7 Quick Takes – Birthday Forgetfulness

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It’s been a whirlwind of week. All four boys have been sick with a cold, we’re finally on the tailend of it now, so I hope. We’ve been lucky that this has been our first sickness this winter. We were sick more during the summer it seems. Michael has it as well, so we’re hoping I can stay healthy, at least until everyone else gets better. That way they can all take care of me when I’m down :) It’s always tough when the kiddos are sick. When one gets it, you just know everyone else is going to and it’s not going to be fun, plus they just look plain miserable. It makes exhausting days even more exhausting. Needless to say we’ve been watching lots of Scooby-Doo Pirates Ahoy.

My sweet sick boys :(

My sweet sick boys :(

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I attended a photography class last weekend. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time and finally just did it. I always find an excuse to not do things like this, i.e. there’s no time, it’s not a good time, etc. I let my nerves get the best of me; I just get worked up over stuff like that for no good reason. My only regret…not taking this class 6 years ago. Seriously, Linda, get it together. I learned so much and it was refreshing to get out of the house to do something for myself. To actually take up a hobby…such a foreign concept for me! Our instructor was the owner of his own photography company and he had over 25 years experience. You could tell he had a passion for photography. It was an awesome class! I haven’t had a chance to use any of the new skills yet, but hoping to soon, before I forget them all. Below are some practice shots I took during the class.

Working the blurry background concept

Working the blurry background concept

Check out the stop action

Check out the stop action

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Embarrassing fact: I can’t remember the boys’ birthdays! The birth year is usually what really trips me up, but apparently it’s the days too. I was at the pediatrician’s office with Isaac and I had to make a follow up appointment. I think I had Eli’s birthday on my mind as I had to make an appointment for him too. They asked for Isaac’s date of birth, the one I just birthed 6 months ago, and my mind just went blank. I thought for what seemed like an eternity and said July 6. Nope. Then I said maybe it’s July 5th. Nope! I think I had the 5th and 6th on the brain since Eli’s is the 6th of February, although sometimes I mix that up with my dad’s birthday which is February 5th. Then I had to explain that I have 4 children and I’m severely sleep deprived, in which she proceeded to just look him up by name and asked, “Is it the 10th?” Yes! July 10th!!! Yea, I’m that mom! This happens way too often and it’s really so embarrassing. I’m truly SO EMBARRASSED!!!

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Theology 101. I love having Catechism with the boys. The have great insight and always ask the most thought-provoking questions. Recently, we’ve been discussing the miracles Jesus performed, which led to the fact that He could perform these miracles because He is God. And this led to the Holy Trinity because Noah was getting perplexed that we have God the Father and God the Son, therefore he concluded we have two gods. I really am doing my best over here not to raise heretics and pagans :) We had the most in-depth discussion over the Holy Trinity being three distinct persons within one God, which we’ve discussed in the past, but the boys were being real sticklers on this subject. I was so ready for bed after discussion and my head wanted to explode! On the bright side, it was pretty good theological discussion for a 6 and soon-to-be 5 year old. Days like that I wish I could just call up Dr. Scott Hahn or something.

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Why do the simplest projects in our house always end up like this?!?

Uneven shelf :/

Uneven shelf :/

I’ve been wanting this little shelf hung in my garage for weeks, probably months, we finally get around to it and of course it’s uneven! There’s no simple project in this household.

But we finally got it right :)

Even shelf :)

Even shelf :)

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Who would’ve thought Isaac’s first time swinging outside would be on January 28th in the middle of winter?!? We’ve been blessed to have a mild week here and we’ve taken full advantage of it, even with sick kiddos. We’re back to cold now though, supposed to be a wintery mix this weekend.

Isaac's first time swinging

Isaac’s first time swinging

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For not having house projects ever go right, I sure like to do them, well at least attempt to anyways. So I’m taking on painting our playroom which is in the basement. I actually like to paint. I do not like picking a color because I can never decide. A swatch on the wall looks so different compared to the whole wall being painted. I don’t care for the prep work, but I do enjoy the actual painting and seeing the results afterwards. It literally took me 2 weeks to even get to Home Depot to get the paint and supplies. The walls have been prepped and patched, so now just to paint!

Playroom Mess

Playroom Mess

Noah went along with me to get the supplies where he found a falcon and had to carry it all around the store. He was pretty disappointed that I wouldn’t buy it for him, but I thought $15 for a hollow, plastic falcon was a little high. Such is life.

Noah with beloved falcon that we had to leave behind. And yes, he's still obsessed with camo.

Noah with beloved falcon that we had to leave behind. And yes, he’s still obsessed with camo.

And some Isaac cuteness…

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Thanks to Kelly from This Ain’t the Lyceum for hosting!

7 Quick Takes – My First One Ever

So I’m jumping on the 7 Quick Takes bandwagon. I always have a million blog ideas to write about, but never enough time to actually to do so. I mean realistically, there probably is some time, but when I’m lucky enough to find a few free minutes, staring at the wall or watching HGTV almost always sounds like a better idea. But 7 Quick Takes…sounds simple and easy enough to put all my randomness together each week, well maybe not every week, but I’ll certainly try. So here goes my first 7 Quick Takes! Thanks to Kelly from This Ain’t the Lyceum for hosting!

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It seems this week I’ve been surrounded by lots of sad news, not from anyone in my immediate family, but it still definitely causes me to pause and pray hard and makes me grateful for all that I have, as we never know what the next hour will bring. I’ve heard news of cancer diagnoses and hardships from acquaintances. And many of you may have already heard the story of Paul Coakley, a young husband and father of 4 (his wife is currently 7 months pregnant with their 4th) who just recently lost his battle with cancer. And just last summer there was Sarah Harkins, young homeschooling mom to 5 children (she was pregnant with her 5th), who, along with her unborn baby, unexpectedly passed away from a brain aneurysm. I’ve never met these people, but their stories have impacted me tremendously. After all, they’ve lived their lives following God’s will, being open to life, homeschooling their children, just being faithful Catholics. These aren’t just good people, they’re holy people. Young, with babies to raise. Yet even with these unbearable crosses, they’ve been brave and their faith unwavering, especially from their spouses and families. So yes their stories impact my life as if I truly knew them because my husband and I are them. I look back on my own life, when just over a year ago my husband was struggling with seizures and what a scary time that was. My life is forever changed from those events. How easily our story could’ve been different, how grateful I am to God for all of His mercy. And for the passing of our close friend, Justin, a year and half ago. I don’t understand God’s will all the time, or even most of the time, but I have to trust in Him. Their examples of how we should live our lives is a priceless legacy they all leave behind for us to follow. May we all pray for the repose of their souls and pray that the family they leave behind continues to feel the love and comfort from our most Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us.

If you feel the call to help either or both families, they have the below links set up to accept donations to assist them in their time of need. Please considering giving in any way you can, even if it’s just with your prayers.

Help the Coakley Family

Help the Harkins Family

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So I’m taking a photography class on Saturday. I really dislike things that are out of my ordinary, pretty predictable life…I’m trying to work on that, hence the class. I’ve always been obsessed with photography, not that I have a natural talent for it or anything, but that I love photos and how a great photo can just speak volumes. Before our first was born, we bought a DSLR camera because I wanted to capture all these great in the moment photos. Fast forward 6 years later and I still don’t know how to really operate the thing. So I’m taking the plunge and taking this class to hopefully learn something about my camera and finally put it to use. Yay for me getting out of my comfort zone, let’s hope I don’t regret it.

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My sweet Eli woke up yesterday morning with what seems to be a cold. I hate seeing the boys sick, they always just look so miserable! Hoping it won’t get too bad and that we all don’t end up getting sick. I was happy to make us all some homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner yesterday evening to hopefully squash this bug! Eli especially enjoyed it.

eli_sick_2015

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Yesterday was the anniversary of Levi’s baptism. We always celebrate the occasion by lighting their baptismal candle. His brothers sang, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, being it’s his favorite song…it was so sweet. We then look at their baptism photo book and usually have a small religious gift. This year we got him a wooden plaque (from Portrait of Saints) of his favorite saint, St. Nicholas, to hang in his room. We bought a St. Patrick one for Noah last year. We love these. They’re beautiful and the perfect size and come with a beautiful prayer card.

levi_baptism_anniversary_2015

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Seems like we’re always planning a party around here :) Party planning has commenced for Eli’s 5th birthday and by party I just mean low-key fun. We don’t typically have a party for Eli as his birthday is in February and someone is usually always sick and even if we aren’t I like to pretend that I can control all viruses and germs from coming in contact with my children by avoiding most social interactions. But then every year I feel guilty that I don’t decorate up a dessert table like I do his brothers. I mean don’t get me wrong, he has plenty of birthday. He gets a big birthday dinner at his favorite Chinese restaurant and then he gets to go to a Monster Truck show because it always seems to be in town right around his birthday. So this year, I’m going to have a dessert table even though there really isn’t a party persay, but he’ll love it and it’s going to be motocross style because that’s what he’s loving right now. And I do love planning a party (as long as it’s not for me).

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So this year, I’m really working on being FOCUSED and JOY-FILLED. Focused meaning really prioritizing our lives, simplifying, getting rid of the clutter. I want to live simply so we can focus on what’s important. Being joy-filled! It’s easy to let the monotony of our daily lives make us not full of joy, especially when there is major sleep deprivation going on.  We want to portray to others the joys of our Catholic faith, therefore we have to live it. Nothing sounds appealing about being open to life if all people hear and see are complaints, utter chaos and a mess. It’s so easy to go on and on about being tired and not having any time for anything and yes I’ll still complain about it because it is the reality, but in the midst of all of that is so much more joy and happiness. Like a 100 times over! And it’s always much easier to complain than to praise. So I’m going to work on the joy and praise, but trust me there will still be complaints because that is life.

Here’s just a little snippet of joy, one of the many I get to encounter in my day where I’m blessed to stay home with my 4 boys.

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March for Life is this week! For the first time ever our parish was able to send 2 young people to this life changing event. The March for Life is held every year on or near the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, in Washington D.C. Pro-lifers gather to peacefully protest legal abortion in America. Hundreds of thousands of Americans come to the March for Life to be a voice for the unborn! It’s truly a beautiful witness for the protection of life from conception to natural death. 

March for Life in Washington

Unfortunately, you won’t see much of this covered in the secular media because they’re more about fostering a culture of death. A blogger I follow wrote a great piece on this topic. She’s absolutely right on the fact that this topic is about changing hearts. Truly no one wants to choose abortion, but many times women feel like it’s their only option; they’re alone and frightened in many circumstances. But it’s also about changing the morality of our society in general so that women aren’t placed in these awful situations – to know the beauty in chastity and building strong, traditional marriages. Our culture would be the better with more of this.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Recap 2014

I know this a bit overdue, but such is life with 4 little ones that like to keep me preoccupied :) We had a wonderful Christmas. I enjoyed seeing all the boys really get into the spirit of celebrating Jesus’ birthday. They’re still singing Christmas carols throughout the house and I love it!

We did Christmas with my family on Christmas Eve since my sister had to work on Christmas Day. We opened gifts!

christmas_gifts_2014

christmas_gifts2_2014

Michael made us a delicious prime rib dinner. He’s become quite the chef (or maybe he’s just trying to survive because he was tired of eating tacos and spaghetti – in my defense, I’m still in survival mode, having the baby and all). No complaints here though, I’m enjoying being married to a Bobby Flay!

christmas_dinner_2014

Then we headed to evening Mass. The boys are always in awe of all the lights, trees, poinsettias and of course the large Nativity. They sang their little hearts out, so excited to hear the songs they had been practicing being sung at Mass.

christmas_mass_2014

After Mass, we drove around the neighborhood taking in all the lights and we came across this awesome Nativity on display at one of the houses.

neigbor_nativity_2014

It was much more impressive in person.

Much to our surprise the boys slept in on Christmas morning. Noah was the first to wake up, but he patiently waited for his brothers to wake up before getting into the presents and stockings. The boys were excited to see baby Jesus waiting for them in the manger. Eli especially enjoyed finding the other baby Jesus’s to place in our Nativities.

christmas_morning_2014

We kept gifts for the boys simple. Noah’s favorite gift was an atlas book set. He loves learning about diferent countries and seeing their flags. Eli loved his book on the human body that came with a dimensional skeletal body and pirate flag. Levi was excited to open a pirate ship. And Isaac, poor Isaac, had no gift under the tree. Luckily he won’t remember :) In my defense, the gift I did order didn’t work out and I didn’t realize it until Christmas Eve.

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Isaac’s First Christmas

 

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We concluded Christmas a couple days later in Wichita to celebrate with Michael’s family. We were dreading the drive to and from, but the boys all did really well. Isaac usually screams in the car, but he slept most of the way. Of course there were the never ending questions and the, “How much longer?”and “Are we there yet?” literally every 30 seconds. We finally gave Noah my iPhone so he could follow the navigation so he could see exactly where we were going and how many miles and minutes we were from our destination. Moments like those, I love technology! We had a great time with family!

Road Tripping

Road Tripping

wichita_christmas_2014

Isaac is 6 Months Old

I don’t know how 6 months went by so fast (I clearly remember the first few months were moving pretty slow because he never slept and still doesn’t!!!), yet today Isaac is 6 months old and it just doesn’t seem possible that just 6 months ago I brought this sweet baby boy home!

I love this age! I love that they can sit up on their own and you don’t have to worry about them crawling and getting into everything. Spitting up happens a lot less! And their personalities are really starting to shine. Usually, they’re sleeping better, although Isaac isn’t really interested, apparently sleeping is overrated…sigh.

He loves watching his wild brothers and laughs hysterically at all their antics. He’s really just a happy baby, you’ll almost always find him smiling and laughing. He enjoys listening to his brothers sing and play instruments and will even dance a little.

isaac_6_mth_collage

Milestones:

  • Weight: 17.5 lbs
  • Height: 26.5″
  • Sleeping on his tummy since he’s able to roll both ways on his own.
  • Sitting up.
  • Grabbing anything and everything and placing it in his mouth.
  • Sitting in the tub; no more baby tub :( and he loves it!
  • Loving baby food.
  • This baby boy loves anything with tags…he’s obsessed! He’s also a little cat-like; he loves clawing at anything. When I hear a scratching/clawing sound, I’m always like what is that?!? Oh yea, it’s Isaac!
Happy 6 Months, Isaac!

Happy 6 Months, Isaac!

As Eli has said, “He’s the sweetest baby in the entire world!” That he is :) We love you, Isaac!

Homemade Gak

The boys love playing with play-doh, play foam and kinetic sand. But I’ll be honest, I hate when they play with this stuff. They all claim to be mess free, but apparently they haven’t tested it with three boys ranging from 3 to 6 years old because all of the above make a huge mess.

So when I saw this blog post by Andrea Dekker on homemade gak, I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure if it really would be easy to make and actually be mess free. I made one batch on my own just to make sure it would work and it did! So I brought the boys in to make the second batch (homeschooling science experiment…check). They enjoyed the process of making it and loved playing it with even more. They literally spent all day playing with it the first day and have continued playing with it daily. It really is mess free, which I love.

Playing with gak

Playing with gak

I asked the boys what their favorite item to play with compared to play-doh and sand and they exclaimed, “GAK!” Sounds like a winner! Make some today!

Homemade Gak Recipe (Courtesy of andreadekker.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • one 7oz. or 8oz. bottle Elmer’s glue
  • 7oz. or 8oz. water (I usually just fill up the empty glue bottle with water)
  • 1 teasp. Borax powder
  • additional 1/2 c. warm water
  • spoons and small bowls for mixing
  • food coloring (optional)
  • storage containers (or zip top bags) to store the finished gak

DIRECTIONS:

  • Dump all of the glue into a small bowl or dish
  • Fill glue bottle with water, shake, and pour water into glue
  • Add food coloring if desired and stir until well combined
  • In a separate small dish or cup, mix 1 teasp. Borax powder with 1/2 cup warm water. Stir until dissolved.
  • Pour Borax/water solution into glue solution and mix (it will immediately start clumping together and getting thick)
  • Keep stirring (or kneading with your hands) until all the liquid is absorbed and the gak is one large lump.
  • Store in an air-tight container or zip-top bag