Friday, June 24, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol 144



Checking in with Kelly on this fine Friday.


{one}



As usual the week flies away from me and I am left wondering where the time has gone?? I believe it flew by with the cries of children every 5 minutes needing food. And finding shoes. And a bit of laundry. No need for six more takes!



{two}



I can't believe it's the end of June! 
We celebrated the baptism of our new godson on Sunday and had a lovely day with friends. Wasn't it just yesterday I was having my own handful of children baptized? It was over three years? Are you sure? 



{three}

My husband finished up his third year of his second trade ticket last week and there was much rejoicing! He was commuting to school everyday, 4 hours a day so I'm sure he was exhausted. I was just a bit lonely and burnt out from him being gone another hour every day. Let's just say it's lucky he never wanted to do graduate studies because I can say with all my being, I would not allow that to happen! #supportivewife



{four}





The boys finished up their soccer season this week much to their chagrin. They loved soccer and could probably play everyday. I, on the other hand was ready. I have not gotten to the point of enjoying taking my kids to activities. I may never get to that point, let's be honest. And we never do sports that last more than six weeks, so I am not a hockey mom to be. I'm glad they had a great season and we did it though. I'm sure they'll thank me in the future....hahahaha.



{five}

Remember how I documented the fact that I planted a garden this year? Well, we're just reaching that point where the teensy seedlings are poking above the surface of the earth and the weeds...are towering above them! I love how the gardening season starts off with "Yay! I'm going to plant all the things! Gardening is fun!" then two weeks later its: "Shit. Who's going to deal with all these weeds?" That's where I am right now. Will all these hours of work that results in a so-so harvest of vegetables my family wolfs down in 20 minutes be worth it? Probably not. I'm the most depressing gardener ever. I should start a blog.



{six}



This week on the podcast we had a really interesting conversation with Karen Edmisten about sharing the faith with people in our lives. I find Karen and her book so encouraging when it comes to sharing the faith. It's really easy for me to feel discouraged and that I'm not doing enough to share the faith with others, but Karen's reassurance that real conversion comes from just living the faith and loving the people in our life made me feel so much more encouraged to keep going. I hope you get a chance to listen.




{seven}

It's going to be a fun and busy weekend as my youngest sister graduates from high school this weekend! I'm officially really, really old. It feels so strange that she's graduating. Like my whole world view needs to shift somehow. 
Oh, and I'll be weeding the garden.

Hope you have a wonderful last weekend in June!





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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately - Summer Reads Edition!





Well, I know I'm not the most prolific blogger these days, but how does a month go by so quickly?? I just wrote a book post didn't I?? Good thing I like writing them!

I thought I'd share some "summer" reads today. Light reads, chick-lit reads, and some of what I've read from the ridiculously popular Modern Mrs. Darcy's Summer Reading Guide just in case you're interested in a second opinion!




The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

This is pure chick-lit but well written enough that you're not feeling as if your brain is seeping through your eye sockets. Wait, was that not positive? I meant that I enjoyed this book especially as it's about the fashion magazine industry, and has a relatable protagonist who's not in her 20's. These are big deals in the chick-lit genre! I did find myself cringing and weeping for my generation as the younger antagonist is drawn as a classic millennial who has vast technological expertise but zero conscience. It's a good beach read though and a Modern Mrs Darcy pick.





 The Clasp by Sloane Crosley

This was an uber trendy novel last year as Mindy Kaling was raving about it and thus made it soar up the bestseller list. It's the story of a group of friends from college who have kept in touch, but all haven't found their bliss in the years since graduating. They come upon a necklace with a mysterious past and get pulled into somewhat of a mystery. The writing is witty at times, but I'm starting to tire of this contemporary fiction where obviously the characters are so desperate for meaning in their lives but never come close to any. Have we just lost the idea of character development?





The Winemakers by Jan Moran

I think you could categorize this as a straight-up romance. But a classy one! For some reason I saw this and decided to pick it up and it is a perfect breezy, romantic read for the summer and who doesn't like those once in a while? I enjoyed the setting of Napa Valley and wineries, while taking place in the 50s. It was full of family secrets, melodrama, and a couple earthquakes for good measure. Excellent when enjoyed with your own glass of red!





The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

I'm fairly befuddled by this one. It's over-hyped for sure, and although that didn't raise my expectations, it's hard to know how I feel about it. I guess it's safe to say I didn't love it. The writing is crisp and also follows that popular style of each chapter comprising it's own short story-like focus on one character. It's a tale of family dysfunction swirling around the sudden loss of an awaited inheritance because of a wayward brother. Again, it's full of characters who are trying to make their way through a cushy life in New York City but all seem to figure out ways of following their feelings and coming out better? worse? the same? in the end. I think I'm weary of these moral milieus that are at the same time unrealistic and don't lend themselves to really great story. I can't say I'd recommend this one, but it's a Modern Mrs Darcy pick.





 Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams

This is an intriguing romance about two women; a new widow, Annabelle, who buys an incredibly expensive car from a young, unwed, and pregnant woman. It takes place in the 60's with flashbacks to the older woman's romance in 1930's Europe. I enjoyed how it was written and that it felt like a period piece as you felt like you were alternatively in 1930's France and 1960's Miami. It proves to be a dramatic ending as Annabelle flees Nazi Germany. A well-written beach read for a lazy summer day!


Linking up with some Quick Lit at Modern Mrs Darcy's!


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Friday, June 10, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol. 143


Happy Friday! Say hi to Kelly!


{one}




Yay Friday! 
We've had a week of really hot weather, then rain, then a bit more sun! We finished planting our garden-finally, don't get me started about how hard it is to grow things up here. We planted a lot of rows of potatoes and now I'm living in fear of how much I'm going to have to hill. We haven't planted potatoes for a couple years because I just haven't had the time for plants that require attention, so we'll all hope together I can keep things alive.



{two}

It's so weird that it's already June 10. I'm trying to remember to enjoy every day that I can open windows and walk outside without a coat on! We're also enjoying no school and some full on summer. It's pretty hilarious hearing everyone complain about their kids being home all the time driving them crazy--I just want to say, welcome to my life every day all day! 
But sincerely, it's hard making summer feel like a break to a homeschooling mom, so I've been trying to take it easier the last couple weeks. Reading more, not worrying if the kids are doing constructive things at every moment, trying to schedule in some days off more consistently so that it actually feels like I'm getting some kind of a break. I've also been doing some HIIT workouts which is absolutely crazy if you know me. And I'm also trying to just make more salads for dinner. Which may mean my kid's are going hungry more often...but seriously, they need to learn how to eat vegetables when combined with other vegetables.



{three}




I've been watching Chef's Table all week because of the newly released season on Netflix and I just want to gush about how much I love this show! I mean, I love almost every foodie/chef show that exists, but this show does such an amazing job sharing the real human stories of what make chefs chefs. I feel like I can now have a chef/food related metaphor for anything in life.



{four}



We've been reading a million great children's books and I wish I had more time and was better at sharing all the picture books we go through around here. I love blogs that share copious amounts of beautiful children books. I'm also the biggest user of my library website I feel. It seems we always have on average about 70 items out from the library at any given time! But this book had Nora completely mesmerized for weeks, she even told me I wasn't allowed to take it back to the library ever! But then I had to because it was a million days overdue. And hey, everybody does love bacon. It's a fact.




{five}






Will I ever forget how many wet socks are around this house on any given day? I sort of hope not, but at the same time THERE ARE SO MANY WET SOCKS AROUND HERE!!! I think it's safe to say that 4 out of 5 kids get wet socks every time they go outside. It hasn't been warm enough for bare feet the last couple days so 4x100 equals socks everywhere. Let's just hope it's one of those things I never forget. For better and for worse.




{six}



We had a new podcast episode this week talking with Katie Sciba all about dealing with anxiety and depression as moms and women and what we can do to help ourselves and our families. We hope the conversation may be a good starting point for conversation for you, and to at least know you're not alone!



{seven}




We've got a quieter weekend which we're going to enjoy as much as possible but it looks like it may be rainy! We had a beautiful weekend last weekend to be outside and the kids were busy with everything from riding bikes to practicing archery to swimming and it was glorious! So it might end up being a movie weekend but we'll see! Hope you have a great one!














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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Community Won't (Necessarily) Make Your Life Easier





I've been thinking lately a little bit about the idea of community and how we think about it. More importantly I've been thinking about my thoughts concerning community. Mostly because I generally struggle with the idea of community since I have very little around me. It's a tough situation to be in when you have no local "community" surrounding you. Where you don't have friends down the street, or at Mass, or even many at the kid's soccer games. It's kind of been a constant struggle for me which can only really be remedied by our family moving to a new a community at this point. But there's a lot going on with what we as moms think about "community" to a more general and greater extent.

We all know community is necessary and beautiful part of life. I am in no way debating that! There is so much to be said with being able to share in each other's burdens, support one another with our presence or physical help, experiencing each other's joy. This is only heightened as we become mothers, grow families, and raise the next generation. There are so many things that can only be shared mother to mother, so much that can be communicated from one understanding heart to another.

But I think a lot of us, especially Catholic moms, might have a mythical image of idealised "community" that holds us back from truly enjoying and living the community we do have in our lives right now. I think it’s a misconception to see community as some kind of end in itself, a paradasical commune-like existence where we can depend on shared childcare, minimal cooking, and mimosas with our friends during the day while braiding one another's hair.

I think some of us live in a state of near constant disappointment that this isn't our current reality. We resent our daily tasks and chores because we think it's too much, that we're not meant to do it alone, that if only we lived in community we'd have so much more time to be ourselves and to take care of ourselves. I know I've thought that before.

The problem is that this mythical community is just that: mythical.

Our mother's didn't have that kind of community, our grandmother's didn't have that kind of community. And if we come from a cultural background where different generations lived in the same household we may know that they shared in the housework, but that there were also a myriad of other difficult issues to deal with in sharing close quarters with extended family. For most of us there will never be a perfect community, Catholic or otherwise. And for the majority of us we are simply called to be more active members of the world than sheltered in bubbles of like-minded Catholics.

Our grandmothers may have worked alongside their sisters and mothers but their work comprised a full day's labor that we can hardly understand today. If they were sharing the work of childcare and household duties it was most likely because they were supporting a greater population than just their immediate family in their home and at their table, or were working full time outside of the home just to make ends meet. My grandmother worked on her family's farm and would routinely cook three meals a day for about 20 people. The burden of loneliness was lighter, but the workload wasn't. Let's also acknowledge that we as modern moms do so much even with the advent of household technology, but that our husbands are doing far more domestically than any previous generation. My grandmother's have both commented to me that they never had the kind of support that my husband gives me when it comes to the daily care of our kids.

The mom's groups, parish ministries, and friend's down the road are all important, but let's not put our expectations in a perfect life in somehow levelling up when it comes to community. Our personal issues are not solved by simply having more people in our lives.

There is a core loneliness that only Christ can answer in our hearts. There is so much that is downright difficult when it comes to living out our vocations especially in our current societal situation. We all desperately want to pass on our faith to our children, to live holy examples for them and keep our sanity while doing it. But parenting has never been easy, and never will be. There may be aspects of our aspirations towards a perfect community that want the support of others, but in a more convoluted way seeks to make our daily lives easier. I’m not saying I don’t want that too, hey, I’d love a nanny or a cook to drop by any day of the week, but I think I’m getting community wrong when I begin to think that community will make my life easier and more comfortable, that it will somehow get rid of the daily grind and the daily sacrifice which so much of motherhood requires.

We can also get caught up in the pursuit of community and skip over the importance of first fostering our marriages. Our marriages are our most important relationship, that's the community we should want to grow and continue to nurture as our first priority. Marriage is the relationship that will impact our hearts and our everyday the most. If our own husbands don't understand our struggles at home and offer their help that's a far greater issue than having a next door neighbour to share housecleaning with.

I think we should all be looking to grow the communities around us. I think this is a very valid and important task for us as mothers, and really just as human beings. But we need to understand that fostering good community doesn't mean that our lives are going to get easier when it comes to facing a sink full of dishes in the morning, disciplining our children, and facing our own personal emotional and spiritual issues that arise within motherhood. There is no perfect community coming to rescue us from what we see as personal drudgery or give us  right order in our hearts and homes.

So please, go out and enjoy the community you have right now! If it's one friend down the street then foster that friendship. If it's a vibrant mom's group that meets once a week be grateful for the opportunity. If it's online friendship with people who understand you and your values know that that's important too. If it's making a difficult choice to live near family to the detriment of a yearly salary then go all in and enjoy the ability to have grandparents watch your kids. If it's living near sisters then get ready to take on their drama and relish the ability to vent without judgement. Let’s enjoy and live fully the actual community we have right now, rather than waiting for the mythical commune.









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Friday, May 27, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol. 142



I'm back, Kelly! I'm back!

{one}



Thank goodness it's Friday/I can't believe it's Friday already!!We 
I'm completely ready to be locked in a room by myself for the duration of the weekend.
Am I the only one who feels like that by Friday? 5 kids x infinite number of asked questions per day + small amount of patience = dead by Friday.




{two}



We've been busy around here though which is how whole weeks go by without me being able to blog even a tiny bit. Last weekend was the long weekend up here and it was my birthday and Gemma's birthday so we had some great friends come up and spend the weekend at our house with their 3 babies. The only problem was it rained most of the 3 days so we basically were in a house with 8 kids for 3 days straight. Oh, and one started vomiting at midnight on the night of my birthday. But we made it and it actually wasn't too bad, and we had a pretty good time! I feel like we levelled up somehow in parenting. I also got to smoke cigars every night and drink great scotch so it was a really memorable birthday weekend!




{three}



Requisit "I can't believe my baby is so old" take.
She's 9.
How did this happen???
I vividly remember her being born yesterday. And now she's a big kid!!
I'll just be over here crying for a while...




{four}

We wrapped up school last week as most of the kids finished up their curriculum programs. I was pretty proud we ended up finishing so early in the year and didn't have things drag out too badly. They're still little enough that there isn't a big workload when it comes to sit-down work, and we will definitely be reading a ton during the summer, plus I think I'm going to let them think workbooks are fun and keep letting them do those when they feel like it, so basically we're just stopping the daily stress of me thinking I have to get a long list of school done a day - but that feels wonderful.




{five}



In breaking news - I finally bought prescription sunglasses. At the ripe old age of 31 I thought it was time to be an adult and finally get real sunglasses. I don't know what exactly I've been waiting for because I loovve glasses. And I occasionally go out in the sun. I hit up good ol' Firmoo for some cheap ones that I won't feel horrible about if some child comes by and destroys them mercilessly.




{six}



I've been meaning to mention this sweet new children's book that I was sent a review copy of, Into the Sea, Out of the Tomb: Jonah and Jesus by Maura Roan McKeegan. It's a wonderfully illustrated telling of the story of Jonah alongside the life of Christ with some beautiful writing. I was really impressed with how well the two stories were brought together, it's a great way to start exposing our kids to thinking about the Bible more wholly while being a great book to read. I especially appreciated Ted Schleunderfritz's illustrations because he's been a favourite illustrator of mine from his work in Gilbert! Magazine. Well worth picking up for your kids! 



{seven}



The weather has finally turned rainy in the last week and we had been in desperate need of rain so it's really welcome. I also love rain so I won't complain at all! We've had showers off and on for a couple days now and it's storming right now so all the kids ran into the house and are hiding in the basement. But everything's so lush and green it's the best time of year! I'll be outside working out, er, I mean, drinking wine outdoors this weekend, hope you guys have a great weekend!







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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately






Back with some quick reviews of what I've read lately - I'm starting to shift into what feels like some summer reading already so hopefully next time I'll have more easy, breezy books for you!





A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley

The third in the charming Flavia de Luce mystery series, this entry was just as delightful as the first two. Flavia is just a wonderfully readable character. Especially since she's a child solving mysteries around her idyllic English village you'd think it would be easy for the main character to become saccharine and annoying. But it's just a fun pleasure reading these quirky whodunnits.





The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

I've been meaning to read Robert Galbraith's (aka J.K. Rowling) detective novels for a while now and somehow expected them to be dark and dreary. But Rowling's skill as a writer floats across every page. Private investigator Cormoran Strike sets out to solve the high profile murder of a supermodel with a well paced plot, great sidekick, and the perfect setup to an awesome Masterpiece Mystery series. After reading this book I realized that Rowling is a master at characterization, I fell in love with the cross-examinations because each character had such a unique voice that was perfectly presented. I didn't even want to solve the mystery, I  just wanted to keep meeting new people through the eyes of the indefatigable, intelligent, yet troubled detective, Cormoran Strike. It's a novel that really stands on it's own regardless of genre, but as a detective novel I thought it was first rate!






The End of the House of Alard by Sheila Kaye-Smith

Remember how I was on a Sheila Kaye-Smith kick? She's a little known early 20th century pastoral novelist and contemporary of G.K. Chesterton. Her books are out of print but, oh, how I wish they weren't because I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes Downton Abbey. This is a fascinating novel about the aristocratic Alard family, their romantic and spiritual entanglements, and the changing face of British society. Kaye-Smith is a really astute writer when it comes to portraying realistic characters and spiritual struggle, in this novel a variety of characters come face-to-face with spiritual truths yet choose different paths which proves fascinating. I feel like this book is best described as Downton Abbey meets Brideshead Revisited. Highly recommended if you can find a second hand copy on Amazon or Ebay!





Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider

I love Tsh Oxenreider. I think her's was the first blog I discovered, the first I followed, and still follow today. I enjoy her writing and felt this book presented a lot of new material that has never been on her blog before, but I think because I am pretty much coming from exactly where she's coming from, that this just didn't bowl me over. I already am on board with everything she writes about when it comes to living simply, I feel like I am her choir. But for anyone who hasn't a clue what living simply means or entails this would be the perfect starting point.




 
Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Omigoodness, the third book in Marilynne Robinson's trilogy set in Gilead and I loved this novel in a completely different way than I loved the previous two. I find it just amazing how Robinson can so perfectly inhabit and write from a different person's inner life so effortlessly. It's really a joy to become part of Lila's life while reading this book. Lila is different from her husband John Ames, but just as alive on the page. I really don't want to say anything more because reading it is so rewarding and I feel like each and every reading will be different than another's experience. To sum up, I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. And I reserve 5 stars for books by Chesterton, Jane Austen, and Evelyn Waugh.




Joining Modern Mrs. Darcy with Quick Lit again this month! 






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Friday, May 6, 2016

Seven Quick Takes vol. 141



Say hi to Kelly


{one}

Firstly, if you could spare a quick prayer for my province and the incredible disaster of the Fort McMurray forest fire of this week we'd be grateful! The fire has done serious damage to the city, destroyed over one thousand structures, and has forced the evacuation of the entire city of upwards of 90,000 people. Please pray for all those who have lost everything, and everyone who has been displaced because it may be weeks until they're able to get back to their homes. Only rain will be able to stop the fire, and there's not much in the forecast. It's just an unbelievable disaster and I feel just awful for everyone. It's really my worst nightmare so I'm trying not to let my mind journey to crazy town and that the fire might travel another 200 miles to where we live. But I am pretty crazy...


{two}

I just stopped cleaning my windows to write this post. It's my most dreaded cleaning task. I'm almost positive I've blogged about this every single time I ever wash windows because it's such a giant deal to me. And why? It's really not horrible, and the end result of amazing windows is so rewarding! Yet still, I dread. 
Just wanted to let that be documented for posterity. 



{three}



The weather has been unbelievably warm (hence the extreme fire situation) and we were as hot this week as we typically are in July. The kids were in bathing suits slip n sliding for crying out loud! It's just so weird. Last year at this time there was still snow on the ground. But the green leaves on the trees already feels so, so, good after making it through the winter. 



{four}

I'm about to repaint a kid's room and it's tiny but needs bookshelves. I want some wall shelves because that's really the only space we have, any good ideas? Just good ol' Ikea? Will I somehow make them look stupid? I'm going to delve into Pinterest soon to investigate. I basically just avoid Pinterest now. Which seems odd because I used to love it so much. I don't know how out relationship got so complicated. 



{five}



I think we're are going to be able to wrap up most of our schoolwork by the end of May. Which feels good, but we really never completely "stop" doing school around here. We'll be finished up most of the curriculum type work, but we'll still continue our reading, art, and probably some math workbooks because my children seem to have a bizarre love for workbooks. But the official "school" will wrap up nicely I think. It will at least allow me to be a little lazier and not be in constant "make shit happen" mode. Although, I might just be stuck in that mode.

{six}

I got a new phone! I used my broken screened phone for almost 4 months and I think I was going a little blind. I'm not completely spoiled with technology and just thought I'd mention it. 

{seven}

I'm beat. I'm ready for Friday. I need a drink. So pretend this take is your alcoholic beverage. And I've gotta go find some kids. 
Happy Weekend!




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