Monday, September 5, 2016

Baby #3 Has Arrived!

Wow, a lot has happened this summer since I last posted - we've had a busy few months, and enjoyed doing most of our summer bucket list items (except for the beach, but maybe it can still happen later this fall).

Our most recent developments include, but are not limited to, the early arrival of our sweet little man, Benjamin Andrew!

He was born early via non-emergency c-section due to an unresolved placenta previa. It was all a very different experience from the home birth we were planning, but given the situation it became our only option. Thanks to the prayers of many friends and family, things went as smoothly as they could have, with no complications (and God willing, none during my continued recovery), and we are SO thankful for modern medicine (ultrasounds which showed that this was the case - I had no symptoms which would have clued me in to this), and our access to doctors who will take on a patient last-minute to perform c-sections.

Thankfully we knew that this was necessary before I was actually laboring, so we were able to schedule it, which gave me the chance to kind of mourn the loss of our intended home birth experience, and really choose this situation knowing that it was the only way this baby could be born.

We're so thankful that my mom is with us and was able to relieve Michael at the hospital for the overnights and most of the recovery time.

I had the thought that it would be nice to have some nice pictures of all of us at home, though, as a kind of closure on the whole procedure. So I asked my friend Rachel to come over and take some pictures in the vein of a "fresh 48/lifestyle" sort of shoot (even though Baby Ben was 9 days old...but he's so tiny he still looks like he was just born :) Rachel is intending to start up her own photography side business, so if you're local I definitely recommend contacting her about having a session of your own! She was so patient while we wrangled the older kids, trying to get them to smile and sit still for a few pictures of all of us together.

So, without further ado, here are some of the really great shots Rachel took of all of us!

So, to sum up, we're all smitten with our little man and are adjusting to (a) life with Mommy somewhat out of commission while recovering and (b) being outnumbered by littles in our house (It's all zone defense from here on out!)

Hopefully while I'm resting up I'll sort through some of our summer photos and post another photo dump of what we've been up to this summer, but don't hold you're breath ;)

Once again, head over to Rachel's blog, Three Little Cupps in a Cupboard, and contact he for you own photo shoot! Her work is great!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

WIWS and A Triduum/Easter Octave Review

I'm so appreciative of octaves, they totally enable procrastinators like me to feel not-so-bad about writing a WIWS: Easter Edition post a week after said Sunday. Because hey! It's STILL Easter-week.
Our Triduum was comparatively low-key: last year we went to all the liturgies at the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, which is always incredibly reverent and beautiful, but just far enough away to interfere with all kinds of nap and meal times for the munchkins. I think I've blocked most of the "horrible" (i.e. - spending the entire liturgy holed up somewhere with a fussy 6 mo and/or 2 yo) parts from last year out of my head, mercifully, but I knew that this year it would be best for us to stay closer to home, and maybe even rotate liturgy attendance.

I decided to be mildly insane and try to make our house cleaner and more purged than it's been in months, all over the course of Holy Week, which was both a blessing and a curse. A LOT was accomplished, but I was also really stressed about it at various moments, which isn't really the point...

Lots of cleaning. Laundry. Eating mini pancake "Judas coins" that my mom made for the kids. Confessions that evening and a walk in the lovely weather.

More cleaning. We all went to the Mass of the Lord's Supper, at our local parish, which went well. No 7-church pilgrimage after, though, which is really only feasible in the city. 

More cleaning in the morning, and an impulsive decision to make hot cross buns, which took nearly all day due to the multiple rising times and interruptions for regular meals, naps, liturgies, etc. I like this as a tradition, but future-self, *start the dough the night before*! Mom went to Stations and adoration at noon, while Michael went to the Canons with Rosie's husband at the same time. He returned in time to babysit the end of naps so that mom and I could both attend the Passion reading and Pre-sanctified service locally at 3, which worked out well for everyone. (No wrangling children! I got to sing with the choir! Meditative silences!) That night I put fake eggs in natural dyes to see if anything would happen.

A day I wish I could do over. On many fronts. The kids were ok, but I was stressed about finishing ALL THE THINGS and that transferred to everyone else. Blah. That evening I was thinking, Man, Satan was really on the prowl here today. There was no grace from morning mass that I apparently rely on more than I know. It's the holiest few days of the year. I should've just relaxed and PRAYED more.
Anyway, somehow everything got done and we managed to close the day in peace. Annie was happy for having painted the last 2 eggs I left out of the natural dyes (aren't I generous?), the Easter clothes were cleaned, pressed, and hanging ready for the morning. Mom made us an egg bake so that we could just pop it in the next morning while the adults consumed sugar and the kids enjoyed non-candy Easter basket items.
He is in the tomb.


Stuff, as opposed to candy, in their baskets, because these kids get crAzy on cookies, no less candy.

We've been enjoying Easter in the Garden as we gradually add to our liturgical-season library. Also, I've been wanting Manners in God's House for quite some time, and it's a gem!
Side note: that lamb Beanie Baby was one of my own treasured toys when I went through that phase, and Annie just loves it. We named it "Agnes". ;)

More interested in her Walmart magnadoodle than her St. Anne which I made, c'est la vie.
I decided to try my hand at making one myself, and I'm pretty pleased with the result. Anyone want to commission one? ;)
Non-religious gifts included bubbles (ummm, breath of the Holy Spirit brings new life?), matchbox cars, bunny rabbit jumping toys...
I made her dress with leftovers from two of my own from years ago, and the hat was a lucky find in the Target $3 bin!

The dapper gentleman: all of his accessories were in the Target $3 bin, but hopefully they may even last through next year (if his massive head doesn't have a growth spurt).
Say "He is risen!" . . . With mixed results. Bowties, seersucker, fedoras for the boys; lace, eyelet, and head wear for the girls.

My favorite <3

My other favorite!

We hadn't really celebrated Annie's birthday with candles and cake, etc., waiting until after Lent was over and Gramma was back from her travels. So on Easter Monday some of our family came over for dinner and dessert (butterfly cupcakes), and she got to blow out her 3 candles to the tune of birthday singing.

The week continued with more moments glad, and some....not so much. (haha, this one kind of cracks me up:)

My sainted mother has been doing all these fun themed things for the kids that (a) I don't have time to do and (b) neither did she when we were young, but now she can! Win-win all around! These are "resurrection tombs" from donuts, bananas, and raisins all stuck on graham crackers with peanut butter.
A big hit, all around.
Yea. This kid doesn't need candy.
Posted because I want to remember: he's LOVING their little broom (which we've had for over a year), but suddenly he's OBSESSED with carrying it around like a standard-bearer.
Future cross-bearer when he's an altar boy?
So now, a week later, it's Divine Mercy Sunday, and time for another edition of WIWS!

Hat: Anthropologie; Top: LOFT; Cardi: Ummm...Skirt: GAP, thrifted; Shoes: old, but red for the feast!

Annie originally refused to pose, but look, now she's smiling!

Wow, my hair's getting long...time for the spring haircut!
If you made it this far, bravo! It seems like the usual link-up isn't up (yet?), but I'll link it when it is. For now, have a blessed Feast of Divine Mercy, most especially in this Year of Mercy.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

WIWS: Palm Sunday Edition

The first day of spring! The beginning of Holy Week! The coldest day in weeks! Must be Palm Sunday...

I think we've had three seasons over the course of this week, including bare feet and short sleeves, and then snow yesterday (melted by today, thank goodness) - but seriously, no wonder runny noses and nasty bugs have been circulating all winter!

We went to our usual 9:30 TLM this morning, as Michael usually leads some form of music for it, and had offered to chant the Propers for the blessing and distribution of the palms, etc. The kids were pretty good, despite the first of the long Passion readings of this week. Granted, Michael and I were holding each of them through the whole gospel - don't think that going to happen for all the Triduum readings! I persuaded Annie to leave her palm branch alone for the duration of mass by promising that I'd make her a palm cross as soon as mass was over.

Annie's dress: boutique sweater dress my mom and aunt found - perfect for this cold day! My skirt: TJ Maxx, pleated sweater material, which is so nice because the pleats STAY and hang well. Shirt: LOFT; Boots: Ariat, on sale a few years back and SUCH a staple. Also, 14-week bump!
Bananas grow on palm-like trees, so banana bread for snack? Streeeeetching it, I know. But I had over-ripe bananas, so no excuse needed, really.
What else happened this week? Well, Grandma returned after many moons (2.5 months) away:
And there was much rejoicing!
 We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with Irish Soda bread and then festivities that evening at our alma mater. 
I thought the kids might be totally overwhelmed by the music, clapping, dancing, but they were enthralled! They stayed up WAY past bedtime, but hey, we're pretty strict with our schedules every other day, feast days call for some relaxed rules :)

There was a drizzly and chilly day this week when we still managed to get out for a bit and splash around in puddles. I let go of my controlling side and let the kids just get as wet as they wanted, and they were thrilled.

I was really struck by this article last year, describing a playground in Wales called "The Land" - read it! It hit home to my tendency to be over-protective and worried about the risks of little, clumsy kids climbing on cinder blocks, getting splinters, etc. But hey! We've got our very own "junkyard" in our driveway: miscellaneous construction and repair stuff that would maybe otherwise be in our (non-existent) hey, kids, go for it! (carefully)  ;)And no starting fires on your own until you're at least....18.

Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple for What I Wore Sunday!