Friday, September 30, 2011

Seven Quick Takes vol. 8

These Fridays seem to come quickly...head over to Conversion Diary for Jen's Quick Takes!


I'm a big PD James fan, she's really a terrific writer carrying on the same great style and quality of the Queens of Crime mystery writers, i.e. Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. I just read yesterday that James' next release coming out this winter is a mystery novel set in Pemberley! Yes, as in the Pemberley of Pride and Prejudice! Not too many details which means I'm dying of curiosity and can't wait to read it. 

Here's the nice BBC article about it. And isn't it inspiring that she's still writing at 91?


So the iPad is fab. (I know, I should write Apple's ads.)
I haven't become completely addicted to it yet. But it makes marital arguments such as "there's no way that guy is the same guy from Parks and Recreation!" conveniently solvable from the comfort of your own couch. 
Also; the New York Times Crossword Puzzle app is my dream come true.


Yesterday being the feast of the Archangels I came upon some link to Sir Edward Burne-Jones and his beautiful work with angels. A quick search reveals that he was a big fan of angels it seems, I can't believe his work is done in watercolours, I think I need a trip to London to see some in real life! 


I'm going to state here and now that most of the baby weight being gained as we speak comes from pumpkin buns. These buns are so good and taste so perfectly fall-ish that I can't stop eating them. The bakery in town makes them only around this time of year and they're like a big fat cinnamon bun except made with pumpkin pie deliciousness and covered in cream cheese icing. I could eat a whole slab by myself. They almost satisfy my craving for a  Pumpkin Spice Latte everyday. I can't believe Starbucks hates me enough to refuse to mass produce the pumpkin spice syrup so that I cannot make them at home with my new espresso machine. I have yet to try homemade recipes like this one, but I think I'm going to have to soon! My situation is dire!


I haven't been kids clothes shopping in about a month because I haven't been to the city in that amount of time. (Whoa! Sad!) And in that amount of time each kid has outgrown all footwear that they have. I'm usually on top of the constant growing sitch, if only because I like having a reason to shop, but this shoe crisis is getting out of control. I'm hoping to do something about it this weekend, fingers crossed.

Too bad we don't have Target in Canada, because Gemma would be wearing these by now!


I'm in love with this baby blanket! I love how its ombre and chevron and chunky and soft! However, its knitted and I don't knit. I crochet. And I don't really wanna re-learn to knit right now, I've got a limited amount of time to make a blanket for this gestating baby so I'm going to try and MacGyver something up so that I can crochet. And possibly do it in purples and greys. 


The weekend plans are going to be a nice combo of trying to finish things up with our deck, playing outside with the kids if its nice tomorrow, and then the husband and I are going out to a pro-life dinner that wonderfully includes dressing up! And the babes are staying the night with my parents so it sounds like a great time doesn't it? 

Have a great fall weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

small new etsy find!

Whoa-my self-photography skills are really amazing aren't they?

But try to ignore them for a minute and check out these super sweet little cameo earrings I just bought from Etsy! I was in a cameo mood one day and bought these earrings and a small vintage orange cameo pendant that I also love for a steal! These earrings are from bellachicdesigns and I think will make me happy for a long time to come. 


I love how small they are but still very precise and feminine.
Check out this cute little shop for more finds too!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

fall philosophy

With these beautiful fall days we've been outside trying to take in the leaves while they're still around, and generally enjoy the last warm days of the year. As the kids are tromping along and playing they usually comment about the trees and pretty much anything they see-its constant stream of consciousness with toddlers! And now that Gemma's old enough she's started asking the great "why?" to about anything and everything. 

For instance; "Why do they leaves turn yellow and have to fall off Mama?"

This question has me somewhat stumped as to how to answer.
"Because this is how nature works; things grow and then they die."

That seems a little dark for toddler philosophy doesn't it? 

Or how bout: "Just as we die and then experience the Resurrection and new life of Christ so too must the leaves turn yellow, fall off, and die so that they may live anew next spring!" 

Holy theology lecture batman! 

Is it terrible and wrong to admit that I've been going with just the plain old: "That's how trees get ready for the cold winter honey, losing their leaves helps the big tree trunk stay warm." I mean its not scientifically correct, and it does not take full advantage of the depth of spiritual metaphor that fall really is in actuality, but I figure its the simplest step to one day talking about those things right? 

On a sidenote: I really enjoy the changing of seasons just because of their spiritual connotations. There is something comforting in knowing that all of nature experiences a falling away, dying, and darkness and that there is always a spring to a winter. I know, cue emo music here!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall-its here and all the leaves are almost all gone!

It's officially fall! I love all the fall colours and the warmth and cozyness changing seasons bring!

Our September has been insanely beautiful, as in almost warmer than our August and waaay warmer than our July this year, so I haven't done too many fall things yet. But all the leaves were perfect this weekend and I even got to go for a walk in miles of yellow forest....wait for it....BY MYSELF. It was a pretty big deal! The trees were perfect and that smell of the leaves changing was everywhere. It was a great afternoon of a little much needed solitude. 

But forsooth! Yesterday and today the wind is blowing strongly so the poor leaves are blowing away already! Alberta Falls really do only last 2 days! And then once the leaves are gone everything is bare and brown until the middle of November when it snows enough to cover everything is pure white. Its the bare/brown part of the year I have trouble dealing with.

I've tried to get some fall pics of the kids, but I swear they're getting worse for pictures not better! Isn't it supposed to be the other way around? 

Have a great Fall Monday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Way too much laundry...

Does this seem to be more than a weeks worth of baby socks and underwear? 
It seemed like too much to me as I was trying to find matching pairs for over 10 minutes! There is a lot to be said for those little babies growing up in tropical climes where only a loincloth is needed...I wonder what the moms do with all that free time? Probably tan...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The prettiest fall tabletop from Anthro...

I'm in love with this table setting from Anthropologie

I'm a hopeless tableware addict, but these lace plates and bowls are just so pretty!

And the eggplant little pot-right up my alley!
Of course, don't get me started on those "country life" creamer and teapot, we're talking white ceramic animals here people, otherwise known as shopping crack!

Plus, who doesn't wanna go out and buy some foxy brandy glasses now??

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Downton Abbey

I've forgotten to write how much I loved Downton Abbey! I watched it about a month ago and was instantly hooked. Its an incredibly gorgeous show to watch, but the acting, writing and story are all great. I am a true sucker for most any British drama, throw in some period costuming and I'm a happy girl. Downton Abbey takes place right before the outbreak of World War I, and mixes up the luxurious life of the very lucky British aristocracy with the intrigues of the servants who keep up the jaw-dropping estate. The second season is already in the works so catch up on this soon! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

moody monday

Ever wish it was rainy out just to match your mood? Well, this photo is my equivalent. 

Although this is Monday, it feels like Tuesday for me because the husband worked yesterday. Yesterday also turned out to be a tragic day in baby behaviour as everyone had way too many emotional issues with things like napping, eating, and listening to mum in general which resulted in my total meltdown at 9:30 last night when no one was sleeping! I'm just hoping that this week doesn't turn out to be as long as it feels like it could be! Any prayers my way are welcome!

Hope to have something cheerier to post tomorrow-have a happy Monday if possible!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Vol. 7

Linking up with Jen once again! Enjoy!


Do you think my child is out for attention when he walks up to me and says in his little one and a half year old voice "I'm cyyyying"? I laughed because he wasn't crying, he was a little whiney at his brother, but the fact that he walks up and says that with words is pretty freakin hilarious. He's a smart one.


In the "I-wish-I-had-written-that" column this week this amazing article on Music in the Liturgy. I know probably not everyone cares about this  because I'm a giant nerd and I say good for you-don't change because it'll drive you crazy most days-but since I've been doing "church music" since I was 10 I've got my share of opinions and this article is practically perfect in every way. Give it a read if you've got a couple minutes, and read everything Marc has ever written while you're at it. 


So we're thinking about buying an iPad. Crazy, I know. The husband is going to be working some overtime in the next couple weeks and so he feels as if we'll have extra spending money. I feel like its a lot of money to spend on something frivolous, and at the same time really, reaally, want one! But our rationale is I'm preggo and we're not going to be able to travel for awhile, so we don't really need to be storing up money in the ol' travel fund, and we don't have any huge purchases coming up that haven't been accounted for. I'd love one for when I'm breastfeeding, i.e. when I can't move around at will. And it would be nice to read blogs while being a blog of after-baby-ness. We'll see what happens.


Some afternoons while the littles are napping I lie on the couch and wallow for awhile. I blame pregnancy. And I've been watching Jamie Oliver's Meals in Minutes a lot and have been fairly impressed. (Why I'm watching cooking shows when the idea of cooking and all food in general is still fairly revolting to me I do not know.) I haven't really been a Jamie Oliver fan, other than his frequent wearing of old-man sweaters, in the past just because I've found his organic to the ground/unusual herb combos somewhat off-putting for some reason. But this meals in minutes business has some real, doable, family-style dinners that look incredible on tv and appear shockingly easy. I've added this cookbook to my long wish list of cookbooks. Plus the styling and production of the tv series is absolutely perfect. Its worth it just for a watch. 


In keeping with my owl fetish-isn't this bag the greatest?!
I can't for the life of me think of where I could possibly wear it, but if I had even a few remotely formal events to attend this would be my statement bag. And its Kate Spade of course!
(Definitely couldn't justify this bag over an iPad with my husband though!)


I've been putting off getting out my fall decor. When living in Canada its best to savour every second of even close-to-summer-weather for as long as possible. We definitely have enough fall and winter in our lives, you've gotta enjoy the warmth while you can! But the leaves are already starting to turn here and I've broken down and cut some fall branches for the house already. I kinda love fall-and everything that comes along with it-sweaters, fall colours, leaves, pumpkins, pumpkin spice lattes...


We have an abbreviated weekend this weekend as the beloved husband has to work Sunday, and he's building our deck tomorrow and Saturday, so it'll be a fairly quiet at-home weekend for a change. I feel as if I should bake something-but have I mentioned my oven is on fritz and we're holding out for some great deal? Its limited my cooking as well, nothing can be roasted as the oven doesn't heat up remotely to temperature and my bbq is disconnected because we've already ripped up the deck it belonged on. Hopefully we'll get this fixed soon-can't wait to have a functioning oven again!

Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More of my owl addiction...

I'm in love with this sweet teapot! I'm telling you, I have a serious problem with owls. 
And this sweet teapot is from this even sweeter little British shop that looks like I could go mad in: Our Shop.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers by Meg Meeker M.D.

I just finished Meg Meeker's The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers and I found it to be a book full of great insight to any mum. I've read several "mom" books in the past couple years, mostly ones aimed at the stay at home/Catholic mom, and most usually contain some good points you'd never thought about and lots of things you've discovered on your own. And I know I'm no expert as I've only been a mom for 4 and bit years, but I think its good to get a little encouragement in the form of a book every once in a while. 

Meeker's approach readily acknowledges the important role of faith in motherhood. Faith in your importance in your role as mother, faith in God, faith and trust in God in relation to your children, and the importance of actually practicing that faith. Meeker also focuses on the importance of solitude, good friendships, and saying no to competition. I loved all the points she made and agreed wholeheartedly with continuing to cultivate your friendships with supportive friends, and I probably really needed to read the chapter on saying no to competition. 

I think these books are great for everyone to read, but specifically for new and young moms. Just as you learn about yourself through life, you learn about yourself as a mother as you grow with your child. There is so much pressure from outside influences that tell moms so many different things that its sometimes impossible to discover your own instincts, especially if you're not surrounded by equally supportive, faithful, mum-types. And at the same time there are so many mom-heresies floating around in our society. Meeker addresses the need for more and more money, the unstated belief that you should be constantly over-extended and over-scheduled, and the belief that more things and bigger houses make you and your kids happier. All these things are really distractions from from our goals as mothers. Its just amazing how easily we allow these errors to take over instead of staying true to our beliefs, even if it means cutting down our kids schedules, making time for solitude for ourselves, and sacrificing extra income for our family. Sometimes its good to hear an outside voice affirming what we believe.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good morning monday...

Good Monday Morning again!
I have to admit that I've added a little dulce de leche to my espresso this morning and maybe some whipped cream. With the only excuse that its monday. So sue me.
I've got a very cranky little girl this morning who has already cried/thrown a tantrum over her favourite dress having to be washed and the atrocity of a couple crayons being found on the floor. It could very well be a long day.
I'm off to tackle my mountain of laundry-have a decent Monday! ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seven Quick Takes Friday vol. 6

Here I go again! Make sure to go to Jen's for the real thing!


Its been smoking hot this week. (Well, at least for Alberta.) So the the kids and I have been out in the sprinkler trying to absorb every last minute of warm sunlight. I feel like I'm storing it up for winter or something! And I may be letting my kids run around butt-nakey as Dom says. Seriously, its ok, I don't have neighbours for MILES!


Its official; the beloved husband and I have watched every episode of Burn Notice this summer. Thats 4 and a half seasons worth. But it is a pretty entertaining show that manages to maintain a fairly high level of writing, although you probably have to like the whole spy-genre to really get into it. Its definitely worth checking out though, maybe not every episode in a month or so, but worth it! 


This may just be my hormones talking but this commercial gets me every time! I know its just hawking diapers, but it is a really beautiful and simple ad that always gets me to the verge of tears. I've been meaning to post it for a while, and then a couple friends had it on Facebook this week so I thought I better get on the bandwagon! Enjoy it! 


This week I've tried to attack the unenviable chore of investigating the new music settings for the new Roman Missal. I'm the only music minister at our parish so I figured I should actually take a look at the changes. Thats right, I said only. Our parish is so little I'm basically the only one who can read music. But in reality I end up playing every weekend, while usually only preparing while we're driving into Mass. Needless to say, learning new Mass parts doesn't appeal to me much as I've been playing all known Mass parts since I was ten. I better start practicing. 


While we're talking about the new Missal, which I'm personally pumped about, do I live in the only backwater diocese that has yet to even talk about the introduction of a new Missal at Mass?! Why haven't the priests been talking about it EVERY week? How are the regular joe-schmo-go-to-Mass-every-two-monthsish catholics ever going to get a clue as to whats going on?! I think they should have been talking about it for at least the past year, but now it should be talked about at every Mass so people at least know its going to happen. It kinda drives me nuts. However, I also don't like the idea of the new Missal being an excuse to bring in jumbotrons into the sanctuary. This has happened at my in-laws mega city church as "it'll help people so much with the Missal changes". You know what will help people with the Missal changes? Going to Mass every week and paying attention!! 

Ok, rant concluded. I'll try working on these issues later.


A painting of St. Anne by Jean Bellegambe

It was the Feast of the Nativity of Mary yesterday, and I always like to think about how St. Anne felt that day. St. Anne is a smidge more relatable in the labor and birth department than the Blessed Mother. While Mary avoided the nasty effect of original sin that we like to refer to as the pain of natural childbirth, St. Anne had to do it the old-testament, I mean the old-fashioned way. I'm sure it was a normal experience labor wise, and then upon seeing beautiful Immaculate baby Mary I wonder if St. Anne looked down and thought "Whoa-this baby looks completely free of the effects of original sin!" But then I think, isn't that what every mother feels when she looks down at the tiny beautiful face of her baby for the first time? Its so beautiful that in St. Anne's case it was reality! I wonder what the big theologians think about that!

How was that for a random saint meditation?!


And in other news-I'm pregnant! And not just a little preggo, about 5 months pregnant. I thought I had to break down and say something because fairly soon I'll upload a picture in which I'm the size of a small house and no one will know whats going on! So baby number 4 is due in the middle of January. Its a little scary writing that down! I may write more on this later ;)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

J.Crew Dangerous Driving

Alberta just enacted a distracted driving law that basically makes doing anything like texting, talking on your cell phone, eating, trying to hit your kids in the back seat, etc. illegal! And they should probably add reading the new J.Crew catalog to that list. I picked it up the other day with my sister and as she was flipping through it beside me I was dying with each new page and cashmere sweater! We made it home safely and then I mentally spent thousands of dollars-the fall line is perfection and I just love all the great colours in the classics like the pencil skirts and jackets! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You know I don't clean enough when...

This weekend I finally tackled the awful tasks of washing my outside windows. It involved a lot of swearing. And the kids were so shocked at what I was doing they wanted to play "cleaning". You know you don't clean enough when your kids think its a novelty. 

Given a couple rags, a bucket of water, and a squeegee they had a pretty good time.

Then after in the house I just asked Gemma what she was doing when I noticed her scrubbing the windows with a wet wipe: "I'm cleaning the house for daddy."

"But what about cleaning the house for me?" I said.

"Maybe I'll clean the house for you tomorrio mama, today I'm cleaning just for daddy." 

I don't know how I should feel about that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Juxtaposed religion shelf?

From Elle Decor this month I couldn't help but laugh a little at Gwyneth Paltrow's Favourite Things Shortlist. Not getting into my relationship with Gwyneth, I can appreciate not being able to live without Penguin Classics and I can attempt to understand not being able to live without hand painted De Gournay wallpaper, but what made me chuckle is this designer customized "religion shelf" that holds the Bible, Quran, and Tao Te Ching all at the same level. Paltrow says "its how I like to think about religion."

I think it should be renamed the Juxtaposed Relativism Shelf.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pet Peeve of the Day!

My pet peeve of the day is: blogs that use their own wedding photos in their headers! And the blog isn't even about weddings! 

Its one of the quickest ways to get me to quit reading.

I know, its pretty judgemental and immature. But I have my blog standards.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Carrying your cross

Christ Carrying The Cross by Titian

Last Sunday's Gospel reading and the theme of "take up your cross and follow me" has been on my mind all week. I think it amounts to going through a time where picking up my cross seems like a heavy load but also the fact that the taking up of the cross is much less of a daily choice but a daily must. Last week I faced a couple bad days, well, badly. I was short in the joyful cross taking department, and not a lot of grace seemed to be flowing my way. Thus last Sunday's Gospel hit me in a way that made me think about it again and again. 

 The great passage from St. Matthew's Gospel is first of all pretty serious when you think about it. Christ's intense words to his disciples are spoken complete with reference to Satan, and gaining the whole world, and angels coming to judge our actions, it already makes you take notice and hopefully gives you some serious pause. The kind of pause where you think, "Of course I've heard this before but each time I hear it doesn't make it any easier." Because this passage is HUGE. It stops you in your spiritual tracks because its about YOUR life, and more importantly, losing your life. 

The priest's homily which followed was centred around the anecdote of a person who lost their life savings to Bernie Madoff, and how upon losing all their money suddenly woke up happy to have all the things they took for granted before. As anecdotes go this one wasn't horrible, but does it apply to that Gospel? 

The homily left me disappointed because this Gospel is the crux of our Christian life. When I think about how seriously the saints have written about their struggles and trials, and their joys, in taking up Christ's cross I think of the passion and intensity they must have experienced. And I know from each serious Catholic in my life, that their crosses are tough and serious business. I don't think I've ever encountered someone going through serious difficulties accepting and dealing with their own crosses wake up and with the help of a simple platitude be able to set off on their jolly way. 

But I do not want to dwell on the idea that everyones grumbling about either. A true mark of holiness is a person's ability to carry joy to the world while being under the intense pressure of a personal cross. I just believe that these facts of the spiritual life are too serious to dismiss as something that can simply be overcome with a slight attitude adjustment.

I find this Gospel in a way comforting. Christ is saying this to everyone. Not just me, even though sometimes when I'm feeling down and that its only I who could be going through something so awful (complete with violin in background).  And Jesus knew exactly what he was talking about and still knows exactly what he's talking about. Which is something that gives comfort when we feel like we have no idea whats going on! I'm also encouraged by these words of Father Andre Louf: " When our hour has arrived, God's grace will also be there, and very small things may suffice to help in our simple acceptance of and co-operation with grace."


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