Friday, August 29, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 99

Hey, hope you all had a good week. I'll try to make these quick, go to Jen's for more!


Surprisingly, she didn't get injured doing this.

This week flew by up until yesterday where the day got swallowed by doctors offices and X-rays! Nora is still not walking by herself, and because she seems to have quite the streak of diva in her Gemma and Dominic often carry her from one place to the other because...diva. Yesterday morning Gemma was carrying her in regular awkward fashion and tripped over her own feet on the carpet in the basement. Gemma fell awkwardly on Nora but it didn't seem too bad, I thought Nora was ok even though she was crying because diva usually likes to freak out over small things. She then went down for her nap, slept for her usual amount of time but woke up crying and clearly in pain. I checked her body but she didn't seem to be reacting to any one spot, but I knew she was in pain and was basically freaking out. It happened that I already had a doctor's appointment booked for Dom in the afternoon so I just took her along, by which time she wasn't screaming constantly in pain but was refusing to put weight on her right foot. We went for x-rays, the doctor says he didn't see anything broken, but a specialist will look at them today and hopefully confirm she's just got a sprain. She's been fairly miserable ever since, woke up a lot last night, and doesn't want to be put down ever. I'm just hoping I don't get a phone call saying it's broken today!


I am the worst about stressing/freaking out about kids health. This is the first time I've had to take a child for x-rays on a bone before. So I realize that my kids are blessedly healthy but still, I freak out so much. I always pray for parents and kids with health issues during my litany when I say morning/evening prayer, but I feel like I need to do more because I can't imagine how hard it is.


Before all hell broke lose yesterday I finally finished a small gallery wall on our newish living area in our newish-ly finished basement. It's been on my to-do list since June. So of course it took me till the very last week of summer to actually accomplish! And of course I do one thing out of the regular routine of keeping people alive around here and...ALL HELL BREAKS LOSE. 


The sweetest Colleen tagged me in the writing meme going around because she is a sainted soul who thinks I actually write stuff. I just can't break her heart so I'll answer quickly and honestly! 
What are you working on? 
I am most definitely not working on a book. So stop those rumours! What? There are no rumours? Cmon guys! I feel highly accomplished if I tippity-tappity a blog post more than once a week. So that is usually all I work on.
What makes your work different from others in the same genre?
I have no idea. The blogging world is so good, and everything I say has been said before, but much better. I don't consider myself a "writer" by any stretch of the imagination. I don't feel I have the natural talent of so many of my friends, I definitely don't have the time to devout to honing any skills I do have, so I really think of myself as just blogging into the void.
Why do you write what you do?
I don't want to write noise or blather or anything that would waste your time. I don't think I write because I have anything at all unique to say really, I just feel a need to express myself somehow. I see it as a nice hobby for myself. I think I'd always wanted to write something, but I definitely don't have the time and dedication to write articles on specific subjects or work towards getting things actually published so blogging is the perfect medium for me right now. 
How does your writing process work?
Well this is a hilarious question. I usually have ten minutes here, ten minutes there and I usually write about what I have on my mind that day. I do zero planning ahead, very little editing. Obviously the quality of my writing shows this, I'm under no illusions. I usually feel extremely uncreative if I try to deliberately come up with "blog post" ideas. I'm not a naturally talented blogger like some who truly are made for this medium and thus have highly successful blogs. 

So does that count Colleen? I'm not sure if it does. I can't believe she picked me along with Jenny and the amazing Betty Duffy


I felt like I was being interviewed like a celebrity over at The Rhodes Log this week. Or at least interviewed by a celebrity! Kate asked questions about life with only small kids and babies as opposed to now with one barely-7 year old and a bunch of babies. The whole series has been really great, I've loved all the different answers from the various great women, so do check out all the posts. Kate is sweet and interesting just like her blog and I want to move next door to her and hope her coolness rubs off on me. Thanks for letting me drone on and on about babies, Babies, BABIES! 


I have also been remiss to tell you all about Blessed Is She, a daily Catholic women's devotional that will be beginning on Monday, September 1. It'll have the day's Mass readings, and a short devotional written by great writers, and me sometimes. I'm really excited to have this resource available, because as much as I love my Magnificat I sometimes completely miss out on reading it. Seeing the beautiful images with scriptures pop up on my Instagram have helped me already, I can't wait to read the meditations as well! 


Jen just asked what was the last song we listened to and for me it's Rolling Stone by Reuben and the Dark. For some reason I find it completely catchy and it gets stuck in my head and my husband doesn't understand. But there you have it! 

Happy long weekend to both Canada and the United States, it's nice when we share non-religious holidays sometimes...

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Survival Skills for Mass with Kids: Preparation, Attitude, and Celebration

Taking your kids to Mass can sometimes feel like an endurance test. Maybe a game of survival of the fittest? Usually it's you, the parent, pitted against a wily, but intelligent toddler bent on maximum noise creation, or a baby who normally will sleep anytime human arms are offered except near a sanctuary, or a little kid who's intent on pushing as many boundaries as possible. Each situation has driven me to wanting a fortifying shot of whiskey before Mass, but so far I've always kept my fast -- by the grace of God!

I really only have experience with my own children and our own parish situation. So please take my following tips for whatever grain of salt you wish. We have always attended a very, very small parish which only offers one Mass per weekend which happens to be 5:00 pm Saturday evening. This plays a part as all Mass times play a part in babies and toddlers behaviour, but I think after 7 years we're beginning to hit the sweet spot planning wise for this time. What I've learned from this Mass time is something that can carry over to any time you want to take your kids to Mass: preparation, attitude, and a little celebration.


We easily forget how affected our kids behaviour is by their nap-levels and by their food levels. If we want to set up our kids for the best chance for successful behaviour at Mass, (and take away all valid excuses for poor behaviour), we try to make sure everyone has napped adequately for the day and has had a good, sustaining snack to get them through that seemingly looonng hour of Mass. Typically every Saturday we maintain our mandatory quiet time/naps for all our kids. Once they're up from naps we feed them yogurt, granola bars, or any other snack we have that may have extra protein and low sugars. The difference these steps make in how they behave during Mass cannot be underestimated! We always are harshly reminded on Saturdays when the kids have spent the early part of the afternoon at a birthday party arriving to Mass grumpy, sugar-hyped, and basically impossible.

These tips can be adjusted for a Sunday morning Mass of course, maybe feed them eggs for breakfast, get to Mass early or go to a later Mass after the baby's morning nap, or if you can't choose Mass figure out what helps them best prepare. It's really surprised me in the past how a little work in preparation pays off for a less combative Mass!


Next up is attitude. I'm talking about your attitude. You should go to Mass happy to be bringing your children to Christ! You've brought them into the world, gotten them baptized, they are full-fledged members of the Church who deserve and need Christ at the Mass. Every Mass you bring them to exposes them to Christ's presence and his love for them. You're also giving them the experience needed to begin to understand the mysteries of the Mass, and baby steps towards participating in the Mass fully when they're older. These are all great and important things -- so be confident! Don't act like you need to apologize to those around you for your child's presence. You may be waiting for a meltdown or tantrum, but by projecting confidence you show your children that this is normal and something you enjoy and think is important, as well as giving a positive impression to those around you of families in Mass.

In your attitude you are also setting the tone for what you expect in your kids behaviour. You are right to expect that your kids can behave well in Mass. It is possible! We allow toddlers and babies to play on the floor in the pew, but they know they're not allowed out of the pew. We have religious books on the saints, the Bible, and the catechism available to read, but the kids know we don't allow toys or fighting. We let babies make happy noises because it's natural, but toddlers who scream and throw tantrums are removed and not allowed to run around or have fun in the back of the Church.

Your prayerful attitude will hopefully rub off on kids as well. Once our kids know their prayers, beginning around 3 or 4 years old, we encourage them to say them during Mass. Gemma hasn't received her First Holy Communion yet but says all the major prayers of the Mass including the Confiteor, Gloria, the Creed, Our Father etc. The younger boys say the sign of the Cross at the beginning of Mass, and try to sing songs, and pay attention to the bells at Consecration. These are great anchor points that can bring a child of any age attention to the Mass and what's happening at the altar. Younger babies like to watch for the cross in the procession, count altar servers or candles, point to the different statues.

Another thing about attitude: don't expect perfection -- but don't let that get you down! Just a couple weeks ago Max started saying "POOP" at a speaking tone of voice in the moments of silence after Father gave his homily. He wasn't being intentionally bad, but got a talking to about why we don't say that word in Church. It was a little disruptive. It was mildly embarrassing since I'm used to this kind of thing. I really, really try not to let these kinds of crazy, embarrassing things get me down. On the good days I choose to let it go and be happy he didn't scream and need to get taken to the back, or wasn't driving a sibling nuts. We all have tough days at Mass, some days are definitely better than others, but we've got to try and keep our attitudes positive generally because it really does have an impact on how we're passing down our faith to our children.

Little Celebrations

A little bribery can go a long way to helping older toddlers and young kids make it through times of temptation to fight with their siblings over hymnals. We've found that making the bribery into a family event has turned things around. We always get a pizza and bring it home for dinner after Mass on Saturdays and it's turned into the one night a week we eat out so it has become special and something to look forward to for the kids (and me, I'm not going to lie, I love not cooking on Saturday!). If you're going to Sunday morning Mass donuts, brunch, pancakes at home, heading to the park after Mass; anything your kids will find special that becomes a whole family event is a great way to make celebrating the Lord's day part of your family's culture. It makes the day stand out from the rest of the week, builds memories of your own family's traditions, and of course it only happens if everyone works together in trying their best to participate and act well during Mass.

Again, I'm no expert and I would say at least half of my Saturday nights have me reaching for a stiff drink after Mass with 5 kids -- even though my husband is the best at corralling, cajoling, and wrangling them. I know we're putting in the hard work now planting the seeds of faith in our kids. It requires a lot of sacrifice from us if we're being honest, and hopefully the time we spend rocking our babies in the back of the Church, not seething when they drop the kneeler on our toes, and forgiving their loud voices during times of silent prayer earn us a little time off during purgatory.

Hop around for other great looks at taking our children to Mass:

Kendra @ Catholic All Year - Age Appropriate Goals for Mass Behaviour

Abbey @ Surviving Our Blessings - Surviving Mass with Little Ones

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 98

Just some quick ones, go visit the great Jen for more!


We made it through another week! And only one more week till the long weekend-what?! 
I honestly don't know where August went. It got abducted and was gone in a week I think. This week we didn't officially begin school, but we're easing into it again with our regular read-aloud time coming back in the morning, and some Life of Fred lessons to help us all recall what math is. If it was up to me we would probably never "officially" begin, I'd keep in as cas-u-al as possible, but then it would be October and people would report me.


Dom and Luke had a head-on collision last Sunday while they were playing tag in a stack of hay bales. They were running through the rows of bales and criss-crossed paths which resulted in Dom's best black eye to date. I think he's going to have colour for a while, but he cheerfully looks into the mirror everyday to say, "Look! My eye's almost all better!" I don't have the heart to disagree. 


Cari's theme this week for pics was your searched images. The first one that comes up for me is my Pinterest profile pic:

Then my screenshot:

I greatly appreciate Audrey Hepburn showing up promptly. Then a nice collection of my favourite Madonna and Child art I frequently pin. Unfortunately the premier of British Columbia, with whom I don't share many political beliefs, comes up because her name is Christy Clark. The other famous "Christy" Christy Turlington comes up a little further down the page. Next some books I've reviewed for different websites, lots of blogger friends, and then hey -- Richard Branson. To which I say wtf?? 


It was just a few short weeks ago I met Cari, was star-struck, hugged her too many times, went out for pizza with her, and drank champagne on hotel bed with her late into the night - but not in a romantic way -  it was all basically the greatest. I'm just digressing because Cari reminded me of Edel, and I'm still pinching myself that it actually happened. 

I hope it wasn't some weird Doctor Who type dream.


You guys! I haven't watched an actual movie in! Please tell me if anything good has come out this summer and is available to rent/download/stream/however it is we get movies these days. I think I'm going to try to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel this weekend, and Noah just for giggles. I'm also totally going to geek out teenage girl style to The Fault in Our Stars next week when it's available!


It's hard to believe, but it was our 8th anniversary this week! It honestly doesn't feel like 8 years. We're still too young to be doing everything we're doing. How are we parents to 5 kids? We're paying bills and have life insurance! What?! 

I don't have any advice to finding your husband. But I do think that you want to marry your greatest friend and make sure you keep that friendship the most important thing going. We sometimes joke that we're happy we still like each other, but seriously, you want to genuinely like the person you're married to after 8 years! I'd say it's good to joke with them, tease them a little, not have to worry you're going to upset them if you say something off the top of your head, play games together, and enjoy doing nothing together. That's probably life's greatest joy - being able to do nothing with someone with no guilt but pure pleasure.


We're going out for our semi-annual date tomorrow night! So I hope you all bow your heads out of respect for this solemn occasion. I know I will be. And instagramming for added treasuring of memories! 

Btw- I took the plunge and subscribed to Chatbooks this week. If you love Instagram one quarter of how much I love it you'll love that you can subscribe through this app that will print you books of your pictures for just $6 for a 60 page book! I'll let you know when my first order gets in, but I'm half-way in love already!

Happy second to last weekend of unofficial summer everyone!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Homeschooling with A Bunch of Little Kids

The new school year is upon us and there are all sorts of school posts flying around. Around here we are going into our second year of officially homeschooling, as opposed to just doing whatever the heck we all want with a stack of library books and some crayons. Last year went well on the whole, but because Nora was practically a newborn, still breastfeeding, and Max was under 2 for half the year I had a very minimal schedule, curriculum and expectations for the year. Some things went really well and other things drove me kinda crazy.

Sidebar: I'm fairly committed to homeschooling. I believe in it strongly from a educational, familial, religious, mothering, everything standpoint. You know how the catchy thing to say about homeschooling lately is "It's not the hill I'm going to die on"? Well, it's not the hill I want to die on but it's the hill I'm going to put the most work into working, especially while my kids are young. That being said, if things radically changed and a great Catholic school began to exist 5 minutes down the road I'd be seriously tempted, but as things stand now schools in my town, Alberta, Canada...not my cup of tea for small, beautiful, people. So I hope that helps in case you think I'm just a glutton for punishment homeschooling with 5 kids age 7 and under -- as some strangers have been kind enough to point out! 

But it is really difficult to homeschool with only little children. It's hard to do anything and everything with only little children, ammiright? So it can be really discouraging reading a lot of homeschooling blogs because they seem so wildly unrealistic for those of us who have a majority of under-the-age-of-reason kids.

There are no laid in stone schedules around here. There are not copious amounts of activities and curriculum that involve a lot of mom cutting, pasting, gluing, creating. There are constant needs to be attended to that get in the way of concrete schedules and lessons. There are babies crying to be fed, babies needing to be washed and changed, fights to be broken up, food to be given out, fights broken up, babies to be washed and repeat. There's also a copious amount of whining. Choruses of "Maamm, where's my blankity-blank toy??" and "Can I have more raisins/cereal/apples/food?" every 4.3 minutes. People just need, need, need around here. That is the majority of my day and time.

Add to this barrage of appeals the fact I can't guarantee a full night's sleep yet or when the babies will awake, and that my husband leaves for work before 6 am everyday, I pretty much need a break by 9 am. Just a couple minutes of no asking or whining really. Just a little recharge. Of course, this is a pretty idea, a pie-in-the-sky idea. But it's necessary in some form or else I'm on the fast train to meltdown by 10:30 am.

Basically I need a break before I even start the homeschooling.

I've kept our daily curriculum that requires my devoted attention to Gemma and Dom (who are both working together through the same reading and math) to a sacred 45 minutes in baby's nap time each morning. That leaves Luke who usually can entertain himself with Legos, stickers, books, activities very well and Max, who usually likes to scream, break things, and cause general disruption. I know, I know, Pinterest. But there are not enough "little kid play boxes for school time" to give me enough patience some days to deal with 2 year old crazy. It's a fact, Jack.

So I need breaks. I don't have the patience of Job. It is hard to deal with little kids constantly without a little phone time, reading some blogs, locking myself in the bathroom, even falling face down on my bed for several minutes every hour, or half hour some days. I'm admitting it.

Which brings me to my main difficulty that I'm trying to combat this year for a better school year: giving myself breaks to refresh my patience levels! I think I've got to be 100% more intentional about giving myself some time to get back on track before making the kids go through another lesson, read another book, get-everything-done-right now! I'm hoping it doesn't come to a Daniel Tiger every 50 minutes, but I'm going to make myself take breaks where I give myself a little time to not respond to every superfluous toddler demand, or explain another question about the atmosphere to the 5 year old. It will just look like ten minutes of me not accomplishing anything. It will look to the hard and fast homeschool scheduler like I'm going off-track, derailing the school day, allowing precious time to be further exploring the intricacies of Ancient Egypt evaporate.

This is all to support the fact I believe my kids are having a pretty great time at home. They're learning like little intelligence-sponges. They love books, asking questions, trying new things. They maintain creative and imaginative play the rest of the day outside of book learning. There is no busy-work or being forced to be around people that could be rotten influences. There is time for nap time, they don't have to awoken at a God-forsaken hour to get on the bus.

It's not perfect. But there is no perfect.

I'm going to take a lot of breaks this year if that's what it's going to take to make everything work, because I've gotta lot of little kids. Making it all for work you is what homeschooling is all about.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 97 - Now with Lip-Syncing

Joining the great takers at Conversion Diary, be sure to visit the better contributors!


I didn't intentionally not blog for a week but with all of everything in the world and internet being so...awful...I just didn't get over here to write at all. I also have a bad case of writer's block, or summer laziness -- not going to lie. 


Although I didn't get around to blogging this week I felt, on the whole, to be organized and on top of things. Which means, first of all, two things: a) It's taken this long into summer the summer for me to have a good grip on the  summer schedule and b) I obviously need to start school soon. 

But you know that feeling of being on top of things? It doesn't mean you're cranking out the scrapbooks, or throwing parties, or whacking out freezer meals until Christmas, it just means you did the dishes today, you're on top of the laundry, each minute you're not accomplishing something you aren't dealing with the stress of 15 other things that should have already been finished. You find yourself saying aloud, "Wow, I've really got my shit together." That's how this week felt to me. For some reason my kids were sleeping in, I guess the heat and constant play outside was working. I wasn't being awoken by screaming, crying, or fighting. Nora had been sleeping through the night for almost a week straight which I don't think had ever happened before. The overall euphoria of sleep and the added mental health benefits of not being woken by many babies really improves your outlook on life! 

I was just getting to the point where I was actually believing I could get up before the kids to have alone time, maybe I could begin that hallowed road to the creative mom who scours time for herself to write. Or maybe I could actually contemplate exercising before 5 pm when utter exhaustion hits me like a semi truck. The opportunities springing up before my very eyes! Maybe everyone else isn't crazy and it is possible to accomplish things on a daily basis with children! 


That all lasted until Thursday. I can only keep up on top of things, while maintaining a patience filled attitude, and extra margin for extra non-neccisity-of-life-basis for 4 days. 

Thursday was a long day. Full of everyone fighting over everything the other touched. So many questions. So many overreactions. So much potty-training accidents. And then: a two year old who could somehow get a paint can lid off in a carpeted room.

By 5 pm I was destroyed. The waves of questions, and fighting, and outrages washed over me like I was caught in a riptide of small children. 

All this is just my 148,937th example of why a stay at home mom could use a housekeeper, chef, nanny, and bartender among her household staff.


Each year we always have hummingbirds come to our little feeder outside our living room window. They first arrive near the beginning of May and frequent the feeder before their eggs hatch, then as the dandelions bloom in June and the rest of the flowers in July we don't see them as much. But come August they love the feeder and are buzzing around constantly because they've gotta bulk up for that epic journey back to Guatemala or wherever it is they escape to for winter. 

I just love them, they seem to have such personality for birds and are always dive-bombing each other, or fighting over the feeder. Photographing them is always difficult but I got this picture on my phone the other night, it only took about 100 shots to get one with two of them. Yesterday we saw five buzzing around but I think that far exceeds my photography skills. 

They've really the cutest until the dive bomb you while you're sitting on the deck with your coffee and you jump out of your chair spilling said coffee all over yourself because the crazy birds have scared the crap out of you. Or so I've heard.


Here's a question I would like to pose to my pioneer ancestors should God in his mercy let that day come: "How on God's green earth did you keep your family alive by canning all the things that grow in summer while having children??" 

In my area pioneers settled this land just over a hundred years ago really. I used to work with seniors who were born in sod houses. They remember their mothers taking care of their 9 siblings through winters where they couldn't get two miles to the nearest town for months. 

But I walk by the canning aisle in the grocery store these days and would love to make jam, can some peaches or green beans and then I think it would also be great to be in a movie with Brad Pitt. I just think it is impossible. So how did those wonderful women pull it all off a hundred years ago when they were alone on a prairie with a sod house full of children? 

I know there are a lot of differences and things that helped and so forth, but still, all my hats are off to them and I'm sure that was their time in purgatory burnt off right there!


Shirtless, with a temporary tattoo on his chest; classy.

I've been meaning to post about this great book from Ignatius Press; Peter, Apostle of Jesus. It's a well done book full of very child friendly artwork and it covers all the events of Peter's life from the Gospel with a great explanation of how he became the first pope. My kids are just beginning to make connections from one Bible story to the next, so I appreciate as many materials that emphasize people from the Bible in connection with the Gospels themselves. Part of my general attitude towards religious education at home is to have them as well acquainted with the Bible as possible, which usually looks like retelling, rereading our children's bible and as many different Bible stories and books as we can get. 

Ignatius Press is doing a good job of bringing together books on the saints, the Church, and the Bible for all ages of children. I really appreciated that they sent me this one to review and the boys especially enjoyed the portrayal of St. Peter in the garden with his sword! I noticed that this book along with many other great children's books are on sale right now if you need another reason to buy some books! 


Kelly called me out on this one, and so here's my very silly contribution to her lip sync-athon! 

(It's only half the song because I didn't think you all wanted me to do 5 minutes of singing, and there is much more likelihood for success if I try to get my kids to be quiet for 2:30 minutes.)

Hopefully I just won't watch it and I'll be able to leave it on the internet for competition purposes. God Bless the Youtube.

Happy Weekend everybody!

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 96

Ummm...I'm linking up to Jen's 7 Quick Takes that has a picture of me with Jen in the post. It's a whole collision of all my blog dreams coming true!


I feel this has been a bad news week all around. I don't even like to say "news" anymore because what makes news in our media is so far from it for the vast majority of the time. But this week hearing such horrifying accounts of human suffering just leaves us somewhat stunned. I hate feeling half a world away and completely useless about it all. It's one of those situations where you question how much prayer can really do. But I am praying for Iraq and it's people, both Christian and Moslem and hoping there is an end to the terror.

Also; Gaza, Ebola. I grow weary thinking of it all, Have Mercy Lord on us.


These are going to have to mucho rapido today because we are all off to the city to take the kids to Fort Edmonton. Its sure to prove an exciting outing full of badly timed bathroom stops and much sheparding of slow, small people. But its no Disneyland so i think we can make it.


Ok, so it's Friday night, we're back from the day at the heritage park, we all made it home alive albeit exhausted! I took so few pictures on my phone and the camera is still in the car that has 400 new ones, so another time there will be photographic evidence. Suffice it to say though, I love that place. It makes me feel like I'm living in Avonlea and it's basically my dream come true. As Gemma would say. One day when Gemma's read Anne of Green Gables she'll know that Fort Edmonton park is really her dream come true, not princess filled Disneyland.


Potty training has been going so far so...laundry producing? It is hard to come up with a positive turn of phrase when describing potty training. I do however, prefer to look at progress not so much as always getting to the bathroom, or always telling me they need the potty, or even always telling me they've gone in their pants, but as a percentage game. He's going in the potty around 40% of the time. So thats 40% better than 3 days ago. Right? Right?? Yeah. I may be getting a bit desperate but it is all about staying stronger than the toddler who never wants to divorce the diapers.


I'm sure you have all read about the horrible tragedy of Sarah Harkins death last week. My heart breaks for her children, her husband, her family and friends. Jenny wrote so eloquently this week about it and the tragedy has been at the back of my mind too. Thoughts like: What if this was the last time I was stepping out of the house to play with my kids in the yard? How could such small babies be left motherless? How do you begin to help such small children deal with that amount of loss? And of course, there is always a questioning of God in these tragedies because it doesn't make sense and it seems so wrong.

Please God, give us the gift of faith to keep going in the midst of unknowing. I believe Sarah Harkin is praying for us all though and especially her children.


That tragedy came to mind this week when I stepped out my front door and got stung by a wasp. I didnt want to move. I wanted my husband to keep his fingers on my pulse. How does something so foreign have the ability to end life? I prayed anxious prayers that I would be alright, even though it was one tiny sting. How could I take that casual insect sting and my life so lightly now?

Then Max was stung 4 times on the leg yesterday and I not so mildly freaked out. I think he must have unknowingly barged into an area where the wasps were building a nest under a deck, and all his bare, potty-training flesh was too easy for the wasps to go after. The bites were red, ugly, and swollen and I was ready to drive him to the emergency room the second he showed any signs of worry, but he just brushed them off and didn't complain at all. He was very tough about the situation, and I felt stressed out and over-anxious. Thank God, though!


Great things in the internet this week included:

The wonderful fundraising for Kelly's son Fulton for a beach chair that gives him much easier access to enjoy the beach and ocean with his family! I'm just so happy we, the internet of friends, could all chip in a little and make life so much fuller and easier for a wonderful family! Good job Bonnie!

I'm a Father Barron nerd and an occasional Woody Allen fan so I loved Fr. Barron's article on Woody Allen.'s the Feast of St. Dominic who is the patron saint of our Dominic even though my Dom has been walking around all day saying, "Happy St. Dominic Savio Day!" Sigh.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday -- All the Chick Lit!

I was a poor planner this year and didn't get out a summer reading list because I had read very little chick-lit this past year and you must have chick-lit in the summer! I've been packing in the chick-lit for the past month or so because it feels so fun and summery. It almost convinces me that I can stay up late reading and sleep in the next morning -- rude awakening there my friends! And I've gotta admit that I've got to read some English Victorian novel soon...

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I have complicated feelings about this book. It was well written for chick-lit and had such a great portrayal of people with disabilities and those who care for them which I really appreciated. In my past life I used to work for home care and people with disabilities in their homes, so the way it was written felt very true and believable. But I hadn't read much about the plot line in all the rave reviews this book received most everywhere; it's essentially about euthanasia. It may show some aspects of euthanasia's destructive nature, but it basically portrays it in an extremely sentimental light which feels disingenuous in a novel. I'm all for realism in fiction and approaching difficult subjects, but when done just for an extra tear jerk? Not so much. Have any of you read it? What did you think?

The Little Lady Agency by Hester Browne

This one was a lot of fun especially if you're an Anglophile like me. Written in pitch-perfect modern British parlance, you just enjoy hearing the conversations in your head and you really like the main character even if the hi-jinks are a little silly. A light-hearted romantic comedy perfect for summer reading!

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes

This novel got a little too sappy and a little too formulaic for me to enjoy. For the first half of the book you are sucked into the story because you want to learn more about the characters which are fairly well written, but the second half there were whole chapters I wanted to edit out completely. So if you're in the market for a romance I'd pass on this one this summer.

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas

I'm a complete Veronica Mars fangirl, or Marshmallow, so I had to read this book even if it is mass-produced, ghost-written, and based on a tv show. Taking place after the movie, the book brings in all our favourite characters, but could have used a little more Logan! On the whole it was really enjoyable, almost like reading an episode of Veronica Mars. Not quite as juicy as the movie, and not as entertaining as seeing the great actors spout of lines of smart sass in split seconds. It reads like a good YA book and is easily readable on a flight, say to Austin and back. Recommended to Veronica Mars fans for sure.

Mastering the Art of French Eating
by Ann Mah

I'm also a very big food memoir fan, so reading a foodie memoir feels like summertime fun reading to me. This book was very well written with just the right mix of personal story and actual food writing which I look for in food memoirs, because that's what makes it different than just an actual memoir! Sorry, but apparently this needs to be pointed out to some publishers. France has so many different and interesting regions with their own unique dishes that it was fascinating to hear of their origins. The writing was so very good that you kept page turning whether it was a more personal section of story or more centred around food, and it has recipes!

Those were quick so head to Housewifespice for more great reads this week and Heather's for Five Faves to get you to Friday!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summertime Musings

I swear I was going to bah-log last week and Bam! a week later already and no writings.

As last we left our adventures I had just gotten back from a whirlwind weekend in Texas with next to zero sleep. Once I got home I slept-walked around for a couple hours, then hit the hay about 9 pm. Only to be awoken to small people vomiting in the middle of the night.

Sidebar: Why the middle of the night? They haven't eaten in literally hours and yet - so much vomit. They're not even moving! It's just one of those mysteries of small children I will never understand.

And then there was throw up for about the next five days. Not all of it during the night thankfully, so I strung together a couple hours sleep to feel semi-normal again, but still, it was a long week of grumpy, sick children and a lot of laundry.

Have you noticed how sickness during the summer feels like a further indignity to a mom who usually feels children's illnesses as undue cruelty? It feels as if the few, short, luxurious, fantastic days of warmth are being stolen from you. Or maybe this is only a Canadian mom's problems because our warm days are so rare and dear very rare. Last week though, it was almost too hot for the kids to enjoy being out so calling it sick days with extra tv made me feel a little less guilty that I wasn't outdoors lapping up the vitamin D.

Another thing about this hot weather that's a small drag is summer cooking. I just don't like it. I prefer stewing, and braising, and soups - glorious soups! I find grilling gets so old. Our fresh, local, tasty produce is just now ripening to the point of eating which is great, but for toddlers the idea of salad for dinner just goes over like a leaden balloon. So I find every afternoon I get a little annoyed when people want more than beer, hummus, and a cucumber thrown their way for sustenance.

Onwards and upwards though this week because I'm potty training! I'm beginning to think that potty training to the mom who's done it once, twice or thrice before is akin to childbirth. You know it's going to be so bad and you honestly will pay as much as it takes to avoid it altogether. But I'm just biting the bullet since they make no epidural for potty training -  or do they? *cough* wine *cough* - and so far so much yelling at me every time the word "potty" is mentioned. Lysol wipes should sponsor me at this point.

Anyway...I just wanted to type something to avoid both the potty messes and the ordering of school books that I should be doing right now. Hopefully I'll get my act together and write some coherent and interesting things soon.

Patron Saint of Potty Training - whoever you are - pray for us!

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