Pulse Check (we are alive!)

Wow, it’s been a long blog silence this time around. Thank goodness I finally got a minute to do my book review for the Kalpakgians’ book, which gave me a little kick in the pants to get back on here. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything about which to write, it’s just that my brain has melted into an incoherent puddle of mush every night, and every afternoon that the girls are simultaneously napping, leaving only enough energy to lie on the couch and scroll through Facebook feeds filled with all the depressing news. If only my housework were less neglected than the blog, but alas…

Anyway, some of the reasons for this recent lethargy are starting to lift, like the fact that Lena now sleeps through the night. Her definition of night, however, is of the non-conformist variety (7:30 PM- 5:15/20 AM. No one else here has the desire to get up any earlier than say, 7). She’s the hangriest person I think I have ever met…her new nickname is Low-Blood-Sugar Lena. I mean seriously, she wakes up screaming, and won’t stop till she has downed a small bowl of blueberries, two sausage patties, and either a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal. And that’s just First Breakfast for our little hobbit.

Here I had to bring her booster chair into the kitchen with me and feed her part of the dinner while I finished the rest. She's reaching for more, of course.

Here I had to bring her booster chair into the kitchen with me and feed her part of the dinner while I finished the rest. She’s reaching for more, of course.

Eating bean burritos is serious business.

Eating bean burritos is serious business.


At dinner, she often out-eats even Tom and I (and always Lucy). The girl is crazy. But you know what, at least she’s sleeping all night. Only took a few screaming episodes (and honestly, she would scream even if we were holding/rocking/nursing her, so it was just the way she needed to learn to fall asleep. In case any attachment parenting police stumble upon this blog and felt a little queasy reading that sentence). And the upside to her early as heck rising? She now takes her morning nap and a good afternoon one too. Cue angels singing.


Oh, right, we have another kid too. I better include a picture of her!

Oh, right, we have another kid too. I better include a picture of her!

Tom is also now finally, finally on vacation, as of the last week of July. It’s been so spoiling to have an extra adult in the house all the time, because I can take NAPS, and he’s getting tons of house projects done that he never has time for during the school year. We’re scheduling the re-painting of our dining room and our master BR at long last, and we finally, finally got NEW CURTAINS for both rooms. Do you remember the paint colors and the “custom” curtains, both hideous and heinous? Here:


This is my only “before” picture, which is actually a “during”…see Tom’s elbow right there……….^ He was hanging our new curtains. Anyway. Those who-knows-what-color curtains, with a papyrus-y texture are finally gone. Their counter parts in our bedroom will be shortly, and I will post the official after pictures here after we’ve got the new paint. But here are the colors we chose, just to give you a little taste:

Not our dining room…but the same paint– Wythe Blue by Benjamin Moore.

And one more. We kind of love it and can’t wait to have it up.

The bedroom will be Pale Smoke by Benjamin Moore. (Our room will have a lot more color than this one and so things won’t look quite so washed-out)

So, a great improvement, no?
We also celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a really nice afternoon and evening out. We ended it by stopping by for a quick visit to the church where we got married, and it turned out they had Mass starting in 5 minutes, so that was a serendipitous moment.
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How beautiful is this church?!! We do miss being parishioners so.
Hopefully, I will be back soon with more of our recent pictures, news, stories, links to share, etc. Now I need to go make more coffee (by the by, we got an Aeropress after some intense debate on Facebook re: the best method for brewing single-cup coffee. I’m reallllllly loving the Aeropress, and it also means we’re steaming our milk every time. We’re so fancy).

The Sacred and Profane

The true, the good, and the beautiful. Here we go!

(A Five Favorites post).


I have been reading all the buzz around the internet about Leila Lawler’s new book, The Little Oratory. The drawings were done by her daughter and our friend Deirdre, whose husband worked at Tom’s school. We finally ordered the book a few weeks ago, and it’s lovely. It also came at the perfect time, since we are starting fresh with planning out the layout of our new home, and now we’re really excited to include our own little oratory in the family room. The authors give a good overview of the liturgical life of the Church and then break it down into practical and do-able tips for incorporating that into family life. Highly recommend!


Tom got me this book for Mother’s Day, which has been perfect for the mornings (uh..every one) when I only have a minute or two to reflect. I love the format: a quote or small meditation from a saint, a short prayer, and an idea for a concrete action for the day.


Ok, here comes the frivolity. This sea salt spray looks awesome! I’m not in love with the price tag, but still. We’ve come to the conclusion that the only possible time for me to shower this coming year is at night, so this stuff will probably help if I can spray it in at night and throw my hair up.


And for some dorky home organization: I found that by using the Preview program on the Mac, I can take the pictures of our future kitchen and pre-organize where every single thing will go. Slightly neurotic, slightly amazing. I just click a text box over the area I want to label, and voila! I now have every drawer, cabinet, and shelf space labeled so that when we move in, we (and our pack of amazing helpers, whoever they may be), will know exactly where everything goes. And then we won’t have to guess for the first 4 weeks we live there.

kitchen front

Just a peek at my craziness


I also got much of my inspiration for good kitchen flow/organization from iHeart Organizing blog, which also has tons of other home inspiration and DIY ideas.


And this one isn’t really a favorite so much as a request: what are the best (free, of course) contraction timer apps out there?? There are so many to choose from, so suggestions would be welcomed! I just want to be prepared (unlike last time, which was before I had any sort of portable smart device, and instead tried to time contractions on a website while lugging my MacBook. Guess how that went). We hit the 37 week mark yesterday, AKA: full-term, sapping energy, and tons o’ muscle aches. BUT, we’re trying to make sure baby doesn’t even think about coming until June 27, which is when Tom has two weeks off between summer camps. Timing is everything, tiny bebe, so get it right. 🙂



The New Abode

Now that we are officially homeowners (still so strange!!), the real excitement begins: decorating and making the house a home with our own flavor. We have about two months until move-in, so that we can adjust to life with two under two while still under my ever-helpful parents’ roof. In the meantime, I’m starting to get crazy with Pinterest, Craigslist and a bunch of design websites, like Apartment Therapy and Design Sponge. The house is, thankfully, in almost move-in ready condition, we just have a few minor safety concerns to fix up, and a few walls to paint, and the rest will be all the fun and games of arranging furniture and making it cozy.

Behold, our new dwelling!

Raised beds, ready to go!

Raised beds, ready to go!

kitchen back

Tiny kitchen, but it’s all very nicely updated so we’ll survive 🙂


See what I mean about walls to paint? This gaudy blue is in the dining room, the hall bath, AND the master bedroom! And it sucks up all the gorgeous light from the many windows.


Big great room/living room


…with the most odd fireplace ever. We’re going to paint it white and install some kind of cover or bookshelf in front, because the pointy copper cover is riiiight at toddler-head level.

Big ol' backyard

Big ol’ backyard– hopefully future home to all the crunchy things– chickens, bees, more garden beds… 🙂

And then the upstairs is comprised of three bedrooms and a bathroom. Simple, small, and perfect for a starter home, we say. And providentially, I happened to meet a bunch of women last month at a discussion group who all live in this neighborhood, within blocks of us. They go to the church nearby, have bunches of children, and have tons of connections with us since the Northern VA Catholic world is small. It never ceases to amaze me! We’re excited to finally live in a real neighborhood, especially since this house is on a nice, safe, cul-de-sac.

St. Joseph really delivered on this one! Can’t wait to share after pictures once we’ve moved in, unpacked a little, and inserted a few more pieces of furniture (when you double your square footage, your seemingly large pile of possessions suddenly looks…sparse). Now I’m off to continue stalking Craigslist for the perfect end tables…

Five Favorites

1. SNOW DAYS. Days!! Who saw those coming?! Maybe the weather forecasters, but they are rarely to be trusted, plus I live in a bubble/never see or hear the news sooo, yay! When you’re married to a teacher, snow days are possibly even better than scheduled vacation time, because surprise factor! Plus these came on the heels of the weekend, which made for a very spoiled mom and baby. We slept in (as far as that’s possible with a Lucy in the house), made fancy coffee in the morning, and got caught up on a few projects. Best of all, I didn’t have to struggle to the death to get Lucy to nap. Dad’s the nap-master around here. We haven’t figured out why I suck at getting her to nap, so I try not to mind (HA!) and mostly go through my days with a zombie baby who sleeps for 30 minutes max at a time. In my arms. Only. People tell me this gets better with age. Let’s hope. Let’s hope.

2. Lucy’s new chair! Talk about snazzy!!

Lucy baptizes her new chair with berry pancakes

Lucy baptizes her new chair with berry pancakes


We had been using a weird contraption consisting of a kitchen chair and her Bumbo seat as a high chair, and it wasn’t working out. Not to mention, she has completely figured out how to get her whole body out of the Bumbo. We knew the time was right when my mom called yesterday to say the chair had arrived, and at that very moment Lucy was twisting her chunky body out of the seat. My parents generously gave her this Keekaroo high chair for Christmas, and it’s beautiful! The wood is solid and smooth and all the parts work great. Plus, it’s one  of those chairs that grows with the kids. Supposedly it can hold a 250 lb. person. Tom and I will sit on it together and let you know if that holds true.

3. OUR new chair! We have been on the lookout for a chair to add to our living room, considering the fact that exactly 2.5 people can be seated comfortably on the couch. We really wanted a classic wing-back recliner, but evidently we either have our standards set too high, or all the wing-back chair owners are happily sitting in theirs and refuse to put them up on Craigslist. So on the way home from my parents yesterday, we stopped at Home Goods and found this little gem:

Ignore the unsightly ironing board. Salvation Army is going to take it off our hands tomorrow!

Ignore the unsightly ironing board. Salvation Army is going to take it off our hands tomorrow!

No, it’s no wing-back, but we both really liked the pattern and style, and it was on sale. We still have a ways to go in the whole getting our place to look put together department, but as I said, we’re picky. And we’re very, very slow. I’m pretty sure home decorating and furniture shopping is a full-time job. So, we’re still searching hard for a secretary desk, which the clutter in our apartment needs badly. One of these days…

4. Wintry Blend Coffee from Trader Joe’s. I’m usually a coffee snob and hate flavored coffee, but this isn’t so much flavored as spiced, with amazing things that truly taste of winter in a cup. When Tom tasted it yesterday, he found it “weird” (that was all I could elicit as a description), so I don’t think he shares my devotion. But this limited edition coffee has gotten me through many a frosty, early morning (student teaching in freezing Ohio, I’m looking at you!) and it sure doesn’t disappoint now as I sit in my pjs at home. Thanks, Trader, you know I love you for life. Seriously though…we are not allowed to ever move to a locale which doesn’t boast a TJs within a decent distance.

5. Naptime... see #1. Although, I DID just get her to sleep an hour ago, and it only took me 30 minutes, and she stayed asleep an entire HOUR. Why does that matter?? Because that NEVER HAPPENS with me. So it’s monumental. And I just heard her stirring, so I’m out.

Check more favorites over at Hallie’s!