Seven Quick Takes- freezers of meat & paci regression


We spent last weekend driving up and back (oh, and briefly stopping in) upstate New York for my grandpa’s funeral. The trip with a 3 month and 18 month old was everything I had imagined, plus…more (unexpected traffic, more traffic, bumpy highways which= death to sleeping toddlers). We did survive and have been spending the last few days recovering and catching back up on sleep. Safe to say we may not travel up again in three weeks for Thanksgiving based on this trip…we’ll see! Either way, it was so good to see our extended family, to say goodbye to Grandpa, and to honor his life. I have ZERO pictures of the event, so there ya go.


Right before we left, Tom picked up a cow for us. Well, a cow that was. We now have a deep freezer stuffed with glorious one pound packs of grass-fed organic beef (1/4 of a cow) from a farmer in Pennsylvania. Also, 1/16 of a steer (so other cuts of meat besides ground beef). If you are wondering, like we were, how to possibly afford grass-fed/organic meat, the best way to go is buy direct from a farmer, and splitting them with other buyers. I believe our ground beef ended up being around $3.50/lb. Yep! We’re supposed to get an entire pig in January also…not sure where he’ll reside.

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We’re not even sure how many pounds of gr beef are in this freezer. I’m betting 75. We’re keeping a tally as we use the packs.


Magdalena is really into:

– talking as loudly and throatily as possible

– batting at hanging objects

-gazing adoringly at older sister (despite being smacked by the adored frequently)

– standing up on her tiny legs! I tried putting her in a Bumbo, and she wouldn’t bend, just stood right up! The same thing happens every time we try to lay her in her car seat or the lamby chair. She just really loves to be up.

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Lucy is really into:

-pacifiers. Ugh. This started about 3 weeks ago, and in true Lucy fashion, she went from total indifference to their presence (Lena’s been using them since she was 2 weeks old) to I-totally-need-this-object-or-I’ll-slowly-die! I am hoping this little phase fizzles right out quickly. Particularly because she has a nasty habit of throwing them down on whatever floor she’s standing on when she needs to drink or eat something, and then picking them right up and re-inserting. Yum.

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Unintentional paci-selfies

Unintentional paci-selfies

Ohhh, fancy focus there, Luce

Ohhh, fancy focus there, Luce

-trying to put on her socks and shoes. A very cute, but frustrating-for-her, endeavour.

-repeating everything we say, verbatim half the time. It’s achingly funny. For example:


Me: You don’t need it, you want it.

Lucy: NEED IT, AH WANT IT. Need it ah want it!


Here is both girls at 3.5-ish months. Same play mat, different countries (and Principesa Lucia had a pillow because the apartment in Rome had rather unforgiving tile floors). I still don’t think they really look that much alike…


Life has been really, really, really busy this month. I realized two days ago that I needed to come up with and produce Halloween/All Saint’s costumes for the girls. After raiding my mom’s fabric and dress up bins, I think we’ll have something (thank goodness they are too young to know/care that their costumes will be mediocre!). Stay tuned.


Umm…it appears that October is over. I’m bummed, because typically temperatures start plummeting right around Halloween. We had wanted to make a couple little day trips during October (Annapolis, Leesburg, a trail hike), but my, the month flew! And all our weekends seemed to get sucked into the void of Homeownership and Its Never-Ending To-Do List. Maybe November will be mild enough to get out once or twice, and maybe I’ll actually bake pumpkin-y things, otherwise it’s not a real fall.

Linking up with Jen et al at Conversion Diary.

In Gratitude

On Sunday evening, the world lost a great, great man. My grandfather, Warren Greenwood Smith (how’s that for a name!), passed away peacefully at 91, surrounded by family. As I was growing up and beginning to be cognizant of things like mortality, I realized that soon enough,  I would lose one of my four grandparents who were all living still. I thought particularly about how I would feel when it happened, but the reality is pretty far from my dramatic high school fantasies. What I feel most is gratitude; Grandpa’s life gave so very much to all who were lucky enough to know him and even luckier to be loved by him.

Grandpa, thank you for being so open to life: 11 kids, 22 grandkids, and (for now) 11 great-grandkids.

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Thank you for being ever child-like, sharing authentic joy with us as children in simple things like home-made Olympic challenges in the yard, eating breakfast in the sugar shack cooked on the wood stove, and tractor rides around the fields.

Thank you for building your retirement home from scratch in your 60s, so your kids and grandkids could live the dream, exploring your 24 acres in the Finger Lakes, tapping maple syrup in the winters, swimming in the pond in the summers, camping under the stars, sledding, campfires, forest scavenger hunts, and more.

Thank you for showing us that each of us mattered to you, even though there were so many of us. For all the musicals you drove down to see, the soccer and lacrosse games you watched, and the utter joy you took in each tiny new life to join our family.











Thank you for being an adventurer, for traveling the world with my family: 3 weeks in Italy and 2 in Ireland, plus the many, many trips you took with Nanny. Your meticulous records could be made into a travel guide.

Thank you for being a romantic: for swing dancing with your wife — even at my wedding, at 89! For not being afraid to ask out a girl with a ring already on her finger, and for showing us all how much you loved Nanny in words and actions.






Thank you for everything you made with your hands, the countless hours you worked to support your family, all the moments you forged on ahead through difficulties with your characteristic stoic strength. Thank you for serving your country, your family, your God. You are a class act, a true gentleman, and the most loving of souls. You will be greatly missed.

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May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

A Day in the Life

More to commemorate this unique time of life with two under two, I hereby record the minutiae of one of our days. It’s very long. Feel free to skip away…

October 8, 2014

6:15 AM- Tom’s alarm goes off and he gets up. Right away! At the same time, I hear Lucy getting up, and hope she just goes back to sleep for a bit. I wouldn’t know because I fall back asleep nursing the baby. (EDIT: Tom informed me when he came home that he was able to rock her back to sleep until after he had showered and dress. Win!)

7:08- Tom comes in with Lucy and her bottle of milk. She plops onto the pillow beside me and crows, “HI LENA!!” which obviously wakes her up. I try to sleep but both girls are awake so that’s no longer an option.

7:19- Daddy gets picked up by his carpool and we hear them drive away. So it begins!

7:28- Heave myself out of bed, followed by Lucy. Magdalena converses with the ceiling.

7:35- We all head downstairs. I start my coffee (“fawfee!!”) in the Keurig and put some oatmeal in the microwave for Lucy and I.

7:40- I walk back to the dining room and discover this:

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7:50- After ousting Lucy from it, I place Maggie into the rock-n-play so we can eat. She fusses, and I give her a paci. She starts to fall asleep in the chair. Amazing! This only happens every so often, but it’s super helpful.


8:00- I think that maybe Lucy needs to use the potty. So we go up to her potty and she basically sits there and talks about her books that are there for her light bathroom reading. Nothing happens in potty. I change and dress her.

8:20- I hear Magdalena fussing, but give her back her paci and she falls back to sleep. I’m having really good luck today. I put a load of cloth diapers in the laundry.

8:30- Lucy and I start the sourdough bread, mixing flour, water, and the starter together. Lucy “helps”/reaches her hand in and eats the dough. “Eat it ah mouf!” she yells, as I take her off the counter and wash her hands. That (hand washing) is also a favorite, as she watches “bahboes” go down the sink and flings water everywhere.

8:45- I need to seize the sleeping-Lena moment, so I go up to shower and dress. Lucy plays upstairs. Baby’s still sleeping so I actually get to dry my hair and apply concealer to my raccoon eyes. I feel remarkably human.

9:00- Magdalena wakes up for real this time, and I nurse her in the family room. I attempt to read emails on the iPad but Lucy violently absconds it and tortures us with the digital music death of her “Baby Piano” app. I make note to delete app ASAP. The baby’s fed and happy, so I change her too.

9:30- Start getting everyone ready to go to the store and pick up our raw milk.

9:55- Finally load everyone and everything into car.

9:58- Smell a poopy diaper. Lucy vehemently denies it to be hers, but I know better. I am NOT taking her and the baby back in, so I change her in the front seat. She is afraid of falling off and cries, “Chair too small!!” Which it is, but we make it.

10:08- Pull out of the driveway and head to Aldi’s. Lena falls asleep. Get there around 10:30, and extract my cart with a quarter. Lucy rides up front, and Lena stays asleep, so I put her seat in the back. We get what we need (yogurt, butter, fruit, sugary cereal for Daddy, etc) and what we want (a large clock for the family room wall) and pay.

11:00- drive over to the house where we pick up raw milk. Get our gallon and a half. Lucy starts to fall asleep on the way home, because the sun is in her eyes (“SUNEYES, SUNEYES!!”). I talk very loudly in an attempt to keep her awake. We sing “Happy Birthday” in honor of cousin Nathaniel’s 4th birthday. Magdalena is awake and NOT happy.

11:38- Finally home, and the mad rush to unload all groceries, comfort screaming baby, and feed hungry toddler begins. I quickly heat leftovers for us while holding (still very unhappy) Lena, and then nurse her while feeding Lucy.


“Felf!” meaning, “Please let me feed myself, or really, just fling mac n cheese all over the dining room while laughing at these eating implements adults think are so necessary.”

Fed and much happier now

Fed and much happier now

12:10- Give Lucy her bottle of milk and plop her in bed.

12:25- I eat my lunch, while nursing Magdalena again. I hear Lucy talking/singing/banging around her crib for a while.

12:35- She’s finally out.

12:45- So is Magdalena. I let her nurse while she goes into a deeper sleep, and check email, read the daily readings and meditation c/o Blessed is She, catch up on blogs, and Facebook in the meantime.

1:20- Put her down and then survey this:


as well as the non-photographed craziness in the kitchen. So, I sweep, do the dishes, switch the laundry, knead the risen sourdough, and mop the stairs/family room. Feel like super woman.

2:10- Baby’s awake. I nurse her again and read for a bit.

2:45- I hear Lucy playing in her crib quietly. I’m amazed and wait to see how long she’ll stay there.

3:00- Go up to get Lucy out, and she’s in a good mood. Change her diaper and take her down. I try to get some good pictures of the girls in their matching onesies…


Sorry, Magdalena. One day you will laugh at this picture.

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3:15- I put on some music and try to get Lucy to dance. After three or four cursory bobs up and down, she moves on to her favorite pastime (destroying my iPad).

3:30- The natives are getting restless. I get Lucy a snack (a banana and homemade sourdough crackers, made with bacon fat). I also eat about ten, or maybe twenty, myself. What? Proper fat intake is essential to staying alive during these crazy days.

3:40- We decide to go for a walk to the park. Magdalena in the Ergo (where she promptly falls asleep) and Lucy in the stroller. There are a couple kids at the park, all with nannies. We play for 15 minutes or so before Magdalena wakes up and we start back.


Someone’s having way too much fun.

4:35- We’re home. Water is administered.

4:45- Daddy’s home!!! Lucy rejoices– her social circle has widened from boring Mom+Lena.

5:15- I get dinner ready while Tom holds the baby. Then we trade off, since she needs to nurse.

5:35- We eat our veggie and pesto pasta, with Magdalena looking on from her rock-n-play.

6:00- Tom takes Lucy outside to work on the garden beds, which involves a lot of flinging dirt everywhere, mostly all over herself. I nurse the baby/read. She falls asleep.

6:45- Lucy comes in and gets a much needed bath, but the soil won’t come off her scalp completely. Dirty kid. She gets her milk and chills on the couch. We say bedtime prayers and she’s in bed by 7:10. I had put the baby down before her bath, and she’s still out. I do the dishes while Tom gets work done. I shape the sourdough into loaves and leave it in loaf pans for the final rise.

7:50- I get out the door to confession at a local church. There’s also Eucharistic Adoration so that’s an added bonus.

8:30- Home. I put the loaves in the oven. We read aloud for a little while, but I’m dropping off. By 9:30, I’m dozing, so we go to bed (after taking the bread out of the oven, of course). I know…how exciting are we?! But we’d been going to bed too late for awhile, so I guess we needed it.

And there you have it. A fairly typical day in our life right now! Congratulations if you made it until the end! 🙂

Photos of Late

I’m currently writing up Magdalena’s birth story in glorious 5 minute spurts, so you can expect the finished product in about 20 years. Meanwhile, feast thine eyes:


My parents hosted three of the four grandkids for an overnight sleepover a few weekends ago. 3 kids under 4– good times were had by all (especially by the parents, who got to sleep in that morning!).


She does love him…




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P.S.: I’m slowly (do you sense a theme here??) improving the look of the blog. My lovely new header was created by Bernadette Meyer of Meyer Market Designs. I love it! Check out her Etsy shop for lots of cool printables. My best friend gave us some sweet new address labels as a moving gift and they are perfect.