Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday wins

Monday, Monday, Monday. Need I say more?

What if I just ended the post there? That would be great.

But really, it was such a Monday. Mike's dad was here for the weekend it was lovely, too lovely I think. Of course I got approximately zero pictures, but suffice it to say that this morning had no chance to compete with the great times from Friday to Sunday. Even so, it could have at least tried.

The kids all came down with a little plague of a cold this past week and it really wasn't that bad- because it wasn't throw up or any other bodily excrement- however it has taken Lucy down to China Town and has even had the nerve to infect my sweetest of all the sweet babies. Sorry, he's kind of my favorite right now.

Anyways, I woke up overstimulated- I mean really, even the lights got on my nerves from the moment I made an exodus from the soft confines of my precious bedsheets. Lucy and her wretched fever-cold keep on waking me up at ungodly hours and keeping up and even though this morning she went back to sleep, I decided to attempt my one-- count it one-- Lenten resolution to get up a few minutes before the kids and pray. So I did, and I had really high hopes that it would help me to overcome all my other tendencies to scream at anything breathing to leave me alone. It might have helped a little, but mostly I just hid from them.

Bernadette decided that today she would only ask me for things leading with an overly dramatic, semi-whine-yell of "MOM!?!?". All day. Every request.

"Yes, Bernadette?"
"Can I have some water"

"WHAT... I mean what, Bernadette?"
"Can I have a piece of cantaloupe?"

"I need to poop"
no one can find me because I am balled up in a corner rocking back and fourth.

Between the incessant screaming of my name, the all out sprints from one end of the house to the other, the 30 minute tantrums on the floor, the snot, the screaming, the fighting, and the fact that every room of the house looked like the aftermath of a hurricane, I was done by 1.

I never really leave the house with all four kids ever anymore, so you know it's a rough day when all five of us are suited up and in the car for a Costco trip just to make sure that mom doesn't lose it entirely. I was also dying to try their churros, which did not deliver like I thought they would, go figure. But it sure did deliver in its promise of being something other than the walls of this house, of which I am starting to memorize every single dust speck, dirt smudge, and food splatter that I pass every day without bothering to remove.

You win, Monday. You always do.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

When Your Toddler Has a Tonsillectomy

I was just thinking lately about how my blog is really lacking in insanely specific and random posts that will be mostly useless to the vast majority people, so it was perfect when life handed me some content! If there is one thing I have learned about life and blogging it's that your lived experiences are only really lived if they materialize in a blog post. (That entire paragraph is sarcasm, in case you missed it)

But really, I figured I would strike while the iron is hot, or more accurately while the memories are fresh, and write up a little post of things I learned from Lucy's recent tonsil/adenoid removal and tube insertion. It's mostly for future Ana who will likely have to go through it again (all 6 girls in my family all had to have the surgery) but also for the random person googling "what the heck to do with a toddler after a tonsillectomy".


1) Not everything that everyone tells you will be true for you. Whether it be the things your kids will definitely  want to eat, or how "super drowsy!" they will be the day after, you should just wait and see how your own kid does with it. Lucy wanted nothing to do with ice cream and ran circles around our house the day after her procedure and I was so totally thrown off. I assumed that every kids is pretty cookie cutter post surgery and I was wrong, good to know for the future.

2) That said, you should still be equipped with everything everyone tells you do have on hand. Because you just don't know! I was so glad to have a freezer full of things to offer even though she said "no" to most of them. I was not worried about the kids not eventually finishing the sherbert and Popsicles that Lucy doesn't eat.

3) Netflix streaming is the bombdigity. Honestly, I felt really guilty letting Lucy just hold my ipad and watch whatever the H-E-double-toothpicks she wanted because thoughts kept going through my head like "we are so spoiled!" and "I didn't have instant streaming when I got my tonsils out, I just dealt and was fine! my kids should be able to do the same!". And while both of those thoughts are true, I also have horrific memories of my own tonsillectomy and I feel pretty sure that the constant streaming of something to lift my little spirits would have changed the general feel of the memories greatly.

Some favorite during her recovery were:
-Curious George everything.
-Mickey and the Beanstalk and the other stories that go with it.
-The Aristocats (over and over and over)
-Robin Hood
-Random weird shows that she accidentally clicks on while watching a kid show.

4) Get back to your schedule as soon as you can...

5) But not on the first day. The day of the surgery was just crazy for all of us, but especially for little Lucy who had NO idea what was coming for her. She pretty much did nothing but scream and sleep for the first 2 hours post surgery, which I completely understood since she thought she was just going "down for a little nap" and then woke up and her throat has been cut at and nose and ears heavily tampered with- seriously? It was so sad! So I held her most of the day, let her fall asleep on me that night, and slept in bed with her through the night, and we are not co-sleepers, so it was weird. If you don't have much of a schedule (no judgements whatsoever!!) this may look pretty normal and so you could just stick with it on day 2, but we do and Lucy has a very specific nap time and place which I did not get back to that second day and I so wish I would have. I think she was craving the normal even though she kept screaming that she didn't want anything, and I think that stability might have helped her rest and recover more. She didn't end up napping even for a second the day after her surgery and by the next day you could tell she had totally outdone it the day prior. So day 3 looked totally normal other than watching 1000% more Netflix and still not eating much and drinking 200% more juice (she's already a big drinker).

6) Take all the help you can get. I begged my mother-in-law to come and she so graciously did, I took up any friends on offers to have the older girls over for play dates and said "yes!" to all meals offered. No regrets, it was all very needed and MOST appreciated.

7) Have some good "in bed" toys for right after the surgery. I did not do this and so wish I had. Luckily my mom and mother-in-law were big thinkers and both had presents for her to open that she could play with in bed, they've obviously done this before.

8) Let yourself be in survival mode for at least 2 weeks. I know some people said that she would be back to normal by 1 week out, but I would actually say that some of our toughest days were during that second week. House falling apart, no clean laundry, fast food for dinner, wine drinking at 3:30 p.m., these are all good indicators that you are solidly in survival mode, which is exactly where you should be for those first couple weeks- so don't freak out, just stay there!

9) Bad habits you make, you can break. We had gotten Lucy off of taking a bottle in November. Yes, I had an over 2-year-old still drinking out of a bottle, it was pretty absurd. It was no easy thing getting her to stop back in November, and after the tonsillectomy the only way I could get her to drink was from a bottle, so back on the bottle she went. However, as soon as she was better we ripped that band aid right off and everything was fine.

I am sure all of these are no-brainers and common sense, but I'm putting it out there anyways because having a little one go through that surgery was no walk in the park and I know I will be looking for solidarity from myself when I most likely go through it again down the road. However, I hope that none of you ever actually have to read this.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Working Out While The Kids Are Awake

First and foremost, please know that I am NO fitness buff, not in the slightest, and as I have stated before, I am an underachieving middle child who is no where near a perfectionist and sets very low goals so as to never be disappointed. With that said I will proceed with some thoughts and ideas on getting in a workout during the day while the children are all underfoot.

A few things before I get started:
- these are just my thoughts and ideas, not "tips and tricks", because they may be abhorrent to you and/or just not work for your life- and that is totally fine!

- working out is not the most important thing in the world and it is definitely something that can't happen in certain seasons of life. Like when I tried to start Jillian Michaels' 30 day shred when Joseph was 3 weeks old and then felt like I was going to die- that was a bad idea and a good example of a season of life where working out is not in the cards. Now he is going on 7 months old and actually sleeping through the night sometimes and it is totally in the cards and needs to happen.

- I don't work out for weight loss. I have often thought that it is just not fair that carrying around babies and toddlers isn't good enough in itself to count as strength training, and it's not fair, but it's true. I am finding that the older I get and more babies I carry, the more I realize the need for maintaining at least some semblance of arm and core strength. In other words, I workout so that I can carry my babies and toddlers around without injuring myself. Does that make sense? It does in my head.

Ok, thoughts and ideas for working out while all the kids are awake and around- hit it:

1) You're not being selfish for working out. I used to feel really guilty for trying to exercise while the kids were awake, but not so much anymore. Obviously there is a balance that needs to be struck and it goes without saying that if one of your kids is screaming in pain and/or starving you should tend to them. The kids come first, and as mothers we are typically so focused on the kids that it's a  struggle to squeeze any "me time" in at all, so focusing on our physical needs is good for everybody and will only help us to be better mothers.

2) Choose a short workout, 25 minutes or less. Major cudos to you mamas who do workouts like Insanity and Cross Fit (I'm looking at you, Regina- I am in awe of you!!). Maybe one day I'll do those workouts if I can ever find a good hour chunk during the day where kids are tended to, but right now that's not happening. Grace did a great post with some really good recommendations of the short workout video variety, and while I definitely agree that Jillians' Ripped in 30 is better than the 30 Day Shred , I always end up doing the 30 Day Shred because all of my DVDs are lost in the messy abyss of the this house AND you can find the 30 day shred on you tube, so I usually just do that. Jillian is annoying, but she does deliver results and if you turn off her voice it's not so bad.

3) Get the kids involved. I never EVER make them workout with me, but they usually want to. They always ask to get dressed in their "jumping jacks" outfits (shorts and tee shirts) and I oblige- Bernadette gets especially into it and tries really, really hard to replicate exactly what the ladies are doing on the screen. I figure it is good for all of us because they are mostly sedentary these days with the awful weather and the fact that I am a lazy parent who doesn't sign them up for fun extracurricular physical activities, so I count it as our calisthenics for the day.

4) Figure out a good time of day that works best. I have decided on the late afternoon for me, since we are getting kindergarten and "preschool" (aka nothing) out of the way pre-lunch. If I can summon the motivation I will try to do it during Lucy's nap and the older girls' rest time, but that doesn't happen often because I like to sit. For a while I was trying to plan on working out after the kids went to sleep at night, but I always ended up making up an excuse and not doing it at all and until Joseph is consistently sleeping through the night, waking up at 6 a.m. or earlier to do it before the wake up is a no-go, I'm just not that hard core. My goal is to get it done before dinner and it usually works, and often means hauling all 4 kids down to the basement and letting them climb on me and/or run circles around me for the duration. When I am feeling especially in need of some quality ME time, I put on a long Veggie Tales, pop in my headphones and huff and puff my heart out- it is sheer bliss. I've even stooped to the level of plunking Joe in the bumbo in front of Baby Einsteins because he never ever naps when the girls are napping and doesn't get into Veggie Tales like they do.

5) Be prepared to pause. And pause. And pause again. I rarely do a workout from beginning to end without stopping, whether it's a sweaty nursing session, a cheese stick, or a diaper change, the demands of motherhood do not stop because I slipped on my New Balances. Even if I put on a movie for the older ones, that still leaves Joseph who will only sit propped up in front of Baby Einsteins for so long before he voices his disapproval of the neglect and I need to stop and hand him that bumblebee toy. Maybe Jillian would say that I am not getting the most out of it and maybe she would be right, but I tell myself that something is better than nothing.

So those are my thoughts and ideas- how about you? What do you do to make this a priority? Hit me up with your wisdom, you know you have it!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Too Much Talking (now with Lucy!)

Bernadette: Mom, I just want to go to Italy so much!
Ana: Oh really? What place in Italy do you want to go to the most?
Bernadette: Ummm... the living room!

Coming out during "rest time":
Bernadette: Mama...? I've slepen some, really I have...
Ana: You have to stay in for 15 for more minutes
Bernadette: How about "FIFTEEN TWO", that's the same as 15 minutes.
Ana: deal

Recounting her baby doll play for me:
Bernadette: My baby just took a violent nap!

Bernadette: Uh, mom?
Ana: yes?
Bernadette: If you were arrested, about how long do you think you would need to go to jail for?
Ana: ...

While working with Naomi during lesson time:
Ana: Print the word "miss"
Bernadette (interjecting): Oh yes, like if you said "excuse me MISS Adult Bernadette, can you please get me a glass of wine???

Bernadette: Mom, when I marry, will you be there?
Me: Yes
Bernadette: And will Daddy be there?  And Naomi and Lucy and Joseph?
Me: Yes
Bernadette: Well, then I just have to get my husband ready then!

Bernadette: Mom, when will I get my husband?
Me: Well, you have to meet him and date him first.
Bernadette: When did you date daddy?
Me: um, when I was...
Bernadette: 8?!?!

Overheard from the other room, Bernadette, while in perfect health, talking to Naomi:
Bernadette: I am just really sick
Naomi: oh, really?
Bernadette: Yes, I have a horrible headache and a cold and a tummy ache
Naomi: oh
Bernadette: But if you could just give me something, really special, I might feel better. 

And of course, Lucy has joined the ranks of non-stop talkers.

Lucy (walking up to me while I do dishes): Hi sweet grail!
Me: Hi Lucy
Lucy: No, I'm mama.
Me: Oh, hi mom
Lucy: Wha you fink sweet grail?

Any time I participate in responses during Mass:
Lucy (putting her hand over my mouth): ssshhhhh! WHISPERD!

Lucy (walking up and getting really close and personal with me while I was nursing Joseph): she's the biting your neck?
Me: what?
Lucy: Is she just biting your neck? 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

it's ok to want more... kids

Have I ever mentioned that I am the 5th of 8 kids? Well I am, and as a true middle child I get fairly insecure pretty fast and have a hard time not measuring myself against what others are doing. For this reason it's been especially difficult as a stay-at-home mother, with no other job, part- or full-time, to tell people that this is all I do. The fact is that nowadays, it seems really weird to tell someone that you stay at home with your children as your full time job and do nothing on the side. I feel like up until now I have always admitted it with a sort of air that indicated I would rather be doing something else, or will be pursuing something else once the kids are in school or independent to the point where I could also work on the side.

But I have a confession to make:

This is all I want to do, and as long as we can make ends meet with me not working any job other than caring for the kids, my husband, and home, this is all I want to do and all I am going to ever do.

Does this make me lazy or unmotivated? Are Mike and kids brainwashing me and suppressing all of my other, more important and vital desires? No and NO! During manageable seasons of life I really try to limit screen-time, and with homeschooling, having all 4 at home all the time is a far cry from the bonbon-eating, soap-opera-watching image of a lazy, unmotivated house wife. Yes, I have hobbies on the side, and that is super important, but those hobbies don't make me any money and I have no intention of turning them into money-makers. I've had a couple--literally, like 2--people tell me that I should sell in an etsy shop the stuff that I sew, and while I am totally flattered that they think my sewing would be buyer-worthy (I've really fooled them), I have to admit that I have absolutely no desire to do so. I have one full time job, which encompasses my husband, home, and children, and anything else would only be a distraction for me from this job.

Maybe I'm wrong-- and I really might be-- but it feels like it is way more socially acceptable, in all circles, to be a woman with other goals, desires, and hopes than just those centering around the home. In this day and age, having children seems like the thing you for this small window of time and then you move on to more important things, the things you had a desire for the entire time you were having kids, but couldn't do.

But what if this--this having kids and being a housewife thing--is the only thing I have a desire for and the only thing I want to do with my pre-menopause life? What if, for these years, I don't want more of anything except children?

Well, the conclusion that I've come to is that that is totally ok, even good, and that I shouldn't feel shame about it, and neither should you if this applies to you. Maybe we're not beyond the point where mothers who work outside the home feel at least a little insecure about it, but that situation seems much more the norm than moms who stay-at-home and do nothing else. And from my experience, it's something the working moms feel proud of. And they should! I can't imagine juggling all my home tasks and another job of any kind. A lot of moms that I know stay at home but have other work on the side that they do as well, and that is wonderful and amazing and impressive. They are helping to provide for their families because they need to--some of them would rather not be doing those other jobs, others of them need it for their sanity and are fulfilling good, God-given desires, and again that is good.

I know that I vent about the difficulties here on the blog, and they're real, but I am so grateful for so many undeserved blessings: the husband and children I've been given, the opportunity to spend so much time with them, the gift of my fertility, and the peace I feel with my life in the home (when I'm not feeling like I'm about to lose my mind).

I pray that I have many, many years left of being able to bear children, to continue to grow my family, and to raise kids who will hopefully give glory to God and one day be with Him in heaven. I do have a desire for more--more of the most difficult and grueling job I have ever had: I want more kids. I pray that it is God's will for our family to continue to grow. Otherwise, I may just find myself out of a job ;)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

it's in the bag

I hate shower games. Any time I've thrown a shower, baby or wedding, for anyone I have deliberately neglected to include games. All except for one shower game, which I played at my friend Suzy's baby shower, where you got points for the crap that's in your diaper bag- the more ridiculous, the higher the points.

And I won. Here's why:

I had a whole lot of difficultly even dumping my bag to take a photo of what was inside because of how packed it was, and I realized something about myself when I did so: I am a hoarder of diaper bag items. Be it pens or lotion bottles, chap sticks or baby hats, it's not enough for me to have just one of anything in there, there always end up being at least 2 or more of most of the stuff that is in there. Except diapers, you're lucky if you even find one.

Let's take a look, shall we?
From the top left corner:
  • nursing cover (1)
  • Mass books for kids (roughly 8)
  • chap sticks (3)
  • mini lotion bottles (2)
  • eyeliner sharpener (1)
  • tylenol (1 bottle)
  • hand sanetizer (1 bottle)
  • dramamine (1 container)
  • keys (1 set)
  • wallet (1)
  • burp cloth (1)
  • prayer books (2)
  • deoderant stick (1)
  • pens (5)
  • child undies (1 pair)
  • tissues (2 packs)
  • antibacterial hand wipes (1 pack)
  • diapers (3!!!!!)
  • baby hats (2)
  • baby outfit (1)
  • fake kids phone (1)
  • random cards for kid play (2)
  • fruit snacks (1 pack)
  • baby wipes (1 tiny bag full)
  • little mirror (1)
  • bracelet (1)
  • broach (1)
  • hair things (3)
  • piece to a broken necklace (1)
  • giant pile of trash (1)
Let's just say that if the Lily Jade giveaway was based on the number of absurd, useless things you had your bag, I would win.

I was really happy to do this post because I desperately needed to clean out my bag, which is now lacking the giant pile of trash, but I ended up putting most of the stuff listed back inthe bag because, you never know!

How about you, what absurd things are in your bag? Tell me I'm not the only one.

Linking up with Katrina and Nell for their fabulous Lily Jade giveaways!! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cabin Fever Creativity Link-Up (round 2)

2 years ago I hosted a little crafting link-up here on el bloggo, it was so fun to see how much talent so many ladies have, either in the sewing realm, or just putting really fun, nifty home decor together realm and I loved it. Therefore, because it is winter and I need something to do to brighten my days, I am doing it again. Also utilizing my very shoddy sewing abilities is something I do a lot every year around this time, because again, it is winter, it is depressing and I need something to brighten my days and starting and completing a little project, even if it is lame (it always is) and having an end result to look at just makes me happy.

Sure, you might say "Ana, couldn't cleaning your house accomplish that same thing?" To which I would respond, "yes, but it's cleaning, so no"

And you might be thinking "I make babies, that's creative enough", and i totally agree, but unfortunately that process takes significantly longer than sewing a pillow case or spray painting a table, so this is something for those in between times.

Whether it's an old post, or whether you make it into a new blog post, either way just link it up! Whether it's really awesome or really stupid (see below project) just link it up! It may be the most fabulous homemade kitchen set south of the Mississippi, or it may just be a really lame hair clip, it might be an adorable thrifted piece of wall decor that you spray painted, or might just be a stupid altered pair of jeans, or it might be super cute home made burp clothes, or simply a really quick and easy skirt alteration. Whatevaaaa!! Link it! I love it all!

Here are some of my very favs from last link-up:
Christy's adorable crocheted heart garland
Micheles wonderful "busy bag" crafts
Lisa's hilariously awesome knitted monsters (come back to blogging, Lisa!!)
Kate and her AMAZING sewing skills (she won the giveaway, I was so impressed)
Dwija and her so so SOOOO practical and crafty purse insert
Anne and her very impressive reupholstered chairs
And of course Heather and the most amazing coffee creamer snowman, which I actually won in her giveaway and she sent to  me filled with loads of candy for the girls (but I ate it all) and so many other goodies including home made play dough that we kept and played with until it molded. It was all very fun and wonderful.
That is just to name a few, go through the link list to see all the very inspiring craftiness

This time around I think  I'll just keep the link-up going throughout the month of February and maybe feature some favorites here on the blog every once and a while.

And just to further reassure you that no matter how silly or shoddy you think your project is, it's worth doing and linking up, behold a recent spur of the moment creation of mine, it should make you feel better about any and everything you've ever created:

A few years ago we bought a $30 couch and love seat set at a church rummage sale and it came with some giant ugly pillows which matched the horrible print of the couches that we promptly put slip covers on. But the pillows were too enormous and unruly to cover and use so we put them in storage and I recently found them and decided that they should be used to something. I happened to be wanting to either make or buy some sort of giant reading pillow chair things for the girls' room, so that's what I decided they would be for- here's how it went down:

I happened to have a plain white new before used twin bed sheet from the Walmart that was living under my bed, and I only needed the one twin sheet to cover all 4 pillows.

Step one: fold a bunch of fabric around 2 pillows length wise and cut it
Step 2: cut random shape (I chose heart) out of random remnant fabric and sew it anywhere on the white fabric (I tried to make it look like a heart shaped throw pillow)
Step 3: Sew down the side
Step 4: Sewed it closed on one end,
Step 5: Shove both pillows in,
Step 6: Sew a stitch between the pillows
Step 7: Sew the entire thing shut on the other end

And voila:

 Not at all Pinterest worthy, but totally functional.
This one really showcases (or pillowcases, HA!) how messed up my heart shapes turned out, but that just makes them fit in with the typically messed-up room all the more.