Friday Five: 6/12/2020

 

  1. My food obsession with this pregnancy has morphed into how-easy-and-quick-can-I-make-a-meal-while-my-belly-aches type of dinners. Others have been picking up the slack, and Lucy is getting to be quite good in the kitchen! We’ve been doing alot of delicious salads too. Lucy made these fudge brownies with peanut butter frosting (GF), and this homemade alfredo sauce to go with penne, chicken and broccoli. She has yet to master how to remove calories from such items. 😉 I’ve also started to dangerously enjoy daily ice cream (rocky road or cookies and cream for some weird reason, since these are new favs).

  2. received_3142706519129968We (I, thanks to current hospital restrictions) got another look at baby last week as during the first ultrasound baby was not cooperating and a few things weren’t seen. We checked out good this time, with baby measuring right on, weighing at +/-  4lbs 11oz. I’m now 34 weeks and change. Also, to my great surprise, there was a vast amount of HAIR visible on the baby’s head. We shall see….. This heat is starting to do me in and my gait velocity has greatly slowed (read: I now move at a snail’s pace). The kids have been getting more and more vested in housework and cooking which is a HUGE help. I rarely do dishes, sweep, carry laundry or clean bathrooms anymore, but do a TON of reminding/ encouraging said jobs to be completed. A work in progress, for sure, but we’re finally getting somewhere.
  3. Since I’m destined to spend more time with my feet up these days (not complaining….too much), I have been sneaking in quite a bit of reading time and trying to ignore the fighting/outside screaming/fact that Kateri can now climb into the treehouse/how our water bill will be higher due to water balloons, squirt guns, dumping buckets on heads, slip’n’slides/how the neighbors probably think my kids are complete hooligans. Anyhoo, I finished Home Front by Kristin Hannah and it may be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! 10 stars, if that were a rating. It’s the story of a female helicopter pilot during Operation Iraqi Freedom and how she returns home to a much different life….and body. Don’t want to give any away but this touched my physical therapy heart as well. I literally cried throughout the whole second half and I’m not a crier. Read it. Ok, next. Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy. I read this on Lucy’s recommendation and it was fabulous. Some great lessons and take aways on the diversity of life and learning from others who cross our paths. Written as juvenile fiction but so many lessons to be learned for adults as well. 5 stars. No Ordinary Dog by Will Chesney was a fascinating nonfiction read about the dog who worked with the Navy SEALs team to find and kill Bin Laden. My dad also read this and liked it. Another 5 star book!!! American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins was fantastic, recommended by Aunt Mel. 5 stars for sure. This was the fictional story of a mother and son desperately trying to escape from Mexico to America from a specific drug cartel that murdered most of their family. This kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! Very well written.
  4. 20200612_104024We have *finally* started to be able to go more places and the kids are enjoying it. We’ve been to a few local parks, playgrounds, and today, a beach! We’ve been having more picnics which they love as well. It’s no doubt I get wore out so quickly and cannot handle much heat, but I’m trying!
  5. Just as I thought Ruth was turning a new leaf into a responsible 3 year old (HA!) she has amazed us with some new shenanigans. Her tricks as of late include leaving home, riding her scooter (barefoot) 4 blocks, crossing a highway, and letting herself into the school to proclaim to her father that she would really like it if he would fix her bike chain! Ummmm. Also she demonstrated a new level of climbing skills when she scaled a grain bin last weekend. She never ceases to amaze and terrify me, usually at the same time.

 

A different kind of Holy Week: Week 4

Monday April 6

The day starts with Kateri learning to climb out of her crib. This doesn’t make my day. Kateri proceeds to want to participate as usual in all school related activities (ie scribbling on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. and climbing all over the table on repeat) We do schoolwork and build with magnet tiles and read a lot and help G and L with figuring perimeter/area and play in forts and play with Legos. Legos are a gift from God, seriously. My kids play with them daily and always have. I foil wrapped some some freezer sandwiches for lunch and voila! Lunch lady hot ham n cheeses that the kids loved. They did say that the school’s were still the best….I’ve got nothing on Ms. Teresa! I washed up all of the snow pants and some of the winter coats and the girls rounded up allll the boots and I convinced Gabriel to climb up in the garage loft to help me pack them all away. I fell off a ladder once while pregnant and don’t care to repeat that experience. Lucy wanted to learn the line dance for ‘Feel it Still’ while Gabriel wanted to learn how to play it on the piano. We had pork loin from the crock pot along with broccoli, baked beans and some delicious cookies for dinner. My body is hurting in new ways daily which is becoming more of a struggle!

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Tuesday April 7

Tues/Thurs *usually* I’ve been letting the kids have a lighter ‘school day’ and we either go hike somewhere unpopulated or ride bikes on local trails before we do school work in the afternoon. My sanity appreciates it, as does my mood as long as I don’t overdo it. Today we ventured to Wapsi River Center which is about 10 mins from us. The actual nature centers are closed but the trails are open and lovely! We ran/walked trails, climbed hills, watched 5 deer cross our path, found an ‘enchanted forest’ (thank you Frozen II). The kids caught frogs at a pond that must have housed a million frogs and looked at frog eggs while I sat for a break on the trail. It was so WARM!! Lunch on the porch and afternoon school work outside while I lounged in the reclining chair in the warm sunshine and read a book *bliss*. We listened to ‘Wow in the World’ kids podcast on our way to/from grocery pickup, their favorite. J helped me make BBQ pizza with pulled pork for dinner which was nothing short of AMAZING. We ate again on the porch, one of my favorite things, Amelia added some daffodils for aesthetic pleasure 😉 The kids rode bikes off a homemade ramp and entertained the neighbors who were watching from their porches. Ruth joined in the fun and insisted on wearing cowgirl boots and gloves to do the ramp. She kills me. From the porch we watched a big thunderstorm roll in. Just as I was getting the girls into the tub, we heard what sounded like baseballs pummeling the west side of our house and roof. HOLY HAIL. I have never seen such huge hail! A few girls ran outside naked before we corralled them back in to collect some hail, but we did get a good pile for the freezer. The kids were completely jacked up about this. Absolutely incredible. Nature astounds and amazes me!!!

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Golf ball sized!!

Wednesday April 8

I woke up Wednesday with a million and one things to do. Today also marks 25 weeks of pregnancy and the fact that I can now feel every joint in my pelvis move and shift and hurt! Always a good time. The aftermath of the previous night’s golf ball sized hail storm was adding up to be a lot. G and L moved outside for their first class but realized it was a bit too loud with all of the tree mulching and cutting machines chomping away in the neighborhood. Our yard was covered in sticks, it looked like there wasn’t anything left on the trees, they were all in our yard! We went to our rental houses to survey the damage and there were huge holes all over the siding. Broken windows. Circle spots all over the roofs. I spent some time on the phone discussing damages. Yipes. Thank goodness for insurance! After lunch we raked allll the sticks out of the yard and had a little bonfire in the street that Gabriel started. There was a whole tree in the pile! It all of a sudden got really chilly and windy and we retreated inside. We made turkey kale pasta for dinner and I didn’t get a picture of anything else for the day. The kids loved the pasta. We were all pretty wiped from today and yesterday and sat down to watch The Little Mermaid before bed. Kateri could not keep her elbows out of my belly so I retreated upstairs for awhile. Seriously, it is painful. Sometimes, mama needs a time out and to sneak chocolate and look at her facebook stories in the quiet upstairs without elbows in her sore belly. Anyways. I was falling asleep reading before 9:30 so went off to bed!

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They actually really love their classes, despite their expressions here

Thursday April 9

I wasn’t feeling it Thursday. Not at all. I decided we weren’t going to attempt any school. Everyone could use a day off and it is Maundy Thursday. I asked the kids what they wanted to do today, to come up with one fun thing each. We ended up with the list including making homemade ice cream, riding bikes in town, playing Adventure Academy, and having a Wii Mario Kart tournament. Still seemed like a lot of work as I was feeling lazy, but I agreed. We cleaned the girl’s room so you could actually walk in it, and vacuumed the upstairs. I got some laundry done. We went for a walk/bike ride and I froze my hands. What the heck happened to the weather?! After lunch I put the little girls down for naps and the rest of us did reading and learning games for something like 3 hours. I know, way too much screen time, but whatevs. Everyone lived. I started a new book and read 50 pages and it was quite difficult to put it down! Once J got home I sent the kids up to do the Lego challenge and I did an online workout, which was long overdue. I thought the endorphins might help my mood, and it did somewhat. We watched a Mass of the Lord’s Supper on YouTube and then warmed up carnitas for dinner. We made them into tacos/taco salad type foods. Super yummy. We proceeded to do the family MarioKart tournament in the basement (which is unfinished but houses the Wii) which ended up to be a lot of us telling the girls to get off the exercise bikes, stay away from the furnace and for everyone to stop YELLING. We then made the homemade ice cream, which they rolled around on the basement floor in a round sugar container. Kateri screamed for most of the evening because she’s in that great toddler/I throw fits every 3 minutes/I want what I want NOW/I can scream really LOUD phase. The day seemed very l.o.n.g. and I was ready to park it on the couch with chocolate and new book, but that was a ways off. The ice cream never solidified, the kids went crazy and bedtime got too late. Woof. We’ll be doing some type of schoolwork tomorrow…..

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See that?? It’s bare floor!!

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Carnitas on a bed of greens it was SO GOOD

Friday April 10

Jeremiah had the day off and it was a good thing, because the insurance adjuster spent 2+ hours at our properties surveying hail storm damage. What an undertaking this is going to be! I tried to have the kids do some schoolwork, and they got a little bit done. We got chili going in the crock pot. G and L virtually attended their Rubiks cube club at 1pm. I wasn’t feeling too lively so I went and laid down for an hour and a half in the afternoon and read. The kids only came in 67 times but I did get a lot of reading done {WIN}. We watched the Good Friday Mass at 3pm then did a little egg hunt in the yard. Kids cleaned up the house because it looks like a bomb goes off daily in our living room, kitchen and dining room. Chili for dinner and watched ‘The Gospel of John’ on Amazon Prime which is Jesus’ life told from John’s point of view. The kids enjoyed it but it was 3 hours long so we only watched about half of it. I didn’t take any pictures all day. Thank goodness for sunshine today!

Saturday April 11

I did some food prep in the morning, played some lawn croquet and packed a lunch. We then headed to Cedar Valley Park for a blanket picnic and walking trails. I had made a hodge podge chicken salad that included the regular chicken, mayo, celery, but then added kale, pepitas, stone ground mustard, dill, seasoned salt and green onions. It turned out so good! I feel like I’m mastering shelf cooking where you just make something out of what you have on hand. We got rained on pretty hard so turned around on our hike, but got to see some quarries, new spring flowers and some wildlife on the river. We returned home with the kids all jazzed up to dye eggs, make Easter decor and a bunny cake. We/they did just that. The girls named the Easter Bunny cake ‘Lindsey’. Love it. My cake decorator tool that I’ve had for going on 7 years broke, but we pressed on! A construction company came and gave us our first estimates for damage. We had spaghetti for dinner and watched the Easter Vigil Mass. We normally don’t do the Vigil because it’s a long Mass (although beautiful!) but it gets too late for the kids when it usually starts at 8pm or after. However this year, we just put people to bed before or during.

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Catching raindrops

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Lindsey 😉

Sunday April 12

HAPPY EASTER!!! HE IS RISEN!! We spent the day playing in the yard, hunting eggs, Zoom calling family, eating chocolate, watching Mass, playing croquet and convincing the kids we could get one decent picture. The kids were so excited about Easter, it made it all worth it to put some effort in. We made scalloped potatoes and ham for dinner with our bunny cake and it was so, so good 🙂

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mmm bunny cake

I’m not sure if anyone is reading these weekly diary-type blogs, but they have become kind of therapeutic for me!

Seester Sunday: Chili, books and rest!

Melissa: 

Today was truly a Sunday Funday! I was busy with a few awesome activities today.

After mass, I attended our Basilica’s Knights of Columbus 10th Annual Chili Cook Off. I had a blast trying four out of the seven chilis. I would have tried more, but I was stuffed and did not want to be miserable for the rest of the day.

Today I wore one of my “winterized ensembles.” This full outfit is from Target. I started with a sundress, and then added a cami, cardigan, tights, and boots. I was careful with the color selections for each of my additions, as I did not want to over power the floral print with too much black, and I also did not want to look out of place and washed out with too much white.

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I really enjoy pulling colors out of prints to complete an outfit. I wore my favorite blue Silpada earrings that I wore last week. And this week I added my necklace with Saint Agnes (my confirmation patron saint) and Miraculous medals. 

After all of that chili eating, I was ready to relax with the pups. The only thing better than reading books is reading books while snuggling with dogs. It’s simply the best.

I finished my day with an evening shift working at Barnes and Noble. I made a few book recommendations tonight and splurged on some cheesecake during my break. 

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Hope you have a great week!

 

Sarah~

Well my Sunday was much less exciting than Mel’s, but still good!

We have been battling the plague for the entire past week 6 weeks at our house. Jeremiah was hit HARD on Mon/Tues and really didn’t emerge from the trenches until Friday evening. Gabriel was home from school for 3 days this week. By Sunday morning, Jeremiah still wasn’t feeling great, and offered to stay home with Kateri. I jumped on that idea, because ‘Me/4 kids in Mass alone’ sounds a lot better than ‘Me/5 kids in Mass alone’!

I quickly got myself ready while the older 4 got dressed and we were off. Ruth was naughty during church (what’s new?) but everyone else was fine and well behaved.  I shared with Jeremiah awhile ago that I know one of the specific reasons God gave me Ruth was to keep me HUMBLE. And that she does, very well, almost daily. After Mass, the kids ate doughnuts while I chatted with a friend, then we all went to our respective Sunday School classes. Gabriel’s class played Bible Jeopardy for part of their session, how fun! My 1st grade class talked about Baptism and Sacraments. 

My outfit was an oldie, but a goodie. My shirt was thrifted a long time ago and is super long. I like to tie it in a little knot to give it a little something and so it’s not shapeless. This shirt is so wonderful because I have worn it when I am trying to hide a post-baby pudgey belly, when I’m not pregnant, AND when I am pregnant, and I think it looks decent in all situations and is very forgiving–my favorite types of clothes!! My leggings are maternity from Old Navy and I basically live in them when they’re not in the washer. I wore tall boots and forgot to put earrings in. I did nothing with my hair other than a ponytail because that’s how I roll a lot of days and Kateri pulls on it all day anyways. 😉  This pic was taken right before bed, so yes, I look a *bit* tired and my glasses are on. haha!

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Photo cred to Ruth(?)

After that we all headed home on icy roads and had lunch. The rest of the day consisted of me getting 100 pages into a new book (“A Woman is No Man” by Etaf Rum–VERY GOOD), watching an episode of “Flip Wars” on Prime, helping Gabriel with a pile of makeup homework (–see couch), making all people take a nap (they all were quiet for 2 hours!!! WIN!), planning our week in my planner, keeping Kateri from climbing on me too much, doing laundry, watching the kids go crazy (anyone else’s people have cabin fever?!) and ordering dinner in from the bar/grille in town. A good, restful Sunday, but I am happy to see and feel the sun today!!

 

March Book Review

March was a 5 stars month! I was hoping to include 1 more book in this writeup, but I still have 60 pages left, so it’ll be my first book of April! Lots of good ones this month.

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

1. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. 5 stars. Seems like everyone is on the Dave Ramsey train these days, and I can see why! I’ve known of Dave Ramsey for quite some time, and I’ve read of his principles on his website. I’ve never listened to the radio show but Jeremiah is familiar with it. So, this is the first book of his that I’ve picked up! I started reading this book while waiting for G at swim practice and had it done 2 days later. I found the book to be kind of a ‘kick in the pants’ type of read that put things into perspective. It’s all about getting your ducks in a row with your money, making it go where you want it to go, and getting out of debt! I honestly wish I would have read this in high school, but that’s ancient history! 😉 It’s great advice and I would recommend it to anyone!

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis2. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. 5 stars. This was the sequel to the highly popular ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ from a few years back. I liked this book, but I liked the prequel even more!! This book was all about achieving your dreams, personal growth, being real with yourself, productivity….another kick in the pants type of book. There was a lot in here about how she runs her business, being real about how she handles 4 kids and a hugely successful business (spoiler: she has a LOT of help!) and her life in general. Between the 2 books by Hollis, I would highly recommend ‘Girl, Wash Your Face’ and moderately recommend ‘Girl, Stop Apologizing’. Women who own their own business may find this even more captivating.

The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad3. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad. 5 stars. This book was a nonfiction story of a Western woman who lives with a family in Afghanistan for several months. She chronicles their life during and after the Taliban rule. Absolutely FASCINATING. The main character owns a book shop, has 2 wives that are over 30 years apart, several children and extended family that all live under one very small roof. Afghanistan is a scary place, and not just due to the Taliban. The women must wear burkas and be completely covered in public, are rarely allowed to have any business outside of the home, let alone a job or career, and have little to no say in whom they are married to. Besides being terribly interesting, this book was educational and gave what I presume to be an accurate account of modern day Afghanistan.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards4. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. 5 stars. A book that caught my eye in the library, this one was great as well! A fictitious story of twins born to a mother who was expecting a singleton. The son is born ‘normal’ and the daughter has Down’s syndrome. The story takes place in the 1960’s so the mother is unconscious when the babies are born. The father ships the daughter off before the mother sees her and tells her that they had twins, but the daughter has passed away, when actually she grows up living a full and very fruitful life across the country with a loving family. The book tells of their parallel lives, all the way into adulthood when…… You’ll have to read the book 🙂  I loved the pro-life message with the Down’s syndrome child and watching the story unfold of their lives. This book is also educational about changes in modern times of the rights of people with disabilities and how people with Down’s can be very productive members of society. I loved it.

Up next month, some Catholic reads about Saint Kateri, some fiction that I can get lost in, and possibly finishing one of the 3 current books that I have going!

Happy reading in April!

February books 2019

I got 4 books in this month. Which isn’t bad, but for how many dang snow days we had, I feel like I should have read more, but having 5 kids in the house isn’t always conducive to reading constantly. Here’s my thoughts on reads from this month:

101 Things You Should Do Before Your Kids Leave Home by David Bordon

  1. 101 Thing you should do before your kids leave home by David Bordon. 4 stars.  This book seemed to be like one of those that you buy for a gift for a new parent or something, but I enjoyed it. It had 1 idea per page, and the author wrote about the task to do with your children, why he thinks it’s important, and a little bit of scripture/catechism to make it stick. I enjoyed reading the ideas and found it encouraging (?) that we have done some of the things on the list to make memories with our kids already. Maybe our kids will turn out ok after all! 😉 The ideas range from make a blanket fort to have a snow cone stand to ride in a hot air balloon to plant a family tree.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

2. Bear Town by Fredrik Backman. 4 stars.  I thoroughly enjoyed one of Backman’s other books A Man Called Ove and thought Bear Town may be comparable. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect but this book did not go where I thought it might. I thought it would be about a Mighty Ducks-type story where the underdog wins the hockey championship, but quickly I could see the writing on the wall that the R-word was going to be involved. And I’m not talking about R-ings or R-oses.I actually thought the story was waaaaay to drawn out and I kept thinking ‘Get to the point already! Enough about hockey!’. The story is set in the town called, you guessed it, Bear Town where hockey reigns supreme and the hockey players are the top dogs….no matter what they do to others. There were interesting character dynamics but it the story itself just took forever to get anywhere for me. It was ok, but not sure I’d recommend it.

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

3. Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. 4 stars.  I grabbed this off the library shelf because I recognized it as one on my to-read list and didn’t even really thumb through it until a few days later. The book can best be described as this: part coffee table picture book, part memoir, part cookbook. Reese talks a lot about her grandmother Dorothea and how her influence made Reese the person that she is today; her food, her wardrobe, and her manners, to name a few. This was a light read, cute and full of warm fuzzies. Her recipes look tasty, although I did not try any. All the pictures of Reese are beautiful and I suddenly want know more southern gals.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

4. Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton. 4 stars. The ENTIRE TIME that I was reading this book all I could hear was ‘..havana oo na na. My heart is in Havana, my heart is in Havana…oo na na.’  You’re welcome. I enjoyed this book. I would categorize this as historical fiction, which is in my top 3 genres for books. This book parallels the lives of Elisa and her granddaughter Marisol (both great names!) when Marisol returns to Cuba to spread her grandma’s ashes. This book really digs into the history and real turmoil going on in Cuba. I learned a lot about Cuba and it’s history. There’s also a good love story (or 2) mixed in. This took me awhile to get through and I just finished it yesterday! This book was tagged as a member of Reese’s book club, which I have just recently discovered, and look forward to reading more of this club’s books!

On to March! My to-read list includes but is not limited to: some Dave Ramsey, some recommended fiction, some Matthew Kelly Catholic lit as well as maybe some good Lent reads (?). Anyone have any good Lent devotionals or other books to recommend for the season?

 

January books

As I sit at home on yet another {partial} winter weather day with the kids, 2 of which are sleeping, I thought it’d be as good a time as ever to review my 6 January reads. I’m on track for this year, and I hope to write a review each month. Goals!  Books! Learning! Yeah!!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. 4 stars. By now everyone seems to have heard of the Kon Mari Method of organizing and simplifying your belongings. She even has her own Netflix series now! (I’ve only made it through half of the first episode, but so far it’s good and Marie Kondo couldn’t be any cuter or sweeter.) I found this book simple and thought provoking. She has great ideas on how possessions come into our lives for a reason or season, and then we may be done with them, and that’s ok (ie don’t feel bad about giving away things). ‘Does it spark joy?’ is Kondo’s motto of deciding whether or not to keep anything. She suggests doing this with every and any item that you own. EVERYTHING. With a large family in a normal sized home, clutter is a constant battle and I’m constantly getting rid of or passing on things. My issue is that the Kon Mari method seems to be good if you live alone. Or with one other person that thinks exactly like you. But with 6 other humans in our house, I’m not sure I can ever make it a reality. However, I did like many of her ideas, and for that I’m glad I read the book.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid“The Seven Husbands of  Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. 3 stars. After finishing “One True Loves” also by Taylor Jenkins Reid and absolutely loving it, I thought this novel was sure to be another favorite. Wellll I was mistaken. Obviously the main character has quite the marriage record, but everything that happened in between those 7 ‘marriages’ (if you want to call them that) was bizarre. Each page turn was a surprise and I finished the book thinking, I’m not sure there is anything else that she could have possibly put in this book to make it more jaw dropping. Just craziness. So, if you like bizarre books and a well- woven story, this is a book for you!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling“Is everyone hanging out without me?” by Mindy Kaling. 3 stars. The only way I know of Mindy Kaling is from The Office and she is funny! I could practically hear her voice reading this book to me. I had no idea Mindy had so much background in writing and performing comedy. This was a light read and funny, but not much for substance, which is sometimes ok between 2 other heavier reads.

Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly“Rediscovering Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. 4 stars. I believe this is the 4th book I have read by Matthew Kelly. This was a good read, all about the Catholic faith and living your ‘authentic life’ and celebrating and enjoying the true church. I found it informative and fascinating at times, and boring and drawn out at other times. Jeremiah and I have decided that Matthew Kelly books are all good, but are all very, very similar. It seems that each sends you away with a nugget or two of new information, and the rest is a repeat. Saying that, I have another Matthew Kelly book in my to-read stack upstairs, so we shall see.

My Heart by Julie Manning“My Heart” by Julie Manning. 3 stars. This is a true story about a woman who, in the middle of her 2nd c-section, has a life threatening heart arrhythmia that leads to the discovery that she is in active heart failure. She has to have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in her early 30’s. That part hit a bit close to home for me! The author finds great comfort and peace in leaning on God and her faith to get her through every day, and gives great insight into living every day as if it were your last. The author goes on to live a full life from what I gathered, but in the back of her mind is always the possibility that it may be her last day.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple“Where’d you go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple. 4 stars. A humorous mystery-type story that is being made into a movie! Even fiction books can lend to a lot of learning, I’m realizing, and I learned a TON about Antarctica through this book and wouldn’t turn down a trip there myself! I had no idea how the story would turn out and I liked the chain of events and real-world way it was written. Bernadette was a quirky character that I found endearing.

There it is! My January reads. I can’t say I was overly impressed with any of my January books, really, but I have high hopes for February following my trip to the library last week 🙂

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Friday Five: 2/23/18

1. On account of my pregnancy induced lack of energy or motivation of anything other than food or good books, winter in Iowa, and J trying to finish his grad school work up this spring, we haven’t been doing a ton of stuff lately. All that being said, a few weekends ago we did venture out to a local snowshoe and ice fishing day, and the big kids got to go ice fishing on another separate day where they caught 12 fish! The kids love fishing, and of course it’s a ton more fun when you actually catch something.

Snow shoeing, however, was not their bag and we didn’t last too long on that particular day. Ruth voiced her opinion loud and clear that she was not a fan of ANYTHING involving snow. Note taken….

We are going to try our hand at maple syrup making at a local environmental center tomorrow from start to finish, so we’ll see how sticky everyone can get in a few short hours. I’ll let ya know.

2.Books, books…where do I start? I’m on book 5 of my 30 goal (YES!) and I left the library with 4 more today…I’m such a sucker. And I apparently don’t want to get anything else done this weekend. O well.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox Not what I was expecting and honestly, this was a struggle to finish, but I was so far in I figured I might as well bite the bullet. Talks a lot about his career in acting as well as his political stance on stem cell research and work with the Michael J Fox Foundation. There is a small section about his faith and family and living with Parkinson’s, which I found the most enticing out of the entire book.

Left to Tell by Immaculée IlibagizaOOOOO where do I start, this one was good. Jeremiah actually told me he thought I would enjoy this book and boy was he was right! The Rwandan holocaust happened in 1994 which was mind blowing to me to begin with, as it was not long ago. I would have been 9 years old when this was happening. This story takes place from then till now, following Immaculee’s journey into hiding in a 3×7 foot bathroom with 7 other women in complete silence for (brace yourself) 3 MONTHS without being found or killed by the Interahamwe killers, all the while she taught herself English and prayed nonstop, until present day where she works for the UN. What a story she has to tell! Fascinating, terrifying and I could not put it down.

Instant Mom by Nia VardalosThe cover of this drew me in for a closer look, honestly. The star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding tells her story of 13 failed IVF treatments, to repeated failed adoptions, to finally adopting a 2 year old daughter out of foster care. This one pulled at my mom heartstrings and was funny and real. I plowed through this one in 3 days and found it to be an uplifting read.

3.Ah, Amazon Prime, how do I love thee? Along with Prime and Walmart grocery pickup, I haven’t had to physically go in a store more than 1 or 2 times per month. This is awesome for me, as I have spent much less money and really only order what we need. (novel idea, I know!) Also less impulse buys, time and gas money saved, and my sanity kept a little closer in check. Amelia has figured out the regular routes of the UPS and FedEx drivers, arriving in the morning or afternoon, respectively, and she will spot them in our neighborhood and expect them to stop and drop off a package. She often meets them at the door, and it’s quite comical. My latest orders have included anything from a new maternity dress (awesome find, by the way) to ceiling fan light bulbs to vitamins to ‘ginormous’ packs of diapers. Here Ruth is with today’s delivery, she’s thrilled: 20180223_115058.jpg

4. I am incredibly ready for winter to be over. I long to sit on my front porch and listen to the birds, go on a walk without the deathly fear that I will slip and add my fall count to 3 for this winter, plant our garden and go camping. But what I especially look forward to? The putting away of all of the winter gear. Oh my heavens it is everywhere. We’ve tried many ways to corral the coats, hats, snow pants, gloves, mittens, headbands, boots….. you get the point. I drug in a big black 4×6 foot rug and put it in the corner of the kitchen for all the wet things. I like having a spot for everything, but when everything is constantly soaking wet or muddy, there ain’t no place for that. Hence the rug. And now the rug is just covered with it all and you can’t walk through that way. Ayayay. There’s also the barrage 5 days/week of making sure everyone has everything for outdoor play as well as appropriate inside clothes and shoes that match. Lucy has started wearing mismatched gloves and I couldn’t care less. Spring can’t come soon enough.

5.Pregnancy 5….I have been neglecting any kind of pregnancy update, so I’ll just tack that on right here. My belly is big. At my 16 week visit this week, my favorite baby catcher declared that I’m an ‘easy case’, the baby’s heart rate was 158ish and scheduled my anatomy scan {already!? Time is flying!}.  People always ask me heart rates, but my kids have all been all over the board, so I have no inclination as to what that means. I do however have the feeling this is a boy. I did also have the same feeling in 2013 when I gave birth to a girl, sooooo we’ll see how this pans out. We’re good either way, and no we have not agreed on anything more than 1 girl name that Gabriel declares he does not like. I am feeling a lot better nausea wise, have fully switched to stretchy pants and shirred shirts, sleep alot and wake up still tired, eat all the time, find my work days to be a bit too long, and find it important that I research new diapers bags. You know, having 2 in diapers again after a 5 year hiatus of just 1 at a time totally accounts for a new bag, right!? Speaking of, I’m considering starting to stockpile #5’s diapers as I am not going to even attempt cloth diapers this time around. That ship has sailed, sadly. G was full time cloth, L was 99% cloth, Amelia was 50% cloth (when she didn’t have a rash, which was all the time), and R got 3 days of cloth I believe. *ahem* I just don’t have the time anymore to add another 2 or 3 loads of diapers a week to the already constant stream of laundry we have. I sold all our cloth diapers about a year ago, except for 2 that I kept, for some odd reason. Like I’m really going to use just 2 cloth diapers….. Time to pass the torch to a mommy who has less than 10 loads of laundry per week. Any takers?? 😉

Have a great weekend!

2018 so far

2018 started off slow. But only for the first day. How misleading.

We spent New Year’s day at home, lounging, playing with new Christmas games and toys and watching movies. It was quite uneventful. Our house was nice and toasty while it was so so cold outside. Very nice.

Fast forward to the next day and as I was stepping out of my car at work, I performed what can only be called the ‘slip on the banana peel’ fall, except it was on slick packed snow. Yep, flat on my arse. Only I didn’t hit my padded rear. I hit my coccyx, otherwise known as the tailbone. Ever done that before?! I DO NOT recommend it. That was over a week ago and I still cannot bend, sit, get up from sitting, roll over in bed, lay on my back, kneel, lunge or squat without significant pain. Riding in the car is torturous. As is sitting on the couch. There’s no treatment other than pain killers and sitting on a donut pillow, so I didn’t get it checked out, but it’s either a severe bone bruise or a stress fracture. It’s just now getting to the point where pain is not constant. I spend the majority of my days standing or walking around. Good times, good times.

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Beast baby and her mac’n’cheese

The kids are finally back into their normal school routine after 2 days of 2 hr delays the first week in January due to cold, so this week was really when they returned to school. That means Miss Ruth and I are back to our regularly scheduled program as well during the 2 mornings we have together (minus exercise; see above incident). I truly love that time with her. That 3 hours of one-on-one time is always enjoyable, and we get a lot done! Ruth’s favorite thing is either rearranging the pantry, sorting laundry or turning on the Instant Pot. Which brings me to…..

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My favorite Christmas gift! I GOT AN INSTANT POT!!!! J gifted this to me even though we had agreed not to get each other gifts. *ahem* You know how that goes. But anyways, I love the thing, as you can see from my expression on Christmas Eve. If you are not familiar with it, you should be. This thing cuts cooking time in half and cooks food (especially meat) perfectly, as well as having a slow cooker function. So far I haven’t found anything I don’t like about it. I’ve made tons of eggs, steel cut oatmeal, pork steaks 2 different ways, chicken parmesan, chicken breasts for other meals, mashed potatoes, etc etc. The kids are always impressed 😉 Life changing!

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Isn’t she cute?!

Amelia has been receiving speech therapy at school and today we got her report card for progress for 1st semester. She has improved from 20% to over 80% accuracy for ‘f’ and ‘s’ sounds! Huge gains! YES! She still has some troubles with ‘t’ and ‘d’ sounds as well as putting sounds together, but she’s improving! We have no one to thank but her awesome speech therapist, whom Amelia adores. Great way to start the 2nd half of the school year!

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I’m currently 1.5 books into my goal of 30 books in 2018. Currently reading ‘Sisters First’ by the Bush twins, Jenna Bush and Barbara Bush. It’s great so far! Thanks to Aunt Mel, mine is even an autographed copy which makes reading it even more cool! #booknerds

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Speaking of books, Mel and I saw the book-made-movie ‘Wonder’ over the weekend. The book was great, and the movie did not disappoint. But far more emotional than I had anticipated. Who knew Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson made such a dynamic duo? What also did not disappoint was the sushi we enjoyed afterwards at a local place. WHY IS SUSHI SO GOOD?! It’s like some kind of art form too, so pretty. I would feel guilty eating it if it wasn’t SO GOOD. Sister dates are good for the soul 🙂

I am currently back on the carseat-shopping-train in search of a new car seat for Ruth. I feel like I just got off this train, but it has picked me up again. #bigfamilyprobs I realized last night she has hit the height limit for her current infant carrier seat. Wwaaaaaa! It had a good run of 15 months with her, so I guess it could be worse. Car seats are so expensive! Amelia may also want to bust out of the 5 point into a highback soon, so I may be on the train a little while longer….. *tear*

Hope everyone is enjoying 2018 so far! Be careful on the ice!!!!