Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mid-week Likes & Links

At the wedding I photographed last weekend, a bridesmaid was wearing these PJs to lounge around in, and they looked heavenly!

This homily is incredible.

I don't need these, but gosh, they're pretty!

On that same note, these look kind of fun.

A friend of mine was raving about these easy suppers.  I need to try one!

Do you have an Advent scripture study yet?  This one is just so beautiful!

Archbishop Chaput has been saying so many great things...I loved this.

This is the granola I made this week.  I don't use the flax seed, and I just throw in whatever kind of nuts/berries I have.

Can you ever have too many cardigans?

One of my best friend's mom is having surgery today.  If you read this, will you say a prayer for her?

Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fall Around Here

I could say once again how this little blog has fallen by the wayside right now, but instead, I'll give you a few snippets of life...

...Sophie's latest meeting with a doctor has us putting off her final hearing tests until he thinks it might be more necessary.  That might be never!
...Carter is loving school!  So far his favorite subjects are math and poetry.

...our cattle work is still going strong.  I think we have almost another month of this busy season before we can breathe a sigh of relief...and I've taken next to no pictures of it.

...Peter rode a crazy Sugarfoot the other day when Sugarfoot was lowering his head to buck.  We may have a cowboy (or two or three) on our hands.

...we have three ninjas, a pig and a strawberry for Halloween.  A few weeks ago they put on their costumes and Sophie loved hers so much she cried when it was time to take it off for bed.  Carter immediately said, "Oh how I hate to see a little pig cry!"  Then, I laughed.  And, the crying picked up.

...Genevieve has started screaming a lot, and well, it hasn't stopped in a long time.  She used to be our easiest baby.

...maybe the most entertaining part of our weekly lessons are the Bible illustrations and story tellings. Here we have the tower of Babel.  John Paul's version of the story usually includes blood, lots of rocks, a man on the moon, and John Paulie.

...recently in Mass our priest's microphone started acting up.  John Paul shouted, "Oh!  We have FIREWORKS!"

...Peter has decided that when he grows up, he will just fish all day, every day.

...we've fallen behind in the seasonal activities this year.  We haven't been to the pumpkin patch.  Nor have I really planned anything for Halloween (minus a quick Amazon purchase of costumes).  I don't know when we'll start getting ready for upcoming holidays/events.  And, I don't know if we'll do any of that - part of me feels like a failure, and part of me doesn't really care, ha!

...Carter lost his cat last week (via a day of very strong wind and a gate that slammed at the wrong time).  Boy, these kids get early lessons of life and death around here, and it's never easy.

...Sophie has started singing a lot!  No one really knows what she's singing about, but it's very serious.

...John Paul came in the kitchen as I was preparing lunch and said, "Momma, I've been thinkin' and I'm going to do something for you so you won't have to think about it."  Then he cleaned the lint from the dryer and put it in the trash.  Sweet little helper.

...Peter is writing up a storm.  He is loving practicing all of his letters and even writing cards for people.

...Jeremy and Dave Ramsey have become best friends ;)

...meanwhile I've become best friends with anything that makes me add a few more pounds to this growing bump (aka, I've become a glutton, haha).

...last night Sophie saw the big crucifix, and she stretched her arms as far as they'd go saying, "Jesus want to hug me!"

That's us in a nutshell.  All is well.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mid-week Likes & Links

I might be staying alive via this these days.  

I know so much worry surrounds the next month and election results.  Before then, maybe you should listen to this.

A friend told me about these party favors, and they did not disappoint.

I've wanted to get these for the girls forever, and I finally caved.  They're the cutest!

I finally worked out, thanks to this.

Are these not the cutest things?  My aunt is making a version of them!

I'm currently deciding between these shoes and these for my last two weddings to photograph this year as I carry a few (read a lot) of extra pounds.  I know, I know --- so cute, hehe.  Maybe my legs won't look like tree trunks by the end of the night.  They probably still will.

Need a miracle?  Let's start this novena today.  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Peter - The New Five-Year-Old

A few weeks ago, when I asked Peter what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he quickly replied, "A Thanksgiving feast!"  Just to make sure I was understanding him (and kind of hoping I wasn't), I asked exactly what that meant.  "Well, you have beautiful plates, and candles, and then turkey, and ham, and 'smashed potatoes' and...oh, a blue cake."  He knew exactly what it meant and exactly what he wanted.  The blue cake was an addition.

So, luckily my mother-in-law was getting rid of her grandmother's china.  And, Mom let me have some of her grandmother's.  Done.
I thought this would be a fun blue cake...
And, we couldn't find a turkey, but Mom made a chicken, and we also had ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, a relish plate, and croissants.

Did I mention pickles?
Peter was SO excited about his "beautiful meal."

Come to find out, what he really wanted to do was eat a turkey (in this case chicken) leg.  I think it was the entire reason he asked for a Thanksgiving feast.

Then we quickly had cake and moved on to better things...


It was the sweetest thing this year...he just kept repeating, "Thank you to everyone for my beautiful birthday!!"
And, this little guy never even asked for his own present (which is a far cry from his reaction to Carter's birthday this summer, ha)!

He went to bed last night saying he couldn't wait to have a Thanksgiving birthday next year, and every year after that!  

We saved one last present for his actual birthday this morning - a retractable fishing pole and tackle box!

Fishermen are tough.

And, we went to Gracie's for a smoothie and breakfast!  

Who knows what the rest of the day holds...most of the kiddos have colds.  But, we're so thankful for this little 5-year-old.  


loves to fish, 
prefers to wear only polo shirts and jeans, 
is so very kind (even though he does his fair share of teasing and fighting, he always is willing to give in, even letting his brothers open his birthday presents), 
loves to be outside, 
enjoys riding his horse,
is a huge fan of Allsups' burritos (me too), 
wants to do everything on his own (including no help when hurting), 
prefers not to be cuddled much, 
loves to draw and write, 
is a bit quieter than the rest,
and is one tough little guy.

We are so very blessed to have had another wonderful year with our sweet Peter!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Confessions: Fear of Missing Out

Oh life, sometimes it is funny.

I've been up late nights editing photos, and in those hours of complete quiet and stillness, my mind just gets away from me.  And, with it goes my heart at times.

I feel like I sometimes hold too fast to the what ifs (both past and future).

When I was a senior in high school, I was accepted into every school I applied for, and I took an offer from Harvard.  I spent my senior year asking what would happen if I didn't get in, and then I spent the following year (that I had taken off to serve as a state FFA officer) asking what if I couldn't handle it. So...I reapplied to Texas A&M and spent the majority of my college years there.  It was where I needed to be, for so many reasons, but why do I still wonder what if?

After college I went to work at the White House for the Bush Administration.  I stayed less than a year.  My grandfather became ill, and I was worried about what might happen to him or what might happen to my career mentality if I stayed in the District too long.  I was also not quite sure I was good enough for the job.  Now I sometimes wish I would have given it more time.

I went to grad school.  I really just wanted to be married and have a family, but it wasn't in the cards at the time.  Midway through that first semester my grandfather did pass away.  And I feel like I coasted through the next year and a half, using grad school as a place holder for my time until I found what I really wanted  I look back and wonder why I didn't put more effort into it and what that said about me as a student.

After that, I started a job with a child abuse response agency.  Instead of looking at it with the eyes of helping these precious children whose innocence was taken way too early, I became burdened by the knowledge of the sickness of those who abused them, and I turned inward, losing a lot of faith and trust in people.  I only remained there a year before my heart simply couldn't handle it anymore. Again, I look back and wish I would have tried a bit harder.

Honestly there are days when I want to call my old bosses and professors up and apologize.  While they may never know that I had more to give, I do, and there are days it plagues me that I wasn't at my best.  Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe the late mights.  Maybe the need to just admit it to move on. Maybe because I don't want to do that again.

I don't want to become so immersed in this photography and social media world with blogging that I am not giving my very best to those whose lives I really need to be making a difference in.

I finally have my husband and my children...what I've always wanted...and I don't want to throw that away.

I don't want to look back on these years with them at home and feel like I do about my first few jobs and grad school.  I don't want to think that I missed the mark with them as well.

So, as I'm editing and questioning every aspect of this silly little business (my ability, the time, the opportunity cost) and my presence on social media (am I narcissistic, shouldn't I just let it all go, etc), I feel it comes down to this...the fear of missing out.  Am I missing out on parts of motherhood that I should be more attuned to?  Or, if I give these things up, will I be missing out on using my voice for something else God has planned?

I truly don't know.  It all boils down to trust...that if I'm praying to do the right thing and asking for His guidance, I'll be where I need to be even if at times it doesn't quite feel like it.  I'm the person who would always prefer it all in writing, and while I know that will never happen, it doesn't helping in my questioning.

So to the fear of missing out...well, we'll always be missing out on something, but then finding beauty in where we are and not always wondering about the results of a decision made in the opposite direction...maybe that's what we can hope for.  Or, what I can hope for.

Because, while I wish I could go back and rewrite a few things, or in reality, just add a bit more effort and a little less worry to situations, I can't.  And, right now, I love where I am so much.  I just don't want these late nights of thinking to get my mind going so fast that I make these times become what those moments in my past are now.

Maybe I just need a good nap, ha!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Our Morning Litany: Other Side of the Fence

Our days can be a little chaotic sometimes.  With our new homeschooling adventure, I try to bring as much order to the mornings as possible.  Some days are better than others.  But, we always start in prayer.  Even if the prayer(s) are scattered with one child already needing a potty break, another only mumbling and still one just trying to get the others to laugh, I feel like God appreciates our efforts? Right?

So, when Gina asked if she could make our family our very own Litany of Saints, I almost didn't even let her finish asking before I said yes.  
Isn't it beautiful?

And, as you can see, I'm not great about decisions.  So, we have maybe a few more saints on here than most, ha!  I still think I could add another ten or so and be good.  Right now, we have the following: all of the patron saints of our children, Jeremy and my confirmation saints, and Mary...who I probably call upon the most during the days.  I was soooo tempted to put the name of our newest patron saint for this little guy in January, but since we aren't 100% sure, I refrained.

Gina is a fellow Catholic, blogging friend and Blessed is She writer.  She is one of my blogging friends who I immediately felt connected to when I "met" her online.  She is a mom of six beautiful children!

When she's not homeschooling, making amazing homemade goodies, sewing, or navigating the everyday surprises of motherhood, she's creating beautiful prints and litanies at her new Etsy shop: Other Side of the Fence.

Gina told me that she wanted to create these beautiful litanies for families as a reminder to call upon the saints to carry our prayers to Christ.  Who better to have praying for you?  

So, I'm about to frame this beauty and place it in the center of our dining room table where we begin our school mornings.  Each of the kids (maybe with a little help) can call upon their patron saint as we pray with the help of this beautiful litany.  

And, you can have Gina create one for you as well!  Today she's opening up her shop for custom orders!  The first ten orders will receive free shipping, too!  Grab one while you can!  For you...your best friend...your sister...or just anyone who could use a little extra prayer.

God bless!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mid-week Likes & Links

We don't do a whole lot of "liturgical living" activities simply because I don't remember in enough time, but when it was the feast of the archangels, and I repeatedly saw things on my feed, I decided that since we had the ingredients, why not make a Devil's Food cake?  We had so much fun, the kids loved it, and we tried a new marshmallow buttercream on top.  Win/win.

Did you see the bag Katrina sent me?  I'm already using it daily and looooove all of her things. What a special gift!

Needing a retreat?  Take a peek at a BIS retreat possibly happening near you!

Brooke Taylor mentioned this on her podcast a week or so ago, and I am thinking it would be great to do with Jeremy!

My mother-in-law made these cookies for us last weekend.  SO, so good!

Currently reading this book on discipline.  There are days when I think I'm doing okay and then days I pray I haven't ruined everything in these kids' lives, ha!

Peter turns five in less than two weeks!  He really wants something like this, but I don't know what else to get him.

I just bought a few of these sweet little headbands for my sister's baby girl coming in March!  I might just miss buying little girl things :)

If you're wondering if you can gain weight on Whole30, I'm proof that the answer is yes.  I'll spare you the photo!  But, I would love any recs for favorite workouts!

Monday, October 3, 2016

See Kai Run: The Kids' New Shoes

If you have boys (and maybe girls do this, too), and they're anything like mine, they're always asking a few things when we have to find new shoes: 1) Will these make me faster? and 2) Will these make me jump higher?  I don't know why but I always say yes.

Well, the sweet people at See Kai Run offered to send the kids new shoes, and boy were they ever excited!  Sweet John Paul still doesn't understand the concept of ordering something online and having to then wait for it to come.  He thinks that if we drive to the mailbox right after the order is placed, whatever we've ordered will be there.  So, every morning he asked when his new shoes would arrive.  Then, last week, after naps, he woke up to this:

The best thing for everyone is I finally relinquished a bit of control and let them pick out their very own shoes.  I really wanted to give my opinion but decided not to (except for Genevieve's), and I'm glad I didn't.  Because, they are so very proud of what they picked!

Initially they didn't even want to take them out of the boxes in fear of them getting dirty.

Sophie was so excited to help Genevieve with hers!

Then, we went outside for the big test later that evening...
Aren't Sophie's adorable?  Maybe my favorite out of the bunch!

Carter feels he now climbs higher...

Peter says he is definitely stronger with his on...

If it's possible Genevieve's might make her cuter than she already is...

And, John Paul, well he says these green See Kai Run shoes make him the fastest ever!

See Kai Run started a little over ten years ago when a mom, just like me, was on the quest to find the best for her kids.  For her, it was a shoe that was the best in health and design.  When she didn't find it, she made it!  And, they really are great!  They're comfortable, functional and the kids love how "cool" they are!

And, my kids are hard on shoes.  Whether they're chasing cats, running down the caliche road, or helping Dad with the cows, these shoes work!  Carter says he can't wait to go on a hike in his.

But, there's more!  Not only did this momma seek to create an amazing shoe for precious little feet, she's using See Kai Run to help little ones with special needs be accepted for who they are, with a percentage of sales going to help a local nonprofit.  That makes me feel even better about getting behind this brand!

One more great thing for this behind momma...none of these have to be tied!  We all love them...

...even Gen.

Take a peek for yourself here!