Friday, March 13, 2015

Seven Quick Takes vol. 116

Clicking with Kelly today for some seven randoms - because what are Fridays for?


Hello my long lost readers! I feel as if I haven't had any time to think let alone write anything of worth lately because I was dealing with a pox upon my house. We had a weird illness: fevers, coughing, not quite the flu but sufficient to knock everyone out to a whining lethargy, which went on to transform into the bacterial friend of all parents, ear infections. It went through every kid, each one dropping the next day and it almost killed me. I know, I'm being super dramatic but almost two weeks of baby lying on me, too much Netflix, constant needs needing to be attended, and only getting out of the house to go to the doctors was rough. The kids have been better since Monday, of course that was when I went down with sinus headaches for a couple days, but now I think we're in recovery and trying to get back on track!


It's been over a year and a half since every kid was seriously sick at the same time in our house. Which I think it ridiculously good. But by being really healthy, my kids have had no practice in creating a patient sick-kid mom. So they have to deal with me who pretty much loses patience after two days of lying around. I think I actually did fairly well, but in my head I couldn't stop being tired of having so much sickness in everyone. But we survived? Maybe it was a Lent thing...maybe I grew in holiness somehow? Let's hope so!


Does anyone else ever experience this weird feeling after all the kids are finally healthy again and feel like you have to re-learn how to make plans and live a normal life? I swear all week I went around double checking myself before making plans for the upcoming weekend, "Can we go swimming next Sunday? Oh, I guess we can...we're not sick anymore...." It felt so strange and bizarre. It was as if when we were all sick I couldn't imagine a time where we wouldn't be sick and able to get out of the house! 

More evidence I'm losing my mind. I get it.


Other than the sickness and surviving I feel like I have no news. It's like I've been in a bunker. A bunker full of germ makers. While rocking sick kids to sleep I watched more Friday Night Lights - I just want a Southern accent! And I watched a couple episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt which I thought was a cute show, although I haven't been laughing out loud a la 30 Rock yet, but I'm willing to give it more time. 


Does endless winter make anyone else shop for outrageously priced handbags online? Because I think it's becoming my new hobby. 

Tory Burch, $660.80 CAD

Michael Kors. $531.00

Kate Spade, $298 USD

Le sigh. A bag for the price of half a mortgage payment....


Dom lost one of his front teeth last week and I swear it gives me physical pains. It just seems impossible that my baby has lost a tooth. Yes, this has happened already, but no, I can't get over the shock it makes me feel. But he's sporting a sweet grin and has developed a bit of a lisp that is really adorable when he starts talking fast. Like when he and Luke rushed over to me yesterday telling me they discovered...MUD!!


We had a great time talking to Karen Edmisten this week on the podcast. If you haven't had a chance to listen I really think you'll enjoy it, we talk about just about everything and Karen is such a down to earth but inspiring person. 

Hope you all have a great weekend - if it's above freezing rejoice! 

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Fave St. Patrick's Day Books for the Littles

I always am woefully lacking in appropriate holiday-ness, but this year I actually have some fun St. Patricks's Day books for the kids and we might even get things together to do something green and Irish next Tuesday! Everyone cross your fingers for me, but until then here's what the little wee ones are reading around here.

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola

A classic in the holiday/saint category. Really, a great biography for kids about an important saint that doesn't make it boring but exciting. The illustrations are, or course, glorious. I love it!

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato: An Irish Folktale by Tomie de Paola

A sweet board book of a cute Irish folk tale. I'm not quite sure if my kids "get it" but that's part of the allure for me. And it teaches about laziness.

St. Patrick's Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting

This is a sweet story perfect for young children. The illustrations are by Jan Brett so they're particularly lovely and done in black and white and green which is fitting.

Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott

This is a sweet fairy tale-like book for young children that brings a little imagination along with good story-telling and colourful illustrations to the whole leprechaun thing. I had to explain all these cartoon leprechaun's appearing in store windows lately and my kids were not getting the connection to St. Patrick at this fairy tale came in handy. (Literal Catholic kids...sheessh.)

A Fine St. Patrick's Day by Susan Wojciechowski

Another fairy tale type story about Ireland and leprechauns. The illustrations are especially beautiful and a feast for young and old eyes alike. I love drawings of sweet little towns too.

That was quick, so drop by Jenna's for more great Faves this Wednesday!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately - Lots of Mysteries

I'm checking in to talk about some books I've been reading because we've been inundated with illness for over a week here and I can tell ya, it's got me in a mood! But I can always talk about books, and it won't make me sound too cranky so we're all winning. Remember, if you want to find more great reads Jessica is running her WWRW linkup today.

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

Every so often I have to read a mystery novel. And not just any mystery novel, a classic. To me there's nothing so comforting as settling in to an isolated English manor house where a terrible crime has occurred with a set number of suspects and an enigmatic but eccentric master detective. Life just gets better when you're trying to figure out whodunnit. I also want to read every book ever written by Agatha Christie, so this was a natural pick from my shelf. Although a later Poirot novel, this one perfectly combines strange relatives with an eye on inheritance and crimes committed in different locations. Christie's writing only improves the more you read because you come to appreciate her succinct prose and her laser sharp characterizations.

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

This is new story of Poirot by an author who has been approved by the Christie estate, which I believe makes this a big deal. It revolves around the murder of three people in the same hotel, and the mystery threads it way through the past connections of the three victims. While the plot was twisty enough to be an original Christie, the author goes to extremes to make Poirot "persnickety" and "eccentric" and you have to be told how eccentric and persnickety he is during his every conversation. This is a criticism that probably will only bother the devoted Christie fan, because otherwise the novel is well constructed and reads very well for a mystery. So I'm just going to play my Agatha Christie snob card on this one.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley

Clearly, once I get into a mystery bent I just want to keep going! Honestly, it sometimes feels like I have to force myself to not read mystery. I'm completely in love with Flavia. A wickedly smart, precocious eleven year old living in rural England, Flavia loves chemistry and solving the murders that occur in her small village. She's the perfect mix of Nancy Drew spunk and innocence mixed with a delightfully well-read British detective. I enjoy the mysteries, but I love even more the constant literary references, the little Flavia-isms, her eccentric family, and her love of chemistry. I'm trying to space out my reading of this series because I enjoy it so much. This is the second in the series and I believe the seventh was just published. This series is written by a Canadian -- just thought I should point that out.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This is a lovely, light, but heartfelt, story of a bookseller living on a fictional New England island. It's fairly delightful. Written with a good dose of sarcasm, it succeeds in creating characters who love books but aren't completely obnoxious or unlikable - which doesn't sound too difficult but try to think back to a specifically bookish character who you liked? Once the story winds around to a small child opening up the heart of A.J. and in turn the entire bookshop, I was as good as hooked and enjoyed it till the end.

That's it for today, I'm currently reading some heavy duty awesome books that probably deserve their own posts so hopefully I'll get the chance to write about them sometime soon. Until then, have you read any of these? Got some more good ones for me??

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Seven Quick Takes vol. 115

Hi Kelly! There are some really great bloggers linking up with her this week, go take a peak!


the one nice day...

I wish I had big exciting bloggable news, but this week has been very un-newsworthy. We had one blissfully around freezing day, where I flung open the windows, basked my pallid face in the sun in it's natural outdoor habitat, and let the kids frolic in snowsuits. But then grey day, grey day, bitterly cold day, snowing and grey day. February, not cool. I honestly noticed how fast the day seemed to go on the sunny/warm day. Time flew by, I was singing show tunes, everything was coming up Christy. The rest of the days....time slowed.


What doesn't help the passage of time as every mom ever knows, is children being sick. This week I've had a different kid go down with a weird coughing, fever thing that makes them languish with glazed looks on their faces. So that hampered school this week, which actually set back our usual routine which made the days feel longer. We mostly did "couch school" and the Magic School Bus. Couch school accomplishes quite a lot actually. We covered a multitude of "subjects" (boy, I loathe that word when talking about young children's education) and even covered math with Life of Fred. But the regular routine was washed out, and there was soooo much tv watching. But it was either tv, or hearing my children nitter and natter each other to death before this plague ever would!


Since I feel like February has officially killed off any creative brain cells I once had, and I'm feeling like a very lazy writer, let's talk about what I've been watching shall we?

On our bi-annual date night last month the husband and I saw The Imitation Game. Miraculously, my husband wanted to see it because he's a computer nerd who has known about Alan Turing for a while, and since I'm a very loyal anglophile it was up my alley naturally. Benedict Cumberbatch was very good, and Kiera Knightley didn't ruin it for me by upping her game and her personality to that of "slightly above a wooden board". Also; the actor who plays Branson on Downton played a jerk who works with Turing at Bletchley with a very confused accent. Was it Irish? Was it English? It was basically horrendous. 

We hesitated and prepared ourselves because we thought that this movie might be overtaken by a blatant gay agenda bent, however it turned out that the main theme of the movie was if you're going to be remarkable you will have to accept that your differences are part of who you are and what makes you remarkable. Which is not an idea contrary to Catholic thought at all, but is easily played up with current trendy societal thinking. It was still a good movie despite it's agenda, and the agenda could have been dealt with much worse and much better. 


Something that drives me crazy with movies is how "agendas" make a movie cool or not. Our hipster-ism drives me insane with the proclamation of some movies like American Sniper having a clear "agenda" and thus should be dissed and smeared at, but other movies such as The Imitation Game are just proclaiming truths somehow. No. They all have agendas, just be intellectually honest and say you think American Sniper isn't worth watching because you're politically bent by the media into thinking it's somehow a tool of pro-Americanism and is thus an agenda you don't agree with. Every movie has an agenda, just be logical. Thanks.


We also saw The Grand Budapest Hotel, because it's finally on Canadian Netflix, and I am a huge Wes Anderson fan so I enjoyed it, although not as much as his past work. While I enjoyed the kooky twists and turns of the plot, the story didn't have the same depth and beauty of past Anderson movies. It felt like this was the movie he made to get broad critical acclaim, which worked out well, while his other movies were completely about the storytelling. The interiors and whole look of the movie is amazing, and I would like Jude Law to narrate my life.


I'm also totally into Better Call Saul. One hundred percent all in on that show. I think Bob Odenkirk is amazing, and Vince Gilligan is a genius. I only regret having to wait the epically long time of a whole week in which to watch another episode. It feels so torturous. We binged Breaking Bad in a few short weeks because it was so good, and I want to immerse myself in Better Call Saul too - but a. whole. week!!!!

Also; the Parks and Rec finale this week was cute and fun. It was one of my favourites and I'm sad it's over. It's so rare to have a well written show about ordinary life and ordinary characters who actually like each other on television. I kinda want to watch it all over again.


Well, I think this miserable cold weather is great for podcast listening! Wink, wink! Thanks to everyone who has been listening to the podcast, we really had a great time talking to Heather Sleightholm of Audrey Eclectic Folk Art this week about what inspires her and how she makes time for her art, and she was just lovely to talk to. I find it so comforting to hear that other mom's just squish in time for the things they like to do because it gives me hope for the little things I do with my very little time! 

Have a great weekend everybody!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Falling on My Face as a Mom in Lent

Oh, Lent.

It's always shockingly surprising when we go into Lent at how quickly we can be shown that we really do have a lot to figure out, and be humbled about, and how badly sin has warped our every facet of mind and heart.

It's been just a week and I think I've already had hearty wake up call.

Yesterday was one of those days. With a girl confined to the couch with a bad cough, cold and grey weather, and toddlers climbing the walls it felt like a long day. It felt a million times longer when my husband called to say he'd be home late, and late as in hours past the kids would have to be in bed. The last two waking hours of the kids' day was full of tantrums, fights, refusals, protests, talking back, yelling and screaming. Enduring a meal with them alone at 6 pm felt like another level of torture, and I should have just made them jam and toast instead of a meal that was fought over with actual vegetables. I fell on my face because I tripped on one of the many toys strewn dangerously on every square foot of the floor. I was frustrated and fuming by the time everyone was tucked into dark rooms.

Of course, afterwards I stewed in my failure. More frustration, more failure. And of course I could mention all the blah, blah, blah about grace and motherhood and starting again. Because we all know it. But at that moment of stewing and bubbling in your actual failure and actual frustration you would really rather punch something than hear another rambling and emotive sermon. Or at least I would.

The problem in my head is that it felt like failure and it really was failure. But I feel at this stage of the game, almost 8 years into parenthood, I should have a little less face to face with this abject suck-age. I want to be tangibly better at this. I want more success. I want less crash and burns. I want my motherly love to wrap up neatly into a square box that can be distributed daily at fixed times and accepted in a polite manner. I want my parenting prowess to shoot straight up in a nice line. I don't want fluctuations. I want some order and progress. I want accomplishment.

Parenting, and more especially at-home motherhood, has no visible production checklists for the day. We can't wake up and get the kids fed and clothed and be successful. There are way too many intangibles that make up motherhood. There are so many emotions, personalities, unknowns in just one day to make what we do equal success and accomplishment impossible. It's all complicated and mixed up and nothing at all fitting neatly in a box. That's why in part, it is so hard to go from having a job that everyday you accomplish things and are recognized for and see what you create, to being at home in a jungle of invisible heights to climb and unseen castles to build. Sure, in the long term, and even shorter span of years we see our efforts in the growth of our children, but in the day to day when faced so often with our own inadequacies that growth and accomplishment is just not there.

But that is all a problem of my own. I'm the one who searches for progress, accomplishment, production. I'm the one who wants efficiency in the loving of my own children. I want to love in a small, tight, cramped box when really, motherly love is a wild, unfettered, sunshine that should spread and light up everything in it's path with nothing left untouched. Which is only accomplished with crushing my own pride and practicing generosity. In other words dying to self in order to really love.

I realize that so often my parenting failures are the result of my stinginess. My refusal to accept the reality of the chaos and unorganized, and instead love the whole of it. My pride wants to put my children, my day, my house, my mothering in a tight, small box. When love is the light that wants to flood everything, even in my messy house full of children who just want to yell. This Lent I want to fast and pray to submit my pride in order for true generosity and love to grow.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

See Me Homeschool (complete with embarrassing photos of all types)

Today I'm happy to be linking up with a wonderful homeschool linkup created by Theresa and Micaela called "See Me Homeschool".

This is only my second official year homeschooling my kids ages 7, 6, 5, 3, & 1, but I consider all the years my young children are at home full of learning and education, even if it happens in a very un-purposeful, looks-like-normal-life kinda way. Because I'm vastly outnumbered by little people I've purposefully planned our school days with the focus being on play and reading aloud rather than on workbooks, although we do devout time to curriculum for reading/writing and math each day, mostly when the baby naps. My main challenge so far has been dealing with toddlers - mainly because I've got a lot of 'em! It can be chaotic and full of messes; I've been known to let a toddler rummage cupboards and dump cereal in the middle of spelling if it keeps them occupied!

This was a very normal day for us in February in Canada. We spend the majority of our days at home, but try to get out even if it's just to my parent's house each day for a bit of an afternoon outing so we don't go completely crazy. Hopefully I've included enough "keeping it real" pics so you guys can pick up the flavour of my chaotic days which include a lot juggling, reading, cleaning up toddlers, and sometimes getting myself dressed by noon.

And that's mostly a wrap - because I didn't think you wanted more pictures of quiet time and the witching hour's tantrums, you can just use your imaginations there. Hope that left you mildly amused and if you have any questions feel free to ask me anything!

Remember to head on over to Theresa's or Micaela's to check out the way more inspiring bloggers who are sharing their homeschool days in pictures for the next two weeks. If you've gotta a blog and wanna share your homeschool day you can link up too - you know I wanna snoop! 

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