Skip the Drama, Stay with Momma

"But I shall show you a still more excellent way" 1Cor12

7 Quick Takes Friday #9

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There were two deaths in my circle of the world last week.   Two sets of parents each lost their young son.  The family for whom I asked prayers in my last post lost their 20 year old son to illness Sunday at 3am. My cousins lost their 17 year old son Monday at 3pm, who was shot in the neck by a drug dealer. I will write a little about them in my last two Takes, but first, let’s have a little humor, shall we?  Laughter is good.

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My husband and I were enabled by my mom to get to confession Saturday morning.  She came over to watch the oldest two so that we could go. Hurray! Walking out of the confessional is literally like stepping out, cloaked in sunshine, daisies and butterflies encircling my head, with an internal big, fat, yellow smilie face (because, forgive my vanity and over-awareness of cultural norms, but, I imagine that I’d look plain stupid waltzing out of the booth with a childish grin on my face, even though I have every reason to!).  Basically, it’s like this:

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To double the intense feelings of having been forgiven and saved by God’s mercy and grace, I walked into the church to say my penance, and there’s Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.  

Silence & peace.  There were about 20 others (mostly blue haired ladies, because we young people like to put off “gettin saved” until we’ve had our jollies of youth) scattered throughout the pews, kneeling in silent prayer.  
For once I was allowed to fully feel the weight of my sins lifted from my shoulders without worrying about a get-away juice cup or the I-Have-To-Peepee dance of my oldest son, the grace and mercy of God washing my soul and embracing me for who I am.  So silent it was that you could hear a pin drop.  It was more silent than silent.  One could probably hear a cotton ball land on the carpet,  …or the overly punctuated, and long, drawn-out PFFFFTTFTFT! OF MY BABY FARTING!

Ahh.  Brought back to earth by my senses.  Yes, I brought Collin because his breakfast is attached to me.  I was not embarrassed because in light of the room filled with elderly ladies and gentlemen (who didn’t budge at the sound), I thought, “Hey! it just as easily could have been any one of all y’all!” …and I sensed they knew it, too.

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So I’ve obviously been extra emotional due to these deaths of children: Joseph was 20 and Justin was 17. But it doesn’t follow that I’ve been extra patient with my babies.  In fact, I’ve felt a little more frustrated by them.  And by “a little more” I mean,  A LOT MORE. They sense that I’m experience emotional strain and they reciprocate it.

 That’s all there is to it. Grocery shopping Sunday evening, I was wearing Collin on my hip in a sling, while attempting to push my ever growing heavy shopping cart.  My neck started hurting as I was throwing my weight into steering the cart around the corner to the next aisle, where I needed to buy 5 lbs of pasta. “great, 5 more lbs to haul…” I was thinking as I heard giggling on the other side of the aisle, approaching my direction. 
I rounded the corner to a near collision with an adult woman, my age, breathless and laughing.  Face full of joy, cheeks pink with exhilaration, hair swinging in her face as she halted just short of my heavy cart.   There was a child on her back! 

"OH! I’m so sorry!" she apologized.  I realized she was rapidly gaining control of her countenance and being made to feel foolish by my shocked and probably condescending gaze, "I’m just playing …a…a game… with my kids.." and she moved around me, with one kid piggy backing and two or three skipping behind her. 
I managed to squeak out, “No, it’s okay!” but I don’t think she heard me.  

Too late, I realized that this woman was beautiful. She was incidentally pretty, taller than me (and that’s saying something!), but the beauty I beheld was magnified because she wasn’t angrily, hurriedly shopping like the mad woman I was, trying to de-shelf half the store and haul it home before someone on my hip wanted to nurse. Granted, she didn’t even have a shopping kart with her so I have no idea what she was doing, but it was refreshing to see her, in a place associated with tantrums and impatient children and parents, playing with joy. I wished I could have stopped her and introduced myself. 

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Monday morning, I walked into the living room to behold the couch and carpet strewn with what looked like a complete Poptart in the form of crumbs. I stood there, eyeballs bulging, and I ate my own words as I heard my son speak them for me, “What a mess!  Do you think Momma wants to clean that up?  No, she doesn’t!”  I was ashamed that I have spoken semi-sarcastic words like this and they’ve stuck to my son’s mind.

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Monday night, after hearing the news of my cousin, Justin being shot and dying in the hospital, I was completely in angst and frustration over the matter.  So of course, my oldest two were hyper, as if I’d fed them nothing but cookies and undiluted fruit juice all day, bouncing and running and and jumping and tumbling all over the living room.  My middle child, who has turned into a finicky eater, would not eat his macaroni and cheese I’d served for dinner (SERIOUSLY WHAT TODDLER DOESN’T LIKE MACARONI AND CHEESE?!), so I was attempting to administer a cup of yogurt before bed time, as he ran from one end of the living room to the other in between bites.  

I was trying to get him to sit down and let me scoop away, getting the feeding over with asap, but it wasn’t working.  He just kept jetting away…
In frustration, I absentmindedly shoveled one more spoonful of yogurt— INTO MY INFANT’S MOUTH?!!? I blinked my eyes and realized the baby in my arms was enjoying the vanilla yogurt I’d just given him.  

"WHAT AM I DOING?!?!?!" I cried in bewilderment.  I don’t plan on introducing solids until he’s 6 months old and can sit up, unassisted.  And that was it for this momma.  After everyone in the house took turns crying over tooth brushings, gathering lovies and ceremonious fallings upon the floor due to "slippery carpet syndrome" and subsequent "slippery bed syndrome" ("The bed’s too slippery, I can’t get in it!!!!!”), my husband and I bade goodnight to our snuggled cherubs. 

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 Joseph Langenkamp, 20 years old, passed Sunday morning around 3am.  It’s hard to write his name. This family, the Langenkamps, is a family I grew up watching in the pew next to my family at St. Francis de Sales. I remember watching them, dressed head to toe in hat and suit attire, complete with handkerchief, each Sunday.

 I watched them as a family of three children, blossom to the family of nine, each baby with the signature Langenkamp baby blues and shock of white blonde hair.  They shame a family with a wildly behaving only child, while their 5 youngest, sit peacefully in the laps of the four oldest.  

They are the family that exclaims to the world “IT CAN BE DONE!” without ever having to open their mouths.  The Langenkamp’s children are 7 boys and 2 girls (I have hope yet for a baby girl!).  Joseph, the second oldest, contracted Ecoli at a very young age and has been fighting illness since then.  For him, a simple runny nose could turn into hospitalizing pneumonia.  This past weekend, that is basically what happened, to save the details.  His heart stopped three times.  

My husband and I look to Joseph’s parents as mentors, as a living testament to the fact that children are a beautiful and physical sign of God’s love to us as a gift, and that having more than two children is, in fact, the opposite of the burden that our culture cries. Knowing this family, I am comforted knowing that Joseph was fully spiritually equipped to confidently face death and enter into God’s Kingdom.  I pray that my husband and I will do that for our children.  It is the most important thing parents can do for their children.  I am devastated for Mark and Sue, and their remaining children. Please pray for them to feel and know God’s peace. I also ask for the intercession of St. Jane Francis de Chantal, patron of parents separated from children. (!!)

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My mother’s family is large.  She is the youngest of 8 children. So, I have many cousins, and many, many more second cousins. Many of my first cousins are old enough for me to consider them an aunt or uncle.  My cousins Mike and Joann are the fist of the many Aunt & Uncle-type cousins.  It is their son who was shot, trying to purchase marijuana with counterfeit money. Tossing my frustrations aside over the circumstances of Justin’s death- and knowing that my frustrations must be fractional to his parent’s complete shock, I focus on the beauty of familial love here on earth. During the funeral Mass (if you’ve never been to a Catholic funeral, you are missing out.. it is the most beautiful type of funeral I’ve ever known, and been given the most fulfilling kind of closure), father gave a beautiful homily saying something very simple: “Do not ask WHY our beloved has been taken from us, you will drive yourself mad.  Ask HOW.  How can we prepare ourselves to meet our beloved in the end?” 

Contrary to the homily, I spoke with my dear, dear Aunt at the reception afterward, who looked at me with the most troubled eyes I’ve ever seen. “….why…?” she shook her head. And me, with my most inept ability to speak with compassion or feeling emotion, barked out in a Fr. Corapi-an voice, "Get in front of the Eucharist." 
She looked taken aback by my lack of compassionately-worded support, yet she closed her eyes and nodded, silently, signaling to me that she understood.  
Only in Christ can we be given answers.  

That is what I meant to say.
But I am not a speaker. 

I walked away, going, “WHAT DID I JUST SAY?!” This was to my aunt, the grandmother of Justin! I can only attest that The Holy Spirit took the reigns at that moment because I am not that bold a speaker. 

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I’m posting this on a Monday.  I’ve had ten minute writing intervals here and there, throughout the weekend, and no more.  I’ve been terribly occupied with my family, which is a good thing, because when I find myself desperate to write, I have to deny the luxury, combat my frustration and remember I’m trying to lessen myself. Even my one “escape” I’ve got to be willing to give up.  I missed the link-up deadline with Conversion Diary, but go check the other Quick Takes out anyway! —-correction, I just made it! yayyyeee!

7 Quick Takes Friday #8

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I’ve never had dreams of food -that I can recall- however, I dreamt of melting butter last week, when I had meant only to thaw it.  Then, in real life, I woke up going  ”hmm, that’s strange.” because I am a diligent thawer of something as delicate as butter.  And wouldn’t you know, later that day, I melted the two sticks of butter I’d sat out to thaw.  GAHHH TWILIGHT ZONE!

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And then I took a Tarjay Vacay.  I have been waiting for nearly 4 years for Disney’s Peter Pan to be “released from the Disney Vault” and come out on DVD in order to have more boyish movies for my children.  Aside from the racism, sexism, negative ideals about the family, smoking and violence I never noticed until now displayed in the cartoon,  I love it! So, little me strolled up to the movie section, gazing at the rows and rows of the de-vaulted Peter Pan treasures, and texted my husband, asking him if he wouldn’t mind me purchasing a BR/DVD for our boys.  
He responds with: “Jif! Crunchy! Juice! Granola Bars!”

So I say to myself, okay, he approves and also requests a few other things… crunchy peanut butter… etc

I walk in the door at home and present my husband with his crunchy Jif peanut butter and he blurts out, “Why did you want to get Peter Pan?”  
"uhhh…. for the boys. You know I’ve been talking about getting it for the last few years! I know they’ll love it."  I pulled out the DVD and a look of confusion followed by a look of hilarity crossed over his face.  
"OHHH, I was talking about Peter Pan peanut butter!"

…let it be known, that I never, ever discuss peanut butter brands with my husband, nor have I ever purchased the Peter Pan brand.  

Blinded by the belly, my dear. PB&J on the brain.

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I want to put out a visual of what a typical evening with my boys may look like.  As this was happening to me on Monday night, I oddly wished for the moment to be captured and saved, to laugh at in later years:
some may visualize me, hair curled, eyelashes curled, makeup brushed, rosy cheeked, while the children play and the baby giggles and blows sweet little raspberries in a nearby Moses basket, as I gently hum the tune of Debussy’s Clair de Lune and stir a decadent, simmering pot of spaghetti sauce…

En réalité:  I am barefoot. Yes, that’s about the only thing correct from the above speculation.  My hair is unwashed, frazzled, and some part of it has swung and is caught by the corner of my mouth.  I try to spit it out as I realize I am also spitting into the frying pan currently sizzling and possibly burning the vegetables I was single handedly trying to sauté.  

In the other hand is, of course, cradling my 5 month old, who is currently nursing my left boob.  At five months, Collin is too big to simply cradle with one arm.  So how am I nursing him and stirring my vegetables at the same time?  
Barefoot I am: one foot, flat to the floor, the other, hoisted up, toes grappling onto the oven door handle while my leg is bent at a 45 degree angle, supporting the lower half of my nursing 5 month old.

Spitting, sizzling, nursing, slurping, sweating.  To top it off, my 3.5 year old nonchalantly waltzes into the powder room, right in front of my nursing/cooking spectacle, swinging his arms happy as a lark, bellowing, “I’M GOING TO DO A POOOOPY-POOP!”, which means to me that in 2 minutes or less, he’ll need his fanny wiped clean.

"Well, sure."  I replied.

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I can’t guarantee much about life, but something I absolutely guarantee is that if you’re trying to blog with an infant who is learning to use his limbs, he will make sure you stay disciplined about time spent writing by slapping your device, inadvertently erasing an entire unsaved draft.  ”1, 2, 3….” deep breath. It stunk anyway.

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I want to share this beautiful piece I read earlier this week.  Sarah Mae posted it on FB.  It weaves itself further into my Lenten effort of magnifying the Lord, lessening myself, and serving my family better. When Craig and I argue, it always helps each other when we acknowledge that we are both still trying to fill the occupations into which we’ve placed ourself: A mother, a father, a housekeeper, a provider. It wasn’t like we were married and BAM! “Carolyn possesses all the grace, patience, and selflessness needed to be a mother and wife!”  and likewise for my husband.

We got pregnant, got married (yes, in that order) and BAM! I found myself saying, “WHY do I have to be the one searching under the bed for all Craig’s dress socks!? WHY can’t I have a half hour to give myself a manicure?!”

"One of my biggest adjustments to motherhood was the constant giving, giving, giving. […] I did not even know I was selfish because I had lived my life pretty selfishly all of my life and had never really been accountable to anyone. But then when I had my children and they were always always always there, I did not have anything in me that knew how to handle the burdens."

Something I could have been told 50 times by veteran moms all around me, and I still could not have sufficiently prepared for, is the LITERAL giving of myself: body, time, thoughts and words. ALL OF ME.  My morning coffee. A moment of silence to collect my thoughts during a time of high stress. The well laughed about peeing-alone. My prayer time. My personal space. Anything I enjoyed to myself, I have given to my children, or I have set aside for them.  Babysitting or nannying couldn’t have even prepared me for it, because baby sitters get to go home at night and sleep a full 8 hours, uninterrupted, and return the next day, having enjoyed the solitary moments of applying makeup or showering. 

"I had never faced my own selfishness until I had children.

Now as an adult, I can see that my children have been my training grounds for building godly character in my own life. Jesus wanted me to learn to be like Him so He gave me children.

When I was so very helpless and overwhelmed and wanted answers, I turned to Him and to the Bible. How did He influence His disciples? How did he lead them in such a way that they all gave their lives to His cause?

Oh, how I wish the answer had been an easier one–Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.

And then, He, the God of the universe, knelt down on the dirty floor and washed 120 dirty toes of men feet, the night He was going to sacrifice His life for these very same men!

Oh, Jesus, I never knew this is what it would take to be a true Christian–a believer with integrity. But, if giving up your life is what you did–as you said, for an example for me to follow, then it must become my own standard-the way to reach my own children–to lay down my life….”


This is a hard truth.  And if someone is a person of material comforts, it would be enough to say, “…and that’s why I’m not having any children.” or, “..and that’s why I’m only having ONE child…” 
Those words are reflective of a very empty sadness. An empty sadness that I have been guilty of allowing myself to be deceived in the past.  I used to not want any children, if you’ve not read my past posts, for the above reasons. 

My children bring my husband and I to Christ.

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I have to postpone my final installation of my 3 part piece, Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms til next week.  I’ve had allergy issues this week, or maybe an oncoming cold, rendering me foggy-minded.  It’s taken twice as long to write my 7 “quick” takes.

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I’d like to use my seventh take to ask for prayers for a couple my husband and I look to as mentors: for their ill son, who’s currently hospitalized.  I don’t feel comfortable sharing details, but please pray for their son’s health and his parent’s peace of mind and trust in God’s will.  
Also, join me in prayer for our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI during his last week in the papacy. The only other pope to voluntarily step down was Pope Celestine V, in the year 1294!  That’s over 700 years ago!

"Pope Benedict felt a great affection for St. Celestine.

He declared a Celestine Year from August 2009 to August 2010 to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the saint’s birth and he visited the saint’s relics twice during his pontificate. During a trip to L’Aquila in 2009, Pope Benedict placed the long woolen pallium he received when he was elected on the saintly pope’s casket and left it there as a gift.

Pope Celestine is mostly remembered for “his reluctance to take up this sort of burden of the Apostolic See” and “actually flees when he hears word he is going to be made pope,” Birk said.

He was plucked at the age of 79 from his secluded life as a Benedictine monk and hermit and thrust into the pontificate after the College of Cardinals broke a two-year-long deadlock and elected him in 1294.

While he never fled, Pope Benedict never kept his reluctance to become pope a secret.

The then-78-year-old pontiff told a group of German pilgrims the day after his installation that he equated the growing consensus among cardinals to elect him pope as “an axe” getting ready to fall on his head. He had been looking forward to a life of peaceful retirement and said he felt “inadequate” for a job that demanded great “dynamism” and strength.

Pope Benedict’s coat of arms features a bear carrying a pack, symbolizing the weight of the episcopate. Pope Benedict has said the image gave him the encouragement to carry out his ministry like a beast of burden, but with confidence and joy.”

Source here.

I find this all extremely interesting and am left in wonderment about BXVI’s spiritual role in our time, especially for the duration of his life from this point on.  I agree with Elizabeth Scalia of Patheos blog, that Benedict XVI may be The Quiet Pope.  But it doesn’t follow that quiet be uninspiring, or unmoving. 

I just edited my entry and am disgusted that each Take begins with "I WANT" "I’D LIKE" OR "I HAVE" ….Cue the Beatles song, I, Me, Mine.  Yuck. 

Have a great week!  Go check out the 7 Quick Takes Friday linkup over at Conversiondiary!

7 Quick Takes Friday #7


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So I wrote that long post about what we eat, going off topic to discuss how we NEVER go out to eat.  But since then, we’ve gone to eat twice.  I owe my oldest two boys an apology because neither of them behaved the way I predicted they would in my last post.  This still doesn’t change the fact that I prefer to cook at home, but I’m pleasantly surprised that we can comfortably sit somewhere in public, involving food and no circus acts.  I suppose I should not have underestimated them: they sit quietly through Mass every Sunday without toys or books or snacks (though, just watch me be a walking contradiction this Sunday).

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Blessed I am, with the least amount of eyesight impairment of my family members.  I have glasses that I wear at night for driving (which I hardly ever do), or when I’m at the grocery store.  So I’m farsighted, I believe.  The rest of my family can hardly see their hand in front of their face, sans contacts or glasses. But lately, I’ve noticed myself squinting, even through my glasses! WHAT?! Optometrist, here I come!

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I went about the house last week, spraying the outside perimeter and the floor boards with insecticide, as the first vermin of the spring have shown face: teeny tiny, baby ants.  I sprayed doorways, with the mindset of Gandalf:

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"YOU SHALL NOT PASS! ”

and floor cracks with the mindset of Hook:

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"KILL THEM, KILL THEM ALL." 

…and then Lexington confessed to me that he’d been eating goldfish and poptarts in his bed. 

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I’m currently working on moving my blog somewhere else.  It’s going to take a while though. I only have access to a physical keyboard as opposed to a teenyweeny iphone a few days a week.  And even then, an hour or less at a time when the stars are aligned and ALL my boys are sleeping at the same time. 

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Lent has begun this week. So if you’ve seen a bunch of peeps walking around with dirt smudges on their foreheads, here’s a 2 minute video explaining why: 

http://youtu.be/m3L3c23MfC0

I’m continuing Lent in the spirit of lessening myself.  While I’ve chosen to “give up” Coca Cola (one of my favorite indulgences), I’m also working (as should be the greater purpose anyway) to improve my prayer life and my diligence of housekeeping as a stay at home mom.  As mundane as it sounds, it is a great challenge for me. 

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#5 brings me to mention, if you haven’t already read the first two parts of my three part series on Bare Minimum Mode, it’s time to catch up!  God willing, next week I plan on posting the final part: How I Function, if at all.

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I’ve saved my best Take for last. Please, enjoy:

My husband is finishing his college education. So a few nights of the week, he comes home after I’ve put the boys in bed.  Some nights ago, I was finishing washing the dishes, the house finally calm after I’d corralled the older two boys to bed, then I heard sirens.  Emergency vehicle sirens. 
Our house is about 3ish miles from the highway, so I figured it must be a car accident. …a car accident on the highway which my husband should have been traveling at that very moment… I grabbed my phone, called and texted him, sent him an email, to no avail. I texted my MIL. Nothing.  
In these few minutes, my 5 month old jumped at the opportunity to blast through his diaper.  As I cleaned up my Collin, I found myself staring off in a panicked trance, wondering how the emergency responders would know to contact me if my husband’s phone was smashed under the wheel of another vehicle.  I wondered if I’d have to go identify his body.  I noticed I was mindlessly, repeatedly wiping the same clean spot on my son’s fanny, and I dramatically exclaimed at him, “You’ll NEVER EVEN KNOW YOUR OWN FATHER!” My mind raced, wondering how I was supposed to raise three boys without a father figure…etc.

The sirens had stopped now, no doubt they’d cleaned up the accident and were loading Craig into the ambulance.  My heart was pounding, and my hands were shaking, as I washed them off in the sink.  I began to pace through the house, bouncing my baby boy a little more rigorously than need be, and the sirens started back up again. They must be taking the body back to the hospital…  I panicked.
I stopped in my tracks, listening, as I realized the sirens didn’t sound like they were fading away…

I heard my 2 year old, through the door of the bedroom, jump in his bed and bang his FIRE TRUCK WITH SOUND EFFECTS against the crib railings.

I cannot describe the grand tidal wave of relief that passed over me as I face-palmed myself and caught my breath.

If you’d like to continue laughing, go read Jen’s 7 Quick Takes and everyone else’s posts!
 

Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms. Part II {FOOD}

So here’s part two of my Bare Minimum series: What I Cook.

 I have definitely cooked crappy dinners. We definitely have days where (as Jen Fulwiler puts it) my children’s meals consist mostly of goldfish, or graham crackers. Cereal is always a fallback. Good ol’ trusty.

This is like the fourth or fifth time I’ve sat down to finish this entry, and each time I do, I’m like,”WHY am I writing this, again?” I feel completely unworthy of the advice I’m giving. I’ve got friends who are way more motivated and organized than I am, who should be writing this, and who could contribute way more! So just keep this in mind. I am constantly asking for advice from my family and friends. I was only half way finished putting this series together when I had a conversation with a friend about couponing!  NO! I don’t really coupon! WHY!? I just don’t know enough! So there you go: Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone is in a different place, a different pace and of a different temperament. Take something I do that might work for you and your family, tweak it, make it better, then share it with me! Or take something that I do totally wrong, and relieve me of my ignorance, please!

That said, let’s set the foundation about what my family and I consume:

I’d probably qualify myself as semi-crunchy. (crunchy= granola hippie or, as some have called me, “Earthy”) If I had the funds and inexhaustible drive to search for the optimum health foods—- I’m not gonna lie, I still would probably drive through McDonald’s and order some fries and a Coke. I try to maintain a balance of healthy food choices, and ingredients, but we allow some junk. That’s us in a nutshell.

It all boils down to what I’m willing to sacrifice. Health, money, or time?

If I were willing to sacrifice my money, my health and the health of my children, I’d buy a ton of frozen foods and prepared meals. We’d eat out often. I would never cook.

To me, I like to believe that my time is well-spent cooking meals for my husband and children. By doing this, I’m saving money and I’m looking after the health of my family. There are many days during the Bare Minimum Mode when I can barely find a minute to pee, let alone cook a meal. So here is what I do:

My Basics for Meals:

  • Stick to what you know: Now is not the time to try recipes which contain ingredients you’ve never tasted before. I can’t afford the time or money on a meal experiment.
  • Don’t be enslaved by brand names. We buy the store brand for just about everything save for a few items that I definitely notice a difference in flavor/quality or ingredients. It saves money. I always laugh, thinking of the Dave Ramsey line about Heinz 57 Ketchup vs the store brand ketchup “…Heinz claimed to be thicker, tastier. The store brand is accused of being watery, uglyyy …and made in the same factoryyyyy…”
  • It pays to shop around. There is a particular store which I refer to as The Russian Storefront. I can’t stand shopping there. It’s always cold, they’re always out of essential groceries, and their produce sucks assmar. I don’t like it, my husband doesn’t like it, and even my oldest boy whines “NOOOO, I DON’T WANT TO GO TO W**-***T!” when we pull into the parking lot. But guess whaaaat: the groceries they do carry are cheaper than everywhere else. Shopping there cuts our grocery bill in half. I go elsewhere for the other items. I go to Target when I want a vacation. Tarjay Vacay!
  • We buy fresh and organic to an extent. I’m aware of the partially hydrogenateds, the high fructose syrups, and the artificial sweeteners that are packed into nearly all dry grocery foods. I buy organic if it’s ever on sale- mostly, I wash fruit in a water/vinegar mix. I read the labels and avoid buying food for my boys containing any of the above ingredients. At first, it took a little extra time at the grocery store, but now I know what’s semi-healthy and that’s what I go back for. I also have ambitions to drown -er- grow a tiny garden this summer with the aid of my mother and my green thumb husband.
  • I make the bulk of my meals from scratch. Cooking from scratch is the best for my family because I can better control what ingredients go into the dish, the recipes generally make larger quantities or are easily doubled, and it’s cheaper.  No, I don’t roll out and make my own pasta, milk my own cow, nor churn my own butter.  I definitely buy some frozen foods, I put half a pack of instant vanilla pudding into my cookies, and I always keep a box or two of cake mix for an easy dessert when family visits. We buy a frozen pizza every two weeks and it qualifies as our “ordering take-out”
  • We never go out to eat.

I internally freak out pretty easily when we go out, so eating out with three baby boys is a trifecta for me.
Imagine me, for a moment:    

Attempting to discreetly wrestle a 4 month old under the bewildering fabric of a nursing cover while he flails his limbs, gazes distractedly at the fabric’s print, perhaps screaming, perhaps squalling, while I’m having letdown (MILK EVERYWHERE). Baby perhaps sputtering, coughing, or possibly drowning, whilst my middle child may or may not be wailing in protest of the bondage of highchair-ery, or of the crackers he’s not being fed quickly enough because I’m busy with the noodly nursing baby and the fabric which feels like the volume of a ship’s multiple sails yet also like a simple tea cozy because noodle boy is now wrapping himself with it, negating its purpose and threatening boobie exposure. All the while, my husband frantically waits (in a forced, nonchalant manner) for the YouTube app on his phone to detect WiFi to silence the middle child, while our oldest boy jovially rattles on about EVERYTHING he sees, does, tastes and touches, as well as providing the sound effects of pirate life and animal bellowings because he loves to hear his own voice- but who can blame him?

I repeat, we never eat out.  I know I will someday be wined and dined, but I don’t even want it right now.

  • Generally, I cook 2-3 HUGE meals (dbl batch) a week and freeze half of each, so that I have two meals I don’t have to cook the second week. 
  • The rest of the week I keep very simple. Meat & veggie, with pasta or rice.
  • I freeze nearly everything. Especially uncooked veggies or cooked pasta or rice. Those items thaw nicely and can be used or added to any meal with ease. Here is a pretty good Pinterest link on the basics of freezing food. I have hopes to save for a deep freezer un jour

 Pinterest is a great source for meal ideas, if you know what you’re looking for!
The Pinterest Recipes that have earned a permanent fixture in the family menu are:

BREAKFAST:

  • Breakfast burritos- I’ve shared this one before, here. It’s such a great breakfast go-to. Instead of wasting $6-9 dollars on a small box of 4 frozen (full of mystery ingredients) breakfast burritos, taking 2 hours (which includes stopping to change diapers, feed children or get them to nap) on a Sunday afternoon gets me 2 weeks worth of breakfast for my husband and I. I don’t know if that can be beat!
    image 
  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuits.  OH.MER.GERSH.

    image 

LUNCH:

  • Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad- I make this maybe twice a month instead of buying lunch meat. It’s mostly to feed ME. It makes a quick sandwich, and I save myself from grazing or eating the boys’ graham crackers as a meal. I cut this recipe in half. It calls for 4 large cans of chicken, I use 2, etc.. However, I used more Greek Yogurt than the recipe calls for. This is a flexible recipe. I used chopped almonds instead of pecans, I added way more celery because I love the crunch. image
    [Source: http://foodfolksandfun.net/2011/12/day-4-of-12-days-of-christmas-fun/]

DINNER:

  • Pasta Milano- A chicken dish derived from a recipe from Macaroni Grill, it’s my favorite dinner. Full of flavor, freezes and reheats wonderfully. This recipe calls for only 2 chicken breasts, three strips of bacon and half a pound of pasta, so it’s fabulously easy to double and freeze for a quick meal next week.  This one does take a little more time than the other recipes, but once you get the method down, it becomes second nature to throw it together. If I can do it, so can you!
    image
  • ChiliThere is no such thing as a small pot of chili.  I’m not a huge chili fan, but my MIL’s recipe converted me. I just found the above Pinterest recipe today, and it’s nearly identical.  I do not double this recipe.  In fact, I cut it in half (only 2lbs of meat, etc.) and there is still enough left to freeze for dinner next week in addition to lunch to send with my husband to work for a few days.  It can be served by itself, or over rice or pasta. You don’t have to use beef.  I use a mix of beef and italian style sausage. My sister makes chili with ground turkey, and I think it’s delicious.  A very flexible recipe; one can use the beans they like, can add potatoes or extra vegetables, make it spicy or sweet. 
     
  • Polska Kielbasa with vegetables- This one is my easiest go-to. Chop up veggies of choice, sauté to desired tenderness, throw in diced Kielbasa and brown.  Serve over rice. You don’t even need any sauce or dressing with it because the Kielbasa is so flavorful. 
    image

  • Crock Pot Roast.  I haven’t made this in a long time, but the secret ingredients make all the difference!  This is another flexible recipe, as you may add veggies and serve with pasta or rice.

EXTRAS:

  • Crusty Bread- This is hands down, my greatest Pinterest treasure. It’s a three ingredient, no-knead bread. I whip it up in a bowl at bedtime, let it sit til the morning or until the next evening, throw it in the oven, and I have fresh bread with dinner (spaghetti night, anyone?), or toast for breakfast, or extra bread when I’m out of regular sandwich bread. It freezes nicely.
  • image
     I recently cut my dough in half and made two mini loaves: cute little baby loaves.  I used to work at Jeff Ruby’s and they serve bread with a salty crust which I still think about and drool, so I sprinkled coarse sea salt on the top of one loaf before baking and it turned out beautifully. Make sure you read the instructions carefully, and read the comments for further ideas and tips. Before my mom gave me a dutch oven with a lid, I simply used my crock pot with foil as the lid to bake the dough.  For these two loaves, I used two of my mini crock pots with foil.  Chopping fresh rosemary and mixing it into the dough before baking is absolutely delicious. The blog gives other flavor ideas that sound lovely!

So there you go! visit my Pinterest board for more ideas.  As far as food goes, I try to pin recipes that are realistic to accomplish, and that I’ve tried and approved. 

Next week I’ll post my final part to my Bare Minimum Mode series: How I function with 3 Boys at home. 
Please message or Tweet me with your Bare Minimum recipes! 

Oh, Holy SuperBowl Sunday.

My little sister and I grew up with sports being a very integral part of our youth. We played softball from kindergarten until high school graduation (catcher, here!) We played on our church’s private school soccer team until high school graduation. From the 7th grade until I graduated high school, I was a hurdler, long jumper, and relay team member on our Track & Field team (My sister set school records, & I got to compete at the Regional level- one under state championship, and we have the gold, silver & bronze medals to prove it. …in a shoebox … in the basement…)

Okay? I’m not bragging (I mean, but come on, there are talented ladies in my family. My cousin played Softball for the United States Coast Guard -catcher too), I’m letting IT BE KNOWN that I’m not coming from a background which does not appreciate sports.

That being said, I knew there was a reason I loathe spectator sports. The angry nazi-fem in me wants to batman slap the men who ogle the television screen, drooling at the commercials of scantily-clad women during half-time, beer in greasy little hand.

I am disgusted at the thousands who flock to the stadiums Sunday mornings instead of church. (I always give the benefit of the doubt and try to assume everyone went to Saturday Night Mass instead… yeah… thousands)
I am disgusted that championship days are treated like Holy days in the homes of so many, gathered around the alter of the television, partaking in the sacraments of potato chips and beer, hallelujahs at touchdowns, cursing and swearing at interceptions.

That is simply the Debbie Downer in me. I know for many families, this doesn’t ring true. I know it’s nice to have a reason for family to gather and enjoy something everyone likes instead of arguing over religion or politics.

But what really got me going is knowing that ”The Super Bowl is “the single largest human trafficking incident in the U.S.,”

Read more: http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/national/super-bowl-is-single-largest-magnet-for-sex-trafficking-child-prostitution-in-us#ixzz2JkyWj3xH


Really? There’s a correlation between the two?

I think, if you’re someone who has the ability to scratch the surface of a subject and think an inch deeper (as fellow blogger I can’t recall right now once wrote, ”Oh, but to think an inch deeper!”), one could easily place man, beer, sports, moral relativism (“it’s right because it’s right for me!”), and sex together. SIMPLY WATCH THE COMMERCIALS.

Last year, The Washington Post wrote about this as well:

The Super Bowl attracts tens of thousands of fans to the host city, and millions of television viewers, making it the most watched broadcast each year. But it also attracts a sector of violent, organized criminal activity that operates in plain sight without notice: human sex trafficking.”

I could go on, and on. and on. I’ll list some more sites at the bottom, but what I want to make known is that there are people who are doing something about this.

The Catholic Sisters of the Holy Cross are a group, out of many, responsible for intercepting and saving many young women. My cathsorority sister, at FinelinenandPurple says last year, they rescued a 9 year old girl.

This article is great because it talks about what the Sisters did last year in order to raise awareness as well as save trafficked women. Here is a video as well:
I don’t have time to write out my thoughts. But believe me when I say I have them. I just wanted to take a brief moment to bring this to light, as tomorrow is the religious holy day of Superbowl Sunday for millions. Please remember this, and please pray for these innocent women.

7QT #6

                -1-

My husband and I, together, tuck our boys in for the night. We always say a small prayer, asking for God to bless each boy as we trace the cross on each sweet forehead.  It’s what my Mom and Dad did for me and my siblings before bedtime.  More and more often, though, we’ve been adding the Hail Mary when we tuck in our oldest. So last night, Craig and I must have been particularly exhausted because it wasn’t until we’d finished the Hail Mary that I realized instead, we’d simultaneously recited -loud n proud, mind you- our dinner prayer without skipping a beat. (“Bless us, oh Lord, in these thy gifts…”).

                -2-

I do not like surprises.  Which honestly, if you know me, makes complete sense.  I need control. I need to know what’s going on.  I want what I want, and I’d rather tell someone exactly what I want, negating the surprise factor,  instead of letting someone guess, and most certainly guess wrong. (I KNOW! I am childish!)  I detest being lied to, misled, or deceived in any manner- EVEN FOR FUN.  Mostly, this is due to personal history issues, but I also have a firm suspicion that if someone is willing to lie for laughs, they are also willing to lie for anything else. Sorry, Debbie Downer here. However, it kind of ties in with my becoming less journey. I know I should allow surprises!  I should trust my loved ones!  Especially God, and His surprises.  So, I’m conflicted here in my motives for not enjoying surprises.

                -3-

Couple my disdain for surprises and my quick-to-be-snarky attitude and thar be humiliation.  Two Examples: One Christmas, I was mall shopping with my MIL and SIL.  My momma-in-law points over to a well known health/body/skin care store and asks me what I thought about it.  ”Uhh, just a BUNCH OF JUNK,” I replied, killing the subject -even though, I’d never stepped foot in the place. So Christmas Eve, I open up a present from my MIL, and it happened to be a beautiful array of lotions from that store.  I held it up, humiliated, and declared in good humor, “…just a bunch of junk!”  We still laugh about it today.

                -4-

My husband and I usually watch a movie or TV show a few nights a week, if it’s early enough and we’ve corralled the boys to their beds. My Our favorite show to watch, any time, is Cake Boss and Next Great Baker.  I even have great aspirations to one day make a trip to Hoboken NJ to visit the Carlo’s Bakery and purchase goodies.  My husband and I always comment on the pastries they create on the show, whether or not we’d enjoy the taste, or what we’d like to see done differently.  So I didn’t think anything about it when my husband asked me what I thought about one of the pastries shown at the opening segment of Cake Boss.  Brashly, I replied, “I have absolutely NO interest in those, whatsoever.”  Fast forward to a day ago and an annoying FedEx truck guy was ringing our door bell.  I looked at the return address on the package:

Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken NJ.

                -5- 

I got to taste the pastries I had “absolutely NO interest in, whatsoever,” from Carlo’s Bakery.  
 

Tiny surprise it may be to some, it was beautiful to me.  I experienced delight for maybe one of a handful of times in my life at a surprise from my loving husband.  Sheepish, stands the snarky woman.

              -6-

 If you haven’t yet, please check out my current 3 part piece about Bare Minimum mode.  Here’s the link.  Look for part two, What I Cook to Maintain My Sanity, to pop up in a few days. 

              -7-

I made Meatloaf for the first time last night.  I have a prejudice about it, and have always referred to it as MeatLOAD.  I think the name sufficiently describes my feelings about the dish.  It was a success, however, and I am pleased to add it to my list of easy, freezable menu items.  I’ll include the recipe in Part Two of my Bare Minimum series.

Have a great & blessed weekend, peeps!  Go check out Conversiondiary’s 7 Quick Takes and everyone else’s, for some good laughs.

Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms. Part I

 I want to talk abut "BARE MINIMUM MODE".  (Yes, it’s Jennifer Fulwiler who, to my knowledge, first penned the term. I can’t help that I’m always referring to her blog- it’s so genuine!)

Right now, I am in the thick of Bare Minimum Mode.
And I am relieved and rejuvenated to know there’s a name to it! YES!  A Cathsorority friend of mine posted this article on Facebook last week (I can’t promise I don’t rake through Conversiondiary some days, but this was a coincidental find).  I read it, and with a sigh of relief, realized I’m not (that) lazy.  Ever since I became pregnant with our first child, I’ve been in the dumps, feeling like I’m “being lazy” because the house is a shambles, while trying a variety of things to help myself out of it (vitamins, drinking more water, half-heartedly eating less gluten, reading inspirational motivational stuffs, making checklists, setting alarms, LOTS OF COFFEE…), while every now and then, dazedly blurting out “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!”.  

The above article helped me to realize that while I definitely have tired, lazy, selfish tendencies, each mother and her family has a different temperament, and that this phase of my life is, again  …just a phase. (cue Incubus song).  …but not only is this a simply a phase, it is an extremely difficult one!  I am trying to fit into the shoes of a veteran mother and wife.  Something I certainly am not, yet.  

I basically expected to give birth to our first son and BAM, also be instilled with the keys and secrets to being an awesome, efficient, multitasking robot of a mother and wife. Oh, how naïve

Something about becoming a mother that I didn’t realize I was being hurled into is the depth of self sacrificing to which I would need to surrender.  

Right, right, right, having the ol’ unplanned pregnancy and baby thing is the obvious sacrifice. I’ve done that one.
But that sacrifice is, quite honestly, an easy sacrifice (I say that lightly- I don’t mean to belittle the sacrifice of giving life.), once a mother gets down to the nitty gritty of actually BEING the mother: the tiny, pinpricking sacrifices mothers make daily.  Constant pinpricking needles which are the tiniest of sacrifices, build up, and can make mothers feel suffocated.  A mother can find herself saying “can I not even have one moment -ONE MINUTE- to myself …to BREATHE!?”  

Part of my thinking, as a new mom, in my earliest of days was similar to this:

"Okay, so I’ve gotten the baby washed/fed/sleeping," or, "I’ve gotten the kitchen cleaned/laundry done/bills paid, SO…"
 ”… now I deserve some time for myself.”

But nearly every time, my “Me Time” gets interrupted.  By the mailman, by a phone call, by a waking child, by whatever under the sun could go wrong, my me time was always interrupted or short-lived.  I’m not exaggerating. Any mom knows this.  Simply peeing without someone laying at my feet, rolling Hot Wheels around the *extremely sanitized* toilet is considered “me time” nowadays.

 It really translates like this: my time = my will. <that’s how I’ve been looking at my free time.  Anything I really want to do, is part of MY TIME.  IT’S MINE FOR GOODNESS SAKES! Let me at least have that!

So, after nearly 4 years of continually, frustratingly fighting for my deserved “me time”, I’ve some to a conclusion:

I don’t want my time, Lord.  You take it.  My time is yours.


"Thy will be done." (Matthew 6:10)

If there’s something I really want to do, I now pray a quick prayer, "Lord, if it is Your will that I do this, help my baby to nap/behave/be occupied long enough so I can either get it done, or get some part of it done.”

One of my fave Catholic writers discusses the battle we wage when we battle for MY TIME.  Peter Kreeft hits the nail on the head (as usual) by calling it what it is, pride.  ”UGH, really? This is what it is? Pride?” said I, upon reading his excerpt:

“Pride does not mean an exaggerated opinion of your own worth; that is vanity. Pride means playing God, demanding to be God. ‘Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven,’ says Satan, justifying his rebellion, in Milton’s Paradise Lost. That is the formula for pride. Pride is the total ‘my will be done.’  Humility is “thy will be done.” Humility is focused on God, not self. Humility is not an exaggeratedly low opinion of yourself. Humility is self-forgetfulness. A humble man never tells you how bad he is. He’s too busy thinking about you to talk about himself.”

 This is not a new thing to me.  It swings me back around to my current pilgrimage toward becoming less, so I can hardly be shocked when I blundered onto these thoughts.  It’s just like… ugh!  I gotta surrender my time too?!  

Yup.

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Shifting my paradigm, y’all. Little by little, facet by facet.  It is helping to bring my soul to a deeper peace.  Instead of frustration about not being able to write my 7 Quick Takes last week, I’m assuming I wasn’t supposed to. And wouldn’t you know, I’ve been inspired to write this entry! Perhaps it’s to help a friend of whom I’m unaware, struggling like I am.  Perhaps its just a little reprieve for myself.  Whatever it is, I thank God for allowing it right now.  I’m not saying that I’ve now mastered a complete surrender of my will to God’s will.  Goodness gracious, I’m only human!  This is going to be a continual LIFE LONG BATTLE.  But now I know. Now, I can move forward to becoming the best version of myself.

And this isn’t to say that I’ll never get my ME TIME.  But by not expecting it at every job Well Done, I am surprised to be given it.  I regard it, then, as a grace from God, not an entitlement.

SO.  Bare Minimum.  What is that for me?  

I’m breaking this up into 3 parts, or else I’ll have a mile long blog entry, and I know I’ve probably lost 3 quarters of my readers by now anyway soooo…

Part 1: What I DO
Part 2: What I Cook (and Pinterest ideas that have made my life easier)
Part 3: How My Children and I Function, Together

For me, Bare Minimum Mode is an indefinite period of time where I don’t go to any extra efforts to be anywhere except home, doing what needs to be done in order to survive. 

 This is pretty cleansing for me because a lot of time, we as mommies tend to feel like we HAVE to be… anything that “every other mom” seems to be doing.  Truth is, we don’t.  And truth is, “every other mom” isn’t doing it all either.  I’ve come to believe that the very happiest of families know what they need, and don’t go chasing around what they think they need, to keep up with Sally Supermom’s family.  These bare minimum moms actually become a supermom of their own, in my eyes anyway.
Here’s a rundown of my Bare Minimum household stuff as of right now.  It fluctuates and changes according to where we are financially, seasonally, and how I am mentally.

The Bare Minimums for me are:

  • The only time the whole family goes “out” is on the weekends: For groceries, to Mass, and to visit my parents or my husband’s parents. 
  • To the doctor if there’s an illness. My second son now has an ear infection, and our youngest is recovering from a double ear infection (I thought breastfed babies hardly got ear infections!?).
  • Many times, we have our family come to visit us.  I become easily vexed with the constant watching, chasing and corralling I have to do with my running boys. I vex to the point of exhaustion. So that when we get home, I need a nap or I’m irritated with my energetic boys until they’re in bed for the night.  I guess I’m pretty introverted.  If everyone comes to our house, I can actually enjoy the company.
  • We are not enrolled in any extracurriculars. Any. 
  • I hardly make note of how much TV is being watched (DisneyJR). I do turn it off, but I’m the opposite of the strictness I used to be.
  • I do laundry once a week. Note: not ALL of the laundry. Probably about half. And half of that half sits in a basket, not put away (but, at least folded, if lucky) for us to rake through as needed.
  •  The sink is always full of dishes. I try to get a viewing of a clean, empty sink twice a week. 
  • I vacuum 2-3 times a week (our carpet shows dirt like none I’ve ever known. Which is a good thing, I believe, or else I’d never vacuum.) 
  • I shower once a week. Twice if I seize the opportunity. A good round brush blowout, and my hair will last a whole week.  Luckily, I don’t have excessively oily hair, and a spray of Dry Shampoo will sustain it if I’ve got to get to the doctor with someone mid-week.
  • I absolutely delight in freshly manicured nails and a vivid colored nail lacquer. But right now, keeping them filed to a length which doesn’t trigger my gag reflex is proving challenging. (long nails make me wretch.)

    BAREST OF MINIMUMS: 
  • Feed people.
  • Wash people. 
  • Trim 60 fingernails once a week (+20 more of my own, if I’m lucky)
  • Wipe rear ends. 
  • HOLD THE BABY. 
  • NURSE THE BABY. 
  • Take lots and lots of photographs. 
  • I blog when I can.

If absolutely nothing else:

  • Bellies are filled.
  • The Rosary gets prayed.

Right now, holding and nursing the baby takes up a ton of time and space.  Baby 3 is 4 months old so he’s getting heavy, and too large to cradle with one arm.  Wearing him in a sling or a wrap helps me do a ton, but eventually my back and neck need a break. 

As this is the third round of baby-dom for me, I am conscious that this constant baby rocking, walking, nursing, bouncing, holding is a very short, albeit very intense, and extremely necessary phase for myself and especially the baby.  I am familiar with the benefits of being in constant contact with my newborn and I’ll alligator-snap anyone who tells me it’s coddling the baby and a “letting him control me” thing.  Wrong-o!

Okay, I’m spent.  Part II to follow very soon. 

Write to me, and tell me what your bare minimums are! I’m always looking for moms to copy from!

7QT (#5)(correction!)

Bienvenue to 7 Quick Takes hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at ConversionDiary!

After you’ve finished reading my QT’s, if you’re a mom, or even someone who values personal space, Go check out Jen’s #6 for the week.  Ahhh I’d love it.  I never have my free space.  NEVER. -wait a minute. I do. When I’m brushing my teeth.  Most nights.  Though brushing with baby in one arm is a frequent occurrence as well.  So I’ll rescind to NEVER. There’s a sleeping baby in my lap right now. 

Last week consisted of much frustration, a sick baby, breastfeeding problems (TMI warning) but finished off with a beautiful celebration: the dedication of my parish’s newly built church and alter. (possessive of parish= parish’s?) 


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1. This is nap time at Bumpy Bridge (the name our oldest boy gave our house) on Tuesday:

  • Emmett laughing maniacally in his crib while bouncing up and down on his bottom, simultaneously flipping through the cardboard pages of a picture book.
  • Lexington prancing on his tippie toes, doing laps around the mattress, bellowing “I HAVE TO DO A PEEPEEEEEE!” as if he needed permission to go to the bathroom. (I’ve had marked discussions with him before, about how if he has to go, to get up and use the toilet. And that he doesn’t have to ask because using the toilet is better than peeing where we sleep.)
  • Laying with Collin, trying to nurse him to sleep so I could sneak out and start some fraction of the mountainous laundry which has magically cultivated by itself. 

    (EVE, Y U EAT OF FORBIDDEN FRUIT, NOTICE NAKEDNESS, AND MAKE LAUNDRY FOR ALL GENERATIONS!?) Collin drifted off for 10 minutes, but then woke up suddenly and began ululating like the little dinosaur which attacks Newman on Jurassic Park (his newfound voice, of which he’s proud) and pedaling his feet in the air so rapidly, the blankets stood no chance of me attempting to tuck him back into a cuddle bug. 


Another cup of coffee it is, then.

2. I attempted to wear Collin on my back with the Moby Wrap.
I failed.
This happened a few weeks ago, and I’d forgotten about it until I found a photo of it on my iPhone early last week.
Visualize:
Me, watching a baby-wearing video on how to wrap your baby on your back, thinking, “easy enough!”.

I get to the point of successfully hoisting Collin onto my back, the wrap properly placed with the middle of it across his back, the rest of it hanging on either side of me onto the floor.
At this juncture, I was hunkered over, saying, “Okay… now what?” whilst the first warning burp was fired: a lovely, wet, gurgle, which boiled, not quite to the opening of the baby’s mouth, threatening the back of my neck.
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                              [Laughing here, but not for long.]

Three curdle-y burps warning my ear canal later, I was still hunkered over, stuck at step one, baby drool drenching the fly aways at the nape of my neck, entangled in a tiny fist, and sweat rolling down my forehead.
I decided baby back wearing is for the double-jointed. For the life of me, I could not work the miles of fabric around my back, laden with baby because my arms would not bend BACKWARD.

3) Collin now has double ear infection. Anyone who knows anything about ear pain can tell you that swallowing is no bueno, let alone drinking through a straw, or in an infant’s case, bottle feeding or breastfeeding.  So, Wednesday night, I started getting the rejection.  Ahh.  It immediately was brought to the emotional state I experienced 3.5 years ago, when my oldest boy went on a “nursing strike”. :

 I was a new mom, a new breastfeeder, and had been so caught up with being pregnant and thinking about the presence of my baby, that I didn’t even know to read about breastfeeding and its challenges.  ”Challenges” is an understatement. Long story short, He had only been breastfeeding for 3 months when we switched to the bottle.  I felt like a failure, I felt a real sense of loss.  I felt angry frustration and confusion.  I felt like I’d lost a bond with my child. I was depressed and I cried, alone when no one was around, for two weeks when I realized I was finished breastfeeding.  Since then, I’ve become borderline psycho about no bottles.

 Fast forward past successfully breastfed baby #2 and here we are with #3 who’s ears hurt when he eats.  I started noticing reluctance to nurse on Thursday and by Friday, it was full throttle crying. All day. I was so stressed out that I now have clogged milk ducts in multiple places on both sides.  The pain of this is akin to an aching, cavity in your molars. 

5) I saw the light though.  After going through the stresses of baby 1, and the weathering yet peaceful nursing period of my second baby, I realized that fixing this is not going to take a tap of a finger and instant gratification.  This is going to take time and patience.  

Friday and most of Saturday, I walked around holding baby Collin upright, so his ears wouldn’t hurt from the pressure while laying back (i.e. BREAKING MY BACK AND NECK) and walked, rocked, and bounced on our orange medicine ball until he chose to nurse, for as long as he would do it. It involved a lot of crying from Collin, headaches for me, and no moments to myself.   I had to pump -something I really don’t like doing- a few times.  I applied heat to my clogged areas (sock filled with rice, microwaved 20 sec). I nearly cried, many times. But today, Sunday, he began to nurse like regular.  It was such a huge relief.  I probably couldn’t have had the patience to do this were it not for the help of my mom, who watched the older boys one afternoon, and of my husband, who took off Friday to help with the boys and basically clean up after the disaster zone I’d made of the house.

It’s taken three children to realize that, with human beings, there are no short cuts.  There are no schedules or equations.  Each person is completely different.  It’s time.   As a Mom, I owe ALL of my time.  ALL of my personal space.  DARN PEEING ALONE!  I can when I’m dead! -and the relief is far more gratifying than the shortcut, which hardly helps in the long term anyway.    
 

6) Since before I was in high school, our Parish has prayed to be able to build a new church.  10+ years later (that’s a minimal guess), on the Saturday Vigil, I got to witness and, even better, participate in the dedication of our new church and alter.

 My parents have contributed much to the preparation and building of this church, and were part of the celebration on Saturday. It was fun to listen to them talk about all of the intricacies involved in the preparation and building of this church, especially about the rehearsal:

My mom told us that aside from a man claiming to want to enter the new church before the dedication in order to pray, instead began shouting, holding up one of the Missalettes (which my mom believed he mistook for the Bible), yelling “IN SHA ALLAH!  ALLAH IS THE TRUE GOD!”, and other alarming ramblings which implied he did not like this particular church, and that he was indeed not praying, the dedication went off without a hitch.

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7) We could not have made it to the dedication Mass without my mother-in-law and Sis-in-law.   They visited early in the day to help dress and feed the boys while I was learning the ways of the Breastfeeding-whisperer.  They kept the boys entertained so that I could shower and dry my hair, uninterrupted (an extravagant luxury for me nowadays). 
For them I am so very thankful.  We made it, notwithstanding Lexington grass-staining the knees of his crisp, clean khakis on our way in, and notwithstanding him also peeing all over one of the brand new toilets and the subsequent wall behind it, the celebration was beautiful.  I love the smells of the chrism oil and incense. mmm!

Credits this week go to my Mom for taking the boys, Mom in law for helping us get ready, Sis for her thoughtful gift, and my loving, steady husband.

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          [My Mom, Dad, & Baby Collin]

Friday’s Quick Takes (#4)

Welcome, welcome to a belated Friday’s Quick Takes, hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversiondiary. It is Sunday night.  I’m happy to report that Jennifer seems to be doing well and home from the hospital after her health issue from the previous week.  She wrote about it here.
So, we’ll get to it then! My quick takes this last week encircle the further lessening of myself …kinda.

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1) I am beginning to think that my Friday’s Quick Takes will perpetually be posted on Sundays. I just can’t seem to get it done on Friday, or even Thursday night! I’m working up to it. Hoping to improve!

2) I started blogging in 2005. I began writing as an outlet, just trying to work my brain out loud. If I go back to my very first blog entry… it’s embarrassing. Really embarrassing. And kind of depressing; I wasn’t well.  I was wrapped up in selfish artist world trying to connect points in my life without fully devoting my heart to my faith.  How sloppy, grappling, and how empty!
Skip forward 8 years and one gains confidence with writing once one has conviction about something. For me, getting married & having children really sped up the reversion process of my heart. Early 2012, I connected with a beautiful group of women through the blogging realm. Their ideas, their prayers, and the faith that we share is something that encourages me daily, as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a Christian striving for holiness, and as a “hey-you’re-not-the-only-20something-mom-out-there-who’s-trying-to-live-out-the-Faith!”. Because I’ll tell you what: we get to Mass and short of booking it out of there afterward, we don’t linger with a hungry infant and two super squirmy toddlers, let alone seek out and mingle with the other young parents and their squirmy babies.

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3)  Getting out of bed is something I struggle with every. single. day. I am a tired person.  One of the ladies I’ve had the pleasure to meet through intranet recently shared a blog through Pinterest. And wouldn’t you know, I read this entry last week and had a small prayer answered. I’ve always been le tired. In first grade I wrote a book titled: I am Tired. Through high school, my parents wondered if I was on drugs because of the amount of sleeping I did (I actually got Mono one summer- slowest summer of my life). Becoming a mother did not magically transform me to a wakeful, motivated, morning person. In fact, becoming a mother has made it much more difficult.

It’s been whispering to me that WAKING UP is part of the “becoming less” that I need.  By denying myself the simple pleasure of lazing in bed for a half hour more —and let’s face it, it’s really more of a frustration than a pleasure knowing that you need to be up anyway— I’ve started my day off with a YES to my vocation as a mother, as a servant of God for whatever the day brings me.  Rather than a “…zzzz…10 more minutes, Almighty Father…” And this blog entry confirmed it:

The heroic minute. It’s time to get up, on the dot! Without hesitation, a supernatural thought and … up! The heroic minute; here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does not weaken your body.
That’s from St. Josemaria Escriva’s The Way #206. And then there was this quote:
Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If, with the help of God, you conquer yourself in that moment, you’ll have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It’s so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish! The Way #191.

So, as part of this year’s goal of becoming less, I will strive for Heroic Mornings. Laugh if you will. But that is exactly how I have to think of my mornings, or else I’ll lay there, wishing for 20 more minutes. Thank you friend, for pinning this blog.

4) …but then Saturday, I slept in with my baby until 10am… (My courageous husband heroically conquered the morning for me, bless him).  ”I shall diminish”…when I get out of bed.  …FAIL.

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5) However, Saturday evening, I became a fully grown woman. I made my mother’s spaghetti and meat balls.  I wanted to cook for my MIL, whose birthday is on Monday. So why not spaghetti, right? Pasta is easy and feeds lotsa people. I really enjoy cooking (which I didn’t know until I got married), and don’t mind detailed methods, or a little prep (I don’t mind the occasional frozen pizza, either). My mom’s spaghetti sauce, however, is unlike any sauce I’ve ever tasted. It’s not difficult, but it has a few surprise ingredients. The recipe actually belongs to my Aunt’s (ex)mother-in-law, who is 100% Italian and immigrated by boat to NY. The recipe, in my mind, is one of those that is so good, we the lowly, unseasoned, amateur cooks dare not defile the sacred deliciousness by trying to actually MAKE it.  I feel that I need be at least 40 years old before I should be allowed to cook something like this. BUT, Saturday evening, at 28 years old, I made it, and felt that I’d crossed the threshold into GROWN-A** WOMANHOOD. …ahem. Excuse me, I couldn’t help it…

6) After the evening of cooking, eating, baking, cookie-monstering, carrying sleeping children to bed and finally peeling the skinny jeans from my not quite as skinny legs (I managed to cram myself into non-maternity jeggings for the first time sans extravagant muffin top), I got to have a mo’ with the ol’ iPhone and its apps. Scrolling through Instagram I was delighted to see this! Shared from none other than one of me marvy Cathsorority ladies. It reminded me of my failings, but I strengthened my resolve to crack on with it!

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7) I am very blessed to have been able to have my hairs cut. Oh yes, all of them. My hair stylist (whom I’ve been following from salon to salon for over 4 years because she is fantastic), chopped nearly a whole foot in length from the shoulders down. I turned around in my chair to behold what looked like a pile of snakes laying, tangled upon the floor. The photo doesn’t really do the serpents justice: 

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If getting a haircut were to be a painful experience, I’d have to say it hurt so good. I wanted the long dangly, gangly strands to feel pain as they were sliced off. But they didn’t, the stupid, dead things. They didn’t even know they were gone. Irritating things. Anyway, how do you like me NOW! 

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A very Late What I Wore Sunday.
So here’s what I wore. I wasn’t feeling very well, so making a ridiculous face was better than the grimace my husband had photographed in the first few attempts.
I’m still in the awkward not-quite-fitting-into-normal-clothes-yet phase. Though I weighed myself at my MIL’s house (we don’t keep a scale) and I’m only 10lbs away from my preprego weight.
                   NOT BAD.
So I dusted off an old pair of wool slacks from when I got fat my freshman year, and they fit okay. A little roomy, but whatever. From The Limited. Puff sleeve Tee: Costco 2 years ago (yup, right off one of the 50 tables in the middle of the store)Scarf: Nordstrom, last year. Coat: NY&amp;Co, last year, big sale.  I’d like to say I wore some cute flats… but I wore my Sperrys.My Hair:  Still long and haggish. I mean, it looks like I have extensions, only without the volume.  yuck.
There we go.  Hopefully, I&#8217;ll get to post on time this week.  Probably not, though! Just sayin! 

A very Late What I Wore Sunday.

So here’s what I wore. I wasn’t feeling very well, so making a ridiculous face was better than the grimace my husband had photographed in the first few attempts.

I’m still in the awkward not-quite-fitting-into-normal-clothes-yet phase. Though I weighed myself at my MIL’s house (we don’t keep a scale) and I’m only 10lbs away from my preprego weight.

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                   NOT BAD.

So I dusted off an old pair of wool slacks from when I got fat my freshman year, and they fit okay. A little roomy, but whatever. From The Limited.
Puff sleeve Tee: Costco 2 years ago (yup, right off one of the 50 tables in the middle of the store)
Scarf: Nordstrom, last year.
Coat: NY&Co, last year, big sale.
I’d like to say I wore some cute flats… but I wore my Sperrys.
My Hair:  Still long and haggish. I mean, it looks like I have extensions, only without the volume.  yuck.


There we go.  Hopefully, I’ll get to post on time this week.  Probably not, though! Just sayin! 

7 (kinda)Quick Takes Friday post 2 (for me)

Here we go again! I skipped last week’s 7 Takes, so I packed both weeks together this time: 7 Quick Takes is hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at conversiondiary. After reading my takes, go check out the many other peep’s takes all linked-up on her blog. Many of the writers are downright hilarious. I just read Jennifer’s from last week, and laughed out loud the whole time. She listed 6 recipes and one Advent tip that is VITAL for those who use the storage space in their attic, if available.

Here go my 7 (We’ll go backwards this time, like conversiondiary):

7) After 3.5 years, I have achieved the status of NINJA MOM.

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I received my black belt on (last) Monday night at about 1am. I’d watched a late movie because I unwisely drank a late coffee as an effort to open up my nasal passages from this madness they call “a cold”. Boy #2 was heard from his crib throughout the duration of the movie, being a little turd, flopping around on his bed and jabbering away.

Movie finished, #2 finally sleeping, I entered the room to cover him up with his blanket and was immediately confronted by a fragrant odor.
My poor boy was not BEING a little turd, he simply HAD a little turd.
So, with my highly refined mom-skills, I was able to change his diaper without waking him up. I walked out of the room wearing my imaginary Mommy Ninja Black Belt (given to me by a mom-trainer who looks like Pai Mei), and noted that I can check-off “Change poopy diaper in the middle of the night without waking child” from my bucket list.

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PAI MEI APPROVES.
(http://killbill.wikia.com/wiki/Pai_Mei)

6) I am not one for pomp and circumstance

I may be artsy fartsy, but I’m not really crafty …schmafty(?). And by crafty schmafty, I mean I don’t do a bunch of refrigerator “art”, or save toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks or keep a stash of cotton balls and glitter: cute little crafts for every season, reason, or holiday.  I don’t even do Christmas cards, for goodness sakes.  I get as far as taking a few photos of my children, and if I upload the photo from my camera onto the computer, I count that as an accomplishment.

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^This is as crafty as it gets. And I wouldn’t even qualify it as crafty. It’s artsy fartsy. My oldest boy loves watercolor, and I think this is beautiful.

Nearly every time I find myself trying to micromanage, I end up stressed out and frustrated.
Thursday afternoon, it was rainy and windy and yucky out. So I connected our TV to YouTube and thought we’d listen and dance to Christmas music! Note that this is me REALLY stretching on the pomp&circumstance here.
So I turn on Frosty the Snowman and my oldest two seemed to enjoy the music—- and the power goes out.

FOR FOUR HOURS.

Enter screams of terror mixed with blind running and jumping of excitement about candles being lit, blended with tripping and falling over each other, doused with me in agony over stepping on legos, blocks, and die-cast cars and airplanes. I felt like the bad buy from Home Alone as he broke-in through the window:

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Only with two toddlers by my side and an infant in my arms.

We packed up, by candle light, and drove to my parent’s house for the rest of the evening. That’s an extreme example, but a vibrant one, nonetheless.

5) Instead, we went on “The Polar Bear Express”


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We packed up the boys in their pajamas, I threw on my bathrobe (thanks Grandma Cook!), made coffees, warm milks (which I forgot in the microwave), bagged some cookies, and we drove around town in our car, momentarily renamed “The Polar Bear Express”, listening to the Christmas music we were cut off from a few days previously, and enjoying the beautifully decorated & lit houses.
And that, folks, is the most pomp&circumstance this mom’s ever been. It was lovely -anything involving coffee and cookies always is, right?- cozy, and my boys loved it. Baby C slept the entire time. Easy. This was also on our second boy’s birthday. I would love this to become a tradition we do for his birthday every year.

4) We began praying the Rosary daily.

I get anxiety about how I believe my children will react to my plans. 9 times out of 10, my belief is incorrect.

I had desired to teach my boys the Rosary. My oldest is 3.5 years and definitely old enough to know the prayers. He knows his ABC’s and all the other toddler learning songs, the complete lyrics to Justin Bieber’s song, “Baby” (“it’s cool on the playground, butIREALLYWANNASEEHERONDAWEEKEND”), and play him any one of his favorite Disney movies and he’ll watch the movie while reciting the lines and singing along exactly. For me, all of that’s sweet and funny, but it ain’t doing nothin’ for his eternal soul. It’s like feeding him a bunch of candy.

Where’s the wholesome stuff?
Where’s the REAL stuff?
Santa, Lightning McQueen, and the “Guardians” don’t exist.
The Father, Son & Holy Spirit, and all His Angels and Saints do.
My job, as a Christian parent, is to get my children to heaven. Why would I delay teaching my babies about Jesus? I feel like instilling Christian values, morals, prayer, and of course the Sacraments first and foremost is imperative for how they grow into adults in this society. I don’t want my children growing up, and thinking it’s okay to set-aside their Christianity for a later time, for when “they’re ready”. If I parent them that way, they will live their adult life that way… and they may never “feel ready”.  

Ready or not, for the sake of their eternal souls, I’m stamping this knowledge into their hearts, so they will always have it. Just like teaching our kids to read, or to eat healthy foods, we know it’s good for their mind and body. We don’t let them choose to learn to read or eat their veggies “when they’re ready”. I know this is good for each one’s soul. 
"let the children come to me, do not prevent them"

One Sunday, many months ago during Mass, I noticed my oldest boy speaking along to priest’s words  during the Consecration, and I realized, “He should know the Rosary”.  November came and I finally let go of my anxiety of outbursts of temper tantrums over doing something other than watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the morning.


About a month ago, I gave my boys their breakfast, opened Youtube, and found a link for Children’s Rosary (lots of photos). They were excited, interested, and quiet. I let them wander about the room and quietly play with toys as the video played and I prayed along, out loud. To my surprise, my younger boy sat through the whole 20 minutes, and I noticed my oldest crouching over a tower of legos mumbling along to the Hail Mary.
I chalked it up as a success in my eyes!
We try to do this every morning. No pomp, no circumstance. Just relaxed, prayer.  Sometimes my oldest asks to pray it, and my heart swoons.  Other days, he says, “I VERY DON’T LIKE THE ROSARYYYYY!” and I bribe him with chocolate milk. Either way, the Rosary, gets prayed.
 

3) I drew a “Rosary Board”.

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I found myself getting frustrated trying to show my oldest how to hold his Rosary. Nearly every time he gets ahold of his little, blue, hand-knotted Rosary, it becomes the propeller of a helicopter. So I drew the Rosary on a large sheet of paper, utilizing my drawing board from college, for the boys to be able to follow along with their fingers.

I numbered the decades so that at minimum, they’d know generally where we were.

2) This year, we only did stockings on Christmas Day.


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Commence gasps and feelings of sorrow for my little boys.
Guess what?
They didn’t notice a difference.

We woke up, emptied their stockings (I filled them with a few small toys, a movie, crayons, fruit snacks, new toothbrushes, a couple “squeezy yogurts”, and a sketch pad for Lexington), got ready for Mass, and celebrated the birth of Jesus. 

My children were as joyful, and perhaps even more so, as the rest of the little boys and girls throughout the world who have full bellies, a roof over their head, and both Mommy & Daddy present on Christmas day.

My boys received presents from their grandparents, great grandmas and aunts and uncles. They experienced the excitement of opening a present. This obviously is not what my husband and I originally planned to do as far as presents this year, but we had to be flexible.  I am so, so, so thankful that I’ve given the whole “presents vs. Presence” extra thought, because this year I was truly put to the test.  And my reaction was that of peace and happiness.  This, so far, has been a most beautiful Christmas.

1) Enough with my words! Gobble gobble gobble! Here’s one more (fuzzy) photo of our youngest boy and I on Christmas day.

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Merry Christmas!

7 Quick Takes, First Timer Here!

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I decided to finally participate in the weekly “7 Quick Takes Friday” hosted by the really neat Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversiondiary. She’s really fun to read and her story is inspiring. Go look!

7 Quick Takes, for me will be a simple way to keep blogging, to keep it structured, and to keep it brief! BRIEF! I’m not good with brief.

I suppose that’s why I don’t like Twitter so much. Ehhhh.

So here are my first 7:

1) Still haven’t had my hair cut. And it’s enraging.
Not by choice, but just by the fact that one hair appointment can buy 2-3 boxes of diapers. Clean hineys are more important than long, stringy, banshee hair. I entered a “guess how many M&M’s are in the bowl” contest at a local hair salon to win $150 gift card and a Chi Flat Iron. I even prayed to win— something some huge part of me thinks is silly… Like why would anyone pray to win a gift card, or for the Bengals to win…? Contests and games seem silly to pray about -yet in light of knowing God to be present in every aspect of my being, I’ve yielded to the fact that I must invite Him there too. Even into the little insignificant trifling parts of my life, I want God to be there! So I prayed that, if it be His will, I might win the gift card so that I could get my hair chopped. But God was like “NEIN!”

Oh well. I suppose not then. Banshee hair I shall embrace for a while longer. …as I shriek while some of it slides from my shoulder and flops into a poopy diaper, or, as my second son uses it to lovingly wipe his snotty nose. So it is “Mein Kampf.”

2) The whole family has caught colds. I’ve even caught something. And I NEVER get sick.

My husband isn’t allowed to get sick either. It always seems to me that as soon as I mention someone (friend, family, distant acquaintance) has so much as a runny nose, my husband suddenly comes down with a life-threatening illness. I basically tell him to get over it and do a netipot. I am the epitome of a compassionate wife.

So I’ve learned not to say anything, and lo, my husband remains perfectly healthy. But this time, both of my oldest are markedly not feeling well, so theres no hiding it. Craig felt bad yesterday and I worked hard to belay my impatience with illness and make him tea and administer medication. —BUT WHAT’S THIS!? I, the lady of the house, am beginning to feel a slight scratchiness of the throat?!

Well, then it must be real.

‘Tis simply a cold, but I haven’t even had a cold in so long, I’ve forgotten that it really can slow one down. I’m praying that my littlest (3 months old today) doesn’t catch it.

—and now I pledge to keep the rest of the takes really quick.

3) 4 months later, I am still crocheting the baby blanket I set out to make for our youngest boy. Will it ever be finished?

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Yarn 4dayz.

4) Bottom half of our Christmas tree’s lights have blown. I suspect foul play from my oldest boy.

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Yes, a blanket is our tree skirt. NOH8.

5) Please, go watch this video: A new reality TV show featuring Jennifer Fulwiler about her life and her conversion from Atheism to Roman Catholic. It’s called Minor Revisions. Jennifer is a writer and through her blogging she wondered aloud to the blogosphere about the existence, or non-existence, of God, and was converted through her intellect and research, through her questioning, and her willingness to be transformed.

I enjoy this so very much because it isn’t some sappy, emotional, spiritual story with some grand pomp-and-circumstantial event marking her conversion. At least, her conversion doesn’t seem to be what so many seemingly typically expect to learn from converts. Fulwiler uses her brain to consciously draw conclusions. Not that others don’t use their brain… but I don’t think I need a source to declare that many people see a Christian mentality as ignorant and just plain stupid.

I’ve striven to reach out to those people who are repelled by the sappy, feel-good emotions of Christianity. Believe me, I know them. I’ve felt them… I feel them daily. But emotion is fleeting and not firm enough to build a foundation of religion upon— at least for me. This is how I wonder if many people are repelled by Christianity: because sometimes it seems so fake and filled with a layer only as thin as tissue paper. People shouting “GOD IS AWESOME” over and over again… “PRAISE GOD!” without actually praising Him. And for many people, that suffices— and blessed are those people!!! Truly, they are blessed, those who do not need or even want proof! But for me, I’ve always required more. I’ve needed the deeper layers. I need and crave profundity. Jennifer Fulwiler begins to describe this in the first of her series. Watch with me and tell me what you think! She’s also wittingly funny :) I’d like to dedicate an entry or two with further thoughts on her story, paralleled to mine.

6) If you’re looking for a simple gift for friends or family this year, I recommend these:

but not if you’ve got a nut allergy. Sorry. My nephew has a nut allergy, so I find myself always aware of allergens. But these are really, really delicious.

7) How can I not mention the shooting in CT this week?
Some blame guns. Some blame people. Some say, “hey there’s just bad people out there and we can’t stop them”
My contribution to throw into the pot is perhaps our culture does not value human life in the way they should. If the intrinsic value of human life was truly realized, I don’t believe there’d be murder, killing, abortion, genocide, prejudice, racism, fighting, or even war. But that’s a tough one to teach to our culture which watches reality television shows starring individuals who speak about children as a commodity, as a personal right to dispose of or create in vitro. It’s a difficult lesson to teach to a world which believes that the earth is overpopulated with human beings; that we need to sterilize each other, or limit our family size by law. By believing that defects, illnesses or diseases are the properties of an “unwanted life”, we should terminate the life in utero, we neglect to understand the unique design of a human being. How can a culture be changed? an entire culture fixated by the media, eating the lie like a bowl of Cheerios?
I dunno. So my family and I will pray for those families, for the souls of the victims, and for love to permeate this culture. We will try to lead by example.

What I Wore Sunday!

So FINALLY I am participating in What I Wore Sunday.  This is a little Catholic blogger link-up of ladies hosted by Fine Linen & Purple just to give each other some inspiration for what to wear to church each week.  This Sunday was the first time (out of 8 weeks) that I’ve: 

A) remembered to get a photo of myself.
AND 
B) actually gotten someone to take a photo of me. 

So to keep it short (cause all three of my boys are napping right NOW) here we go!

My husband took the first photo, and yes, I sloppily photoshopped it so no one can tell how messy my kitchen was hee hee heeee:

I’m nearly 3 months post partum and I’m still wearing my maternity clothes.  I’m beginning to enter the REALLY annoying phase where my maternity clothes are a little too big and my larger sized non-maternity clothes are still too small.  

My pants are jeggings from A Pea in the Pod, and they were not cheap.  But considering that I have worn them since the spring, all through the summer, and still now, they are worth it.
The tee underneath is a side ruched tee, again from A Pea in the Pod.  
The cardigan is a cream, cotton Ann Taylor cardigan that I bought last winter on sale for $15.  I bought a black one too because the price was right. I wear the cream and black cardigan VERY often.  The draped open front creates the illusion of a smaller belly… which is great for a post partum momma.

And meee shoes….arr.  Well, my favorite flats are missing a gem from the toe so I am now wearing a pair of Sperrys which my husband gave me about 4 years ago!

My oldest son took this photo:

And no, I don’t bother to tie them correctly. slip on, slip off.

Here’s some shoulder detail.  ooooh eeeee ahhhh:

And that’s it!  

I’ve never been one to want to wear jeans to Mass, but here I am.  Pregnancy changes the whole game for me.  Until I can fit into my skirts and slacks, jeggings it shall be.