Friday, March 15, 2013

Seven Quick Takes-- celebrating Pope Francis

Joining Jen for another round of 7QT.

I have a feeling this will all be about Pope Francis!  We love you, Papa!


Wednesday morning, Maura woke up crying, "IT CAN'T BE MORNING YET!  WHY ARE YOU WAKING ME UP SO EARLY?!?!"

She hardly ever cries (only if she's sick or injured or thinking about her great grandmothers in heaven), so even though the logical part of my brain said she's probably just overtired and having trouble adjusting to the recent time change, the protective mama in me suspected that she was sick.  She had a cold (nothing serious) for a week or so, and her little brother had a fever of 102 the day before.  Surely she had caught whatever Paul had.  

I took her temp and it read 99.5-- not serious, but it could be the start of something.  I gave her some ibuprofen and took her temp after breakfast-- 100.5.  No school for Maura.


Wednesday morning was great, especially because Maura wasn't too sick.  We enjoyed a lazy morning of breakfast, homework, cartoons, and general togetherness.  I contemplated again how I would love to try homeschooling.

Then I posted this pic on Facebook.

best sick day ever


While checking out the status updates of my Facebook peeps, I noticed that Dweej shared a link to live feed of the Vatican on You Tube.  I opened it up on my computer and turned the volume WAY up.  Then I continued with my housework stopping to look for smoke every time I passed the computer.  I did this about a billion times and started thinking that there wouldn't be smoke.

And then...

I HEARD SHOUTING coming from my computer.  

It sounded JOYFUL.  

Could it be?


Then I started screaming, "WE HAVE A NEW POPE!  WE HAVE A NEW POPE!  WE HAVE A NEW PAPA!!!"


I called my husband who was at work to tell him about the white smoke.  I wish he could have been home with us.

We immediately turned on EWTN to watch the events unfold live.  I felt so joyful to have my oldest daughter, Maura, home with me this day to share this historic event with me.  I said a little prayer of thanksgiving and wondered if this was a sign that we should try the whole homeschooling thing that I have been praying about daily.


As we waited for the announcement of who our new pope would be, I decided to start taking pictures...of our living room...watching TV...because this was historic whether we were celebrating in St. Peter's Square or in the comfort of our own home.  I wanted to treasure the moment forever.

Prepare yourself for photos.

home sick

Telling her brother that we have a new pope!

feeling joyful (love that I'm wearing an apron!)

tears of joy

trying to get a picture of the three of us

look closely-- the kids are waving tissues to celebrate!  LOVE


This whole time our youngest, Paul Francis, was napping.  I thought about waking him up but felt a little silly.  He's just a baby and wouldn't understand, right?

Then he woke up.

And he was thrilled to join our celebration even if he is only 15 months old.


And then our new pope was announced.

And I thought...Cardinal Bergoglio took the name Pope Francis?  Sounds a lot like Paul Francis.

Surely, I was just an overly enthusiastic Catholic mama, and no one else would notice.


Mike called and started yelling, "Did you hear he chose the name, Pope Francis?  and we have a Paul Francis?!?!"

I humored Mike, but surely no one else would think it was a big deal, right?  He was just being an overly enthusiastic Catholic father, right?

Then Mike's mom texted me.

no offense, Cardinal Dolan.  Paul is a baby, and this is his grandmother talking here.  She's biased.

And then my parents called too.  Lots of excitement over here.

Did I mention we live outside San Francisco?  Surely these are signs.


I may have posed Paul in pictures with a rubber grippy on his head that kind of looks like a zucchetto and posted them on Facebook in all of my excitement.  

Don't judge me.

For more quick takes, click here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Theme Thursday

I've been wanting to write a post all week, but I have just been so busy.  We're trying to buy a house (more on that in a future post) which will require us to downsize from the spacious 5 bedroom we are currently renting to a modest 3 bedroom (I assume).

When I saw that Cari decided this week's photography theme was piles, I thought, oh yeah, this will be my life in still photos.

All pics taken on my iPhone with no editing because I still need to clean these piles, go to Costco, and take care of two sick toddler boys.  I'm short on time, you know?

pile of papers in my kitchen to be sorted.  ugh. paper clutter.

pile of folded laundry to be put away

every NFP family can relate-- baby stuff.  what to keep?  what to donate?  decisions, decisions.

what's keeping my boys busy while I blog?  legos.

...and blueberries

love my little guys!

Go check out more cool photography at Clan Donaldson.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What I Wore Sunday--volume 10

Haven't linked up with the ladies at FLAP lately because I feel like I've been wearing the same tired outfits over and over.   Sigh.   I'm not the only one who feels that way sometimes, right?

Well today, I woke up and it was...wait for it...54 degrees! Holla! So I busted out a summer dress and a day glow sweater and went all summer brights with no tights to 8 am mass! know...there's no better way to draw attention to my lack of parental control than wearing day glow colors to 8 am mass.  What almost three year old is singing "YOU...CAN USE...THE POTTY!" with his best outside voice in the middle of mass?  The one being wrangled by the mama dressed as Rainbow Bright...that one...right there!  See them?  Oh now the kid is yelling "JOE-SUS!" (Jesus) over and over again as they approach the altar for communion.  That woman with toddler dressed in bright orange and yellow.  You can't miss them! 


So here's my colorful apparel. Sorry for the poor photography and messy bedroom.  I'm hoping the poor quality of my cell's camera blurs everything juuuust enough.

411 on my rainbow brights--
orange shift dress-- Banana Republic (last summer)
day glow cardi-- J to the Crew (clearance!)
colorful beaded necklace-- IDK (but I like it)  :-)
Go check out all my peeps at FLAP.  Go. Now.
Happy Sunday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Seven Quick Takes

Joining Jen for another edition of Seven Quick Takes.

This week two of my favorite bloggers reached the wow, you're famous now status in my book.  I was shocked (and then again not shocked at all because she has great style) when I saw Grace on Ain't No Mom Jeans, and then, I got all excited and realized I had no one to share the news with...because my friends don't blog...or follow blogs like I do.  Sigh. 
And then Jenny posted this.  I almost died from excitement and have read the post too many times to count.  Ridiculous amounts of Catholic awesomeness.  I bet that kiss goodbye made having to hand over all her US baby food at customs feel less awful.  I have a Catholic awesomeness permagrin that I hope never fades.  So happy for that family.
Talking about these two lovely ladies makes me feel the need to come right out and say, I need more Catholic friends.  Every time I get excited about something Catholic and share it on Facebook, it usually doesn't get a reaction (except from Dweej--thanks girl!) and that makes me feel...deflated?  I mean, doesn't anyone else think saint magnets are cool?  sigh.
Pity party moving on.
Updates on the kids.
Mike's mom has a friend who lives in Ireland who always sends the most amazing belated Christmas gifts.  The Christmas after Maura was born, she knit her this amazing sweater (shown below on Paul), and I'm so glad she chose a gender neutral color instead of pink because all three kids have gotten a lot of use out of it.  It is just lovely.
disregard the text-- this is from an old post
A few days ago, the doorbell rang, and I was pleasantly surprised (and a little jealous) when we opened the box and saw this gift.
 I am not embarrassed at all to admit that I tried the cape on myself, but sadly it didn't fit.  Total bummer because I was hoping to rock that cape with some skinnies in a future WIWS post.
Ever since this post, my family has been slightly obsessed with the Harlem Shake.  Not only do we love watching the videos online, but we've found it's the perfect get your butt out of bed and get ready for work/school/endless laundry and diaper changes song.  Griffin has even started singing his own version of the song which goes something like "da da E- TA!" and then he continues to make his best techno sounds.

I know I am biased, but Paul has been rocking the most adorable baby faux hawk-- so much curly, red hair on top and in the back and totally bald on the sides.

future punk rocker for sure

time for a haircut?

So Mike and I are rethinking Maura's school situation for next year, but I have lots of questions, concerns, anxieties.  Why can't this parenting thing be easy?  Her current Catholic school is nice but... doesn't seem academically challenging enough for her.  Maybe it will get better next year? 

We went to an open house last night at a Classical Christian school that we loved (curriculum & teachers seem great) but when we spoke to the director about the religious part of the program (which is about an hour every day), she described it as "Orthodox Protestant" stating that  they follow the Westminster catechism... so we have some concerns about whether learning about a different faith would be confusing at such a young age (5).  It's disappointing since we really liked the school. 

And then there's always homeschooling but... I'm scared to try it with two very little boys at home.  Decisions, decisions.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Leave me a comment?  What would you do?  help!
Paul is crying gotta go.
Go check out more 7QT at Jen's.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Theme Thursday: Hats or Scarves

Linking up with Cari at Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday.

I will readily admit my camera & I have been fighting.  I've been having a lot of trouble photographing the kids.  They are too dang fast & all my photos usually come out blurry.  I put my camera on the take a bizillion photos/pretend your paparazzi mode, and I was thrilled to see I got some decent shots.

Here goes:

We were trying to take advantage of natural light.

taken by my 5-year-old-- Wow!
ready for naptime
would have been super cute if I could have focused the camera in time

And because Cari said we could include throwback photos, here are two of my hat & scarf faves from years past--

Maura (now 5 1/2) at just 19 months old during a snow storm in Vegas!

Maura keeping Koko warm during the storm.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

it's the simple things

I see some of my blogging peeps are in a funk, and that makes me sad.  I know how you feel.  I was just there.  But the sun is shining here, and the forecast for today is happy with a chance of teething pain for little Paul.  So, please allow me to try to cheer you up.

Yesterday, was a swell day (although I did experience intermittent episodes of mommy funk), but I championed on.  I got caught up with the laundry, attempted to clean the frat house (and my efforts were noticed by the hubs), made dinner, mopped the floors, took some cute pics of the littles for Cari's link-up tomorrow, and finished reading Maura Danny, the Champion of the World, and you know how much I love Roald Dahl. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Cut to today...

This morning, a family member posted this as her status on Facebook--

And I thought to myself heck to the yeah, thank you God for hot showers and coffee and sweet babies to kiss and great books to read.  Life is good (despite the inevitable chance of funk).

So let's say I started the day off on the right foot today.  So much so that I didn't freak when the reusable shopping bag that I've used a whopping two times broke after a trip to Trader Joe's.  And you all know how much I loathe those shopping bags.

Life is good, and I've got a lot to be grateful for.
I may not have tiger blood or Adonis DNA, but I'm #winning baby!
I've got a ibuprofen for my teething baby, a pot roast in my crockpot, clean diapers on the boys' behinds, and hot warm coffee in my hand (because I was smart enough to put it in a travel mug at 7:30 am).  I'm #winning baby, and you are too.  You just need to change your perspective.
Maybe I'm drinking too much coffee and reading too much Kerouac, but Jack says we should be in love with our lives.  I'm happy to say I am, Jack; I am. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Snip Snip!

Hey gang!  I'm still recovering from my surgery last week, so I'm posting another guest post by my husband, Mike, instead of my usual What I Wore Sunday post.  If you like reading Mike's posts, he tries his best to post every Monday.  Give him some comment love for taking a stand against the big V and embracing NFP!!!


After my son Griffin was born I heard things like,

 "Hey Mike, you getting that taken care of now?" 

"You don't need any more because your family is perfect with your girl and boy." 

"Trust me, two kids is enough."

  "Are you done?"

We had a tough time with Griffin when he was born as he was the loudest kid ever (affirmed by the hospital staff), kept us up all hours of the night (not out of the ordinary for a baby), and was all together a giant handful (and he still is).  Vasectomy was a hot topic of conversation in our house at the time, and I kept trying to get my beautiful bride to agree to it. 

Kate:  No. 
Me:  Kate, I'll only be out of commission for a few days and back to normal. 
Kate:  No.  Mike, I don't want the door to be closed. 
Me:  Kate, I do!  I feel exhausted, and I'm done.
Kate:  I think you should go to confession.
Me:  What are they going to say to me?  It's not like they're going to pay for all of our kids!

You get the idea...

A little background is in order.

I can clearly remember the last conversation my father started regarding the Catholic Church's stance on contraception.  It was at my son Paul's the vestibule of the church.  I overheard my father say, "So we're sitting there in pre-cana, and the priest was through speaking about how bad contraception is.  So I said, 'Hey Father, if I have 10 kids is the church going to pay to have them all educated and cared for?"  He started this conversation with the Pro-Life director for the Knights of Columbus at our parish...who had 8 kids.

This was a speech I had heard at least 10 times while growing up.  As I grew older,  I understood the logic behind it, and, having been a cafeteria Catholic at the time, it sounded fine to me.  Contraception to me was normal and what normal and smart people used. 

After we were married, my beautiful bride wanted to use NFP.  Being an educated and normal person, my answer was unequivocally NO!  I used the same response that my father used to the priest when he was in pre-cana, and that was that. 

Most people I knew growing up were Catholic because they were born Catholic, not necessarily raised Catholic.  I went through all of the sacraments growing up and attended CCD every Saturday, but I really had no understanding of what was actually going on.  Going to church on Sunday was a chore (I thought), and i had no idea why I had to go.  I was so bored that I became an altar boy because if I had to be there, I might as well make the time go faster.  For the people I grew up with, I think this was a pretty similar sentiment.  Additionally, the last time I received reconciliation before I was the age of 31 was right before my confirmation..when I was 14.  Again, being a cafeteria Catholic, I wondered what a celibate priest, with no kids, was going to say to me.

In my teens and twenties, I definitely subscribed to the relativist theory of religion.  You know, God knows what I've done, and I'm okay with it because I'm doing my best, or He knows I'm a good person, or my favorite,  I believe in God, and that's good enough, so I don't have to believe/understand/follow what the church says.  At the end of the day, I was right, and I was wrong.  Being a libertarian, I would never force my will on anyone, and therefore, if people believe in moral relativity, good for them.  However, the church is absolutely a way to sanctification, and a real good one at that.

Hopefully I've shown why I might have been pushing for the big V.  Many of the men I knew had a vasectomy, and it seemed like the natural order in modern life.  Our son had us at our wits end, and I had grown up with the belief/knowledge that God would understand. 

During this time, I found myself asking some friends their opinions of vasectomy, and as a result,  I was growing conflicted.  One of my favorites was, "Mike, my mom goes to church EVERY DAY, and she said that God definitely wouldn't want you to have kids you couldn't take care of, so it's totally cool to get one."  That one in particular didn't sit right for me, but I wasn't sure why.

Right around the time my son was born I became a Knight of Columbus.  One of the first issues of the periodical for members discussed NFP and how one father wanted to have a vasectomy right after his second child was born.  The reason was because he was concerned about being able to provide for his family.  In the picture of him, his wife, and 4 children, there looked to be a real sense of peace.  Obviously, being a Catholic periodical, he didn't get the vasectomy.  Additionally, he spoke about how he and his wife had grown closer because of the use of NFP. 

Over the course of a few months, I had become more involved with the Knights and became their program director.  One of the men that came into my life was the man I spoke about earlier who my father had started the conversation with in the vestibule.  I became intrigued how a man in his 70's could be so full of life and not absolutely exhausted from having all of those kids and grand kids   One day he enlightened me, "Mike, they're not really yours; they're God's.  If He doesn't want you to have them, you won't.  If He does, you will, and you won't be able to stop it.  One way or another, He will either put children into your life or He won't."

Some of my previous posts have spoken about how simple suggestions can have a profound impact.  This was definitely one of those times.  Quite honestly, the word vasectomy from that time on made me cringe.  In fact, it now brings about a feeling of sorrow for those that have had it.  I almost feel like this is the continued emasculation of society, i.e. being fully a man is bad.  My son, Paul, would not have been born if I had gone through with it, and I can't imagine my life without him.  He was planned using NFP, and I now believe wholeheartedly in it.

Mike & Paul at the zoo

So in answers to my first questions:

"Hey Mike, you getting that taken care of now?"
What my fertility? NO!

"You don't need any more because your family is perfect with your girl and boy."
It's perfect now with more, and it might be even more perfect in the future.

"Trust me, two kids is enough."
I'm sure it is for your family.  We're not so sure; we might even go for four!

"Are you done?"
By the way, nothing infuriates me more than this question, like it's anyone else's (insert expletive) business.  NO, I think we're going to try and have a football team!!!

I'm going to close with two more things friends of ours said to me in regards to NFP and fertility-- 

"Mike, I really don't understand.  Fertility is this wonderful gift that we're given, and people treat it like it's some kind of disease that needs to be cured!"

"Mike, when God sends a baby, He also sends a loaf of bread.  Your baby will be taken care of, just put him in His hands."

our family