Thursday, March 29, 2012

Small Successes-March 29th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. We survived Bryan's week long business trip.  It was a challenge, but I got through it.  That doesn't mean I don't want to go somewhere and scream [Katie's napping at the moment] after just finding out that Bryan will be going on another business trip the week after Easter. Sigh.

2.  Easter eggs and baskets are stuffed and filled.  I'm amazed that I have it all done already.  All I will have to do after the Easter Vigil is hide 30 eggs (ten per kid) and put the baskets out on a table or couch.  I feel so organized in spite of the fact that I still have roughly 1,000 other things that need to be done.

3.  Laundry is under control.  I even put away all the piles of clothes that were accumulating in my bedroom.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 31

Just when I was beginning to lament the fact that I had no one to pass some of Katie's outgrown clothes to, I found out a friend is expecting a little girl in three months.  I had tried to give some of her things to Ellie's old soccer coach who is expecting twins (boy and girl) but they said they were already overloaded.  Since we don't know what the future holds, I'm keeping most of Katie's outgrown things, but I'm trying to only keep a reasonable amount of clothing because we simply have more than one baby really can use.  I don't know if we'll have another some day and if we did, there's no guarantee that we'd have another girl [of course, I'd bet on it if I were a betting gal].
It's Friday.  In less than 24 hours we'll hear the garage door open and Bryan will be walking through the kitchen door.  I still have to get through the rest of today, but it looks like I survived Bryan's business trip.
Bryan spent two nights with one of my best friends and her boyfriend.  On Tuesday they took him out to dinner, and last night they took him to Disneyland.  My friend works for Disney and she got him into the park.  So last night as I sat in the family room blogging Bryan texted me a few pictures from Disneyland along with updates about the rides he was going on.  I have to admit I had a twinge of jealousy when I got two pictures from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.  It's the ride I miss the most when I visit the Magic Kingdom.  It was one of my favorite rides for many years. 
I think we're almost set for Easter.  The girls all have Easter dresses.  I gave up on finding matching/coordinating dresses for the girls and decided to use one of the two dresses I had from Madeline and Ellie for her, and have Ellie wearing a dress Madeline wore three years ago that I still adore.  I found Madeline's dress over at Kohls earlier this week and found a sweater that matches perfectly at Justice yesterday.  Now I just need to get shoes for them and we're good.  I also have everything we need for Easter baskets and our little egg hunt.  I hope to fill the eggs and the baskets next week so I don't have to worry about them.  I'm tired of rushing to get things done late on Holy Saturday after the Easter Vigil.
I ran out of my cereal yesterday morning and didn't realize that I didn't have more in the cabinet until very late last night.  I wound up stopping by the Amish market for some of their yummy jelly sticks.  They're pretty much the same as their awesome jelly donuts only with double the jelly.  I got myself three of them.  That should see me through until tomorrow morning.
The more I thought about Madeline's current situation over at the middle school the more I began to worry that the bullying wasn't necessarily coming from another child, but rather an adult.  After having a conversation with someone that "never happened" my suspicions were confirmed and I was armed with the information and buzz words I needed to have Madeline transferred to another homeroom.  Starting Monday, I hope to see a child who is no longer feeling sick regarding school.
Would you believe these "Quick Takes" took me a little over five hours to compile?  I started these a little after 7:20 this morning and now it's almost 1pm.  Perhaps I should call them Slow Takes.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.  Or in the case of this week, the fleeting moments of sanity brought to me by the wonderful world of apple devices, baby naps and the exersaucer.

Katie's eyes remind me of Ellie's in this picture.  Sweet little one has no idea that Daddy is about leave for a week.


Katie's happy little face makes me think of the children in the "It's a Small World" ride in Disney World. They could pop her into one of the scenes and she'd fit in just fine.

Funny faces from a Daddy who is on the opposite coast can make for a happy baby.

When I put Katie down for a nap and she fussed until she had her foot in her hand I just knew I needed to run and grab the camera.  I've never seen a baby sleep like this before.

Bryan likes to jump on hotel beds when he's away to make the kids laugh.  Katie was not impressed.  If her older sisters were at home they would have been very amused.

Do you see what that cute baby is doing?  Out of nowhere she grabbed two fistfuls of my hair and yanked as hard as she could with her slobber covered hands.  Bryan proceeded to tell me what she had just done, because you know,  I must not have been able to feel that!
round button chicken

Small Successes-March 22nd


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I'm surviving while Bryan is away on his week long business trip.  My moments of feeling like I'm going to go totally insane have, thankfully, been fewer than I expected, but still, I am feeling quite stretched and exhausted.  I am so grateful for friends who have been happy to help out and give Madeline and Ellie rides to and from soccer practices.  One friend even made sure Ellie got her homework done.  Wednesday was a particularly hectic day.  Not only did I have to run Madeline over to the parish school for her second day of shadowing, but the girls also had choir practice followed by Ellie's soccer practice which just happens to coincide with the exact time of the Mass I've been going to on Wednesday nights.  Let's just say the soccer coach knew Wednesday was already a busy day in our house and he decided to proceed with Wednesday practices.  I suppose he thinks I'm super woman or something.

2. On Saturday I made a loaf of Irish soda bread.  I was pretty surprised that both of the girls and Bryan all liked it.

3.  I haven't had time to blog about it, but I think I have finally learned that I MUST WATCH WHAT I SAY AROUND MY CHILDREN.  On a positive note, thanks to something that was said to me when I went to confession [again] this past Saturday "Careful what you say...children will listen" I was made aware of the musical Into the Woods.

4.  Just when I was beginning to wonder if my ten year old might one day be a Psycho Killer [Qu'est que c'est]* I ran into someone who had some more insight to the almost week old story and found that the incident in question was what she believed to be someone pushing my daughter to her breaking point.  Thank God!  I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me.

5. I folded the laundry this afternoon so my mom wouldn't think the house was incredibly messy.  I also cleaned the powder room, and the kitchen counter tops.  Katie graciously granted me about two hours in the middle of the day to allow me to accomplish it all.

*Ok, two things 1. I've had the song stuck in my head since Friday afternoon. 2. I don't really think she'll be a psycho killer someday, but I do wonder when her conscience will start firing on all cylinders.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.


The outfit may be questionable, but there's no doubting that Madeline is growing up to be quite a pretty young lady.

I love Ellie's expression in this picture.

I just love the pictures I get of this girl on her changing table.


Katie was belly laughing as she experienced her first go on the swing set.

They don't look too happy today, but I'm sure as soon as the sun comes out our first daffodils of the spring will look quite happy.  I didn't expect to see these sunny little flowers so soon.


Goofy baby playing with her feet on her silly daddy's lap.

Can she be any happier as she laughs at us?  I told Bryan if I take one more picture of Katie on this changing pad I'm going to throw it away.  I'm sick of the ugly blue changing pad making its way into most of my pictures.  Maybe I need to make a pretty changing pad.


Babies don't necessarily like it when you take them out on a bright sunny day to take pictures.  Madeline and Ellie give me the same look when I take pictures of them with the sun in their eyes.  Maybe some day I'll learn to have better timing with these types of things.  Taking pictures outside at noon was probably not my brightest idea, then again, maybe that's the problem, it was too bright.  Forgive my feeble attempt at being punny.

Four and a half years ago a two year old Ellie helped me plant about forty flower bulbs around a tree on our lawn that had to be knocked down to make way for the heavy machinery when we put in a pool nearly four years ago.  The flowers only bloomed under the tree for one spring.  Each year since we find some random flowers that sprout up.  This year it looks like we have crocuses and tulips.

round button chicken

Small Successes-March 15th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. Laundry is under control.  Mostly everything is washed, folded and put away with the exception of clothes tossed down the basement steps last night and this morning.

2. I managed to keep Ellie quiet for 45 minutes while I stood in line for confession on Saturday.  Katie was kind enough to sleep the entire time.  Oh, and Ellie didn't run off or freak out when she had to stand outside the confessional by herself for a few minutes.  It's amazing what a bribe of a donut and and happy meal will do.

3. Almost all of the 3-6 month clothing has been removed from Katie's drawers and closet and replaced with 9 and 6-12 month clothing.  I'm stunned that she's filling out 6-12 month clothing like it won't fit in another couple of months.  Slow down, baby girl!  Oh and thanks to the amazing generosity of friends who have given us hand me downs, coupled with my inability to part with about 14 of the older girl's 6-12 month dresses, I will be returning most of the spring/summer clothes I brought for Katie.  Seems like every time I buy her clothes I wind up returning them because we simply don't need them.  I like shopping for her, but I'm not going to complain about having loads of adorable hand me downs to use.

4.  I'm hanging on to my sanity despite the fact that all three of my girls are outgrowing their clothes at the same time.  Madeline and Ellie are perfectly content to try and squeeze themselves into clothes that don't fit anymore.  I'm working to remove clothes from Ellie's line-up when I notice they are too tiny.  I then take the snug clothes that Madeline has been clinging to and put them in Ellie's room. Neither of them are happy that I keep taking away clothes that don't fit.  Soon I will start the painful process of sorting through outgrown clothes and deciding what to keep and what to give away.  I simply can't hang on to all of Ellie's outgrown clothes for six years.  Hanging on to hand me downs for 3-4 years is bad enough.  If I don't start to select only a week or two of outfits to save from each size I will soon be featured on that hoarder's show.

5.  I had a very productive morning today.  I dropped Ellie off at school and then stopped by Target to get my Starbucks fix.  Then, I went to the craft store to pick up the VBS order, which I promptly dropped off to my arts and crafts coordinator.  After that, I stopped by the parish office to drop off my VBS receipts for reimbursement.  I even got to taste the yummy Irish soda bread that a friend had made and posted on Facebook.  I can't wait until she gives me the recipe so I can make it.  I'm amazed at how much I managed to do in two hours.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Downton Geekery

On Sunday, Bryan and I took the girls to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The girls run hot and cold with regards to visiting the museum.  One day they love it there and then all of the sudden they don't like the museum and it's boring.  I love going there and I Bryan enjoys it, too.  He and I differ in what art we like, but typically we can find something we like in whatever wing it was that we didn't want to visit.

We wandered into a wing that was a bit more modern (modern being 1700-1800's) that I'm sort of iffy about.  I like the English manor rooms, but I'm more impressed with the wing on the opposite side of the museum.  As we wandered through the rooms, I saw a plaque that stated the picture above was of Lady Grantham.  What?!  So I did what any self-respecting Downton Abbey fan would do.  I grabbed out my phone and snapped a picture.  And now, I'm sharing it with you.  Sure, this Lady Grantham is from an earlier date in history, but you won't mind.

Not only did the girls enjoy this latest trip to the museum, [Katie was largely unimpressed but she just doesn't know any better.] but I also found a nod to a favorite show.  And I thought the hidden Mickey that I spotted on an altar screen was cool.  I had no idea what was waiting for me just across the way.
Hidden Mickey is dead center above the peak.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marital Life Lesson

When your husband has shaving cream on his face and you hear the water running in the sink, it is not a good time to smack him in the butt.  Why, you ask?  Well, as obvious as this may appear to more observant people [self not included], chances are your husband DID NOT put shaving cream on his face to brush his teeth.  If you hear running water and you just watched your husband put on shaving cream you can probably expect him to pull out a sharp razor [I vaguely recall seeing him replace this just before he went to "brush his teeth"].  Fortunately for Bryan my total lapse of brain activity did not result in an injury.  I think he's often amazed at how quickly I can forget what is going on around me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 30


I've come to the conclusion that I don't like when my babies start to get big.  I spent some time last night going through 6-12 month hand me downs for Katie.  How is my baby who is not even five months old yet moving into 6-12 month clothing?  And, where did the last five months go?  Katie was due exactly five months ago today.  Of course, she decided to take her sweet time and arrive a week later.
Yesterday was a beautiful, but windy day.  It was so warm out that our house was 76 degrees by around noon.  Windows are rarely open in our house, but yesterday they were open for the majority of the day.  It was warm enough that some of my crocuses bloomed.

Two weeks of wearing a sneaker did not cure the problem with my foot. Why am I not surprised? I took the advice of a friend and saw a chiropractor today.  Maybe now I'll start to see some improvement with my foot.
It's a Friday, and true to form I've been thinking about meat and cheese all day.  I don't know what it is about Fridays in Lent, but knowing that I can't eat meat makes me want it.  It's odd considering I rarely ever eat meat on Fridays.
I cannot get Katie to belly laugh for me.  She laughs at Bryan, but not me.  I guess I'm just not funny enough for her.
Tomorrow is going to be a soccer filled day.  Madeline has training in the morning, followed by an afternoon away game.  Bryan has a soccer coach meeting for Ellie's team in between Madeline's soccer obligations.  
We went to Target tonight and Bryan suggested we look for meal ideas that don't have cheese.  That was  probably not the best idea.  I found myself drawn to meal after meal that contained cheese.  I guess I miss cheese more than I thought. 

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Visit Soule Mama to see more moments.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.


A cute baby wearing a dress that once fit both of her big sisters.

Ellie was one happy helper last Thursday night when she was entrusted with the important task of making sure none of the fries overlapped or touched.  She was my fry girl.


Some of us can stick our foot in our mouth without even trying [figuratively speaking], but for others, this task requires considerable effort.  

Ellie is trying to bond with Katie.  Lately she's been avoiding the rest of the family at night preferring to go off into a dark room and sleep.  She's having a hard time adjusting to having a baby sister.  She's feeling jealous and I think, a little depressed.  It's taking a good deal of effort to help Ellie cope with the new family dynamic. 

I don't like seeing my Elsie looking so glum.  I'm hopeful that she will return to her happy-go-lucky self sometime soon.  

round button chicken

I Found My Old Blog!

Shortly before Ellie turned one year old I started a blog.  After the first blog post, I couldn't figure out how to get back into the blog and it took me a bit of time before I found my way back.  After I got back in, I once again forgot how to log into it and so my little fledgling blog was abandoned.  Three years ago when I decided to give blogging a try once more I couldn't find my original blog.  I was disappointed because I had like the blog's not incredibly creative name "The Adventures of Madeline and Ellie."  So I decided that I would shake things up and start a new blog with the innovative and uber creative title that you see above. (Proof that I'm not as creative as some people might claim.)

I was looking for excuses to not fold the laundry had a few spare minutes today and decided to use the google machine to search for my abandoned blog.  It wasn't until I used the title of the blog and the year it was written that I was able to find it.  I kept getting all these pesky returns for some blog called Karen's Adventures in Mommyland.  Apparently this hack of a blogger has two kids who she claims have the same names as my girls.  She even calls her baby Elsie! Oh wait, I'm talking about myself again, never mind.

While my original blog is only two posts long, I still enjoyed looking back on it to see where I was nearly six years ago.  Now I have to try and see if I can get back into this blog and find a way to merge the posts onto this one.

Small Successes-March 8th


Celebrating the little things in life that add up.

1. I finally folded and packed Katie's outgrown 0-3 month clothes into a rubbermaid tote for storage.  These clothes have been sitting in my living room, mostly unfolded and overflowing the tote since early January.  My motivation for packing away the clothes is the simple fact that Katie is outgrowing a lot of her 3-6 month clothing.

2. I tried another new recipe for dinner this week.  It was delicious and liked by everyone, even Ellie!  I know Bryan is already looking forward to the next time I make rosemary lemonade chicken.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and seasoned the chicken with rosemary from my garden.

3. I took Katie to Mass all by myself last night.  It's ok, you can take a moment to stop, scratch your head and try to figure how a mom of three sees taking a baby to Mass by herself as an accomplishment.  This was the first time I didn't have someone else with me to operate as an alternate source of amusement.  She did just fine.  No wailing or crying.

4. Ellie came home with a very nice progress report for the third marking period.

5. I finally wrote up a couple of reviews that I've been meaning to do.  You can find them here and here.

6. Katie not only belly laughed for the first time early this week, but she also managed to put her foot in her mouth on Tuesday night.  She was so happy once she got her toes in her mouth.  She's such a silly baby.  This girl LOVES her feet!  She spends a lot of time holding her toes or just looking at her foot move.  She's fascinated by them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Movie Review: Brother Francis The Rosary

Brother Francis Online
Over the past several months my six year old has been enjoying the third episode in the Brother Francis series, The Rosary.  In this latest episode of Brother Francis, young viewers are introduced to the rosary.

Just like the other Brother Francis episodes, this latest DVD is filled with catchy songs and lots of colorful imagery. Children are introduced to the prayers of the rosary.  Many of the prayers are presented in catchy songs that little ones will find fun.  Brother Francis explains the concept of the rosary in a way that will make sense to children.

This episode is a bit different from the structure of the first two.  My six year old pointed out that this one didn't do a saint story like the other two did.  I had to explain to her that our Blessed Mother is a saint, and this entire episode was essentially all about her and Jesus.  This episode clearly has more of a focus on prayer, than the previous ones.

All mysteries of the rosary are explained.  The joyful mysteries are presented in more detail than the other three sets.  The luminous, sorrowful and glorious mysteries get a very brief run down, but the pictorial representation for each of these mysteries lay the groundwork for your child to ponder the mystery and ask questions.

Overall, I think this latest episode of Brother Francis is yet another winner.  It is perfect for introducing young children to the rosary.  I think it would easily appeal to children between the ages of 2-8. This DVD would be a great way to introduce the rosary to a religious education class with children ranging from preschool through second grade.  Brother Francis gets my six year old's stamp of approval and my recommendation.

I was provided with a review copy of Brother Francis: The Rosary by Herald Entertainment in exchange for my honest review.  Visit Brother Francis online to purchase or see previews of this episode.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Milestone!

It seems that Katie is hitting milestones all over the place these days.  She's been trying out different foods over the past week.  About two weeks ago she discovered that playing with her feet is great fun, and today she had her first belly laugh.

I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready tonight and Bryan was playing with the baby in the family room.  He was acting goofy (it's not a stretch, really) and all of a sudden that adorable belly laugh sound that only little babies can make started coming from that room.

Bryan was able to get her to laugh a few times, but so far I have been unsuccessful in getting her to laugh.  I guess I have some work to do tomorrow!

Book Review: The Saints In My Life

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading Fr. Groeschel's book, The Saints In My Life.  In this book Fr. Groeschel introduces us to some of his favorite saints.  In all, you'll read about nineteen saints who all have left a lasting impression on him.

To date, every book I've ever read by Fr. Groeschel has had the ability to captivate me.  He really has a gift for telling a story.  In this particular book he tells us how he came to know each saint and how they've influenced or inspired him.  He also gives a short history of each saint.  Many of the saints are well known favorites, but Fr. Groeschel weaves in some lesser known details about many of the saints for added interest.

I found this book to be quite good.  When I came to the end I found myself wanting to read more--it was that good.  If you are looking for an enjoyable book on a handful of saints, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company.  Visit The Catholic Company for more information on The Saints In My Life.  They are also a great source for baptism gifts and first communion gifts.

I was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Techie Baby

It appears that Katie is a girl after her daddy's heart.  A couple weeks ago Katie discovered that she could flip through pictures on Bryan's iPhone.  Anytime Bryan is holding her and he pulls out his phone she will reach out for it and try to swipe at the screen.  I've uploaded a few free Fisher Price apps for her on my iPad and she seems to enjoy tapping on the screen, but she's certainly more interested in flipping through pictures of people she knows.

On Saturday night at Mass, we discovered just how ingrained technology is in her life at just four months old.  She started to reach for Ellie's Magnifikid.  Bryan held it up for her and that's when we realized that she thinks that books will change when you tap them.  She was quite concerned when the pictures didn't change no matter how much she swiped at them.  It made me realize that I need to read more books to her.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quick Takes Volume 29

I'm working very hard at being organized at the moment.  Organization has become a major focus of mine over the past week or so.  That's not to say that I wasn't organized, before.  I've always been pretty well organized, but lately I've come to realize that I need even more organization in various areas of my life if I'm going to continue to juggle everything that needs to be done.
Meal planning for dinner is getting easier.  It's hard to believe it's been two months since we started this eating at home initiative.  So far things are going well.  The girls are coming to grips with the reality that copious amounts of take out and dining out simply aren't going to happen anymore.  Madeline has accepted that she is expected to eat the food we make for dinner.  Ellie, on the other hand, is having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I am no longer making special dinners for her when we're serving something she doesn't like.  I'm all about streamlining things these days and making multiple dinners takes time I don't have.
Planning ahead is taking the last minute stress off of me with regards to holidays.  I have been systematically checking off the items on my list of things I need to buy for Easter.  At this point I have most of the candy and Easter goodies that we'll need.  Best of all, I'm ahead of the deadline I set for starting to get these items.
Now that it's March I'm getting a bit more serious about planning for this year's VBS program.  I spent part of this morning and afternoon sending out emails to last year's volunteers.  I would have loved to just send out one mass email, but I learned from last year that people don't respond to mass emails. I seem to have better luck with personally reaching out to people, so I have decided to take that route.  Thus far, things look like they're coming together well.  This past Sunday I met with my friend who is heading up the program's arts and crafts and we purchased a good bit of what we need.  I'll be ordering the rest of the non-food items that we need this weekend.  I'm thrilled at how well things are coming together.
It looks like Madeline will be going to our parish school next year.  We got a letter in the mail the other day regarding our registration.  To complete admission she needs to spend two days at the school later this month.  Ellie, on the other hand, is first on the waiting list for second grade.  All the current 1st graders are coming back at the moment.  I'm hopeful that a spot will open up for her.  I'd very much like to have both girls in the same school.  Life will be a bit easier if both girls are on the same school schedule.  Not to mention, we would also get a bus.  The thought of possibly not having the baby's nap time interrupted for after school pick up makes me very excited.  
The spring soccer season begins for Madeline tomorrow afternoon.  I'm already ready for it to be over.  We're not happy with her current coach and are looking forward to getting these next eight games out of the way.

I think Katie is close to cutting a tooth.  I noticed yesterday that there's a spot on her bottom gums that is very swollen.  It looks like she's going to get a lateral incisor before she gets the central incisors.  I'm just praying when she gets this tooth she doesn't start chomping away on me.  She rarely takes a bottle, so I'm likely going to be her victim.  I still have bad memories of the few brutal bites I got from Ellie.  I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't petrified of baby teeth.

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