Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Links I Like

Need a time waster?  No?  Well, here are a bunch of awesome links anyway :P

This brilliant post by Elizabeth Scalia on how Pope Francis is using the press really made my day!  And in relation to that, I'm sure you already read Jenny's blog, but she hits the nail on the head with her explanation of Pope Francis' recent statement on homosexuality.  Nothing has changed, folks - we've always been called to love!

Rabia shared this link with me, which echoes my absolute hatred for word verification on blog comments and other stupid computer things...  Captcha, I *STILL* Wanna Punch Ya!  Okay, I totally understand the need sometimes, but when I have to try 6 times to comment?  Honestly, sometimes I just give up...

This made me tear up, and when I'm not pregnant I pretty much have a heart of stone:  24 Grooms Seeing Their Brides for the First Time

I love this post of "How To Evangelize" - "It’s not yelling at people when they’re wrong. It’s not snorting derisively or calling them out in public. It’s not ever trying to be right but trying to seek truth. Truth and goodness and beauty–not smug correction or broken relationships."  And as a bonus, my sister wrote it!

This made me tear up, too - a college student cancels her planned abortion - read Raquel's story.


If you're a teacher you'll love this inservice post - I especially like the parts where they have us "share" and we spend the time talking about where we'll go to lunch!

And if you're familiar with the music of Marty Haugen, I'm sorry.  Here's a pretty hilarious post on 10 steps to Marty Haugen Song Writing  - I especially like the end, "Play your song on a Church organ, preferably in your Diocesan Cathedral. If it sounds good played on the organ then you need to start over. If this happens you might want to spend more time listening to Rainbow Connection before beginning the writing process."

Pants-Free July - In Summary

Whew!  July is over!

I have to say, this was a fun experiment, but I'm glad that starting tomorrow I don't have to take a picture of every outfit I wear :)


By the middle of the month, I had used a total of 30 articles of clothing, and I decided I was going to stick with those 30 and not add any more!  Well, I mostly succeeded - I had one dress that I decided to wear, so I ended up with 31 total pieces and 31 different outfits.  Here's what I wore:

Day 12



Day 31!  All done!
Okay, somehow I ended up with two #18's here and no #24...  Well, you can probably figure it out!!

Since I realized today is also Five Favorites day over at Hallie's, I'll go ahead and share my 5 favorite outfits -  2, 5, 8, 18 (the first one), and 25.  And I'm really glad I tried harder to mix and match - otherwise I probably would just have worn outfit #8 every week and not branched out a whole lot!  I definitely have a better sense of what works with what, and now I REALLY know that I don't need to buy more clothes for this season.  I need to do a better job of buying things that work with what I already have.  While I don't know that I could ever go as minimalist as Laura, I think that I'm doing a better job of weeding out my closet and using what I already have.

Kelly is awesome and helped me sort through some of the logistics/practicality of implementing this on a long-term basis, especially with the kiddos.  I'm still praying about whether I'm giving up pants altogether, particularly since come winter I don't know how I'll feel about it!  But I'm definitely ready to give my shorts and most of my jeans up.  The month-long trial worked - I'm absolutely more comfortable in skirts, I feel more ready to face anything, I feel more willing to leave the house because I look cute, and I feel more confident going out with "all these kids" because hey, who can fault me for having so many when I still look decent?

I have decided that my above-knee skirts aren't very practical for getting much of anything done that involves moving - they get hiked up WAY too high when I crouch down to play with the kids!  So I'm on the lookout for a new denim skirt.

How about you?  What worked?  What didn't?  Are there any permanent changes you're making based on how you've experimented this month?  Leave a link or discuss in the comments!  The link-up is open until August 14, so you've got plenty of time - I'd love to see what you came up with!



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Things You Don't Care About

Just one of those stream-of-consciousness here-are-some-things-the-kids-did posts...

-  We went peach picking on Friday and picked 33 pounds of peaches.  119 peaches in total.  RiDICulous!  And delicious.  We've been eating as many as possible but they've caught up to us, so I froze 25 of them tonight for smoothies and am feeling all homemaker-y.

They only shoplifted ONE peach!

One of the best shots we got of the whole family.  Way to go, Cecilia.

-  And speaking of homemaker-y, the kids decided to gift me with MORE than 2 minutes of simultaneous nap time today, so of course I used that time very wisely to make tortillas from scratch.  Worth it?  Meh.  They were yummy, and really not nearly as much work as I expected.  And kind of fun to make!  But they dried out really quickly so we had to wrap up our tacos IMMEDIATELY after they were heated or they crumbled.  Anyone have a good recipe they like?  I would have taken a picture, but I'm pretty sure you know what a tortilla looks like.



-  And even MORE homemaker-y, the big kids "helped" me make pesto after their naps - I put their willing child labor to good use picking the leaves off the basil I harvested during nap time, and John Paul (after Cecilia almost immediately lost interest) had a LOT of fun helping me press buttons on the blender to get it all together.



-  Oh, baby bed head...  It KILLS me when they get it with so little hair!  Those tufts are just so hilarious!


-  Mary Claire seems to have more of a sense of humor than I thought she ever would...  I had to move the couch in front of the fireplace yesterday because she kept playing a REALLY funny game where she would wait for me to pick up Elizabeth and nurse her and then she would climb on the hearth and start climbing into the fireplace, looking at me and laughing every time she inched closer.  So now that it's blocked off, she has started crawling towards the bathroom and sitting in the doorway to play peek-a-boo with me, laughing before crawling all the way in the bathroom to try pulling up on the stool Cecilia probably pees on daily.  At least urine's sterile, right?


-  We finally decided to release our ladybugs from John Paul's birthday present and the kids loooooved it.  ALL of them!  Cecilia and John Paul sat on the step watching them slowly crawl out, and Elizabeth staaared and stared and stared, ecstatic to have figured out how to pull up on the door.  Mary Claire mostly tried to eat sticks and leaves that had been tracked in on the mat...


-  Elizabeth built that herself.  She's very advanced.

She wants to be standing all. the. time.  But she can't *quite* pull herself up on the lego table, so when we put her up there she hangs on for dear life and spends minutes and minutes at a time pulling various legos out of the pockets and throwing them on the floor.  Meanwhile, Mary Claire, who has not been interested in pulling up on ANYTHING, crawled over, put her hands on the edge, pulled up to a stand, smiled at me, and sat back down.  Punk.

-  My sister got the kids this "Holy Baby" DVD that has 7 prayers in 7 languages and Holy Baby, it is the trippiest thing I've ever seen.  The kids LOVE it.  Every single one of them.  John Paul because it has prayers and he can count them...  Cecilia because she loves the songs and the pictures.  And the babies because the thing is like a freaking acid trip!

"Hail Mary, full of..."  {random picture of bunny eating lettuce from a footed glass dish}
"Blessed art thou among women..." {long panning picture of a stuffed snake}
"Holy Mary, mother of..." {jack-in-the-box animation}

Seriously, what the heck???  But they LOVE it, and the babies will sit there for minutes watching it, so when Cecilia picked that as her TV of choice this afternoon, I was totally okay with leaving them in the basement for a few minutes to make tacos.  Because I'm a dangerous mom like that.  And because I knew nobody was going to budge when they could watch a picture of plastic ducks on a TV screen, or a creepy animatronic baby nun...

Seriously.  Creepy.  And they LOVE it!


-  July is almost over!  The pants-free link up will open tomorrow morning at 7 and I'm betting the competition isn't real fierce to be the first linker, if you're one who likes to win :P

Sunday, July 28, 2013

WIWS - Naked Edition

Well no, I wasn't naked at Mass.

And I think we've figured out a possible way to keep Cecilia occupied...

See, she likes to wear layers at Mass and then shed all her layers.  Normally she takes off her hat, her cardigan, sometimes her shoes (sigh...).  But apparently today, since her dress had a v-neck in the back and front, she decided that she would try to take off her dress.

This wouldn't have been such a problem if we hadn't been lucky enough to take the babies to Mass, too.  See, Andrew had Mary Claire and was keeping John Paul occupied.  And I was trying to keep Elizabeth from making her terrifying shrieking noise:



So when Cecilia scooted by me aaaaaalmost into the aisle, I was preoccupied with a very high-maintenance baby who thankfully wasn't being bad enough to need to be taken out, but who needed to be bounced just at the right speed to maintain her semi-calm state.

Then I looked over and saw...

Cecilia, with her dress around her waist, trying to pull it all the way down in the middle of the aisle.

The very nice lady behind me whispered, "Would you like me to hold the baby?" and I rushed Cecilia out, trying very hard not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.  It's not really something I felt like I could punish her for, since...  Well, I guess I've never told her NOT to take off her dress during Mass.  And she's 2.  So...  She's not wearing that dress to Mass again, and we had a long talk about how we do NOT take off our dress at Mass.

The funny thing was, she then stayed occupied for the rest of Mass because she was putting her shoes back on, putting her sweater back on (and trying to button it, which is an impossible task for her and she just clutched it together with her hands), and putting her hat on.  So maybe I just need to add a few more layers to her outfit next week and she'll be happy?

She just looks so demure and peaceful, not like a tiny little stripper!
What I wore is above (minus the cardigan, belt, and scarf) - You've seen all these pieces before in various different ways - 




I bribed the kids before Mass, telling them that when we got home they would get to watch their Holy Baby DVD if they were good.  And apparently THAT is what worked for John Paul.  Cecilia took his book and he just let her.  No yelling, just a little too much baby kissing, but he mostly did a good job!  And the first reading was absolutely perfect for him - he was SO excited that Abraham was subtracting by 5's and 10's!

Cecilia also only had one slightly loud episode when I picked her up from the aisle and put her back in the pew.  But she wasn't at all upset about being taken out to put her dress back on, and did the best she's done in quite a while.

The babies were...  Well, not loud, they didn't spend the whole mass babbling and blowing raspberries, but at least they were cute enough to be endearing and not loud enough to need to be taken out?  Elizabeth spent the first 10 minutes on my back in the Ergo, sucking on my veil and scarf

And on the way out, a woman told us that they're starting a CGS program for Sunday School this year!  John Paul will be SO excited!!!  So I'm hoping the timing works out with that or that we can find someone to maybe carpool with so that I don't have to try to wrangle all 4 kids by myself (if Andrew's singing) while trying to get John Paul to his class.

Linking up, as always, with FL&P!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Surprise!

Last Friday Andrew left a few minutes early for work, saying he wanted to get home a little early.  So I went about life as usual, and was pleasantly surprised when he came home more than 4 hours early!  

Especially since Mary Claire had just had an enormous poop.

He took her from me and said, "You have half an hour to pack something nice for tonight, and something for tomorrow."

Huh?

What was he talking about?  Who was going to watch all the babies?  Where were we going?  WHAT???

Apparently 4 months ago, he arranged for my sister to be in town and my mom to come help so that we could go on a belated 5-year anniversary trip!

I suspected nothing.  He was convinced that I knew, since he had been bringing me my pump every couple of nights to stock the freezer with milk for the babies.  I just thought he was really smart and wanted me to build a stockpile for when the school year starts again...

We headed to adoration at a church on the way, went wine tasting at a couple of wineries, and ended up at a very fancy bed & breakfast (my sister gave us gift cards for Christmas 2 years ago that we still hadn't used!) where we had the absolute fanciest meal I've ever had in my life.  

Think lettuce panacotta.  That fancy.  

Aside from the lettuce custard, it was REALLY delicious.  I even ate raw beef!  Because when your dinner is that fancy, you eat every. single. thing. they serve you!







We brought the camera and then realized we had forgotten the memory card...  So all we could use was Andrew's camera, which didn't *quite* get us completely in a selfie.  But this picture reminded me a lot of this one:




From our honeymoon - you can see that I changed up my hair style a LOT since then.  Oh wait.  Not.


We had a lovely view of some cows, and got uninterrupted sleep (well, sort of...  I think we should have brought the white noise machine!).  And even though I had to wake up in the middle of the night to pump (ohhhh twins...  both kinds!), it was just so lovely to have a giant bed all to ourselves and to be able to get out of bed in a leisurely manner, not having to immediately attend to the needs of a child!

We visited friends on the way back home for Mass and a delicious breakfast, and 57 ounces of breast milk later, returned to an exhausted mother and sister and at least one baby who refused to sleep without nursing... 

I'm amazed that Andrew pulled this off without tipping me off at all!  He reminded me not to expect something like this every year.  My sister says never again unless the kids are all sleeping through the night (Elizabeth was, but she stopped!).  I say the stakes are pretty high for our 10-year anniversary!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quick Takes

--1--

 Outfits!

I never did update last week's quick takes with that day's outfit, since Andrew whisked me off for a surprise anniversary trip (which maybe I'll post about tomorrow?  We'll see if I get pictures off his phone...).  So here's what we have starting with LAST week, and today's outfit will be added whenever I get dressed:

Aaaand yesterday's outfit, since it wouldn't fit in the collage!
Edit:  Here's today's outfit, pockets and all!



--2--

I've been posting every day this week, and it hasn't really been a change from the usual.  I just find this challenge kind of amusing because Jen is posting actual things that require thought and writing and perhaps even proofreading.  And I'm posting my same old stories about poop.  I have some drafts of serious posts (as serious as I get) buuuuuuut they're just such a drag and I don't feel like finishing them!

Speaking of poop, I have a pee story for you!  You may want to skip this if you already know it's going to gross you out...

So, John Paul and Cecilia were getting ready to get in the tub and were stalling as usual.  So I said, "Okay, who's going to pee first?"

Of course, that made them both rush towards the potty.  Cecilia jumped on and John Paul stood in front of her, getting ready to pee at the same time.

"NO!"  I said, "Don't pee on each other!"

"PEE ON ME, CECILIA!" Exclaimed John Paul.

No sooner had he said it than she arched her back and expertly aimed the stream of pee riiiiiiiight at him.

And I, in a moment of utter parenting failure, could not stop laughing.  And of course, THEY were laughing, and there I was laughing so hard I was crying when John Paul starts saying, "Pee on me AGAIN!  Do it AGAIN, Cecilia!  Pee on me again!!!"

Soooo I got all stern with them and gave them stacking cups with holes in the bottom and told them they could use THOSE to "pee" on each other in the tub but they were never to pee on each other again.

And I still can't really stop laughing...

--3--

On a slightly less-disturbing note, they invented a new game outside when I refused to push them on the swings.  It's called "Lion Tamer" and I find it HILARIOUS!


The rules seem to change throughout the game...  But it involves a hula hoop usually?


 And one of them climbs up the slide while the other climbs up the ramp...


And then slides down, tackling the person climbing up.  

Cecilia had to check her dress each time to make sure nothing had happened to her sticker...

--4--

John Paul is usually pretty practical about what snacks he should and shouldn't get from the fridge.  So when he pulled the last slice of leftover pizza out, I didn't really care because it was old and crusty anyway...  But I couldn't help but laugh at Cecilia, sitting on the kitchen floor eating crumbs out of the box.  Then she closed up the box and started trying to put it back in the fridge!


--5--

Aunt Sister came to visit!


And showed us all just how photogenic she is...

And helped a very small Cecilia hold what looks to be a very large Elizabeth...
 --6--

Garden progress!


I think we're finally going to get a squash!  I've been fighting powdery mildew like nobody's business, but I'm pretty sure we finally have a female flower, right?

And one of our pepper plants is really producing well!  The peppers are still tiny but I'm so excited and so are the kids!

The bush bean flowers are turning into tiny fuzzy little beans :)

And the zinnias that I planted just for Cecilia have started blooming!  And they're attracting some pretty gorgeous butterflies - we'll have to plant more next year!

We also have SO much basil - the packet said to plant 5 seeds every 6 inches or so, I guess assuming some wouldn't sprout.  Well, almost all of them sprouted!  Thankfully the lemon basil seems to be doing the best, and that's the variety I wanted the most because have you HAD pesto made with lemon basil?  SO good!  

 In other news, if you come to my house I will send you home with herbs.  Or pick some herbs and forget to send them home with you, which happened today...  Whoops!

Come take my basil!

Our pineapple tomato plant, the lone holdout, has started producing some promising flowers.  These tomatoes are supposed to weigh up to 2 lbs/each - I can't wait!!!

 --7--

Elizabeth cut her second tooth.  And decided that she knows how to pull up on things.  Which means now she wants to be held in standing position at all times, each hand clutching one of mine.  Which is fine when you just have one baby BUT I HAVE TWO!!!  Mary Claire, thankfully, seems to show no interest in pulling up on anything.  I'm hoping Elizabeth learns to walk before Mary Claire even gets close - I can't deal with two babies at the "pull up and then fall down on everything" phase at the same time!  Twin mommies - how do you deal???

Go check out other quicker takes at Jen's, because I'm incapable of making mine quick!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

PHFR - 7/25

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}

{pretty}

What's prettier than food?

 


I thought I hated cabbage, but we had a head in our farm basket this week and I was determined to give it a try!  The recipe is intended for winter, but our oven really doesn't heat up the house at all so I've been using it plenty during the summer.

This was SO. GOOD.  I ate 7 out of the 8 wedges.  5 of them that day.  I left the core in so that the wedges would stay together, and I used bacon fat in addition to olive oil.  I also cooked at 400 for about 45 minutes because I had something else cooking at the same temperature.

Andrew was not a fan (big surprise there...), John Paul ate it when I told him to, Cecilia didn't like it (because these days she ONLY likes broccoli and green beans), and the babies ate it happily.  But considering I would have eaten the entire thing myself, I'm considering it a success!



SO easy!  I do the spice rub on a couple of pieces from Costco and then freeze them until ready to use.  You basically just stick it in the slow cooker all day with a cup of BBQ sauce and have a delicious BBQ brisket by dinnertime!  It's so much more tender than any brisket I've had at a restaurant or barbeque joint, you get a really nice char from the slow cooker, and the leftovers are aaaaaaamazing.  One of my all-time favorite recipes!


Penne Caprese (my own invention, complete with a homemade pesto from our own lemon basil!)

Delicious cherry tomatoes from Relay Foods - if you're in the DC/Baltimore/Charlottesville area, definitely check out this food delivery service!  They have standard groceries as well as a LOT of local produce, meats, dairy, etc.  It's like having the farmer's market deliver to you AND they do next-day delivery!  AND if you use my referral code (2wf8vw) you get $30 off your first purchase (and I get $30 credit, which enables my cooking obsession so THANK YOU!!!).  Since they have local peaches on sale for $.99 a pound, now's the time to try!

These meals brought to you courtesy tandem-wearing - I could cook even while Mary Claire insisted on nursing!

{happy}

 

I just can't get enough of her infectious smile!
 The other kids have great smiles too, don't get me wrong...  But Elizabeth's is really something else, with the corners of her mouth curling upward and just a hint of a dimple.

{funny}

Cecilia wearing my clothes.  It's just too funny!

Chambray popover - Peep toe wedges - Brown belt



I think when it comes to "Who Wore it Best" she will ALWAYS win!


{real}


Elizabeth AND Mary Claire have both figured out how to climb onto the hearth.  They haven't been going for the fireplace yet, but I think it's time for us to gate it off or install a screen or something...  Anyone have something that works for them?  I imagine we'll either have to screw something into the wall or into the molding around the fireplace.

Happy Thursday!  Go check out other linkers at Like Mother, Like Daughter.  And check out what Auntie Leila has to say this week!  I loved hearing her talk, even though I had to slink in late after getting the babies to sleep...  She's just as lovely in person as you would expect, and her daughters are so beautiful!  I can only pray that I'll be as graceful once my kids are grown :)





Wednesday, July 24, 2013

5 Favorites - Children's Music


Do you know what's the WORST?  When your kids only want to listen to their stupid kiddie music CD in the car and it makes you want to gouge your eyes and ears out because the songs get stuck in your head for roughly 7 weeks at a time and you KNOW that you'll be singing them forever...

But you know what I LOVE?  Children's music that's actually fun to listen to.  And sung well.  And catchy.  Honestly, I like some of our children's music CDs better than mainstream music!  And I certainly never have to worry about the lyrics!

I'm a music teacher, so I feel like I should have good taste in music, right?  Here are some of my favorite children's CDs that are fun for adults to listen to!  These make great baby shower and birthday gifts, because they're definitely lesser-known albums.


ONE

 

This is my latest favorite - fun melodies, really good vocals and tight harmonies, and the lyrics are awesome!  Plus he's my cousin (although we've never met because I have about a trillion cousins...) and he's Catholic, so you should probably shell out for this one :)  YES, the songs will get stuck in your head, but you'll enjoy having them there!

TWO



Putumayo is an AWESOME series of world music CDs, and I love exposing the kids to different languages, instruments, and musical styles.  Animal Playground is my favorite of all the cds we have, and I also really love their Folk Playground CD.

THREE






There's some actual OLD SCHOOL Jazz in this CD, and it introduces kids to the classics through some of the greats.  The Potato Chips song makes me giggle each time, especially hearing the kids try to sing along!

FOUR




John Paul used to ROCK OUT to this one - the title song is such a hoot, the variations on familiar songs are fun, and it includes upbeat and calm songs so you can use it for dance parties AND calming down time.
FIVE


I'm a little weird, and if you're not familiar with French you might not like this one.  But right now I think it's only $4 on Amazon, so it's worth a try!  Again, lots of old school songs, but really fun melodies with upbeat rhythms.  And the kids will certainly recognize some of the melodies!

How about you?  Any awesome favorites?  Those Kidz Bop CDs just don't do it for me...

Now head on over to Camp Patton - Grace is hosting Five Favorites this week!

All links are Amazon affiliate links - I'd love it if you purchased through them, because I'll get a small percentage of the proceeds at no extra cost to you!
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