Friday, February 28, 2014

Quick Takes: A Blur of a Week

This week feels like it flew by, even though most of the days felt pretty long.
The baby is moving around a lot these days.  I think he must be starting to feel a bit cramped in there based on some of the movements.  Let me just say that it's really uncomfortable to have someone playing with the inside of your hip for a good portion of the day.
Can you believe that Lent is less than a week away?  I haven't the slightest idea what I'm going to give up or take on for Lent.  Last year we gave up all eating out and I took on going to daily Mass 2-3 times a week.  I've thought about giving up FaceBook like I did when I was pregnant with Katie but I'm not sure if I'll do that or not.  And as far as taking something on, I have no idea what to do.
I'm beginning to think there's no way I'm going to be able to handle a double stroller.  They're all so heavy (even the lightweight ones) and bulky.  I'm really interested in the Joovy Caboose Ultralight but none of the baby stores around here sell them.  It seems like it's something that I'd have to order online. I prefer to test drive strollers before I buy them so I'm not sure what to do.

After washing and setting up the nursery bedding, I decided to wash some of the blankets I bought for the baby.  I'm really looking forward to using these muslin swaddling blankets.  They seem like they'll be great nursing cover ups as well as nice lightweight blankets for the summer months.  I don't know how I never heard of these blankets when I was pregnant with Katie.

Madeline and Ellie went over to their friends' house this afternoon.  So Bryan, Katie and I went out to dinner while they were gone.  The girls had such a good time with their friends that they didn't seem too upset that we went out to eat without them.
I decided to go ahead and buy Easter candy while I was at the store today.  I have a note on my weekly planner to buy the candy two weeks before Easter, but I figured I'd be helping myself out by buying it now instead of waiting until I'm 35 weeks pregnant.  Of course, there's always the possibility that I will eat all of this candy before Easer rolls around.  If I open those bags I know that I'll be down to one bag of candy pretty quickly since I like everything that I picked up except for one bag of candy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Small Successes February 27th

Celebrating the little things in life that add up...
1. Yesterday morning I was pretty upset that the nursery bedding wasn't working on the crib right out of the package.  Nothing annoys me more than spending a nice amount of money on something (in this case an overpriced crib skirt) and then having to alter it.  I spent way too much time fretting and complaining about the crib skirt needing alterations yesterday afternoon.  Finally, after running it through the washer and dryer to see if it would shrink, I decided to try pinning it up to see if my thoughts on hemming from the top would work.  Washing it made the skirt lose 3/4 of an inch.  After I ironed it, I folded it up and under 1 1/2 inches (3 inches total) and pinned it into place.  After trying it out on the crib it was exactly where I wanted it and it was even all around.  I asked Bryan to lug my sewing machine from the laundry room and I decided I'd try to sew it.  Sometimes my machine likes to give me a hard time so I was preparing for a battle.  Fortunately the machine was already threadded with the color I wanted  andhad enough thread on the bobbin.  It probably took me 15 minutes total to sew all four sides and it came out looking just right.  Crisis averted.

2. The laundry is all caught up.  I spent a good amount of time on Monday and Tuesday getting the laundry situation under control.  Now, instead of having a mountain of laundry waiting for me every time I head into the laundry room I have just a few stray items that aren't enough to make a load sitting in a basket.  If I can stay on top of this it would be awesome.

3. My 30 week visit went really well today. The baby is head down and everything is looking good with him.  I still haven't actually written up my birth plan but I did go over my main points of concern with the doctor today.  He was just as receptive to what I want as the other doctors I've seen so far.  I also was telling him how I want out of the hospital ASAP after delivering the baby.  They're on board with discharing me within 6-8 hours after delivery provided we can get the pediatricians on board with letting the baby go home.  I called the peditrician's office today to see if we can set up a consult with the doctor we usually bring the girls to to see what he thinks.  The OB seems to think that as long as we have a plan in place to make sure the baby is brought in for the necessary bloodwork and is seen by the doctors the next day that we might be able to get out of the hospital quickly.  I can't express how much I don't even want to set foot in a hospital after my last hospital experience back in December.

4.  I organized a good portion of the basement last weekend.  I still have a lot to do down there but it's looking a lot better.

5.  It took about nine years, but we finally hung the Pooh Bear perpetual calendar that I bought before we moved to this house.  It looks nice on the family room wall.  (If I get a moment I'll update this with a picture.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nursery Decorating Woes

Now that it's been a week and a half since we moved Katie into her big girl room, I finally felt like I could go into the nursery and work on switching out the bedding.  I felt ill removing the perfect flower bedding that I had used for both Ellie and Katie.  I love this set and I was desperately hoping that this baby would be a girl so I could look at it for another two or three years.  So right off the bat I was setting myself up for an underwhelming experience.

Once I had all the girly bedding stripped away, I started to open up the boy alphabet bedding.  I put the pillow sham on our small Pottery Barn Kids pillow and was upset to see that it was huge on the pillow. So I went and checked the girly sham from PBK and saw that the dimensions on the tag were exactly the same as the new sham.  Odd.  The old one is a snug fit and this one is way too big.  Not a good start, but I told myself I could try to shrink it.

Then I pulled out the crib skirt.  I wasn't sure if I'd have to wash it first or not, but I knew either way, I'd have to iron it.  But first, I wanted to see how it fit on the crib.  I thought it was odd that the skirt was pooling on the floor so I checked to make sure I had it on properly and took a step back.  On the crib's lowest setting about 3-4 inches of fabric were on the floor on all three sides.  Seriously, how can this be?!  At this point I was on the verge of tears.

I went searching for a navy blue crib skirt that I have for my nephew's crib set and pulled that out.  I noticed the package said it had a 12 inch drop for the skirt.  So then I checked out the PBK one and see that it has a 16 inch drop.  I suspect it's just the perfect length for a Pottery Barn crib on the lowest mattress setting.  Had I been able to buy the crib skirt for Ellie's set 9 years ago (I believe it was either sold out or backordered.) I might have already known from experience that the skirt was going to be too long.  But since my mom made the skirt for that set I was blissfully unaware.

I'm tired and exhausted.  Naps don't happen for me at all thanks to a dog who barks when I try to sleep and a few other factors like me having to pick Ellie up at school when I would like to be sleeping.  I don't have the desire or the energy to alter a crib skirt for this new bedding set.

I sat on the nursery floor and cried for a bit.  Bryan offered to buy a new crib if that would solve the problem but I told him I didn't want it.  Then I decided to try the crib skirt from the girly set with the boy sheeting to see if I could live with it.  I thought it was a possibility until I added the baby blue mesh bumper.  I really dislike baby blue for boys and this was just too much.  I sent Bryan another text with a picture of that combination.  He suggested finding somethign that works, as in another bedding set.  No, I already brought wall decor that worked with this and my chances of finding something I like that goes with the wall color are slim to none.  I'm picky, and when it comes to decorating a nursery I have to have everything just so or I'll fixate on everything that is wrong.

I started to wonder what I'd have to do to make the crib skirt work.  I can't hem it from the bottom since it has a design and applique work at the bottom.  My only choice would be to hem it from the top.  After I had my little pity party and cried again about the bedding situation I put the skirt back on the bed and tucked about three or four inches under the mattress on one side.  That gave me the look I wanted.  So now I know what has to be done.  I either need to alter the crib skirt myself, or take it to a seamstress.  I'm not sure which option I'm going to go with at the moment.  I really don't want to get into a sewing project.

I talked to my mom and she suggested running it through the washer and dryer to see if it shrinks up a bit so that if I take on the alterations myself I don't find myself having to alter the crib skirt twice.  The bedding is in the wash right now and will be going in the dryer soon.  Here's hoping that it shrinks a bit.    If not, I will probably cry a bit more.

On the bright side, I do like the way the bedding looks and I think it goes nicely with the color of the room and the wall art I picked for the nursery.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ellie's Crazy Hair

This week Ellie's school is having "Anti Bullying Week" and each day has the kids either dressing up a certain way or something like that. Today she was supposed to dress up for career day.  When her original idea of PE teacher didn't work this morning she switched to dress pants and a nice shirt and decided to go to school as a teacher.  Quick, easy and done.

Tomorrow is crazy hair day.  We've done a few crazy hair days in the past and we usually are pretty tame with it.  Maybe one side is a braid and the other a pig tail or something like that.  This time we decided to add a little twist.

We went with a braid on one side which I was going to make look like a Kirsten from American Girl braid loop.  But then we were trying to figure out what to do with the other side.  We ended up doing a throw back to an old hair style I used to love on Ellie where she had two cute knots or "knotsies" as I used to call them until people thought my child was taking about Nazis when she was complimented on her hair.  Yes, you get strange looks when people ask if your four year old just said something about the Nazis and you try to explain that that's what you call her hair-do.

So here's the 360 of Ellie's crazy hair for tomorrow.  I'm assuming she might get some funny looks at Mass tomorrow morning.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Organization and Detachment

I think it's been about a year or two now that I have been wadering around the house complaining to Bryan that we have too much stuff.  This little fact becomes irritatingly evident when I walk into the basement and find a play room strewn with toys that are so plentiful that my children can't put any of them away.  Sometimes I try to walk away and ignore the mess and other times I hit the roof and go on a clean and purge rampage.

Bryan was in Vegas last week for a business trip and while he was gone I did my best to try and get the house clean.  The main level of the house looked pretty good when he got home around 1AM on Saturday.  Early Saturday morning I woke up pretty early and decided that I'd go and take care of the laundry and a few other things before anyone else was awake.  I was feeling pretty good about the main level of the house being nice and clean so I wasn't at all prepared for what was waiting for me down in the basement.  The playroom which my children assured me was clean and straightened for their dad's return home was not clean.  No, it looked like a bomb had hit that room.  At first I was just going to try putting some of the toys away, but the more I tried to straighten things, the angrier I was becoming.  This room, this total monstrosity littered with hundreds of choking hazards is where my two year old had spent hours playing with her sisters the night before.  The older girls know they can't have this room like this with a toddler in the house and yet here it was in all it's horrible scattered glory.

All over the place I was finding things that shouldn't be.  Legos were all over the floor.  A loose screw that had been knocked out of a rocking moose was just left on the floor.  Nerf darts were everywhere. Polly Pocket and her dimiutive accessories were all over the place and made me realize that like her friend Barbie, she and her friends had just earned the status of personna non grata.  Glass bowls that aren't even supposed to be in the basement were precariously perched in the most unlikely places.  Let's not forget the cache of dirty socks and candy wrappers that were also stashed all over the place.  I wanted to scream, but since everyone was sleeping and Bryan was jet lagged I didn't.  I went and grabbed a trash bag instead.

Like Barbie before her, Polly and all her friends were rounded up and stuffed into a zip lock bag destined to be donated.  I don't like to trash perfectly good toys just because my girls won't put them away.

Barbie was banished years ago, but I spared a few select dolls.  Since the great Barbie round up during Advent of 2011 I have had a take no prisoners policy with Barbie accessories and dolls that are left out where they do not belong.  They get picked up and tossed either in the trash or the donation pile.  At this point we have two Barbie cars, an Ariel doll, two or three outfits and a giant Little Tikes doll house.  I'm at the point now where I want to dismantle the doll house and put it in the attic or just sell it.

But back to the mountains of scattered toys.  I've come to realize that a big part of our problem is attachment.  I keep toys around because someone gave it as a gift and I know they spent a nice bit of money on it, or I keep them for sentimental reasons.  So while my kids are attached to some of these toys, I'm also attached to some of them.

I went through the toys on Saturday and decided that some things needed to be given away and other things need to be sold.  In all the years that we've been married, I've never once done a yard sale.  I've given away just about everything that we didn't want any more. But now with a new baby on the way I started thinking that perhaps some of the toys and baby gear that we don't need or want should be sold to help fund the things that we do need or want.

The basement essentially made me realize that keeping things for the sake of keeping them isn't working and only contributes to a horrible cycle of me freaking out about the messes the kids make.  If we don't have so many toys that they can't all be put away neatly then we won't have these cataclysmic messes.

So I started to look around and see how I might organize things better.  One thing that jumped out at me was the number of block containers that we have.  We had four bins of Duplo blocks, two huge containers of Mega Blocks, a stack of wood unit block sets, and more Lego containers than any family of ten ought to have (bearing in mind that we're a family of five with one on the way).  Madness.  Pure madness.  And then I realized that the manufacturer supplied containers, while they're very nice aren't practical when it comes to organizing and storing this products efficiently if you're like us and have thousands upon thousands of blocks in the house.  So I decided it was time to detach myself from original manufacture packaging.  It was time to face it, no one is ever going to say "Ooh, you have the Costco sized box of primary colored Mega Blocks from 2002!  Wow, that's worth a mint!"  Same goes for the 2003 container of Duplo blocks or even, the GASP, hard to find Mickey Mouse Duplo blocks that Katie just got for Christmas.  I decided to start out with a big clear (so I can see if the kids are stashing toys that don't belong) 66 qt container and see two sets of Mega Blocks would fit.  They did!  So that gave me the confidence to get another container the same size to consolidate all of the Duplo blocks into one bin, and two smaller ones to hold some of the girls Legos.  It really has made a big difference and I believe it is a big step in helping the girls get a handle on being able to put their toys away neatly.

I also thought about a post I recently saw on Like Mother, Like Daughter about a closet re-do that Auntie Leila did.  She brought up a lot of valid points with regards to stacking items and setting things up so you're not setting things up for failure.  So I took a look at the games in our under the stairs closet and the laundry room.  I decided to remove some games and toys that haven't been touched in years and likely won't be touched.  Games that I despise, like Pretty Pretty Princess, went into the donate pile.  And even games that I really like, such as Monopoly weren't safe.  I asked myself if I really "needed" five different versions of Monopoly.  After talking with Bryan I decided that I didn't and I chose two versions to keep.  I did the same with Candy Land.

I think with better organization and an increase in detachment things will bet better and my sanity will stay in tact.  At least I hope it will.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quick Takes: Oh what a week!

The baby presently has one godparent.  So the godfather has been picked, was asked and he said yes.  Now we have to decide who the godmother will be.  We have two people in mind and both would be solid choices.  I also started getting everything lined up for the baptism.  It will be sometime in June, possibly on the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua since he's the baby's patron saint.

I finally went and had the glucose tolerence test done on Tuesday.  I really dread that test because I can't stand having bloodwork done and I fear failing that test and having to go back and do the three hour test.  I pretty much fasted from sugary food the day before I had the bloodwork done to ensure that I didn't have super sugary blood.  I have a massive sweet tooth and pretty much live on sugary foods so I try to be conservative with the sugar for a day or two before doing this test.  I know too many people who have had to do the three hour glucose test because they indulged in cupcakes or some other sugary dessert the night before the test.

Bryan will be home late tonight.  He had a business trip out in Vegas this week.  Day one of his trip started off badly at home.  Katie decided that she wasn't going to sleep from about 3AM until after Bryan left.  I had to bring her into our bed in order to get her to go to sleep.  But I didn't get more than two hours of sleep total that night (even before she woke up).  I did really well not losing my patience with the kids until late evening when they decided that complaining about dinner followed by them carrying on like crazy people upstairs made me snap.  Thursday was a better day, or should I say started out as a better day.  Things were going well and I had a plan for the day but you know what they say about making plans if you want to make God laugh.  Or more specifically, if you want God to treat you like an ant under a magnifying glass,  go to Mass and tell Him you've had all you can handle for the time being and ask Him to ease up on you for a couple of days.  The response may very well be swift.  Shortly after 11 yesterday I got a call from the school nurse telling me Ellie collided with another student (stop me if this sounds like something that happened last year when Bryan was away on a business trip) and has quite the bump on her head and could possibly have a concussion.  So I did my best to not freak out.  I hauled Madeline and Katie over to the school to get Ellie and picked up my child with the giant purple Easter egg on her forehead.  On our way out the door I asked Madeline to hold Katie so I could breathe a little easier.  Instead of picking her up she let her go running out the door straight into a patch of ice where she promptly slipped, fell and whacked the back of her head.  Two head injuries for the price of one!  Fortunately, neither one of them has shown any signs of concussions thus far.  Ellie stayed home from school today so I could keep an eye on her in case she started to feel funny.  Katie seems perfectly normal and has no bumps or bruises on her head so I think she's fine.


That last take was big enough to be two so let's move on to the next one. But here's the picture I sent Bryan after I picked Ellie up from school yesterday morning. 


We moved Katie into her big girl bed on Saturday.  It's been disasterous.  She doesn't want to sleep in the big girl bed.  She acts like it's the worst thing ever.  Wednesday night she slept in the bed but carried on for about an hour and a half before settling down.  She woke at 1:30 that night and thankfully went back to sleep.  Last night she carried on for about the same amount of time and slept in the bed all night long.  She refuses to nap in the bed preferring to sleep on the floor instead.  It breaks my heart that she's so upset about moving to her new big girl bed, but I really need to get her settled in the new room so I can set up the nursery for the new baby.  The OCD planner in me has to have the nursery set up before the baby is born.
So it's after 10PM and she's still awake. She's tired but she's adamant about not sleeping in that bed.  I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to have to paint the pink room (that was blue last month) a boyish color and put Katie back in her old room.  
 I did finally find a good use for the video monitor I reviewed last year.  It's great for keeping an eye on a two year old who won't stay in bed.
We got more of Madeline's grades back from Seton this week.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably expecting too much when it comes to how I grade her writing.  We sent in her book report and I was certain that she was going to wind up having to rewrite it.  I was stunned when we got her grade: 98!  Wow!  She's excited and I think that just really boosted her confidence for the book report she will be working on over the next two weeks.

I'm 29 weeks pregnant today.  Do you like the "I'm totally exhausted and can't even manage a non-creepy looking smile" look?  Oh and let's not miss that my expression clearly says "I really don't have a clue when it comes to taking a picture of myself with an iPhone. 
In three more weeks we will get another peek at the baby when I go and have the 32 week growth scan ultrasound.  If they tell me the baby is still a boy at this next ultrasound then I will probably cut the tags off of a few of the outfits and run them through the wash.  Bryan tells me the baby is definately a boy and that it's not going to change but I'd like further confirmation before I start taking the tags off of the boy clothes.

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} and Theme Thursday on Friday

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life...

When I saw that this week's Theme Thursday theme was dishes I knew I had to tell you about my new set of dishes. For years I debated whether or not we should replace our everyday Corolle dishes with a new set that was a bit prettier but every bit as durable as the ones we had.I'd play with the cart until I had everything just so for the twelve placing settings of pretty white dishes I wanted and then I'd decide not to spend the money on them.  I always came up with an excuse to keep using the dishes that I brought a couple of years before Bryan and I got married.  Yes, I was so looking forward to getting married and having my own dishes that I actually brought them before we were even engaged.  That's how you know a guy is a keeper, when he knows you've purchased dishes [with flowers] and he doesn't run away like he's been doused with gasoline and set ablaze. mom and dad got us the pretty white dishes I've been wanting for the past two or three years for Christmas.  Ever since, I've been heard saying "I really like these dishes." and "Have I mentioned how much I like these dishes?" and "I don't know why I didn't just buy these dishes a long time ago.  I really like them!"  I think they're getting sick of hearing me talk about how much I like the dishes.

I seriously have moments when I open up the cabinet and I feel like squealing because I'm so happy to see my new dishes sitting in the cabinet.

My newphew came for a visit on Sunday.  We were all happy to see him.  Isn't he adorable?  
Katie couldn't wait to hold him.  She's so cute with the baby.  She holds him and says "aww, baby" over and over again.  She was so upset when I let Ellie have a turn holding him.  She wants the baby all to herself.  She's going to be a handful once our baby is born.

{Funny, Real}
This is life with a two year old.  Minnie Mouse ears and shoes, Dyson handle for pony rides, or pretending to be Gandalf (or so it seems, although she has no clue who he is) and a pair of sunglasses because it's what all the fashionable two year old girls are sporting today.

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Friday, February 14, 2014

Quick Takes on St. Valentine's Day


I'm really not much of a Valentine's Day person.  It's just one of those holidays I don't get into.  I'm more inclined to go all out for St. Patrick's Day.  Does that make me a Valentine scrooge?  I'm not sure.    The girls really place a lot of importance on St. Valentine's Day so last night Bryan and I went to Target for bread, eggs, and Valentine gifts for the girls.  Apparently the foot of snow we got Wednesday night into Thursday morning meant that eggs and bread were nowhere to be found in the store.  So we ended up with a cart full of junk food, a couple of books and a small chicken.

I'm 28 weeks pregnant today.  Just twelve more weeks until my due date.  I feel like I still have a lot to do.  Katie still needs to be moved into her new room which has been painted for nearly a month.  I'm still trying to decide if I should paint Madeline's old armoire white (It's presently a honey pine finish.) and use Ellie's white headboard for Katie's bed, or if I should leave the armoire as it is and use Madeline's old four poster bed (which used to be mine).  Both Bryan and my Mother would prefer I not get into a furniture refinishing project right now.  I'm just not sure what I want to do.  Part of me really wants Katie to have all white furniture and part of me just wants to take the option that requires the least amount of work on my part.  After all, I already had to paint a room for her and it took a coat of primer and two coats of pink to cover the blue walls.  What do you think? Paint the armoire white or stick with the present finish.?
Since I hit the 28 week mark today I am able to pre-register for the delivery and the hospital stay that I would very much like to avoid.  I've had dreams where I've managed to deliver the baby by myself in the laundry room.  Strange, I know.  It's funny, but I really feel like if I can labor without anyone knowing, I could pull off delivering at home.  Bryan isn't amused and insists that I will be at the hospital with plenty of time to spare before the baby is born.  Not if I can help it.  I told him I'm good with delivering the baby in the hospital parking lot if need be.  The less time I can spend in the hospital the better.  He says I'm being selfish, but when it comes to this I'm ok with that.  I'd be more inclined to happily go to the hospital if I knew they'd let me and the baby go home two or three hours after I deliver.
Snow.  I'm sick of it!  We had twelve inches of the white stuff when we woke up yesterday.  It started to melt when it warmed up a bit (mid-30s) and began to rain.  The rain stopped, the temperatures dropped and we got a couple inches more overnight.  When will it end?  We're supposed to get a bit more tomorrow.  And thanks to all of this snow Ellie's last day of school is now June 30th.  That's just insane.  Imagine spending the whole month of June in school.  I can't think of anything less fun than that.  Madeline on the other hand was complaining that she doesn't get any snow days with homeschooling.  She stopped complaining when Bryan asked her if she'd rather be doing school when it's warm enough to go swimming.

I'm wondering how minimalist I can go with baby gear this time around.  I really don't want to feel closed in with tons of baby gear and toddler toys on the main level of the house.  I'd like to thin out some of the baby items we have and just use the things we really need.  My adversion to big baby gear has been triggered by a Fisher Price swing I'm presently trying to evaluate for an Amazon Vine review.  I've had to assemble and disassemble this thing multiple times in the past two weeks due to defective swing motors.  Three to be exact.  The third replacement motor was just delivered today.  Here's hoping that the 4th time's a charm.  If not, there's no way I can give this swing a good review when it's time for me to do a write-up on it.  If anything, the swing has convinced me that the older model that a friend gave to us is better and that I should stick with using the travel sized one that we used for Katie.
Katie is doing really well with the potty training while she's awake.  I had been putting her in pull-ups when we go out but we've had several instances in the past week where we've forgotten about the pull-up and she's been just fine with going to Mass, or the store or even out to eat.  I'm just amazed at how well she's doing.  She's not even the least bit timid about using public rest rooms which was always a stubling block for the older two.   I don't think we'll see any real progress during nap and bedtime until she's in her big girl bed and can actually get up and go to the potty.  
I decided that since just about everywhere in the house is a mess that I'd break out my camera remote and take a picture in the only room that doesn't look like it was bombed.  There's my big ol'28 weeks along belly.  I keep telling Bryan that I think I'm as big now as I was when I was full term with Katie.  He keep assuring me that I'm not, but I'm not so certain.  I'm hoping that the baby is born early and is 8lbs or smaller.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Capturing the context of contentment in every day life...


Yesterday Madeline decided to make herself a fruit salad for lunch.  Apparently I have driven her to a point where she hates pasta.  Most days I have a bowl of pasta for lunch.  At first, she would happily say yes if I asked her if she wanted any.  Now she's all about variety and not having pasta.  What she doesn't understand is I'm a creature of habit and I rather enjoy eating the same foods day after day.  When I get sick of them I move on to eating a different food every day for weeks, months or years.

Last Friday my mom and dad came up to visit with the girls.  They took Madeline and Ellie to see the Lego Movie and then went out for ice cream.  Katie was happy to have her PopPop draw pictures for her on her little MagnaDoodle.  She wasn't too happy when she realized that her big sisters were going somewhere with my parents.  However, it was nap time, so she got over it and was pretty excited to wake up from her nap and find that they came back with a chocolate ice cream for her .

Katie makes us laugh with her goofy fashion sense.  She found these goggles in Ellie's dresser and had to wear them.  What you can't see in this picture is that she had to wear two different shoes (she apparently can't decide which she likes best and opts to wear one of each) and two different hair clips.

Ellie made this snow man.  I was so impressed that each of the girls made rather sizeable snow men.  Ordinarily they only stay outside for about 15 minutes and they have never made big snowmen on their own. When I looked out back and saw two big snowmen I did a double take.  Unfortunately Madeline's snow man fell over before we could take a picture.  The snow was a very wet slushy type so the snowmen didn't stay standing for very long.  

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Theme Thursday: Hearts

Madeline started this water color painting yesterday.  She wanted a heart that looked like it was part of a stained glass window.  I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project.

I drew this sidewalk chalk Sacred Heart many years ago when I was doing chalk drawings in the driveway with Ellie.  I liked the way it turned out so I snapped a picture and it's been the background on my past three phones.  I imagine most people have no idea what it is since it's covered with apps, but it's there.
I asked Ellie to take a picture for me and then I noticed that she had a heart on her shirt so I figured I needed a picture of her to include in this post.
I'm totally copycatting a friend of mine who is about nine weeks ahead of me.  She posted some pictures last night and I loved that she made a little heart with her hands over the baby.  I'm 27 weeks 6 days along today.  I feel like I'm getting closer to the end.  It's crazy to think that in 12 weeks or so I'm going to have a baby boy in the house.  I have no idea what to do with a little boy.  I guess I'll be doing a lot of learning on the job!

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What We're Reading Wednesday...Thursday

It's been a while since I've done a What We're Reading Wednesday post.  I haven't gone illiterate, I promise!  I don't have the easiest time reading while pregnant.  I was far to dizzy to read during my first trimester and most of the second trimester was just so busy that when I did sit down with a book I fell asleep.  Awesome, right?

In the past week or so I've been able to read a lot, I just haven't had the time to sit down and write well thought out reviews.

I read two short biographies from Franciscan Media that will be coming out this spring.  I enjoyed both of them and was able to read them each in a single day filled with all the usual continuous interruptions that come with being the mom of a two year old who's potty obsessed and homeschooling a seventh grader.  Since both books were short with short chapters, they were the perfect books for me to read with numerous interruptions.  The first one was John Paul II (a short biography)  if you didn't know much about JPII this is a great introduction.  It hits all the highlights of what you might find in a more in depth biography of JPII.  It would be an ideal read for a high school student or someone who doesn't have a lot of time to invest in a longer book.  The second one was  John XXIII (a short biography).  I had dismally little knowledge of anything about John XXIII so after reading this book I feel like I know at least enough about him that I can carry on an intelligent conversation about him should the need arise.  This short little biography left me wanting to read more about him in the future.  I just need to find a good book and a bit of time.

On the days when I have to go and pick Ellie up at school I take a book with me.  I need to get there about 25 minutes before school gets out if I want one of the coveted 10 minute parking spots where I don't need to get out of the car to get her.  Yeah, you can say it.  I'm lazy.  I was spoiled by the school bus last year and I'm not willing to get out of the car and stand around in the cold to escort Ellie through the parking lot.  So I leave my house a few minutes after three, and drive the 90 second drive to the school to score a good parking spot.  That leaves me with 25 minutes of peace and quiet where I can sit and read.  Recently I was reading 150 North American Martyrs You Should Know.  I really enjoyed the book.  It gave me some pretty good background to go along with some of the chapters from Madeline's history text.  The book is divided into 29 chapters that categorize the different groupings of North American martyrs.  If you're pressed for time, this is one of those books where you can read a portion of a chapter and not feel like you really need to read the entire chapter at once.  The book's format made it the perfect sit and wait for your kid to come out of school reading.  I'd certainly recommend picking up a copy of this book.  Like other books written on the saints by Brian O'Neel, this one does not disappoint.

In the evenings I have been alternating between reading St. Therese's Story of a Soul and St. Francis de Sales' Consoling Thoughts on God and Providence.  I've read St. Therese's book before but since Madeline is doing a book report on Mary Fabyan Windeatt's The Little Flower (I'm also reading this here and there to make sure Madeline's staying on track.) I felt like picking the book up again and reading through it.  It feels like there's always something new to learn from St. Therese.

For the past year or so I've spent a lot of time reading books written by St. Francis de Sales.  I like how approachable his writing is.  I don't feel like I'm overhwelmed after reading his writings and they resonate with me.  There are bits and pieces of this volume of Consoling Thoughts that I like better than others, but I suppose that has to do with the subject matter and the fact that the book is more or less a compilation of St. Francis' writings and comes from several sources.

Katie has been bringing me the same books over and over.  I'm not even sure I can say that we're reading some of these books since they're the look and find books and I'm apparently not allowed to read the text.  Instead I'm supposed to name the items she points to after she taps me excessively and points at the picture.  I'm ok with the Minnie Mouse Look and Find book, but I despise the Sofia the First Look and Find.  I've tried hiding the book and she always seems to find it.  The book just infuriates me with all of the snooty looking princesses.  But she loves the book so I do my best to go through the book a few times with her before hiding it again.  She has also recently discovered some of my favorite Boynton board books.  Hippos Go Berserk is a new favorite.  But, she's more interested in pointing at the hippos than letting me read the book.  But that's ok, I memorized that book nearly 12 1/2 years ago and could "read" it in pitch black darkness.  She's also interested in Happy Hippo Angry Duck and the Going to Bed Book.

Ellie has been reading up on John Adams for a social studies report she's doing.  She's been reading the Look it Up Book of Presidents (The link is for the updated version but she's using the one I got when I was in 4th grade where *ahem* Ronald Reagan is the most recent President. LOL!  It's all good.  I just told her she needed to pick a President for her report that was before George H.W. Bush.  I'm pretty sure when I got the book that George H.W. Bush was President-elect.)  She's also reading this book on John Adams.  She's doing really well on the report that she's writing.  I'm impressed with how well her report is coming along, and she seems very pleased with it, too.

I think that sums up what we're reading these days.

I was provided with review copies of John Paul II (a short biography), John XXIII (a short biography) and 150 North American Martyrs You Should Know by the publisher, Franciscan Media.  The links in this post are Amazon affiliate links.  Thank you to all who shop through my affiliate links.  It helps to build our children's library.

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Small Successes: February 13th

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

1. I took a bit of time the other day and cleaned out a small portion of my walk in closet.  I was able to throw some things away and I have an 18 gallon tote filled with items to donate.

2.  Yesterday I scored the last rotisseri chicken at Sam's Club.  Ordinarily I will go down the main aisle and scope out the chickens to see if I need to go there first or if I have time to grab the juices first.  Yesterday I didn't do that.  I was hoping to get two chickens, but I was very grateful to just get the one. I might have turned into a crying pregnant lady if I didn't manage to get to the chicken before the other people who were crowding in on it.  Apparently impending snow storms make already cooked chikens a hot item.

3.  I got some laundry done yesterday.  I've been putting it off for days since I didn't want go into the cold basement laundry room.

4.  We got to Mass really late on Saturday and discovered that getting there three minutes before Mass begins means you can't find a spot for a family of five to sit.  So we had to go up to the dreaded crying room.  I think Katie was the only toddler up there and I was surprised that it wasn't a circus up there like it was in our old parish.  Of course, I still wasn't thrilled about going up there.

5. I took an hour off last night and went to confession and Mass by myself.  It was a much needed break.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Enough With the Snow!

I've never been a huge fan of snow.  Sure it looks pretty, but that's about the only good thing I can say about snow.  It's cold, it's wet, and it makes a mess.  Ever since I got in a car accident on a road covered with just a dusting of snow 13 years ago I have really disliked snow.  I used to have no issues with driving on snow covered roads, but it's something I try to avoid at all costs anymore.

Snow is adding so many additional days to the end of Ellie's school year, too.   This year was the first year since we've moved here that the school district didn't have built in snow days.  Two of them were wasted before Christmas for negligible amounts of snow.  And we've had one snow day called for snow that didn't fall and another snow day for a snowstorm that turned out to be rain.  It's maddening.  Oh, and we've had school on days where there enough snow that we should have had a snow day.  Some area schools have recalled some of the days off that were built into the school calendar, but our's has not.  It's frustrating since I know the entire month of June is going to be a struggle with poor Ellie having to go to school.  Madeline's school year will be finished about four to six weeks before Ellie will be done.  Add to that a newborn and I'm going to be going crazy in June.

It looking like we're going to have another snow day tomorrow.  We're in an area that is projected to get 6-9" of snow.  Argh!  I'm tired of looking outside and seeing white.  Every time the snow starts to melt we get hit with a drop in the temperature and another dose of snow.   I can't recall the last time I looked outside and saw absolutely no snow.  How bad is that?

Ellie is just one more snow day away from being in school until June 30th.  We're told that school won't go past June 30th and at some point the school board will have to either take away scheduled off days or come up with another solution.  I'm not sure if that means they'll lengthen the school day or add in something like school on Saturdays.  I keep telling Bryan that if we pull her out now and do a half year enrollment with Seton she can be done by the first week in June.  We're planning to homeschool her next year so why not just cut to the chase and do it now and salvage some of the summer?

Perhaps one of the most irritating things about all of this snow is the 5AM wake up calls from the school.  Lately we've been getting these calls and minutes later our neighbor from across the street takes that call as his cue to go outside and start shoveling.  There's nothing more irritating than listening to someone scrape the sidewalk with their shovel for forty five minutes at 5AM.  It's more than this cranky sleep starved pregnant mommy can take.

Advanced Maternal Age--Is there something to it?

I'm noticing this time around that pregnancy is certainly more taxing on me than it was when I was in my twenties, which has me thinking that maybe there really is something to the whole "advanced maternal age" label that I have slapped on me because I'm 35.  Pregnancy at age 32/33 wore me out but I still had months where I had energy.  Just two and a half years later I find myself feeling every bit my age and more.

When I switched to a new practice last month I asked specifically what the "advanced maternal age" label meant for me.  Did it make me high risk?  Did it require additional tests or anything of that nature?  What I found out was just my age alone was considered a risk factor but didn't necessarily mean I was high risk.  That was a relief.  What they did tell me was if I had other risk factors, those, combined with my age would intensify the other risks that might otherwise be of middling concern.  Good to know.  I was told that I would have an additional growth scan done of the baby at 32 weeks and would also have a consult with the maternal fetal medicine department.  Also, once I hit 35 weeks I'll be doing weekly non stress tests, so there's certainly a bit more monitoring this time around.

As far as how I'm feeling, I'm just not feeling like I have much energy most days.  I felt absolutely horrible my first trimester and I anxiously looked forward to that second trimester energy that I've always had in the past.  This time around, however, there was no burst of energy with the second trimester.  I'm not sure if that's just age related or if my finger injury and related hospitilization just sucked the life out of me.  Mentally, I still haven't recovered from it and it has me daily thinking of how I can find a way to deliver the baby at home without anyone knowing about it so I can avoid another trip to the hospital.

Depending on which source you consult, I'm either at the tail end of my second trimester or the beginning of the third trimester.  In two days I'll be 28 weeks along.  I feel like I'm in the final leg of this and I'm hoping that the baby will come before my due date this time around.  I just don't think I have it in me to go a week past my due date like I did with Katie.  But, at the same time, I'm also not very interested in any sort of induction.  At the new practice they told me they would try to make sure I didn't go past my due date, but the old practice tried, too.  They also offered to induce me at three different visits and I declined each time because I'm just not willing to trap myself in a hospital for the entire duration of a labor.  No thanks.

One thing that hasn't changed for me with regards to pregnancy is my nesting.  I've always been of the mentality that I have to have everything prepared now, even if the baby isn't due for several more months.  I've managed to get most of the clothing the baby will need for the first 6-9 months already.  And, all of the essentials that I will need for those first few weeks with the baby are already set aside and waiting to be needed.  I'm doing my best to relax and take it easy with getting the nursery ready.  Katie hasn't yet moved into her big girl room, so I need to take care of that before I can set up the nursery.  I suspect the nursery will be set up and ready for a baby boy within days of Katie vacating the nursery.  I already have all of the bedding and decorations for the room.  It's just a matter of moving Katie's belongings across the hall to her new room and making a few changes.  I keep telling myself that we're almost there.  Almost.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oh FaceBook!

If you're on FaceBook do you ever find yourself just getting sucked into the horrible time warp that it creates?  I don't play games on FaceBook, unless you count Words With Friends, but I typically only play that with Bryan or Madeline through the app on my phone, so I don't count it.  So all I'm doing up there is checking in on what friends and family and a few blogs and businesses have up on their pages. But somehow, I always feel like I've lost a good chunk of time once I take a few minutes to check out FaceBook.

My other issue has been with certain people who feel the need to comment on everything I post on FaceBook.  One person, in particular, likes to make inane or just negative comments on just about every status update I have.  It's enough to make me refrain from sharing anything on Facebook.  The suggestion has been made that I block the person from being able to see or comment on my page, but I know it will result in questions from that person.

Then there's the issue with FaceBook just flat out irritating me.  I see things up there all the time that make my blood boil.  I have friends who post things that make me think less of them for doing so.  And it all reminds me of what Bryan said years ago about FaceBook being a poison pill.  I really think he was dead-on with that assessment.

I think it was three years ago when I was pregnant with Katie that I decided to give up FaceBook for Lent.  It was amazing how much better I felt not having to deal with all the things up there that irritated me and directed my attention away from other things that were more worthy ways for me to spend my time.  I'm starting to think that I may have found what I should give up for Lent this year.  I know after I gave up FaceBook that I hardly touched it for about a year afterwards.  That's typically how I roll with things I give up for Lent.  I usually find that I can live without whatever it was I gave up and continue to do so long after Easter has come and gone.  Cheese and candy would be the exceptions in this case.

So I guess the bottom line is I see the need to disconnect sometime soon.  Will I wait nearly another month until the start of Lent or cut ties, soon?  I'm not sure.  If I wait another month, I'm pretty certain that FaceBook and I won't be seeing too much of each other over the next few weeks.  The upside in all of this is I should have a bit more time to actually blog.  My present FaceBook consumption has been eating up the time when I would ordinarily write.
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