Letting Go of Worrying What Others Think About Us

Friends and loyal readers, I have a confession to make. I have failed my family in one crucial area ever since our son started walking. I have let what others say get the best of me, usually preventing us from enjoying mass on Sunday, and a few times when our son was having a particularly wild day, we did not even go for fear that we were going to annoy everyone else. As moms, we tend to be the spiritual backbone of our family. As my husband’s Godparent, I feel that responsibility even more so. Yet we temporarily got into a rut where we were just so overwhelmed and I felt like I was failing as a mom, wife, Godparent, and Catholic and Christian in general.

Our son is a very active, chatty, social little guy. He loves talking to strangers, and running up to see new people. He was very easy to keep contained in church before he started walking, and was usually on my chest in the baby carrier. However, once he started walking, he mostly lost interest in being in the baby carrier. He likes to explore, be free, and hates feeling constrained. Our normal parish does not have a crying room, which is nice since it encourages families with young children to sit with the rest of the parish. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys having a toddler near them in church. After a few weeks with some unfortunately discouraging comments, I was too embarrassed to keep going, so we tried other parishes.

I wanted to go to a church with a crying room, so that I could relax a bit. We tried a church with a very full crying room, but after one week there, my husband and I both agreed that was not how we wanted to raise our son. We could see that the kids (even the older, school-aged kids) in there were just getting into a habit of not paying attention to the mass at all, and were just busy playing with toys and all of the other kids. We tried another church where the crying room was usually empty. That worked for a few weeks, but then our son started to catch onto the fact that we were separated from everyone else. He started beating on the glass walls like he was trying to escape from a cage. All of the normal recommendations that people give about keeping your kids occupied during church were not working for us. Normally, at home or at the library, our son is a little bookworm. He loves looking at books and “reading”, but for some reason had no interest in books at all when we were at church. He also loved his sensory box when we were at home, but would not even glance at it when we were in church. I tried making a few pages for a quiet book for him to use during church, but he had absolutely no interest in it during mass (even though he loved those pages when we were at home). I tried setting aside the special books and quiet book pages so he was only looking at them when we were at church and they would be fun and new to him, but that still did not work.

Then one day something occurred to me. Our son is very sensitive to my emotions. I have spent months being tense on Sundays, worrying that his chattering, whining and squirming was disturbing everyone. I have not allowed myself to relax for fear of bothering everyone around us. Then I read this blog post and this one, and the words of these wonderful, experienced Catholic moms assured me that what we were going through was not unusual. I let go of my anxiety that we were disturbing everyone around us. I started making an effort to stop caring what others say or think about us, both in life and in church. I worked on getting myself into a calm, peaceful place before we went to mass. Guess what happened. Our son’s behavior suddenly changed.

The past few weeks have been wonderful. Our son E has been peaceful during mass, has sat quietly with his quiet book, his sensory box, and his big children’s Bible. He has cuddled in my lap and listened to the priest speak. He has loved singing along with the music during mass since he was about five months old, but then a few weeks ago he said “Amen” after everyone else did, and he even reached out to shake my hand during the Sign of Peace. I realized then that maybe I was not doing such a bad job after all.

For some reason, his original sensory box disappeared. I spent days looking everywhere for it, and it was just gone. I figured it was time to upgrade to a toddler model anyway, so I made a new one. I have a little plastic statue of Jesus that someone gave me for my First Communion that E loves. He loves saying “Hi Gee!” when he sees it, so I made sure to include that in the new box. 🙂 I also added some latches and other items that were not in the original box.

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I have gone a bit Pinterest crazy lately researching quiet book templates and planning our tot school homeschool room and curriculum (more on that coming soon). I found some great templates for quiet book pages, especially at this blog. I put together a Pinterest board with a lot of great resources that have inspired me with various pages. Some of the pages I designed on my own and cut out freehand, and others I followed a template, or modified a template to my own design. I plan to do a page for each letter of the alphabet, plus some other pages as well, so it is far from finished but it has plenty to keep our son occupied for now. I do not like cutting out letters, so I found some foam alphabet stickers that I hot glued on where I wanted to spell out words.

This first page is a modified version of the felt board that I made for our son’s room (updated room tour coming soon too). I purchased the felt stickers at Joann’s for the ladybugs, bees, and fish, and added Velcro to the back. The rest I cut out freehand. I also did the same for the page with the owls later in the book.

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Our Baby Boy’s Baptism!

A little over two years ago, my husband became a Catholic and was baptized at our church. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. It may sound strange, but I was actually happier the day he was baptized than the day we got married. As soon as I met him, I had a strong feeling that somehow he would end up being my husband one day. I kept having dreams about it, but was annoyed by the whole concept since he was very strongly against organized religion at the time. I did not want to marry someone who was not Catholic, so this was a big issue for me. Our wedding day was also a little bittersweet since we had just attended my grandmother’s funeral earlier that week…definitely not the wedding that we would have hoped for. I was more excited the day of his baptism since this was something that initially I did not think would ever happen. It was such a beautiful day.

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The day our son was born was beautiful and so exciting, but also definitely not the way we had hoped everything would take place. I am noticing a trend in some of the big events for us. 🙂 We had plans for a natural childbirth, and instead everything ended up stressful, unusually painful and full of unknown risks (you can read the details in this post). After such a stressful time, our son’s baptism day was such a beautiful day. E was baptized in the same church where we were married, and where his daddy was baptized. Baby E is so happy every Sunday when we go to mass, and he was particularly happy at his baptism! I have never seen anything like it…he had a big, huge smile on his face when our priest poured the Holy Water over his head! We are so grateful to have such a sweet little guy.

We are also grateful to have had the wonderful Faith Cherisse there to photograph E’s baptism! She did an amazing job capturing the sacrament and capturing E’s funny little personality!

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I had intended to take pictures of the baptism reception set up at our house in the morning before we left for the actual baptism. Unfortunately, E was feeling under the weather, and we spent the whole morning dealing with him throwing up repeatedly. I think he may have been fighting off a bug or something since I was up the whole night with him while he was coughing and having trouble breathing. Amazingly, he was in much better spirits once we got to the church! During the baptism reception, I had to spend a lot of time nursing him since his hunger had caught up with him by then. After the party was over, I tried to get some pictures of everything we had set up for the reception. The pine needles had popped some of the balloons, all of the appetizers I made were gone, and things were a little messier than they were earlier in the day. I heard that the appetizers that I made were really good. I will have to make them again so I have a chance to try them myself (and photograph them so I can post the recipes)!

I jokingly told my husband that every party we have for quite some time will have little touches of decor resembling our wedding reception, no matter what the occasion (see our wedding reception posted here). 🙂 In this case, the handkerchief bunting, Grandma’s vintage tablecloths, welcome banner, and vintage mason jars were all remnants from our wedding decor. I also borrowed the concept of potted flowers as centerpieces from our wedding reception decor. My favorite reminder of our wedding was the scent of peonies and stock, my two favorite flowers. I used these two flowers in my wedding bouquets (two bouquets since our ceremony and reception were on two separate days) because I absolutely love the way that they smell. I made an arrangement on our dining table for the baptism reception with these two flowers, and it filled the house with a lovely scent that reminded us of our wedding day(s). 🙂

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Water, blueberry herbal tea & regular iced tea.
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I previously posted a how-to for these DIY chalkboard label mason jars here.
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Peonies and stock arrangement.
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Favor bag.
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A gorgeous arrangement from a friend of ours. 🙂
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What’s In My Bag Part 1: My Purse

Before our baby was born, I figured that I wouldn’t really need to use a purse anymore, and would just make the diaper bag my go-to bag. After a few trips out running errands, I quickly realized that was not the ideal setup to keep me organized. For quick trips into a store, or somewhere like church, a big diaper bag is just too much to carry in and really not necessary. Plus, there are a few stores that we frequent that have baby changing areas (Nordstrom, Buy Buy Baby, etc.), but most places we go do not have a place to change a baby’s diaper, leaving me to do diaper changes in the car anyway. Plus, when the diaper bag is down in the storage compartment of our stroller, it is a little frustrating and cumbersome to get at anything. When you are trying to quickly get out a burp cloth, pacifier, or wallet, it is just way too much hassle.

To solve my dilemma, we found a purse that matches my diaper bag, and can be worn over the shoulder or cross-body. I wanted something easy to clean, ample room to hold a variety of things without being too big, and be hands-free. I absolutely love my purse and the matching diaper bag, both from Marc by Marc Jacobs. I try to keep my stuff pretty well organized so everything is easy to find. This is my purse organization system. The only part I really want to improve is the loose pile of coupons, mostly for baby stores. I know I bring a lot of things, but I love being prepared for just about anything! Part 2, what’s in my diaper bag will be coming tomorrow.
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1. Organic cotton Winnie the Pooh stroller toy, to keep baby E happy and distracted in a pinch.
2. An individually wrapped cleansing cloth in case of a big cleanup emergency (this one was saved from Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill).
3. Burt’s Bees organic cotton burp cloth.
4. Pacifier, pacifier clip and holder.
5. Hand sanitizer.

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6. Mini manicure set.
7. Pack of tissues. I used to have a Shemergency kit, but somehow seemed to have lost it when we moved. I may order some refills from some of the items, but for now this is all that remains.
8. Mini measuring tape, perfect for planning purchases for the house and organizing.
9. Mirror.
10. Face blotting papers.

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11. Band-aid dispenser.
12. Forehead fever scan. Was part of a great baby care package from my husband’s work.
13. Alcohol swabs.
14. Folding scissors.
15. Mini Swiss Army knife.
16. Cough drops.
17. Benadryl in case I have a food allergy emergency.
18. Dental floss.
19. Burt’s Bees Hand Salve.
20. Safety pis.
21. Bobby pins & hair ties.
22. Double stick fashion tape.

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23. Wallet.
24. Keys with a tiny lip gloss.
25. Tiny hair brush.
26. Small lint roller.
27. Mascara.
28. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer.
29. Burt’s Bees lotion.
30. Trial sized moisturizer with SPF since my husband usually forgets to wear sunscreen.
31. Gum.

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32. Rosary prayer booklet.
33. Tiny rosary in little egg container.
34. “Cross in my pocket.” Was my grandma’s.
35. Small notebook and pen.
36. Cell phone.
37. Granola bar for my husband. I usually keep another one for myself as well, but we need to restock my dairy-free/soy-free/egg-free/gluten-free bars.

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A closer view of my tiny rosary and the “cross in my pocket.”

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Everything fits in here pretty well! Most of the tiny items go together in a small zippered pouch. I keep the frequently used small items (like mascara and lip shimmer) in the zippered purse pocket. There is a pouch for my phone and one for my keys as well.

See part 2 with my diaper bag here.

Our Baby Boy’s Nursery Tour!

Yesterday’s post explained a little about how I got out of my creative slump a few months back, despite being on pregnancy bed rest. I originally had plans to design our baby’s room in a woodland style theme, with a large tree mural on one wall. However, once I started looking at pictures of baby rooms online, I realized that so many people seem to have had that same idea recently and I got pretty discouraged. Our neighborhood is named after all of the large mature pine trees here, and that is our favorite thing about this area. When we first saw all the trees in this neighborhood, we both instantly knew that this would be our home. 🙂

I wanted to create a nursery design that would reflect our love of the outdoors, and still show my unique design style. The idea of a tree mural had to be scrapped since I could not paint a wall while on bed rest anyway. My challenge was to find ways to reflect the look that I wanted, via projects that I could create while lying in bed. Normally, sewing and painting projects would be my first go-to option, but since I could not sit up and sew anything until recently, I had to use other methods of creating for most of the decorations. Even more of a challenge: I primarily had to use whatever supplies I had on hand in my craft room since I could not go wander around any craft supply stores for quite some time. In the end, I went with a nature/outdoors/garden/forest kind of theme, with a little inspiration thrown in from The Lorax (the mobile over the changing table has my version of truffula trees!).

Despite all of these restrictions, I absolutely love the end result. My husband did an amazing job redoing the walls, adding insulation to the exterior wall, and creating a custom frame for the window trim. We wanted to replicate the look of the trim in our old craftsman rental house. You can see the before pictures of this house here.

Some interesting items worth noting…the tiny rocking chair was given by my great-grandmother to my mom, then to me (I sewed the little “Rockin Cowboy” cushion). The hamper was a baby shower gift from when I was born. 🙂 I found the changing table for free on Craigslist and was originally planning to use it as a plant stand in my patio area outside. When I realized it went well with our crib, my husband sanded it down, repainted it, and made new shelves for it. The daybed was originally intended for our living room, but that didn’t end up working as well as we had hoped. I wanted to make sure that I have a pet-free bed to nap in after feedings, so we moved it into the nursery. The needlepoint pillow in the middle of the daybed was embroidered by my grandma, and sewn together by me.

The framed wall art is a mix of items. I found the vintage Winnie the Pooh prints at a thrift store a while back (actually during my first pregnancy just after we got married). I have been hanging onto them since them, waiting to be able to use them. 🙂 The owl prints were a free printable that I found via The Handmade Home. I sculpted the cross and made the yarn covered “E”. The round empty embroidery hoop on the wall is left intentionally blank for now. Once he is born, I will be making an embroidery design with his name and birth date. The prints with the Bible quotes and the quote from St. Francis are printables that I designed myself. They will be coming soon to the blog as well!

I am so happy with the finished room, and can’t wait for the little guy to join us in his room! The cats love the room so much that I have trouble keeping them out. 🙂 Two walls were intentionally left fairly empty to leave room for all of the photographs that we are bound to take of our little guy.  In the next few weeks, I will be posting tons of DIY instructions on many of the various projects I made!

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - Baby Boy's Nursery Tour

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