Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday BEST

Remember back when all the mom bloggers used to link up what they wore on Sunday and give riveting accounts of how their kids mass behavior was and how much they wanted to top their mass attendance off with a drink? Oh, that last one was just me? Oh well. Anyways, I'm linking up Rosie for old times sake because 1) I got a new skirt that I'm obsessed with, 2) I had a rare free extra few minutes before we scrambled to get everyone in the car to snap a few mediocre, grainy ipad photos and C) the kids were all pretty good today, which I feel like needs to be documented.

Also this terribly uncomfortable-looking robot arm needs to be documented:

The older kids are always pretty good these days with the exception of their uncontrollable need to constantly turn around and stare awkwardly at people, but we will take that over their mid-Mass-tantrums-needing-to-be-carried-out-whilst -scream-begging-not-to-be-spanked behavior of long ago. Yes the older 3 have come a long way and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that.
Too much glasses glare, how about this...
That's better.
But now I am blogging as a mom of 2 little boys who are now at the same ages that Naomi and Bernadette were at when the above described  "hypothetical" (but really actually happened) situation took place. However, Joseph doesn't really bring it in the tantrum department as much as he does in the overly-intense-and-physical boy department so today we mostly dealt with him incessantly crawling on the ground from one end of the pew to the other, intermittently snorting like a pig and then stinking his feet waaaaaay out into the aisle when I wasn't looking to try to trip poor passers by coming back from communion. And today was a GOOD day.

Fred isn't old enough to try shenanigans like those of Joe but he is getting really close and is already number one in his class of high pitch screaming and back arching out of my arms so I'm thinking he and Joe will be partners in bad-Mass-behavior crime in no time.

And that's that! Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 21, 2017

summer madness {7 QTs!}

Summer, summer, summer, how are you so close to being over?!? Linking with Kelly with a non-NFP post, but highly recommending reading hers and lots of her links-- so good!!

1) How is your summer? I am sure I am joining the chorus of the vast majority of moms who have a love/hate relationship with summer. I am not a good mom and did not make any sort of bucket list and I mostly just let the kids run free which is good and bad. Some days I love how laid back things are, I love the lack of schedules doing nothing, but then other days if the door gets left open one more time from the kids running back and fourth I miiiiiight just flip my S**T. Plus Fred is currently electing to drop him AM nap which is it's own fresh hell. Either way I know the school year is close and when it comes I have to grow up and be a grown up who teaches my kids things and doesn't stay up too late every night watching documentaries about Dr. Dre. That thought makes me mucho sad (FYI I liked it, Mike didn't so much).

2) We did a little traveling to see family at the end of June/beginning of July and it was lovely.

I always feel so sad to not live in town with both sides of our family 5 minutes from each other, but it is always so great to see the relationships continue to grow between cousins even though there multiple states separating us. It'll be ok.

3) We hit up the Children's museum in Pittsburgh and the kids had a blast:

4) The week after we got back was rough because I like to see other adults every day and I was so very spoiled being with family and having constant interaction at my fingertips.My MIL even pushed me out the door for a mani/pedi (my first since my wedding!) AND multiple hours of solo-shopping and it was GLORIOUS.
Fresh pedi on one my my in-laws many gorgeous rugs.

But I've adjusted and I am back to my regularly scheduled program of kid-centered life, and it's good.

5) I made myself get down to brass tax and order our homeschool books for the year, and I actually got them all with the exception of math and I know this is the most boring quick take anyone has ever read but I think I am going to splurge and go for Math-U-See this year. Thoughts? Feedback? I still need to have Bernadette take her placement test and then actually order it and it's on the top of my to-do list so it should get done within the next month or so.

6) I need a good book to read!! I like war-time books and/or love stories (all the eye-rolls, I know). I also really need a page-turner because me-not-so-smart. But really I am tired and there are kids always running around and I just need something I can pick up and put down and pick up and pick down and still make progress on (turns out Leibowitz is NOT that).

7) And here is a little collage of when Joe Pio emptied the contents of an entire bottle of sunscreen onto himself because SUMMER.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Evolution of a 30 Second Makeup Routine

Linking up with Kelly for a post that is eerily similar to my very favorite go-to drug store/makeup-aisle-at-Walmart-picks post that I posted back in 2013 (you read that right, 4 years ago). I have not really deviated much from my very favorites, but I have added a few, and now I am just echoing myself and giving 2013 Ana a virtual high five for picking what she likes and sticking with it. Also to be clear these are very budget friendly favorites, so they may not be up your alley with the "all natural ingredient" arena, please don't throw the first stone.

Without further ado, my 7 make-up bag favorites, which are incidentally the only 7 things in my makeup bag, and which take a FLAT 30 seconds to apply, because I am always and forever in a rush.

Voluminous Mascara by L'Oreal
If I had to chose one makeup item to have and no others for the rest of my life mascara would absolutely be it. I am no mascara expert but I have tried my fair share of drug store mascaras and I will never EVER try another- Voluminous is where it's at.

When I was in middle school and high school I struggled with terrible acne, I used every product I could to get rid of it and I had to be super careful about what makeups I would wear. In middle school I had this liquid nitrogen procedure done which helped immensely with the very severe breakouts and saved me from have too much scaring now, but I always had to be really careful about what makeup I wore in order for it to stay under control. This is the very first pressed powder foundation that I ever tried that has terrific coverage and does not cause breakouts. This post is NOT sponsored by Neutrogena, I just love this stuff so much. I used to exclusively use the pressed powder, but I am on a mineral sheers kick right now and I love how light it is + good coverage.

Chunky brush + bronzer
I have cycled through many a bronzer in my life and and I can honestly say that this extremely cheap Elf one is just as good as an expensive Este Lauder one I am using right now. I mostly just want some sparkles and glow and this stuff delivers.

Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Pencil
I only add a little eye liner on days when I am looking extra sleepy, or if I have somewhere extra special to be. Ever since Mike and I binge-watched quite a bit of Fixer-Upper, I was inspired by JoJo to give eye liner another try (that was my coping mechanism for not having any cash flow to renovate our house- but hey! I can afford eye liner!). I really like how smooth this stuff is- it goes on like buttah-- like BUTTAH!

Elf Eye Shadow
Again with Elf products-- they are so cheap! And when you use eye shadow as infrequently as I do I feel like it doesn't make sense to spend too much on it, (though I am sure you could make the opposite case too) But I just don't care enough about eye shadow to buy really nice stuff, I use it when I am going on a date or to Mass or maybe even for a mom's night out, but I am usually super rushed and don't get around to it, AND since I am a round the clock glasses wearer you don't even notice when I have it on because you look at me and are like GLASSES, so again, no point in getting the pricey stuff.

Lip Scrub
I purchased a Day Logic brand which is ONLY available at Rite Aid, but the point is that this is the first time I have ever used a lip exfoliant and I really love it (if you're at Rite Aid, I would definitely recommend their brand.) I definitely do not do this every day, it's just a special occasion-type thing like eye shadow, or when my lips are feeling especially rough.
Neutrogena Revitalizing Lib Balm
This is the first lip balm + color that I love like I love this stuff. I have used Burt's Bees before and never liked how it left my lips feeling but this stuff leaves them soft and moist and the tint is pretty perfect. I have it in "healthy blush" and I love it but I would love to try some others at some point.

Aaaaand, a before+after for kicks:
That's that!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Happy {heavenly} birthday, Freddie!

I've made plenty of jokes about Fred being a #fifthborn and how he gets the shaft because of it, and even though I am mostly only kidding (the glut of attention shown to him by every member of our family certainly indicates the opposite) the length of time between his birthday AN ENTIRE WEEK AGO and his birthday blog post would solidify that he does, in deed, get the shaft (or at least the blog-shaft).

HOWEVER, today is his one year supernatural birthday, the one year anniversary of his baptism as a little Catholic, so I am going to pretend that I intended the delay in order to celebrate both at once.
One year ago today.
He is the baby-est 1-year-old I've ever had, in that at one-year-old he makes me feel like I still have a 6-month-old underfoot-- he just hasn't quite gained the independence of other 1-year-olds I've seen and I am more than ok with that because I am in no rush for him to get bigger. He is so super cuddly and still nurses a ton at night and would nurse all day if I didn't have 4 other dependents needing to be to be fed cared for as well.

The first year of his life has certainly been the craziest of all my kids' first years and I would say it is likely the graces of his baptismal day spilling over to his extremely feeble, hot mess of a mom helping her to actually survive this year. He was born, a week later he was baptized, 2 weeks after that we moved, and a little over a month after that Mike started the new job and I got into my first year of homeschooling 2 legit grade levels. He was also a really colicky baby so those first 6 months of his life are basically a complete blur save for the glorious episodes of the British Baking Show, which was the highlight of my life there for a while.

I love how once they hit one year, you can really start to see your baby's personality come out. I would say Fred's halkmarks are: sweet, snuggly (sometimes translated "clingly", but I prefer snuggly), more timid and reserved than his crazy older brother, and with the exception of when he's sick or wakes up in the middle of the night, an all around happy and content baby.

It was such a fun treat that last weekend on his birthday his godmother, my youngest sister, came for a visit, which Fred was ecstatic about.


We had a great weekend which I'm blaming for the delay in blog-tention.
Anyways, happiest birthday a week late to our sweet Fred Bernard and happy baptismal day today!
And an attempt at recreating the mother-son shot 1 year ago today:

Baptismal Day

We love you and we will keep you! 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

In The Midst of Your Work

What amazes you seems quite natural to me: God has sought you out right in the midst of your work. This is how he sought the first, Peter and Andrew, John and James, beside their nets, and Matthew sitting in the custom-house. And -- wonder of wonders-- Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seeds of Christianity!
The Way, 799, Saint Josemaria Escriva

Saint Josemaria is one of my all-time favorite saints, his feast day is coming up on Monday so it seemed liked an apt time for a little post in honor of him, or at least in honor of how his spirituality impacts my days.

Every single day I struggle to pray. I struggle to prioritize some quiet prayer time, and since Fred is still up at all hours of the night nursing, I have not gotten back to waking before the kids to pray, (because that is obviously the ideal and I hope to attain it one day, but I'm not there yet). At this point my goal is to send them outside or downstairs to play after breakfast so I can shoot for my whopping 15 minutes of prayer time, and you would think that this could happen easily, but that would mean you have never met my children.

It currently looks like this:
Breakfast is done, baby is back down for a morning nap, kids are dressed. 

Me: Ok kids, head outside to play!
Kids: Ok! all run outside

3 minutes later

Kid #1: running in the house I need to poop!
Mom: Ok
Kid poops, goes back out

3 minutes later

Kids #2&3: running in the house screaming, She hit me, she kicked me, she called me ugly and stupid!!!!!!!!!!!
Mom: handles squabble, sends them back out

3 minutes later

Kid #4: runs in the house I pooped!!
Mom: changes diaper, sends him back out

3 minutes later

Kid #4: Runs in house screaming THERE'S A BEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mom: Did it sting you?
Kid: NO BUT IT LOOKED AT ME LIKE IT WAS GOING TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mom: Calms kid, send him back outside

3 minutes later


I would say that this is just summer time, but at this point in my life summer time is life time. They are always here, they are always needing me, the work never ends and the struggle to find quiet time is constant. I won't ever stop struggling to find it, I can't and won't give up the struggle to pray, but there is another important struggle that I neglect to see right there in the above detailed events: God finding me in my work, in the work of my children.

The above detailed situation is a mish mash of a thousand different scenarios that happen every single day, 20 times a day, and not because there aren't enough items on our summer bucket list to entertain the minions, but because my kids are weak, fallen individuals, and I am a weak, fallen individual. They fight, they scream, they are discontented and entitled, and they remind me of myself to a tee. But I am called to love them, to serve them, to deal with ALL of their poop, every day, all day-- and that is where God's will is being done in my life, that is where prayer is actually happening.

The quiet prayer needs to happen, and I will continue to fight to fit it in where ever I can, but I cannot lose sight of God's presence in the work of this house, and the power of prayers uttered in the midst of my work. That is why I love Saint Josemaria, he will not ever let me forget these things and so I will continue to seek his advice daily, as a supplement to prayer. These are some of my favorites by him, in order of my very favorites first. I know there are so many more, recommendations welcomed!

1: The Way of the Cross. I realize this is mostly a Lenten resource, but I really love it as an every day prayer companion. There is a short description of each station of the cross and then several small meditations by Saint Josemaria.

2: The Way, The Furrow, The Forge. These little books are perfect prayer companions. They have little bite-sized meditations on the spiritual life, but they pack a holy punch, I love them.

3: The Holy Rosary. These Josemaria wrote this book of little meditations on the mysteries of the rosary in one sitting and are wonderful- they have a strong theme our spiritual childhood.

4: Friends of God. I had a chapter from this book printed out years ago and I read it probably 100 times, it was so good. I am finally reading the rest of it and it is blowing me away the same way that chapter did.

5: I think that I've read some of Christ is Passing By, but it's up there on the top of my must-spiritual-reads. 

I haven't used it as much as I should but this website is a really great resource for all things Josemaria as well as Escriva Works, where you can find most if not all of the above linked writings.

I have been reading the biography At God's Pace over this entire year-- it is super detailed and not a huge page turner (hence why I've been reading it for a year, very much at Ana's pace) but it's really good.

Basically I have no idea what I am doing and so I am constantly going to him for help, I absolutely need it.

Saint Josemaria Escriva, pray for us.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Walmart, Wine, & Summer Sickies (7QTs!)

Linking up with Kelly! It's been a while.

1) I'd say I don't know where the time went but that would be a lie because I know exactly where it went:

I know the last thing you really care about is the time line of my baby's sicknesses, but that has never stopped me from over-updating you before, nor will it now. The last time I posted was May 30th, which was sweet baby Fred's second full week of sickness, 2 weeks before that post he got roseola (if you've never heard of it, it's nothing huge except that the fevers that babies get with it are scary high) and the week after that he got hit with a cold virus, which was also accompanied by fevers, though not as scary high. After my sister left all parties in our family affected by the cold got better... except Fred. His fevers persisted and then started to get higher, until finally a week ago I got him to the doctor where they discovered double ear infections, gave some antibiotics, which I figured would work within a few days-- but not so. The initial antibiotic did not work and his fevers just got higher and he was the most miserable human being on the planet. Long story {NOT} short, they gave a second antibiotic which kicked in within 48 hours and he is finally on the mend, after having a moderate to high fever for the better part of 3 weeks (and a totally confused, insane mom for the duration as well).

2) All that to say: a) sick babies are always the hardest, no matter how many you've had, and b) parents with children who are sick with frequency or have disabilities--- you are incredible, you are the most amazing people in the world. How do you do it? My heart broke and then broke again and then broke some more. Every instinct I had was wrong, I felt like I was parenting for the first time and I cried so much (me, not the baby. Even when the baby wasn't crying I was). And it was just viruses and ear infections. We have been so blessed to have healthy children and I am not grateful enough for that-- so the last 3 weeks has at least helped me to realize that and resolve to not take it for granted, it is such a blessing. It has also made me realize I will never have parenting figured out. Ever.

3) Onward and upward-- now that the baby is better and I can leave the house again I made a run to Walmart with the kids for 4 items that I forgot earlier in the week. I almost never take them to the store so they are always super excited to go (also I make it a point to always beg bakeries to give my kids free cookies so their excitement is pretty understandable). On this particular trip the bakery was giving away free Twinkies and since my kids had never had Twinkies before it was the best thing ever...

4) If you haven't watched this viral video of a toddler eating bacon for the first time you should go fourth and watch it and then imagine my kids being the same exact way over their first Twinkies. I might as well have flown overseas and taken them to a French patisserie and gotten them their first authentic chocolate croissant. Except, no, they would have liked the Twinkies better.

5) These 2:

They have perfected and daily execute the "love/hate" relationship so beautifully, it's absurd. I am sure that the gender difference (which is entirely new to me at this age) has everything to do with it but they will be hugging and laughing one second and tackling each other to the ground screaming the next. Vocal communication hasn't really entered their particular dimension of play yet, we'll get there.

6) Went to a winery with the kids today: sipped wine with friends while the kids climbed on giant rocks--

Now I am wondering why there is any other kind of play date at all.

7) I think I have put you through enough for today, have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

sista, sista!

(If you aren't singing that title to this tune, you weren't a middle schooler in the 90s.) 

My sister and her fabulous family came over the weekend and, as is the case whenever family time comes to an end, I am still basking in the goodness and repeatedly scrolling through pictures trying to burn the memories into my mind-- it was just so good.

I am the 5th of 8 kids and this is the sister right above me, the one I was closest with growing up, the one I shared a room with-- the one I thought was one of the coolest people in the world (and still do).
When we were younger she used to let me watch The Crow with her and listen to her edgy music, now she gives me sour dough starters and homeschooling tips.

She is and always has been one of my very closest friends, and since having 5 children around the same time as her, I have been able to share so many new and unique experiences which motherhood has brought about. She was my inspiration to try out an all natural birth when I had Naomi and we bonded over our love of epidurals with later children.

I've read lots of really beautiful cases for siblings, so I don't feel like I have much to say in that regard except DITTO! My siblings are such trusted friends, every single one of them. We have bond that is truly special and that I don't have with any other friends and I am so grateful for it. But there is one other things that, as the 5th born, I have been able to experience as a truly amazing blessing of siblings, and that is their children.

This weekend I watched my kids jump into friendships with their cousins-- who they haven't seen in months-- like they were with them yesterday. I watched them work together to include each other and the littler ones, I watched my older two take care of their little cousins with so much gentleness and I watched the very close bond that certain pairs have grow even stronger. It was so special.

Then when all the kids were sleeping we got to stay up way too late and watch John Mulaney and laugh so hard that I spit beer into my hair-- again, so special.

Naturally I got zero pictures with my sister (something to do with herding 12 kids around all weekend) but that's just a really good excuse to share this oldie, circa 1985.

And one more oldie of us all with our Aunt (Bernadette and is me as a child, see all above pics)

Siblings be da best.