Thawing Out, Stockpiling, and Getting Organized for Baby! (SQT)

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After an epic trip to BJs on Monday, where we discovered that a plow had dug out a lane and a half and zero parking spaces, and almost two hours and two cart-loads of groceries later, we are more or less ready and stocked up for the next month or so and the arrival of baby. It looks like the weather for the next two weeks is going to be a bit warmer and less dramatic, though the actual due date is the only one calling for the possibility of snow. Go figure. I’m hoping we’ll go just slightly earlier than DD, though. Lucy was born at just shy of 38 weeks, which is tomorrow for me so we’ll see what happens!

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For my birthday, Tom got me this e-course to help us both organize and streamline our mornings, since that time of day seems to be the most intense/chaotic. Neither one of us is a morning person and struggles with the whole waking up process while both offspring have so many needs (all of which seem to be direly urgent) immediately upon waking.

 

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An atypical morning moment!

 

So it’s been a helpful tool for us to figure out what we can do the night before, or just ahead of time, in general, to make it less crazy, and prioritize important tasks. For me, that’s basically get the girls fed (which is always such a long and often tear-filled process), hopefully, get me fed and eventually caffeinated mid-morning, and get the girls changed and dressed. Since our mornings revolve around food, I’ve been attempting to make pre-made breakfasts that take a really short amount of time to actually toss at the ravenous beasts serve in the mornings:

Now we’ll just see what happens when we throw a little newborn nursling into the mix! Either way, getting more intentional and organized can’t hurt.

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Part of getting ourselves more organized and on the same page has been using a handy little list-making app called Todoist. The free version is awesome and allows Tom and me to share chore lists, shopping lists, home projects, and various and sundry little things we need to get done. I like that you can make everyday tasks recurring and it feels really good to be able to swipe away the tasks as you complete them, even if you are doing a variation of the same dang things every day. It also eliminates the need to remind/nag each other to do certain things around the house, since you can assign tasks to each other and the app reminds for you!  Highly recommend if you are list-loving choleric.

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We just finished Poldark and enjoyed it, despite its tendency to the unbelievable and dramatic plot-lines. But the scenery was stunning and the acting and dialogue pretty good. What can we binge on next? I need some ideas for the stuck-on-the-couch/bed and up-at-crazy-hours postpartum phase!

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Experience is the best teacher ever, especially when it comes to birth, breastfeeding, and what stuff I really need postpartum. I still cringe a little inside when I remember how terrible breastfeeding Lucy was and how ill-prepared we were for just everything.  

My plan this time is to stay in bed for a week while Tom is off, so that when he goes back I’ll be as rested and recovered as possible. This will be very, very hard for me as I hate sitting still and letting people take care of me, and will want to “just” throw in a load of laundry or help with “little things” here and there. All I am letting myself do is nurse, drink copious fluids, read/watch Netflix, change diapers, and… at least, I can fold all the clothes sitting in bed! To this end, we’re about to fill all the landfills as we only eat off of paper/plastic, our floors might not get swept or vacuumed, and the clutter might get overwhelming. But, at least, we’re mentally and (mostly) physically prepared this time, so it’s gonna be ok! (This article, while a little off the crunchy deep-end even for me, made some great points and suggestions).

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Links!

“12 Things St. Zelie Martin Taught Me About Sainthood as a Mother”

My sister-in-law/mom-in-the-trenches with me sent me this great article highlighting St. Zelie Martin’s path to sainthood through her motherhood. I guarantee you it will make you breathe a sigh of relief as you realize saints had crazy days and toddlers who threw themselves on the floor and screamed repeatedly.

Farmer Boy and the Value of Handing Down Stories

S0 important for us to hear about the past and how our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, grew up! My Nonna will tell you stories of her childhood in Italy and her early years as an immigrant mom in the US until she’s blue in the face. It’s so good. We recently read an interview with a woman who’s almost 100, who basically came to our neighborhood when it was first built in the 1940s. My word, it was fascinating to read about how very, very different life was such a short time ago and how the neighborhood has changed immensely! I wish they’d bring back the neighborhood groceries, the milk-man, and the drive-in movie theatre just down the street!! Anyway, the collective memory is important to preserve. I would have known nothing of our local history before reading her interview.

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Photos!

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With her beloved paci, may it rest in peace. She bit the top of the nipple clean off. She’s now borrowing the Wubbanub set aside for the baby until we can get to Target. Her love for paci is a force to be reckoned with.

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Snow day fun with all the cousins (so far!)

 

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Unintentional Montessori win. She spent a good 25 minutes scrubbing down her little table and chairs to get the stamp-pad ink off, and loved it so much that I had her get all the coffee splatters off the cabinets. Next up, tile grout.

Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes!

 

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Blizzard Survival

It’s finally done blizzard-ing here, so after about 32 straight hours of snow from Friday through Saturday, we’re starting to get sort of dug out. We haven’t lost power (yet…) so we’ve had lots of time to read…

and play, and fort-build…

And read about what to do should I go into labor while we have 2 feet of snow on the roads and more like 4 in the drifts around the curbs and streets.  I hit 37 weeks today, so I think we’re in pretty good shape…just praying that baby comes in between snow storms.

We’re also running out of groceries, so…we’ll be sending Daddy out and hope he can make it out of the neighborhood roads (which are apparently still in bad shape).

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The walls of snow at the bottom of the driveway are even higher…

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Hope anyone in the wake of Jonas is doing well and if you’re in a different climate, then, we wish we were there!!

2016 Reading List

2016 Reading List

I’m kind of excited to have a list already laid out for myself so that when I finish one book I won’t go for days and weeks wondering, “Ugh, what can I read next?!” as I typically do. Now it’s all here and hopefully, I can get it all done!

Book Club:

Postpartum/Other Fiction:

(Mostly lighter stuff that I can read while nursing, and some I may listen to on Librivox).

Fiction Read-Alouds with Tom:

As you can tell, I really love Greene and am super excited to reread these with Tom (who hasn’t read them yet).

Spiritual:

Non-Fiction:

What are you reading this year? I’m always up for recommendations!

(Disclosure: the links here are affiliate, meaning if you click through them and purchase anything on Amazon, I will get a couple cents at no charge to you!)

What I Read in 2015

What I Read in 2015

One thing I measurably improved upon this past year was starting and finishing more books. The key, for me, was balancing non-fiction with fiction: too much non-fiction, and I’d never finish what I started, leading to a pile of good but not necessarily page-turning works. Great fiction, though, helps me relax, escape life a bit (which is always nice at this stage of things!) and actually finish something for once. Oh, and joining an amazing book club has been immensely helpful, too!

Here’s what I read over the year, and my favorites are below! Many of the books I reviewed in more detail in previous posts here. 

Fiction:

The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

China Court by Rumer Godden

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

The Greengage Summer by Rummer Godden

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers

Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather

Ida Elisabeth by Sigrid Undset

The Professor’s House by Willa Cather

Ward No. 6 by Anton Chekhov

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki

In This House of Brede (read-aloud with Tom, third re-read for me) by Rumer Godden

Anne of the Island (multiple re-read aka comfort food) by L.M. Montgomery

Non-Fiction:

Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer

Stars, Stripes, and Edelweiss by Mark and Niki Kalpakgian

Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years by Elizabeth Hainstock

Seven Revolutions by Mike Aquilina (still unfinished)

Catherine of Siena (read-aloud with Tom, still unfinished) by Sigrid Undset

Holiness for Housewives by Hubert van Zeller

My Top Picks:

This is tough. I can easily spot the clear and absolute losers (ahem, Winter’s Tale, ughhhh– full scathing review here). Since Tom and I just wrapped up Brede together, it’s fresh in my mind, and my word, it is so, so good (Tom fully agrees). This is my third time through it, but I haven’t read it since early college, so it was both a comfort read as well as having all sorts of surprising things jump out at me this time around. Godden is just such a fantastic fiction writer, and clearly when I like an author I tend to go on a bit of spree!

My other top fiction would probably be Hannah Coulter (see here), Shadows on the Rock, and China Court (see here).

For non-fiction, I tore through Pioneer Girl and highly recommend (here). Holiness for Housewives was excellent spiritual refreshment, and while the name sounds kind of stodgy and old-school, I think it’s actually sound advice for absolutely anyone (man or woman) who lives an active life (i.e. not living in a monastery or cloister with the job of praying all day). I’ll be re-reading it this Lent and hopefully putting it more into practice!

 I’m planning to put up my list of books to be read in 2016…a little scary since I don’t like to fail publicly, and I may not have quite as much reading time/ability to stay awake with 3 babies, but still! I love to see other people’s lists so I will get mine up soon!

(Disclosure: the links here are affiliate, meaning if you click through them and purchase anything on Amazon, I will get a couple cents at no charge to you!)

Tis the Season!

Merry Christmas! We’ve had a really cozy and relaxed past 2 weeks here, which was sorely needed, since Tom’s last week of school involved mostly 16 hour work days. So it’s been a good thing he gets a long break as the girls were beginning to wonder if they had a dad anymore (Lena had sweet, heartbreaking episodes every night around 5, when she would point at the door asking, “Daddy? Daddy???”).  IMG_0154

I’ve been mostly catching up on sleep and getting super spoiled with Tom home and doing lots of the daily stuff/child-wrangling so I don’t have to.

It’s also been really fun to have our first family Christmas here, complete with a real tree (for the first time) which obviously only has decorations on the upper third, and is consistently ringed by a thick blanket of pine needles, compliments of two enthusiastic branch-shakers.

 

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Our weather has been absolutely wonky– almost 2 straight weeks of rain and wetness, with Christmas Eve and Day presenting themselves as sticky, humid, 70 degree days. Still had to dress the girls in their winter Christmas dresses, and Tom tried to get some decent shots of them before we headed to 5:00 Christmas Eve mass.

We went to our old parish, where we got married and Lucy was baptized and it was beautiful…and our toddlers were actually quieter than the 20-something guys behind us. We then found one of the very few restaurants open on Christmas Eve to finish up our night.

Christmas morning was slow and relaxed, thankfully, and our presents only took about 20 minutes which left us plenty of time for mimosas, bacon, and cinnamon rolls. Lucy claimed everything for herself (of course) and Lena mostly enjoyed trying to unwrap the paper and climb into the doll cradle that used to be mine, dug out of my parents’ attic for Christmas. The real party went down at my parents’ later that day, where it was all food, people, kids, and flying wrapping paper as the little ones opened enormous piles of gifts. A merry day, indeed!

On the baby front, I’m at 34 weeks now and tis the season for heating pads, restless nights, jabbing baby limbs, and me feeling like an arthritic old lady. I don’t feel like I’ll make it to 40 weeks most days, but the baby might not necessarily feel that way, so we’ll see. Part of me wants an earlier delivery, while the other half of me realizes the baby inside is way easier than outside.

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My counter spread with everything to make a few slow cooker freezer meals so we don’t starve in the first couple weeks postpartum. It was a good use of a couple kid-free hours!

And, since I am now finishing this about 5 days after starting it, Happy New Year to you all! We can’t wait to see what 2016 brings us (other than a brand new family member!)!