Friday, July 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 5)


My dearest, darling husband upgraded our computer this week.  He's made the whole thing faster, but he removed all the handy little shortcut buttons and pictures and toolbar I use to make my blogging and interneting life easier.  He then informed me not to install anything without talking to him first.  My handsome husband, delight of my heart, my truest love, will  you please reinstall all my little shortcuts?


I just finished reading Hiking the Camino: Five Hundred Miles with Jesus, by Fr. Dave Pivonka, T.O.R.  It was a really interesting read.  The Camino is an ancient pilgrim path to the tomb of Saint James the Apostle in Santiago, Spain.  He walked to celebrate 10 years as a priest and in thanksgiving to God for allowing him to be a priest.  He speaks very beautifully when talking about God and the spiritual side of his walk.  He's not the world's greatest writer, but he hits home with some wonderful insight into the spiritual life and I could imagine hearing him tell these stories over a couple of cold beers. I enjoyed imagining what it would be like if I walked  the Camino.  500 miles?  Imagining is about as close as I think I'll ever get!


We celebrated Anne-Marie's nameday on July 26, the feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim.  If you don't know, they are the Blessed Virgin Mary's parents and Jesus' grandparents.  Anne-Marie was named for St. Anne and Our Lady.  On purpose.  If you don't know what a nameday is you can read more about it here.


The little doll Anne-Marie is holding in her hand is a St. Anne softie I found on She's a very beautifully made felt doll with a prayer to St. Anne on the back.  I've ordered dolls for St. Emma, St.Andrew and first Holy Communion.  She will make any saint you want if you tell her a little about it.  Click over to Saintly Silver to see her work.  (when I was creating this link, I learned that the shop is being revamped and will be open soon.  You can sign up to be notified of her reopening).


Earlier this week, I was not feeling well.  I got up early on Tuesday to do P90X, got dressed and went downstairs.  5 minutes later I was back in bed, feeling yucky and filled with guilt over skipping my workout.  I haven't exercised since Monday.  I was planning to get up early today because I'm feeling good again and guess what I did?  I didn't.  My alarm went off and I turned it off and went back to sleep.  What a lazy bum I am!  Don't worry, though.  This is not the beginning of the end.  It was just a little vacation.  Even though I didn't do P90X all week, today was the only "vacation day".    I won't let you down!  Next week you will read about how taking time off makes for a miserable comeback week.


Last night was a beautiful, almost Fall-like evening.  Cool and breezy are the perfect conditions for GEOCACHING!!!  We haven't been in a while because it's been to danged hot.  Last night Kevin had a tennis match at a park where a cache was hidden, so I took the kids on a treasure hunt.  I pretty much knew where it was once I got within 20 feet, but there was a muggle (geocache speak for people who are not geocaching).  This muggle loitered for the ENTIRE tennis match- 2 hours!  Just when we were about to give up and go home, he left!  We found it in about 2 minutes. 


When we got home, I posted a picture online and about 10 minutes later the phone rang.  It was Anne-Marie's godfather calling to tell us that the umbrella Silly Band Andy is holding was placed there by his daughter earlier in the day.  That just about made my day.

Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary to read more and better Quick Takes and link to your blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Small Successes (Vol. 9)


1.  The kitchen desk is STILL clean.  I'm starting to thing I AM a genius.

2.  I lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks!  I'd like to thank Tony Horton and Ellie Krieger.
One of these days I'm going to have to right my own formal review of P90X, but for now, I think you can tell I like it enough to sacrifice sleep in order to BRING IT! Truth be known, if I was more faithful to the eating part of my lifestyle makeover, I'd probably lose weight faster.  Scale moving down is all I care about right now.

3.  How about this for a success?  This post is being written on Wednesday so I'm ready when the link is.  Planning ahead?  Mmmm hmmmm.

4.  That last one feels a little bit like a cop out, so I'm going to think of something else.....
no, I'm not.  That was a good one.  I like it.  So....there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Captions don't count:
Andy,scrubbing the crumb-trapping, ant-loving rug, formerly placed under the kitchen table,

with a smile.

And here he is showing off his mad putting skills. NHL, take note.

Friday, July 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 4)

I made notes during the week so I would remember some of the funnier things that happened.  I just looked at that list and I don't know what any of it means!  


Let's start off with a picture. These mermaids are not swimming. 
They are being punished.  Harsh.


Thanks to my sister, Joanie, who has been doing genealogical research on my paternal family tree, I have learned that I am a descendant of a Mayflower passenger named Resolved White.  My mind is officially blown.  I can't wait to learn what other awesome things she discovers about our family!  I also learned that we are related to Will Turner from Pirates of the Carribbean!  Oh. He's fictional.  We are related to a real William Turner from Virginia, so that's good too.


 Annie-Mae is saying "Mom"!  I don't know if she knows it's me, but still, it's a step closer and it's adorable! It's her 4th word.  Here are her words: "Hi", "Yes", "Please", "Mom".  Cute!!!


At the Brownie camp-out last week, I got to know some of the other moms a little better.  Who am I kidding, many of them I'd only ever said, "Hi" to and some I'd never met.  So it was a fun night. One mom and I got to have a conversation about New York City, a topic I rarely get to talk about with anyone who knows anything about it.  Since Kevin and I spent 6 years of our marriage and started our family just outside of the city, it's a place that will always be special to me.


I'm coming to grips with my homebound lifestyle again.  Since Anne-Marie was born, I've had to stop with my big outings to the zoo and the pool because she needs her naps and will only sleep in her crib.  The most high maintenance baby of the 4, she is under the impression that she is an only child and the world revolves around her.  We've been spending our hot summer days in the backyard baby pool and swing set.  I was worried that the kids were feeling lonely for their friends since most of our friends don't have babies.  They seem fine.  I think it's just me.  I'm an extroverted person, not that I'm not shy sometimes.  I feel rejuvenated after spending a couple hours with friends, even if it's just sitting around watching the kids play.  I've come to accept that I have reentered that lonely state in life again. But instead of being depressed and feeling like no one loves me (I hope I'm not sounding whiny. I have my moments), I have found ways to occupy my time.  Most of these things are projects around the house, but also this blog.  It feels less lonely knowing there are people reading my blog who know what I'm talking about.  Thank you to you all!


I bought an apron from Boojiboo on yesterday.  I'm so excited!  I can't wait till it gets here.  I bought only one, but there were several that I loved.  I decided that I will try out one and if I like it, I'll go back and get some others.  The grease and filth on my shirts has decreased significantly since I started my habit of apron wearing.  I feel so on top of things when I'm wearing an apron.  I don't know why.  My only concern is that this apron is so cute, I'll get upset if it gets dirty.  That would, of course, defeat the whole purpose.


The kids start their ice skating lessons tomorrow morning.  45 glorious minutes inside a refrigerator when it's 92 degrees outside make my decision to take ice skating lessons in the summer a pure genius move.  Don't worry, I didn't break my arm just then.  I guess you'll be seeing my kids in the Winter Olympics in 2018.  Mine will be the ones with the gold medals in hockey and figure skating draped around their necks.  Not that I have high hopes at all.

Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Visit Jennifer at Conversion Diary to read more and better Quick Takes and link to your blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Small Successes (Vol.8)

Small Successes is hosted at Faith and Family Live.  Click the button above to read more or to share your own!


2.  Last Friday was Emma's big Brownie troop overnight camp-out at one of the troop member's homes.  If you read last Friday's 7 Quick Takes, you know I was not exactly looking forward to this event.  It was so hot and humid and I really hate sweating for no reason.  I was close to praying for a rain cancellation, but I refrained because I knew Emma was looking forward to it.  There was no rain, so off we went.  It actually turned out to be a good time!  The troop leaders had all the activities planned for the kids to keep them busy working on patches, (or badges, I never get that right).  The kids were divided up and went to bed around 10 and sleep around midnight.  The other moms and I sat outside getting to know each other.  It was a good time.  I really enjoyed myself!  I even slept pretty well because one of the troop leaders brought and extra air mattress and I remembered my sleeping mask.  If not for little girls rising at 6 am, I would have had a wonderful night's sleep.
I could go on about the joy of sleeping in nature, but I want you to finish hearing about my success.  I'll save it for another time.

3. On the way home from the camp-out, I decided to take advantage of my time with Emma.  Earlier I had learned that we'd be driving right by a geocache hidden in an old cemetery- and it was morning, not spooky dusk.  We drove withing 37 feet of it and got out to look around.  It only took a few minutes to find.  It was hidden in the hollow of a tree in a camouflaged bottle.  We ransacked Kevin's car to find something to trade and decided on a Band-aid.  Emma took a small cat eraser.  We signed the log and then I took her to McDonald's for breakfast (about the only thing I like at McDonald's: a sausage and egg biscuit, yummy).

Friday, July 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 3)

Yesterday I got in the car to take the kids to the library.  I opened the door to the back seat, put in the diaper bag, closed the door, got in the drivers seat and noticed I was still holding the baby.

Yesterday I made zucchini muffins from the torpedo I pulled from the garden.  The trouble with most muffin recipes is they have so much sugar, it's almost like making cupcakes.  These were good, but I want a recipe for muffins using whole grain and not so much sugar, but also not using a bunch of wacked-out ingredients.  Does anyone have one they'd be willing to share?  I have enough shredded zucchini to make at least one more recipe. 

This was not going to be on my list, but Blogger is making me CRAZY!  Every time I hit return it just sits there.  I think I'm going to have to try composing in  open office and pasting here.  Stupid annoying Blogger.

I don't want to bring you down, so here is a picture to add levity to this post:

Right now I am listening to my son play Super Mario Brothers.  He's reached level 8 and it's very challenging (I can't even get through level 1).  He has already died twice and his frustration is palpable.  Last time he died he said, in his whiniest, most frustrated voice, "PEE, PEE, PEE, BABY POWDER, PANIT, MANIT!!!!"  He really is upset, but when I hear that, it's so hard not to laugh. 

Our first GeoCaching adventure was a success!  We chose an "easy" one near our home, loaded up the kids and started searching.  Here's the trouble: we were not prepared for this in any way.  We went out dressed for a good time in the park, not expecting to end the adventure with sweat dripping down our backs, a screaming baby and me covered in mosquito bites.  All of that notwithstanding, it was thrilling to find the treasure and my husband and kids can't stop talking about our next adventure.

Emma has been at Girl Scout Day Camp all week.  She's come home filthy and exhausted every day, a true sign of having had a good time.  Tonight we are supposed to have a mom-daughter overnight campout with her troop.  I know it will be fun once I'm there, it will be a bonding experience for me and Emma, I'll get to know some new people and I actually used to enjoy camping.  Still, I am conflicted because I hate sweating in my sleep.  I know it's a small sacrifice for all that can be gained, but dang it! I just hate a terrible night's sleep.  

Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Click over to Jennifer at Conversion Diary to see more and better Quick Takes and grab your own Mr. Linky for your blog.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Small Successes (Vol.7)

Small Successes is hosted at Faith and Family Live.  Click the button above to read more or to share your own!

Let's get to it!
1.  This week I have amped up my decluttering mission. Focus #1 the Kitchen Desk, aka Mount Vesuvius!  As soon as I saw that desk when the realtor first showed us the house I knew it was going to be a junk collector.  No matter how many times I have excavated that work sight it has inevitably been reburied with miscellaneous crapola within the week.  This time, my genius idea included not only clearing it out, but putting big decorations in it's place.  It's been 3 days and no piles have accumulated yet! (I would like to say that those piles pictured above are what covered this desk, in fact, all of that was "sorted" by kid into the plastic trays, so that was not even "on" the desk) (shame).

2.  Having returned to my exercise routine this week, I have discovered that I actually like it!  No one is more shocked than me.  Getting up at 6 a.m. to exercise?   I came to this realization after a combination of vacation eating and sloth and then missing a workout I intended to get in earlier this week.  I felt out-of-sorts all day.  I am coming to the realization that I need to start my day with exercise and prayer. (The prayer is offering up the sacrifice of my sleep). 

3.  The tie-dye t-shirts I made that my kids are wearing in the title picture of this blog were featured on the website I got the idea from: Catholic Icing.  If you haven't been to that website, you are really missing out!   Lacy collects Catholic crafts from all over the internet and features them on her blog.  What a time saver!  I used to search for hours for craft ideas to do with my kids to help them learn their Catholic faith.  Now, I just go on over to Lacy's. (Time saving is always a success)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


While feeding the baby her breakfast today, I was skimming the local newspaper.  I came across a movie review of "Eclipse", the third movie in the "Twilight" saga.  I'll admit, I have absolutely no interest in vampires, especially one filled with teen angst.  Why I stopped to read this article, I don't know.  But I did.  Much to my pleasure, the critic didn't like it.  

What she did like about the movie was the soundtrack.  She went on to list the artists who performed the music, 99% of whom I have never heard.  I knew it before, but now it is undeniable: I am out of the loop.  When I was a kid, I knew all the artists, band, lyrics and videos that were played on the radio and MTV. I longed to go to see Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Def Leppard  in concert and knew just which Morrisey or The Cure song I was in the mood for and how long I had to press "fast forward" on my Walkman to get to that track.  (As you can see, I had eclectic musical tastes).  I remember being a 19 year-old discussing the merits of Motley Crue with a friend of mine, who was a huge fan, while we were working at the florist.  The owner, a 30-something year-old mother of one, came out and asked what we were talking about.  My friend said, "Motley Crue.  You know, the band?"  She was insulted that we thought she was so out of touch she wouldn't know who they were.  I remember thinking how hilarious it was that she even ever heard of them. 

Now, 20 years later, if my babysitter and I had a similar conversation, I doubt if I could claim to know any band she might mention. I know that as my kids get older and start choosing their own music, I will undoubtedly become more "with it", but right now all I can say is, "Huh?".

Friday, July 09, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 2)


I learned that Gramma (Kevin's mom) is a very health conscious person.  All week we ate the most heathful and nutritious foods I've ever had!  Here is a sample menu:

Breakfast:   Crispy bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease with English muffins literally dripping with butter.
Lunch: Grilled (charred, more like) hot dogs in oversized rolls with cheese and bacon, potato salad and chips.
Dinner: Bbq ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, biscuits
Dessert: Homemade vanilla ice cream sundaes.

Wait! That's not healthly?  Well, she could do very well in a diner in the South!


I just about peed my pants listening to Gramma talk about the NBA.  She started off listing the reasons why she doesn't like it:  Squeaky shoes, only the last five minutes matter, so the game should only be 5 minutes long.  Yes, yes, agreed.  Then she went completely off the rails.  " I don't like those long shorts," she says.  "I didn't mind it so much when they wore those little shorts.  At least I could look at their legs and cute little tushies."


I had the craziest dreams last  night, almost pregnancy-type dreams (no, I'm not).  First, I dreamed that I was at the zoo and they had a huge tiger roaming freely as part of the exhibit.  The tiger sat on me and instead of moving the tiger, they gave me multiple shots of anti-anxiety drugs.  Then, I dreamed there was a tornado and one of my good friends who lives down the block wouldn't help me corral my children to safety (of course she'd help me in real life).  I was very mad at her for not helping me-"Again", I said in my dream. So as we tried to get to safety, a tornado came and started flipping Emma and Andy, who were bungy-corded into a toddler bed, into the air.  With the younger two, I was running in slow-motion, yelling, "Mary help me!" over and over again.  Then I dreamed I was getting arrested for a crime I didn't commit and Kevin wanted to know if the police were going to cover the cost of the pizza they were going to have to eat for dinner since I was going to jail.


I got to fill in on Papa's (Kevin's dad) church league softball team during vacation because they didn't have enough women.  I was so nervous about it because I haven't swung a bat since before I got married 12 years ago.  I was standing in the outfield taking deep breaths trying to calm down as I watched the comedy of errors happening on the infield.  Let's just say this team is not "in it to win it".  So I settled down.  I made a couple of my own errors and got thrown out at 1st my first time to bat.  But my second time, I beat out the throw at 1st and then turned the next batter's base hit into a double!  Ha! Ha!  The 3rd base coach started calling me "Speed Demon" and someone from the other team made a comment on how fast I was.  I thought they were all teasing me, but Kevin said I really was fast and they really were trying to get me out!  I'm so proud of myself.  I felt really good running.  I haven't run in a very long time.  I owe it all to P90X.


Thanks to @momn3boys on Twitter and author of Musings of a Catholic Mom blog, I learned of a new and potentially awesome thing called geocaching. "Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices," according to where I registered.  I got the introductory app for my phone and the kids and I are going to set off on our first treasure hunt later this afternoon (if it stops raining). I'll let you know how it goes!


I experienced a little of what it might have been like for the writers of the Bible (very, very little, I'm sure).  I sat down yesterday to write this blog and the next thing I knew I had written something completely different than what I started out writing and made myself cry.  Perhaps, like them, I was filled with the Holy Spirit.


I wrote a lot of Tweets and Facebook status updates yesterday about alcohol.  I didn't even realize it until one of my friends summarized my updates in a comment.  I had to laugh, because even though I did write a lot about enjoying a drink, I didn't have even one.  In fact, the hard lemonade I bought is still sitting on the counter, unrefrigerated.  It's not entirely inconceivable that the idea of enjoying an adult beverage is just as refreshing, relaxing, or whatever I want it to be at the time, if not better, than actually imbibing in said adult beverage.  I know.  I'm a strange bird.

Would you like to get in on 7 Quick Takes? Click over to Jennifer at Conversion Diary to see more and better Quick Takes and grab your own Mr. Linky for your blog.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Must've Done Something Right

After an 11 hour road trip, Emma arrived home feeling sick to her stomach at 2:30 a.m.  After sitting with her for a mercifully uneventful 15 minutes, I gave her a Tums and sent her to bed with a bowl and went to sleep myself.  When she woke up in the morning she reported that she felt better after she threw up.  I knew nothing of this and neither did my husband!  Oh, the dread!  Pukey laundry is by far the worst.  She must have known what I was thinking because she said, "Don't worry, Mama.  I threw up in the bowl and then I washed it out."  My 8-year-old daughter not only threw up alone but cleaned it up alone!  Who is this child?  Just yesterday she was a baby spitting up on me multiple times on a daily basis and here she is taking care of her own sick without waking me.  I bet my mom wishes I did that.  I would knock on the wall between my room and hers until she got up to come get me and take me down the scary dark hallway to the bathroom.  Lord knows she'd better not risk hoping I'd go back to sleep because I was on the top bunk with my sitting duck younger sister sleeping below- probably with her mouth open.  (Ha, ha!  Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

The more I watch Emma the more I think of my own mom.  The more I talk and love and discipline her, the more I sound and act like my own mom.  It's the inevitable curse I hoped would never happen that is turning out to be a blessing. Someone has gone before me.  For better or for worse, I have learned from my own mother's mothering.  I hear her voice when I tease my kids, when I threaten them, when I discipline them. I feel the rage she felt when someone mistreats them or belittles the gift of my "large" family. I feel her heart when I look at them and can't believe how fast they are growing and wonder how much longer they will let me hold them.  I can imagine the day I will have to let them go and it breaks my heart like it must have broken hers.  I remember being her child and being anxious to shake the dust of my hometown off my feet to see the world. Watching your child grow into the person you hoped would be confident enough to do just that and wish they would never leave- bittersweet is the only word for it.

I'm a grown woman now with four kids of my own and she is Nana.  She did the best she could with what she had for six kids. She wasn't perfect and she didn't raise perfect children.   Only Holy Mother Mary could do that.  But she did her job and did it well, as far as I'm concerned.  I hope my children will say the same.

This post is featured on Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival and Elizabeth Esther's Saturday Evening Blog Post.  Click either of the links if you would like to participate!  The more the merrier!

Small Successes (Vol.6)


1. After 8 tries, I finally uploaded the video I posted for Wordless Wednesday!  It posted this morning.

2.  Survived a 11 hour car trip with 4 children and only one 30 minute stop.

3.  Enjoyed the heck out of my vacation with only minor guilt (showing itself in wild dreams about being married to Tony Horton, my P90X trainer) about abandoning my exercise regimen and healthy eating.   However, after 5 days of eating "love-cooked food" (read: butter and cheese), I noticed dark circles appearing under my eyes despite sleeping till 8:45 every morning.  I think that means my healthy diet was working (at least in the eye circle department). 

Wordless Wednesday: Tickle-Me Anne-Marie

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Small Successes (Vol. 5)


This week has gone by so quickly.  I try to keep in mind the things that I've done well so I can write them here, but every time, I have to sit back and rack my brain to come up with one!  Sometimes I wonder how I make it through the day with a brain like a sieve.

1.Thanks to Tori at Going Greene for sharing her success at overcoming inertia.  I had an awesome opportunity for some family fun at the NHL draft party for the Columbus Blue Jackets.  It was a free family event with prizes, free ice skating on the team's practice ice, tours of the locker room, street hockey on the arena floor and real live Blue Jackets signing autographs and playing hockey with the kids.  It's hard to make myself take the kids to these things mainly because I decide at the last minute it's not worth the aggravation of taking a very fussy 14-month-old to a crowded place near bedtime.  Well, I did it.  We had a fantastic time!  The kids played hockey, ice skated and ate hot dogs and chips.  Kevin and I oohed and ahhed over the locker room tour and at seeing the players up close and personal.  If that wasn't enough, Kevin won a drawing for a signed CBJ sweater (that's a jersey, for the uninitiated)!!!  We had such a good time.  I'm so glad we went.

2.  I noticed a dent in my arm and dirt on my shoulders and they turned out to be biceps and collar bones!  Yes!  I love you Tony Horton and P90X!

3.  We made it to Kansas City with only minor baby trouble.  Annie-Mae will not sleep anywhere but her crib.  She took about a 30 minute nap and then screamed until 11:30 before she finally gave in to the Sand Man.