Friday, October 24, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 104



Just checking in with Jen and Seven Quick ones, because I miss everyone when I take a week off!


{one}

Strike a pose or what?



In big time breaking news -- the husband and I got away for 3 whole nights sans kiddos for the first time in 2 years last week!! Cue parade, balloons, confetti, married people high fives.

 I'll let you in on a little secret: it's really hard to get babysitting for 5 kids for more than a day. Especially when you've got a kid in diapers, a kid who is "potty trained" and three kids who are extremely active and in your business 24/7. 

BUT! The stars aligned, we divided the children amongst grandparents and skeedaddled.




{two}

Guess who only brought her cell phone as a camera?


We hemmed and hawed, three nights away doesn't seem like that long to shell out the exorbitant money to fly somewhere, but we hadn't gone anywhere out of Alberta for 4 years and thus choose Seattle due to it's easy flight time, the ocean, and copious fancy restaurants. It was also warmer than here, but weren't able to coordinate our sacred babysitting dates with an NFL game which was another thing on our list...because we are weird Canadians.




{three}


I love cocktails I don't have to make myself!


We stayed downtown and since we only spent two full days in the city, spent all of our time down there and found lots to do. We also went to amazing restaurants which is something we both like to do, but never really get the chance since we live in the middle of nowhere. I think it's safe to say that Canlis was the fanciest restaurant we've ever been to and we had the greatest time. Then practically rolled into our silent, luxuriously clean, hotel bed in a food-bliss stupor. 

We ate at other great places, and I had 9 types of seafood, completely decimating my competition (my husband), and it all tasted like oceanic heaven! I also may or may not have consumed a dozen or so cocktails...but I lost count...



{four}


I'm short, so this seemed like an appropriate angle somehow.


We found the weather warmer than even our very mild, thus far, October and enjoyed feeling rain again! Our first day ended up being beautifully warm and sunny so we headed to the top of the Space Needle and had great views which we really loved. We are dutiful tourists, but no regrets. 

I also fit in a little shopping, but didn't buy out the Anthropologie like I wanted to. We ended up having drinks at the rooftop lounge at our fancy hotel in the middle of the afternoon. Completely free of thinking about what we would feed the offspring in a few hours. And surrounded by only adults! What?!?




{five}







Friday we explored Pike Place Market, which was a mere 4 blocks from our hotel, and it was so much fun. I think I could have spent all day in there, because it's a maze and I very well could have gotten lost. My favourite part was the literal miles of gorgeous flowers, all insanely cheap. You just never see that in Alberta or Canada, (well, maybe some parts of Canada) but I loved them and it pained me not to buy 6 or 10 bouquets.

I also had the greatest eggs benedict with crab, ate my heart out at a French bakery, and didn't even sell out to have a Starbucks at the original location.



{six}



I've got hundreds of grey photos with little black fins poking out, these were the best of the bunch.


We leisurely explored the market for so long that I completely lost track of time. I didn't realize it was almost the middle of the afternoon, and I sure as heck wasn't paying attention to when boat tours were leaving from the waterfront. But...my husband was! Isn't that shocking?! Obviously not because he was the one who wanted to go on a boat tour because he hadn't been on the ocean for a few years. We ended up strolling up to the ticket office with five minutes to spare on their one tour of the day - which I thought was a great coincidence, husband planning and forethought aside.

The boat tour began in Lake Union and took us through the locks into Elliot Bay, or Puget Sound, I always get the two confused -- but the ocean. It was a fun little boat tour, it was also nice to be on the water and inside while it was raining out. The husband reeked out over the technological advances in the hundred year old locks, and I saw the Sleepless in Seattle house, it was a great time.

Then as we were curving around the bay, going back towards downtown, the captain of the boat spotted whales, and before it even had time to register in my brain I looked out the right side of a boat  and saw an orca cutting through the water! We all rushed out onto the deck and saw the orca swim north alongside the boat, popping up out of the water every 50 feet or so. I was shocked and amazed along with everyone else in the boat as the tour guide said that she'd worked for over 4 years on this boat and had never even heard of orcas being so far south in Puget Sound, let alone seeing them herself on a tour!

Soon, we saw a mother whale with a smaller baby swimming alongside her near the front of the boat. They were really quick close, and since the boat had to kill the engines we were just floating alongside of them. Then someone would spot another fin peaking out in the distance, then another, then another whale close to the boat, three, four! We probably saw at least 10 whales over the course of half an hour. It was so surreal and amazing, I've never seen whales in the ocean before, let alone so close for so long. They felt so much bigger than I expected, and I had images of them destroying boats and ripping apart small mammals in my head. But really, they're stunning in the flesh and I still can't believe we saw them. It was a definite highlight!



{seven}


Forced smiles never hurt anyone.


Although it was a quick trip, it felt so great to get away a little, to feel like real live adults. And because we live in the middle of nowhere, staying in the middle of a big city just walking around exploring is our idea of a perfect couple days break from our littles. It's also such a treat to just wander, not worrying about who needs to eat or go to the bathroom, who needs to nap, how long it'll take us to get dinner. We drank in the afternoon, ate dinner after 6, saw a movie in theatres together  for the first time in two years!

Overall a great success! And we only got to half the great things the wonderful Caitlin recommended for me when I peppered her with all the Seattle-related questions. If you're looking for great recommendations you should really harass her and tell her I sent you.

Thanks for putting up with me and trip related blather, have a great weekend!!










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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I Want To Build A Living Church













A few weeks ago I piled the kids into the car and drove a few miles down the road to have a picnic in the shadow of a beautiful country church. Our area is dotted every few miles with small, simple, yet beautiful churches that were first built by the Ukrainian, Polish, and other Eastern Europeans who settled the area over a hundred years ago. They were settlers who left horrendous political conditions, many were peasants who were treated as property by the rulers of the land that often changed with the winds. These pioneers came to a vast, empty country with harsh weather and little resources other than their own hard work and ambition to finally create their own lives. They traveled across this enormous country, dug through snow and ice, chopped, ploughed, planted and lived a difficult but free life in a new country a world away from where they were born. Along with this courage they brought their faith, and although they lived very simply they would band together with their nearest neighbours to construct a small, log church where a priest could visit whenever possible to give them the sacraments. Miles from the nearest community, there would be a tiny, sacred space built by farmers that showed how much they valued their faith in God who gave them a life fraught with suffering and hardship, but remained with them. The churches appear from seeming nowhere in farmers fields, pastures, or a clearing in the woods, like sprouts of spring flowers in a wilderness.

When I first moved to this area I worked with seniors and I remember one man telling me about building the town's Catholic Church in the early 1960's. He remembered figuring out difficulties involved with digging out the basement, assembling the framing of the walls of the church during violent winds, hoisting the roof trusses. He recalled these memories with a fond pride, a feeling of real accomplishment in tangibly helping build the Church where he could. A humble, small-town church which a bishop named Karol Wojtyla would one day visit.

I couldn't help but be moved by the romanticism of physically building a Church. Helping to make something substantial and visible that revealed your beliefs to the world. A task done to build up God's church on earth in a physical, real world. What a life accomplishment to look back and remember building a house of God. Images of the craftsmen who worked their whole lives building Chartes danced in my head.

But now the majority of these beautiful testaments to the first settlers of this country are empty. They are barred, boarded, and locked up. Many have been desacralized by the dioceses and have fallen into disrepair, victims to our harsh winters. The sacred spaces meant for worship go unvisited, unseen. People maintain the property surrounding the churches, but within there is no life. They have become just shells of a once living and active faith. Within two generations the faith that sacrificed to build a community church out of what little resources were to be had have been abandoned and forgotten by the communities of their descendants.

Every time I pass such a church I feel simultaneously inspired by the faith that once existed, and sorrowful for the absence of that faith today. I imagine the people who built those churches as they hauled logs to erect the walls, how they must have dreamed of adding the beauty of an altar, a special crucifix, a stunning icon. I see the family events that must have been celebrated there, the baptisms, the weddings; but also the grief and mourning of the deaths of small children, parents who died of illness, victims of farm accidents. Through all the workings of life the people would have gone to that church, a humble space in a wide, empty prairie which contained Christ the King in the Blessed Sacrament. They would have participated in the Mass along with the angels there in those echoey and draughty structures. The grace of Almighty God would have flowed to those people there through baptism, confession, marriage, anointing. Priests would have lived a life a sacrifice and difficulty to minister to these isolated areas, to people who spoke different languages, and in the burgeoning towns and communities. These churches represent that faith which was present in those people's lives and lives lived in faith.

I still think of the romanticism and privilege it would be to build a church. To hammer and nail or stack bricks or sculpt or design a testament to God here on earth. However, now when I think of building a church it occurs to me that I am indeed building the Church, through forming the little souls of my children that make up the Body of Christ. I'm forming immortal bricks who can choose to live a faith I pass down to them. These living pieces of the Church have incalculable potential. Their precious lives matter to God right now and as they grow and hopefully learn to live and love the faith my work in building will live on.

I want to be part of building a living Church, fully alive with an active faith. I want to build a Church that understands the value of suffering; that is able to appreciate true joy even in the midst of hardship. I want to build up a faith that is knowledgable and applicable to daily life, that will be with my children day in and day out, a faith that is truly lived. I want to build up a Church that knows the intimate and ever-flowing love of Christ; that seeks forgiveness, grace, and life in the Sacraments. I want to build a church that will not succumb to the elements, that will not become soft and rot. It is a lofty goal, only accomplished through God's grace, but it will remain my prayer as I make it my life's work.












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Friday, October 10, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 103






Stop by Jen's for the better takes!


{one}



If you haven't yet donated to the Lenaburg family I would love to implore you to jump on board giving a little help to this wonderful family going through such a difficult time. Mary is such an inspiring mom, and the love she has for her daughter through such a difficult time is an amazing witness to me. And keep Courtney, Mary and the whole family in your prayers!

You can also order great books with all proceeds going to the Lenaburgs over at Molly Makes Do!



{two}




My week has been fairly ordinary but in a good way because I feel I got on top of a lot of things that had gone by the wayside for a while. It's always funny to think about the ordinary days being the most important -- the routines, habits, cleaning, ordering, hugging, tucking in, repeat; because you just swear nothing exciting is happening. But it's actually really good. 



{three} 



I'm still not sure if you all enjoy my talking about homeschooling, or if I don't do it often enough. But we've done 6 weeks of school now, mostly 4 days per week and I think we've overcome the really terrible first weeks of resuming routine, school, learning, tantrums(from me), etc. Basically, I'm feeling worlds better about it all than a month ago. Common sense things like "THEY REALLY ARE LEARNING, IT'S JUST SLOWLY AND GRADUALLY LIKE CHILDREN, NOT ROBOTS." are sinking into my mind. 

And since 6 weeks have past and my husband is taking all of next week off of work, I've decided to try out the Sabbath schooling idea. It's basically the idea that you school for six weeks then take one week off instead of larger chunks of time more spread apart. (Or at least that's what I've been led to believe, I'm no expert.) I'm looking forward to a break where I'm intentional about being on a break and enjoying it, knowing we'll be back at it in a week. Sometimes the survival days off are definitely needed but you always feel like you can't really enjoy yourself because you should be doing school. So we'll see how I feel after a week!


{four}

I don't know if you've read all about the Jennifer Lawrence hoopla, but I can't shake the sad I feel about it. She's a movie star who is arguably one of the most attractive women in the world, and still feels and acts as if her boyfriend will be looking for sexual satisfaction elsewhere when they're apart. You'd think she'd be the last person to believe that. That makes me sad. But it makes me even sadder that her words will make most women and girls believe their own insecurities and false ideas of men being incapable of self control. It's all sad. 

I did however, think these two articles were AWESOME about the topic. Do read them and share them! 





{five}

Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee has really been killing it this month with her 31 Days of Understanding the Catholic Church's Teaching on Sex and Marriage. Her post on suicide and this week's celebration of a woman planning on ending her own life was really well done as was her post on why Catholics have a bunch of kids. The why in why we have a bunch of kids is probably news to people, and hey, we need to spread the news, folks! 



{six}

I've been a bit of a Synod nerd this week. I'm always fascinated by the Church's workings and this Synod so far has been really interesting to read about. So far I really don't understand all the headlines that prophesy doom and gloom, they're just talking after all. And we've got to start talking about these things on a general Church wide level to get some momentum moving from all parts of the Church at once, not just Pope Francis, not just the laity, not just some bishops. We've got to solidify things on a united front so that things on the pastoral, everyday level can start making strides to bringing people back to the Church and Christ. Keep the Synod in your prayers if you can.



{seven}



This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving so we'll be rolling out the pumpkin pie and turkey! We'll also be helping(?) out my dad as it's the week he sells most of the cattle who've grazed all summer. The boys are already excited to watch Papa and Daddy chase cows and for cattle liners to rumble down the road! I'm also going to try to catch up on some Downton, crochet, and eat. So I'll be busy. 

Hope you all have a wonderful fall weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving Canadians!







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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bringing A Little Autumn Indoors





Welcome to a little peek inside my home in all it's fall glory! Or, as close to glory as I'm gonna get. Bonnie from A Knotted Life is having a fun home tour and blog hop so make sure to snoop in everyone's windows!


Fall has it's very own feeling of coziness mingled in the crispness of falling leaves and the scents of spice -- a veritable siren call for those of us who love adding bits and bobs to our homes to celebrate the seasons.

Here is my oh-so-simple decorations that I add to our home, emphasis on simple. Like all else in my life past keeping the littles alive with food, clean clothing, and a modicum of householdly hygiene, I don't have a lot of time for "decorating" or "crafting" even though I kinda wish I did most days. But I do find that even the smallest of seasonal additions to our home makes the kids giddy with excitement. Which proves to myself that it's not simply me who cares how our house looks, I'll take any toddler signs of approval I can get!







Here we have my little attempt at decorating our front door. There's really nothing that makes you feel like a real bona fide adult like decorating your front door, ammiright? I made the yarn and felt wreath a couple years ago and I still like it! That's no small feat since I feel like I fall prey to house decor trends like a teenage girl to the latest One Direction single. 

I also just stuck in some branches in the flower pots I keep by the door, the kids found the nest and I think it's precious but don't know where else to display it. 







I usually like to have something pretty going on with our dining table because it turns out to be the centre of our small and very open upstairs. Usually it's covered in school books, mounds upon mounds of children's crumbs, but having something pretty still helps with an overall feeling of prettiness. A small sanity saving, if you will! 

This year I bought another table runner from HomeSense/Goods, it's burlap with a little bit of glittery gold in it. Then I've had this mercury glass pumpkin for a couple years, also bought at HomeSense, threw it on a wooden platter with a couple white pumpkins -- done!






Since we don't have a mantle right now I have to put my obsession with bunting/garlands to use on our giant patio window. I found these pumpkins this year and couldn't resist one little bit. The kids think they're hilarious, and I call them "whimsical without being completely tacky".  But who knows, maybe I've crossed the line.








My photography goes completely to pot here, I'm so sorry. My house is really bright, which I love, but for some reason I have no figured out how to accurately photograph it. I know there is a secret aperture, shutter speed, something-something I'm missing. Help!

In our kitchen we have this little bay window that I always keep pretty display things on, so it gets changed up often, and cleaned less often. I've got family photos in these glass frames then more white pumpkins, a little tiny nest we found last fall, and of course, some pumpkin spice candles. 

My husband will notice this in a month, but right now I'm liking it for sure!








Guys, in God's mercy I don't have a big house. And you know why I say that? Because if I had a big house with McMansion-like decorating potential I would fall into a pit of tchotchke obsession and credit card debt. I looove seasonal tchotchkes. But obviously, with our house's main living area being relatively small and open I can't tchotchke this joint up too badly. My husband says prayers of thanks every day I'm sure. Look! Only a few squashes on the piano, with a really nice manly smelling candle too! It's a miracle! 

Also; pumpkins. Seriously, fall decorating is the easiest because...pumpkins. 

And that's about it. Very simple, a few things I keep from one year to the next, and some fresh pumpkins. It's not a lot but I feel it makes the house feel seasonal without going crazy. Because, I find I'd be tired of the season and my home in about two days if I went bonkers with a bunch of stuff that screamed "FALL" in brightly coloured letters or something. 

I've also just put these things around the house in the last week, I hate decorating too early for the season. It's just a weird pet peeve I have, but decorating for Christmas in November should be a crime. Also, since our summers are so short up here I really dislike rushing summer out the door in September, I like savouring the last warm days and saving the cozy elements of decorating for fall when the landscape changes to barren brown till the first snowfall during October.

Bonnie, asked me if I wanted to post about how we decorate for Canadian thanksgiving, so I will: we don't really decorate. Canadians on a whole don't go in for Thanksgiving like Americans. We cook a turkey, enjoy a day off with family, eat some pie and call it a day. We don't have a ton of Thanksgiving specific decorations in stores even. We usually have a nice fall table set, but other decorating past the regular pumpkins and mums aren't really the norm. We'll be celebrating Thanksgiving next Monday, and I won't change a thing except pulling out some fall dishes for dinner with my parents and family. And we're fine with that, because we're Canadian and fine with most everything.  

I should also mention that my kids usually make a bunch of seasonal fall decorations, but we haven't done it quite yet so that's why my windows are still free of construction paper, but it will come and we'll put them where everyone can see our creations. I try to keep a balance between things looking like a preschool, (even though that's what this house kinda is), and a catalogue (har, har!). 

One of things I like best about my home is that kids live here, and I'm glad it looks like it!

And I didn't forget my kitchen sink -- tchotchkes for everyone!





Enjoy all the fall festivities and the much better efforts by visiting everyone in the blog hop:


And thanks to our host, A Knotted Life









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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Just wanna bottle em up!



I've been fending off the absolutely terrifying fact that time is flying by. The years, of course. The days fly by as well, but with an awful lot of whining and cleaning that can make them feel like eons.

I often wish I could vividly remember what my days are like, each sweet phrase from each child at each precious age. But then suddenly people are 5, 6 and 7 even when you remember holding their sweet newborn head just a day or two ago.

It's a blur and whirlwind, this motherhood business. This life. I could cry at the thought that they won't be little forever, even though I could simultaneously cry knowing they are still so very little.

But I just want to bottle up their sweet, adorable, moments sometimes so that they'll forever be the most hilarious, precious things -- even when they're teenagers or when I'm losing my patience for the millionth time.




She's not saying much more than "Mama", "flowers", "kitty" and "Dada", but we'll take it. She's also lost the peg-leg but this picture was just way too adorable. I love her little facial expressions, the way she shrieks at her siblings as they pass her by, refuses to walk on her own preferring to be chauffeured by her mother's arms everywhere she goes, exercising her feistiness at every turn. Not quite a toddler, still hanging on to her baby status.




Me: Max who's your guardian angel?
Max: Papa!

Max: Coyotes eat blankie and soosie?? 

Max: Coyotes eat Nora!





Luke: Mom, your real name is Christy, but I like "Mommy" better.

Me too.




Dom says something hilarious every single day. Because he's a 5 year old boy, and they may be the best.

Dom as we're driving past Starbucks without stopping: Hey, Mom don't you want your latte?

Dom: Does the angel Raphael have the cool swords like Raphael the Ninja Turtle, because then he'd be my favourite angel.



Gemma: I don't want to get married because I never want to leave this house! 

If only. 

Followed by Luke saying: Well, maybe your husband could just live in a hotel...



Thanks for indulging a mommy-blogger!










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Monday, September 29, 2014

Declaring I Have A Cooking Style and Letting Go of Guilt







Most days I think of my "cooking style" as throwing together some food for my kids of whatever I've got handy, whatever I need to use up, and whatever I think won't take forever. I've got precious little time to devout to sautéing, dicing, multiple preparations, and complicated recipes. Usually I've got to hose kids down, find some who may have gone missing in the yard, then corral them to the table in hopes that what I've been cooking hasn't completely burnt on the stove while I've been gone.

Other days in the mix I feel as if I'm living life on the edge of having nothing at all for when 5 pm rolls around and the natives are starving and I end up throwing something together that would normally not be classified as a "meal". It's a lot of work getting three meals on the table for seven people, and usually what's on the table isn't too exciting. Then when thinking of cooking attempts I feel guilty that I haven't meal planned, budget shopped, paleo-fied everything, or not touched my stack of beloved cookbooks in months.

Which I hate to admit because I used to love cooking, trying new recipes, using fancy ingredients, taking all the time, even sticking up my nose at people who bought pre-washed lettuce (lazy cretins!). But I've just wound up with a pile of Type-A guilt when it comes to making most of my family's meals from scratch, always serving vegetables, and really not buying much processed foods. Which I should be pretty proud about, not feeling guilt that it's not always blog-worthy or 100% organic.

Last week I read this great post at Keeper of the Home, and it sums up pretty much how I cook on an everyday basis. I thought to myself: that way of cooking sounds not so bad when it's written down.

Because it sounded much better written down, I thought about how I cook a little more and made the self-proclamation that it's a completely legit cooking style. My cooking style is now officially called: sometimes-survival/cook from the pantry/occasional great recipes from my favourite cookbooks/80-20 healthy and homemade/with as much flexibility as I can muster style. I feel so much more accomplished and much less guilty because of that silly, yet intentional decision. 

Instead of living in a dream world of what I wish I could cook, I've looked at what I actually cook the majority of the time and it looks a lot like this:

Pantry Cooking

I'm a half hour away from the nearest grocery store. A grocery store which has fresh parsley and cilantro on good days. I usually grocery shop for fresh fruits and veggies, milk and eggs once a week then do a more thorough (read, huge) monthly shop at Costco about an hour and a half away, or the other cheaper city grocery stores. I hate paying $5.00 a pound for butter in my town!

This works out to me mostly cooking from what I've got on hand. Since I rarely meal plan I usually just look at what's in my freezer that morning/day before/after lunch and see what I can use for protein and work from there. My family has to have a meat or protein each meal. My husband has the highest metabolism I've ever seen and I think he'd basically melt if not given meat each meal. This goes for his 5 offspring as well. I, on the other hand, could eat just salad for days on end but not lose a pound!

We also eat fairly close to paleo, although we like cheese. So that means usually one or two meals per week will have gluten or bread. My husband swears it makes him feel better overall, and I say to myself it helps me loose weight.


These Cookbooks

I love how that Keeper of the Home post pointed out that to make life simpler stick to a couple tried and true cookbooks that fit your style and the way you eat. As soon as I read that I realized I use these three cookbooks without fail if I'm going for a recipe meal.




 Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn

The longtime food editor for Martha Stewart wrote a surprisingly practical, approachable, and very real life cookbook that is applicable to families! She has 3 boys so all the recipes have basic ingredients, a lot of meat, but very high flavour. This style is definitely what I like to cook the most and every recipe I've ever used has been a hit with everyone. I go back again and again to this book and highly recommend it!




The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond

The classics of comfort food, I find myself going back to this cookbook for great recipes for the basics. Her pot roast, pizza dough, meatballs, chicken fried steak are all massive hits around here and even when I dial back half the butter and sugar everything still tastes delicious.




The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

This one I admit to not making as many main dishes from because they lean towards being fairly time consuming, but I've tried tons of breakfast, dessert, vegetable and sides recipes from this book and loved them all. I find the book handier than the blog which is bonkers, of course.



Flexibility

Remember how I live far from civilization? It practically eliminates the option of opting for take out on the crummy days. So I just cut my losses and go for something somewhat processed, maybe fish and chips, or a tasty frozen number from Costco. Maybe breakfast for supper -- we have omelettes almost on a weekly basis and they're great for Fridays. Or cheese and crackers and chopped up veggies, maybe a loaded nachos, or salami and bread. I always have a variety of cheeses, different sausages frozen or in the fridge, and salami. Easy meats are great for throwing together a meal from what seems like nothing. I know these meals aren't 100% balanced, but because I know the majority of our meals are, I just let it slide.

Those are my key cooking tenants. I go through phases of batch cooking and freezer cooking, but I can't help but feel they're so much work and then are gone in a blink of an eye. It may be because I haven't gotten into the swing of things. Whenever I make meals like soups or pasta sauces I end up freezing a good portion for maybe one more dinner. It's not a big contribution, but it helps.

Again, it's not worth the guilt to lose our minds about a couple meals here and there. Or worry that it's not a meal because it required little effort from ourselves. Those days all work into your "style". See, adding that word to what you do just delightfully combines what you do into an eclectic yet collected mix of cookery. Guilt begone!

And so ends a post of too much information about the exciting topic of cooking for a family of 7. God Bless you for making it through!






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Friday, September 26, 2014

Seven Quick Takes vol. 102




Just some quick ones because I have been a terrible blogger of late. Say hi to Jen, of course!



{one}



It's amazing how we notice the little things as moms. Not just the small things about our kids, the new words they say, the little glint in their eyes, or when they're feeling tired or sad even though they don't say a word, but the little things that make up a happy life. I never remember thinking of "balance" at all before I had children. That may be because I was just 21 and didn't even know it was an important word with meaning, but I never thought of balance in our day, between work and rest, recreation and chores. I think this is one of the crucial things in living a good, whole life, but I would never had thought or found or have been forced to see it until I became a mom. 



{two}

That was all a very diffuse and philosophical way of introducing the idea that I have not had a lot of balance for myself these past weeks, only because of a busier schedule for my husband. It's really hard to do the entire day of parenting by yourself. There is hardly any margin. And margin is where I pack in things like online shopping, blogging, reading, exercise, prayer, basically the important functions for myself personally. I can usually pack a couple of those things in after the kids are in bed, but the last few weeks I've been so exhausted I fall on the couch to watch a little PBS, then am in bed by 10! I just find it amazing how the smallest things effect a mom's day. And big things too like overtime, and working weekends. He should be done soon though and then I'll be eternally grateful for his regular 12 hours away from home per day.



{three}



We really did have a good week because I was working hard to keep things from becoming "a world of endless chaos because daddy isn't coming home for supper". We got out, we did fall-things, the weather was beautiful, we saw friends. I felt like an all-star. 

I feel like these few weeks of intense mom-ing has forced me to get a good handle on our daily school routine, which makes me feel a lot better since the first couple weeks were rough. There is still toddler screaming, baby crying, and all that comes with it, but at least we're getting into a better groove. I feel like we're already doing better in a lot of ways than last year. Which pretty much means I've cursed myself for a terrible week ahead!

Oh! And the last three weeks while my husband's been working so much we've been doing school 4 days a week so that I could get out for an afternoon to the city or see friends. I think that has helped a lot. Which sounds horribly lazy on one hand, but it makes me a lot less grumpy and helps us all get more done in the four days. Mostly me, I'll admit it.



{four}

I've also taken millions of real photos with my real camera...but have yet to do anything with them. I'm the laziest blogger. I feel totally overwhelmed with how behind I've gotten with my photos. I take so many, but then really like to go back and edit, delete, edit some more, but it's been over a year since I've gone through my month by month cataloging. I feel like the only photos I edit are ones for the blog, and hey look, no photos on the blog!



{five}

I am usually a big news/headline reader but I feel like even I have to back off from reading it lately. There is honestly something horrific everyday that makes me feel like the entire world is going down the drain and gives me a terrible attitude about most everything. It may be time to get a little more rational and read a little less of it.



{six}



Nora is the funniest child. I say this for each of my children, I know, because each in their own unique way is hilarious, odd, and completely themselves. But Nora. Remember I've said before she has a bit of diva-like tendencies? She still isn't walking on her own, and since she turned 18 months yesterday officially makes her the longest to walk of my kids. But she is fully capable, it's more of a principled stance against walking that she subscribes too. She also doesn't like touching the ground much. Probably because of the dirt, grass, hardness, who knows really. Anyway last night she kept me up half the night by waking every hour. I was genuinely worried the first couple of times, then finally on the third bout figured out her nose was a bit stuffed up. Not like a snot-hydrent or anything, a bit stuffed up. But this horrific condition sent her wailing and screaming MAA-MAAA! every hour without fail. I'm fairly certain she called and burst into tears for each and every sniffle. Max slept through the night even with highly contagious, awful colds. But Nora...she must be of a dainty constitution. 

More coffee please.



{seven}



Since Nora's got a runny nose -- or the plague -- I decided today to finally make my own elderberry syrup. I feel ridiculously crunchy and natural and badass. It also makes my house smell amazing! We're going to try it this winter to see if it helps ward off annoying, recurring, slight colds and flus. We'll see how it goes. Another perk is every time I say "elderberry syrup" I feel completely like Marilla Cuthbert. I'm sure she made it right after her raspberry cordial.

 I could go for some raspberry cordial right now too, come to think of it!


Happy Weekend everyone! 




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