Monday, April 30, 2012

G.K. of the Day!

‎"FOR those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic caution to be added. Even for those who cannot do their work in bed (as, for example, the professional harpooners of whales), it is obvious that the indulgence must be very occasional. But that is not the caution I mean. The caution is this: if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or justification at all. I do not speak, of course, of the seriously sick. But if a healthy man lies in bed, let him do it without a rag of excuse; then he will get up a healthy man. If he does it for some secondary hygienic reason, if he has some scientific explanation, he may get up a hypochondriac." 

~GKC: 'Tremendous Trifles.'

Friday, April 27, 2012

Seven Quick Takes vol. 13

Its been almost forever since I've done a decent Seven Quick Takes-so here goes nothing!
Make sure to go to Jen's for the real deal!


This week's weather has been dismal. I hate to be one to complain over weather, but this spring is starting to get to me. And by spring I mean lack thereof. I had to keep everyone inside yesterday because the wind was so fierce and its snowing as we speak. Or as I type. A huge dose of warmth, greenery, and sunshine would feel like a million bucks right about now.


Its St. Gianna Beretta Molla's feast day tomorrow, April 28! I feel like I owe her big time because I prayed to her frantically through my last couple of pregnancies. I think she's a perfect saint for pregnant mothers to pray to; what better example of motherly sacrifice could you get? Just thinking about her life and especially the fact that she gave birth then died a mere week later brings tears to my eyes. Her courage staggers me, as I'm the biggest wimp during pregnancy and through childbirth. I really believe she interceded for me in a big way especially in my last birth which went unbelievably well! So tomorrow to celebrate her feast day I think we should all hug our babies a little tighter and toast to her a nice glass of Italian red.


I just finished this book yesterday. Rules of Civility was toted as an urbane, well-written novel about a woman navigating society in 1938 New York City and how chance encounters change the shape of our lives...or something similarly pretentious sounding. And although I thought the writing was beautiful at times, I found myself disappointed as it became just another contemporary novel that holds up its characters as charming when really they are meandering through life bouncing from one empty sexual encounter to the next trying to find meaning in it all. I wanted to like the main character as she toted Agatha Christie novels around, liked to hang out in empty churches, and do the odd crossword puzzle to pass the time, all things I'm partial to doing myself, but again the loss of any real insight into her actions left me cold. So I tried to read something current, only to be disappointed yet again...


Etsy find of the week:

I really like this neon leather fold over clutch! Very trendy, nicely colour-blocked, handmade from a woman in Plovdiv, what's not to like?! Here is the cute little shop.


Here's my little Max bumbo cooking with me yesterday:

I partly put him in the bumbo on the counter because its cute, and partly because it keeps him safe from swarms of siblings!


I'm contemplating making a terrarium. They're beautiful, they're planty, they're everywhere. I'm just trying to figure out if I have anywhere to put them where kids couldn't get a hold of them and discover a really convenient indoor sand box to destroy. Nicole from Making it Lovely had this beautiful tutorial.


Ok, I'm outs to go dig out the kids snowsuits from the closet. And then maybe look into moving somewhere where spring doesn't include a weekly snowstorm! Fingers crossed for a warm May! 
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Toddler hangovers

Look at that hungover face...

Eat my remaining porridge without griping about it?? I don't think so.

And full scale hangover meltdown.

Oh, the toddler hangover.

You know what I'm talking about. The day after a fun-filled day with friends, or a day spent being spoilt by grandparents, or the morning after a day stuffed with too many sweets, where little people wake up with an attitude that reeks of belligerence, tantrum, and blatant grumpiness.

This morning was a toddler hangover morning. Yesterday we had plenty of little friends over, and I allowed everyone to go completely crazy and eat junk all day. It was a good time! This morning I had to send someone to their room because I wouldn't "fix" a toy to their liking and this resulted in a complete and utter breakdown complete with screaming and floor kicking and talk a girl off the edge because we didn't have the correct fruit for her porridge. And all before they had time to whine for cheerios!

As the grumpy moods gradually wore off, I felt it a minor personal victory and step towards sanctification in the fact that I didn't have to resort to heavily spiking my morning coffee.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In my house...

So everyone living in blissful southern climes where beautiful branches have been in bloom for weeks, well you can just try not to be too jealous, because in the last few weeks I've been able to bring in the only blooming branch we've got: pussywillows. They're kinda odd, kinda fuzzy, but at the same time they have a strange outdoor-ness that makes your home feel a little more alive. Which is desperately needed when my green, blooming spring is still a few weeks away. They're also very Canadian. I think they are one of the first branches that bloom through most of the country, barring the almost tropical West Coast. 

They may not be as colourful than other branches, but I love them because its what we've got! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

prayers please?

I'm stumbling through this week and could really use some prayers if you could spare a couple!

And then go read this fabulous post, because everything Simcha Fisher says about NFP is gold(as well as everything else she writes about!)! I want to write like her when I grow up.

Monday, April 16, 2012

G.K. of the Day!

"It is always dangerous to have a little boy."

- G.K. Chesterton from Terror of a Toy

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reviewing: Style, Sex and Substance edited by Hallie Lord

I haven't had this much fun reading a "Catholic Woman's Book" in a long time! Actually I can't remember if I've read one so beautifully written about so many great topics that are usually ignored by "Catholic" writers.

This book brings to the fore 10 great topics that face Catholic women on a daily basis. From faith, our personal style, friendship, marriage, vocation, sex, motherhood, and functioning in our culture at large, each short chapter drives to the heart of such important matters. And most significantly this book treats these topics as just that; important.

Hallie Lord of the wonderful blog Betty Beguiles, has created an ingenious way of getting across these excellent Catholic values and insights. Having 10 different authors, most great bloggers in their own right such as Jennifer Fulwiler, Simcha Fisher, and Danielle Bean, bring their own experience and attitude to the different topics makes this read so relatable and a pleasure to read.

The quality and beauty that these writers bring to the subject matter is so refreshing. They present great wisdom in a straightforward, often humorous, and very easy to read manner that makes embracing the Catholic ideals of womanhood approachable. I found myself so happy reading that these women have discovered and lived their lives according to the faith. They all write about living a life of balance and beauty with our Catholic faith, and incorporating our faith into all areas of our lives; not avoiding, ignoring, or condemning. I know this idea of balance is something which can be hard to find in specifically "Catholic" books at times, but really, all Catholic women have the challenge of finding balance in our lives today. We're all trying to live not of the world but in the world, we're trying to be stylish yet modest, good wives and good friends, good mothers as well as happy people.

This book brings the ideals of Catholic womanhood which have been written about by theologians, saints and popes into an easy and uplifting read. I couldn't help thinking as I read this book that this is really a groundbreaking book for Catholic culture. As a cradle Catholic myself I was raised by parents who re-verted and converted to the Church later in life. I know when my mom began to take her faith more seriously and live out her faith, most other faithful Catholic women probably weren't talking about these subjects with each other. And if they were it was probably much more guarded, maybe coming from a belief that to be truly holy you weren't supposed to talk about the importance of dressing stylishly, or having a good sex life, or watching tv shows then discussing their spiritual significance. But its now clear that our generation of Catholics is proving that we can live out our faith and deal with real world issues in a thoughtful and positive way. Of course the great innovation of blogging has helped create a more powerful form of conversation among practicing Catholic women and I believe its impacting the Church little by little as seen with the publication of this book.

I honestly loved this book and believe that every Catholic woman should give it a read! You don't have to have a saintly opinion about yourself (not that any of us do!), or feel as if you aren't Catholic enough to give it a chance. This book is written for any woman who wants to live her Catholic faith but still enjoys shopping, talking to her girlfriend on the phone, loving her husband or living the single life, and reading magazines and watching tv, in other words any normal woman! It offers great insight into the most important issues of everyday life as a woman from a variety of voices with a vast wealth of real life experience. I think I'll be giving this book to my friends and sisters so that we can talk about what made us laugh, cry and relate to!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gnomes in the home

I'm in love with this cute room! Its actually an office with this little twin bed in the corner, but I think the colour, patterns, and quirkiness ranks an A+! I'm especially in love with that little gnome table! Theres got to be a way to DIY that little guy up?! Am I a total weirdo to think gnomes in the home are cool?? 


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter re-cap!

Hope you all had a fabulous Easter! Here's the kids in the their post-Vigil finery. I love the Easter Vigil, but going with 4 small kids can make it seem to last about 5 hours. I needed a good stiff drink by the time we got home!

The baskets were quickly emptied! A heck of a lot of chocolate was consumed in a short amount of time Easter morning, but they loved every minute.

I may make my children pose for pictures while wearing bunny ears!
First Easter's are made for bunny-ear wearing!

Then in the afternoon we had a big egg hunt outside! As you can tell by their attire, it was FREEZING out! Sometimes I dream of Easter occurring when the weather is actually spring-like. With greenery and blooms and flowers. The Canadian arctic doesn't look too springy in early April. 
But the boys loved the egg hunt and got so excited every time they made a discovery! All the kids were full of "Alleluia's" and "Happy Easter's" yesterday, and more are coming today. I'm off to sweep up more Easter grass.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday thoughts.

Max and I got to the city yesterday for some doctor's appointments and some lovely lunch with a dear friend. (Who took this photo!) This Holy Week has felt so fast, and today is another day that will fly by. I'm going to try and focus on celebrating Easter properly! I love the liturgy of the Easter Triduum, and Good Friday we always try to spend as un-plugged-in as possible. We'll also dye some eggs, cut some pussy willows, and hopefully find our nice Easter outfits for everyone to wear to the Vigil! Everyone pray that the snow melts in time for our outdoor egg hunt on Sunday. 

Wishing you all a Holy Easter!
Be back Monday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why I think my family is a witness against the HHS Mandate

With all the controversy surrounding the HHS Mandate happening in the States right now its made me think about how the Catholic Church and Catholics in general are being portrayed and perceived by the media and in turn society at large. Of course, I find it completely ridiculous that the stat of 95% of Catholics don't follow the Church on its stance regarding contraception is freely brandished about by both politicians and the media. But this stupid statistic can't help but influence peoples opinions about the Church. People with little to no knowledge of religion or Catholicism would accept this as true, and then jump to the conclusion of "geezz, that Church is so behind the times and clueless that even people who call themselves Catholic don't follow their backward teachings."

Then it hit me that my family is a completely contradictory example of what is publicly perceived about the Church. And not because we're all holy and walk around covered in ashes and sackcloth. Or habits. Or floor length denim jumpers for that matter. Its simply because we've got 4 kids aged 4 and under.

Obviously with kids spaced thusly the first thought that enters any stranger's or passerby's mind is "Those people clearly don't use artificial birth control." Well, that may be the second thought after "What's with the day care?" or "Why would they want to babysit more than one toddler at a time?". There's just no denying 4 little faces that are so close in age. The cuteness reels you in if nothing else.

This fact of being noticed and instantly judged really bothered me in the beginning. I would always think people must think we're the stereotypical Catholics who can do nothing but have children. Then I would think people must think I'm a complete idiot who doesn't understand NFP. Yes, I've had many immature judging moments of what other people may be judging me for. Twisted thinking but there you have it.

But the sad fact is that most of society assumes that practicing Catholics don't even follow the Catholic teaching against using artificial birth control. Most everyone is now just under the impression that  Catholics are simply ignoring this teaching and so it must not be important at all. The old ideas of stereotypically "Catholic" people having lots of children is pretty much obsolete.

Now I can't help thinking that all those who casually know my family but aren't Catholic, friends, relatives, co-workers, etc, must have that automatic thinking twinged at a little bit. They may hear those false statistics, they may believe them, but in the back of their minds maybe they think "But hey, I know those people with the 4 babies and they're Catholic, they must believe that birth control is wrong somehow." We are just one family, but the people we come in contact with naturally are exposed to our way of thinking in regards to being open to life and rejecting artificial birth control and we don't even have to have a discussion about it!

When you think about it from the point of view of a person who isn't exposed or practicing any faith seeing 4 children under the age of 4 in one family is a pretty shocking sight. Its not an evangelizing tool that's hitting anyone over the head, its simply 4 cute babies and they're fairly exhausted parents making their way through normal day-to-day life. Most of the time I try to shows a smile in public that tries to say, "This isn't forced drudgery, my pregnancy and children are not diseases or parasites, my life is full and because of that I'm a pretty happy person." Its a small witness but it can't help but effect people's thinking about children, life, and maybe the Church's teaching.

Thinking about how God is using my family like this kind of blew me away. We're a strong witness of positively accepting the Church's teaching on birth control and living it out. We show that the Church still has people following its teaching and are willing to live their lives according to those teachings. We're proof that marriage, family, and life do not require a pill, condom, or perfectly timed pregnancies to be happy and healthy. All Catholics who are doing their best to live according to the teachings of the Church, and the many sacrifices it involves, are a strong very counter-cultural witness in our postmodern society that continues to erode the rights and freedom to practice the Catholic faith.

We're living in times where the family, simply by being, is a strong witness to the Church. The truth of our Catholic families is that we really are making an impact by living according to Church teaching. We are making Christ and His love known in the world. We are a witness and instrument of God's work in today's culture. Let's realize it. Knowing we are working for God's will in the world should be an encouragement to so many of us who, in living the Church's teaching, feel a minority or looked down upon. Its a beautiful thought to know we're bringing Christ's kingdom through simple witness


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