Aug 19, 2019

A Whole in One Post

What we've been up to since the end of May-

The girls finished school! This year each of them finished on a different day, Heidi being the earliest ending at the end of May. I actually really liked it that way, as all of the celebrations and end-of-school-hoopla trickled to a stop instead of an all at once deluge of things to do.







Summer has also been really good for me this year, after a rough first week. Three of the girls did Vacation Bible School at the end of June, and all of them did swim lessons. I was so thankful the lessons mostly overlapped time-wise, and I am SO proud of myself that most of the days I took all four of them on my own and survived (one day even going back and forth two different times, once during nap time! Yes, I will accept that gold medal, thanks.)! Evie and Audrey's lessons began a few days before the younger two, so it took quite a bit of effort to keep them occupied for forty minutes. There's nothing more harrowing than taking a willful three-year-old to a pool, sitting her in the bleachers mere feet from the water and telling her she can't go in. 
We invested in a lot of these this summer and I always made sure to toss lots of snacks in the pool bag.

Heidi's 4th of July sign- "Go America"
Evie and Audrey also participated in a week-long art camp at our church and really enjoyed it. All in all, I think the combination of a few weeks with no plans and some scheduled things other weeks worked well for me/ us.




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Also in June we had a large amount of trees taken down in our front yard. It gets so much sun now that I could sit out there all day long soaking in my vitamin D! Our roof is finally moss-free and there's no more feeling like we live in a rainforest during rainy + humid times.


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Also in June- Cora turned three! Her birthday fell on Father's Day, so we celebrated her and the dads at my parent's house.






Some cute things she's said lately: 

"Where's my Heidi Jo?"
Watching her sisters outside- "What's my girls doing?"
Squeezing by her sisters- "S'cuze me, sweetheart."
"I will right back!"

We love her to pieces. 

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My plan for one part of the family room is sort of finally complete! Early in the year we bought a new couch (definitely the time to buy at Costco!), and I found new shades for the lamps. The pictures were just hung recently- I think they'd look better a little lower, but our plan is to eventually paint the room so they'll be re-hung sometime anyway. (You can kind of see the old ouch + lamp shades here.)


Our wedding anniversary is on the feast of Our Lady of Knock; I was so excited when I saw this print by Studio Senn!

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This Saturday we just got back from three weeks in North Carolina. Being gone for a chunk of summer all at once was definitely new! I have lots of pictures to post hopefully soon.:)

Jun 28, 2019

Odds & Ends

Somethings I've been really liking:

Headphones for quiet time- I don't know why it's taken me so long to just go ahead and order myself some headphones, but it has! I guess I never thought they would be something I would use but they've been great for listening to music or a podcast in the afternoons. (I ordered these but there's probably 1,000 different kinds with decent reviews on Amazon.)

Miracle Face Erase cloths- I never used to remove my makeup at night before washing my face but a few months ago I accidentally purchased waterproof mascara and that stuff is ironclad. I was using Vitamin E oil that I had on hand to remove it and was ready to look for a less messy, less bleary-eyed option. I think I read about these cloths in an online article and they really are great for removing eye makeup!


Flekk eye shadow- Ha! Another "just go ahead and do it already!" entry. I haven't ever known squat about eye shadow but decided I am in my thirties and the time has come to figure out how to apply it well and find the right shades. One blogger, whose recommendations I often really like, has mentioned this brand a few times; at first I was put off by the price but after reading about how much she liked it again and then hearing it was on sale, I went ahead and purchased a set and am very pleased with it! (I got it on sale + free shipping, so I would definitely suggest waiting for a sale.) The best thing is that it comes with diagrams of where to apply each shade, as well as written directions and suggestions.

Jennifer Fulwiler's interview with Mitali Perkins (having the courage to follow your blue flame) was so very much what I needed to hear. Definitely will be listening to it again!

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A few months ago I came across a copy of Rome Sweet Home at a thrift store and picked it up although I've read it before. It crossed my mind to put it in a local Little Free Library. Then just recently I finished a good book relating to the Pro-life movement and decided to order a copy and drop it off in the same place. Who knows if anyone will even read them or if any good will come of it, but I'd like to think this can be a tiny little way of evangelization for someone like myself who just does not have much nerve or words. :)
(I once had a co-worker who wasn't a practicing Catholic anymore, and had mentioned his Confirmation saint was St. Anthony. I felt like I should do something for him so on my last day of work I placed a St. Anthony holy card in his box on my way out- see 'no nerve or words above'.)



Do you ever go about your life knowing there's an easier way to do things but you're making do and don't want another thing to read up on, so you keep things status quo? I have recently started scheduling pickups through the USPS website and it has changed my life. WHY did I never look into this before?! Every single time I had to mail an Etsy package that didn't fit in the mailbox I would trek on over to the post office to drop it off (almost always with a child in tow). Now I just plop it onto the front porch and hide while our mail carrier collects it. Easy peasy.

I came across this poem in Columbia Magazine last month and it is too good and so beautiful!

"The Virgin at Noon" by Paul Claudel (who's conversion took place in Notre-Dame Cathedral)

It is noon. The church is open.
I must go in.
Mother of our Lord, I have not
come to pray.
I have nothing to give and 
nothing to ask.
I am here, my Lady, only to look at you.
To look at you, to cry for joy, to know
That I am your son and you are there.
Only for one moment when everything stops.
Noon!
To be with you, Mary, in this place
where you are.
To say nothing, to look at your face.
To let my heart sing in its own language.
To say nothing, but simply to sing
because my heart is too full… .
Because you saved me, because
you saved France. 
Because France too, like myself, was
for you a thing to be considered.
Because at that moment when
everything collapsed, you intervened.
Because you saved France once again.
Because it is noon, because we are
at this moment of today.
Because you are there for always,
simply because you are Mary,
Simply because you exist.
Mother of Our Lord, we give
thanks to you.”


Jun 17, 2019

Reads of 2018

Don't mind me- just going to slip this in in the six month of 2019.:)



Really enjoyed:

Surprise me- one of the better of Sophie Kinsella's for me.
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
An Exorcist Tells His Story- Such a good read; scary to think that some bishops don't feel it's important to appoint exorcists in their dioceses, though!
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike- very thorough/ long but neat to get the back story.
At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe
One Beautiful Dream- loved it!
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer- SO good and I am extremely glad I saw Ashley's remark about choosing not to read it at night- I read this only during naptime. I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks- can definitely see how people get caught up in amateur detective work for unsolved cases!
Scalia Speaks- I dog-eared so many pages of this (and then had to return it to the library...). He is just SO GOOD! I love how his speeches don't preach to the choir at all.
Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction
Crazy Rich Asians
The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows- this was a long but enjoyable read. It concerns the conversion and then entrance into religious life for actress Dolores Hart, but the book in it's entirety is a memoir of her whole life.
Building the Benedict Option- I had heard Leah speak at one of the blog conferences I attended and especially enjoyed her writing style here.

Liked:

When Life Gives You Lululemons- I felt a bit too racy in parts + language, but entertaining chick lit.
Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends- I kind of had to laugh when I read a one or two star review of this based on the content- you know, like people living however they want and with dark and sad histories eventually turning their lives to Christ. If it was between the two, I'd recommend Deathbed Conversions, but still like this one.
The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe
Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships
Kind is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously- nothing really new under the sun here, but I just really like Candace Cameron Bure and love that she lives her faith in Hollywood.
The Queen of Hearts- I loved the medical bent of this book and enjoyed the overall story *but* too much sexual content for my taste. Like reading it on a plane between two guys and praying neither looks over my shoulder and reads what's on the page, too much.
Little Beach Street Bakery- kinda slow in parts, didn't love one of the main characters but enjoyed the setting.
The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide- haha, written for aspiring actors but interesting to read the ins and outs of getting your foot in the door anyway.
Anne's House of Dreams-  a good one; Anne of the Island is still my favorite.
How My Book Became a Movie: A True Story
The Perfect Couple- pretty good beach read type murder mystery book, wasn't satisfied with the ending.
Bless Me Father for I Have Kids
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- I struggled through this one!
The Grace of Enough: Pursing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture
The Dinner List
Book Girl: A Journey Through the Treasures and Transforming Power of a Reading Life


Meh:

The Clockmaker's Daughter- This book makes me truly believe that Kate Morton writes ridiculously long books for the sake of writing long books. The ending really annoyed me and felt very "Atonement".
The Blue Bistro- I didn't find any of the characters likeable in this, *and* it really bothers me when Catholic characters are painted as devout...and then have such twisted, messed up morals.
Auntie Poldie and the Sicilian Lions- loved the setting but the main character really bugged me! (A+ for the cover art, though!)
Sunset Lullaby

That's a wrap for last year- looking forward to some good summer fiction!

May 28, 2019

Life Lately {May}

May has been busy and feels like it flew by, but when I think back on the beginning it seems like so long ago.

The girls had their school Race for Education on the 2nd. Thankfully the weather was warm- Evie and Audrey ran hard while Heidi much preferred the chalk that was offered in the pre-K section. :)




Anyone have an idea what kind of flowers these are?
 The next day I took the girls to our parish festival. Tim headed up the Silent Auction this year and was super busy in the days leading up to and of the festival; my mom and sister helped me out a lot while we were there!




The week before Evie's First Communion her class wore their outfits to school to participate in the May Crowning.
I think every mother held her breath that half day hoping the outfits would stay pristine for the next week. Aside from a few pencil marks, we were good.:)


For Mother's Day Tim hired house cleaners as a gift. The only other time we've had that done was when our Realtor had our houses cleaned when we moved- seriously SUCH a great gift! I could not get over what a thorough job the ladies did and simultaneously felt like writing an apology note for all the supremely neglected areas they tackled. 

I also ordered this Miraculous Medal ring for myself.:)


On the 18th Evie received her 1st Holy Communion!


She wore the same veil one of my sister's and I wore- we were laughing because it has an elastic chin strap which we didn't remember at all!







We celebrated her special day afterwards with some family at our house. 



Earlier in the week I had ordered a cake from a new bakery downtown in the spirit of supporting small businesses. Well, it totaled over $45. For a cake! Oof. It was a very nice cake and three layers but looking back I should've just gone with cupcakes or something. 


The girls were introduced to the messy delight of packing peanuts



Cora's season of 'bottoms optional' has arrived.
Yesterday spent the day at a local winery with family. I didn't get any pictures but it was such a great day! We unloaded everything at two picnic tables and enjoyed wine (of course) and good food while the kids had lots of room to run and play. 

Enjoy the last days of May.:)
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