Tuesday, March 23, 2010



In times of greatest trial and tribulation, it is only necessary to open your heart and submit, and God reveals himself most openly.

I am in North Carolina right now; the Knights of Colombus at the Air Force Academy paid for N, T, and me to fly out here on 03/16 to be at the funeral of my baby sister, who was stillborn at 8 1/2 months of gestation. Hearts in my family break for the loss of DMN, who we were excited to meet and welcome fully into our lives. Grandma M went in on Th, 03/11 after noticing a lack of movement, and was told that she experienced something called placenta abruptio in which the placenta implodes, sometimes resulting in the death of the unborn child. Unfortunately, DMN was below the placenta and when the blood from the implosion pooled, my mom didn't know because the baby blocked the blood from escaping.

We buried DMN on Wed, 03/17. The funeral was beautiful but heartbreaking. Her casket was tiny. The attendance was much greater than expected, and many friends and family members sent condolences and flowers. My sisters NN, 18, and EN, 14, were the pallbearers. NN is in the Air Force Academy and she wore her dress blues for the funeral.

The cemetary was far from the church, and as we followed the hearse, we discussed how surreal it all felt.... Grandma M put it very eloquently, "I feel numb, and then I want to say, 'Give me back that pain! I want that pain!'" The grave was tiny, and didn't seem terribly deep. It was hard to see. Grandpa D began covering her casket, and we then took turns covering her up... N helped Mommy when it was her turn.

Then the church invited the guests to a small reception which was very tastefully done. Tablecloths, flowers, small sandwiches, and a buffet of other general reception foods.

We've received gifts of many varieties, from homemade and purchased foods to flowers to financial gifts to donations made in honor of DMN... We have been shown great love by many many people. DMN was allowed into a cemetary that's all but impossible to get into, on the graces of the Abbot. NN's Academy friends rallied and gifted a sum of money that will be used for DMN's headstone. My Uncle R, Aunt K and cousin L sent a beautiful nightlight of the Blessed Mother holding the baby Jesus.

As Father Buettner pointed out, there are two primary realities in motherhood: the reality of bringing life into the world and caring for that life, and the reality of surrendering and trusting that life to God. Just...most mothers don't experience the second in the sense of their son's or daughter's life in this world being extinguished. I hurt for my mother, but I know that her strength and her faith in God will pull her through this, though it will never be entirely gone.

So now I am here until the 31st. We didn't want to waste the time and money spent on getting N,T, and me to the funeral, so we are staying to spend some quality time with the family. D couldn't get the time off of work, and we're sorry that he couldn't, but sometimes that is how things happen.

Hopefully I'll be able to blog while I'm here, but I am focusing on family right now.

Lord, please grant my family healing in our time of need. Be with us and continue to reveal yourself to your servants. Please give us peace and humility. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. DMN, pray for us.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Not much to say

I got some bad news recently, which is why I've been Missing in action. I will likely address this when I get back into the blogosphere, but right now, I'm going to keep it to myself.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010



I'm going into work tonight for the first time since T was born.

They started calling, offering shifts here and there, a few weeks ago. I just wasn't really ready for it then, though. I thought I would be, but when they started offering, I realized I didn't want to go back yet.

But then I got an offer to work this shift.

And realized, "yeah! I am ready!"

So it's off I go. 5 whole hours away from both boys. We'll see how it goes. That's 5 hours that D is solely responsible for both boys. He's a good daddy, and I know he'll do great, but I wonder how worn out he'll be when I get home (it's always a little life-affirming when I get to see how he does when faced with my daily routine, but it's hard to see him so frayed).

*Wish us luck!*


Artwork Splurge

A while back, D and I decided that our house needed a little more wall decoration. As luck would have it, our timing couldn't have been better. There was a convention called, "The Starving Artists Sale" in town.

A number of local artists were selling reproductions of a number of famous paintings for a very reasonable cost.

We went, and were so thrilled by our purchases!

We actually got three reproductions, but one we gifted.

Aren't they perty?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Haircuts.. How do you?

We recently cut N's hair for the first time...

I had no idea what a time we were in for when we started!

I decided to do it at home. *BIG* mistake, given that our tools were...lacking.

First of all, N is an extremely curious child, and didn't want to sit still at all while I ran the clippers through his hair.

Add to that, he has incredibly fine hair which flows right through the guard without getting any shorter.

Mix in a nervous mommy.

Stir a bit and come up with...

An uneven head of hair...

So, how do you mommas do it? Cut hair at home? Bring them to a salon? Let Daddy worry about it? Share advice, stories, whatever. Let me know! :)

Monday, March 08, 2010


A little over a week

...until St. Patrick's Day.

How do you celebrate?

Every time I mention Corned Beef & Cabbage, at least one person tells me how they really don't like that dish. But my recipe just isn't a typical Corned Beef recipe.

Sweet Corned Beef & Cabbage
*flat cut beef brisket with seasoning
*head of cabbage
*4-5 red russet potatoes
*1/4 cup brown sugar
*2 tsp cinnamon
*2 tbsp butter

Boil beef brisket in water to cover & seasoning packet for 3 hours or until tender.
Preheat oven to 300*F
Transfer beef to foil-lined cookie sheet.
Cut cabbage into quarters, removing center. Cut potatoes into thirds. Boil cabbage and potatoes in the water left over from the beef brisket. 
Patty butter around on top of beef, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Cook until sugar glazes.
Serve hot

It isn't exactly the most healthy recipe. My corned beef is definitely a treat for special occasions. But it's absolutely delicious! :) I have yet to have anyone turn me down after they've tried it once... I do have to warn you, do not add salt until you've already tried it.

Do you have any fun/interesting St. Patty's Day recipes/traditions? Tell me about them!

Right Now

Dinner is prepared and waiting to cook,
N is napping in his bed,
T is asleep on my chest,
D is at work (I miss him),
The house is clean,
I'm drinking juice and planning our day tomorrow,
The weather is nice,
It's quiet,
The clock is ticking,
and I am so very very blessed.

Dear Lord, 
Thank you.


Our Photographer the Saint

Just got some of the originals from a couple photoshoots with a friend of mine. While going through them, I was blown away by her patience. I think I would have been yelling, "Hold STILL!" by some point!

I thought I would share a typical selection of some of them...

We didn't realize just *how* patient she'd had to be.

Because this is the sort of work that came back to us...

Now we realize how lucky and loved we are.

Thank you, RS, for all of your hard work! We love you!

Sunday, March 07, 2010



We enjoyed a day at the park with JB & RS on Saturday.

N was SOOOOO happy when we got there and he saw them!

JB let N ride the walk to the play structure on his shoulders.

Then it was straight to the swings!
N climbed up the rock wall and went down the slide...
T watched ... and slept...
Mommy brought milk, pb&j and oranges, but N was far too busy to eat.
Then eventually he just tuckered out...

N doesn't ask for much. He's young, so he's easily entertained by a trip to the park, some snacks, and attention. I've found, though, that it doesn't have to be exhausting loads of my attention. It doesn't have to be about me running around and getting tired while he is. I can stand, hold T, and swing N in the swings and that's about his favorite activity. I can encourage him to go down the slide over and over again, and while I need to be at the bottom, he is perfectly happy to do so. It's just important that I'm there and paying attention to him.
What N really can't stand, and I think this applies to many young children, is when I just don't pay attention. I don't have to take him to expensive events all of the time. When he was first starting to get interested in what was going on around him, I felt compelled to bring him to activities that I thought he would find exciting. I've since learned.

Mommas, don't stress out if you can't get up the money/energy to get to the zoo and children's museum and every other exciting event your 2 year old will never remember. It's more important to him/her that you're there and paying attention than the event itself. Appreciate that while your little ones are still little ones. Bring your little guy or girl out to help you garden. Teach them about the activities you're doing, and occasionally, bring them to fun cheap places nearby, like a local park. But pay attention to them! That's all they're really asking for at this age, anyway!


A Good Time at Mass

Usually, I love bringing the boys to mass on Sundays.

That said, today I was not looking forward to mass.

D just had his work schedule change from 1:30-10pm (M-F) to 10:30am-7:30pm (Th-M). Knowing that he was going to be missing every *other* mass option, we had planned to bring the boys to the earlier 8am mass....

But then life happened. We ended up missing the 8am service and I set out to get the boys to the 10:30 service. Alone. (Yikes!)

We got to mass (5 minutes late... well, we can't do it all...) and I was prepared. I had entertainment and a tippy cup for N and a blanket and Snuggli carrier for T (my very favorite Moby Wrap was in the dirty laundry unfortunately).

N was FABULOUS! He sat in the pew all through mass, barely complained at all, and I only ended up needing the tippy cup. YAY!

After mass, the dad sitting in front of us turned around and complimented N on his good behavior. And then we went down for cocoa and donuts and N enjoyed running around with the other children...

I was worried, I'll be honest, that N would figure that he could get away with more without D there. And we're stick-in-the-mud parents about mass (when he misbehaves, he goes outside for a time-out, not to the cry room to play with toys/other children), so I was really worried about how I was going to be able to handle N during mass with T in the Snuggli.

I am SO proud of his good behavior!

Every week, I think about his baptism. He has always loved mass. It could be the peaceful setting. Could also be the music. He LOVES music.

My little guy. How can 19 months have passed by so quickly? And how is it that they seem to be moving even faster these days?

We're scheduling T's baptism soon...

How do they get so big so fast?


Cooking with Little Ones

I remember as a kid loving to be a part of just about everything that went on in the kitchen.

Of course, I stopped showing an interest in dishes when I realized they were work...

But I still love cooking.

And can hardly wait to involve N in dinner/dessert preparations!

Saturday, March 06, 2010


A Meal Planning Mommy

I love my crock pot.

I have had it for years, but only really discovered it recently, thanks to Grandma E and Aunt MH, actually.

But now I know the secret that so many women have already known. The best meal plan involves preparing and freezing meals at the end of the weekend.

Because it's far easier to cut open a frozen bag of stew and slow cook it all day than it is to cut up stew meat, potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, etc, add all of your spices and flavorings, and try to do so in time to have dinner made by the time D walks in the door. Especially on the days when the counter is cluttered, N is screaming, and T is colicky.

My favorite recipes so far include Chicken Paprika, Chicken with apples and lemon, and barbecued meatballs.

Are you a crock pot cooker? Do you have other time cutting secrets? Favorite recipes? Tell me about them!


Thanks to Oikology and Following the Fosters, I have been introduced to sidebar buttons! Button collectors, check out who I'm following and grab my button while you're at it!

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...

Around a year ago, D bought me a lovely pendulum clock...

From Goodwill.

Have I mentioned I love Goodwill?

It is beautiful, and its chimes are so melodic and non-intrusive!

I love my little gifts!

Friday, March 05, 2010


Sometimes When I Look Down...

...I see T staring at me with a half smile.
And I realize
We're sharing an inside joke.

...I'm still trying to figure out what it is...


Forgive me for Gushing

N is getting to the age where pens and paper are some of the most entertaining toys I can produce. So, I thought, what better time to begin introducing him to his letters? The other day, he and I were writing his name (well, he was holding the pen and I was writing, really ^_^). I read the letters out loud to him somewhat slowly. When I finished, he got all excited and went and retrieved his other favorite toy, a stuffed dog named Scout. Scout has a song loaded onto him which consists of saying N's name, spelling it, and then saying it again.
N found the song.

And proudly danced to it.

Yes, I am aware that this does not qualify my son as a genius. But a mom can brag, no?


Our Garden

It's waking up to Spring!


New additions this year include/will include:
Blueberry bush
Raspberry starts
Raspberries are much prettier later, when they're in full bloom, I've discovered.

2 roses (white and orange/yellow)
Asiatic Lillies
Strawberry Topsy Turvy planter with everbearing berries
Bachelor's Buttons

Oldies but goodies:
"Welcome Home" yellow rose
"Black Magic" red rose
various pink mini-roses
decorative grasses
pink tulips
june bearing strawberries
"Better Boy" and "Early Girl" tomatoes
"Grace Ward" Lithadora

My goodness, but it *looks* like a lot written down!

Oh, I almost forgot the Garden Dragon.

We're not Gnome people. ~_^

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Apparently I'm Not..

...to do any more paperwork today.

Jack says. Sorry.


Park Days!

We at the Hastings home love our park days! With such b.e.a.utiful weather in the Pacific Northwest lately, it's hard for us to stay inside!

...So we didn't!
As you can see, T didn't much like stopping to take a picture... 
...And N is, of course, wearing Daddy's hat. At his insistence.

N's favorite playground activity?


He practically touched the sky!

I love that I have such an energetic and happy little guy! He just loves seeing other kids, and playing on the swings and slides, and just generally being out of the house!

He jabbered away to me all the way there and all the way home, telling me in his own little language about the trees and flowers and cars and grass.... and who knows what else, really?

I guess all that activity took all of his energy right out of him, though, because, poor fellow, he couldn't quite finish his sandwich...

I wish I could have gotten a good photo of him as I laid him down for nap, but laying him down happy is a delicate balance and cameras just don't factor in!

Now it's off to clean and prepare for the second wave of energy... ;)