Friday, January 31, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 77

Joining Jen from Texas...which I'm contemplating moving to...


Can we all throw a party for January finally ending it's reign of terror?? I know it's the Superbowl this weekend, but we all know that we'll be drinking and eating all the carbs covered in cheese because we're so happy January is over!

Ok, I'm excited for the football too. Go Broncos! I'm fairly confident Peyton's got this, and he deserves another Superbowl for being so awesome. And everyone will eat nachos. I'm planning on pushing the boat out in the junk food department because I've been eating so dang healthy this month and it's starting to drive me crazy.


And now for a kindly service announcement: I mistakenly said in my book review from Wednesday of The Long Loneliness that Dorothy Day's cause for canonization wasn't started. Which is false, and so very, very wrong. Apparently I was drunk while writing, but I feel awful because that seems like a shameful mistake. I think I must have been thinking of someone else?? I don't know, I could just be losing my mind, but for the record: Dorothy Day's cause is under investigation and she has been given the title Servant of God by the Church in recognition of a holy life. 
Thanks for putting up with me. I'm firing my fact-checker.


Now back to cabin fever. 

(Anyone remember Muppets Treasure Island and the point where the crazy little rats sing, "We've got cabin fever, We've got cabin fever!" like a conga line? Just me? Ok then.)

I know this makes me sound like a wench, but the rest of North America: now you know how we Canadians feel. Muahaha!

And don't even get me started on Atlanta...seriously...don't...even...

I'm sorry, but everywhere you turn everyone is mad at staying in the house with their offspring (which I enjoy because it makes me feel normal and not like a horrible mother all the time), and wondering what to do indoors, and being mad at the weather. And all I can say is welcome to my winter. Since the middle of November. It's been making me question why I live in Canada, but unfortunately the summer's convince me to stay. Somehow. It's a weird summer vortex that tricks the mind.

Basically Kelly reads my mind. I'll forgive her for her mild New Jersey winters though.


Phew. The weeks in the winter are feeling long. I'm feeling buried in furious toddler, then hungry baby, then fighting older kids, then helping kids learn, then repeat. Gosh, this homeschooling and kids wanting to learn all the time...someone should really figure out how to bottle their child-like curiosity because I could make a killing off college students. But they always want books read to them, games played, art to be attempted. Basically they want to be learning all the time. Which is starting to get a little exhausting. I love it of course, but exhausting.

Oh, and another weird thing do you moms of many children notice your kids not wanting to spend time alone? All my kids can't be raging extroverts can they? But trying to get them to play somewhere else by themselves seems like pulling teeth lately. It's not as if I want them to go to the west wing, our house is tiny, but I would just like a little space to buffer them from each other sometimes. Is it because they haven't been alone their whole lives? Am I scarring them for life? I'm chalking it up to my kids being so little, six is my eldest number, but will this change? Give me some hope!


Last week when I escaped the house for an afternoon I found this amazing and very expensive coat on at a killer price. Sometimes I just shop like its a competition and buy things that are an amazing sale price to prove to everyone who have no idea/don't care at all that I'm a fantastic shopper. Or something. I have delusions of grandeur.

But once I get home I question if I bought it because I love it and it fits well or if I bought it for the wonderful price. I need an objective opinion! Here's the coat:

In my mind I want to look chic like this:

In my dreams, naturally. But what do you think? Fashionable ladies give me your wisdom!


Earlier this week Gemma woke up and told me about the dream she had the night before:

Gemma: I had a great dream we were at Pope Francis's castle in Rome!
Me: Oh, wow that sounds awesome! We were all really happy to see Pope Francis?
Gemma: Oh -- you weren't there mom, you were home with the babies, I went with Grammy.

Story of my life.


And I know you all have seen the winners of the 2014 Sheenazing Awards! Thanks to any and everyone who voted for me, because that's really amazing and I've been so happy ever since I was nominated with all those fantastic people! I hope the winners are all pleased with themselves, maybe even enjoy an alcoholic beverage on me! Actually I'd buy everyone who voted for me a drink too! 

Thanks to Bonnie who again did so much work for such a fun and encouraging endeavour. I honestly think its such a nice thing to do, and it's so nice to find exciting and interesting new bloggers like I have already. 

Happy Weekend everyone! Remember, January's over, it's only 5 more months of winter!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

When I'm curious about a saint I try to start with reading something they themselves have written. Now this may seem like a fairly straightforward idea, but it can backfire. Reading St. Teresa of Avila straight-up for the first time is not easy reading or probably the best way to get to know her and her life's work in general. St. Therese of Lisieux on the other hand is incredibly impactful when you read her own words, while the biographies of her life can come off a little staid. (This is just from my own personal experience, however, I know different saints speak to different people in different hold your emails till the end!)

I've always wanted to know more about Dorothy Day (who isn't a saint yet, but her case has been opened by the Church and she has been given the title Servant of God) and had never read any of her actual writings, so I decided to start with The Long Loneliness, her autobiography describing her early life up until about 1952. I'm glad I started here because it is a great depiction of what brought her to her unique vocation and the fundamentals of her unusual conversion. She writes about her childhood and the interesting impressions made upon her moving across America with her family, as well as different riveting experiences that brought her through left-wing political thinking to protesting to becoming a force for the people through ministering through houses of hospitality with the development of The Catholic Worker.

What I was surprised most by was her tender writings about how much she loved family. Both the family she was born into and the family she created with her baby's father and her daughter. She describes her love for them so honestly that the sacrifice she made in committing to Christ and his Church must have been all that much harder and courageous. Dorothy saw the beauty of family as one of life's greatest truths that all people deserved, and how it was the foundation of love. It was the model of her community within The Catholic Worker and it was one in which she shared the love of Christ.

I've always been intrigued by Dorothy Day because of her political activism, not so much because of bleeding-heart-liberal-leanings which seem to make up a lot of her proponents within the Church, but because she was active within the political process throughout such a tumultuous 20th century. I shouldn't have been surprised, nor should anyone really, that Dorothy's politics once she experienced her conversion were not left wing or right wing, but simply Catholic. Hence why she had both supporters and opponents from every side. She never took a blatantly popular position and ran with it, but lived the Catholic truth of wanting the political sphere to be one that enhanced and supported human dignity in every way possible.

But the most important aspect of this book that stays with you after reading, is her humility and love for Christ and his Church. Much like other books written by saints and blesseds, Dorothy's representation of herself, her strengths and spirituality, is very straightforward and humble. She hardly describes herself as someone who woke up one day to discover she was staggeringly holy and then decided to do good, but rather felt called to do good works out of love and in doing so grew closer to Christ. Because of this humility many may seem disappointed with this book because its not a synthesis of her spirituality or a catalogue of her great social work. But it speaks to the quiet yet great sacrifices of Dorothy's life which are inspiring to anyone who trying to live a life of faith.

Joining the spiciest Jessica for What We're Reading Wednesdays!

I had inaccurately stated Dorothy's canonization cause when this was originally published but have now corrected it! Servant of God Dorothy Day please pray for inaccurate writers like me! For more of her writings The Catholic Worker's website is a wonderful resource of many of Dorothy's articles.

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Freedom of Home :: Weekends with G.K.C

I've finally gotten around to joining Sarah for a link up of one of my favourite things -- G.K. Chesterton! 

This quote from G.K's book of essays The Thing is the quote the epitomizes his philosophy of the home. And really, if this epitomizes Chesterton's thought on the importance of the home, then it perfectly encapsulates his philosophy of, well, everything.

It's also a quote that is truer now than when he wrote it almost 100 years ago. 

G.K. goes on to talk about how the world is good at imposing it's will upon the individual as soon as we step out our door. Laws tell us what we have to adhere to, what we can buy, what we can eat. Jobs control how we speak, how we spend our time, even our uniform of what we wear. Society at large becomes massive, impersonal, and uncaring. All these evils are only counteracted in one place; the home. 

Home is where we can be blissfully and wonderfully unique, original, even weird. We can use our time as we will, pursuing the interests and passions that make us happiest, loving those whom we love the most. It is where true freedom is experienced and enjoyed. 

This truth is one that we acknowledge in the depths of our souls but it is also one that seems easy to forget. It can feel awfully hard to see freedom and liberty under piles of laundry, dirty dishes, meals to cook, children to love and clean. But I think it is in continuing to strive for the ideal that we'll become the happiest we can be especially in our vocation as stay at home moms.

Happy Sunday!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Friday, January 24, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 76

I'm going to make myself another pot of coffee and come up with seven things magically, just like Jen!


This week has blown by in a haze of semi-exahusted stupor. I know, I say this every week don't I? But seriously, peeps just are not sleeping around here! I honestly can't remember what more than three hours sleep at a time feels like. Pure bliss? Heaven? I think I may be getting closer and closer to going completely bonkers. I was in Costco yesterday, and I'd noticed a nice lady in her 40's looking at something in the aisle. She looked so put-together, shopping at a leisurely non-stressed out about who's left at Grandma's house pace, and so darn awake. I wanted to run up to her. Hug her. Then start shaking her violently saying loudly, "You had more than 4 straight hours of sleep last night!! Do you know how lucky you are?!?!" Don't worry. I just went turned and went down the canned soup aisle.


I was down and out and sick again last weekend into Monday. This month just keeps hammering at me. But my mom had wonderfully taken the older kids and left Nora and I at home so I could sleep when she slept. I spent the afternoon reading Pride and Prejudice for the Motherhood and Jane Austen book club and watching Parenthood and sort of napping. (Does anyone else have this horrible affliction of not being able to fall asleep when you're actually given quiet, peaceful time to do so?? The. Worst!) But what I was getting around to saying was this; I'm having such a nice time reading Pride and Prejudice slowly this go around. Usually when I reread Pride and Prejudice its in a burst of Jane Austen fury and I read it cover to cover in a weekend or road trip. It's been awhile since I've leisurely read it over time. I've been reading a couple chapters every afternoon as a form of break, really, the best kind of break, and it's been so nice. 


Jenny's doing such a nice job trying to document the difficulties and joys of a mom trying to make herself priority, and I'm going to recommend leisurely reading Jane Austen. It's the only thing I do well in that department so far. I physically cannot get awake before the kids, and I've been having a difficult time transitioning to having children awake so much of the day and homeschooling. That public babysitting, er, I mean public school is so darn tempting when I think about having a quiet half hour. I'm also having the worst time figuring out having people watch my kids while not simultaneously feeling guilty/thinking my children are killing my parents. Basically, I feel like I've got a lot of issues in that department that I'm doing terribly at dealing with. Full confession. Done.

Moving on.


You know I love me my mystery novels. Love. Probably my favourite literary genre and I'm deeply devoted to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, but I did come across this link to a great list of classic mystery novels everyone should read. I've read a good chunk of them and can vouch for their essential-ness, but there were a lot I've never heard of, so that always exciting to find! I'd have put more Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham, to the list and I also feel The Man Who Was Thursday is a classic in the mystery genre even if it isn't solely a mystery novel. G.K. he's so tricky!


How do we feel about matte nail polish? I asked this on Instagram last night. I just tried it yesterday and I'm not sure how I feel. It feels a little weird. For some reason I feel as if one of nail polish's most important purposes is making my nails pretty and shiny. So I'm going to try it out and see if I come around. I'll let you know, because clearly this is an important and pressing issue.


Oh, I didn't want to forget this and I almost did!

If you often have NFP frustrations, issues, difficulties, or serious problems OR suffer with infertility I'd definitely encourage you to begin praying to Drs. John and Evelyn Brown whose Cause for Beatification has just begun. I think we need a ton of saints in heaven to complain pray to when it comes to NFP, and these two people have really contributed the majority of all research and science when it comes to natural family planning. I hope their cause progresses, and I really hope they answer my many pleading prayers. 


I swear I had something to write here and it's flown right out of my head! I'm heading out to give the non-talker and the non-sleeper a sled ride while the bigs are out with daddy. 

Have you vote, vote, voted yet?? You know you want to...

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My agent just called...

...And I've been nominated in the 2014 Sheenazing Awards! Woot!

Haha...An agent...I'm pretty sure I'd use him for babysitting...

But! I am so honoured and absolutely chuffed to be nominated at all let alone for Funniest Blogger(?!), Coolest Blogger(??!!), Best Looking Blog (Wha?!), Most Inspiring Blog (Wowwee guys), Best Lifestyle Blog (Yowza!), Best Under Appreciated Blog(That's right, no self-esteem), Best Blog by a Mom (I'm glad these kids have come in handy for something), and Smartest Blog (Really??)! Thank you so much for the nomination, because it really is an honour just to be nominated with my favourite blogs I read all the time and kinda/sorta idolize, but only in a totally healthy way!

So if you'd care to throw a vote my way, or just truly vote for your favourites run over to the wonderful Bonnie's and vote, vote, vote!

Thanks to Bonnie for such a wonderful promotion and encouragement to Catholic bloggers. I'm excited to read new ones and vote!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

A Little Girl's Room Update

So I got a little, tiny, itsy-bitsy bit crafty and thus - pictures!
Really, I've got to document this kind of miraculous happening or else it probably didn't happen at all. 

Gemma's room was needing something -- it had been ages since I'd done anything to add some fun to it, and I wanted to desperately but had no real inspiration. Then my mom crocheted these stars, thought it would be fun for a garland, mentioned this in my presence - and BAM! I had some idea for Gemma's room. 

I also found a $4 roll of music-note wrapping paper that I knew must become bunting. Because I have one rule of decorating kids rooms and its this: paper garlands everywhere! So I whipped up a little random, non-perfect, very homemade music-note paper garland that I thought might look cool/eclectic/passable layered with the crocheted stars of many colours. 

And then I added a disco ball. Because it's awesome.

Now we have this sweet little updated wall. Which would look much better with more light, but this was a sunshine-y day and it looks like the inside of a cave because this room is on the northeast side of the house and doesn't get the warmest winter light. Not cool low winter sun.

Gemma wanted to add some photos that I printed through Origrami, because I'm obsessed with the Instagram as you all know, and I complied. Max loves to rip them off the wall approximately 2.5 seconds after I stick-tack them up there, but they look cute in these pictures at least!

I'm a little in love with these crocheted stars. I really want to make some too, someday, when I get all that spare time I've got coming! The colours in this yarn my mom used are much brighter in real life and so much fun.

Gemma even made her bed for me, which is pretty miraculous all in itself! Please note I've left out the rest of the room that includes a destroyed window blind and Max's crib. Poor Max, it's a girl's room...he's just living in it!

I'm linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter because this is a big, fat combination of Pretty, Happy, Funny and Real don't you think?

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Friday, January 17, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol 75

I'm just documenting random thoughts as per usual, thank goodness it's Friday and I can link them up with Mrs. Fulwiler!


In an effort to get out of the Great January Funk of 2013 I tried a couple different things this week, and I'm really unsure of their success. I'm not sure if I'm really out of an emotional funk, or maybe I am and it's just still winter? Either way, fun stuff. One of my techniques is to stop stressing about being in a funk. Does that ever happen to you? Stressing about being stressed out?? Because it makes you feel doubly ridiculous than just simply feeling stressed. Thus, I just tried to lie around and give myself a little leeway to try and read frivolously in the afternoon instead of cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry, or watch a little bit more superfluous tv after the kids were asleep, just stuff that could relax me a little without the guilt I usually pile on for not doing all the things that need doing around here. Have I seen instant results? Not quite, so I may start reverting back to my regular occupation of questioning everything in my life - because that's completely rational and normal!


Have you popped over to A Knotted Life to nominate your favourite Catholic blog yet? You don't have to be a blogger to nominate, or read a million blogs, just head over and nominate those deserving blogs you love! It's a great encouragement to the best of Catholic blogging.

Also; while you're at Bonnie's, who is so great to do such a lot of work in support of Catholic blogging, please pray for her son James and her whole family. Her son suffered a seizure earlier in the week and I'm sure prayers would help in every direction. 


Whoever gave Nora a baby alarm clock -- I would like to hunt you down and make you stay up for hours on end or maybe just let you fall into a deep sleep and wake you up with a bullhorn! It's like I'm living with a newborn again. She wakes up every three hours like she has an alarm clock in her room. Now before you make excuses for her, I swear she's not teething, she doesn't want to nurse too much, she's eating well during the day, but still the waking. So much waking. I feel lame complaining about this as if it's some new thing around here, I mean for crying out loud, I thought if you had a bunch of kids you were immune to this type of thing!? But alas, it still stinks. 


I've had a health issue pop up over the last week, nothing serious, but something in which it would be advantageous to stop eating sugar, gluten, and alcohol. Which basically means everything good. I've definitely had nagging headaches since axing all sugar, and every afternoon I feel like climbing the walls in search of a baked good or something covered in chocolate! 

I mean, I'm waking up every three hours! If that's not an excuse to emotionally eat then I don't know what is!


The kids are downstairs right now playing "last people in the jungle" and I asked why they were the last and they said because "no one else ever goes in that jungle because its too deep and has no signs." Luke is the searcher and I guess I should teach him to say, "Dr. Livingston, I presume." 

I'm just realizing I still haven't done a post on the basement's small reno we've done. Which is mostly because I still haven't hung anything on the walls and that there are still twin mattresses stacked against walls. But its a vast improvement and the kids enjoy being down there a little more, and I'll even venture down from time to time. 


Just using this photo because I loved her dress at the Golden Globes.

So everyone is a talking about Downton.
Feel free to skip this take if you're completely full of this talk.

I was audibly upset about last week's episode. Enough that my husband asked if I was ok from the other room where he was trying to avoid all sounds of Downton. 

I just...I don't....why...ugh...

It was simply a very upsetting episode that I felt seemed very jarring. Obviously Anna is one of the good guys downstairs, she's already gone through a lot, finally ended up with Bates (after a painfully long, drawn out process of his being in jail - soooo boring that whole thing last season!), but to see Bates being petty towards her seemed strange, and why is she flirting with a random valet? And why would no one be downstairs at all?! And why did she go downstairs for an aspirin?!! And why didn't she grab a knife off the kitchen counter?!? And now I just see so many painful episodes ahead where they will try to cover up this horrific crime. I just wish Downton was the pleasure it was to watch of season 1. 

I just can't help shaking the feeling that since Sybil died the writers seem to be treating the audience as pliable dupes. We can't turn away so they can do whatever they want to us! 


The weather has warmed up to around here this week which is some relief to the cabin fever that's been raging. This weekend is supposed to be almost tropical and above zero! I'll be out suntanning if you need me. Give me all the vitamin D you have, Sun!

I gotta run, Nora's downstairs and about to be sucked into the jungle!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Friday, January 10, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol 74

Joining dear Jen Fulwiler and the better Takers for a Friday fit of fun takes!


I'm still a joy to live with right now. Which means I'm probably not a joy to read about deep interesting things. But I'm working on it. Sometimes these funks need a couple days of feeling crummy, a couple bottles of wine, and a couple hours of mindless television. Or an attitude check. Or something! 

Anyway - I'm just going to talk about random randomness. Prepare yourselves!


I finally got around to reading the excellent article from First Things last month, The Catholic Writer Today, and it was a great summation of today's writing climate, not only for Catholic writers but literature in general. So many great points are made, and again, the emphasis that Catholicism as an important driving force in any arts community that enhances culture at large is made which is something I think we as Catholics tend to forget or ignore. 

I also read the excellent response to the article, Cultural Anorexia: Doubting the Decline of Faith in Fiction which I found myself agreeing with as well. I hope to read more of these contemporary Catholic authors works this year. I need to get out of my bubble of early twentieth century English writers from time to time. 


Let's talk about this for a moment shall we?

Prince Harry's beard is awesome. And I'm not one to just jump on the hipster/Duck Dynasty bandwagon of beards equalling instant coolness. No, no, no. Beards need to be pulled off with equal amounts of self-confidence and self-awareness of whether or not you're going to look greasy and dirty or ruggedly handsome. Clearly, Prince Harry has pulled it off.

But the Queen has told him to shave. Which is her prerogative really, because she's the queen. But it kinda feels a bit too democratic at the same time. I mean, if you're fourth in line for the crown you should be able to decide if you want a beard or not. You're not just "royal staff". You've got to have a few perks as a prince. 


I may have just got lost in the vortex of awesomeness that is the Vanity Fair website. If being a sucker for well written celebrity gossip is wrong, I don't want to be right!

I also just love how they write about Prince Harry's girlfriend's a little uncharitable, but oh so funny. And for the record I'm against that relationship purely because "Princess Cressida" sounds like a ridiculous Disney princess. If I was the Queen that would be what I'd be stomping on in Prince Harry's direction. 


So. Tv update!

Sherlock was awesome! We're watching the second episode tonight, and I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I'll just say I loved everything about the first episode and would watch it again anytime. It made me so happy. 

Downton. That was a snooze fest of an episode, right? I suppose they have to build to dramatic climax, but it just felt as if it was an episode full of snippets of boring story lines. But, but, but!
Lord Grantham is on my last nerve! Seriously, Mary better put her foot down.
Lady Grantham, is riding my second-to-last nerve. They write her as such an airhead sometimes it becomes increasingly difficult to like her at all.
The best scene was Mary crying to Carson. We all need a butler like that.
Can we have a little variety in the downstairs?? I'm tired of evil ladies' maids, (which apparently is a job requirement so Anna must not be in the union), Thomas' scheming, and this ridiculous high-school stuff going on with the kitchen maids and these stupid footmen! 
Edith-we can see the train wreck a-comin!
And I still love the Dowager Countess and Mrs Hughes, and all the wardrobe, music, and set design!


My Christmas is never complete without a couple gifts of cookbooks. Do I cook that much from the gorgeous cookbooks I own? Of course, not. But they're gorgeous and I just love reading cookbooks! Just reading, looking at the pictures, imagining someone else cooking everything for me. It's a sad sort of escapism that I don't mind admitting to. 
But I have been thinking of maybe giving each cookbook a month to try out different recipes. Not every night or anything - heavens no! - but maybe a month where I try to be a bit more intentional about actually using my cookbooks instead of giving up in despair about what to make for dinner. Although this is sounding really close to something like a New Year's Resolution which I pretty much am allergic to, so we'll see what happens.


Well, today its going be a balmy -4 C here today. I'm going to force myself to go outside and "enjoy" the weather. I've been awful about getting out lately, just even to go out for a five minutes walk and I know it'll make me feel loads better to force myself out for a little while. And I can't use the excuse that I may freeze to death. So things are looking up around here! 

Hope you all have a less Polar Vortex kinda weekend! And go Colts!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Grey January Days

Oh, thats I remember what January feels like.

I do believe I've already hit the January wall and its only January 8.

January is such a perfect storm. The Christmas come-down, the deep cold, the lack of light, the far away feeling of spring and warmth, the disappearance of big events to look forward to on the calendar, the bitter cold...oh wait...I said that already...I think it all adds up to putting me in a giant winter malaise.

Yesterday turned out to be a perfectly rotten day even when it had gotten off to such a promising start. We were up and running again at a decent time, school work got accomplished, dishes were washed, but somehow by 2 in the afternoon I was completely done. Done with the disciplining, the asking people to listen 500 times, the talking, the noise, the questions every five minutes, done. Done, done, done.

I pretty much lost it, I stormed out of my mom's house and put everyone to bed, unkind words were said, frustration won out. Then of course came the spiralling out of control of my thoughts. I start wondering if I have deep-seated unhappiness, if I'm doing everything wrong, if I'm living the wrong life, if we're living in the wrong place, if I'm drastically off-base in my daily routine. Then, a skewed look at reality; I've got five babies all under the age of reason and its impossible to go anywhere. Not only is it a million degrees below freezing out and requires hours of effort to get us all out the door by myself, but two of them can't walk on their own and/or need to be constantly supervised, the others need what feels like constant discipline and correction and guidance, and where would we even go? We live so far from civilization and/or real friends it becomes a day trip going out for a few hours. And let's not forget the baby who's still nursing.

One thing I'm not good at is imagining any other stage than the one me and my kids are currently in right this second. Maybe I'm just not goal oriented enough, or imaginative enough, or hopeful enough, but I can't possibly imagine a time when they'll all be able to dress themselves, or cross the street, or be able to stop fighting with each other for longer than 4 minutes. I mean, sure, eventually they'll become adults and hopefully have learned those things, maybe through some trial and error, and maybe some of them will move away to different cities so that I will no longer hear their bickering, but honestly, I just can't imagine what that would be like!

Then I start to wonder if this can all be solved and all should be solved. Maybe this is a symptom of things I'm doing wrong, of choices we've made that are all wrong. We should move somewhere with people. But that would mean moving away from my parents who are really the only ones I can call on whenever this stuff hits the fan, anytime, day in day out. Sure, friends would be nice, but would I constantly depend on them like my parents? Maybe I'm just way too co-dependent in the first place? Maybe I just need more gumption and energy and just get out of the house more? Even to the play groups nearby with people I have zero things in common with. Would that all be worth it? Would that somehow help me avoid these awful days?

I think I spiral into these crazy thoughts because most of the time I'm fairly even-keeled. Most of the time I don't mind everything even when the tough gets going. I find it very hard to believe that God would want me to completely change my life which 99.9% of the time goes amazingly well because of a couple bad days. I don't think he bullies us into things through discouragement and anxiety and freaking out. Actually in all of my experience of the things which were most certainly what God wanted, they were always there in the back of my mind in times of calmness and regularity.

But it is tough going. It's tough having five kids most of whom are very, very small and very, very dependent. I feel in dangerous stereotype territory when I can't get out of the house. I feel as if I'm right smack dab in the middle of the dreaded and awful life of motherhood that everyone is viciously and steadfastly terrified of and sworn to never have happen to them. The truth is that its not a horrible life but a horrible couple days. The truth of the matter, however, is that this may be my toughest winter. I may have to dig deep and just get through this one alive. This is the winter where I'm going to have a baby, a two year old, a four year old, a five year old and a six year old. By next winter everyone will be a year older and doing completely different things. Hopefully all my children will be independent movers! Maybe a seven year old will be able to help a three year old! Maybe I'll be able to leave them all for more than two hours! Maybe I'll even have the gift of perspective and marvel at my own survival skills - that is, if I make it out of this one alive.

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Monday, January 6, 2014

Because having kids gives you a sense of humour...

I'm guest posting at the wonderful Jenna's place today!

Jenna was sweet enough to let me attempt humour and life with a bunch of kids. I hope I was at least middlingly successful!

I have a party trick. It goes a little like this:
I’ll be having a casual conversation with a stranger. Maybe someone at a kid’s event, a cashier at Costco, a new hairdresser, those strangers you meet throughout your not too exciting day of running errands and the like who are friendly enough to strike up the conversation train. We’ll be chit-chatting about the weather, or the roads, or hockey, or Arcade Fire and then somehow get around to kids. Maybe they’re already a grandparent, or a new mom, or someone with older kids and I’ll mention that my girl/boy/baby/toddler did something similar or worse (usually worse) and how wonderful/horrifying/embarrassing/exhausting it was. We’ll share a little moment of kid bonding and sometimes they’ll say “Oh, so you have two kids then. The six year old and the six month old?” At which point I’ll drop the bomb – “Actually, I’ve got five kids.”
Go visit Call Her Happy to read the whole thing!

I'm sure you all read Call Her Happy already, because its such a great place for all things Catholic, and mom, and funny, and honest, but if you don't already do go over and read, read, read! In my mind my blog is a cool as hers, in reality not so much!

And to you all clicking over from Jenna's for the first time: Thanks for coming by and I hope you stay a while - its great to meet you!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Friday, January 3, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 73

Joining the great Fulwiler for another year of Quick Takes - I resolve to make these quick!


Are you still enjoying the holidays? It still feels deliciously lacksidasical around here. The husband unfortunately had to go back to work yesterday which made the vacation feel as if it was ended but things are still feeling relaxed around the house since we haven't started back to school around here. I may still be adding Bailey's to my morning coffee and eating several chocolates before lunchtime. Because it's 12 Days of Christmas people...why not eat chocolate everyday?!


We are also celebrating Christmas with my husband's side of the family tomorrow so we are still anticipating visiting and fun and presents and food! Can I just say how much I enjoy Christmas being spread out a little? It feels so good to not have to rush everything into two days. The kids are so much happier, I'm so much less exhausted, I don't have to worry about packing for five kids AND wrapping their presents on Christmas Eve. I just love it. I don't think everyone on his side of the family is as down with it, but I'm definitely pulling for this to become an every year tradition!


I've decided to be lazy, er, I mean liturgically correct and leave the tree and decorations up till after Epiphany. Our tree is getting a but dry, as in it may literally turn into kindling any second now. I always forget to water the darn tree as soon as Christmas Day has past. I also noticed the baby starting to eat pine needles off the floor...soooo....


Did you make it to midnight on New Year's Eve?? The husband and I could not for the life of us remember the last time we stayed up till midnight. We felt like 75 year olds. We ate Chinese food with my parents, played some board games, came home to watch a Foyle's War and were blissfully in bed by 10:30.  It was really a great evening. I'm not even going to pretend I have lofty ambitions to stay up till midnight anymore.


So. Saint of the year anyone? This year I got St. Jude. Patron saint of lost causes St. Jude. Which seems fairly unrelated to my life. Unless of course we're talking about the lost causes of the laundry, losing those last ten five pounds of pregnancy weight, having any breakthrough in the NFP department, staying up till midnight one day a year, and getting a handle on this homeschooling stuff. So maybe God is helping me out here. Maybe St. Jude is going to bust stuff up in here for me.

Last year I got St. Peregrine and I have to admit I spent the whole year praying to him that no one in my family would be diagnosed with cancer. Which I guess was answered, but it did worry me a little. I did implore his intercession with a variety of different health issues so I hope my prayers helped!


I'm not a good one for resolutions. I don't like creating unattainable expectations. But I'm always so inspired to read other's goals for the year. Goals like running a marathon, writing a book, eating only things that grow out of ground they themselves trod upon. Lofty awesome goals. If I'm being 100% honest here, I think I stay away from the lofty goals because I am still very much in the default setting of thought "I've got 5 little kids whom I can barely keep alive using all my energy and have yet to have more than two hours to myself in over 9 months." So that's a big crutch but also a big reality. I mean if I were really creating resolutions they would include things like "Get out of the house with all the kids by myself once a week - to the library" or "Try not to classify crackers as a meal" or "Remember to call my friends once a month." Big earth shattering resolutions right? So I'm trying not to let this realistic thinking get me down. But it kinda makes me feel like a bit of a loser. 


So big week in tv! And by tv I mean British tv. Because is American tv anything to get excited about??- well not until Mad Men comes on! I may be illegally downloading Sherlock right now, but I honestly can't believe I've waited to watch Downton Abbey on legit PBS. I feel as if the bloom has rubbed off a little for me. I'll watch it of course. And become fairly obsessed with it I'm sure. And maybe start referring to a couple of my sons as footmen, but I'm watching it non-illegally for the first time! Maybe I should make this a New Year's resolution, this legal tv viewing, except I'm simultaneously breaking it right now with the Sherlock...I'll have to come up with something else!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend - stay warm and watch playoff football/Downton!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Best Books I Read in 2013

I love a good excuse to have a book wrap-up! Let's bid adieu to 2013 bookish style!

Thank goodness for Goodreads because I used it all last year and everything I read is in one place. So many books I would have forgotten to talk about! You can follow me on Goodreads too if you so desire, because book stalking is a thing!

Lets get to it!

Best of the Best


I like to think I have some fairly high standards
when it comes to books that I would wholeheartedly recommend. They can't just be beautifully written but dead boring. They have to have a decent plot and if not likeable characters, at the very least interesting characters. Books that I really love usually have amazing writing. The kind of prose that breaks your heart with its deft turn of phrase and beautiful capturing of the English language. Books I love also usually speak to something deeper than the surface of the story it tells, usually in a surprising way. These are some books that I not only enjoyed but would recommend to anyone who appreciates good literature and a good story.

The Shoemaker's Wife - A tale of a lifetime of love between two immigrants to America. I enjoyed this book the more I read and think its a rare story that both tugs at the heartstrings but remains realistic.

The Language of Flowers - A beautiful telling of a mother's devotion and how motherhood effects us in surprising ways. Another beautiful story,

The Secret Keeper - I thought Kate Morton was chick-lit so I started reading her books in the last throes of pregnancy where all I could do was wallow on the couch. I was so pleasantly surprised by the well crafted writing and characters. This novel was my favourite.

A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion - Ron Hansen's latest work about a doomed love affair that turned violent in the 1920's. Hansen is simply an amazing writer. His writing remains firmly Catholic even when the content is far from overt Catholic themes. This novel deals with themes of sin, grace, and repentance and is worth the read.

Memento Mori - I love Muriel Spark. I find her quirky and interesting while at the same time being able to hit upon such deep truths. In a way she's a British Flannery O'Connor in that she approaches Catholic ideas through strange and unusual stories and characters. Momento Mori is another strange tale of strange people dealing with their own mortality. A story that stays with you.

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett successfully creates a parallel universe which completely envelopes the reader. She brings to life another world where relationships, language barriers, and love all intersect in what seem to be impossible ways.

Jayber Crow - I finally dove into Wendell Barry and his famous tale of a man's telling of life, community and the wisdom he finds living a simple life. I think this is a book that will come back to me in many ways. It is a beautifully written ode to what's really important. Very Chestertonian.

Non-Fiction Notes

I am all over the place when it comes to non-fiction. I love strange topics and discovering things I would never have known through non-fiction books. It's really because I'm a giant nerd. Do any of these strike your fancy?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking - I found this book interesting because I enjoy learning about personality, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel as if this book preached a little too heavily on how amazing introverts are. I'm a ridiculously balanced person when it comes to introversion/extraversion so I didn't exactly relate to how great it is to be an introvert and what a cross it is to be an introvert in a world where people communicate with each other all the time. I feel the repurrcusions of this book have made everyone believe they're that very special introvert who needs to be catered to and appreciate for all their "special" abilities. Haha, now I just sound bitter. It really is quite the interesting book.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - This book blew my mind. I'm not too into scientific discoveries and would never have known what has gone on in the field of genetic research in the past century if I hadn't read this book. I found it completely engrossing. It put a personal face on medical technology and its myriad of implications, as well as proving the Church's important teaching on scientific studies completely right on.

The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton - A wonderful introduction to the most important foundations of Chesterton's thinking and how it explains our world. Well written and easy to read.

My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir - Before I read this book I had this vague impression that it was going to be an overly sentimental and pious spiritual memoir that I would find boring and annoying. Thank goodness I was wrong in every way! A touching, relatable, and wonderfully told memoir of a modern woman encountering holy women in the Church.

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life - I didn't find this book completely revolutionary like many purport, but still really enjoyed it. I agree wholeheartedly with her thesis that home is the most important place in our lives and deserves time and attention to make us happier. Worth the read for sure.

A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy - I'm a huge British monarchy nerd and love a good royal biography like nobody's business! This book was a very interesting look at the relationship between Victoria and Albert and how his death helped create the Victoria of history.

Dad Is Fat - Absolutely hilarious and a treat to read! I was in tears in so many different parts and could have sworn he was writing about my life. Anyone with kids will relate, but anyone with more than 3 will be in stitches!

Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child - A little long winded in sections, but overall a complete manifesto on how I want to raise my kids. It really opens your mind to how our world has changed the way children learn and how it has impacted our children's moral development and childhood.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise - Ruth Reichl is an amazing food writer and this book was a pure pleasure to read. I loved being invited into her interesting tales of being a food critic.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary - An incredibly well-written tale of the strange way the Oxford English Dictionary came into existence. What's that? A book written about people writing a book sounds boring? Well, this will completely change your opinion of that genre!

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex - Because a tale of cannibalism is a great way to get perspective on a crappy day spent with toddlers! But really, an amazing story and a well-done history. I regaled stories from this book to my husband who thought I was making it all up.

Pope Awesome and Other Stories - I can't recommend this book enough. If you're looking for a book to encourage your own heart in faith and family, or to open the eyes of a friend I'd suggest this book every time. A well written tale of a modern woman finding faith and family in a world that tries its best to stifle both.

Books I Hated and Books I Thought Were Just Alright

Sometimes its just so much fun to complain about bad books amiright? Here's some that were atrocious that I somehow finished out of my compulsive must-finish-every-book-I-read disorder.

Gone Girl - I honestly don't understand how this book is such a raging bestseller, but I'm going to blame the general uneducated state of society today. This book was sloppily written, had the most unlikeable characters, and had a twist ending that anyone could see coming from about 12 miles away. I honestly shouldn't have finished it, and I'm still bitter I won't get those hours of my life back. Horrible!

Still Alice - This is a book that I didn't hate per say, but didn't live up to my expectations. A story detailing the heartbreak of alzheimer's disease, this book seemed to be building to being a great book but never quite made it there. I found the prose clunky and a little cold as well.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and The Paris Wife - I went on a bit of a kick where I could only read novels based on the lives of wives of famous writers from the 1920's. They were both decent, although I didn't love the books. The Paris Wife was the better written book which details the life of Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley, while Z tells the tragic life of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Austenland - I'm not a fan of fan fiction generally, and this proves me right yet again. I honestly thought this book was terrible. The movie might be entertaining as it tells of a young woman trying to understand love by going to a spa-come-Jane Austen re-enacting-theater of sorts.

The Night Circus - I'm still fairly angry that this book wasn't better edited. With some crafty editing, say chopping the book by a good 100 pages, this would have been a good fantasy. As it exists today its a best-selling disappointment. I plodded through the book hoping for an interesting resolution only to be tortured by chapter after chapter of crazy descriptions.

Someday, Someday, Maybe - This was a book I thought I was going to hate but was pleasantly surprised with. It's not high literature but for a chick-lit book written by an actress its surprisingly entertaining. A good easy and fun read!

Ok. I need to stop talking about books don't I? I think 2013 turned out to be a good year for reading, and I'm fairly happy I read so much even when I had a baby in that time period! I'm looking forward to hearing about your favourite books of 2013!

And if you're in the mood for more of my book opinions here's my Best Books of 2012 post.

Linking up with Haley's great book link-up!

And joining Modern Mrs Darcy with most Best Book links!

follow along:

facebook ~ instagram ~ pinterest


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...