Monday, April 30, 2012

Potty Training Success...

One of my very best friends (found here) has three adorable boys.  They all arrived before Carter, so I glean some parenting advice from her from time to time.  I've always been told that boys are typically more difficult to potty train that girls. pediatrician said that 3-3.5 years is the average age of potty training for her boy patients.

At that, I gasped.  While I know every child is different and runs on his/her own schedule, I didn't really want to have Carter in diapers for another year and a half.

Then came Erin's advice: "Do the three day training by Lora Jenson!"  Mrs. Jenson explains that 22 months has been the perfect age for her five boys, and she takes a very positive 3 day approach to get her boys into underwear and out of diapers for good.

Last Thursday night, I knew we had a free weekend coming up, and my Mom so graciously offered to watch Peter during the 1st and 2nd day (praise the Lord)!  So, Jeremy and I decided to bite the bullet and spent our weekend (literally) asking Carter to tell us if he needed to go potty.

It went a little something like this:
Friday - 17 accidents, and a wet bed after a nap
Saturday - 3 accidents, a night sleep that ended up wet
Sunday - 1 accident
Today - he slept 12 hours last night without an accident and has been a champ this morning!!

A side note: he never had a "number 2" accident!

I would say that is a success!

I realize that it won't be a perfect go from here on out, but he's done so well, and I'm so proud of him.  The size 4 diapers are now in a box for Peter - WOOHOO!

Friday, April 27, 2012

QOTW: 4/27/12

So, after last week's episode of Carter eating some soup I made and yelling, "Yucky," he has improved.  A bit. 

Jeremy grilled some asparagus this week.  Carter took a big bite and got a horrific look on his face, and then smiled saying...

"YUMMMMYYY.  Peder (Peter) will eat it."


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Peter Laughing...

This video speaks for itself...

In His Element...

On Monday, sweet RoRo was in town for her birthday!  Carter and Peter (and their momma) were in Heaven!  We had the best time seeing her and on Carter's end, entertaining her.

That night we celebrated her big day with a dinner at PaPa and Elley's house.  Carter got to spend most of the afternoon outside, reading books and drinking peach tea.  His life couldn't be better...


What's a party without getting to drive the Mule...

Happy Birthday to our favorite RoRo!  Come back to see us soon!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Peter: 6 Months...

Peter turned six months old on the 17th, and he's just as happy as can be.  We adore our little boys!  Here are Peter's stats for the month...

Weighs 20 pounds, 6 ounces.

Is about 27 inches long.

Wears anything from 9 month to 12 month clothing.

Drinks 5 bottles/day equaling almost 37 ounces of formula with added rice - minus when we give him baby food - the milk is then cut down.

Eats everything...peaches and squash aren't too good for his tummy, but he manages to choke down the rest.

Is still on Zantac and is still spitting up a ton.

Rolls over both ways all the time and kicks his legs frantically to crawl, although he can't seem to get any traction :)
Sits up, and wants to stand.

Laughs a lot.

Smiles all the time.
Babbles at whoever will listen.

Takes a 1-2 hour nap after every feeding during the day (4) and goes down for the night after a 6:30 feeding.

Wakes between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning.

Again, Peter is pure joy.  He's a smiler and a cuddler and we couldn't ask for anything more!

And, a look at Carter at this age...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Natural Family Planning: What the Church Teaches...

Is Natural Family Planning or the belief that contraception is wrong only a Catholic teaching?  Actually, no.  And, not long ago, every Christian church was against contraception.

Every Christian community prohibited contraception, until 1930.  At that point, the Anglicans/Episcopalians bowed to the pressure to accept it, and all Protestant communities followed their lead.  The Orthodox Churches continue to teach, along with Catholics, that contraception is prohibited and sinful.

Martin Luther (writing on Onan in Genesis 38): "This is a most disgraceful sin.  It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery...surely at such a time the order or nature established by God in procreation should be followed.

John Wesley: "Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections.  Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lord - and it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls."

Pope Paul VI predicted, in 1968, that contraception would:
  •  Greatly increase marital infidelity and promiscuity.
  •  Usher in a general lowering of moral standards.
  •  Greatly diminish respect of men for women, reducing her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
It doesn't seem too "off the mark" today, does it?

What the Church teaches...

There are two inseparable goods of marriage:
1) the good of the spouses, and
2) the procreation of children.

Artificial birth control seeks to frustrate God's natural design for marriage -- the acceptance of each other, wholly and entirely, with an openness to life.

The blessing of children:
 Gen 22:17
 Gen 33:5
 Sirach 25:7
 Psalm 127:3-5
 Psalm 128:1-3

Papal Teachings
  •   In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued his landmark encyclical letter, Humanae Vitae (Human Life), which reemphasized the Church's constant teaching that it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human life from coming into existence.

  • "Marriage and conjugal love are, by their nature, ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare." (HV 9)

  • "[Spouses] are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow.  On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator." (HV 10) 

  • "an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life.  Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will." (HV 13)

The Bottom Line...

"We are obliged once more to declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children...(HV 14)

...Equally to be condemned, as the Magisterium of the Church has affirmed on many occasions, is direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman, whether permanent or temporary...(HV 15)

...Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation - whether as an end or means." (HV 16)

Pope John Paul II: "Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly unlawful as never to be, for any reason, justified.  To think or to say they contrary is equal to maintaining that, in human life, situations may arise in which it is lawful not to recognize God as God."

Blessed Mother Teresa: "In destroying the power of giving life, through contraception...This turns the attention to self and so it destroys the gift of love in him or her.  In loving, the husband and wife must turn the attention to each other as happens in natural family planning, and not to self, as happens in contraception...I also know that there are great problems in the world - that many spouses do not love each other enough to practice natural family planning...let us never bring in the worst problem of all, and that is to destroy love.  And this is what happens when we tell people to practice contraception and abortion."

Why is contraception sinful?
According to Father John Harding, "[Contraception] tries to separate the two built-in qualities of marital intercourse, claiming that one (children) can be deliberately prevented while the other (mutual love) is being retained.  Not so, says the Church.  Either you admit both or you lose both.  You cannot successfully divide, in practice, what God has placed together in principle."

Finally, Pope Paul VI stated, "We have no wish at all to pass over in silence the difficulties, at times very great, which beset the loves of Christian married couples.  For them, as indeed for every one of us, 'the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life.'" (HV 25)

Yes, NFP requires effort, self-control, and even short-term self-denial, but the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

QOTW: April 20, 2012

So, we've been busy this week.  We've had friends over, a birthday party, a banquet to go to, a 6 month appointment and an aunt flying in from Chicago!  Hopefully, more on those things later.  Here are the week's quotes for now...

I made chicken tortilla soup this week.  Carter loves chicken and tomatoes.  So, I put a few on his plate.  He took one bite, spit it out and yelled, "Yucky!"  I then explained that that wasn't a nice thing to say to Mommy, and he looked like he was thinking hard.  He then said, "Ummm...spicy???"  Much better.  Ha!

"I riding."
Jeremy and I let Carter get on our backs and ride around like he's on a horse.  I was in the kitchen the other day and heard Carter saying that he was riding.  Then I heard Peter laugh (thank goodness)!  This is what I found...

"Where Peder doe (Where did Peter go)?  Mommy, go get him!"
Carter spent the night with Papa and Elley this Wednesday so Jeremy and I could take Peter to his 6 month appointment and not have Carter there to watch the shots.  When I loaded him in the car to head to the grandparents, he was pretty upset Peter wasn't with him.

"He has a head the size of a 16 month old!"
Yep, Peter has a noggin just like his brother...

but, he's oh-so-happy...

Have a blessed weekend!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

QOTW: Oldies and Newbies...

Carter has been full of it these last few days, keeping us laughing and on our toes...

"Sit down!"
We spend our Mass time in the cry room, since Carter is a bit young to be quiet throughout the entire Mass, and Peter pipes up a lot.  Well, last week during Mass, we were joined in the cry room by another boy (about 3-4 years old) and his father.  They were behind us and the boy was running up and down the pew.  Apparently Carter had had enough, so he turned around and yelled for him to sit down.  Glad I couldn't see their faces.

"Too bumpy little boys, Mommy"
I've been getting a lot of use out of our new stroller.  Wednesday morning, we had a little extra time, so I decided to extend our route.  In doing so, we had to cross maybe a mile of pasture.  About a quarter mile into it, I realized I had made a wrong decision, but I couldn't turn back.  It was way too rough, the boys were tired, and I had no snacks (luckily about a quarter mile from the house, Mom came to our rescue).  Needless to say, Carter let me know quickly that it was way too bumpy for little boys.  Lesson learned. 

"No!  Dirty gapes (grapes)."
Papa and Elley kept the boys Wednesday night.  After naps, I was hurrying to get them ready to go to their house.  Carter wasn't eating a bit of his lunch, so I told him he needed to eat before we left.  He said he wanted some grapes.  I decided I didn't need to wash them (didn't think I had time), and cut them all up and put them in a baggie.  When I handed them to Carter, he said the above.  It would have been faster to wash them the first time.  Another lesson learned.

"NEED, Diet coke, Jacquie. NEED it."
Last week I got a call from a friend of ours, named Jacquie.  She was going to come visit for a few hours and asked if I wanted a coke.  I told her I would like a diet coke.  She then asked about Carter.  I said he didn't need anything.  He could have milk at the house.  Carter wasn't far from me when I was talking to her on the phone and started yelling that he really did need a diet coke. 

All the way to and from our Easter trip to Amarillo, Carter had something to say.  He never quit.  Well, about 30 miles from home, around 9pm, he was fighting to stay awake and must have run out of things to say.  Things were quiet until he screamed that someone bit his finger.  Charlie, anyone?

"You fulla bologna."
When Carter was eating some bologna last week, Pops taught him to say, "You are full of bologna."  So, when Papa told Carter something this week, that was Carter's response.  Oops!

"LOOK!  Baby forsee (horsey)"
My brother's mare had a baby this week, and Carter is in love!

There are a few quotes of Carter's I don't want to forget, so although they happened a few months ago, they are still pretty cute.

"Ohhhh nooo, Mama, OH NO!"
When Carter was about 17 months old, I was having a conversation with Jeremy about how I needed to stop eating so much candy.  It had become a bad habit.  The next day I was feeding Peter and had a Hershey kiss.  I didn't have time to put the wrapper in the trash so I put it in the drawer of the side table next to the couch (where I was feeding Peter.)  Later that afternoon, I forgot about it, and Carter found the wrapper.  Thank you, Candy Police!

*Sign of the Cross*
When putting up dishes at about 17 months, Carter saw that the soap dispenser in the dish washer was open and full of water.  He dipped two fingers in, tapped his chest and yelled, "Amen!"

"All Aboard!"
At 15 months, when I told Carter his middle name was Thomas, his eyes got huge and he yelled the above!  Now, he tells people his middle name is Thomas Train.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012...

We spent Easter in Amarillo this year with MiMi and Pops.  After a long, 2 hour drive there with Carter yelling "hello" and "bye-bye" to everything we passed (periodically waking Peter up), we made it, to enjoy a beautiful, relaxing couple of days with family!

Here's Pops teaching Carter how to use his new Spiderman bubble blower...

He didn't quite get that he was supposed to point it away from himself...

Jeremy and I went to Easter Vigil Mass after the boys were in bed for the night.  It was, as it always is, such a beautiful service.

Time for Carter's egg hunt - he spotted one...

and another...

Then he dumped them out and started over.  He was in Heaven...

Especially when he discovered he could poke his little fingers through them...

A close-up of the beautiful eggs the Easter Bunny created.  I just might be able to post a tutorial for these beauts!  Jealous?  I know...

And, the Easter Bunny actually made an appearance!

Carter chased him all around the yard, yelling, "Here yo egg (here's your egg), Eater Bunny!"...

Then, he man-handled him so we could get a family pic.  Thanks buddy...

After a nap...anyone else see a striking resemblance to the precious kid in Love Actually???

Just taking care of business on the farm...

And Peter, just being sweet...

And a little cold/uncomfortable...

With MiMi...

I bribed Carter with Skittles to get a boys' pic.  That worked well...

And, finally, one of all of us...

Hope it was a blessed one for all!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday: Feel the Nails...

Today, we're taking a break from the Quote of the Week Series to focus on something much more important: Good Friday...the day that started it all...our salvation and our great hope that one day we will be with Christ again in Heaven.  How odd is it that every Good Friday I can remember has been a gloomy day?  Today, the fog prevents me from seeing past our front gate, and mist drizzles in the air, reminding me that today, Jesus died for us.  As the soldiers beat him and jeered, he never conceded to their demands.  He never renounced His Father or relieved Himself of His suffering (something he could have easily done, being God).  Instead, he prayed.  He prayed for them...for those who were taking his very life.  In essence, He prayed for us...we are the Roman soldiers; we are Judas; we are the very ones who nailed him to the cross.

As we are called to fast and abstain from meat this last Friday of Lent, we cannot help but be reminded (as each hunger pain hits) of the ultimate sacrifice made this day so many years ago...for us.  Did we deserve it?  No.  Do we ever?  No.  But, thank God for His mercy, for His grace offers us another chance at eternity with Him, every time we fail.

And, now, as a mom, I have a tiny bit better understanding of Mary's perspective.  She watched in horror as others humiliated her Son, as they ripped into His skin with every whip, as the blood poured from His brow when they mockingly placed a crown of thorns on His head.  She knew that this was the purpose of His life, yet it did not take away the pain...the greatest pain as a parent...losing a child.  Helpless, she had to trust in God's plan.

Looking to Mary and Jesus today I am reminded of God's incredible work in our lives.  Sure, there are times when it feels as if He isn't there.  Times when we do not understand our suffering.  Times when the world gets us down and our thoughts quickly turn to what others may think.  If we are true to ourselves, those are not the times when God is far away.  He never is.  Those are the times in which He is strengthening our resolve...allowing us doubt, questioning, and suffering to share in the cross of Christ.  And when we are at our worst, He gently reminds us of those who have come before, leaving an example for every generation...Mary and Jesus. 

Having been "one of those weeks," I can easily get bogged down in my own "pain."  Never, though, does my pain entail watching my son suffer and die, as Mary did.  Never do I have to physically carry a cross and be nailed to it in order to save someone else's life.  My pain is almost comical comparatively.  However, when I pull myself from my worry and anxiety, I can clearly see what this Good Friday is all about...a love that is anything but selfish, a total commitment to God, and a humble acceptance of His will for our lives.  Mary and Jesus knew that their ways were not of the world and that the world would not understand; they knew His will would come at great cost; they knew that suffering would rip them apart.  However, they also knew that to choose anything less than His total will for their lives would cost more. 

Good Friday is not good in the sense of a happy, giddy celebration.  It is Good because it has forever changed the world, reminding us that unconditional love doesn't stop with wishing others well and offering an indifferent smile as we pass them by.  It is Good because it reminds us that the Good is often painful; that God's will for our lives demands that we love until it hurts; that in order to spend eternity with Him, we often have to deny ourselves a "Good" life in the eyes of society.  Good Friday is not the end.  It is the beginning. 

Will I look to the sufferings of this world and wallow in self-pity?  Or, will I look past my self long enough to see Mary and her complete acceptance of a life of suffering?  Will I allow the ideas of the world to shape my own, hoping that I fit into the mold?  Or will I look to the King of the World, breathing His last breath on the cross, not trying to convince the crowd of His royalty, but instead praying for those who persecuted him while so fervently living God's call.

He gave everything so that we might have life.  Good Friday reminds me that my very life must be completely His.

You don't want to miss this video (click on the title).

Feel the Nails

They tell me Jesus died
For my transgressions
That he paid that price a long, long time ago
When he gave his life for me
On a hill called Calvary
But there's something else I want to know

Does he still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Can he hear the crowd cry "Crucify" again
Am I causing him pain
Then I know I've got to change
I just can't bear the thought of hurting him.

2nd verse
It seems that I'm so good at breaking promises
And I treat his precious grace so carelessly
But each time he forgives
What if he re-lives
The agony He felt on that tree

Chorus 1x

Holy, holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord

Do you still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Have I crucified you Jesus with my sins
Oh I'm tired of playing games
I really want to change
I never want to hurt you again

Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What We've Been up to...

We have had an eventful last few days filled with friends and family! On Friday, the boys and I went over to one of my best friends' homes - who just happens to be living in Clayton again, raising two little girls.  I cannot tell you how much her friendship, and our childrens' friendships mean to me.  We always have fun together...sharing parenting advice and just watching the kiddos be silly. 

Jeremy came over after work, and we had dinner together and stayed awhile to chat.  He's so happy to have these friends, too.  While there, Carter experienced his first pony ride on Rachel, their miniature horse.  He lasted about 30 seconds!

Then, he decided their lawn might need mowing...

This is their precious daughter, a firecracker, who keeps Carter on his toes!  She's three months older than him, and they have the best time playing.

Saturday evening, we went to the vigil service for Palm Sunday Mass.  Since we won't be home for Easter, I put them in their Easter outfits.  Carter clearly loves pictures and made the following ones just lovely, don't you think?

Saturday night, we had a pizza party with my cousin and her family.  She has three little ones: Lily, Luke and Lara - Carter is in Heaven with them.  And, Sunday we had a stop-in from MiMi and Pops - always a blessing in our day!  The boys have the most amazing grandparents on both sides!

Sunday is our day of rest and normally our only full day together as a family.  So, we try to keep the schedule clear to just enjoy each other and celebrate the Sabbath.  We have a little bit lot of work to do in this area, since I typically like to "catch up" with household chores and get ready for the next week on Sunday.  However, this Easter season/Lent has been such a blessing in teaching me to slow down, enjoy life and rest on His day.  So, on Sunday, Jeremy and Carter took a little walk out to the water tank to throw some rocks in the moss...

All of that hard work made Carter hungry for his newest favorite snack, raisins...

Peter enjoyed being in his swing and smiling for the camera...

Sunday night, thunderstorms moved in, with a much needed rain and some wind we could have done without.  Little did we know (until we woke up freezing at 5:15 am) that the winds had caused power outages around 10 pm.

The boys woke up cold and we "roughed it" without water and heat until about 11 am.  Peter was happy to have his winter hat...

And Carter and I went to fetch some water from Mom and Dad's spring, so that Peter could have his bottles.  We have matching coats and Uggs (unplanned...something I am sure a boy loves...matching his Mommy :)

Now we're just preparing for Easter and Christ's Resurrection.  Have a blessed one!