Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mother Teresa's Wisdom

It's nearing the end of May and I promised to dedicate this month to mothers. I got sidetracked for a few posts but have no fear! I'm back. 

...In case any of you were holding me to my word.

Anyways. I'm highlighting an amazing mother today, Mother Teresa, a nun who started the Sisters of Charity. Instead of giving you her bio, I'll tell you why she personally has affected me. I think, to an extent, we're all snobs. I dress better than you, my health is better than you, you always make mistakes, I never do anything wrong, don't tell me what to do, my kids are better than yours, my way of thinking is better than yours, my talents are more advanced than yours, and my gosh - what did you do to your hair? etc.

But this lady was amazing. She took the ways of the world and flipped them over. Pride? Yeah, we've all got that. But she showed us what it means to be humble. Being humble isn't talking about being humble. Or wanting to be humble. Or talking about how you're so prideful and if only you could be more humble...

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It's thinking of yourself less." -Rick Warren, I believe. And isn't that exactly what Mother Teresa was like? Always thinking of others, always putting them first, always talking about love and charity. Not only talking - but really and truly living it. She helped anyone. It didn't matter what the people looked, smelled, or talked like. It didn't matter what religion they were or how worthy they were of help. She gave them help, and by doing so, she gave them love. 


There is a famous poem often attributed to Mother Teresa. I'm not sure if she wrote it herself, but I think it's amazing and beautiful advice to live by. Even if you've seen it a million times, take a few moments and let the words mean something to you. 



People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self centered;

Forgive them anyway.


If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.


If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.


If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.


What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.


If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.


The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.


Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.


You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

MomTrusted.com

Exceptional Parents are amazing. That's why we're even called exceptional. (Obviously.) We love being with our kids at every moment and have changed our whole world to make their lives as perfect as possible. When people insist we "need a break" and try to kick us out of the house, we feel like popping them in the face. How dare they suggest such a thing. The nerve.


...Until that day of perpetual crying, the crumb-filled rug that keeps leaving presents on the bottom of your bare feet, and the pile of dirty dishes that has no hope of being cleaned before next December. Suddenly, getting a break doesn't sound so bad.


Some of us are lucky to have family and friends eagerly awaiting this moment. They have been camped out on our front step for the past six months, biding their time until we give in. For others, however, the spot for a babysitter is not so easily filled. 


What to do...


While you can stay at home and sniffle about it, updating your facebook status about your woes, there is an alternative option. I just came across this website, MomTrusted.com. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed. 


After signing up for a free account (which was easier than remembering my birthday), I was led to a homepage where immediately other moms were suggested to me. Moms who were really close to me. I thought that would come in handy if I ever needed advice or a question about something local - or just wanted to chat. The website gives moms (and dads) the opportunity to talk to and follow other people, as well as ask questions - both publicly for anyone to answer, and then privately to individual users. 


Their main goal is to help parents connect with babysitters, nannies, in-home providers, child care centers, or preschools. I simply typed in my zip code and a list of such places and people came up on a map of my city. Contact information was all there on one page. Simple and free.


You know me and blogs - this website also has a blog. Check it out if you'd like.


How do I feel about this newly-found website? Firstly, it's great. It brings parents together at one place for the same reason: childcare. We all want the absolute best for our kids, and this website makes that possible. In my area, it provided a list of good centers - and trust me, I've had my share of experiences with quite a few! However, in regards to babysitters and nannies, you have to be careful about meeting strangers. Use caution and trust your gut when looking for a trusted babysitter. It looks like the website is continuing to grow and acquire more users. It's very possible you might find exactly who you need right here. If you sign up, let me know so I can "Say hi!" 

Monday, May 23, 2011

She looks just like an angel when she sleeps


I've been in a funk lately. You know how people say, "It has been one of those days"? Well, I could easily say, "It has been eight of those days."

I'm not going to start a pity party. People around me have much worse going on in their lives. Sometimes I see sadness and stress from others and my heart literally falls for them. I wish I was a magician or a millionaire to make everyone's troubles go away...even for that day.

And at the same time, there is so much happiness too. Several of my friends have given birth or announced their pregnancies or their baby's gender; birthdays have been celebrated, weddings, reunions, discoveries, people finding their life's paths...

But regardless, there has been a fog hung over my head and it finally caught up to me today. I was cleaning up our dining room floor and ended up wiping away more than the dust and crumbs. 
So around 5:00pm, the three of us were sitting on the couch, and Little Olive was trying to get comfortable for a nap. I could tell. She was going back and forth between us, purposely disrupting the dog's nap as she moved. We wouldn't normally let her sleep at that time, but she had a crappy nap today and I figured a short little snooze couldn't hurt.

She had been in my arms for only a few minutes when I looked down to see she had fallen asleep.

She hasn't slept in my arms in a very, very long time. Maybe a couple months? 

I just watched her for several moments and could have let myself cry again at how beautiful she was. But I held it together. (Geesh. Get a grip, after all.) She was just so beautiful. Her little face was so smooth and peaceful, and she twitched into a smile at one point. It was like holding my newborn baby again. 

She woke up not even 5 minutes later, suddenly energized enough till evening. It was good for me too. 
I might need to hold her like that again tomorrow. 
She'll think she's getting spoiled...but if only she knew that I was the one getting spoiled. She's just such a little dear. I love her so much!

Gluten Free to Gluten-less

As some of you may know, my husband and I decided to go a month (<-- post about this adventure) without eating gluten products. We realized gluten was taking up the majority of our diet, and we wondered what it would be like to go without. Neither of us have an allergy or react badly to the gluten, but we decided to give it a try just the same.

We had cleared out all gluten from our kitchen and were strict when grocery shopping. While we were at home, it was great. Our meals were very healthy and filled with other products. But when we were with friends and family on the weekends, it was very difficult to stay on our diet. We didn't want people catering to our challenge, and we ended up eating quite a bit.

Near the end of the month, we began to feel the strain of not simply having a quick sandwich to throw together. Still lovers of cereal, we couldn't afford the brand name of CHEX every week. It's very expensive substituting regular foods for gluten free similars.

We decided not to stick with the gluten free diet after all. Instead we try to cut back on how much we consume. It's much harder than it may sound. I have a newly-found respect for anyone with celiac's disease; going without gluten is more than simply not having bread. That's for sure!

We learned a few things from this month though. My husband's packed lunches contained more fresh fruit, cheese, and raw veggies. We also found that wrapping our chicken/tuna salads in a big leaf of lettuce worked just as well as two pieces of bread. We also found a delicious gluten free pancake mix that tastes more like a dessert than breakfast. I also found that cooking with tapioca flour is a lot of fun and makes delicious baked goods.

So there you have it. Thanks for your interest in the past month! I'm sure there will be something new coming up. :) Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Your advice is needed! "Babes on a Plane"

A reader sent in a question looking for some insight. I thought I'd open this topic up to all the Exceptional Parents here and hopefully together, we can help her out! Here's what she said: 


Have you ever flown with [Little Olive]? I have taken B. (who is 15 months) on 25+ flights since he was 3 months old, and at first it was super easy since he would sleep. Now he won't sit still and wants to walk everywhere, which is really bad for take off and landing when I can do the least to distract him. I don't mind all the nasty looks from people around me because I have the nerve to bring my child in public, I just hate having to restrain him while he's so upset, and feeling like there is nothing I can do to make it a fun time. Do you know any quiet games or anything of that sort that I could play with him both at the gate and on the plane?


For starters, I think it's cool that you're not bothered by the nasty looks from other passengers. That takes some confidence, for sure. I'd probably start crying. ;P


Yep, I have taken my daughter on two flights. One when she was about 7 months, and the other when she was 11 months. Both times, the flights were early enough that her sleep schedule had been disrupted due to driving to the airport. She was very tired by the time the plane took off, so after a nice nursing, and with her pacifier, a blanket, and some cuddles, she was asleep before we left the ground. The flights were also short (about 2.5 hours) so her nap took up most of them. (Ahh...those were the days of long naps.)


However, if we were to go on a plane now, I can imagine we'd be having the same difficulties you are. Little Olive wants to walk everywhere, or have us stand and hold her. Since our kids are only three months apart, here is what I would plan if we were in your shoes: let him walk around at the airport as much as possible before boarding. Stick close to the gate, but don't try to have him sit on your lap. Also, if your seats are reserved (I know Southwest has open seating, which could make this next part stressful), don't rush to be the first ones on the plane. I know a lot of airlines do "preferred family seating," but unless your son is ready to snuggle in for a nap, wait till closer to the end and then board. The less sitting he has to do, the better. Have him get out as much energy as possible. :)


Once in your seats, pull out his favorite things. His favorite snack that he hasn't had in a while, a special treat that you don't normally give him, his prized books, maybe an old cell phone, some music on a headset or cd player, some crazy gadget that isn't even a toy...


Another thing that might work is saving his pacifier (if he uses one) for the times when he's upset. Instead of him having it beforehand, it might be enough to calm him down once you have to sit him on your lap. I used to do this at the grocery store. Little Olive cried when I put her in the cart, so I saved her pacifier till this point and it would help her handle the stress. (How dare Mommy put me down!)


If the distractions aren't cutting it, and it's time for take-off or landing, don't be afraid of putting your foot down and having him sit for a few minutes. It's hard though. It totally stinks when your baby is crying and wants "down", but if that's what needs to be done until it's safe, don't worry. You aren't being a bad mother at all. Unfortunately, you really can't have a logical conversation with him at this age. Of course you can totally talk to him, tell him what's going on, and try to soothe him; it just might work! :)


Now, I'd like to ask all the people reading this to offer any additional or different advice! Around this age, what has worked best for you? Any tips for the months ahead? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Best Gluten Free Bread Recipe

While on our gluten free diet for a month, I tried out a few bread recipes. In our area, a decent GF loaf of bread costs around $5 - which is absolutely too high for us. We bought one, and it was delicious, but I challenged myself to make some from scratch. After a few delicious but crumbly tries, I came across this amazing gluten free bread recipe.  You can go to the website for more tips, but here's the recipe with my adjustments:

Really Good Gluten Free Sandwich Bread
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ c. water (105 degrees or a little less than hot)
2 ½ cups of gluten free flour (I used half tapioca, half rice flour)
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 ½ Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1. Start by combining the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add the water while gently stirring the yeast and sugar. Let this mixture sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients – bubbles and foam should form if the yeast is happy.
2. Combine the flour mix, xanthan gum and salt in the largest mixing bowl and stir well.
3. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and vinegar until the eggs are a bit frothy.
4. By this point the yeast mixture should be foamy, so you can pour the two liquid mixtures into the flour mixture. Blend the dough with a mixer for 4 minutes.
Scoop the dough into a greased loaf pan. Allow the dough to rise in a warm area until is is about 1 inch from the top of the pan. Then bake at 375 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes.
I wish I'd taken a picture of this loaf - but my daughter and I practically ate the whole thing that day. It is awesome for sandwiches, toast, spreads...just try it! :) 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mother's Intution

I feel like I've been away from the blog world for a year...but it has really only been a week. Hi y'all. Did you miss me? I did! My husband and I went out of town for five days for a family wedding. It was a nice weekend; we spent loads of time with friends and family, and the wedding was a lot of fun. Bride was lovely...her dress was definitely competing with Princess Kate. (In my opinion!)

And yet we're glad to be back home too. Going on trips really tugs at my patience. I try to imagine everything going smoothly and always being in an energetic, happy mood. But as the saying goes, "Wherever you go, there you are." Life and people don't change just because you go on a trip. There's a lot of planning, packing, organizing, and laundry beforehand. In the car there's a plethora of bags, sippy cups, spills, lots of turning around in the passenger seat on the thru-way to find the lost book/pacifier/blanket. My purse becomes a 50 lbs weight as it tries to hold every thing we might need when leaving the car or hotel room. There's the challenge of trying to keep our diets healthy. There's crankiness when sleep routines and naps are disrupted. There's a lot of driving, waiting, walking, and breathing - it takes a lot of energy to pull off that smile at all times.

Even though life while traveling isn't always ideal, there are ways to make it more relaxing. Here's how we did it - and naturally, because we're so amazing, you should follow our lead:

Eating her pears one
morning in the hotel bed.
1) We split up the 8+ hour drive over two days, which ended up doubling the length of our whole trip. But it was definitely better than trying to cram it all in one day.
2) We took bathroom or snack stops whenever we needed without looking at the clock or miles
3) We had ample snacks and juice on hand while driving
4) We used disposable diapers instead of cloth all weekend
5) We used a car DVD player
6) We set limits and said "no" to extra plans or ended the day when needed
7) We upgraded to a nicer hotel room the last night, just to treat ourselves (and hey, for $5 it was worth it!)
8) We made exceptions, like stopping for McDonalds on the way home

You might think some of them are unnecessary, but they made a huge difference in our attitudes. I'm not an advocate for plopping your kid down in front of the TV for hours or treating it like a babysitter. Let me tell you, though, when those Baby Einstein dvds are teaching your kid sign language, and encouraging them to tell you what they see ("dog! baby! duck! cup!"), I can make an exception. And in the middle of dead-stop traffic, they were a lifesaver! And boy was it hilarious watching Little Olive's face light up while she sat down in McDonald's with her "fresh fries"!

Hooray for quality time
I think sometimes you just have to go with your gut and do what's needed when the time comes. Call it mother's intuition (<-- very cool article I read the other day) or whatever you'd like, but you just have to follow your heart (<-- another cool blog about this topic). I could have said "no" to the dvd player and dealt with a total meltdown for an hour on the highway. We could have said "no" to McDonald's and instead ate Subway for the third time that weekend. We could have kept our original reservation at the hotel and squeezed into that small bed. I could have gone out at night with all the young folk...and watched everyone else drink while I was falling asleep in the corner. Besides...with a pregnant DD, my husband would have never tried running home in the rain, illegally trespassed on a college campus, twisted his ankle, gotten lost, and hitch-hiked back to our hotel.

I mean, what a story for the grandkids!

All in all, it was a fun weekend and I'm glad we went. Share your tips for making traveling easier with youngsters!


Constipation Cookies

Yes, I'm one of those moms who discusses my child's poop. I wouldn't have to except lately, she's been extremely aware of this bodily function, and sometimes that does more harm than good. She usually cries when she has to go, and sometimes I think she holds it because she doesn't like it. In any case, she's having some fiber issues...the first food that comes to mind for this situation is prunes, but my Little Olive refuses any and all forms. (I can't really blame her...they're a little gross.) So my mom and sister suggested being sneaky to get some good food in her system. Since my daughter would stop the earth's rotation upon hearing the word "cookie", I went with this route.

I found this recipe but changed some stuff to fit our needs. You can follow either one but my recipe below is tailored toward "bulk". The great thing is that my daughter really thinks she's getting a treat when she's actually getting some necessary foods! 

Share other recipes or ideas for this topic!

Ingredients (for approximately four dozen): 

3 cups oatmeal
2 eggs
¾ cup applesauce
¾ cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla flavor because it was what we had in the house. I think it made the cookies delicious.)
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup 
molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (or a few) drizzle of pure maple syrup
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup of tapioca flour (this is a delicious gluten free flour that added a lot of sponge to the cookie. Highly recommend it, but I would assume any cup of flour would work fine.)
1 cup (or more) chocolate chips



Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Put the oatmeal into a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients (eggs, applesauce, yogurt, peanut butter, mollases, vanilla, maple syrup). Mix and let it soak while you prepare the rest.

In a separate bowl, mix together the crushed walnuts and other small dry ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon). 

To the dry ingredients, mix in the flour and lastly, the chocolate chips. Add to wet mixture until blended. 

Lightly oil two baking sheets - I used canola oil. Drop batter in rows on cookie sheets. Bake one sheet at a time. 350° for 13 minutes. 

Monday, May 09, 2011

There's Nothing Like a Mother's Love

There I was, maybe seven months pregnant with Little Olive, spilling my heart out during a prenatal visit. It was a stressful time for me back then. I was working full-time in the infant room at a day care center, and the workload and constant crying of babies was taking a toll on me. At a point where I should have been beyond excited for the arrival of my child, I was spending about 40 hours a week wondering how I was ever going to handle it.

I had tried talking to my bosses about the situation, saying I needed more help in the room. But no, no. NYS has a ratio of 4:1 and because Grand Old NYS says that's an acceptable ratio, all caretakers should be able to handle it.

But who really expects a mother to handle quadruplets by herself, all day, with no help?

Apparently, New York!

So in an attempt to be heard by someone, I told my midwife, her assistant, and my husband how I was feeling during our visit in late September. I remember saying, "I'm just afraid I won't love my own baby enough because I'm so stressed out at work all the time."

Looking back, I can't believe I actually said that. Speaking to two mothers, I don't think they could either. But a part of them must have understood, because they were extremely gentle and encouraging with easing my worries. They told me everything would really be fine once the baby came, and in the meantime, just to try and relax at work.

Well, three days later, I quit! Long story for sure, but it was the best thing I've ever done.

Without the stress of the day care, I was able to focus on myself and the baby. I had some great downtime until mid-November when Little Olive made her arrival! (<-- birth story.) And then, things were never the same.

I had had favorites at all the day cares I worked. Lauren, Michael, Donovan, Devon, Kris, Ruth, Leigha...just thinking of their little faces and their smiles is making me smile. They're all probably so big now - I wonder if I'd even recognize them. When I saw them every day, I felt a certain love that I figured must be the same as what parents feel. You just wanted to scoop them up, give them the most attention, and tend to them first.

But then I had my own baby. And now I realize the love I had for my favorites at work was completely different compared to what I feel for my own daughter. There is almost no describing it. Becoming a mom showed me a new meaning to the word "love." I love my husband and my daughter equally...but they are two very different kinds of love. Each one actually helps me in my role with the other.  Little Olive has shown me there is no limit to how much love can be given.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Poem from my husband

On my first Mother's Day, when I was pregnant with Little Olive, my husband surprised me with this beautiful poem. It still makes me cry when I read it. I hope you enjoy it too.


~*~

Give this to my mommy

Hey der mommy, it's me from below!
Jus wanted to write you a litle hello
I've been in you now for almost 10 weeks
An wouldn't yeh knows it I started to speaks!

Now der's jus a few things I wanted to say
To my Mudder on this her firs Mudder's Day
Fer starts that I loves you though we haven't met
An that I'm excited that that days been set

An thanks for all those pills you took
An for writing bouts me in yer bedtime book
An fer gettin up at nights to pee
An fer all the times you worrys bout me

I sorrys that I make you sick
An makes you choosey the foods you pick
But I really like the stuffs you eat
It makes me strong and grows my feet

I love how you are always near
I think abouts you a lot in here
An I love how you carrys me around
An I bet yer as pretty as you sound

When I gets out of this crazy place
I finally gets to see yer face
An we'll take walks and eat an play
An laugh and sing an sleep all day

So until then I says to you
Thanks for all these things you do
An thanks fer lettin me live in yer tummy
An most of all for be my mommy!


© My Child is Very Advanced 2011

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother's Day Survey

Here's a picture of my sister and I with our mom.
Ironical, it was taken on Mother's Day three years ago!
In honor of Mother's Day weekend, I've prepared a couple posts for the holiday. Today, we learn a little bit about MY mom. I found this little survey and decided to fill it out for her. :)


My mom's name is: LuAnn
The color of my mom's hair is: Very dark brown
My mom's eyes are: Brown
I think my mom is about 30 years old
My mom's favorite color is: Blue
My mom's nickname is: Boo (only by my dad though!)
My mom's favorite TV show is: Aarti Party
My mom likes to: do crossword puzzles, knit, crochet, and spend time with family but she doesn't like to: cook. Well, she does more now that we've gotten into Food Network. 
My mom likes to eat: Cannoli's and anything without corn.
My mom likes to drink: Those amazing white peach sangrias at Applebee's!
My mom looks best when: She wears bright colors!
In the summer, my mom likes to: Be outside and not complain about the heat
In the winter, my mom likes to: Stay warm by the fire and not drive in the snow
Someday my mom wants to: Go to Europe and see the Vatican, Lourdes, Fatima, etc. 
My mom's favorite music is: I know she likes Boston, Rush, and Frank Sinatra. (Haha, just kidding.)
A favorite memory with my mom is: all the talks we've had while I was growing up or becoming a mom
My favorite thing about my mom is: she never stops giving. 


I love you!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Mothering is a fulltime job


Especially when your little one isn't feeling well. This picture has been us all week. She's asleep in my arms at the moment...hopefully she'll be back to herself tomorrow. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

A mom's wisdom on...vegetables!

Buy this new juice! Each glass has two hidden servings of vegetables!

Give your kids this brand of tomato sauce! Two servings of veggies are hidden - they'll never know!

Put sugar on your kids' vegetables! They'll never know they're eating veggies.

http://www.tinybirdsorganics.com/wood-food-toys.html


Well, I'm going to admit: I'm one of those parents who would consider buying a "hidden veggie" product. My husband and I eat veggies, but not often enough. It's no wonder that Little Olive refuses hers. At a recent chiropractor's visit, the doctor (who is awesome, by the way) asked about L.O.'s diet, and whether or not veggies were a big part. I told her the truth: No, they weren't. Instead of clicking her tongue at my horrible parenting (she must have sensed I was an exceptional one), she gave me some very good advice for this topic.

1) Every day when you're making dinner, and the kids are getting crabby because they're hungry, set out some veggies on the counter. Peas, green beans, broccoli, cut up carrots, peppers, etc. As the kids come in and out of kitchen (or help with preparing the meal), they can snack on the veggies. Come dinner, if they don't finish every thing on their plate, don't worry. They've already eaten the best part that you'd otherwise be pushing them to eat at the table.

2) During the day, set out veggies at their level for the kids to eat whenever they want. Instead of snacks like chips, cookies, candy, or other processed foods, they'll be able to eat healthy.

It sounds perfect and magical, and you imagine your stubborn little one happily crunching on a whole head of kale. Unfortunately, it's not going to happen overnight. I'm still working on this with L.O. Repeated exposure is going to work eventually. She enjoys potatoes, avocados, sweet potatoes, and sometimes peas. I hope to add more to the list. 

I know the other problem is that we eat lots of sugar in our home. Little Olive knows that eventually, if she refuses the healthy food long enough, she'll get one of her "approved' foods. Oh I know...go ahead and deduct 10 points from my score. The reason I'm openly admitting this is because I actually just realized it a couple days ago. When you're in the picture, all you want is your child to be happy and full. But alas, I've totally turned into one of those moms who will pick out all the purple Fruit Loops for my kid because he refuses to eat any of the other colors! Or any other food for that matter. (I don't do this; I heard a story about a mom who did.)

But NO. Believe it or not, kids will learn. If parents are strong and consistent enough, kids will eventually learn that Mommy and Daddy aren't going to give in. Eventually they will realize that they can't dictate what foods are best for them. So this week, I'm starting to cut back on the amount of sugar in Little Olive's diet and expose her repeatedly to veggies. Wish me luck! I'll give you an update in a couple weeks. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May is for Mothers

Ever since the A-Z Challenge came to a close, I'm on a roll for themes. I decided to dedicate the month of May to Mothers, Motherly Things, and Motherhood. I won't be posting every day. As a mother myself, I have responsibilities. I usually blog during Little Olive's naps or when she's asleep for the night. I broke that "usual" a few times in April when the every day blogging came into play. But I'm going to relax this month.

In honor of Pope John Paul II's Beatification today (!!!), I bring you this quote to start off the month:

Motherhood always establishes a unique and unrepeatable
relationship between two people: between mother and child, and between child and mother.
Even when the same woman is the mother of many children, 
her personal relationship with each one of them is of the very essence of motherhood.
For each child is generated in a unique and unrepeatable way.
And this is true both for the mother and for the child.

-Blessed Pope John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater




I cannot tell you how much I love the
Willow Tree figurines. I have a few and
just found this one online. Too precious
for words...so I'll stop typing. :)