Sunday, June 30, 2013

WIWS: Freedom & Frocks

dress: Dress Barn | shoes: Maurice's

This is one of my favorite dresses.  I bought it at the beginning of the school year and thought it kind of fit the Spanish teacher stereotype with the bright colors.  You haven't seen it yet, because I've had to wear nursing friendly clothes to Mass, but now that Lucia is only rarely nursing, we don't usually nurse in public.

I just realized I haven't linked up to WIWS in a while.  My photographer (husband) has been working Sundays and we just haven't had the chance to take a picture.  But he was home today (save for a few hours of tutoring)!  I'm looking forward to him always having Sundays off with his new job!

Did you notice today's second reading was about freedom:
Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love. (Gal. 5:1, 13)
Perfect with Independence Day coming up, no?  We also sang "America the Beautiful" as the closing hymn and I had tears in my eyes as we sang it.  I just get so weepy when I think how blessed I am to live in a country with such a long history of men and women given up their lives to maintain our liberty.  It's so important to remember that the purpose of freedom is not for us to do what we want but to do what God asks of us.  

Lucia seems to have formed a pattern with Mass behavior: act so good the first part of Mass that we start to relax and think that she might finally be getting the hang of proper Mass behavior, then zinging us with some real nasty tantrums and general naughtiness (accompanied by that "I think it's so funny that you're embarrassed/mad/frustrated, Mommy!" smile) somewhere around the homily.  It's all downhill from there.  Mass behavior: D-

I'm linking up to Fine Linen and Purple's What I Wore Sunday linkup.  Head over for more church attire inspiration.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Marriage, Parenting & The Elderly (amongst other things): 7 Quick takes Friday #95


Would you like to help me write a post on marriage?  If so, click over to this form and fill it out for me.  It'll be super quick, like 2 minutes or less, promise! 

Oh, and if you've had experience in a long distance relationship and didn't previously share your advice on this form, it's your last chance to get your two-cents in there.  I know, I know, lazy blogger outsourcing the work, but I think it's beneficial that I share more than just my personal thoughts/experiences. 

Loved this post about the power of two little words, "You can", in parenting.  I'm currently looking for some good (gentle) behavior management techniques for my toddler who has recently discovered tantrums, "no", and just plain ignoring mama.  This seemed to fit the bill and I think I may have noticed an improvement already, if not in the way Lucia acts, at least in the way I act toward her.

Also liked this article about a Bronx priest who makes honey and beer...and clothes for Cameron Diaz I have to say, when I read articles like this, I realize that I can probably do more with my life.  Wednesday, I put the dishes away, loaded the dishwasher, did one load of laundry, and took a shower with Lucia (two birds with one loofah) and I thought I was super productive.  And I only have one child!

What is it about twins?  I think everyone is fascinated and many girls dream of someday having twins.  Remember how big Mary Kate & Ashley were?  While we're talking about multiples, did anyone have the Quints dolls when they were little?  At age 5, I was convinced by those darling dolls that I wanted quintuplets.  Now there is a new line of children's books/clothes called Twindollicious that appeals to our culture's love and fascination with twins.  The clothes are so, so precious (and no, you don't have to get them in pairs).  I'm eying this dress for Lucia for a wedding we're going to in October.

Today was a reminder of why I don't want to move.  I spent several hours with my sister-in-law.  She only lives 30 minutes away now and it's so nice to be able to spend the day with her all the time.  And come September, I could be cuddling my sweet niece all the time.  Then I took my grandpa to run some errands while my grandma stayed at home and played with Lucia.  I feel guilty I won't be here to help my parents care for my grandparents and for taking away the great-grandchild that brings them so much joy.  I am working on a post about all the things I'm looking forward to in North Carolina, though, so I can focus on the positive.

Speaking of my grandparents, I just want to say that I am so grateful for everyone in service industries that treat elderly people with respect.  I know they sometimes take longer to get things done or need extra explanations.  Your kindness and patience are not unnoticed!  Nothing is worse than someone treating an elderly person like a child or with outright disrespect and unfortunately that happens all to often.  I think as a society we're doing a poor job teaching the younger generations the value that our elderly continue to contribute to society.  How do you teach you children to treat elderly people with respect?  How did your parents teach you those lessons?

Check out Lucia's newest word:
Which is only said in the context of playing with this bear.  Never when we pray with her.  But I guess this is a start, no?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Body Image and Motherhood (Five Favorites)

This week for Five Favorites, I'm sharing my five favorite posts/articles on a theme, the theme being "body image and motherhood".  I wrote my own post on the topic a while back entitled Mommy Body, if you're interested in my own personal take.  Here's some other awesome posts I've found from around the internet (in no particular order):


"Dear Mum,

I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful - in every sense of the word.

...But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ''Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.'' "


"This is my body – and it occupies more space than it used to. This is my Mom-Body, as a friend of mine calls it, and there are some fashions I may never wear again. But this body has kept another human alive – almost entirely by itself – for 14 months."


"The intimacy I experienced with my body and my developing baby during pregnancy was perhaps the most compelling transformation I have ever known...Why would we erase all of this complexity– the physical and psychological makings and markings of pregnancy and parenthood?"


"But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves -- women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don't like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?"


"Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.

I’m not buying."

Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:
Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:
Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:
Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:
Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:
Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:
Those secret places that magazines write articles on how to hide – embarrassed of our post pregnancy body image – determined to sell us a cure for how we look.
I’m not buying.
- See more at:

Bonus: I also liked this article.  Body image affects sons too!  And this one with tips for cultivating positive body image in your daughters.

Linking up with Moxie Wife's Five Favorites. Thanks for hosting, Hallie!

In case you were feeling like a mom fail...

...let me tell you a story: 

On Friday afternoon, having recently arrived home from a two-day trip to the in-laws, I was so tired I couldn't even keep my eyes open.  I decided to put Lucia down for a nap early.  She fussed for a short time and to my amazement fell asleep, allowing me the blessed nap I had been so desiring.

But before I could actually fall asleep, I heard Lucia crying.  If she's just fussing, I leave her alone in hopes she'll fall back asleep but this was full-on crying, so I peeled my tired self out of bed and stumbled to her room.  Upon arriving, I noticed she was standing in her crib naked from the waste down.  Not unusual.  She's figured out how to take off all her diapers, including her cloth diapers with snaps.  Anyway, the story usually goes that she takes off her diaper, pees all over her sheets and cries bloody murder.  So I asked if she was wet, to which she usually responds, "Wet".  But this time she responded "Poop".  Great.

I take a step closer to her crib and my foot lands on something squishy at the same time I see little black nuggets of death on her sheets.  Fabulous.  I quickly hop one-footed to the bathroom, hold my foot over the toilet and knock off a nugget.  It takes about two seconds from the time I first stepped on the poo to put it in the toilet and return to Lucia's crib (the bathroom is connected to her room) but I instantly realize I have made a near-fatal error in leaving the room.  Lucia is smiling as I return because she's pleased as punch with the poop she is squeezing in her hand.

I pick her up, carry her into the bathroom, hold her over the toilet and tell her to drop the poo, which only makes her squeeze it tighter until the nuggets are oozing out between her fingers.  Yep, one of my proudest moments.  I finally get her to let go and carry her to the sink where I help her wash her hands.  Except there is a problem.  Her hands are clean as a whistle but under her nails, it's black as night.  I start to panic.

Then I realize that she's leaning over the sink and I'm behind her supporting her and her butt is up against me and she just pooped and I didn't wipe her.  I check and sure as eggs is eggs her bottom is anything but sparkly clean.  Yep.

I stood there for what seemed like an hour but probably was only about 2.1 seconds with a glazed look in my eyes and then snapped into action.  I remembered a nail brush came with the nail polish set I recently bought her.  I started a bath.  I was feeling in you know where this is headed?  The #1 rule of parenthood is that you are never entirely in control.

I bent down to take her shirt off to put her in the bath and that's when I noticed.  It wasn't just black under her nails.  It was black all over her face.  My sweet, intelligent little daughter had SMEARED POOP ON HER FACE.  And somehow I had missed it.  But since we were already headed to the bath, all I needed was a wash cloth, a few deep breaths, and a prayer that went like this, "Dear Lord, please don't let my daughter get pink eye.  Please, please, please!  And please no other diseases caused by ingesting poop. (Because you never know.  If she got it on her face...) And Mother Mary, did toddler Jesus ever smear poop on his face because it would make me feel so, so much better if he did."

A few minutes in the tub, a good nail brush scrubbing, and a tooth brushing that ended up in tossing the toothbrush in the trash (and pushing it to the very bottom so the toddler doesn't "rediscover" it later), you know, just in case, and my extreme fatigue was all that remained of that incident.  

And that concludes the story of a fair matron who fought a black toddler poo monster and lost, but lived to tell the tale.  Now to the moral of the story.

Well, there are two.  First, never leave a toddler alone with poop, not even for a few seconds.  Not even if that toddler knows never to touch dog poop and stays far, far away from it.  Because her own poop is different.  It's alluring and fun and squishes so wonderfully between the fingers.  

Second, and more importantly, the lesson is this.  I love my daughter.  She's wonderful.  And I love motherhood.  Even if it means that I will sometimes wind up with poop smeared on my clothing while I wash poop smeared on a little toddler face.  Even if that means that sometimes I feel inadequate and overwhelmed.  

(And for the record, although I feel horrible about the incident, I don't feel like a horrible mother because I'd like you to show me a mother that hasn't experienced some kind of horrific poo accident.  And actually, don't show me a mother who hasn't because I'm much happier thinking that this happens to everyone.  It happened to Grace and I like to think all other mothers are just not as open about their poop moments.)

(And Grace, it was me who Googled "Camp Patton Sebastian ate poop".) 

I didn't, not even for .2 nanoseconds during the heat of the moment, wish I wasn't a mother.  Sure, I wish I wasn't handling poop all the time, but it's worth it.  No question.  Honestly.  After the bath, we went outside and Lucia taught her bear how to go down her slide and all I could think was how wonderful my life is and how blessed I am to spend a beautiful day with my child and the whole poop warpaint incident really wasn't on my radar anymore.  Until David got home and it made a gooooood story to tell and was at least worth a foot rub or something.  

Here's to hoping it doesn't show back up on the radar as pink eye.  Cheers.

Yep, so blessed. Especially when that face is in a flower and not in...something else.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June Blooms

Before I lived in California as a kid, I remember June being called "June gloom".  After moving to Colorado, I was amazed to realize that there were actually more sunny days in here than in "sunny California".  When I moved away, I realized how much I took the sunshine for granted.  It's not unusual here for there to be snow in the morning and sun in the afternoon.  It's really not all that often that there are days without the sun peaking out at least a little.   I'm starting to get a little sentimental knowing that we'll be leaving Colorado once again.  The weather is nice in North Carolina too, but there's just something about my home state, you know?

Anyway, I'd love you to meet some sweet sponsors on this sunny day.  No June gloom here.

 Meet Buhbay.
Hi, I’m Amanda, proud owner of Buhbay. I’m a full-time mom, and part time graphic designer. At Buhbay, every one of my art prints is made with love and warm fuzzies. My art is inspired by my own two kids, and my passion about displaying the Word of God in our homes in a way kids will love, and you’ll love too!

Meet Inktastic.
Personalized onesies. Personalized baby clothes.
Family friendly apparel. Custom t-shirts.  
Inktastic is a family owned business that offers family friendly custom t-shirts and apparel with an emphasis on personalized baby clothing.  Select from our wide variety of high quality graphics or create your own personalized message.  Top quality products at affordable pricing for one of a kind custom printed apparel.

Meet Brett.
Orphan. CP.  Needs a mama. 
Adorable. So much promise.
Brett is an orphan in Eastern Europe who needs a mama.  I started advocating for him through Reece's Rainbow in April 2012 because I couldn't believe that such an adorable little boy should face life in an orphanage and eventually a mental institution just because his legs don't work.  I'm hoping through this blog that we can find Brett some parents and give him a brighter future in Canada or the USA.

Meet Patty.
 Newlywed. Youth Minister. Grad Student. 
Passionately Catholic. Lover of books & traveling.
My name is Patty and I blog over at Tales of Me and the Husband.  Grab a hot cup of tea or a glass of wine and stop on by, would love to get to know you!  I write about it all: from marriage, faith, new recipes, book reviews...and it's all done with honesty and on occasion a wee bit of sass!
pinterest | twitter | instagram | blog


Meet Sarah.
Wife to Dan. Mother to Emily & Erin. Daughter of God. 
Lover of family, faith, food, and life.

 I'm Sarah, a young Catholic wife and mommy who loves to run, cook, bake, write, keep house (most of the time), and spend time outside. I'm the lucky wife to a wonderful husband and mother of baby twin girls. I strive to include my faith in all parts of my life, and I'm excited to share our journey as a newly made family of four - come join us!
If you'd like to be part of the sponsor spotlight next month, 
check out the sponsorship options! I'd love to have you!

Friday, June 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday (94)

--- 1 ---

We spent the day yesterday with David's family including two of his uncles from out of town.  One I had never met before and one I met at our rehearsal dinner wedding; we were a bit busy at the time so I barely got to speak with him.  It was really nice to get to know them a bit and have them meet Lucia.  David's uncles come to the area from time to time to visit his grandparents and I'm sad we won't be around for their future visits.  David still hasn't met his three youngest cousins (one was born just this year).  

--- 2 ---

David's uncle was wearing this really cool iPhone caseWhen someone asked him about it, he said that his wife designed it!  Crazy, right?  David's aunt wanted something that she could just stick her phone, ID, and credit card in so she would have to take a purse with her everywhere.  She couldn't find exactly what she wanted so she designed her own and they are now selling them.  I love the idea, especially for moms with big diaper bags that do not want to lug around an additional purse.  Unfortunately I have a dumb phone so I can't use one, but if you have a smart phone, you can buy a JHook Case at the website or on Amazon.  They come in plain styles for men or some cute patterns for the ladies.
--- 3 ---

David's grandpa is doing great!  I mentioned on Wednesday that he had a minor stroke last Saturday and it really was minor.  We couldn't tell any difference when we saw him yesterday and he beat my father-in-law at Oh Hell earlier in the week.  My poor father-in-law isn't doing quite as well after being bested at cards by a stroke victim fresh out of the hospital.  Thanks for all your prayers!
--- 4 ---

How about I share with you some of the best blog posts I read this week? How about this one about Kangaroo Sex? Every Conversations with Julia post Grace has ever written. David even joyfully reads those.  (And frets that our Lucia won't be that funny.)  An awesome reflection on the postpartum body.
--- 5 ---

Recap of what I wrote this past week: I joined Hallie to share my Five Favorites.  Wrote a little Father's Day tribute to my husband (you have to see the picture of David with our daughter & goddaughter - so sweet!).  Shared what I've been reading, Twitter-style.  Had a great guest post by Megan about beauty, dignity, and chambray

--- 6 ---
Are there any "mommy memoirs" that are from the point of view of more natural/crunchy/attachment parenting mamas?  I love me a funny motherhood book, but I just don't feel like I relate to them very well.  I'm just a bit tired of all the jokes of how epidurals are the best thing ever created or how having a baby makes you want to get back on birth control right away.  I can usually overlook these comments, but it would be so nice to read a book by a woman that has more of a similar parenting style/lifestyle as me.  Does a book like this exist? Please tell me you know of one!

--- 7 ---

Can I give you a little sneak peak of my sweat pea's 18 month photo session?  There were so many great pictures that I'll probably just have to make a whole post out of them but I couldn't resist sharing one of my favorites with you now.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five Favorites (4): Nuns and wedges and free books, oh my!

I wrote my five favorites, then hopped back up here to write an introduction that ties them all together and...I'm speechless.  I think the only thing these five have in common is that I like them. Hmm...

Dr. Scholl's Milestone Wedges.
Can you believe these gorgeous shoes are from Dr. Scholl's?  I'm imagining they feel like pillows on my feet and are so cute to boot! Available at 6pm.
College Savings Accounts.
Lucia is a very, very fortunate little girl.  She has everything she needs and everything she wants (not that she really knows what she wants at this age!).  I love being able to direct family to her college savings account for birthdays and holidays.  She gets money for college and limits the stress caused by clutter from more toys that we just don't have room for (especially with the upcoming move!).  Super win-win situation.

Star of David bracelet. 
Ever since I was a little girl, I've been drawn to Judaic jewelry, especially those with the Star of David.  I love the idea of honoring my Jewish roots (both the Jewish roots of Christianity and my personal heritage - my grandfather's family was Jewish). 
Nuns & Religious Sisters. 
Before my last job, I don't think I had ever even had a conversation before with a religious sister.  My boss and several co-workers were sisters, though, and such a joy to get to know and work with.  I'm going to miss them.  Also, I had to steal this video from Jen at Conversion Diary because who doesn't love nuns at the top of the music charts? (Classical music, but still!)  I think it's so important that people in our society see that nuns aren't just characters in movies, but real people with their own unique interests, talents, and flaws.  And little girls should grow up knowing that religious life is a possibility for their future.   

I'm not sure if everyone out there is already on the PaperbackSwap bandwagon, but if you're not, time to hop on.  Basically, PaperbackSwap is a site that allows you to, uh, swap your books for free.  List the books you have that you don't mind getting rid of, pay shipping to send them to someone when requested, and earn a credit once your book arrives.  You can then use that credit to request a book from another member (and they pay the shipping to send it to you, so it all works out).

Sometimes you're on a waiting list a loooooong time before getting a book you've been wanting, but you aren't charged "credits" until the book is available and you request it, so it's worth it to put every book you might possibly want to read someday on your waiting list.  If you end up buying it/borrowing it elsewhere while you're waiting, you can just take it off your wait list. If you love to read, this is a great way to do it really cheap.  Obviously, the library is even cheaper, but if you think you may want to keep a book or have a hard time finishing a book before it's due (even with 1 or 2 renewals), this is a great way to build your library while getting rid of those books that are just lying around never to be read again.

I just got Sparkly Green Earrings through PaperbackSwap and it's a fairly new release and a book I'm definitely going to be loaning out to my mommy friends, so it was definitely worth the short wait to get it.

We're spending the next few days with my husband's family, including his grandpa that had a minor stroke last weekend.  We were told that he's doing great, but some prayers that the stroke has no lasting effects would be much appreciated.  And while we're on the topic, a woman I went to college with had a stroke at age 34 last week and is also recovering well, so add her to your prayers as well? 

Thanks so much for hosting, Hallie!

To a Father Who...

...changed more diapers than anyone else so hard to provide for his family

...loves babies and children and talks about how much he can't wait to have more

...makes the best breakfasts

...gets that sparkle in his eye when he sees his daughter

...leads his family closer to Christ, even if that means spending Mass every week in the foyer with a nasty, hungry, and overtired toddler

...I married in part because I knew he would be an amazing father (you proved me right)

...shows his daughter how a woman should be treated through the way he loves and respects me

...doesn't hear enough how much he is loved and appreciated

Happy Father's Day!

We spent the weekend with family, including several incredible fathers: my own dad, my Papa, my uncle, my cousin, and my wonderful husband.  David was able to take the day off Sunday and we had a relaxing day with the people we love.  The highlight of the day though was the fact that David was able to celebrate Father's Day with both our daughter and our goddaughter (my cousin's little one).  This is only the second time we've seen her since she was born (we weren't even able to make the baptism) so it's incredible that she happened to be out visiting on Father's Day!  What a blessing!  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What I've Been Reading (in 140 characters or less)

On my birthday this year, I wrote a 30 Before 30 list.  One of my goals was to read 40 books, 20 of them fiction.  That works out to only 10 books a year, and while I hope to read more than that, the last few years have been rough on reading time, so I made sure my goal was attainable.  I've finished three books since then, so I'm right on goal.  

In addition to listing completed books on my list, I decided to join Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly book link up and write book reviews Twitter style (140 characters or less) each month to catalog what I'm reading.  This month, I threw in Lucia's favorite book as well since I read it almost daily and I can recite it by memory. 

French do some things better (food, balancing parenting & marriage) but so do we (nursing, natural birth). #Parenthood is hard everywhere.

A Hunger in the Heart by Kaye Park Hinckley
1950s South. Father with PTSD. Alcoholic mother. Domineering grandfather. A story of pain & forgiveness. Both heartbreaking & captivating.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Re-read before I see the movie. Love 1920s setting & timeless themes of excess, materialism, & emptiness. #justasgoodthesecondtimearound

No, David! by David Shannon
Lu's favorite, calls it "No, Dada!" Kids will recognize phrases parents always say: "No!", "Stop!", "Don't!" & ultimately, "I love you!"

Monday, June 17, 2013

Guest Post: One Chambray, Three Ways

On the blog today, Megan is sharing a little bit about dignity & modesty and then showing how it's done!  I've been admiring Megan's What I Wore Sunday posts for a while now.  The photography is beautiful, she's so darn fashionable, and she exudes so much joy.   If you haven't yet encountered her blog, Purity of Heart, you are surely missing out.

My passion in life is bring back the dignity of women in today’s society by emphasizing their self-worth, beauty, and purity. Today I am going to be touching on beauty. As women, we all long to be beautiful, but we must realize that beauty and modesty go hand in hand. I cringe every time I am out and about in San Diego, and see women wearing something way too low, or way too short. People’s attention is automatically drawn directly to that body part on display. Instead of seeing all of you, they see a body part. What a waste of the beauty God created in you.
When people see me, I want them to see all of me. I want them to think that I am beautiful, not “sexy” or “hot.” It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be “sexy” or “hot.” Anyone can dress scantily clad and get some attention, but what is that attention worth if it is not immediately followed by respect. If we as woman desire to have dignity, we must dress in a dignified way. It is a myth that modest dress cannot be fashionable. Trust me I LOVE fashion, and it is very possible to dress in-style, but modest at the same time.
A trend that has been around for a while is the Chambray shirts. I love them! You can dress them up or make them causal. Plus they are modest! Here are 3 different looks with the Chambray shirt that are dressing with the trends without compromising your dignity. 



"When a woman veils her body with modest clothing, she is not hiding herself from men. On the contrary, she is revealing her dignity to them." -Jason Evert

For more Megan, follow her Pinterest boards or check out her series "How I Met My Husband".