52 Weeks of Gratitude – Favorite Personality Trait – Faith

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Favorite Personality Trait – Faith

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – Favorite Personality Trait

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A few weeks ago we put the spotlight on things about me. This week I will narrow it down to one trait I love about myself – Faith.

I’ve been blessed in so many ways. With every blessing and struggle, my faith has grown stronger.

Faith has been something I have struggled with at many points in my life, especially when things seem to be going down hill.

Questions run through your mind at those difficult moments. Why? It’s always the first thing that comes to my mind. What happened and why are things so hard right now? It’s a difficult question to understand, especially in the midst of the issues, but I have learned that while it’s hard to know at the time, God has a plan for us and everything that happens, happens for a reason, whether we like it or not.

There are so many occasions when I look back on a hardship and realize (days, weeks even months or years later) how it shaped me. Without the struggles, I would be completely different. Though my faith may falter I always seem to find strength once I get my bearings again. Many times it may take a little while, but sometimes I can focus on God and have faith that he has a plan.

This is what I felt with Sugar Plum’s delivery and NICU experience. It was a time when I could have gone into a deep depression, but instead I put my faith in God and knew he had it under control. And even though it seemed awful at the time, there was a reason and his plan would unfold in due time. It was at the times I was praying that I felt the calmest. The times I was talking to God that I saw the bright future. He had a plan.

I feel like this experience, in particular, has brought me closer to Him and my faith has only gotten stronger through it all. It also created in me a strong desire to give back.

The experiences I went through, and go through daily, can help others in those same situations. That’s exactly why I started this blog, to help others in the NICU, others homeschooling, other Catholics, other moms just trying to make it through another day. I want to put myself out there so that you know you are not alone.

So faith, yes, it may not be a personality trait, but it has definitely shaped my personality. Without faith, I would not be the person I am today. I am wonderfully and beautifully made and I want to show the world that in everything I do. There is plan. He is in control, sometimes it’s just to help us grow in faith.

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Someone Who Inspires Me

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – Someone Who Inspires Me

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I’ve been very lucky to have an abundance of people in my lives that have inspired and still inspire me in so many different ways. I definitely would not be who I am today without the inspirations my family and friends have been for me.

From day-to-day life, to the big life choices and challenges. I’ve watched and learned, and leaned on them in so many ways. I cannot imagine my life without them.
They’ve inspired me to follow my dreams, by following theirs.
They’ve shown me how to take the road less traveled, by taking risks themselves.
They’ve taught me how to stand up straight (even when it seems too much to handle), by working through their own hardships with poise and strength.
I feel so very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful, strong and loving people.
I would be a totally different person if it were not for all of you. So thank you, you know who you are!

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Things About Me

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – 5 Things I Like About Me

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This week’s is harder than it seems. I am definitely my biggest critic. There are a lot of things I like about myself but I always seem to notice the things I don’t like before those good traits.
This week is pushing me, which I love!
It’s funny that this would be the topic this week. My husband and I were just discussing our spirited child, Mister Man (blog on that soon) and how we need to make sure we focus on his good traits rather than getting on his case about the issue at hand. It’s a great way to build those traits we love even when we are feeling down about them at the time. So with no further ado, here goes.
I am:
  1. Creative
    I am at my best when I am doing something creative. Whether it’s design related, kid related or otherwise. If I have to thing outside the box I am working to my potential. Creativity is a big part of my life. Without a creative moment daily, I feel like something is missing. This is one of the great treats of homeschooling, I get a chance to be creative everyday. There are so many opportunities that arise for creativity. I have to be ready for anything and find fun ways of presenting each days lessons. The more creative and intriguing the lesson, the more the kids will remember. So I have got to be on my game everyday! But it goes even further than that. Creativity spills into every aspect of the day. From dinner to Legos. There is some way for me to get creative and I thrive in those moments.
  2. Passionate
    When I set my mind on something I go for it wholeheartedly. I am very passionate about the many aspects of my life. I love that there are so many things I get to experience. From the normal day to day things at home to the many projects I get to work on for graphic and interior design. I am constantly putting more passion into the parts of my life. My kids are my passion, my design and creativity (see above) are my passions. I may do a lot but I put it all into those things and it is so nice seeing the end results.
  3. Thoughtful
    I will drop everything to help someone I love. I am the first to ask how I can help, and what I can do. I am guilty of doing “too much” many times, but I would rather do more than not enough.
  4. Hard Worker
    It was instilled in me from my parents, you work hard and do good and things will work out. I have always given my all at everything I do especially work related. It seems each generation has lost a bit of this attitude. Unfortunately, hard worker is not a trait many younger generations can label themselves with. I feel grateful that I was taught that I needed to work for what I wanted and needed. I was never just given something. I did chores to make money for those extras I desired and from there I learned a good work ethic. I am working hard to instill this in my own children as they grow. Nothing is free, it takes time, work and motivation to get anywhere in life.
  5. Optimistic
    I strive to see the positive light for anything. My husband gets irritated with me because I will come up with a positive spin to almost everything, even those times you see something and wonder what the heck was going on. Yeah, there’s always a good positive spin for it. I love being optimistic, it makes the days brighter and my life much happier. I can look back on times when I was feeling down (we all go through the blues sometimes) and if I look closely, I can see that pessimism was creeping in and as soon as I could see the bright side again, things went back up and happiness returned. There is nothing like seeing the glass half full.

So there you go. 5 traits I love about myself. What about you, what are your favorite traits about yourself?

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Summer Loves

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Summer Loves

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – Oh summer, the heat, the sun, the flowers and fun.

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With kiddos the summer is probably the busiest but most laid back time of year. How does that happen? Well you make no plans, but then you are constantly doing something whether it’s the pool, bikes, etc.. We are constantly busy. No sitting inside being lazy, it’s go. go. go! That’s kind of the beauty of summer, though so I am definitely not complaining.

There are many things I love about summer. Here are just a few.

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Farmer’s Markets and U-Pick Farms

What’s not to love about fresh produce, especially when you get to be involved in the process. We love attending the farmer’s market on Wednesday morning near our home. It’s a treat for the kids to get to see all the produce and pick what they want. They love helping to pay the vendors and carry the items. And the vendors are amazing with the kids as well. Stickers, conversation and fun are had at most of the booths, it’s great how involved they are with the younger generation. U-Pick farms are a fun day trip as well. We love picking strawberries, blueberries and apples and have plans to pick other items as they get into season. Luckily in KC we have quite a bit to choose from!

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The Pool

Spending time at the pool is a must during the summer for us. The kids will swim all. day. long. if you let them. They are basically raisins by the end of the day. It wears them out but they have a blast. Plus mommy gets to relax a bit as well. We are very blessed to have a private pool at my parents and a neighborhood pool by our house. They are both wonderful for different reasons. At my parents, the kids get the pool to themselves, I am more likely to get in, and you get the comfort of a home while you are there. Plus hanging out with family is always a great bonus! At our neighborhood pool, there is a lifeguard which means mommy can sit back a relax a bit more knowing there are extra eyes on my kiddos. Plus the kids love the slide and zero entry area. We definitely get our fair share of pool time during the summer.

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Being Outside

There is something about just spending time outside, even if you are sweating. The sunshine and smell of the outdoors is a pick me up on even the hardest of days. The kids love pretending, going to the park and playing games outside. And the porch are a lovely way to begin and end a day.

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Grilling Out

There is nothing like a grilled meal. I am not sure what exactly it is, but everything just seems to taste better when it’s cooked on the grill. Add a few friends and the meal is even more delightful.

There are so many other things I love about summer. It can be sweltering hot, but a lot of great memories are made while sweating with your friends and family.

Your turn: What’s your favorite thing about summer?

 

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Friends

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – friends.

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Throughout my 32 years of life, friendships have either withstood the test of time, or have withered away. Both types of friendships have shaped who I am today.
Today, I feel very blessed to have a handful of really close friends. Those that have been there all along. The ones I call just to catch up. The ones that went above and beyond the call of duty when times got tough. Each has become a close friend at a different point in my life and our friendships have deepened as we’ve gotten older.
When we were younger we saw a lot more of each other, now it’s much harder to get together. But that hasn’t changed the depth of our friendships. With email, text, and the good-old-fashioned phone call, we’ve stayed in each others lives through thick and thin. Luckily, a few of them have kids the same ages as mine, so play dates give us a connection and chance to catch up!
Like family, I truly believe friendships are an important part of every life. Without the many friendships that have come, gone and especially those that stuck; I’d be a completely different person today.

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Kansas City

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – the city where I live, Kansas City, MO.

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Born and raised here in Kansas City. Now I’m raising my own kids here in the Heart of America.

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I’ve traveled many places in my life and there is not a city I’ve been to that has made me want to relocate. Don’t get me wrong, I thought about moving to New York or Chicago when I was fresh out of college, but something always kept me here.
The beauty of Kansas City is that it’s large enough to feel like a big city, but still has the feel of a small town. The residents are friendly and down-to-earth, for the most part. College rivalries across state-lines are fun and engaging. There are quite a few things for families to do, as well as decent nightlife activities. The art scene is even up and coming.
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Being in the Midwest makes traveling to either coast, and anywhere in between, easy and somewhat quick. Road trips to almost anywhere are even bearable.
It’s also affordable which is definitely a plus while raising a family. You actually get quite a bit for your money especially in the housing market.
I can’t imagine raising my children anywhere else. I feel very fortunate to have been raised here and I hope my kids feel the same when they’ve grown.

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Something Someone Gave Me

This week’s challenge in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge involves something someone gave to me.

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I love to give gifts but being on the receiving end can be wonderful as well especially thoughtful gifts, in particular those being passed down from family. There is nothing quite like a family heirloom.

Just this past Mother’s Day, while we were spending countless hours the NICU with Sugar Plum, I received a very thoughtful, family heirloom, that brought tears to my eyes.

My mother-in-law gave me the most simple gift, a plaque for our walls. This was nothing special, except that she was passing it on to us; after years of hanging in her own home.

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The sentiment was perfect. The plaque was exactly what I needed to receive at the rough patch in our lives.

The plaque does not match anything on our homes but it will have a prominent spot in our house because it means so much to us.

Sometimes, the most simple gift can touch the heart of others and mean more than you ever imagined.

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Sister

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Sister

So far in the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge we’ve covered my hubby and complete family… now lets pick one family member… I’m going with my sister.

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Like I mentioned in my post on my husband, I’m pretty sure I’ve got the best sister around, as well.
Like most sisters we didn’t always get along, but once we got past those years, we’ve been extremely close.
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She’s one person that just gets me. Knows what I’m thinking and helps me work out the details in my life. 68840_4608659866846_1358774524_n
She’s my favorite coffee, lunch, dinner or wine date – pretty much any date will do. I just love spending time with her.
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She’s the one I turn to when I need a different perspective, or just some reassurance.
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My personal shopper (seriously shes a fashionista).
She’s one of my biggest cheerleaders and the first to tell me when I’m headed the wrong direction.
In short she’s my best friend. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Lots and lots of gratitude to my sister!

 

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 3 – Family

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 3 – Family

This week of the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge – Family.

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Where do I begin. From early in my life, I knew that family was important. Growing up in a large Italian family, meant large family dinners, get togethers, many cousins and a lot of love.

This still rings true today. There is nothing like being with family.

After spending these past weeks separated from family, I’ve definitely realized how much our family means to me.

Starting with our own immediate family of 5.

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The privilege of  spending every day with them is the highlight of my life. There is nothing like watching your children grow and learn. And doing it alongside the man of my dreams is icing on the cake. They bring more joy than I ever thought possible.Sibling Story Time

This joy spreads into our extended family as well. We are very blessed to have such great extended family. They are always there for us and bring so much happiness and love to our lives. Our kids love hanging out with Aunts, Uncles, Grandmas, Grandpas and Cousins. Family dinners are relaxing, loud, crazy, fun and memorable. We can always count on our families through thick and thin.

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We’ve contemplated moving to another city, but the fact that our families are all here have been the deciding factor for staying in KC. I cannot imagine being separated by a large distance from our family.

Life would be much different without our families. For our families I am forever thankful.

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 2 – Spouse

52 Weeks of Gratitude – Week 2 – Spouse

This week of the 52 weeks of gratitude challenge is a perfect reflection for this crazy time in our lives.

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Brian and I have been married for almost 10 years now, together for 14.

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Time has flown by, but I can honestly say that our relationship has grown stronger everyday. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s really true. We’ve been through many situations that would tear many couples apart, but somehow, through it all, we’ve found a way to strengthen our bond.There is not another man I could possibly spend my life with. He makes me laugh, smile, treats me wonderfully, and deals with my moodiness. He is a great father, great friend, and would do anything for those he loves. His heart is bigger then he realizes and he touches peoples lives in many ways without realizing he’s doing it. His patience and understanding are amazing even in the hardest moments. During the tough times, he steps up and takes control. In fact, he’s stepped up majorly this past month, he’s been mister mom for the past 11 weeks and it’s helped get us through this tumultuous period in our lives.

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For many dads this would be difficult, but because we homeschool, this involved being with the kiddos 24-7, juggling activities, lunches, dinners and more. Not all dads could do this, and while I know it was very stressful and hard for him, he never complained. He just did what needed to be done and tried to make the best of it.

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I have to say I think I married the best one of the bunch… For my husband, I am forever grateful!