Friday, October 31, 2014

p,h,f,r & 7QT {no. 32}

Two lovely link-ups {p, h, f, r & 7QT - be sure to visit them for more!} on this very special Friday...

'Tis the season for Christmas card photo taking, and Michael and I had a friend take a few shots for us yesterday. We got just a little gussied (prettied up, if you will) and headed off to the park. Here are a couple of outtakes:
Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?
Even when he thinks he's very funny and tickles me mid-picture, hence the swinging mistletoe. :)

We reached the twenty week milestone with Baby No. 2 this week, and we are so very happy. I simply cannot believe we are already halfway through this pregnancy. Next week we (hopefully!!) find out whether we have a little boy or a little girl in there. Any guesses, dear readers? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.

Here's my twenty week photo bumpdate in case that informs your boy/girl guess:

And now for the real...

As you may or may not know, today was our sweet Thomas Gianna's due date. My heart is full of many emotions much has happened in the last nine months. It's all very difficult to express in words. We find our peace in God, which is such a blessing. Michael and I plan to go to Mass together today in remembrance of our first baby. And perhaps we will get a piece of birthday cake, too. To our dear, sweet Thomas Gianna - we love and miss you so. Please pray for us.

October 31 also means it's the last day to join us in our birthday gift - raising $2,500 for the National Gianna Center for Women. This women's health and fertility care center has been such a gift to us, and we want to give back in honor of our baby. We still have $770 to raise to reach our goal. 
We need your help to make it! I'll let you in on a little something - the $1,730 we raised so far is from twenty donations. That means those are some seriously generous donors! We are so thankful for them! But of course, every donation - no matter the size - is just as valued. Would you consider making a $5 or $10 donation? Maybe the amount you normally spend on a weekend latte (or your treat of choice)? Thank you so, so much for prayerfully considering.

Click here to give >>>

Michael and I are going on a little babymoon getaway this weekend. We are so looking forward to some fresh air, open skies, and an extra big dose of the outdoors. That is, unless it snows. And according to the forecast it might. You can expect a post on our special trip sometime soon!

I'm really looking forward to All Saints Day and All Souls Day this weekend. Special feasts which are especially dear to my heart at this moment in my life. I hope yours are blessed, dear readers.

And a happy Halloween to you, too. Wishing you only treats and no tricks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

5 Favorites {no. 13} pumpkin edition!

This week's edition of five favorites is dedicated to my pumpkin favorites from dear ol' Trader Joe's. No, this post is not sponsored. I just love Trader Joe's and all the pumpkin things, so I wanted to share!

pumpkin waffles // These frozen waffles are not only delicious, but a quick & easy breakfast -
just toast and enjoy!

pumpkin cranberry crisps // I forget which lovely blogger pointed me towards these delights, but they are a super delicious treat that make me feel a little fancy. Especially when I eat them with my favorite cheese, brie. (Pasteurized only for this pregnant momma. P.S. 20 weeks today!!)

this pumpkin walks into a bar...cereal bars // I have been throwing one of these into my purse as I head into the city for a long day. They make a great snack, and they're pumpkin-y delicious!

organic pumpkin {canned} // Please excuse my already open can of pumpkin. This stuff is not only yummy, but reasonably priced (thank you, TJ!). I have made pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, and can't wait to make some pumpkin pie...the possibilities are endless!

dark chocolate speculoos cookie butter cups // This was supposed to be pumpkin spice granola, but I ate it all before I remembered to snap a picture. If my Trader Joe's carried their super amazing pumpkin pancake mix this year that surely would have made the top of this list. So, as a stand in, I give you Trader Joe's dark chocolate speculoos cookie butter cups. Need I say more, friends? Warning: These are dangerous. Very, very dangerous.

What are your pumpkin favorites? Or Trader Joe's faves? Pretty please - share in the comments!

{Bonus! An update!}
We have been given $300 more in donations since Friday's post. Only two days left and $885 to go! Please consider giving to this worthy cause, especially as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month draws to a close. Every $1, $5, $10 - or any amount you can give - really helps! Click here {or follow the link in the sidebar} for more info or to make a donation. God bless you for prayerfully considering!

And, in case you missed it - all proceeds from these new prints in my etsy shop go to our birthday gift fundraiser for the next two days only. 
This one would make a great Thanksgiving gift for a family member, friend or your dinner host:

Okay, that's all for today, dear friends - thanks for stopping by...

And don't forget to click over here for more favorites! Thank you for hosting, Jenna!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes {no. 31}
inspiration series, gifts that give twice, and giving glory

Wow, Friday - am I glad to see you! It's been a busy week around these parts. (I typed that sentence and wanted to delete it after writing this post earlier this week, but I'll leave it to keep things honest.)

Last week I showed you some sketches of a new series I was working on for my etsy shop. This week I am delighted to share the finished products with you! Here are some of the new pieces available:

I designed this prayer inspiration series in hopes that these pieces will jump start prayer in your life:
{prayer inspiration series}
Here are two close-up shots of a couple of my favorites from the series:
{glory be}
{bless us, o lord}
I also designed two quotation inspiration prints with quotations from two of my favorite saints:
{the things that we love}
{love is the most beautiful sentiment}
St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Gianna Beretta Molla. Gotta love them.

Speaking of St. Thomas and St. Gianna - as you may know - we named our first child, whom we lost to a miscarriage, Thomas Gianna after these two saints. You also may know about the birthday gift we are giving to the Gianna Center for Women in honor of our child. For one week only, all the proceeds from the sales of this new inspiration series will be going to the Gianna Center for Women as a part of our birthday gift fundraiser. So! If you are looking for a gift - whether it be for yourself, a birthday, a hostess gift, a baptism, (dare I mention) Christmas - you'll be giving twice when you purchase one of these prints. Thanks for visiting my shop and taking a look.

And, of course, I owe you an update on the birthday gift fundraising. Last week we had raised $715. Here's where we are this week:
Sing it with me! "Ooooooh, we're halfway there! Oooh-OH! Livin' on a prayer!" Thanks to a few generous donors we are now over halfway there. We are so grateful. Only one week left to reach our goal! We need YOU to help us get there! Thank you, as always, for your prayerful consideration.

I just want to leave you all with this beautiful song that I can't get out of my head lately. I'm sure my long-time readers will be shocked at who is singing:
To the Father, to the Son,
and to the Spirit be,
blessing, glory, honor, power,
might and majesty...
Amen. Amen, amen, amen.

Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary and many more - click over to read more takes.

Have a beautiful weekend, dear readers...

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the peace Christ wants to give you

I could certainly use a little more peace today. How about you? I'm over at Blessed is She today, sharing my heart about the peace Christ wants to give us.

Here's a little excerpt from my post:
Do you ever ask a friend or colleague how they’re doing and they reply, “busy”? I hear people say that all the time, myself included, and the statement is often true. Our culture values busyness. We busy ourselves with this and that and everything in between (and sometimes we keep busy on social media finding out what other people are busy doing). Granted, sometimes being busy is not a choice; we may have responsibilities in our families, our neighborhoods, our communities. But sometimes we make the choice to busy, and more often than not, we choose it without realizing.
Click on over to visit and read the rest. And if you haven't already, subscribe here to receive the daily Blessed is She devotionals in your inbox. They have been a gift to me, and I pray they will be for you, too.

{my coffee mug this morning was quite apropos}

Wishing you a peace-filled Tuesday, dear friends...

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Friday, October 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes {no. 30}

Joining Jen and more for seven quick takes - thank you so much for hosting us every week, Jen!

It's been a week of fall weather here in NYC - some rain, some sunshine, and lots of cool breezes. Last weekend was the open house at Michael's campus of Columbia. It was so nice to get out of the city and see some of the colorful foliage.

 And, of course, I always love spending time with this handsome guy.

Yesterday was the feast of St. Gerard, patron saint of expectant mothers. We had cannoli for dessert in honor of his Italian heritage. 
O good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before God
and wonder-worker of our day, I call upon thee and seek thy aid. 
Thou who on earth didst always fulfill God's design,
help me to do the holy will of God.
Beseech the Master of Life, from whom all paternity proceedeth
to render me fruitful in offspring, that I may raise up children to God
in this life and heirs to the kingdom of His glory in the world to come. Amen.

I have a very important prayer request for you: would you please pray for the repose of the soul of a dear family friend who died earlier this week? I would also especially appreciate prayers for his devoted wife and three daughters at this terribly difficult time. Thank you so much for your prayers.

I've been working on something special for my etsy shop, {with joy calligraphy}. I will continue to offer handwriting for invitations and escort cards, but I am adding something new: art prints. Here's a sneak peak at my rough sketches:
What do you think? Be sure to check back in my shop soon for these (and more) new items. And let me know if there are any prayers or quotations you'd especially love to have!

Baby Howe is continuing to grow and grow (according to my growing belly, that is). I am just over eighteen weeks now, and am so looking forward to feeling him/her move around in there! Sometimes I think I feel movement, but I'm not 100% certain just yet. If you've had a baby, do you remember how far along you were when you started to feel your sweet blessing move around in there?

Last week we were at $265 for the amount raised for the Gianna Center in memory of Thomas Gianna's upcoming due date. Thanks to a few very generous donors, here's where we are today:
Over a quarter of the way there! Woohoo!! We are so thankful! 

There are still two weeks left to donate - the deadline is October 31, 2014, our baby's due date.
Thank you for praying for the success of the Gianna Center's campaign and for considering donating.
Our weekend looks relatively low key (which I am looking forward to!). The great purge of 2014 will continue as we try to make space for the baby in our one-room apartment. Always exciting!

Wishing you a most beautiful weekend filled with blessings...

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Did you know today, October 15, is a day of remembrance for those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss? I actually didn't know myself until recently.

As many of you know, Michael and I lost our first baby earlier this year to miscarriage. He would have been due in a little over two weeks. It's hard to imagine what it would be like if our sweet Thomas Gianna was still with us in my womb. Since then, we have been blessed to conceive again, and I am now eighteen weeks pregnant with our second child. God's plans are often so different than our own, which can be so difficult to understand.

Our priest shared this beautiful prayer with us at Mass today, which is also the feast of St. Teresa of Avila. Regardless of what you are going through today, this prayer may touch your heart:
It's the kind of prayer that makes you stop, take a deep breath, and spend some time reflecting.

I also wanted to share some resources that were helpful to me when we lost our baby:
for Pete's sake - Prayer Ministry at A Knotted Life
Pregnancy Loss page at Better Than Eden
Magnolia Sweet Healing Ministry
Miscarriage Prayers
Shrine of the Holy Innocents
Hannah's Tears

Would you take a moment with me today to say a prayer for all those women and men who have lost pregnancies and children over the years? May God bless us all, and may our beloved children in heaven pray for us...

As a way to remember our baby, Thomas Gianna, and to celebrate his upcoming due date,
we are in the process of trying to raise $2,500 to donate to the Gianna Center for Women.
Read more and contribute by clicking here. Thank you!
{give a gift}

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes {no. 29}
a science fair, a pumpkin, a bump & a treat

Linking up with Jen & friends for another edition of 7QT!

In case you missed it, yesterday I posted an update on our birthday gift for Thomas Gianna. We are very thankful to have received one very generous donation since then, so here is today's update:
Still a ways to go! Every little bit helps. Thank you so much for spreading the word, saying a prayer, or giving. You're the best.

If you live in the Greater NYC area and you are looking for something fun to do tomorrow, come out to Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Open House, October 11 from 10-4. There will be lots of cool science stuff for all ages, and I'll be there with Michael!

This sweet little pumpkin brings me a lot of joy, so I wanted to share it with you. Doesn't the stem have so much character? I love it.

A little photo bumpdate for you:
We heard the baby's heartbeat again at our OB appointment this week - what a beautiful sound to this momma's ears. We also scheduled our twenty week ultrasound - we can hardly wait!

This pillow came in the mail today. I have high hopes it will be helpful now and in the coming months as I'm getting a little uncomfortable sleeping (I imagine this is only the beginning!). I'll be sure to let you know if it helps!

Last week I made these:
I like my rice krispy treats homemade, classic, plain & simple - nothing added. It is probably a good thing that I often forget just how easy they are to make! 

Now I'm off to try this recipe - check my instagram later today to see how they come out!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

pretty, happy, funny, real {with an update!}

Happy Thursday! So glad you're here. It's been too long since I've done a {p, h, f, r} post. Delighted to be linking up with Rosie & many more over at Like Mother, Like Daughter.

{pretty & happy}
Have you seen the posts that are a part of Bonnie's awesome Autumn in My Home blog hop? The blog posts are so much fun, and so very lovely. Sharing the beauty of homemaking is such a wonderful idea, so I hope it's okay if I give you a little peek into what autumn in my humble home looks like:
This kind of seasonal decorating brings me so much joy!

Yesterday I reached an exciting pregnancy milestone, friends: On my commute home from work someone offered me their seat on the subway train. (For those of you who may be new around here, it might be helpful to know that I live in New York City.) His kindness was much appreciated, I must say! I guess I must be starting to show a little more obviously these days. Of course, the person who offered me his seat was an elderly gentleman with a cane! I wouldn't take his seat, since he appeared to need it more than me, but when the young woman next to him noticed what was going on, she offered me her seat, which prompted the gentleman next to her to stand up and offer his seat as well. As the train announcement says, "Courtesy is contagious, and it begins with you!" :)

And now for the update: A week ago today, I posted about our birthday gift for our first child, Thomas Gianna, who is now in heaven. Here's a little graphic to show how things are progressing:
{$2,335 to go. Please join us!}
First and foremost, we are so very grateful for the gifts we have received. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who have given. 

As you can see, we still have a long way to go! Would you consider joining us? Or sharing this opportunity with your friends? Every little bit helps! We so appreciate your time, and your prayerful support, too.

Wishing you a beautiful and blessed October day...
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