Our new home!

We made it!

We are moved in to our new home in Lincoln.  It was a whirlwind of a weekend filled with moving, unpacking, organizing, and painting.  We had some wonderful help from family.  We could not have done it without them!

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John, David, Sophie, and Jack helped us unpack boxes Friday night.

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John, Sophie, and Jack worked on putting Henry’s kitchen together.  I think Henry is pretty excited for when it is all finished!

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I was working on organizing our kitchen Friday night.  I don’t think anything in this cupboard is still there.  I organized and reorganized and organized some more.

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Craig and Fran got right to work painting our laundry room and bathroom Saturday morning.

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Here is a before picture of mine and Craig’s room.  Craig, Fran, and Ellie worked on painting our room Saturday afternoon.  I will post some after pictures another day!

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Our first morning at our new house!  We didn’t have a lot of Henry’s toys unpacked yet.  He stayed busy reading and exploring his new home.

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Our first family picture in our new home.

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We took a break from working to open Easter gifts from Grammy and Pops.  Henry was loving his card from them!

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Henry was patiently waiting for Mom and Dad to open his new Tonka trucks.

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He was very excited!

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Craig reading to Henry when he was taking a break from painting.

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My parents worked on painting Henry’s room Saturday afternoon.  Henry got to paint a little bit of his own room!  He loved painting.  It’ll be fun to share with him as he gets older that he got to paint part of his own room.

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Nana and Papa busy painting!

33 Days to Merciful Love

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I have been reading 33 Days to Merciful Love for the past 17 days or so.  It is a personal daily retreat for 33 days that Fr. Gaitley guides you on in preparation to consecrate yourself to Divine Mercy.  Each day you read about 2-3 pages.  It is completely rocking my life right now, and I am so grateful for this gift He has given to me of teaching me more about His merciful love for me.

I had completed the Marian Consecration — 33 Days to Morning Glory — also written by Fr. Gaitley a few times.  I really enjoyed that.  When I first heard about 33 Days to Merciful Love, I knew I wanted to read it.  I remember hearing about this book from Fr. Holdren at Srodo last May, and I was very intrigued by the message in the book.  Again, I knew I wanted to read it, but I didn’t get around to it right away.  I asked for the book and received it as a gift, but it was just sitting on my shelf.  Then I heard Jeff, Jennifer, and my Mom talk about it, how much they loved it, and how it really impacted their spiritual life.  I knew I needed to read it.  God had been inviting me through all these ways to read it… He was just waiting for my yes.  I really wanted to start reading it, but I decided I wanted my Consecration Day to be on Divine Mercy Sunday, meaning I’d start reading it May 20th.  Finally the day came.  I started it, and I am loving it.

The first few days of the book talk about Adam and Eve and how sin started from a lie that was told to them.  This then guided me to reflect on all sin in my life and how it is committed from some lie that is being told to me.  It also made me reflect on how many lies I am being tempted to think about God and others.  For instance when I commit a sin I may be tempted to think that I am not worthy or I am not enough, but in reality that is when God loves me all the more because I am so in need of Him as my Savior.  I think it has helped me to be more aware… or to try to be more aware… of when I am being tempted with thinking a lie about God or someone else or whether that is truth; and if it is a lie, what is the truth.

The next few days helped me reflect on faith and trust through the eyes of Abraham and Mary.  I have been taught Abraham is the Father of Faith.  But the book really goes into depth on this fact.  I always knew Mary trusted God, as well.  But the books helped me to reflect more on how she trusted God in ways I hadn’t really thought about.

The next few days have walked through St. Therese’ spiritual life.  It has talked about her belief in God’s mercy and how He is a merciful God.  It also compares and contrasts God as a just God and God as a merciful God.  I think it has always been easy for me to see God as a just God.  I almost feel like that is how I grew up thinking about God more than as a merciful God.  I know God is merciful — I have had a devotion to his Divine Mercy for a few years.  But I think God is revealing how merciful He is to me even on a deeper level.  I just want everyone to know how merciful God truly is, how good He is, how faithful He is, and how loving He is.  I am just so grateful He is expressing this to me and teaching me even more so about Himself in these attributes.

I can’t wait to see what the next half of the book teaches me.  🙂

About a week and a half ago, Jennifer shared this video on Fr. Gaitley with me.  I haven’t listened to it yet, but I am going to listen to it today.  I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.

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Last Weekend in Omaha

Craig and I started to get a little nostalgic this weekend as we spent our last weekend in Omaha before we move this week.  It was a great weekend to end our time living in Omaha and to begin looking forward to our life in Lincoln.

The Lanoue’s invited us over for dinner as a going away Friday night, along with the Zurcher’s.  We always love our time spent with such dear friends.  We will miss not living in the same town as them greatly.

Saturday morning I attended a Moms Prayer Group that Jennifer started at St. Wenceslaus.  They have it the first Saturday of the month, and unfortunately I had not been able to attend until this Saturday.  I am so grateful Jennifer invited me and that I was able to go!  They pray a holy hour together before mass starts.  The holy hour starts with a reflection, followed by time for personal prayer, and ends with a rosary.  The reflection Jennifer gave this time was from a book she found giving Mary’s perspective of the Way of the Cross.  It was so beautiful to reflect on.  She also shared these 3 beautiful quotes that I reflected on for quite awhile during my prayer time.  I just love them.

– “In the dark loneliness of the Passion, Our Lady offers her Son a comforting balm of tenderness, of union, of faithfulness; a yes to the divine will. Hand in hand with Mary, you and I also want to console Jesus, by accepting always and in everything the Will of his Father, of our Father. Only thus will we taste the sweetness of Christ’s Cross, and come to embrace it with all the strength of Love, carrying it in triumph along the ways of the earth.” – St. Josemaria Escriva, from “Way of the Cross”

– “Mary was the person in Jesus’ life who He turned to when He was in distress. He went to His Mother, who was able to bring Him calm, peace, safety, and security…When we have a devotion to Mary, that’s the role that she wants to play in our own lives. She’s that person we can run to when we’re in distress, or worried, or feel unsafe, or feel insecure, because she always is there to welcome us, to throw her arms around us, to comfort us. The true meaning of Marian devotion is that we allow our hearts to be transformed by union with hers, which means we run to her in our distress.” – Fr. Sean Kilcawley, from “Mary, Mother of God” homily, 1/1/17

– “We should reflect on this, what does it mean to have a Savior? What does it mean to need a Savior? Because in the midst of the busyness of our lives, or the comfort of our lives, we’re not always aware of the fact that we need a Savior. So many times when we’re lonely or we’re sad, we can easily turn to distraction to be our Savior…instead of opening ourselves and turning to the Lord…instead of developing that habit that says, “Jesus, I need you to reveal yourself to me again.” “Jesus, I need you to remind me of who I am.” “Jesus, I need you to hold me, just as you were held when you were a small child.” “Jesus, I want to depend completely on you…to depend completely on you.” That’s what it means to have faith, and it’s what it means to have a Savior.” – Fr. Sean Kilcawley, from “Merry Christmas” homily, 12/25/16

After I attended the prayer group, I headed to Trader Joe’s to do our grocery shopping for the week.  Okay I hadn’t done this since… honestly maybe college, and even then I don’t know…. but almost all I bought were frozen meals for the week.  I did buy SOME fruit, avocados, and eggs.  But I bought a frozen pizza, a frozen Chinese meal, and a frozen Indian meal.  I seriously still can’t believe I did this.  We.. well maybe I… really wanted to pack up our whole kitchen this weekend, leaving no dishes for me to cook with.  I felt like I’d rather buy some frozen meals rather than eat out for supper every night this week.  So we will see how this goes and how we feel by the end of the week… 🙂

After that Craig, Henry, and I headed to Sherwin Williams to buy our paint for our new house!! Yay!! Hopefully we like the colors on the walls because we just bought a lot of paint.  But I think we will. 🙂

Saturday afternoon we attended my cousin Jaime’s wedding to her husband, Kurt.  It was a beautiful wedding held at St. Margaret Mary’s.  I am so happy for both of them.  After the wedding, my siblings all went to DJ’s Dugout.  It was fun to spend time with all of them, as well as to hang out in Aksarben one last time before we move.  Then we headed to the reception at the Livestock Exchange Building.  Henry loved dancing with his cousins at the reception.  We all had a great time.

Sunday morning we attended our last Sunday mass at Christ the King.  We packed and cleaned all day.  Craig focused on the garage, and I worked on the kitchen.  Henry helped me for a bit, and then he went outside to play while Craig was working in the garage.  That night we attended the JPII Newman Center’s Oratory Dedication.  It was great to attend and see the “finished product” that Craig had been working so hard on for so long.  It was nice to see friends and people he worked with at the reception.  It was a very spiritual experience as we were praying during benediction that this was closure and an ending to living in Omaha.

 

Henry Happenings

Henry has always loved peek-a-book, but he has been initiating the game more and more.  He started to play it with us during meal time.  He just covers his eyes and waits for us to ask where he is.  It’s so fun.

During my spring break last week, we were able to go to the Children’s Museum one day with Jennifer, Emma, and Zac.  I love taking Henry to the Children’s Museum.  It was so fun to see what he was interested in.  It was so fun to go with Jennifer, Zac, and Emma, too!  They all played on the slides for quite awhile.  Then they moved over to the tractor for a bit.  Then we went to a room that had a lot of legos, blocks, and cars to build.  We also played with the balls in the gravity section for awhile.  Emma and Henry liked those!  Last we went upstairs to the animal playground and train.  We had a great time!

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Henry is starting to talk more and more.  His words are Dada and the occasional Mama, but he tries to carry on a conversation with me or Craig with lots of jargon.  It is SO fun to hear him talk to us and to guess what he is saying.  🙂

Our First Home

Craig and I have been packing up our home for the last week or two.  Packing an entire home is quite an experience.  It is nice to go through everything and try to declutter our lives a little bit.  It has also been fun to go through things together.  This was our home where we started to build our lives together.  It is neat to think about the things we have, where they came from, and the memory with it.

Craig has decided that at dinner time we both name something we will miss about our home and something we are excited about in our next home.  Here are some of the things we have come up with that we have loved about our first home:

-The character of the arches, doorknobs, old front door, light fixtures, windows, and layout

-The location — being near Aksarben, being able to walk to Aksarben, being near bike/running trails, Elmwood park, being in a central location in Omaha, the old homes near us, being near local restaurants, being near parks

-Having a small home — I know I am excited about the space of our new home, but I think I will miss cleaning a small home and having less “stuff”

-The fact that it was our first home together and all the memories we have shared here — (trying to) figure out how to be married :), finding out we were expecting with Henry and Baby #2, bringing Henry home from the hospital, hosting family and friends together… our house truly became our home.

-Spending time in our backyard together

Craig and I have loved our home and are very grateful for it.  We are excited to get into our new house to make it a home just like we did with this one.

Thoughts on Babies and the Spiritual Life

I was talking to Jennifer last week about my random thoughts I had been having on infants, and she told me I should write them down — which was a great idea. 🙂  So I thought this would be the place to do that.  I have no theological teachings behind my ideas here.  They are just reflections…

When Henry was littler, sometimes he would be looking — not at me or anything in particular — and he would smile or giggle to himself.  I remember wondering what he must be looking at.  And I think it has to be the angels.  Babies are so pure.  They are innocent.  They are free of sin.  They are humble.  They are completely dependent on others for all their needs.  I think they can see the angels, and maybe the saints, and maybe even Jesus and Mary.

I remember showing Henry a crucifix and a picture of Jesus for some of the first times when he was SO little.  And EVERY TIME he would smile back.  I just asked him, “Have you seen Jesus before?”  I can only wonder.

I also remember some of Henry’s tough nights between when he was a newborn and 3 months.  Some of those nights were so hard.  There was nothing I could do to calm him down.  I would just pray to Jesus, Mary, and his Guardian Angel, and I would give Him to them.  There was nothing I could do.  Only them.  I just would picture them trying to calm him down, hold him, comfort him, and love him.

When I was talking to Jennifer about this, she said she hadn’t really thought about it.  But she said last week, she noticed Emma looking up at the sky and laughing.  She said she wondered what she was looking at, too!  Isn’t it a beautiful thought?

When Henry and I were at church last week praying, he got up and walked around.  Rather than continuing to get up, pick him up, and bring him back to the pew, I decided to walk around following him while I prayed.  There was one point where he stopped in front of the altar, sat down on the first bottom step, stood up, ran over to the pew, touched it, ran back to the step on the altar, and repeated over and over again.  He was smiling and laughing while he did it – like it was a game.  I had this vision that he was playing with Grant, Mark, Kathryn, and Laura.  It brought me to tears watching him, and I just felt it so strongly in my heart.  I don’t doubt the Holy Spirit’s presence in my vision or prayer.

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Baby Pytleski is a…

BOY!!!

We had Baby’s ultrasound this morning.  He was a mover!! The ultrasound tech got some great images of him!! Craig and I both guessed the baby is a boy.  We are so excited and can’t wait to meet him!  He is 11 oz and is measuring right on time with his due date.

Craig and I found out the baby was a boy during the ultrasound.  We wanted to reveal the baby’s gender in a fun way to our family.  After the appointment, I went to HyVee to get some cupcakes with blue frosting in the middle.  Henry got to enjoy one after his nap!

Henry loved the cupcake!! 🙂 And I am sure he loved finding out he is going to have a little brother!

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Here are my fun stork leggings from Ashley — perfect for the reveal! 🙂

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Henry Happenings

Henry really enjoys reading books.  It is so fun to see.  He will sit on his little stool next to a stack of books we have in our living room and read a book.  Or he will go get a book and bring it to either me or Craig to read to him.  It is definitely a favorite activity for him right now.  Some of his favorite books right now are Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See, Little Puppy, That’s Not my Dinosaur, That’s Not my Monster, Find the Puppy, Dada, and Ten Tiny Toes.  He loves the books with flaps, too.  I caught him “reading” That’s Not My Monster the other day.

To be

“Lord, plant in my heart a burning desire for you.”

I love this short and simple prayer, yet such a deep and meaningful prayer.  Fr. Cook suggested this prayer during his homily on Sunday.  He spoke about the Gospel — the Transfiguration.  He pointed out what Peter said after Jesus transfigured before them and Moses and Elijah appeared to them.  Peter said,

“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here.”

I love this story of Jesus’ transfiguration before His disciples.  I have always wondered why Peter said that they should make tents.  I always thought it seemed kind of random that he said that.  But in context, and after Fr. Cook shared his perspective, it made total sense.  After seeing Jesus transfigured, he wanted to stay with Him.  He wanted to be with Him.

In a world where there are constant distractions all around me from being present to Christ, to those around me, to the work placed in front of me, I need to hear this and need to strive for this.  I don’t want to just “do”.  I want to “be”.  Just like Mary in the story of Mary and Martha.  I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and be with Him.

Lord, I pray that I — my heart and mind — may be so transformed by your transfiguration.  Overflow my heart with love for You and for others.  Help me to just be — to be with You in all I do and say, to be with others and to remember that that is being with You, and to be present to the tasks you have called me to do.  Plant in my heart a burning desire for You.

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Guy Time

This week, after we’ve eaten dinner, Craig and Henry have been having some guy time.  Henry will go into our bedroom, reach up, and wait for Craig to put him on the bed.  Henry will lie on the bed and wait for Craig to run and jump onto it.  He thinks it is the best game.  He even signs ‘more’ over and over again as soon as Craig gets up.  It looks a little something like this: