Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Showing Off Summer Mom Gift Exchange~ and an announcement!





This is what I love about blogging. Exchanges, giveaways, new friends and all the fun that goes with that! :0)  Ok, guys. I lucked out *totally* with this gift exchange. I got to do the exchange with the incredibly fun Amanda Bullard, from the blog.... CCK (Cardio, Carb, and a Keyboard:)

She gets me (or she got me) with this package.

She got me a mug, beautiful notepads, (with a beautiful message), Audrey Hepburn OPI nail polish, lovely-smelling bodywash, and a very sweet and thoughtful note!
****

I absolutely love the mug "Choose Joy," and as I've been using it, I've been thinking about how a lot of times I really need this reminder. We Moms have so much to be thankful for; we shouldn't ever let bitterness, frustration, anger, or jealousy get us down!

I also want to say that she read my mind with this nail polish. I've been a HUGE Breakfast at Tiffany's fan for as long as I can remember, and I have also been looking for a new brand that doesn't peel off. AMANDA-- FOR THE WIN! go check her out! :) haha :^}

Thank you! - So so much!
and now... for-realz hop over to Amanda's blog to find out what I gifted her! :)

***
... fun! I get to announce the winner of the little giveaway I hosted a week ago on my blog.
And the winner is...
{scroll down}

Lindsay of the blog Lindsay's Sweet World.
Congrats!
I will be in touch with you lady! :)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Weekly Minutiae vol. 20 (!!!!)


Iiiiiiit's ba-ack!  Ok... yay! Yay, guys! I'm so excited about this, because I haven't done a WM post like this since Anders was a baby. Wow.  I've really missed it. As I was going through and reading old posts, I started to notice that I really "found my voice" while I was doing these posts. (Remember when I read Schmemman's For the Life of the World and quoted it up?! #bumpfeast lol) The fact that I stopped doing Weekly Minutiae is odd to me now, although I can see why I did back then, because they were "myself when I am real" more than any other type of post on this blog.

So I decided to harness that, and move forward with my blog from there.  The general trajectory of the posts is slightly to-be-determined, but it will probably be mainly more of the same-- what we did, silly things about the kiddos, bookish talk, and the like . And always, always, cute pics of my kiddos. Fun! I hope you'll join me.
#filters #fun ;-) ;-) ;-)

So onto this week's minutiae! (pronounced min-oo-shuh).



This routine is what's keeping us sane this Summer. And no, this isn't what I did yesterday, this is actually what I/we do everyday.  I started exercising again now that I'm nearly #6weekspostpartum. So hard to believe, I really thought the day would never come. ;-)

This is the kids' routine. The mastermind behind the screentime rules is the blessed Gina of Someday Saints. It has been keeping my kids in line and when I say this is working, *this is really working.* I love it.



I have to back up to Saturday,  because the girls returned home from camp in Nashville, and Molly and I talked about it.

Me: How was Young Scholars?
Molly: I made one friend named Amira.
Me: What did you take?

I took Color my world, is like a drawing class except it's like a crayon class, where you melt crayons and make really cool things... like new different colored crayons. Remember when we did that once? Ok, and Tuesday we made candles with melted crayons, and another day, we made play-doh with color from melted crayons!

I took Meet the American girls. We talked about Felicity's time and colored a picture. This time we made candles the  old-fashioned way by dipping a string into wax. On one of the days we had "proper day" ... we played a game where you eat cake, and whoever gets the bean hides a ring and we all look for it. We also learned a dance, kind of like do-si-do.

Me: that sounds REALLY fun. What else did you do or take?

Molly: One of the classes was called Snack Attack, where you make a really healthy snack, and then you eat it, and then after that, you make a smoothie out of fruits and vegetables, and on Friday we made a cookbook of all the things we made, and it was REALLY fun.


Frances' sculpture from Young Scholars


My other class was Drawing... and Drawing... is drawing. You just draw everyday. It is REALLY fun. On one day, I made a pin wheel. Frances did Clay Creations, so you should ask her about that.  (Frances also took some of the same classes as Molly!)

And that's all she wrote! ;-)  Thanks, Molly, for this recap from camp. 
(I asked her questions and wrote down what she said.... I'm a super really fast typer like dat ;-)  It sounds like they stayed incredibly busy everyday! ;-)

As for the rest of the week...
I kept the littles busy while the older two were at VBS. We had a Father's Day bonfire, which was a blast, and I took the kids around town- namely Aldi and the downtown library during morning hours.

As for bookish talk...

I'm really enjoying listening to Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (sister of the writer of Jane Eyre-->Charlotte).  I'm loving being back into Librivox, but I'm finding it a bit dreary, to be honest. But, I'll stick with it. I've tried reading it about 2-3 times in the past, and I always wanted to like it...  I think the audiobook might be the answer for me, in this case!



@ tacy williams beck. com



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crafting Our Way Through Summer (Art With Children)~ Wed.



We all know that boredom can be the bane of Summer, next only to the complaints we hear from our children when they're listless from said boredom!  I have been hustling to find good options to keep my girls busy on those dog days, which are sure to come!

As I have been putting together this post, I have really felt a pull to type into the Pinterest search engine "art" rather than "craft." I have been so pleased with what I have found. There may be no going back to "crafts," because art with kids is always so beautiful, and I'm much more likely to frame them than I would with crafts! For you, I have tried to corral the most Summery, beautiful crafts, and I hope to help you turn them into art that you might want to keep long term!!

The fun thing about doing a week of crafts is that you can add a little "special snack" and it feels like camp!

I set up stations for the kids, so that they can get working on one craft and that way, take turns sharing the materials.  We had one station for the "Craft of the day," and three other stations, which included coloring books, stickers, art pad + markers and other coloring materials.

You could also do a "cutting station" and a "gluing station." Another way would be to do multiple crafts on one day, and each station has the materials for one craft. That way, they're not all begging for the glue at the same time! ;-)

Here are our artistic pursuits for the week:

Monday: Sun Craft (art)

For this project, we turned to watercolor paintbrushes, such as these.

Tuesday: Sandcastle Craft

For this, all that is needed is glue and sand!

Wednesday: Watermelon art

For our watermelon craft, you'll need shaving cream, food coloring, and glue.

Thursday: Ice-cream craft

All that is needed is tissue paper and glue!

Friday: Camping craft

For this, you will need construction paper, gluing material, and perhaps stickers, markers, and mixed media.


Here are our snack ideas: (I did not link to each snack, but if you're interested in the photos above, you can look them up using these key words in the Pinterest search engine):

Monday: teddy bear jello pool

Tuesday: Under the sea graham crackers

Wednesday: rainbow fruit cup or....

these! i wont judge...


Thursday: ice-cream cones

Friday: s'mores (to go with the camping craft!!)

Now, if you're still bored... there is a great youtube channel that I suggest you subscribe to, called Katie Knutson.  She's an amazing art teacher who does art tutorials!  These are pretty easy, you don't need a lot of extra special materials, and her teaching is clear and easy to follow! Check it out:)
happy happy ;-)

I hope this post inspires you to organize your own Summer Art Camp! Have fun!!!!! ;-) Now, definitely go check out the other gals who have posts up about Summer:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Giveaway time!

Hey friends! Today I'm so excited to tell you about a fun summer giveaway I'm hosting here on my website. I have two books for you today, and I want to put *you* in the running to receive these on your doorstep!

All you need to do in order to win is to follow me, then come back and tell me in the comments.




Here's the full rundown:
-Like me on any social media channels
-That could be instagram, twitter, or facebook (and let's be real, does anyone actually use googleplus? Didn't think so.)
-You can like me on googleplus if you want to (ha, ha)
-See my blue social media buttons for easy access and follow--->
-Come back here and leave me a comment, telling me you did so
-You will be entered to win!


Easy as pie.

Now, what is in the giveaway, you ask?
-A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot
&
-The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
-A Mother's Rule of Life is one of the best books I have ever read, especially when it comes to homemaking with kids. Pierlot is a homeschooling mother, and she discusses her way of adopting a "rule," much like the orders of monasteries and convents.  She follows her little rule of prayer, and she integrates that into her mothering and homemaking. It's brilliant, really! If you know me, then you know I *love* giving away my favorite books. This is definitely one of those, which means I'll be buying this one again! ;-)

-The Blue Castle would be the perfect nightstand Summer reading. It is clever, beautifully written, and it comes to you from the same author as Anne of Green Gables. I love it. Can't go wrong!

If you already follow me on social media, you can still participate in this giveaway! Like me on another social media channel. If you already follow all of my channels, just let me know in the comments, and you will also be entered to win. If you aren't interested in the books, you can still like or follow me all over on social media! I hope we stay in touch my friends!! :-) ;-)

And I hope you get the goods! ;-)

Friday, June 16, 2017

I Talked To A Priest About Marriage... Here's What He Said



1. complimentarity of the sexes

2. showing light to our children

3. being humble about yelling/anger and not lying

4. forgiveness everyday

5. be careful how you witness

6. divorce, annullment, and everything in between

7. clinging to hope and peace

I hope that helps

More information can be found by reading John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

#hopeandpeace
#always

~by the way, as I mentioned on Tuesday of this week, I'll be retiring from link-ups starting next Tuesday. Please join me by liking my facebook page and you'll be entered to win my big giveaway! **More details on next Tuesday's post**
linking with Kelly

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Couple of Announcements~ Mostly Blog Related!




Today, I just have a couple of Announcements -- (some of the important variety, some not really at all)

--We decided ballet was worth the financial sacrifice. The company our girls dance with is fantastic. We don't have to worry about dances being tasteless, and even beyond that, the caliber of the dancing is absolutely top-notch. #thankful

--I have decided that I will not longer be participating in (any?) link-ups.*

Explanation: I have wanted to move my blog in this direction for YEARS.  I have added my blog to link-ups to improve community, interaction, and pageviews.  It worked.  But now, I'm going to experiment with not adding my links to parties, and see how it goes for a temporary amount of  time.

Further reasoning: Upon viewing my stats, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that *most* of my hits were coming from Google. Second after that was facebook.

I feel like my creative energy is stifled by link-ups. I want to do my own thing more often (most of the time) and for now, this is the best way to move in that direction.

The search for more pageviews can be frenetic.  It is a frantic, frenzied desire for always more. The only way that I see out of it is to participate in far less link-ups.

One thing that's exciting about all of this is that I know who my audience (really) is now. I have readers who have kept with me from various communities I've participated in online. 

me with my family- all except my sister (+family) on the West coast 

Recently someone asked if I've done any guest posts, and the truth is-- all of my posts are "guest posts" in a certain sense. My readership has carried over from Catholic Mom and Real Housekeeping days. I have friends online from Catholic Mommy, and the Association of Catholic Women Bloggers. The fact that I built readership from those communities and more means that I'm still "writing for them," in a very real sense.

Building a readership is one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging. Making friends online and establishing yourself as a trusted voice in the blogosphere is a good feeling.  This past week, my article on The Industrialization of Birth got several shares and it sparked a conversation on Facebook with a lot of interaction. I regularly see hundreds visit my site every single day.  This is what I love to do, and this is what I am called to do. I absolutely love writing and I feel most happy when I'm using that talent and seeking God's glory with it.

And that's why I feel like it's time to strike out on my own.  If you're here, reading, I'm writing for you.

I'm proud of my blog, this little space on the internets.  I *love* my readers, and I'm passionate about what I've built here.

 Why do you come here if you are a regular "Google reader"? I hope you have found these things here:
~ a person who is vulnerable about the intersection between faith, family, books and culture
~a trusted, friendly voice speaking into today's difficult-to-weather culture
~sister-to-sister friendly (again!) advice for everyday challenges and difficulties
~an upbeat and even joyful approach to everyday life
~attention-to-detail parenting, spirituality, health, and everyday personal development
~open and honest discussion of mental health issues
~high-standards wisdom and relatable (not condemning or didactic) trustworthiness

Above all, I seek to stay positive (at all times), be honest (at all times!) and give you open advice about the thing I struggle with, too. Just like you, I am a broken vessel seeking to make good choices everyday. I'm seeking to do God's will well.

If you read my blog through a link party, the best way to stay in contact with me is to like my facebook page There have been several blogs over the years that I *Loved* reading, but because I was lazy and didn't subscribe, I lost track of them and their blog sank into the oblivion that is online reading. Don't let that happen to *us*! 

If you want, take a minute today to comment and let me know you read my blog.

I would love to hear from you! 

*Just FYI, there will be some exceptions.  I may still participate in the occasional link-up. However, it will no longer be my modus operandi.
**more info on the babies in the picture on instagram

My last announcement is that next Tuesday, in honor of the new direction of my website, I will be giving away a fun door prize of items. Please come back or subscribe, so that you don't miss it!

What do you think about link-ups? Yes, no, maybe, or sometimes? All the time, as many as you can find? Why or why not?
linking up with tuesday talk!

Friday, June 9, 2017

7 Things You Need For Your Make-up Bag



It doesn't matter where you're going... date night, mass or Church, the Post Office, or the Grocery Store. In a pinch, it's great to grab your to-go make-up and toss it in your purse or bring it with you to the car. Recently, I decided to clean out/purge my old make-up bag, and get a new one.When I had Conrad, when getting ready to pack for the hospital,  I suddenly realized that it had been about (no lie) fifteen years since I had gotten a new make-up bag. 

I love the one I wound up with. It was inexpensive (actually very, very cheap), it opens wide so I can see everything in it, and it is a pretty purple color.  The fact that I can see what's in it is what sold it for me. I love me some transparency! ;-)

While I was re-stocking some things in the bag, I thought about the things that I just cannot live without, so I thought it would be fun to share those with you here.  (I recently heard on the radio that some women spend upwards of $15,000 dollars in their lifetimes on beauty products. I'm not sure how much that turns out to be per year, but that sounds way too high to me!)

1. Face lotion~ I've talked about it before, and I'll (I'm sure) talk about it again, but I love Oil of Olay Complete lotion, with the tiny SPF 10. haha. Ok it's not sunscreen. Fine.

2. Mascara~ I tried to stray away, but I just had to come back to Great Lash mascara by Maybelline. It's the best mascara I've tried, and it is so affordable why would I go with something stupid expensive when I know this works?!

3. Powder~ I am on a cheaper brand kick after just having a baby, so I'm back to the tried and true (and gold star!) Covergirl clean powder in natural, yeah baby yes ma'am. ;-)

4. Blush~ Right now I'm using an old compact that has lasted me quite a while ... I think it is ELF but I'm not sure. I had heard or read somewhere (I think online from an article I found on Pinterest) that this is one of the better drugstore brands (T/F? school me yes please;) so I tried it and I've been pretty happy with it. ;-)

5. Chapstick and 2 tubes of lipstick.

I don't need much in the way of options because I pretty much wear the same thing on my lips everyday.  I have also been on a huge kick with L'Oreal Golden Splendor for lipstick. I keep a red wine color from L'Oreal for when I'm feeling fancy! (Which is almost never lol).  I recently decided to try the Chapstick (namebrand) in Pink Grapefruit and I love it cuz dats my favorite scent for most things. mmhmm. 

6. Nail clippers

As you can see from the picture, I couldn't find them in my bag. But because I'm nauseatingly organized (JOKE!), they shall turn up soon. ha. I find it saves me money to do my own nails, although I will admit that they don't always look perfect. *

7. Tweezers

I tweeze my eyebrows on the regular, so HOW COULD I LIVE without some tweezers in my make-up bag?!  ?!

That's it for me... what about you?! It seems that if you add up hair, make-up, and nails, it would be easy to spend a >>small fortune<< on beauty. I don't do monthly subscriptions because I have to budget for my personal needs, be it a haircut or AHEM one new nail polish! #one #lol

*While out shopping for Conrad at Old Navy, someone complimented me for having time to do my nails after just having a baby. Proudly, I walked away.  Then alas that beautiful color she was referring to-- "there's no place like chrome"-- peeled off within a day. Even with a top coat.  I tried it without too. If someone can help me deal with what to do when my FAVORITE color peels off in two seconds Ahhhhh!!!!!

#twoseconds
#dorothy
#chrome
#noplacelikehome

linking with Kelly

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Industrialization of Birth




Health has come a long way in the past century.  We know so much more now about germs, bacteria, and disease than we did even fifty years ago, and I think we can say safely that medicine has become a whole new world. I think for the most part, this is a very good thing. But, honestly, if we want people to genuinely get on board with green sex and openness to life, the protocol for childbearing needs to change.

It goes without saying,  that yes it's true, I have some serious complaints about the process of birth today, particularly as it happens #asperusual.  It makes me truly sad to think that a person who doesn't know better will become a cog in the wheel. Unnecessary procedures are the result of a lack of knowledge. Mistakes are always the result of laziness and incompetence. When I look at my son's umbilical cord clip I think "Is this the stone ages?" Why did anyone decide that type of clip was a good idea? (The thing is as big as his entire belly).

And stone ages it is when I think about the business of birth.  I had 5 of my 6 kids in a hospital, 1 at home, and I had a midwife with one, a doula with one, natural birth 4/6 times, and epidural 2/6 times. (So good at fractions!) I've had a cross-section of birth experiences.  I wrote about which birth would be right for you in this post,  (remember the time when a doctor made me hurry my labor because he had to make it to a baseball game?!) but after my last birth, I have a few different musings on the whole industrialization philosophy.  As the tide changes in health care today, there is also a shift in the world of faith.  We're hobbling along, half in the world of medicine, half in the world of holistic health care. We need to hit a stride, and I have a feeling it has to do with technology catching up with what we know about medicine. 

Let's take childbirth as the EG: Pro's of hospitalized birth:

-efficiency
-maximizes time/work balance
-less inconvenience for the professional
-access to supplies and needed medicines
-state of the art (and sometimes excessive) use of technology 

I actually love a lot about having babies in the hospital. I love the supplies and the meals that you get. The food at our hospital is actually really good. Many of the nurses are very kind and patient. Many of them are competent and hard working. (Not all).  The system is (mostly) reliable because of working hardware. ;-)

Con's of hospitalized birth:

-less personal
-less meaningful time spent with patients
-no bond is formed (oftentimes)
-improper procedures
-red tape
-unnecessary procedures

Nurses are not necessarily doulas. When I was in labor, I had to ask repeatedly for ice chips and when I finally begged them, I got a popsicle.  The professionals were only in the labor room with me for a handful of minutes. No one was "waiting on me" by any stretch of the imagination. I told Stephen, "If I had a midwife, she would have asked me several times by now - already- if I needed anything." No birthing ball was offered. No one checked me until I asked.  No one said anything about being effaced or engaged until I specifically asked them about it.  The "system" at my hospital was being changed, meaning they were getting new software updates. In process, they lost my entire chart and the staff didn't know how many weeks I was, my medical history, or anything, really.

On top of that, Doctors are not midwives. When the doctor finally came to talk to us, it wasn't about how I was feeling- it was about how we needed to decide whether or not we wanted the epidural. We asked for "a couple of minutes to think about it" and he came back an hour later.  It may seem efficient, but if you're too busy for me, what are you doing while you're gone? Are you too busy for all of your patients because you're distracted by the sheer number of issues and patients you have piled on your plate?  If you aren't giving me your full attention (ever) then who are you giving your full attention to?  Is technology a mere hindrance or distraction?

And, seriously: where is the full attention given? My guess is they're giving their full attention to the women giving birth and the women in labor are brushed off. And they're probably getting tongue-tied by systems and protocol (whether technological or not). But doctor, you let me down at the time I needed you most.  And that's not ok.

I was in pain.
I was scared.
I was strapped in bed, being monitored.
I didn't feel empowered.
I didn't feel empathy.
I felt that my dignity was being stripped from me, rather than given to me.

Having experienced a homebirth with a competent midwife, I can say with confidence: It is no wonder so many people want to stop having babies ASAP.  

It is better. 

With all of the variables and complications, and even though every birth is different, I still believe that having a midwife is better than not.  I still believe my best birth was my homebirth. I was empowered by movement, position, nourishment, and 100% supportive care. I still believe that love and attention will always win and will be more important and powerful than efficiency, time, and medication.  My second "favorite" birth experience was the one with the doula! The process was never undervalued. I never felt pressured into a certain process. And guess what?! The process is the thing.

Now that birth is an industry, we have to get better at this process so that it doesn't feel like an industry. In order to do this, I personally believe that all doctors and nurses should try to get better at bedside manner. Obviously hospitalized birth is going nowhere. ;) Women should be empowered and given dignity!  The nurses should seek to be competent and thorough! Continue reading and sharpening your skills and knowledge! A woman laboring is a woman who needs the support and the energetic assistance of those who have promised (and are being paid) to support her. A woman giving birth isn't a laundry list of to-dos. She is a woman who needs you, your attention, your care. She needs you to be patient, helpful, and kind.

I know one thing is for sure: a competent midwife is a person who has a passion for birth.  A lazy nurse going through the motions does not demonstrate one ounce of passion. I have experienced this passion first-hand and it is the NUMBER ONE reason why my homebirth experience was my best experience.*  I can't promise that you'll form a bond with your doctors or nurses. But at least promise me that whoever is on call will be fully present and totally kind.

Get top notch support and help when you need it most. It matters. Birth doesn't have to be scary.  The process of birth should be understood, not feared.

Much like raising babies! 

;-)

What do *you* think? What has your experience been? Do you think that hospitalized birth can be the best option? Why? Why not?


linking up with Tuesday Talk

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Monthly Recap vol. 43 ~ May 2017

How did I get so lucky?!
#allmydreamscometrue #really #noreally

~Lately~

It has warmed up here and it already feels like Summer. #hothothot  May always holds out and true to form, the beginning of May had some perfect, mild days, and the second half had some brutal and hot days, but not many. And of course, a lot of rain. #southernliving

Conrad Eugene was born 3 hours into his due date, on May 13th.  It has been such a joy to meet our second son and see him folded into the fabric of our family. The kids have been overjoyed since he came home from the hospital. I do not exaggerate a bit when I say they are washing their hands a bazillion times and asking to hold him all.the.time. He is a sweet baby, and it has been magical to experience the having of a second son and bro for the kids.

Other than a baby brother being born, we've had the onslaught of end-of-the-year busyness and to be honest, I don't handle it too well.  The homework, projects, recitals, and celebrations not to mention doctors, parties, and LIFE.LIFE.LIFE is allllmost too much for this Mama to bear.

Because of his birth, I've tried to take it easy on all {what i'm into} fronts so this recap might end up being short.

~Reading~

The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I needed something absorbing to read while waiting for baby Conrad to show up.  This fine Moriarty novel fit the bill. Honestly as I got into it, a hypnotist and a stalker were two subjects I highly doubted enjoying or being interested in. But true to form and just like her other novels, Moriarty delivered an absorbing, interesting tale with extremely lovable characters and a twisty, fun plot.  With a satisfying ending. #hurray #thankfulforherbooks

As soon as it came out, on May 17th, I quickly hopped on the 2017 Summer Reading Guide from MMD, and downloaded the two books that sounded irresistible to me.  And they are: This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel and Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue. Having them on Kindle has been really nice. It's so much easier to read on my Kindle while nursing than trying to balance a bookmark, page flipping, and the awkwardness of where to put a flappy book. ;-) The former super-stressed me out with its agenda, so I abandoned it wholeheartedly. The latter is a fictionalized account of the behind-the-scenes of the radio show Delilah... and while it has been a nice read, I'm finding it a bit mediocre, to be honest. I think the hype is a little out of control, at this point. #overrated  Trying to get into Hemingwaay.... #arewegettingtiredofthisyet #raiseshand ;-)


~Watching~

I tried watching "Big Little Lies" and "Anne With an E" and found myself incredibly disappointed. The former was over-dramatized- and too edgy- I thought when compared with the feel of the book. They romanticized it and creeped it up way too much. (Is that an HBO thing?) And speaking of creepy Anne with an E just needs to go away. Far, far away.  So..... naturally I did what all true children of the 80's would do and scratched my nostalgia itch... and I just went ahead and watched all of "Fuller House" season 2. If you watched that show back in the day, I recommend that cheesy reunion show. It made me laugh.  No, it's not great art or anything high class or edgy... no it won't blow you away with genius humor or brilliant acting... and yes I'm embarassed to admit it, but?  It will fulfill the desires of your heart if you're looking for comfort-watching. At first I thought season 2 was going to be worse than season 1, but I think I was wrong. ;-)  I totally got into it!

I hope the Netflix-watching options are better in June. Although, I hope even more that it's so beautiful outside that we won't need a whole lot of amazing options, screen-wise.  It might be mercilessly, ruthlessly, savagely hot.... we'll see. #probably But just when you thought hope was lost, 3rd season of Kimmy Schmidt coming...!!! #hurray

~Memes~

laughing and crying


#deep #schooldaze #kimmyschmidt



~Linking~

Pope Francis: Fatima Calls us to Care for the Faith of Children

a good reminder... I was very glad I read this!

Fidget Spinners: Are They Good?

this piece totally cracked me up.. worth clicking if you want to LOL.

My Morning Routine @ Whitney's youtube channel Come Home For Comfort

super inspiring and peaceful! defffff-initely worth a watch if you need inspiration!;) I revamped my own daily routines after watching this video!

~Funny Things They Say~

{After Annabel tripped on the vaccum}
Stephen: Proof that you should never clean.

Anders {handing me an empty cup of ginger ale} : I drank all my caffeine!

Madeleine: Did they cut you open to get the baby or did he come out the trapdoor? (where did she get this idea? I have no clue!}

Madeleine {to her Grammy}: Conrad has two problems. Spit-ups and dry skin.

Molly: Do you know what my biggest fear is?
Me: What? (expecting the worst)
Molly: Body parts turning into something else.
Me: Like the nose turning into a sausage in Tom Thumb (her most hated movie as a toddler because of that one scene)?
Molly: Yes. And when Violet turns into a blueberry.
(I wish that was my biggest fear, lol :-)

Stephen: Have we had a baby that *didn't* have my hairline?
{touche}

LOLOL

~Writing~

Let's Talk About *Mental* Health and Wellness
Hiding anxiety/depression/disorder?  Let's get it out in the open so mental illness doesn't have a chance.;) here I talk openly about my own struggles in the effort to help others who may be fighting a private battle. :-)

Conrad Eugene's Birth Story ~ Assume Nothing
so many unexpected things happened... if you like birth stories, check this out.

Happy Summer! Bring on the June yipee!

Linking up with Leigh

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend + How to Fight the Bad Attitude as a Mama


Near the end of my pregnancy with Conrad, I one day found myself carrying a load of laundry down the stairs backwards, holding Annabel's hand and waiting for her to trip and fall. She follows me around, so if I go upstairs to grab laundry, she'll come too. I don't want to waste a trip upstairs when pregnant, right?  So, too, I'm literally balancing housework in one arm and a baby (or two) in the other. 

So in real life I'm asking myself, "is this even real?" and meanwhile I'm posting my high reel on social media, and suffice it to say, I feel like I'm putting on a show. Post pretty pictures! Everything looks hunky dory! We're all fine and great-- look at our pretty life!  But underneath the facade, by early May I was asking myself (and others with many small children): "How do you make it through the day?" How do you make it without becoming a very angry, screamy version of myself? I started to look in the mirror and honestly? I saw a big, fat dork (because, screaming) who didn't seem to be handling her life or adulting very well at all.

So .... I asked one of my very good friends how she holds it together with seven of her own children. And what to do about the mood?!  We had a conversation and here are our insights into really fighting and winning the war against a bad (or sometimes horrible/horrific) mood:
sewing - learning embroidery with G-ma

1.  Commit each day to the Lord.

For me, faith comes into play.  I have to start by praying, humbling myself, and asking God to work through me.  I know from experience that this is the only way to really see fruit in the spiritual life. The fruit of faith and the life of peace come about by the Holy Spirit. Without prayer, we don't have a chance at that reservoir of peace.  Ask him to supply you with the love, joy, peace... and especially the patience of the Holy Spirit!

2. Seek the will of my Father in Heaven.

Truth be told I need to read the Bible each day. This is so hard because I clench my jaws around the raw meat of my desires like a hungry lion clutching its prey.  But I glance in the mirror as I selfishly scarf a bowl of ice-cream and think, "Huh?! Who am I? Am I that greedy person in the mirror? Yikes!"  I want to look in the mirror and see a woman of God who has peace and mindfulness. I think for me, the only way to align my desires to God's will is to read his word and study it. Take a passage from the OT, the NT, or Psalms/Proverbs each day and chew on its meat. If you see me, ask me how it's going!!! haha. #sohard

3. Take care of my physical health.

Just like plants in the garden need sunshine and water, I need good food that makes me healthy, strong, and regular :-O Oh, and I need a lot of water. I need long walks in the sunshine, and many days I need a nap.  I want to get up and get dressed, and do my hair and make-up... because outside affects inside. #dontlookandfeeltired #momsfightthefrump

4. Go to counseling.

Right now I'm facing the very real prospect of post-partum depression with a newborn baby. I know my tendencies. I have to get help with bad patterns. Can you too take the pattern by the horns and wrestle it down? This keeps your mind healthy, which is just so important. It is as important- if not more important- than your physical health. It affects your physical health. If you prioritize your body's wellness by going to a gym, why aren't you prioritizing your mental health and wellness?!   I can't sit in a deep dark well of my own sadness. I have to get help.


5. Get away.

This is just as important as everything else. Your health will benefit from a brief road trip or a bigger trip across the country or out of the country. Get away!  Summer is the time. Take advantage of the break from school.  If you have to, get away by yourself or with your spouse just for the weekend. Or go to a coffee shop for an afternoon to read, if nothing else! It doesn't have to be expensive, but in my opinion getting away should be a priority as high as the others on this list.

Having 6 kids. Hot weather. A newborn thrown into the mix.  Everyone home from school.


This sounds like a recipe for Mama Complaining, and Mrs. Scary Bad Attitude, if you ask me. 
Here's my challenge to you: Don't waste your Summer. Don't look back on these precious days and wish you had...
-made the most of each day
-a better attitude
-turned off the TV sooner
-stopped screaming and yelling
-planned and carried out your best intentions

Now's the time to pull out your planner, your Bible, and your pen, and start living life to the fullest. Why not start today?

linking up with Tuesday Talk

Friday, May 26, 2017

Preparing our Space + House for Summer Crafting + Art



I just had a baby, so for now I'm literally blogging one-handed. BUT!  For the past 2 years, I've done a post about preparing our art cabinet for Summer Crafting... and since art with children is one of my passions, I'm continuing that series of posts here.

Molly is our last to finish school. Our Summer officially starts Monday. The process of these posts came about because I was trying to figure out how to keep crafting simple and inexpensive in our home. Over the past several years, I've honed the list so that it is comprehensive but not too pricey. It has been a learning curve, but I'm getting the hang of completion without going overboard.

If you want to go check out those other posts, I compiled a lot of resources, ideas, and lists for the crafty among us (and the crafty among you might just be your kids, you never know! ;) :

How to Create a Summer Craft Supply Collection on a Dime

**This is a short list of crafting supplies, objective: save money ;)

An Update on our Summer Crafting (year one)

**This is an update on the crafts and art we ended up making that year

How to Create a Summer Craft Supply Collection on a Dime, Part Deux

**This is a little bit more thorough of a list, although not as cheap as year one... but good, very good nonetheless! ;-)

I also recommended the Summer Screen Time Rules (And Free Printable) from Someday Saints and still recommend it very highly!   The purpose is to give your kids of list of what to do/ accomplish before they can have glowing screens!

So this year, I'm looking for a combination of >>Cheap + Thorough<< prep of our cabinet for this Summer.  I'm trying to prepare our space and our house for a summer of crafting, since I know with the heat my kids will LOVE having the option of doing some art, some crafts, or just some independent crafty business. ;)

Here is what we'll have on hand:

~crayola crayons
 (I think I'll splurge and get the 64 count since it has a lot of color options! 95 too many...lol)
~crayola colored pencils
~stickers~ melissa and doug and bulk supply a la walmart
~brightly colored paper
~markers-- sharpies and mr. sketch
~white paper
~scissors
~tape
~glue
~ruler
~noodles
~string
~cotton balls
~rubber bands
~glitter
~high quality brand watercolor paints
~paintbrushes
~play-dough/doh
~gluesticks
~foam die cuts
~sponges
~acrylic paint
~straws

In addition to these supplies, we also have on hand:

~a tablecloth that can get dirty
~smocks for the kids
~goodwill clothes (just for painting) ;-)
~a dropcloth for the back porch (an old sheet will do) 

Some of this we already have. Everything else will be purchased. Old/dirty/unusable supplies get tossed. #declutter

This Summer, I'm hoping to do a "special activity" once a week. We might make Fridays our order pizza and craft day! We still plan to swim, play, and get outside on the other days! 

Here are some ideas:

1. Crafts/ Art projects

2. Simple DIY or other activities (gardening, decorating, cooking together)

3. Legos

4. Playdoh extravaganza/ Modeling Clay

5. Manipulatives from the Dollar Store or Homeschool Supply Store

6. Journals for each child and pens (my kids love these pens)- this could be a nature journal but maybe not! ;-)

7. Games for Game night (Molly and Frances will be targeted for this, in particular!)

~~Uno
~~Monopoly
~~Sorry

for the younger ones:

~~Candyland
~~Chutes and Ladders
~~Connect 4

Card games and ipad games also count for boredom busters! ;) Can't wait! lol.  I'm hoping that on the days we don't have an organized activity, such as rainy days, the kids will still feel comfortable pulling out their art supplies and using their imaginations....  What ideas do you have for keeping boredom at bay this Summer? Help me!!

Coming Soon: On June 21 I'll share the specific crafts (Art with Children/DIY) that we hope to accomplish during these Summer months (or at least some ideas to start us out ;-)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Conrad Eugene's Birth Story: Assume Nothing


Warning: labor words and all involved will be used... apology and fair warning issued! (ladies and friends, feel free to click away if that's not your cup of tea! ) And now... onto the birth story of Conrad Eugene!

On Wednesday night, I texted my Mom to be on call, because I had so many Braxton Hicks I thought it might be pre-labor.  The symptoms were so strong, I thought I might go into labor on Thursday.  Stephen was planning to hang out with some friends that night (Wednesday), but I asked him to stay home 10 more minutes to make sure labor wasn't picking up.  It didn't, but we both ended up going to bed early (the first time all week!).

I went to bed at 10pm, but I woke up wide awake at 5am.  I decided to go for a walk in a very well lit area (we live near a college campus with street lights), to see if I could get labor to pick up.  I came home and ... nothing. I went back to sleep until around 7:30.  And nothing. I woke up feeling perfectly normal.

I went on two walks Thursday: one by myself and then one with the kiddos later. I went in for my scheduled OB appointment.  My experience at the hospital was less than stellar. I saw a student doctor and a resident who looked about 21 years old.  The student doctor asked me a million questions and some of them were practically incompetent. She said my chart was saying I was 37 weeks. I said, "I'm 39 and 5." And she said, "Where are you getting that... from an ultrasound or something?" LOLOL. No... my due date is in TWO DAYS girlfriend.

They measured/checked me and I was 4cm. They stripped my membranes and sent me home to wait. And wait I did... all day. No painful contractions.  I wasn't surprised that I had progressed and dilated that much already, because of the pre-labor I had gone through/experienced/ accomplished the night before. I was just surprised that nothing happened from there on out that day. I spent the rest of Thursday getting ready for labor.   I had to do pick-up and school and drop off/ pick-up for Ballet.  Balancing the babysitter for the doctor and ballet kept me busy (and stressed).

Thursday night at dinner, I was expecting labor to pick up at any time. Last time (with Annabel) when I had my membranes stripped, I went into labor that night. It didn't and I didn't. After Stephen got home from work, I asked him not to go anywhere. He had to run an errand, and run it he did. I texted my Mom to keep her phone by her bed, in case I went into labor during the night. I had a good night's sleep (good!) but no labor (bad!).

So Friday.  I was packed with stuff for the hospital by the door, and going into normal routine of life was difficult for me.  I felt so ready, but I was having nothing more than painless Braxton Hicks that morning.  Then, at around 9:30am, I lost my mucus plug and had bloody show. My contractions were almost painless as before, but they continued all morning. At around noon, the contractions were becoming more painful, but they were still really slow. At the fastest, they were 10 minutes apart. I went ahead and asked my Mom to pick up the kids from school, and Stephen came home around 10:30.  I played about 50 games of Solitaire on my phone. :-0 He went to pick up Chik-fil-a for me for lunch, then we looked at bigger houses together (haha but true) and he left to drive by one of them!  Labor was feeling really slow and disappointing, so I told him to go. It stayed slow and I watched Netflix. I texted some friends and asked them to pray that my labor would speed up.

I was hoping so hard that baby would come on Friday! It would be a day early, that is a day before my scheduled due date, but I felt like I had already done 2 1/2 days of waiting/hoping with all of the pre-labor!  I was really discouraged come late afternoon. We still hadn't left for the hospital around 5pm.  However, I was reminded that with all of my previous births, labor had lasted at least 12 hours. I had just never gone into labor at 9:30 in the morning before.  So we stayed patient and waited. (We live super close to the hospital-- it's around the corner, so we didn't feel the need to rush it). Stephen took a nap. I kept cleaning house.

After waiting patiently, Stephen asked me if I wanted to play a game with him. We started playing, and about 20 minutes in, I had had a bunch of back to back contractions that were 5 minutes apart. We debated for a few minutes, then decided to head to the hospital.  We got to the hospital around 9pm.

I got checked in triage, and while the nurses were very nice and professional and easy to be around (different from last time), I was still at 4cm. I was in total shock!  I labored in the bed and as they do, had me monitored for about 1 1/2 hours before checking me again to see if I was ready to be admitted. I had a snack, listened to the Happier podcast, then we went for a walk, talked to the Doctor on call, and got checked again at 11:30pm. After 2 hours I still had not progressed a teeny tiny bit from 4cm. Downcast, crestfallen, and tired... all the words.  The doctor asked us some questions and we discussed. 

Turns out it was a perfect storm.... I was literally the picture perfect candidate for an epidural. As my labor sped up and my progression did nothing, we talked it over and got on board with a plan: "Let's have this baby as soon as possible.... expedite the process and get the epidural." Ladies I did not plan this at all. Never once in all of my months of pregnancy did I plan on getting an epidural. My assumptions about natural labor and my "birth plan" all went the way of my past 4 births. I would get pregnant, go to term, and have the baby naturally and vaginally. Yes there would be variables: slower push times, longer pre-labor, different symptoms of labor... but the major assumption was that I would be delivering naturally.

Well, make no assumptions.

We got admitted to the hospital at around 1:30pm.  I won't sugar coat this. From 9pm-2am I experienced very painful contractions. I hadn't eaten or slept in forever. I hadn't taken a nap that day. I was yelling, crying, and breathing through contractions, but mostly crying. Boo hooing. By 2am, I was really close to transition.  They checked and I was 7cm right before and right after receiving the epidural.  The anethesiologist came within 30 minutes of being admitted, and gave me the epidural so I think it was about 2am when I got it. I kept asking the nurse to check me, because it had been so slow, and I wanted to find out if the epidural would slow it down even more. It didn't! Thankfully!  Labor kept going and even sped up, but the epidural caused chills, fever, and caused Conrad's heart to slow down on the monitor which was a bit scary for Stephen (they didn't tell me until afterward).

My water broke, and the doctor came. There was some meconium (really the only complication) at that point. Finally after about 15 minutes of pushing, Conrad was born vaginally at 3:04am.  The pushing and delivery all went very smoothly. No pain, just pressure. No ring of fire. The epidural had no trouble working... it was effective after 5 minutes. I felt one contraction fade away into the distance, and then only pressure. That hour of peace and the ability to deliver without pain was so stinking worth it, and I was overwhelmingly thankful that all went well with that! 

We are so thankful he is here. I'm ready to recover and I think I'm ready to be done having kids. haha. But seriously, we are pretty sure we want to stop with six. It would be a very good place to stop. 4 girls, 2 boys, Anders has a brother now (hurray!!).  I'm very burnt out on pregnancy and although this experience with childbirth wasn't terrible, it was hard I will admit. The hours of waiting for the epidural were really hard on me and my anxiety.  It was different from laboring without waiting for something.  That's not the only reason, but truth be told, that kind of suffering does something to you, that's for sure.  
worth it every time.


We love you baby boy!!!




Linking up with Tuesday Talk