Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday: Double Cookie Recipe Edition




As I write this post a certain not yet ten month old is attempting to eat the apple off the back of my computer.  So kid, actual food is disgusting and the sight of it makes you gag, but this little light up apple looks scrumptious enough to be a first food?

Well... I guess it's a step in the right direction... kind of?


It's 8 o'clock in the morning and the toddler insanity has already reached a fever pitch.  And can you guess what it involved?

If you guessed "red boots" you are absolutely right.  Here's what happened:

Two days ago Maggie got up on the couch, laid down next to me with her feet facing me and starting kicking.  I'm pretty sure that my kidney was involved.  I pointed out that being kicked with those boots was particularly unpleasant and told her to stop.  She did it again, a little bit more softly.  I said, "If you kick me with those boots one more time I'm going to take them off and they're going to disappear, for a long, long time."

She looked at me as if evaluating and then hoped that I was bluffing.

She took her little foot and kicked me as gently as she possibly could.  A test of sorts I guess.

So I wrestled off the red super hero boots that she'd been wearing, with the exception of baths for like five days and nights, and took them upstairs and put them in my closet while she screamed about the unfairness of the world.

This morning she came up to me, wearing a pair of pink boots and handed me her sisters' brand new sneakers (Sadie outgrew every pair of shoes she owned except her ballet slippers) and said "boots on."  "Those aren't boots" I pointed out "and they're your sister's."  "Boots on!  Boots on!" she replied.  "How about I get your red boots?"  I said.  She looked excited, so I went upstairs and got them.

I brought them down and she burst into tears.  Tears of excitement? I thought.  I took of her pink boots and put on the red boots and then?  More hysterics.  The throwing of the pink boots... because what she really truly wants is to be able to wear both of the pink boots and both of the red boots at the same time... and I'm a pretty mean mom for not making that happen.


I mentioned earlier that Paul had come up with the nickname "Boomer" for Patrick and that Sadie had announced that she hated it and wouldn't be using it.  Until yesterday when we had this conversation:

Sadie:  "Is that a picture of me on Saint Therese's feast day?
Me:  "I don't know.  Is it?"
Sadie:  "Yes.  It is.  And that was when Patrick was booming around being a Boomer in your tummy."

Then on the walk home yesterday:

Sadie:  "Once upon a time there was a Boomer and he went boom, boom, boom, which made him happy because he was already booming around."

I think it's safe to say that the nickname has grown on her.

If you've seen Patrick you know how perfectly the description fits the way he moved around the house like a little bumbling baby bear getting into everything and tagging along after his sisters.


Earlier in the week I came up with this recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies and shared it on facebook (although now I realize that I forgot to add that 1/2 tsp salt... and the chocolate chips... I was over enthusiastic about my flour combo...):

1 cup white rice flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
4 tbs coconut flour
1 ½ tbs guar gum
1 ½ tbs xantham gum
½ cup plus 4 tbs sugar


1 cup chocolate chips (dairy free for us)
1/2  tsp salt
½ cup plus 4 tbs brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
2 sticks of butter (room temperature) (I used earth balance vegan buttery sticks)


1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, butter and vanilla and mix on low until combined. Scoop onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Pat down into cookie shape (I found that they weren't spreading out quite like a normal cookie and used the bottom of a glass to shape mine). Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until golden brown.




If you have left over dough roll it in parchment paper and refrigerate.  Slice to make cookies later!

The recipe was a huge hit and honestly, I couldn't tell they were gluten free (and I haven't thought that very often!).




So on Wednesday I was a little sad because the cookies were gone.  And I decided to take the new recipe and give it a new twist.  They were also a huge hit.  Here's the second recipe:


1 cup white rice flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup tapioca flour
4 tbs coconut flour
1 ½ tbs guar gum
1 ½ tbs xantham gum
½ cup plus 4 tbs sugar
1/2  tsp salt
½ cup plus 4 tbs brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
2 sticks of butter (room temperature) (I used earth balance vegan buttery sticks)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup


Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, butter, vanilla and maple syrup and mix on low until combined. Scoop onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Pat down into cookie shape.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Paul likes the chocolate chip the best, I prefer the oatmeal and Sadie says "I like the cookies!"


Maggie cries when the cookies go in the oven because the ten to twelve minute wait just about kills her.  Then she cries more then they come out of the oven and she has to wait for them to be cool enough not to burn anybody.  It's just so hard to be three!


Patrick seems to have given up a nap.  He's started taking a three hour nap in the morning and then no nap in the afternoon.  But he actually seems to be doing well with it, and since the girls aren't taking naps it's not like I'm losing a nap time, so I'm okay with it and not trying to convince him that he really, really should still be taking two!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another Walking Adventure that Doesn't Go Quite as Planned

Oh the best laid plans... or the worst made plans... okay, let's be honest... if I had planned for ten minutes instead of suddenly deciding at two o'clock this afternoon that we had to get out of the house, today would have probably gone differently.  But I was feeling impulsive and my tendency to underestimate distances and overestimate my body's ability to push a huge stroller those same distances struck again today and all I can say is hey... at least we had water.

This mid-afternoon impulsiveness hit a couple of hours after we'd finished the school work for the week and I surveyed the huge pile of books and toys in the school room and wondered how much worse it would be if we didn't get outside at all today.  I looked in the backyard and there was hardly a shadow to be found.  I declared it to hot to go outside.

And then the next thing I knew I was pushing a huge stroller towards the main street in our part of town with Sadie walking along beside me.  "It's not far," I said.  "Let's go see Daddy!"  

It seemed like a great idea.  When Paul left today I reminded him to bring his phone with him.  And he'd be getting out of class in fifteen minutes, so he'd be in the middle of a three hour break when we got there.  It would be perfect.

Now that we're home and I've consulted Google Map, I now know that we didn't take the most direct route.  Or the second most direct route.  Or the third most direct route.  In fact, I had to drag the little map path thing to the roads we took to find out that it was 3. 2 miles each way.  Which might not have been too far for me when I was walking every day back in Naples, but which was most definitely not the best distant for starting up walking today.  

Here we are about two and a half miles in:

Brave little troopers that they are... 
I called Paul and texted him the picture you see above and smiled to myself about how happy and surprised he would be to see us.  We were still about a half hour away, but we had yet to realize that Daddy didn't have his phone with him, or that his phone was on silent.  We were still blissfully optimistic as we navigated our ways through the crowds of students (Maggie won the award for getting the most people to say hi to her) to the law school.  Then we sent Daddy this picture from outside.  At this point, since he hadn't called back, we (I) had a sort of sinking feeling:


We sat outside for ten minutes and called him again and then walked slowly in front of the libraries huge windows, hoping he would see us.  Sadie jumped up and down and waved from the side

Alas, he did not.

And some people weren't thrilled to hear that Daddy wouldn't be coming out to see them (oh and later there would be a fight over that particular pink sippie cup):


So we began the long, slow walk home.  We did get to stop to see the marching band play a song, which was pretty awesome.  All three of the kids were very, very impressed:


About a mile away from home Sadie realized that she could sit on the stroller at Patrick's feet and transform our double stroller into a triple stroller.

In somewhat related news, after pushing that thing for a grand total of 6.4 miles, I may not be able to walk tomorrow.

I can't help but wonder how long it will be before I next under estimate a distance and decide we can walk somewhere really fun, when we really can't (or can but shouldn't).

And we've learned an important lesson.  Next time we decide to visit Daddy at school we'll make sure we've warned him that we're coming first so he can make sure to have his phone with him.

Does Having More than One Child Mean Less Happiness?

Yesterday I was reading an excerpt of a new book on Slate that a friend had shared where the author writes quite a bit about why having one child is the best decision for anyone who wants to be happy.  She goes into studies about how much more work each additional child brings for the mother and comes to the conclusion that parents are losing themselves and that our democracy is suffering as a result because apparently we can't be trusted to see the world clearly while we're inside "a domestic cocoon."  Here are a couple paragraphs that stood out:

"...But the issue today isn’t as simple as washing sippy cups and dirty socks, or even the sheer number of hours we spend away from our friends and our thoughts. As the demands of the workplace have expanded to swallow up our lives, clashing with our consuming love affair with our children, parenting has simultaneously morphed into something grotesquely extended beyond traditional ideas of care. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can find time to make a living. Or read a newspaper. Or have a conversation with one’s partner about anything but what errands need to be done, who is covering pickup or making dinner...

...We may not have the time or energy to organize and participate in movements for social change, or even read the newspaper, but we can bake organic cupcakes and supervise algebra homework and spend our lives driving from soccer to ballet and watch Nick Jr. in our media rooms. All that overparenting seems selfless for a reason: Parents are literally losing themselves. Our communities and democracy are losing them too. Imagine if all that devotion wasn’t just directed inward to the family, but outward into the world? It’s hard to, isn’t it? The world can sound and look remarkably hazy from inside a domestic cocoon..."


I have to begin by wondering exactly what she means by saying that our current time with our children has morphed far beyond "traditional ideas of care."  The answer may be found in another part of the article where a study says that half a century ago a mother on average spent 10 and a half hours a week on child care and that now that number has sky rocketed to 13 hours a week (oh the horror!).  So is our model for "traditional" to come from the 1950s and 60s?  Another study she sites claims that each additional child adds 120 hours of work a year to a mother's schedule.

I guess this means I'm going to be running out of hours in the day soon, and I imagine many of you who are reading this are having to add hours into the 24 hour cycle to make up for all those additional 120 hour blocks that have been thrown into your year with each additional child.

You see, I haven't found these studies, or the author's conclusions to hold true in my day to day life.  And to be honest, I spend far more than 13 hours a week on "child care."  My kids are with me all the time and if I had to estimate my time spent on child care I guess I'd have to say that 7 days a week 13 hours a day would cover most of the time from when everyone gets up to when most of the little people in our house tend to be asleep.  Amazingly I somehow also manage to get other things done, like making meals and running a small business.  Still, I guess I'm 7 times over this "grotesque" average that is said to swallow a mother's self.

Yet I don't find feel like I've lost myself.  On the contrary I feel like I've found myself in my vocation as a wife and mother.  Before I met my husband and we began our journey together through these last seven fast paced years I was stumbling through my life, day by day and month by month, searching for meaning.  I had a vague notion of wanting to "do something big" to "change the world" but I felt increasingly jaded and disenchanted with the world that I saw around me.  Thus I began to pray again, after years of not doing so, not expecting much from the short, dry words that I muttered before I fell asleep each night, and yet saying them all the same, because my soul, deep down, thirsted for far more than I was feeding it.

I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but I'm certain it wasn't what I got.  The life that blossomed in the months and years that have followed those first prayers, while not easy, have been far greater and more rewarding than anything I could have designed or imagined for myself.  And I am far happier than I was when I was the center of my own little rapidly spinning world.  I haven't lost myself as a wife and mother. I've found myself here, in my vocation, in who I'm called to serve and love.

This idea is contrary to what the world tells us.  It tells us that happiness is in pleasure and in seeking what we think we want.  In being who we are.  To be honest, the facade I showed the world and the goals and desires that I held to be incredibly important, feel shallow and empty in retrospect.  They wouldn't have filled the void in my soul that was always seeking, searching, waiting for the chance to say yes to grace, to ask forgiveness and be reconciled with my creator.

In truth, I do see the world differently now.  Some people might say it's because I see it through the lens of the "domestic cocoon."  I don't think so.  I think that I now see the world more clearly, and while I certainly struggle with wanting more than I actually need, I've found that if I slow down and take a good hard look at my life I know where the value truly can be found.

Like anyone else living in this imperfect world, I don't feel "happy" all the time (although I would say I'm much happier than I was before I set off down this path).  I have my off days where the basement floods and I feel like everything is going wrong.  But the greater gift of joy, even in the midst of suffering, remains.  And that joy is not something I could have found if I'd kept clinging to my own ideas of what I believed would make me happy and the plans that I was building in my mind.

The path I've been called down may seem little and unimportant to the world, but I have found it is the path to who I truly am and I am thankful that so far I've been able to accept the grace to follow where it leads.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

11 On My Own Fundraiser

Do you read Kristin's blog 11 On My Own?  If you don't, you should!  Kristin is an amazing mother who is, just as the title of her blog suggests, supporting her family on her own.   My heart has broken for her as I've followed her blog and read about the many, many road blocks (that's an understatement if ever there was one) that she's come up against over the years.

Recently she's been taking classes to work towards becoming a nurse.  In her own words: 

I have been a single mother for almost 7 years.  My youngest child is seven.  I am homeschooling 6 children while going to school full time plus, along with my two oldest at home. 
My husband abandoned us when I had ten young children at home, 17 down to infant.  Over the years, my oldest boys have worked and given all of their income to support their siblings, as my ex does not pay child support.  Last week the State informed me that they are not going to pursue my case because since the beginning, he has done everything in his power to elude the system and they don't feel it's worth their time to go after him...
...Over the summer I went back to school all day to take Chemistry and Biology and the TEAS test to qualify to enter Nursing school.  I received A's and scored in the 98th percentile on the test.  I start school again today - and am worried, anxious, and terrified - not that I won't do well, but that we won't survive...
...My kids deserve this.  They have all worked unselfishly to contribute to the family.  I am asking for $14,400 because we have lived for the past 6 years on an average of $1200 a month.  It's hard.  Believe me.  Especially as they get older - there is so much we can't do that others take for granted - we have two teens that can't afford a license, and one teen who was denied enrollment with Seton, just for starters.
$1200 a month will pay rent, utilities, and put gas in my car while I go to school.  Read the entire thing here.

There are various gifts for different levels of contributions, including beautiful saint dolls from her daughters' shop and veils by Lily!  So if you have a moment head over and check out her blog and donate or offer a prayer for Kristen and her amazing family (or spread the word about her fundraiser!)!

Five Favorites: Spices Edition

Maybe skip this first little italicized paragraph in which I stress about stuff to get straight to the happy.

Today is a good day for me to actually come up with a Five Favorites post so that I can spare you the post that I just wrote about how Comcast is driving me completely and utterly crazy (it wasn't a short one either folks) or how it's been like 85 degrees and 100,000% humidity and the upstairs in my house feels like a sauna, or how I just walked down to the basement and saw that the floor looked a little wet in the box room in the place where the floods inevitable start, and we'd stupidly moved boxes back into that room when I was still trying to organize before the mold situation occurred and I was no longer able to go downstairs without firing up my asthma from non-existent to full blown.

So sitting down and thinking happy thoughts is exactly what I need to be doing right now so that I don't turn into a moody little rain cloud and drift away.

Besides, there's a post I've been meaning to write for months and I've never gotten around to it and I think it would fit perfectly with five favorites.

Since the vast majority of my cooking is from scratch these days, I rely on spices more than ever to make the things that our family likes to eat.  I've always (at least since I've started cooking more than hot dogs and grilled cheese) used a lot of spices (let's just say that they don't sit around and go bad in my kitchen), but now I use a ridiculous amount.  Narrowing them down to five was pretty much impossible until I realized that I tend to think of them in little groups and use them together.  And so I offer my Five Favorites, Spice Edition... and if you have a favorite spice you don't see here definitely share what it is and what you like to make with it!

Garlic and Onion Powder

I try to remember to buy these two spices (especially the garlic) in the big containers  Once in a while I forget and get a little shaker and I use the entire thing up in much, much less than a month and then try to remember to get the giant half gallon size thing with the handle to refill the cute little shaker that actually fits in my spice rack.

I use these two spices in almost every recipe that I come up with.  That may sound odd because I use actual garlic and onion in most of my recipes too... but it adds just a little extra flavor that I miss when I don' use it.

From chili to spaghetti to lasagna to steak to a roast chicken these two powders (usually accompanied by kosher salt) are a basic part of most meals I make.

Chili Powder, Paprika and Crushed Red Peppers

My poor husband.  Before we got married he didn't do well with spices.  He has been quoted as saying that "ketchup is spicy."

I, on the other hand, tend to think that many recipes could be improved with a little more chili powder and red pepper.

Our relationship may have only survived dating because I didn't really cook at that point (hot dogs, grilled cheese and anything else on the foreman grill doesn't really call for any sort of seasoning expertise).

But once I started cooking a balance had to be found.  And basically his spice tolerance has gone way, way up since his ketchup is spicy days.  And I hold off on the crushed red pepper (for the most part) and then sprinkle it on my own dish...

Cumin

When I was going to school in South Africa one of my friends and I used to stop on the way to class and buy samosas from the street vendors.  They were delicious and they were seasoned with a spice that I didn't recognize.

When I got back to the states I missed them (and couldn't find any that were comparable, even at restaurants) until one day I smelled a spice and realized that that was the spice that was in the samosas we'd eaten.  Once I recognized it I began to find it in all sorts of different things and now I buy it in the same bulk containers I get garlic powder in.

I usually use it these days in tacos and with other spices as a rub on steaks... and one of these days I'll get around to actually learning how to make samosas...

Oregano, Basil and Tarragon

These are the first three spices I began cooking with.  I knew all of one actual real recipe when Paul and I met, which was a complicated spaghetti that I'd learned to make in Cape Town and these three spices were the basis for that recipe.  I've used them to season yeast bread, in cream cheese based dips back before our dairy free days and in spaghetti and lasagna and soup.  

I thought that I relied primarily on oregano and basil (since I usually don't need more than a tiny bit of tarragon) but after running out of tarragon a few months ago I developed a whole new appreciation for it as a key spice in my spice cupboard arsenal.  

Bay Leaves

Because split pea soup just isn't split pea soup without a couple of bay leaves!



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The First Day of Daddy's School (and our homeschooling day)

She's wearing my favorite sweater from 3rd grade.
Yesterday I had our morning mapped out.  I mean totally mapped out.  I'd made the lesson plan for Sadie's day and as I looked over it I pondered... "This is too much work.  Oh... Well... We don't have to do it all...  I mean, we'll just see how it goes..."

And suddenly I was sitting at the dining room table and it was nine o'clock in the morning and she'd finished all of her work and was asking "what's next" in that cheerful, school's so fun voice and I was thinking that maybe we shouldn't have started right when we got up, even though it had seemed like a fantastic idea at the time.

Paul was at school at this point, and I stared out the window and evaluated the thunder heads and the oppressive humidity in my kitchen and decided that going on a walk (or even outside to play), just at that moment, with my slow moving bunch, wasn't the greatest idea ever.  Because while the internet said 30% chance of thunder it felt, on and off, like the sky was going to open up at any moment and pour.  At least it felt that way inside my living room at 9 am.

And when I say that we're slow moving I mean seriously slow moving.  Like molasses.

Then Patrick settled in to a three hour nap (courtesy of his waking up way too early) and the vague possibility of me changing my mind and heading out with the three of them disappeared completely.

So Sadie and I sat down, with a little magnetic board that belongs to her sister, and I started teaching her Japanese.  Because that would take up some time, right?  And why not pass on some of these languages I spent so much time studying in college to the kid while it's still super easy for her to learn (for the record I studied Japanese, Mandarin, isiXhosa, French, Spanish and German because if I have a chance to learn a language I apparently just can't say no).

I was surprised to find that I could still read the words in the book (more easily than I could have when I was actually struggling through semesters of it in college... did the knowledge finally sink in somehow?) and we picked out ten words to learn and one letter and then three kanji, which she sat and copied over and over again because she decided that it was fun ("here write this three times" turned into writing it all day long and showing me every time).  And all I can say is that maybe this will make writing her own letters a lot easier, because if she can remember the correct stroke order for a kanji she can remember which way an S faces.  At least I hope it helps. Because there's been a battle going on between the 3s and 2s and Ss that just isn't pretty.

That brought us up to like 9:30 when I broke down and put on a documentary on butterflies and birds and bats and bees by Disney and Maggie and Sadie stood in awe right next to the TV as monarch butterflies covered trees and a bat nursed its baby while flying and eating out of a cactus flower (Paul didn't find the description of that to be nearly as impressive as I did).

Then it was suddenly lunch time, or at least 10:30 when everyone starts asking if it's lunch time and assuring me that it in fact is and that they're starving to death even though they just ate a peach and an apple and a handful of peanuts and raisins.

Patrick finally woke up, and trailed Maggie around the house like a bumbling puppy, trying to avoid her stomping red boots, and yet unable to stop himself from following them around everywhere.

And while I made lunch I checked in online and wondered if the whole world had gone crazy (did it feel that way to anyone else?  It just felt like every where I looked someone was arguing with someone else...).  It felt that way to me at least (note to self: when that starts happening, just close the facebook window).

The lightening storm finally arrived late last night, and the flashes of light and rolling thunder seemed to go on and on and there is now a puddle about four feet wide outside next to the curb that I will be keeping a certain three year old far, far away from today.

And that is pretty much our first day of this new year (okay, the first day of the tenth week of school for our homeschool since we got an early start, but the first day of 3L for Daddy!).

Today I'm a bit more prepared.  I went to Staples and bought a huge amount of their cheap copy paper and made a week's worth (by my estimation) of things to do in addition to our hands on stuff.  I'm hoping we don't finish them all this morning... and I'm starting later... so at least we won't be done by 9!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week Ending: Last Weekend of Summer Break Edition



We crammed as much as we could into this last weekend before law school started back up.  And now, with Paul having just walked out the door for his first class at 8:30 this morning, we face year number three.  I know it's going to be over in a flash, just like the other years, but I'm still feeling a bit over dramatic this morning because here-we-go-again... and after five years of grad school (have I said that enough times?) maybe a teensy bit burnt out... and the three year old having a temper tantrum because she wants the light switch in the living room off, and is willing to do the time in the time out chair to have it that way for approximately five seconds before I turn it back on, is not helping.  

But... at least it was a marvelous weekend.  And before I finished this post some quiet time like a big girl in our room had turned around the tantrums (and the day for everyone else).  We did a field trip to a historic site in a nearby town and had a picnic and walked around and looked at all the old buildings (and the fish).  

We more or less had the place to ourselves:


Patrick was a fan of the big red barn.  And of getting his picture taken.


Sadie came sprinting back from the gazebo.  Something was in there.


She was brave enough to go back with me to face him though:


Although we didn't stay long in the gazebo... what with the cricket staring at us like that:


She posed in front of the old school house (with beautiful apple trees next to it that you can only barely see):


And we marveled at the plaques that told how the buildings were moved to their current location.
What an amazing project that must have been:


The church is next to the school house:


We walked over to check out the farm house:


It has quite the view:


There was a conversation about out houses:


Then we walked over to the lake and saw a pretty big fish swim by (and hundreds of little fish too!):


The one we spotted looked like a carp (and the little ones had pretty blue fins):


There was a sign on this building that said that it was found to be about 440,000 lbs when they moved it here.


We checked out the last few buildings:


Admired the garden with flowers popular in the 1850s.


And for the grand finale saw the log cabin:


Sadie inspected that walls:


Saturday was kind of a lost day.  I had a migraine and Paul was amazing and watched the kids during the time he was supposed to be in the library while I took benadryl (it worked) and slept off the horrible-ness (it was the kind with an aura where my face goes half numb and I start slurring and even though I've had plenty of them over the years they're always kind of terrifying).  Thankfully the anti-histamine almost always work on them.

We made up for it by going to two parks on Sunday after the kids and I walked to Mass (Paul got to go to the teen Mass in the evening).

One of her favorite things lately is to say that she's "day dreaming." I'm guessing that's what's happening in this picture:


Maggie was her regular acrobatic self (complete with red super hero boots).

I can hardly believe how big she's getting!  She's now wearing size 6x dresses.  She's tall like her sister!


If I had to guess I'd say that she's pointing out her little sister's naughtiness:


Patrick, sporting his new haircut, watched the fun while sitting with Mommy:


Daddy and Sadie had a conversation about fairies through these little "phones."


Boomer.

Sadie's still not thrilled with the new nickname and is insisting on calling him Bippy.


Super hero Maggie to the rescue!


And it was finally time to go home so Daddy could head to Mass:


And here's what I'm currently lugging around with me in the car.

I'm planning on taking advantage of living someplace chilly to actually make warm things we can wear.

Knitting was a little depressing when we lived someplace where it was above 80 most of the year!


And that was our last weekend of the summer break.  For more Week Ending head over to Re-inventing Mother!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What I Wore Sunday: Rock Star Edition

I am feeling kind of like a rock star right now.

You see, I woke up this morning and knew what I had to do.  

Well to be totally honest first I woke up in a bit of panic, because oh-my-goodness, Patrick had slept all the way through and it was 7 am and that meant he'd slept for 12 consecutive hours and I had to stop myself from jumping up and sprinting into his room to check his breathing because the kid has not been sleeping well lately (it's those awful teeth coming in).  Oh and I was kind of in agony, because he hadn't nursed for twelve hours and after a week of constant night time nursing sessions, that is not the best feeling in the world.  

But I waited until I heard Maggie wake up and then Sadie and then I went into Patrick's room and he looked up all smiley and happy and I got everybody downstairs and finally gave my full attention to the thought that had been swirling around in my mind all week.

It has become clearer and clearer these past weeks that I really have one shot at a successful Mass experience.  9am.  That's it.  If I take Mae at 9 am we might be okay.  11 or 6 are just not an option.  11 and 6 o'clock masses are like some sort of nightmare scene out of a horror movie with plenty of screaming and tears.  But at nine o'clock... she might act like a human being.

But since Paul got home from work around 4 am I knew that I was most certainly on my own.  So I got the kids fed and dressed and put Patrick in a carrier and Maggie on her leash, because there was no way I was going to be just holding her hand (if you've met her, you understand) and as we walked we talked all the way there about "our best behavior" and "going to see Jesus" and I hoped for the grace to just survive the upcoming hour and a half and not have a nervous breakdown.  

On the way to Mass Sadie was concerned.  Really concerned.  She kept bringing up the Little House on the Prairie episode where Pa doesn't go to church and the preacher is mad... and I assured her that our Pa would in fact be going to church, although she had to repeat how this was just like that...

We walked in through the glass doors and Maggie collapsed and began to scream "Go Ma! Go!  Go Ma!!!!!" repeatedly while people turned around to stare.  Not the best start.  I leaned down and got her to stop quickly (amazingly) and we proceeded towards the kids benches.  As I leaned forward to genuflect Maggie took a exceptionally clumsy step and slammed her face into the pew.  

So we retreated to the narthex.  And amazingly, she did alright.  She sat on a stair next to me and on my lap in front of Patrick.  She did make little Mae sounds and we had a few talks about squealing and about how she wasn't allowed to put my rosary in her mouth (she was for the most part, happily holding it in her hand).  But it was better than I expected.  

After the final blessing she had a full out melt down because I'd told her if my rosary touched her mouth one more time it was going back into my bag and it did, but my then it was over and I was dragging the whole gang outside and besides... we had survived.  

I even let them play on the playground on our way home because she'd honestly done like 1000x better than I'd expected (okay my expectations were lower than low).

When we got home we woke Daddy up, I snapped these super awesome (yeah, right) photos of my dress for the day.  I have mixed feelings about this dress.  

They're mixed because I really do love the dress.  It's comfortable.  It's easy to nurse discreetly in with a cami-secret under it.  I like the length.  However... it makes me look like I'm about 20 weeks pregnant... and I know this because when we're out and about we get looks like, "I can't believe this woman with this many little kids clinging to her is clearly knocked up again" (if you've gotten them you know what I'm talking about).  And it's true I can wear it through all forty weeks of a pregnancy because of the empire waist... but it's not actually a maternity dress (actually it's a juniors dress from back in the day) and apparently looking like I'm pretty pregnant in it (I'm not) isn't enough to dissuade me from wearing it.  

And so here it is... along with one of my snoods... I would have paired it with a sweater if I hadn't known I was going to be totally covered in babies (and a moby wrap today):

I just can't get my whole self in with my computer camera so you get a photo montage.
For more What I Wore Sunday head over to Fine Linen and Purple.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sadie's Saturday Morning Nun Talk: On Saint Therese

Sadie was on the phone with my mom yesterday when she launched into a conversation about the solar system.  As it got funnier and funnier (at least to me) I began to type what she was saying: 

"I was a little surprised. I thought God was going to make Pluto the same size as Jupiter. But he didn't he made it little... And Saturn has rings. And it's not closer to the sun. And there's something I have to tell you. Mercury is near the sun and it's hot. It's not like Pluto. It doesn't have ice all over it. No. It's close to the sun."


Earlier in the week she asked me to get the camera and record while she talked about Saint Therese... she's a little shy at the start and then she gets going:

video

Friday, August 23, 2013

Patrick's First Hair Cut

I am not responsible for 100% of the haircuts in our house... I guess I have been for a while, it's just that now I've actually cut everyone's hair!  Now that I think about it, I've probably saved us about $700 since I bought the clippers four years ago by doing it myself (that's adding in my own and the kids haircuts too)... and that's not too bad!

 Patrick's hair was really long in the back and was starting to curl and look like a mini mullet.. so I knew that it was time.  He is not particularly thrilled with me though.  I gave him the same haircut I give Daddy, a #2 blending into a #3 in the middle with a #4 on top.

Now he looks so much older (to me at least!).

And here it is... Patrick's first hair cut!  Just in time for the end of summer:

He was a little annoyed with me at first...
(Okay, he and Mae both screamed through the haircut...
Mae couldn't believe that I was cutting his hair...)

But then he saw himself in the computer!

And he became happy baby again!