Aug 27, 2016

I can only do what I can do

-has become my mantra of late. Most especially when I'm staring down an evening of dinner, clean-up, baths/ bedtime on my own (such as tonight *groan*). It's the thought of everything that needs to be done that's most overwhelming, plus there's one of me and four kidlets, tipping the balance towards anarchy. Focusing on one task at a time helps, of course, but is not a goal that is always achieved. And I'm torn about delegating tasks- I but teaching kids to be autonomous is not exactly a sanity saving process!

Then there's the matter of my children being actual people- I don't want them to remember bedtime always being a time of temper flares or a robotic mother shooing them off to bed with a hasty 'goodnight'...I'm grateful for the nights when the baby isn't screaming and the toddler hasn't climbed into the top bunk multiple times and the whole night doesn't feel like a marathon of hysteria. On the nights where things are mercifully smoother and calmer I try to compensate by reading a little longer and spending a bit of extra time tucking in each girl (and throw up several 'thank you's to God!). I want them to feel loved.
On the not-so-smooth nights I tell myself the dishes can wait. The food won't spoil if it sits out all night. The dining room floor will survive another day without being swept.

Deep breaths.

One thing at a time.

And eat some chocolate once they're all in bed.

St. Monica, pray for us!

Aug 22, 2016

My (Anniversary) Sunday Best

Yesterday was our sixth(!) wedding anniversary and the anniversary of Evie's baptism, so throughout the day she took to saying "our anniversary". :)
Same church one year later!
My mom babysat the three older girls so we could go out to dinner on Saturday night, and yesterday we just had a low-key Sunday, take-out for dinner (no way was I cooking ;), and Tim made a cheesecake for dessert. I'm sure several years ago I would've been appalled at the thought of not making special plans for our wedding anniversary but seriously, just give me a night out with good food and I am set. Just a night OUT.
The dress I was planning to wear to mass didn't fit right (hello, real life!) so at the last second I threw on this top and skirt- both thrifted and shown before on this here blog.
Blue, black, and cognac outfit
During mass we sang "I Am the Bread of Life" which Evie and Audrey have become enamored with singing ever since they tuned in to it (ha) at my grandpa's funeral. I don't mean any disrespect but it's not really one of my favorite songs; I also notice that it's often played at funerals. Anyways, at my great-aunt's funeral it was also sung- Audrey exuberantly joined in with arms outstretched- and after the song ended yesterday Evie notified me, "We're not supposed to sing this- it's not a funeral". Seriously never a dull moment with kids!

Linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best- have a good week!

Aug 19, 2016

Life Lately {August}

I set really low expectations for this summer in terms of doing any activities or leaving the house, but all in all it's been a good, simple summer. Several times my mom took Evie and Audrey to her house to swim in the kiddie pool or go on special outings, for which I'm very grateful! They ask nearly every single day "Where are we going today?"...and nearly every single day my response is: "... nowhere". I willingly admit I'm relishing these days of lazy mornings and time spent at home, though, because I know soon enough busy and schedules will assume command of our days.
Before the hair chop with unexpected bangs, I miss their long hair already!

 A huge blessing of late has been all the generosity we've received from our community- fantastic meals (it feels like Christmas the whole day when you know you don't have to cook dinner!), borrowed maternity clothes, and the passing along of summer baby clothes. I'm thankful we're surrounded by such wonderful people, and hope to pass along even a tiny portion of the kindness we've received.
Lately a goal from my confirmation saint has often been popping into my head: To study and satisfy the tastes with whom one lives. I knew it belonged to a list of ten things altogether, so when I went to look them up I found she called it her Code of Amiability. It really hit me when I read that that amiability is so very much something I need to work on; I hadn't been able to pinpoint the exact virtue until then!
 If you get a chance, though, read the other nine parts of the code, as they are so good.

How is it that meals in the summer often seem so much simpler but no less delicious? I wish dinners could always be as easy as- grill meat, prepare salad, and eat.

 I'm slowly getting into the groove of meal planning-ish things and some new favorites that have become regulars in our meal rotation are:
Chicken Shawarma (made this because of Simcha's suggestion and she's right- it is SO good!)
Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette 
Cranberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken and Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
Also, shake my hand and call me 'Ma Ingalls' because I made Pesto from the basil that actually grew under my watch!
Our neighbors gave us their fish tank (fish included) since their son is going off to college and now we officially have a pet(s). ;)
Finally, Cora hit the two month mark! She's a sweetheart and chunking up nicely. :)

Aug 12, 2016

7QT: a milestone birthday, carpool fears, and a thrifted find

Linking up with Kelly for Friday takes!

Three of our girls our sick and haven't been sleeping well, and yesterday I had to take a 2 hour glucose test in order to be cleared from diabetes (please say a prayer that I am!)...I am beat. TGIF!!
I've been diffusing peppermint essential oil and used Thieves oil in the steam mop, so I'm hoping they help in the health department!
We celebrated Evangeline's 5th birthday on Sunday with my family and her real birthday was on Tuesday so its been a bit of a birthday week for her- five is a pretty big deal, so I've heard. :)

So I guess it was decided that 5 is the birthday where we welcome guests without shoes. ;)
Pink birthday party
Evie's a caring and doting big sister, loves to read and let us know what time it is (minute by minute), takes her bed-making very seriously, enjoys building with blocks and Legos and usurping whatever home paraphernalia that's around to make forts.
She requested "a chocolate cake from Costco with flowers and a rainbow". Well I tried to convince her to let me make a cake instead because do you know those Costco cakes feed 48 people?
But she told me that for her seventh birthday I could make her cake; for her fifth she wanted the Costco cake. Oh-kay.

Also, we still have leftover cake in our fridge.
Speaking of Evie...she starts Kindergarten this year and one thing that strikes fear into my heart is afternoon pickup. I've read through the procedure but still feel clueless and am fairly certain this will be me the first week:
You know those reality storage shows where people pay a small amount for a storage locker and end up scoring big from the items inside? I had my thrifting equivalent this week with this NWT Lucky Brand shift dress- I found it at Goodwill for $4.99 and it retails for $129! Say what?!  I certainly like it but definitely would never shell out $129 for it!
Lucky Brand embroidered shift dress, thrifted shift dress
Finally, this little babe is 8 weeks old already...seriously the fastest 8 weeks of my life! I feel like she was born and I blinked.
All for now. Have a good weekend!

Aug 4, 2016

Topsail Island 2016 {the one with a baptism and blogger meetup}

 We recently returned from vacation with my family to the beach in North Carolina. This year I was preparing myself for a week with much less beach/ pool/ outside time than previous years since Cora was only going to be five+ weeks old. Tim and I went with my family when Evie was about the same age and we barely have any memories from that week, so entrenched were we in exhausted and clueless new-parent-dom (I think we each made it into the water twice, which felt like a major feat)!

Anyways, this year we had a great week overall- it only rained once at night, and it felt like all of us were able to get adequate beach and pool time. It *was* challenging with four kids (sunscreen application, I'm looking at you) but it helped that we were able to figure out a pseudo routine for our days and a lot of times split the kids 2-2 between us.
When you have really early risers the silver lining on vacation is enjoying COFFEE while watching the sun rise...
And at the risk of sounding like a supreme lush, I sure did enjoy partaking of a cold one (or two) each day- we had a well stocked fridge. ;)
 We had a priest family friend with us for most of the week and since the timing was optimal we decided to have Cora baptized at the local parish while we were there. Funnily enough the parish has the same name as ours back home!
Cora's godparents live in another state so we had my parents stand in as proxys but forgot to ask them beforehand...slight oversight.
This year there were seven kids total- all girls and all under the age of five (well, technically since Evie's five on August 9th). There was a lot of talking but they were fun to be around. ;)
One of my brothers shared a bunk room with Evie and Audrey and he laughingly told us how some mornings the girls woke him up loud whispering about whether or not they should wake him up.

Pineapple one of my sisters grew
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting up with Sarah who happened to be vacationing on Topsail the exact same week! It was great to talk in person and meet her lovely family- her kiddos are incredibly cute. :)
For most of the week there were tide pools on the beach during low tide which were perfect for the girls to swim in- it's awesome how different the beach is from day to day. I never get tired of it.
And snackS were the order of every trip down to the beach.
We brought Cora down to the beach once and other times she either napped (baby monitors majorly ftw!) or I stayed inside with her while Tim managed the older three (for which he deserves an Olympic gold medal).
The humidity was a tad on the crazy side -like completely give up on your hair crazy- nearly every time I brought my camera outside to snap photos the lens fogged up, so I have lots of foggy picts like this:
It wouldn't be a family photo without at least one sulky face, now would it?
Sweet little Heidi wasn't the biggest fan of the ocean. One time Tim brought her down to the water but she did not appreciate his efforts and instead made a beeline for the stairs. When she reached them she turned around to face the water and said, "NO." while moving her arm back and forth in a decided manner.
Maybe next year she and the ocean won't be frenemies.
And that's a wrap of our trip; I'm glad everyone enjoyed the week and am grateful we had the opportunity to go!
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