Sunday, May 31, 2015

What I Wore Sunday: Green & Teal

I had Elizabeth, John Paul, and Cecilia with me today for Mass. John Paul kindly chose the 2nd pew from the front for us, which might as well have been the front since there was nobody in front of us...

Cecilia was SO happy to be able to see well! Elizabeth was MUCH quieter than the last time I took her to Mass, although she squirmed all over the place and kept trying to climb into the front pew. John Paul didn't say the priest's part *too* loudly during the consecration... And Cecilia didn't scream when John Paul took her place on the way back from Communion!

So, all in all? A fairly non-mortifying experience!

Here's what I wore, although I'm not sure how I feel about it looking at the pictures... Honestly, I think I just need to figure out the proper height for the camera, and then maybe I won't hate all the pictures so much!


Dress: eShakti (but I would NOT recommend it - the buttons keep coming off and they never responded when I contacted them about it!) (similar, similar
Shoes: DSW (old, similar)
Petticoat: Amazon (only $16 right now!)


The twins were chasing each other around this tree in our yard earlier and I couldn't NOT snap a picture of the adorable sneakiness!


And Mary Claire has apparently watched me take too many pictures of myself, since she decided SHE needed to pose for her own photo shoot. Those chubby legs! 

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple for What I Wore Sunday!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Painted Nails, Backwards Babies, and MORE Parenting Advice {7QT}

--1--

I may have hit a blogging groove!

Well, okay, probably not... But I'm blogging for the fourth time this week!  So if you only check in via Kelly's link-up, here's what you've missed:

When Blogging Worlds Collide - That time I hung out with some Catholic blogging superstars in my back yard
Spring Style Thoughts - In which I take a bunch of dressing room selfies at Old Navy
What They Said, Volume 17 - Because my kids are the only ones on the internet who say funny things?
My Number One Parenting Tip - this one ended up getting a TON of views, so clearly I should blog more about parenting because I'm a total expert! #sarcasm
And I linked up with Blessed is She for a writing prompt On Finding Joy

--2--

Whew. That's a lot. Sorry.

--3--

I'll just photo dump a bit to make up for it:

I asked John Paul to play with Peter while I got the twins to bed, and returned to see him reading to the baby and trying to teach him how to crawl.

It was adorable. And he still only goes backwards, but he can pivot too so he's all over the place!

But mostly under the couch, and seeking out various tasty bits of lint from the floor.

--4--

Andrew took John Paul out on Monday morning, so I gave the girls the FASTEST mani-pedis ever.

Some of the polish is still on their fingers and toes, and it's adorable and they love it!

I just love their chubby little fingers :)
 --5--


I came upstairs after getting Peter to bed and found everyone crowded around Andrew on the couch while he drew various things. I think my favorite part is the fact that the twins were very seriously reading John Paul's chess book.

We got it for 50 cents at the library used book sale and he is OBSESSED. Too bad we don't have a chess set...

--6--

Gratuitous baby pictures:

Grilled chicken & homemade pita as dinner options and he chose... The bowl.  Actually, once he dropped the bowl on the floor he LOVED the chicken and the pita and stayed in the high chair for like, 30 minutes just sucking on them!
Overalls. Cutest.

--7--

Have you listened to Amy & Michelle's new podcast, Little House Mothering? I'm so excited! And waiting for them to interview me on my homemaking expertise, like how to keep a toddler from pulling all the seedlings out of the garden (spray her with the hose) and how to keep twins from taking off their underwear to "wash" it in the water table (never let them go outside/never let them wear clothes).

Parenting. Nailed it.

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes! Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

On Finding Joy

I was beat on Sunday. Not enough food in the house to make dinner, not enough energy to cook anyway, too many evening commitments in a row for my husband (which take a SERIOUS toll on my mental health)...  We packed everybody up, stopped at a pizza place on the way, and decided to have a picnic at a local park.



Pro tip #1: Don't eat right by a pond if you don't want your kids venturing too close the entire meal, giving you approximately 47 heart attacks thinking they might fall in.



Pro Tip #2: Don't let the 2.5yo follow the big kids on the rocks in the pond to look at that snakeskin, because she's going to step in the mud up to her ankle and get it all over you, too.

Pro Tip #3: Bring more water. A lot more water.

Anyway, we finished our very stressful picnic and walk around the ponds, and headed to the garden section of the park to see what was in bloom. There was an awesome gazebo that the kids zoomed straight for, immediately beginning a game of chasing each other up the ramp, down the steps, around the gazebo, giggling all the while. Two little boys from another family joined in, shrieking with glee as they all joined in one endless game that is the favorite of toddlers everywhere: running aimlessly in circles.

Meanwhile, their parents' faces showed a different emotion...

"Don't run so fast!"

"HOLD ON TO THE RAILING when you go down the steps!"

"Wait your turn! Don't push!"

"Shh! Not so loud!"

The stress on their faces was almost overwhelming. Couldn't they see what joy their little boys took in this impromptu game of giggling, shrieking, aimless pleasure? Maybe somebody would get hurt, but really... Bruises fade. Scraped knees are a badge of childhood. Tears dry up in no time.

I wanted to say something - I've been there. I was just there 10 minutes before, yelling at my kids to stay farther away from the pond, to walk on the path, not to step on that rock, not to throw things in the water...

Sometimes you need to let go of the rules, let go of expectations of cookie cutter behavior in public, and just let them be wild and unbridled and joyful. Sometimes you need to find joy in their joy and not worry about what the passersby might be thinking about your bustling brood of uncaged monkeys.



I tried to exchange that universal parenting look with those parents, but was only met with exasperated sighs and more admonishments directed towards their children (and perhaps geared towards mine as well, but I was perfectly happy to let them run to their hearts' content). I wish I could have told them what I need to keep telling myself: To find joy in the joy of others and not to worry!

Of course, my words of wisdom might have lost their effect as our 4-year-old took a tumble down the stairs and reopened a scab on her knee, forcing an immediate exit from the park with blood streaming down her leg... But until that moment? The joy was tangible.


Linking up with Blessed is She for this week's prompt, as I let the kids make a huge mess of sidewalk chalk in the back yard because hey, joy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Number One Parenting Tip

I've been parenting for a while now, and while I don't usually toot my own horn about this sort of thing... I've gotten pretty good at babies. 

After 5 in 5.5 years (including twins), you can't help BUT be good at babies!

So I get a fair amount of questions asking for baby advice, and while I try my best to be helpful, when it comes down to it all babies are different (even my own! Even the ones born within 11 minutes of each other!) and there's just no one-size fits all parenting advice I can offer!

Except one thing...

Wait a few weeks.

That's it.



Baby sleeps all the time? Barely stays awake long enough to stay latched, then falls asleep nursing and nurses all day long?


Wait a few weeks! He'll be looking around, checking stuff out, and you'll miss those hours and hours when you could just sit snuggling the  baby and reading a book!

Baby insists on staying up until the wee hours of the morning, causing you in your sleep-deprived state to have a little fun at the baby's expense? Prime party hours!


Wait a few weeks, and baby will have the whole day vs. night thing sorted out. And you'll have some awesome pictures to blackmail her with in the future.

Baby is constantly pulling up on the furniture, then falling immediately and bashing her head, no matter how strategically you place the pillows around her?


Wait a few weeks! Her balance will improve, the pillows will be unnecessary, and the bruises will fade.

Baby insists on spending every waking moment being walked around the house, causing you to have a permanent hunch in your back from the constant bending?


Wait a few weeks! She'll be running. And so will you.

I can chalk up the majority of baby "issues" to teething, growth spurts, or that's just how the baby is at this stage. Sure, sometimes there are more serious issues that ping your mom radar, and you work with friends and doctors to get those settled. 

But most of the time? It's just a matter of waiting a few weeks and letting things sort themselves out.



Mary's Mantle is a home for homeless expectant mothers in the Detroit, Michigan area; Rakhi gives a beautiful description here, and they need your help! 

The mothers who come to reside at Mary’s Mantle come from all walks of life. Some are recovering addicts, some are recovering from the scars of past abortion, some have been prostitutes, some have been in pornography, some have been victims of domestic violence, some come from the churches in our neighborhoods, most have damaged relationships with their families, and all have been broken by abuse, whether emotional or physical. The time they spend in residence is designed to heal and restore them. While our staff work with them to address the causes and symptoms of their homelessness (job training, housing searches, education, therapy, etc.), the greatest work done is to teach them about the love of God, help them to begin healing, and provide an example of how to be faithful mothers so they can break the cycle of abuse. 
After renting for years, they were able to purchase a permanent home for their ministry, but have experienced financial setbacks in the moving process. Can you spare $5, $10, or more to help these courageous mothers who have chosen life for their babies against all odds?

You can support them directly through their website or you can donate through their GoFundMe page. Here's some extra information about their finances just so you know you're not giving money anywhere sketchy. 

Even if you can't support them financially, please pray for the families Mary's Mantle serves, and the staff and volunteers who are devoting their time to helping those in need!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What I Wore Pentecost Sunday: Coral & Gingham

Happy Pentecost! 

Well, Pentecost Tuesday...  It's taken me a while to finish this post, so I'm just going to make it quick!


Here's what I wore. We had a fairly well-behaved Mass from the older two kids & Mary Claire while the others stayed home with Andrew. The major issue was Mary Claire's frequent LOUD and long kisses (which include mushing my cheeks together and forcing me to give her open-mouthed kisses - always fun when we're sitting front & center, but Father generally avoids looking at us so I'll pretend he didn't notice?).

Sadly, my only red items of clothing are only winter-appropriate, so I decided coral was close enough?


The kids DO have red, though!



I had good pictures of everybody else but my memory card keeps randomly deleting pictures, even when I've reformatted it recently... It's also kind of falling apart, so maybe it's time to get a new one? I *did* just get a credit from Amazon's affiliate program which will cover one, so I guess it's time to put blog earnings back into the blog!

Thanks for supporting this blog when you shop through my amazon links - maybe next time I won't lose those adorable pictures of Peter stuck under the couch!

Linking up to Fine Linen & Purple for What I Wore Sunday - Happy Tuesday!

Friday, May 22, 2015

What They Said, Volume 17



While I was prepping dinner:


Elizabeth: Mom, what are you makin'?

Me: Asparagus!
Elizabeth: JUNIOR Aspawagus???




While I was trying to listen to a podcast between Simcha Fisher and Jen Fulwiler...


Elizabeth: Mom! Is da yady talkin' about AngeYINA (ballerina)???


Obviously?





At the dinner table...


Elizabeth, angrily: May Cyaire, weMEMber??? You eated owegano fwom da GAHden!!!





Elizabeth brings a pot over to me...


Me: What did you make?

Elizabeth lifts the lid: I nunno...
Me, seeing two toy cakes: Is it... Cake soup?
Elizabeth, angry: NO! It's YEFTOVERS!!!


Overheard in the back yard...

Elizabeth: I'm big and you're yittle.
Mary Claire: No, I'M big and YOU'RE little.
Elizabeth: We're BOTH big!
Mary Claire: Ya! We're BOFE two and we're BOFE big!!!




Elizabeth: Do re mi...
Mary Claire: NO, do re Me!
Elizabeth: NO, do re MEEEEE!!!
Mary Claire: Do re EVEWYBODY!

Can you tell their parents are musicians?



At bedtime...

Me: Okay, Mary Claire, should we pray a Hail Holy Queen? Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy...
Mary Claire, angrily: Hail Holy Queen and Hail Mawwy are my BEST PWAYERS.
Me: Well I'm glad you like them... To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve...
Mary Claire, giggling: What's "AVEEVE?"
Me: Of. Eve. Like Adam and Eve.

Mary Claire finishes praying while doing some sort of macarena...




Mary Claire, trotting down the hall: I'm just goin' to da bafwoom... To turn on da light... To look at my eyebwows...





Aunt Sister: Mary Claire, who's your favorite sister?

Mary Claire: Cecilia!
Aunt Sister: And who's your favorite brother?
Mary Claire: Peter!
Aunt Sister: And who's your favorite Aunt?
Mary Claire: Um, a black ant!!!

I hear they're the tastiest...





Cecilia, cheerfully: Mom, which twin do you think will die first?


Speechless.





Cecilia: Mom, WHY is St. HELENA always holding the Cross in pictures? Why didn't she just MAKE her own cross so I could find the REAL cross???






Me: Wow John Paul, you must really love science!
John Paul: Yeah. ESPECIALLY hydrogen and oxygen.




Cecilia is holding her hands like a heart around her face...

John Paul: Are you doing that because you want me to be your valentine?

Cecilia: NO!!! I'm GOD'S valentine!




John Paul: I'll publish a book about President Gerald Ford and President Obama speaking... Speaking... Speaking about... I don't know!!!

I predict a best seller.

John Paul: Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh! Ooh OOH!!! Look what I found!!!

Me, thinking it must be candy or money: What?
John Paul: An Allen wrench!!!

To each his own?


And that's all she wrote.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spring Style Thoughts

Little by little, I'm packing away my winter clothes and figuring out what I need in order to fill out my spring wardrobe - I keep wondering why I don't actually *have* a complete spring/summer wardrobe, and then I remember that last summer I was pregnant, and the summer before that I was still working/almost never left the house (because twinfants), so seasonally appropriate was not really on the radar because of the air conditioned house!

We've got an Old Navy pretty close to our house, and the kids were all in bed so I headed out to check out some of their offerings that looked good online, and I figured I'd snag a few dressing room shots to share my thoughts with you:


I had high hopes for this linen-blend boyfriend tank, but the fabric was a little itchy and I clearly needed to size down from the small I tried. I didn't bother, since I wasn't sure I'd like the fabric better in a different size.

This navy eyelet skirt (in medium on me, only available in plus sizes online but only $18!) was basically perfect, but I already have a navy pencil skirt, so I couldn't justify getting another...


I was so excited for this eyelet yoke tank (also available in several other colors and in maternity), and the fit was good but as you can see below...


The pattern didn't match up symmetrically at the top! That drove me nuts, so I passed (and it's not available in a small online, so it has sadly eluded me...).


I liked the drape of this strappy-back top (only $15!), but I really need sleeveless tops right now because it gets so humid around here, so I passed.



I loved this lightweight plaid shirt, but the sleeves were just a little tight in the small (my arms are on the thicker side so most people wouldn't have this problem), and the striped linen-blend maxi skirt (only $20! Also available in tall and petite) doesn't look great in the picture, but I see great potential as a high-waisted maxi, so I got that one.


Last I tried on the fit-and-flare sundress, intending to style it as a skirt because the top's a little skimpy.  The good news is the ponte fabric offers a lot more coverage than your typical jersey, so it's more forgiving around the midsection than a normal jersey tress. And the bodice and straps are super-stretchy, which will make nursing a breeze! It's $26 right now, but this one looks exactly the same and is only $15 - just comes in different colors, and is also available in tall & petite. A button-down, knotted cropped tee like this one, or eyelet tee like this one would look great over it!

I think my skirt & dress needs might be totally covered for the season - I'm still on the hunt for some sleeveless shirts, and have requested some for my next Stitch Fix, but otherwise I'm happy with what I have.  
What are your staples this summer? What are you looking to purchase to round out your wardrobe?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

When Blogging Worlds Collide


This is the best picture I got of What I Wore Sunday - I got too hot in it and changed in the afternoon! But I had to get ready for some special guests we ended up having for a cookout that evening.  Think you can guess who?

We had a nice big picnic table set up and the adults (and John Paul) all chose to crowd around the tiny card table! I blame the kids...

Figured it out yet?


The Tierneys came all the way from California just to see me and Mary!

Okay fine, they were here on vacation and we convinced them to come hang out in my backyard for a cookout...

And yes, I'm that short.


Anyway, I barely got to talk with any adults, but had a blast watching the kids together - Elizabeth and Frankie invented a hilarious game that involved dumping water on their shirts, and Frankie demonstrated his superior 3-year-old balancing skills.


He also had a deep confession for me... "Sometimes... I have accidents. I forget to brush my teeth. Actually, a LOT of times I forget to brush my teeth..."


And while I didn't get to sit down much, what with chasing children and keeping Mary Claire from eating dirt, it was SO refreshing to see a family with big kids where the parents could actually sit and drink wine without having to deal with constant meltdowns! 

And the big kids are responsible enough to man the hot glue gun when the little kids are doing crafts!

Our day is coming. I know it.

John Paul told me his favorite Tierney is Jack. Because Jack loves science, just like him.

"Did you talk to him about science?"
"Hmm? No."

Okay.

So there you have it - the Tierney-Lenaburg-Hill gathering! We're coming for you in California, Tierneys!

Well, maybe in ten years... 
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