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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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!)!

California Recap!

Since we’ve now been home from California for about a week and a half, it’s high time to share a bit of our adventures! Lucy, and then both Tom and I, got sick right after we returned home, so things have been a bit slow around here. Now that we’re on the mend, I’m hoping life can get back to normal (well, whatever that means with a 9 month old!).

Besides the requisite lazing around and eating, taking long, sunny walks, and of course course celebrating Christmas and New Year’s /spending time with Tom’s family, we had several little adventures  of which Lucy was a willing participant. I will also say that all the pictures you are about to see were taken either by Uncle Dan or his soon-to-be wife, Aunt Yenny. I stayed consistent in my forgetting to capture any and all moments on camera, so thank God they were around. Welcome to the photo dump of our vaca!!

Lucy dips her toes into the Pacific

Lucy dips her toes into the Pacific

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An all day wine-tasting affair in Los Olivos. This is the very beginning, before we have tasted 23 wines...

An all day wine-tasting affair in Los Olivos. This is the very beginning, before we have tasted 23 wines…

Lucy gets in on the action

Lucy gets in on the action

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Dan and Yenny

Dan and Yenny

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She's had a lot to drink...

She’s had a lot to drink…

We finished off our night at a delicious tavern

We finished off our night at a delicious tavern, with a real fire right by our table

Lucy gets up close and personal with Mr. Bear

Lucy gets up close and personal with Mr. Bear

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The end of an awesome day!

The end of an awesome day!

And of course, Christmas Eve, Lucy’s first. She was most interested in the family’s reaction of clapping and cheering every time she ripped off a scrap of wrapping paper, and paid little attention to what was inside. But she lives for the applause, so I’d say it was a successful night for her.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner

Shocked to see Mom

Shocked to see Mom

My favorites

My favorites

My vain attempts to direct Lucy's attention to the cameraman

My vain attempts to direct Lucy’s attention to the cameraman

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Figuring out the wrapping paper business

Figuring out the wrapping paper business

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Oblivious

Oblivious

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Annnd she’s done…

There were some other fun get-togethers with Tom’s old high school friends, but no pictures (because Dan and Yenny weren’t there). And finally, the only pictures taken by moi, of Lucy hanging out around Grandma and Grandpa’s.

The joys of Cheerios

The joys of Cheerios

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Playing with/eating new Christmas toys

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Modeling new bows from Aunt Elizabeth

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