Sunday, September 1, 2019

Please Join Me in Helping a Family in Need

Our girls with Victoria and Veronica Cools

Sometimes it feels like there is just too much suffering... I do hope to go back and share some of the more joyful moments we've had this past month, but first I have another serious prayer request for all my dedicated prayer warriors here at Shower of Roses. 

Shortly after moving from Oregon to Idaho we met Dan Cools and his youngest daughter Victoria at an event at our new parish. Our girls quickly became friends and we learned that his wife and second to youngest daughter, Veronica, were down in Mexico battling cancer... 

"Veronica was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in August of 2018. This aggressive cancer wrapped itself in and around her thigh bone with a high likelihood of mestastasis. Since hearing of the dreadful diagnosis, she has fought for her life. Over the course of an eight month period following diagnosis Veronica underwent extensive treatment, procedures, labs, scans, surgeries, including a full amputation of her leg."

Three months ago this beautiful, sweet and inspiring young lady was able to come home and we were blessed to meet her. Our four teens enjoyed spending time with the Cools girls over the summer and the above picture was taken at our boys' graduation party in July. 

Anyway... Despite all of their own challenges the Cools are so thoughtful and generous and insisted on dropping off dinner for our family the night I was in labor before delivering our little one! We were so glad they could join us the following week for the baby's baptism. At the baptism reception we were discussing plans for getting the girls together to celebrate Veronica's birthday, but unfortunately she received more devastating news the following day:  

"A PET scan was done and it was found that Veronica's cancer has aggressively returned. The cancer has metastasized to both lungs, her liver, some lymph nodes and a rib. The future is uncertain, but the family is holding tight to their faith and hope for a miracle."

Please, please pray for a miracle for this amazing girl...

In addition to our prayers, the Cools are also in need of our financial help and support. If you can help in any way, no matter how small, it would be greatly appreciated. Together we can at least help lighten the financial burden on this dear family.

"Expenses and bills don't stop arriving in the mailbox because of a cancer diagnosis, unfortunately. The Cools are again in addition to living expenses absorbing the cost for gas, lodging, and treatment expenses in Seattle which are coming to about $2400 a week."

Please pray for Veronica, and the whole Cools family, that God may continue to pour His grace upon them during this difficult time. May God reward you abundantly!

Prayer to Saint Peregrine

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker,” because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you.

For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of Veronica Cools whom we entrust to you. Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, ora pro nobis!
St. Camillus de Lellis, ora pro nobis!
St. Therese of Lisieux, ora pro nobis!
St. Peregrine Laziosi, ora pro nobis!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

+ Requiescat in Pace +

In your charity, would you please offer a prayer for the soul of my dear mother-in-law, Luz Beatriz Gordon, who passed away on Wednesday evening, August 28th, and for our whole Gordon family...

April 2018 - A couple photos from our trip to Arizona to introduce "Grace" to her grandmother.
It's been just over two years since my father-in-law passed away the day before I went into labor.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let 
Perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.
May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

On the Traditional Feast of Saint Jane

"If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven. But for this we must serve God willingly and lovingly, seeking to obey the Divine Will rather than to follow our own inclinations and desires. For the perfection of love demands that we desire for ourselves only whatever God wills. Let us implore the good God unceasingly to grant us this grace!" - St. Jane Frances de Chantal

(God's plan is so much better than our own... He knew we needed her!) 

DEAREST Patron, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, 
in baptism I received thy name and was put under thy special care. Oh, teach me to be like thee! Help me to avoid sin and to practice virtue. Be always at my side to guide me and protect me, and bring me safe to Heaven, that I may be ever happy with thee in the presence of God.

(She is such a sweetie! I'm hoping to add her birth and baptism pictures to the blog soon.)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


August 6th (and 7th)
Extra Summer Babysitting Money = 
Another Bird Paint-by-Number for her collection! 


My little avocado lover 🥑💗 




August 7th
One of my two baby girls slept through all of Mass earlier this afternoon 💙#despiterepeatkickstotheface

Friday, August 2, 2019

Instagram Recap: DMV, French Toast & Hello Sugar!

August 2, 2019

The women at the Sheriff's/Driver's License Office were trying their best to put me into labor this morning... I thought I arrived prepared right at 8am with my birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residency... I passed the test (barely) but then they sent me back home for a different copy of my birth certificate (apparently the one I brought was not certified) and a second proof of residency before they would give me my temp license... when I got back they realized that they also wanted to see my marriage certificate.... At that point the pregnancy hormones kicked in and the tears started falling... Each trip required signing back in at the end of the line. They came very close to not accepting my copy of our nearly 20 year old marriage certificate (despite the clerk's signature, seal, and number) but eventually got approval from the main office in the capital. After that it was time to head next door (Vehicle Licensing is a whole separate office/waiting list) to start the process of registering all our vehicles (each vehicle had to be present to do that, so musical vehicles began)... After four hours it's all done and we can finally check that off the to do list! Whew!

#37weeks4dayspregnant #dueaug19th2019 #refusedtoputmyfulltermweightonlicense #babywillbeheresoon #tyinguplooseends #movingoutofstateishard

*They actually called us back a few days later saying they needed Sean and I to both COME BACK and sign MORE paperwork! Apparently they forgot to have us sign some tax exempt forms on the vehicles... It's all taken care of and we finally have our new license plates and driver's licenses!

After my crazy morning, I probably should have gone home and put my feet up, but there is so much to be done at home right now I decided to just skip it all and take a couple of my girls shopping instead! 

Look at all the BabyLit Books

We set out searching for a Baby Boutique, but apparently we were spoiled with a few lovely options back in Southern Oregon and there are surprisingly few in our new area... We found a total of one (not counting chain stores like Old Navy, Nordstrom, Target, etc) from Coeur d’Alene all the way over to Spokane!  The store we found didn’t really have much for babies but it was absolutely darling and we did come home with a darling little dolly and swaddle for our soon-to-be born baby girl. 


The cashier suggested we also check out a mini donut place just down the road where we ordered their “Carousel” (one of each flavor) and the Lime Kombucha on Tap from the coffee shop next door. 

We could have easily eaten them all, but the girls each enjoyed two, I had the delicious seasonal “Huckaboo” flavor, and we brought the remaining seven back for the rest of the family, after finally making it to Trader Joe’s to restock the fridge and pantry. Now I’m ready for her to arrive tomorrow, just incase she decides to come 16 days early like our last two!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Saints Around the World :: St. Pio of Pietrelcina {Back-to-School Giveaway}

Have you seen the "Saints Around the World!" subscription boxes yet? Our family was recently sent one to review and not only was I impressed, but it was also a hit with our children!

When our older children were younger I included so many more crafts and activities when it came to celebrating feast days and teaching our children about the saints... I still try to do so, but it's not as frequent as I would like, and definitely harder to fit in to our schedule with a wide family with infants to soon-to-be college students, especially with me working from home on top of homeschooling. During this particular season of motherhood it seems that reading picture books and incorporating Catholic Cuisine is the most I can manage each month...

Featuring a different saint from a new country every two months, this subscription is a perfect way for me to easily incorporate a little more theology and geography for my younger ones with very little effort! Plus my older children were all more than happy to join in and help too.

Oh, and with each box purchased, $4 is donated to the "Culture of Life Studies" program, another one of my favorite resources!

Each box contains a beautiful, kid-friendly, saint statue, a story about the saint's life, various activities related to the saint, and a special fact card about the saint and his/her country or state.

Your first box also comes with a world map to track the saints and a special "Passport."  A certain little seven year old especially loved the map and magnifying glass and had so much fun searching for Italy.

Much to his delight, older brother stopped by for a bit and pointed out a number of other European countries.

Our box came with just one Passport booklet, but you can order additional when subscribing, if you'd like one for each child. I definitely need to get an additional Passport booklet so Rose and Bud each have their own.

The Saints Around the World boxes are shipped every two months. The 2019-2020 boxes are September/October, November/December, January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August etc. The box will arrive in that first week, at the beginning of the two month span. For example, you will receive the September/October box within the first week of September and the next box will be shipped at the beginning of November.

A combination of Theology and Geography in One Box!

.: Giveaway :. 

I'm going to try my best to host a few different giveaways this month leading up to the beginning of the new school year!  To begin, Saints Around the World has generously offered to send one FREE "St. Pio" box to the winner of this giveaway!

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Start your family on this adventurous journey to Heaven, with the Saints as their guides!

**To receive the September/October "St. Pio" box, please subscribe by August 8th!**

St. Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Baby Updates & Online Baby Pool

“And after you gave suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you.” - 1 Peter 5:10

I had a little extra time before yesterday’s ultrasound, non-stress test, and doctor appointment, so I decided to visit the hospital and birthing center so we have a general idea of where to head once labor begins. Seemed like a good idea.

The nurses were so kind, and the birthing center is nice, but while they were showing me around I broke into tears and couldn’t stop crying... 

I don’t know if it’s just all the changes this time (new state/hospital/doctors) combined with pregnancy hormones, if it’s the fear or anxiety over what’s coming soon knowing just how many things can go wrong, or if I’m still dealing with some PTSD. My last two times at the hospital were for our last baby’s birth (the day after my FIL passed away after a traumatic pregnancy) and then just over a year ago with my brother and SIL for the stillbirth of my beautiful niece.

I’ve been reading this book throughout this past week whenever I can find a little extra time and it is exactly the encouragement and motivation I’ve been needing. Thank you, Mary!

Here are a few more updates I've shared over at Instagram this month:

July 10, 2019 -  34 Weeks 
She had her arms covering her face for most of this morning’s ultrasound, but everything is looking good and she measured 5lbs 13oz. 


Some diapers showed up in the mail from a dear friend and the girls found our box of baby clothes!

My brother and sister-in-law also generously gifted us with the lovely crib they had purchased for Millie. We never did replace the crib we had donated prior to our last surprise pregnancy, but I'm so grateful to have one again for this little one.  My parents were able to bring it up when they came for the boys' graduation party and the girls helped me set it up last weekend!

I had borrowed (and then returned) a few things for our last baby, but I do still have my DockATot, Moses Basket, Tula Free-to-Grow, CarSeat/Stroller, Pack-n-Play, and an amazing Nursing Pillow so we are pretty well prepared for another little one! 

I have been trying to decide on whether to order the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper (We have a narrower bed following our move, plus our 2 year old still ends up in bed with us each night, so I feel like we might need something like this or a different bedside bassinet? Any suggestions?), a double stroller or bike trailer/stroller (Would it get used enough to justify the expense? Still can't believe the golf team sold my old double stroller for $15... Maybe the bike trailer that doubles as a double stroller would make more sense?), and possibly a baby swing (I'll have less helpers this time around with half my teens leaving for college soon).  

I signed up for the Amazon Baby Registry to save ideas and to be able to get the 15% off completion discount on whatever we decide to purchase. 

Would anyone like to try and guess when she will arrive? 

You can do so over at Baby Hunch!  
I'll send a little prize to the winner.

Our due date is August 19, 2019. For reference, here are all of the past stats:

Captain: 5 days early, 10:24 am, 7 pounds 2 ounces, 20 inches

Rascal: 7 days early, 11:19 am, 7 pounds 11 ounces, 19 inches

Twinkle Toes: 10 days early, 12:55 am, 7 pounds 4 ounces, 19 1/4 inches

Chiquita: 21 days early, 9:54 pm, 7 pounds 4 ounces, 18 1/2 inches

Snuggles: 3 days early, 10:37 pm, 8 pounds 5 ounces, 20 1/2 inches (He was also due on June 24th, 10 years ago, just after I started this blog!)

Rose: 10 days early, 11:49 pm, 8 pounds 1 ounce, 19 inches

Bud: 6 or 16 days early (depending on which due date you went with - cycle or early ultrasound), 10:02 am, 7 pounds 5 ounces, 20 inches

Grace: 16 days early (almost 20 days early, but labor wouldn't progress due to hip issues. I was pretty much in labor that whole week), 1:56am, 6 pounds 15 ounces, 19.5 inches 

Mother of God, remember me! 
Our Lady of Childbirth, pray for us! 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

High School Graduation Party {Class of 2019}

This past Saturday we hosted a graduation party for our two high school graduates! They actually graduated Kolbe Academy at the beginning of May, but we just didn't have an opportunity to celebrate until now...


One morning in June, when I was looking at the calendar for July, trying to figure out a date, our eldest son said "Why don't you just have it on the 20th?" as he was heading out the door to work. With my sister's wedding in Oregon on July 6th, I didn't think I'd be able to pull it together for either the previous or following weekend, and I didn't want to push it out any further than the weekend of the 20th due to my approaching due date... I went with the 20th and mailed out all the invitations. He got home from work, saw the invitations, and said "MOM!!! I was kidding!" Apparently a huge graduation party isn't our (introverted/melancholic) son's idea of the best way to spend his 19th birthday... Whoops!

I planned the party as an afternoon BBQ Open House in our backyard from 1:00-4:00. Some guests came for the whole party and others popped in for a little while depending on their schedules. We grilled hot dogs and sausages, plus we had lots of drinks (including IPAs and Peach Sangria for the adults), snacks and desserts. To make it a little easier I asked everyone to "please bring a side dish to share if you are able" and we ended up with more than enough food. 

Knowing that I would be nearing full term (almost 36 weeks pregnant, I delivered our last baby at 37 weeks) I did my best to keep the party "small" but we still ended up with around 80 guests! I spent the previous weekend creating decorations and shopping lists, and it all came together somehow. It was such a lovely day with a wonderful group of friends and family! 

The boys Diplomas and Tassels from Kolbe Academy had arrived awhile back, but I saved them to give them at the party. I love that Kolbe's Tassels have a St. Maximilian Kolbe medal attached to them. (He is our oldest son's confirmation saint!)

{download my Black Board Graduation Banner here}

One of the girls updated the letter board with a quote we used on their Graduation Announcements. 
(Costco did a great job on the announcements!) 


I also printed out all of their End-of-School Interviews from over the years to use as decorations!

We only had a couple benches and folding tables, but a nearby friend kindly loaned us a bunch more. I also picked up table cloths at Party City during a one-day sale when they were priced just 4 for $1!

The boys were introduced to Kan Jam during Experience Christendom Summer Camp last year and we picked up a couple sets during a Buy-1-Get-1 sale to pull out for the party, along with Spikeball.

My parents also gifted the graduates with a Cornhole set for the Graduation party! 
(Thanks, Dad and Mom!!) 

Graduation Candy Buffet
(You can download my free printable at the above link with all the signs.) 

The birthday boy and my dad

Me with my mom, Father Gordon (my husband's youngest brother and our oldest son's Godfather),
and my Uncle Tom (mom's oldest brother) and Aunt Toni
We definitely need a larger grill the next time we host a big BBQ!

Father Rapoport, Father Terra and Father Flick (below) also were able to come to the party!

The little kids version of Kan Jam!

"Most loving Lord, Grant me a steadfast heart which no unworthy desire may drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no hardship may wear out; an upright heart which no worthless purpose my ensnare. 

Impart to me also, O God, the understanding to know you, the diligence to seek you, a way of life to please you, and a faithfulness that may embrace you, through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen."