Easter is Awesome {2017 Version}

He is Risen!

 

 

Another Easter is in the books.  We pulled into the driveway tonight and Lucy sighs and says, “Well this was a great Easter day!” Yes, yes it was!

Not really the most important point of the day, but I did get the Easter outfits finished in time {whew}, so I thought I’d share! I cannot take any credit for the dress idea, it came from HERE. I wish I could do sewing like this more than once a year, I do enjoy making them stuff!

I got Mr. Gabriel to wear this tie by using the ‘mom guilt’. It goes something like this: ‘This Mom really wants a NICE pic of her 4 kids at Easter in the outfits she worked SO HARD to make them. So you WILL wear this tie to church. Mmmkk?’ This works on him, so I believe I still have a soft spot in his heart.

His tie was made from a tutorial I found HERE that I modified quite a bit. Shirt and pants: Children’s Place.  Shoes: Target.  Handsome devilish grin: his father. 😉

Lucy’s dress was the first I made of the group and turned out probably the best of the 3 dresses.  She’s a size 6 now and tall, so I’m learning I have to make things longer for her and actually didn’t get the skirt as long as I wanted, but I think it still looked nice. There were two new-to-me elements in these dresses: french seams and pleats, yeah I’m a novice. Shoes: Walmart (they are way too big so she stuffed a sock in the toes–shhh). Glasses: Rayban (what else?!) 😉

Pleats, pleats, pleats!!

Did a smile ever look so forced? What a clown. Amelia got to pick out the colors for the dresses this time around and she was REALLY looking forward to wearing her Easter dress.  Her shoes are hand me down from Lucy, and the brand name is wore off :-\ Her bracelet is a souvenir gift from California 😉

And the munchkin.  The first version of the dress I made her I could not even get over her head! Grrr. Back to the drawing board. I ended up basically making her an elasticized skirt that looked similar to the big girls’ pleated dresses and a little sash too.  Worked much better as I could just slide it up over her onesie. I cannot believe how darn cute she is!!! And everything else she’s wearing is hand me downs haha!

I found this site to be quite precious!

This is my new FAVORITE PICTURE OF ALL TIME.

And these are the bunny baskets made by my very talented Dad! I literally showed him a pic of something similar 2 weeks ago and these were 100% done on Thursday! Are they not just the cutest thing ever?! He’s taking orders for next year!!! (And I’m totally serious on that one!) My plan is to get their names on each one using vinyl and a Cricut or something by next year, but for now I just used some yarn and a piece of paper.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

 

Friday Five: 3/10/17

 

20170309_192547.jpg1) We’ve approached some weird realm of infanthood titled ‘sleep regression’.  Regressing in anything isn’t a good thing, but regressing in sleep SUCKS. Ruth has slept through the night since about 6 weeks and now is waking 1 or sometimes TWO times a night. I know, feel bitterly sorry for me. It’s just that I was getting quite used sleeping! You know, like actually sleeping ALL NIGHT. But would ya look at that face?! There’s a reason God makes babies so dang cute. As you can see, she continues to thoroughly enjoy any and all foods that she can get into her mouth and mash up with her 2 half-teeth poking through. There are no ‘bad days’ when you have a Ruth 🙂

 

2) Our Friday Lent food this year has been OFF THE CHAIN. Last week we had tuna pizza. I know, it sounds weird, but it was delicious! GF crust, some cream cheese, tuna, celery, onions, cheese, herbs and spices and it was devoured. Even J, who is a self-proclaimed non-seafood-eater, loved this. We will make this again. Tonight we had meatless southwest twice baked stuffed sweet potato. The longer the name, the better the food, right? It was SO GOOD. The kicker was the cracked egg in the middle *psych*

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3) Every year, around this time, I get somewhat obsessed with the Easter Dress. The unnecessary stress of crafting a dress(es) is completely brought on by yours truly. It’s a real deal around here. For heaven’s sake, we now have THREE girls in a row, how can I give up this opportunity for MATCHING DRESSES?! (G gets a matching tie that he couldn’t care less about! HA!) I can’t count the amount of eye rolls I get from J for the amount of time I spend Pinterest-ing, browsing fabrics, and fussing over making the Easter Dress.  It’s quite an ordeal. As if I need another project to occupy myself with (besides the others that are started and *cough* not finished).  Last year there was no matching Easter Dress because I was tired and pregnant. But this year the Easter Dress will return. So the other day Amelia and I picked out the fabric for the Easter Dress. Surprise, surprise, it’s blue. Amelia knows no other color. Lucy obliged to blue, but wanted to pick out the pattern/style of the dress, but then was demoted when she repeatedly picked some pageant style frilly thing with 18 layers and 119 steps. Ugh, I don’t really have time to sew in the first place, yet alone sew something with 18 layers. Silly child. Stay tuned to see if I actually get the dresses done by Easter morning. If I do they sure will be cute!

Image result for the shack

4) On the book front–what is up with The Shack?! I cannot get through this book. I’ve heard all these mixed reviews, and I cannot bring myself to read past chapter 5. The whole story so far is kind of disturbing; you know the whole idea of a little girl being abducted is not quite my bag. I know how the story ends, but I’m just so unmotivated to finish it.  I’ve renewed the book no less than 4 times and still haven’t gotten through it. I’m not sure I’ll ever see the movie. I’m not even sure I’ll ever get to chapter 6.

5) My bro-in-law/seminarian Cameron made a BLOG! If you’d like to follow his journey through seminary, you can find his blog here.  He’s currently sitting at our dining room table talking about how the egg in his sweet potato is a ‘grace egg’. He’s deep and very thought provoking. He’s going to be an AWESOME priest!!!!!

 

How We Do: Lent {this year}

Most years Lent goes something like this:

We’re sitting in the pew wrangling our kids at Mass at their bedtime on Ash Wednesday and it dawns on me that I have given very little thought to Lent, except for what I hear in church weekly. {Side note–church at 7pm on a weeknight is very very very difficult with young children, but we try. That’s another whole blog post for a later date} Then I feel really bad about that whole idea of no-thought-giving, as Lent is a very important and reflective season. I quickly decide that I’ll ‘give up’ something popular for the next 40 days, usually chocolate, dessert, or something like Facebook. (I once decided we wouldn’t eat out or buy food anywhere other than the grocery store for Lent–that was….interesting.) We leave church and I feel a little better about things and we continue on through Lent.

I wanted to do better this year. I wanted to actually go through Lent and be reflective on the actual meaning. I wanted to think a little ahead. I wanted to do something that made a difference and that showed others God’s love. I didn’t want to ‘give up’ chocolate, because, well….there’s gotta be something else I can do!! I follow some awesome Catholic mommy bloggers (my idols, if we must be real), and they do an amazing job with preparing during Lent and getting their families involved in the season. Inspiration….

So last Sunday we talked as a family what we wanted to do for Lent. We thought it would be good to get the kids involved. We first had to decipher between ADVent and Lent. Similar sounds, I see now. G thought we should pray before AND after dinner. Good thought. I like where you’re going with this. L thought we should read out of the Bible every day. She suggested one of the kid’s Bibles. Wow! They actually listen sometimes! A thought we should stop talking and go home and eat hot dogs. Well…… J thought we should pray a decade of the rosary every day and completely give up television. A good idea, but I don’t see it happening…because…well…4 children…..and family movie night! I thought we should, um, give up chocolate?! JK

So we decided to ‘do good’ for Lent. I found this awesome chart of ideas  and we’re going to try to cross of at least 4-5+ each week. Ok, I’ll be happy if we get 2 or 3 a week, realistically. They range from not complaining to watching a religious movie as a family to visiting a shut-in to praying for different people.   I feel like the kids ‘get’ this and will happily take an active role in most of these things. We’ll see how it goes. I’m kind of excited to ‘make hot cross buns’. 😉

40 Lenten Activities for Catholic Families and Kids {Free Printable Available in Both Color and Black and White!}

We’re going to continue to do a decade of the Rosary on Friday nights. This is a tradition we started with the kids about 18 months ago that has stuck. I wrote once about that here and it’s been a great thing.

I personally am not going to ‘scroll Facebook’ during Lent. This is such a huge time suck and I find that it sometimes just brings. me. down. I always tell my patients at work that they shouldn’t compare. Don’t need that during Lent…or ever, really! I am still going to use it for certain things, such as this blog and events that are coordinated through Facebook, but I’m hoping that’s it.

We’re going to not eat meat on Fridays. Well, we’re Catholic, and Jesus ate fish, and he died on the cross for us, so we’re going to eat fish, and that’s an easy thing for kids to understand!

Jeremiah has declared he’s going to do more spiritual reading. It’s actually something he really enjoys, but doesn’t always make time for. He’s currently working his way through The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. I know, sounds super exciting, but he likes it. He’s also committed to taking a 6 1/2 min shower in the morning. Seem odd? Well, he’s known around here to take 20-30+ min showers. He actually set a timer for himself in the shower this morning and got to school a whole 30 mins earlier than usual. He declared today to me, via text, that a shorter shower was ‘life changing’ in that he had ‘so much more time’. Seriously. I don’t make this stuff up…..

So that’s how we are doing Lent this year. Hopefully we hold ourselves accountable. And I’ll still be eating chocolate, just not on Fridays. 😉

My favorite time of the week

Who doesn’t love Fridays? Friday night is probably my favorite times of the whole week. Our Friday nights have definitely changed, even from a year ago!

Awhile ago I read a blog by one of my favorite bloggers, Catholic All Year, about creating and building your own unique family culture.  That, combined with starting a ‘Pray for Cameron’ group on facebook to support Uncle C in his seminarian quest, and we decided months ago to start praying a weekly family rosary.  Friday is the day.  The kids were all ‘What’s a rosary?’, ‘Can we just watch the movie instead?’, ‘What are all these beads for?’

But guess what? 6, 4, and 2 year olds have a very hard time sitting through an entire rosary. So we decided to modify it and just try a decade a week.

IT WORKED!!!!

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The kids actually *look forward* to rosary time on Fridays! We eat dinner, clear the table, and then sit down together for the rosary.  The decade takes about 10 minutes, and everyone actually follows along pretty well, especially G and L, which makes my heart happy.  🙂 J has an app on his phone that leads us through it too, which the kids like.  This has been a great way to help our kids learn different prayers, and a habit of family prayer, something we had struggled to get started for some time.

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J, S, G, L, A

Each person has their own rosary, many of which were gifts and the one on the left (J’s) is handmade! Amelia even has her own!!

After this we always have family movie night on Friday nights. The kids somehow always snuggle up on the big couch togther, and J and I are stuck on the loveseat.  Tonight we are watching ‘Daddy Day Care’. I try to pick something that isn’t terribly boring for J and I and appropriate for kiddos. Sometimes….that’s a challenge!

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Movie time!

If you are Catholic, or even if you’re not, setting a regular time to pray the rosary with your kids is amazing!  I highly recommend it.  It has really worked for us.

Back to the movie and ice cream now…. 🙂

-The Costellos

 

That PLACE

Conception Seminary College a school of 1000 acres located in Conception Junction, Missouri. I had never been to a seminary before, until this last weekend. Uncle Cameron (Jeremiah’s bother) is in his first year of seminary there, and we ventured the 4 hours there for 2015 Family Weekend.  IT WAS AMAZING. The place, the people, the SPIRIT in that place.  There is nothing quite like it. I can see why Cameron loves calling this place home.

I’ll let some pictures do the talking.

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There were so many fun family activities throughout the weekend, but the best part was just BEING there. We got to meet and talk to other families, most of whom have sons in the seminary, who were such an encouragement to us as Catholics and Catholic parents.  Jeremiah and I both left the weekend with a new passion and love for our faith, and our family.

As for the fun stuff, Cameron gave us tours of his school and dorm room, we got to do several tours of the grounds and buildings, including the beautiful historic Basilica, a hayrack ride, banquet, several meals, watching a soccer game, hiking out to a secluded grotto, Mass, partaking in the monks’ daily prayers, and enjoying God’s beauty in the rolling hills of Missouri!

Coolest library ever--it had 3 floors with color coded staircases. G compared it to the Ghostbusters library.

Coolest library ever–it had 3 floors with color coded staircases. G compared it to the Ghostbusters library. Cameron’s favorite place to study

Gabriel standing just under the St Gabriel statue

Gabriel standing just under the St Gabriel statue….

....And next to the St Gabriel Guesthouse. G loved all this

….And next to the St Gabriel Guesthouse. G loved all this

Hiking to the grotto

Hiking a few miles to the grotto

Our Lady of Grace Grotto

Our Lady of Grace Grotto

Grotto---kids found hedge apples and Amelia sliced her head open on a bench..woof.

Grotto—kids found hedge apples and Amelia sliced her head open on a bench..woof.

Gabriel overlooks Lake Placid in the early morning

Gabriel overlooks Lake Placid in the early morning

Holy Cross Oratory. Seminarians have daily prayer several times per day here

Holy Cross Oratory. Seminarians have daily prayer several times per day here. It’s on the 4th floor and overlooks the grounds, seats a few hundred

Walking more trails after Mass

Walking more trails after Mass

And the real reason for the weekend: seeing Uncle Cam in his natural habitat 😉

:)

Our Seminarian, Cameron

And the mustachios....

And the mustachios….

We had a fantastic time at the Seminary. I learned so much. The entire school is run by 50 Benedictine monks, whose primary purpose in life is prayer.  They don’t own many worldly goods, stop everyday to pray 5 times, have daily Mass, and eat 2 out of their 3 meals per day in silence. They live in a Monastery attached to the Basilica that is off-limits to anyone but them. They are super-prayer-warriors.  Fascinating.  We hope to return to this PLACE in the future.

-The {proud of Uncle Cam} Costellos

A visit from the Pope

So Pope Francis visited our church today. It was kind of a big deal. Everyone was running around trying to get a picture with him. I even got a high-five 😉

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HAHA! Turns out it was a cardboard cutout! #papafrankie

We also had our backpack blessing today for all students/teachers/catechists. The kids wanted J to take his backpack as well, so he obliged.   I will be co-teaching the 3 year olds again this year and G and L will be in their respective classes. J and Amelia will just hang, for this year 😉  I got to wear a new dress that I was super excited about! Check out modestpop.com for an awesome selection of dresses, skirts and shirts that anyone can wear comfortably.  I really like this dress since I can hold/carry/tend to kids without worrying that my shirt is being pulled to my waist by a toddler!  What I wore Sunday:

What I wore Sunday: my new favorite dress! Thanks modest pop!

What I wore Sunday: my new favorite dress! Thanks modest pop!

Well now that you are reading I’ll tell you about some other stuff.  I didn’t get to post last Sunday because we were in northeast Iowa celebrating my Grandma’s 84th birthday! Isn’t that fantastic!? We all surprised her and had a wonderful afternoon together.

Happy birthday Grandma!

Happy birthday Grandma!

Jamberry's!

Jamberry’s at the birthday!

This past week marked our last full week of summer.  The kids and I had one more weekday playdate and ran some errands. J’s school had a back-to-school social at one of our favorite restaurants on Friday. G and L were off having some grandparents time and attending a movie in the park, so we got to attend with just Amelia in tow.  It is AMAZING how kids are different when you have them just one on one.  Amelia was a delight.  She charmed all J’s coworkers, gave high 5’s to anyone who wanted them, ate very neatly (unusual), was very agreeable, willingly shopped with us, and sat very politely as she inhaled her ice cream cone.  It was a treat, for her and us alike.

Gabriel starts school this week, and Lucy on Monday next week. This summer has really flown by! It’s been a great summer, with lots of fun, and a lot of progress made on the house and yes, the “Guest House”.

Walls up! Now for the deck, slide, roof....

Walls up! Now for the deck, slide, roof….

While we were working on it yesterday the kids had a lemonade stand. With the help of the neighbor kids, I believe their profit was $7.50, to split 4 ways (Amelia only drank lemonade and did not sell any!)   🙂 I believe the entrepreneurial spirit has been kindled!

Lemonade for sale!

Lemonade for sale!

I also spent a chunk of time yesterday prepping some school-morning breakfasts that are going to change my life, I’m convinced! Breakfasts are really a weak point in our house, and more than once my kids have eaten a bag of dry cereal or an apple on our way to a destination. Jeremiah will often opt for cookies if the pickings are slim…I digress.  I made and froze a bunch of the following:

Homemade chewy, chunky granola bars

Egg breakfast scramblers

Healthy banana chocolate chip muffins

I also snagged a couple boxes of whole grain waffles at Aldi for something like $1.50 apiece! Hopefully we are set as far as breakfasts go for awhile, and no one will have to eat dry cereal!  I plan on doing a freezer meal post once again soon as fall rolls around, as it has been awhile!

Have a great week!

-The {pictures with the Pope} Costellos

 

 

 

 

Why Bother?

As a parent of 3 young children, there are some things we do that I sometimes wonder to myself ‘why bother?’.  Hear me out;

This morning we woke up earlier than anticipated (ahem, Amelia) and figured we could go to early church (before Sunday school) instead of late church (which is after Sunday school).  We no more than get into our pew this morning (on time, for once), and the shenanigans begin. Amelia dumps cheerios everywhere.  Lucy proceeds to unpack the diaper bag looking for some elusive item she believes to be in there. Lucy and Gabriel fight over a book. Amelia and Gabriel fight over a book. Amelia yelps for the umpteenth time. Amelia proceeds to follow in Lucy’s footsteps and tries to not so gingerly unpack the diaper bag and finds a ball-like lip gloss that she plays with. Until it rolls away in front of the pews in front of us. Amelia yelps some more. Books and sippy cups get shoved under pews into other peoples legs.  Sippy cup leaks on the floor. More fighting between I don’t even know who. More dropping of cheerios. More crunching of cheerios under my feet, more destroying of the diaper bag. More time of me tending to my children and less time of me paying attention or actually participating in Mass. Lucy goes up a few rows and sits with an adoring cousin for awhile and it helps. 2 is a lot less than 3 some days, it seems.  All of a sudden it’s Communion time and I realize I have sung 1/2 of one song and have no idea what the Gospel or any of the readings entailed. We go up front for the Sacrament and return.  By the end of Mass, J and I look at each other and just shake our heads. Some times are better than others. Some Sundays our kids behave great, other days are more like today. We stopped taking loads of toys to church because they ended up being more of a hassle than it was worth.  So why bother?

Turns out, J and I have very similar beliefs on church. Go figure. We both feel very strongly that our children need to be present weekly IN church.  All of our children attended their first Mass before 2 weeks of age, which was also their Baptism.  They may not understand or know all of what is going on, but if they are not there, how are they going to learn? We are ok with them reading or looking at a book quietly during Mass since they are so young. Gabriel is getting to the age that he can participate in more of what is going on and we are trying to encourage him to do so.

We bother, because for us, it’s what we do and how we live. It’s how we build our life, base their upbringings. Its how we learn morals, values, and church practices and teachings. It’s important that our kids are there with us.  And it’s extra rewarding when we see the fruits of our labors thriving. Today one of Gabriel’s Sunday school teachers informed us that he was one of the few who could recite the Lord’s Prayer during their class. Lucy was the only one in the 3 year old class, which I help to co-teach.  I love hearing the kids’ questions about readings and God, sometimes quite humorous.  Today Gabriel specifically requested that he could have ‘The Kids Bible’ for his looking book during quiet time. And last night when G and I were out on a date, he didn’t blink an eye when I told him we were going to pray before eating our pizza, and he said the whole prayer. To us, it’s very important they are there with us.

Next time you see a family with young children attending church or any other social event, for that matter, be thankful they are there. They care enough to take their kids to a somewhat uncomfortable and possibly very embarrasing situation, in hopes that they are raising their kids in a better way, in a way that will hopefully produce positive influences on society and moral citizens.  And please, keep smiling at them, because that helps a little too. 🙂