Thursday, February 14, 2019

A St. Valentine's Day Surprise

I made a special cake this year for St. Valentine’s day! 
Didn’t it turn out cute?!

I actually received the good news that everything came back normal and healthy on my QNatal pregnancy blood test on February 8th, just after we accepted one of two offers that came through that same day on our home in Oregon after putting it back on the market a few days before. It was a very good day! 

I didn't think I had a preference on whether our new baby would be a girl or a boy... I have just been praying that baby was healthy and that I'll be able to carry the baby to term, preferably without as severe of nausea and other complications as I've had in the past... but I couldn't stop grinning when the nurse told me that we're having another girl. It will be so nice for our littlest to have a sister just two years younger, especially since there is such a big gap between her and the rest of our children.  

I wanted to come up with another fun way to tell our children so we kept it a secret until St. Valentine's Day. Last time we filled a box with balloons for them to open on Christmas Eve. This time I decided to just bake a cake using the same idea as I used for one of our Escape the Dragon's Lair birthday, just pink and white this time!

The night before I had stopped at Hobby Lobby and Party City (it's so fun to have these stores near our new home - I had never been to them before our recent move) and bought the little pink or blue cake topper, sprinkles and some pink candy.

I used two boxes of white cake mix and baked three 9" layers of cake, using the last of the batter to make 8 cupcakes, 4 pink and 4 blue. I cut a circle out of the center of two of the layers using a circle biscuit cutter. After stacking the first two layers, I filled the center with the pink candies and then topped it with the final layer of cake. 

I finished frosting the outside of the cake, adding sprinkles to the sides (There is probably an easier way to do it, but I just filled the palm of my hand and then angled my hand so that my palm was almost touching the cake and they started falling onto the side... and every where else... It didn't turn out as nice as I had visioned, but thankfully some of them stuck!) and then topping the cake with the little sign.

It was pretty much the quickest party I've ever hosted!

I planned it at the last minute, trying to figure out a time when everyone could be home at the same time... Sean said he'd be able to get off work early and be home by 3pm. The girls needed to leave by 3:45 for Irish Dance and then they'd go straight to Choir Practice so they wouldn't get back home until 8:30 (which is pretty much my bedtime this pregnancy)... I sent my husband's brother, Father D. Gordon, a text asking if he could join us too. He had a meeting from 2-3, but could come right after that. I told him we'd wait, if he thought he could arrive by 3:30! He arrived at our home at 3:32 and we asked him to cut the cake for us! :)

We had a few other last minute guests too, since our friends who were giving the girls a ride arrived right at 3:30! I ran out and asked if they could come in for 10-15 minutes for a quick for a piece of cake! ;)

It all worked out perfectly and our 15 minute party was so much fun!

Here are a couple videos of the cake cutting. In the first (taken by my husband) you can see the cake and in the second you get a better view of some of the reactions.

The girls now out number the boys for the first time ever in our home!

Friday, February 1, 2019

On the Feast of Saint Brigid

Original St. Brigid Painting from Sleightholm Folk Art - Prints Available Here 

Happy feast of St. Brigid! ☘️ I haven’t been able to respond to all the comments on my last post here on the blog and over at Instagram, but I wanted to thank you all for the prayers and encouragement. I feel very blessed to have been given so much love and support! I saw the doctor again yesterday morning (Jan 31st) and ended up getting another peek at the baby! A little hard to see on the portable ultrasound, but such a relief to hear baby’s heart still beating strongly.  #week11day4 #dueaug19th2019

St. Brigid, patron saint of babies, pray for us! 

Her beautiful skirt is from BabyMyLove

I love that Candlemas Day falls on First Saturday this year! My girls are currently busy making crêpes for the French Breakfast they will be serving (along with the rest of the of the girls in our parish’s Maidens of St. Joan group) following the Blessing of Candles, Procession and Sung Mass tomorrow morning.

Updated with a couple pictures from Candlemas:

My little helper insisted on carrying the basket filled with our beeswax candles to be blessed at Mass. 
The Maidens of St. Joan ended up cooking (the day before) and then serving (following the First Saturday Mass on Candlemas Day) somewhere between 500-700 crêpes!
Topping the crêpes with Nutella, Jam, and/or Whipping Cream

The Maidens of St. Joan group is specific to our new parish and was started by our pastor (my husband's younger brother, Father D. Gordon) for the teen girls. They have monthly meetings that usually consist of a talk given by Father, maybe dinner or snacks, and also doing something for the parish (helping the priests wrap gifts before Christmas, ironing the altar boys cassocks/surplices, etc). They also help with other events as needed (making the crepes and helping serve the breakfast tomorrow, for example, and they also recently helped with the pre-Christmas church cleaning, served food at a Meet and Greet with ten seminarians a couple weekends ago, and will be hosting a bake sale to help a fellow parishioner in need, etc). My girls love it!

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Christmas Surprise

Nothing happens in the universe without God willing and allowing it. This statement must be taken absolutely of everything with the exception of sin. 'Nothing occurs by chance in the whole course of our lives' is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, 'and God intervenes everywhere.' - Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I didn't mean to disappear following my post last month, but there's a good reason, and I would really appreciate prayers!

On December 12th the stomach flu started hitting our family. I was grateful that I didn't come down with it until the following weekend, after we finished celebrating our daughter's 9th birthday and that I felt well enough to bake another cake the following week for our son's 7th birthday... But then, the weekend before Christmas, the stomach flu really hit me. When I didn't fully recover, along with the rest of the family, I went and bought a pregnancy test on December 23rd. I really thought it would be negative.

It's no secret that my last pregnancy was especially hard, between the hyperemesis gravidarum and back/tailbone/hip issues that left me barely able to walk it was a traumatizing pregnancy. After I delivered I told my husband, "I can't do this again. I really mean it this time." He understood. I've joked with friends that there was a good reason God sent us this last baby as #8 instead of one of our first! Despite how difficult it was, and how difficult our darling baby girl has been (she is finally, after 19 months, sleeping a few hours straight each night!), we just can't imagine our family without her. She has brought so much joy and laughter and we all love her dearly! God knew that we needed her. Still, I was too scared to chance another pregnancy.

After over 18 months of 100% abstinence, all it took was once...

I wish I could say that I met those two little pink lines with joy and excitement, but honestly I sobbed. It was Sunday night. I had missed Mass and spent all day sick in bed until going out to the store. I had to get out of the house so I got back in the car to go for another drive. I ended up at the church and thankfully there was still a priest in the confessional following the 5pm evening Mass. I was so grateful for the sacrament and for the advice and encouragement I was given that night.  I know God will send me the graces and strength I need to carry this precious baby!

“How can there be too many children? 
That is like saying there are too many flowers.” - Mother Teresa

January 3, 2019 - Our Baby at 7 1/2 weeks 

Having miscarried a number of times in the past, I was very thankful and relieved to see the baby's heart beating when we met with a new doctor for the dating ultrasound. Apparently I must have ovulated on about day seven and my due date was moved forward a week. Our little one is due August 19th  - just before our oldest two will leave for college! So much for things calming down this year. ;) 

As of today our little one is 10 weeks old! I will see the doctor again next week, though I caught a cold that seems to have turned into bronchitis so I may be going back in sooner. (I guess one good thing that has come out of this whole government shutdown is that my husband has been home to help... Just as long as they reopen before our savings runs out!) We would be grateful for any prayers you can send our way as we prepare to welcome this new little soul! 

Judge then what recompense those persons will receive from Christ who have followed Him along the way of His Cross. On the judgment day we shall understand how much God has loved us by giving us the opportunities to merit so rich a reward. Then we shall reproach ourselves for complaining at what was meant to increase our happiness, for grieving when we should have been rejoicing, for doubting God's goodness when He was giving concrete evidence of it. If such will be our feelings one day, why not anticipate them now? Why not bless God here and now for something we shall be thanking Him for everlastingly in Heaven? - Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence