End of Summer Quick Takes

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Wow, I really lost my blogging mojo for, oh, about a month there. Oops! In my defense, that month contained:

  • Tom’s last week of the grad school semester
  • Our 4th anniversary
  • A big road trip up to Vermont with my parents and the girls, for a week-long Smith fam reunion
  • Recovery from said trip
  • A crazy hot heat wave
  • Potty training Lucy
  • Somewhat-sleep training Maeve
  • Selling our Pilot, buying an Odyssey
  • Staycation adventures with Tom during his time before school starts
  • Home projects, trying to keep the house clean, actual cooking now that my sous-chef/child-wrangler is home in the evenings again!

So not much time left for tapping out updates or thoughts or book reviews or anything of that sort. But a good, full, stretching-ourselves-in-a-good-way type of busy!

 

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Fuzzy, cheese-y mornings #allthejammies #allthechins

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I’m starting to plan out what I hope our fall “routines” and daily “schedule” will look like (fully realizing that both terms are used very loosely!). But Lucy definitely needs a little more structure to her day to avoid boredom and serious acting out/torturing sisters/destroying property. I realize now why people send off 3-5 year olds to preschools. So we’re just going to improvise here at home.

She loves all kinds of fine-motor and crafty type activities, so I just got  this book for us, and will eventually stock up on the very basics: glue, safety scissors, good quality watercolors, finger paints, homemade play dough, etc, to make it happen. I am woefully un-crafty, but I think I can handle this level, where the kids don’t really care what it is, so much that it is. Art/fine-motor– check!

This adorable book will be fun to go through with the girls, and Tom takes them to local nature centers several times a month. Nature study/science– check!

Lucy also really likes alphabet-related activities so I may start doing some of these with her. Pre-reading/religion– check!

We dug up some old-school Wee Sing books from my parents’ (i.e. from my childhood) and Lena and Lucy both LOVE going through and singing the songs and doing the finger plays. We’re compiling a classical faves playlist and Lucy likes to listen to it for the approx 3 minutes she lays on the couch for quiet time, if she isn’t listening to audio books.  Music– check!

Any ideas for good quality children’s lives of the saints and Bible stories? I’m looking for something with good prose and beautiful illustrations to read aloud to the girls every day (no dumbed down text and no ugly cartoons!). Help!

We’ll continue, as always, to read a plethora of books, and Lucy will probably be happy to take on some more memory work from Children’s Garden of Verses (we have this one, and it’s beautiful), Mother Goose (we have this one which I loved as a kid), and The Harp and Laurel Wreath.

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Perhaps we’re being overly optimistic, but starting Sunday we’re going through 30 Days Grain Free.  I did a zero-grain protocol for about 3 months 5 years ago, and it did wonders for my health, so I’m hoping for similar results, as well as building better snacking habits. Tom’s also going to be starting this, kind of in tandem, so…yeah…pray for us!

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I just signed up for the Mid-Atlantic Catholic Women’s Blogging Network Conference. I loved it last year, and can’t wait to get out to beautiful Front Royal for this year’s! Definitely check it out if you’re a local blogger.

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Links!

The Weeds and Wheat in Children’s Literature

Yes, yes, yes! I always hated hearing, “But at least they’re reading!” as a teacher when the content was absolute drivel!!

I instantly knew which school the author here was referring to– my dear husband’s alma mater! He always lamented about the phenomenon she’s talking about, and it happened with fair regularity at my alma mater as well.

I’m curious about whether or not the upcoming Netflix original about the current royal family, The Crown, will be any good. I like Clare Foy from Little Dorrit and several other BBC things, so we shall see!

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Photos!

 

 

Lena's baptism day celebration

Lena’s baptism day celebration

A series of selfies and shots that the girls are constantly taking on my pilfered phone…

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And this cutie just turned SIX MONTHS … and is CRAWLING all over!

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Have a fun weekend and stay cool!

Linking up with Kelly!

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Weekend Links/SQT

Well, happy weekend! I need to express that it’s been absurdly hot and humid and at this moment a really intense cloudburst is dumping sheets of rain, while the sky just a few houses over is bright and blue. Summer weather at its weirdest. However, 3 out of the 5 family members are napping (two of whom are Lucy! and Maeve!) so Lena is staring at the rain/trying to catch a dying fly on the window, so it’s a good time to do a really quick Quick Takes post.

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You watch the Great British Bake Off (or Great British Baking Show for us Americans), right?! WHO KNEW that a show about amateur bakers could be so fascinating? But between the pastel baking stations, the British flag bunting adorning the white competition tent, and the little black lambs bleating in the scene transitions, it’s beautiful. Then, there are the contestants, whom you grow to know and root for (or against) as the season goes on,  the quirky hosts, and the wonderfully British judges who provide the most quotable food critiques imaginable. It’s just pure fun. Plus, of course, the “bakes” all look amazing. This article at The Kitchn is helpful to understand some of the baking terms that are just so foreign to us, though it doesn’t explain the obscure British  cultural references that we have to look up throughout watching (like “Tatty byes!“). Tom and I love to watch this at the end of stressful, busy days when drama/anything heavy is just too much.

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I was inspired by Deirdre to actually address my rather persistent diastasis recti since the whole doing-nothing-about-it approach was proving futile. I bought the Mutu System this week on the day it was 45% off, which makes it cheaper than a pair of new running shoes or high-end yoga pants (so definitely worth it, for the ease of having it totally guided). I’m looking forward to actually starting it…probably next week? We’ll see. The nice thing is that I now have permanent access to the program and can start it when Tom’s schedule is a little lighter.

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My parents saved my childhood dollhouse, and we’ve talked about sprucing it up in time to give it to the girls at Christmas. I may be slightly optimistic, but how fun and beautiful is this dollhouse remodel?!

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One of the (ongoing) travails of my daily life is Maeve+sleeping. As in, there’s not much of it and it’s hard-won. Por ejemplo, last night, she woke at 9:30 for what I thought would be a typical “first wake” of the night from which she’d nurse quickly back to sleep (as she usually does). But this time, she did not. She did not want to nurse, at all, ever, no, no, no. Didn’t want to be rocked. Didn’t want to cry herself to sleep. I’m still not sure what it was she needed/wanted, other than to be UP and AWAKE and SOCIAL! So finally, when the crying herself to sleep was also a bust and keeping us from sleep too, she acquiesced to nursing in a rocking chair and passed out. At 12:30 AM. Yeah.

Now I’m thinking we’ll have to really buckle down and help her learn to fall asleep on her own, especially for naps, because I just won’t have another Lucy-type sleeper!! Hannah mentioned this site and I’m really finding it helpful since she takes all the baby sleep research and books and distills it into short, practical, helpful posts. So we’ve dug up the infant swing and trying to get her to fall asleep in it, since the other day she ended up finally falling asleep at my mom’s in the outdoor baby swing (granted it was 103º out and crazy humid) when nothing else had worked. So far, she has fallen asleep for two naps today in her swing with just minor struggle, but it’s a little battery-operated one so she wakes up as soon as it stops swinging. Ha, well, it’s a start.

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I’ve been really into gazing at Carl Larsson’s paintings lately. He and his wife Karin, were both artists and raised 8 children together in this totally idyllic and beautiful Norwegian country cottage. I want all their textiles, art, furniture, etc!! Here are paintings of his lovely, cozy bedrooms.

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And some photos from Tom’s phone, from the last few weeks months! (He often forgets to open his Amazon Prime Photo app, and thus I never see the treasure trove of snaps from his perspective).

Such as...this one from Mother's Day!

Such as…this one from Mother’s Day!

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Girls in Rompers

Me in a pic?! Wonder of wonders.

Me in a pic?! Wonder of wonders.

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Father-Daughter Selfie time at the winery

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Tom took the girls to the hardware store and Lena freaked herself out when she almost knocked some screens over.Tears.

Tom took the girls to the hardware store and Lena freaked herself out when she almost knocked some screens over. Tears.

Big sis entertainment to the rescue!

Big sis entertainment to the rescue!

Lucy's baptism day celebration on the Nativity of John the Baptist, with the traditional pazookie + baptismal candle

Lucy’s baptism day celebration on the Nativity of John the Baptist, with the traditional pazookie + baptismal candle

Morning, sunshine!

Morning, sunshine!

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That’s all I got. Go see Kelly for more Quick Takes!