Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our Trip to the Children's Hospital

Last week, on the Solemnity Feast of St. Joseph, Sean and I headed out of town with our oldest two boys, while my mom watched our five youngest.  We were headed to the children's hospital five hours away for some testing for our oldest son. The appointment had been rescheduled from the previous Friday since I had been recovering from the flu/infections and my husband had a job interview that particular Friday morning.  Of course God's timing is always perfect and the change of dates ended up being a blessing.  

We weren't sure if he would be offered the job or not, but we decided to take the opportunity to look at the surrounding towns and housing options.  It wasn't a promotion, but moving expenses would be paid and it would bring us closer (though still 45-60 minutes away) to a traditional parish with frequent Latin Masses and a large active homeschool group, in addition to the job being located near two small Classical Catholic schools and many Catholic families. 

We left early hoping to make it to the noon prayers at the Abbey, but we didn't arrive until 12:15 and just missed them... 

We decided to walk over to the gift shop and on our way we noticed a priest walking towards a building. From the distance it was hard to tell, but we thought it might be Father Theo! He walked into the building but ended up coming out the other side and headed to the gift shop too. He was purchasing a scone - the closest thing he could find to bread for the feast of St. Joseph! - when we walked in! 

It was so nice to be able to sit down and visit with him for awhile and to ask his advice on the possible job and move.  Before we left he gave our oldest a blessing. We sure miss him!

After visiting with Father we spent some time walking the grounds at the Abbey.

Our next stop was at the gorgeous church in town. Someone was cleaning the entry area so it happened to be unlocked and we were able to peek inside.  We had been here before for one of my friends/bridesmaid's weddings and I just love this church!

Next we stopped for lunch at a local German restaurant before getting back on the road. 

After driving through many more (not nearly as beautiful and way more crowded) towns we stopped at the Lego store to surprise the boys (they picked out a Logging Truck and Camper Van), then went to Rose's godparents home for dinner and to say hello to our sweet little goddaughter, before heading to the home of another friend for the night.

My friend Alecia happened to have a case of First Class Relics visiting her home, including St. Therese, which we were able to venerate. Captain was able to touch his new medals from the Abbey to the relics and I was able to touch my crucifix and wedding ring (it's a sacramental after all) to them as well, making them 3rd class relics! 

The next morning bright and early we headed to the hospital.  We were the first appointment of the day in the Speciality Clinic and we didn't wait long before meeting with the doctor.  

After discussing the past year and symptoms with us, she ordered quite a few tests and sent us to the lab and radiology. She wasn't sure if radiology would be able to get us in, but she said to remind them how far away we live, and after initially saying no they "squeezed" us in for the 4-5 hour test!  After having him drink a special "milkshake" they took x-rays every 15-30 minutes to watch the drink make it's way through his digestive tract. 

In between the various x-rays we had lots of time to explore the hospital, which is practically a whole city at the top of the hill.  We walked across the Sky Walk and even rode the Arial Tram! 

The x-rays all went well and they didn't find any blockages! (We did just receive some abnormal results from the lab and are waiting to hear more from the doctor.)  Just as they were taking the last set of x-rays on Thursday afternoon, Sean had a call offering him the job and giving him only until Monday to make a decision... 

From the hospital we decided to visit the parish I mentioned earlier (the one that has such a wonderful homeschool community) and we called another dear priest who happens to currently be at this parish.  He happened to have a couple hours free and met with us.  My husband has applied for a number of out-of-state jobs over the past 15 years, and has switched jobs locally for various promotions, but this was the first job that he had been offered away from our home and my extended family.  The thought of moving was pretty terrifying for me and it was such a blessing to have the guidance from these holy priests.  There were many pros and cons for either decision - whether to take the job or not - and as Fr. Anderson said either decision would be the right one.... I think I was hoping for something a little clearer. ;) And when my husband spoke with one of his brother's the advice he was given was to make the decision based on what we know, not on what "could" happen if we move. We had lots of praying and discerning to do over the next few days! 

We started the drive home, stopping at the state college to take my little brother out to dinner, and got home after midnight on Friday morning.  For some reason the thought of moving was so overwhelming for me (we have lived in this home since before any of our children were born, and it has grown with our family overtime), but after two days of crying and lots of conversations with my husband, mom, and friends, I started to feel at peace with the decision to move.  It could be a fun adventure, right? 

We had been looking at housing options online, and started noticing that not only would the cost of homes be so much more, the property taxes were double, and even triple, what they are here, and it might not be likely that we'd be able to replace the same size of home, let alone find one with any acreage. (In fact one of the options had only a walkway for a backyard, needed to be remodeled, and would still cost more than we could potentially receive for our current home. Another was new, but had huge power lines going through the front yard and a cliff off the back, which wasn't mentioned or shown online.) One more trip to the area seemed like a good idea.  The three oldest boys went to a friends home and we got up at 4am Sunday morning to attend the 11:00 EF Latin Mass at Holy Rosary.  

Mass was beautiful and it was such a joy to meet so many wonderful families!  We went out to lunch with a few new friends and started thinking that we'd soon be attending Mass here every Sunday.  However as the evening went on and we looked at more and more of the housing options and surrounding towns, and we started to notice just how far of a commute my husband would have if we opted to live near the parish, we decided that without a promotion the higher cost of living and the commutes would just be too challenging.  (Along with all the other pros and cons that factored into our decision.)  So on Monday morning, which happened to be my husband's birthday, he called and turned down the job... We arrived home Monday night and will be staying here for now, grateful for all we do have here (our friends & family, great tutors to help me with home educating, our home, and a bi-monthly Latin Mass, to mention a few - oh!  and way less rain! lol) and working on the virtue of patience. 

It was encouraging to read in last weekend's Catholic Sentinel that changes are coming. It gives us hope to read that "Reverent, beautiful, prayerful and worthy celebration of the holy Mass must be the hallmark of every parish community."

We are so grateful for all the prayers that have been offered for our oldest son and for my husband and I as we worked through all these decisions for our family.  Deo Gratias! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Catholic Embroidery {Sponsored Review & Giveaway}

It has been an emotional and whirlwind of a week!  We arrived home from our trip to the children's hospital late Thursday night (or rather early Friday morning - so far the testing has been going well) and we are turning around and heading out of town again early tomorrow (Sunday) morning... As I mentioned briefly last Monday, we have some big decisions that need to be made soon. I'm sorry to be vague for the time being, but hopefully next week I'll have the opportunity to get back to blogging again and share some of what has been going on with you all.  In the meantime, could you please offer a prayer or two for our family?

Anyways, before I get off the computer to pack (and hopefully get a few hours of sleep tonight) I have another coupon code and giveaway for you all!

I think I might have mentioned Catholic Embroidery in the past... ;)  I just love their products!

I wish I had time to take updated pictures of some of our favorite items from Catholic Embroidery (there are many!) but I am going to have to settle for sharing the links and pictures to some of the things I've posted about in the past:

#1 - Baptismal Blanket from my blog post Our Baptized Baby and a Beautiful Baptismal Blanket

#2 - First Communion Handkerchief from my blog post First Holy Communion Gift Ideas

#3 - Rosary Case from my blog post The Big Purse Dump

# 4 - Rosary Case from my blog post On Easter Morning {Our 2013 Easter Baskets!}

#5 - Custom Children's Missal Cover from my blog post On the Feast of St. James

#6 - Pysanky Basket Cover from my post Seven Quick Easter Takes and Easter Symbols {An Easter Basket for the Whole Family}

#7 -  My Custom Shower of Roses Apron from my post {pretty, happy, funny, real}

#8 - Custom Ordered Tote from my blog post Celebrating the O Antiphons :: The Golden Nights

# 9 - Love of the Little Flower Afgan from my blog post My Daybook :: October 13, 2013

I have always been beyond happy with each purchase from Catholic Embroidery and I look forward to adding more of their products to our home in the future!

.: First Communion Coupon Code :. 

The "Season of Sacraments" is already upon us and our First Communion Handkerchiefs are just the gift for the Catholic Child. This year, we are offering a Standard and Custom version of the gold-metallicembroidered keepsake. 

Shower of Roses visitors can obtain FREE SHIPPING on both of these styles by entering FIRSTCOMMUNION in the promotion box at checkout through April 4, 2014.

Other things that are especially popular this time of year are our Pysanky Basket Cover, Accessories for Easter Baskets, and our Lamb of God Apron, Table Runner, and Stationery...

And now for the Giveaway! 

Catholic Embroidery would like to introduce and give one of their new embroidered Hoodies to one of my visitors here at Shower of Roses; winner's choice of the Ave Maria Hoodie or the Fleury Child of Mary Pink Hoodie in whatever size of choice. (An over $40 value!)

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 17, 2014

A March Daybook on the Feast of St. Patrick

Outside my window...
we have been enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

I am thinking...
about so many things.  We have some big decisions to make and we are praying our rosary every night that God will make His will for our family clear.

I am thankful... 
for antibiotics!  I just took the last antibiotic last night and am feeling so. much. better.  I'm still dealing with some congestion though and avoiding dairy and sugar and taking lots of Vitamin C, probiotics, and now some mega doses of Vitamin D, due to some super low test results this past week.

Learning all the time...
I promise I haven't forgotten about the curriculum update some of you have been patiently waiting for... I had really hoped to finish and share the post by now, but with our trip to see the specialists this week it is going to have to wait a little longer.  We are all really enjoying most of our subjects this year, but also looking forward to our Spring Break next week!

Celebrating the liturgical year...
We are celebrating St. Patrick today and the feast of St. Joseph is coming up the day after tomorrow!  You can find the links to most of our past March feast day celebrations here, thought it looks like I have a little updating to do. . .  It might be best to just search the labels for St. Patrick and St. Joseph.

From the kitchen... 
Shamrock Frittata with Irish Sausage...

... Shamrock Toasties, as requested by our sweet boy celebrating a name-day...

.. and Irish Beef and Guinness Stew with Traditional Irish Soda Bread!  Yummmmm.

I am working on... 
resting.  Though you wouldn't know it after looking at all that yummy St. Patrick's Day food! ;)

I am creating...
my submission for the summer issue of Catholic Digest.

I am going...
on a road trip with just my husband and oldest two boys!  My parents have offered to watch the five youngest (for the first time overnight) while we travel to see the specialists and I'm really looking forward to spending this special time with just the boys.

I am praying...
that the specialists will have some answers for us when we meet with them on Thursday morning.


I am reading...

a new addition to our collection of picture books for March: St. Patrick and the Three Brave Mice.

In my opinion some of the illustrations are rather scary (snakes always scare me) and the story is really short, but the little ones have been asking me to read it over and over again.  They really love the little mice and how they tried to help St. Patrick rid Ireland of that last snake! 

Pondering these words...
from Arthur Brisbane:

"[St. Patrick] was a terror to any snake that came in his path, whether it was the cold, slimy reptile sliding along the ground or the more dangerous snake that oppresses men through false teachings. And he drove the snakes out of the minds of men, snakes of superstition and brutality and cruelty."

I am listening... 
to Traditional Irish Music on Pandora and the children just finished watching Patrick - Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle.

Around the house...
I love that our oldest son picked up my slack and decorated for St. Patrick's Day this year! He pulled out his statue of St. Patrick along with a few of his Holy Cards, put together a little Leprechaun/Rainbow/Pot of Gold and Irish Flag Lego Creations, and even pulled out one of his favorite stuffed animals from when he was a baby and a paper on St. Patrick that he recently finished writing!

One of my favorite things...  
I never get tired of watching this little guy try and blow out all the candles around our home.

This week's plans...
  • Celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick (and our Irish Heritage!)
  • Math Tutor on Tuesday (Next week is Spring Break!)
  • Table Replacement Arriving! (So excited! It only took 7 months...) 
  • Celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph (It will be extra simple this year...)
  • Trip to take Captain to see the Specialist (Please pray! and I'll be away from the computer for a couple days...)

A little peek at my day...

Waiting for Grandpa and Grandma to arrive for dinner! We were so excited when I asked my parents at the last minute to join us for our St. Patrick's Day dinner and they said yes!  Happy name-day to my Dad, Patrick Joseph Murphy, and Happy Birthday to my dear Father-in-law James Patrick and brother-in-law Father T.G. So many reasons to celebrate on this special feast day!