Friday, June 27, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol 94

Making it quick today because I have the longest list of errands to get done today while I'm kid-free in the city! Join Jetsetting Jen for the better takes!


Oh hey, Friday!
I'm happy another week has rolled around, we've had some rainy days this week and I can't believe how quickly it made me loco over the course of an afternoon! On the nice days this week we've been trying to just spend time outside, soaking up the warmth enjoying the non-tight spaces, expending as much toddler energy as possible! That's really where the majority of my time has gone this week. Not a bad thing, but not exactly Pulitzer material. 


Summertime - and I'm really not making drinking one of my goals, I promise.

Anyone have summer goals for yourself this summer? For some reason I think summer tricks us into believing we've got more time on our hands, like we're all in second grade and have nothing but time for the months of July and August. Ha! Mothers never have "summer"! Muahaha! But even though that idea is completely false it's nice to get an artificial boost in motivation right? I mean, we have to fool ourselves into thinking we have more time than we actually have in order to get stuff done sometimes. 


One of my summer goals is to get my act together in the basement and put up the boxes of pictures, and frames and art I've got strangling all my closets! The basement has two things on the wall and it's been painted for almost a year. Ridiculous. I'm also hoping to do a little of my own "crafting". I use that term extremely loosely and extremely dangerously because I'm horrible at it. But I figure I could at least try and pull something together for the sake of my walls!


Going along with the final finishes of the basement I am forcing myself to get a handle on my photo situation. It is out. of. con. trol. Seriously, probably three years of photos, none printed, partially edited. A mess. I want some printed, I want to order photo books, I want to lose ten pounds, I want to take over the world! Ok, I'd settle for a couple photos actually printed and put in frames, but photo books could realistically happen. Right? Rigghhtt?!? 


Nora's not quite walking yet, but she's living life dangerously close to becoming no-longer-an-official-baby. It's weird. It's even weirder I'm not pregnant. The longest I've gone between babies non-preggo is 18 months, so we're not quite into record breaking territory, but it's still kinda weird! But if she does start walking, no babe in arms? It's such a strange concept. However, it's not like it takes a lot of workload off, who am I kidding, she's currently on the floor eating hummus so I can write a little while the bigs are outside. It's either mess and time, or clean and constant vigilance! I chose time today.


We're just catching up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Anyone else watch it? I think it's fairly hilarious. Not quite as loveable as Parks and Rec, but a silly/hilarious type of funny that isn't found too often. So I guess I'm saying I like it.


Happy Feast of the Sacred Heart! Another solemnity, another day I can't make it to Mass! I really hope and pray that one day if I'm in a location that Mass is available without two hours of driving to get there, that I'll take advantage of it once in a while. But I can just picture myself living two blocks away from a church and pulling a lazy excuse though! That's why I'm praying now.

These summer feast days seem to go by quickly and without a lot of preparation on my part. But I feel as if they deserve extra celebration because of the fantastic weather and excellent beverages to choose from!

I am however, doing music for Mass with our Bishop tomorrow, then hopefully going to a Catholic family conference on Sunday, so what I lack in solemnity attendance I'll double down with the Sunday Mass this weekend! Happy Feast of SS. Peter and Paul!

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Things I Say A Million Times A Day

"Be gentle!"

"No more raisins!"

"Just eat and stop touching your brother/sister!"

"Stop talking and just eat!"

"Please be patient, I just have to help Nora."

"No more cookies."

"If you choose to throw mud you're choosing corner time!"

"Don't smear ketchup in your hair.""

"Who pooped?"

"If you fight over that toy one more time today I'm throwing it out the window!"

"Max stop screaming, and tell me what you want!"

"Max, be quiet!"

"Where's Luke?"

"Just sit down."

"Lemme just take a drink of coffee and I'll help you."

"Everybody stop yelling and tell me what the problem is!"

"Everyone pick something off the floor."

"Yes, I'll get you more water."

"Quiet, the baby/babies are trying to sleep!"

"How did this floor get so dirty?"

"Where are your shoes?"

"You've gotta wait."

"Everyone be quiet, you will all get food!"

"Gimme that soother."

"Stop fighting over something you both can't have."

"Where did you get that?"

"Did you wash your hands?"

"No talking. Just quiet."

"Listen to me please, what did I just tell you do?"

"Hey you!"

"Don't touch the garbage!"

"Oh my poor baby, let me kiss your owwie."

"Where are your pants?"

"Stop yelling!"

"Hurry up!"

"Mommy's here, it's ok, just calm down."

"No, I don't know where your ____ is."

"Gemma, are you listening?"

"Dominic, it doesn't matter if you don't want to do it, we still have to do the things we don't want to do sometimes."

"No. I STILL don't have a clue where your ____ is!"

"You don't have to cry because you dropped your cookie."

"Guess who I love??"

"It's ok, Mama loves you."

"I love Nora!"

"I love Max!"

"I love Luke!"

"I love Dom!"

"I love Gemma!"

Just a small sampling of phrases I feel never stop leaving my mouth. 

Since I've been in toddler-land /babyhood for the past 7 odd years with 5 kids, sometimes I feel as if this is all I ever say and all I've ever said. Which may or may not be true. It's the testament to the nitty-gritty, hundreds of thousands of times of repetition, day in day out, that goes into raising babies into toddlers, toddlers into young children.

I know the oft repeated things I say are often not perfect, and sometimes not even good. I will always wish I said "hurry up" less and "it's ok" more. I will probably wish I said only positive things, but there are many, many times a day that discipline needs to be implemented which never sounds too cheerful. But it does all go into this mothering that never stops and reminds me that it is the most important thing I'm doing today and everyday even when it seems endlessly repetitive.

But does anyone know if there have been any psychological studies on just how many times one can say "No, you can't do that to your sister!" in a day before becoming certifiably insane?

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 93

Joining the lovely Kathryn again for this week's randoms!


Waterlogue-ed my Instagram, posting it on my blog. I can't believe I am that person.

As June flies by I'm trying to savour every bit of summer I can. It doesn't feel hot around here yet, but since everything is green and blooming I'll enjoy it every bit I can! 
The lilacs have just started blooming here in the last week, which is ridiculously late even for us, but they're one of my favourite flowers so I've been bringing in bouquets every few days.
When you think of lilacs, don't they seem almost magical in a whole giant bushes covered in a bright, fragrant flowers? Maybe this is just a weird testament to the fact I've only lived in cold climates. Whenever I've visited warm climates I walk around dumbstruck that flowers can exist all year long, or bloom and live...ON TREES! #canadianproblems

I feel on the precipice of summer; any second now we'll start to do one thing that will lead to another that will lead to July being gone completely. Not that that's a bad thing of course. But I feel it coming. Know what I mean? 


Lest you think I'm writing this while drinking my morning wine, I will in fact acknowledge that I feel I've been quite fluffy here on the blog as of late. Not that I'm ever super deep, or philosophical, but I have felt that I've been a couple buckets short of any inspiration at all for "content" filled posts. Not that I don't have opinions on Because, God help me I do, but I just feel somewhat writer's block-like. Not that I think of myself as I writer either. Whatever the reason there it is, although I do think my fluff-ish posts are ok, because I honestly have the goal of never posting something that isn't worth your time because I really appreciate it. 
There. Blogger angst ended.


I'm not sure if this has anything to do with my writer's blockatosis but I've lately just started to realize that I'm beginning to come out of survival mode. It's been a weird realization because I've also come to realize that I've been operating in survival mode on every level for the past 7 years. It's been a constant atmosphere of survival in myself, our home, and our marriage in a lot of senses. Not many of which are bad however! But we've always been operating on the "We'll just make it through this pregnancy," "Just make it through birth and newborn stage," "Just make it through the first year of baby," "Deal with another surprise pregnancy crisis," repeat, repeat, repeat. And you know what, even though it's been a time of survival it's been really great, we've grown along with our children, really depended on God and grown in our faith. So just because all of it is hard, it's also in no way made my life terrible or unhappy. For the record.


But the survival mode mentality has definitely extended into my spiritual life in a lot of ways I didn't realize before. It's been a lot of dependence on God, which is really important of course, and I'm sure it was part of God's plan that I learned to approach him and depend upon him so drastically. I'm a very "Get it done, I don't need anyone's help" kinda person, so there was going to come a time (and will come many more times in my life, I'm sure) where I needed to be made to depend on God. But now I'm realizing that is the only way I've approached God in the last years. Now I'm left floundering so to speak in my prayer life, trying to find new anchors. It's hard to believe that God wants me to flourish instead of just get by. I seem to want to believe that I need to always be in crisis in order to be experiencing real faith. Or something. It's a bunch of confusing stuff in a lot of ways. 


In amongst these spiritual things, and prayer struggles, I'm also feeling like there needs to be a lot more introspection on my part. I want to know myself better. In part because I'm a mom and all of the infinite ramifications I have on my children, in part because I'm almost 30 and want to be living my life the best I can, and in part because even though I have so little free time I want to be using it for the best possible reasons. So I've been thinking about my gifts, my tendencies to sin, trying to discover my patron saint, that kinda thing. All of which I'm confident will take a long, long time to figure out. 


That seems to be where I'm at a lot of the time lately. Which doesn't leave enough room for exciting blog content. All those topics seem really unsexy to blog. Or maybe I need to stew on them for much longer in order to make heads or tails of any of it. Or I could blog it and loose all my readers! Who knows really, I always seem to just be flying by the seat of my pants around here like most other parts of my life, so it's really a miracle you're reading this at all!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I think I need to wash some windows, drink some margaritas, and bake some cake! 

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tromping Through Fields - p.h.f.r.

It's been ages since a deluge of child photos around here! It's also been ages since I intentionally took the real camera out of doors because I'm lazy and a complete Instagram addict. So I tried to remedy both habits last week as we all went out on a quick tromp through the fields behind our yard.


I'm sure it breaks a thousand internet laws to publish photos of your house on the internet but -- I'm tossing that naive idea to the wind simply because everything is in full bloom and full greenery. I know I share so many, many pictures of snow and frozen tundra for months on end that there must be a good mention to beautiful weather and growing greenery! And random boys doing random boy things.

Sigh. Everything is so beautiful here in the summer that it completely puts you under the spell that it's worth it to live here all year long. And it also makes you want to grow up to be a retired snowbird who spend the icey, white half of the year in Arizona.


It's marvellous that my children get to roam freely in fields with nothing of civilization for miles around to stop them. Other than fences, which I guess are civilization since man built them. But it is by far the most romantic thing about living in the middle of nowhere. I don't think I spend enough time trying to document it or share it, but it's pretty nice around here.

 I feel as if I'm going to rip off The Pioneer Woman by doing too many cow photos, but we all want to pretend to be the Pioneer Woman every so often right?


Boys and sticks. It's a thing. I cannot recommend sticks enough if you're parenting boys. Whenever they're freaking out, wrestling, and otherwise driving me crazy inside, I literally say, "Go outside and find a stick!" I think it'll be the title of my parenting book. 


And sometimes boys just need to go off and walk out of sight of their mothers and ride motorized vehicles. The motorized vehicles thing doesn't happen by themselves, I'm not completely crazy. But it was pretty cute watching Dom walk half a mile away by himself until he tired himself out and decided to bound back to me. I was allowing him time to himself and in no way was too lazy to walk that mile with him...

Also real, I mostly let my children dress themselves as evidenced in these photos. I already look back at photos and think, "Why did I let them wear that?!" but in the moment it's worth it. So you know that I didn't stage these delightful moments of childhood because everyone is dressed like a crazy person! 

There's a little taste of a late spring afternoon around here, glad I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you.

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more fun!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

I'm going to write about a book that is written about a book. It's book-nerd heaven around here, but if you wanna come back tomorrow I'll forgive you!

I just wanted to write a little about how wonderful I thought Rebecca Mead's My Life in Middlemarchwas in comparison to other literary criticism/memoir books out there. (I'm looking at you A Jane Austen Education.) I found this insightful presentation of Middlemarch, George Eliot, and Rebecca's own personal experiences a really enjoyable read, which is hard to say without the subject matter being treated disrespectfully or dumbed down, while at the same time being applicable to our modern day life in an approachable way.

I think those of us who really love Middlemarch are kind of a breed unto ourselves. We've come to love the novel full of complex characters in which we can see ourselves in, the smallness of the town, the movement of life within it - there is something so unique to the novel that draws you in on at a very deep level. I think it's because Middlemarch so completely creates its own universe which is so deeply relatable, and so very universal. I wonder how many of us have read the novel and felt exactly like Dorothea at the beginning of the story; bursting with untapped ambition to do great things, to help the world, to mine our souls for storied courage and greatness. But as we all age and come to know the truth about life as it really is, we begin to see the other characters, Fred, Dr. Lydgate, Mary Garth, Rev. Farebrother with a different, more sympathetic eye. It is a novel about the truths of life like no other.

Mead approaches the book in a thoughtful, humble fashion which makes it so much more comforting to journey with the characters of Middlemarch again. She does a fine job bringing out key components of the story while mirroring it to the life of Eliot. It was interesting reading deeper into Eliot's life and writing alongside the familiar story. George Eliot was a difficult figure to sum up, but I believe she was treated fairly throughout, with neither pretension or awestruck reverence. Mead's deft hand at bringing in own strands of her life in relation to the novel was well done and didn't override the other aspects of the book, but brought the right amount of relatable personality to the book that I think many fans could relate to as well.

I have the upmost respect for a writer who writes about a novel they love. It must be incredibly trying to bring together a clear picture that does justice to the novel and it's genius author without becoming a complete fangirl. I appreciated both the honesty with which this book is written and it's respect and love for the book I too, respect and love so much. It was really a treat to spend time with another Middlemarch lover, George Eliot herself, and to linger in the town of Middlemarch a little longer. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has loved, or even liked, Middlemarch at one time or another, and to anyone who wants a personal account of how great literature can impact your life; or if you're  tempted to read A Jane Austen Education.

Joining Jessica, at Housewifespice for What We're Reading Wednesdays. 

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 92

Joining Kathryn today, as Jen takes a couple weeks off, because she hasn't been busy at all...


Please pray for the soul and family of Fr. Kenneth Walker. He was murdered this week in his rectory in Phoenix. We went to the same itsy-bitsy, wonderful university and overlapped each other for a year. He was a very kind, joyful, brilliant, funny guy with a humble, devout faith. I'm sure he was a wonderful priest. It's really incomprehensible to understand such violence and it's destructive effects. His family and parish have been in my thoughts since I heard the news, Requiescant in pace Fr. Ken.


Everything I now write feels awful and foolish in light of that news. Especially since we had a pretty run of the mill week. Rainy days, soccer ending for the season, yard work, babies not sleeping; very regular. It's hard to imagine such tragedy in such regular days. And hard to picture regular when tragedy happens. It really just makes me want to read Flannery O'Connor. 


Dom was outside playing and riding his bike for a while before I came out to watch them, I asked him what he was doing and he told me, "I'm pretending I'm an orphan who's a bike racer and likes playing soccer." I asked him why he wanted to pretend to be an orphan and he said, "Because if he doesn't have a mom he can bike race really, really, fast." 
It's good character development, I won't knock it.


I have an on again/off again relationship with New Girl. I think we're on again for the summer. 


You know who has plans for Father's Day? Not me. Every year...I swear I'm going to come up with big plans...and every year....notta. Pinterest this, blog fancy schmany that...I'm fairly certain I'll make him a good breakfast, maybe a pie and call it a day. Whatever love language planning is, it's not mine.


My little Max is outside playing in a mud puddle and it's adorable. I just love watching little toddlers play when they're unawares. It's honestly the greatest. When he's not screaming he's really the cutest little guy. I really don't want to forget how he says "Wookie" for Luke. "Wookie" is his favourite and has to look at everything Max thinks is cool, and go wherever Max goes, and must listen to every Max demand. But the "Wookie" part is quite sweet. 


I know these were painfully quick, have ya read:

NFP PSA ASAP(This Ain't The Lyceum)-Because I agree with all of it. Boom.

My Everyday Makeup Routine(Cedars and Tiny Flowers) - I don't know if I can believe just those few products make Katrina so beautiful, but I always love a good makeup share, and she's giving stuff away!

G.K. Chesterton Book Giveaway(Brandon Vogt) - Since Brandon is discriminatory towards Canadians, one of you American friends better win this awesome giveaway!

Happy Weekend, go forth and do all the Father's Day things!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5 Classic Movies for Summer

It's finally summer and we all can feel the sweet freedom of lazy days and the luxury of slow, long evenings. It's these summer evenings that call for a great classic movie! Whether it be a romantic night in, watching with the family, or hanging out with a couple friends, classic movies are great because they appeal to everyone! Here's a perfect mix to make for great summer viewing:

The perfect romance that I love watching every summer. What more do you need than Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and Paris? It'll have you dancing to "Isn't It Romantic" out on your lawn in no time!


I could not let you go a whole summer without watching a good musical. High Society is one the mixes the unmatched chemistry of Sinatra, Bing, and Kelly together with the great music of Cole Porter. It has a summer feel in it's creation of a world set apart with the fun of Frank Sinatra!

A glamorous noir film that stars Bogie as the classic dark, handsome, and lonely gumshoe who helps the sultry and illusive Becall out of the bad fix she's in. The pair make this film especially enjoyable to watch even if you're not into dark noir movies. A summer evening filled with mystery and popcorn, maybe while waiting out a thunderstorm sounds like a memory waiting to happen!


Possibly the most hilarious film of all time, Some Like It Hot is a great movie to watch in the summer. I love the scenes on the beach in Florida -  Jack Lemmon and Tony Kurtis resplendent in their bathing suits! Marilyn Monroe is a comedic genius in this movie and makes every scene sparkle. A must see to refresh your sense of humour and give you a quick two hour vacation!

One of my top five favourite movies of all time, this Hitchcock masterpiece is the epitome of a good thriller. Mistaken identity, a cross-country chase, a train ride of romance; the perfect recipe for a great summer evening. Pour yourself a drink, (or just enjoy Cary Grant for the tall glass of water he is), and settle in to evening that will remind you how good movies can be!

Older movies can be hard to track down, but I noticed that all these movies are available to rent from Amazon Instant Video for $2.99, which is a steal! Unfortnuately for us in Canada this service hasn't made it's way up here yet, so American friends take advantage. This post contains affiliate links, thanks so much for clicking!

Linking up with Hallie for Five Favs

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 91

Happy Friday - check out the better takes at Conversion Diary!


Thanks for the well wishes and prayers after my really embarrassing tumble on Sunday. Thankfully I've been able to be mobile and my back isn't too terrible but I have a huge, swollen bruise on my back that is hopelessly grotesque and ugly and painful if I sit down, or walk wrong. It's all so embarrassing. But then I think of falling and being immobile with five little kids and the ensuing chaos of what would become of us all and I'm thankful. But it's been a literal pain in my ass all week, and I'm walking around like an old lady and no exercising happened resulting in me feeling really lazy. 


I'd really like to know what happened in my parenting of toddlers between boy number two and boy number three. (You know, that long period of 22 months.) I swear most of my parenting techniques are the same, and boys will be boys and all that, but Max is a tyrant. So much screaming. I'm telling ya, he was born with an innate capacity for loud noises. He's also so incredibly stubborn that the screams last so long and he's willing to deploy them at any time no matter how small or trivial the dilemma. It's exhausting. Doesn't want banana for breakfast? Twenty minutes of screaming. Doesn't want to walk anymore? Lies on the ground and screams for ten minutes. Every demand is a scream. He's really a total card, hilarious, really loves his sibling (and me), adventurous, fun. But the screaming. I just want to know how many more years it'll take for him to grow out of so I can begin slowly crossing off the days on the calendar or something.


We watched an episode of Burn Notice last night and Michael Westen was describing torture techniques used to get spies to talk. They included sleep deprivation and assaults to the senses including loud uncontrollable noises for long periods of time. The result is not spontaneous truth telling, but an exhausted state that inhibits the use of the mind to keep stories straight. And then it hit me - MOMMY BRAIN. That is mommy brain. The result of psychological torture. Anyway, I can relate to those poor CIA agents now...


Dom lost his first tooth yesterday. He's five which seems entirely too young for this type of thing to be happening. Has he been applying to colleges already too?!?! But he ended up eating it along with his sandwich for lunch. He was a little heartbroken and made me write a note for the tooth fairy explaining this difficulty. 


The thing I do love about toddlers is how they speak. Not the amount of language, because we all know it's a little too sparse for basic communication purposes, but their sweet lisps and funny pronunciations. Dominic had the hardest time pronouncing s's for a long time. He used to say " 'kunk on a 'cooter" for "skunk on a scooter" and we would get him to say it for us whenever we needed a laugh because it was the cutest thing. Max is now speaking more (finally!) but he pronounces his s's with f's sooo, it's just hilarious. I'll be the first to admit I might not get mom of the year because I get him to say "sucker" and "soccer" throughout the day when I need a pick me up. It's the little things.


It is finally time for the trees to be blooming up here! It's my favourite time of year, and I never thought I'd be any sort of gardener type. But I truly love this old apple tree in our yard. Remember we moved into this house right after we were married and thought we'd move in six months? Well, almost eight years later we still operate under this assumption and haven't done anything to our yard, five kids also helped in this direction. But the apple tree I love.  And I've taken baby pictures with it every year, and it's a problem because I'm sure everyone else is sick to death of them all! But in case you're not...

Turns out I missed!


I can't remember what else I wanted to say today...

But I am so excited about all these babies being born in the blogging world! Sarah's, Olivia's and now Dwija's! What a lovely crop of boys! 

Oh, and you've checked out Sarah's great ebook Teaching From Rest haven't you? I was listening to the podcasts last night and have really gotten so many great ideas and inspiration from them. Now to keep that going through the summer...

Have you heard any new podcasts lately? The Little Oratory series at Heart of My Home has been wonderful and I so enjoy hearing Auntie Leila's sweet voice! Also, Edie at Life in Grace has been posting a lovely podcast series on vocation and gifts which has been great food for thought for me. 

And with that I'll wish you a happy weekend and Feast of Pentecost this Sunday!

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