Sunday, March 30, 2014

WIWS: Pink Sunday!

Fun fact for today, brought to you by John Paul (who begged me to look up today's saint) and Wikipedia:

The farmers' saying for today, March 30, the Feast of St. Quirinus is "As St. Quirinus' Day goes, so will the summer."

Which, for us, apparently means it will be raining all summer.  Doesn't really seem out of the ordinary for Virginia!  Hopefully your weather is a little better than ours :)

I broke out my favorite pink skirt this week in celebration of spring, and of course it was too cold to have bare legs!  Sadly, my boots have not been retired yet, because it's still. not. warm.

This chambray shirt is getting so much wear in every season - seriously, such a great buy!  J. Crew Factory is having a really good sale with a bunch of chambray shirts this weekend, I highly recommend you check it out if you're looking for one for yourself!


Andrew walked in right as I started taking pictures...


And, you know, had to make an awkward sultry face...


I wouldn't usually wear the same skirt just a few days apart, but I remember this morning that it's Laetare Sunday!  We broke out the pink!  Well, the babies didn't come to Mass but they picked plenty of pink for their outfits, too.  And you can see from everyone's facial expressions what things are generally like around here...


Cecilia is apparently a hip hop star?  (John Paul wants me to write that he is ALSO a hip hop star.  Sure.)  Also, how adorable is that veil on Cecilia?  It had been missing for a while but we just found it and used the cross bobbies that Mandi sent me to hold it on, which worked perfectly!

Speaking of which, have you entered the Lilla Rose giveaway?


Once the babies were down for their naps, we tried for another picture (where you can see John Paul's pink pants and sock with a hole in the toe...) - you get the idea, I think!

Skirt:  eShakti
Shirt: Ann Taylor via Twice
Boots: Same old, same old
Scarf:  Amazon

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple - check out more Sunday style!

Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Cloth Diapers, Baby Names, and Odd Prayer Intentions

I convinced the babies to play in the big kids' room with them during "nap" time.  Think I can rattle out a Quick Takes post while they're happy?

Yeah, I doubt it too.  But I'll try!

--1--

Mary Claire and Elizabeth have just started calling each other by name this week.  It's SO adorable.  Especially since Elizabeth's name is either "Biff" or (my personal favorite) "Beef."  Although Elizabeth insists that her name is "Honey" and corrects me every time I call her "Elizabeth."

Mary Claire is "May Kay" which is not as exciting.  But there's a lot of squeaking and pointing - "Mom!!!  Biff!!!  May Kay!!!  Paul!!!  SEEYA!!!  DADA!!!"

--2--

And because there's been a general shortage of twin photos lately:









--3--

The other night we took down this link in the prayer chain:



And Andrew and I had to try so hard to stop laughing the entire time we were praying.  Cecilia really wanted us to pray for all the kitty cats.  But, you know, animals don't have souls and all that...  So she decided all the people who own kitty cats would be appropriate, as well.

Cecilia asked that God bless them with love.  John Paul asked that God bless them with temperance.  Pressing needs, you know?

Almost as good as when he asked that God bless all unborn babies with diligence.  Priorities.

--4--

They have escaped their jail.   Game over until bedtime.

--5--

I've been trying to do more concrete, productive things once the kids are in bed - particularly starting Easter dresses for the girls and converting our velcro diapers to snaps!  It's so boring that I don't want to dedicate a whole post to it, but basically you want to set yourself up in front of the TV and follow this tutorial (although mine don't have 4 "male" snaps on each side, just 2 on each because I used a Flip cover as my template) making SURE to change the press on the snap press for your "male" vs. "female" snaps!  Made that mistake and boy was it obnoxious...

This starter kit comes with 100 snaps, which is good for four diapers (assuming you're doing BumGenius and just mimicking the Flip covers like I did).  I'm going to buy this set of 250 because that should take care of the other 10 diapers I need to convert.


Bored to tears?  Yeah, me too...  Take advice from a veteran, buy snapping diapers to begin with!

Oh and those are affiliate links, just to be clear - I'm pretty sure that any time I link to Amazon it's an affiliate link, and anything you order through my links gives me pennies to spend on MORE snaps to convert these diapers :)

--6--


I get a kick out of Google animating my pictures.  Don't they all look so big sitting at the table together?

--7--

Go enter my Lilla Rose Giveaway!  And really, check out some of the new clips - I love the new offerings!  

Check out more Quick Takes at Jen's!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mom Hair! {Flexi-Clip Review and Giveaway}

I have a confession to make:

I'm really lazy when it comes to hair.  And I do not like change.

Here's my cycle:  

1. I grow my hair super long because I'm too lazy and cheap to get it cut.  
2. Somewhere along the way it gets too long to deal with reasonably, so I just leave it up all the time.
3. Eventually I realize it's long enough to get a free cut for Locks of Love at my favorite salon.
4. I get an awesome short hair cut and proceed to grow it out for 2-3 more years before I realize it's time for another cut.

I can't be the only one who does this, right?  The problem is, short hair actually has to be styled.  And there are only so many ways I actually know how to do long hair - either up in a bun, up in a ponytail, down, or half-up.  All those Pinterest tutorials for fancy hair?  Nuh uh.  Not happening here.

And you know what doesn't help with the fact that my appearance is similar to that of a 17-year-old girl?  Um, any of those hair styles.

So when Mandi sent me a Flexi Clip to review, I was pretty psyched!  I had been eyeing them for months but wasn't sure if I could make the plunge...  After all, they all look so fancy!  My go-to hair clip is plastic and the enamel has teeth marks in it because someone (John Paul) decided it would be interesting to scrape as much off as possible during naptime.  

Stupid reason.  Totally worth owning.  And totally worth the price!  Especially since lately I find myself stealing Cecilia's hair accessories more and more because my hair ties keep being used to keep cabinet doors shut...


A super-messy Gibson tuck - I got so many compliments on this from students and parents at the concert I was directing that night.  And I felt like such a grown-up!



She even sent bobby pins for Cecilia!
"Cecilia, how much do you like your hair pins?"
"SO!"


French Twist (with a French-English dictionary on the floor...)


No way was this going to stay in Cecilia's hair...  But she wanted to try!

I found YouTube videos helpful in finding ways to style the Flexi Clip (and I'm going to keep looking for new and exciting ways to wear it!) - check out Lilla Rose's channel here

I'm not going to lie, I definitely have problems with mine slipping out if I'm not careful about the exact right amount of hair to put in there, but I got used to it pretty quickly.  And my hair is super slippery, so I kind of expected that.  It's not exactly the end of the world that I can't use it for a ponytail, because ponytails just make me look 12 and I don't need to be mistaken for the babysitter again, you know?

I think it's worth it to take the time to learn a few simple hairstyles so you can feel more put-together, even if you're not planning on leaving the house.  Plus you're supporting a work-at-home mom when you shop with Mandi!

The possibilities are endless!  What's your favorite?

How much would your little princess love this Fairy Aurora Borealis clip?


Or maybe Purple Cluster to please your friend who likes to match her hair accessories to liturgical seasons?  Perfect for Lent AND Advent!


Roman Stone has definitely caught my eye now that I'm not quite so afraid of a little bling!

And the vintage appeal in Cameo Appearance?  Love it!

Want one of your own?  Or as a present for someone you love?  Enter below for your chance to win one Lilla Rose item (up to $16 value) from Independent Consultant Mandi Richards!  And if you don't win, don't worry - there are plenty available on her website here :)  

Hurry up - you've got until next Friday to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this product free of charge in exchange for a review - all opinions are honest and my own!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Find That Joy!

How's your Lent going?

I'm still working on not being so angry, and it seems like various factors crop up all the time to make it more difficult...  But I think it's always helpful to realize that it's possible to reset at any point in the day.  And that's hard for me to do a lot of the time, because it's so easy for lack of sleep or a less-than-ideal morning to ruin the rest of the day.

Just pausing and being thankful for everything (even the things it sometimes doesn't make sense to be thankful for...) really helps put things in perspective for me.  Lindsay at My Child, I Love You wrote a really great reflection on this (including one of my mom's all-time favorite stories) - definitely worth a read!

Anyway, this morning was a rough one.  I have been having really crazy dreams lately (I'm talking Attila the Hun chasing me and trying to kill me in the old house I lived in in college, and me eventually deciding that probably I should just go to confession and then let myself be killed), and can never seem to get back to sleep after I wake up in the middle of the night.  So I was up at 4 and had *finally* gone back to sleep when John Paul showed up in our bedroom (which has NEVER happened before) because he needed to pee and couldn't get his jammies unzipped.  So at 5:15 I tried to go BACK to sleep, and as soon as it happened the babies were awake.

Then there was no time for coffee or adequate breakfast before I had to start getting ready for Mass.  John Paul and Cecilia slept in, so I was planning on going to Mass without them (and kind of looking forward to it, not going to lie...).  But of course they woke up JUST in time to come with me, freaking out because there really wasn't time to get dressed and eat breakfast, so Andrew and I very hurriedly (and angrily, yikes) got them dressed and ready to go.

Then of course there was the less-than-ideal Mass behavior, because John Paul REALLY needed me to help with the maze in the back of the MagnifiKid, and REALLY needed me to write things on the offering envelope, and REALLY had to block the way of the lady in our pew trying to get to communion because he had to finish writing something (and she was very understanding, thank goodness!), etc.

Needless to say, he was NOT going to get a treat.  But then I realized he hadn't eaten breakfast, which probably had rather a lot to do with the behavior, because I know I get really angry when I'm hungry, so I really can't blame him...  Plus really I was more sensitive because of hunger and fatigue as well.  So he got the treat, and we headed home.

I got the babies down for their naps and instructed the big kids that they were to STAY UPSTAIRS with the craft supplies while I took a nap, and they should ONLY come downstairs if they needed something important.

But I just couldn't get mad when John Paul SO excitedly came in to show me his Ten Commandments:


And 5 minutes later, his "Red Sea:"


And 10 minutes later he came down again because he needed help drawing Moses...  And noticed, "There's an empty spot in the bed!"

And proceeded to crawl in and start reading Andrew's copy of St. Augustine's Confessions.

Whispering:  "Mom, I can hear music through the monitor!"

I gave up.  But I couldn't be annoyed, you know?  He was just being his most typical self, and while his little quirks make him so infuriating at times, they're also the most endearing things about him.

He's always been the type of kid who needs to know all the things and needs to do all the things.  I remember how unhappy he was as a baby in those weeks leading up to crawling because he couldn't get to ALL THE THINGS HE NEEDED!  And he's been so very frustrated lately as well, but all of a sudden he turned the corner developmentally and can draw all the things and write all the things and sit there and read every book and learn all the things.  And it's such a joy to be able to watch these developments and see just how happy they make him!


Cecilia's contribution is "A cave with skeletons and tigers in it, and it's a circus!"

Clearly.  She's trying so hard to keep up with John Paul, which makes her creations pretty awesome as well :)


And when things like this happen I'm reminded to hug these kids closely - I have no idea how much time on earth I'll be granted with them, and they really are oh-so-precious.


So tell me - how are you?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

An Exciting Book Announcement!!!

(You see how I didn't title this post "An Exciting Announcement" because then BAM you would immediately have thought I was pregnant!)

Well, all these fancy bloggers have been writing books lately...  Jen, Haley, Cari, Kelly, Kendra, Auntie Leila...  Who's next?

ME!

Well, okay, not me.

John Paul.

See, he took it upon himself to write his first book today, and I'm convinced it's going to be a bestseller.

Magic Tree House #12: Polar Bears PAST Bedtime  (Okay, the title needs work...)

"Jack and annie, would you like some hot coaco?"

Also, "Cluster 1" because he thought it was funnier than "Chapter"

II POPE WAS IN ROME.  So they went there.

"How do you do carrots?"  Rihgt NOW.

red and blue...  ... T.D.

Also, whoops!  Chapter 6!  Not Cluster!  Clearly some editing needs to be done...

Also, can't imagine where he learned to overuse ellipses...

Thh!  Thh!  This was as usual.

Chapel 8!  Another joke!

And we even have the proper library designation, JFIC.  But whoops, the author accidentally revealed too much of his real name by writing "JP."  Luckily he changed it to "JACK" and nobody will ever be the wiser.

The plot!  The character development!  The lower case a's that look like tadpoles!

Publishers, we will be accepting contract offers whenever you see fit!

Basically, we're going to be rich (see how I tied it into Theme Thursday there?  And Abbey's #holylens?).


Monday, March 17, 2014

Raising Kids Who Love Saints: We're Doing It Right

It's not often that I reflect on a particular aspect of my parenting and think, "Man, I'm doing that RIGHT!"  I'll be honest, there's just so much uncertainty, so many variables, just so MUCH that sometimes I feel like I'm flying blind here.

But this morning I left Cecilia and John Paul with art supplies - markers, paper, scissors, the like - and I went downstairs to get dressed while the babies napped.  I'm always really excited to see what they make when things are totally open-ended, and I wasn't disappointed today:



"I'm Saint Wucy because I'm holdin' my eyes!"

Yes, she spent that entire time very carefully drawing two purple circles and very carefully cutting them out so that she could be St. Lucy with her eyes on a platter.

Parenting.  Nailed it.

(John Paul drew himself some coins and cut them out, in case you were curious.  One of them was a $200 coin.)

And on a typical day I'm treated to quotes like this:


Is his homeschool showing?

John Paul, immediately upon waking in the morning and coming to the table:  Ah...  I just need to write my name in this box...

I look over to see that he has written "St. Justin"

Me: So you're St. Justin this morning?
John Paul:  Yeah.  I'm a martyr.
Me:  And how were you martyred?
John Paul, humming:  I was just...  Humming...


Not outside the realm of possibilities...

Or this:

Cecilia, waking up from her nap:  Mom, I'm St. Agnes!  And you're Mawwy!  And Dad is Jesus!  And John Paul is Padwe Pio.

Later...

Cecilia:  And Aunt Sister is the soldier dat killed me!

Or even this, from the youngest in our family:




Mary Claire, pointing out every religious statue or book she can find:  Pope!  Mawwy!  Jee-US!  Toby (Maximilian Kolbe)!  Woocy (St. Lucy)!  Pio!!!




Don't worry, Elizabeth is just as obsessed - she likes to carry around an adult book on St. John Vianney chanting "Honey! Honey!"

I may have spent the entire day today either reading saint biographies to the kids or helping them act out different martyrdom stories.  Mary Claire and Elizabeth know that when they pick up a toy sword they need to make a "whoosh" sound and pretend to chop off their own heads, so often have they been companions of the martyred saints.

It makes it seem like we have them in saint book camp all day long, doesn't it?  But I promise we don't!  There's still a healthy dose of Angelina Ballerina and Magic School Bus and Daniel Tiger (although Cecilia asked me today, "Why doesn't Daniel Tiger pway before he eats or goes to bed?" I told her maybe he does it in private...), and characters from movies, books, and TV shows find their way into daily play easily enough.  But I'd say they're FAR more interested in the lives of the saints and biblical characters than anyone else.

And for good reason!  You know who's WAY more fascinating than Cinderella?  St. Elizabeth of Hungary - a saint who was a PRINCESS!  And sure, those superheroes might get injured, but St. Sebastian got shot full of arrows AND LIVED.

I think that simply immersing children in a culture devoted to those who have gone before us is HUGE in establishing an interest in those saints, and encouraging the desire to eventually become a saint.  Mary Claire and Elizabeth are 16 months old and are ALWAYS talking about the icons on our walls and the statues on the mantle.  And all the kids bring me saint books aaaaall day long to read to them - Cecilia in particular is on a virgin martyr kick right now.  Just having those books is enough - some days they don't get read at all, but it's amazing how quickly they learn to recognize particular saints just by seeing pictures of them often enough.

So what's worth owning?

I started a Pinterest board here with some of our favorite books so far - sometimes it's surprising to me what the kids love, because I think they won't be drawn to the old-fashioned pictures, but they LOVE those!

If your kids are old enough for read alouds, check out the Encounter the Saints Series.

There are plenty of DVDs out there too, like The Day the Sun Danced, which tells the story of Fatima (I need more of these, if only because it's HILARIOUS watching the kids act out the overly-dramatic lines from the movie).

We also just got a free Holy Heroes CD with the stories of Blessed Imelda Lambertini and St. Juan Diego, and the kids adore it.  Cecilia tells me that Blessed Imelda, St. Cecilia, St. Agnes, St. Lucy, and St. Kateri are her favorite saints.  Because they're girls.  And they're pretty.

What do your kids love when it comes to saints?  Who are their particular favorites?  I'm always so amazed by how much these little ones love the saints, when I feel like I didn't know anything about them when I was their age!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

WIWS: Matching Babies and an Exhausting Mass

Every couple of months I think, "Hey, let's do something really stupid!  Let's try going to Mass as a family!"

And every time Andrew's like, "It's not going to work.  Everybody's going to behave terribly."

And every single time he's right.

Seriously, I feel like I've been exercising for hours with all the "Up! Down! Up! Down!" and all the whisper-reading of our Catholic board books and the like...  And I'm not even the one who took the babies to the back of the church for most of the consecration.  Seriously folks, it's a 45-minute Mass and we barely survived.  Sigh.  John Paul and Cecilia were pretty great until the end, when Cecilia had a freak-out because she wanted to sit on the other side of me and John Paul was there.  She had to be taken out for the first time in MONTHS!

So we'll try again at Easter...  Until then, tag-teaming it is!  And to think I used to think that was a cop-out...

But at least they're cute?


But perhaps not the most photogenic...


A bang trim may be in order one of these days...


Okay, I give up...


And I was really glad that we had studied the readings yesterday, so at least I felt like I was halfway paying attention?  And speaking of the readings, last night I told Cecilia we were going to read the story of the Transfiguration and she said, "What's dat?"  "We'll read it in a minute and then you'll find out!" "Oh, Moses and Ewijah!"

Seriously, this child never forgets anything.  We last read about it in AUGUST and she remembers the story.  Ridiculous child.


Here's what I wore - mostly a repeat, and hopefully this will be the last week those tights are in the rotation!

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

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Playground with No Baby Swings: Never Again.

It was 70 the other day - FINALLY!  Spring!  So I loaded the kids up in the stroller and started off for a walk around the block.  Except John Paul REALLY wanted to go to the playground.

Who needs exercise when you're pushing 110+ pounds of kids in a stroller?  Okay, the big kids walked most of the way...

Weeeell...  Okay?  I remembered Andrew saying that the last time he took the kids to the playground, the babies were happy hanging out in the stroller watching them play.  So we walked the 0.6 miles and arrived at the lovely park with awesome HUGE climbing structures and absolutely nothing for the babies to do.

Within 7 seconds Mary Claire wanted out of the stroller.  So did Elizabeth.

Oh, did I mention they weren't even wearing shoes?

So I hoped that maybe they would be happy to sit on a bench with me?

And by sit on a bench I mean immediately climb down off the bench and test just how edible wood chips are.

John Paul takes off climbing this enormous faux-rock formation and Cecilia decides SHE wants to climb it, too.  I tell her no, she's too young.  Within 4 seconds she had scaled her way to the top and couldn't figure out how to get back down.

Awesome.

Babies on the bench, Mom trying to coach the 3-year-old down from the VERY tall peak, I look away for a second and hear ear-piercing screams and see that, oh yes, she has fallen off (thank goodness for those wood chips, which provided a nice cushy spot for her little booty to plop down).  So I leave the babies on the bench and retrieve the sobbing mess, who thankfully decides she's okay within 10 seconds (and the ONE other family at the playground is proooobably looking at me with crazy judging eyes because WHY would this insane lady bring all these tiny kids for a playground that is clearly not made for them?  Actually they probably thought I was the babysitter...).

So we move to the slightly less-dangerous side of the playground and the babies practice climbing up the slide and eating dirt while John Paul and Cecilia do their thing.  Thank goodness they were willing to abide by my "5 more minutes" warning which really ended up being a "1 more minute" warning - in Mom time sometimes 5 minutes takes 30, sometimes it takes 1.  Magic, I tell you.

But seriously, what is WITH these playgrounds with no swings?   I mean, I get the no "big kid" swings - those things are just an accident waiting to happen.  But the baby swings?  Somewhere contained to put my twins so that they feel like they're playing without actually being near wood chips?  So necessary.

I'm just at a complete loss for how to get outside with all 4 kids...  I'm thinking they'll be obsessed with the water table when it gets warm enough, and I'm planning on making one of those "tents" out of garden stakes and pole beans or snap peas or something, which I think will occupy them.  And we may also just need to get a second baby swing for the swing set...

Experienced moms of twins:  What do you do?  Where do you GO?  Or do you just not go anywhere?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

WWWS & a Scripture Craft

One of my Lenten goals is to do a Bible study with the kids every week based on that Sunday's Mass readings.  This week we did it on Saturday morning and read the readings in John Paul's Magnifikid - seriously, get a subscription if you don't have one!  It's for ages 6-12 but John Paul has loved it since he started reading.  And Cecilia is not even close to reading, so she's satisfied with last week's Magnifikid as her "own" copy every week... 

Then we read the same readings in their Catholic Children's Bible, which has a slightly simpler translation.  We discussed obedience, sin (seriously, the number of times per day when I have to answer questions like, "What is sin?" and "Why did Satan try to tempt Jesus?" is a little ridiculous!), the Fall, and redemption.  

And then, of course, we did a craft!


A serpent amongst apples in the Garden of Eden.


Okay, yes, not necessarily an apple - but it was an easy way to tie in a craft!


Plus, you know, they love painting...


And we happened to have a VERY wrinkly apple that had escaped being eaten by hiding in the back of the fruit drawer since we picked apples in...  October.  Yes, I know it's March.


Next we'll be talking about Abraham - I feel like we've mostly skipped past that story in favor of other Old Testament stories, so it'll be interesting to delve into the whole thing with them!


Oh, and look who was awake for pictures this week!  Babies everywhere!  I blame them for the tank top pulled down too low...  All nursing, all the time.


So close to spring...  So I'm close to retiring my boots!


And a lovely overexposed shot!


Finally, an adorable little ballerina in her Lenten jumper :)


Yup, she wins the liturgically appropriate contest!

For more Sunday style, check out Fine Linen & Purple!



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