Monday, August 31, 2015

Monthly Recap vol. 24~ August 2015~ Nearing the End, Good Music, Funny Things They Say and the like.

Madeleine with her chubby, slightly ugly turtle that she was really, really proud of! cutie.;)

Fortunately this past weekend, the kiddos spent the night with their Grandparents, so I was able to catch up on some reading and writing.  This might be my last post for a while....but it's the last Monday of the month of August, so that means: time for a Monthly Recap because that's what I do.

To fill you in on my recent posts (and so that I can avoid some redundancy if I can!), I wrote...

and finally, I answered some reader's questions about everything from faith to birth, and I also have to mention my post about why it's not okay to be apathetic about a culture of death.

It has been a good month with some good posts! I didn't want you to miss out! ;)

Books I'm Reading or Have Read:

I've been reading some good stuff this month. I had a good mix of fiction and nonfiction this time, I think.T he purple iPad case represents the one book I bought in Kindle for iPad, Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman. In that, she mentioned that her favorite book is The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning (a late Catholic priest) I found it for free in the bin outside at McKay's, and it is so good (reread). The one by Elizabeth Pantley (which you can't see) is called Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging, and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate. It had so much good food for thought, I think I'll have more thoughts to share about this in a future post.  FYI: she doesn't believe in spanking/corporal punishment. I'm on the fence, but I really like Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp, for disciplinary strategies, and especially for general and very clear parenting advice. I can tell Pantley is a warm, engaged mother, but the other one gives a more clear perspective of discipline vs. reactive parenting than this new book, (not that she doesn't go into the problems and problem solving of combatting parenting with/in anger) that I just really like and can't let go of the less-legalistic (tit-for-tat) style of loving your children into good morality, love for God, and obedience in the spirit of love rather than fear.  I heard about the The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate book from The Art of Simple as well as MMD, so I'm giving that a run for it's (used bookstore) money. ;) It seems quirky and nutty and fun for kids. Although beware of the agenda (lots about Darwin, some of it interesting, some of it misapplied and some weird relationships going on in it as well). And the book you've already heard me write about wasn't in the picture, because I put it in last month's post, but I wrote about In This House of Brede. Finally, I've had Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Ferber (once again, full of good info, but I'd say go in the direction of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child  by Marc Weissbluth instead). and the Songschool Latin (Book 2... the first one is so good;) on my nightstand.

We had a huge haul of children's books from the library (as per usual). Really enjoying A Pocket for Corduroy, the original Amelia Bedelia picture book, The Berenstain Bears and the Big Question, a bunch of Dr. Seuss, and I let the girls get a Frozen picture book, as their fluffy pick.  Good for rest time looking and hey, I read fluff sometimes too so it's all good, I personally think.

In September (well, hopefully, within the next week!;), I'm going to have a baby, so...  I'll be taking a break from blogging, aside from a birth announcement, maybe *hopefully* a good birth story, and a series I've already gotten mostly finished, in which I share some of my favorite writers' best quotations. I'm excited.  And hopefully that will give me the needed break (three weeks? a month? I'm not sure) and the chance to recover from having a new baby.  There may be a guest post sprinkled in the mix, as well! :-)

For now: my BIRTH LABOR PLAYLIST .... woo hoo for good music, finally! I know it's short, but there's a reason for that. Can we clink our glasses and say our prayers for a shortish labor this time? ;) haha. :-)

Summer Vibe: Walk Off the Earth
The Lonely Mountains: Kim Janssen
Transatlanticism: Death Cab for Cutie
re:stacks: Bon Iver
Saving Us a Riot: Phoria
Love Like Ghosts: Lord Huron
Oyoste Aina: Takagi Masakatsu
Sing It All Away: Walk Off the Earth
Until the Night Turns: Lord Huron
Jealous: Labrinth
Down Down the Deep River: Okkervil River
Home We'll Go: Walk Off the Earth
La Belle Fleur Sauvage: Lord Huron

Basically the standards were: pretty. Ignore some of the intense themes of these songs. They're just pretty. :0);) :-)~  I have been in such a dry spell with music recently. Thank you to my friends, these bands, for renewing the music love. ha.  I absolutely demand to be listening to the second to last song - soo good- as we peel out of the hospital parking lot with our precious cargo in tow. ;) Five kids. whoa. Hasn't sunk in yet, much really at all.

Funny Things They Say:

Stephen: (on a Sunday at lunch) My main goal for today is to take a nap.
Molly: My main goal for today is to play with the dollhouse.
Frances: My mango for today is... what's a mango? (she knows what a mango is, btw)

We had our parish priest for dinner, and in attempting to say his name Father Carter, Anders ended up  saying something like "fada cada" or eventually just calling him "avocado"-- very apropos, as we were serving a Mexican fiesta for dinner. ;)

Madeleine: (that same night)  "Father Carter will have to tell the Church 'I'll be right back,' so he can come to our house for dinner."

{Stephen told Father Carter and he responded: I don't do mass 24 hours a day, but some kids might think so!}  ;-) lol.

A Couple of Good Reads:

I Don't Want to Talk About Gay Marriage
I Still Don't Want to Talk About Gay Marriage
by Beth Hersom

These will definitely make you think.

God bless you!
Linking up with Housewifespice for WWRW

Friday, August 28, 2015

7 Reasons It's Not Okay to Be Apathetic About a Culture of Death

Is it okay to sit on the fence in the Abortion Debate?  I'll give you seven reasons right now that it's not.

First of all, we must participate in the political realm.

According to the social teaching of my Church, we must participate in the Political realm with our vote and with our funding.  As Catholics, we base our principals on the teaching of the Magisterium. This means that when we need to, we step up to the plate practically speaking, and cast our vote. If you are a praying person, I argue that you cannot be a person apathetic about a Culture of Death.

Second of all, we must make decisions in good conscience, with an informed conscience.

If a party bases their policies and morality on public sentiment, they can therefore give power to secular officials, and they no longer base it on objective truth or correct or right reasoning. What has been going on at Planned Parenthood is a scandal. Fetal tissue is the same thing as Baby Parts: let's call it what it is, and give witness that this a Child- many times still breathing the same oxygen as you and me as they snip the face and swipe the brain of a fully formed baby and call it intact tissue.

Thirdly, we must have passionate conviction.

These practices are disgusting.  Selling baby parts is a destructive, barbaric, greedy business. Only nominal believers will be swayed by the Culture of Death.  One’s framework as a Christian is and has to be rooted in the Pro-Life cause, if one believes these are children created in God's image, and apathy is the ticket to a Culture of Death reigning supreme. The willingness of PP's officials to haggle for higher prices and skirt legalities is living proof that what they are doing is wrong. If you are still on the fence wondering if they are compensated, read this article, an extremely insightful interview with former PP worker Abby Johnson.* Right now the only argument Planned Parenthood still has is that their procurement of fetal tissue has and will cure diseases. Well... how wonderfully nifty!  We can snip down a baby's face, take it's brain while the heart is still beating, and just trust that it was God's will for this living baby to be a martyr** so that we could make a better drug for a disease that is in need of a cure in this broken, fallen world, where cures to the ailing are more important the saving the lives of babies under attack by Planned Parenthood.
Barbaric: (adj) without civilizing influences; uncivilized; primitive:
barbaric invaders.

Fourth, we can’t divide our conviction from ultimate reality.

Why should a Christian stand for the right values in the public sphere, even if the proper “division” of Church and State seems to be “compromised”? Here’s the first and last reality check you will ever need: there is no division between my values and the objective and right thing for the greater population.  Planned Parenthood is a vestige of criminally-infested greed and nothing more. It does nothing good for our country. It contributes to the apathy and conviction-less drivel that the world has come to expect from much of the art and music put out by our pop-culture today.

Fifth, our money speaks… it is not private, only.

If we make equivocation in this time and for this situation, our money thusly will go to support the pockets of those practicing evil, and it will put power into the hands of officials who - rather than denounce these practices- excuse them, and thereby uphold the continued practice of evil. This conviction and passion starts in the home, and the abhorrence of greed must be taught in the home proudly, but it continues into the realm of the public, because that’s simply the natural outflow of the nature of our convictions.

Sixth, we absolutely cannot uphold two conflicting viewpoints.

If you blame me for holding absolutes, go ahead and blame me for that. If I'm wrong, I don't want to be right. Because in the sight of God, and our children, we must stand up for what is true, noble, just, and right.  Otherwise, I fear (not to sound extreme, but listen: after what we’ve seen with these sting videos condemning PP, it is extreme), we truly risk the judgment of God, for ignoring the blood that cries out from the mass murder of the unborn…. and our nation does, too.

Seventh, and finally, praying for justice means action.

You may win a popularity contest for ignoring these issues, but on the other hand, if we are praying people, then we must prayerfully consider what is right in the sight of God, one another, our children, and the children that our children bring into this world. We cannot compromise our own conscience on matters of greed, life, death, liberty, and justice for ALL.  Taking the life, not to mention the brain, of a baby and shoving its legs into a petri jar is just an outright scandal. These babies are not meant by God to be martyrs for PP's greed or Fetal Procurement's Science!  Lord have mercy! Give witness to your brothers and sisters in Christ, to your children, and to your future generations- and all unborn right now- by standing up and voting to defund Planned Parenthood.

*Interview with Abby Johnson about worker compensation for Fetal Tissue Donation
** On the topic of using fetal tissue/ baby parts for science and medical research, read the following article at Life Site News, reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews:
for the very latest news on this shocking scandal, and for an explanation on born alive babies, also read:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

5 Quality Chapter Books Your Rising 2nd Grader Can Read (On Her Own) ~ 5 Faves

Today I'm talking about five quality Chapter Books your rising Second Grader can read on his or her own.  It goes without saying that a lot of good literature has been written since I was a little girl, and you know what?  Just because it's new doesn't mean it is all bad! ;) It may not have stood the test of time, but it taps into today's culture in a way that older books cannot, and you never know- it just might be here to stay. ;)

These five book series were on Molly's Summer Reading List. She has read at least one from each series, and I'm here to recommend them to you.  Molly's reading really took off during First Grade, and the fact that she is reading and finishing these chapter books is a testament to her awesome teachers, and also the fact that she ~ahem~ had to read them as a requirement for Second Grade!  It is so nice to see your daughter reading so much- and chapter books at that!- even if they aren't all considered Great Works, or Classic books. It means more food for thought, more time spent reading, and a good laugh every once in a while! I have read some of all of them, either growing up or this Summer, and I can attest that they are all worth your time.

1. Ivy and Bean

This funny and quirky heroine will captivate your daughter, in particular. In Ivy and Bean Make the Rules, two second graders start their own camp at the park while their older sister is at a real Girls Rule camp.  It will crack your rising 2nd grade child up, and it might just inspire in them and teach them some added independent playing skills. It will definitely light up their imagination.

2. The Magic Treehouse series

Always imaginative and adventurous, the kids in this series, Jack and Annie, travel around the globe, solving mysteries and learning about the place and culture where they travel. Molly has read at least three in the series. In the one we read, the kids met real monkeys and other animals living in wild India, where they had to decode a spell that had been cast on their dog.

3. Junie B. Jones

Molly read Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket and it was hysterical.  Junie doesn't want to go to a farm, of all places, because she has preconceived notions about the danger of animals such as ponies and roosters.  Junie's personality is the perfect heroine: hysterical and smart.   At one point, as they visit a farm, the farmer asks Junie to help keep the kids "in order." Her response is the best: "'In order?' I asked very thrilled. 'You mean I get to order the other children around?' Farmer Flores rubbed his chin. 'Well, yes. I suppose you could put it that way,' he said.... 'ALL RIGHT PEOPLE. GET IN LINE. FARMER FLORES IS GOING TO SHOW US AROUND! AND HE DOESN'T HAVE ALL DAY FOLKS!" (Junie B. Jones Has a Peep in Her Pocket, p. 47). These books will have your child laughing out loud!

4. The Boxcar Children

A classic from my childhood, this sweet story of children trying to make it on their own will spark the imagination of your child and hold their attention as a good page-turner should!  Find out what will happen to them as they flee authority and try to stick together as siblings in a wild world of newfound freedom and independence.

5. Amelia Bedelia

Always one for puns and hysterical twists on word usage, Amelia Bedelia is the klutzy, funny daughter, and someone to add to your child's list of inspirational heroines.   Amelia Bedelia's Road Trip is a quick, delightful read that will hold your rising 2nd grader's attention and make her laugh out loud.

I hope you enjoy some of these titles, and I hope your child is inspired to read more with what is left of the time we may have for Summer Reading.
Linking with jenna's 5 favorites!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Reader Q&A: What Kind of Birth is Right For Me?

A few weekends ago, I traveled to North Carolina to be with a friend that I have the privilege of calling a lifelong friend, for her after-the-fact wedding reception (she was married out of the country, and was celebrating with a reception in NC). The friend I mentioned above is currently pregnant with her first baby, and we were talking about birth for a little while. She was asking about my experiences with birth, and she asked me what I thought about it.... for her. "What kind of birth is right, for me?" she asked. She's a blog reader (and informed me that so is her sister, hooray!), so even though we already talked about it in person, I'm going to answer her question here!

Q: What kind of birth is "right"? In what direction should I go if I'm on the fence about the whole "birth" thing? Are you "hardcore" about doing birth a certain way, and should I be?

A: This is a very, very good question. Birth.... it's a tough subject, but I feel like I have had enough experience with different types of birth to be able to speak somewhat intelligently about this subject. Which type of birth is "right," for me?

Well, it might surprise you to know that I'm not hardcore anything when it comes to giving birth. Granted, I have had three out of four naturally, so one would think I'm pretty serious about going naturally, and I am, but I think the only time in my life I have been SERIOUS about it was after my first birth, going into my second. A few of my close friends had had these gorgeous, peaceful home births that they had photographed and framed. You know? The ones where you think... I want to give birth for fun. Just because it looks so nice in the pictures. (lol and hahaha and all of that;)

But birth can be like that.

It can be peaceful, it can be still. It can be so beautiful it hurts, in an incredible way. It can be silent. (But it probably will not *really* be like that, unless you are like a Christian Science weirdo or in a silent birthing cult). 

Soooo.... home birth? Natural in the hospital? Epidural? Drugs/stadol? In the car/on the stairs/ in the elevator?

What kind of birth is right for you?

First and foremost, my overall opinion is: You can plan it, but you can't control it, and so, no one can tell you what is right for you right now.

If I had it to do over again, I don't honestly think I would change a thing.  Molly's epidural? Frances almost-giving-birth-in-the-car and being born 20 minutes after stepping foot in a hospital room? Madeleine's dreamy-home-birth in which Stephen caught her? Anders' middle-of-the-night natural hospital birth?

All. good.

In fact, perfecto. If I had to do it over again, I might still be as scared as I was with Molly, and so I might not have done the first one naturally. Just being perfectly honest here.

I know this isn't very good advice, but it's exactly what I told my lifelong friend, one of my dearest. And so it's what I'll tell you, too. :-)  Go with your gut. ;)

Now it is important to get a lot of well-rounded advice and have your own, personal Birth Plan in place. It can be complicated, but remember, that the more complex it is for you, your midwife, and/or your doctor, the more pressure and added fear there might be. If you have a bad birth experience, it might dissuade you from the desire for more.

On the other hand, you can't make it your safe game plan either. What are you going to do when you feel your water break? Wait for the epidural? No. You need to prepare a whole lot more than that for a smooth and really peaceful experience.

But I truly believe that having a Birth Plan, and keeping the Birth Plan simple, is so important. One doula told me I should write down my top five desired standards for the Birth Plan, such as this: "Freedom of movement, low lights and soothing music, candles, a shower or bath partway through, little to no intervention.." This can really add a lot to your birth without the needless stress of a long and complicated one.

Having freedom of movement as a requirement at the outset made my most recent birth with Anders, two years and one month ago, possibly much easier and better.  I have given birth twice standing up, once on my haunches, and once on my back.  For Anders, I was standing next to a table, outside of the bathroom, and with some heavy inhalations, I felt a strong urge and desire to push.  I would not have been able to give birth the way I wanted if I had not put that in the written Birth Plan. If you are trying to do a certain type of birth in the hospital, these little requirements can make or break it for you.

A gentle birth desired? If you have your water broken, as I did with Molly, labor can quickly escalate into a necessity for epidural, because you had intervention that made labor speed up, become very convenient, but also needlessly painful for you. That is more the nature of on-your-back laboring. If your water breaks naturally, that means it was time for the water to break.  When my water broke with Frances, I was lying down, and it was painful. I still had to journey down the stairs, into the car, and into the hospital before she was born. When my water broke with Anders and Madeleine, it was right before I pushed them out!  Why are epidurals sometimes painful (or even, in my experience, even much more painful than natural)? Because the natural rhythm is disrupted, simple as that! Intervention happens primarily, or at least sometimes, so that the Doctors can make it to their kid's baseball game (True story from my own experience!).  This can cause your contractions to not only speed up but happen one on top of the other, before the time for the epidural. That can hurt needlessly.  Not all epidural experiences unfold the way mine did, though, I'm sure of that. No two births are the same, ever. They are all unique, like our babies!

Go with your gut and remember this isn't set in stone. But spend some time in prayer about it. The really important thing to remember is that this is is for this time, in this place, right now, for this baby. God has put leadership in your life: you can and should really trust His doing and His knowing. Don't think about the past, don't think about the future. Don't think about birth experts in various extreme positions on the birth spectrum, perhaps trying to persuade you to do a certain thing. Just think about now, and your baby, this baby. Don't think about your fear or your specific fears. Don't think about the negatives.

Practice shredding fear by doing a few specific things: don't talk about fear, unless you're in counseling... don't think about fear, unless you're in counseling... don't give into the weight of your fears, unless you're in counseling! I have a trusted counselor specifically for my own anxieties. I try to even limit how much I talk to my husband about my anxieties because it is just so much better and more healthy for me to talk to a professional about it. Dwelling on- or obsessing about- one certain aspect of your birth going Wrong, or even "your way," might cause unneeded stress and you guessed it... a big ol' mess. ;)

Especially if this is your first, or your first in a long time. Especially if you are dealing with complications- be they big or small.  Of course talk it over with your husband or sweetheart. You should process with your significant other. Birth can be overwhelming. Impending birth always is! Even for the people who look amazing in their (natural, home birth) birthing shoots! Now I'm dealing with - or have dealt with- one of the biggest hardships in the birth world: my first breech baby. And so, if she flips from her pretty, vertex, head down back to breech before her impending arrival, I may be dealing with a variety of scenarios. Will I add C-section to my list of birth experiences? I hope not, but I could. But that is okay. Really! It is!

Why? It leads into my first, last, and best advice?  Trust.

Trust yourself.
Trust God.
Trust the people who are in leadership in your life, right now- your husband, your friends, your midwife, and your doctors.

Trust. Even when it is so, so incredibly hard and you're packing for the hospital, wondering in the back of your mind if things aren't going to go "your way." It might not.

Trust your instincts, pray a lot, and look to the leaders God has place in your life. I hope and pray that it will be fine- just fine!

And I say that not because I think everything will be perfect and smooth, but because that is the mindset you need and will definitely want when it is time to give birth. Fear - they will tell you in ALL of the very best natural birthing books and websites- is definitely never, ever, ever your friend.

Fear of all the little details? Aside from your very simple birth plan? Leave that to the professionals. ;)

just. trust.God.

Trust him with complications.
Trust him with money.
Trust him with problems.
Trust him with your pains.
Trust him with your regrets.
Trust him with

And you'll look around, and look in the mirror, and you'll be a trusting, peaceful person.
And trust me.... you'll have a beautiful, beautiful birth.
Trust in the God who created you, and who created this baby!

This baby, who looks half like you and half like your husband. 
This baby, who, once his or her lungs are formed would cry- no matter if he or she were 4 pounds or 7 pounds or 10 pounds. 
This baby, whose heart is beating 18 days after conception.  
This baby, that you have a name for.

Remember that this baby inside of you, this unborn babe is a gift, and a human being... not a jumble of random tissue.

Labor and delivery should be seen as a beautiful gift, untainted by a lack of trust, untainted by fear, untainted as much as possible from all that would hinder it... as well.

If what I have said makes you upset in anyway, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Do not despair if you've had a bad experience and have doubts about future births. I referenced my own journey in counseling to encourage you that we all have regrets and fears, and no two births can be compared to each other, and in all of them, God is and was in control.

Adding my link to the ACWB

Thursday, August 20, 2015

PHFR~ Whirlwind Trip, Good Reads, and School Starting


the rain and the trees were pretty! :-)

The week before school started was absolutely crazy.  We decided to take a whirlwind trip down to the Gulf Coast of Florida for the weekend, as a last hurrah before the hubbub of school began. It was the best decision, and yet, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were three of the busiest days of my life. I was like a headless chicken, running errands, doctor visits for me and the girls, haircuts, returning Summer Reading books to the library, shoe-store runs, cleaning, organizing, and school-supply shopping... and the whole bit!

The trip though? The trip, guys. It was worth it.

So much fun packed into three days.
And then this happened: 2nd grade and Pre-K.

Meanwhile, these two have been having a time of it at home, on the days Frances doesn't have Pre-K.


everyday contentment :-)

I'm in my last two weeks of pregnancy, so of course I'm watching Cupcake Wars, Good Eats, and the Pioneer Woman cooking show with any free time I can find. :-D

In the notfunny category, I watched a really, really, really good movie with my husband recently. Far From the Madding Crowd, starring Carey Mulligan (you might remember her from The Great Gatsby -- she was Daisy)... .  It is just really good... go see it. On iTunes ;)

oh yeah... my paris mug, one of the 3 mugs that broke this month  past week.

I finished In This House of Brede.

A lot of time in the car (once again- Summer how I love thee!) meant a lot of time to finish reading my book!

Rumer Godden became Catholic in 1968. She spent the next three years living at the gates of an Abbey, doing research on life in a monastery for this book.  I enjoyed it, but I will tell you in a minute why it won't be going on my Favorites list. Let me at the outset say this: she is an intelligent and thoughtful writer, with a gift for storytelling.

But my one - count it, one!- critique of the book was when I got to the Discussion Questions at the end and it said, "What about living in a convent appeals to you after having read this book?" I wanted to say "Nothing."  I know that sounds harsh. But let me explain.

I wrote this after reading a really tough chapter in the book (if you've read it and you hear "tough chapter," you probably know what I'm talking about):

I had a new peace recently. It was just a thought: this thought: You're working it out.  And it made me feel so much better.

The angst-leading-up-to-catharsis was the result of this book.

It made me face all kinds of things I wasn't ready to face.

At first I was like UGhhh. And then I was like: UGH!  And then I was like, Hmm.  I'm working this out. 

You know when the thought of something, or a really intense story or a day- or a book- like a roller coaster just leaves you spinning? The rawness- utterly unexplicable- that you weren't expecting?

Sometimes I just need to cry. Sometimes I'm actually sick and I didn't realize it. Sometimes my mind is wound up, but my body is exhausted and it's hard because I actually need to get things done.

Be patient with yourself. You're working it out. You're working something out. And that's ok.

I say this because her perspective- while touching, and thoughtful, was really rather sad..... to say the least!;)  She seemed to understand that there is a lot a person gives up in order to be a nun, that it is a life of renouncing many things, that there is sadness and deep pain about our lives in this world. But by the time I reached the book's conclusion, I realized that it where it seemed to stop, for her... at least from where I'm standing.   Sure, she does touch on the good things, but she dwells on a  lot of sad themes, in my personal opinion.  It was just so sad. She seemed to sort of miss the sweetness and the joy that surely must come from this life... for her, the sweet friendships are marred by sin, the conversation is often cold, she's fighting the angst but she hasn't worked out exactly what they are living for. Apparently these sad, tragic, exhausting situations need no closure, either.  Her descriptions, however, are quite beautiful. And if there is anything, although it may not be appealing, it is often very beautiful. Just missing that Peace piece. (for me). (I know).;)

I also just finished reading this eloquent book, Grace For the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman. She actually just had a new book come out, to boot. To be blunt, I'm going to give the one I'm reading this subtitle: "How to not lose your mind as a Southern woman."  Because it resonates with my Southern-girl so, so deeply, I'm just not sure you can fully grasp it in its depth without being a Southern woman living in the South.  A good quote: "If I am trying to please God, it is difficult to trust God. But when I trust God, pleasing Him is automatic...Anything we do to get life and identity outside of Christ is an idol, even service to Christ. He doesn't want my service. By all means serve. But don't do it behind a martyr's mask of duty or self-righteous obligation..." There are just pressures here, guys. Pressures you don't find anywhere else. Coping can make you go cra-zazy (cray, cray, whatever you want to call it) sometimes. For this, this book is helpful.


Just getting ready for the birth of our baby!
Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter as per usual!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Pregnancy Recap~ Baby #5

Just for the record, to clarify, and just so that I don't regret losing all of my memories to time and forgetfulness, I decided to write one big, fat, hairy Pregnancy Recap here.

My 5th Pregnancy Recap:
I can't say that I was the healthiest this pregnancy. I craved things like cheeseburger casserole and Pop-tarts, especially in my first trimester. I transitioned to Clif bars and La Croix later on, but please remember: cheeseburger casserole and Stouffer's casserole 3x a week isn't good for your baby! Like any pregnant Mama, I knew going starving wasn't going to keep me bouncing...  So a little cave to a sugar craving and a frozen meal once in a while when I was feeling sick had to happen if I wanted to ya know, live... and continue caring for my other 4 kiddos.  Just being perfectly honest here.
If you're saying "Gross," don't worry- I am too. ;)

Insert big ~however ~ about all health conscious decisions: I had to resolve to be healthier the third trimester, because Summer + Third Trimester + Heat + Exhaustion + The Desire for a Healthy Baby = RESOLVE!

Stephen: You haven't complained much at all in this current pregnancy. You've been really active. Would you say it was your easiest so far?
Me: You don't remember the first 20 weeks?
Stephen: Really... you've been great. What do you mean?
Me: Remember? That was the period of time where I did nothing?
Stephen: Oh... yeah.

But really, it hasn't been so bad.

The First Trimester, I was exhausted, but the upside of this was that I was able to go to sleep in an instant every night. I tried hard not to take too many naps, but instead just wake up early (or at a normal time) and go to back at a normal time.  I had constant craving nearing obsession, with cold cereal, all during this pregnancy. I didn't really crave anything else, but I made myself eat healthy food alongside my cheetos and all the other aforementioned crrrrrap..;)

The Second Trimester was by far the best. I had less stress and nervousness, as the issues with my subchorionic hemorrhage had resolved and the worries were completely off my plate (or so I thought). I didn't fear pain this time around.  I had a few episodes of cramping in my stomach and just general issues with getting comfortable (especially at night!) but over all, energy was great. I took the kids everywhere and would say I wasn't exhausted and starving. I mean I certainly was at times, especially after eating something in the morning, but not all the time- which is so key!  I would usually go five good days with two semi-hard days during the Second Trimester.
29.5 weeks
The Third Trimester was my healthy part. I made this resolve:
More Eggs
Less Sugary Foods- including cold cereal
If I drink anything, it's no more than a half a beer with dinner
More La Croix, Rice Cakes, Kombucha, and Clif Bars
A lot More Walking

I needed to get things on track for the sake of my body and for the sake of my baby. I had {pregnancy} vericose veins, that I always get and then they go away on the back of one leg very badly, and I have noticed that when I do more walking, they seem to "lighten up" and get better.
When we were at Disney World I could tell a big difference from all of the walking- even though it was really, really hot.
The Things I have bought for this baby:
A rattle from Disney World
Cloth Diapers (first time for me!!!;)
A fresh pair of pj's, a onesie and a sweater at a used clothing sale (newborn size)

I have been given: two onesies from my Mom.
32 weeks
And everyone said: Fourth Girl. And.... Amen.

Here are some notes from along the way:

31 weeks~ Natural birth support

So far, I have gained 20 lbs. Average for me, but less than with Anders.  The baby has been moving a ton. My pre-natal care has been so good.  I think that is what is making me feel confident in this pregnancy and looking forward to this next birth. Also, I have amazing birth stories. I have had wonderful experiences with babies and giving birth and I know I am super blessed.  I told my counselor that although I have a slough of anxieties, birth has never been one of them. I did have some baggage re: Molly's epidural (painful!), but it has completely been forgotten and swallowed up with good memories. I've been trying to talk to my compatriots in the Natural Birth world for extra support.

My doctor just informed me that she is trying to make the birth. Normally, she doesn't deliver, but she is more frequently attending births now. That is awesome news! I'm so glad.

Wet cat food and cat feces are making me nauseated right now. Also, the smell of tobacco and making dinner always make me super squeamish. Stephen smokes a pipe very occasionally, and the smell lingering in the air made me nauseated.  I miss being able to enjoy a jog or a hot cup of coffee.

32 weeks~ Third Trimester Breech

And just like that- overnight- I started feeling like I wasn't really in normal pregnancy mode. The third trimester was hitting me badly.  I was for sure in how-much-longer and oh-my-goodness-this-reminds-me-of-first-trimester. The naps, the hunger, the sleeplessness. The moodiness.

I had an appointment to see the baby at 32.5 weeks. I've now gained about 22 lbs.  My OB asked for a growth scan, where we learned via ultrasound that this little girl is breech, (or at least transverse...two doctors said two different things). I noticed that, based on how she feels, I think she has been this way for quite a while. When they did my physical exam at my last appointment, they told me that her head was the hard protrusion I could feel on my upper left abdomen... the one that at my last appointment (the one without the ultrasound) was what they thought was a hip or her little bottom. Funny how a little ultrasound action can change our perspective. Now I'm feeling much more sensitive about pressing on her head and the kids jumping on my lap. I've had to ask them not to jump on me, because it's very uncomfortable and it seems just a little bit more risky to push on her head!  Not that my kids do this all the time, but still!

34.5 weeks

I went back to the Doctor, and he said I was measuring around 32 inches (usual for a 32, not 34 week pregnancy).  I think it's measuring low because the baby girl is still breech, or at least transverse. At least I'm hoping so... otherwise the baby's due date might be delayed as a small measurement can be indicative of the wrong due date. I don't think its'a huge deal, though. The ultrasound doctor at the last appointment said the baby was "petite like her mother" (and mother-in-law!) and the baby herself was measuring right on target, but just in the 30th percentile.  The Doctor gave me some exercises to do to try to turn the baby into a proper position.  I have gained 23 lbs so far!

37 weeks:

Went back for my pre-natal exam, and the baby had turned within the past week! I was so terrified they would have to turn it in the Doctor's office, I packed my bag in the case of an emergency C-section.  I'm taking full credit (NOT-- the prayers of many, many people in my church and local community for answered, I'm sure of that!). I did everything in my power that I knew to do, though. The frozen peas, the music and flashing lights down low, propping myself on pillows, on the stairs, hanging off the bed, and doing handstands in the pool. I've gained 25 lbs so far!  Every time I outgrow a shirt, I put it on the top shelf of my closet. I'm down to a handful that still fit over this belly. Had a blood test and lab results came in that I'm not anemic.  So much to praise God for and be thankful for.  I've come through so much between the hemorrhage and the breech position. Whoa: I'm thankful doesn't begin to describe it. I've had just a few Braxton Hicks and maybe 2-3 painful contractions thus far so I know the time is near.

We finally, finally, finally agree on a name that we both like.  We're keeping it a secret until she's born, like we did with the others, but I am so relieved.  It took us until now to decide, so that's another answer to prayer, for sure. We haven't quite nailed down the middle name- that might also depend on when she's born and feast days and all of that jazz.

I brought down, washed, and organized all of the newborn baby clothes. I have brought down the bassinet, carseat, bouncy seat, and boppy.  I am so, so, so excited to meet this little girl. Madeleine - as she will be the one female sibling home all the time- is probably the most excited and that is the main reason I have been glad for finding out the gender. She can't wait to have a baby sister. And since this pregnancy has been so... funky, for lack of a better word, I've had a total of five ultrasounds!  One to confirm the pregnancy, one for the hemorrhage (when they thought she was a he), one for the gender confirmation, and two to see about the breech situation!  The last three
triple-confirmed her gender.  ;)  A very unusual pregnancy, for sure.

Now we're just praying that the rest of the pregnancy (2 weeks, we are hoping/praying) goes well, that she doesn't do any more flipping around, that I can stay as active as I need to be with the other 4, and that the birth is calm, quick, and peaceful. Please, please baby- stay in position!;)

Still need to do:
Some last minute shopping
Freezer Meals
DL some good books on Kindle for iPad

I appreciate *your* prayers!

*many writing prompts are thanks to Liz.  ;)
Waltzing In Beauty
*Read more fun posts today at Tuesday Talk @ Waltzing in Beauty

Friday, August 14, 2015

7 QT ~ 7 Quick Reads: More on PP

It has only been two weeks since my last Quick Reads post, but the internet has blown up with articles about Planned Parenthood, and I felt I had enough to share this week for an entire post. Ignore everything you've read in favor of Planned Parenthood, and stop for a minute to read these articles. ;) ;)

Enjoy (?) your morning cup of joe, links-style here at {picture a skyline.}

Surprise inspections catch 3 Planned Parenthood Clinics doing illegal abortions @ Life Site News

In recent weeks, Planned Parenthood has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in relation to its trade in fetal body parts. However, several of their denials have been shown to be false in footage released in subsequent installments of the sting video series.

Crush Planned Parenthood by Kirsten Powers @ USA Today

Oh... I just want to quote the whole thing.  So many strong points made here.

"a few loyalists took up the cause, including Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak, whose column was headlined: “Planned Parenthood deserves to be supported, not attacked.” Actually, it's fetuses who are under attack. By Planned Parenthood."

There should be no ifs buts or whens: defund PP.

Alabama Becomes 3rd State to Defund Planned Parenthood @ Life News

The Governor tweeted:

The deplorable practices at Planned Parenthood have been exposed to Americans. I've terminated any association with the organization in AL.

But What Will Poor People Do If Planned Parenthood is Defunded? by Simcha Fisher @ I Have to Sit Down

"But what would we do without Planned Parenthood?
The truth is, most of what Planned Parenthood offers is abortion. That’s their cash cow. The reason they say it’s only 3% of their business is because they count everything that goes along with abortion as an individual service: you go in because you’re pregnant, and they give you a pregnancy test, and an STD test, and an abortion, maybe some antibiotics, and a box of birth control pills. Guess what? Planned Parenthood just provided five services — and abortion was a mere 20%. Now mix in a bunch of teenagers who stop by to get free condoms, and it’s pretty easy to get that number down to 3%.
It’s a stupid game, but it works. And it makes people think,
What would we do without Planned Parenthood?
We would do fine."


House Committee Announces Expanded Planned Parenthood Investigation @ Live Action News

This afternoon (Aug. 7) the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it is expanding its current Planned Parenthood investigation.

If you don't care about unborn babies, then the unborn babies don't care about you.;)


Just a good read...

Gathering My Thoughts: Is Social Media Becoming Like Reality TV? by Elizabeth Foss @ The Heart of My Home

As I scroll through Facebook or Twitter, the headlines from posted links are nearly always a bit sensational. They play upon our impulses to want to know more, to want to be the first to have and share information, and to be entertained. Then, there are just the "regular people" status updates. They are a lot like edited "reality" TV shows, I think, showing parts and portions of ordinary life made a little extraordinary in the framing. What I've noticed most though is my reaction to it all...

How Amazon Works by Arch2.O @ Facebook

bonus: Jimmy Fallon and Jason Segel duke it out.
just for kicks.

adding my link to Kelly @ This Ain't the Lyceum

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Update/Wrap-Up On Our Summer Crafts~5Faves

At the beginning of Summer, I wrote about our Summer Craft Supply Collection, and I made a list of the crafts I wanted to do with my girls/kiddos. I wanted to check in today- my girls' first day of school.... ike!- to let you know how it went! We had a lot of fun. We used this Printable for Earning Screen time  from Someday Saints. Then they got a sticker on their chore chart for the morning. It worked great and they got into a good habit! I think I'll keep this system for future Summers!

The ones we had already done ahead of time.

When I wrote the post, we had already done a few crafts such as Farm scene, Underwater Scene and Sunflowers.

Here are some of the others we've done.

Decorating teapots.

This was a hit! I traced free hand drew a handful of teapots and let the girls go to town decorating them with tape, highlighter markers, paint, and stickers. Then, they cut them out, and even went back and added more stickers and things once they had dried.


Anders turned two at the beginning of August, so we made some on-the-cheap homemade decor for his party. While I made this garland for Anders, the little kids "helped" by making messes artistic creations using kid scissors, glue, and glitter.  That was the day we came home from the store with glitter all over the floor. But keeping little hands busy is priceless, and so is the art that they create.

I tried to get Molly and Frances on board for making some kind of garland.
Molly made this heart garland all by her lonesome, 

and Frances learned how to draw hearts, so... win? ;)

Finger Painting + Tape Paintings
Finger Painting

After the teapot extravaganza, we revisited finger painting for the little ones, and tape paintings for Molly and Frances (7 and almost 5).  Anders did a green painting, and of his own volition started referring to it as "the crocodile."

Necklaces and Beaded Bracelets

We found a little bracelet and jewelry-making kit at the Dollar General for something like $3. It came with elastic string and we added some of our own brown string to the mix. The girls have really enjoyed it over and over again... making simple and complicated beaded necklaces, bracelets, and even some pasta/noodle necklaces, like I had planned.

What I didn't plan? That Madeleine would put a bead up her nose and send us to the ER.  Frances also had something up her nose that fell out on its own. We later inferred that Madeleine was stretching the truth, and maybe there was never a bead there in the first place. She claimed the kitties, Yo-Yo and Sneaky, put the bead in there. lol. ;)

We also did a lot of clay-doh and modeling play-doh, and also I included that in the original list of crafts, we didn't end up baking any or keeping any, so I'm not counting it as a "craft," per se. It was more like an activity. The only things I wish we had actually done, as planned, were more from my Art With Kids Pinterest board, and the Mom I'm Bored Jar: article at Real Housekeeping written by a favorite writer of mine, Colleen Duggan.  Honestly, we could have used one this Summer!

What did you do in the way of Summer Crafts this year, or beating the Summer Boredom blues? Let it be known... and may you get some ideas from this post! ;)
adding my link to Jenna @ Call Her Happy

Friday, August 7, 2015

When You Feel Targeted For Having a Big Family

Here is a little snapshot of the commentary I've received from strangers recently.... And before I give some examples, I have to say this: No, no, no, no, NO!...  just because you're from the South/in the South doesn't mean everyone is POLITE, it just means they're "Friendly"-- which doesn't always mean nice! ;)  I have to say that I haven't always had this awareness.   But living in Maryland for 7 1/2 years meant that I didn't have to put up with unkind commentary all the time, because people simply aren't as "friendly" up there.  However, I also didn't have four kids plus a belly, so... there's that. :/

As I'm wheeling my cart out of Publix with my kiddos, an old man notices my pregnant belly: "Just what you need.. one more!"

A buuuuunch of elderly people passing us in the mall as we eat pretzels as a family for an early lunch/late morning snack: "And you're having another one?!"

An unkind-looking woman in Barnes &Noble recently (and many, many other people in my past): "Are you running a daycare?"

Every other person that I might happen to pass/cashiers who check us out/people in public restrooms/gas stations/elevators: .......... drumroll please:  "You've got your hands full!" or most recently, "You've got your HANDS full, girl!"

(this one was actually very nice;)
A woman at Disney World, noticing my belly and my kiddos as I climb the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse: "Wow... I don't know how you do it. You have such a beautiful family! I'm so impressed!"

Friendly stranger in the grocery store check-out line: "Wow- how do you handle all of them?"


Me (struggling with the heat/third trimester hormones/huge belly and big gaggle of children): In response to "Just what you need, one more!".... "I know, RIGHT?!" ((thinking: UGH DID YOU KNOW THAT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS TOTALLY RUDE?))

Me (Despairing over my children's behavior in public being embarrassing once again): "You've got your hands full!!!!"  .... "Um, thank you?" ((thinking: UGH DID YOU KNOW THAT EVVVVVVVERYONE SAYS THAT AND IT'S AN UTTER CLICHE?))

Me: in response to "Are you running a daycare?"    .... "????????" ((thinking: Tacy, just stop, take a deep breath, and walk away sloooooooowly)).

Rules of Conduct :

~ Do NOT (ever, ever, ever) make a rude comment to a woman with many kids and one on the way. She has no response for those types of comments, it hurts every time, and if you were wondering if it totally defeats her mood and deflates her spirit, you were right! It does! {Don't be a hater.}

~ Do NOT tell a woman with many kids and one on the way that her hands are full. Not only does she already know that, and she doesn't need you to "let her know" again, she is probably so very tired of hearing that from strangers, especially those who think they're being friendly and who expect some kind of friendly response in return. If you don't have a lot of kids : Consider: a woman with a lot of kids and a pregnant belly hears the phrase that you just uttered 300 times in one visit out to Target/The Mall/The Grocery Store/Office Max/Office Depot/The Post Office/Everywhere/Wherever.

~ If you say something (anything), be like the lady from my #5. "WOW! You have such a beautiful family! I'm so impressed. How do you do it?" is sooooo very appreciated by tired, worn out Moms (and no I'm not just physically worn out!  I'm tired of fielding questions like "How much longer have you got?" and tired trying to figure out how to answer the question "And you're having another one?";)

I've been trying to find out how others handle these types of situations... because obviously I'm not very good at it... :/

~ My cousin Dottie, who has six kids and always gets comments from strangers and just says: "I always wanted a big family!"

~ My friend Kristi from my parish, who has five always says: "I've always wanted full hands!"

~ And my personal favorite, a woman in my neighborhood who has a lot of kids says, "We never have a shortage of hands!"

And that, my friends, sums up your life when you are expecting your fifth, and you still attempt to go out in public..... (Liiiiiike I said, I feel targeted.... but I'm trying....really hard.;)

adding my link to 7 Quick Takes 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

PHFR~Just More Funny Things My Little Kiddos Say, Anders' Birthday, and Our Last Summer Shenanigans


I'm two!


They went to interpretive Dance Camp for a week, and came home knowing some pretty great dances! They even taught them to Madeleine. ;)

My Mom and I eating lunch at Bouchon Creperie in Asheville, NC.

Anders, resident talker. He really is talking so much.

Do you want to go to the playground? "Sir!" Do you want to put on your shoes? "Sir!" Can you sit in my lap? "Sir!"

He calls "outside" "outsauce" and when we ask him a question, he often answers, "O-kuh."

If he accidentally makes a mistake, he says, "Sar-wa," which means "Sorry." 

My favorite thing he says right now is his name for our cat, Sneaky. He calls him "Nicka" for "Sneaky."  When he first wakes up in the morning, he says, in this order: "Water?" then "Baba?" and finally, "OH! Nicka?"

He's very loving and as I said before, very very excitable. At Grandma's house, she has a toy fish aquarium that squirts bubbles when you push on a button. Every time my Mom did it, he would watch carefully, then squeal, then run from one side of the room to the other, giggling. Mom and I were lol'ing the whole time. ;)


I think Madeleine is going to be our resident comedian, if Anders isn't.  She is seriously always cracking us up.

The other day while I was preparing some frosted brownies for Anders' birthday, she was sitting on a stool in the kitchen, and Molly came in.
Molly: What are you doing, Madeleine?
Madeleine: I am NOT eating brownies.

Stephen was gone for a week, and Molly said "I miss Daddy," so many times I lost count. I finally said, "Molly, we don't complain... every time you say that, it sounds like you're complaining..." and Madeleine said, not missing a beat as usual, "And everytime you say that, it breaks our hearts."  I told him he has many very serious emotional girls here at home that he left behind.

A college girl was walking her dog by our house, and the dog tried to walk up our sidewalk, and she pulled his leash away.
Madeleine: "That dog must really love people!"

Here are some more Andersisms...

mo’ wunch!

dinder!!!!! upon finding a piece of cinnamon bread right before dinner.

mo’ buttah!

 the morning after he watched Star Wars,

"wa’ sow? bobots? "(Watch show? Robots?)


Frances: {Trying to pester her older sister} Molly! Molly! Molly!

Molly: Frances, you’ll have to be good in Pre-School, or they move your owl down. In Kindergarten, they move your monkey down, and in First Grade… all the way up until 9th grade, they move your clip down. AND they move your clip down in tenth grade…. if there is such a thing.

~  ~  ~

So we had a lice scare this week. A good friend of mine came for a playdate at our house. A few hours after she left, she called to let me know that she picked up a book from a friend’s house, and this lady warned her not to come in, that her kids were infected with lice.

So, she got home, and checked her kids, and sure enough they had lice, as well. This discovery took place after a morning at our house.

So right away I checked all of my kids for lice. Just to be on the safe side, we washed their hair with olive oil and tea tree oil. The next morning, their hair was so oily it looked wet.  It was awful. I spent the morning working my hardest to get us looking presentable, and NO LIE- a few minutes after I had gone back inside to retrieve water bottles for our venture for school supplies and lunch, and three out of four rubber bands BROKE as we were driving away in the car. My hair- just for the record- was also greasy, because I washed it with olive oil, too.

I went back in the house to get a real hairband, hoping not to bring a band of hoodlum rugrats with me to the store. And then a few minutes later, my plastic one broke. I gave the only non-plastic rubber band to Molly, whose curly greasy hair looked even worse than mine. It didn’t really help any.

Walking through Target and then eating at Chik-fil-a were two of the more mortifying, humiliating experiences of my life.  People were definitely staring and that sort of thing. It’s not like they never stare at us, anyway…. but it didn’t help that Madeleine decided to pitch a fit at Target because Molly had some spending money and she didn’t.   Then she pitched a fit because the highlighters I allowed her to buy fell on the floor on the way home, and apparently she wanted those more than her lunch.

By the time we got home, I broke the second mug of the day, and the glitter from that morning’s craft was still spilled on the chairs and the floor. I told everyone to go straight to their rooms and get in their own beds for rest time. However, Madeleine and Frances came back downstairs looking for their highlighters. I had Madeleine eat her lunch, gave my girls some dessert, and then cleaned up. I finally basked in the mandatory, rest time that they in turn received after such an eventful and terrible morning.

Here's hoping we *don't* have lice!!!

Adding my link to Like Mother, Like Daughter