Friday, December 30, 2016

51/52: Christmas Finest

I'm pretty bad about getting pictures of holidays and big events - I'll chalk that up to being a good parent who tries to enjoy the moment without being behind the camera (some people do it well, but it just distracts me and all of us!). So the Christmas pictures are few.


We got home from Mass in the afternoon and still hadn't opened presents - I was totally fine with this, but apparently the other grown-ups were pretty antsy! The stockings had plenty to keep the kids occupied, but maybe we'll change the strategy next year...


Edith pooped all over her outfit shortly after I took this pictures. Classic baby.


The kids went to work moving all the presents from the piano to under the tree. We couldn't keep them under the tree because... Peter. And also we didn't wrap anything until Christmas Eve anyway, so it's not like it mattered!


John Paul was very excited to give presents to me and Andrew - a knife sharpener for me, a tire gauge for Andrew. Both procured at the Dollar Tree.


Elizabeth, shockingly, wore her coat for much of the day. Just like every day.


And Peter was in his element with extra adults to ooh and ah over his cuteness. In this picture he was making my younger brother put on the hoodie he had found, zip it, wear the hood, and tie the strings. Little dictator...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Expert Scoop on Pregnancy Tests: From Moms Who've Been There (and a giveaway!)

6 kids into this parenting gig, and I thought I was an expert on all things related to pregnancy tests! But when I asked some fellow moms for their tips, I learned so much: Blue dye vs. pink dye, when during your cycle you can start to test, how *not* to sneak buying tests in the store past your kids... And what exactly is the best pregnancy test to use?



Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 34: Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

50/52: Time to Bake!


Have you ever made those super-easy pretzel+candy+M&M treats? They're really great for kids to help with because who wants to unwrap a trillion Rolos or Hershey kisses??? 

Answer: Every single child ever.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Living the Twelve Days

Fun Fact: The 12 Days of Christmas are actually the days *after* Christmas (well, beginning with Christmas Day itself). Does it drive you nuts to see the crazy buildup to Christmas just... die on December 26? I hate it! We build up slowly and really try to live it up during the Octave of Christmas and the full twelve days. We do our "big" family presents on Epiphany (January 6) and I like to plan one special thing for each day until then. A lot of the time this ends up being me flying by the seat of my pants and making things up as we go, but it works for us!



Want to try to make your 12 Days of Christmas special? Here are some things we've done to encourage spending time together as a family:

49/52: Craft Time!

(I know her grip is off - we're working on it ;) )

Advent tends to be our most craft-ish time of year, and this year is no exception! Between the pre-assembled craft kits I get, prayer cards/tracings/stencils/lacing they bring home from Atrium, and the steady stream of drawings & "birthday cards" the girls produce every day, we'd be drowning in paper and stickers if I didn't so ruthlessly purge everything at the end of each day.

This has resulted in many tears from Mary Claire, who has suddenly gotten the hang of drawing people (and writing, apparently?), and expects me to KEEP the 12 birthday cards she makes for Edith every day. I really just need to find her a folder to keep all these treasures in...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 33: Fourth Sunday of Advent!

I bet you're pretty pleased that I caught a picture of Edith mid-poop, right?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 32: Gaudete Style!

I'm not quite two weeks post partum, and while I'm attempting to rock the girdle Lisa recommended, my bones totally haven't shifted back enough to accommodate any of my pink clothing for Gaudete Sunday...

On the plus side, my scale says I've lost all my pregnancy weight!

On the minus side, later in the day my scale also told me I weigh 80 pounds.

I think my scale might be broken...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

46/52: Math? Or something...

I chose our math curriculum partially because I knew that if nothing else, the kids would love the manipulatives! And they do, even though we almost never use them for actual math...

Monday, December 5, 2016

My Sneaky Mom Secret (for getting kids to bed early!)



We just added baby #6 to the family. And while the kids adore her, by about 4 pm I'm ready for a nap. Or bed. Or at least ready to eat ice cream or drink hot chocolate without the kids knowing!


A few years ago we stumbled upon a genius solution to getting kids to bed crazy-early. It only works a few times a year (once a month, max), but if you plan it right? Oh man, it's gold. 

The secret? New toothpaste.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 31: Hey! Baby!

Hey, remember how I was so uncomfortable last week?


Well now I get to be uncomfortable in a completely different way! But with velvety baby hair to stroke and a sweet little bundle to snuggle :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

45/52: Meet Edith!

I think I can go ahead and firmly declare that the kids are all enchanted with their new baby sister!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Welcome, Baby!

How about a little phone blogging from the hospital, huh?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 30: A Portrait of Fatigue

Happy Advent! I'm still pregnant. I have a picture and everything, but the internet isn't cooperating so I'll try to upload it later. It's a picture of desperation, that's for sure... For now we'll stick with phone pictures!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

44/52: The Best Nest

The kids have invented an excellent new game where they pretend to be birds (and gophers) and make nests on the ground out of old post holes that haven't been filled. It's amazing.


John Paul was a magpie, and I suppose I believe his bird calls because I don't know what a magpie actually says...

Friday, November 25, 2016

43/52: Lounging Around

I'm definitely behind in this whole photography project... There are what, 5 weeks left in the year? And I've got 10 left to add. But once the baby's born, that gives me permission to totally overload you on the new baby pictures, right? It would be easy to do if she would hurry up and get born!!!

No, don't mind me, not completely over this whole "being pregnant" thing at all...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ditch the Lines: Black Friday Deals Without Leaving the House!

It's been years since I've actually tried to leave the house to score good deals on Black Friday. After too many underwhelming shopping experiences (and rather a lot of pregnancies & children), I've decided that it's never happening. There are too many amazing deals online to waste any time trying to get to brick-and-mortar stores!

Plus tons of stores have already started their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals - they know we online shoppers like to take our sweet time scouring the deals, so they're smart enough to give advance notice or start sales early to prolong the shopping season. And while I don't necessarily want to encourage rampant consumerism, I know a lot of people (including me!) who save shopping for certain necessities until the end of the year when all the huge sales pop up!

So what's worth looking into? And what sales can be expected?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 29: Winter Weather!

Let's hope this is my last pregnant My Sunday Best for a while, mmk? Because 39 weeks 5 days is pleeeeenty of time gestating this babe, in my opinion! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Creating a Children's Prayer Table

I visited the kids' Level I Atrium classroom last year (read up on Catechesis of the Good Shepherd here if you're curious) and was inspired to create our own little prayer area for the kids where they could have a little quiet devotion time whenever they wanted. Over the years we've accumulated quite a lot of icons, statues, prayer cards, and other things that don't always get used on a regular basis.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Peter, Age 2

Peter is two today! I don't think I've ever known a toddler who was quite so excited for a birthday - I think because the twins' birthday excitement coincided with his birthday, he really started to understand what exactly it all meant... For weeks he's been saying, "Peter ONE! On bir-day, be TWO!!!" and today when he woke up, while it took a little convincing, he realized that finally he is two! "Yestuhday Peter ONE. And now, Peter TWO!!!"


Monday, November 14, 2016

Elizabeth and Mary Claire: Age 4

The internet has been killing me at home, but by golly, it's working right now so I'm gonna try to throw a birthday post out there real quick before it cuts out again!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 29: Comedy of Errors

Oh, these last weeks of pregnancy...

I'll be 39 weeks on Tuesday. I've never gone more than 5 days past my due date so hopefully we'll have baby news to share some time after Thanksgiving. But until then, it seems that all my body wants to do is catch every. single. stinking. cold. that seems to be floating around in the general vicinity.

NOBODY ELSE IS GETTING SICK. JUST ME.

This tends to happen to me at the end of every pregnancy - my body's so busy growing another human that my immune system shuts down and I'm a mess until the baby's born, at which point immediate relief is present! But until then, I'm hanging in there, sneezes and all.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

My Very Grown-Up Christmas List {7 Quick Takes + a Giveaway!}

You know you're a grown-up when you start thinking about kitchen appliances and cleaning supplies when it comes to Christmas shopping...

And since I kind of had Christmas in July when I got my Instant Pot (which is incredible and bound to go on sale on Black Friday, so keep your eyes peeled!), I don't have a ton of big-ticket items on my list, buuuuut I've definitely been thinking about the following things:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

42/52: The Play

Cecilia, in oldest girl fashion, decided that the girls would be putting on a play. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 28: Yet Another Rerun

Happy Sunday! Happy time change! After all, who doesn't like that "extra hour" of sleep that's really just everyone's schedule getting thrown off?

First, if you haven't had a chance to check out the Handmade Gift Guide I posted earlier this week and enter the giveaway, now's your last chance! You've got until midnight (Eastern) tonight :)

Yesterday was a busy day, and I'm kind of amazed by how much we accomplished (well, mostly it was Andrew...) - pullets moved into the coop with the big hens, coop cleaned out (that was ALL Andrew), pedicure gotten (such hard work!), seed garlic and shallots sorted and ready for planting, manure spread and part of garden prepped for fall planting (with a little bribery...), and I even managed to walk aaaaaall the way down to the pond and back up the hill with the kids! 

Of course, I only had the energy to do this because I knew we were going out for burgers for dinner, so I didn't have to conserve any energy for cooking ;)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sweetening the Literacy Pot


Out of my five children, I've got three avid readers and all are avid listeners! We're fortunate enough to be able to surround them with excellent books, and with Grandma living in a house in our back yard, there's always someone available to read to them.


It's not uncommon to find them snuggled up with each other sharing a book, either (or, ahem, fighting over a book... but I don't take pictures when that happens)! I pride myself on being able to supply them with high-quality books to satisfy their voracious appetites, but recognize what a huge privilege it is that we can do so. Did you know that most children in low-income households in the US don't have access to any age-appropriate books at home? 

Enter First Book, a charity that provides high-quality books to low-income schools and families!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

41/52: All Saints' Day

This is the first year we've had an actual *event* to go to for All Saints' Day, and the kids were SO excited to go to church for the homeschool party! 

Well, we didn't tell Peter we were going... It was during his nap, so we dressed him up, took a picture, and then left while he was asleep...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Handmade Gift Guide

Happy November!

I love being able to support my favorite artisans, but I often don't plan ahead and miss ordering deadlines... Have no fear! That's why I'm getting you this gift guide nice and early - you've got plenty of time to order from these amazing shops (and tons of coupon codes to choose from!) before they close up for the holiday rush. And every time you shop from one of these amazing ladies, you're directly benefiting their family!

Make sure to read all the way to the end of the post to enter the giveaway for some wonderful prizes that might help you get your Christmas shopping done a little earlier.

For your walls:


Sunday, October 30, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 27: Rerun Edition (And Giveaway!)

I'm almost 37 weeks. There's only so much longer I can wear a few of my maternity items so... I'm just gonna keep them on repeat for a while. You know how it is! You've seen this before.


Side note: How do you like that impeccably-organized homeschool bookshelf?

Friday, October 28, 2016

7 {Sick} Takes (In Which I Am Still Pregnant)

--1--

I was sick in bed all day yesterday and went to bed early even after all that sleep, so of *course* I woke up crazy-early, unable to get back to sleep...

But I still feel too gross to get up and do much of anything so... Lying on the couch blogging it is!

--2--

I seriously hate the part of 3rd trimester where my body is like, "Oh hey! You know what's gonna take a break here? THE IMMUNE SYSTEM!!!" and I get every. single. illness. that I've even been remotely exposed to. Nobody else in the family is getting any of these ridiculous colds, stomach bugs, whatever... Just me. The worst they've gotten is runny noses. And I suppose it's all for the best because it's easier to take care of a sick adult than sick kids but oof. I'm so done.

--3--

Like, did you know that if you have a bad enough stomach bug and get super-dehydrated, your body decides to go into false labor? Because THAT was fun! Contractions 2-3 minutes apart with no real relief in between... Called the midwife, who accompanied us to the hospital where I wasn't dilated at ALL (well, 1 cm, which in my world means nothing). But they gave me Zofran and pumped me full of fluids and a few hours later we were headed back home, baby still safely in-utero.

Monday, October 24, 2016

40/52: Gender Reveal!

Well, we *weren't* going to find out the baby's gender before delivery this time around... But with all the complications, we thought it would probably be a good idea to find out, if for no other reason than having that uncertainty resolved amidst other uncertainties! 

The problem is, I was having a really tough time keeping it a secret... So I begged Andrew to let us tell the kids!

They were pretty excited to find out, as you can see.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 26: Matching Twins, Newsboys, and Lazy Photographers

Happy Sunday! After a rather chilly day yesterday, we're back to our usual fall weather (thank goodness!) - cool enough in the morning for the twins' hand-me-down coats & dresses from Abbey's twins, which they were VERY excited about!

 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Baby News for the Excessively Nosy

Well no, I don't think you're nosy... But I really did leave you hanging with some vague "it's okay-ish" updates after our marathon day at the hospital, and since we met with the MFM specialist again this morning and have more answers, I figure I might as well use my "kids are eating crackers at my mom's house while I try to keep things quiet so Peter goes to sleep" time and hammer out a quick update. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 25: Sick Day

Happy Sunday from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Clare!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

39/52: Chicken Love

We're in the throes of glorious fall weather, cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoons, so everybody is rather confused when it comes to getting dressed... Hence Peter in the long-sleeved shirt and pants and Elizabeth in the sun dress!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Library Finds!

Christina's got a new library linkup going on, and we're taking advantage of the library a ton lately so I figured while I'm sitting down not washing the dishes (not because I'm lazy, because I'm pregnant! Hmm... same thing? I blame the contractions - it's my duty to sit down!), I'd blog our favorite finds!


Affiliate links included, but I'm sure you can find these all at your library! If you do purchase anything through my links, I get a tiny cut, which will very likely go towards post-partum snacks... Thanks!

Freight Train

This is such a classic - I don't know how we don't own it already! It's on Peter's wish list now and he's getting it for his birthday. It combines two of his major loves: trains and colors. I love the illustrations, and it's nice and calming to read. This is one that belongs on every family's bookshelf!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 24: In Which Peter is Unbearably Cute

Happy Sunday!

We're well into beautiful fall weather (I think this is the first *real* fall we've had in years, where it got cooler and STAYED cooler, and it doesn't look like it'll be bouncing back up to the 80s so woohoo!), so long sleeves are in and sleeveless dresses are (mostly) out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

38/52: Chugging along

In the ridiculously busy days we've been having, it's hard to find a reason to pick up the camera and document anything... My mind is on other things - the leaky roof that needs to be repaired ASAP, the mold in the girls' closet that will probably mean attic insulation needs to be replaced (also ASAP, because this baby will likely be prone to respiratory infections and I'd rather keep chances of that fairly low), the laundry situation that I just can't manage to get on top of, the heartburn & reflux & third trimester nausea & lack of appetite that make eating less-than-enjoyable, the produce that needs to be picked and preserved before the frost comes, and OH! That crazy-important appointment at the hospital that I've been losing sleep over.

Well, let's just say I've probably been a less-than-pleasant person to be around lately. Hence this abundantly joyful post! Sorry about that - you know I'm usually not a whiner, but oof. The hits just keep coming. And there's been more screaming than usual coming from the 5-and-under crowd (ohhhh the cat fights...), which just makes me snap more. This is one of those survival mode times when frozen pizza is on the menu at least once a week (allowing this blog post to get written, because hopefully getting all this out will at least ease the constant stream of thoughts in my mind little?), things never return all the way to a "clean" state by the end of the day, and the battle of the hairbrush is just not getting waged on a daily basis.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 23: Harmonica-Style

I don't know what I was thinking when it came to taking pictures this morning...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dressing the Bump: A Maternity Shopping Guide

Congratulations! You're pregnant! You've just started to notice that little bump appearing in your midsection and suddenly... nothing fits anymore! You're searching for maternity clothes everywhere you go, but you just don't know the best places to find what you need.

Here I come to help you!



37/52: Last Day at the Beach

Okay, so these were technically taken the same week as the last post... But we have so many beach pictures I couldn't limit them to one post!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 22

First of all, thank you for all of your prayers regarding this post - it's one of those things where I feel like I should be praying without ceasing, but I just can't because... I still need to function in everyday life, and serious prayer just turns me into a sobbing mess. Ugh. I hate crying so much, y'all. And I've never been a cry-er, but this pregnancy has turned me into a hyper-sensitive mess, and adding all this mess on top of the regular hormonal oversensitivity is not a good combo!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

36/52: Let's Go Fly A Kite!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Maybe a Miracle?

We had our first ultrasound this pregnancy about a month ago. We brought the two older kids, because they got to come with us to see Peter's ultrasound and thought it was really cool. And we've never had any health issues with any of our babies, so I guess we just assumed we were invincible?

Apparently not.

A photo posted by Rosie Hill (@rosiehill425) on

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Vacation Recap! Stop 1: Roanoke Island Festival Park

I can't even explain just how necessary this vacation was for us! We haven't taken a vacation that was anything beyond visiting family/traveling for weddings since John Paul was a baby... So just picking a spot (the Outer Banks, in our case) where we didn't have to focus our efforts around other people was really nice!

And when I found out that we'd be staying pretty near Roanoke Island (where the first English child was born in the British Colonies), I knew the kids would be pretty excited to check out the Roanoke Island Festival Park! I contacted them to see if they'd be up for a collaboration, and Tanya sweetly offered us tickets. So we packed up and drove about an hour from where we were staying (the Outer Banks are LONG and the speed limits are low so everything took longer than I expected!) to check out the park.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Let's Play the {Baby} Name Game!

"But wait!" You say, as I crowdsource for baby name possibilities, "There's a blog for that!"

Yes, yes there is. And I kept thinking, "I should email Kate and see if she has any ideas, because we're at a total standstill in the baby naming process right now."

And THEN she goes and has a real life and has to close consultations just when I need her the most!!! This is what I get for procrastinating, because I knew I was going to have a write a really long, ridiculously specific email and... I didn't want to.

So instead, you get a really long, ridiculously specific blog post and YOU get to help us come up with baby name possibilities for Andrew to shoot down!

Aren't you excited???

Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 21: Colonial-Style?


Okay no, this isn't what the twins wore to Mass this week... But I'm sorting through vacation pictures and this one was too cute and appropriate not to share!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Sunday Best, Vol. 20: Vacation Edition




We're on vacation! Which means that after many many hours in the car yesterday, ANY good behavior from the younger 3 was totally used up by this morning. Thankfully a giant new van means the biggest offender has been moved all the way to the back of the car by herself. And let's hope that her Mass behavior today is NEVER repeated. Oy.
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