Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12 in 2014 - Favorite Posts & Pictures

Last year's recap post is one of my favorites of all time!  So even though I haven't really been able to blog lately, I'm taking advantage of dinner being made + baby napping + everybody else being at Costco and hammering out a post to recap 2014, thanks to Dwija's influence.

January

My most popular post from January was from my Mom Style, Winter Edition post.  I also keep getting hits on this post where I cut my own hair - evidently the internet REALLY wants to know if it's a terrible idea or not!  Well, I'm still glad I did it, although I am in serious need of a *real* haircut almost a year later, since it's been over two years since my last actual cut...

And that post has some serious picture gems - I think I'm gonna choose this one as my favorite, since it's just a glimpse of how crazy life was getting!


February

The Twin Birth Story link-up posted in February is one of the most popular on the blog every month.  Random outfit post got a ton of views, but my favorite picture (and one of my favorites of all-time) is from this post, in which John Paul and Cecilia got married...  To each other.


March

25 Meatless Meals for Lent was super-popular back in March.  But this picture (from this post) is probably most indicative of what life was like at that point in time:



April

April's most popular posts were tied - What We Wore Easter Sunday (answering random questions with pictures of Easter finery) & All the Questions (in which I recapped Easters past and asked you random questions)

Our family Easter photo is my pick for this month because hello, adorable!  And yes, the whole family's there - Peter made his presence known in a barely-there bump.


May

I thought my pregnancy announcement would have the most views, but it's actually this fashion post, in which I advise you on what clothing works best for the first trimester of pregnancy and will also work post partum (not to toot my own horn but I totally nailed it!  I pretty much didn't have to wear any maternity stuff once Peter was born, and I'm feeling great in my wardrobe right now!).


But I'm going to choose a picture from this post as my favorite - I still can't figure out their bemused expressions, but I love the little handful of weeds that Cecilia's clutching!  Definitely representative of this past spring :)

June

June's most popular post is this one, where I confessed to cutting Cecilia's bangs waaaaay too short...  Good news: She recovered!


And there's the proof...

July

My Why I Worked series got a lot of views, particularly the first post.  But this one on why I'm not afraid of my fertility blew the others out of the water, statistically speaking.

For some reason I never actually used this picture in a post until August, but it's from July: 


August

Evidently people really want to know about Twice vs. ThredUp, as that continues to be one of my most popular posts.

And this picture is my favorite - look at them all playing together and not crying!!!


September

I finished up my Why I Worked series, but the post with the most hits was a random one where I asked for clothing budget suggestions (update: We still haven't sat down to talk about a real budget, and I've pretty much just been getting stuff on Twice and ThredUp with credit from referrals).  My favorite post, though, was Cecilia's guide to raising a baby.  She's the funniest, seriously!

  
My favorite picture from September is from this post - it perfectly captures Elizabeth's personality!

October

I posted about the fear that we're the most obnoxious family ever and it really seemed to strike a chord with readers!  

Favorite picture?  This one from our trip to a local fall festival:


November

It was a big month!  Mary Claire and Elizabeth turned two, and of course Peter was born!

My favorite picture is from this post on how to hide a post partum belly:


December

Aaaand December...  Blogging has been light this month, obviously!  This post on life with 5 kids under 6 got the most views, but this picture of Cecilia from this post is my favorite - she looks so OLD!



Okay, I'm gonna finish up and not press my luck - go check out more posts at Dwija's!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

5 Under 6

Jamie requested it, and there's no way a thoughtful, well-edited post is gonna make it's way onto this blog regarding life with 5 kids under the age of 6...  Heck, I'm far from the first to experience this!  But just in case you were wondering, here are a few facts of life when you have this many young children:

- You may find yourself allowing your children to play with ridiculous things just so they leave you alone.



Mary Claire was the only child awake/out of her nap time prison (because she wouldn't stop screaming "ELIZABETH!!!  WAKE UP!!!") the other day and I was trying to get dinner prepped.  So when she asked for a raw potato?  You better believe I gave it to her.  And it bought me several minutes of free time in the kitchen where she wasn't trying to hang from the handle of the oven or trying to climb onto the counter!

-  You will find yourself rewarding your children for ridiculous things.



Mary Claire needed to use the potty for #2 right when Andrew was walking out the door for a meeting.  And I was nursing a fussy baby.  So Cecilia and John Paul supervised her on the potty, wiped her, and John Paul went to get her a chocolate chip for her success.  At which point I told him that EVERYBODY got a chocolate chip for doing such an awesome job...  Now they want to help her use the potty at every possible opportunity and I have a feeling this is the only way the twins are actually going to get potty trained...

After that, Cecilia put her in a clean pair of underwear all by herself.  And then Mary Claire peed on the floor.  So, you know, you win some you lose some.

- You will find yourself repeating the phrase "YOU NEVER TOUCH A SLEEPING BABY" approximately six million times throughout the day.

HANDS OFF!!!
The twins are the best at leaving Peter alone.  John Paul?  CANNOT resist giving him a kiss, or touching his hand, or snuggling up to his head at every opportunity.  Cecilia mostly waits until he makes a little noise in his sleep, at which point she starts snuggling him or rocking him or trying to soothe him somehow.  It actually works a surprising percentage of the time, so I'm not entirely sure I mind...



-  The hours in the day manage to pass incredibly quickly, but also incredibly slowly.



Somehow the 3ish hours between breakfast and lunch pass in minutes.  And yet the hours between the end of naps and dinner time?  ENDLESS.  I'm not the only one to experience this phenomenon, I know - I'm pretty sure every mom in the world knows that the 90 minutes between 4 pm and 5:30 actually take something like 27 hours to pass.

-  You will be astonished at how much OLDER all your other children seem every time you have another baby.

Lining up their Blessing Blocks for "Tummunion" - I can't get over the body language!

The twins were babies a month ago.  BABIES!  And now?  Practically pre-teens.  Time!  It flies!

Anyway, in case you were wondering how we're doing, it's crazy but awesome!  I kind of can't get over how blessed we are, and wouldn't trade this for the world :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our Christmas List {7 Quick Takes)

Our big plan this year was to do a handmade Christmas - only gifts that we made ourselves or purchased from artists on Etsy or the like.

But then I got pregnant.  And making all the things either in the last trimester of pregnancy or while dealing with a newborn?  Not happening.  So that's postponed (although the kids ARE each getting a print from Flor Larios, so we're doing our part a *little* bit!) until next year...  But what ARE we giving everyone?

Nothing.  Jesus is the greatest gift!

No, sorry, I'm just kidding.  I mean, Jesus is awesome and obviously the reason we're celebrating.  We'll probably save a lot of this for Epiphany, but we DO do Christmas presents.  Honestly, a lot of this is stuff we would have gotten for the kids *anyway* but now we have a reason to give it to them.  Need ideas?  Look no further:

Many of these links are affiliate links - I really appreciate you clicking through and making any purchases you'd already be making through these links, because it helps fund this blog at no extra cost to you!  Think of it as your Christmas present to me :)

--1--

For Mom:

Gift cards!  Bonus if they're to places where she can ONLY shop for herself, and won't be tempted to buy stuff for the kids instead (you know you've done it...), like the ones below:

Le Tote - Like Netflix for clothes!  A great way for a mom transitioning in sizes to try stuff on without the obligation to buy, but she CAN buy if she loves it!  I'm hoping to try it out and post a review for you in the coming months!

Displaying edit-First Box laydown-053_small.jpg

ThredUP (Here's $20 off your purchase of $75 or more for ALL customers, not just new ones!) - They sell children's clothes too but the prices are better for women's stuff

Twice ($10 off your first purchase!) - ONLY women's clothing!  And they just added shoes and handbags, too!

(You know I love them both!  Here's my review of them, in case you haven't read it already!)

But what do I REALLY want?

Well, I finally ordered a pair of boots and am really looking forward to wearing them to death!


And mostly I just want things for the kitchen...  I'd love this handy little gadget that Emily recommended - we use a LOT of garlic around here!  And it would be awesome to have a second apron - mine is always getting way too dirty before I bother washing it, and it'd be convenient to have a spare.  My go-to pan has been in baaaaad shape and I think it's time to retire it, but a new stir-fry pan would be the perfect replacement!

The Best Laid Plans

I don't use a planner, but maybe it's time to start?  And I definitely think Kelly's looks awesome!  Although I have a feeling John Paul would hijack it...  What do you think, Kelly?  Suitable for the 5-year-old crowd AND the 28-year-old crowd?

--2--

For Dad:

PUGG 4 Footer Portable Training Goal (One Goal & Bag)

I've had this soccer goal on my wishlist for a while, and it's cheaper right now that I've ever seen it so I think I may go ahead and get it as a joint present for Andrew and John Paul

It's been ages since we last played a video game together but I kind of miss it!

But I'm kind of at a loss beyond that - what would YOU get the man who has everything and really really doesn't want more stuff cluttering up the place?

--3--

For the easy-to-please nerdy 5-year-old boy:

I picked up this construction set at a consignment sale in September and am really hoping it keeps him busy!  He's the type to take EVERYTHING apart and try to put it back together, so having something actually geared towards that as the goal is probably a good idea!

Learning Resources Super Magnet Lab

I also got a great deal on this magnet lab kit, since he's been reading a lot about magnets and trying to set up his own experiments with the ones we have...  But all we really have are letter magnets, so this should be a lot more satisfying AND double as homeschooling!

Dig a Dino Excavation Kit 3 Pack

Do you have a kid like that who's always getting into things?  John Paul got these excavation kits for his birthday and spent DAYS digging the pieces out and putting them together - it was amazing!  Definitely a great gift for a 5-year-old, and a great way to keep a kid busy.

--4--

For the 3-year-old girl who thinks she's 30:

Cecilia has been bitten by the American Girl bug.  Specifically, she's DYING for a Bitty Baby and considering her birthday is in January, I think it's a reasonable joint present.  She spends all day every day playing baby dolls, and DESPERATELY wants a more realistic doll than her beloved Baby Stella (who has really served her well for the past 3 years!).

Melissa & Doug Deluxe 27-Piece Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up

I got her this dress-up doll set at a consignment sale last spring, and she'll be getting a couple of books as well.  Her birthday's at the end of January so I don't want to get her much because she'll be overloaded!

Oh, but I did promise to make her a purple cape.  Want to know how I do that?  Buy a yard of fleece.  Cut it in the shape of a cape.  Tie it.  BAM!

--5--

For the 2-year-old crowd:

Mary Claire and Elizabeth just had their birthday and each got their own baby doll (this one and this one, so everybody matches!), so they're kind of set, plus they still don't get the whole present thing anyway, which I'm taking advantage of!  But they need *something* so I got a couple more Water Wow books for them because they ADORE those things and I know they hold up really well.

Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set
We also got this Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set for my 2-year-old niece - it's been a favorite over here for a couple years, and is always a hit with the play date crowds!



I'm keeping my eyes open for good used books too - they're HUGE fans of anything Jan Brett, and Berlioz the Bear is their current favorite from the library.  We need to purge our home library and replace a lot of damaged (and terrible) books with GOOD books, and this is definitely the place to start!

--6--

For the newborn:

Nothing.

Sorry, kid.

Well, I know my mom is making matching hats for him and John Paul (Size up! Enormous noggins on both these kids!).  Does that count?

We've got more toys and books than we need - what would YOU get a newborn who already has 4 siblings close in age, and thus has all their hand-me-downs?



Maybe rompers? He has like, 3 things that fit and are seasonally appropriate, and I do love me some Hanna Andersson...



Or one of these adorable hooded numbers from Carter's?  In reality, we have very few pairs of footie pajamas and might grab a couple pairs of zippered jammies to carry us through until he's big enough for John Paul's old winter stuff.

--7--

What do you think?   Can we do a handmade Christmas *next* year?  How do you keep yourself from going overboard with presents?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Linking up with the lovely new hostess of Seven Quick Takes, Kelly of This Ain't the Lyceum!
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