Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Constant Inconvenience

This Sunday I sat alongside Johnny in mass as he held baby Francis in his lap. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Francis flail and yell and spit up on the back of Johnny's hand and I watched Johnny bounce him and whisper in his ear and try to keep his eyes on the altar all at the same time like a veteran parent. No complaining, no wincing, no muffled objections. He held the baby, and he sat.

He's six.

I realized then like I have a hundred times how lucky my kids are to have so many siblings. I know I have said this before but it's too impossible to ignore when you absorb so many moments of total inconvenience met with total generosity. Of course my kids get annoyed at each other, of course. They fight, and hit, and pull hair, and yell, and spit. All of it.

But they also can have a conversation while a grubby baby hand is yanking their hair, and they can give with kid a saggy diaper a piggy back ride, and they can be interrupted, and drooled on, with a leaky bottle spilled on their comforter, and a shoe gone missing, and a crying baby in the middle of a movie.

I know you've heard all the common objections to a large family. We all have. How can you make time for them all? Won't they miss out on so much? Won't they got lost in the shuffle? Won't they be desperate for their own space?

I've given answers to those questions a thousand times in my head, but the only one worth hearing is this: they will know how to love, they will know how to love, they will know how to love.

They'll learn it in the chaos, and in the interruptions, and the inconveniences. They will learn it in the spit up, and the tears, and in helping little ones get into pajamas. They will learn in the waiting to be served, and needing to serve, and in all of it.

What amazes me is how beautifully they already live this way. It's not perfect but it's pretty damn good considering I'm still on the verge of tearing my hair out at any given moment. Their world is built-in sacrifice, whether they like it or not. They are born into sharing. They are born into disruption. And, trust me, they are better for it. They are the lucky ones.

If you ever find yourself in a moment of self-doubt because your kid's shower runs cold since the littles bathed too long, or because they missed out on the last of the milk, or because a baby spit up in their lap, remember how good every bit of it is. And how beautiful they are becoming in the middle of the mess.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shoes 4 J: 2 dream the impossible dream

I realize not everybody has a Johnny, but I do... and I am desperate to figure out how to keep this kid shoed.

He trashes everything.

So, I am polling the masses. What brands are the best for this kind of kid?

I go back and forth between super cheap shoes that I can just buy many times a year or pricer shoes that I only have to buy once or twice. But, please if you will, peep J's current sitaution.

He is wearing these Cat & Jack sneaks for school right now but only because the office called as I was on my way to Target last week to let me know that the sole of one of shoes tore completely off. Those shoes happened to be his mass shoes which he was wearing because his other school shoes were wet or something weird typical. See below.


The sole-less shoes were Zara which I got for cheap last summer. As for dress shoes, these Land's End boots have been the only boy shoe hand-downable in this family, but I haven't had the same luck with the brand's regular sneaks. The boots are quality and worth the $$ if you're in the same spot as I am but I digress...

I thought a nice little photo pictorial would do you good.

Johnny's play shoes


Johnny's sneakers


Johnny's 3 month old school shoes


These slip-ons that lasted him from September to December


So, what's the verdict? Am I just being too optimistic? Should shoes only last a kid a few months? Converse seem to be the brand that wears the longest, provided they aren't caked in mud. (I realize that's asking alot -__-) But maybe there is a secret you know that I don't and if that be so... lay it on me.

Signed,
All Shoed Out/This Kid/Womp Womp


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Currently

Currently...

-Trying not to neglect my entire life reading through Lilac Girls. I just finished today and it was great. I think I can use a little break from all things concentration camp, but I've learned a lot and the realities of women in the war are sobering. I highly recommend the trifecta All the Light We Cannot See > The Nightingale > Lilac Girls. All different perspectives from different wartime experiences, all really wonderful reads.

-Working on refining my daily schedule with game-changer advice from a friend. Advice as follows: don't schedule according to time, order according to task. For example, instead of trying to sit down to do some reading everyday at 10, plan on doing it after the baby goes down for a nap (knowing that time with likely vary a bit every day), or plan on folding the laundry after lunch, instead of whenever the timer dings or at 11:05, etc etc infinity. I don't know about you but this is so genius to me. I am not naturally a scheduler but I thrive on plans. But, life, plans, LOL. I think that just giving myself a game plan of tasks I want to accomplish in succession vs time will be really, really helpful.

-Speaking of tasks, Jenna pointed out my v v specific list on my laundry room chalkboard. You're welcome for allowing you into my refined world of utter perfection. I've been working towards assigning myself a special job of the day in the hope that as the weeks cycle through, I can at least give a little time to a lot of things. So... along with my laundry of the day, I mapped out a *thing* of the day. Here is a lil' reminder in case you forgot to get this tattooed on the back of your hands:


Allow me to translate. Monday's are for catching up on whatever, as we all know (why do I feel so much better just to write this down??) It's always dependent on whatever the weekend brings but if I know my goal is just to catch up in any way that's needed, I can saddle up with a bit more direction than I would if I don't plan for it. And by plan I just mean write it on my chalkboard. Hay!

Tuesday: Spend some time at the desk, pay bills, sort through mail, file something etc.
Wednesday: Organize something. Anything. A drawer, a cabinet, the unmatched sock pile, whatever.
Thursday: Garden in any way, shape, or form. Pull three weeds or uproot a tree, depending on my time and ambition.
Friday: Another something. This means just taking care of whatever random task I've been avoiding. Mailing a package, calling to make a doctors appt., responding to an email, cutting Pete's fingernails, buying dishwasher tabs... you know, all the super hard stuff.

Anyway, that's my list. Having parameters but lots of freedom helps me not pull the old "I don't have time I can't do annnnything (paralyzed, frozen, etc). Because I can always do a little bit, and even sometimes a lot.

-Being conscious of bringing outside beauty in. Mostly with big clusters of this earthy wild sage that grows on our hillside. I love it on our kitchen table. It makes the room smell like springtime and herbal tea. And cute, because Target vase. Speaking of Target, why is Target always killing it?


-Wanting to thrift some cute chairs for ^^^ table. We currently have an old rolling desk chair at it I can't handle the fug. Thinking something mismatch-y and cute like would be attainable for not too much $$

- Feeling defensive and kinda like a whiner. Last week a photo I posted on IG was deleted for, I assume, **inappropriate content**. After I ranted about it I felt a little silly, like I probably should have just let it go, but I also feel like HEY! Leave me alone.

Have you ever had a post deleted? It is creepy! Creepier than my kids bums, for sure.

- Wanting to kick Francis out of our room. He has started to be up so, so much and I think it's mostly because I am right there. My only hesitation is that I'm not ready to move Joe into the boy's room because he is such a good sleeper- still clocking 13 hour nights and 3 hour naps some days. I'm building my arsenal (sound machine + tequila) and searching for a random closet I can stick Francis in for now (just kidding! relax! not really).


- Kirby and I went to a local brewery on Saturday and started jonesing for summer traditions. Remembering that there is nothing better in the summertime than beers and taco trucks near the beach. Can't wait!!

See you soon xxoo

Friday, March 17, 2017

Quickie laundry room make-over

HOW'S THAT FOR A TITLE?

It is what it is, folks.

A few weeks ago I was hemming and hawing over our laundry room space and how to make it more functional. Remember? One day I even took an entire door off all by myself only to find out that you can't just flip doors around to swing the opposite direction. Who even knew??

Anyway, after one morning of spending hours researching shelving systems to fit our tiny space I realized we had an old IKEA shelving thingie we had used at the old house just sitting in our garage... and in an inspired 10 minutes or so, I got me a pretty functional laundry room sitch for free. I rifled through some old bins and baskets and badda bbbbbing. About $30 of IKEA later (two shelves for above the washer, a simple rug, and a few more baskets), I've got me the space of my v basic dreams. It's bright and airy and there is a place to put everything. Plus, cheap. Instead of laundry bins for each kid I keep two rotating baskets for whosever laundry day it is. That load gets folded and put in the basket > kids empty basket and replace > no laundry hanging out all over my house or the laundry room in weird piles. I also have a bin for outgrown clothes in need of storage or Goodwilling, a basket for dry clean stuff, and things that need to be stain treated/are too gross to put back in our drawers but I can't bring myself to toss them.

For the first time since we've lived here things are all tidy up in the laundry room. (Don't you love when things just come together??)

Taste *n see.













(no laundry room is complete without a salvaged bucket with the kid warning on it)

Since IKEA doesn't sell much online, I collected some links for your laundry room e-organization which you've all not asked me for. But, HEY, maybe a little sprucing up for springtime is in order (it feels good, ya'll). Some similar goods and must haves + things I would like...

Laundry soap / Similar runner / Smaller rug here

Cool shelves here... and here... and I kinda love you shelf here / Brackets tho (with these so prettay)

Storage (gah loving these!!) and here

Hamper / Cutie binsbasketscontainers, crates y mas

Dryer balls / Linen Spray / Clothespins / Chalkboard

And a gorgie little vase, for happiness.

Happy weekend, my beebs!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tiredness makes everything tired

I am sitting down to punch out this post because I am tired and it's honestly all I can think about (cry laughing emoji for real!!). It's nobody's fault except for mine (and DST). Last night I watched the clock turn 9:30 and I thought to myself- go to bed, and then my alarm buzzed on my phone at 9:55 saying go to bed for a full 8 hours of sleep and I gave it a glance and turned right back to Nick and Vanessa weeping into each other's arms in that Finnish great room. And then I watched approx 38 min of ATFR and now... tired. So tired!

Yesterday, as if he could see into my soul, the priest I see regularly for confession asked if I was happy. The question was oddly unrelated to my confession so I knew it was what I needed to be asked. I told him I wasn't, and I told him I felt like shit (got a laugh out of us both). Grumpy, snappy, impatient, spiritually lazy... you know. He suggested that maybe my Lenten mortification should be to get more rest, as backwards as that sounds. He said if this were a conversation between monks maybe the advice would be sleep less... push yourself further, mortify. "That may be the answer for the monastery," he said, "but it isn't for the housewife." 

The one in the middle of the world, with actual people depending on them, lovingly present and kind and all.

So, I say this to you- don't be like me! Don't get a bucket full of wisdom and go home and dump it out. Even if it is for the Bach (although I realize the challenge I was up against...) and maybe rethink your own version of sacrifice. I am realizing that it's maybe more sacrificial for me to peel myself off of the couch at 9:30 and go to bed when I know I should than it is to rise early. A good morning starts the night before, right? Right! 

I'm hoping to re-gung-ho myself this afternoon because this just will not do. Anybody feel me?

On a more glass half-full note, you know what IS making me happy? This.


Last week our wisteria bloomed and it's absolutely breathtaking, despite all my sniveling. I wish you could all smell it through the screen.

I have been trying to spend as much time as possible outside lately which is... not hard. More and more lately have I been finding myself totally overcome with gratitude for our home and it's insane natural beauty. At night with the window open, the smell of the flowers just pours into our room. I am finding new moments all the time to fall in love with this place.

Annnnnd I can't believe I wasted a post on being tired!! Lol. Gosh, what am I complaining about? OPEN WINDOW, SMELL FLOWERS, GO TO BED. Can someone come kick me in the ass?

Thanks for letting me hash out my trivial dilemmas, guys.

eyerolleyerolleyerolleyerolleyeroll

Monday, March 6, 2017

Formula formula plus a giveaway

THIS BABY.

Cute? Yes. Formula guzzling with no resistance? No.

And while he may be just, like, normal in that he doesn't like food you make by mixing powder and water together, we (read: I) could really use a solo night or two somewhere/anywhere and so BABY. TAKE A BABA.


(NO)

The local grocery store offerings have failed so I'm poking around in a new direction. Does anyone have suggestions? This site is helpful re: picking through options, as was this (although "make your own" is like eyeroll city for me) and this. But you all know you're my favorite polling place so... suggestions??

When Joe was a baby I did start off by buying black market German formula off of ebay but I don't think I am committed enough to go that route. We are just talking a bottle or two or thirty every now and again. Is that too much to ask, bb? (Fave mode btw)

Anyway, this is nothing more than a late Monday morning whine but I DO HAVE A GIVEAWAY! Would you like $50 to spend at Diapers.com? On everything and anything, formula or not? Me too.

Enter thusly!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Blah blah books

It's Fat Tuesday and I've got one simple make-a-dessert goal on my mind so I'll make this concise.

Topic: books

In general, I am not naturally a list maker but I try try try to be because it makes everything better and simpler. Still, my natural state of whimsy rebels because I crave spontaneity and while I can't have much of that by way of household life, I can have it by way of books. And while I love me a good book list, I tend to just flit from book to book depending on what inspires. Anyway, I am loving my current stack so I've gotta share.

In an effort to try to integrate a little practical/spiritual reading every day (even for just ten minutes), I've got some goodies to share. This morning I found the book Rosa, What's Your Secret? sitting on my microwave and I've honestly not been able to put it down today. Kirby brought it home last night (it was written by the sister of a friend of his) maybe expecting to just add it to the shelf but I AM GOBBLING. It was written in Spanish and translated into English, so you've def got to read it with that in mind. I find that the culture of Spain permeates her beautifully simple and direct advice on managing a large family. Filled with lightheartedness, practicality, and joy... all the things I am after in family life. I am so, so inspired! Already taking mental notes on how I want to incorporate Rosa's wisdom into our family's habits. I think you will be, too. Gah. It's good.

I am also reading through the homilies of St Josemaria in Friends of God. Each homily is so rich that I give myself a few days to get through them. I just finished reading the homily titled "Time is a Treasure" and I could probably use it as mandatory daily-basis reading for the rest if my life, it's so good. Just lookee here...

"There are no bad or inopportune days. All days are good, for serving God. Days become bad only when men spoil them with their lack of faith, their laziness and their indolence, which turns them away from working with God and for God. 'At all times I will bless the Lord.' Time is a treasure that melts away. It escapes from us, slipping through our fingers like water through the mountain rocks. Tomorrow will soon be another yesterday. Our lives are so very short. Yesterday has gone and today is passing by. But what a great deal can be done for the love of God in this short space of time!"

So.... O_O

Ok, ALSO, ALSO Love is Our Mission. I know it's basically so vintage being that it was a preparatory catechesis for the 2015 World Meeting of Families but dayummm it's so good. Constant, thoughtful lessons on what it is to be a family. Which, you know, applies. As evidenced below.




OKKK NOW NOVELS

I just finished reading The Nightingale which was totally riveting. I love how it echoed the timeline of All the Light We Cannot See and thanks to the both of them I am now thoroughly enamored with France + WW2. I just grabbed Lilac Girls from the library after a very refined 30 second Google search confirmed it might be right up my current wartime France alley.

But to give myself a little breather from all the crying I am flying through The Royal We which is totally fun and light and perfectly borderline too embarrassing to admit I am reading. There is no concentration camp or incomprehensible human suffering so it's a nice little vacay before I start LG.

Anyway, that's where I am at! Where are you at?? Any suggestions? Tell me it all!

[insert well-styled photo of my books that I don't have] BYE