Book Review: Grieving Together: A Couples Journey through Miscarriage

Resources for Miscarriage and Infant loss are few and far between, but Laura and Franco Fanucci have offered something beautiful to fill the void. Their new book Grieving Together is a lovely collection of practical and spiritual advice, along with stories to remind you that you’re not alone.

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Below is a reflection I wrote shortly after we lost our little one at 8 weeks gestation, back in 2017, long before our Blaise was even a dream.

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When we married, we jump head long into the baby days, welcoming our first shortly before our first wedding anniversary.  We spent the next ten years in the throws of babies and diapers, pregnancy and nursing. Exhausting years. Happy years. And then no babies came for a while.  After six completely uneventful, healthy pregnancies, it was odd not to be in that place anymore.

And then we were pregnant again.  We were thrilled, jumped in feet first, and assumed that it would be like all of the others – relatively smooth and uneventful.  But we were wrong. God took our little one home to Himself and our hearts were broken.

Our earthly, human hearts were so sad to lose this little one.  But with hearts that look towards Heaven we can also see the blessing we were given.  With the gift of our Catholic faith, we firmly believe in the world to come and that our job as parents is to get our little ones there.  This is a daunting task for any parent. In this way, miscarriage is a gift. It’s not one you’d ask for and it’s difficult to accept, but if you look closely, you can see God’s hand at work.

My husband and I have six souls entrusted to us here on earth and are tasked with their formation.  That’s scary. Terrifying, really. But our one sweet soul is safely where it belongs! Success! That’s a terrific joy and deep consolation to our hurting hearts.

God has given us our own personal saint to help us on this journey.  He knew we needed all the help we could get! Our children here with us have a heavenly helper to call on whenever they need it.  I often ask our baby for his heavenly intercession. I know my kids are born naggers and I assume this one is no different! Nag God for you mama, please, dear.

As Catholics, we believe that we are all connected through the Communion of Saints.  The Church Militant works diligently, here in the trenches, while the Church Triumphant carries us through with prayer.  To know that your own flesh and blood is a joy-filled member of that Church Triumphant, basking in the light of His face, cheering you on and praying you through, is truly a gift and consolation.

As is the way with some of  God’s gifts, my earthly, very human heart would never have asked for this particular one.  But I know that His plan is always better than mine. And I know that when the veil is lifted, we will see all of our crosses as the gifts He intended them to be.  We will see that He perfectly knows our needs, even when we do not. And we pray that one day we will all join our sweet Saints together in that beautiful Church Triumphant.

***

I am thrilled to also have a copy of Laura and Franco’s book Grieving Together: A Couples Journey through Miscarriage to give away to one of you! Just leave a comment to enter and I’ll choose a winner on Sunday!

If you’d like to purchase this beautiful little book, it’s currently available from Our Sunday Visitor as well as Amazon.

Disclosure:  As a part of the book launch team, I received a free copy of this book.  All thoughts are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.

Holiday Gift Guide: Spotlight on The Catholic Woodworker

For today’s spotlight, we have The Catholic Woodworker, Spiritual Weapons built for battle. Jonathon makes these sweet, perfectly sized little prayer sets, beautiful rosaries, and gorgeous pocket crosses.

My husband recently switched jobs and brought home all that he’d collected on his previous office desk. When I showed him this little prayer sat, he said it was perfect desk size and that he’d had a beautiful funeral card on his desk for years, but no good way to display it – this is the solution!

This little prayer set is the perfect manly gift or small stocking stuffer for the guy who has everything. It comes with a couple holy cards, but obviously any holy card with fit perfectly.

The Catholic Woodworker also carries pocket crosses and beautiful rosaries!

You can find The Catholic Woodworker on Instagram and Facebook @TheCatholicWoodworker

The Catholic Woodworker is offering 20% off designer and custom rosaries with code Rosary20 .

 

Spotlight On_The Catholic Woodworker

Holiday Spotlight: Sicut Cervus

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Today’s holiday spotlights comes from my long time friend Jamie! Jamie is a sweet mama to eight and has always been a talented artist. Somehow, in her early years of mama-hood, her pencils and paper and clay got figuratively lost in the shuffle of life.

I’m so glad she’s picked it all back up again and is finding time to get back to her creativity. She is currently stocking her shop with the most adorable little clay figurines. I don’t think photos do justice to the detail Jamie has put into these creations.

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I love what Jamie has to say about the joy and peace found in creating:

There is joy, great joy, in the vocation of motherhood, but I couldn’t see it because I’d lost touch with what really fed my spirit. I needed to create again for the good of my family. So, despite the craziness of daily life (or maybe BECAUSE of it) making time to create beauty brings some peace to our crazy home.

She sent me the most charming St Nicholas for this review, but she says she also loves to do custom work, so don’t hesitate to approach her with an idea!

I love St. Nick’s little bag! The detail and features are so charming.

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You can find Jamie and all of her creations at Sicut Cervus on etsy or @sicutcervus on Facebook.

Holiday Spotlight: Blessed Friends Forever

IMG_0064Up next on our holiday gift giving spotlight series is Blessed Friends Forever (they’re your BFFs!). Marie draws and designs these sweet little pillows herself. I just love that she is having custom fabric produced, so she can sew up these little pillows. Custom fabric is something I’ve dreamed of, but never tried.

These sweet little pillows are just the right size for children to cuddle. Marie has also just started make swaddle blankets and they look lovely.

Here’s what Marie has to say about her process and the drive behind her shop:

I love making these drawings because it has become therapeutic and very stress relieving. I also enjoy discovering more about saints, why they have the clothes they wear, what they are known for, and especially asking for their intercession as I make each saint. I have found great comfort drawing these saints and creating pieces with them for others to enjoy, mainly as pillow dolls. I’ve definitely learned to appreciate the craft of sewing while making these products as well (it isn’t easy)!

You can find Marie and all of her handmade goodies at Blessed Friends Forever! She’s also on Instagram @blessedfriendsforever

Holiday Gift Spot Light: Lobsters and Lollipops

Along with the gift guides this month, I’ll have a number of posts highlighting some amazing mama made products. And many of these ladies have offered giveaway items for you, as well! Be sure to follow along, so you don’t miss out.

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First up is Lobsters and Lollipops. I met Alyssa not too long ago and she’s a real gem! We have a very similar idea of what makes an awesome, imagination building toy, so when I saw her pegs dolls, I knew my girls had to have some. They’ve been tucked away in my closet for weeks now and I can’t wait for Christmas to give them to the girls.

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And then! Alyssa offered to send me a set to review AND some pegs to giveaway! Her felt sets and sweet peg dolls are so cute. The felt sets are the perfect size and very sturdy. They’ll live up to kid abuse, all while growing the imagination of your little one.

She has mermaids and fairies, which was right up the alley of my girls loves! She has recently added St George and his dragon to her line up and it’s just darling. Blaise will most certainly be needing that set in a couple years.

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I love that Alyssa started making toys just for her kids. She had a desire to minimize the toy box and her pegs were part of the solution! Clearly, all of her toys are kid tested, right in her own home.

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::::CLOSED::::

Winner is Noreen!

 

{{{GIVEAWAY!!}}} Alyssa has generously offered two of her sweet mermaid- Fine and Flora – to one of you, my readers! One of you will win 2 hand painted mermaids and a wonderful little seashell felt home.

To enter:

Follow Alyssa on IG @lobstersandlollipopstoys and on Facebook @LobstersandLollipops

Follow me here on the blog and on IG @wildthings_adventures

Share this post on social media and TAG us both, for extra entries!

Come back here and comment to let me know what you’ve done!

{{{GIVEAWAY ends Sunday November 11 at NOON EST}}} Winner will be contacted via Instagram and announced here!

Lobsters & LollipopsReview and GIVEAWAY!

2018 Holiday Gift Guide – Creative Play

Open ended, creative play is so important for our little ones. Play is a child’s work! It is how he learns about the world around him and sets a firm foundation for book learning later on in life. I love to see little ones playing and using their imaginations. Here are a few open ended, imagination nurturing toy ideas. (This post contains affiliate links)
Handmade whimsical play sets to spark childhood imagination, designed using Waldorf-inspired principles to enhance open-ended play. Available in complete play sets and stand-alone items, Lobsters & Lollipops toy collections focus on popular children’s themes including Fairies, Unicorns, and Mermaids.
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Coupon Code: WILDTHINGS for free standard domestic shipping on orders of $35 or more
Order before 12.10 for Christmas delivery
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/lobstersandlollipopstoys , @lobstersandlollipopstoys , Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lobstersandlollipops, @lobstersandlollipops
Also, stay tuned for a spotlight post on Lobsters & Lollipops, including a fantastic GIVEAWAY!
This is actually my own shop, featuring Adventure Bags, Adventure Logs, and other items aimed at getting the kids outside and finding adventure, everyday!
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Order by December 1 for Christmas delivery!
Gorgeous hand dyed play silks
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We received one of these create your own peg sets and my girls were so enamored! It had everything they needed to create delightful pegs.
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Sarah’s Silks
I’ve always thought these Wavee Boards are so cute and I’ve wondered a bit if they’d be good for Blaise’s foot and ankle strength. And that’s how it landed on this list!
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And what would you add to this list of open ended toys? Stick around – by following the blog, IG @wildthings_adventures or FB @wildthingsadventure – to see all of the gift guides and spotlight posts!
Slack Line – This is something we’ve had for a few years and always gets used. Visiting kids jump on to give it a try or our girls experiment on it while their daddy works outside. It’s been a hit.

Trampoline – I know people have conflicting opinions on this one, but we love our trampoline. I remember when my parents bought one for us, growing up, and they still have it today. We got one for our  kids last year and it sees almost daily use. It’s also a hit with visitors.

A number of these items come from beautiful shops on Etsy. Remember that Etsy has a 2.5% cash back on order made through your Ibotta app!
In case you missed it: The Catholic Guide, earlier this week.
Here are past years posts:

2018 Christmas Gift Guide – Catholic Style

It’s amazing how quickly a year flies by. It’s time again for my series of Christmas Gift Guides! I am so excited about the items I’ve found to share with you. There is so much talent out there and hopefully some of it will find its way into your Christmas celebrating this year. All of these items are hand crafted just for you.

You can find last year;s Catholic Gift Guide here.

Salem Studio

Catholic home goods designed for liturgical living: cookie cutters, rolling pins, rosary cases, candles and more

Such fun, cute items for celebrating our faith!

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Use Coupon Code wta10 for a discount!

Be sure to order by December 15 for Christmas delivery.

Find them on Instagram: @salemstudio

Sturdy handcrafted gear for the battle-ready Catholic. Ready-made and custom rosaries,
chaplets, cufflinks, necklaces, and more!
This scrubber is so clever!
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Use coupon code: ADVENTURE10 for a discount!
Be sure to order by December 7 for Christmas delivery
Find them of Facebook @ourladysarmory  or Instagram @our_ladys_armory/
Scapulars & Marian bracelets for every lifestyle, easy to match & easy to wear. Sign up to receive once a month free resources to grow in faith
These bracelets are gorgeous!
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Use coupon code SHOP2018
Order by December 8 for Christmas delivery!
Spiritual Weapons built for battle. Our mission is to spread devotion to the rosary and the holy family to help us build up the domestic church.
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Create a sacred space for prayer at home and on the go.
Use coupon code Rosary20 – for 20% off designer and custom rosaries
Be sure to order by December 15 to ensure Christmas delivery.
Follow along @thecatholicwoodworker on Facebook and Instagram
We offer a subscription box for Catholic kids ages 3-8+ that offers craft projects and activities related to the Mass and Bible.
Check out their new Advent Mass Box!
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@themassbox on FB and IG
I design saints on pillow dolls and prayer cards, and have a few baby swaddle designs.. great for every day play, prayers, and cuddles! Hence, having best “blessed” friends forever.
FREESHIP for free shipping
@blessedfriendsforever
Annunciation Designs offers hand-lettered products to help families call to mind the Sacred in the midst of the ordinary. #Saintgoals apparel, tea towels…and now, subscribe to monthly letters from The Wanderlust Catholic
Each month, The Wanderlust Catholic subscribers will receive a hand-lettered and illustrated letter detailing the beauty and wonder of a piece of Catholicism.
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Use coupon code: wildthings15 – 15% off the first 3 months of your subscription
Order by 12/8 to ensure Christmas delivery!
Find her: instagram.com/annunciationdesigns; facebook.com/annunciationdesigns
Rosaries and other handmade items designed to live the Catholic Faith in truth and beauty.
smallthings
I will be having a sale from mid November through mid December.
Order by 12/14for Christmas delivery!
Find her: IG @smallthings.gr8love
Handmade, Christian jewelry using a variety of new and vintage materials inspired by my Catholic faith.
Five Decade rosary wrap bracelet with solid bronze button clasp and gemstone beads.
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Use code: CHRISTMAS2018 for free shipping
Crochet Doll Patterns of Saint Dolls, Crochet Kits and handmade Saint Dolls
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free shipping – no code needed
Order by 12/04
Find her on instagram @myblessedfrienddolls
Handmade Catholic rosaries, chaplets, and jewelry; custom orders welcome!
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Order by 12/18
Find her: facebook.com/comeholyspiritrosaries, instagram.com/comeholyspiritrosaries
{{Be sure to visit all of these great makers! I have spotlight posts of some extra special makers, plus a few more gift guides coming up, so stay tuned! Follow me here on the blog or on IG @wildthings_adventures or on Facebook @wildthingsadventure so you don’t miss out.}}
Also! Many of these shops are found on Etsy, which currently has a 2.5% cash back offer on Ibotta!

Greater than Gold

I’m over at Catholic Sistas today chatting baaaaabies!! And why having more is such fun. Even when the car breaks down and your bank account looks as dry as the Sahara.

https://www.catholicsistas.com/2018/08/greater-the-gold-adding-siblings-is-worth-the-sacrifice/

Homeschooling 2018: Our Action Plan

As our 2018 homeschooling year looms in my near future, I am sifting through books and lists and dreaming of field trips. I love peaking into everyone’s curriculum, so I thought I would share a bit of ours with you, too. (Last year’s can be found here.)

If you’ve written about your curriculm, link it below! All the homeschool mamas want to know!

We have four homeschoolers again this year, two high schoolers attending our local Catholic school, and we’ve added an infant, just to shake things up a bit. I envision many a read aloud with a baby on my hip, pacing the room as I read. It will be an adventure, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

My oldest homeschooler will be in sixth grade this year. He needs to hit the writing and grammar hard, so we found Well Ordered Language to make that happen. I’ve used Primary and Intermediate Language Lessons in the past and while I love how sweet and gentle it is, I think we are ready for something a little more intense. He and Bella will do this program together.

For math, PeterXavier will again be using Teaching Textbooks. It was wonderful last year and we plan to just keep plugging along with it. It really removes the full pressure of math from my plate and allows me to focus on subjects that are more my strength. I am all for farming out my weaknesses! I still help him, but it’s not nearly what it once was. I am a huge Teaching Textbooks fan!

Bella will be in fifth grade this year and after an explosion in her reading ability, I anticipate this year being much differnt than years past. She spend her summer in the hammock devouring any book within reach, so I am thrilled with her reading foundation! If you have a struggling reader HAVE PATIENCE! It will all click and then she’ll take off at lightening speed.

Bella will also be using Teaching Textbooks this year and hitting that grammar and writing program with her brother. She will study theology from Faith and Life, as well as King of the Golden City, which we will all read aloud together. Our only sacrament this year is Grace’s confirmation, so home based theology will be pretty straightforward. We also hope to get To Hear His Voice, so that we can all preread the weekly readings to be prepared for Sunday. I know I need this as much as they do!

Avila will be in third grade and ALSO doing Teaching Textbooks. I was happy to be able to purchase level three from a friend and Avila is excited to have work on the computer. Silly girl. We use Math for a Living Education last year and really liked it. I may get one of their lower level books for Kateri. I’ll have her continue on through Primary Language Lessons for her grammar and pull some spelling list for her, as well.

Bella and PeterXavier will be taking a Botany class through the local university and we will supplement that at home. I picked up a book on botany experiments and we also grow so much in our regular life, that I think they’ll learn a ton without too much extra book work.

As a group, we will study American History. We’ve done tons of ancient history together and covered early American History last year, so it will be fun to continue that on. With many trips to St Louis this year, we have to chatted about westward expansion quite a bit. We also hope to take a trip east to see all of the historic sites at some point in the year. I picked up a few picture books at a library book sale and hope to try out American History Stories as well. We have tried other history text in the past, only to abandon them pretty swiftly. I’m hoping this method of picture books, one text, some fun read alouds, and hopefully some field trips will make it all work a little better.

I don’t have trouble getting any of the kids to read, so I don’t worry too much about assigning them books. PeterXavier hesitates to break out of his fantasy genre, though, and Bella is often just searching for a suggestion. I did “assign” them each one book per quarter to read and orally tell me about. PX got: Treasure Island, Little Woman, Robinson Crusoe, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Isabella got: Pollyanna, Little Woman (into which she has already dived, anticipating a viewing of the movie with cousins soon!), Treasure Island, and The Little White Horse. These books are really just for fun!

I’m sure I’ve missed some things, but that’s a basic overview. Feel free to ask questions. I’d love to do a few more posts on the hows and whys of our schooling. Be sure to link your curriculum posts below, too!

I will do a post dedicated to PreK/Kindergarten soon. I am asked about this all the time! It may be short, though. We are big believers in play for the littlest ones.

 

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week. Why is it that anytime (every day!) there is a focus on bringing awareness or praising one lifestyle or way of doing things, the other side stands up offended.

World Breastfeeding Week offends the formula feeders. Mother’s Day offends the single ladies. World Clubfoot Day probably offended someone with normal feet. Who knows.

It’s like we all just like to be offended.

Anyway. I hear that this week is Breastfeeding Week. That’s cool. I’ve been using my body to feed small people for sixteen years. If they aren’t inside me, they’re outside feed off of me. And sometimes even both!

But let me tell you, doesn’t mean I’m special or a better mom than you. In fact, did you notice my radio silence a couple weeks ago when it was NFP awareness? Because I’m a rockstar in that department, too.

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Actually, I’m just lazy. I stink at NFP, because I’m lazy. I breastfeed, because I’m lazy. You ladies out there getting up in the middle of the night to make your baby a bottle- you totally rock. I could never in a million years do what you do.

I don’t know why you chose formula over breast. It’s not my business and I don’t really care. But I know that you clearly love your babies enough to drag yourself out of your cozy bed to make a bottle. Or think ahead every time you leave the house to make sure you have what you need.

I can barely remember diapers (and I just thank the heavens I haven’t yet forgotten the baby!). But lazy mama can remember the breast milk, since it’s attached to me! And I can feed my baby at night, because all I have to do is roll over! Yay, me!

Keep on keeping on, no matter who tries to raise awareness this week or next. You’re doing a great job, mamas!