Five Favorites & WWRW

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Okay, one reason I haven't been blogging as much lately is because life with the kids has been crazy.  But also...  Books.  I put a bunch on hold at the library and am catching up on all my favorite authors!  Here are some current favorites: 

Brandon Mull (an awesome author if you haven't read him - check out the Fablehaven series, please!!!) finished his Beyonders trilogy and, not surprisingly, it was awesome!  It's only $10.99 for the whole trilogy on Kindle right now, which is a pretty sweet deal.  It kind of reminds me of Harry Potter meets Eragon, if that description means anything to you.  Really fabulous fantasy series for young adults and adults like me who like to read young adult fiction...
Orson Scott Card is one of my all-time favorite authors.  Not every book of his hits it out of the ball park, but most of them do. 

The Gate Thief is the second in his MitherMages series, and I'm about halfway through and loving it!  It's not as wholesome as Brandon Mull, there's definitely some mild language and raunchy teenage humor.  But the plot is so original and I just can't read his books fast enough!  You can bet I'm racing through this post so I can get back to reading The Gate Thief!
Lucy Cousins has always been a huge favorite amongst the kids, especially her Maisy books.  I love this one because the flaps are super-durable - we bought it used and it's still going strong with only one flap taped!


Maisy's Big Flap Book doesn't seem to be sold new anymore, but it's definitely worth a try for babies and toddlers alike - they're not the flaps like you see in the Spot books, it's a completely separate overlay with the flaps cut out, which is a lot sturdier than the glued on flaps in some books.
Veering away from what we're reading, I've been using one kitchen tool a TON lately, for homemade applesauce, tomato sauce (I like mine totally pureed), and pureeing lots of tasty fall soups in the pot:

My Cuisinart Immersion Blender is AMAZING and I wish I had a reason to buy it in one of the beautiful beautiful colors it comes in!  Ours is just the original stainless steel, since we got it as a wedding present way back when.  But it's one of the most useful kitchen gadgets we have, since I can puree to my heart's content without getting the blender or food processor dirty when I already have a pot dirty!  Seriously, if you don't have one of these and you love to cook, add it to your Christmas list!  It's usually around $30 or $35 so it definitely won't break the bank.
Mary Claire is just hilarious lately - I keep trying to get her to say hello or hi and all she'll do is say, "Buh bah!" and wave her hands and then laaaaaugh uproariously! 
Yup, you wish you had one of her!
Doubling my link-up pleasure this week with thrifter extraordinaire Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee (guest-hosting for Hallie) and Jessica at Housewifespice - check out what everyone else is reading and loving!

Quotes from the kiddos, volume a million

Monday, October 28, 2013

Yeah, I've had this sitting in my drafts folder for over a month.  Good job, me!

JP, clearing his throat:  Oh, I live in a red Chrysler car-van.  It's a sports car!  And I go one, and then TWO HUNDRED MILES PER HOUR!
Cecilia:  And I wive in a purple and pink car!  Mr. Jones, have you eated your cake yet?  Mr. Jones, have you peed in da potty?  HEY!

JP: Hey, what are we doin' today? I'm 50 months old!
Cecilia: Would YOU wike to go to da MOON today?
JP: Um, nope.
Cecilia: Would I wike to go to da moon today?
JP: Um, yup. When it's Aunt Sister's birthday! On September 21!...

*big kids race off to play together*


Cecilia to Elizabeth, after SEVERAL minutes apart:  Oh Ewizabif, I'm so happy to find you! 
Cecilia:  And now I'll chop off your head!!!

Yup, that pretty much sums up her expression...

Cecilia, hugmauling Elizabeth:  Oh Ewizabif, you're my pwecious baby in da whoooooole world!


John Paul:  Me and Cecilia are the second people God created!
Me:  Oh yeah?  And who were the first?
John Paul, matter-of-factly:  Adam and Eve.

So there you are, a slightly altered version of the creation story...


John Paul and Cecilia are playing store together...

John Paul:  I just need to buy some sangria.
Cecilia, holding out an orange lego:  Here's a piece of owange juice!
Cecilia, holding out a red lego:  And here's a piece of stwawbewwy juice!
Cecilia, holding out a brown lego: And here's a piece of...  Brownie juice!
John Paul:  Great, now we have sangria!  That costs...  Forty cents!


Cecilia is lying on Andrew's lap and wiggling his ears...

Me:  What are you doing, Cecilia?
Cecilia:  I'm fwapping Dad's ears!
Me:  Why?
Cecilia:  Because he's fwyin'!
Me:  Oh...  Where is he flying?
Cecilia:  To de airport! *singing*  Yoooooooooooooou backyard fwiends, da backyaaaaaaaaaardigans!  Shooby dooby dooby dooooo...
Andrew:  Scooby doo?
Cecilia:  Oh, Scooby Doo is a show about monsters!
Cecilia:  Dad, your whiskers are COLORFUL!

One of her rare non-talking moments...  Yes, I know her strap is twisted - she buckled herself.

Cecilia, coming up to Elizabeth on the changing table:  Oooohhh Ewizabif, I wuv you so much dat I never knew you!
Cecilia:  Hey, she has a cwotch just wike I!


Cecilia, bursting into the room while I was changing:  Mom!  Wemember not to poop on me!

I promise, I always remember not to poop on her...

Throwback summer picture that never got posted!

Cecilia:  John Paul, would you wike to go pickle picking?
John Paul:  Oh, it's NOT pickle season!!!

Glad I've educated them on when we pick different types of produce - it just stinks when those pickle plants aren't producing!


Cecilia, right before bedtime:  Wemember not to weave me awone in da dark in da middle of da floor!

Yes, standard bedtime procedure is for me to throw her in the middle of the room, hit the lights and slam the door...


John Paul, watching me crack my knuckles:  Mom, why are you breaking your bones?
Me:  Well, it's called cracking my knuckles, I'm not really breaking my bones...
John Paul:  And how old will I be when I can break my bones?

And there you have it, the kids who never fail to disappoint!

Morning Musings & WIWS

Sunday, October 27, 2013

- You'd think that after a veeeeeery long day with two parties, one of which involved a 2-hour round trip car ride, both babies would sleep well at night.  Right?  Not so.  Elizabeth was up at LEAST 5 times last night.  Ugh.  At least Mary Claire slept. 

-  I think that if you added up the hours and hours that parents spend obsessing over baby sleep (or lack thereof), we could probably use those hours to solve world hunger or cure cancer or something...

-  To make up for not sleeping last night, Elizabeth decided to shorten her morning nap to approximately 10 minutes.  So cool, right?  Yeah.

-  Oh, and want to know one of the best parts of having twins?  When one of them wakes up in the morning, you really need to wake up the other one soon or else their schedules will be off for the rest of the day.  So Elizabeth, who would sleep in pretty much every day if she could, has to be woken within 30 minutes or so of Mary Claire.  But then she decides to forgo naptime anyway, so the schedules are off no matter what.  Ugh.

-  In order to make up for Elizabeth's anti-sleep, Mary Claire is taking the world's longest nap.  Currently at 2 hours 15 minutes and counting.  I'm considering just making this her only nap of the day...

-  Of course. internet law prevailed, and minutes after I typed the above statement she woke up.  When will I learn?  Thankfully the long nap made her insanely cheerful and she and Elizabeth had a lot of frantically happy playing in their tent before Elizabeth had to go down for her nap.

Here's what I wore.  And Mary Claire, because she wasn't asleep yet, even though she stayed home from Mass.  I told Andrew he could use the flash, forgetting that a flash ALWAYS yields terrible pictures.  When will I learn?
Mostly I'm including that picture because Cecilia's outfit was fabulous.  She had already removed the purple boots, and she was VERY excited to show Father the rose on her dress after Mass.  He's awesome with kids, and was appropriately impressed with her "rose."

They both looked pretty great before they took their shoes off, even though John Paul was very upset that I paired his suit vest with a pair of pants that were NOT his suit pants.  He got over it.
Mass behavior was eh...  I refused to let them sit in the front row, and they did a little bit worse than usual, perhaps for that reason.  But we were more in the priest's line of sight, and every time I reminded them that maybe Father was looking at them, they shaped up right away! 
And now it's probably time to get the big kids down for naps - they've been playing outside most of the morning and they know that as long as they stay outside I usually won't call them in for naps!  When they finally came inside I told them it was naptime and John Paul said, "Wait!  Can Cecilia please come downstairs and play with me???"
Soooo I allowed it because how sweet are they?  As long as I don't have to break up fights, I'm fine with them playing instead of "napping" because they're not going to sleep anyway...
Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple - have a great Sunday!

7 Quick Takes: I really never have an actual title for these...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Awesome, I just wrote almost the entire post and it got deleted...  Soooo let's piece it together!


Our heat/AC has been non-functional for more than a month-and-a-half.  It's been okaaaaay so far because we could get decent air circulation with open windows and fans, and the little heating unit in the playroom keeps things from getting unbearable.  But now that actually cold temperatures are making their way to us, we had to get a guy in to look at it and...  

Not good.

We at least have to replace the entire furnace, since it's so old that they don't even sell the parts to fix it anymore.  And since it's the leaking AC that probably broke it, that might need to be replaced, too.  So we're getting estimates, but it's not going to be a cheap fix.  And considering the fact that we had to spend thousands of dollars out-of-pocket on the basement when our insurance told us, "Hey, we don't cover water damage when the water comes in from OUTSIDE the house," we're not looking at a real comfortable time financially...  Hopefully we can finance the cost?  Because all our reserves are pretty much gone - down payment on a house, moving costs, basement costs, all that...  


But here are some cute pictures of the kids!

Cecilia is reading "Beauty and the Beast."  John Paul is reading "A Handbook for Reading."  That's pretty much the big kids in a nutshell.


I'm almost out of my ginormous tub of instant coffee, and they only had Nescafe at Costco so I couldn't replace it.  Grr.  We've been boycotting Nestle for a while because of their unethical formula marketing practices in developing countries.  It's one thing to push moms in the US to use formula, where at least there's a dependable, clean water supply to rely on.

But in developing nations, forcing moms to depend on formula often kills their babies when they can't afford formula and have to water it down to stretch it, or use tainted water to prepare it.  Not cool.

The saddest part of this for me (you know, other than infant mortality) is that there is no Butterfinger equivalent.  So I get REALLY excited when Halloween rolls around because I can eat all the Butterfingers that the kids get!

Anyway, any instant coffee brand recommendations?  I'm not going to be brewing anything, instant is FAST and easy, and I don't need any more appliances!


Look!  I crafted a thing!  I made Cecilia a skirt and while it has many many MANY mistakes, it's functional and she loves it!


Couldn't even wait until she was out of her jammies to put it on!

Not quite as fashionable as yesterday's outfit, but I'll take it.

I'm going to make matching ones for the twins and it's going to be adorable.  And way cheaper than buying new skirts for Cecilia, since she will wear pretty much nothing but dresses and elastic-waist skirts.  I think the total cost of this skirt was somewhere around $3, and that's being generous with my estimates.  

Are you so proud of me, Emily?


We had a freeze warning so I picked all the carrots, mostly because I was getting too curious!

Well, this is what happens when you don't plant until July:

The kids LOVED them, especially the red ones (Cecilia) and the one with two tails (John Paul).

And how beautiful are the red ones on the inside?  Like a sunrise in a carrot!  Pretty sure that's a phrase that's gonna catch on.  You heard it here first.
Yup, I devoted an entire take to carrots.


What's she laughing at?
The big kids, of course!
Pretty girls
I love these faces!  Mary Claire is quite the clown these days - she's always making silly faces or noises and then doing this hilarious fake laugh because it always gets us laughing!

Outfit inspiration for the week

Also known as I only have two scarves that I ever wear

Also known as The kids broke the mirror at home so I'm taking pictures in my office

Also known as Look!  It's Fall!  I'm wearing boots!

 Aaaaand 14 hours later, I'm done!  Linking up with published author Cari at Clan Donaldson with my Quick (ish) Takes this week.

11 months in with twins

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Well, we're more than 11 months into this twin thing.  Almost a year!  Suffice it to say the twins are more different from each other every single day! 
Here are some individual highlights::
Looks SO much like Andrew
Loves chasing John Paul and Cecilia if they crawl around for her
Smiles and smiles and smiles all the time, unless she's upset in which case everything is AWFUL!!!  There seems to be no middle ground
Still has 4 (adorable) teeth and no sign of more
Pulls up on everything, stands independently, crouches down and picks stuff up and stands up again but has only just started being interested in walking while holding my hands (no independent steps yet)
Thinks Cecilia laughing is HILARIOUS
Takes a bottle from Cecilia like a pro, even with her nasty iron drops in it
Loves to stand on the couch and jump while holding on to the back
Flaps her arms and kicks her feet wildly with excitement every time I get her from the swing at the end of naptime
Really enjoys putting toys into other toys, and "sharing" with us - gets SO excited when we give a toy back after she gives it to us
Mary Claire:
LOVES books, and will sit quietly being read to for as long as she can hold your attention (which is never long because there's usually another disaster looming)
Points to every individual item on a page and mimics me as I name them (with pretty good success - it's scary!)
Baby's first homeschooling denim jumper?
Uses her pointing skills to pick her nose, and will also point to her nose and mouth if I ask her to
Cecilia, 10 months
Looks a lot like Cecilia did at this age, still
Waves excitedly at me from her swing every time I get her from a nap
Very distinctly calls me "Mammmm" and Andrew "Dadadadada" - also says words resembling "ball" and "bear" and "bye"
Can climb a flight of stairs more quickly and quietly than we can catch!
Stands independently and has taken 1-2 steps at a time on her own.  Wants to be walked around while holding my hands ALL. THE. TIME!
4 teeth, no sign of more
They both still LOVE peek-a-boo and especially love playing it with each other in the little play tent.  And today I witnessed their absolute cutest playing yet - Elizabeth tackled Mary Claire and very gently shrieked in her face and Mary Claire just giggled over and over again.  It was hilarious and amazing!
Still nursing both exclusively but I'm excited to start them on cow's milk, probably around Christmas - I'll still pump for them at work for a while just because I know my supply won't taper off during the day immediately, plus I want to give them the benefits of nursing as long as I can!  But hopefully by the end of the school year they'll be able to take cow's milk while I'm gone so I can just nurse them when I'm at home and not worry about pumping.
The process of nursing is interesting, to say the least.  You know how older babies get all acrobatic with their nursing?  Well, imagine two babies nursing while simultaneously trying to jump and grab each other's eyes.  Yeah, it's fun.  Or something?
Sleep is getting better - right now they start out in separate rooms but I'd like to either move them in together or move Mary Claire into John Paul and Cecilia's room so that we have the guest room free again.  Some nights we don't even end up with a baby in bed with us at all! 
I can't believe they're almost 1!  We need to start planning their party - more for us than for them, of course :)

WIWS - Wardrobe Malfunction Edition

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I had every intention of participating in WIWS last week, but time got away from me and things were crazy-busy so it just didn't happen...   Anyway, because I missed last week, here's what I wore then:
Blurry morning picture with adorable kids and shoes everywhere...

More focused later picture with the belt I actually meant to wear but couldn't find.  I think the darker one actually works better, although this definitely isn't my favorite outfit.
Sweater:  Uniqlo
Belt:  Off a pair of pants from Kohl's
Dress:  J.Crew via Twice
Shoes:  DSW
Tights:  Target?  I dunno, they're old...
And here's this week's outfit:
I'm posed to hide it, but I had a lovely wardrobe malfunction this morning...
I've always had trouble zipping this skirt, not because it doesn't fit but just because that spot where the waistband meets the skirt is too thick and the construction is a little off...  So I fiiiiinally got it zipped this morning and noticed a tiny little gap in the zipper that grew and grew until...  Well, thankfully it wasn't super-noticeable at Mass and Andrew helped me get it off when we got home.  Any ideas on how to fix it?  I kind of love the skirt!

John Paul wore his awesome plaid blazer again but shed it for pictures, sadly.  And while I'm glad that they're trained to take off their shoes immediately upon entering the house, I don't *mind* them keeping them on an extra 7 seconds for pictures!  I'll take what I can get!
Disheveled scarf:  Forever 21
Sweater:  Express
Skirt:  eShakti ($30 off new customer purchases if you shop through my link!)
Boots and socks:  DSW
Belt:  Kohl's
And now to wash all the dishes and start some sort of preparations for Tuesday, since John Paul is dying of excitement that it's his name day and has requested "Fish" for his special dinner even though fish is disgusting and I never cook it.  I've sent Andrew to Trader Joe's for one of their microwave fish dinners.  Blech.  That's dedication for you!
 Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple, happy Sunday!

Too tired to blog... 7 Quick Takes

Friday, October 18, 2013

 I'm exhausted.  SO tired.  Andrew's in concert season and had 2 concerts and 3 rehearsals last week, plus 2 rehearsals so far this week, one tonight, and concerts on Saturday and Sunday.  Not to mention the fact that I'm getting sick.  Blech. 
So obviously the solution is to sit here blogging instead of going to sleep.
Well, actually I'm sitting here blogging instead of washing dishes.
I was going to make this into a whole blog post, but then I got too tired...
I swallowed a penny. Git bad.  I could have choked.  I'm sorry.  I should always obey.  I was very scared.

This essay was John Paul's punishment for swallowing a penny.  My most brilliant 4-year-old somehow managed to find a penny during naptime, and the babysitter heard him screaming bloody murder from the basement.  He spent a good 20 minutes sobbing and begging her to "take it out!!!"
So I consulted Dr. Internet, who told me that most things kids swallow (even like, tacks!) pass through no problem, but pennies and batteries are trouble because they can lead to zinc poisoning. 
"Go straight to the ER!" said the Internet.
So I called our actual doctor, who told me to fork through his poop for a few days and to call if it didn't pass.  I felt kind of like Kelly, back in her poop vial days.
Anyway, I spent two days holding an old sour cream container under him while he pooped, at which point I realized we have little potties that we could use instead of the stupidest system ever.
So I cleaned off a little potty, set it up in the bathroom, and then he pooped out the penny!!!
He and Cecilia are still talking about it.  He used my old cell phone to pretend-call the doctors...
JP:  Hello?  Dr. Murphy?
Me, being Dr. Murphy:  Yes John Paul?
JP:  Um, I pooped out the penny!
Me:  Wow, great job!
JP:  And do you know why we have a clock with popes on it?
Me:  No, can you tell me?
JP:  *long pause*  Um, I have to go.  *hangs up phone*
It's a Pope Pius clock, in case you're wondering.  12 Pope Piuses - it's always Pope Pius o'clock!
In other news, now that I've joined smart phone land, I'm on Instagram. 
Really it's the only reason I wanted a smart phone.  I love it.  Come follow me!
"I'm a butterfwy hen!  Dwink your bottle, wittle girl!"

(that's how they get their nasty iron supplements, and somehow Cecilia actually makes them drink it better than I do!)
"It fits me vewwy perfeckwy!" -- in a 12-month costume...
I'm overdue for an 11-month update on the twins.  I even have some really cute pictures of them on my camera card.  Maybe I'll get to that one of these days...
Anyway, they're still cute!  And every once in a while I'm NOT holding/wearing one or both!
A pre-dinner concert from the under-1 crowd
"Helping" with the dishes
What else have I been too lazy to post about?
Well, we went apple picking and I have some hilarious pictures that I might post some day...
I took pictures for WIWS and never posted them, so maybe I'll do a 2-for-1 this Sunday...
I took Theme Thursday pictures too, but never posted them.  Mostly because random pictures of pumpkins just didn't seem that compelling of me.  Here I was thinking our leaves would turn in time for "Orange" as a theme, but Fall keeps deciding to postpone its arrival!
Oh and I've been trying to take outfit pictures on a more regular basis to give you some day-to-day style inspiration.  I just got two great cardigans from Twice and am figuring out different ways to style them.  I think cardigans are a mom ESSENTIAL, but it's soooo easy for them to look frumpy.  I updated the blog to add a "Style" page so that my more informational posts are grouped in one place with some helpful links, too.
Anyway, my outfits are middle school and high school-tested.  On any given day at least 2 students will compliment my outfit, although I'm not entirely sure I should take that as a good thing...  But I like these two, so maybe these students have decent fashion sense, even though half of them still think leggings count as pants...
Okay, enough miscellany for you?  Check out more Quick Takes at Jen's
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