Friday, November 29, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 68

Hello, fellow Quick Take addicts, my name is Christy....

Hope Jen's having a great holiday!


Hope all my American friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mmm turkey....

I had a very ordinary....Thursday.


But Wednesday was Dom's 5th Birthday! Seriously. 5 is old people. I could swear that only yesterday I gave birth to him, and it was just last week where I didn't sleep for months with his colic. But 5?! That's a little boy. 
Anyway, I get all "mum-emotional" over the thought. Really, he's such bright, clever boy that he's been old for his age for awhile. He's incredibly observant and its resulted in a pretty hilarious sense of humour too. And he's always the first to tell me if someone needs me, like Nora crying in her room. He may be epically stubborn and prone to his mother's anger, but we'll ignore that because its his birthday. 
He had a great day full of Lego and banana bread. His two favourite things. We all love him!


Since we've now got over the birthday of this month and I sorta/kinda got the house organized yesterday, I'm going to try and get my simple Advent decorating etc. done this weekend. And when I say decoration I really mean pulling out the Advent wreath and my purple napkins!

 I'm also planting my paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs today too. I doubt they'll have bloomed by Christmas, but maybe during the 12 days of Christmas? I love having bulbs growing in the house during the winter, it feels like something green in our sea of snow outside!

Then I'm going to find my Advent/Christmas book stash and start pulling some out for the kids. I think I'm going to have to be forced to quit buying children's Christmas books soon because I've got quite a few and just find more and more each year because I love them so! I'm going to try and space them out over the course of Advent so they'll stay fresh to the kids, and maybe not overwhelm them? And then I'll maybe get my act together and post my favourites one of these days.

The nativity scenes will be coming out as well. Some of the great comments from my Advent post this week included people making great nativity scene activities like moving Mary and Joseph closer to the stable each day. That seems really cute and approachable for littles. I've got two nativities, one fancy one and one I let the kids go to town with from Melissa and Doug. I keep meaning to get the Little People one as well.


Ok, enough trying to be perfectly prepared spiritually for Advent/Christmas. More shopping!
Kate Spade was having a ridiculously amazing sale this week, and they may email me everyday with their beauty so I finally clicked to see just how awesome the sale was and discovered they now have a handbag named for me

And that just makes me happy.


Dominic got a few books for his birthday, Where the Wild Things Are and The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers. Where the Wild Things Are is of course, a classic and they all love it because all kids do, but if you haven't yet brought Oliver Jeffers into your children's library you really must. I feel as if his books are already classics. The pictures are adorable and the timeless stories are the perfect mix of whimsy and adventure. I'd recommend them for ages 3 and up, but Max is awestruck by the books as well. We've almost got everything he's written and its all gold!


I hope I didn't give the impression the other day that I'm a Scrooge of Advent. Because I most definitely am not! I love Advent, it feels like a mysterious time of year. The feeling that something miraculous may be just around the corner hangs in the air. Its a beautiful time of paradox where we try to prepare interiorly with some quiet self-examination and repentance, while excitement builds all around us. Its a dramatic time of year even though the approach to Christmas is a quiet one.
Children's joy in the season is really amazing. Its beautiful to watch every year and I hope that's one thing I never take for granted!


And now for the winner of Haley and Daniel's book Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year:

Please send me an email and you'll get your wonderful free book!
Thanks to all who entered.
Everyone else can run over and download this great cookbook in time for tomorrow's feast of St. Andrew and Sunday's First Sunday of Advent! You'll love it!

With that I bid you all an acceptable weekend.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

A Relaxed But Intentional Advent or; The Lazy Girl's Guide to Advent

Wow, its almost Advent! Its the most wonderful, er, prayerful and reflective time of the year!

But if you're like me and have a steady stream of awesome Catholic blogs in your reader, you know that it can also be the craftiest time of the year. And it can also seem like the time of year where there are the most saint days, the most activities, the most things you can do to expose your children to the wonders of the Church.

It's probably just me and my allergy to crafts, but I feel a little anxiety when I see how much some families do. I also know that most of these families are in a completely different stage of life than we are, they have children who can dress themselves! I'm usually keeping my head above water just trying to cloth 5 kids and throw 3-almost-squares at them. Any extras end up taking a toll on our day's routine and/or my mental health!

There are also a lot of challenges we can't change about this time of year.  As much as we want to experience Advent to the fullest ourselves, we're also the ones who have to meticulously coordinate every aspect of Christmas, (which happens at the end of Advent in case you didn't know). So we're caught between wanting to practice Advent, complete with not hauling out every piece of Christmas themed decor we own, but still having a long list of to-dos for the next month.

We all need to just take a breath. Relax a little. Maybe put an "Advent" shot of Bailey's in our coffee and calm-the-jesse-tree-down.

We can only do so much. But what will destroy the prayerful, anticipatory, and reflective attitude we wish to cultivate for Advent if there is too much busy-ness, freaking out about too many crafts and ideas, and forcing toddlers to sit through five hours worth of prayers. As moms we've got to plan and prepare our expectations as well as our activities for the season, and we should do so now so that not only are the kids not disappointed but neither are we!

What makes for a relaxed, reasonable, and hopefully prayerful practice of Advent (or so I've been told!) boils down to three things. One: get a good handle on all of what needs to get done for Christmas. Two: planning out even our Advent activities carefully, and Three: making sure we make our own spiritual preparation for Advent a priority.

For Number One I recommend doing as much online shopping as you can. I really can't get to stores often, and when I can its usually only for those life necessities like food, so instead of running around and being frustrated by my lack of gift progress I'm just ordering toys, books, etc online. It may cost a little more, I may not have checked out every possible toy selection out there, but its done and that's worth it for my time and sanity. It does require some thought in advance but its do-able. The Christmas food and such I'm trying to do a little each week to not make it too stressful, and I'm really only baking a small bit to create an illusion of a homemade Christmas! We're also not going to a ton of Christmas functions, but trying to keep to the ones either the kids or us parents enjoy the most.

Number Two - I'm making sure we only do a select amount of Advent traditions and/or activities, which can be hard because there are so many amazing ideas and activities on the internet, which I think is great! We have an Advent wreath and talk about preparing for Jesus and have done so for the last couple years. This year because the kids have progressed quite a lot in saying prayers, we're going to add praying each day the Advent wreath prayers from Lisa Hendey's book O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath. St. Nicholas day complete with shoe presents and maybe a small craft that the kids can do that won't kill me, is also a day we all enjoy observing. We'll also try to go to Mass for either the Immaculate Conception or Our Lady of Guadelupe and have a special dinner, but we'll talk about the saints days just like we always do and probably do some reading if we're lucky. Then I'm going to try to hold out as long as I can on the Christmas decorations. And that's it. I'm going to be relaxed and ok with that amount, I swear! I think the most important part of creating a home that practices living the liturgical year is the knowledge of what it means and what it spurs us to do spiritually. This really means talking about it, praying about it, and creating a noticeable difference between liturgical seasons in our homes be it through physical things like the advent wreath and no christmas decorations, through our food, like simple meals etc, and other traditions that appeal to the children's ages.

Number Three: In paying attention to what I think my children are capable of I also have to come to grips with what I'm capable of too. My kids are pretty young, and just beginning to grasp the meaning of Advent and its importance which is exciting to see! But my younger babies still take up most of my time and adding anything extra to my day adds a lot of work. So I know I shouldn't be picking all the crafts, all the meals, all the feasts. I've got to remember that we teach our kids about Advent every year. I don't have to cram everything in one year, in order to fulfill the baptismal promises I made when I got my kids baptized! I'm also going to try really, really hard to keep up with my own advent preparation in trying to fit in some devotional Advent reading, and carving out time to keep up my own prayer. If you've still got just young babies take this Advent to prepare just yourself, with reading and prayer and anything you can fit in. That's great Advent preparation and will rub of on your babies now and in the future, trust me!

We've got to try and live not only Advent, but the entire liturgical year, not as something extraordinary but as seasons we live with the entire Church that are woven into our ordinary days. In being intentional in how we can best incorporate and practice the liturgical year we'll also be able to do it with minimal stress while growing in God's love.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 67


Friday! I love you more than cupcakes, Friday!

This week was extremely cold, even by Canadian standards, and snowy. So the freezing temps and the horrid roads kept me housebound. Which is your basic recipe for me going coo-koo by Thursday. Why is it that every winter I suddenly realize living in the the definition of "the middle of nowhere" is not such a good idea?? I also realize that I live in a shoebox with nowhere the kids can go without driving me bonkers! I hear crying kids in every room of the house! My self-made army rising up against me! I can't escape! Going outside risks losing my digits! But staying inside risks losing my shard of remaining mental health! Ack! 


I know there are literally scads and scads of brilliant blog posts on the internets about how to entertain your toddler while you homeschool, but I have ignored them all and intend to keep the streak alive and just let Max run wild as I try to sit and do school with the kids for that precious 45 minutes every morning. I've let him empty out all the cupboards in the kitchen, run around with brooms, strip himself naked, and rifle bookshelves - and that was just this week! I'm 100% certain that the 12-24 month age is the worst age group to occupy for any amount of time and the worst to homeschool with. Babies are a cinch, my three year old is easy-peasy. 22 month old - the.worst. 

Thankfully my mom comes and gets him a couple mornings a week to put me out of my misery and facilitate a bit of learning for the poor kids. Don't report me!


Today marks 50 years since the Kennedy Assassination and as a political junkie and lover of history I've always been fascinated by it. I don't really go in for the conspiracy theories, but it is interesting to think about the influences of Communism, a Catholic in power for the first time in America, the situation and circumstances around when and where it took place, etc. etc. etc. Would America have been changed for the better? Would Catholicism have gained a more solid ground in the public square? Would the Kennedy clan stayed true to the Church? Would the Democratic party not become a party of evil? All questions that float around your head in the "what if" department. It is really amazing though, the sheer amount of research, books, general knowledge about the Kennedy era that exists. It will probably fascinate for centuries. 

But here's George Weigel being way smarter than me. 

And the Mad Men episode from the day of the assassination sits with me. That was a great episode. 


So I'm very happy that the end of the liturgical year is upon us. I'm ready for a fresh start, something to look forward to, to prepare for. I'm also really tired of church music for Ordinary Time - church music leader problems. I feel I need to go to Confession near the beginning of Advent this year, instead of putting it off as I usually do, so to gain some traction in changing for the betting in preparation for Christmas. Its so very hard to shake regular spiritual inertia. But Advent is about the best thing we have for that!


Haley's smashing new ebook Feast! is now available for peanuts so virtually run over and get it right now! Its $4.99 until American Thanksgiving (which is next Thursday Canadians who don't watch tv!) and will be going up to $7.99 regular price soon afterwards, so act now! 

Its a great book to have as we go into Advent and begin a new liturgical year. It sets you up for a new perspective of celebrating and living the liturgical year - but in an easy, approachable way with yummy recipes. 

I'll be giving away a copy next week and a better review of it because I'm going to cook something from it this weekend - yay! I'm also going to try and get my act together with a little more on Advent. 


Does anyone else have the dream of a vacation meaning a time/place where you can go for more than 10 minutes without someone asking you for something, or cleaning up something, or changing a diaper, or breaking up a toddler fight?? It can't just be me.


As you can probably surmise I'm running low on the creativity this morning. My home-bound state has me pondering paying an extra $100 bucks in internet bills this month and illegally procuring the new season of Downton Abbey in order to stave off total cabin fever...soooo tempting. 

Really though, have a warm weekend! I'm off to bundle up 4 kids so as to send them out to the frozen tundra for about 5 minutes of uninterrupted floor sweeping time! 

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Finished Baby Blanket - pretty,happy,funny,real

Pretty because its finally done!

I finally finished Nora's baby blanket - and she's only 8 months old! I believe that makes about a year in the works, which means I grabbed the camera to document my Herculean effort in the crochet department, because this doesn't happen everyday around here, folks!

I originally picked out this pattern because I thought it was going to be nice and simple and I liked how the circles attached to one another, which I believed at the time would make for less sewing in of ends, my most dreaded task in crochet, but once I had ordered the wool and sat down and finally read the pattern I figured out that I would have to make 192 individual circles which would end up with 192 ends to sew in. Clearly, this all happened while I was pregnant and not in full use of my mental faculties.

I began it last winter while pregnant, and somehow with feeling miserable at the end of the pregnancy, her being born, then summer all added up to about 8 months where I just forgot about the thing. But then realized I should finish it while she still was a baby and I really hate unfinished projects! So I took up I a hook again while watching football on Sundays and finally-finished! I'm really impressed with how big it turned out (I probably completely ignored the dimensions of the blanket while choosing the pattern too) and I think its the biggest baby blanket I've made yet.

She's happy because she realizes that even though she's the fifth child her mom still loves her enough to make her an baby blanket....

I've so far crocheted each baby their own baby blanket. They've all been different patterns from different crochet books and I've really liked each. Some I've been finished when they were born and they came home with them, and others have been a long time in coming, like this one. But somehow making them makes me feel very motherly and accomplished. Which is hilarious because I value the darn blankets so much I let the babies have them in their cribs until they can start throwing them on the floor and/or pulling them apart (Max!) at which point I confiscate them for posterity for storage in the basement! My husband gives me a lot of grief about this, because I'm usually preaching the gospel of pretty, homemade things should be used and enjoyed all. the. time. So I'm a big ol' hypocrite.

Funny face.

The pattern came from a this great book of crochet afghans, Unexpected Afghans, that I really recommend! It has a great variety of fun patterns that weren't stuffy or boring and all have beautiful colours and wools. The book originally had this pattern in a gorgeous coral colour, but since I didn't want to jinx the baby and afghan colour not coordinating, I picked this gender-neutral-ish teal. The blanket I made for Max may have been completely wrong colour wise (oh it really was), and I may just end up switching his blanket for this one. But let's all not tell him when he's older.

Real-Yes, crochet may be a little hole-y for baby fingers and toes.

Either way, these pictures all turned out adorably because of my crazy little girl. And by crazy, I mean serious. Because she is a serious customer. Not grumpy, but serious. She's really brimming with excitement for her personality in these pictures!

Linking up with the great Like Mother, Like Daughter for today's prettiness!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Guest posting about trusting in God and childbirth - but its happier than it sounds I promise!

Happy Monday everyone!

I'm posting a little for dear Haley today at Carrots for Michaelmas while she finishes up her fabulous liturgical living cookbook! (I may have had a peek at the book, and you're going to love it-thats all I'll say for now!)

But I'm writing a little about how God finally got through to me using childbirth...five times over!

"When I think back and look over my spiritual journey as it were, there are many different experiences which make up my faith as it is now. There have been times of spiritual isolation and times where I’ve felt far from God and His mercy. Or different periods when I’m basking in the glow of the spiritual high of feeling close to Jesus. Of course there are many ordinary days in life where I seem to get by just fine by not praying. Having no dire need, no real awareness of my need for saving, or extra grace, let alone miracles. Ordinary days where I do just fine relying on me, myself, and I."...

Pop over to Carrots for Michaelmas to read the rest!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Seven Quick Takes vol. 66

Joining the conference-craze-creating Jen for Seven Quick Takes!


Another week has flown by, but this one legitimately flew by because it was only four days long! We got home from a whirlwind weekend travelling to my best friend's beautiful wedding, visiting great friends along the way, and travelling with only two babies on Monday. It really was a great 5 days. The girls travelled really well, our friends were so generous in hosting us, the wedding was beautiful, the mountains missed me and were happy to see me again (or maybe it was just me!), the roads were passable and the weather free of blizzards, and we returned with the boys having not completely terrorized the in-laws! Successful on every level.

But it took me until yesterday to unpack. I'm an all-star.


Guess who should have taken more photos of the wedding? It's a difficult task when you're in the wedding party. But I made up for good photos in selfie photos on my phone. Which is both lame to admit to and makes for ridiculous memories I think. 

Actually since I've gotten back I've tried organizing my photos and its a huge mess. I used to be on top of things but this year I've really let them slide and now I have thousands of unedited photos which is making it difficult to get photos and things printed for my family for Christmas. Maybe this weekend I'll attack it? 


This weekend will prove busy however, because we're having a joint family party for the boys on Sunday. With Luke's birthday at the end of October and Dom's at the end of November we end up having two boys the same age for a little less than a month. Go Irish Twins! Just thinking about that fact makes me wonder why I didn't just have twins outright...but I know it turned out perfectly cause they're such sweeties. 

I haven't planned a thing for the party! A thing I tell you! But being a winter birthday, the plans are really quite limited anyway, and since we're just having cousins and a few friends we're going to keep things on the lowest of keys. Which would be like A minor in music speak. But I hope I can pull out a decorated cake?? Can I?? Expectations = low.


Snow is here and looks like its here to stay. The snow coupled with the ludicrous lack of daylight hours seems to be making me a little down. I think its mostly the seasonal issue, but there is something pretty demoralizing in it being dark before my husband is even home from work. And since this week was such a gong show in the kids getting back to routine/unpacking situation we didn't go anywhere at all other than my mom's and its feeling a bit low around here. That party is coming at a good time I think!


Have you tried this wine? Its cheap and gloriously good. Its called Apothic.Red, and its a blend which really should be frowned upon I'm sure, but it tastes too good. I feel like I'm getting a bit addicted, I regret not buying a case when it was on sale last month. 


I've been having the worst time fitting in any form of fitness/motion/exercise lately. It usually becomes a choice between working out or blogging. Working out or folding laundry. Working out or nursing the baby. There always feels like something should get done before the working out and I'm too exhausted both before the kids get up and late at night to accomplish anything more than just lying there. But the moral of this story is that my pants aren't fitting and I'm feeling like a blob. So not a good moral of the story. And lets not even pretend I've lost any baby weight...ANY! But whatever. I just wanted you to know/hear me whine.


So the small baby boy around these parts has just expanded his vast vocabulary to include such important words as "Wa-wa" and "Soo-soo" (for his soother of course) and I'm lauding him for these efforts. Which seems unbelievable, but really, I know he's holding back all language skills so I've got to encourage what I can! The husband and I have a side bet as to whether Nora will speak in coherent sentences before Max. It could go either way really. But he's actually not even 2 yet, and I'm not even going to tell the internet how long it took another one of my children to begin talking because everyone would revoke my mom card. 

I'm off to go grocery shopping. It had to happen. I bribed the children to eat cashews for a "treat" yesterday. Have a great weekend everybody!

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Here's my bookshelf!

Joining what may be my most favourite linkup ever-What's on Your Bookshelf, with the always wonderful Modern Mrs. Darcy

I just love books. And bookshelves. I think I've got a board of Pinterest dedicated to beautiful bookshelves because they really are just one of the most wonderful things we can have in our homes. I have dreams of a whole library in my house with books on every wall, or putting shelving along the ceiling of a bedroom and filling with books, or making an old decrepit fireplace into a bookshelf floating around my head. But these things aren't quite fitting with our home as it is right now so I do the best I can with two bookshelves in our main living area. I've got more books than fit on these shelves right now, some are downstairs in boxes, there are growing piles in my bedroom, with homeschooling there has already been another influx of books, and every child's room as stacks of books here and there. But that's all fine with me as I think a house overflowing with books is just about perfect! 

Here's my favourite bookshelf. I try to keep all the pretty books on it, as well as my personal favourites. I've made one of my hobbies/life goals to buy every book by my favourite authors in as old an edition as I can get my hands on. I'm not looking so much for first editions, but I do love the idea of a book with age and history so that I can imagine who read it before me and where they delved into its pages. I also think antique books are just beautiful. So far I've gotten quite a few Chesterton books from used book stores here and there as well as eBay. I hope to own every book by Agatha Christie one day and as she wrote more than 60 I think that's a good goal for my lifetime! I'm also a huge P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers fan so I scoop up editions whenever I can.

I'm also a lover of hardcover. I now almost refuse to buy paperback if there is an option. Hardcover just lasts better on a shelf, looks nicer, and brings such a great sensory experience while reading. I'm also allergic to the dust covers. I'm your basic book snob. 

All that book snobbery aside, I do make room for old paperbacks when they're the awesome Penguin variety! And I've found some really great old copies of Chesterton that are rare and hard to find in paperback that I really love a lot.

Here's a funny shelf that has classics, Catholic essays, books on detective fiction and Shakespeare, prayer books, a book about a saint, and Edith Head. I'm a sucker for good variety, what can I say!

And another look at a crazy mix of books. A shelf full of papal works with some coffee table reads and a children's Bible, followed by the kids shelf which includes what feels like hundreds of kids books, and any untold number of library books that should have been returned months ago!

Here's another shelf that describes most of my interests fairly well: you've got your parenting books, stay at home mom books, Catholic mom books, various spirituality books, a smattering of detective fiction, great literature like Mariette in Ecstasy and The Brothers Karamazov, a little Chesterton and Jane Austen. Its like my brain on a shelf!

Looking at these shelves up close I wonder if my interests are too focused? Can there be too much Chesterton? Is there a limit to how many different varieties of Catholic spirituality one should read about? Oh well, another problem for another day.

Here's a couple more shelves of what seems like a strange cocktail of books, yet I really love most of them!

I'm going to stop here before I really get carried away, but I've been having so much fun seeing others amazing bookshelves this week! 

So what about you? Any favourites of yours up on my shelves??

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

I can't believe its been a couple weeks since I've written about something I've read so I thought I'd get back in the grove by writing about Maisie Dobbs and how much I loved it!

I should begin by coming out and admitting that I have a great love for mystery novels. It began in my youth with Nancy Drew, but once I graduated to the queens of the Golden Age of Mystery I was hooked both on the thrill and enjoyment of a good whodunnit and the great writing that has been a hallmark of this genre, even though many argue the fact!

Maisie Dobbs is a continuation of the tradition of Agatha Christie et al. and not only because Maisie is a great British female character. Maisie is a very intelligent, compassionate, insightful, and hardworking woman who has a gentle way of dealing with people whom she is both investigating and employed by. But it's also clear that Winspear has drawn Maisie to be a character with depth, and that we won't completely know her over the course of only one book, but will enjoy getting closer to Maisie over the course of multiple adventures. The plot, characterization, and respect for the reader's intelligence are also present in this book and these are qualities that most modern writers like to ignore to some degree in mystery series.

We're introduced to Maisie as she is beginning her own private investigation agency in 1929 London. She's just starting to break out on her own after an apprenticeship with a man of mystery and multiple talents, Maurice Blanche. She is unflappable, yet realistic about beginning her solo career and the first case she encounters becomes a personal one. When a young husband asks Maisie to investigate the activities of his wife Maisie quickly realizes the wife is not being unfaithful, but is still dealing with the grief over the death of her first love, a veteran of the Great War who returned home badly disfigured and has recently died. Maisie discovers odious clues pointing towards the abuse of disabled veterans in the form of a cult-like retreat centre, and as she investigates further her own time before and during the war is revealed, and it involves a dreamy doctor in the army!

I love this time period and the historic portrayal and details are spot-on. I really do enjoy Maisie as a character thus far as she seems determined yet not pushy, insightful, resourceful, but also humble and youthful. This time period is one of my favourites in literature and the descriptions of the Great War were realistic and riveting. The mystery itself, while not complicated, was an intriguing concept and was structured well which lent to easy yet enraptured reading. The only qualms I have are the hints at a new age-y type of understanding towards psychology and meditation in Maisie's training with Maurice, but only further reading into the series will indicate how prevalent those ideas are to Maisie and her investigative style. I'm hooked on the series, and look forward to enjoying the further adventures of Maisie Dobbs.

Joining the lovely Jessica and other literary ladies at Housewifespice today, under the wire, for What We're Reading Wednesday!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013


How today feels.

Ho, boy. Just thought I'd send a quick S.O.S to the outside world from the house of chaos and horror this morning. Well, not so much horror as screaming, but definitely heavy on the chaos.

We got home last night from our sojourn to the mountains for my best friend's wedding, all the kids are still in one piece, the boys didn't even harm any grandparents over the course of 5 days and 4 nights! There are suitcases and bags of random stuff all over, kids popping balloons (where did these balloons even come from?!), Max has spilt wet, milky, cheerios all over the floor, my dishwasher won't drain, and my coffee is sitting on the counter cold, we're also in desperate need of food but I'm too tired to even think about going to town, and I'm hoping dinner will just magically walk through the door. All this is accompanied to the not-so-dulcet tones of a child screaming. There's been one kid screaming since I woke up about 2 hours ago. They're taking shifts and screaming about different things just to mix things up. Dom is screaming because we're having cereal and not oatmeal (is it opposite day?!), Nora is screaming because that is what she does when everyone else needs me, Max is screaming because...well no one knows, but its loud.

Oh, and I forgot to mention Nora was up for hours because her schedule and routine was completely beat to hell with travelling and she's decided to wake up every two hours and be up for two hours. I'm pretty exhausted.

I've decided to unload a couple suitcases, turn on more cartoons, and worry about school tomorrow.

But what's really funny is that all the chaos and fifteen levels of crazy don't even feel that crazy to me. Maybe that's a serious sign. Or maybe I'm just getting a little more used to these days and try my best to just ride the wave without sinking to the depths of despair. Hopefully we make it through today with more coffee and cartoons and tomorrow will be markedly better! Thank goodness Hope is a supernatural grace!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Upside down or right side up?

So I feel as if I've been a bit discombobulated lately. I can't quite put my finger on it but it's coming up in all sorts of strange ways. I'm being surprised by how I feel about random things that usually go unnoticed, or at the very least, un-freaked-out over. Usually I can blame these topsy-turvy emotional reactions to pregnancy but that's most definitely not the case now and so my default in dealing with things seems to be different. Or nonexistent. Geez, pregnancy hormones, you've become my default position in ignoring things!

For instance, we're going away this weekend to my best friend's wedding. About nine hours travel, and we're leaving the boys up here with my in-laws. We're taking the girls - so only two babies (and ok, I guess a six year old doesn't even qualify as a toddler anymore!) which definitely equates to mini-vacay! And usually when I leave even one kid at home to go grocery shopping I'm all, "Woo-hoo party time!" but for some reason the thought of leaving my little boys for four days has me totally anxious.

I feel as if I'm abandoning my little 22 month old baby Max. Which is funny because even though he really is still a baby he hasn't been the baby around here for the past seven months. This results in a more independent baby for the most part. Oh sure, he's still completely avoiding use of the English language and doesn't like to go downstairs without me,  nor leave my line of sight, but I guess I'd gotten used to assuming he somehow was much older than his age. Faced with leaving him for a couple days, which when I started to think about will be the longest I've left him for in his little life, makes me feel as if I'm abandoning a helpless newborn.

I'm just surprised by this reaction because you know me, I'm usually d-y-i-n-g for a break. Any break. Actually, I'm dying right at this moment. And anyone who knows Max knows that his noise level is too darn high for most of his waking hours. So a break of a couple days from a even a bit of my workload in the diaper changing/toddler tantrum enduring department should be a fun time. Heck, I can even drink at this wedding, I should be letting the good times a-roll! What does this mean? Dare I say maturity? Motherly experience? A heart made of stone melted?

Or maybe that I just love my trouble making, tantrum throwing, screeching, non-verbal, adorable, hilarious, blonde baby boy. I'm just using this as one of the examples of the strange things that are seemingly upside-down to me these days. Like it being dark at 5 pm and feeling a sense of anxiety about what I don't know. Fearing to pack one of the kids preferred pajamas which, of course, signals end times. Being a little too happy when certain characters succumb to zombies on The Walking Dead. No, that last one has been true for the whole of that show's existence.

I should really be packing right now, not opining about my lack of internal insight, but I guess what has come out of this introspection is that it's probably a good sign that I still love my kids ineffably enough to miss them over the course of 4 days. Even the kids who have a high degree parenting of difficulty as well as the kids with a much lower degree of difficulty. They probably won't notice I'm gone, I'll definitely have my share of drinks and I'm sure have a wonderful time, we'll get home again and realize a little break did us all good, that is after we're over the grandparent-time behaviour hangover and the mountains of dirty laundry!

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

What I Wore Sunday - November edition

Hope you're all having a blessed couple of holy days!

This whole extra hour of sleep last night was also a pleasant little surprise...of course that is, if that extra hour involved sleeping by the small people in your home...but I digress.

I thought I'd just pop in with a little What I Wore Sunday contribution because I was wearing new boots. And basically that's all the impetus I need to get back on the bandwagon!

My husband said of my clothing: "Hey, I don't even mind that outfit."

I was breaking out the blazer and pants because we're beginning the great season of "Mass in the Dark" and things are getting chillier around here. 

I broke out cords, a jacket, and striped shirt. Hopefully an ok combo that doesn't quite say "job interview" or "mom who gets out once a week". Both things I'm trying not to project to the 15 people at Mass, but then again one of those statements is true. And the little boots are new and I still kinda feel like a dork wearing them.

We're off to enjoy the first snow of the season...and by enjoy I mean begrudgingly make the kids go outside. 

Enjoy your Sunday by visiting the fashionistas at Fine Linen and Purple!

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Seven Quick Takes - Halloween Edition

Halloween 'taking because all the cool kids are doing it! Go to Jen's to see those cooler peeps.


Nora is not down with this.

I remember when I used to like Halloween. It must have been more than 4 years ago.

 I have to admit I was completely uncreative, bought all my children the popular secular princess/superhero costume of their choice, and still came out of Halloween exhausted.

Halloween is also Luke's birthday though, so that makes it a double whammy when it comes to mommy-work. So I had wake up, have everything look special for Luke's birthday, special breakfast- yada yada, then bake a cake, make a soup so we would have supper ready when we got home from trick-or-treating, find everyone's costumes, build birthday Lego (which I'm terrible at), put costumes on four children, find winter clothes that fit under said costumes, feed babies so they could be ready to be left with my mom while I drove the kids into town for trick-or-treating, met Paul on his way home from work, trick-or-treated for about 45 minutes with the kids, drove home, fed everyone supper, opened presents, sang happy birthday, ate cake, while taking pictures of everything -of course, got all those sugar crazed kids in bed, ate half a bag of candy and one too many Tootsie Rolls, went to bed, woke up half an hour later to grumpy baby. Exhausted.  


Tired. Frazzled. I was a bit of a frazzled grump at times yesterday when the kids asked for the 5 millionth time if it was time to go trick or treating yet, but it still wasn't my most exhausting Halloween ever, because I gave birth on October 31, 2009.

And so I really love October 31 for it being the day our wonderful Luke was born. So far its a bit challenging trying to not make Halloween a bigger deal than Luke's birthday, and hopefully when the kids are a bit bigger Luke can have parties where everyone comes in costume or something and he'll still enjoy it. But as it stands now he thinks Halloween happens on his birthday and not the other way around. Which is a pretty good way to roll I think.


Here's my little superheroes. They were pretty adorable. And if you don't think that the Hulk costume is not 100% applicable to Max's personality, you'd be 100% wrong. It was really fitting and ridiculous. Just the way I like my costumes.


Gemma wore a brand spanking new princess dress and actually allowed her hair to be brushed and declared herself Rapunzel! Making the new dress and the combed hair the only changes necessary to make her everyday outfit Halloween approved!


And Nora.

She went as "Mildly unimpressed infant who turns into Screaming Baby every night" kinda like a werewolf. She didn't even need a costume. But she is only really scary at 3 am when you've only had 2 hours of sleep. 


We trick or treated in town and went for maybe 45 minutes. It was like summer compared to the -30 degrees Celsius it was last Halloween, but there was a bit of chilly rain and wind but still temperatures above zero which is amazing! That being said, everyone had coats on underneath their costumes, because its Canada dammit. Gemma had to wear a hat which was a fate worse than death and not princess approved, but they all categorically refused mitts. Thankfully they've still got all their digits contrary to their grandmother's warnings.

And here's the gigantic haul of candy three small children got from about 3 blocks worth of houses in a little more than half an hour. Its seriously incredible how much candy this town gives out! And these are the bags after we raided all the full size chocolate bars, bags of sour soothers, and most of the Reese's and Tootsie Rolls!


With all this Halloween madness I'm a little, teeny, tiny bit thankful we don't have any Saints Day to-do. I mean, would I trade a lazier day for a nearby Catholic community with other children who celebrated the feast days with social events?! Hell, yeah. But I still feel exhausted just from yesterday. 

Since in Canada today is not a Holy Day of Obligation -I KNOW!!-and my husband's regular Friday off from work, he stayed home with the kids this morning and I got to go to Mass solo which was pretty darn amazing. Obviously a small All Saints Day miracle! 

We'll be celebrating by a small smattering of colouring of saints pages, reading some of our little saints books for kids, and eating some Oh St. Henry! bars. 

(Have I mentioned I'm in a wedding next weekend and shouldn't be eating pounds of chocolate bars? Oh, well I am. Thank goodness God created Spanx!)

Happy All Saints Day everyone, and here's to a blessed weekend as we pray for All Souls!

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