"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Edel, charisms, social media, and Goodwill has cute clothes

Well, August always seems to be the hardest month to make blogging happen for some reason. I don't understand. Now for some quick thoughts about a bunch of seemingly unrelated (or are they??) things.

Edel

I went with my sister-in-law, my roommate from college, and another close friend. So that in itself was already fun! The Edel Gathering didn't start until Friday night, but we drove in (8 hours!) on Thursday and played tourist during the day Friday. It was realllllly nice just driving around and deciding to do whatever we wanted at a moment's notice (like a pedicure! Because we didn't have kids with us!). It was the first time I left Aaron, as well as the longest I've been away from Landon and Chase, and while I certainly missed them, the weekend away did me so.much.good.

I met so many awesome ladies (including a couple fellow Louisianans who hung out with us all weekend!^^) and had so much fun. I have so many thoughts about the talks given at Edel - which were amazing - but I'm still processing much of it so no telling if those thoughts will ever make it onto this here blog. All in all, Edel was fun and I really hope they end up going on a tour with a stop in good ol' New Orleans.

Charisms

Okay, so maybe I will mention one of the talks from Edel. It was about charisms (AKA spiritual gifts) and how to determine which ones you have - because everyone has some! I thought this was perfect timing for me as I've been discerning what endeavors to pursue right now and now I've been factoring in my charisms into my discernment. I may have gotten a little obsessed with the idea because I took 2 tests and was kind of surprised to get similar results. In case you're interested, here's one from a Catholic church and here's another one. They're both kind of long, FYI, but I found the results pretty interesting.

Social Media

I've been debating a break from social media and other Internet-related things. No big reasons, just a bunch of smaller ones, but don't worry - all is well. I might be deactivating Instagram and Facebook so don't freak out if you can't find me for a bit, okay? Okay.

Goodwill Date

Logan and I did something else clothing-related and slightly ridiculous. (He keeps seeing FB posts about things and insisting we do them too. It's kinda cute.) Along with another couple, we went on a date to Goodwill to pick out each other's clothes for less than $10 each. And then we went to dinner in those clothes.
 Before
 During....option 1. I felt like Jackie Kennedy.
 Option 2
 They barely had anything in Logan's size, so green shorts from Abercrombie & Fitch ($3!) was the winner. Plus a random shirt. I think this picture is hilarious for some reason.
Logan pleasantly surprised me by picking this cute dress ($6!!) that I would totally wear again. It's a bit shorter than what I'm used to but is flattering and has pockets! I was kind of nervous about the whole thing, since I was totally expecting Logan to pick something obnoxious with ruffles and maybe a tiara....but it was fun. Plus I am totally that person who washes EVERYTHING before I wear it, so the fact that I played along and wore this without washing first really proves that I love Logan. 😜 Oh, and we only spent $14.24 total! Not bad considering we plan to wear everything again except Logan's shirt.

To blog or not to blog

I've been thinking about this blog a lot lately and always thought I'd be blogging until I was old and gray. It's hard to explain but I've been thinking about the direction of this blog, possibly stopping or limiting my posts (or just taking an extended break), or maybe even starting something completely new. I don't know. I'm hoping to get some clarity by a much stricter Internet break than I did last year. Say a prayer for me please and I will pray for all of you!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

That time I let my husband pick my clothes

....for an entire week. And yes, we took the idea from this post. No shame.

Alternatively titled: how to make marriage fun when NFP sucks

Anybody who knows Logan knows that choosing my outfits is something he totally loves to do. And he did very much enjoy it for a week. (He was the one who really insisted I wear my pencil skirt to Mass last week, so when he saw the post about a husband picking outfits, he was like, babe, let's do it. And I was all 🤷🏼‍♀️)

Anybody who knows me knows that fashion is definitely not my thing. (I grew up a tomboy.) Sure, I like looking cute (who doesn't?) but it's just not something extremely important to me. I like wearing skirts and dresses more for the modesty aspect instead of the cute factor. And this summer I have definitely been living in shorts and tank tops because IT'S SO HOT and I like to be comfortable.

So. I was a little nervous about giving Logan free reign over my closet, because he always wants me to wear things that I don't want to wear and vice versa. But he did great! You shall see. So many pictures ahead. So many bathroom selfies.
 Thursday. Okay, first day...not bad. This is totally something I would wear on a normal day.

Friday. I might have inwardly groaned a little bit because honestly, I have never worn this. I bought it super cheap at Costco when I was pregnant, and it just never looked right on my big belly and then it wasn't really easy to nurse in. I actually put it on somewhat recently and quickly took it off because it didn't look right. But I ended up kind of glad Logan picked this because it made me realize it's kind of cute! And totally comfortable.

Friday night. I went out for dinner with friends that night so Logan picked yet another dress that I have never worn in public. Again, bought when I was pregnant (it looked pretty cute with my belly), never got a chance to wear it on a fancy date, and then it wasn't nursing-friendly. It's LuLaRoe's Julia, and honestly something I never would have picked for myself because it's kind of fitted. But Logan loves it, so there's that. (He wanted me to wear heels but I was like nope, it's not a nice restaurant. The dress was already too fancy!)

Saturday. Sigh. I'm feeling pretty dumb now because this skirt is something else I've never worn...LuLaRoe's Cassie. (Seriously, that's why I can't buy LLR anymore!!) But that's mainly because I couldn't find a shirt that went well with it, and Logan had a flash of genius with this ensemble (it's actually a tank top with a bolero over it). HOWEVER, I had to bring all 3 boys to a birthday party an hour away by myself, and this was not an ideal outfit. So I convinced Logan to let me wear it to vigil Mass later in the day. Which I did.

 Now this is definitely birthday party-friendly! And something I would totally wear normally. #flipflopsforever

Sunday. Logan had to work, so I stayed home with the boys all day and wasn't exactly thrilled to be wearing a dress. But it's cute, I guess. (He said the undershirt was optional, LOL. Right.)


Monday. Another inward groan when I saw another fancy dress laid out for me. Logan was off work, which I'm sure is why he wanted to see me in this all day. This is when this challenge started to get a tad bit annoying, because come on, tank tops and shorts! It's summer! I wore this to a wedding in June so it was kind of weird wearing it on a normal day.

Tuesday. Okay, this is actually one of my favorite shirts (The Loft, I think, been having it forever) and skirts (Target). So yay. But ughh I was packing this for Edel (leaving tomorrow!!) so that was kind of annoying.

Wednesday (today). Can you tell I'm totally over it by now? I was a little worried Logan would end the week with a bang, and um, yeah. I had never seen this dress before, and it turns out he got it from one of my friends. I ended up changing because it needed certain undergarments that were already packed, and honestly, I had so much to do (I still can't believe I'm leaving tomorrow!!) that I needed to be wearing something comfy. So, my usual tank top, shorts, and flip flops it was.

We didn't time it very well, since the closer I get to leaving on my trip made me more stressed and less likely to, um, cooperate. But! Overall, it was fun. And interesting. I recommend it as a serious trust challenge. 😉 Logan wants to do it again when the weather gets cooler. He totally offered for me to pick out his clothes for a week but I declined because, um, picking out my own clothes is enough, thankyouverymuch.

Things I learned:
  • Logan has better fashion sense than me (totally cool with that, by the way)
  • I need to trust Logan more
  • This challenge made Logan SO HAPPY
  • I can pull some clothes off that I didn't think I could
  • Many of my regret purchases are things Logan likes the best (go figure...he's probably the reason I bought them in the first place)
  • It was really nice not having to worry about picking my clothes for the first few days
  • It's not the end of the world to wear fancy clothes on a casual day

Things Logan learned:
  • That I trust him more than he thought
  • Women have too many choices of wardrobe
  • That's why I've gotten rid of most of my clothes
  • Picking out clothes can be stressful
  • I don't like wearing fancy dresses on a normal day

Now tell me! Would you let your husband pick your clothes out for a week? Why or why not??

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pencil skirts, parables, and blooming where you're planted

I've been having 2 pencil skirts for, um, awhile now. (LulaRoe's Cassie skirt, if you're familiar with LLR). And I haven't worn either one in public yet. I've tried them on SO many times, but I always change at the last minute. I haven't let myself buy anymore LLR in so long because a) budget, and b) I've had a few regret purchases....the Cassie skirts being one of them.

It's probably Logan's favorite skirt on me, but it's just not what I typically wear. And I know it's just really easy to get stuck in a rut - in so many areas of life, not just my wardrobe - so I decided to be brave today. I wore that dang pencil skirt to Mass.
Logan is sporting a coat from H&M, my shirt is a LLR Classic (knotted to the side...does it looks dumb? I wasn't sure), and my skirt is a LLR Cassie. Linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best! (Chase decided to photo bomb at the last minute so he looks blurry, oh well)

I was feeling so brave I decided to leave my diaper bag at home too. Living on the edge, people. Living on the edge.

Mass was, well, interesting. Aaron (the baby) has a new spitting trick and decided to test it out during those brief quiet moments during Communion before the music started. He spit on Landon (the soon-to-be kindergartener), who thought it was HILARIOUS and couldn't stop giggling. Then after we went back to our pew after Communion, I knelt down to pray just to have Chase (the toddler) ask me to pull his finger so he could make a farting noise.

Boys are fun.

The priest (our pastor's friend has been celebrating many of the Masses lately) focused on the parable with the weeds and the wheat during his homily, telling about his childhood. He was one of nine kids, and they didn't go to church. In fact, when he told his mom he wanted to be a priest, she told him if he felt the same way in a year, he wouldn't be part of their family anymore.

To make a long story short, he (obviously) still became a priest and eventually his mom and three siblings converted (maybe his whole family did too and I missed it, because, kids be crazy). So even though he was wheat among weeds for so long, so to speak, it was all part of God's plan. Fr. M. led his family to the Lord. He let himself bloom where he was planted, I guess...even though it wasn't easy.

Lately I've been feeling pretty confused as to where God is leading me - or not leading me, I should say. After taking a break from teaching CCD at my church for a year, I just assumed I'd start teaching again in the fall, especially because we were planning on enrolling Landon too. And Logan and I just assumed we would sign Landon up for soccer in the fall too since he's finally old enough. And I just assumed, because Aaron is finally weaned, and we could use the money, that I would either start up my Etsy shop again or find a part-time job somewhere. One of my ideal places to work even had an available position!

But after praying about all of those situations, it became very clear to both Logan and myself that we weren't supposed to do any of those things. I don't know why God is calling me to do nothing right now (honestly, it's hard not get worried...what does the future hold??). 

So when I was sharing how I felt to Logan about not feeling called to anything right now, he pulled an awesome husband move and told me: "Even though you're not feeling called to anything else right now, you're always called to your family."

Boom. Nailed it, babe.

Now I'm not sure exactly how I thought this was related to the Gospel today....I guess because I'm feeling vulnerable, like wheat surrounded weeds. It's hard to see how staying put is the right thing to do. But I know it is. I know God has His reasons for our family not committing to much of anything right now. I can definitely see some fruit already. 

Gosh, this post is so all over the place. Sorry. Not sorry. Just taking things back to the old days of blogging - sharing crazy thoughts that I might regret later but YOLO, RIGHT??

Have a lovely Sunday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Making do with what you have {backyard fun}

When we bought our house almost 7 years ago, we knew it was the perfect house for us. If there was one thing that we didn't like, it was our backyard - or lack thereof, I should say. We wanted a bunch of kids and wanted them to have plenty of space to run around. Unfortunately, expanding space is one thing you can't do to a house. Walls can be painted, bathrooms can be updated, floors can be replaced, etc. Getting a bigger yard? Not possible. (Although we did have hope we could one day buy the lot to the right of us and the lot behind us - neither one worked out.)
The backyard when we looked at the house for the first time...our lot ends at the end of our driveway (on both the back end and the right) and right before our neighbor's shed on the left. Not much to work with...
 From the opposite corner, when we first looked at the house!

Once we learned we were having our third boy and the surrounding lots started building new houses, we decided we could either a) complain about our lack of a backyard, b) move to a house with a bigger yard, or c) make do with what we have.

We chose the latter! And thankfully, God really helped us out by putting generous people in our lives. Many things were given to us for free, we found good deals on other things, and 2 of our neighbors put up fences first, which saved us a lot of money.

 First, we removed a bunch of brick, leaving only one square of it, and leveled the flood-prone areas with (free!) dirt. Like a whole truckload! (Back when I was pregnant with Aaron)
Then Logan made a play area for the swingset his parents gave the boys last year. The timbers were on sale and we got the weed barrier and mulch for free. Logan's 9 years of landscaping experience really paid off in more ways than one...

Then (over a year later) the fence went up! I found a sale for the fence boards, which saved us a good bit.

I wanted a fence put up before Aaron was born, but that didn't happen. Procrastination paid off though, because our neighbors behind us put up a fence, then our neighbors to the right put up a fence, and all we needed was to finish the fence on the left side. I told Logan in the spring that I wanted the fence done before the boys' birthday party in June! He listened. 😁

We owe our neighbor a heck of a lot, because he helped with everything. Honestly, I don't know how we would have done it without him. He even designed the gate for the fence as well as the long rolling gate over the driveway. (I highly recommend living by an older retired couple. They're the best kind of neighbor!) And in case you're curious, we decided to go with a shorter fence - even though our neighbors have tall fences - because it saved a lot of money. Plus we like our neighbors!

We weren't sure that grass could grow in the backyard because of all the shade from the trees, but we were given some sod (for free!!) and decided to see what would happen. It started off yellowish like this...

...but we watered a lot and all was fine! It's obvious where we didn't put sod, so we want to try and finish the yard eventually (hoping for some more free sod, ha). And of course whenever we're able to save up some extra money, we would love to add some more furniture and landscaping and stuff like that. Slowly but surely!

Other details that were done: gravel and edging in front of the side gate, little brick area by the back garage door (there wasn't a step or anything before), stepping stones from driveway to said brick area, sandbox in the play area.

Bricks were free from our neighbor! Stepping stones were cheap.

Gravel was free from our neighbor! Edging was cheap.

Sand was free from our neighbor!

Other details we still need to do: stepping stones or more gravel from the garage door to the side gate (on the other side of the brick area, basically), cutting off the corner of the play area so we can push a lawnmower or wheelbarrow through the side gate, put sod on the rest of the yard, drill the latch and bolt for the driveway gate.

Some progress pictures:



And now for a dramatic before and after....(sorry not sorry I made you wait til the end)
Before we bought the house
Today!
Over 2 years ago
Today!








If anybody has any ideas on what to put in those planters along the house - preferably things I cannot kill - pleeeease tell me. I've considered herbs but I'm pretty terrible about watering things...

It took years to realize we could make our backyard work for us, but I'm so glad it finally came together. What I thought was a tiny backyard ended up being the perfect space for our boys! It's shaded for much of the day, it's closed in now, and we can access it from our garage or our side door (along the driveway). Bonus is that now our dog gets to run around too (no more hooking her to a chain that might break!).

Okay, I don't know how to end this so I'm going to share the before and after again (BECAUSE I CAN):



Friday, July 14, 2017

The summer of travel

The summer of fun, the summer of craziness, and the summer of travel. I know, I'm getting super creative with my blog post titles.

(I know I kind of promised a backyard post. It's coming. I blame the traveling and the rain. And my nonprofessional blogging habits. I'm sure by the time I post about it, you will all be disappointed greatly...)

(And while we're on the subject of blogging, I know I haven't done much serious writing other than my Recent Reads posts, if those even count, but I'm hoping to change that soon. In the meantime, please indulge my photo dump.)

ANYWAYS. My mom's side of the family used to have a family reunion every summer since we're scattered across the country, and while it hasn't happened exactly every year recently, I haven't been able to go in awhile because I'm always super duper pregnant. #summerbabies

So even though it wasn't exactly convenient to go this year (13 hours away, the week before our beach vacation), I felt like I needed to go. I mean, most of my relatives haven't met Aaron yet and some of them haven't even met Chase.

Even though it was exhausting (Logan had to stay home to work so fortunately my parents, brother, and sister-in-law were so kind as to let me and the boys tag along between their two vehicles), I'm glad we went. I will spare all of the details about the actual traveling (not fun not fun not fun not fun etc) and just share some pictures. We went to my aunt's lake house near Kansas City and it was a lot of fun.

 They were so excited about riding in the boat!
 My one regret is that I did not ride the jet ski...
 The big boys on the boat!
 This mat thingy attached to the dock was pretty neat - the kids loved it. 


This is probably only about half of our family, but it was still nice seeing everybody who did go!

I should also mention (only because Logan just reminded me LOL) that my wonderful husband always likes to do some kind of house project when I'm gone. This time, he ripped off the very outdated wallpaper in our kitchen, sprayed some orange peel, and painted. Because he loves me. I told him that can be considered my birthday present.

And because I waste no time in uploading pictures (I have a problem, I really do), we literally just got back from Gulf Shores, Alabama, for our annual beach vacation. Unfortunately, we were not able to go with our normal big group of families, but fortunately, we were able to go with Lauren and her family! She has a boy a few months older than Aaron, so he fit in just perfectly with our boys. We've been wanting to go on a vacation with their family for awhile now, so we were so glad it finally worked out. (In case you forgot or missed it or are relatively new, Lauren and I were college roommates and despite not living near each other, we're still really good friends! And our husbands get along really well and it's just really cool.)
We left on Chase's birthday and it's our tradition to stop for pizza and ice cream on the way. Chase had a great birthday between donuts for breakfast, pizza and ice cream for lunch, first day at the beach, and cupcakes after dinner!
 The first time on the beach, this dude was shoveling sand in his mouth but thankfully it didn't take him long to realize sand is not food.

 Lauren says they barely took pictures but I got ya covered!
 I paid too much money for this bathing suit top (on Pick Your Plum) but it's so dang modest, I just love it!
 The fitted sheet trick...definitely recommend. Of course sand still gets in and babies crawl out but it was still nice to have a place that wasn't just sand.

 Logan made me (seriously). One of my BFFs and I took a similar picture two years ago. I got a little better.
 Logan always makes a big sand creation and the boys love it. So did a bunch of people who walked by!

Logan and I snuck away to play some foot golf one afternoon which was a lot of fun. It's basically golf but with a soccer ball! Totally my thing.
 I did win but Logan was totally expecting that...



 Self timer skills, yo. (This was the one time Lauren's family wasn't with us.)
 We had to take a couch picture to compare to last year's (well, shoot, I was gonna link to it but apparently I didn't put it in a blog post! But there is a picture of us in this post). Crazy how much difference a year can make!

The weather was perfect all week until this morning when we left, but that made it much easier to leave (Logan gets depressed after vacation but the rain helped this time! Ha.). The boys had so much fun, the adults even took turns taking lunch dates, and all in all, it was such a perfect week. We had no w-fi, which was a bummer at first, but that meant we were not attached to our phones and THAT ended up being really nice.

Next up on the itinerary is the Edel Gathering!!! We're less than a month away. Lauren is going, as well as two more of my local besties, so I cannot wait. Aaron is officially weaned (as of 6 days ago, perfect timing for our beach trip!), so I'm starting to get really excited. But I'm sure I'll have a whole post dedicated to that trip afterwards. Bloggers gonna blog and all....

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