"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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The summer of FUN

It dawned on me this week that Landon, our oldest, has only a couple weeks left of preschool. Barring any drastic life changes, he will be attending kindergarten at a school in the fall. It wasn't an easy decision for me, since I still feel a pull towards homeschooling, and Logan's work schedule (working weekends) already makes it hard to have family time. But for a bunch of other reasons, it's what we've discerned is the best move for our family right now.

We've made family time a priority, as hard as it is, but this past year we've gotten to utilize afternoons once we pick up Landon from preschool around lunchtime. Next year we don't get to do that. *sob* So the thought of sending my kid off for 7-8 hours a day is kind of depressing.


ANYWAYS. We had quite the lovely time at the zoo for our family time this week, and I started to get really sad thinking about how we won't get to do that much next year. If Logan's job/work schedule stays the same, he will have off every other Sunday. Other than that, though, his off days are during the week - while Landon will be at school all day. I'm really not sure what we will do for our family time then, but I guess I have some time to figure it out.

In the meantime, though, I have decided to dub the next few months "the summer of fun." We've been brainstorming all kinds of fun things to do, and I wanted to share our list here! I doubt we will get to do all of these, mainly for budget reasons, but we have decided to spend all of our birthday money on these activities. Considering all 5 of us have summer birthdays, it's just a little too perfect.

Now for the list! For my sake, I've included travel time (if it's longer than 30 minutes), ticket costs, whether we have gift cards/tickets already, etc. If you're local, maybe this will give you some ideas! If you're not, maybe this will motivate you to do some research in your area. 🙂

Activities at home:


  • Kiddie pool outside
  • Sidewalk chalk on the driveway
  • Coloring
  • Water balloon fight
  • Rent a waterslide
  • Sleepover with cousins 


Activities close by:


  • Go for a walk
  • Visit a playground (we have a bunch to choose from!)
  • Visit the library
  • Play tennis
  • Get snowballs
  • Swimming at my brother's house (did I ever mention they moved closer to us?? And they have a pool now!)


Half-day activities:


  • Global Wildlife in Folsom, LA for Safari Wagon Tours ...1 hr 15 minutes away, already have 2 child tickets, additional adult tickets cost $19 each (Aaron will be free, 1 and under), feeding cups cost $2 each
  • Sector 6 Extreme Air Sports in Harahan, LA to jump on all the trampolines....already have 2 gift cards, 1 hour tickets cost $13 for adults and $10 for kids (6 and under).
  • Spray Park in Destrehan, LA...free! FYI hours are 1pm-6pm.
  • City Putt in New Orleans for mini-golf....already have 2 tickets, additional child tickets $6 but we will only have to pay for Landon (3 and under are free). FYI closed Mondays. 
  • Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans...free with our membership


Full-day activities:


  • Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, LA - beach, fishing pier, hiking trails, nature center, water playground...1 hour away, $3 entrance fee per person (3 and under is free). FYI water playground is closed on Mondays.
  • Wetland Watchers Park in Norco, LA - nature walk, marsh overlook, fishing and picnic areas...free!
  • Audubon Zoo in New Orleans...free with our membership


Longer trips:


  • Annual beach trip to Gulf Shores, MS....3.5 hours away, already paid for from our vacation fund! Still putting aside spending money each month.
  • Visit Mimi & Pops (my parents)...3 hours away, free!

Whew, I'm ready for summer now. How about you?? Got any other ideas for me?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Recent Reads (April '17 edition)

Happy Easter Octave! I'm going to be super lame and celebrate by sharing some of the books I've read lately. If you missed last month's Recent Reads post, you can read it here. These are 7 books again so I'm linking up with Kelly!

1. The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Drs. Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

I've been knowing about the love languages for years now but this was the first time I've read about them outside of the original The 5 Love Languages book. It was so enlightening and I'm sure I'll revisit this one over and over again. I listened to the audiobook, which I wasn't a fan of, but maybe I'm just weird. The content was invaluable though. Highly recommend!

2. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian

I've been having this on my bookshelf for years and finally got around to reading it. I did not expect it to like it as much as I did. It inspired me to pray for Logan more and to be more specific in how I pray for him.

3. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

This was a serious book, set in WWII England, but the characters have dry and witty senses of humor - which I loved. It's not as good as All the Light You Cannot See and The Nightingale, but it's still a good read.

4. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

I'm not sure why I picked this one up, because I'm not in a stage of grief or anything. It was honest and had insightful reflections, and I'll definitely read it again whenever the time comes. It's pretty short.

5. Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza (with Steve Erwin)

I could not put this one down - I read it in 2 days! It's not the best written book I've read, but the story is amazing and Immaculee's faith is inspiring.

6. Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee

Kayla shares about her experience with a micropremie in the NICU, and it totally made me think of Levi. Granted, our stories ended differently, but I just love a good story about accepting God's will when it's completely different than what you had planned for yourself. (Hence the blog name.)

7. Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

A few of my friends read/are reading this 3-book series so of course I had to join them. I loved some of the characters (Eli!) and didn't love others. It was a bit long but kept my interest - and now I want to read alllll the Civil War books. That time era is so interesting!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The home stretch

Lent always comes at the perfect times, it seems. The high of the new year has come and gone, and we're all in need of some extra motivation. And then as Lent drags on and on and on, we slip back into our old ways. Or maybe it's just me?

Example: Logan and I started off Lent just watching one episode of something each week (The Walking Dead was our top choice until the season ended). Graaaadually we added a movie here, another episode of something there. And then I found myself this past Saturday, watching episode after episode of Designated Survivor (so good, by the way). I rarely - and I mean rarely - sit and watch TV for extended periods of time. I could blame it on the fact that I ran (and I mean ran! I didn't walk at all!) a 5K that morning and then Logan went to work for the rest of the night and there was no way I was going to do anything, um, productive. Except feed my kids and all.

So! Here comes Holy Week, kicking me in the butt once again. The TV has stayed off except for one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the big boys (which I agreed to on Monday before I remembered that we weren't watching TV this week, oops).

We've been spending a lot of time outside with the lovely weather and I've been purposely leaving my phone far away from my person - thanks to Jenny for that little nudge - and it's just been nice. I feel like I just really love my family right now and part of me wonders if it's because I'm less distracted. Less staring at screens and more staring at the cute faces of the people I love the most.

Super fancy photo [awkwardly] taken with my laptop because I'm too lazy to go upstairs to get my phone. 4 more days!! I think I've enjoyed the Jesus Tree more than my kids because of the Scripture readings - although they do love putting the "ornaments" on.

I've been really bad lately at reading way too many books at a time. The biography section at the library really got me last week because I'm just a sucker for people's real life stories. But since it's Holy Week and all, I'm trying to focus mostly on St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life that I've been slowly making my way through since January. Definitely recommend it.

My church had a one-night mission this week that I was fortunately able to go to allllll by myself. It was the first time I've had an entire evening to myself without Aaron attached to me and it was very much needed. There was Adoration at the mission and it just kind of hit me that although I've been praying as I should lately, I'm missing the deep and personal relationship with Jesus. Sometimes it's so easy to just go through the motions...

I suppose that's enough Lenten thoughts for one post. I hope everyone has a beautiful Holy Triduum and a very happy Easter!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rocking Motherhood

Heyyyy. There's this challenge going around blogs that is calling us mommas to think of allllll the ways (well, 10 ways) we are rocking motherhood. I love the idea, actually, because it is so easy these days to focus on all the ways we feel like we are failing miserably. Heck, I can easily list things that I could do better - less yelling, more reading aloud, less distractions (hi IG and FB), less losing my patience, and generally just more quality time with my kids.

Of course, it's good to be aware of all the ways you can be better, but it's equally as important to remember all of the things you're doing well! Thinking about those things, though, is a little more challenging. But I did it! Just took me a week and a half. Thanks to Alicia for tagging and challenging me!
Thanks to Deroche Photography for the lovely photos

So, let me assure you that I am far from the perfect mom. It's hard not to sound a little conceited with this type of challenge (or maybe it's just me?). But the following things are how I'm rocking motherhood:

I randomly sing and dance. Not very well, I admit, but that's not the point. Pretty sure my boys will hide when I do this in 10 years, but now they think it's the best thing ever. Mom is fun!

I teach my boys manners. Future wives, you're welcome. They already hold the door open for me (without me asking), and say please and thank you.

I bake yummy stuff from scratch. Bread, cookies, you name it. I'm not a fan of cooking so I don't cook 5-course meals by any means...but baking? It's my jam. And my kids love all of it.

I'm crafty. Man, I used to not consider myself crafty, but you know what? I totally am. I love making cute things, especially for their birthdays. Which reminds me...

I throw awesome parties. I know, I know...totally not necessary. And if they tell me they don't want a big birthday party anymore, I will totally listen. But for now, the boys LOVE their big joint summer birthday birthday bash and I just love planning it.

I have my own hobbies. I think it's important that my boys see me doing things I love - and not just chores. They see me read (a lot), crochet, and make cute crafty things.

I read parenting books. I want to be better, and I learn so much from others. I know I'm a much better mom because of all the insight I've gained from books. You can never learn too much!

I pray often (and my boys see me). Okay, so maybe I don't always purposely let them see me, but a lot of times it just happens. Landon wakes up early during my prayer time, or he interrupts my Rosary during nap time. My boys know that Morning Prayer and the Rosary are just part of my day, and I hope that sticks with them. We do pray together before meals, we say a prayer to our guardian angels every time we leave the house, and we pray before bed.

I apologize. I'm not always the best mom, but I make a point to say I'm sorry for yelling or not handling a certain situation in the best way.

I do certain things just because I know my boys will love it. Examples: making an impromptu visit to the zoo during nap time just because. Having a picnic outside for lunch because the weather was perfect. You know, the things that are more work...but are totally worth it.

So there you go. 10 ways I'm rocking motherhood. It was so tempting to throw in a negative thing for every positive thing, but I refrained! (So hard, though, not gonna lie.) Now I want to hear your list! No pressure at all, but I'm tagging the following ladies to make a list of 10 ways (or less, whatevs) they are rocking motherhood:

(I promise we will still be friends if you don't do it! ;))

Friday, March 31, 2017

Running, family pics, and the infamous butt scoot

Gosh, life just feels so crazy lately. It is certainly Lent and I just really want it to be Easter already. I'm sure you agree, right? Linking up with Kelly for some quick thoughts about all the things.

1. 5K, baby

Logan and I have been training for a couple 5Ks. And by "training" I just mean going for a couple walk/runs every week. Logan pushes Landon in the single jogging stroller while I push the younger boys in the double stroller. People always make comments about how Logan is making me push the bigger stroller - but I actually want to do it! I'm more out of shape than he is and if you ever want to seriously train as a runner, push a double stroller. Trust me. (I'm totally making Logan push the double for the actual races, though. I'm no martyr!)


2. Yes, we have a TV

During one of those runs last week, we passed a guy on the sidewalk who was talking to a couple people inside a parked car. He looked up as we passed and yelled, "Y'all don't have a TV??" Being the type of person to assume the best rather than the worst, I just laughed because I thought his comment was about us running instead of sitting in front of a TV.

Then I felt like an idiot as I realized he was actually talking about the fact that we had 3 young boys in strollers. I'm still kicking myself for not realizing earlier because then I could have yelled back, "But sex is more fun!!" Seriously, y'all. People these days.


3. Family pictures

We finally took professional family pictures with Aaron outside my belly!
This is the only one I've seen so far and I CANNOT WAIT to see the rest. Chase refused to smile the entire time but Aaron and Landon were a couple of hams. Thanks to my friend Caroline for letting me borrow her adorable dress! And thanks to our friend Lauren for taking awesome pics!
Flashback to a year ago when Aaron was inside my belly. Crazy how much difference a year can make!


4. The butt scoot

Speaking of Aaron, he has officially mastered the butt scoot in lieu of actual crawling. Chase did the same thing as a baby and it's hilarious. We plop Aaron down on one side of the room and a few minutes later he's on the other side...still sitting.


5. Craziness with boys

There have been so many days where Landon and Chase have been SO CRAZY, like in a run-around-the-house-like-crazy-people-without-ever-stopping kind of a way, and it makes me kind of worried about when Aaron will be joining them. I know they're young boys and full of energy, but does it ever stop?? Even on the days where they don't nap and we have plenty outside time, they're still nonstop and I'm just so tired. Mom of a bunch of boys, tell me your secrets to sanity. Please.


6. Adulting

Two days after I spent a lot of money on my ticket to Edel, Logan's vehicle stranded him on the Interstate for the SECOND TIME IN TWO MONTHS. Then we spent even more money on the repairs and a rental car for a week. Sigh. We're looking into getting another car now. So, it's a good thing I already bought my ticket to Edel, otherwise I probably wouldn't be going. Adulting is hard sometimes, yo.


7. Words I loved this week

I'm reading 33 Days to Merciful Love right now and will finish on Divine Mercy Sunday. I'm loving it. One of my favorite quotes I read this morning:
"In sum, then, the Little Way is often a little way of darkness. It's about accepting that we are to put up with ourselves - with all the darkness of our weakness, brokenness, and sin - without getting discouraged. It's recognizing, without giving up, that some struggles are chronic. It's realizing, without despairing, that they may be with us till our dying day. But it's also about realizing that this does not prevent us from becoming saints." - Fr. Michael E. Gaitley in 33 Days to Merciful Love, Day 11

Sunday, March 19, 2017

My Sunday Best, the Jesus Tree, and I'm going to Edel!

It's been awhile since I linked up with Rosie for My Sunday Best, since I never remember to take pictures! But today our church had St. Joseph's Altar all set up and I really wanted a picture of us in front of it. St. Joseph is Aaron Joseph's patron. :) (The feast is technically moved to tomorrow, FYI)

My mom got my dress on clearance from I can't remember where, and I love it because it's petite size. My half-cardigan thingy (is there a proper name for that?) is from Target and I wear it alllll the time over sleeveless dresses. Love it. 
And here's a flashback to last year when Aaron was still in my belly! It feels like forever ago. Crazy thing is that Chase is now wearing the clothes that Landon was wearing in this picture.

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 The one thing I'm doing with the boys is the Jesus Tree from Nancy at Do Small Things with Love. I love the Jesse Tree during Advent but have been generally pretty bad at keeping up with it with everything else going on. So this is like a Lenten version, but on a cross! (You could do a tree if you wanted though.) I'm really liking it. I do tend to forget pretty much every other day, but it works out because then both Landon and Chase get to put on an "ornament" on the same day.

My favorite thing about it is that Landon doesn't have to ask me every.single.day. when Easter is going to be because he can just look at the cross and see how many days are left!

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And the last thing I wanted to mention is that I'm officially going to Edel! I'm kind of banking on the fact that Aaron will be weaned by then, and although the other boys were by 13 months, Aaron is the only one who hasn't been getting bottles too. Soooo we will see. Please tell me if you're going! I can't wait to meet people!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Currently

feeling like Lent is just.so.dang.hard sometimes. I also have been feeling like I took on too much this Lent while simultaneously feeling like I'm not doing enough. What the heck is that about?

thankful that we've been mostly spared from sickness lately. So many people have caught the flu or a stomach bug recently and I'm so grateful we haven't been hit so far! Logan and Chase had a cold this weekend, Landon had a bit of a cough, but Aaron and I have been good.

making a free printable just for you! **see details at the bottom of this post**

wondering if I could finally attend Edel this year. I have no idea if I'll still be nursing Aaron and I refuse to bring a 13-month old along with me...but maybe he'll be fine without me for a couple days? Are any of you planning on going??

ready for Aaron to start sleeping through the night!!! Teething sucks.

reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. I just love me a good WWII novel.

discerning the future of my little shop I had open before Aaron was born.

crocheting some granny squares (when Aaron lets me). I have big plans to make a big blanket! I've done several baby blankets over the years but I want a blanket I can use.

amused at Logan for his endless attempts at french braiding my hair.

praying for so many of our family and friends (online and local) who are in tough situations right now.

baffled at why Landon thought it was a good idea to draw on his shirt yesterday.

missing Trader Joe's cookie butter. I think it will be my Easter gift to myself.

struggling with our no-spend month. Sometimes we just want some takeout, ya know?

loving these guys right here.

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Maaaaybe you really wanted to participate in the marriage challenge I posted last month. But maaaaybe life was just a little too crazy. It's okay! I have a solution!

Thanks to a genius idea from Alicia, I made a printable. I did change the reflections a little bit, but the challenges are the same. Each week is on its own page.

Find the printable HERE. I hope you find it helpful!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Recent Reads (March '17 edition)

I kind of stopped blogging about my 2016 reads...oops. So! I'm just going start with the first 7 books I've read in 2017, mmkay? I'm currently ahead in my Goodreads challenge (9 books read out of 36), but I know I will get most of my reading done in the first half of the year while I'm still nursing Aaron.

Sadly, only one of these is fiction, so I guess I need to branch out a little more. 


1. Night by Elie Wiesel

I read this in high school but didn't remember anything other than I liked it. This time, I listened to the audiobook, which was well-read. It's a relatively short book that kept my attention the whole time. I'd like to read the actual book again one day.

2. A Severe Mercy: A Story of Faith, Tragedy, and Triumph by Sheldon Vanauken

This was part of the inspiration behind the series I did on marriage last month - I mentioned the book in Week 1. The first half was a bit slow but definitely picked up once Sheldon and his wife converted to Christianity. I love the whole point of the book - and I don't want to ruin it but it has to do with the title of the book. There's a good chance this will be on my "fave books of 2017" post.


3. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

The movie preview looked so good so I was hoping for a good book. Unfortunately, it was really hard to get through - too many characters and storylines that I had a hard time keeping track. The actual story was interesting but I felt like it could have been put together better. I'd say skip the book and just watch the movie.


4. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

I read this so I could listen to the Fountains of Carrots podcast about it in a couple weeks. It was funny, refreshing, and totally predictable but I still loved it.


5. Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider


This has been on my to-read list for awhile and then Alicia recommended it to me and I realized my library has the audiobook! I wasn't a fan of the audiobook (even though it was read by the author), but I did like the book itself. It's one of those memoir-type books (my fave) with some good reflections about life. Totally made me want to move to Turkey! Ha.

6. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

So, I realized this is more geared towards people with an actual career, BUT I learned a lot of helpful tips! I definitely recommend this if you have a side business or anything like that and find yourself short on time. Or if you just really struggle with procrastination.


7. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick


I had high hopes for this one because I think Anna is just hilarious. I did like hearing more about her life, but there was just wayyyy too much cursing and sex talk for my taste. I did listen to the audiobook (also read by the author) and that probably just made the cursing and all seem worse. I was enjoying it until about half way through and probably would have stopped reading/listening had it not been my monthly reading challenge pick - "a book written by a celebrity."

Aaaaand that's 7 so I'm linking up with Kelly!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The crosses we bear

I've been thinking a lot about suffering lately, and how we all have crosses. Crosses we wish we didn't have to carry and that seem so.dang.heavy at times.

When I was in college, I used to tell God all the time, rather enthusiastically, “I'm willing to suffer if it brings others to you!”

I still haven't figured out if I was just holier back then or just really, really naïve about suffering. Probably the latter. (Although MAN when I read my journals from those days it seems like I was so much holier. Why is that??)

I think it's safe to say that my crosses back then were not quite as heavy as some now. Because, adulting. And parenting. It's hard, yo.
Anyways. Crosses. I remember thinking, back in our pregnancy loss and infertility days, how hard everything felt. All I wanted was a baby and for whatever reason, God had us wait. I think I struggled with it a lot because I knew I was supposed to be a mother, and I kind of didn't know what to do with myself until there was actually a baby in my arms. I thought that once I finally had a baby to take care of, everything would be better. And in some ways, it was.

But although those crosses of pregnancy loss and infertility have been lifted (for now, at least), I've had others placed on my shoulders since then. Plus there are still some crosses that I'm still dealing with years later and might deal with for several more years.

No matter what the cross is – whether it's dealing with parenting, marriage, finances, illnesses, relationships, whatever – it feels the same. Heavy, hard, and suffocating at times. I know there have been many times where I thought, if only I didn't have to deal with this particular thing, I would be okay...

But I know that's not true. As soon as one cross feels a little lighter, it only makes sense for another cross to feel heavier.

I used to really struggle with why God gives us certain crosses. I'd look at other people and think, Man! If only they knew how easy they have it. I'd much rather deal with their suffering than mine. I'd be lying if I said I still wasn't tempted to think that, but thankfully, I've come a long way.

But of course I'm learning that God gives us exactly what we need to become better people, and often it comes in the form of a cross. And that's going to look different for everyone. It's also funny that as much as I wish I didn't have certain crosses, I'm also thankful for them in a way, because I learn something from each and every one.

With pregnancy loss, I learned so much about grief and how it's different for everybody. With infertility, I learned that having babies isn't something to take for granted and that God's timing is always best. With difficult relationships, I've learned humility. With financial struggles, I've also learned humility (I'm stubborn, I guess), as well as to trust that God will provide. The list goes on and on.

One of my favorite mysteries of the rosary is the 4th Sorrowful Mystery – Jesus carrying His cross. Whenever I feel the weight of my own cross, I think about Jesus and how he carried His cross for us. He fell over and over, yet He got back up every single time. And all along the way He had people help him, from Simon to Veronica to the weeping women. He even met His mother, our Blessed Mother, and I can't help but think how all of those people gave him a little motivation to keep going.

God gives us those people – or graces, or consolations, or whatever you want to call them – too. Because I know just when I think I can't carry my cross anymore, I come across a Scripture passage that speaks to my heart in the most perfect way. Or I start reading the most timely book dealing with my situation. Or I have a friend randomly text me asking how I'm doing.

Yes, we all have crosses, but we don't carry them alone. And I'm so, so thankful. God loves us too much to stay just as we are, but He always gives us the grace to carry our crosses – even when it doesn't feel like it.
Afflictions are the most certain proofs that God can give us of His love for us.” - Saint Vincent de Paul

Friday, March 3, 2017

Life with boys, Lent, and more teething

1. Mardi Gras

We celebrated hard with lots of king cake and just one parade over the weekend. I'm always glad we do the parade thing after the fact, but they just really aren't my thing. Logan worked on Tuesday (most people have off work here in New Orleans), which was a bummer, but the boys and I spent a lot of time outside because the weather has been SO PERFECT.

2. A month for your marriage

There's still time to link-up with this week's post! Clearly I'm not a professional blogger because posting on the same day every week was so hard for some reason. Every time I tried to blog something other than the marriage stuff, I felt totally paralyzed. So weird. But now I'm back to my randomness and all feels right in the world.

3. LENT

It always seems to come at just the perfect time, doesn't it? I know I certainly needed the kick in the pants. But of course now, on the 3rd day, I'm like I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE. Just a little dramatic, I know.

4. Social media

I'm staying off Instagram for allll of Lent and I'll be mostly off Facebook. FYI. But I'll still be here! Blogging away! I just can't quit you, dear blogspot.

5. Crochet

Hannah and I doing a crochet-a-long this month, which is nice since it's been so long since I've crocheted. I'm glad I'm getting back to it but...baby boy (aka teething monster) is making it really difficult. Hannah is probably going to finish 10 granny squares before I finish one! (Sorry girl! I'm trying!)

[this is where I refrain from inserting a picture of my horribly half-finished granny square]

6. Teething tips

Aaron must be getting more teeth because he's back to the whole don't-put-me-down-ever nonsense and I'm trying not to lose my mind. Any tips?? I will take them! (As I type this post one-handed because...teething monster.) I tried carrying him on my back yesterday and he pretty much lost his mind. I did carry him in a front carrier but today I woke up with a pulled back muscle so there will be no baby-wearing today. Sigh.

But he's cute, at least. I know I say that every time, but it's true! (And um, how adorable is he in the sleeveless shirt? It got up to 80 degrees earlier this week!)

7. Life with boys

Boys are so exhausting when they're little but I have to admit that I love it. The older boys have been pretending their ninja turtles are babies, which kind of makes Logan crazy, but I think it's adorable.
He put the diaper on himself!
 I had a good-mom moment last week when I got to Landon's school early for pickup and realized it was the perfect time to cuddle with my middle child AKA mini-me. He's so cute. Totally destructive...but cute. (I can't help it, I think all my kids are cute!!)

 Linking up with Kelly. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A month for your marriage {bringing it together}

In case you missed it, I'm hosting a weekly marriage challenge! Read the previous posts: week 1week 2week 3, and week 4.

How I did on week 4, sacrificial love


I'm pretty sure Logan totally saw this coming, but I took out the garbage all week. He did also ask one night if I could show some sacrificial love by bathing the boys, so I did – and I put them to bed. Normally, Logan does that (when he's not working) since I'm dealing with Aaron. But the timing worked so Logan was able to feed Aaron some solid food while I dealt with the big boys and it was actually pretty nice to switch things up a bit.

So what did you do for your spouse? Link up your posts or share in the comments!

Bringing it together


Whew, we made it! What did you think? How do you think you did?

I have to be honest and say that February was not the easiest month. I felt like I didn't do as well as I would have liked with the challenges because life was just kind of difficult already. Maybe that sounds crazy to you, but I tend to be a perfectionist.

But I will say that about halfway through the month, Logan and I started to feel closer than we have in quite some time. And that makes me think that the little things in marriage add up big time. Yes, marriage takes work...but sometimes it just takes small changes. I'm still writing affirming messages to Logan like I explained in week 3, and I'm finding myself willingly doing things that normally I would ask him to do (AKA sacrificial love). He's been responding in such a positive way!

My church recently hosted a couples date night that included a talk by a guest couple. They explained that marriage has a cycle (and I totally missed half of it because of Aaron so I probably won't explain it very well), but basically you go from Honeymoon stage to Disillusionment to Choice/Decision - to divorce, separate, or stay - to True Joy.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to say in True Joy forever. (Dang!) But I realized that when we're in Disillusionment, it's the perfect time to challenge ourselves to do more and put more effort into our marriage. So many couples get so discouraged in Disillusionment that it leads to divorce, and while I know there are exceptions, I do think that many marriages could be saved by just doing simple things.

I hope the last few weeks has enriched your marriage in some way! I would love to hear about it - feel free to include your thoughts in your post on sacrificial love. If you're blogging about it, here are some questions you can answer in your post:
  • Were the challenges harder or easier than you thought?
  • Did your spouse notice your efforts?
  • Has this challenge enriched your marriage? (I hope the answer is yes!)
  • Do you think this has motivated you to do more for your marriage?
  • Would you be interested in doing this again another month?
  • What suggestions do you have to make this challenge/link-up better? (That one's for me!)

Thanks for following along! I'll be back to my regular random blogging soon. ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A month for your marriage {week 4 – sacrificial love}

In case you missed it, I'm hosting a weekly marriage challenge! Read the previous posts: week 1, week 2, and week 3.


How I did on week 3, surprise and spontaneity


So here's where I admit I actually did this challenge a couple weeks ago - Logan read all of these posts in advance and specifically said he was looking forward to this one the most. So obviously I needed to make sure he was really surprised.

I was soooo tempted to setup the best in-home date night (take-out sushi, wine, and a movie, anyone?), but like I said last week, Logan would much rather go out. So when Logan got home from work one day, I told him - well, Landon beat me to it - that the big boys were going to their cousins' house for a sleepover so we could go to dinner and a movie! Logan has been begging to go on a date lately but between our tight budget and Aaron being so ridiculous in the evenings, we haven't made it happen. Needless to say, Logan was thrilled about our date!
Don't be fooled - that cute baby was not happy 90% of the time at the restaurant and spilled my water all over my dress. But we had a gift card so I GUESS it was okay he kinda ruined dinner. We had time to kill before the late movie so we enjoyed strolling around without a care in the world.

To make up for his terrible dinner behavior, Aaron then slept THE ENTIRE MOVIE (where we also had a gift card! #winning). It was lovely. All in all, the night was fun and so, so nice getting to spend time together without having to rush back home to a babysitter or whatever because the boys were spending the night elsewhere. Most dates we just go to dinner so it was cool having an "extended" date. Logan definitely appreciated my efforts!

So what surprise did you end up doing?? Link up your posts or share in the comments!  

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Week 4, Sacrificial love


It's so easy to get caught up in who is supposed to do what in a marriage. It's also easy to let bitterness and resentment build up if it seems like you're doing more than your spouse.

I just love Rachel's post “Happiness in Marriage” (go read it!). Here's a quote from it: “But in marriage, in happy marriage, there is no split. It’s each member of the union giving 100 percent and praying, trusting, that this 200 percent will add up to happiness.”

I find that the times I'm giving my all and just doing what I need to do - whether it's normally my responsibility or not – is when Logan starts doing little extras. He sees me working hard, so he starts working hard too. It's nice.

But I will admit that I often struggle with keeping tally on how many times he forgets to take out the garbage in a row, or the fact that I have little to no break with a nursing baby while he can do whatever he wants (and still forgets about the garbage), or or or. It's hard to keep a sacrificial and loving heart sometimes!

It does seem to me, though, that the more one practices sacrificial love, the easier it becomes. So even though I fall back into the whole bitterness/resentment/keeping tally foolishness, I keep trying. Again and again.

Your challenge this week: Do something for your spouse – a chore that they normally do. And don't tell them!

Some ideas:
  • Take out the garbage
  • Cut the grass (sorry, Logan, I am NOT doing this one...just saying)
  • Bathe the kids or put them to bed or both (since these seem to be “assigned” tasks for many couples I know, for whatever reason)
  • Let your spouse sleep in while you cook breakfast

Check back next week (on Mardi Gras!) to see how everybody did and to wrap things up!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A month for your marriage {week 3 - surprise and spontaneity)

In case you missed it, I'm hosting a weekly marriage challenge! Read the previous posts: week 1 and week 2 (go check out the linked-up posts!).

How I did on Week 2, Affirmation


I said last week how I really struggle with Logan's love languages, and let me tell you....giving affirmation is so hard for me! I wish it wasn't. I had a particularly hard week with a teething baby, not much sleep, and whiny children...which made it even harder for me to affirm Logan – I was already so spent. So! While I didn't say something aloud to him every day (but I did try some), I focused on what was easier for me – writing.

The credit for this idea totally goes to a friend in my church playgroup. It's an empty picture frame, and I use a dry erase marker on the glass to write a compliment, an encouragement, anything! I used to do this more often but it kind of got put aside when Aaron was born. So this past week I put the frame next to Logan's sink again (we each have our own) so he can see a new affirming message from me each day. I think I did forget one day, though. (Logan has his own videography business on the side and he's SO good at it, if you didn't know!)

So, how did you do? Did you get creative? Let's hear all about it. Link up your posts below or share how you did in the comments!


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Week 3, Surprise and spontaneity


What Logan and I lack in communication, we make up for with surprises and spontaneity. We love impromptu dance parties in the kitchen and deciding to splurge (AKA using our monthly “fun” money) at our favorite Mexican restaurant after Mass. Logan is especially good at these things – like doing a quick house cleaning while I'm at the grocery store or taking me on a dinner date and informing me on the way to the restaurant that we were actually going to see my favorite singer in concert instead. (And then he grabs sushi, one of my fave takeout foods, from the backseat to eat in the car on the way to the concert because this man covers all his bases.)

Surprises or being spontaneous is really good when you're in a rut, or just struggling, or heck, it's good even when life is gooood. I highly recommend it.

Your challenge this week: Plan a special surprise for your spouse this week. (This is your opportunity to do something if you didn't for St. Valentine's Day!)

Some ideas:
  • Cook something that you know your spouse really loves but that you don't normally cook (whether it's because of difficulty or cost or whatever)
  • Book a babysitter, make a dinner reservation, and don't tell your spouse until he/she walks in the door after a long day at work
  • Plan an “in-house” date night – order takeout, put the kids to bed early, and have the house looking nice and clean. Maybe light some candles and set out a comfy blanket to eat picnic-style?
  • Send your spouse out of the house for a few hours to do whatever he/she likes (bonus points for cleaning the house during that time, ha)
One last thing - make sure you do something your spouse will enjoy, even if it's not what you would choose to do. (i.e. I'd much rather a night in but I know Logan would always prefer going out.) Can't wait to hear from you next week!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Teething, family walks, and going to the movies (7QT)

Linking up with Kelly with some randomness. As I do. Go check out everyone else's better takes and Kelly's hilarious post if you're looking for some fashion advice!


1. Teething sucks

You know those weeks you feel like you get NOTHING done? Yeah. I'm having one of those, thanks to a teething baby who won't let me put him down and won't sleep....and some other whiny children. I've always thought potty training was the worst part of parenthood, but I'm seriously thinking it might be teething BECAUSE I'M ABOUT TO LOSE MY MIND. And this was just the first tooth!!
But he's so cute (and finally sitting up)!


2. Family walks

On a more positive note, one thing I wanted to start doing more this year was going on family walks and they have just been lovely. We're usually having to squeeze it in before the sun sets, but it actually makes for PERFECT weather and a beautiful landscape. Logan and I are running a couple 5Ks in April, and I was realllly hoping to be able to run for the entire race both times...but my dang knee is starting to act up again. It does this every time I start to really enjoy running. I guess it's to be expected after 20+ years of playing soccer. Sigh.
This was right before Chase stepped in ants. Fun times.


3. Thinking ahead

Here's where I admit I already have everything for the boys' Easter baskets. This is because 1) I tend to do things wayyyy in advance so I don't stress over it later, 2) we're doing a no-spend month in March so I didn't want to leave only 2 weeks in April to get things together, and 3) I don't want to spend Lent doing Easter prep. You can roll your eyes all you want but I'm pretty proud of myself. You have 2.5 weeks until Lent! You can do it too!


4. A month for your marriage

Are you doing it?? I hope so! The 2nd challenge is up if you missed it. I really debated whether or not to include a link-up but decided to just do it. So far nobody has linked up (which is fine! I'm fine! I just want people to do the challenges) and I just realllly want to know how you're doing if you're participating. Comments instead of linked up posts are more than welcome! (I'll also take suggestions on how to make this whole thing better.)


5. Going to the movies

When Landon and Chase were babies I was terrified to bring them to the movie theater. So I never did even though Logan and I have always really enjoyed the movies. But little Aaron has already been to the movies THREE TIMES in his 7.5 months. And it's been fine! Totally fine!
Two of those movies were kids ones so we brought the whooooole family which is actually pretty cool considering we only have to pay for Landon right now. (I mean, we usually go only when tickets are cheaper during the day or we have a gift card but that just helps us stretch it a little more.) Gotta take advantage before Chase turns 3 in July!!
This dude totally ruined dinner but he slept through the movie soooo I guess I can't be too mad...


6. I just want some cheese

I've been avoiding dairy for over 3 months now for Aaron's sake and it.is.hard. I just want some queso or a piece of pizza or a big bowl of ice cream. This has made me more aware/sympathetic of people with food allergies and I seriously don't know how you guys do it. I just want some cheese.


7. Words I needed to hear this week

"Cast yourself into the arms of God and be very sure that if He wants anything of you, He will fit you for the work and give you strength."- St. Philip Neri
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A month for your marriage {week 2 - affirmation}

In case you missed it, I'm hosting a weekly marriage challenge this month (with a link-up)! Read last week's post with more details here.

How I did on Week 1, Togetherness


Well. As soon as I published last week's post, I realized we had company coming over 2 nights in a row, Logan was working the next 2 nights in a row, and then we were going over to a friend's house for the Superbowl the night after that. How the HECK were we supposed to be doing things together? (I just need to say that most weeks are most definitely not like that!)

Honestly, I don't think we managed to do something specific every day – particularly the days he was working evenings, since our mornings were full – but I'm actually thankful this challenge coincided with a crazy week. It made me more aware of the fact that we needed to seriously make time for each other amidst the craziness! Even if it was just taking 3 minutes to jam out to Queen in the kitchen when all the boys were sleeping. (True story. We're kind of weird.)

On Sunday, though, we got really creative. We were going to Mass at 4:30pm right before the Superbowl and decided to leave REALLY early so the kids could nap in the car. It had been literally 24 hours since we had seen each other (crazy weekend, I tell ya), so we picked up coffee and talked to each other. For an hour. While all 3 boys slept. It was lovely.


Photographic evidence.

So, how about you? Did you manage to make time for each other every day? Tell me all about it. Link up your posts below or share how you did in the comments!

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Week 2, Affirmation


There's a book called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and the basic premise is that we all have one or two top love languages. We should strive to “speak” to our loved ones in the love languages that touch them the most. For example, Logan's favorites are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation.

I struggle with that because those are NOT my love languages AT ALL. I'm not a touchy feely person and I don't care either way if I receive compliments or not. Logan, on the other hand, very much thrives on both of those things. (My love languages are Acts of Service and Quality Time.)

Your challenge for this week: Say something affirming to your spouse every day this week.

I know that's just one of the love languages but I think affirmation has a positive effect on everyone, regardless if it's one of your top love languages or not. Plus, affirming others is something we should be doing regularly (I know I certainly need the practice)! Maybe you're already really good at this. If so, you're awesome. Feel free to do your own challenge in lieu of mine – maybe choose a different love language to focus on. The goal is just to enrich your marriage!

Some ideas of affirming your spouse:

  • Examples: "You cooked a delicious meal" or "Thank you for working so hard for our family"
  • Send a random affirming text - Logan and I are slightly obsessed with Bitmojis and they make things pretty funny too
  • Leave a handwritten note for your spouse to find upon waking up (if you don't normally wake up at the same time)
I'm praying for everyone participating! Can't wait to hear how you're doing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A month for your marriage {week 1 - togetherness}

This month I'm hosting a weekly challenge (with a link-up!) dedicated to our marriages. I thought it was the perfect month to do something marriage-related – with St. Valentine's Day on February 14th, National Marriage Week February 7-14, and World Marriage Day on February 12. So each week in February (probably on Tuesday or Wednesday), I'll post a brief reflection and a challenge for you to do. Don't worry, I'm doing the challenge too! Check back the following week to hear about how I did. I'll also have a new reflection and challenge for you.

Feel free to blog about your experiences and how you did so you can join the link-up! (I'm fine with you including it as part of another post, like 7QT!) Or if you don't have a blog, share in the comments. I would love for you to join me either way! (Of course I totally want you just to do the challenges regardless of whether or not you share it with me. Mmkay?)
In the book A Severe Mercy, the author Sheldon Vanauken writes about how he and his wife talked about what they thought was the problem of failed love. They thought the answer was “creeping separateness” - doing things on your own, having your own interests...instead of doing everything together. While adultery or boredom or something else might happen, it was first caused by “the creeping separateness: the failure behind the failure” (page 37).

I can definitely see that being the case. Even though Logan and I are so, so different, we have enough common interests – like our faith, sports, and board games, just to name a few. We pray together, we watch (and sometimes play) sports together, and we play games together. It's easy to get caught up in our own hobbies, where I'm reading a book and he's watching random videos, which is fine as long as we're doing things together too. But I know how easy it is to let a day or two go by and realize we haven't done much with our spouse (especially when you have kids!).

Your challenge for this week: Do something together every day this week. (I'm tempted to say that watching TV together doesn't count, but...you decide.)

Some ideas:
  • Pray (I really hope you're doing this anyway, but it's never too late to start!)
  • Play a game
  • Cook a meal together
  • Go for a walk

Keep it simple, okay? Check back next week and I'll share how I did. I'll have a link-up on the next post for for you to share your experience too! I'd love for you to join in.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Bullet journal, goal update, and a month for your marriage (7QT)

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes!

1. RIP comments

Sooo somehow my commenting system disappeared and when I finally got it back, all of the comments stopped showing up on each post! Ugh. I've spent entirely too much time trying to fix it to no avail. I know God is probably teaching me a lesson in humility, but it just kills me to have lost all of your lovely comments on previous posts. (The comments still exist if you click over to Disqus, but who the heck is going to do that??)


2. Goal Update

It's been almost a month since I've been doing my goals for the new year, so how about a little update on how it's going? For the most part, things are going well...

I have to admit I'm struggling the most with my Bible reading challenge. It's basically reading 4-5 chapters a day, and I'm currently in the Old Testament which tends to drone on and on about cubits and animal sacrifices and things that make me go "Say what?" soooo 4-5 chapters a day is A LOT. But I skipped one day and wanted to gouge my eyes out trying to catch up the next day. What I'm learning: read as early in the day as possible because it's not going to happen if I wait until 9pm. That could be applied to any goal actually! I know it's one reason I've been able to keep a daily Rosary - the latest I normally pray is nap time!


3. Bullet Journaling

I'm totally late to this game, but I got my first bullet journal this week. At first I was scared to write in it and mess it up, but now I am totally loving it! It's the perfect brain dump, which I definitely need right now. I can't say it will completely replace my planner, but it has helped keep me accountable in getting things done on a daily basis. Ashley shared about what's working for her on the same day I got my journal in the mail, so I'm going to go ahead and take that as a sign that bullet journaling was made for me. (I'm 99% certain I will be blogging about this again in the future because I LOVE JOURNALS.)

And seriously, how cute is this one from Annunciation Designs?? It's already got built-in pages for an index, a key, and monthly set-ups, which is really nice, especially since this is my first bullet journal. And there is a saint quote on each page! Plus a list of Catholic feast days.


4. A month for your marriage

Check back here next week (Wednesday) for the start to a monthly marriage challenge I'm hosting! I'm even attempting a link-up. Logan and I have had our struggles and have learned that marriage goes much smoother when you actually put effort into it. We know so many friends who struggle in their marriages too so I'm hoping this will motivate everyone to do a little extra for their spouse. It's nothing hard, I promise - and I really hope you'll join me! (I had this idea in December and Logan has been very excited for me to actually do it.)
Look! I even made a fancy graphic!


5. Aaron Joseph (7 months)

He has officially entered the babbling phase and loves saying "da da". He loves rolling across the floor and hates sitting up, which slightly boggles my mind. Some days he is all about the solid food and other days he just wants momma's milk. Overall, he is such a joy (if we look past his terrible sleeping habits). I mean, seriously, he's so cute.


6. Chase Michael (2.5)

This dude started talking in complete sentences out of nowhere a few weeks ago. It's pretty adorable - especially when he and Landon are carrying on a conversation together. Chase is still very much in the 2-year old craziness, but his cuteness makes up for it. Usually.


7. Landon Gerard (4.5)

Somebody is SO excited about going to kindergarten next year and asks about it all.the.time. He's doing really well in preschool and is becoming quite the little helper at home, always willing to (try, at least) make Aaron happy when I'm in the middle of something. I think Chase has been driving him crazy lately so it's nice that he really loves Aaron.

Well, there's an update. Hope you enjoyed it. Have a lovely weekend!

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