Five Favorites

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife. These weekly Five Favorites are quickly becoming my favorite blogging activity!

Mason Jars
My new favorite thing to do is to drink iced tea, water, lemonade, anything out of a mason jar. It makes me feel very summery.
Photo credit.
The Bachelorette

Monday night is our date night. We stay up late and eat ice cream and watch...the Bachelorette. It's our guilty pleasure, but we totally look forward to it each week.  Even though I'm sure we lose a few brain cells watching it, we can't help but tune in each week. Although, I have to say this season hasn't been so great, kinda boring. The guys seem particulaly dumb this season. Oh well, it's still a favorite thing to do. Plus, I like to read this blogger's weekly recaps. Funny stuff. 

Maxi Skirts

Rust Long Maxi Skirt-Like most fashion trends, I'm a bit late to the game on this one, but I'm loving maxi skirts. I was given one for my birthday last weekend and plan on buying another one soon. They are perfect for a growing belly and I'm guessing will be really nice postpartum too
Enchantmints Fairy Forest Lodge

So I admit, I've already started thinking about Christmas. I like to try to budget and plan (and start saving my Swagbucks) way ahead of time in the hopes that when Advent rolls around everything will be calm and serene and I can simply enjoy the season. The calm and serene part has yet to happen, maybe this year...Anyways, this is my new favorite gift idea for the girls. It's a fairy house. Look how cute it is! Look at the toadstool furniture! So fun.

Baptism Ideas

Photo Credit
God willing, we will have a new little baby to Baptize in November. Both of our girls' baptisms were spur of the moment, last minute, somewhat emergency baptisms due to the fact that they would be having surgery for their craniosynostosis when they were only a few weeks old. Actually, Hannah did have a second baptism in California along with a party, but her first (and real) baptism involved me grabbing the priest one Sunday after Mass and begging him to baptize my baby before her surgery the next day. Abigail's baptism involved the parish letting us know on a Friday that she could be baptized on Saturday, so no time for preparations there either. So with this baby, I am trying to plan ahead. I've been scouring the internet for baptismal party ideas and there are so many cute ones. But this Pinterest party is probably my favorite. Think I could do it?

Birthday Weekend

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
My birthday was this past weekend and Matthew surprised me by whisking us all away for an overnight trip to Newport, RI. It's such a cute little harbor town, with cobblestones (my favorite), huge famous mansions from the Gilded age and lots of great restaurants.
The view from our room. Not too bad, right? I love foggy mornings.
He had the whole trip planned. We stayed in Newport for the night and went out to a nice seafood dinner for my birthday. My parents gave me this cute maxi skirt for my birthday, so this is what I wore on Sunday. Here's my picture for you Mom:)

The next morning was a perfect foggy beach morning. We woke up early and had the whole town to ourselves, or so it seemed. We walked around and played in the park with the girls. Then headed back to the hotel, packed our stuff and headed out to enjoy the day. Our first stop was  a hike along the cliff walk, which goes past all theses huge beautiful mansions that were once owned (possibly still are) by the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Astors, etc. It was a beautiful day for a hike and the ocean below was gorgeous.
One little girl was a bit grumpy about going on the hike.

I thought the sign of the guy falling off the cliff was pretty funny.
Check out that view!

Still grumpy.Oh well, I had a lot of fun.

Another little girl was having lots of fun.
After our 2 mile hike, which is a long hike for us these days, we cooled off at the beach. We were just planning to stay at the beach for a minute so Matthew could take a quick dip, but the girls were having so much fun playing in the waves we decided to stay for a while. Hannah was so brave, going further and further out into the ocean. And Abby was so cute too. She so wanted to keep up with big sister, but everytime a wave would come and hit her waist, she would say, "okay, okay," so I wasn't sure if she was having fun or not, or just trying to convince herself that she was okay, but it was cute.

Shoot, I don't have any pictures from the beach.

After the beach, we headed to lunch at this nearby farm Matthew had found. This was the coolest place because it was not only a farm market/cafe, but also a pick your own fruit farm. I've been wanting to go pick fruit with the girls since forever.
Enjoying lunch.
Look how nice this farm stand was. So cute!
A little sweaty, but having fun.
Not sure what she was doing, but she was cute.

Hannah loved this queen and king. Matthew is gonna love how many pictures I posted of him.

After lunch we went to pick strawberries. This was so fun and quite possibly the highlight of the trip. We're already planning a return trip to this farm. Both girls were able to figure out how to pick the strawberries pretty quickly and there were plenty of big giant red strawberries to pick.
Watching big sister first to see how to pick.

There was only one other family with little kids at the patch, so we had nearly the whole place to ourselves.
I think I was having the most fun.
Enjoying a strawberry on the ride home.
After picking a bunch of strawberries, we decided to head home. But like I said, we're planning to head back to this farm later this summer when they will have cherries, blueberries and raspberries for the picking. We're also planning to camp out, like in a tent, the next time we go. That's on our bucket list for this summer, so I'm looking forward to that. 
Abby fell asleep about 2 minutes into the ride home. It was a big day for her!
As you can see, it was a wonderful trip. We felt like we had been gone for weeks and it was only about a 24 hour trip. So fun! Can't wait to go back.

7 Quick Takes...More Than A Few Days Late

Monday, June 24, 2013
We've been so busy the last few days/weeks that bullet points are about all I can manage with this blog right now. So I figured I'd join up with Jen at Conversion Diary for some Quick Takes. Let's see if I can come up with seven...

My grandfather is on his way from passing from this world to the next. He's been heading down this road for a little while now, but now things seem to be speeding up. I've written about him on my blog before: We plan to give our baby the middle name Francis in honor of him. Please pray for him and for my grandmother too.

The girls and I hosted our Mothers Rosary Group end of the year party at our pool this past week. It was a bbq/pool party and lots of fun. I went all out and decorated all Pinteresty, I wish I had a picture. Altogether we had four moms and 8 kids, plus two more babes in utero. It was a great party and it inspired me to try to host a few more parties this summer. I have been so blessed by our group and by my new friendships with these other mothers. They've become really good friends. I'm really lucky. 

Speaking of said friends, they've been teasing me lately about being able to fit all my kids (and kids-to-be) in our car. Right now we have a little Prius and I'm convinced/determined to fit one more baby in the back seat. They think I'm crazy and that it's time to get a minivan (they each have one). I say no way, minivans are ugly and I'm really vain and really don't want to drive one. Plus, I really don't want to spend any money buying a new car. Maybe when kid #4 comes along we can get a bigger car then, but for now a new car is simply not a necessity. What do you think, am I crazy? Should I just throw in the towel and get a minivan? Ugh, I really don't want to. 

We've been trying to do a lot of fun outdoorsy activities with the kids lately. Lots of bike rides, trips to Cape Cod, the museum, etc. We're trying to live it up this summer because we know when baby makes his arrival, we won't be going much of anywhere.

 The girls have been loving playing in the pool lately. It's finally been hot enough to enjoy our pool. My parents gave Abby a huge inflatable turtle for the pool for her birthday, which has been a big hit with any and every child within a 1 mile vicinity. I bought the girls a few other pool toys too. I spent about half my childhood in the pool and I hope my kids can have the same experience. I have big plans to give Hannah some swim lessons this summer...we shall see. 

Speaking of Hannah, we received notice that she was "accepted" into the pre-school we had applied to. Hooray! I felt silly for feeling excited that she was accepted, but I admit, I was a little thrilled. I'm so dumb. Anyways, I think she's going to love pre-school. It's only two hours twice a week, the perfect amount of school at that age, in my opinion. 

One of my dear friends just had her third baby in less than three years. A baby boy named Xavier. Congrats, Chris! 

Okay, I made it to seven. That's all I got.

Going From 2 to 3 Kids

Monday, June 17, 2013
Stressed Mom with count 'em, three kids.
I'll be honest, it makes me nervous, making the transition from two kids to three. At the park today I overheard a few moms talking about how it was so, so difficult making that leap from two to three (compared with going from one to two kids). They were talking about all the difficulties and how much their older kids acted out and such. (I am such an eavesdropper).

Then I read articles like this and my anxiety starts to rise: "Three is the Most Stressful Number of Kids."

In our little family we're about four months away from making that supposed giant and stressful leap from 2 to 3 children. My oldest will still only be three years old when the baby is born, so that means three kids, three and under. While Hannah is certainly a huge help, there is also a lot that she simply cannot do by herself. So come November, I will have to care for the needs of three separate children and truth be told, that thought is starting to stress me out. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to having a third baby. And I know I'll adjust and I know I'll survive. It's been done before, it will be done again and plenty of women have kids even more closely spaced than mine. I know my grandmother had 6 kids, ages 5 and under and everybody lived to tell about it. So, it can be done.

But I've allowed myself to start thinking about how a baby will be incorporated into our daily routine. When I'm making breakfast, what will the baby be doing? When will the baby nap? Will the baby nap (please God!)? Will I have time to...fill in the the laundry, make lunch, exercise, blog? 

The answer to those questions of course, is that most likely for a little while at least, I'll be doing a whole lot of nothing. Well, nothing but caring for the children. Laundry won't get done, floors won't be mopped (not that they are now...), healthy and homemade meals won't get made and my oldest two probably will not get enough attention.  

But that's okay. 

Adding a brand new person to a family creates a certain upheaval, a good upheaval, but an upheaval nonetheless. All systems and routines get thrown out the window and life is a bit chaotic. For a little while. Then eventually the dust settles, routines start happening again and life begins to seem a bit back to normal. Of course it never really goes entirely back to normal, but a new normal is created. 

And that's what I have to keep telling myself. Yes, it will be hard and most likely a difficult transition, but I will get used to it. And I'm sure as soon as I'm used to having 3 kids, you know what's going to #4.

Actually, the second part of the above article stated that mothers of four or more children actually reported lower levels of stress than those with three. So I emailed the article to Matthew and told him we're just going to have to try for baby #4 right away.

Five Favorites

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Five pregnancy favorites--the third time around

Trader Joe's Coffee Bean Blast Ice Cream.Coffee Bean Blast Ice Cream
This stuff should come with a warning because man, it is potent. Even a little scoop will keep me up all night, but I just can't help myself. It is sooo good. 

Cucumber Salad. My diet is pretty much averaging a cucumber a day at this point.  I can't get enough of this stuff. I'll make some for dinner and then eat the whole thing myself.
Arnold Palmer's (iced tea and lemonade). Nantucket Nectar's Half & Half is my all-time favorite drink.

The Sicilian Tuna Salad served over a bed of greens from my favorite little local place. Here's a description of the tuna: italian tuna salad, red onion, capers, e.v.o.o., red wine vinegar oregano, fresh fennel slaw, pickled peppadew peppers, gruyere with lemon mayo. I would seriously eat this every day for lunch if I wasn't worried about the baby being born with mercury poisoning or something.

Last, but not least. I have been craving beer like crazy, specifically a nice cold Harpoon IPA. Matthew's nice enough to buy it and let me have sips of his.  Hopefully this does not mean there is a little alcoholic gestating in my belly, but as Lucille Bluth would say, "this does not bode well" 

 For more fun Five Favorites, visit Moxie Wife.  

Why We Might Homeschooling

Did anyone else see this article? Homschooling Growing SevenTimes Faster Than Public School Enrollment.

The title is fairly self-explanatory, but the article highlights the growing popularity of homeschooling. It's no secret (or maybe it is, I don't know. If it was a secret, now you know!) that we're considering homeschooling our kids, at least for elementary school. We plan to send them to a traditional high school. 

Homeschooling is one of those parenting topics, along with natural birth, vaccines, co-sleeping, etc. that can incite a great deal of controversy. Fortunately, the decision to homeschool has become much more mainstream since I was a child. Many parents, regardless of their religious and political affiliation are opting to homeschool their children, not because they think the public school system is so bad, but because they genuinely believe they can offer their children a better educational alternative. 

Like most parents, our children’s education is not something we take lightly. We have talked about the prospect of homeschooling at length. Each time we discuss it, we keep coming back to the idea that it might really be the best option for our little family. 

Whether we like it or not, parents are the primary educators for their children. At the end of the day, our children’s education is ultimately our responsibility and not that of a teacher, school or educational system. I figure by homeschooling, we’ll just cut out the middle man.

If you’re interested, I’ve included some of the reasons we’ve decided to homeschool. I’m sure each homeschooling family has their own unique reasons for doing so, here are ours. 

1)     Perhaps one of our primary reasons for homeschooling is to help encourage and foster strong familial relationships. We hope our kids will form strong sibling relationships with one other as a result of being able to spend their childhoods together rather than in separate classrooms for 8 hours a day.

2) I am a big believer that when children are young they need a lot of free play time and not a lot of school. By homeschooling our kids when they are little (kindergarten through 2nd grade), we can choose to have school for a few hours a day and play for the rest of the day. There was a Harvard study done not too long ago that supports this notion—many children who end up excelling in high school and college had plenty of unstructured play time as children.

3) Homeschooling will actually leave more time for our children to be involved in various activities outside of the home. We can schedule swim lessons at 9am in the morning or 1pm in the afternoon because of the flexibility of our schedule. Same goes for piano lessons, tai kwon do classes, etc.. We can take trips to the museum on a weekday and call it school.

 4) Family life will be structured around our family rather than around a rigid school calendar. We can take trips to Civil War battlefields or go skiing or visit family whenever we like as opposed to waiting for a school vacation. Again the emphasis is on our family, rather than on a school.

So far all the examples I have highlighted how much we like the flexibility involved in homeschooling, which probably makes me sound like a slacker, haha! But obviously, we plan to homeschool for the educational benefits as much as for the benefits to our social calendar. 

5) Despite my previous mentioning of all the free time we’d have, we actually intend to expect more out of our children because they are learning at home. Our goal is for our children to ultimately gain a greater depth and breadth of knowledge at home than they would at school.

6)  An enhanced home education includes a religious and moral education. I think so often parents can become consumed with giving their children the best opportunities to develop the mind and body, they forget the third and most important aspect of a person, their spirit, or soul. A child’s spiritual development is an integral part of a complete education.

7)   More than being able to control where our children learn, we can control what they learn. Much of what is taught in school today is fluff and non-consequential information. We want to give our kids a rich and in-depth understanding of the world around them and a love for knowledge. Most homeschooling families agonize over which curriculum to choose, we are no different. We’ve been discussing various curricula since Hannah was probably a year old. (Incidentally, I think we’ve decided to mostly go with the Sonlight curriculum).

8)      We trust ourselves to be our children’s teachers more than we trust an unknown adult. Both Matthew and I are experienced educators. I have taught other people’s children, I feel confident in being able to teach my own (that’s not to say if you’re not a teacher, you shouldn’t homeschool). No one will care for our child as much as we do, so who better to be responsible for their mental and moral development than their mother (and father).  

With all that said, we also acknowledge that plans change and we will need to take this homeschooling adventure one year at a time. And...we plan to send our kids to pre-school, so Hannah will be going to school in the fall. It's a twice weekly program for only two hours each time. I know she’s going to love it. 

We also plan to send our kids to a traditional school once they reach middle or high school. We want our kids to have a normal high school experience and play sports and whatnot.

So there you have it, some of our reasons to homeschool. What do you think? Are you a homeschool parent? Why do you homeschool? If you’re not a homeschool parent, what do you think of homeschooling?

My Mini-Me

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This girl loves sweets as much as her mama. 

The other day when she was eating some ice cream (for good behavior during Mass-I'm all about the bribery), I asked if she could give Abby a tiny bite. To which she replied, "umm, I don't think Abby would wike it. Abby thinks it's too cold."

Abby definitely did not think it was too cold. But it was a good excuse, nonetheless. She is certainly her mother's daughter.

I've caught her sneaking yogurt treats from the fridge too. Like mother, like daughter.

Weekend Fun

Monday, June 10, 2013
We had a great weekend. The weather was perfect- mid 70's and sunny. Lots of people flocked to our little beach this weekend, so the boardwalk was hoppin'.

This was also the first weekend I wasn't teaching on Saturday morning. Hooray! 

On Saturday morning we took the girls to the Boston Children's Museum. We opted to become members a while back because the museum offers special members hours in the mornings and all the exhibits are much less crowded. This is the second time we've visited and the girls just love the place. There's so many fun things for them to do, play in the sand, make bubbles, watch turtles, throw golfballs down shoots and all sorts of fun hands-on activities. 

After the museum we headed to a nearby hip little bakery. We totally plan to make this a weekend routine- museum and bakery visit. 

Saturday afternoon the girls watched a movie and we relaxed. Then we Skyped with my sister, Jacqui. It was great to catch up--right Jack?;) She's in the process of house hunting (major stressor), so we were talking about that and about house hunting in California in general (major expensive stressor). Home prices in California are just ridiculous. I have such sticker shock when I look at homes online. Personally, I would rather live in a trailer on a nice piece of land and be debt free than live in a mansion with a huge mortgage. But that's just me. Although, it might get a little crowded in a trailer with 3 kids, but that's what the big backyard would be for. Anyways...

Sunday was lovely too. We went for a family bike ride, our first of the season! The girls loved it! I did too. Hannah was so excited to leave to go on the bike ride she kept saying "okay team, let's go," which is what Matthew always says, which is something my grandfather used to always say. So funny.

We rode our bikes to a little lunch place not too far away and had lunch. Seriously, how cute do they look in their helmets? I can't handle it.

Later that afternoon, Abby wanted to wear her helmet again, so Matthew put it on her and then she fell asleep. Too cute.

Oh, and at some point this weekend we went and bought a couple of little boy newborn outfits, which was so fun and so surreal. We bought something with fire trucks on it! This boy thing is going to be a whole new world...

What I Wore Sunday

Sunday, June 9, 2013
This is my first time linking up for What I Wore Sunday. I feel a little bad because it appears as if I made a halfhearted attempt at getting dressed, which I suppose I did. Most women in the WWIS linkup wear cute accessories and shoes, at least, but there you have it. At least my little girl accessory is pretty darn cute. 

Top: Downeast Basics
Skirt: Old Navy
Little Child: Super cute accessory and incidentally not dressed for Mass.

I promise next week will be an improvement. For cuter outfits, visit Fine Linen and Purple.

Abigail Saying Her ABC's

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Probably only interesting to the relatives, but it's still pretty cute.

Happy Birthday, Abigail!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Today is my Abigail's 2nd Birthday!

She is currently out to breakfast with Matthew. He has a little tradition where he likes to take the birthday child out to breakfast, just the two of them. It's really cute. She was so excited to go and even brought him his shoes. Although, I just got a text from him saying she wasn't sitting still. Well, that's our Abby, always on the move.

Already I am starting to see less and less baby in her and more and more little girl. She's been through more before the age of 2 than most people have in their lifetime. And yet, despite all the challenges, she has remained a happy, funny and smart little girl. 

She is such a blessing to our family. We all love her willful and spunky personality. As one of her doctor's remarked recently, "she's just her own person." So very true. She's a very confident and independent child and yet, she's very affectionate too. She loves giving hugs (nothing beats an Abby hug) and kisses. We have loved watching her grow and develop and can't wait to see her become the person God has intended her to be.

We love you, Abigail Elizabeth!
I feel like she look so grown up in this picture.
Abigail at age 2
Nicknames: Abs, Absy, Bubs, Bubsy, Missy

Favorite Foods: Chicken cacciatore, peanut butter sandwiches, Trader Joe's O's, pretzels, beet banana and blueberry pouches and cookies.

Favorite Activities: Saying her ABC's, going for walks, being outside (the kid loves the great outdoors), drawing with sidewalk chalk, playing with Hannah in their cushion fort, jumping off...well, anything, walking the flats in Cape Cod.

Vocabulary: (very limited) hi, Mama, Daddy, cat, bye
BUT--she knows her ABC's and most of her numbers!!

Favorite Books: Snuggle Puppy, Boston ABC's, Cinderella, The Saving Name of God the Son (I kid you not, she looks at this book all the time, which is funny because the book is really advanced and kinda weird).

Favorite Toys: LeapPad Leaptop (by far her favorite toy), Legos, toy car,

Notable Events in the last year: She had skull and facial reconstruction surgery in October and was in the hospital for 5 days. She learned her ABC's very early.

St. Gobnait, pray for us! St. Elizabeth, pray for us!

Read about Abigail's birth story, here and here
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