Saints for the Year

On January 1st, we each picked our patron saints for the year. I love this tradition we started when Craig and I got married. We use the Saint’s Name Generator (http://saintsnamegenerator.com/) website. We say a prayer for who will be our patron saint for the year. Once we receive the saint, we research the saint a little bit. We ask the saint to pray for us throughout the year. It is always fun to see what the saint is a patron saint of and why we think the saint picked us to pray for us throughout the year. These are patron saints for 2018.

Henry:

St. Ulric of Augsburg
Feast: July 4

Joseph:

St. Albert of Sicily
Feast: August 5

Megan:

St. Claude de la Colombiere
Feast: February 15

Craig:

St. Hyacinth
Feast: August 17

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4 months old

Joseph,

It is hard to believe you have been with us for 4 months already. Dad calls you “miracle baby” frequently. We are amazed daily at things you do. You are usually able to put yourself to sleep with a pacifier. You are more and more social and attentive by the day. You like playing with toys and try to reach and grab onto things. You are so close to rolling over. You like to talk and be talked to.

You have the best laugh. You laugh daily. And you laugh easily. I hope you always keep your joy and laughter.

You are easy going. Henry likes holding you, and you seem to enjoy when he holds you. Henry still asks for you almost every morning. He says, “Joseph, awake?”

The way you look at me melts my heart, Joseph. There is just something about how you look at me that makes me smile every time. It is genuine, it is pure, it is loving. And it is always with a sparkle in your eye.

You are a gift to me, your Dad, and to Henry!  We love you so!

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Celebrating Advent

When I was driving to the post office yesterday morning, I couldn’t believe how busy it was.  There was a line of cars waiting to mail letters in the mailbox, people walking in and out of the post office with packages, and a line of cars waiting to get into the parking lot and to leave the parking lot.  It was so busy for a Tuesday morning.  It reminded me of how much physical preparation we all do to get ready for Christmas.  The last week or two, I have been baking and baking.  I have been decorating our house.  I have ordered our Christmas cards, addressed them, and sent them.  I have been busying gifts and wrapping presents.  Now I am planning meals and figuring out what I still need to get at the grocery store.

It is so easy to see how we all prepare for Christmas physically.  It stopped me to ask myself, “how am I preparing my heart to receive Jesus on Christmas”? I hope I am doing all I can to prepare my heart to fully receive Christ and His love for me on Christmas.

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We set our tree up the weekend Advent started.

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We all enjoyed getting our tree out.

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Before we say our prayer before meals, we sing ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ and light our Advent candles. After we eat, we do our Jesse tree reading and hang up the ornament for the day.

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We left a bag of toys for St. Nicholas to take and donate.  St. Nicholas left Henry and Joseph pajamas to wear for Christmas morning.

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We decorated the Christmas tree on Gaudete Sunday. Henry and Joseph both got a new ornament to hang on the tree.

Henry and Joseph have also been opening books about Christmas.  We have been enjoying reading them and talking about Jesus being born on Christmas morning.

St. Joseph’s passed out Advent devotionals at the beginning of the season.  I have been enjoying reading, reflecting, and praying with that each day.  I think that has really helped me reflect on Mary, Joseph, and the birth of Jesus.

Happy birthday, Henry!

I can hardly believe you are TWO!

We had some fun celebrations to celebrate you and the gift you are to me, your Dad, and to so many others.  I hope you felt as special as you are on your birthday, and always. I thank God every day for you and for giving me the generous gift to be your mom.

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We had a birthday party for you and Emma.  We had some food, games, and cake. Many family members came to celebrate you.

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Dad wanted to get you a birthday doughnut for breakfast.  He ran out bright and early to get you one.  Here you are showing us how old you are now.  “Two!”

Your birthday fell on a Sunday so we were able to go to Mass on your birthday.  After Mass, we met with the families in our couples’ group for brunch and to bring Christmas cards to a nursing home.  You loved walking around to see all the residents.  Sometimes you said, “Merry Christmas!” and sometimes you said, “Happy birthday!”.  You brought a lot of joy to many people this day just by being you.

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We ended the day with Amigos, cake, and presents.

Things you like: Mickey, Daniel Tiger, Elmo, books, frozen blueberries, smoothies, playing outside, helping me with chores, music, seeing Jesus and Mary, playing with your cousins and other kids, cars, and so much more.  You really like almost everything.

You are kind-hearted, brave, adventurous, protective, thoughtful, joyful, and so much more.

I love you, Henry! I am so grateful for you.

All Saint’s Day

I am working on our family’s liturgical living calendar.  I am starting to plan out how our family will celebrate different feast days, solemnities, and church seasons throughout the year.  For All Saint’s Day this year, Henry and I got out some of our holy cards and put them on the table.  We talked about different saints throughout the day.

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It was neat to see how Henry was looking at the different holy cards throughout the day and was practicing saying the saint’s names.

Happy Halloween

From Craig, Megan, Daniel Tiger, and Mickey Mouse.

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We had lots of fun celebrating Halloween this year.  We started our celebration Friday with a Halloween party at my Dad’s office.  Henry quickly figured out what Halloween is all about by grabbing candy from the bowls, putting it into his bag, and figuring out how to open candy packages so he could eat it without Mom and Dad noticing… or so he thought.  Henry tried to share some candy with Joseph, but Mom and Dad said no.  Even though Joseph didn’t have candy, he enjoyed all the fun times, as well.

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We went to Boo at the Zoo Saturday night with Nana, Papa, and some cousins.  It was fun seeing all the decorations and costumes throughout the zoo.

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Halloween night Craig and Henry went trick or treating at a couple houses in our neighborhood.  Then we went trick or treating to see John and Aunt Ellie, as well as to Nana and Papa’s house.  It was a fun few days filled with lots of talk of Daniel Tiger, Mickey Mouse, learning to say trick or treat, and trying to sneak in some candy.

Spousal Prayer

Shortly after Craig and I got married, we attended a talk on spousal prayer.  It was based on a book by Deacon Keating called ‘Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness’.  It gives spouses structure for a way of praying together.  We started doing it at night following the talk, but we unintentionally stopped.  A couple months ago, I was reminded of it from my friend, Maeg.  It has come up twice since she brought it up.  Craig and I decided we should try something similar to it again.

We pray night prayer together before we go to bed.  Following the examen, Craig starts by sharing the best part of his day, and then he shares something that was either difficult for him or that he struggled with that day.  Then I share.  Then we pray for each other together.

This is where we have started.  We aren’t perfect at it, and some nights we don’t go to bed at the same time so we don’t do it.  When we do spousal prayer, though, it has allowed us to intentionally be vulnerable with each other in a way we may have let slip away before doing this together.

I love hearing how other married couples pray together as we are striving to do this and learning what God is calling us to do in prayer with each other.

Here is a talk by Deacon Keating about inviting Jesus into marriage.  He gives a beautiful reflection on what love is during the second half of the talk.  If we want to know what love is, he says to read John 19:34 — “One soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.”  The talk had some great points to reflect on and invited me to reflect more how I can grow spiritually for our marriage.

Joy in Our Ordinary

Our ordinary at the Pytleski home…

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When Henry, Joseph, and I got home one day recently, Henry was lingering in the garage as I brought Joseph inside.  When I went back out to check on him, I found him in the La Croix boxes in the garage.  I couldn’t wait to show these pictures to Craig.  Like father, like son.

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Joseph turned 2 months old on October 15.  He is smiling so much and makes the sweetest cooing sounds.  He is growing so quickly.  I had to pull out our 3-6 month clothes a couple weeks ago for him.  Joseph likes when we smile at him, talk with him, Sophie the giraffe, baths, you name it.  He is a content little guy.  Henry still loves being his big brother.  He asks for Joseph almost every morning when he wakes up and loves giving him hugs and kisses.  When Joseph is crying, Henry has started saying, “Joseph, it’s okay!”  He also likes to talk baby talk with Joseph.

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We went to Lost in Fun this week with our cousins.  Henry loved running around, swinging on the tire swing, and jumping on the inflatables.

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The other night, Henry and I were reading the book, “My First Book of Things to Spot”.  In the book, we found a boy wearing a hat as well as lots of owls.  He immediately thought he should go upstairs to his room to get his hat and Joseph’s owl backpack.  He had fun continuing to find the hat and owls throughout the book after he started wearing them.

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David and Annie put on a memorial walk for Grant at Holmes Lake.  We had a wonderful time at the picnic and walk remembering Grant with family and friends.  Henry and Emma loved the juice pouches, and Joseph enjoyed the walk in the stroller.

Spirit of Poverty

A few weeks ago, my phone fell, and the screen broke.  It wasn’t a big deal.  I have lived with a broken screen on my phone before.  A few days passed, and I was going to take a picture using my phone.  I realized my camera wasn’t working.  Now I was kind of bummed.  I still thought I would be fine with my phone for awhile.  But of all the things on my phone, the camera is one thing I really do use.  Craig and I decided it was time for me to get a new phone.

When we went in to buy it, we learned all about the new way you have to pay for phones.  It was going to add to our phone payment every month, which meant adding more money into that part of our budget.  I was so frustrated.  We had been working on decreasing areas of our budget to make it work for me to stay home, and now we had to increase what we were spending… on a phone.  A phone is not exactly where I’d like to be spending more money.

Choosing for me to stay home has really caused us to look at where we can cut back.  Where is God inviting us to live more simply?  What have we been spending excessively?  Where is God inviting us to live more with a spirit of poverty?

For now, we are starting small.  We had the mid-speed internet, and we changed to the slowest internet.  We are only buying clothes on sale or used as needed.  We aren’t eating out, unless we have to.  We are being more strategic about our meal planning and food purchasing for the week.  We are being more simple with our meals.  We are being sure to turn all the lights off in a room when we aren’t in it.

Like I said, small.  But it has brought about a little bit of ‘uncomfortableness’ in some areas.  In my uncomfortableness I have a greater need for Jesus.  I turn to Him.  I depend on Him.  I am denying myself and the little pleasures of life for God and for my family.  This is what God is calling me to do right now.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

Lord, I pray that you help me to deny myself so that I may put You first, my family second, and myself last.  I pray you continue to show me where else I may live more simply with a spirit of poverty.  Help me to take up my crosses each day – with joy – for You.

Jesus’ Sacred Heart

“Place your desires deep into the sacred heart of Jesus.”

Craig told me that our friend, Fr. Andrews, told him this today.  These words really resonated with me, and I can’t stop thinking about them.  I’m thinking it may be an invitation from Jesus to share my desires with Him.  He is there, waiting, with his hand open to me, sharing His heart with me.

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Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to know You more intimately.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to love You deeply and more than anything or anyone else.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to share You with each person I encounter and to make You known to others.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to do Your will.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to be a good and holy wife to Craig.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to be a good and holy mother to Henry and Joseph.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire for Craig, Henry, and Joseph to be your disciples and to be saints.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to lay down my life for my family and friends.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire for peace, joy, love, wisdom, and courage.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire for community.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to give more than I receive.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to be fearless and to set the world on fire for You, with You, and in You.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to live intentionally.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to seek holiness in the ordinariness of each day.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to imitate your Blessed Mother.

Jesus, I place deep into your sacred heart my desire to do little things with great love.