Monday Musings {v. 4}

Food Restrictions. Ugh. I found out earlier this summer that I have a severe sensitivity to gluten, dairy, tomatoes, mushrooms, and papaya (most random list ever I know, I don’t think I’ve ever even had papaya). I also have milder sensitivities to about 100 other foods, but I’m just focused on the severe ones. Not allergies, I don’t get hives, my throat doesn’t close, nothing like that. But for the last 10 years of my life I’ve been trying to figure out why I have constant stomach pain, am tired all the time, fatigued, and have awful seasonal allergies. Well, it would seem we found the culprit. I have been so staunchly opposed to the anti-gluten fad that it is a bit humbling that I now have to eat a gluten free diet.  I’m starting to see more and more research about how the blood tests that look for sensitivities are bogus and don’t work and it’s not real and blah, blah, blah.  But you know what’s real? The fact that after cutting out these foods I feel better, I have more energy, stomach issues for the most part gone (they’d probably be totally gone if I would be very strict about not eating the bad stuff). That tells me it isn’t as bogus as some people say. I’m realizing dairy is by far the worst. Which means no more cheese. Let me repeat that….no.more.cheese. No more yogurt, cheesecake, milk, ice cream, butter….nothing dairy. And I don’t care what anybody tells you, there is no substitute for ice cream made with heavy cream, it just isn’t there. I’ve tried them all and they just aren’t the same.  We don’t eat soy in our house since it can cause major health problems and is toxic for the human body, and if it is consumed it should be in moderation and certainly not on a daily basis.  But since we don’t really care for the taste or texture we don’t have it at all. Maggie drinks almond milk and loves it, I don’t drink anything straight anymore, nothing can replace a cold glass of milk.

As hard as it has been to give up all of my favorite foods, I am so very, very thankful that I have food to eat and that I don’t have a severe allergy to any of these foods. If I slip up it isn’t the end of the world. We are hoping that getting me on a diet that is healthy for my body and will reduce overall internal inflammation will help us in our journey with infertility. The result of having to change my diet has been pregnancy like cravings for foods I’m not supposed to have. As I sit here with my healthy bowl of quinoa salad with sweet potatoes and nuts I want a Big Mac. Now, Big Macs are gross (and yet so good), I can’t tell you when the last time I ate one was, because it’s not even real food I don’t think. But it is taking a huge amount of self control to not go get a Big Mac, or a Frosty with fries, that would also be good.  People have told me the longer I eat the new diet the less I’ll crave the bad stuff, but I don’t believe it…there are some things I don’t really crave anymore like…..well nothing.  I want it all, bread, cheesy garlic bread, milk.  Oh well, the family is eating healthier than ever, we are feeling better than ever and for the most part we are all happy about it.  Matt and Maggie aren’t on the strict diet with me but it has changed the way I cook and very rarely do we have something for dinner now that the whole family can’t eat.

Onward and upward from boring land.  Apple picking next weekend!  I’m so very much looking forward to the pies, cobblers, crisps and cakes to come (all gluten free of course….maybe 😉  Apple picking is something we’ve done every year since we’ve been together, and we still love it.  I’m excited because I’m pretty sure Maggie will be into it this year and I think I found a nice farm for us to go to.  It will be lovely to have a fun day with daddy after his business trip this week.  Keeping expectations lower than the basement is how we get through daddy not being home. I used to set all kinds of lofty expectations about whole house cleaning, surprise projects being done etc. when daddy was gone…and was always so upset, stressed, tired and overwhelmed when we picked him up.  So I have learned to just lower the expectations as much as possible, then lower them some more and then we are good to go!

Happy Fall Y’all!

DSC_0152

Advertisements

Our Village

We’ve moved a lot y’all.  A lot.  We are currently living in our 6th place in 5 years of marriage.  Living in our 4th city and our 4th state.  Hopefully we won’t be moving towns anytime soon, although we are hoping in the next couple of years to finally be home owners.  Someday, someday.  I just keep telling myself it will happen someday.  Anyway, now that Matt can work from home we can virtually live anywhere we want.  One thing that has really stood out to us as very, very important is community.  We have lived near both of our families at different times, and nothing can replace grandparents and aunts and uncles nearby.  But, as our culture gets crazier and crazier and raising a faithful Catholic family gets harder we have found that couples and friends who are like minded and ready to help us along in our journey are invaluable.  Being a young couple like we were when we first got married was hard, most couples we met who were our age weren’t married yet and/or were just living together.  They weren’t in the same place as us.  Now, I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t be friends with people who aren’t in the same place as you, we should be!   But as Catholics who are trying to journey toward Heaven we need community that is actively helping us to attain that goal.  We need people we can go to for support and guidance.

In upstate NY and the mountains of NH (a story I will tell someday, we.were.nuts. sort of literally), we didn’t have great community.  We knew older couples in NY, but no young couples like ourselves, and in NH we lived on the deserted side of a mountain and knew no one.  It was hard, it was a big reason we moved away from those places.  Then we lived in DC, had great friends in the greater DC area, and Matt’s family, but with traffic, cost of living, and the fact that it took forever to get to see said friends and family we moved.  Matt got permission to work from home so we moved to where we knew we would have community and where the pace of life was a little slower.  We moved to where we knew people our age who shared our faith, our way of life.  And we have never been happier.

Our culture is crazy.  If you look at the news recently you know that everyday there is something new that is bad.  Bad news everywhere.  Living a Christian lifestyle in this culture is getting harder and harder to do.  We all need help.  We need people who are going to call us on and help us along the way.  When we were living in the places where we felt alone (and a lot of it was our fault, neither my husband or I are the ‘walk up and introduce ourselves to people we don’t know’ types) I tried to convince myself that we were fine.  We didn’t need friends in the area, we had friends from college we stayed in touch with and we had each other, and in DC we had my husband’s family.  But now that we are here I realize how wrong I was.

We are busy all the time now!  We are busy with wonderful families we have gotten to know, Maggie has numerous friends who are almost like siblings to her already, Matt and I both have support, both have close friends who are where we are in life, going through the same struggles day to day.  The saying goes, “it takes a village….” I feel like we’ve found our village.  Yes, we miss our Nana and Pop and Memere and Grandpa and cousins and aunts and uncles and all our family.  But since the move I can honestly say Matt and I are happier in our marriage than we’ve ever been, we are each other’s best friend, but we aren’t the only friend now.  I don’t have to drive 35 minutes to visit other moms I’m close too (although I miss dearly those who I left when we moved), I can literally walk 30 seconds and be at the door of what have become very dear friends.  This village likely won’t last forever, but it is our village right now, and my goodness, God couldn’t have put us in a better place for where we are in our lives right now.

Monday Musings {v. 3}

Monday Monday.  I’m determined to find a way for Mondays not to be the worst……but, Daddy gone after the weekend is just hard.  I’m going to enjoy this week though, next Monday Daddy leaves for a couple of days for a work trip.  Work trips are the worst but I’m learning how to make them not horrible…..I’ll talk about that next week sometime to distract myself from how bad they are.

Fall is here and I LOVE IT!  I love cold weather.  I’m so excited that winter is coming.  I’m weird but I get sick of summer.  Hot, sweaty, sticky, humid…I just get sick of it.  Fall is such a relief and growing up in New England just gave me a lot of love for the winter.  So bring on the cold.

History nerd here!  PBS is running a new Ken Burns documentary on The Roosevelts and I’m pretty pumped about it.  That might be the nerdiest sentence I’ve ever written….  Thank you dad!  Growing up watching either hunting shows or something on PBS or the History Channel will make you appreciate history, and hunting, but that is a different story.  So, the next few nights will find me parked in front of the TV watching me some PBS.

The time is just about here for us to pull out the garden.  We had about 4 weeks of unbelievable amounts of tomatoes but it seems that they are finally starting to slow down.  We gave a lot of tomatoes away, ate a lot of homemade salsa and Matt ate a tomato everyday with his lunch for awhile.  Tomatoes is one of the foods I recently found out I have an extreme sensitivity too so I’m not supposed to be eating them.  I didn’t eat as many as I could have but it was impossible and would have been complete torture to not eat any of them!  But, this blast of cold weather we are in the middle of has killed it finally, that and Maggie.  She likes to pick all the green tomatoes and give them as presents through the fence to the little girl who is about her age next door.  She’s generous one.  It was so great to have a garden this year!  I’ve wanted one since we’ve been married but we have never had the space.  Overall I’d say it was successful, learned so much and am already excited to put everything I learned into practice next year.  There were definitely lots of lessons to put into practice, we lost our 2 pumpkin plants and after a few zucchini we lost our 4 zucchini plants to some bugs that ate the roots and destroyed the plants, but lots of tomatoes, radishes and red peppers so for a first time garden I’d say it was a pretty good run.

So that is that.  Not much exciting news to report, just life plugging a long one day at a time.  We are in the middle of some pretty awesome projects as we re-do the master bedroom.  Which for us means refinishing furniture and building a real grown up bed frame complete with headboard.  I’m working on some things for the walls and making curtains.  Hopefully in another month we will have a bedroom that feels like a bedroom and not a college dorm room.  Hopefully.  I’m anticipating a lot of sweat, blood, and tears before we get to that point, pray for us?

Obligatory picture of the babe for the grandparents……mmmm veggie sticks.

DSC_0073

Have a lovely week!

Monday Musings {v. 2}

It’s late but the clock hasn’t rolled to Tuesday yet so here we go!

We had an absolutely lovely weekend!  Friday night we had a couple of families from our neighborhood over.  I can’t even describe how awesome it is to have good Catholic families live in walking distance!  One of them is moving though, not far, but too far to walk.  So we had a cookout and it was a great way to get together, drink wine and eat good food while the kids ran wild in the backyard. It was likely the last cookout we will host this year, still hot during the day but once the sun goes down it is getting cooler!

We went up to the University to a rugby match on Saturday afternoon.  Maggie is fascinated with the game.  She is always a little concerned when there is a scrum or tackle right in front of us, but she loves looking for the ball and watching the boys run after it.  She really likes boys/men.  At Mass on Sunday a row of college boys was behind us and she just wanted to talk to them and share her baby doll with them….but if a sweet old lady comes up or a college girl, she’s all “get out of my face.”

Morning routine that includes dance parties!  I am not a morning person.  It usually takes two cups of coffee and just some precious time for me to be awake/with love.  I have the best husband who helps get Maggie milk in the morning (milk is the girl’s coffee, without it the morning is bad), and he empties the dishwasher so I start the day with a kitchen that is ready to go.  Can you say the best?  It is easy for me to plop Maggie in front of a half hour show or a movie first things so I can wake up, but that is just not a good way to start the day!  So, dance parties we have.  I have to get into them, but Mags loves.to.dance.  She asks for music all the time, we try to mix up what she listens to, some classical, folky stuff and definitely some dance tunes.  I’m working to be able to upload videos so y’all can see some of her sweet dance moves, they are hilarious. When we start our morning reading together and then having a dance party everyone is in a better mood, even if I really have to talk myself into it some days.

Terrible Twos are here.  I say no, she does it louder, faster, crazier.  Push the limits, test mommy, see how far she can get.  And man can she throw down when it doesn’t go the way she wants to.  Cabinets totally emptied, can lift and open a gallon container and empty the contents, luckily it was just water this time.  And tissues and wipes, she gets them and within 2 seconds the container is empty, every time.

IMAG1142                IMAG1156               IMAG1157

 

 

She loves ketchup, we got home from Mass on Sunday and as Matt and I were getting ready to make breakfast we realized the ketchup was out…..and being squeezed all over the floor.  Just took the cap all the way off and dumped.  Daddy had a talk with her about how maybe that wasn’t the best idea, she was proud to show me though.

DSC_0021                       DSC_0022

 

And then, later that day, again while Matt and I were in the kitchen (can you say “parents of the year?”) she got the biggest spoon we owned out of the drawer and helped herself to a huge helping of peanut butter.  I tell ya, when toddlers learn to unscrew caps it is the worst.  It is a skill we should try to keep from them for as long as possible.

DSC_0025                DSC_0038               DSC_0043

 

Happy Week Everyone!

DSC_0009 

Welcome to Family Life

Dear Sweet Seminarian Maggie and I were seated next to at the wedding last month, I’m sorry about the crazy she brought to the table.  I’m sorry when y’all sat down she was using her fork and knife to drum on her plate, it was loud, but not as loud as the 450 guests at that wedding.  She was trying to bring order to her little world by making noise she could hear herself.  I’m sorry she kept throwing her napkin and spoon and fork in your lap before I took everything away from her, she likes to throw things, it’s funny to her.  I’m sorry if you got wet when she started sticking her spoon in her water cup and flinging it around before I noticed.  I’m sorry that she mooned you for the entrances of the wedding party and bride and groom, we were excited to get a glimpse of daddy who was in the wedding and we hadn’t seen all day.  I didn’t noticed she had unhooked her diaper when she was in the highchair (what can I say, toddlers like to be naked and mine is very sneaky), I’m sorry you had a baby bottom in your face, I really really am.  I’m sorry it may have been a little crazy to ask you to scoot your chair over so I could squeeze her down on the floor and put a diaper back on her, although at that point you were probably relieved that I was covering said baby bottom.  I’m sorry you were forced to move your water, silverware, wine and anything else you didn’t want her to be grabbing to one side of your plate.  I’m sorry we couldn’t keep any of the food on our side of the table or she would have been helping herself.  As I thought about getting a little stressed and upset about the crazy all I could do was smile to myself and think, “Welcome to family life.”  You really were lovely and helpful if a bit overwhelmed at my daughter and I had a wonderful time chatting with you in-spite of the whirlwind sitting between us.  Thank you for the adult conversation, thank you for putting up with the crazy and when you are a priest in a parish and you see a frazzled overwhelmed mommy with lots of small children I hope you will reach out to her like you did me and think, “Welcome to family life” to yourself.

Dear sweet college boy who we sat next to at Mass today, thank you for your patience sitting next to us.  The chapel was packed, it was about 100 degrees, and it was baby girl’s nap time.  Thank you for being understanding with her fidgetiness.  Thank you for understanding that toddlers make noise, some other students around us shifted to try to “politely” see who was moving hymnals around during the homily, I appreciate that it didn’t phase you (or you didn’t let on if it did).  Thank you for understanding that because of the cramped quarters she decided you were her best friend and was leaning on you for a good portion of the Mass.  Thank you for understanding that the sign of peace is her favorite time of Mass (besides the processional which she realized means we get to go “Bye bye car)” and extending your hand and giving her a solemn ‘peace be with you,’ it meant the world to her.  As I struggled through Mass with her and was very thankful for your patience and overwhelmed at being in the hot college chapel I smiled to myself and thought, “Welcome to family life”

You see, I went to school at that college and went to Mass everyday in that chapel.  I had an idea of what family life would be like for me.  I knew how well behaved my children would be at Mass.  I would be able to bring them to Mass in that college chapel that is silent as a tomb during Mass in-spite of being crowded and they would fit right in.  I would be organized, put together, my children would never have dirty faces, messy hair, fingernails that needed to be cut, diapers so full they are ready to explode. No, no, my family life would be neat, tidy and clean.  Organized and amazing.  And then I had a child.  My family life isn’t nearly as messy or crazy as the family life of those with more children.  Two weeks ago at our parish Mass she was particularly noisy.  I stood during the Consecration to leave with her, in the silence of that Holy Time of the Mass she perked up and yelled at the top of her lungs while waving to father on the altar, “Bye Bye, see you later!”  Not what I had envisioned.  And yet,  I hope one day my family life will be noisier, messier, and crazier.  Family life is all of those things, and it is beautiful and brings more joy in it’s messiness than I ever could have imagined sitting in that chapel 8 years ago.

As I sit here reflecting on my old conceptions with laundry in the basement that needs to be done, toys scattered all over the living room, lunch dishes in the sink, rice and beans from a toddler pouring game all over the living room floor all I can do is smile to myself and say, “Welcome to Family Life.”

IMAG1076

 

 

 

Monday Musings {v.1}

The weekend flew by.  Absolutely flew by.  With daddy working only a few hours Saturday and Sunday instead of the recent 12-16 hours a day the days sped by far too fast.  Lots of exciting things like yard work happened, and even though we checked a few things off the list, I’m pretty sure we added more to it than we checked off.  Always the way, yes?

Miss Maggie is in an absolutely exasperating and absolutely adorable stage right now.  She is literally growing and changing everyday…..and even though technically we are still a couple months away we have definitely entered the terrible twos stage.  But she is the cutest and makes me laugh so much during the day.  Girl definitely knows how to pull a reaction out of someone, especially her mama.  I’m trying to figure out what to do with her hair right now.  To cut or not to cut?  That is always the question, along with bangs or no bangs?  I feel like that is the question for everyone always, and every time we ladies cut them we start growing them back out one or two days later.  But maybe it will be different with her?  Below are the pics of her hair down and pulled back.  When it is down it is totally in her face all the time.  When it is pulled back it isn’t bad, but it is a pretty big tantrum every time I try to pull it back, even with the clip in just her bangs it still gets in her face.  Ideas?  Early morning pajama hair (it is actually usually worse than that) with the face she makes for “cheese”, the clip pulling back bangs, and her, “mom I don’t want my picture taken” faces below.  Just not sure what to do with her locks.

DSC_0036

DSC_0050DSC_0054

  Flipping the Block on HGTV is currently my fav show to watch.  And a household sister of mine from college is on it, Go Amanda and Curtis!  Fun show, makes me want to tear everything in our house apart and re-do it, and Amanda is a master at thrifty renovation.  They just re-did the living room and won the challenge with $80 y’all…..$80.  Amazing.

Fall is coming!  I’m so excited.  For me fall always feels like a fresh start, I guess because school starts, although it’s been a bit since I was in school.  Even though Maggie isn’t in school I’m excited to get into more of a structured routine during our week.  We have had such crazy summer traveling so many weekends it feels like we haven’t really been home at all.  The plan is also to really and truly tackle potty training….hopefully.  Such an overwhelming process.  We only have one trip planned in September, so hopefully life will slow down a little bit…..at least that is what I tell myself.  I’m hoping we will finish re-doing our bedroom once the fall hits and Matt is done with his deadline.  I can’t wait to get started on building our bed and posting pics of the process for y’all.

I’m also trying to get into a better prayer routine.  I’m reading St. Faustina’s Diary right now, so rich and full and so much to process.  I’ve tried to read it twice before but never really gotten through the first 50 pages.  I’m chugging along now, the situation with ISIS and the persecution in the Middle East really put it on my heart to read it.  I’m looking forward to continuing through it and trying to find the quiet time to really let it sink in.  Hopefully I’ll be able to write a post on it soon, there is just so much beauty in her work!  It’s nice to have the reminder during the day as bad news seems to be the only thing coming in these days that we can just turn ourselves to the Lord’s Mercy.  Love it.

And some more pics of the babe from throughout the summer for all the grandparents and anyone else who wants to scroll through 😉  Her slide is her absolute favorite thing in the world, she will do it for hours everyday.  She loves her little chair like mommy and daddy’s and definitely doesn’t have any problem chilling out in it as you can see.  She also loves to help in the garden, which is great, until her hands get dirty and then she is done and over it.

DSC_0001 DSC_0008

DSC_0010 DSC_0041

Hope y’all have a wonderful and blessed week!

 

 

7 Quick Takes

Linking up with Jen and quick taking it up:

1

Potty.Training.  I really missed that “window” everyone talks about because we had so many looong car trips this summer and potty training was out even though she was ready.  The following picture sums up how my child, who has yet to do anything in the potty instead of on the floor right next to the potty, is doing.  Potty training divas is no joke.  And yes, she was really wearing the Blues Brothers glasses while sitting on the potty reading books.  The hands in the potty is something we’re working on, although since she has yet to deposit anything in the potty I let it go for the photo since it was convenient editing of the photo to keep it G rated.. 

IMG_20140821_161933

2

Toddlers y’all, toddlers.  A friend of our family very rightly calls it the “Yes I don’t and No I do!” stage.  Amen sister, amen.  Because wow.  The cuteness is too much and wonderful and I laugh and laugh.  And then things like the following:  I was trying to shower and wash my hair for the first time in longer than I care to admit when my little helper with all things I do not want help with walked in.  She has recently learned to unscrew any screw on cap (worst skill ever!)  She unscrewed and dumped one of my birchbox samples, a salt and lemon exfoliator scrub all over the floor.  She then stepped in it.  Now my Little Miss is a bit on the crazy ocd side.   So she freaked about yuckys on her foot.  I reached out of the shower, wiped her foot and told her to leave the room please.  She turned and stuck her foot back in the mess.  Freak out number two.  By freak out number 4 mommy was losing it in the shower.  The hubs met me outside his office with a hug, which never happens y’all, he usually stays in there at all costs.

3

But toddlers.  Too cute for words.  Exasperating but just so fun.  I was two rooms away cleaning the other day and started sneezing.  I heard “Bess you mum”  It took me a minute to register what she had said.  Too cute.  She was playing on her slide last night and I told her, “one more time and then all done Mags,” that is usually our transition phrase for her.   She got really serious and said “wun mo en AAAAAALLLL DUUUNNN”  she repeated that several times to make sure I got the idea.  She still threw a fit when she had done it one more time.  But it was super cute.  She also walks up to Matt and I at random times and wants to shake our hands and do “Peece aaaaaa ooo”  There are a lot of words in between Peace and you and she has the general idea so, good enough, and she doesn’t actually do it at Mass since that requires interacting with people we don’t know and that is absolutely out so she has to get her fix in during the week.

4

I just ordered my first Mommy Planner.  I’m trying to be better about being more organized.  My new diet, which I’ll be talking about more later, requires a lot of planning right now until I’m more used to it and in a groove with it.   Projects for seasonal decorating and finishing the redo of our bedroom that we are working on are taking my attention I need to be better about keeping up with the normal day to day stuff like ya know, cleaning the bathrooms, floors, and laundry. Boring.  Let’s be honest spray paining decorative vases for the redecorate of the mantle I’m working on is way.more.fun.  But, planner, organization; not at all natural for me, but necessary for this phase of life, so here we go.

5

It is deadline time for the hubs.  2 weeks away!  Say a prayer for him?  He is great and stops working between 4:30 and 5:30 every night to spend time with Maggie and then after she goes to bed at 7 he is back to it, so I’m starting to miss him.  It’s a lot of pressure and stress to turn the projects in on time.

6

Ooh yes, in spite of deadline time we got a fun second honeymoon at the beach last week.  Little Miss spent the time at Nana and Pop’s house (my in-laws) and we had 3 days of beautiful beach weather, awesome food, and totally relax time to connect amidst all of the crazy right now.  Amazing.  Such a blessing for us.

7

Y’all, Iraq and Syria.  This whole situation with ISIS has been weighing heavy on my heart.  I’ve cried, I’ve felt guilty for enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning, guilty for being able to go to Mass and Confession whenever I want.  How do we carry on?  Haley over at Carrots wrote this wonderful post about maintaining the hope and joy of Easter in the midst of terrible tragedy.