Apr 12, 2017

I got the flu and it was no joke- neither was the fact that I had the flu vaccine.

And all I'll say about that is that all these websites stressing the importance of the almighty flu vaccine because it is so important and we all need it and remember to get it because it's important need to simmer down.

Also, I'm very grateful for yellow Gatorade.

Soon we'll be traveling by plane with all four girls to visit family- the last time we flew as a family we only had two kids, so this is uncharted (slightly terrifying) territory. And poor Cora is still getting over double ear infections. :-/ I've heard about Sci-Fi movie storylines where space travelers are put to sleep for their years-long treks into deep space...and well, I really wouldn't mind something like that for airline travel.

Right now I'm wishing I could summon every post chock full of advice on traveling with little ones that I've read in the past!
I have a mounting stash of activity books and Melissa and Doug On the Go items and I'm crossing my fingers that lots of snacks will help in some positive way. I would love any tips or ideas if you have any!!

The other night Evie was having a difficult time at bedtime, so Tim and I pulled her aside to talk while we folded laundry. She sniffled and wiped her eyes as she told us she wanted her own room where it would be quiet (she shares a room with a loquacious sanguine) and a desk with her own supplies, and she continued, "and there would be a nail on the door where I could hang a sign that would say 'Please do not disturb'."

My poor, sweet girl spelled out her introverted temperament without even knowing it. Getting her a little "work space" of her own has moved to the top of our to-do list for sure!

A search for a summery berry colored lipstick led me to this one which I recently purchased and very much like (it's not as dark as it looks)! I'm more of a timid lipstick wearer and shy away from statement ones that commit to bold color, so I think Burt's Bees is a good match for me. 
I am SO excited that the tulips I planted in the fall are blooming! The bulbs were assorted colors so it's a fun surprise to see what comes up. I would love to take the girls back to this place but taking three ambulatory little girls to an acres big flower field and then telling them they can only pick a few flowers each and only under adult supervision seems like a poor choice. *Sigh* Maybe someday.

A funny aside- our next-door neighbor stopped by as I was trimming plants in the front on Sunday to offer some (unsolicited) landscaping advice. (A previous owner had very eclectic taste and we really do have a large variety of flowers and plants randomly situated all over the place in the front.) Anyways, he was pointing out different crazy things and then goes, "and there's tulips here and then over there, I mean..."-yeah, I didn't let him know I had planted them! Haha, I don't care how my tulips look- I just wanted to plant some!

That's all for now- have a blessed Triduum and Easter!

Mar 22, 2017

Life Lately {March}

Earlier in the month I was able to attend our diocesan women's conference and hear Immaculee Ilibagiza speak- wow, her talk was amazing! (Also, she is stunning.) She told her story (obv.) but also went into more depth about her background, and Our Lady of Kibeho. I'm so glad I got to go, and I definitely want to read more about that apparition!

 That same dayTim took three of the girls to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in our town and deserves a huge pot o' gold for braving the frigid elements with a 3:1 kid to parent ratio amid the other populace!

Along with many of the other eastern states we had a snowstorm last week, which the girls were delighted about. They got a lot of good play hours out of it before it melted, and I got some baking done- snow always puts me in a big baking mood. They should change the lyrics to "Let It Snow":
 "Oh the weather outside is frightful
But eating all these baked goods is delightful
 I don't care if my clothes fit no mo'
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"
Also, it was so cute to watch Heidi outside. She was walking on top of the snow/ice in all her puffy-suit glory and not even making a dent- Tim and I both laughed she was like Legolas!

Books- I've been slowly reading Originals: How Non-Comformists Move the World. I find it super interesting but haven't been great about giving myself a good stretch of time to read in the evening, so I fall asleep after only getting a few pages in most nights.

This one was a request in our recent library haul- the story is not anything amazing but something about it paired with the illustrations is so charming and whimsical that I just loved it to pieces.
And Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes makes me want to cry every time I read it- I think it's secretly a book for moms, to give them a good "Chin-up!" and "You matter!" and "Someday your kids will do all the chores!".

Most mornings of late we've seen this hawk in our yard (just over the swing on the left). I wonder if it's hunting something? Or just wishing for a way to go down the tube slide?
Cora turned 9 months and is finally showing interest in food! Turns out feeding yourself people food is more preferable than being spoon-fed baby food- who knew? She seems like she's just on the cusp of crawling, waves, claps, and clasps her hands during Grace. She was sleeping through the night until about six months old when respiratory illnesses and teething usurped our peaceful nights- but we won't talk about that. :(

Finally, my Etsy shop is up and running!

Mar 12, 2017

What season is it? {My Sunday Best}

We've had some gloriously warm, wonderful days in the last month- this was us on Thursday:
...and now there's a forecast for 12-18 inches of snow Monday and Tuesday. NO THANK YOU.
We're basically living in this Kevin Henkes book, droopy daffodils and all.
 I know it's still technically winter but my brain cannot handle all the wardrobe changes- from wool sweaters to flip-flops and back again...

I tossed my last pair of nylons a few weeks ago (they hardly last one wear before getting runs in them!!), so I had to settle for some light grey, ashen looking tights to mass. Very Lenten, I suppose.

I also wore my new LuLaRoe dress (so comfortable, and with pockets!), so there's that!

Linking up with Rosie! Here's hoping spring weather comes soooon for us all.

Mar 11, 2017

Parenting Hindsight is 20/20

And so, the era of pens and notebooks in the girls' bedroom came to an abrupt end one night last week. 
Formerly a plain white pillowcase
I had an inkling the pens wouldn't keep to paper only. 
(Also, not a self-portrait or drawn by Heidi as it was suggested...)

Mar 2, 2017

So, I'm opening an Etsy shop!

By next week I'm *hoping* to open up shop selling vintage clothing. I'm thinking "vintage clothing" might convey different ideas to different people, so I'll explain a bit more. :)

My Grandma Betty was an avid second-hand shopper. I remember tagging along to the Purple Heart thrift store with her and my mom growing up, and I remember how proud she was that she only spent something like $2 on her shoes for one of my sister's weddings. :) My mom shopped at thrift stores a lot too, so over the years I grew to love it. Often a piece of clothing would catch my eye when I was at a second-hand shop that maybe I wouldn't wear or didn't particularly need, but still wanted to "document" it somehow- ridiculous as that may sound! Thus commenced the occasional blog post about random thrift store goods. That led me to wonder "What if?" about buying those things I find- things I love, find to be quirky and fun, or timeless classic styles- and setting up an Etsy shop. In the beginning of the year I started reading online about how to identify and date vintage clothing and find it all so fascinating! My cup of tea.

To be honest, I have no idea if this will go anywhere...or if I'll even make a sale! (In which case- my girls will have lots of dress-up clothes?) I'm just a mom with four young kids and a harebrained notion, Googling "how to package clothing for the mail" during nap time, while trying not to be intimidated by these big-time Etsy shops with professional-looking listing photos and massive inventory. *Deep breaths*

At the very least it's been a fun hobby/ side-project and I'm glad I'm giving it a try. If you're interested, I started an Instagram account and will post there (and here at some point) when my Etsy page is all set up: @BettysHeartCo
Also, my social media know-how is...limited, so should be interesting. Fake it til you make it, right?

Prayers appreciated. :)

Feb 28, 2017

Life Lately {February}

We've had several days in the 70s recently! It's been sunny, flowers are beginning to bloom, I can tell the light is changing, and one Friday I unexpectedly had time to burn while waiting to meet with someone so I went to a coffee shop and sipped second coffee while reading the Blessed is She devotion on my phone. These things feed my soul.

Thanks to the weather the girls have gotten a lot of outside time which has been good for everyone.  There is something so fulfilling? wonderful? about hollering "okay, everyone go outside!" when the energy and noise levels ramp up considerably.
Growing up I took piano lessons for several years but have hardly anything to show for it as my tendency to practice...didn't exist. However, I am pretty proficient at playing "Heart & Soul" and am loving this new song that has a really similar tune!
Oy. I remember blogging about this when Heidi was around Cora's age- let me tell you (again), postpartum hair STINKS. For the first months I was shedding like nobody's business and now those hairs are regrowing and it is truly unfortunate looking. Like two inch long hairs sticking up all over my head as if my mane itself is experiencing some exuberant, unsanctioned, celebration of regrowth. It looks so awful.
I need to wear more hats.
Evie and Audrey start swim lessons tonight. They're excited and I'm glad for them and really glad they'll finally have some water know-how, but it'll be interesting toting a two-year-old and a baby along; It's appropriate that the lessons fall during a season of penance- Lent, thy name is age two.  Thankfully the lessons are not longer than a half-hour!
 On Sunday our pastor gave a homily that I really needed to hear. One thing he said that really struck me was about (and I'm sub-par para-phrasing here) a man who studies worrying. He said what this psychologist (I think?) found was that one of the biggest things people worry about is not money, chronic illness, etc. but what people think of them. And then that night I read this St. Francis de Sales quote:
"When a simple soul is to act, it considers only what it is suitable to do or say and then immediately begins the action, without losing time in thinking what others will do or say about it...It has no other aim than to please God."
Perfectly timed!
 I didn't do it up for Valentine's Day at all but I did make an amazing recipe of my aunt's for dessert (called The Dessert ;), that is basically a deconstructed Tiramisu. SO good! Fat Tuesday came early because Tim and I ate the whole thing (over several days but still- I don't want to know my cholesterol level!).

Enjoy your Mardi Gras!

Feb 14, 2017

On Valentine's Day

"Love is not an adventure. It has the taste of the whole of man. It carries man's entire weight; the weight of his plight. It cannot be experienced as a single moment. The whole of man's eternity passes through it. That is why, it can be found in God's dimensions, as only He is eternal."
~The Jeweler's Shop

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

 Also, Cora does a pretty legit impression of me with Valentine's chocolate. ;)

Feb 9, 2017

Little Extras for that Winter Life

...or post-Christmas months at any rate. December is superb; it's winter in between then and spring that lacks that rosy hue for me! Here are some bright spots of late: 

Weekly applesauce bread (with golden raisins!)- this is a recipe that I make strictly in the fall/ winter solely because the ingredients just have that cinnamon-y-goes-with-cold-weather taste. I've been making it just about every week and it's a nice pairing with morning coffee. :)

Spotting daffodil shoots creeping up in our yard.
 Of course we just had snow today but at least there's a visual of things to come!

A quote Dwija posted by Ven. Fulton Sheen about offering up three things every day, combined with embracing the concept I read here: "It will never be easier to do than right now" (or something to that effect- can't find the exact post!). I am terrible about offering things up or even thinking about offering things up! Somehow having those two quotes come to the forefront of my mind, when I really don't feel like going down to the basement for a carton of milk offers a boost to just do it. And later, I'm happy that those tasks are completed!

A line-up of several books I really want to read. I love finishing a good book knowing there are more I'm eager to dive into- Truly Madly Guilty, As I Remember, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton are a few I look forward to cracking open soon.

Taking time for small self-care measures like a ten-minute face mask, finally removing that ghastly toenail polish, or cleaning make-up brushes...for the first time ever.

A break from the daily routine. Lately motherhood has been feel so hard- just all the time hard. Long days, interrupted sleep, and early mornings snowballed to the point where all I could see was the difficult or monotonous. Tim was working from home this afternoon and suggested I take Evie somewhere after picking her up from school, so we went to a new coffee shop and sipped hot beverages while sharing a brownie. Oh my goodness, being in that coffee shop with my five-year-old made all the difference in my week. We watched the snow blow around outside. We talked. She got powdered sugar all over her top and chocolate around her mouth. I was able to see beyond diapers and duties and sippy cups. I was able to enjoy watching her look around and gallop down the sidewalk afterwards. I feel like taking breaks is such an obvious thing but often gets shoved down the list of important things.
 That's all for now- happy (almost) weekend!

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's What's saving my life right now linkup.

Feb 7, 2017

Reads for the Rest of 2016

Taking a look back on what I read in the last months of 2016, there were some books I really liked and a few I wasn't too keen on. There was also a good amount of easy, fluffy reading- just the thing for picking up and putting down during newborn nursing sessions. :)
I always have a difficult time adequately describing what I liked or didn't like about a book, so I'll only go into some them...
  • On the Other Side of Fear: How I Found Peace- written by Hallie and just so good!
  •  Finding Father Christmas & Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne
  • First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
  • Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
I really wanted to love this book but a few things about it didn't jive with me. First off, I couldn't grasp what time period this took place in. At the beginning I thought it was maybe early 1900s but then was thrown off when a computer was mentioned; for the rest of the book I had a difficult time visualizing the setting. Also, I wish the author had chosen to give "The Man in the Armchair" a name. Finally, what this Goodreads reviewer said: "The ideas portrayed by the characters about happiness and truth and beauty, while I happen to agree with all of them, were heavy-handed and off-putting". It just wasn't my favorite but I know a lot of people love it!

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
Okay, I really enjoy watching different movie adaptations of P&P and other Austen novels but I did not like this book at all. The author equated modern retelling with adding pretty much everything morally controversial, and the Bennet parents are, of course, conservatives (ridiculous, racist, backwards, unenlightened...). The character of Lydia is the one who becomes the hero in the end because of her scandal- although not a scandal to those who are "morally enlightened", and the character of Elizabeth hardly has any redeeming qualities or an ounce of likeability throughout the story. I was not a fan!
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist
This is one I wouldn't mind re-visiting again, as I really liked everything she had to say and would like her words to saturate a bit more. Maybe when the library request queue whittles itself down. :)

A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny's Story by Brenda Ashford
This was a fun and interesting memoir that I picked this up at the suggestion of a friend. It's written by a woman who was a British Nanny for over 60 years! Such a unique and fascinating life.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
Overall I thought this was a good read but here's what I found sadly ironic: the author makes it a point to show how far society has come in its treatment of the mentally and physically disabled, and she highlights the Foundations and legislation championed along by members of the Kennedy family (because of Rosemary)...but then how many babies are aborted each year because of disability diagnoses? And what about laws coming into effect that allow and push for euthanasia and physician assisted suicide? Sadly, as a society, we haven't made great strides all-around in terms of acceptance for the suffering and disabled.

Feb 3, 2017

Books of Yore, More Thrifting, and Personality Discoveries

Joining Kelly for Seven Quick Takes this week!

Recently, as I was getting my yearly dose of White Christmas watching, an exchange I hadn't made note of before caught my attention:

"Tell me, brainstorm, what do you think would be a novelty up here in Vermont?"
"Who knows?"
"Maybe we can dig up a Democrat?"

And I had to laugh because that very much isn't the case anymore.

And then days later I was reading this book about a former logging area in Maine, and this line jumped out at me:

"He was a individualist- a Democrat in the state of Maine."

(The book was written in '48.) Yep, times have definitely changed!

And speaking of that book, which was a former library book- check out these regulations:
Two cents a day fine! And can you imagine mailing in renewal requests?
A little over a year ago I was on the thrifting hunt for a dressy-ish wool coat but came up empty-handed. Well, I was so very happy to come across this inexpensive vintage coat last week at a thrift store! I figure it to be from somewhere between 1964-1973 based on one of the inside tags. Waiting and searching can feel fruitless but when you eventually find something you like, it makes thrifting worth it. :)

For Christmas we were given a really nice set of the Narnia books. I was thinking they would be great to read to the girls down the road, however Audrey kept begging us to read her "The Golden Chair" (visions of frilly princesses on sparkly thrones, no doubt), so one day before naptime I grabbed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, figuring I'd have her asking me to read something else before I finished page one...but she liked it! Tim was the one who read most of the book to the girls and this week they finished the last bit.
I'm not sure if the girls are ready to delve into the rest of the series but I'm glad they enjoyed the start!

 Have you tried out Jen's saint generator? I got Saint Adelaide, which is pretty neat since she's Heidi's patron saint. :)

 I recently read an article at Verily about ambiverts (which I had previously never heard of), and suddenly my life made sense! Every time I've taken tests like Myers-Briggs or the Temperament tests I get varying results. (Pretty sure I don't have multiple personalities...) I used to half-jokingly wonder "which personality type is the one where you can't pin-point which one you are?", and I relate to traits of different behaviors. As the article explains, "An ambivert, meanwhile, has a particular percentage of tendencies towards introversion as well as extroversion." Definitely something interesting that I'd like to read more about.

And sliding into the seventh take is Cora with her seven month photo. She has six teeth, rolls hither, thither, and yon when put down, loves her bouncer- until she wants out, and does not prefer solids at all. She's a jolly ol' girl and is also in the grab everything stage- the other day she grabbed my face and tried to bite my nose!

I always love the gummy smiles, but when I see the little emerging teeth I love them just as well! (Just not the actual teething phase. ;)
Have a great weekend, and if you're not wild about either of the Super Bowl teams, enjoy some good game food. ;)

Jan 25, 2017

Evie Writes

I get a kick out of some of the papers that come home in Evie's school folder, as well as things she jots down at home that I find stashed on the counters and table tops. Here are some of my favorites:

 Recently I came across this endearing note Evie wrote to notify her teacher (pictured below) that she wouldn't be in school on her birthday...in the summer.
The girls are still eking out every last bit of the Christmas season...
But for this post-Christmas letter to Santa I would never have known Evie had such an interest in space:
One day back in December she took it upon herself to make a list of things we should (not) do at mass. I'm contemplating bringing this with us on Sundays as a reminder. ;)
When this came home in her folder at Thanksgiving it was a good day:
And when Heidi slipped and fell down the stairs recently, Evie went right for some paper to put her get better wishes into writing.

I'm sure it made Heidi feel beder. :)

Jan 15, 2017

7 Quick Favorites

Linking up with Kelly to share seven favorites of late. In no particular order plus completely unrelated photos...

A couple of years ago I was looking for a new natural deodorant to try and I figured this one had decent merit since it had high reviews on Amazon and wasn't super expensive. I knew it was a bit of a gamble, as toiletry products don't always work the same for everyone. Well, two years later I'd still give it five stars!

 post-naptime shadow selfie
I've been using Clinique's tinted moisturizer for many years but found it was discontinued when I went to purchase a bottle a few months ago. Not wanting to spring for the $30 CC cream that was recommended in its place, I searched around the internet for a similar product at a cheaper price point and have been happily using this ever since.

For my girls' hair I've found these large snap hair clips and any alligator clips with the teeth have the best staying-in power. The latter are more difficult to find, ergo I was so happy to come across this Etsy shop with inexpensive alligator teeth bows, offered in multiple colors and sizes!
Christmas came early this year with this Thanksgiving day purchase. Over the last several months mold has grown on several surfaces and objects in our basement. :-/ As mold remediation was out of the question financially, I felt like we were trapped with this awful problem and regularly had nightmares about the mold. After much Googling to try and figure out some solution I started diffusing thieves oil downstairs, and we decided to purchase a dehumidifier. I know there are still some steps we need to take with the mold issue, but emptying several buckets of water pulled from the basement air has given me much more peace of mind!

I'm sure we have one too many alphabet books but when I saw these time period ones (Victorian! Roaring Twenties!) I promptly fell in love.

Paper snowflakes have never been my strong suit, so I was glad to come across this inexpensive snowflake stencil book for Evie. She's been having fun with it during quiet time, as well as REALLY enjoying this Mo Willems activity book. She has literally spent hours engrossed in the pages, and it has been so fun to witness her creativity with it!

Spring is obviously still a season away but is it ever to early to look for cute warm weather shirts?

When a Venerable becomes canonized- #Catholicproblems

That's all for now. Happy Sunday!

Jan 10, 2017

Finally Four

I once told myself I'd bring an equal amount of celebratory effort to the table for each child's birthday, but do I do it for my right-after-Christmas baby? NO. Have I ever? Never! (Well, maybe once.) And my sweet, sweet girl never makes a fuss about it. She just gleefully enjoys the tiniest measures I take to decorate or make her day not like every other routine day.

She didn't even bat an eyelash that we didn't have dessert on her actual birthday, or that her celebration with my family got postponed a week, OR that she shared a cake + family celebration with myself and my parents when we finally did have a "party". (Note to self- be more like her!) So, by golly, I am going to at least write her birthday post.

Audrey is my helper girl. She is always asking if she can help make lunch/dinner and eagerly pipes up if she suspects I'm about to start baking something. She loves wearing skirts and dresses and is very much her own stylist. Exhibit A:
Tim and I aren't sure what to make of the black socks- maybe a nod to his days as a monk?
She loves to play pretend and answers for her "kids", and if I say she's being too loud she's quick to tell me that it wasn't her, it was one of her girls.

Her reactions and responses often give Tim and I pause (in the best way).
The other day she was telling Evie about someone her age who (she felt) whined a lot. I cut in and said, "Let's not talk about people who aren't here; Jesus doesn't like us to be uncharitable." Without missing a beat Audrey replied (with a knowing tilt of her head), "Well, I'm sure Jesus doesn't like whining."

At the conference with her teacher, her teacher related to me a time when Audrey was telling her about some situation and at the end of her tale Audrey clasped her hands and declared, "and it was dreadful!".

The Friday after New Year's we went to the dinner at the K of C club room. It was all older couples who were there that night and as we were leaving, saying our general good-byes to the room, Audrey threw up her arms in the air and proclaimed, "AND A MERRY CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY!".
She loves her sisters and has no qualms about introducing them to people. Today Evie had no school so I had all four girls with me when taking Audrey in to her classroom. I'll admit I was a little embarrassed to parade a crowd of kids through the halls during drop-off and was in no mood for fielding "hands full" remarks, but Audrey just blazed a trail to her classroom and proudly told anyone near her that Cora was her baby and Evie was her big sister.

I truly need to be more like her!

Happiest 4th year to our sweet girl!

Jan 4, 2017

Christmas Vacay

I have to begin this with an embarrassing story. Last year at Christmastime we gave our mailman (postman? mail carrier?) a box of Trader Joe's chocolate covered Joe Joes and a homemade card pulled straight out of the dregs of all homemade cards. I was kind of embarrassed when we received a thank you note in return from him, because that meant he knew we were the ones with the pathetic thank you offering! (I mean, I'm sure he has hundreds of houses on his route, but there's something about being acknowledged instead of simply blending in to all the other households, you know?). Anyways, he signed his name at the bottom and for the rest of the year whenever I passed him or saw him in his little mail truck I'd think to myself, "There goes Kevin!". 
Well, this year I knew all those Amazon Prime boxes arriving on our doorstep warranted a little more thanks, so we gave him a proper card with a little gift card tucked inside, and after hemming and hawing over how to address it on the front I simply wrote "For: Kevin" and placed it inside the mailbox...and last week when we I opened his thank you note my eye caught something right at the bottom of the card which made me holler, "Oh NO. Oh no! Oh no!" while tossing the note into Tim's lap (who afterwards said he thought, by my reaction, we'd lapsed our mortgage or something). Because it was signed:  
"From your mail carrier, Keith".
Now I'd just like a hole to hide in with no mailing address, thanks.
Name gaffes aside, we've had such a nice Christmas season. Both Evie and Audrey had Christmas programs at their schools (I forgot the camera for one and forgot to put the SD card back for the other- boo!). Evie's was on my birthday which rounded out the day nicely- I was able to get out for a few hours with my sister and we had pizza for dinner, so all in all it was grand. :) When my sister and I were texting plans for the day I decided all I wanted to do was get a sit-down coffee somewhere (something I miss doing so much- is that weird?) and then go shopping, specifically go try on clothes in a store- something I haven't done in ages! I ended up finding a dress for Christmas at a new J. Crew Mercantile (be still my heart).
Mid-December we were all planning to go to a Bethlehem Walk at a nearby parish but the frigid temps kept us at home with Heidi and Cora while my parents took Evie, Audrey, and one of their cousins. I was disappointed to miss it but there's always next year (hopefully)!

I think Heidi's favorite pastime was un-trimming the tree
Have you ever been in a situation where you make a poor decision and then every decision that follows (to try a right the wrong one) turns out to be a bad one? Welcome to my Christmas Eve morning.
Evie and Audrey both really needed trims and I decided I didn't want to wait until after Christmas, so at the recommendation of a friend, we headed out to a new-to-us hair place. Long story short- I went to the wrong shopping center twice (Google was to blame for one of those), tried two other random places that had no openings, and waited inside another (because this time!) for almost 30 minutes without any hope that one of the four stylists would be finished with their clients soon. Since it was lunch time I said enough was enough and we headed to Chick-fil-A. I decided to drown my sorrows in a frosted coffee- BUT! I was denied as that particular Chick-fil-A is in agreement with the Starbucks next door not to sell them at that location (eye-roll). If Starbucks wasn't already dead to me, they would be now. The girls were SO good and patient all morning and I felt lousy for taking them along on a wild goose chase. I just wish I didn't try and force things to work out. I ended up trimming their hair that afternoon and it turned out better than my previous attempts on Evie. :)

We spent Christmas Eve evening at my parent's house with family, gorging on hors d'oeuvres and taking it easy.
^^^After peeking out on her father and uncles who were smoking pipes and cigars on the porch, Evie told me, "I'm finishing my pipe". Those men-folk and their good examples...
Our neighborhood has a tradition of putting out Farolitos on Christmas Eve- the past two years rain canceled the plans, so this was our first year seeing the whole neighborhood lit up and it was so neat, especially in the dark!
On Christmas morning we opened some gifts before mass, went to my parent's house for brunch, back home for naps, then back to my parent's again for dinner.
Audrey left Santa a post-it picture of her and him. :)
Heidi was SO sweet with her gifts- she happily played with her hand kite all during the present opening and was perfectly content. Then later she gathered a bunch of the wrapping bows to play with- this is when I love age two!

I don't know how the image got all distorted, but I had to include this picture of how Audrey spelled out her name. :) Shoes on the wrong feet and backwards spelling are my favorite.
On the 27th we made a quick visit to the Basilica in D.C. and then went across the street to the St. John Paul II Shrine to see the St. Thomas More exhibit. It was worth it, even with the meltdowns and missed naps. ;) The rest of the week everyone but myself was battling a respiratory virus, so we had mostly lazy mornings and no schedules and that part was wonderful!
Happy 2017 :)
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