Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Divinely Nine and I'm Glad You're Mine

Oh my sweet Eamon, don't ever change.  You are such a light of hope in my world.  This Saturday, you turned nine, and were counting down the days with such delight.  

Your cousin Tommy slept over and on the morning of your birthday, I ran out to pick up some New York bagels because you are a bagel's #1 fan.  Then we went to daily Mass so that, per your request, you could alter serve on your birthday.  Swoon.

A Nerf football from Gammy & Grandpa
Throughout the day, we opened a few presents and cards, had friends coming and going, and you got a No Chore Pass which you relished.

Maggie made you such a nice card, and though you don't appreciate it right now as much as you should, I think you will in the future.

What has always set you apart from the rest of us is your deep holiness.  You desire to be a priest, and think about the world differently than I do.  For example, there was the time you came home from school telling me you had prayed the Rosary at the grotto that day, with a few of your classmates and a teacher.  But then the teacher left and a new one came as the kids were still praying.  I asked you if any of the kids started fooling around, and you looked at me with such shock and told me that of course nobody fooled around, you were all praying the Rosary.  It was as if you didn't understand how that thought would even enter my mind.  You would never fool around while praying, and often gently reprimand your little brother when he does, "praying is talking to God, and we have to talk nicely".  Heart melted.  

Your birthday meal request was spaghetti and meatballs (a slight deviation from prior years meatloaf) and a chocolate cake with oreo frosting.

You are always the first to pray grace before you eat, and I can guarantee if I see a scapular on the bathroom counter, it's not yours because yours is always around your neck.

Of course, you are still 100% boy and love to get dirty and fight and play any sport.  When Grandpa asked you which sport was your favorite, you said "Whatever's in season".  Haha!  

Dad made you a special binder to hold your football cards - it's a Redskins vs. Patriots game photo
Football Cards, you are so into these.
You are quick to tears when your feelings are hurt, and can also scream like you're being murdered when you get angry.  It's that good old Gaelic/Garlic heritage :)  We love you so much and can't wait to see how your last year in the single digits plays out.  

Adidas Basketball shoes, which Andrew claimed as the coolest he's ever seen.
Patriots shirt from your mama, of course.
Pokemon game for the DS, I don't understand but you wanted it bad.
On Sunday, you asked to play keeper in your soccer game because you knew you could defend the ball from the other team's #1 player, your school mate.  You said you stopped his attempts all the time at school, and so the coach put you in, and you played awesome!  The first ball that came flying towards the goal was so high that you jumped and were just barely able to tip it with your fingers as they scored.  You looked defeated, but the coach yelled out "Nice job Eamon, there was nothing more you could do about that one!" and I saw you smile but I also saw you shake your hand a few times, as if in pain.  I called over to you asking if you were ok, and you said "Yup!"  It wasn't until you finished playing the whole game that you told me your finger hurt, and I saw the swollen purple digit and we got you ice and advil right away.  You barely complained about the pain, so we figured it was just injured but then it started looking worse on Monday and your Aunt who is also the school nurse, suggested we take you in to get x-rays.  So we did, and yuppers, broken.  You are the first in our family to have a broken bone.

Showing me his finger, not to be confused with giving it to me.  Also, new haircut from his favorite barbaretta ;)  

You were so brave and I never saw a tear until the doctor told you there would be no gym class or soccer for a while.  That's the worse punishment you could have!  I don't know how you're going to sit still for that long, maybe you'll finally gain some weight ;)  When we were driving home, you got tears in your eyes for the second time as you asked me if you could still altar serve.  Could I possibly love you and your heavenly devotion any more?  Then the next question was to ask if you could still learn the Whip Nae Nae in gym class next week with a broken finger.  Brought me right back to reality :)  But that's you in a nutshell...in the world but not of the world.

Grandpa playing the comb and getting rave reviews from Declan.

Happy Birthday to our sweet meatball. 

Friday, September 25, 2015



Can we just breathe in that crisp fall air and say a prayer of thanksgiving for this beautiful weather?  Ahhhhhhh and Amen.  I baked apple crisp using this recipe (the best in my tastebuds' opinion) but I omit the orange juice and zest and just use lemon.  I'm not a big fan of orange flavor, sorry Ina!


I've finally re-discovered my exercise mojo (it's the cool weather) just as I pulled something in the back of my knee which makes it impossible to run.  Of course.  It's tough to get old.  Here's something somewhat related that is cracking me up today:


I've been making all my put-off-indefinitely-because-i-don't-wanna-go appointments lately.  I've had a root canal, a crown (just call me Queen Colleen) and coming up a haircut (I'm going short inverted bob - eek!) and a dermatology skin check. I haven't had a full skin check since age 12 and considering all my 5 siblings have had moles removed, I'm pretty confident they will find something.  Darn you spotty Irish skin!  But as Phil says, it's better to catch something early.  Don't worry, I'll be making his future colonoscopy appointments with a smile on my face.


Andrew had to make a model of a cell for science class, and we came up with this:

Thank you, internet.  Nailed it.


Pope-a-palooza this week!  I've been watching the live streaming of the big events here, and my biggest takeaway is that Pope Francis looks tired and I can barely understand him.  I need to read the transcripts of what he has said to get a better picture. 

Smile because you're a world leader.  Laugh because there's nothing you can do about it.

 I do like to see him smile :)

Awkward since I'm wearing white pants today.  Maybe I can say I'm showing my Pope support??


Declan hides in our trees just to scare us on the daily.  He seriously runs over there, just stops and stands still and makes no noise.  Even when we call his name and try to get him to break out, he stays still.  

I see a future Swiss guard in the making.  If he was only Swiss.  And didn't smile so much.  Speaking of Swiss Guards, I liked this article about a former Vatican Swiss Guard. (How sweet is the part about Pope Saint JP with him on Christmas Eve?  Swoon!)


Don't forget to enter the Freshly Picked moccasins giveaway here!  It ends on Sunday!

Go visit Kelly for better Quick Takes as she stalks the Pope this week ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Controlling the Clutter with a Clan of Children

My husband and I are very alike in how we like the house to be kept.  Clean and as clutter-free as possible is the goal.  We have routines that happen daily, and some weekly, to ensure our home life is as calm as possible, because Lord knows, it can get chaotic FAST.  

We just don't do well with messy spaces, and can't sit down at the end of the day unless everything is in it's place.  You know those sayings about how it's more important to spend time with your kids than spend time cleaning, or messy dishes can wait, but your children are growing up so fast...blah blah blah?  Yeah, I don't buy into those, I think they can perpetuate laziness.  Having a clean and tidy home allows your family to relax and and spend time together happily instead of feeling overwhelmed and distressed and trapped.  Also, I've found the thought of cleaning/decluttering is worse than actually doing it - it goes by so quickly with some fun music on and everybody doing their part.  I'd rather take five minutes to clean up after lunch and then be able to sit and play with my kids in peace than constantly be bombarded by seeing dirty dishes all day long that I know I need to do at some point.  What peace is there in that?

Every morning, we are in a rush to get out of the house.  The morning routine is usually - I get myself ready while Phil gets the baby ready and makes breakfast and coffee.  Then I pack up the six kids into the car and we try to pull out of the driveway by 6:30 am.  I drop off the older five to school, then the baby to his sitter's house (hi Michelle!) and continue on to work.  Phil gets himself ready and tries to leave the house orderly, turning off all lights, doing dishes, whatever he can to make it feel nice to walk back into later that day.  Small spaces feel even smaller when there is stuff everywhere!

Once we get home in the afternoon, the kids have to bring in and put away their things.  This is when the craziness begins.  We don't have a mudroom, so shoes go in their individual baskets and backpacks go on the landing of the stairs.  Allllllllll the papers and artwork goes on the kitchen table and after dinner is cooked, eaten, and cleaned up, we have the following helpers (we've noticed calling the kids a certain "helper" makes them feel important and gets the job done!):

Lunch Helper - Takes out all lunch boxes and water bottles, pack snacks (the kids get free lunch at school), fill water bottles and put in fridge, put lunch boxes back in backpacks.

Cat Helper - Empty cat litter box and feed her.

Laundry Helper - Put in a load of laundry, fluff clothes in dryer, later on take out dryer clothes and put wet clothes in, bring up clean clothes.

The rest of them clean up the family room and living room and the littles get to watch a show while the big kids do homework (if they haven't finished it before dinner).  Then we do baths and showers and they take up their folded laundry from the day before on their way to bed.  Phil and I do any last minute cleaning (vacuuming, sweeping, dishes, folding laundry, going through kid's paperwork and tossing all of it) and then we can relax for a little before we fall asleep.  

If we just keep on top of the cleaning and decluttering everyday, it doesn't get too bad.  Same for the laundry, we do a load every.single.day of what we were wearing for the day, and it never gets overwhelming.  Soccer season can throw us for a loop because we are at the fields every day except Monday, but Phil and I either divide and conquer or choose to just take on the evening chores by ourselves because the kids won't have a chance to do anything.  On the weekend, they all have a chore chart they need to complete before they get to play video games, and that's a big incentive!  My kids aren't slaves, but they do make most of the mess, and there's no maid here :)

We've always made them clean up as soon as they could make a mess and we ALL love to live in a tidy home.  You can just breathe better!  Xander will often tell me after I vacuum that the house looks like new :)  If things build up little by little, and you need to do a big decluttering, I highly recommend this book (I wrote my review here) to get started.  The less junk you have in your home, the less there is to take care of.  We really don't need that much stuff, letting it go is so freeing!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Freshly Picked Moccasins: Review and Giveaway!

I was so excited to see this package come in the mail...

And inside were the cutest little moccasins for Declan!

He actually sat still while getting them on (if you know this boy, you know he does not sit still when outside!)

Freshly Picked Moccasins are leather shoes that are easy to put on but stay put on baby's feet.  Perfection when it comes to toddlers!

They are also perfect for contemplating...





...walking on grass...

...walking on rocks...



...and checking to make sure Mom's still close by.  

I am, Declan, thanks for being my model, and sorry I only dressed you in a onesie, but it's what all the babies are wearing :)

Check out Freshly Picked and their adorable line of footwear and accessories.  If I had a baby girl, I would have totally chosen these adorable little ice cream moccs:

But I don't so, Granite Utah it was (though the Denim ones were a close runner-up!)  

If you want to win a pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins, head on over to my Instagram to enter.  Good luck!

Friday, September 18, 2015



We refinanced our mortgage this week.  Well, it's been in the process for about a month, but we signed our lives away on Wednesday night.  

We now have a 15 year mortgage at 3.625% interest instead of a 5.125% interest rate with 25 years left.  It should save us about $80,000 in interest over the life of the loan.  Crazy, right?  Phil has figured out that if we stay here (probably not) we will pay off the house right before his 50th birthday and we would really have to celebrate big time!  I like the way the man thinks :)


I'm so excited for the new tv shows to start up again soon! I've missed you Sue Sue Heck!

Since getting rid of our Netflix, we have been forced to watch HGTV and Food Network all summer long.  Which I love, but you can only see the same Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives twice before you feel like you've already eaten there.  And I'm super excited for this new one...


Declan is still not back to his amazing sleeping ways.  He only goes to sleep if somebody is in the room with him.  We have to lay down on the bed and sneak out when he falls asleep in his crib.  Plus he wakes up almost every night and needs to be settled back down the same way.  Maybe this is my new form of NFP.  Speaking of NFP, I got to visit a friend who had her fourth baby and she was rehashing out the labor details (all natural) and I was like, um yeah, I never want to do that again, thanks for the reminder.  Some people say you forget the pain, but this elephant never does.  Now, if a sweet baby were to show up on my doorstep, I will happily take her :)


I've lost my exercise mojo.  

It started back at the beginning of the summer when my gym wouldn't fix the air conditioning because they were just renting the building and thought the owner of the building should fix it.  It was super hot in there and smelled so gross, and I could practically see the bacteria multiplying in the sticky heat and wanted nothing to do with the place.  We cancelled our membership (after 9 years!) and I just ran outside instead.  But then it got so hot and humid, that there were weeks when I couldn't make myself do it.  I've started doing Jillian's 30 day Shred pretty faithfully (moving onto this DVD workout next) and try to add in a walk or short run when I can, but everything just seems too hard/boring/rushed/hot that I don't wanna do it.  I need to find my groove again, and I'm not sure where.


This Fall and Winter we are going to be making some changes in the house, so if you want to see Home Remodelling for Dummies, stop by the blog in a few weeks. We're in the getting estimates and shopping phase right now.  This is not my cup of tea.  Joanna and Chip, leave Waco and come help me!


If I could redo my wedding, I would definitely change my bridesmaid's gowns.  They were pretty terrible.  I love this dress:

Maybe I can wear it when I'm a Mother of the Bride?  Too soon?  

And this dress is so pretty too, for a bride:

I'm into modest lace, if you couldn't tell :)


Next week starts birthday season in our house.  Eamon on the 26th, Andrew on October 4th, Phil on the 11th.  We will have a celebration every weekend!  Oh and Evie the cat is turning two sometime in there too.  She's getting a cat door so we can move the litter box to the basement.  Aren't we the nicest?

Go see Kelly for more riveting reads.  And have a wonderful feels-like-summer weekend!