Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shabby Apple Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed-thanks for playing!

Hey everyone I'm excited to say I've got an honest-to-goodness giveaway for you!

As in my first ever real giveaway-cue excitement and big band music!

I know everyone wants to go dress shopping because, well, its a fun thing to do no matter what the weather, and Shabby Apple has some beautiful vintage clothing that is perfect for any upcoming event, or wearing everyday with your pearls while you pretend to be Betty Draper. (I'm really going to do that one day!)

I'm in love with this one. Its polka dots, peplum(so hot right now), and black. Its a perfect dress. I want it, but kinda want to shrink back to some sort of size that doesn't resemble postpartum body before I snap it up!

This dress is a winner because the colour is fantastic and its a dress with a pattern which I think is great for wearing casually in the summer or dressing it up to go out. Easy. To. Wear. Love.

I love this colour as well, and the skirt looks really dreamy. And pleat-y! 

In other words its going to be tough to decide how to use this $50 gift certificate! Go check out Shabby Apple and try to narrow down your favs now. This giveaway is also open to readers in the US AND Canada-because I know its a real drag when us Canucks can't enter giveaways! Leave a comment and I'll draw for the winner next Monday!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing about NFP again...

Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas kindly asked me to write a post about something I have a lot of experience in: practicing NFP when its really, really hard! Its not exactly the kind of post they'll be using to advertise NFP, but it is honest. 

Go visit Carrots and check out the past posts in this great series on NFP!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 40

I've just got a whole lotta random for you.

For much more refined and enlightened takes of the week see Jen and the takers!


Firstly, praise the good Lord Baby Jesus its finally warm outside!!! 
Finally my months of living in the tundra and sub-freezing temperatures is over!!
Am I blowing this out of proportion?? No. Its been a good seven months since we've had temperatures in the plus double celsius digits here. Its a HUGE miracle. 
I love it. 
Just thought it would be fair to mention because I've only been whining about the weather for months in my quick takes. You deserve it quick take readers...


I've got not too much baby news. Things are still trudging along. I think this week saw minor improvements to our routines and such, slight improvements to my mood, but a major jump in mom guilt. I think I'm still way too over-sensitive to my inability to not do much right now so I'm reading way too much into every small action of my children. Like I'm jumping to crazy conclusions like the idea of sending Gemma to school. Public school. I'm losing my mind I know, but I'm feeling guilty for not providing any structured activities lately. I'm sure she's regressed from all that not very fancy homeschooling we've been doing this year. Plus all sorts of parental guilt like I'm holding her back and killing her education have hit me. But I'm pretty sure 98% of all that is irrational. She's 5. I need to dial it down a little.


In good kid news however, because I'm trying to redirect my cray-cray towards something positive, I've  decided I don't want to forget how cute/sweet/heart-melting it is to hear the kids say, "Hi mummy, I'm home!" when they walk inside. Its so funny because usually its Gemma and she's been outside for 2.5 minutes but still announces her arrival anyway. I kinda love it. Its one of those things I want to remember when they're all big and grown up and I'm old.


Its 6:30 right now and the kids are still playing outside! That is what I'm talking about!!

(If anyone reads this blog and doesn't have children...yeah, you think I'm a total weirdo right now I know...)


Am I the only one excited for The Great Gatsby movie? I'm intrigued as to how it will turn out, what with the 3-D, the Jay-Z, and Baz Luhrmann. But I do think that Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan could not be more perfectly cast. I love Carey Mulligan and these pictures and gowns from Vogue are so dreamy and perfectly 1920's. Beautiful! 


I don't know how to say this, but...I set up a Facebook page for this here blog. 
I feel really strange doing it, it makes me feel like I have illusions to grandeur somehow. I also have no idea what I'm doing, but I hope to post only awesome things and links to my posts...so if you like to like things and people click on over and say hi...and tell me what to do! 


I'm really awful at the design/social media/layout and keeping up with the blog. I want my blog to look pretty, but have no time or ability. All I want to do is handle the post business, I need someone to be full time on making it pretty and coming up with buttons and fonts at my beck and call. That would be a full time job right? I'm accepting resumes! Or just tips. Or prayers!

Hope everyone has a smashing weekend. Next week I hope to have...a giveaway so lookout!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Children belong at Mass. Period.

I usually try to ignore posts and articles complaining about how people should be acting at Mass. Not because I think there's nothing to complain about, but more because I lean towards jumping on the complaint wagon and going all judgemental on people...so I try to stay away and not get all riled up irrationally.

But this post of Deacon Greg's has gotten under my skin. (Go read it, but be careful of rage!) When Deacon Greg first posted it last week and I read the letter in question I just dismissed the writer as being a tad uptight, probably on the older side, and not too accustomed to children. I figured the comments would all say that children are indeed welcome at Mass and maybe this letter writer should sit closer to the front of the Church. Then a few days letter Deacon Greg posted the follow up letter from the questioner and that's when I really lost my mind.

I think there are so many reasons that this stance of how children should not be brought to Mass until they're of the age of understanding and self-control is completely wrong, but I'll just throw a couple of my ten cents worth of opinion in.

First of all, I completely understand how crazy loud children can be in Mass. I'm usually sitting in a pew with five of them. We've always brought our kids to Mass, and we've always aimed to keep them relatively quiet within our pew. That's our goal. To say our pew is silent would be far from the truth but we've also only had to remove kids from the church (our church is tiny so we really have to go outside to put any sort of barrier between the church and screaming banshee) a handful of times. Our kids make some noise, they fight, they whisper terribly, and if they're babies they may cry for a minute or two before being soothed or put on a boob. We've gotten to this point of containment by always having kids napped and well fed before our 5 pm Saturday evening Mass. When we're busy and we don't have things carefully synchronized with naps and food it can be a whole hour of torture with badly behaving kids. My main point is, most parents of small babies/toddlers are in the process of training their children on how to behave at Mass and it usually requires a lot of behind the scenes preparation in order to be at peak good behaviour, and there could be any number of reasons why a kid could be having a full-flung tantrum or it could just be a bad day. Training requires that we actually show up at Mass on a regular basis with our children however. And I agree that this is a skill that parents have to teach. Respectful children at Mass don't suddenly appear on doorsteps at the age of five or seven, they grow up to that level of behaviour and parents have to teach it.

But the idea of children being kept away from the Mass, and all the graces which come from being close to Christ, until a certain age where they've attained some magical level of self control and understanding of the Mass is also completely counter to what the Church teaches. If the Church thought this way we'd have the Rite of Baptism finish with words like, "And may God bless you for the next five years until you're quiet enough to join the rest of the Church at regular Mass attendance." Our children are full members of the Body of Christ after receiving Baptism. They're part of the Church whether or not they understand the Catechism or not. So are the mentally disabled. So are the poorly catechized who probably don't understand the importance of the Mass either. So am I, who would easily get distracted while a teenager by the cute boy a couple pews down, and who still gets distracted by someone's weird hairdo or the jumbo-trons in mega parishes(shudder!). We all come up short in the proper reverence that is due in the Sacrifice of the Mass. But we also can't change the fact that the Mass is the Church's public form of worship. Public as in everyone is welcome and everyone is meant to come together and worship God together. Everyone. People who distract us, people we don't like, people who sin. We cannot put requirements on who may attend Mass because the Mass wasn't even created by us-it was instituted by Christ and He meant it for everyone. Luckily there are plenty of Catholic devotions and prayers that require silence. Eucharistic adoration is a great place to go to sit in silence and Christ's presence. The Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, lectio divine, can all be done silently and prayerfully in a quiet church or chapel. Go take advantage if you think children as Sunday Mass distract you from prayer-say some extra ones for the poor parents while you're at it!

Attending Mass as a family is a goal that I think all Catholic families aim for. Sure, sometimes its refreshing to go to Mass alone, free from controlling and patrolling toddlers, but I know I would feel empty and not whole somehow if I continually attended Mass alone. And I know that is kind of a touchy-feely argument but I think my children would feel the same way if we left the rest of their younger siblings at home, or daddy couldn't come to the same Mass because the babies had to stay home every week. Of course the logistics of one parent going to one Mass and the other attending another would take away from precious family time in an already very busy stage of life. While growing up, my dad had yet to convert to the Catholic Church and I remember from a young age always wanting my dad to come to church with us. When the whole family attends Mass together the children are shown that Mass, the Faith, and God are important.

Since all my kids are 5 and under, I know that children do absorb a lot from Mass even at these early stages. Different children pick up on different things from the Mass. My daughter notices the actions of the priest throughout and asks questions about it later. My 4 year old son already knows all the words to the Confitieor and the Gloria. This is where faith starts, at the child's level and it gradually grows with that child. It runs completely contrary to logic to think that the faith does not start to sink into a child's heart and mind until a certain age.

Really, the arguments for bringing children to Mass and attending Mass are many! I think that's why the letter in question made me go a bit batty. I think it all boils down to the fact that children are the Church's future, they're people, and full members of the Church who deserve not only Christ's love at Mass but the love and respect Christ calls us to give to everyone. We all also have to deal with things that distract us in Mass, be it others or ourselves, as well as we can and hopefully grow in holiness while doing so.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Seven Quick Takes-Extra Awesome Postpartum Edition

So happy this Quick Take edition is happening with Jen's sweet baby Joseph finally home! Bringing home babies is wonderful, I can't imagine how exciting after such a difficult hospital stay.

And make sure to head on over to Grace's, who makes us all cooler by letting us link there, to see much better thoughts than mine!


I'm alive. All the kids are alive. That equals a good week right?
At least by my standards of postpartum life it does!

Max and Nora hanging out-or Max being held back from full on baby attack-either way!


Nora's still cuddly and tiny and squishy and everything that's wonderful in a newborn.
She's also still a great sleeper during the day and I've been able to work around her feedings and everyone else's feedings for the most part.
She's not the most perfect nighttime sleeper, but I feel bad even complaining because I know what crappy sleepers can be and how absolutely horrible it feels to spend the whole night AWAKE with a SCREAMING baby! *cough*Gemma and Dominic*cough*cough* Nora will sleep for a good 4-5 hour chunk and then wake up ravenous around 2 am, nurse like a fiend, then awakes promptly at 4 am with what seems like bad gas pains and spends the next several hours sleeping off and on between bouts of gas pain. She doesn't have it during the day and always promptly at 4 am. I'm starting to think it might be from my nursing her lying down, but I've been too exhausted to change anything. By the end of the week I'm really exhausted from the lack of sleep and can't really nap during the day. I'm thinking of trying to tweak things this weekend...but who knows!

I haven't had time to edit photos and this one makes her look yellowish, but she's beautifully pink and has a properly functioning liver-trust me!


I love how our babies all look like each other. Does that sound like a ridiculously moronic statement? Yes. But I just love how you can see Gemma's nose, or Lukey's eyes, or Dom's brow furrow, or Max's smiles in Nora from time to time. Its a fun and sweet perk about having a lot of babies. Write that down people!

You can't deny this cuteness.


But don't let me confuse you with all this "cuteness" talk. Yesterday things took a nosedive and I completely lost my shit on everyone. Everyone being my poor toddlers all aged 5 and under. Classy. And for what you ask? Just being toddlers...really nothing out of the ordinary that usually occurs around here on any given morning. I was asking someone to pick something up, someone got in a screaming match with someone else, someone screamed in the corner, tantrumed in their room, someone pulled someone over-and bam! I go and totally lose it, and scream at everyone. Everyone cries, I have to call Paul at work, he has to walk me off the edge, thankfully my mom showed up and took a couple of the older ones to her house for an hour or so while I cooled off. 
The poor, cried-to husband asked me what could be done to make it better, and I could only respond with, how bout I get some sleep, stop being depended upon by someone at ALL times, and for SOMEONE TO BE OVER THE AGE OF FIVE!!!
All things that can't be changed by anyone at this time. 
Of course, it was a bad day. A horrible, rotten, no good kinda day. Which are more than likely bound to happen at 3 weeks postpartum right? I mean, its pretty much a rule that should be "What to Expect When You're No-Longer Expecting but Naively Expecting Things to be Normal".


I later told my husband to not come home at all unless he brought chocolate and wine home.

(sidenote: I think Brookside Chocolate should just start sponsoring my life.)


I bet no one's ever told you this but 16 months old is such a fun age especially if you have a newborn as well. No, no one has ever said that. I'm having a tough time with Max, simply because he's decided that the only things in life that make him happy are constantly climbing on the kitchen table, and trying to get into anything and everything possible that could be a mess. 
It doesn't help that the weather outside is still frightful and way too cold for him to go out and burn some energy. 
Please, Lord, have mercy and let springtime come sometime before July!


I'm sure all this cheerfulness about postpartum life is just willing your ovaries right now into spontaneous ovulation! Paul tries to remind me that 5 kids under the age of 5 would practically kill anyone, but it still doesn't fill me with too much self confidence. I know things will get better slowly week by week, but it feels like a reaaalllly long time to me right about now. 
(Btw, I'm going to completely wear out the whole "5 under 5" saying from now until Gemma's birthday in a month, because "5 under 6" just doesn't have the same pithy ring to it!)

Wishing you all a restful and springlike weekend, I'm off to drink wine-a blissful perk to post pregnancy!

And dare I say I'm going to be in the top 100 of 7QT for the first time ever?! Thank you Grace!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 38

Joining lovely Grace who's hosting for the amazing Jen. Jen's conversion and the work she has done for the faith, and continues to do, must really be making waves because I think she's encountering some spiritual warfare with how much of a tough road this pregnancy has been and now the struggle of having her baby in the NICU. Prayers and thoughts for her, her beautiful family, and little Joseph!


On that note I've just gotta say that I really can't imagine having to go through my baby having to be in intensive care for whatever reason. I'm sure it has to be one of the most difficult things parents go through. I'm the biggest worrier/stress-er when it comes to the kids. We had to take Max to the paediatrician this week Ifor something that really was minor and I was stressed about that! It really makes me try to be more aware and thankful for my children's health. I know I take it for granted at most times. I've been thinking and praying for Jen and her baby all week, and trying to pray more for all sick children and their families.



I'm most thankful this precious little girl is doing wonderfully! I'm trying to soak up all the wonderful, magical newborn-ness while I  can! Nora's been very huggable this week. All the kids still love her and apparently her new-ness hasn't quite worn off. I love how little and cuddly they are at this age. And its all over in a blink of an eye isn't it? Don't grow up babies!


So I haven't been doing much. The newborn stage of baby and getting used to a new person in the family kinda whittles down my time to baby, changing diapers, feeding people, maybe wash some dishes, maybe fold some laundry. We've been surviving fairly well considering I'm in survival mode and doing the bare minimum...it kinda makes me wonder that I probably could get away with doing way less around here! Oh wait...the kitchen table hasn't been wiped in about 4 days...so...its debatable.

We also haven't gone out at all yet. We've gone to Mass of course, and one trip to the city for Nora's little check-up, the Max pediatrician, and a Costco run!  I don't like hauling newborns around much. They're just so small and delicate and I'm just so very uptight. Or maybe its a good thing? I'm starting to feel a little guilty about the older kids not getting out much, but I know this stage won't last forever and we're bound to catch up on our getting out aren't we? Sometimes I think I'll just become a mom-hermit and reject leaving the house altogether...there has got to be some strange medieval religious order that tried that once or twice surely...


Its my darling husband's birthday today. And because of my lack of going out of the house I haven't even been able to get him any present of any sort. But its also partly his fault because he's impossible to buy for. Why isn't there a man equivalent of katespade.com that I could just go and pick something out for him?


I'm hoping to get to this Catholic woman's conference tomorrow. (It does entail having to leave the house and see people in real life though...) The speaker is Colleen Carroll Campbell of EWTN fame and the author of the really great book My Sisters the Saints.
I started the book last week, and I've been really surprised by how much I've enjoyed it. For some reason I assumed by the title that it would be an overly pious, overly spiritual memoir about saints and I'm so happy to report that its a very real, very relatable telling of her spiritual growth and relationship with some great saints. Maybe I'll write about it in another post if I get a chance, but I recommend it for sure!
I hope to get to the conference tomorrow BUT...


Short Term ForecastUpdated:Friday, April 12, 2013, 15:12MDT

 FridayEveningEvening: 6:00 PM - 11:59 PMFridayOvernightOvernight: 12:00 AM - 5:59 AMSaturdayMorningMorning: 6:00 AM - 11:59 AMSaturdayAfternoonAfternoon: 12:00 PM - 5:59 PMSaturdayEveningEvening: 6:00 PM - 11:59 PM
 Snow-rain showersSnowLight snowScattered flurriesScattered flurries
 Snow-rain showersSnowLight snowScattered flurriesScattered flurries
Temp.3 °C-1 °C-2 °C0 °C-1 °C
Feels Like-1-7-8-5-6
WindE  20 km/hE  25 km/hNE  25 km/hNE  20 km/hNE  15 km/h
Relative Humidity76  %86  %100  %100  %100  %
P.O.P.40  %90  %80  %70  %60  %
Rainless than 1 mm - - - - 
Snowless than 1 cm close to 5 cm 1-3 cm close to 1 cm less than 1 cm 

24-Hour Precipitation Outlook

  • less than 1 mm of rain from Friday Evening to Saturday Evening.
  • close to 10 cm of snow from Friday Evening to Saturday Evening.

Yep. That's the forecast for this weekend. Actually theres a heavy snowfall warning as well that you can't see on this graphic. Maybe a foot of snow!
Spring? What spring?
I'm beginning to think purgatory will be a perpetual April with only snow and cold. You'd always be waiting and wanting spring. You'd intellectually know it should be spring, but you'd be denied all spring-like things...for as long as you're in purgatory!


And I just wanted to remind you that if you like a good conversation on NFP make sure you go over to Carrots for Michaelmas and read Haley's series. Its a great overview on NFP from some great women with different perspectives. I find it really interesting, but I'm basically an NFP nerd.

Everyone with spring like temperatures go out and enjoy it this weekend for me!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who wants to read about NFP??

I'm guest posting over at Carrots for Michaelmas today as part of Haley's excellent series on NFP

If you haven't been reading it so far make sure to go and read all the posts they've been so interesting so far!

And thanks to Haley again for having me!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Meltdowns, Tantrums, and Cuddles" or "Life with a Newborn + A Million Toddlers!"

I just thought I'd pop in and write a virtual "I'M ALIVE" note to the interwebs. 
But really..... I'm alive! 
My expectations were about that low as to what would happen when this little babe was born, so I'm really ahead of the game being alive AND blogging, right? 

I have hardly any complaints about baby number 5. Nora's been a really good sleeper so far. So good that I wake up at 2 in the morning and freak out that she hasn't woken up yet! I don't think any of my prior progeny slept this well so early. So I have reason to wake up and freak out right? That's totally normal? She's also ridiculously good at the breastfeeding thing. Which I'm grateful for by the way-I've had one or two terrifically terrible nursers and it blows. 

Our baby swing that has lovingly put to sleep four babies for indefinite periods of time officially died one night into use with baby number 5. I love swings. Seriously, if you're pregnant go out and buy a good swing. You need one that reclines a LOT and has a lot of different speeds and the white noise function is also a good one to look for. You've also gotta start a baby in a swing right away...as in a day or two old because that's when they still love the motion and will konk right out in them. If you wait a couple weeks you're hooped and have officially signed yourself up for forever walking/rocking your baby to sleep yourself. Which can get annoying after a couple years. With the last couple babies I've figured out that putting the newborn babe to sleep at night in the swing and just letting them swing till they wake up gets you a decent hour or so more of sleep at night. And hours of sleep strung together is gold when they're newborns! GOLD I TELL YOU! So we're currently borrowing my brother and sister in laws swing...but we might have to break down and buy another. 

Boy that was a tangent.

This is what's really going on these days...watching too much of the dora and laundry piling up!

I'm able to string together words right now because the in-laws courageously took the three oldest kids for a couple days and nights. So you can imagine I pretty much feel like I'm on vacation with just two kids. I have this spare time to write a little when I'd otherwise be disciplining or throwing kids outside or feeding starving little boys. But I miss them...and its reeaaally quiet around here. Just my little shrieker Max has been making noise and has been enjoying a little more mom time, if not completely back to his pre-baby mom attention its been close. He's come around to the baby and occasionally won't try and smack her head when he walks by. He seems a lot happier too...so thats a win!

You shall not take over my position as the baby!

Our Easter was a good one by the way. The kids had a great day and way too much candy and loved every egg and surprise and cry of Alleluia they could fit in. I, on the other hand, had my first good postpartum emotional breakdown. Of course it happened about 15 minutes prior to us having to leave to make it to Mass almost on time when I realized that I was dressing 5 kids for Church for the first time, and that I was completely incapable of being a mom to 5 KIDS, and that I'd NEVER leave the house again, and that I had not one thing I could wear, and woke up and had absolutely no recollection or iota of inspiration of what or how to do my own hair. It was a pretty good meltdown. Crying all the way to Easter Sunday Mass. The happiest day of the year! Ridiculous. I drowned my postpartum sorrow in moscato and cadbury mini eggs the rest of the day, while my poor husband insisted I nap, which also helped a little. Since then I've been slightly more rational and have felt better, with only small meltdowns like when Luke and Dom go outside and are soaked in ice cold water from puddles in less than 30 seconds. Or Max dumping and then squishing whole boxes of mini-wheats on the kitchen floor. 

I do so love holding a newborn though. It never gets old thank goodness! My favourite is when you can hold their whole head in the palm of your hand. Isn't that crazy!?! Its also crazy how fast the head-holding stage goes by. They grow right before your eyes and you can hardly tell until suddenly -  they've got a giant noggin that you can't hold in your hand anymore. I'm so poetic on small amounts of sleep am I not? 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bloglovin Service Announcement

Do we really know why Bloglovin is making us post this link on our blog to claim our blog on bloglovin??

It feels like some sort of big blog conspiracy or something. But then again I could just be functioning on very little sleep. Everything seems as if it could be a conspiracy when you're running on little sleep.

Actually I'm pretty sure my three youngest children are running a conspiracy to rotate who wakes up every hour during the night...hmmm...

So please follow along on Bloglovin if thats where your blog love has moved to, my follow button is in my sidebar too if it helps! Muchos Gracias!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5108915/?claim=jsutgr3wmc7">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>


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