPod touch trying to find wifi signals so that I could facebook message or email The Hunter back in the states. And that same iPod touch was filled with a playlist of love songs that he made for me the night before I left.

5. The times we’ve gone hunting, boating, or fishing together.

6. Walks around my parents’ acreage–we didn’t hold hands yet, but what a thrill just walking and talking and getting to know one another better!

7. Our first date: we covered The Hunter’s recent novena to St. Joseph for discernment, and The Hunter asked me what my thoughts were on vaccinations, breastfeeding, and homeschooling. He wasn’t wasting any time… We agreed on everything!

…our love story is better than any movie!

Have a love story or two to share? Please comment!

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

An additional miracle

Noticed the infrequent, irregular, and short posts of late? The past three months or so, to be exact? There’s a reason for that.

God has a sense of humor, or at least, likes to show us that He truly is in control.

Little did I know it, but when I published “Things you don’t say to couples with few or no kids,” I was already growing a new life inside of me! Our 1.5 year struggle to conceive Pumpkin was a trying one–and short in comparison to many couples that I know. It involved research, doctors’ visits, specialists, diets, and surgery. The day we got our positive pregnancy test is one of the best and most memorable in my life.

I never expected we’d be blessed with another only 2.5 years younger than Pumpkin. To both The Hunter and I, that seems like a very close age range. Neither of us have any siblings closer than 3 years apart (and two of my sisters are 7 years apart…). Subfertility is no stranger to either of our families. Now, if #2 turns out to be a boy (and given the differing symptoms from my first pregnancy, The Hunter is sure junior is on the way), we might start getting comments about whether we’re done… I certainly hope not!

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my own journey and from the stories that people have shared with me since writing my post about those struggles, it’s that God has a unique plan and a unique set of blessings and crosses for each and every person, couple, and family. We’ll embrace and welcome each new life He gives us for however long we are given these children.

And I can’t find a picture to go with this post! I have a small bump, so perhaps at some later point, you’ll see some maternity pictures. I’ve also been pinning like mad on my secret board about announcements, gender reveals, and introducing baby to big sister. So far, Pumpkin is already sharing her toys with my belly, so we’re off to a good start.

 

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

6 Things You Can Do for Persecuted Christians in Iraq

Help bring awareness and see what you can do!

I lay in bed this morning thinking about what I’d do if I won the lottery (which I don’t even play…)–and I planned on asking my Diocese to direct millions of my money to the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Wish I had won for that reason!

Barren to Beautiful

This morning, across the ocean, a woman has just watched her little toddler be beheaded, and her husband hanged with rope, and tonight waits to be stripped naked by two filthy, bloodstained hands of an ISIS militant, who will molest, rape, and kill her.

It’s true. “They are systematically beheading Christian children, raping, and killing the wives, and hanging the husbands,” CNN reports in this must-see video.

For the first time in my life, I cannot ignore it. I can turn the channel, or leave the room, but there is still this un-ignorable weight in my heart. When I speak about it to my friends or family, and hear words like “beheading, raping, and hanging” come out of my mouth, I become too choked up to finish. The Holy Spirit keeps testifying one thing: this is real.

But why do I feel so different about this crisis than all the others that flood across the…

View original post 1,147 more words

Family size and NFP…

My post about couples’ struggling with infertility was about not judging people based on few and far-between children. But what about people who can’t have more children for other reasons–financial, psychological, emotional, physical. That’s for each couple to discern.

Simcha Fisher defends it on her blog and in her new book, The Sinner’s Guide to NFP (of which I still need a copy of my own!). Simcha says “generosity sometimes looks different from having another baby.” Enjoy this exchange and her Biblical reference at the end: Holiness is a numbers game.

 

 

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