Thursday, April 30, 2015

What They Said

(fence building is tough and loud according to the pantless John Paul)

I haven't written a quote post in awhile, mainly because a lot of them these days seem to do with the potty (gross).  But, here are a few I've collected lately...

My kids love to stay with their grandparents.  I don't always tell them far in advance because they keep asking, and because sometimes plans fall through.  So, yesterday morning my mom was coming to get the kids for the day and night, and I announced that they needed to eat their breakfast if they wanted to go.  Carter (throwing his hands in the air): "Oh man!  I've been waiting to hear that news for weeks!!!!"

I was reading the kids a story.  I smelled something.  I asked if anyone tooted.  Carter: Well, I said, "Dear God, please don't make it stink.  Please don't make it stink."  It didn't work.

The boys came in dressed as superheroes the other day.  Carter was Robin.  Peter was batman.  And, John Paul just had a cape and a hay bale.  I asked who he was.  John Paul: "I Hawold da hay bale superhero!!!!"

We've kind of had a little regression in John Paul's potty habits.  He woke up with a dirty pull-up, and of course I was frustrated and told him that big boys did not do that.  John Paul: "Well, I John Pauly, the baby, who tt-s in my undies (big grin)."

Peter is still a bit more silent.  And, Sophie just blabs, but there you have it for a few of the funny things.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Love for Kiwi Crate

This isn't a sponsored post.  It's just what we've been doing a lot of lately.  MiMi got the boys a subscription to Kiwi Crate for Christmas, and they have loved it. 

Every month it comes with two special crafts (and enough supplies for two boys - but it easily accommodates three), complete with everything needed to put together the craft (even if that means scissors)!  It also gives you other ideas of fun games to play with the kids.  Honestly, we haven't gotten that far yet, but the boys (especially Carter) are loving the crafts.

A couple of months ago, they built a snowman, and then played Snowman Bowling Ball.

This week, Carter built his own mini golf course.

And, yesterday, everyone helped make a growth chart.  

Sometimes I wash their hands, promise.

Carter is the one who typically sticks it out until the end while the other two have gone their own ways.
Another thing I love about it is that each craft comes with this little card.  On it you can gauge how much of a mess it will make and what level of supervision is needed - perfect for determining when it the best time to start said craft! 
All in all, my boys like to be busy, and crafting is a big change of pace for them (it's not something I do a lot of on my own).  This provides a way for them to be a bit creative without a ton of preparation and mess.  It's my kind of activity!  Plus who doesn't like getting things in the mail?!

I hear there are also monthly subscriptions for baking/cooking.  I think we might try one of those next :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Denim Jacket: Day and Night

First, thank you all so, so much for your kindness in response to our announcement about Baby #5.  I am overwhelmed by your comments, likes, shares, and above all, prayers.  It all means so very much to all of us!

Okay, on with today...

So, you know Kelsey.  I talk about her a lot.  Well, I thought it would be fun if we both did an outfit post together.  When I thought that, I forgot how ridiculous I look/feel doing these posts.  Ohhh well. Since almost everyone has a jean jacket in their closet, we thought it would be fun to do a day-to-night post with one!  So, here goes...

Day:  This top so comfortable.  I have it in several colors and wear the heck out of them!  They're just the right length and soft as can be.  I also love these shorts.  I'm not a huge Lilly Pulitzer fan (too bright for me) but I haven't found a pair of chinos I love more.  I also don't wear much jewelry.   I mean, I love it, but I find myself wearing the same simple pieces over and over, and when I'm at home, I rarely wear anything but the studs that stay in my ears at all times.

Top // Splendid
Shorts // Lily Pulitzer
Shoes // Superga
Bag // Coach (old)

Night:  To change things up a bit for evening, I switched into black pants and heels (the most comfortable heels I've ever worn)...still very easy but upping the dressiness of the outfit just a bit.  I also added a few more bangles and a long necklace...of all of the non-day-to-day jewelry I have, this gets worn the most lately.  I also exchanged the bag for a clutch and voila!  There you have it.

Pants // JBrand
Shoes // Louise et Cie
Clutch // bridesmaid gift

Do you have a favorite way to wear a denim jacket?

Monday, April 27, 2015


When Kelsey asked me to guest post on her blog last month (here), I wrote about a topic very dear to my heart.  Little did I know that God was probably trying to tell me something.

A few weeks earlier, during breakfast, Carter had asked me if I was excited about the baby that was going to be in my tummy.  He was, he said.

The day after Kelsey's post went up, on the Feast of The Seven Sorrows of Mary, again at breakfast, I told the kids how much I loved them.  Then Peter said, "And the baby, too!"

Later that day, I discovered that these little ones know much more than me...they're much less removed from Heaven, I like to think.  And, their joy...their ability to see God in every last detail...teaches me.

So, yes, right around Thanksgiving of this year, we'll be adding

We're thrilled!  This baby was fervently prayed for.  And, while I know another baby will add to our already somewhat crazy days, the love and joy that comes with it will always win.  The knowing that God is entrusting us with another miracle, another one of His precious souls, in order to fulfill our vocations.  The opportunity to deepen our love yet again, for this precious baby, and for Him.

I've mentioned before that others don't always share our joy when they hear of our growing family, and I'm learning to get past that.  I find it really special, though, that we found out about this little one of the Feast of The Seven Sorrows of Mary.  Mary endured such confusion, ridicule, doubt and eventually pain in order to fulfill God's will.  Yet, she said yes, always.  A few unloving comments and misunderstandings are nothing (nothing!) compared to that.  Her example is a light for me, each and every day.

He is giving us another tiny baby, and He will equip us for our journey here...inasmuch as we do our best to get them back to Him.

Yes, Carter, Im excited!  Just as much as I was when I found out we were having you!


Now, if you have questions or would like to know why we are having another, grab yourself a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and take a glimpse into the heart of our family.

We believe in being open to life.  That's the simple answer.

We believe in what the Church teaches about contraception and about the importance of never severing the pleasurable and procreative aspects of the sexual act (read this too if you want to see what Pope Paul VI predicted about the consequences of the widespread acceptance of contraception).

Do we throw caution to the wind and just allow whatever may happen to happen?  No.  Actually, we spend a lot of time in prayer before coming to a decision to see if having another child is the most responsible thing to do.  We pray.  We talk with our priest.  We determine if we have the mental and physical capacity to bring another child into the world.  And, as a priest told us before, we ask ourselves if we can financially care for another...meaning, can we feed another?  Can we shelter another?  Can we love another?  The answer has always been yes.

Jeremy and I love children.  More specifically, we love our children.  Will you see us losing our minds and all patience at times?  Of course!  Will it always feel like we have everything under control?  Rarely.  Do we get strange looks?  Yes.  Do I worry if other people think I am irresponsible?  Many days.  Do I sometimes long for moments when I'm not being talked to, touched, or needed? More often than I should, I'm afraid to say.

However, right now, we have no reason to not have another child unless that's simply not God's will. And you know what?  We pray and pray for a new baby, and the excitement that comes in seeing a positive test is overwhelming.  But, then, fear can invade.  Sometimes we don't know how we can handle it. Sometimes I remember how badly my anxiety kicks in after another baby comes and how my mental health can take a nose dive in a hurry if I don't take care of it. Sometimes I just don't know that I will be able to respond to another person's not-so-nice comment without crying.

But, then I realize what is happening.  I realize this is one way in which God can completely get my attention.  I care too much what others think of me.  I've always done things and done them well or not at all (not bragging, just letting you in on my personality).  I do not like to fail.  I am a lover of control...self-control.  And honestly, I find myself often only going to God when I have it all together (even then, I'm just fooling myself).

And, in giving us another child, I hear God whisper, "Come to me."  My life is not my own, and with each little baby we are blessed with, I realize it on a deeper level.  I let a little bit more of what others think go.  I acknowledge my desire for perfection and accept just a bit more imperfection.  I give up tiny pieces of control bit by bit, knowing that true peace only comes from giving it all to Him.  It is His will, and with our "yes" to Him, He will provide.

As my stomach was in knots before we decided to go ahead and share the news, Carter came in from outside with a flower in his hand.  Not knowing we were having another baby, he handed it to me and said, "Every flower is a sign from God, Momma." Yes, yes it is.

So, if I were sitting across from you today at Starbucks and was asked to bare my soul, I would tell you this: we love life, in all stages.  We don't know that we will always have a healthy baby.  We don't know if number five is our last.  We might start driving a big van.  We might even homeschool this crew.  You might think I'm crazy.  You might think we are weird.  Maybe you cannot understand why it isn't "enough already."

I can accept that you may never understand where we are coming from.  But, my prayer is that someday you do in every sense.  And, maybe you will not have five children.  Or, maybe deep down you would love that but can't for some reason.  But, what I will say is this...we will always be open to life.  We will always pray about the decision to have another child.  So, in a few years, if number five turns out to not be our last, maybe you can come back here when you're internally questioning why.

As much as I may try to convince you that there is no greater joy than knowing that God is using you as a much as I try desperately to convey to you the joy in my soul at the awareness that there is a baby much as I may want you to know that being open to life is so incredibly much as I desperately want to say all of that with a smile on my face serving as a sign of my inward joy, sometimes I don't.  Sometimes it's just easier to be silent and to wish the questions away.  And I'm sorry for that, because you're missing out when I hold back.

Today, though, you get that joy -- right here.

We are having a baby!  He gives us these little souls to make saints of, but truly, they're making saints of us, and what a difficult job they have.  We've just said yes to God, and we know He will handle everything from here.  I pray you know that, too.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

16/52 - The Way they Work

Carer // 4 - They've been working outside a lot lately with Jeremy.  And, we've discovered a bit of their work personalities at this stage.  Carter is the innovator.  He's always coming up with better ways to do things.  They were hauling wood by hand, and he slipped around the corner to get his toy golf bag and loaded up the wood in it and pulled it along...much easier. 
Peter // 3 - Peter is the work horse.  All he needs is his gloves and he's in it until the end.  He just keeps going and going and going.  Today he found this "scratch backer" and it goes with him!
John Paul // 2 - He just needs a hammer, and he's happy.  It's his favorite tool, so if we find any part of the job he can do with the hammer, he's all in.  Even if that means every now and then using it as a defense against his brother - yikes.

Sophie // 10 months - Well, she just likes to watch for now...and try to eat dirt.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away...

...a song we never sing.

We got our first Spring shower the other evening, and the kids went crazy.  It was like they had never seen rain before.  Honestly, it's not far from the truth.  So, outside we went!

At first I told them they couldn't get wet (mean mom quick response, ha).  So, of course they got as close to getting wet as they could.

 Carter just thought he'd ride his bike through the "storm."

And, Sophie was excited about something new.
 So finally I gave in, and out into the little rain shower they went!

But, Peter quickly was concerned that he might ruin his hat, so he came running back under the porch.

It didn't last long - maybe ten minutes, but every little bit of moisture is a blessing, and the kids are ready for the next shower!  I'm ready for some green grass.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Blur

In the boys' Easter baskets they each received a little lego-like vehicle to put together - with a lot of help from Dad, for sure :)

Peter, John Paul and Sophie were down for naps, and Carter just wasn't very tired (his naps are becoming fewer and farther between, and that makes me sad), so Jeremy sat down with him to assemble his little jeep.

I, of course, reached for my camera. 

As I watched these moments of Jeremy teaching Carter and Carter so eagerly learning from his daddy, I smiled, and yet my heart ached a tiny bit.  It's a moment that I know will be gone too soon. In essence, that's why I captured it.

As I think back over the last almost five years, we've had four babies.  I've been pregnant for 36 months.  Just as one gets out of diapers, we have another one in them.  When we get used to sleeping through the night, another tiny newborn breaks that cycle.  And, just when I think I've got the hang of something, another thing throws me for a loop.  

Carter, this almost five year old, was just a tiny baby making me a momma almost five years ago.  But guess what, I don't remember it all that well.  Of course I remember holding him as a tiny baby and the complete hospital experience when it went from Jeremy and me to a family of three.  But, I don't remember what he smelled like.  I don't remember the voice that carried his first words and sayings.  I don't remember when he was chubby, nor do I remember many specific moments of the others.

And as I look at Sophie, still unable to walk, with cheeks for miles, I don't want to forget.  I don't want to not be able to recall the moments when she needed me to carry her everywhere.  I don't want to forget the soft baby skin she has or the four-toothed-grin.  So, I take pictures.

But, if I'm honest, they really don't help me remember the reality of them at that age...the picture is simply a still moment captured in the blur.  I cannot always hear them or see them as they were.  Is that how it is supposed to be?

I know I'm probably more emotional that most, and I do realize they will grow, older by the day.  And, deep down, I know that is such a good thing.  Is it just because we've had them so close in age?  Is is because I'm too distracted as a mom?  Or, is it just a part of it?  Does every mom feel like the years are just a blur of intertwined emotions and experiences, making the specifics hard to recall?  If I only had one child would I feel the same?  Or, if I had them multiple years apart, would it be as bad?  Obviously I cannot and would not change a thing.  

Some days I just wish that blur would stop.  I just wish I were able to reach back for those memories and the feelings that accompanied them and smile, instead of looking at pictures and smiling through a bit of pain at how things "used to be."  

I love every moment and stage of these little guys (and girl!), and even if I could, I know keeping them little wouldn't be right.  Sometimes I just need the reminder to live for now, soaking up every minute of these moments of sweetness, because they're gone much too soon.  But, new memories and new moments to forever cherish follow quickly, as long as I'm focused on the now...and not reflecting too much on the blur.