Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry Christmas

Table all set for Christmas dinner.
Christmas kids.

The girls.

The boys.

...And a very happy New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

Let me just start this post off by saying this has been a very busy month (who am I kidding? More like a very busy six months) for us, as I'm sure it has been for many of you as well.  So this is sort of a catch up post, a there-I-jotted-it-down-post if you will.
Last weekend was like every other weekend this month in that it was crazy busy.  We had children getting over sickness, birthday parties, two Masses, I could go on and on.  But one of the prettiest events we went to this past weekend had to be the hot air balloon festival.  Of course the food was overpriced and we were ill prepared, but the entry fee was reasonable and totally worth it.
Seeing this many hot air balloons up close was really something!  And Fritter and my dear husband took a short ride up in a tethered balloon.

 We stayed until after dark when all the balloons were inflated and lit up the night sky.  We were so close to them we could feel the heat from their flames.  Amazing.

Also, my dear sweet husband brought me home this aloe plant for my birthday present (which is today!).  I asked for one, because I thought it would be a useful thing to have around, and knowing my tendency to NOT water plants, this guy might actually thrive.  I think he's pretty in his deserty sort of way.  I painted the pot the first summer we lived here.  It was sort of my way of embracing the Arizona heat.

 My mom came for a visit two weekends ago, and while here, I complained about how I have nothing pretty to look at in my back yard.  So with her help, we went out and bought some flowers to fill up my planters.  It's sort of surreal planting flowers during Advent, but it was fun and they've really prettied up the yard as well.  She made Fritter promise to remind me to water them.  :)


We had a really nice visit with my mom while she was here.  The kids love being spoiled by Grandma.

What is a little Christmas preparation without making cookies? 

I mentioned today is my birthday, and it is also the feast of St. Lucy.  I don't mind sharing festivities with her as she is my patron saint.  So for breakfast we all enjoyed some St. Lucy bread (I can't remember where I found the recipe or I'd link to it) and it was SO yummy.  Full bellies make for a happy family.

I love this time of year.  It makes me smile every time I get a Christmas card in the mail.  Ours will make it out sometime before Christmas (I hope).


My girls are both very funny girls.  There is always some amount of hilarity going on in this house.


Our Christmas preparations are in full swing.  There are boxes and bags and little pieces of string here and there.  It all just adds to the excitement, right?
I mentioned Fritter being told to remind me to water my plants.  This is why.  This is my dead clover plant I've had since I was 18.  He and I, we've struggled together, we've moved together, we've grown together (actually I like to think I've mentally grown, this guy hasn't grown at all, he's shrunk).  I didn't think it was possible to kill a clover, but know I now it is.  There is one little bulb left in the pot and I'm trying to remember to keep him moist in the hopes that he will come back.  If you see this picture in another real post though, just tell me to give up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Prayer Request

Please pray for my mom who is currently in surgery.  Both that the surgery goes well and that her recovery is smooth.  Thank you!

{Update} My mom is out of surgery and thankfully it seems to have gone very well.  She is facing a long recovery though, so your continued prayers for her are appreciated.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ladybug's Quilt

It's done!  It's finished!  Hurray!  The quilt was machine pieced and hand quilted.  It's a little bright, but suits my Ladybug perfectly.  There is something so sweet and satisfying in seeing my little snuggle bug cozied up and sleeping underneath something I made for her. 

Before I gave it to her, I tried it on my bed just to see the sizing, and it will easily fit a queen size bed, so it can grow with her (if she wants it to).  On to the next project...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} The Back In The Saddle Edition

I feel like I've been playing catch up for the past three months or so, but the truth is it's been more like I've started the race after it's already over.  Does that make any sense? 

Anyway, our Thanksgiving visitors are gone, and I've had a slight lull in activity this week as we prepare for my mom to come visit this weekend.  Tuesday came and I looked around my house (and felt inside my heart) and thought, it's time for the chaos to end!  It's so easy to become discontent when the state of ones home is in disarray. 

And so I've pushed through this week (which is saying alot, considering I'm battling a cold that refuses to relent).  The bedrooms have been cleaned, the bathrooms have been scrubbed, and I've done so much laundry I can't believe my washer is still functioning.  And still this morning I felt that dread.  The dread that comes when I just want to say, "I don't want to!"  Again I dug in my heart and found that what I've been searching for has been here all along.  Contentment.  Peace.  I just needed to open my eyes and look for it.

round button chicken

You can't see it yet, but this is Ladybug's quilt I've been working on for, oh, forever.  I wasn't sure at first how it would turn out, but it's actually quite pretty if I do say so myself.  And if you click on the picture you can see that my beginners quilting book tells me that the step I am now on, binding, means, "The End Is Near!"  I can't wait to put this on her bed.
There are days where the shear amount of noise in my home makes me second-guess our decision to homeschool.  I tell myself that if I sent my kids to school like everyone else my home would be quiet.  Now the truth is that is partially true, but I'm not sure how much I would like it.  Especially when I glance over during school time and have the grace to see my studious boy quietly doing his math.  Nothing could make this momma happier. 

Also, today I managed to find a moment for a quiet cup of tea...

...and an episode of Pride and Prejudice.  I am very blessed.
Ok, so this picture is actually quite cute.  But it's funny that I considered this to be her preschool education for the morning, while her big brother was busy with his work (see above).  She's learning matching, coordination of colors and styles, fine motor development, creativity, and a little bit of science (they are magnetic dress up dolls).  We're a well rounded school.
This could be in happy too, but I'm putting it in real, just because I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.  I have empty laundry baskets!  Hurray!
Join Like Mother, Like Daughter for contentment in everyday life!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Ladybug!

Her birthday was actually on Monday, and we celebrated on Saturday with our family that was in town for Thanksgiving.  I planned on making a chocolate cake, but was burned out with cooking so we just bought an ice cream cake.  I don't think Ladybug cared much.  :)

She is my fairy princess girl.

Make A Joyful Noise

Look who found the musical instruments. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Started The Day In A Skirt

...a very pretty skirt with cozy leggings on underneath.  And I wore a black tank with a pretty green sweater over top.  I even fixed my hair.

I was supposed to go to an appointment, and had a babysitter all lined up for the afternoon.  I was looking forward to checking out that eggshell stuff you put on top of a mattress that is not all that soft.  We had school to get to, laundry to catch up on (I feel like I'm ALWAYS catching up on laundry these days), and just a few cleaning tasks to be checked off.  It was going to be a busy day, but I was looking forward to it.  My energy is coming back and I no longer feel like I'm going to throw up constantly.  (Yay for second trimester!)

However, today did not turn out as I expected.  Fritter is recovering from a nasty cold that had us up all Monday night with a colicky bark.  He's doing ok, which is why I was not too concerned about leaving today.  But when I went to pick up Sunflower from the playpen this morning so she could take her nap, my day suddenly turned upside down.  Her breakfast ended up all over the floor (and my skirt and leggings).  We do not have a stitch of carpet in the house, except in the master bedroom, but of course this managed to find it's way all over the area rug.

I suppose it was due for a wash.

Thinking I could still manage to stay on top of things, I cleaned the baby up and made sure she was ok and laid her down.  I cleaned myself up and put on jeans.  I cleaned what I could of the floor up and started yet another load of laundry.  I pulled the rug up and hung it outside where I could spray it down with a hose.

Still feeling like I could somehow do what I wanted to today, I canceled my appointment, canceled the babysitter, and sat down to tackle school with Fritter.  Boy was that painful.  You see, they put him on an oral steroid for his cough.  It works great.  It also makes it harder for him to sit still and focus.  What should have been an hour (or less) of work turned into two and a half.  And we never actually finished everything I wanted to.

Lunch came, I served my two older children PB&J and applesauce, I gave the baby a cracker and some water, and then sent everyone to bed for naps.  Including myself.

The baby woke from her nap earlier than usual with yet another mess.  She got a bath.  I took off my pretty sweater and tied my hair back.

The house is a mess, the school books still are not put away, I have no idea what's for dinner, and there is a giant pile of laundry begging to be folded.  I keep thinking I can somehow salvage the day.  That is only possible if I let go. 

Fritter and Ladybug are playing nicely in the sandbox, and I'm going to beg my husband to move his prayer meeting from our house tonight.  We are ALL going to bed early.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Fritter!

Do you remember this little guy?

No?  Well, how about this guy.  This was around the time I started this little blog here.  (Oh, those cheeks!  That smile!)

Still no?  Ok, how about a more recent picture...

Guess who turns 6 today?  Guess who has become the mother of a big, strapping, six-year-old boy?  Wow.  This boy of mine is smiles, and silliness, and seriousness all rolled into one.  He routinely surprises me with his insight and intellect.  He turns six and I celebrate the beginning of the most challenging and rewarding career I could ever imagine.

Thank you for making me a mama, Fritter!  And happy birthday!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Style According to Ladybug

My almost four year old has a style all her own.  This girl routinely dresses up in plastic jewelry, rose colored sunglasses, straw hats, and purses all varied according to the day.  She can usually be found dancing to her hearts desire to a beat only she can hear (and sometimes she belts it out so we all can hear!)  This is what she wore all morning long while doing chores.  Love!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Don't ask how I managed to get costumes made for all three kids while managing first trimester sickness.  The only thing that matters is that I did, somehow manage it.  And while it is a big lead up for an hour or so of fun, it is still fun.

On to costumes...

This year Ladybug was Little Red Riding Hood.  The cape was made by yours truly, fashioned after this one, without lining or expensive corduroy.  Hey, it's just a Halloween costume!

Sunflower was a caterpillar.  I altered Fritter's dinosaur costume from his first Halloween (hmmm...thought I had a post of that on here, but guess not).  She even quickly picked up how to say "Trick or Treat!" (in baby babble talk).

And my magnum opus this year is Fritter's robot costume.  This is not the greatest picture, but it's the best our camera (and the photographer, ahem me) could manage.  The inspiration for this costume can be found on my pinterest page if you are interested.  We added a light switch on the front...

...and a plug-in on the back.  He has been gazing at his costume with longing all week.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Birthday!

To my dear hubby.  You are the best husband a girl could have asked for.

"Just look at those three four little huckleberries.."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good News

As some of you may have guessed from the (very) subtle hints in my last couple of posts, we are expecting again!  Yay!  We are just at 11 weeks, and I'm feeling horrible, a sure sign all is progressing well.  We also saw and heard our little ones heart beat at just over 6 weeks.  That is always a beautiful and emotional sound, but this time, so close to our loss, it was more so.  Seeing our tiny little one there, on the screen, but knowing that life is within me?  Words cannot compare.

So yes, we are very excited, and Fritter and Ladybug are already trying to come up with names.  Lightning?  Bugger?  Not sure we'll use any of their suggestions.  The funnest thing at this point are the questions.  Yesterday Fritter asked me why God puts babies in mommy's bellies.  I told him that because the baby starts out very tiny, he or she needs a safe place close to mom to grow.  To which Ladybug responded that because the food mommy eats goes into her belly, that's where the baby can get lots of food.

There is nothing sweeter than childhood innocence.  The amazing part is they really get it.  They really see this new baby, not as some intruder that has made mom sick for the past 5 weeks, but as OUR baby.  Precious.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Question To You Is... does she always seem to know what I need to hear at any particular season in my life?  A must read: 10 Survival Tactics For Rescuing a Bad Day

Thursday, October 11, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} The Apple Butter Edition

round button chicken
Does it count if I mix up the order a little, and skip funny just because I don't have anything funny to tell right now?  Great.  Thanks.
 I mentioned awhile back I was planning on making apple butter with our lovely apples. Well, between me not feeling all that great and...well that's it, I just got around to it today. Thankfully the apples kept pretty well in the fridge.  I did all the prep work yesterday morning, because I knew if I waited until the afternoon I would never get to it.  Then right before bed, I plugged in the crockpot and turned it on low.  We awoke this morning to the lovely scent of apples.


I have always thought small jars of jam all lined up (on someone else's counter of course, as I've never canned before today) were pretty.  That was before I made my own small jars of goodness.  They are b-e-a-utiful!


This one is probably full enough for the seal to...seal, but I'm just assuming it's not.  As soon as this baby cools, it's going on some toast.  The real test will be to see how long it will last in a house that has been smelling apples all day.  :)
Go see all the other contented people over at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter

I was so excited when I received my review copy of Style, Sex, and Substance.  I had heard great things about it and couldn't wait to begin reading.  I was not disappointed.  And really, how could I have been?  I'm a big fan of most of the contributing authors and read their blogs as soon as they are updated. 
I really looked forward to reading Jennifer Fulwiler's chapter.  Entitled "How I Fell Out of my Minivan and Found Myself" I could relate to her in so many ways.  Now, I haven't recently tried to climb out of my van's window, but I have been known to do many other equally embarrassing things.  The way she uses this instance to begin to weave together what being an authentic Catholic woman is all about, is brilliant. 
Reading Karen Edmisten's chapter titled "God and Godiva" is like speaking with a more spiritually mature woman of prayer during our day to day lives as wives and mothers.  Besides the gentle nudges towards actual prayer, and "showing up even if we can't be a great conversationalist with God," she includes this little tidbit under the heading "Feed Somebody":
My friend Kathy prays every times she cooks and bakes -- she asks God to bless the food and those who will eat it.  This is a much holier attitude than mine, which is generally, "Jesus told me to pick up my cross and follow him, so, fine, I'll cook dinner!"  Healing and food, feedings and love, the mundane and the sublime go hand in hand.  So if you can't seem to pray, make somebody some pancakes.
My sentiments exactly.
Elizabeth's Duffy's chapter on Sex, Passion, and Purity is a must read.  While I can't relate to the dating and engagement portion of the chapter anymore, the rest of the chapter (including things like "The Pleasure Principle") is filled with insight and good advice.
My favorite chapter by far was Danielle Bean's chapter on marriage titled "We Said Yes".  I have long been a fan of Danielle Bean and was introduced to her blog by a good friend years ago.  The best thing about her writing is that she is not one to make herself out to seem perfect.  In fact she starts her chapter out this way:
I can't write the marriage chapter.  I have no business writing the marriage chapter.  My husband and I are just coming off a twenty-four-hour stint of avoiding eye contact and communicating through the children because...well, I kind of forget why.
Anyone, after being married for longer than two weeks, realizes that marriage is not some fantasy land happy smiling thing all the time.  In fact there are times where it rarely is that way.  The trick to a fulfilling long lasting marriage is being able to get past the unpleasantness that is living in the same house with someone else all the time, and get into the astounding joy that is being in communion with another person, giving of yourself day after day just because you love them and that is what you are called to do.  It is this honesty, and the ability to see the bigger picture that makes it Danielle Bean's business to write a chapter on marriage.
Overall, I can honestly say Style, Sex, and Substance is one of those books that will be turned to again and again for encouragement and advice.
 I wrote this review of Style, Sex and Substance for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

All I have is something pretty for today.  Someone from our homeschool group was giving away this buffet and hutch for FREE.  The only catch was we had to take the matching table that doesn't have any legs.!  There used to be a little credenza here that we moved to our front room.  And there were two shelves that also had to be taken down that I still have to find a place for.  All in due time though.  This really pretties up our dining room, and has helped declutter the linen closet.  Now I have a real place for tablecloths and napkins and placemats, oh, my!