Friday, August 18, 2017

will I ever blog again?

Linking with Kelly!!

1) After a nice multi-week hiatus I figured I should give a little TLC to the b-log, as I am hosting a BLOGGING conference next week. Holy crap I am really hosting one NEXT WEEK-- I am so super excited (with a side of a tad terrified). Naomi just asked, "Mom, on the day of the conference, will all the knives be in their proper place in the knife block? Because whenever you put them away one is always missing..." So clearly we're all concerned about appropriate things. For real though, even as a super extrovert I am feeling the pressure to put on a nice party for so many wonderful ladies, we shall see if I come through...

2) I went to Target the other day to look for a cute comfy summer dress to wear to said conference since it has been hotter than the blazes of hell here and I'd prefer to wear as few articles of clothing the day of the event and all I came out with was yet another mom t-shirt to wear during the day (and sometimes to bed) and my very first bralette. I am clearly WAY behind on this glorious little trend but I am really glad that I have finally tried and fallen in love with one-- for the time being that is the way I will go.

3) Seriously though, what is going on with current style trends? I kept seeing things that I thought were dresses and I would get super excited but then I would walk up and realize NO, it is just a shirt with a ridiculously long tail. Or a full size romper. WHY? I guess that is what I get for shopping in Target's adolescent section.

4) The 2 primary reasons for neglecting the blog are the above mentioned event (so much irony there) and the fact that for the first time in my teacher/mom life I decided to plan a curriculum for the year using the structure and lots of recommended materials from the WTM. And guess what-- I DID IT. It took me an embarrassingly long time and I am still not technically done (history and poetry will be mapped out tonight and I will actually be done) but I did it and now I feel like a legit homeschooling mother. BRING ON THE DENIM JUMPERS!!!!!

5) Mike and I watched Hacksaw Ridge recently and it was the first really good movie I've seen in a while, I definitely recommend. We also started Mr. Robot recently- good, and Broadchurch- *really* good.

6) You guys, I tried to potty train Joe and I totally failed.

I posted about it on Insta and should've known better when the overwhelming feedback was "it will work when he's ready", to which I mentally responded "I know he is not ready, but I will MAKE him ready because we need to do this NOW!!" And sure enough, he was no where near ready, which I can only say with such confidence because I have actually potty trained children who are and it was a horse of a different color. Pee everywhere. It was a bad day.

7) We tried to take the kids to the fair last week and right as we got there a huge thunder storm rolled in and we didn't get to go, which was pretty devastating to *some* of us (ME). Then roughly 30 minutes after arriving home, the rains were getting out of control and I heard Mike yell up from the basement that it was flooding and lest I ever think he is joking with me over that sort of thing I ran downstairs to find our school room... wait for it... flooding. Several inches of standing water and more gushing in- it was nutso. Everything is fine now save for the gross smell and the fact that we may have to replace the carpet, although I am honestly kind of excited about that prospect.

Ok, I have some pumpkin cheesecake bars that I need to go taste test and probably like 50 other things to do but I'll probably just eat cheesecake.

Happy weekend!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Three for Joe

Today this little buddy turns 3. Right now he is napping and taking a short break from playing with his new pop gun and I should be making the icing for his cake but I'd rather take a few minutes to document his awesomeness, because there is so much to document.

I was telling Mike last week how I know moms don't have "favorites" per se, but that for me there is often a particular child who is going through the most fun, sweet phase and I can't help but favor them a tad- that is Joe right now. It's not that he doesn't have his rough moments-- like the other day when he sneeked into the bathroom to empty a bottle of kid's IB profen all over the floor, or when we were on vacation and he slathered an entire bottle of sunscreen on himself-- there are plenty of those moments. But I've never had a kid apologize for such mischief with the sincerity that he apologizes with.

And when he is being GOOD he is a total balm to my weary mother-soul. Sometimes he'll look at me and tell me "mommy, you're so cute to me" and over-hearing his pretend play is the absolutely best. He has the most fun imagination. He is not shy and is a total ham. He asks to listen to Istanbul on a weekly basis and saw a little bridge on campus today and declared "oh look! Dares a bwidge over twoubled waters!"

He has been telling everybody for the last 2 months "my birf-day is coming Juwy Firtee-if". When Freddie had his 1st last month it was really hard for Joe to process that it wasn't his yet, and the other day when I told him that his birthday was going to be this Sunday he let me know that "Freddie's birf-day is going to lose dis time", so no competitive problems whatsoever. He has these 2 crazy veins on each side of his neck that pop out when he super excited or super mad or super happy and they are basically always popping out because he is INTENSE. He goes big or he goes home in the emotion department.

Overall I feel like he is a little bit like a first born for me since I had three of one gender before him and so everything is so new and I'm experiencing a lot for the first time. Having a little boy is just so darn fun and having HIM as my little boy is almost too fun.

He is the life of the party and has been a blast all day.
We celebrated with specifically requested "chocolate muffins and cinnamon rolls" for breakfast and PURPLE BALLOONS-- had to be purple. 

We'll continue to ride the sugar train with my crazy boxed cake-in ice cream cone assembly and a pizza party with family and it should be lovely. Nothing but the best for our sweet boy. 

Happy 3rd, Joe-- we love you!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

blog friends are real friends

I ways feel a little silly when talking to friends who don't have blogs or don't read blogs about my blog friends, (aka friends I've met because they have blogs or friends I've connected with as a result of the blog.) I know the rest of the world is more heavy into social media but since I'm new to the smart phone world I would say I still stay more connected through the blog than through social media, maybe with the exception of Instagram since getting a smart phone, but I still much prefer writing a blog post than posting on Instagram.
Here's the thing: I know blogging is a little weird, I know that connecting with people via the World Wide Web can seem impersonal and strange, and if it were taking the place of one on one interaction with people in real life that would be weird, but for me it has been a huge blessing. Especially during the earlier, lonely years of motherhood it came to my aid in a huge way, and because motherhood is still overwhelming and can still be very lonely, it still does.

I started my blog after I had Bernadette, I was really itching to write, but I had just had my second kid in 19 months and it wasn't realistic to get a paid writing gig at that point. I was really extroverted and wanted to see people, particularly other moms, to commiserate and talk and laugh about the craziness of motherhood, but I was too overwhelmed and tired to take both tiny kids out of the house daily. Enter the blog. It fulfilled all of those desires and then gave back 1000 fold with all kinds of encouragement, solidarity, commiseration and friends! So many friends!! Katrina and Alexandra both became 2 of my closest friends in Indiana and we met through blogging, Grace and I had met IRL but became better friends through blogging. I got to meet Dwija, Kelly, Jenna, Nell, Bonnie, Anna, Jacqui, and now am friends with Rosie, all through having a blog.

Do I think people should replace friends In Real Life with online friends? No. Do I think people should replace book reading with blog reading or micro-blog reading (long Instagram statuses) No. But I have read so many edifying posts (some of them even Instagram statuses!) by so many wonderful women which have built me up and filled my cup. I've  had so many good interactions with online friends which have comforted me and brought me joy and yes, they are just blog posts and yes they were just online interactions but good writing is good writing and good friends are good friends whether they're online or in real life. I have been blessed by my good online and in real life friends and good online writing and hard copy writing equally.

This has all come into greater focus for me because I am hosting a conference at the end of next month (the same blogging conference that I met so many of the above listed women at several years ago) and so far nearly 40 women, most of whom I have never met in real life, will come into my home and will go from being only online friends to friends In Real Life and I am so excited. In so many ways this is my "Thank You" to the blog community for all it has given-- it is thrilling to be able to put so many faces to names and blog posts and prayers I've prayed for women who have posted asking for prayers and people who have prayed for me through some really hard times.

I am not trying to convince you to have a blog or start up an Instagram account if you don't have one, I know it's not for everybody, I'm just here to say that the support and goodness that come from online friends and blogs is real and it's good and I am just really thankful for it. And if you do have a blog and you're in Virginia area (some are coming down from NY!!) the deadline for the conference is this Sunday, and I would love to have you.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday BEST

Remember back when all the mom bloggers used to link up what they wore on Sunday and give riveting accounts of how their kids mass behavior was and how much they wanted to top their mass attendance off with a drink? Oh, that last one was just me? Oh well. Anyways, I'm linking up Rosie for old times sake because 1) I got a new skirt that I'm obsessed with, 2) I had a rare free extra few minutes before we scrambled to get everyone in the car to snap a few mediocre, grainy ipad photos and C) the kids were all pretty good today, which I feel like needs to be documented.

Also this terribly uncomfortable-looking robot arm needs to be documented:

The older kids are always pretty good these days with the exception of their uncontrollable need to constantly turn around and stare awkwardly at people, but we will take that over their mid-Mass-tantrums-needing-to-be-carried-out-whilst -scream-begging-not-to-be-spanked behavior of long ago. Yes the older 3 have come a long way and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that.
Too much glasses glare, how about this...
That's better.
But now I am blogging as a mom of 2 little boys who are now at the same ages that Naomi and Bernadette were at when the above described  "hypothetical" (but really actually happened) situation took place. However, Joseph doesn't really bring it in the tantrum department as much as he does in the overly-intense-and-physical boy department so today we mostly dealt with him incessantly crawling on the ground from one end of the pew to the other, intermittently snorting like a pig and then stinking his feet waaaaaay out into the aisle when I wasn't looking to try to trip poor passers by coming back from communion. And today was a GOOD day.
Outfit Deats:
Skirt: Max Studio from TJ Max, similar here
Pearls: Target
Wedges: Old Navy

Fred isn't old enough to try shenanigans like those of Joe but he is getting really close and is already number one in his class of high pitch screaming and back arching out of my arms so I'm thinking he and Joe will be partners in bad-Mass-behavior crime in no time.

And that's that! Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 21, 2017

summer madness {7 QTs!}

Summer, summer, summer, how are you so close to being over?!? Linking with Kelly with a non-NFP post, but highly recommending reading hers and lots of her links-- so good!!

1) How is your summer? I am sure I am joining the chorus of the vast majority of moms who have a love/hate relationship with summer. I am not a good mom and did not make any sort of bucket list and I mostly just let the kids run free which is good and bad. Some days I love how laid back things are, I love the lack of schedules doing nothing, but then other days if the door gets left open one more time from the kids running back and fourth I miiiiiight just flip my S**T. Plus Fred is currently electing to drop him AM nap which is it's own fresh hell. Either way I know the school year is close and when it comes I have to grow up and be a grown up who teaches my kids things and doesn't stay up too late every night watching documentaries about Dr. Dre. That thought makes me mucho sad (FYI I liked it, Mike didn't so much).

2) We did a little traveling to see family at the end of June/beginning of July and it was lovely.

I always feel so sad to not live in town with both sides of our family 5 minutes from each other, but it is always so great to see the relationships continue to grow between cousins even though there multiple states separating us. It'll be ok.

3) We hit up the Children's museum in Pittsburgh and the kids had a blast:

4) The week after we got back was rough because I like to see other adults every day and I was so very spoiled being with family and having constant interaction at my fingertips.My MIL even pushed me out the door for a mani/pedi (my first since my wedding!) AND multiple hours of solo-shopping and it was GLORIOUS.
Fresh pedi on one my my in-laws many gorgeous rugs.

But I've adjusted and I am back to my regularly scheduled program of kid-centered life, and it's good.

5) I made myself get down to brass tax and order our homeschool books for the year, and I actually got them all with the exception of math and I know this is the most boring quick take anyone has ever read but I think I am going to splurge and go for Math-U-See this year. Thoughts? Feedback? I still need to have Bernadette take her placement test and then actually order it and it's on the top of my to-do list so it should get done within the next month or so.

6) I need a good book to read!! I like war-time books and/or love stories (all the eye-rolls, I know). I also really need a page-turner because me-not-so-smart. But really I am tired and there are kids always running around and I just need something I can pick up and put down and pick up and pick down and still make progress on (turns out Leibowitz is NOT that).

7) And here is a little collage of when Joe Pio emptied the contents of an entire bottle of sunscreen onto himself because SUMMER.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Evolution of a 30 Second Makeup Routine

Linking up with Kelly for a post that is eerily similar to my very favorite go-to drug store/makeup-aisle-at-Walmart-picks post that I posted back in 2013 (you read that right, 4 years ago). I have not really deviated much from my very favorites, but I have added a few, and now I am just echoing myself and giving 2013 Ana a virtual high five for picking what she likes and sticking with it. Also to be clear these are very budget friendly favorites, so they may not be up your alley with the "all natural ingredient" arena, please don't throw the first stone.

Without further ado, my 7 make-up bag favorites, which are incidentally the only 7 things in my makeup bag, and which take a FLAT 30 seconds to apply, because I am always and forever in a rush.

Voluminous Mascara by L'Oreal
If I had to chose one makeup item to have and no others for the rest of my life mascara would absolutely be it. I am no mascara expert but I have tried my fair share of drug store mascaras and I will never EVER try another- Voluminous is where it's at.

When I was in middle school and high school I struggled with terrible acne, I used every product I could to get rid of it and I had to be super careful about what makeups I would wear. In middle school I had this liquid nitrogen procedure done which helped immensely with the very severe breakouts and saved me from have too much scaring now, but I always had to be really careful about what makeup I wore in order for it to stay under control. This is the very first pressed powder foundation that I ever tried that has terrific coverage and does not cause breakouts. This post is NOT sponsored by Neutrogena, I just love this stuff so much. I used to exclusively use the pressed powder, but I am on a mineral sheers kick right now and I love how light it is + good coverage.

Chunky brush + bronzer
I have cycled through many a bronzer in my life and and I can honestly say that this extremely cheap Elf one is just as good as an expensive Este Lauder one I am using right now. I mostly just want some sparkles and glow and this stuff delivers.

Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Pencil
I only add a little eye liner on days when I am looking extra sleepy, or if I have somewhere extra special to be. Ever since Mike and I binge-watched quite a bit of Fixer-Upper, I was inspired by JoJo to give eye liner another try (that was my coping mechanism for not having any cash flow to renovate our house- but hey! I can afford eye liner!). I really like how smooth this stuff is- it goes on like buttah-- like BUTTAH!

Elf Eye Shadow
Again with Elf products-- they are so cheap! And when you use eye shadow as infrequently as I do I feel like it doesn't make sense to spend too much on it, (though I am sure you could make the opposite case too) But I just don't care enough about eye shadow to buy really nice stuff, I use it when I am going on a date or to Mass or maybe even for a mom's night out, but I am usually super rushed and don't get around to it, AND since I am a round the clock glasses wearer you don't even notice when I have it on because you look at me and are like GLASSES, so again, no point in getting the pricey stuff.

Lip Scrub
I purchased a Day Logic brand which is ONLY available at Rite Aid, but the point is that this is the first time I have ever used a lip exfoliant and I really love it (if you're at Rite Aid, I would definitely recommend their brand.) I definitely do not do this every day, it's just a special occasion-type thing like eye shadow, or when my lips are feeling especially rough.
Neutrogena Revitalizing Lib Balm
This is the first lip balm + color that I love like I love this stuff. I have used Burt's Bees before and never liked how it left my lips feeling but this stuff leaves them soft and moist and the tint is pretty perfect. I have it in "healthy blush" and I love it but I would love to try some others at some point.

Aaaaand, a before+after for kicks:
That's that!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Happy {heavenly} birthday, Freddie!

I've made plenty of jokes about Fred being a #fifthborn and how he gets the shaft because of it, and even though I am mostly only kidding (the glut of attention shown to him by every member of our family certainly indicates the opposite) the length of time between his birthday AN ENTIRE WEEK AGO and his birthday blog post would solidify that he does, in deed, get the shaft (or at least the blog-shaft).

HOWEVER, today is his one year supernatural birthday, the one year anniversary of his baptism as a little Catholic, so I am going to pretend that I intended the delay in order to celebrate both at once.
One year ago today.
He is the baby-est 1-year-old I've ever had, in that at one-year-old he makes me feel like I still have a 6-month-old underfoot-- he just hasn't quite gained the independence of other 1-year-olds I've seen and I am more than ok with that because I am in no rush for him to get bigger. He is so super cuddly and still nurses a ton at night and would nurse all day if I didn't have 4 other dependents needing to be to be fed cared for as well.

The first year of his life has certainly been the craziest of all my kids' first years and I would say it is likely the graces of his baptismal day spilling over to his extremely feeble, hot mess of a mom helping her to actually survive this year. He was born, a week later he was baptized, 2 weeks after that we moved, and a little over a month after that Mike started the new job and I got into my first year of homeschooling 2 legit grade levels. He was also a really colicky baby so those first 6 months of his life are basically a complete blur save for the glorious episodes of the British Baking Show, which was the highlight of my life there for a while.

I love how once they hit one year, you can really start to see your baby's personality come out. I would say Fred's halkmarks are: sweet, snuggly (sometimes translated "clingly", but I prefer snuggly), more timid and reserved than his crazy older brother, and with the exception of when he's sick or wakes up in the middle of the night, an all around happy and content baby.

It was such a fun treat that last weekend on his birthday his godmother, my youngest sister, came for a visit, which Fred was ecstatic about.


We had a great weekend which I'm blaming for the delay in blog-tention.
Anyways, happiest birthday a week late to our sweet Fred Bernard and happy baptismal day today!
And an attempt at recreating the mother-son shot 1 year ago today:

Baptismal Day

We love you and we will keep you!