Monday, April 29, 2013

Cara box!

Last month, I learned from reading another blogger's post about a thing called the Cara box going on over at Wifessionals, and I immediately thought "Ooh sounds like fun."  Who wouldn't want to meet more people and give and get surprise presents sometime during the month? Thus, I went ahead and joined for the month of April.  The theme of the month was Go Green.  I was paired up with two ladies, one to which to give a box and another from which to receive a box. The two lovely ladies I met through it were Jenna from Freckled Fashionista and Megan from Barefoot Bluejean Princess. I enjoyed getting to know both these fine ladies this past month through various emails and reading their blogs.  It's amazing sometimes how much two strangers can have in common.

So here was the Cara box I received from Megan.

It was filled with seeds to garden, gardening gloves, a Brita filtered water bottle, a recycled paper notebook and a super sweet note from Megan. I have already put most of it to good use.  The Brita water bottle is probably my favorite thing since I always seem to forget a drink for myself when on outings with the boys. Now I no longer have an excuse to do so!  Thank-you again Megan

Have an excellent week ya'll. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What I wore Sunday, post clothing swap edition

Today was a busy day with mass followed by a baby shower for a dear friend.  This outfit served as wear for both occasions. Last weekend I hosted a clothing swap which turned out super excellent with lots of ladies and lots of clothes and lots of new pieces to add to my and to everyone else that came wardrobes. The top half of the outfit is loot from the swap. 

Blazer: Clothing swap
Blouse: Clothing swap
Jeans: JC Penney
Shoes: Sanita

So I guess the wrinkles in the jacket was kind of my fault for lack of ironing, but they went away with time.  This was taken before mass.  And as for mass, last week we had such terrible behavior with the kids that we knew we had to revamp our approach so we did, maybe I will have to blog about the logistics in another post.  Today was much better.  While we still have active boys, at least they were under control. No running in and out of pews, or standing on them and entertaining the congregants behind us.  I consider that a win. 

And now for an outtake. 

Check out more church outfits at the link-up at Fine Linen and Purple!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Theme Thursday: Sky

Don't mind our unkempt yard. We mean to get to mowing it someday soon. 

This sky produced a small hail storm a few minutes later.  Gotta love April showers, at least they bring May flowers right?

Check out more skies at Clan Donaldson!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Five Favorite, 4th edition for me

Join the linkup hosted by Moxie Wife.  Until you do so here are a my five favorites: 

1. Spring weather! It means we will be outside playing every moment that we can.  Here are the boys enjoying the nicer weather.
Tree sitting
Popsicle Eating

2. Furniture rearrangement! Do you ever feel like you just have too many things in your house, or at least in one room.  Well we moved over 3 year years ago to a house with 1000 less square feet, but still had the same couches in a much smaller room.  We finally took the oversized char out and did some rearranging and man do I love it.

New Living Room Arrangement

3. Old table repurposed!  I have an actual functioning kitchen table!  The kids and I can do so much here now and I don't have to worry about them toppling off the bar height stools (repurposed to a work table above.)

Kitchen Table FTW!

4. Clothing swaps!  Hosted my 3rd clothing swap, and my best one yet!  The company and the new to me clothes were and are awesome.  Here are some new items I scored in the swap.

New butterfly tee! I feel like a punk rock princess
I finally own a blazer, ya'll!

5. Toothbrush project complete! A pinterest idea that a neighbor sent and we carried out mostly together.  Here was the result for me.  Her's being that she is more crafty put a design on the tubes and made them more beautiful.  Mine are functional though, and that is the kind of girl I am.

What are your favorites this week?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Some treasures from One Thousand Gifts.

I finished the book!  I did, I did.  I felt like it took me a while, but I don't think it was meant to be read at light speed. Probably some contemplation was good on this one.  Again the book was One Thousand Gifts  by Ann Voskamp.

And so, I just wanted to share some quotes from the book that I really liked, that hit home for me.

"'Without exception ... all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is joy.'" Hmm.

"At the Eucharist, Christ breaks His heart to heal ours - Christ, the complete accomplishment of our salvation." Makes receiving the Eucharist mean all that much more

"Prayer without ceasing is only possible in a life of continual thanks." Thanks for the good and the bad

"I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry." So true...

"Whatever the pace, time will keep it and there's no outrunning it." This kind of made me okay with losing my watch

"Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events - but is anything under the sun unexpected to God?" hmm

"Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus."

"'One act of Thanksgiving, when things go wrong for us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations'.-Saint John of the Cross" 

"'Learning slowly to not be so reactionary while inserting verbal gratitude into stressful situations is almost like being healed of mental blindness.'" I so need to work on this.

"Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism." 

"Thanks is what builds trust."

"All gratitude is ultimately graditude for Christ."

"God reveals himself in rearview mirrors." I've definitely found this true.

"Expectations kill relationships-especially with God."

"But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains." I need this. Yes. 

"Every breath's a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy. " Yes. 

"Doesn't eucharisteo rename all God's children their truest name: 'Loved one.'" Yes.

I loved this book more than I thought I would.  IMHO, a lot of faith books lack depth in the protestant world.  This one did not, and by the end had me screaming internally that this lady needs to be Catholic.  She would love it so much.  But God knows a billion times more things than I do, so I'll leave it up to him. Anyway, read it if you can.  I found it at my local library, so I hope you can too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Theme Thursday: Boys

The boys they have been outside, digging, getting dirty and sweaty and full of popsicle drips and such. I love these boys of mine even if some days they drive me insane.  So to join in the linkup going on over at Clan Donaldson.  Here are my boys.

Benji under a chair

Ephraim popsicle eater

Friday, April 12, 2013

7 quick takes

1. This: 

2. We are healthy again!  Yay God!

3. Ben's contribution is that he wants to tell you about machines and trains. That's all he said, so there you go ladies and gentlemen.

4. Its been a long week of Keith working a lot and going to school, but it seems like we are making it through.

5. It's kind of grey and dreary today, but at least its not snowing right?

6. We tried out a Little Gym class for Ben, and for two reasons I would say we won't be back.  One: The price, but really is there any class that is not $300+ around? Two: He didn't seem interested, maybe we will just stick to swim lessons for now.  Those Ben seems to enjoy a lot.

7. Ephraim has been super fun these days.  He has finally learned to say bye-bye.  He can point to body parts and can say a few of them too.  17 month olds are ridiculous, and yet amazing all in one.  I know definitely that I did not appreciate this last time around being 6+ months pregnant at the time. My favorite story of him this week is that in the backyard, he's digging in the sand with his brother. He sees me and comes barreling toward me and throws all three shovels in his hands and just gives me the hugest hug.  That right there is what I think encompasses this stage of babyhood. 

Check out more quick takes at Camp Patton this week. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A hard day...

Today has been a little rough.  Let just say one of the highlights was finding out that only one matchbox car was flushed down the toilet full of poo.

As loose as my routine is, I sort of thrive off of it.  So when a constant wrench is thrown in I break.  The constant wrench currently is the 3yo not wanting to nap, but being awful due to lack of sleep.  I like my afternoons to myself.  And while I know that it won't always be so. I know I will have to carve in me time otherwise, this is how its been for almost 3 years give or take.  I liked it, it refreshed me.  It made the day something that I could finish well instead of barely hanging on.

I'm reading more of this One Thousand Gifts book.  And sometimes its easier to apply it to someone else's life than your own.  I could totally see a friend's situation yesterday as something that the hard thanks can be seen.  That the trust, the joy is still there.  But for me with the screaming in my face and me wanting to kick him across the room (I didn't btw, in case you were wondering), I fail to see it.  It just raises my blood pressure and causes me angst and to be mindlessly angry.

But there is something to be thankful for.  I may not see it but its there. Maybe its that a little boy is really growing, that he is ready for the next step in life.  Maybe he's developing a new skill one that will hopefully help him in life.  Maybe its just for me to know that life is okay not the way I want it to be.  That the wrench is okay, its God maybe saying, "Trust me.  I will carry you through." But I am tired, and it falls deaf on me in the heated moments.  But maybe, just maybe I can thank and trust and just not react next time. I will pray and hope at least.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Five Favorites, 3rd edition

Another round of the favorites.  These are the things that topped my list this week. 

1. Cleveland Botanical Gardens: Hershey Children's Garden...The kids loved it. I loved it.  Being out in nature and getting dirty.  Who could ask for more?  We were able to try to catch fish (not really, but the kids sure did try!), touch a frog and observe a turtle. Natural mazes and just lots of plants to observe and  help to grow by the kids watering themselves with the old fashioned pumps. A win all around!

2. One Thousand Gifts While I have to take the entirety with a grain of salt.  It is teaching me once again to notice the small and also be thankful for experiences that are hard, or what is known in the Catholic world as redemptive suffering.

3. Mini sweet peppers. The whole family enjoys these without having to dip them in anything, they are that good. Pero Family Farms, ftw!

4. Bubbles!  Specifically this kind where I can just wave the wand and not blow and get huge bubbles out of it.  Ephraim and I have spent many afternoons doing just that this past week.

5. Sandwich bread, using this recipe. Excellent, hearty and fresh.  I love having a bread maker, it solved all my issues with rising dough that I seemed to have prior to this.

Check out more favorites over at Moxie Wife! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

What I wore Sunday, the return to health, at least I hope!

Finally another...

Brought to you by finally feeling healthy again as a whole family! w00t! It was so good to be back together at mass.  I loved the Gospel reading today too, because St. Thomas is definitely me sometimes. 

It was warm out today, a bit windy, but nonetheless way warmer than its been, so we decided to take some pictures out side.  So excuse the crazy hair from the wind, here we go:

 Shirt: K-Mart
Pants: Target
Shoes: Vans by way of Cleveland Furniture Bank and Thrift Store

Necklace: Target
Shirt: TJ Maxx
Black Undershirt: Halftees
Skirt: Been in my wardrobe too long to know
Tights: Old Running tights repurposed
Shoes: A present from my mama

Shirt: A present from Grandma
Pants: Walmart 
Shoes: Thrift Store

And now an outtake:

What were we all looking at?  Maybe Ben, who knows?  I just loved E's body language here. 

Check out more WIWS outfits over at Fine Linen and Purple! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Lenten Lesson: Joy

I was to take Lent and figure out why I wasn't happy.  I had a beautiful life and I wasn't happy in it.  The answer that came out of it was joy.  I started to do the Five Favorites link-up to help in this, but I think I can do more.  I still had a major freak out the other day, and a talk with a good friend helped me to once again come to the word joy.  She mentioned the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and I started reading it. In it she learns that to have joy she must learn to recognize it and to live it.  To be thankful,  she stems it from the word Eucharist.  Which being a Catholic I automatically think: Jesus.  But it helped me to see another thread, the connection that in the Eucharist we give thanks, thanks for Jesus himself.  So thanks to God ultimately right?

A while back I was told to bring to the Eucharist:Jesus one joy and one sorrow. I could always think of the sorrow, and while there is definitely something to say in redemptive suffering.  I had and have a hard time with thinking of the joys, but I know they are there. I made sure I always thought of one, and maybe this is what kept me going through the struggles the past 18 months.  But I know there is more joy.  Joy in the little things.  I went from an exciting crazy life of accomplishing so much with getting me doctorate to being a SAHM.  I wonder now if this is a bit of the reason I had such a hard time with the transition.  Why the worries came, there was no big thing to go after anymore.  Life had shifted, and I struggled with that shift.

However, this life isn't any less valuable, just different.  And maybe better.  Because I have to rely more on God and less on myself to get through it.  I need to see God more in the little things, the little joys instead of doing "great" things.  And joy there is.  In a toddler's smile, in a playing with bubbles on the front steps, in there joy when a little one figures out a new skill, or in chasing a bird or squirrel, or digging up a broken sidewalk.

The issue I have is that in the hard times, in the suffering and struggles I forget the joys.  They are still there but I forget them.  So I want to make a list of them.  Like Ann did, of the gifts her thanksgiving to God.  Because recognizing the joy is thanking God, and seeing him and having relationship with him that isn't so one sided always pleading rarely thanking.

So I ask you to challenge me to carry this out.  I want to share some with you too, so at least once a week I will share 5 things that are gifts.

Here are those 5 today:
1. A boy's joy at seeing me return home from an errand
2. Bulbs pushing through the soil soon to become flowers.
3. Walks that have a different outcome than planned
4. A little boy asking for a hug.
5. A flock of little birds tweeting aloud in a nearby yard.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Five Favorites. 2nd Edition (for me at least)


Chocolate #1
The only worthy Easter candy IMO. 


Chocolate #2 Creamy but bitter. Not dark chocolate, but not super sweet either.


Boy #1 climbing tree

Boy#2 Hanging out in the tree wanting to mimic his brother, but with such a funny face. :)

Seeing more of this guy because of his new job flexibility. Silly husband

Go check out more favorite at Moxie Wife!