Oct 26, 2016


So the other night I was finishing up reading this book about JPII to the girls and was just filled with gratefulness that I got to be alive during his pontificate. For most of us, he was the only pope we knew for a good chunk of our life. He was *our* pope. We were there for World Youth Days with him, his visits to the USA, and audiences in Rome. We were the young people he addressed as being the hope of the Church. We witnessed him pour himself out like Christ at the end and watched the 24-7 news coverage when his life on earth was complete.

I feel a little twinge of sadness for my girls and their generation  that they won't "know" him the way we did, you know? But...we can share with them our stories and experiences. I recently told my girls how, during public gatherings, the crowds would sometimes chant, "John Paul II, we love you!" and he would at times reply, "John Paul II, he loves you" and then played this random clip that I found on YouTube (below). How cool is it that we can show our kids, oh you know, just a video with a saint in it that can be pulled  up with a few taps of a keyboard?? NBD.

*Side note* If you're ever in D.C. you should make a stop at the St. John Paul II Shrine. It's basically right next door to the Basilica, has free parking which is just magical for D.C., and is super family friendly (we took our double stroller!), not to mention the awesome exhibit covering JPIIs life and pontificate. Definitely worth a visit.

St. JPII, pray for us!

Oct 19, 2016

Aiming to Go Small Business This Christmas

There's a scene in the movie Babes in Toyland (the old one with Annette Funicello- which is equal parts whimsically cute and strange/scary) where the toys are waging a battle on one of the human bad guys and, well, I feel like I am in constant battle with the toys in our house! I do make it a point to keep some in the basement or out of sight/ reach and swap them out periodically but still the battle rages on...I need a break from the Duplo-block-feet-piercings and baby doll accessories that threaten my mental health with their ability to be always everywhere.

ALSO, with four girls all close in age, not accumulating lots of the same types of toys gets tricky. Thus my decision to peruse Etsy and other small businesses for most of the Christmas gifts this year; five years into this kids' Christmas/ birthday present buying gig I'm ready for a little change! Below is a roundup of items I've purchased, as well as things that caught my eye:
Small Business Christmas Gifts for Kids
 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Etsy Christmas Gifts for Kids
5 | 6 | 7 | 8

1. My girls would love to tear around our yard (and house) waving these hand kites around (comes in pastel colors too).
2. Maybe for kids a bit older; this set just looks like fun. :)
3. I found a hand carved double wooden bowl at the thrift store and decided to add these acorns to it for a gift for Heidi. She loves to sort, she loves colors, and she really does have an affinity for acorns so...check!
4. Is this Little House peg doll set not the cutest thing you've ever seen? I also love the other storybook sets!
5. My favorite kind of toy- it inspires imagination and is ONE PIECE.
6. I have this Nativity block set tucked away for St. Nicholas' feast day. Perfect for the time of year when everyone's vying for play time with the Little People Nativity set. ;)
7. Lego rosary- such a neat idea for kids!
8. Admittedly we don't have many musical instrument toys; this stir xylophone looked like a safe and simple one to add.

Hair clips from this shop are a favorite around here and make good stocking stuffers. They hold up well to daily use and *slight* oversights- many have turned up in the bottom of our washing machine unscathed!

I am so excited to give Audrey this wooden car with peg people for her birthday. And how cute are the other vehicle options?

These wooden constellation coins would also make a neat stocking stuffer, as well as a fun thing to bring out during "reading light time" at night.

I was incredibly excited to win a set of Rosary Roses at the last CWBN blogging conference in VA; they had been on my "want" list for the girls for a good while! I'm thinking of mentioning these along with the Lego rosaries above if family members request gift ideas for the girls.

Someday I'd like to get a St. Josephine Bakhita print to frame for Heidi.

Of course this is just a snippet of the great small businesses and awesome Catholic artisians out there...if you have any favorites I'd love to hear about them!

Oct 10, 2016

The Invisibles

Image result for mr. incredible saving the world
I am a firm believer that a little venting (ahem- or a lot) and a good amount of solidarity go a long way in retaining one's sanity...

I see you, mom who painstakingly vacuums the family room only to have that pair of kid's boots (the same culprit every time!) leave caked pieces of mud all over the floor and rug the very next day.

I see you, mom who takes care to clean the bathroom sink and change out the hand towel for hygiene's sake only to have both darkened with dirt within mere hours.

I see you, mom who lovingly decorates her home and thoughtfully chooses throw pillows for the couches in order to add a touch of beauty or comfort, only to have them tossed on the floor and stepped on every.single.day.
I see you, mom who gets on her hands and knees to sweep that crumb-laden floor under the dining table only to have crumbled feta cheese gleefully flung about the room during the next meal.

I see you, mom who makes the effort to wash the bathroom rugs for the first time in a good while, only to witness them being soiled by a bladder that couldn't hold it the very same day.

Yep, I see you.

Oct 6, 2016

A Second Birthday for Heidi Jo

 Heidi turned two at the end of September and this past weekend we celebrated with my family fall style- pizza, beer, and football. :)
Not that older ages require high-maintenance celebrations but I especially love this age because the thought of cake + candles period excites them. 
On her actual day we celebrated with gifts, pizza, and brownies- my food choices but she was happy. :)
 She didn't even seem to mind her eager older sisters "willingly help" to open her gifts.
This picture cracks me up- Evie taking dibs on Heidi's new board books while the present opening continues
This girl is so precious I can hardly handle it. She definitely has an element of two-year-old stinker in her- opens anything she can, sifts through wallets, climbs up on shelves, eats my Chapstick (sure, help yourself!)-  but the preciousness eclipses the stinker.  
Shoes and sunglasses make her world go 'round.
I love all the cute words- pup (cup), tails (pig-tails), puppin (pumpkin), Mae-me (Mary), 'Pay (Guadalupe)- and her voice inflection when she talks. She counts to ten and identifies some colors and letters but you wouldn't know she could talk just meeting her- she clams right up and gives a good side-eye.
Recently I put on The Sound of Music for her, skipping through to most of the songs. After about the fifth "again" of Do-Re-Mi, I was so happy we had one more fan in the family.
She has such cute little curls. Sadly, I don't think they'll last but at least we have proof they existed.
She has only recently started saying Cora's name ("Co-ga"); since June she's called her the very non-generic name "Baby". When she sees one of her sisters holding her she gets in a big huff and hollers, "No! MY. Baby."
Also, sometimes they both seem about the same size...

We love her lots, Chapstick eating and all. ;)
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