Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bella Marie, Updated

Bella: Age 9, going on 15.  Being the oldest makes her The Pioneer: forging her way through the jungle of growing up, crossing the expansive wilderness of her parents' inexperience with her current age.  Personality, temperment, birth order, family life all collide in this exciting and sometimes explosive package.

 But here's the thing about this girl - She Loves Deeply.  She feels and thinks and loves in the depth of her soul.  She is fiercely independent... and wants to be tucked in a night.  She writes angry letters when she's hurt... and soul-cleansing apologies afterward. Her words are fiery and biting... or affirmative and consoling. There is nothing lukewarm about my Bella. I can be certain about that.

Another thing about her, is that she thrives on being in charge.  Not just steps up, but THRIVES.  The gleam in her eyes, the confidence of speech, it's there just waiting to be tapped. In that role she is a fantastic teacher of littles, leader of games, coordinator of rules.  Most of her outbursts could be traces to a feeling of loss of control and feeling overwhelmed; however, the best antidote is to put her back in control of something.  Like helping a sibling or deciding a schedule. Or cooking. I tell her regularly that I think she will serve God is great ways... if she continues to stop and LISTEN.  Thankfully her prayer life is strong, her desire for Christ runs deep.  Yes, this girl will do great things for the Kingdom... as long as no one tells her no.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ordinary Time - the Time Between

I need Ordinary Time.

I don't really like it, honestly.  I hate taking down the Christmas decos and the cessation of endless carol singalongs. There are no twinkling lights to break the darkness of a cold winter night, and I'm out of excuses to bake endless trays of goodies under the pretext of sharing. The first week of liturgical green leaves me feeling... bored. Already.

But this is the way life goes. This is the way life is SUPPOSED to go, with fasts and feasts, penance and rejoicing.  But the time in-between? What of this time in between?

This is when we have to live out what we have learned in our fasting and celebrated in our feasting. I need the normalcy of the day-to-day to practice my vocation in the mundane and allow Him to turn it into greatness.  The same old boring hymns, the routine of our school day, the fussing over chores and the uninspired healthy meal planning is when I have to listen the hardest. Perhaps this ordinary life in Ordinary Time is the Stillness. The reliable structure that should challenge my soul to grow.  When the festive trees and bright poinsettias have left the church we are left with - The Tabernacle. Just Him. He shines in the Ordinary.

God asks great things of mothers, but He offers great graces. We see them overflowing in the miracles, the celebrations, and times of great trial and suffering.  We Pray to see them, at least.  We pray to be open to them.  But it is hardest to see them in the Ordinary. We need Ordinary Time to refocus, to open ourselves to the Greatness of He who is in the mundane day-to-day. He is not contained to the  celebrations.

If the Eternal God of the Universe chose to humble Himself to partake in an ordinary family in an ordinary world, perhaps I can humble myself to an ordinary life in Ordinary Time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Food, of course

We really love food around here. I mean, more than just the love of eating, we love FLAVOR. So we cook a lot.  It's isn't always something exotic or grand, but it is always tasty. Lately we've been working on low and slow carb-ing it, so our quest for great taste has been particularly..desperate. I mean, determined! Yeah.

So in the interest of blogging about something that does not require me to fight with the camera card, here are a few of our latest favorite meals.


Just do it. This stew is SO amazingly rich and delicious in a way-too-good-to-be-allowed-on-the-diet sort of way. It is NOT gluten free, but it did fit a low carb high protein profile.


Smashed cauliflower with coconut milk. A pinch of cinnamon and a tablespoon of crushed cashews seal the deal in this Surprised-the-heck-out-of-me dish .I HATE cauliflower.... except for this. Just so we're clear on the level of surprise.  My husband made me promise to make this at least once a week. Last week we had it twice.


Meatloaf.  booooriiiinnnggg.Stuffed Peppers, BETTER! And if you jam pack lean meat with fresh chopped spinach, grated carrots, onion, garlic (duh), canned (but drained) tomatoes, and some seasoning then then it is transformed from YAWN to YUM in 30 minutes bake time. I used some no carb BBQ sauce in it, too. My kids LOVE this dish.


Mussels. So cheap! Who knew? Around here they are about $4/lb. Steam in white wine and, garlic, red onion and chopped tomatoes. Or steam in red curry paste, red onion, and coconut milk. Serve on the side of pretty much anything. So far a hit for most. My only problem with these is that the broth just begs for some bread to sop it up. 


Thai Pumpkin Soup. It gets even better the next day. 


Have I bored you yet? I am getting hungry just typing it all out, so I'll stop here. Time to go defrost the chicken for tomorrow's Chicken Taco Chili!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lucky? Me?


Please don't think I'm gloating; I really don't mean to. It's just that I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops because I hardly ever win anything, let alone anything this truly awesome. I am SO excited!!!!

Here's my problem, yall:

I have no idea what to pick!!!  Shabby Apple has so many darling, classy, delightful dresses that I simply don't know where to start! I sure could use some good advice, if anyone's up for it. Feel free to tell me your absolute favorite. I am truly hopeless in the fashion department. And when I say "hopeless" I mean I've seen my wardrobe on the before section of "what not to wear."

 Disclaimer, though: my shape could be described as "pear", but this "pear" has had 4 babies in 5 years, so maybe something more like a bunch of grapes. Anyone have advice?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Andrew Gabriel, 6 Months

Yikes!  I simply refuse to believe that my little teeny tiny newborn is... not such a newborn.  That whole "I blinked and he grew up" motherhood thing? Totally cliche, totally right.

So here's the synopsis, since I'm sure that's all the time I'll have while he's sleeping anyways.

The Stats: 14 lbs 4 ozs. That is pretty much the "Tramma Par" as my pediatrician calls it. He's tiny -so tiny we had an extra weight check just for fun.  The funny thing is that Bella was just a few ozs more at her 7 month weight check. I'd say that's genetics.

Sleep: say what? when?  Actually, although the past few nights have been rough, he does in fact sleep quite comfortably as long as he's within a 4 second access to the Milk Source. He's been sleeping in the cradle at the foot of the bed, but now that he pulls himself up that has to end. I'll crawl into bed and snuggle up with a good book or a good husband and the little head will pop over the top of the cradle and there's his sweet little elf face grinning at us. One day he woke up before we were in bed and we found him looking all around trying to figure out which way to face whilst he screamed.

Temperment: I actually am not quite sure. He is mostly happy, he's very playful, and very adventurous. That being said, he does get quite angry quite quickly when life is not as he thinks it should be. Volatile? geesh, just what we need around here. Raspberry blower often and thumb sucker sometimes.

Food: Sir Andrew, the Great Lover of Food!  That kid chews tiny bits of chicken like a champ, and he still doesn't have teeth. He's yet to meet a food/taste/texture he doesn't like. Particular excitement over cheerios and rice crispies.

Activity: My. Good. Heavens. The boy crawls like he's perpetually running a race. His arms and legs are moving before he touches the ground. All. The. Time.  He can get himself back to sitting, which is one of my favorite stages of babyhood. They are just so happy when the can make themselves comfy with a toy. But was he happy to stay at that stage? Nope. Darnit.

Life: We are all hopelessly head-over-heels in love with this little boy!  I say that and everyone smiles as "of course, duh" smile, but what I mean is that Andrew shines from the showers of attention. Bella makes him laugh, picks him up to bounce him, brings him age-appropriate toys (and then is shocked when he's more interested  in her pencil). Anastasia is always singing to him and making him laugh. She can make him grin in the middle of a screaming fit. Joey loves to fall down right in front of Andrew's face just to look at him and let Andrew grab at his nose. We are reveling in the joy and happiness that surrounds a baby who can't irritate them yet.

Andrew, it has been a fast 6 months with you around here. You are really good at being Baby #4 - always happiest when surrounded by activity and people!