Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Daybook

Outside my window
Hot, cold, sunshine, rain, and even hail. The weather has been all over the place the last few days!

I am thinking...
I mentioned in my February Daybook that I saw my doctor again for more blood work (to check my hormone balance) and a biopsy (on my skin rash). The following Tuesday, March 3rd, I went back to discuss the results…

It's turns out that the awful rash that I've been fighting since just after my miscarriage last June (which was originally diagnosed as poison oak and then, a few months later, as systemic yeast) is actually a skin disease.  (No wonder those three rounds of treatments and the 30-day candida diet I tried didn't make a difference!) I asked my doctor if there is a cure. She responded "no" and said that it is "autoimmune caused and not contagious." She then wrote me a prescription for "steroid cream to help manage the pain" and said to come back and see her in three months. I really need to find a new doctor.

I also asked her about my progesterone level and she said "it's normal." … Sigh… "Yes… It would be in the normal range (at the very low end) if I was postmenopausal. But for me, at my age and mid-cycle, according to a friend of mine (Ranger's Godfather, who owns a lab and was able to go over my results for me a couple days earlier thanks to MyChart) it is extremely low." She looked at the results again and said, "Oh, you're right…" So frustrating. I'm just so glad I didn't listen to her last month and insisted on the hormone testing, when she tried to prescribe antidepressants and anxiety medications. I knew that wasn't what I've been needing and that something else hasn't been right. Now to find that new doctor… I wish we had more options around here.

I am thankful... 
I am so thankful that I at least finally know the cause of this skin rash! After coming home, and wiping away the tears from the shock of my "incurable skin disease", I started researching ways to improve my symptoms naturally. I ran across some articles online (this one and this one) that gave me hope that I'd be able to put the disease into remission.  I decided to try a 30-Day Autoimmune Protocol Diet. I went grocery shopping with my husband that very night and started the next morning. Today is Day 28!

It's kind of funny that at the beginning of Lent I mentioned to my husband that I wasn't going to give up any specific foods this Lent… Ha! I ended up giving up everything! Coffee, Chocolate, Sugar, Grains, Legumes, Dairy, Eggs, Nightshades, Seeds, Nuts, etc. It's been a challenging four weeks to say the least.

The good news is, other than the cold/flu I caught a couple weeks ago which was definitely a setback, my rash is improving, my moods have stabilized, I'm sleeping well, I have more energy (though still not back to what I use to have), I've lost 16 pounds as of today, and am feeling so much better. It's a start!

Learning all the time
This school year is passing so quickly!

March 10th - I'm so proud of this girl! She just completed her Saxon 6/5 math book for the school year, which doesn't end until June 10th... That's over twelve weeks away, we haven't even gotten to spring break yet!

The first thing she wanted to do was pull out Math 7/6 to see what's coming up next! 

Celebrating the liturgical year...
In addition to the Lenten season we also have had some favorite feasts and a birthday to celebrate!

March 13th - As soon as we finish praying our family rosary these two head straight to the Lenten calendar to cover up the square for the day.

March 15th - I had a few kids to make breakfast for this morning! #friendsvisiting #Catholic #lent2015 #laetaresunday #motheringsunday

March 15th - Such a treat to be invited (our whole family and our visiting friends too!) to the Figure Skating Club's private St. Patrick's Day Party which included free skating, door prizes and yummy treats... A perfect indoor activity for this rainy day!

March 17th - Traditional Irish Soda Bread with Pure Irish Butter. {You can find the recipe here.}

March 19th - Happy St. Joseph's Day!  You can see our St. Joseph's Day Cathedral Cake here

March 24th (My husband's birthday and the traditional feast of St. Gabriel) - Patiently waiting for the birthday boy to get home from work so we can celebrate!

March 25th - I ended up making a quadruple batch of Organic 6-Grain Waffles and served them with Marionberries and Maple Syrup for dinner.... Mmmmm! I didn't have any but they sure smelled good!

From the kitchen... 
It's been interesting! When I first read the list of what was not allowed on the Autoimmune Protocol Diet I didn't think there was any way that I'd be able to survive 30 days… or more! I've definitely had to spend a lot more time in the kitchen, but I've been able to stick with it!

One of the first things I did was order this cookbook which has been a great source of inspiration. 

I've made so many new and delicious recipes including Shrimp and Green Bean Stir-Fry, Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic "Mayo", Cinnamon-Scented Butternut Squash (I adapted the recipe and added apples), Citrus-Avocado Dressing, and more...

For Sean's birthday we grilled Tilapia and I made Bacon-Wrapped Pears, Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon, and Curried Cauliflower.

I was even able to make a special desert (Pear-Caramel Pie) for the solemnity feast of St. Joseph! The crust was made from Arrowroot and Coconut Flour and I didn't really care for it, but the pears tasted amazing!

I am working on... 
still...working on finding ways to improve my health and making time to exercise at least a few days each week… though the exercise had to be put on hold while I was sick.

March 22nd - Tissues, tea, and a day spent in bed... This cold/flu that I've been fighting since last week took a turn for the worse and has really knocked me off my feet!

March 23rd - Sipping on broth and watching my little ones "read" to each other. Not exactly what I had originally planned for our first day of spring break, but I'm so grateful that I have a wide open schedule this week (no tutors, hockey, piano lessons, or submission deadlines) and can rest and recover quickly.

I am creating...
a check-list of the things I still need to do this week to prepare for Easter. So much still to do and so little time. I'm going to have to keep it simple this year.

I am going...
to pre-order my new Daily Planner from Michele so I can save 10%.  I use the August-July version.

I am hoping...
to finally complete the Couch 2 5K app! I started at the beginning of February and completed the first 6 weeks on March 15th before having to take a break until my cough was better. Today was my first day back! It was slow going but I managed to complete the next workout challenge!

I am praying...
for some special intentions.

March 14th - It's been six years today since my grandpa died... These two don't remember their great-grandpa (our youngest two hadn't even been born yet) but they have heard wonderful stories and just finished lighting candles while offering prayers for the repose of his soul. Rest in peace Grandpa+

I am reading…
Jesus of Nazareth: The Story of His Life Written for Children by Mother Mary Loyola.  I had to take a break from reading aloud and I'm not sure we will be able to finish it by Easter. It's such a beautiful book though and I look forward to reading the rest to the children soon!

Pondering these words…
from Divine Intimacy:

"We must not seek the cross in extraordinary sufferings, seldom, if ever encountered; we must look for it in the duties, the life, the difficulties, and the sacrifices of each day and of each moment."

I am listening…
to Lent at Ephesus.
Around the house...
Decluttering and Spring Cleaning. I didn't plan on filling 40 bags with stuff to donate this Lent but it sort of happened anyway! The weekend before last we tackled the garage and ended up donating a ficus tree, a bathroom cabinet, a rolling storage shelf, and a few bags of Christmas decorations, plus an area rug (to my sister), 4 old bikes (to the bike store), high-chair (to a thrift shop), 4 old carseats (to the fire department), and 4 bags of trash. Then, this weekend, I managed to fill an additional 20 brown bags with clothes and toys to donate from the bedrooms plus a few more bags of trash. Whew!

One of my favorite things...  
the beautiful Rosary Flip Book from Sacred Art Series. It was one of the gifts I gave my husband for his birthday this year.

This week's plans

A little peek at my day...
One of the pictures I took on Sunday while I was preparing this year's Palm Sunday Lenten Dinner… She's just like her mother! ;)

Saint Joseph's Day Cathedral Cake

To celebrate the solemnity we baked another cake in our cathedral shaped pan in honor of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church! I also had a lovely new Blessing Block of this beloved saint to give to our son who celebrates a nameday on this special feast.

Prayer for Priests to St. Joseph

O illustrious patriarch St. Joseph, who carried the Infant Jesus in thy blessed arms and who, during the space of thirty years, lived in the most intimate familiarity with Him, take under thy powerful protection those whom He has clothed with His authority and honored with with the dignity of His priesthood, whom He has charged to continue His mission, to preach His Gospel, and to dispense everywhere His graces and blessings. Sustain them in their fatigues and labors; console them in their pains; fortify them in their combats; but above all, keep far from them all the evils of sin.

Obtain for them the humility of St. John the Baptist, the faith of St. Peter, the zeal and charity of St. Paul, the purity of St. John and the spirit of prayer and recollection of which thou, my dear Saint, art the model, so that, after having been on earth, the faithful dispensers of the Mysteries of thy foster Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, they may in Heaven receive the recompense promised to pastors according to the Heart of God. Amen.

St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Pray for Us!

Saint Patrick's Day

May God give you

For every storm, a rainbow,

For every tear, a smile,

For every care, a promise,

And a blessing in each trial.

For every problem life sends,

Tales from Old Ireland, Fiona's Lace, St. Patrick's Day in the Morning, St. Patrick's Day Alphabet, Patrick: Saint of IrelandA Child's Book of Celtic Prayers - All of our St. Patrick Picture Books are listed here

A faithful friend to share,

Fiona's Lace

For every sigh, a sweet song,

Patrick: Saint of Ireland

And an answer for each prayer.

Saint Patrick of Ireland, Ora Pro Nobis! 

{pretty, happy, funny, real} :: Pi Day

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life with Like Mother, Like Daughter. ~

I'm going to be doing a little catch up today with some pictures from March starting with Pi Day!


March 10th - She was so excited that Grandpa was at his office and we were able to stop by for a visit after dropping the big kids off with their math tutor!


March 10th - Our math tutor baked treats for all of her students this week! #PiDay2015


"YES!!!" said our fourteen year old to our thirteen year old, "You HAVE to shave today so that someday you can tell your kids 'On Pi Day 2015 I shaved for the very first time!' Come on, I'll show you how!" #howourteenscelebratedpiday #stopgrowingupsofast 


March 14th, 2015 - He was determined to take the first bite of his piece of pie at exactly 9:26:53! #3point1415 #PiDay2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Angel of the Lord declared Unto Mary...

And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary...

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to Thy Word.
Hail Mary...

And the Word was made Flesh.
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary...

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Happy Feast of the Annunciation!