Sunday, November 30, 2014

WIWS, 1st Sunday of Advent

Hi all.  I do have some thoughts on something deeper coming in the meantime, here is a WIWS post. It was the first Sunday in Advent today so we pulled out the advent wreath and did some morning family Bible and Jesse tree time.  The kids really enjoy this stuff as long as it its done in the morning. They don't really stay engaged if its later in the day.  I have it on my calendar to make scones for St. Andrew's feast day, so hopefully I will get that done. Anyway, here is the outfit. 

Shirt: NY and Co. 
Skirt: Old Navy
Leggings: a Christmas present a few years ago
Shoes: Target, and since you can't see them in the pic well, here is another look. 

Happy 1st Sunday of Advent!  Check out some more Sunday outfits at the linkup on Fine Linen and Purple while I attempt to nap a baby who really is trying her hardest not to nap today. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

7 quick takes, Snow!

Just thought I would join in the quick takes link-up as I haven't done one of these in a long while.

1. The baby had her first snow adventure and loved it. She didn't like getting the snow suit on, but once outside she was totally at peace.

2. It hit 25 degrees outside today, so we had some outside play time for a bit today. The boys really enjoyed it. They love "plowing the driveway.

3. I've randomly found some cool natural parenting bits in children's books.  One had a baby carrier the other nursing alongside bottle feeding. I think the first book was Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know It All and the second was Goodnight New Baby.

4. B and E have been playing Clifford and T-Bone a lot lately. Here is a partial dog house bit that kind of gets destroyed every two seconds. 

5. In the snow that we came back to on Sunday, the boys made a snow man themselves. Its amazing how much changes in a year, last year they totally couldn't have pulled this off, this year they are trying to make snowmen themselves. Crazy. 

6. I made a five favorites toy post, and I was thinking if there were any toys that didn't make it but at least deserved an honorable mention.  I would pick art supplies, puzzles and trains.  We definitely have puzzle days, and the trains while not being played with as much as they once did are still around. And I think because I enjoy art projects, the boys do too.  Thus we have 2 cabinets of supplies. 

7. And then I asked the boys what toys they liked the most and I got it right except they wanted to add Lightning McQueen. So there you have it, the infamous race car invaded Noah's Ark for a reason.

Check out more quick takes over at This Ain't the Lyceum. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Creating a giving heart

One thing that is really near to my heart is having a generous spirit.  As advent approaches, the season of giving comes to fruition.  As we all know, our giving shouldn't only be at this time of year but, we all know this time is special.  As Tomie DePaula's Strega Nona says, "Christmas has its own magic."

When I was reading a book about the Strong Willed Child one of the things they said was that it really helps this kind of child to think outside themselves was to involve them with charity work. I think this hit home for me because ever since I was little, I've loved helping those who needed help. In my family, I'm the odd one out who actually gives donations to charities as part of Christmas gifts. I'm just weird like that.  So I want to start giving to others early with my kiddos. Last year we did Angel Tree, and this year I would like to add one more thing the boys can tangibly see as helping someone that needs help.   I was thinking Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child.  I honestly like the idea of the latter better because it goes along with what I think of Christmas giving, necessity and fun and personalization with Jesus at the center not just random stuff. Toys for Tots though, is good in its own sense though as it helps people in your own community experience a little joy.  So both have their benefits.  I'm not sure what we will do, Operation Christmas Child has to be done by Monday, so if we do this one, it will be within the next few days.  I would like to do it though, so we will see if we can squeeze it in over the weekend.

So what are your favorite ways or charities that you involve your kids during advent/Christmas time?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Five Favorites: Toys! (Inspired by Jess :))

Hi all.

I am all about the serious on the blog, but this is a less serious post.  One about toys!!! My friend Jess had a post about toys that were favorites for her kids and had lasted through three of her kiddos, soon to be four kids, she's due in December! It made me think about what toys my kids really play with, and so I got to thinking about it and came up with our top five, at least according to me.

1. Blocks

Whether it be duplos, legos, soft blocks, or wooden blocks, if it can be made into a tower, it is a go to! We are always building and creating.

2. Diggers

We love to dig, and diggers are necessary for digging. 

Whether it be little ones, or big ones there is always an excavator on hand or a loader.  Its always sad when winter comes because summer, spring and fall are mostly spend outside digging. I would also put matchbox cars in this category, because despite them being less apt at digging, they join the fun when roads are made in the dirt and such. 

3. Dress up clothes

My kids love to dress up. I usually buy up old Halloween costumes or things out of season and let them go to town.  Its a ton of fun. The boys especially like to dress up their little sister as you can see from the above.

4. Rubber Animals and Little People

I am always finding these everywhere in little landscapes with the furniture and pillows or throw blankets.  The boys love playing with them and Helena loves chewing on them. 

5. Cardboard boxes

No seriously, when given a cardboard box, magical things happen.  We have had roads and rockets and hideouts made from these. Tears are shed when they are recycled. Its insane.

So there you have it.  Maybe this will help you find some good Christmas gifts for the kids. Check out more favorites at the linkup at Call Her Happy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saying Yes to God

I asked my husband tonight how I'm saying yes to God. After some banter, he said by sitting here late with your little guy that napped so that he won't be lonely. And that is true. I always ask him things like this and he's pretty good at telling me like it is.

At the same time, something did come to mind to me in my yes to God and his grace journey. It's just a little not like me.

 Today I had a physical therapy appointment. You probably wouldn't know that there is anything wrong with me. I mean honestly for most things I function pretty highly. I'm not limping, or incapacitated mostly and for that I'm grateful. I went to physical therapy, because I knew something was off. My hips had been bothering me and it turned out that I was validated in thinking things were not as they were to be. My right hip was turned ever so slightly and it made my leg be longer on the one side. I also learned that I have basically no lower core strength. The result of 3 blessings in 5 years, and while I love them, and I do say yes to taking care of them daily, I needed to say yes to taking care of myself. Some mothers may do this better than others, but for me this took me a while to set up this appointment and really follow through. 

So, I'm hoping that the exercises I do really help and the back pain diminishes. I have 3 more appointments and I'm kind of looking forward to them. Oddly I love the PT environment, I've been in PT 5 or so times prior do to soccer injuries and I always enjoy the challenge. I want to continue to be able to function fully as a mama and just as myself too. I almost think of this as being something long run like so that if we are called to have more kiddos, my body can actually handle it and not break down. 

How have you said yes to God and his grace today?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Trying to stop wishing

I hate that I write a lot of these posts about my oldest, and don't really touch on my younger two.  But honestly, one is a baby and therefore is cool as long as she is with mama, and the other guy, well for some reason most of the time he's not that hard for me. Maybe he will challenge me more later, teen years I am sure will be crazy, right? My oldest on the other hand is my hardest usually.  

Something about his temperament and my temperament just kind of butt heads a lot.  I think I have especially learned a lot about myself from parenting him. I always think that being his mama will either be my downfall or make me into a saint.  Hopefully it will be the latter. 

Today, for a second I let myself wish that he would for once just say okay mama, instead of questioning my every decision and move.  I thought wow, wouldn't that be nice.  But then I realized that he wouldn't be who he is supposed to be and I wouldn't be learning and growing on this life journey.  

Honestly, I do sometimes become short with him and I feel crushed that I do this automatically.  I don't ever want to break his spirit or will, even if it is the hardest thing to die to myself when I falsely try to control these little people that God has entrusted to me.  I mean to give an example, Benjamin finds no folly in being behind the counter making himself at home at the local corner farmer's market (don't worry the owners love him.)   I don't think I could have ever been that child myself, but he is. And, yes he needs boundaries, I know this, but honestly figuring out those boundaries I think are definitely one of the harder things with him.  However, to wish him to be different I cannot, as hard as he is. He is what God gave me and I love him. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


We made it home! All in one piece. It took much longer than anticipated on the way back, but there were some detours. We stopped at our one friend's home again to pick up left behind things and well its always hard to leave them because everyone just gets along so well.

We did a trip lay over across the river from Cincinnati. Somehow, Keith scored us a discounted rate on a swanky hotel that was on the edge of the river. The boys and I enjoyed watching the river boats from our 11th floor view.

We checked out the Latin rite mass at Old St. Mary's in downtown Cincinnati. I had been to one of these before but Keith had never been. I'm honestly not in the right place for it I think because I'm just confused instead of understanding. Maybe another time in life I'll like it more. For now I'll stick to a reverent English mass.

We stopped at Skyline Chili for lunch. Benjamin apparently wanted to take his noodles with him unbeknownst to us. He had a full handful in each hand, which warranted him a to go box from the waitress. It reminded me that sometimes 4 almost 5 year olds still are little and do silly things.

We played a lot of find the alphabet letter games in the car and a few rounds of guess what animal am I. I think by the 5th round the boys figured out that the game works better if you aren't the same animal every time. We detoxed from screens on the way home, which might have been why it seemed so long, but I think we needed it.

And so now we are home! The snow can come and it will be okay. I'm excited to be back in my own bed again and get some routine back in our lives.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


So you all know Myers-Briggs, and some of you know the four temperaments with regards to personality.  But have you ever looked into the Enneagram personality types? I didn't know too much about them until Arwen pointed them out on twitter maybe a year or two ago. Lately, I've been fascinated with them because, well, it seems there is so much to them.  After taking the test, if you look up the information for your particular enneagram, you can see how different personality types function at different capacities.  For instance, how your personality type can be functioning at its highest if you are taking care of yourself, or if you see some of the not so good behaviors of the lower functioning scale of a type, and what you can do about it to help you function on a higher scale. I feel like this plays into a bit of the your strengths can also become your weaknesses if used wrongly.

In the enneagram, you have a dominant personality type and then a wing.  The wing is something that you have characteristics of, but aren't fully of that type.  So they will list a personality of 3w4.  The 3 is the dominant personality and the 4 the wing type. The way they have it set up, you can either be a on the left or the right of your dominant personality for your wing type. I'm sure there is even more data behind why each personality is numbered as so, I mean my friend just told me there is a whole conference on it too.  Wouldn't that be awesome to go to?

I wrote last time that I was seeing myself change with regards to I and E with respect to Myers Briggs. When I take the enneagram test at this time in life, I am a type 2 with a wing 1. I do feel like I have a lot of 2 qualities, especially in motherhood, however, the test tells you distinctly that if you are a mother of small children, you are more likely to be a 2 even if you would normally be another type.  However, I think that just goes along with the whole we evolve a bit into what our circumstances are.  I sometimes think, prior to having kids, I would have more likely been a 1 with maybe a 2 wing, so I guess the reverse of what I am now. I wonder if motherhood has softened me and that is why I am feeling like myself is changing a bit.

So here are some links to Enneagram information
Tests to see what your type and wing are: Personality Tests
How the Enneagram System Works: Enneagram Institute 

Happy Enneagramming!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ut oh I missed a few days.

I'm blaming this on the fact that we are currently on vacation. But I will totally own up to missing two days of posting.

I've been meaning to post on this stuff for a while. As most of you know, I love personality typing. I love that there is so much out to learn from it and how much it helps you to understand yourself.

Lately, I've been feeling like my personality is changing. Maybe it's motherhood, maybe it's circumstance or being married to an introvert or age or me just being truly honest with myself. But with time I feel  like I'm becoming more introverted and less extroverted. The one thing is I do like people, and at the end of the day I do need to talk to at least one person that isn't little. But I feel like these days I enjoy my quiet more, my curling up in bed nursing a baby and reading a good novel.

So whether I'm truly as introvert or extrovert now I don't know, I depends probably on the day. But I do know I'm growing and changing in this life journey so it's likely I'm not quite who I once was. So, what about you? Do you think you are changing on the extrovert vs introvert scale? What do you think has influenced you the most in your change?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A little tidbit on birth

Honestly, usually I don't tackle things like general statements on birth of babies, because there are so many things attached with it.  I will totally tell my own birth stories, but generalities come with so much attachment. It's such an emotional experience and different women want such different things out of it. But a FB friend posted a positive comment about going from cesarean section, to medicated v-bac to natural birth and loving finally having the birth she wanted. I simply thought it was really  awesome for her to have such a positive experience get the kind of birth she could feel good about. Because natural  childbirth doesn't mean awesome birthing experience always, but but for her this component contributed to a great birth.

I've had three completely different births myself, even though to the outsider they may be classified as natural childbirth. My first was a hospital birth with a midwife who was great despite the mostly medicalized setting, it was what I needed and if similar circumstance arises, I would find this midwife again because she listened. My second was in a birthing center, still attached to a hospital, the midwife didn't show up and the on call doctor delivered my son, this birth if you read back posts didn't go as planned and took a while to process. My third birth took place at home with a midwife and it was calm and awesome and redeemed birth for me.

I don't think everyone needs birth to be the same for them and I think each woman has different expectations. I think what it comes down to is that birth is really hard to control, and honestly you aren't going to just pick things out of a catalog and get it, labor is unpredictable, baby positioning is not controllable among many other things.

However, what I do think makes the difference is the people around you during birth, whether they support or break you down. These people can make or break a birthing experience. Putting all necessary medical intervention aside, I really do think having an attendant who listens and doesn't push an agenda on you makes all the difference in the world, it definitely did for me.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Trip highlights day 1

We are finally taking a vacation for the year. These are some of the highlights of day 1.

1. We went through two major cities. In.Cincinnati we all waved to downtown to tell it hello and goodbye. We then waved to the Ohio river and Kentucky as well. This may not be much, but the silly things like this make my day.

2. Ben declared this the best trip ever after we stopped at a newly remodeled McDonald's with a pretty great play place.

3. The baby didn't cry much and actually was quite the trooper.

4. We enjoyed window drawing the last hour of the trip. We have these window markers that crystallize after you draw with them, I'm always intrigued by them each time I use them. This was one of our windows. Apparently the person looked like Ben's godfather to him because he has spikey hair.

5. The hotel we are at has an indoor pool.Had a dinner within waking distance and an outdoor shopping mall. I call that a win.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Little Saints

Yesterday was our monthly homeschool meet up for Little Knights. My kids are still really too little for the group, but we go anyway, because there is a craft and I get to have encouragement from other moms. Yesterday, they had a saint party where the kids were supposed to dress up as saints.  So I figured we would try to do it. Ben mostly wanted to go as an angry bird and Ephraim only decided to dress up when we were .  But I sort of for a second got him to dress up.  The baby of course was the easiest to photograph. So, here are our little Saints, unfortunately a little blurry (I need a new camera, and less wiggly kids, the former is easier to get than the latter):

St. Joseph, because he likes dads and tools

Bl. Mother Teresa, because KE loves Mother Teresa and we could pull off the costume

St. Francis, because he loves animals

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let him be little

It seems always the general consensus from more experienced moms is to just wait on the school thing. They say to let the kids be as little as long as possible or to let them run and play and just be kids. The reading will come, the skills for school will come at the age they are meant to come.  

But then it feels like the other half of the world seems to want to push our kids to learn to read, and write and do math sooner and sooner. It's hard not to get swept up in it. I know at least it is for me because it looks good on paper and impresses the grandparents or other inquiring minds. 

I think last week was needed for me to see that isn't what my children need. While some structure and boundaries are good, when pushed too far it can really backfire, as it did for us last week. It broke. 

So in trying to figure out what is best for us as a family in our learning journey, I'm trying to take a step back and evaluate the forest for the trees. I know my kids are growing and learning each day. While they may not sit down and do much paperwork or tablet work for that matter, they are learning. 

Right now, I don't think we need more class-like stuff, because well because we have just enough already. More and more I realize my boys need to move and need to be outside. Perhaps, a consistent free play group would be good for this. Anyway, this is where I'm at today. One step at a time right?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Facebook page for the blog

Hi all. I made a facebook page for my blog finally. You can find it at

I hemmed and hawed for a while about making one. I struggle with promoting things of myself. One because it's a window into my life, and two well its not the real reason I blog. I blog for the cathartic feeling of getting things out of my head and to feel some peace about it. Writing helps me. But the thing is I do have a blog, so that must mean I do want people to read it. And so I don't do a very good job of consistency when it comes to letting folks have the material available. So enter in the FB page. While I do publish everything on Google +, I realize a large portion of people don't really look at it. So, alas the giant that I hate is now helping me to be more organized. So anyway, let me know if you want to follow the FB page and it doesn't work and I'll try to figure that out. Until then have a good evening. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Last time I voted, I took Ben to the polls.  He loved it, but this time that didn't happen. This time, we did it by mail. Ben sure did ask if I voted though many times today.  Civic minded already, that one. 
Here's the proof of me voting:

And then this one decided to pull off the sticker and try to eat it. 

End of story.  Happy Election Day!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Just some snippets

1. Baby girl has figured out crawling enough that baby gates are now needed to protect stair falls. She has also figured out how to get back up to a sitting position after being on her belly and is pulling herself up on things too. She's now sporting six teeth. The boys maybe had two at this point. So extra clingy baby we have had, and I'm wishing for some good sleep again soon!

2. We got a new mattress! I went in a few weeks ago complaining about back pain, the doctor said physical therapy and a new mattress were in order. Also she said to make sure to carry 21lb Miss H on my back instead of my front as much as possible. Today I didn't even have to do that, (score!)she happily rode in the wagon on our walk to the corner produce market.

3. We have an upcoming trip to TN.  This means 9-10 hours one way in the car with 3 kids. If you know me, you know I hate the car and kids in the car stress me out a lot. I would fly any day over driving, but it's just not in our budget to pay for 4 tickets now, 5 if we were being extra safe. So yeah, pray the drive goes better than I expect.
And that's all for today. Hope ya'll are having a great Monday!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

WIWS, repeat edition and All Souls Day

Hi all! I hope today has been a good All Souls Day for you. We didn't make it to the cemetery today to visit one of the kids great grandpas but we are set for a visit on Tuesday.  I've honestly never visited someone's grave that I knew before, but I think it would be good for us all.  I think for most of my life I've either been sheltered from death, or it just hasn't happened to someone so near that I would have been at their burial.  I've been to a wake here or there and a few viewings, but never an actual gravesite of someone I know.  Probably, most folks have more experience with death than I, but I want to understand it and have my children understand it more so that we aren't afraid of it.  Because with death comes new life, why fear it.
Benjamin has been in a phase lately where he goes around telling me that I am going to die before him and he is going to die before Ephraim.  In his 4yo mind, the oldest person dies first, out of order deaths don't happen, no tragedies or illnesses.  And honestly, thats okay to me.  I think he is doing just fine at understanding death as a 4yo. Ephraim is just a new 3yo, so basically his days are full of bipolar tyranting and so he just isn't there yet, but even he could probably benefit from seeing the resting site of the body of a loved one.  Benjamin always asks about his great grandpas, and how he wants to see them, but that they are up in heaven with Jesus.  I think somehow, this might help him understand how it all works more.

And now in a less morbid fashion, WIWS. It's honestly, except for one piece, the exact same outfit as I did last time.  But lets be realistic, who actually has a new outfit for every Sunday?  I sure don't. So I am going to try to help lessen the stigma of only posting new outfits and post a repeat, well except for I wore leggings underneath instead of black pants this time.  So here it is, my repeat outfit.

Dress: Marshalls
Leggings: Charlotte Russe
Necklace: Origami Owl
Shoes: can't see them, but they are from Target

And now for a certain pint sized person...

Helena is dressed entirely in hand me downs except for the bow, which came from Pete and Polly in Brunswick, OH. Thankful to know many friends who have baby girls. Check out more Sunday attire at the WIWS linkup!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy All Saints Day!, NaBloPoMo Post 1

Hi all.  My twitter friend Elsha mentioned that today starts NaBloPoMo. I have never participated in NaBloPoMo before, but I was thinking, why not? And so I am at least going to try this out.

Today was All Saints Day. Happy All Saints Day! I want to say that we did more for it. I saw lots of beautiful Saint costumes out in the blogosphere, but we didn't do any of that. The boys did trick or treat last night in angry bird costumes, but seeing as everyone does that whether or not they know the origins of Halloween, I'm not sure that's saying much. Not to discredit the fun of Halloween, it was definitely fun, we had a full angry bird family going on. I mean even my inlaws bought some last minute angry bird costumes and joined in on the fun. I mean can you imagine a 57yo woman dressed up as yellow bird handing out candy? Well, that is what we had.

So really for All Saints Day, two small things did happen. It made me think about getting saint namesake dolls for my kids for Christmas, so I did through this shop called St. Luke's Brush. I have been told amazing things about them, and I love that they add to the richness of this Catholic faith that we are part of and are not yet easily breakable by children, something that we struggle with at times.

The other small thing was that we read an excerpt for Loyola about All Saints Day for Kids. It went like this:

"Saints are big dreamers. They believe that with God on their side, no one and nothing can stop them. Saints are go-getters. They don’t wait for someone else to do good first; they jump right in. Saints are love-bringers. They try to see Christ in every person and every situation. Saints tell us what matters most in life is not what we earn or own, not the job we have or the people we know. What really matters is how much we love God, others, and ourselves, and how well we show that love in all we do."

I loved this, and it really hit home for me with how I should approach my strong willed oldest, whom I've been struggling with lately.  Because this is who he should aspire to be, a saint.  And we can approach his formation as a person positively, instead of feeling like we constantly have to hold him back.  I am reminded of the closing of the Catholic Answers program.  "Be a saint, what else is there."  It is so true.  I think that if direct him in a positive way with his bold personality,  maybe there will be a Saint Benjamin someday.  And its not to say that he is more important than my other kids or any other kid out there. He's not, he's loved by God just the same.  But I am thankful for this reminder that we can do great things and we can be great people for Jesus.