Thursday, January 31, 2013

Theme Thursday

Having a photographer as a sister is a blessing and a curse.  Ok the only part that is a curse is that she lives waaaaaay too far away.  So when we are together, she takes really really awesome pictures of my children.  And when she's not, I forget that nobody is taking pictures of my children anymore and that I need to do it.

So I was REALLY glad that Cari decided to start Theme Thursday.  I need a kick in the pants to take more pictures.  Last night I was looking at today's theme (Sunflare/Haze) and looking at the weather reports and was thinking I was going to need to track down a fog machine or something for the apartment.  But!!  I woke up to sunny blue skies.  Hooray.  Here's what I got:

f/3.5, 1/30s, ISO 100
Edited in Photoshop using Pioneer Woman's Actions - Boost and Sharpen THIS

My burger is 3 months old today!!  Just look at the little porker - he and Clare are sharing diapers now. Have I mentioned I love, love, LOVE chubby babies?? :)

Thanks for hosting, Cari!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Major Award!

Did you hear that Bonnie is hosting the first ever Sheenazing blogger awards??

 Of course you did.

 And one of you awesome people nominated me - THANK YOU!!!

I'm definitely feeling a little giddy a la Jessie Pope right now.  Actually it's probably more like this:

But whatever, the point is I haven't actually WON a major award yet and if you'd like to see me become the "Best Underappreciated Blog that will no longer be underappreciated if I win this award" then do me a favor and VOTE!!

(And did you notice I tried to tinker with the site in anticipation of actual traffic to my page??  After fighting with Blogger's wonky customization tools all weekend, I would like to conclude with a hearty "Ain't nobody got time for that".  Hey, at least I got some social media buttons going on - and check out my sparsely populated "About Me" page!!)

A HUGE thank you to Bonnie for hosting - such a fun idea!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quick Takes. I forget which number.

Linking up with Jen for everyone's favorite Friday ritual...

1. My heart is heavy today watching March for Life on EWTN. We aren't far from DC and it's hard to be home missing it, but the girls are still recovering from this nasty stomach bug.

March for Life 2012

And side note, if anyone is planning to attend the march for the first time in coming years...DC Metro + strollers = NO.

2. And while we're mentioning the stomach bug, Brooke suggested cut onions...have you heard of this?? I have no idea what kind of crazy mumbo jumbo this is, but all I can say is that I put one out in the afternoon and all of a sudden everyone was up and playing and the vomiting abruptly stopped??? And nobody threw up the next day either?? Whaaaaaat?!?!

It could just be good timing, but it's pretty strange considering Clare was quite sick for several days and Ava had only been sick for one at that point...hmmm definitely going to be looking into the science on this one...(and THANK YOU Brooke, you probably saved me at least 49 loads of really disgusting laundry...)

3. And here's a picture of me being the worst mom in the world and smiling despite my child's misery. Clare couldn't keep a single thing down on Saturday and I took her into the ER for some IV fluids. By this point she was doing much better and had some anti-nausea meds along with the fluid, but was tiiiicked at the whole experience. I was trying to cheer her up for a pic, but she wouldn't stop with the death stare which was making me giggle a little.

4. I can't believe I neglected to share this in my trip round up last brother modeling his "Gorilla Glue Made in USA" shirt. I uncovered a startling secret about it. Spoiler alert: The shirt hails from a different country than the glue.

You can click to enlarge...

Also, if you are looking for a much more beautiful recap of our weekend, I must refer you to my lovely sister Em.

5. I recently found the food blog Yammie's Noshery and I'm in love. This week she posted a recipe for maple bacon chocolate chip cookies, which inexplicably look delicious to me. Excuse me while I go take a pregnancy test.

6. I felt the need to establish some family rules this week.

7. As Jen mentioned, some bloggers are "going dark for life" today, but when I checked the link up at 7:42am there were already 53 entries??? As you may have noticed, I tend to be a bit of a night owl with my posts. I feel like I'm still kind of new to this whole Quick Take thing, but I naively thought I might actually have a shot this week at one of the first 100 spots. Boo.

So go read the 700+ other takes that were post before me.

Monday, January 21, 2013

You can run but you can't hide...

I have now entered into uncharted mom territory.

The stomach flu.

Clare getting some rehydration therapy in the ER

Yes, I've somehow managed to dodge this bullet for 3.5 years of motherhood. And if anyone has any nice motherly advice to pass on, I'm all ears. Also, if you have a spare washing machine, I'm accepting donations.

Stephen's back to work tomorrow, so I'm on my own with 2 sick and counting... send me your prayer requests and I will happily offer up my sufferings tomorrow for your intentions :) I'll be back with some quick takes on Friday...I hope...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quick Takes - Trip Edition

Linking up with Jen for the next round of...QUICK TAKES. Because I'm still recovering from traveling, these are going to be very, very quick takes.

1. Last weekend we went to Western New York to visit my family. I always know we're close to home when we start seeing things like this:

2. Speaking of bears, my dad the hunter got one this year and I got to eat yummy bear sausages when I was home. (Vegetarians, look away.)
Photo Credit: My lovely sister Em

3. It has come to my attention in recent years that my parents altered the story of Bambi for me. Not in the usual way, which would be to avoid the bit about Bambi's mother dying. No, in our version of the story she still died - but of natural causes instead of death by a hunter. Apparently my father deemed the story "anti-hunter propoganda".

4. I just need to say one of my favorite things about blogging is reading other people's blogs that make my life feel kinda normal. I love that Ana and Brooke both have a 2 and 3 year old right now, because have I mentioned having a 2 and a 3 year old is waaaay harder than having twins?? Because they are both solidly in that special "infant puberty" stage but aren't quite on par in terms of skill level so activities that are suitable for both of them are sometimes hard to come by.

But you know what - I DON'T have twins, so I really can't say for sure. You know who has a 3 year old, a 2 year old, AND baby twins?? Rosie. And right now, she is the queen of making my life feel normal. So definitely go check all those blogs when you're in need of some assurance that your life is perfectly normal/comedic relief :)

5. Random...I have a bunch of coupon codes I don't need and I'd hate to see them go to waste. Let me know if you're interested...

Gymboree 20% Off, Exp. 2/28
Crazy 8 20% Off, Exp. 2/28
Shutterfly $20 Off Purchase of $20 or more (Excludes Shipping), Exp. 3/22 25% Off, Exp. 12/31

6. Another Instagram Repeat:
The Halloween Trickster Strikes Again

7. I'm seriously going to update my stupid blog layout this weekend. Dweej commanded it.

I'm sure there are much more interesting things to read over at Jen's, so go!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trip Notes

***If you are faint of heart, go no further.  This post may contain graphic descriptions of human fecal matter.***
We just got home from our NY trip. Typically, we seem to be able to split the NY trip into two manageable 3-hour segments.  But alas, halfway through our second segment we were visited by the poop gods.
Let me start by giving you a little background of Ava's bowel habits.  (Sorry honey, I hope someday you can laugh about this.)  She's got a knack for "saving it up" and the result is these epic 15 minute toilet sessions that result in gigantic tamagotchi piles.
You know what I'm talkin' about.
Anyway, she will often cry wolf in order to get out of bed at night (actually, her exact words are usually "my poo poo is coming out!!!") so when her requests for a potty break came on the heels of a plea to get out of her car seat, we tried to put her off, hoping this was merely an escape tactic.  However, a few minutes later our ears were met with the familiar "My poo poo came out!!" Followed by a new outcry - "This is not comfortable!!!!"  Which led us to believe she may have in fact just pooped her pants.
THANKFULLY when we flew into the restroom at the next exit I found this was another bluff on her part, but she did in fact need to go. Unfortunately, there was another poor soul in the stall next to us that was also trying to empty her colon who was then subject to her 10 minute monologue describing her bowel movement in explicit detail.  (Is my child the only one who does this??
So the thing about these epic tamagotchi piles is that when you flush, they don't go anywhere.  Seriously, this stuff is like commercial grade ceramic adhesive.  I've developed a number of ways to deal with this, and when I'm caught off guard on the road I usually go with the "make the biggest wad of toilet paper I can muster and poke at it while trying not to shriek" teqnique. 
But the ante was upped this time when the toilet turned to be flush toilet.  When Ava got up, the commode flushed before I had time to employ my teqnique.  Have you ever tried to manually flush an auto flush toilet??  (Squat and hover 1-2-3-4-5...that seems like it'a a legit amount of time to pee - hop up, no flush. Ok, let's try again. Count to 10 and up! Nope, nothing. Ok maybe I wasn't close enough to the sensor? Reeeeally squat and lean back this time. Legs are getting shaky, I think 10 seconds should definitely be enough since I have to be in the right position now. GAHHH who sits on a toilet this long!!!)
My reward after returning to the minivan was the stench of a diaper on the rear end of a 2 year old who started grunting as soon as she heard the word "poop", not to be left out of the fecal fiesta.
This mom job is crazy business.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Grab Your Kleenex

We are in NY right now doing a belated Christmas with my family and my AMAZING sister just gave us this:


Friday, January 11, 2013

Quick Takes #5

So excited to see Jen was back this week doing Quick Takes!! Not that you weren't a great host, Hallie :)

1. Gaaah ! I'm sitting here at the laptop eating hash browns and eggs for dinner, trying desperately to catch up on the internet and writing my takes at the eleventh hours (nothing new there...) I've been busy "packing and cleaning" because we're supposed to be leaving in the morning for NY to hang out with the fam, but despite the fact that I pulled out the suitcases 2 days ago, there is still nothing in them. If you must know, one of them is set up under the dining room table as a little fort, and the other is being used as a makeshift doll crib of some sort.

2. So that's the way this week has been going for us. One day Stephen called on the way home and I was telling him about how I spent all day cleaning, and when he walked in he looked a little confused about why there were dishes piled high in the sink and laundry overflowing from the hamper. I had to explain that I had to clean all day just to get the apartment back to it's normal state of disarray. Poor sweet man, he nods his head and tries to understand...oh the stories these walls could tell...

3. Needless to say, I haven't updated the blog layout yet. BUT - I did fix the problem with the feed so that counts for something, right?? I'm looking forward to 6 looong hours of travel time with the smart phone to catch up on email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest while listening to old Catholic Answers Live open forums while the girls glaze over in the back seat to Dora on the DVD player. Yeah, that's how we roll around here.

4. This week the dough hook to my KitchenAid mixer broke. :( Wop wop...I'm lost in the kitchen without that thing. I did a quick Google search and found one of the lowest prices was through...Zappos?? Like, the place I buy my favorite shoes?? Plus, I am a VIP member (Which is FREE, but there's a waiting list right now) So I get FREE OVERNIGHT SHIPPING. You can literally order at 4PM here on the East Coast and it will show up at your house the very next day. It's like MAGIC. How do they do that?! (I'm totally not being paid for this endorsement...but I SHOULD BE, right?!)

So did anyone else know that Zappos sold home goods or am I the only one out of the loop on this?? I'm thinking yes now that I just saw that "At Home" is one of the categories on their navigation bar...

5. I don't usually watch the Soup but I needed a dose of levity on Wednesday night and was horrified to learn of a new reality show...Best Funeral Ever.
...I don't even know what to say.

6. I'm considering joining tabaholics anonymous. Seriously. I have a problem.

You know you're in trouble when you can't see the tab icons anymore...

7. And thank you to my late night quick takes couch buddy :)

Go see Jen (yay!) for more Quick Takes!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Birth Story: Emeric the Halloween Trickster

So I'm totally excited to link up with the lovely Grace to share my birth stories. I figure I'll start with Emeric since it's all fresh in my mind.

*************WARNING, ESPECIALLY TO ANY MALE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO MAY BE probably just want to stop here.

October 30th 2012 - 36 weeks pregnant with Emeric, bambino #3. I'm having sort of painful contractions again, which has been happening on and off this pregnancy but is not something that I ever experienced with my girls until it was < 3 hours until baby time. The pain is easy to deal with, but since the girls were extremely hasty in making their entrance into the world, it makes me nervous.

I've already been to the hospital twice with fits of contractions coming every 2-3 minutes - once at 30 weeks when we were in Outer Banks. At 34 weeks I had a fetal fibronectin test which was negative. It's the morning after hurricane Sandy rolled over us, but remarkably it was completely anticlimactic in our Baltimore suburb. Still, I have no idea what roads may be closed on the way to the hospital due to downed trees or flooding, so late that afternoon when I experience a little gush of blood and possibly fluid I decide I should go to the hospital ASAP just in case it takes us a while to get there. My awesome sisters had been staying with us to help out with the girls, so Stephen and I were able to just head right out the door.

At the hospital in Outer Banks, 30 weeks

I try calling L&D on the way, but nobody called back. We checked in at the ER and I was wheeled upstairs and I saw my FAV midwife Janine who delivered Ava sitting at the phone muttering about the huge list of people who had called while she was in her last delivery. Apparently the hurricane + full moon that had just happened was sending L&D into spasmodics. As I wait for Janine in triage, I'm having serious doubts - my contractions are only coming every 5 minutes or so and most of them aren't even painful. But Janine checks me and proclaims I'm 5cm dilated so I'm staying!

Because I hadn't had my group B strep test yet, they hooked me up to a penicillin drip and let me wander the halls. Stephen and I did lap after lap for about 45 minutes. It was such a strange feeling - walking the halls calmly, knowing I'd be having this baby tonight - usually I'm lucky if I can get checked in before the baby comes out :)

5 cm and counting!!

After 45 minutes of laps it was time for 15 minutes of monitor time, which was fine with me - I was getting pretty sleepy. I got into my hospital bed and was excited to see I was in time to catch the new Covert Affairs. After they had finished with the monitors, the nurse got me a birthing ball to roll around on for a bit and told me to call when I started to feel pressure. I sat for a few more minutes and by this time the contractions were picking up. I was still feeling pretty sleepy though, so I got back in bed.

The calm before the storm

I rest for a while, just waiting for that "it feels good to bear down but it's not time to push yet" feeling. Contractions were strong, but still only coming every 5 minutes so I felt like I had a ton of recovery time in between. Finally I had a contraction that felt a little different...I was pretty sure this was it, but gave it another contraction just to be sure - yep, I was definitely bearing down. I asked Stephen to call the nurse.

Stephen picked up the phone and said to the nurse "she feels like she needs to bear down..." and the nurse said she'd be there in a few minutes. Glad Stephen can read me so well, because he insisted "nope, you need to come now." I'm also glad Janine was the one on call tonight - she had delivered Ava and was familiar with my quick deliveries. Janine walked in a minute later and took a look at me - "well, let's break this big bag of water, and you'll have a baby!" She must have tempt fate - as she was saying this I had another contraction and my water finally breaks. "Nevermind!" Stephen chimes in :)

I pushed on the next contraction, and I thought I felt his head come out - but there was no relief, there was still more to push. I heard Janine say "Oh...ok..." with a bit of surprise in her voice, but I didn't stop to chat. There was work to be done. Another big push and finally I was done - 3 minutes after Janine walked into the room. Stephen had been at my side holding my hand and as soon as he was out we heard Janine say "well, that was a surprise!" I tried to sit up more to see - surpise?? What did she mean - did our little boy turn out to be a girl?? Stephen finally verbalized for us - what surprise? Janine said "he came out backwards...he was breech!" I looked at the clock - after midnight, so he was a halloween baby. Our little treat came with a few tricks up his sleeve. :) (Side note, my feelings won't be hurt if you'd like to roll your eyes at my ridiculous puns...)

Be still, my heart!!

There was a NICU nurse attending since he was 36 weeks. He had a little trouble with his breathing, but after a bit of time with the CPAP machine he was doing ok and was cleared for the regular nursery. He had some pretty amazing bruises on his rear end and legs thanks to his backwards entrance. Later Janine informed me that if they would have known that he was breech, they would have done a C-Section...very glad I avoided that. Looking back I could definitely match up the sensations with how he came out, but honestly - I would never have known if they didn't tell me. It wasn't much different than the normal way...natural childbirth isn't really a fun time either way :) He was a whopping 6lbs 8oz - my biggest ever. (Can you imagine if he had gone to term and was trying to come out backwards?? Mama mia!!)

This was actually a ton of fun to write and probably wouldn't have gotten around to it if not for the link thanks again, Grace!! And somebody let me know if you figure out why on earth these birth stories are so darn addicting...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just another manic Monday

Fun fact, that song came out the year I was born. Man, I'm getting old.

I mentioned before that my husband is on Pinterest. I love that about him. However, after I recently browsed his one and only board, I'm starting to think that men and women use Pinterest in veeeery different ways...

Cocktails based on Harry Potter Characters

Corner Toilet

Doctor Who Cookie Cutters

If you go to Google Translate and type in “pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk pv zk bschk pv zk pv bschk zk bschk pv bschk bschk pv kkkkkkkkkk bschk” from English to German and press the listen button, it’ll beatbox

Source: via Stephen on Pinterest whadya think, am I right?? Or am I right. Because I'm pretty sure I'm right.

Friday, January 4, 2013

12 of 12 Link Up!

Very excited about this link up...fashionably late to the party as always...thanks, Dwija, this was a totally great idea!!! Also need to give MAJOR props to my sister Emily for July, October, and November photos - and also for you know, moving in and taking over all of my household responsibilities for the months of October and November...

March for Life with my seesters - anyone going this year and want to meet up?!

Went to our first homeschool valentine's, fun.

A little St. Paddy's day craftiness.

The obligatory ultrasound shot...bean stage!

Cherry Picking

18 weeks pregnant visiting family in NC...otherwise known as the last week of pregnancy that I could still outrun my 1 and 2 year old...


Ava waiting for her butterflies to emerge...

30 Weeks Pregnant at Outer Banks

The Halloween trickster makes his debut

Our marriage survived cooking our first turkey - a 22 pounder

Christmas!! And Christmas card photo shoots...

Now go check out everyone else's year over at Dwija's place!!

Quick Takes - Have I really done this 4 times already??

1. First take dedicated to Jen - we all know the story, but if you're reading my blog you clearly are extremely bored and definitely have at least 15 seconds to offer up another quick prayer for her and her family. 1-2-3-Go! I'll wait.

2. So speaking of Jen, I used her Saint Generator to choose my patron saint for the year and got Saint Roque González de Santa Cruz. I had never heard of him before but apparently he is the patron saint of "native traditions" - anybody have any idea what that even means?? Maybe he can help us cover the basics of American Christmas traditions this year?? I just realized the girls had no idea what a "stocking" even was when we were at the pediatrician's office yesterday and they started asking me why there were boots hanging up all over the walls...

3. And speaking of the pediatrician, I feel like it's kind of becoming our home away from home. Ok I'm totally exaggerating, I just counted and it's only been 7 times in 2 months (well, 8 if you count the time I showed up only to realize I had the wrong appointment time...) I guess that's just life with 3 kids during cold and flu season? Anyway, Emeric had his 2 month checkup yesterday and weighed in at a whopping 11 lbs 14 oz...yeah yeah it's only the 15th percentile but it's the biggest baby I've ever had at 2 months. When the girls see him they immediately shriek "hey, chubby man!!" I'm a little concerned that this phrase may come out in public one of these days...directed towards someone besides little brother...

Mr. Chubby Man

4. I printed a New Year's tot pack from 3 Dinosaurs designed for ages 2 to 8 and had to laugh...

She may not be potty trained, but she can write the word "champagne"...that's my girl.

5. Ok, I'm going to reiterate that I'm totally getting schooled on this blog. First Ana improves my minivan algorithm by introducing the concept of removing one of the bucket seats in my minivan, and then Kelly informs me there is such a thing as a BATTERY POWERED NASAL ASPIRATOR?!?! (I have to write that in caps every time. I'm still in awe of the genius.) So if anyone is looking for a birthday present for me or anything...just sayin', I'm a weirdo who is obsessed with keeping her children's nostrils veeery veeery clean...

6. I'm still pretty blog illiterate here, but now that I've dived into the blogging world I'm starting to understand that my sister Emily is KIND OF A BIG DEAL. I mean I always knew she was awesome and everything, but now I am paying attention to things like the fact that she has 83 Google Friend Member Follower People Things on her blog (not kidding, blog illiterate.) EIGHTY THREE!! I have 9. That makes her at least 9 times more awesome than me. Ok she's not a mom blogger (she's 17) but she is amazing and takes amazing pictures (especially of MY children :) so if you've got some teenagers who like to read blogs you should definitely send them there.

7. Blog illiterate, yes indeed. It has recently come to my attention that my feed is messed up. And also I'm getting really sick of staring at this ridiculously most plain of Janes white blogger template so I PROMISE I will spiff things up around here this weekend. Even if I have to lock myself in my room all day with a large glass of wine and some chocolate while Stephen watches the children. Did I say even if? I think I meant especially if...

Go see Hallie this week for more Quick Takes!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 - At least a day late and a dollar short

For those of you that don't know, I am very generally very sentimental on New Years and love to be a Sappy McEmoPants and reflect deeply upon my year at it's close. Until this point I had considered anyone that didn't stay up to watch the ball drop and throw confetti a total SCROOGE. But alas, this is apparently the year that I became an old curmudgeon. It's kind of disconcerting.

I'm with Jen this year - "just trying to survive today" - but I mean that in the best way possible. Maybe a better way of putting it is "trying to enjoy today in survival mode". In any case, I'm not going to bother with any lofty ambitions this year. I'm an old curmudgeon now! I'm becoming a bit more practical:
*Update: If you haven't heard, pray for Jen!

1. Tame the curly mops.
Neither one of these poor girls has ever had a haircut. I'm lucky if I get a brush through their hair twice a week. It's out of control. It needs to stop. I have no idea what to do with it but I need to figure it out. No more slapping a headband on as a band aid as we walk out the door.

2. Lock up the art supplies.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, I could write a novel about this one.
Need I say more?

3. Potty training.

Can't decide if this is a potty chair fail or win...

Let's not do 2 in diapers for another year. Please?

And last but not least, "blog makeover" makes the list as an honorary mention.

Happy New Year, everyone!! Best of luck with your resolutions, be they lofty or not!!