Sunday, July 13, 2014

Answer Me This, Vol. 1

Every Sunday, Kendra hosts a round of Answer me This, the internet's favorite virtual cocktail party. I've finally decided to stop being a wallflower and rub elbow's with the other party goers, as it is.

1. How did you get your name?

The same way every Kayla born in the 80's did. My mom was an avid "Days of Our Lives" fan and Kayla and Patch were THE 'it' couple. So, naturally when my mom found out she was having a girl, she knew she'd name me after one of the most popular stars on daytime TV. Give her a break, she was 19.
My middle name is Leigh and that is also my uncle Kevin's middle name, whom my mom was closest to growing up.
When my brother Brad was in 2nd grade, he actually did have to wear a patch over one eye. My mother was giddy I tell you.

2. Do you have a set time for prayer in your day?

I'm working on it. Every morning, Lucy and I sit down for breakfast and I read the morning offering out of her little Golden Book of Prayers. We just started this about a month ago and more days than not, we (I) remember. I'd like to add in The Angelus at lunch time. Mostly though, it's pretty sporadic. I like to sing hymns while I'm cleaning (currently working on memorizing How Deep the Father's Love for Us.  Um, did you know that Owl City does a version of this?? Love them.) and I have a rosary in the pocket of the nursery rocking chair for those extra long nursing sessions.

I'd love to pray at least one Hour and I am downright awful at getting in "quiet time" with my bible and Jesus. AWFUL. It's one of those things that I always say to myself "Kayla, today, you're going to have a quiet time" and then it never ever happens. I think I make it bigger in my mind than it needs to be. Like, when I sit down with my bible, I need to have my Catechism and various guides, plus colored pencils because ain't no bible study like a manuscript bible study, right?

3. Did your mom work, or stay home, or both?

Both, in their time. When it was just my brother and I, my mom worked full time. Once my mom started on her next round of babies, she stayed home because that made sense. She's been home ever since.

4. Do you vote?

Yes. Well. yes, but not often enough. I'm fairly oblivious and even though there were those pointless roadside signs littering the streets, I didn't realize that North Carolina was holding an election for anything in May until I heard someone talk about voting the day of. Oops. But I have voted in the last 2 presidential elections, which was about as useful as hoping to catch a goldfish in the ocean, but at least I can say I voted conscientiously. This is another one of those areas where I'd *like* to be more active and knowledgeable. Let me just fit that between folding laundry and changing diapers.

5. What's your favorite drink?

Non-alcoholic? In the morning, I prefer black tea with a lot of milk. Water is my go-to daytime drink, and I try to have at least one green, kefir based smoothie. But the drink that I reach for on special occasions? Sparkling white grape juice. It's what my mom would let us have on New Year's eve, when everyone else was drinking beer and it's just stuck with me as a "special" drink even though I'm perfectly old enough to enjoy a good beer.

Alcoholic? Anything with sugar, pretty much. The less it tastes like alcohol, the more I like it. I only started liking beer during my pregnancy. I actually craved beer and cigarettes at one point. While I didn't indulge the smoking craving (where did that even come from?! I don't smoke but once every other year or so and only cloves. I've had one tobacco cigarette in my whole life), I did sip from Ryan's beer. Guinness, so good. Lucy has good taste. Since then I've been opening up to other beers: Leinenkugel mostly but also Yuengling and whatever else my husband puts in front of me. He's finally not embarrassed to drink with me in public.

6. How are your photography skills?

Horrid. We have a DSLR which I use pretty much like a point and click. Just add "learn how to use my camera" on to my to-do list, please. Ryan did teach me about the "rule of thirds" so I try to remember that but it's safe to say I will never even pretend to be a professional photographer.

Ryan is really great at photography, if you will allow me to brag for him a bit. He's going to hate me for this, but I still like to go to his old Deviantart page and look at his pictures. I wish he'd still pursue photography as a hobby and not just photographing Lucy, though she is a very fun subject.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I can teach NFP!!

Technically, I am in my supervised practicum stage but the statement is still true:

I can teach NFP!!!!

So, if you or someone you know is interested in learning the Sympto-Thermal method of NFP, I'm your lady. From the Sympto-Pro website (the organization I am certifying through):

"No longer “guess work,” SymptoPro™ Fertility Education is an effective, scientifically based method of Natural Family Planning that treats fertility as a normal, healthy process. SymptoPro™ is a Sympto-Thermal Method of Fertility Education based on changes in a woman’s cervical mucus, waking or resting temperature, and cervix. These observable signs change in response to the hormones of the menstrual cycle. It only takes seconds a day for a woman to track her fertility; then the couple interprets the chart and makes a decision based on their family planning intention. SymptoPro™ works through periodic abstinence during the method-defined fertile time for couples who are avoiding a pregnancy. SymptoPro™ can be used effectively throughout a woman’s entire reproductive life. Regular cycles are NOT required. SymptoPro™ is NOT Calendar Rhythm."

I can teach online or in person (if you are in the Raleigh, NC area). Email me at: and we can talk details!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

20 things that make me smile

I'm a list maker. If there is a scrap of paper and some writing utensil near me, I'm going to make a list. I make lists of lists. I don't even have to cross anything off the list, just writing it makes me feel better.

So I have lists of possible blog posts written out, but no drafts. When Gina told me yesterday that I was tagged in a post to make a list, I thought "Hallelujah! I can totally" do this!" Bonus: It really made me smile, thinking about alllll the things I love and am grateful for. There were so many more than 20, but I had to stop somewhere.

20 Things That Make Me Smile

1. Watching Ryan and Lucy play together.

2. A warm cup of tea with plenty of milk in the morning.

3. Stepping out on my patio and breathing in the heady smell of fresh cut grass and roses in bloom.

4. Lucy's new (only) tooth. The kid is obsessed with it and it makes me smile to watch her little tongue twist and turn over the pearly white nub.

5. Reading good books.

6. Homemade cookies.

7. Celebrating with friends.

8. My new blender! And the Margarita Monday's now to follow :)

9. Successfully transferring Lucy down onto her crib mattress for her nap.

10. Throwing things away/giving things away. Seriously. I hate cleaning and getting rid of things is the perfect solution! For my birthday yesterday, we cleaned out my husband's closet plus two 18 gallon bins. The result? Two empty 18 gallon bins that will be put to better use (baby clothes), one trash bag full of clothes and two plastic sets of drawers that went to the Goodwill. Freedom.

11. Lucy's babbles.

12. Reorganizing.

13. Trips anywhere with Ryan.

14. The Little Free Library near our home.

15. Exploring the world with Lucy.

16. Quality homilies.

17. Creating something, anything.

18. Quiet moments.

19.  Ryan's enthusiasm for the NHL free agency. It just started today [at noon] and dude is OBSESSED.

20. Warm, clothes-sticking-to-you weather, perfect for being in the pool.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Welcome to the Family, Lucy!

Two weeks ago, Lucy was baptized! 

 Lucy and Daddy

 The whole family!

 Lucy with her Madrina (Godmother) Xhonane and Padrino (Godfather) Miguel

It was a beautiful ceremony celebrated in a private chapel in the Church with 6 other families. I must say, now I understand why baptizing newborns makes sense from a practical standpoint. Lucy had juuuuust entered her screaming phase and trying to get her to peacefully accept water being poured over her head was...unsuccessful. But it happened!

Welcome to the family, Lucy!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

On the road to Minimalism

I think I'm addicted to getting rid of things. I just hate cleaning that much, that I'd rather not own things which need cleaned. We used to just donate everything small to Goodwill and only sell that "big" things, but I've decided that since I rarely have the car to make Goodwill donation trips, I'd rather try selling our things first.

I think I've joined every single Buy/Sell/Trade group for my area on Facebook. I know it probably sounds crazy, but I get a little thrill whenever I list something for sale in these groups. Knowing that there is one more empty spot in my house is priceless.

But why? Well, when I realized that I was starting to feel like our home was too small for the three of us, I thought "this is NOT right". It just so happened that I also recently started listening to The Art of Simple podcast and reading simple living/minimalist blogs. A few days ago, Tsh interviewed Joshua Becker about minimalism and it was just the kick that I needed to jump in feet first!

I don't know exactly what minimalism will look like for us yet. It's a day-by-day thing. I started with simplifying my wardrobe. Next, I'm moving on to what's in our closets. Right now I'm only getting rid of things we clearly have no use for anymore. The hard part will come when we start paring down those things that we use but possibly have too much of or those things that we want to use, someday. I know that I have a nasty habit of attaching a lot of sentimental value on to items. Generally, I know exactly who gave me what, when, in my home and I can't ever imagine getting rid of it. But then I also think of all the things that I've given over the years - I can't even remember half the gifts (well, the epic fails I remember, but that's another story for another day) so it wouldn't hurt my feelings at all if I walked into the home of a dear friend and didn't see anything that I had given her. So why do I think others would be hurt if I no longer own gifts?

What about you? Do you enjoy decluttering? Or maybe you've already got a neat, tidy home. Tell us your secrets, please!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why are there videos of child abuse on Facebook?

And more importantly, what can we do about it??

Lucy is upstairs, taking her nap. She woke up and cried for me, so I went in, nursed her back to sleep and cuddled her for a bit. When I came back down I decided to get on Facebook for a few minutes, just to check in, see if any fun blogs have been updated.

Instead of a new blog post though, what I saw chilled me to the core. A video of a mother hitting her child, who is the same age as Lucy, in the head, over and over and over again. My sound was turned off and when I turned it on, cries. All I heard were his cries, punctuated by the sound of skin slapping on skin. It was a four minute long video, but I couldn't watch more than a few seconds before I cried along with the child and turned off the video.

After some crying and a little research, I have found that the video is old, a year at least and for an unknown reason has recently resurfaced. The video had been taken by a friend of the mother's as evidence for the police. (Link to CNN article about the video: Note: The video is not in the article. No pictures, just words. It is still heartbreaking.)

Unfortunately, this is the second time I have seen a video of child abuse on my newsfeed. Thankfully, the first time the parents were also prosecuted (I believe that the video was shown in part on daytime programming, Good Morning America, perhaps?). But why are these videos being put on Facebook to begin with? It shouldn't take becoming a viral video for the police to EVER hesitate to investigate child abuse. I'm not advocating putting our head in the sand and pretending this stuff doesn't happen. But I am wondering why parents are ok being filmed doing this to their children? I am wondering why, with all of our "advancements" this even still happens?

We live in a broken world and those who suffer the most are also the most innocent.

Lately, I just can't stop thinking about those crying children. Even before this, Lucy and I would be playing and she would laugh or I would be nursing her to sleep and she would just be so peaceful and my heart would get heavy, knowing that not all children are safe in their own homes, with their own mothers.

Lucy is crying, her nap is over now. Excuse me while I go love on her and perhaps cry onto her cheeks.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lucy is her name, destruction is her game

90% of the mess in this living room is thanks to some little girl who's favoritest past-time in the whole wide world is pulling things off shelves/out of containers/out of purses and diaper bags/ out of cupboards.

This is probably the cleanest that spot on the floor will ever be.

How does one child leave such a wake of destruction behind her? One child, with the destructive force of 10. This week she's learned how to climb up one step, she can reach with her whole body to get the stuff that we shove under the couch that last week was beyond her reach, and she apparently likes big dogs but not small dogs. Small, Lucy sized dogs are terrifying monsters but big dogs who could eat her in one bite are just more friends waiting to be made.

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