Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mom Style: Winter Edition

I wasn't sure if I wanted to bother writing this post, because there are so many real style bloggers who do this better than I do...  But then I remembered that I get more ideas from seeing real outfits from regular bloggers than from the style bloggers, so I figured maybe I'll give it another try and maybe inspire one or two of you?

When I think "Winter Style" I'm immediately drawn to big chunky sweaters, wool skirts, boots, and scarves.  But here's the thing about big chunky sweaters: They're too hot for me and they tend to get pilly after I wear them often.  And here's the thing about wool skirts:  You have to dry clean them.  Nuh uh.  Ain't happening.  I've had a dry cleaning pile on my floor for at least a month that isn't going anywhere.

And I just don't want to buy items to add to my wardrobe that are really only going to be useful for a couple of months.  I hate having clothes in my closet that I can't use most of the time, so I'm all about using as much of my wardrobe year-round as possible.

Cold weather has been upon us in Virginia for a while, but I have to admit it doesn't get *that* cold here.  That being said, I spent 4 years in Chicago when I was in college so I know cold.  And I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely possible to stay warm wearing nothing but skirts and dresses.  It's just a matter of layering.  I'll be honest - it takes more effort than just putting on a pair of jeans.  But I feel so much better than if I were in one of my ill-fitting pairs of denim!

Here are some of my favorite outfits for winter weather (in Virginia) - all of them have stood up to temperatures below freezing, and most all of them to temperatures down to about 10 degrees - it doesn't really get much colder than that here!  And the majority of these articles are also spring/summer/fall staples as well.


Bare knees don't work for cold, but the denim jacket is such a great staple - so glad I finally found a perfect one!  It ended up being $2 because I used coupons and credits from Twice

Same chambray shirt that was a summer staple - still works great for fall and winter!

This sweater was an awesome find - I wear it all the time!  The skirt is one of the only new items of clothing I've bought since at least May, and it was well worth it - a great staple that's going to last a long time.  Boot cuffs were hand-crocheted by my sister!

I don't have a lot of long-sleeved shirts, but I find myself reaching for this burgundy one pretty often.  It's one of the few things I own that isn't blue!

I just had to include this one because of the photo bombers!
A lightweight summer dress with layers under and over - totally works for winter!
So I've found that I'm reaching for the same items every day, and have a kind of "capsule" winter wardrobe that works really well for mixing and matching:

2 knee-length dresses (often styled as skirts)
2 cardigans (striped and burgundy, which isn't pictured)
4 scarves
3 belts
2 pairs of shoes (boots and wedges)
1 denim jacket
4 skirts (denim, full chambray, olive khaki, and high-waisted chambray - maxi skirts are out until snow is off the ground!)
3 long-sleeved shirts (burgundy, chambray, and blue button-down)
2 sweaters
2 short-sleeved shirts
2 pairs tights
2 pairs leggings
2 pairs boot socks

Not counting undergarments, that's 31 items - I've got more than make their way into the rotation since I'm not limiting myself, but I'm perfectly happy with the variety I get with what I have.  And I feel like I'm not constantly looking for *more* clothes - I can mix and match my wardrobe now so much more than before I started being more intentional about how I dress, so I get a LOT more outfits out of fewer articles of clothing.

Check out my WIWS  posts for more weekly fashion inspiration!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cecilia, Age 3


She's just the cutest, right?  Here she is all decked out in her birthday finery - ballerina princess dress (NOT a ballerina, NOT a fairy princess, a BALLERINA PRINCESS), special necklace from when she was a flower girl, birthday crown, and ballerina princess headband (so artfully arranged).

I asked her the same questions I asked John Paul on his last birthday (and I asked her the same questions then, because it was pretty funny to hear her answers at 2.5) - here are her answers from 6 months ago, and her answers from today are below:

1. What is your favorite color?  Pink
2. What is your favorite toy?  Maraca (really?)
3. What is your favorite fruit?  Apple
4. What is your favorite television show?  Diego!
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Macaroni and cheese
6. What is your favorite outfit?  Dis one! (blue floral shirt and blue polka dot skirt) (Andrew:  What about your princess dress?  Cecilia:  My pwincess dwess!!!) (PS it was only $20 when we bought it and is aaaaaaawesome so you should get one for your princess!)
7. What is your favorite game?  Um, Super Mario Galaxy (this one is really funny - Andrew plays it every once in a while and Cecilia pretends to be the princess ALL the time and she and John Paul play it on their own, running around from room to room finding stars while she dances)
8. What is your favorite snack?  Um, craisins, crackers, and apricots.
9. What is your favorite animal?  Jaguar, 'cause I saw one in one of John Paul's reference books!
10. What is your favorite song?  Immacuwate Mawwy!
11. What is your favorite book?  Diego (What about a book that we own?) My ballet book!

This one:

We Love Ballet!
12. Who is your best friend?  Um, Katherine! (who goes to our old church and is 11 years old and she's seen...  twice in the past year?)
13. What is your favorite cereal?  Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Um, go down da swide!
15. What is your favorite drink?  Milk
16. What is your favorite holiday?  My birfday!  (John Paul:  That's not a holiday!)  Um, I dink Halloween.
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  My teddy bear! (not true. She sleeps with a sheet and that's it, not even a pillow)
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Joe's O's!
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?  Ham and potatoes and green beans (check!)
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  A mommy!  (Anything else?)  Um, yeah. (What else?)  Teacher!


Last night I sat down with her to ask what she wanted for her birthday breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


Me:  What do you want for a special birthday breakfast, Cecilia?
Cecilia:  Um, maybe a wittle cake?
Me:  Well, the cake isn't going to be made yet...
Cecilia:  Oh, maybe a ganowa bar!!!

Here's the rest of her picks:


John Paul reminded her she needed to choose a birthday snack.  And then she chose a special birthday drink, of course.  Milk, indeed.




John Paul's face cracks me up in the background!


So excited to be 3!

Monday, January 27, 2014

What They Said: Volume 8, Cecilia-style

In honor of Cecilia's third birthday tomorrow, this edition of What They Said is dedicated solely to things she's said recently!  Remember to link any of your recent posts using the tool at the bottom :)



Me:  Cecilia, did you know that you're beautiful?
Cecilia:  Um, yeah!
Aunt Sister:  And why are you beautiful?
Cecilia:  Because of my sparkle shoes!!!
thinking hard...
Cecilia:  And God made me!!!



Cecilia, pooping:  Wook, it fell near da tissue!
Me:  Yup...
Cecilia:  Maybe da tissue is its bwanket!
Me:  Probably not...
Cecilia:  Or maybe its swimsuit?

Sigh...

...

Cecilia, sitting on the potty and leaning forward to touch my earrings:  Hey, some of my fingers aren't even wet anymore!
Me:  When did they get wet?
Cecilia:  Um, a couple of years ago.
Me:  How did they get wet a couple of years ago?
Cecilia:  ...No, dey were JUST wet!
Me:  And how did they just get wet?
Cecilia:  Um, because I dipped dem in da potty.

So glad you were just touching my face, then...




Cecilia, trying on a pair of the twins' overalls:  Dey fit me!  I can wear dem!
Me:  No, they're not your size so that won't work.
Cecilia:  What size are dey?
Me:  18 months.
Cecilia:  So when I'm 18, I can wear dem!
Me:  ...Sure...  Fine...
Cecilia:  And I'll wear a SHIRT wif dem!

Always a good idea to wear a shirt under your overalls as an 18-year-old girl...  Goodness I hope that's something we never have to argue about!!!

...

Andrew scolds John Paul for doing something obnoxious at dinner...

Cecilia:  Um Dad, wemember dat Jesus is in your heart?

Same meal, Andrew jokes about John Paul being defective...

Cecilia:  Dad, God made him!!!

And therefore he's obviously not defective!  Parenting ftw!



Cecilia, lying under the Christmas tree: I'm sleeping under a tree so what animal am I?
Me: A bunny?
Mary Claire: Hop!


...

Cecilia:  Dere was a girl, and a bowl of cheerios, until a spider came!!!

Best. Story. Ever.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

WIWS: Magic School Bus-style

You know that moment when your 4.5yo is actually doing a decent job during Mass, but then he decides he wants to pretend that the church is a bus and that it's shrinking and we're all turning into bees?   Really loudly?


Ohhh yeah, me neither.


Thankfully, Cecilia spent the entire Mass reading her Beginner's Bible, because she has learned to recognize the words Jesus, Mary, and baby and tried to find them on every page.

Seriously, best ever.  She didn't even finish the book and was totally quiet the whole time because she was working so hard!

A stellar conversation was had by all after Mass.  

JP:  Father, did you know I'm very cold?  Because it's only 18 degrees outside!
Cecilia:  Did you know it's almost my birfday?  And Gwampa and Vicki gave me dis neckwace!


Hair:  Halfhearted attempt at this pin
Scarf:  Zulily (tied according to this pin)
Cardigan:  Banana Republic via Twice
Dress:  Tommy Hilfiger via Twice (super-light and summer-weight, but with layers it works great for winter!)
Boots:  Same old, same old.
Tights:  Wal-Mart, $5 and holding up shockingly well!
Belt:  Stolen off an old pair of pants...


Crazy poses:  Courtesy of John Paul resetting the camera settings, making the auto-timer take a loooong time between each shot... We got bored. 

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple, and don't forget to link your funny quotes up tomorrow for What They Said!

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Bribery Edition: What I Would Do for an Award

Somehow I was nominated for several categories in Bonnie's Sheenazing Awards:

Funniest Blogger

Best Looking Blog

Best Lifestyle Blog

Best Under Appreciated Blog

Best Blog by a Mom

And while I could just say, "Hey, vote for me!" I want to give you a reason to vote for me, and let you know just what the results will be, should I win:

--1--

Funniest Blogger

This one kind of baffles me, because there are so many bloggers who are funnier than I am.  I think mostly my kids are funny, so I write what they say and that's probably what gives the appearance that I'm somewhat humorous.  BUT if I win Funniest Blogger, I promise to post even more embarrassing pictures of myself so that you have something to laugh at.  I may even record a conversation with Cecilia so you can hear the inspiration behind some of these quotes.  Heck, I'll give you a conversation with Cecilia right now:



--2--

Best Looking Blog - Is it the never-ending sidebar that gets you?  Or perhaps the stark blue background?

Again, I think I have my kids to thank for this nomination - I can only assume that they are so cute that my pictures of them qualify me, in someone's mind, for the title of "Best Looking Blog."  If I win this award, I guarantee even more pictures of my gloriously beautiful progeny, AND I will put my Sheenazing Badge in my header for the entire year.



--3--

Best Lifestyle Blog - I can only guess that my amazing homeschooling experiments such as letting my kids pour out all the salt all over the table qualifies me for this one.  Sometimes we do crafts, and I cook, and try to post about fashion...  If I win this award I will continue instagramming our craft fails and science "experiments" so that you can feel better about how clean your house is and how awesome your structured homeschooling is compared to our style, which can only loosely be described as "unschooling" since even that title would require some sort of "schooling."

--4--

Best Under Appreciated Blog - What I really want is not to even qualify for this one!  If you're on Google+ or on Blogger, could you click that little "Join this Site" button with Google Friend Connect?  I've gotta have more than 87 followers, right?  Riiiiight?  If I win this one, I promise to badger you every single day with a reminder to click that little "join" button so that I can soon become the winner of a NEW category (currently occupied alone by one Kelly Mantoan), "Best Blog that was ONCE Under-appreciated but now boasts enough followers to gain the status of Appreciated!"

So vote for me!!!  Do you love my little Under-Appreciated blog?  DO YOU???  APPRECIATE ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--5--

Best Blog by a Mom - I know I've got no chance, friends.  I'm in this category (and others!) with some seriously big guns, but iiiiif I somehow win this one, I promise to continue giving you far too many details about our crazy life, including yet another "day in the life" post in which I bore you with the minute-by-minute details of how we get through a day.  You're so excited for this one, I promise!

--6--

And my sister was nominated too!

Most Inspiring Blog

Smartest Blog

Funniest Blogger

I guarantee you that if you vote for her, she will start posting more often so that she can live up to the hype!  Really, two posts in January?  It's like she was helping me take care of a million kids and THEN went to Hawaii or something.  No idea why she's not willing to sit in front of the computer instead of like, hanging out on the beach.  Lame.  Seriously lame.

--7--

So what are you waiting for?  Go here and vote!

But in all seriousness, I know it's unlikely that I'll win any category - I'm just so touched that any of you enjoy reading this blog enough to nominate me for anything!  You can only vote once, and I totally understand if you choose someone else - thanks for thinking of me :)

And quick reminder - What They Said is coming back as a link-up on Monday - be prepared for some awesome quotes from the kids, and link up your own!

Linking up with Conversion Diary (Ms. Coolest Blogger 2013) - check out more Quick Takes there!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Theme Thursday: Catching People Unaware

There we were, on our second snow day of the week.

Snow day in Virginia, my friends, means "there is snow visible on some pavement somewhere in the state."

Anyway, I was a really good mom on Saturday and let the kids do TWO science experiments (baking soda & vinegar volcanos and cornstarch goop - the only science experiments we've ever done and I repeat them aaaaaall the time...), so apparently that means they expect a craft or a science experiment or something structured while the babies nap.

Ugh.

This is why people send their kids to preschool!  Not cool.  I offered up watercolor painting (because I enjoy it and wanted to try out their new paints...).  Nope.  I told them they could make a craft from the 25-cent craft book I picked up at the library book sale.  Nope.



Science experiment.


Soooo I thought fast and set things up for a "melting" experiment.  Three bowls of snow (scooped from our steps - no way was I going outside!), and a bowl each of salt, pepper, and sugar.

If they were older than 4.5 and (almost) 3, we would have made charts of our hypotheses, controls, results, etc.


But since they're 4.5 and (almost) 3, Cecilia started eating the snow before we could even mix it...


So we tried it out - they mixed it with all three substances and shocker, salt melted the snow the fastest!  However, sugar mixed with snow was the most delicious.  Pepper, not so much.

And there I left them as I headed downstairs to get dressed.  I'm not crazy, I've left them unattended with their crafts and science experiments for minutes at a time and they've been totally fine.  And they had *maybe* a tablespoon of each substance - what could go wrong?

I blame Cari.

Yup, they caught me unaware.

jan-feb schedule

I returned, teeth brushed, hair combed, fully clothed, to this:


That would be all of our salt (the remainder of a 2 lb box of Kosher salt), all our pepper (NOT a 2 lb box), and at least two cups of the fancy organic sugar (bought in bulk from Costco soooo it could be worse...).


Because they needed to make a mixture.

Yeah.

You can tell how mad I wasn't by the fact that I took pictures before making them clean up.  And they actually cleaned most of it up on their own, thank goodness!

But yeah, "Catching People Unaware."  Check.  Thanks for that.  I can still smell the pepper.

Today they want to make "Rainbow Snow," whatever that means.  All I know is that they're doing it in the bathtub. 

Aaaand check out more at Clan Donaldson!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gimme Shelter Review {Sponsored Post}

When I was invited to view Gimme Shelter in advance of its limited release, I was a little unsure about it.  I'm a little divorced from popular media and really never know what movies are coming out, so I hadn't heard of this one.  And when I saw Vanessa Hudgens' name I immediately thought, "Really?  High School Musical?"

Buuut James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson, and Brendan Frasier convinced me that this was for real.  Not to mention the fact that this is how we first encounter Hudgens in her role as Apple Bailey:



Not exactly Zac Efron's crooning sweetheart, eh?  Her transformation was huge - 15 pounds gained, hair chopped off, voice unrecognizable.  I did see glimmers of HSM at the end in her smirk, but that's just who the actress is.

Apple (or Agnes) is a 16-year-old fleeing an abusive home situation.  She's been in and out of foster care all her life, and escapes her mother when she finds out she is pregnant, only to be thrust into a less-than-ideal situation with her biological father's family.



She rejects abortion as an option for her unborn baby, and winds up in the hospital, where she meets kindly priest James Earl Jones (who doesn't wear clerics even once in the movie...  Bothered me a little?  Yeah...  But you know, small details!).  Jones convinces her to move into a crisis pregnancy shelter (this is based on a true story, and the shelter's website is here), where she eventually finds her happy ending.

But not without a whole lot of really terrifying and really real life hitting her first.  I'm with Katrina - I'm feeling a little ashamed of myself now for how little we've done for women in these circumstances.  I was deeply disturbed and pretty uncomfortable with quite a few scenes in this movie.  It's not exactly a touchy-feely preachy "everybody be pro-life because look, BABIES are so cute!" sort of movie, you know?  But it's so powerful.  So, so powerful.  And timely, considering the events of this week.

If you're not marching tomorrow (or even if you are), will you consider seeing this movie and maybe finding a way to donate or volunteer at a shelter like Several Sources Shelter?  You can find locations where the movie is showing here - it opens in limited theaters on Friday, January 24.  And spread the word - my exposure to commercials is limited to Hulu and I've heard nothing about this film, so word-of-mouth is the way to go!

And if you want to read up a little more on the back story, this article is fascinating.

Interested?  Watch the trailer below:


I was able to view this movie free of charge thanks to Grace Hill Media.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How Can There Be Rivalry When They're On the Same Team?

Let's talk about sibling rivalry, shall we?

See, I read something ages ago that said that the way siblings interact in the early years is hugely indicative of how their future relationship will pan out.  "Got this!" I thought, as I watched a very young John Paul snuggle baby Cecilia, watching a newly-mobile Cecilia crawl after John Paul and lick him repeatedly while he giggled, watched the two of them sit quietly in a "reading nook" corner while he read books to her...





But then, see, Cecilia started having an opinion about things.  And showed herself to be just as stubborn as John Paul, if not more so.  And given that these two were born of two of the most stubborn people on the planet, I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that I'm playing referee to the two opposing sides for most of the day ever day, right?

I mean, don't get me wrong, when they play together well they play really well.  I'm talking hours in their room playing Magic School Bus, or going to the basement for quiet hours to play board games (and clean them up. Seriously, they went through Cranium, Diplomacy, and Stratego yesterday and cleaned it all up).

See?  Best friends!
It struck me just how beautiful it is to see their relationship growing as Andrew and I sat on the couch watching them play in the basement today - John Paul suddenly discovered he can pick Cecilia up, and they spent a loooong time with him picking her up, staggering a few steps, and then dropping her on the floor.  She pulled him down on top of her and the giggles were CRAZY infectious.

And of course, you add twins to the mix?  Too cute to resist.

A snapshot:

John Paul is quietly playing the piano.  Cecilia is setting up a bed on the floor with a couch pillow and a fleece blanket, only to realize that Elizabeth has thrown her whole body on the pillow.

"Ewizabif!  Dat's my bed!  I'll make you your OWN bed!"

She runs off and gives Elizabeth a new pillow and blanket, then lies down again only to find Mary Claire is sitting directly next to her on the pillow...

"May Cwaire!  You're my guardian angel!!!"

And thus begins the game in which Cecilia runs away from her "guardian angels" and tells them to "Get back to heaven!!!"  Giggling everywhere, including from the adults in the room.  Seriously, the frantically giggling and running and falling toddlers?  It's really too much.

Cooperation at its finest

But then...

We can't get used to that kind of harmony, now can we?

Within minutes John Paul and Cecilia have been banished from the basement for doing something stupid, and I'm trying to get them to play together in their room so that I can make dinner in relative peace.

3 minutes of quiet and someone's wailing.

I return to find that they're fighting over who gets to throw the pink ball in the laundry basket.

Insert lecture on taking turns and sharing.

5 minutes later, I return to wailing and find them on the floor, tangled up in Cecilia's sheet, fighting over who gets to play with it.

A sheet.  Yes, they were fighting over a sheet.  And then John Paul stood up and he was sitting on his own sheet.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

2.5 minutes later, Cecilia comes running into the kitchen because "JOHN PAUL PUNCHED ME!"

"Why did he punch you?"

"Because I was tryin' to leave and I said I wouldn't pway wif him."

John Paul comes running in yelling...

"John Paul!  Did you punch your sister?"

"Yes, because she wanted to leave and I wanted to play with her!!!"

So John Paul is sent to his room for a time out and within a minute Cecilia is running back in there to play with him and wailing ensues yet again...

At this point I just separated both of them to different rooms for quiet time, but really?  How long is this going to go on?  I'm thinking years...

This is like, 8 months ago.  See, no crying!

The thing is, when they are good they are so very very good and so independent and so wonderful and lovely.  But when they're bad?  Oh they sure are horrid.

See?  So cute?  So loving!
And they're ONLY bad with each other, they never try to hit other kids and they share sooooo well with everyone else.  But they just go craaaaaaaazy on each other, and then forgive each other immediately.  No consequences, in their minds, except those imposed by parents.  And I don't know how much I need to step in and how much I should let them sort out themselves...

So I'm thinking it's time to find that "Siblings Without Rivalry" book I started reading and then abandoned and maaaaybe try to learn from it again?  Because I feel like all I'm doing right now is babysitting and refereeing, and there's not a whole lot of mothering going on...  And surely there's something I can do to fix this a little bit, right?

Because really, the fact that while he was praying evening prayer he kept kicking her (she was yell-singing "AL-LE-LU-YAAAAAAAAAAAA, AAA-LE-LU-PAAAAAAAASTAAAAAAAA, NOODLE NOODLE NOODLE!!!" when he was just trying to pray!) shouldn't be indicative of their future relationship, should it?

Make me feel better?  Tell me some ridiculous stories about your kids or about you and your siblings?  I know mine aren't the only ones who fight this way!

Is it terrible that I just want them to be like this all the time?

WIWS - 1 year!

This weekend marked two very important milestones:


First, Mary Claire's first pigtails!
As you can see, she loves them.

And second (and more importantly), is that after over a year of us telling John Paul that if he wakes up in the middle of the night needing to pee he should get out of bed and go on his own, he FINALLY DID IT!  Which means no more hollering in the middle of the night!  Now I'm trying to convince him that he can do the same thing when he wakes up in the morning - he can peel and cut up a banana himself and get himself water from the fridge, so pretty soon I can pretty much just expect him to serve breakfast to all the kids so I can stay in bed all day, right?  Right.

Anyway, moving on...


We had kind of a weird morning today - Andrew's off from singing this week so he decided to take John Paul to Latin Mass with him this afternoon, and I took Cecilia on my own.  But she woke up late so we missed our 8:30 usual Mass and went to the 9 at our old parish, which felt like a time warp!

Then I realized that last year at this time was the first time I did a WIWS post and thank goodness, Cecilia has come a LONG way since that terrible behavior that used to be the norm!  I can't remember the last time I had to take her out of Mass, and her only real issue is needing to hold still a little more and maybe start participating more, which I'll absolutely take for an almost-3-year-old.  She definitely earned the doughnut she got after Mass :)


Here's what I wore (and what John Paul wore, because he had to get in the picture, of course...):

Shirt:  Banana Republic via ThredUp
Skirt:  eShakti
Belt:  Kohl's
Tights:  H&M
Shoes:  DSW (I'm thinking black shoes would work a lot better...  but I don't really have any that work right now!)
Scarf:  Target (gift)

Looks like John Paul and I inadvertently color coordinated, although he got play dough on his outfit and had to change his clothes before he left.


Play dough + toothpicks + skewers + cheerios = awesome time waster :)

And now the babies are napping, the boys are gone, and Cecilia is in the throes of some VERY important play dough playing (won't even eat lunch because she doesn't want to stop making play dough spaghetti!)



Seriously, what a difference a year makes!

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple - check out more Mass style!



Friday, January 17, 2014

Quick Takes - Hair Cut!

--1--

Cecilia and John Paul set up the chairs in a straight line, and Elizabeth and Mary Claire immediately climbed up and sat down like such big kids!  So I had to grab a picture, and of course the babies were the only ones who cooperated...


But we were using books as props and Cecilia REALLY wanted "Amelia Bedelia Sleeps Over" and John Paul wasn't giving it up...


Mary Claire LOVES flipping through books.  Elizabeth LOVES the taste of books.

Sigh.

--2--


I had to return some Christmas clothes for them that were the wrong size, and really wanted to get the same thing in a size up but theeeeen I found these adorable one-piece hooded outfits and I couldn't resist!  Although Mary Claire's makes her look like a boy buuuut it's not like we ever leave the house, so it's cool.

--3--

Why yes, she IS wearing two different shoes in that last picture!


She and Elizabeth are always bringing me random items of clothing and demanding to have them put on, so she brought me two different shoes and a babyleg and I obliged.
--4--

It suddenly occurred to me that my hair was looking a little terrible...  Because I haven't gotten it cut since before the twins were born!

Here's what happens:

1.  I get my hair cut
2.  I have a baby (or two) and then never have time for another hair cut
3.  Baby turns one and suddenly I realize, "Hey, my hair looks awful!"
4.  And then I realize, "Hey, it's long enough that I might as well just wait and do Locks of Love and get a free cut!"
5.  So I wear it up in a bun for the months it takes to grow long enough...
6.  And by the time I'm ready to get it cut, I'm usually pregnant again.

So I remembered that Sheena  (and a lot of the rest of the internet) cuts her own hair and thought, "Well, why don't I just do that in the meantime?"

Before

After

Using this tutorial on youtube, it took about 10 minutes, including watching the video!  I messed with the layers around my face a little the next day, but I'm really happy with how it turned out - there's a lot less weight to my hair and I feel like I can wear it down again.

--5--

Of course, wearing it down means dealing with baby fingers...  Mostly though, they're not too grabby now, although Mary Claire got tangled in my hair and kindly returned a piece she had yanked out, handing it to me and saying, "Chash!" (trash)

Lovely.

--6--

This week's posts:

How to Shop Without Leaving the House - Because it's cold!  And you've got kids you don't want to bundle up!  And the internet is easier than real life!

WIWS: January-Style - I'm working on a winter style post - it's coming soon!

Not Much But Grace - Perhaps the craziest dinner we've ever had.  Thank goodness they chose the weekend and NOT the day we had our priest over for dinner!

--7--

Oh speaking of which, we finally had our house blessed for Epiphany!  We had it planned for the day after but things fell through and we had to wait until this past Tuesday.  And the kids weren't terrible during dinner!  And they weren't terrible during the blessing or afterwards!  And Father very kindly read to Cecilia for as long as she wanted after dinner, even though her first book of choice was "Twinkle Toes" and I don't know that I've ever heard anything funnier than a priest reading, "Oh how I love to dance, I love to twirl, I love to prance..."

So basically it was a miracle.

But I felt really badly, because our newest priest has been at our parish since July and he told us this is the first time he's been to dinner at a parishioner's house.  I couldn't believe it!  I just kind of assume that all priests are so busy that they pretty much are eating at someone else's house every night, so I don't ask...  Clearly I was wrong!

So can you try to have a priest over to dinner?  That's my challenge to you - at least make the offer!  I'm definitely going to try inviting ours over more often (we live 3 minutes from the rectory soooo I've got no excuse!).

That's all I have for you - check out more at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to Shop Without Leaving the House (Five Favorites)

Hands-down, my least favorite thing to do with kids in tow is try to get shopping done.  We have it down to an art at Costco and Trader Joe's (thank you samples, you are the best form of bribery), but anything else is just bound to be a bust.  Add four little kids to winter weather, and there's no way I want to leave the house, particularly since it takes an hour to get coats, hats, gloves etc. on before we leave!

So here are my five favorite ways to shop without leaving the house:

1.  Grocery staples:

Peapod and other similar grocery delivery services are SO convenient, but hard to use for me, because I don't get most of my groceries at a conventional grocery store.  They have coupons for free delivery every once in a while, and usually require a $50 minimum purchase.  So this works really well for me when we're stocking up on staples like flour, toilet paper, etc.

2.  Fresh produce:

From the Farmer (or your local CSA) - This is more of a treat for me than anything else, especially when farmer's markets are closed for the season.  They drop off a basket of fresh local produce on your doorstep on a weekly basis (or however often you want - we just do it once a month) and it is ALWAYS amazing and beautiful and such fun to be able to plan a menu around the delicious fresh produce we get!  It's $35 for a small basket, which is on the pricey side but if you mention my name (Rosie Hill) you can get $20 off your first order, which is absolutely worth it!  Best of all, you can schedule deliveries online, so no need to hide in the bathroom to make a phone call so your 4-year-old doesn't try to get in on the call with you (wait, am I the only one who has to do that?).


Is that not the biggest carrot you've ever seen?  Totally don't find them like that at the grocery store!

3.  Meat

Relay Foods (available in DC, Baltimore, Northern VA, Richmond, Williamsburg, Staunton, Charlottesville - you name it!) is kind of a combination of the two - Peapod-style shopping, but with tons of fresh local produce available, as well as typical grocery store items.  They also have a minimum purchase, but frequent promotions AND you get $30 off your first purchase if you use my invite code!  Their meat is fabulous, the only problem is how often things go out of stock.  But they deliver on most days straight to your door, which a lot less notice needed than with Peapod.

4.  Clothes for you

Twice

I know, I extol the virtues of Twice all the time.  But seriously, it's so awesome!  Free shipping on orders over $49, free returns, and they have measurements listed on their clothing so you have a much better idea of what will fit/be too short, etc.  I find it really useful for staples, and they're super-generous with credit and coupon codes, plus their customer service is fabulous!  I just got a J.Crew denim jacket for $2.01 because of my credit from selling my old clothes, credit from you awesome ladies signing up through my link, and some other coupon codes!

Shirt & sweater, Twice.  John Paul's polo & jeans from ThredUp.

ThredUp is decent for adult clothes too, but they don't list measurements and their returns don't include free shipping, so I vastly prefer Twice.

5. Clothes for the kids

thredUP Carter's Order Collage

ThredUp

Hands-down, ThredUp.  I just got a huge order of stuff for the kids, Gymboree galore, Osh Kosh, Carter's, etc...  Nothing over $8 and most of it was under $4!  And every single item was in perfect condition.  This is about what I expect to pay at my favorite consignment store, only I didn't have to leave the house and shipping was free, so I guess it was technically cheaper than going somewhere to shop since I didn't have to pay for gas.

There's a LOT on their site, but if you know what you're looking for it's easy.  Cecilia pretty much only wants to wear elastic waist skirts, so I found the cheapest ones in her size and snapped them up.  Browsing isn't a lot of fun because there's so much that it gets overwhelming, but narrowing it down is easy with their search feature.

Returns are not easy, since you have to pay return shipping.  But for kids' clothes?  I'm not returning anything, because it doesn't have to fit the way clothes have to fit me!



Cecilia paired her new striped skirt with a striped shirt, because that's how she rolls.

Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife - check out more favorites!
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