Friday, October 30, 2015

Monthly Recap vol. 26~ October 2015

1. Lately


Happy Halloween!

This is called : Letting your kids get to be what they want to be, 
...despite your best intentions.
And yeah, you're right... they were over the moon. ;)

We also had a little fireman...

So much fun, especially since we hid the candy. :-)~

Final results for Molly's pumpkin:-)

October has been a good month... full of good books, carving pumpkins, field trips to farms and Pumpkin Patches, and preparing for Halloween. I accompanied Frances on her Field Trip to a real Pumpkin Patch as a chaperone. We rode a hayride to the area where we could pick out our very own pumpkins straight from the patch. It was so much fun, and yes, I needed all the coffee when I got back home to a messy house and a bunch of chores!

We are getting to know our baby, Annabel, and she is just the cutest.  She is still getting up at night, but we spent a weekend out in the woods at my paents' river house, as a family, just got takeout at a local Barbecue place, and just had cereal for breakfast, and it was a much-needed, very relaxing respite.

Ahh... so relaxed. This baby is the sweetest
And little Chipmunk Cheeks started smiling! Her first smile while awake was at 2 weeks old, but it felt like sort of a fluke. She didn't really start smiling "on command" until around 4 weeks. Now she will usually smile if you ask, or if Frances whistles. She is just the happiest baby in the world- cooing, smiling, and all the jazz.
I put Molly, Frances, and Madeleine in Ballet. Thankfully, their classes are all at the exact same time. However, this makes getting organized on Thursday the most stressful time of the week. Molly also takes piano, and her lesson is an hour before ballet. Stress, stress and now the tights are getting holes.


2. Funny Things They Say


Anders-isms: This kid is the MOST happy-go-lucky guy there ever was. He is also super duper enthusiastic like his dear mother (I get it from my Mom’s side- specifically, my grandpa!) and FUNNY! Also, creative.

After a recent funeral, he heard so many people saying it, he imitated in a funny, high voice, "Good to see ya!" as we were getting in the van to leave.

Anders: seed-eed… {seaweed}  Puuuz? {please? said in his sweetest voice!}
Me: Not right now, maybe at snack time!
Anders: O-kuh… {his happy way of saying OK}
{When he counts, he always skips three} "One, two, fer cackahs, Mama? One, two, fer?"

Me: Anders, do you want to go outside?
Anders Sir! {Sure!}‘Mon! Mon, Mama!  {C’mon Mama! let’s go!}
….Wook, WOOK! wuddle wuf wuf {little dog}… WOOK Mama! BIG wuf wuf!!!!

Madeleine: You look like a monkey, and you smell like one, too… cha cha cha.

Madeleine: One of my friends at my ballet class is going to be “St. Heel” for Halloween… St. Heel, pray for us.

And a few more Anders-isms.
Rasperreh for raspberry, berreh for berry

Ta-too mama {thank you, Mama!}

Tuhn it UP! {Turn it up, referencing the Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack}

Watch a show? Watch Tom-ahs!

Madeleine: Daddy, (very seriously) Go upstairs. By yourself. And stay there for a little while.
(Stephen, very curiously inspecting her.... finds a bottle of air freshener, that she is holding very tightly behind her back, and looks at her face and finds on her face a serious look of extreme guilt! All she wanted to do was spray it on a piece of napkin??!!) ;)

Stephen: Frances, how was school today?
Frances: Better than it usually is.
{Frances is at a really cute stage. She has started reading, loves playing with her sisters, and has an aptitude for drawing and has awesome handwriting.  One of her quirks: when she is playing, she loves to come up with melodramatic names for her dollies... Callista Flora, etc:-)

Madeleine: After reciting a long list of what she wanted for her “bir-tay,” including an Sofia amulet, a new necklace "just like Daddy's miraculous medal, but gold," and several other things related to jewelry and princesses, she said:
And after two days and one minute, it’s gonna be my bir-tay.
(It’s May 7th)
Then, later that night, she told Stephen very seriously: In two more years, I'm gonna have a bir-tay.

3. Cartoons



4. News and Noteworthy

Nothing Like Getting Creative With Your Instrument @ Facebook

These four ladies have something to show us... and I guarantee it will put your musical prowess to shame, or something ;)

The AAP on Screen Time @ AAP News

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics on appropriate amounts and uses of Screen Time.

Christmas on a Zero Budget @ Snail Pace Transformations (via Money Saving Mom)

So many amazing and creative ways to have hope on Christmas. ;)

Unsolicited Advice About Shoeboxes @  (by) Corey Garrett

This missionary to Senegal has some very helpful and humbling tips for those of you who do shoeboxes with Samaritan's Purse. ;)

In Every Guest, We See Christ @ Catholic Herald (by Elizabeth Foss)


5. Book recaps



I sort of read four books this month, in keeping with my goal to read 50 books by the end of the year!

Flannery O'Connor: A Life ~ I was a fan. Siiigh. This was so good!
Astonish Me~ I was a fan, but I abandoned it
I Capture the Castle~ Definitely a fan
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up~ Not a fan

6. In the news

Pope Francis' US Tour Has Been a Triumph: His Conservative Critics Must Be In Despair @ The Spectator

Strengthen Marriage With Truth and Mercy @ Catholic News Agency


7. Eating/Drinking

We are really getting into juicing.  Produce, even considering the prices at Whole Foods, is surprisingly affordable.

Yummy!

I made two big batches of This Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole (it was so good!) and This Beef Stew, and many of the ingredients had overlap with the kinds of juice I was making.  So all in all we weren’t eaten out of house and home, really at all! ;)

Our favorites from our juicing experiences are:

Garden Party & Spicy Bloody Mary

happy october!
If you missed it, I revealed the cover of my e-book on Monday. And good news- it should be available for sale very, very soon!
Adding my link to Kelly & the gang

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Eating and Drinking ~ #31days

As I have mentioned before, I'm participating in the #31days link up by posting a drink to instagram everyday. I realize it is a somewhat unorthodox way to participate, but it has been really fun, and the pressure to write everyday is off of me, which I'm grateful for.  As soon as I started, I became much more aware of what I'm drinking everyday, for better and for worse.

Today I want to share with you the most interesting things we have been eating and drinking recently.





1. The Spicy Mary

~3 small tomatoes (on the vine)
~2 stalks celery
~2 carrots
~1 slice of jalapeño, or 1/2-1 whole pepper, seeded
~1 small bunch parsley
~1 squeeze lemon
~1/2 cucumber
~tabasco, salt and pepper, and a dash of worcestershire sauce

Put all ingredients except the spices through your juicer.

If you've never had fresh tomato juice, you have to try this!

If you add more than a slice of jalapeño, and you don't like spicy food very much (at all), prepare for it to be undrinkable.



2. Garden Party

 ~5 c. spinach
~1 apple
~1/4 c. parsley
~1 green pepper
~3 carrots
Add all to your juicer. Enjoy!


All juicing drinks inspired by this article


3. Other ~

food: roasted pumpkin seeds
drinks: some of my other favorite drinks include...



Italian sodas, Homemade cappuccino, Pumpkin Beer

4. This Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole is to die for and my kids gobbled it up the two times I made it! Definitely going into our regular rotation!

5. This Beef Stew is inexpensive and worth making from scratch. So much yummier than canned soup, and it is perfect for Fall.

Adding my link to Jenna @ Call Her Happy

By the way, if you didn't see it Monday, I revealed the cover of my e-book. check it out! :-)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Q & A and My E-Book Cover Reveal!

First of all, I am humbled and excited to tell you that the time is finally here! It is the week that I have been waiting for for many months years.  I am finally releasing my e-book into the world, and I am so excited!

Without further ado, the e-book cover release!
My E-Book!

I am so grateful for all of the incredibly.hard.work that my excellent editors and designers have put into this: making my humble dream of writing a book into a reality.  PRAISE GOD for the expertise and work ethic of Rhonda Ortiz (design and copyeditor) and Michele Chronister (second editor).
I excited about this upcoming week because:

1. It means I have journeyed toward complete healing from Depression, and I am putting those tools into your hands!

2. It means I can finally share my story from darkness into light... with you!

3. It means no more waiting- the time is here!

Please don’t wait- visit my webpage About My E-book to learn everything you wanted to learn and much more about this little endeavor taken on over the past several months, the concept being worked on for many years!

Here is a Q & A from my recent email inbox.  A sweet lady emailed to ask me about my experience with taking medication with, and having, children. Please read:



Hi Tacy,

I am a fellow Catholic mom who has always struggled with anxiety and recently depression. I have had a hard time accepting that I need to take medication for it, especially while pregnant, and reading your post has given me such comfort in knowing I am not alone with this matter. I wanted to thank you for writing it, even though it was 2 years ago. I took medication with my son and am going through a struggle of having to take it again while thinking about getting pregnant again. I don't want to have any risk of harming baby. Anything you can share with me that helped you with accepting that you need to take it while pregnant? I was considering of not taking it, but I am afraid I would have a relapse or cause too much stress to future baby. But the thought of taking it again also causes me to think baby could be put at risk. Anything you share with me about this difficult situation would be appreciated!!!

Thankful,


Your sister in Christ
~   ~  ~


Hi fellow sister in Christ,

Thanks for your message. I'm always pleased when a post or something I've written strikes a chord with someone. I try to meet people where they are, so it was good to hear that you "heard" the post in a very real way. And thanks for letting me know - that means a lot.

As for your question... Yes, I am still taking medication. It helps with some of the side effects of postpartum depression. I tried 3 or 4 different kinds and the medication I am taking is by far the best for me. It does make me sleepy, and it has some other minor side effects, but the research hasn't shown any bad effects on children (as far as I know~ that doesn't mean they won't discover something on down the road), and for me it is worth it to stay on something.

After enough time on meds, you figure out ways to cope with the side effects.  Talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist, not just your primary care or Ob-Gyn, although I know that those doctors can prescribe psychiatric medications.  I have both and that is not necessary, but my counselor tells me  to talk to my psychiatrist about the things that she cannot knowledgably address.

I'm working on writing an e-book about Depression, and medication is one of the things I'll be addressing. When it's done, I'll send you a link. I think everything I wrote there will be even more beneficial for someone who is in the thick of parenting babies/young toddlers and battling anxiety and/or depression.

God bless and I hope some of this helps. I'll add you to my intentions in my rosary!

-Tacy




Here is an excerpt from the About My E-book Page….

-I have been working on this e-book for years. I remember first being called to write it when my oldest, Molly (who is almost 8 years old) was a baby.*
-Simply put, if I can heal from Depression, you can, too.

Even if you are not Clinically Depressed, this books is for you if…

- you have a melancholic personality
- you sometimes struggle with acedia (spiritual sloth) or moments of sadness
- you are experiencing grief of some kind
- you are going through something painful or dramatic in your personal life
- you simply want to learn some coping skills for anxiety and depression, or you’re not sure what to do next in your own journey to mental health (be it some kind of counseling or medication, etc.)
- you are in recovery for some kind of addiction, or are looking for help with addiction to screens, drugs, alcohol, or anything at all.  Even partial addiction counts.


I have gone through Hell and it was *not for nothing…..”

read the rest Here

Please stay tuned this week for the availability to buy the e-book!

Have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments!

Friday, October 23, 2015

7 Books/ Book Series That I Almost Forgot About



7 Books/ Book Series I Almost Forgot About (That Would Make the Perfect Read-Aloud for Elementary-Age Kids)

I think when I was young, I was taught well to avoid books with "flowery language." Lately in the blogosphere and among friends, I have been hearing of a few titles in heavy rotation that are really good for Elementary-aged kids to read/read aloud.  I’ll admit that Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie, though favorites for sure and absolutely- are starting to sound repetitive. I do want my kids reading them, but I’m starting to feel like when someone mentions them, I’m like I KNOW {snore}. :-)~ I need some new ideas!

Recently I decided to branch out while we were at our local Public library. ;) This was based on a conversation with a few friends at church.  Here’s what we came home with, for my (almost) eight year old and five year old for reading/reading out loud.
Thus, I give you…

{7 books and/or book series I almost forgot about}

1. The *Old* Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene

I love a good Mystery.  Growing up, I read the Nancy Drew books cover to cover, and I had so much fun reading about this classy lady's adventures. Watch out for the new Nancy Drew- they're written by ghost writers, as the original author, Carolyn Keene, passed away.

2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Although many of us didn't read these until High School, these stories are laugh-out-loud funny, and make the perfect read-aloud. It will appeal to boys and girls. Watch out for some language. (Be prepared to skip over it, or substitute a nicer word for the "N" word.)

3. The Orphan Train Riders series by Andrew Warren

Straight out of the turn of the century in American history, these stories follow the orphans who were sent out West to find new homes or put to work.  Each story is based on history, and follows this fascinating trend in our country's history.

4. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

This is such a sweet story of a little girl who goes to live with her Aunt. She makes sweet friendships with the people in the town, and they make for such a sweet story, it will stay with you long after you have read it. Also, if you haven't, you can then watch the excellent old Disney film, starring Hayley Mills.

5. The Dear America series by Ellen Emerson White

Learn about our history by following these fascinating stories of children in America.  The events of our past come alive and are especially appealing to children. We got the one about a Navajo girl growing up on the mesa in New Mexico.

6. Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

This would be the perfect read-aloud as an after-dinner devotion each night. It's an excellent book with vivid descriptions and language.  You could follow up reading with a viewing of one of the movie versions of the book.

7. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

I've heard this book will bring little boys' imaginations to life!  I can't wait until Anders is old enough for this one. He will enjoy it, I'm sure.

Three more than didn't make the list: Mrs. Frisby of and the Rats of Nimh, Harriet the Spy, and Heidi are all really well-written.
Adding my link to Kelly @ This Ain't The Lyceum

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Top Five Tips For Better Bloggery



So, you're thinking of starting a blog?  Or perhaps you're hoping to make your blog better and/or grow your blog audience?  I'm no expert, but I have learned a thing or two over the past few years!  I recently had someone ask me to share my "all of my blogging wisdom" with them, and here's what I said: ...because when I had to narrow it down to just a few things, the most important things rose to the top like cream on milk.

1. Schedule posts a month in advance.

Yep, that's right. You've got to think ahead. Whenever the brainstorm bug really bites hard, open your calendar/planner/ical program.  Write down all of your post topic ideas in a Word or Textedit doc, then pencil them in as titles in your planner/ical.  As you come back to these Docs, you can add bullet points, quotations, questions, and other ideas for each post as it develops into something worthy of clicking "Publish."

2. Work toward your goals in small increments.

Does this mean edit photos on Monday, work on post titles on Tuesday, take pictures on Wednesday, or is there a less OCD way of doing things? ;)  You can do it a bit more naturally and organically than that, but do whatever makes you the most organized, efficient, productive, and sane! ;)

I knew a blogger once (me), who was so tempted by that Beautiful Publish Button, and the thrill of knowing that just a click away, a million people would be reading her stuff, that she hurried and rushed to push Publish on every post.

And then a million people didn't click.

...huh!!!! ;)

Once she (I) realized that the Publish Button wasn't really all it was cracked up to be, she learned how to slow waaaaay down.

Each piece of the blogging puzzle (editing, editing, editing, photos, brainstorming topics, editing photos, and more editing) should be approached very, very slowly... actually, slower than Christmas.  See each puzzle piece as a little adventure.

Do you need to do some research for a post? See that block of time doing research as a little adventure, and make as much time for it as you need!

3. Read a bunch! {Read everything}

The very best advice I can give you is to read, read, read.  Read a lot. Read widely, read incessantly. Read more books! ;) Honestly, I can give you any better advice than that.

I'm not talking specifically about research, here. I'm just talking about reading widely, so that you can keep your mind sharp, expand horizons, and increase creativity.

It makes a difference and it shows up. Read the newspaper, read articles from Twitter, read blogs in your Feedly or other feed reader, and of course, read lots and lots of books!

4. Read Even More! {Read lots of different kinds of books}
~Read Quality Motivational books

There are so many readable, helpful books out there. We are scared off from reading a lot of times, because we associate “reading a book” with working on a book for a few weeks before we see the last page.
The trick is to find books that you know you’ll love, as well as quick reads in combination with harder reads.  Self-help books very often fall into “readable” material, and although we like to put them in the “I don’t need that” pile, reading them just for the sake of finishing a book is a win-win: you accomplish something tangible, and you might just learn something in the process! Even if you know you're not going to love it, sometimes that's ok too. Read some books that you already know in advance you're not going to give 5 stars.  There's no fun in never not liking something!

~Read Writing books and/or autobiographies of famous people/writers

In addition to Self-Help or books in the Inspirational category, biographies and writing books are the next best (or even maybe THE best) categories for you. If you want to keep your chops, constantly learn more and seek out piles from the library. You will thank me. ;)

Every time I pick up a biography or a book on writing, I feel a deep confidence that I am doing something right. It doesn't just help with blogging, it helps with my life as a writer trying to be a better person.

5. Don't write when you're bitter. Just let the feeling pass you right on by.;)  Say, for example, that you want to take a cross-country road trip but you don't have the money for it.  It's a big turn-off to indulge those negative feelings.

The most important thing to remember is to stay balanced, so that you're feeling thankful in the middle of it all. Thankfulness is better than distractedness, every time!!

Happy Blogging!
adding my link to 5 Favorites. Thanks Jenna!! :-)

Monday, October 19, 2015

At Least I Care: Political Musings ... From Someone Who Doesn't Like Political Musings, In General

Rand Paul is an idiot. I mean, who does he think he is, running for President? It’s not like he has any forerunners to show him the ropes. His son recently got into some trouble. I mean, good grief. He should be at home recovering, not masking as a competent, experienced Senator who would be capable of the Presidency.  He doesn’t need to pretend to be a responsible person with a heart who cares about the unborn. If he’s going to be Pro-life, I mean goodness gracious… he should made steaming, tirading statements against all liberals (oh the hypocrisy) and beat his breasts in public for all the lost souls who would for a second attempt to be a politician for a second.  Am I being repetitive?;)  He shouldn’t make simple, understated and straightforward statements at Pro-life rallies. He should be so insanely crazy that people have to tell him to tone it down every time he opens his mouth! I mean, come on Rand Paul, who do you think you are, setting a higher standard for the other Republican and Democratic nominees?!

(and yes, if you’re wondering, I’m being a bit/ a lot satirical, a la...........;)

But enough funny business.

I really must say I have been really, deeply disappointed to see the silence in the blogosphere related to Politics.  I myself have become very apolitical in the last five or ten years.  Ha- that's like all of my adulthood. And it's funny... people in my generation have had Barack Obama as our President for most of the entirety of our adulthood. Huh. I guess that just means that I am still a youngster.

But you know what?! I would love to click over to some of my favorite blogs and see the writers and readers engaging the current political campaigns. A few bloggers are very brave about political issues, which is good, but not always helpful... a few are a little too inflammatory, a few are really helpful, and a very few make me proud. Those few are the reason I'm going to take a stab at courage today and speak my mind about some very intense issues.

The thing is, our Republican campaign is dire, from my perspective. We have someone dominating the polls who, though he may be a charismatic or at least dynamic speaker, a good businessman, and have a lot of power and fame, is a vacuous, empty person with no morals. If I woke up everyday with the knowledge that Donald Trump was my President, I would curl up into a ball and start crying on my doorstep. On the other hand, if Hilary Clinton were my President, I would know that a looot of the money in our government was going into the hands of people who excuse the ongoing murder of the unborn.

No.

At least, as my husband pointed out, Donald Trump would have Republican leadership in Washington, and would have some people on his side who would actually be Pro-Life and care about Pro-Life and Conservative issues and ideals. I agree with those who have called him an egomaniac and a dishonest politician. But even then, we could still be chipping away at the Culture of Death, in a sort of circuitous way, although it would be better to end it altogether. Trump is not a good candidate, but he is not (as) Pro-Death as Clinton would be, simply because our government would be in the Pro-Life camp, that is to say, right now, Republican.

That having been said, I think there are MUCH (much, much, much) better Republican candidates running. Unfortunately, they are underdogs, which simply means - excuse me for stating the obvious- that they don't have as much money being pumped into their campaigns.  But guess what. We can change that. One wealthy person could literally turn someone's campaign around. If one wealthy person gave a generous donation to someone like Rand Paul, or someone else, guess what?! He wouldn't be an underdog any longer.

Let's put our money where our mouths are.  Let's find a candidate who will stand up against the machine of madness that currently puts a ton of money in the pockets of murderers, which thusly contributes to the vacuous, empty culture that we have at hand. Let's support someone who attends Pro-Life Marches and even goes so far as to speak at them.  This man has something that Trump doesn't have: a conscience. A desire to end the madness of death factories that keep our culture selfish and vacuous and empty.

We can turn this political apathy in our culture around. The question is-- will we?!

Is it possible to have an unheated argument, rather, discussion about this issue and these people? If it is, please weigh in with your thoughts in the comments. ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Guest Post @ Someday Saints~ Two Saints Who Help Our Children Embrace the Passion of Catholicism

I am so honored that Gina is hosting me for a guest post today over at Someday {Hopefully They'll Be} Saints

{to read it @ Someday Saints click here}

Two Saints Who Help Our Children Embrace the Passion of Catholicism: 
St. Catherine and St. Therese

G.K. Chesterton once said, "Tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." And I have to admit, in raising kids, one question perpetually on my mind is this: How do we raise them to understand, embrace, and act upon their passion for their faith? How do we raise them with conviction?

There are two saints perfect for this job. And in order to go about knowing these saints, we can do three things: we can ask them to pray for us, we can learn about them, and we can have a special devotion to them.  These are simple things, but they add so much to the life of faith in our home and our children's understanding of and trust in Jesus!

The two patron saints for my children's passion for Catholicism are St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Therese of Liseux.

Learning about St. Catherine (1347-1380) will teach our children many things. It will teach them conviction, because she wrote to public and political leaders about the underbelly of sin and crime in her Italian city. She took action, did a lot of writing during her lifetime, and this effort at being an ambassador of the faith definitely reaped great rewards! She brought the papacy back to Rome, many believe, through her scorching correspondence with Pope Gregory XI.  Second, in learning about St. Catherine our children can learn compassion, because time and time again, she took mercy on the sick. She nursed back to health several people with such repulsive illnesses, no one else would come to their aid! Finally, learning about St. Catherine will teach our children passion. She was constantly using her gifts for evangelism to be a living apologetic to the young leaders and noblemen in her city.

Learning about St. Therese of Liseux (1873-1897) will teach our children many things, as well. First, this saint can help our kids to really seek Jesus, as we can see from her family life that they had a deep friendship and living faith in their Lord. Her own parents are the second from a family to be canonized as a couple! This will show them how to seek first his Kingdom, just as St. Therese did when she accepted the call at a very young age- 15 years old!-  to enter the convent!  Second, it will help our kids on the journey to deny apathy, and to embrace forgiveness and faith in their daily life! The relationships we saw flourishing at the monastery in Carmel, with her fellow nuns, teach us about this life of friendship and living faith.  Thirdly, by engaging in daily devotion, our children can learn from the Little Flower about living her "little way"~ to do the will of Jesus and God! In this they will embrace the daily mortification, accepting aspersion without regret!

My intention for this year is to meditate upon some of these virtues with my children: faith, conviction, passion, devotion, forgiveness.  I hope to teach them to pray special rosaries with intentions of the adherence to these virtues. I hope the novena of the Little Flower will be of some help in their journey of faith.

It is profound that these two women, who sought to be last in the Kingdom of Heaven, are both canonized saints, and Doctors of the Church!!!

May God bless you as you journey with your children  toward the love of faith in Jesus Christ!

Friday, October 16, 2015

INFP For the Win (Or: Personalities and Parenting: 7 Reasons Why You Should Know Your Personality Type Before You Have Kids) ~ 7 Quick Takes



I’m an INFP and Type 7 on the Enneagram charts.  That means I’m Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving, and I’m called an Enthusiast by Enneagram enthusiasts. ;) I’m in good company with being INFP- I know of at least three- but not sure about other Type 7’s in the blogosphere. For more quick references for understanding personalities typing/types/your type, see my Personalities Pinterest board> there are a few really helpful at-a-glance graphics there.

In addition to Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram, also like to make the personality distinction between sanguine and melancholic, two terms a trusted friend of mine used to use to sum up most people she knew.  If you were sanguine, according to her, you were happy-go-lucky type, able to see the positive in anything, and not easily bothered or tethered by others’ emotions, or your own, for that matter.  This personality type makes positions of leadership or “getting the job done” natural.  The optimism associated with this personality type causes some to have consistency and diligence.

Melancholic types, on the other hand, are often easily worn out, perhaps not leader types, who get sidetracked by emotions or sensitivity to others’ emotions, making “showing up to the job” tiring and difficult, at times.  I am, of the two terms, much more easily identified with melancholic, or tendency to sadness or feeling sad. I think that some people believe a certain training can change your type, but the truth is, if it’s your personality, you will probably always bear characteristics of sanguine or melancholic types.

What are the characteristics of the Melancholic Enthusiast INFP type, and why is it important to know and get a handle on your own specific type before having kids?  If you didn't find out your personality type until recently, don't despair- you can still catch up!

(1) For when you’re in labor and stuffff/stuph…

When I was in labor most recently, in early labor, all I wanted to do was listen to my iPhone podcasts.  Being a highly sensitive INFP (Emphasis on the P- perceiving- in this case), I could perceive that my nurse midwife was not happy.  You could cut awkward tension with a knife, from my viewpoint. I found it exhausting, while other personality types (i.e. my husband) would find it boring, but not emotionally charged or changed by others’ words or attitude.

(2) For when your newborn infant is needy…

A highly intuitive and perceiving person has a complex personality and will easily be overwhelmed by a newborn baby.  The desire for perfection, for sensing her child’s every need, will easily become a temptation to exhaustion. On the bright side, this type of Mother’s Personality is never bored.

(3) For when you go to the playground and the other Moms be like: “Whassssup”…

An introverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving will want all to be perfect, because she lives in ideals. However, her shortcoming is most definitely over-analysis and a tendency to feel withdrawn in certain social situations, in particular, public places where strangers abound. This tendency/problem is often and frequently compounded by tiredness and/or hormones.  Basically, taking your kids to the crowded playground is akin to the INFP’s (and just in general, the introvert's) worst nightmare.

(4) For when you’re trying to understand your toddler’s antics…

In this case, an INFP may have an edge up.  That’s because this personality, despite its drawbacks and melancholy, is very creative.  She might have ideas for new apps to download for her toddler. She may be good at coming up games and love to have fun with her toddler…. at home, in peace. With a few really good books and some simple toys or dare I say it, a game of cars or trucks or even trains. But sometimes, you just want to curl up in a ball in the bathroom with a tub of ice-cream, and y’know, when it’s time to take a break, that’s okay too. ;)

(5) For when you discuss your kids’ behavior with your spouse…

and you want to (see number 4). No really, for prep to an in-depth discussion, you might spend hours reading or searching online. This is because you are an Enthusiast/Idealist, and so you're committed to being the best Mom you can be, and you're willing to risk everything to get there.

(6) For when your newly minted Preschooler wants Mommy to come on a field trip...

and you’re like Okaaaaay… but your reticent and reserved nature makes you really just want to hide.  You might do it anyway (because you have to), but it means exercising your unnatural friendly muscles and being strong in many of the areas where you are weak.

(7) For when your second grader wants to attend every birthday party known to man...

and you experience the feeling that you want to retreat into yourself, then go grab a coffee and sit there with a book for several hours!  Making friends isn't impossible for your personality type, it might just look different from the next talkative Mom working a room at a birthday party!  A quiet leader is a leader and a friend, just the same. She just looks different from your typical leader and friend.

The golden rule of Personalities & Parenting is  Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.

Based on THIS MEME I’m very inspired to stick to this writingnthing. I considered doing Nanowrimo again this year, because I need to have something “for me” …. something for my down time. However, I have several personal goals I'm trying to stick to this year, so it will have to wait another year!
adding my link to Kelly @ This Ain't The Lyceum

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#31Days~ 31 Days of Drinks!

For October, I decided to 'gram a drink a day for #31 Days of Drinks #31daysofinstagram. If you're wondering why I'm doing this, the answer is "just for fun!"
So for the first week of October, I wanted to give up my second cup of coffee. I am trying to break my habit of two doses of caffeine in the morning.


Here are some things that made the instagram roll this month thus far…
-coolata
-OJ
-decaf hot tea
-Shirley Temple



My five favorite drinks so far are probably
1. Homemade juice ~ this carrot celery apple orange was really good, and it was a hit with my kids!

2. Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I've gotten one this month- my one caffeine cheat in the morning. And it was so good!
3. Einstok- an icelandic beer, you have to try this if you haven't!
4. Chai tea latte, always chai tea latte (big train is a great brand)
5. Taking a sip of my girls' Shirley Temple brought back a bunch of memories!

For the second week of October, I decided to see where it led me, and by day 2 I was ready for a second cup of coffee!  I indulged, but after my nonfat Pumpkin Spice Latte with whip, I was back on the bandwagon the next day.

Week two, I decided to see how healthy I could possibly be.  What else can I drink in the morning besides caffeinated beverages? I'm looking at you, kombucha.

Here are some other ideas that were abandoned:
-almond milk
-water bottles (we love mineral water)
-fizzy drinks
-homemade decaf lattes
-smoothies

For the third week of October, I decided to do #tacysfaves

I don’t want to spoil it for you 'grammers out there, but I’ll say I might have to do something creative so that I’m not buying vodka on a Monday with five kids in tow. ;) Bloody Mary, the things I do for you. ;)
linking up with Jenna @ Call Her Happy

Monday, October 12, 2015

Why I Dislike the 'Life is Good' Motto


There are a lot of things I appreciate and I am thankful for in this modern age, and my iPhone is one of them.  I've heard complaint that the new instagram pictures popping up on Facebook are "depressing" or "too hipster" or "grainy"~ read: just not clear and clean enough for the well-trained eye.  Honestly, though, when I see perfect pictures of seemingly perfect people, it stresses me out. The "Keep it Real" motto that I held onto when feeling threatened by the beast of perfectionism was like a dolphin swimming at me in a sea full of sharks. I'll instagram to that. ;)

It makes me think about the late nineties. Sometime in the late nineties, I started seeing brightly colored bumper stickers with the logo “Life is Good.”  Nothing against the makers of these fine logos, but I remember thinking that in comparison with most of the world's suffering, and even my own small teenage version of strife, the way they struck me was glib: vacuous, empty, neon colored “happiness,” more likely than not, as a reactionary methodology against the dark/emo trends that, I would argue, were simultaneously making hipsters "happy," or at least conditioned for trial in a deeper and more satisfying way.

Hap-what? Yes. As those middle-aged van-driving peeps starting touting the “Life is Good” manual, they were willing themselves into a living bubble: stripping themselves of an all-important concept that has an interesting connection to the new instagram pics: the soulful, mournful tunes were cathartic in a way.  They were keeping emo hipsters… cough, cough… me in line, in a unique-to-certain-American-cities-vibe way. I believe that need to grieve and bleed was an anchor for our sad souls, not an idol. It helped us to face the young adult strife, and boldly fight the battles against rejection or envy with renewed energy.

Why did the emo trend happen? It was, in addition to helping us embrace the daily messiness and the daily fight against the glib-glib, perhaps deeply tied to the Hippie movement. It was the sad, but I would argue, deeply necessary period of repercussion for the wildness of our parents’ generation. We listened to Simon and Garfunkel a generation too late, and guess what? “The Sound of Silence” made us sad, too.  But it also helped.

When I got into Death Cab for Cutie’s album "Transatlanticism," the Red House Painters, and Ben Folds Five’s song “Brick,” (about his abortion with his girlfriend), I needed it.

No really.... Why?

~Sad music helped me to know that I wasn’t alone.  I not only had camaraderie with the artists, I had fellowship and a connection with my friends.

~Sad music became for me a way of dealing with the pain and real grief I was experiencing in my own personal life.... despite the warnings from well-meaning friends and mentors, that offered the exhortation: "certainly the reason you are depressed is because of the depressing music you listen to!"

~Sad music didn’t make me depressed- it cured what ailed me.  Joining the ranks of artists that  had gone before me, and artists living in the same world as me, currently, made me hope for something deeper and more tangible that I could sink my teeth into.

There is a song that was very popular on the radio and was made popular again by the recent "Muppet Movie."  It goes, “We built this city… on rock ’n roll.”

One of the best lines from the song credits several cities for being "this city" that was built upon rock-n-roll.

(I'm looking out over that Golden Gate bridge on another gorgeous sunny Saturday and I'm seein' that bumper to bumper traffic.)

(Here's your favorite radio station, in your favorite radio city, the city by the bay, the city that rocks, the city that never sleeps.)

The song credits the city with the Golden Gate bridge (San Francisco,) the bumper to bumper traffic (Chicago), the radio city (Cleveland, OH) the city by the bay (again, San Francisco), the city that rocks (Nashville), the city that never sleeps (New York City).

In other words, the USA was built on rock-n-roll. It has been a mainstay of our culture as long as we've been around.

This music has contributed to our culture, and it is our culture. It has given gifted people a chance to record what’s in their hearts. It has made legends.  Rock ’n roll has come, and it is here, and guess what? It’s not going anywhere. It’s here to stay.  Perhaps if we could hear and listen to more music by artists who were able to blend the happy and the sad a little better- yeah Mozart, but also bands such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and yes, dare I say it, Death Cab... we might just be in for a catharsis that's truly good for us.  And as for everyone else, I hope your life is good... real good. ;)
adding my link to the ACWB

Thursday, October 8, 2015

PHFR~ It's a Lemon

~Pretty~

As you might expect, we're really enjoying our darling new addition, and yes, after 4 weeks, I am thoroughly exhausted! 
But look at how cute this little addition is!

She is full of sweetness and will certainly oblige her sisters in all.of.the.cuteness.

~Happy~

Madeleine is especially enjoying all of the one-on-one time with her while the older two are at school.

Although this week is Fall Break, so... ;)

And this (past) week we also celebrated Frances' fifth birthday! So hard to believe! (I know I say that at every birthday, but seriously!! ) Five sounds *so* old. And she is very proud to be five! She announces it to strangers at the playground, so you know it's got to be big! ;)

She got a lemonade maker/handheld juicer (not pictured) for her birthday, and we made homemade lemonade!



yummy!


I know... sooo impressive/impressed. Whew!! ;)


pretty.



~Funny~

She also got this miniature lemonade set for her dolls. LOL.


~Real~

After everyone in the blogosphere mentioned, read, and/or recommended it, I just finished reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up cover to cover, over the course of the last four or five days.

While I found much of it helpful- ideas and inspiration for getting my house and myself in order once again- I think over all it is not going to be one of my all-time favorite books, even of this year.

I honestly can see myself going two ways with it.


-you have to read this!
-I can’t recommend it to you enough!
-here, take my copy so you’re not living in the dark any longer!

but on the other hand, I’m thinking…

-this is a fad!
-this is simply the latest craze!
-didn't her years as a Shinto Shrine princess contribute to the heresies of Eastern religion throughout the book...?!

See, the thing is, I understand that "thanking" your possessions has a way of giving you permission to toss them. But I have this feeling that fads are often the result of - or are loosely tied to- idols in one's culture and in the world.

In it, she claims that as a child, she didn’t have many hobbies, aside from reading magazines.  When she started to study, she had a compulsion to clean, and her grades were terrible. When cleaning and tidying became her favorite hobby, she started throwing away her family members’ things and then lying about it… (?!)

She does say this was foolish, yet she has no shame declaring that her love for tidying... and her respect for possessions rivals or even exceeds that of human beings! (She mentioned this outright at one point in the book).

At first, I thought that her way of “talking to things” was a fascinating metaphorical language.  I wasn’t weirded out by her method of bowing down before houses and possessions before tidying them… simply because I thought it was “cute.”  Aw, she talks to her stuff. What a unique and clever method!  (Thinking: it doesn’t mean anything beyond a clever tactic for “selling” her method- and hey, what’s wrong with that?)

As I continued reading, she continued explaining why she thanks her possessions for their role in her life and for “a job well done” at the end of the day, just as a famous athlete worships the right equipment needed for his sport. I started to feel a little freaked out.

I might as well say, “Thanks pillow, for bearing my spittle. You’re a true warrior princess.” Now I will throw you away…. *cough, cough* …*discard* you.

But talking to my pillow would be ridiculous. And frankly, that’s just what this book is. It’s ridiculous. It’s a fad. It’s an ideology based on a series of tricks she has used to motivate herself and her clients - ultimately for the sake of promoting her unique “brand” .... and her way of speaking is motivational and convincing (You have to try my method, you will never rebound, your life is about to change, etc) - just like any fad before it.

But our possessions and our fads should not bear this much weight. They shouldn’t rival our people.

Go ahead— disagree! I know some people will! That happens any time a strong opinion is asserted. But be forewarned- I am not on the fence, I will never talk to my possessions.  I think she’s weird.  ;)

Adding my link to Like Mother, Like Daughter

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our Family's Screen Manifesto



I've read some really good Screen posts* recently.  At a critical and sensitive juncture that is adjusting to our School and Fall schedule, I decided our family needed some things in writing regarding Screen Time. We all enjoy our screen time, me included. I have arranged that for M-F, from the hours of 10am- until 6am the next day, our internet shuts off.  I'm not able to connect to wifi except via iPhone. My kids can still play iPad, but that's where this manifesto comes in. Thus, I give you our "Screen Manifesto."  We have had these rules in place since early September, and by the way- it is going really well.

Here is what we've been doing:

(1)
For Molly (age 7 1/2)
- No TV on school nights
- Special Movie on Friday nights with popcorn and pizza, and her choice of candy, and/or ice-cream for dessert. ;)
- 30 min. iPad or computer games on school days, if all of her homework is completed

Right now, I bring a snack and drink for her to enjoy on the way home from school.  If I forget, it's usually a frosty or a muffin from drive-thru, or a snack from the gas station pit stop.  I know she could wait, but it's a tradition now, and then we don't worry about snack when we get home.  She has to sit down right away and show me what her homework is for the day.  It's habit. She usually does her homework right away so that she can earn iPad time.

(2)
For Frances and Madeleine (3 & 4 1/2)
-30 minutes screen time in the morning (this gives me a chance to take a shower or get some chores done)
-30 min. iPad during rest time if desired, IF their chores are completed

(3)
Anders (2)
-30 minutes screen time in the morning

Baby Annabel
- None  ;-)~

Explanation: Anders naps, and the girls sometimes get restless and frankly, I need a nap. Giving them an iPad to play games for 30 minutes won’t hurt them!

(4)
Shenanigans: Now I know that this screen problem is somewhat unique to our day and age. Never before have screens been so abundant, with iPads, iPhones, TV, and the internet, all vying for our attention.

As always, this is not “set in stone.”  We haven't followed it perfectly. If we have a hard day, I reserve the right to put on a whole movie at a random time.

part 2: Sometimes the kids watch 45 minutes in the morning. If so, I will take away their iPad time in the afternoon and do something constructive with them instead.

If the kids want to balk or challenge the system or the rules, we can discuss it at a family meeting but not “right now.”

The screen should be the ultimate collateral, because it can be too powerful and end up being unhealthy.  I also reserve the right to use snacks, treats, or a trip to the dollar store as incentives and/or leverage for good behavior.  ;)

(5)
for further reading:
Kelly has one with a contract (!!!!) and it is so good:

A Screen Time Contract; For When You Really Mean Business

Here is a good one at Catholic Sistas, written by Martina Kreitzer that addresses the issue a little bit further down the parenting road:

Confessions of the Original Online Junkie: One Does Not Simply Let Teens Play on the Internet

adding my link to Jenna's 5 Favorites

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Thing About Prayer


A few months back, I wrote a post entitled True Belief and True Repentance.  In it, I argued that the holy life must be guarded by the graces of faith and confession.

Today I'm going back to the topic of faith, because I think it is so closely tied to this question.  Do we trust blindly?  How do we find direction, what does faith have anything to do with it? It's a heavy one. And so, I want to tag on another essentialism for the life of true faith. And that, friends, would be the importance of prayer.

Can we ever stop praying?

Let me make a caveat. It is hard to write about stuff like this. What if I put all of these feelings about prayer out there, only to get disappointed or even...gasp.... hurt by the response? Or, on another hand, what if I stay silent? Silence is-unfortunately- almost always the thing to do and the automatic response I see among friends and colleagues on the internet and on places like Facebook and Twitter. It feels awkward at best to broach the subject.

But that brings me to an important question.... should we speak? Should we pray? And while we're at it, what is meant by prayer, anyway? And what's the difference between talking about the "prayer life" as a Catholic and "prayer life" as a non-Catholic?

Speaking with a group of IRL friends just two days before I had Annabel, we talked a little bit about prayer.

I was eating delicious Hazelnut Buttercreams at a fancy local coffee shop, a friend brought up  her need for more prayer in her own life. I shoved the last bite of my treat in my mouth and said, “I know my prayer life hasn’t been very good lately.... I’ve been anxious. And very, very irritable!” I'm sure it wasn't just the hormones making me grumpy.  Laughing, (and obviously without a clue as to how my birth with Annabel would actually go), we all began to share about this very personal aspect of our lives.
The Shrine of the Virgin of the Poor in New Hope, TN

We talked about the various habits among our group of friends. One friend- a cradle Catholic- said she would add our baby to her “nightly rosary.” Another Mom- a convert- said that praying the rosary at an Adoration chapel was such a sweet respite and a time of peace in the midst of her hectic schedule as a Mom with some kids in school and some at home. A third friend- also a convert- encouraged us to pray a novena in honor of the Blessed Mother together... not in person, but yet in unity. It was a refreshing conversation, with some very cool friends whom God has in my life right now. I have been blessed with some great friends and an even greater community in my town.

And I noticed something while we were sipping decaf coffee together that night. Talking about prayer is totally different when you’re Catholic.  We don’t “take prayer requests,” we ask for “intentions.” We don’t do ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication,) we pray novenas. We do not usually say things like, “Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to come be with us, for where two or more are gathered in his name…” we say, “Hail Mary.”

To Pray or Not to Pray

But... that's the thing about prayer. Prayer is just as much and every bit as essential a part of our lives. Yes, we pray to Mary- that her intercession to the Father would cry out on our behalf. Yes, we pray to the saints- that their intercession and the patron saint- of whatever our ailment- would cry out to God. Because they are holy men and women, their prayers are "powerful and effective."  We need prayer.  And let's take it further: we need to be praying people, because as God's people, we need guidance. In a world where Bill Nye and the public school system (or, the secular forms of "science" in this modern age) are teaching our kids that Life isn't Sacred, we need to be praying people. It's not a choice.

And guess what? It’s not crazy, either. Prayer isn't wacko. A few years ago, I would have been (and was) totally weirded out by all of this. Hail Mary... what? What in the world did it mean, does it mean, why in the world does it matter to me? In light of Pope Francis coming to visit our country, I feel like it is my rightful duty- or at least in my best interest- to explain our crazy not crazy ways. It is different, but it is every bit as beautiful, humbling, and powerful as a Catholic to pray as it was a Protestant.  And to do so with a Communion of Saints- here in our body of believers on earth, and with those who are already in Heaven- it’s really something, Watson.

I’m thankful and blessed to be a part of this huge, beautiful Catholic community here in my city, and abroad in the world. In my experience, my own is a sweet little spot, a wonderful smattering of real community and real friendship. As we link our hearts to the world and to our Catholic history, may we impact and evangelize with our witness, and may we change the world through our prayers.

How can I pray better?

* Bookmark the mysteries of the rosary.
* For those learning how to pray the rosary, bookmark this page.
* In daily life, apply your struggles to the mysteries. For example, if you are struggling with a hard situation, such as envy or bitterness, pray The Sorrowful Mysteries with the intention of this difficult person, friend, situation, or experience.
* If you have a desire to pray, with no specific intention, or if your family wants to do a nightly rosary ..."as suggested by the Pope St. John Paul the Great, the Joyful mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday, the Luminous on Thursday, the Sorrowful on Tuesday and Friday, and the Glorious on Wednesday and Sunday (with this exception: Sundays of Christmas season - The Joyful; Sundays of Lent - Sorrowful." (fromrosary center.org)

And instead of being frozen into silence, let's open up, for the sake of the New Evangelization, praying that we would have guidance in the how and in the why of sharing, and in the how often. I feel like if I stay silent about the things that matter most to me,  am I allowing myself to be held hostage by fear? Finding a way to write about it is preferable, from where I'm standing. Finding a way to speak my thoughts is better. But ever, I write. And I have to write about what is important to me, be it motherhood, wifehood, my interests, or my faith. Because I have learned from the past that saying something about prayer is better than saying nothing about prayer. And so, I speak.

What do you think?  Should we continue praying to discern the right course of action in the public sphere?