Wednesday, February 29, 2012

An Extra Day For Organizing

I'm not one for celebrating Leap Day.  This once every four years day usually catches me off guard so I'm never prepared to try to do something fun for it.  I tried to convince Ellie yesterday that you have to leap everywhere you go today, but she didn't buy it.

I decided to spend today organizing Ellie's bedroom.  I had wanted to tackle all three of the girls' rooms but I hadn't realized just how scary Ellie's room had become.  I went into her room when Katie went down for her first nap [the one that preempted my trip to Target for a Starbucks fix--sadly it never happened] with the intentions of changing her sheets, organizing her sock and underwear drawer and pulling out the shirts that are now too short on her.  Instead, I stepped in several choking hazards and realized that I needed to purge a lot of stuff from her room.

I managed to weed out a lot of broken toys and small items that are now trash because they had been carelessly left where are crawling baby could easily access them.  Katie isn't crawling yet, but I want the floors to be free of small colorful items that will attract her attention now.   It's been roughly six months that I've been on the girls about making sure they don't leave small pieces out on the floors and they're not getting the message.  My answer to that is a trash bag.

Ellie's closet and dresser only have items that fit her now.  Even though I removed about a quarter of the stuff she had, she still has way too much stuff.  I have to seriously sit down and figure out what I should save for Katie.  I don't think I can keep all of these clothes.  Clothes in the 5-7 size range are a real problem for me.  Madeline wore 5/6 and 6/7 clothes for three years during a time when I had a bit of a  Gymboree and Gap addiction.  Then factor in the clothes I've brought for Ellie over the past two years and I have a clothing problem.  I'm wondering what other moms of same gendered kids do about hand-me-downs when they have a big age gap.  Holding on to all of Madeline's clothes for three to four years while we waited for Ellie to grow into them was overwhelming.  I don't know that I can store nearly ten years worth of clothing.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Book Review: Catholicism For Dummies 2nd Ed.

Catholicism For Dummiesis a book that a wide range of people will find useful.  Whether you're a cradle Catholic who has questions, a convert, or someone who just wants to know more about Catholicism, this book has something for you.

As far as books on Catholicism go, this book tries to give you a pretty comprehensive tour of the faith.  I think this is a great jumping off point for anyone who is either trying to learn more about Catholicism or for those who are already Catholic but are unsure of what the church really teaches.  I spend a lot of time reading and reviewing various books on various aspects of the Catholic faith and this book is perfect for someone who is not well versed in their faith.  Everything is explained in a way that is easy to understand.

What I particularly like about books like this one is it gives you a nice overview of a variety of topics.  So while you may not be riveted by every topic covered in this book, you may find something that resonates with you and piques your interest that will lead you to wanting to delve deeper into understanding a particular aspect of the Catholic faith.  For example, after reading the chapter on the Mass, you may find that you want to know more which will likely send you looking for a book that covers the Mass in greater detail.

Overall, I think this is a great book on Catholicism and I certainly don't hesitate to recommend it.  It's perfect for someone who is in RCIA, or even a newly confirmed Catholic.  It is also a handy reference book for a cradle Catholic.  Even with all the reading I do on Catholicism, I managed to find a few bits of information in this book that I hadn't encountered in other books that I've read.  I don't think you can go wrong with this book.  For those Catholics who may be wondering if this book is fully vetted, it carries both the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

I was provided with a free review copy of Catholicism For Dummiesas part of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Small Successes-February 23rd

Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I could tell you that I tackled the laundry and not only washed it, but put it away, but that accomplishment from Sunday is a thing of the past.  Once again I have a small mountain of laundry to be done.  I feel like a frog trying to hop out of a well.  For every two hops closer to the top I get during the day I slip back another three at night.  Same goes for the kitchen counters.  I cleaned them and had them clear three times this week with the most recent cleaning being Tuesday.  As I write this (Wednesday evening) the counters are cluttered with school papers, dishes that didn't make it into the dishwasher and other random items.  Believe it or not, I had a year or so when Madeline was in early elementary school years when my counters were mostly clear all of the time.  So while the laundry is piling up and the counters are hidden by clutter, I did succeed in taking care of these things multiple times this week even if they didn't stay done.

2.  While the baby napped on Tuesday morning I took care of Lent preparations.  The merciful cross is hung on the basement door, the flowers for the cross are punched out, the good deeds bean jar is set up (my idea of adding a St. Therese quote to the jar is on hold at the moment), and the Jesus Tree that I worked tirelessly on last Lent is hanging on the front door with a basket of ornaments waiting to be hung each day.  I feel like I really accomplished something tangible.

3.  I finished reading the book I started about two weeks ago.  Now I just need to find a few minutes to write a review for it.

4.  I took all three girls to get ashes this afternoon [Wednesday].  The outing made me ever more appreciative of Bryan attending Mass with us each week.  Katie had a semi-explosive diaper that couldn't wait, so I had no choice but to rush Katie to the restroom for a change.  I'm so thankful that I decided to take them to the prayer service instead of the Mass since Madeline was actually sitting with us.  Because she was sitting with us (this kid almost always altar serves) I was able to leave Ellie with her while I went to change Katie.  This was the first time I have had to change Katie in a public place (I usually opt to change her in the back of the van.).  I enjoyed the four year break from changing diapers in public bathrooms.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Chubby Baby

I took Katie to her four month well visit this morning.  My little butter ball now weighs in at 15lbs 10oz and is 24 1/4 long.  She has more than doubled her weight in four months.  I love her adorable chubby arms and legs.  Those little rolls have to be one of the sweetest things on a little baby.

Katie was given five different vaccines today so she was pretty sleepy most of today.  I'm sure having that many shots in a single day can make you feel pretty bad.  Hopefully by tomorrow she'll be feeling a bit better.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

 Katie's first St. Valentine's day.  
The girls showing off their ashes.  Madeline wanted to know why she had more ashes than her sisters.  Madeline had a cross, Ellie had a vertical line and Katie had three or four specks of ash in her hair.  If I hadn't been holding Katie when the deacon placed the ash on her I seriously would have questioned whether or not she had any.
 For the life of me I can't recall what Ellie was playing with when I snapped this picture, but I know she was happy that she could smell the chocolate pound cake baking in the oven on Sunday night.
 Bryan was showing Katie pictures on the iPhone on Sunday night and we discovered that our four month old knows how to flip through the pictures.

 Katie vegging out in the high chair makes me laugh.  The look on her face combined with her cute little bare feet sticking out just makes me want to scoop her up and squeeze this chubby little cutie.
 I love the funny little look on Katie's face in this picture.
Ellie was working on some math skills on IXL.  I was struck by how she looks like a mini me sitting on the couch using my laptop.
round button chicken

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Funny Side of Nursing Katie

While browsing on Facebook earlier today I stumbled on this funny little drawing and poem that describes my little nursling's side preference perfectly.

If you've ever had a baby with a definite side preference you'll likely find this as amusing as I did.  What makes this even more funny to me is the fact that Katie is a right sided child.  Ellie was, too.  Madeline on the other hand was a lefty lover.  Aren't you all glad you know this?   I've never had to resort to "teddy-bear augmentation" but I have wondered if the lopsidedness is easily noticed by others.  I imagine that if it is people choose not to point it out.  I really don't know what I would say or how I would react if someone thought it was ok to mention it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 28

For some reason my house simply won't stay clean.  Bryan says it's because we live here, but I'm not buying it.  He says messes are to be expected when you live in a house with three kids, but I'm not about to give up on having an immaculately kept home.  Eventually it will happen and stay that way.
I just realized tonight that I've only blogged once since last Friday, not counting this particular post.  I guess the days are getting away from me.
I stopped at the Amish market this morning and got myself two jelly donuts.  It's been one of those weeks that made today a two jelly donut kind of day.
Bryan and I had to go to a meeting for Madeline's travel soccer team this evening.  Not only was the meeting a huge waste of time, but it further solidified my feelings that I do not want my child playing for this inconsiderate, condescending, pompous man. (<-This is me being very nice.)  Bryan is pursuing alternate training for Madeline so she will easily be able to find a place on a travel team at another club in the fall. She will be trying out at a few different clubs this Spring.   I'm quite livid that her Thursday night practices have also had the time changed to coincide with her religious ed class.  Guess which one has priority? If you guessed soccer you need to guess again.
It appears that Lent is creeping up on me.  I had meant to do a Lent post, but I simply haven't had the time.  It seems like I spend most of my time holding Katie, feeding her, changing her and cleaning up messes from explosive spit up.  She's certainly keeping me busy!  I haven't even had time to figure out what I'm giving up for Lent.  I've considered giving up coffee or candy, but I'm not sure the kids or I will survive if I do that.  I'm sure I'll figure it out.
My mom and dad got hooked on Boardwalk Empireafter my oldest brother gave them a promo copy of episode one that the casino he works for was giving out.  My brothers, Bryan and I all like the show, but I think it's a bit too raunchy for my mom, not to mention the language.  Bryan and I are really surprised that my mom wants to see more after watching the first episode.  Even my other brother was surprised that my mom watched it considering how easily she is offended.  I think she's willing to look past all the language, violence, and nudity because it's about Atlantic City and the surrounding areas.  My parents live about 15 minutes away from A.C.  

Katie is now four months old.  I intended to write up a post about her yesterday, but I got caught up in several other things and never got around to it.  Perhaps I'll get around to it later this weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Small Successes-February 16th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. Bryan and I went out to lunch on Sunday with no kids.  Prior to that it had been four months since we were able to go to a restaurant kid-free.  My mom and dad had a good time watching all three girls so it was a win-win situation.  Too bad the food left much to be desired.

2. I have almost finished reading the book I started about a week ago. With baby in the house reading a book has become quite the challenge.  I suppose it will be a while before I have the luxury of reading an entire non-children's book in the span of a day or two again.

3. I made a lot of progress this week with planning for this year's VBS program.  I had a productive meeting with the arts and crafts leader and mapped out what the kids will do this year.  I'm very excited about the crafts.  I think the kids will love them.  Yesterday I sat down with the director of religious ed and got my preliminary plans for the program, crafts and snacks approved.  Oh, and I also found time on Monday to actually put the plans into a format that is not my head.  I also recruited a volunteer to make cupcakes for the children one day.  Yay!

4. Bryan and I made the decision to pursue enrolling our girls in the local parish school.   I registered them this afternoon and will wait to see if they are accepted.  Madeline has a very good chance of getting in, and Ellie is first on the second grade waiting list.  At the very least I hope that Madeline gets accepted. (It all depends on space and the academic needs of the current class.)  We should know something in the next few weeks.  I'm praying that a spot opens up for Ellie as well.  I was told by the advancement director that if we had registered 15 days ago she likely would have been accepted.  Sigh.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 27

It's been a few weeks since I've done a quick takes post.  I had things I wanted to write but simply never found the time.

I'm making time for myself to read.  I have a large stack of review books that I'm fairly certain I'll never have time to read.  I'm in the middle of reading The Saints in My Lifeat the moment.  I'm really enjoying this book and hope to review it soon.  
Katie will be four months old in less than a week.  I'm amazed at how quickly the past third of a year has  zipped along.  Sometime in the next week or two Katie will get to step into the world of food.  I picked up a box of rice cereal the other day and decided to start stocking up on baby food when I was at Target this morning.  I've noticed over the past couple weeks that Katie moves her hands to her mouth when she sits in the high chair and watches us eat.  She'll also try to pull herself towards your fork it you eating while she's in your lap.  I think she's interested in finding out what the food thing is all about.
I have my suspicions that Katie is going to be a blonde.  Her hair has been falling out like crazy the past week, and very fine, fair hair is growing in.  This happened with Ellie around about the same age and her brown hair faded [fell out] as the blonde hair grew in.  Madeline, on the other hand, never lost her hair as a baby, with the exception of the hair on her ears which I have always called bat hair [no idea why I call it that].
My sewing machine has been sitting out in the dining room for almost a full week and I haven't gone crazy.  Usually I can't stand to have it out longer than the amount of time it takes for me to complete a project, but I have other things I'd like to make.  Maybe sometime this weekend I'll find the time to make a few of the things I have on my list.
I realized last night that Ellie is a really good reader.  I took an approach of having her read the same stories several times in a week vs. reading a particular book only once every few weeks and it's made a big difference in her fluency not to mention comprehension.  Basically, I learned from my mistakes with Madeline, applied a new approach and am amazed at the difference.  Ellie breezes through the highest level of Clifford phonics readerslike nobody's business.  She also tears through the CHC Little Stories for Little Folks books.   In fact, I was surprised when she came home from school with a Junie B. Jones book and was sitting on the couch reading it.  I don't like Junie B. at all, but I was amazed that Ellie was already reading a chapter book.  She was even able to tell me a little about the story.
It's been well over a month now and eating at home is working out quite nicely for us.  I still haven't gotten over how much cheaper it is to eat at home vs. take out and dining out.  I went to the grocery store yesterday to buy a single tomato and decided to grab a few other items.  I ended up leaving the store with many of the key ingredients for several meals for next week's dinners for far less than the cost of one dinner at a restaurant.  I'm absolutely struck by how much money we could have saved over the past eleven years if we had been smarter about eating at home instead of going out to eat.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review: The Sacred Heart For Lent

When it comes to Lent having a book with daily meditations has become a must have item for me.  I like books of that nature because they do a good job at centering my focus on Lent.  This year Fr. Williams' The Sacred Heart for Lent will be the book that will accompany me through Lent.

I was intrigued by this book when I initially picked it up.  I'm aware of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but I'm not particularly familiar with it.  After reading through several of the meditations in this book I found my self drawn to it and wanting to know more about the Sacred Heart devotion.

The book is very simple in it's format. For every day there is a scripture entry, followed by a reflection and a short prayer focused on the Sacred Heart.  The reflections in this book really resonated with me.  After reading just a few of the daily reflections I knew I had found the book I wanted for Lent.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who's looking for a good Lenten read that will encourage you to take a better look at yourself and also draw you closer to the Sacred Heart.

I was provided with a review copy of The Sacred Heart for Lentby the publisher, Servant Books, in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Rediscover Lent

As Lent rapidly approaches, I've been paging through a few books focused on Lent to decide what I'll be reading.  One of the books to hit my review pile is Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Lent.  This particular book is focused on inspiring you to come to know your Catholic faith better.

Like many Lenten books, Rediscover Lent has a section for each day of Lent.  For people like me who like to devour books, a format such as this forces the reader to take things slowly and ruminate the message for each day.  Each daily entry contains scripture readings (you'll need your bible for these), a reflection, a meditation and a prayer.  Using this book as a daily Lenten resource will require about ten minutes of your time, but you may find yourself pondering the daily meditation throughout the day.

Overall, I think this is a decent book and I most certainly would have been turning to this book throughout Lent if I hadn't found a different book that resonated with me better.

I was provided with a review copy of Rediscover Lent by the publisher, St. Anthony Messenger Press in exchange for my honest review.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.


 My pretty baby loves to be held by her daddy.

My first attempt at making a quilt.  I wasn't sure about putting these fabrics together at first, but I think they go nicely.

The top of Katie's shirt is pretty soaked, but I liked how nicely what she was wearing went with the colors of the quilt.


 This goofy girl has been obsessed with chopsticks since we got take out from a local Japanese/Chinese restaurant.  She wanted to learn how to use them after being thoroughly impressed that her daddy could use them to eat sushi.

She's happily trying to catch a goldfish or two.

The girls had off from school last Friday so Ellie asked her big sister to draw her a chalice and host like the one on the candy moldshe found on the kitchen counter.

Katie is quite happy with the crinkly ribbon tag square I made for her.  It's one of only a few toys that she genuinely seems to like.

Look at that, I made it into another picture.  Bryan's still not used to taking pictures with the new lens

Sometimes happy little smiles turn into goofy faces in a split second.


Madeline loves picking up Katie and carrying her around.  Katie, however, does not always have the utmost confidence in her big sister.  I think her expressive eyebrows say it all.

Minutes after Katie rolled over for the first time she tried again, but her arm kept getting in the way.  Look at how her left leg and hip are off the ground.

She didn't like that Bryan, Madeline and I (Ellie was still at school) were standing around her waiting for her to roll again.  

round button chicken

Small Successes-February 9th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up...

1. Madeline achieved straight A's on her report card for the second marking period in a row.  She also is over halfway through the school year and has perfect attendance thus far.  No child of mine has ever made it this far into the school year without missing a single day.  Call me odd, but I'm more excited about the perfect attendance than the report card grades.  Ellie also had a very good report card and although she missed a few days at the beginning of the year she had perfect attendance for the second marking period.

2.  Katie rolled over from front to back all by herself on Wednesday afternoon.  She surprised herself and me.  I had turned away for a second to put the wipes and changing pad away and as I was turning back I saw the tail end of her rolling over.  I guess it won't be long before she's mobile.

3. I made my very first quilt this week.  Since I began sewing I have wanted to make a quilt but have been intimidated at the prospect of doing so.  I decided to start with something small and made a baby size quilt to use as a playmat for Katie.  Not only does Katie really seem to like the colors, she also decided to roll over for the first time while on the quilt.

4. The vast majority of the laundry is done.  I have several loads that need to be folded, but the clothes are clean and that's really all that matters to me at the moment.  A living room covered in clean laundry is far better than a mountain of dirty clothes in the basement.

5. It's been 5 months, but my engagement ring finally fits on my finger again.  I'm amazed that it took nearly four months after having Katie for my ring to fit again. I forced managed to fit my wedding band on a few days before Katie's baptism back in November and was beginning to think I'd never get both rings on.  I'm happy that I no longer have to freak out [for a split second] that I lost my ring every time I look down at my hand.
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