Monday, November 30, 2015

Soufeel: A Review

It's Cyber Monday, have you done your online shopping yet?  If not, then head over to Soufeel for their great sales .  I just received my new charms and looooove them!  

I have to admit that the gorgeous box it arrives in makes the bracelet feel extra special!

I chose the vintage camera, blue vinca flower, the adorable snowman, plum flower, and one to celebrate marriage (similar).

The bracelet is here, make sure to order about 2 cm bigger than your wrist size because as you load up the charms, it gets tighter.

Santa wanted you to check out there beautiful collection of Christmas charms to help him out and give his elves a break ;)

Besides, a new Soufeel charm bracelet for Christmas makes the perfect jewelry accessory for New Year's Eve :)

Happy Shopping, I really think this will be a great gift for your daughter, mother, aunt, sister, friend, wife (if any man is reading) or you can always treat yo' self.  You deserve it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Maggie Moo's Big Days

Being the only girl in the middle of a gaggle of brothers must be hard.  I have to remind myself of that often as tears and whining and complaining often come from her direction.  So when we have a chance to do something special just for Maggie, she revels in it.  This weekend, she went to her friend's birthday party at a stable, where they rode horses:

...and painted one too.  Yup, painted a horse!  I would say that's a horse of a different color, wouldn't you?

The next day, I took her to have her ears pierced to celebrate her upcoming First Reconciliation.  She was so nervous!!!  I reminded her that we had done this before, when she was a baby.  "Yeah and I screamed and cried", she replied.  


She handled it much better 7 years later :)

We picked big diamond "duds" as she calls them.

Her godFather came over for dinner that night to bring her an early birthday gift (an American Girl gift card..she's getting closer to having Maryellen within her grasp!)

Can someone please remind me to use my REAL camera so I don't have blurry photos forevermore?  Geesh.

Last night, my sweet and sassy little girl had her 1st Reconciliation!  Once again, she was so nervous.  

As soon as she had made her penance, we went outside and I gave her  huge Clean Soul hug and kiss and she said "That was a lot easier than I thought!"  #spreadtheword

We went and got ice cream because I will give my kids a treat every.single.time they go to Confession, not a bribe, just a reward!

Just look at that beautiful smile, all sin-and-fancy-free!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Moderation in All Things and In All Things, Moderation.

I think I've complained about it enough, but I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot.  That means I can't run or walk for a while so it can rest and heal.  It's actually gotten so much better over the last week, once I stopped running on it.  Looking back, I thought I just had a sore foot for a few weeks (I constantly have aches and pains from working out, so I didn't think anything of it) until it got so bad that I couldn't bear any weight on it and was hopping around the house on my left.  Boy was that painful!  

Since I can't run, I have been riding my bike and doing some weight training instead, and it's been a good lesson on exercise in moderation.  Phil reminded me how insane I used to be about workouts back before I was pregnant with Alexander (the 5th baby).  I used to freak.the.freak.out if I had to miss a workout and got mad at myself if I didn't get to the gym at least 6 times a week for a minimum of an hour of a hard workout.  A good day would mean I had enough time to run 4 miles and then take a cardio-kickboxing class for an hour.  I was obsessed with exercise, and it made me fit but probably not healthy.  

Physically fit but completely drained.

When I became pregnant with Alexander, it was like my body pushed a reset button, and I had to slow down and regroup.  For the first 3 months, I had no energy to workout at all.  Once morning sickness cleared, I went for walks instead of runs and gradually after he was born, I rebuilt my strength but my workouts never got back up to that intense level again.  Another baby and a few years later, and I'm even less intense in my workouts.  Sure, I love to take long runs whenever I can (especially with Phil) but they are slow and steady and I'm not worried about the results.  Some days I just plop the baby in the stroller and take a 2 mile walk because that's all I have time for that night.  I may do a 20 minute workout video or at-home circuit with the kids and call it enough.  I would love to say that I still look like that above photo...but I don't.  The lack of workouts and addition of kids and years have made me a softer mom, both physically and emotionally.  While being healthy is still a priority, my children and husband and faith and work are filling up my cup more now than ever.  

Last night as I reached for my vitamins, I realized that even taking those has changed through the years.  I went from not taking anything because my diet was on point, to needing some help through pregnancies, to religiously having a vitamin routine, and now I think before I swallow.  I take Vitamin D only if I haven't been outside much that day.  I take my amazing iron if I haven't eaten red meat.  I take magnesium everyday (sore muscle reliever), I take calcium unless I've indulged in dairy, I chew vitamin C gummys because I don't love orange juice.  All things in moderation is becoming the story of my life.  Why take an iron and vitamin D supplement if you've spent the day at the beach followed by a steak on the grill?  It would be over the top.

For dinner on the feast day of Christ the King, Phil suggested I make Chicken a la (Christ the) King.  It was a great idea, and delicious, and we talked about trying to work in liturgical living into our daily lives.  I'm not going to obsess over making the perfect craft for every feast day in the Church, but I can consider the days when meal planning and see what I can work into the weekly menu.  We have to eat dinner no matter what (I should probably get this cookbook), so why not try to plan according to the church calendar?  I gave Phil a book for his birthday called Drinking with the Saints (spoiler alert, I bought them for the men in my life for Christmas) and the author celebrates saints feast days with drink recipes and stories about their lives.  It's a beautiful book, and although we won't be mixing cocktails very regularly, it is nice to make the day somewhat special, somewhat set apart, by focusing on an aspect of our faith.  We can indulge during feast days and cut back during times of penance.

Living moderately, living liturgically, living seasonally, it just makes sense.  Just as NFP works with the natural cycles of a woman's body, living according to the weather/saint day/sports schedules/seasonal foods works with the natural cycles of life.  This is the way of life that I aspire to, so that I can live more in the moment, take things as they come, go with the flow, and become a human BEing, enjoying the natural flow of life,  rather than a human DOing, forcing things to happen artificially.

Friday, November 20, 2015

7QT: Fashion, Fasciitis and Food, Oh My!

It's Friday, so linking up with Kelly and the gang.


I figured out what I'll be wearing for Thanksgiving!  You know the scenario - you want to look slightly put together for family and friends on the holiday but you need to allow for your expanding belly. 

My face was being weird, so cropped out it went.

 This sweater hides the tummy and the pants are black and forgiving.  The necklace just dresses it up a bit.  Voila!  The perfect outfit for pigging out.


Another reason I'm loving that roomy sweater is because I haven't been able to run or walk this week.  I have planter fasciitis, self diagnosed.  This is so so sad because not staying active really depresses me.  Also because this ailment usually occurs in middle aged and overweight people.  Um, thanks?  I am trying to rest it, and have ordered orthotics and wraps and a ball that are all supposed to help it go away.   Have my dreams of running another half this March vanished? 


Because I can't pound the pavement, Phil and I made up a circuit training workout to do at home.  Last night, we put the littles to bed, and the older four kids worked out with us.  Our circuit has 20 moves, and we do each one for one minute.  We blasted music and it was  For reals.  

I'll have to give you the routine in another post, maybe with photos of the kids trying to do some of them, they were cracking me up.  Maggie trying to do a side plank = Maggie laying on the floor.


I think I've kept this recipe a secret for long enough, it's the perfect snack/dessert to make ahead and freeze and then take out when needed.  

It's Chocolate Pumpkin Bread (recipe from Declan's godmother) and it makes 3 big loaves or 2 big and 2 small loaves:

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

3 ½ cups sugar                                       1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil                            1 ¼ tsp baking soda
3 eggs                                                   1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 can (29 oz) pumpkin                            1 tsp ground cloves
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract                  ½ tsp ground nutmeg
9 Tbsp of cocoa                                    2 cups (12oz) semisweet chocolate chips
3 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp salt

In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla and mix well. Combine the dry ingredients, stir in pumpkin mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer to three greased 9 x5 x3 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. If you make small loaves of this bread, you will need to adjust the baking time to about 40 minutes.



JP took a babysitting course and learned the Heimlich maneuver, when to call 911, home alone safety, you know all the things we would have learned as kids.  But they also had to teach them to stay off their phones and other electronic devices unless they were contacting the parents or making emergency call. 

 Funny how times change.


Beth and Ellen posted soup recipes that we loved.  I think next time I won't even put chicken in the tortellini soup recipe, because I use homemade chicken stock and the chicken didn't seem to add much. 

 But try them out if you're looking for some comfort food :)


Have you heard of  It's a site where they sell things at discounted prices and allow the price to drop until somebody buys it.  It's very addicting, once you get the hang of it.  I haven't actually purchased anything from it, but I like the chase.

Have a great Thanksgiving-prepping kind of weekend everybody!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursday Throwback: The Martin Quartet

We were watching videos of the kids this weekend (it's like their favorite past time) and stumbled across this one from the summer of 2012.  I know you probably don't want to watch videos of my kids and you probably won't think this is as funny as I do, but I'm posting it here anyway.

Some thoughts:

1) My kids were so little and cute!  Maggie was 4, Eamon 5, Andrew 7 and JP 8.

2) Maggie is obsessed with staring at herself and watching her eyebrows!

3) John-Paul is trying to hold back dance moves but can't help himself at the end.

4) I remember watching this video right after they made it, and being irritated at J-P for "messing it up" and now that's what makes it beautiful (see what I did there?)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Perspective, the Game Changer

Isn't it nice how age and the passing of time can mellow a person?  How having multiple children can actually make you less neurotic than when you had only one?  How little inconveniences don't shatter your world once you've been through a lot worse?  

It's very nice, this phase of life as a mother, settling down and settling in.  Seeing the bigger picture from the small minutiae, and realizing that all we have is borrowed time, with borrowed souls, each gifts from God.

A couple of years ago, I was really struggling with anxiety.  It wasn't worrying about anything in particular, it was just a period where it seemed I was on the edge of hyperventilating all the time.   And then I would worry about when the next panic attack would strike, which would leave me with reason to panic.  Looking back, I hope and pray that this was just a memory of my past.  Some kind of hormonal malfunction coupled with lots of responsibilities and feeling overwhelmed more often than not.  It was such a hard time, that even breathing became a chore.  I have since been able to pinpoint a few of my triggers, and now as long as I stay away from them and remind myself that everything is ok, I have pretty much moved past it all.  

For God's grace to get through this I am so thankful!  Time and prayer  have a way with wounds.

Being a parent, or more particularly a mother, is very much like my experience with anxiety.  It comes on suddenly without adequate time to prepare and life adjustments are happening quickly and unceasingly.  So many of us come from small families where we weren't able to gain childcare experiences and are plain ill-prepared.  The struggle is real.  While older generations were more apt to have a live-in grandmother or aunt or some female relative with experience and time to give, it seems we are now on our own.  We are lucky to get a week of our husband's help after the birth of a new baby before he returns to work.  Some meals from friends and visits from Grandma are the helpful highlights of the newborn phase.  No wonder so many moms are left feeling unprepared, inadequate, depressed, and overwhelmed.

But eventually, time passes and daily experiences add up, and before we know it we are moms who sort of have a clue what we're doing.  By the time the next baby or five comes around, we feel more prepared, and we also know where our triggers lie and what kind of help we will need.  I remember when we had our second baby and I told Phil that he was going to have to start changing diapers and waking up at night to help because I was sleep deprived with two under two years old.  He was glad to help and hasn't stopped since!  We laugh about it now because he definitely does all the night wakings once the babies are weaned and changes more diapers than I do.  For some reason, with that first baby, I felt like I had to do it all by myself to be the best mom.  Turns out that asking for help made me a better one.  

And so, time passes, kids grow, parents calm down, and life can be more peaceful in the long term even though it may look more chaotic in a snapshot.  The peace and perspective I have now make me sorry for my younger stressed-out self.  And I'm sincerely hoping this peace will only grow deeper with time, knowledge, and prayer. 

Perspective is a game changer in this gig we call parenting, so remember to look back and acknowledge how far you've come, how much wisdom you've gained, how giving of yourself daily has allowed God to smooth away your rough edges.  Be gentle to yourself, forgive yourself, and love yourself enough to know you're a work in progress, on the road to becoming a masterpiece.

Monday, November 16, 2015


I remember working in my parent's ice cream shop one busy summer night, and overhearing my two Irish coworkers (we employed a good number of Irish students who came to work on Cape Cod each summer) talking about buying new runners.

Teenage Me: "What the heck are runners?"

Irish Lad & Lassie:  "These", as they pointed to their feet.

Teenage Me:  "Oh, you mean sneakers!"

Irish Lad & Lassie: "Do you sneak in them?"

Teenage Me: "No, you run in...oh."

Sneakers is indeed a silly term for shoes that you exercise in.  I wanted to start a trend amongst my friends when I went back to school in the fall and call them runners, but I was no trend-setter.  So sneakers they remained.

Fast forward to when I went to college in Ohio and people referred to their sneakers as 
 "running shoes".  Well that's a weird term, thought College Me, but running shoes was better terminology than sneakers, though two words was a little much to say.  Sneakers they stayed.

Then I met Phil.  I heard him refer to his sneakers as "tennis shoes".  Ummm, what now?  I figured it must be a Southern thing.  Phil reminded me that he is not from the South, and I reminded him that where he grew up in Maryland is indeed south of the Mason Dixon line, so look who snagged herself a southern gentleman now!  

Later some coworkers from the midwest called them "Tennys" which is the slang term for Tennis Shoes, and apparently not a southern thing at all.  But for shoes?  Because who even plays tennis that often to have a pair of shoes dedicated to one sport?  Excuse me, Andy Roddick, you are most certainly allowed, but personally, the most tennis action I see is when I mutter to myself "I get zero love" around here.

So sneakers they shall remain. 

All that was to say that I need a new pair.  I write too much.

When I was training for my very first half-marathon, I went to a sports store and the owner came out and watched me walk, looked at the insides of my shoes, asked me a bunch of questions about my training and form, and recommended these Saucony's:

I loved them so much and kept buying the same pair, in varying colors, every 6 months or so.  Did you know that sneakers have a mileage life?  I used to think sneakers were crazy expensive, but then I realized are so worth the investment because it's the only equipment you need to run and a good pair will protect your feet and knees, hips and back.

Speaking of knees, I started having some issues off and on with my knees and read about Brooks shoe designs and how many knee-pain-sufferers recommended them.  So I tried this pair, and maybe it was just all in my head, but they did seem to help!  

Matching sneaks!  They weren't the prettiest pairs, but I had found a great deal and price > pretty any day.  The same styles they make now are mucho bettero looking.

Recently I got this pair, an upgrade in the cuteness department, but I'm having some hip pain with my runs:

 I'm not sure if it's possible that the sneakers are just not the best support for me (they are a little lower than I had been used to) and I've tried to stick with them but I think I need a new pair.  I'm most likely going to go back to Sauconys, maybe this pair?  I heard the 8's weren't that great but the 9's are sweet.

Does anyone have a good sneaker/running shoe/tenny/trainer suggestion for me?  I'm all ears feet :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fife and Step

My sister, Holly, and my daughter, Maggie, gave a little Irish performance at our parish's variety show last night.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

7 of the Lamest Quick Takes in the Land


Eamon had his first basketball game of the season last night!  

They lost by 2 points, but it was such a good game.  Gosh I love watching my kids play sports.  I was sitting between two moms from the team, one had four kids, and the other had nine kids.  What a treat to find mom's with big families to chat with!  He also had his final xray this week for the finger he broke back in September.  It's just about done more week of taping then he should be good to go.  He's still allowed to play sports with it taped.  Thank goodness, because seeing him sit on the sidelines, injured, gave me a little inside peak into what Purgatory must be like.


Maggie will be in our parish's variety show tomorrow night, dancing a little Irish jig while my sister, Holly plays the fife.

I hope she feels confident on the stage and does well.  She's super excited and I'm so nervous for her!!  A mother's life y'all!


Phil and I went to a fundraising dinner to support Catholic education in our diocese.  The fund raises money for scholarships to help with tuition.  Our kids benefit from these scholarships, so I felt like I was double dipping going to the dinner also, but I got over it as fast as I was inhaling the scallops wrapped in bacon and fried calamari.  Mmmmmm.  Anyway, the speaker was the former Miss America from Hawaii, Angela Perez Baraquio, and she gave a great talk about being raised as one of TEN children and announced the pregnancy of her 5th child that night.  It was so cute!  Her book looks interesting, and if she writes as well as she speaks, then I know it will be great!


Andrew had his palate expander removed this week, and will be getting a retainer today!  We were doing a little victory dance that he didn't need braces, and then they warned us that he still might need braces after the retainer.  What a racket!  I'm praying to the patron saint of teethly things, St. Appollonia.  

For any of you with tweens and teens, I'm sure she will become one of your go-to intercessory saints.
Don't you just love Catholic life...Got a problem?  Yeah, we've got a Saint for that! 


Has anyone seen the new Peanuts movie yet?  Worth it?


Oh the joy of American Girl dolls.  Maggie really wants one for her upcoming 8th birthday, but they are so expensive and I feel like she won't really enjoy it for all that long.  Maybe I'm just jaded because I really wasn't into dolls.  She has her heart set on Maryellen, and I'm hoping she gets enough in gift cards and birthday/Christmas money to buy one for herself.  

Beth, Maryellen reminds me of your daughter!

Moms with older daughters, when did you make the plunge into a real AG?  Was the doll worth the price tag?


Is this possibly my most boring Quick Takes ever?  Benedict thinks yes.  

Sorry, but Christy's last post inspired me just to get something out there.  Go read all the betters at Kelly's!

Have a wonderful rake-the-leaves-out-your-yard-and-into-the-neighbor's-yard kind of weekend everybody!  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Giving Uncomfortably

The readings from this Sunday always make me a bit uncomfortable.  First from 1 Kings 17:10-16 about Elijah asking the widow for some bread and water, and she responded that she was just about to use the last of her ingredients to make bread for her and her son before they died.  Elijah promised her if she brought him back some bread, the widow and her son would not die, and would not go hungry again.  She did as he said, and they ate for another year.

The gospel reading from Mark 12:38-44 then goes on to talk about the widow who gave all she had in the form of two coins, as opposed to the rich men who gave more money, but not all they had.  He praises the widow for giving her whole livelihood while the rich men only gave from their surplus wealth.

Yeah, there were quite a few of us squirming in our seats during this homily.

Giving generously can be so hard!  As someone who deals with budgets and figures and money all day, I am prone to erring on the side of caution when it comes to tithing.  Raising a family with six kids can be expensive, and we have chosen this lifestyle of living simply rather than living stressed.  In order to make that work, we both have full-time jobs, we live in a two-family house, we drive paid off vans, we barely have any money in savings, we only go on vacations if they are basically given to us (parent's timeshare), eat homecooked meals, etc. etc. etc.  In other words, we make all our decisions based on our finances and always try to save more, spend less.

But, because we do these things we have a little cushion in our budget.  We are able to pay our bills every month and can splurge from time to time - sports for the kids, a date night for Phil and I, gifts at birthdays and Christmas don't overwhelm us.  It's nice and it hasn't always been like that.  When it was only Phil on a teacher's salary, we could barely pay our bills.  I was pinching pennies just to try and buy groceries.  It wasn't prudent for us to have me stay home with the kids when we couldn't feed or shelter those kids.  I worked part-time, nights and weekends doing whatever I could until we only had one that needed daycare, and then I went back full-time.  

I'm not saying that this is how every family should work, actually I believe if a mom (or dad) is financially able to stay home with their little kids, they should.  That is such an important job, and it kills me to have to hire it out.  I know my kids will only be little once, and I know nothing matters more than my vocation to motherhood.  It's just not an option for our family, and I have worked through making my peace with it (mostly).  If I win the megabucks tomorrow, I'm quitting and staying home, but until then, it's off to work I go.

Wow, that got off topic quick.  Where am I even going with this?

Oh right, tithing.  So, like probably everybody, when I am trying to decide how much to tithe at church, I sometimes have a hard time letting go.  I have no problem at all being generous in other areas - making a meal for a new mom, driving a friend's child home from sports practice, sending a gift to someone who needs a pick me up, volunteering my time at school or church, giving blood to the Red Cross, being open to life.  These things are "giving from my surplus", a place where it's easy to give.

Giving more financially would be giving from a place where it hurts.  Our whole married life has revolved around money - not having enough, figuring out how to make more, paying off debt, saving for the future.  It's been our biggest struggle (well, alongside learning NFP) and giving it away seems in opposition to our family's needs.  

It's a tough decision to make...where does the line ends on being prudent and responsible for what we have vs. being generous and trusting in what will come? 

I once heard Peter Kreeft give a talk at my church, and he said that when it comes to determining family size, we should have a little more than we can afford.  That is to say, give until it's uncomfortable.  The same goes for tithing, we should give more than we think we can afford, and God will bless us for it.  I think that really is the answer when discerning more babies and discerning how much to tithe.  Give until it's uncomfortable.  That Kreeft is a smart man.

I have experienced this all the time in the past...when I am generous with others, others are generous with us.  I know it's true.  Then why is it still so hard to believe it will happen in the future?  Why is it so hard to stop the financial worrying when I know it is in giving that we receive?  Lord help my lack of trust in this area, and let me grow to be more like the widows who gave their all., because for crying out loud, I know I can't take it with me!  I guess that's why I'll always be a practicing Catholic, there's always room to improve :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Weekend Workouts

The big boys ran a 5k this weekend.

Andrew came in 7th overall with a time of 22:46.  He was close to his best 5k time, but was upset that he was in first place for the first two miles, but ran it a little too fast and then got passed by 6 people at the end.

Eamon finished with a time of 28:29, he was disappointed in his pacing (he tends to sprint then wog on repeat) and wants to train with Phil to get a better pace. 

JP had a personal record of 23:36 (10th overall).  He said after that he could have kept on running and wants to try a 10K.  I am much impressed with the improvement he's made over the year!  He was happy to beat this guy at the very end too :)

They have another 5k coming up in 2 weeks, maybe we can squeeze in a few training runs with them before then.  Phil and I aren't running races, just because they cost $$ and the boys love doing them and we're a lot slower.  Thankfully, we have been able to run a lot this Fall with such gorgeous weather.  We haven't even missed the gym yet (we cancelled our memberships back in June) but I think we will join one again as soon as it's too cold/snowy to run outside.  We are hoping to run our 3rd Half Marathon in March, as long as Mother Nature allows for some gentle winter weather to train.

Maggie and Xander and Declan are just slackers when it comes to running ;)  Haha, Maggie looks at us like "Why would anyone want to do that?" so she sticks with Irish step dancing instead.  That is a tough workout!  They just jump for an hour straight!  Xander's thumb muscles get the biggest workout as he plays Wii and other video games like a champion gamer (but only on the weekends!) and Declan is the cutest baller in training with our indoor hoop.  He can't throw a ball without jumping, it's adorable.

I love being an active family, I couldn't imagine it any other way.  Maybe that's because we have so many boys, and boys are like puppies and need to be ran around :)  Our pastor has been giving a lot of homilies lately about the importance of putting Mass and church events before sports and work events.  I always flinch a little when I hear these homilies because while I know we would never miss Mass for a sports practice, we do put a big emphasis on sports and health and fitness in our house.  I need to make sure I'm putting more emphasis on the soul workouts as well.  I'm thinking of getting one of these for the house, maybe they can pray Hail Mary's while they use it ;)  

Friday, November 6, 2015

{7QT} It's Friday, Finally


A while back I had my first dermatology appointment in over 20 years.  With my Irish skin and family history, I don't know why I put it off for so long.  They found a suspicious mole and biopsied it (on my buttock) and the biopsy showed that it is "Moderately Atypical", so not yet cancer, but on it's possible way.  

I have to have it removed next month.  I am so glad I went, and this got caught, because I never would have seen this mole on my own.  I'm embarrassed to have someone surgically removing pieces of my derriere, but it's better than letting it grow into cancer, obvi.  Humility for the win.


Declan is talking!  Finally!  He's been adding cute little words as his 19 month old birthday approached, and it seems like everyday he is able to repeat more and more.  This morning he was turning off the light in the bathroom and saying "off" when it turned off, and "off" when it turned on.  Haha, I love toddler speak so much!  


Maybe it's because Declan is finally starting to seem less like a baby (though he still drinks milk from a bottle!) but lately I have been dreaming up baby names.  I know!  What is wrong with me? 

 Here's my current top girl and boy names:

Emerson Grace

Rowan Asher

But, if we ever have another one, I think Phil will veto those.  The name game is hard!


We have a NeighborDog!  It's all the fun of having a dog with none of the work, because it's actually you're neighbor's dog.  My perfect kind of pet :)  

Her name is Chippi, but our kids just call her "The neighbordog".


We will be a house divided on Sunday at 1 pm.  The Patriots (my team) are playing The Redskins (Phil's team).  

Our kids are so confused for who to cheer for, it's funny.  What kind of game day snack do I make for nervous bellies?  Ginger cookies and pepto-bismal?


Maggie needed some leggings to wear under her dresses, and I got her these for $5 and found this dress for less than $25.  I almost always order my dresses in Tall because even though I'm only 5'6" so many dresses come way above my knee, which would make them work-inappropriate.  Someone at work told me that Kmart has really cute clothes, and I didn't believe her, but then I started looking online, and she was right!  Plus, they give awesome coupons once you're signed up.  Go check them out if you haven't lately.  I'm a sucker for cute and cheap clothes, why invest a lot of money in something that will go out of style in a few years?


That's all I can think of this week...this Daylight Savings is making me fall asleep so early and wake up even earlier.  It's a vicious cycle of darkness and tiredness.  

Oh wait, I do have one more, Andrew's soccer team made it to tournament but lost, and John-Paul's soccer team won their U15 division!!  

So 5 months of bi-weekly practices and weekly games actually paid off ;)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend cheering for the Patriots to crush the Redskins.  Love ya, honey ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fashion for Posterity's Sake

With the passing of Halloween and All Saints Day,  I had a realization, an AHA! moment if you will.

At the high school where Phil and I work, some of the students dressed up as teachers for Halloween.  It's totally funny and respectful and everyone involved enjoys it.  One of our teachers always wears a suit, so he was pretty easy to imitate, another teacher has a sort of eclectic style that includes flowery skirts and jewelry, also a good one to pick.  But it left me thinking, if somebody were to dress up like me, what would they wear?  How do they view me?

Fast forward to All Saints Day.  For ten years now, we have had kids in Catholic schools which means my kids have been dressing up as saints for a decade.  Wow how time flies!  

All Saints Day 2010

Anyway,  it is so cute to see all the elementary school kids dressed as saints, and they are all dressed so modestly and properly.  Because that's how saints are viewed and depicted and revered.  We're probably not going to see any future saints whose normal day-to-day outfit is a skimpy bikini or ripped jeans and tank top.  

This all led me to my revelation...What we wear matters!  How we present ourselves matters!  The way we handle ourselves matter!  

That's not to say we should all be wearing designer clothes or suits all the live-long-day because: 

1) Life.

2) Expense.

3) Jobs.

But!  Here's where the light shined on my marble head, we can still make our (public) appearance as good as possible for the role we are called to play.  We can shower, and comb our hair, and keep our homes picked up, and exercise and eat well, and speak well of one another, and smile more often, and help others in need, and go to confession to get our inside sparkly clean, etc.  None of these things cost too much or require too much energy.  

On the weekend, after having dressed up for work all week, I usually tend towards comfy clothing.  But I have to get dressed no matter what, so I can choose to wear crumpled old sweats or I can put on some real pants and a sweater and look put-together and make sure my outwardly appearance is happy and cheerful.  The same goes for our kids, clean clothes and good grooming and nice manners can go a long way.  This is not about being vain or proud (which it can easily turn into) but about taking care of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and presenting ourselves as someone who is joyful and helpful and beautiful from the inside out. 

At Mass, when I see the families who take the time to dress up, and appear to be happy and peaceful, it actually moves me.  It makes we want whatever they're having, do what they're doing.  They make family life look attractive.  I want to do that for others.  I don't want to be the huge family that people look at and feel badly for or become the poster family with the slogan "Big Family Life - As Terrible As We Look."  I want to smile more, and wave hello more, and iron my wrinkly skirts more ;)

Again, this is not purely about physical appearance.  One of the most beautiful women ever, in my opinion, is Mother Theresa - her smile and gentle humilty speak volumes about her love for God.  

Her beauty shone through in the way she lived and how she carried herself.  Nothing is less beautiful than somebody with a mean spirit and selfish personality.  But I am realizing more and more that what's on our inside can carry over to our outside and we can be as beautiful as possible with a little effort.   Then if God-willing, one day we actually make it to Heaven, future generations of children can dress like these Saints Martin:

and not these Saints Martin:

Who's with me?