A Few Abigail Funnies

Thursday, March 27, 2014
Five Favorites, hosted at MoxieWife.com 
Two and a half is such a fun and funny age. Abby is such a little firecracker and she certainly keeps us on our toes. I can't keep track of all her antics, but here are a few for your amusement. 
This is not unique to Abby, but the girls have been watching a lot of a BBC show called Kipper lately. It's about a bunch of animals who are friends and basically do a whole lot of nothing each episode. The girls love it. Being a BBC show, the animals all have British accents and use a lot of British idioms in their speech. As a result, the girls have started saying things like: 
"Mama, may I please have a biscuit?" (British for cookie)
"Ah, you gave me a fright!"
And Hannah now says "Daddy" with a British accent.
Abby is deathly afraid of animals. All animals. Including tiny little birds. It's borderline ridiculous. Whenever she sees a little bird, she runs away and screams, "ahh! Beard, beard!! Monssa!" Lately, she's been calling a lot of things "monster" or "monssa." Including...

This is totally politically incorrect, but we were at the hospital the other day and Abby noticed a woman in a hijab. She saw the woman and yelled, you guessed it, "ahh, monssa!!" and ran back over to me. Fortunately, I don't think the woman could understand Abby-speak. It was a little embarrassing, but a lot funny.

Missy has become very opinionated about what she eats lately. At dinnertime when I put her plate of food in front of her, she looks at it and if the food is not to her liking, she will simply say, "nope" and push the plate away. Her "nope" has a strong tone of finality about it and there's really no arguing with her. After she promptly refuses my carefully crafted homemade dinner, she'll usually say, "how bout some ice cream?" As if she fully expects me to say, "oh, okay, let me dish you up a few scoops."

When she gets into trouble is or is caught doing something she shouldn't, she tries to distract me by saying "Oh no, Lucas is crying!" Of course he's usually not crying, but she's hoping I'll go check on him and then she'll be off scot-free.

She's a pistol, my Abigail, but she sure does keep us laughing.

Little Swimmer Boy

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
We had a fantastic little overnight trip to the Cape this past weekend. It was so lovely to get away, even if only for one night. It felt like we were gone for a week!

The hotel we stayed in was really nice and had an indoor pool, so we swam a lot and Lucas went for his very first swim. He seemed kinda "meh" about it all. He didn't hate it, but didn't love it either. He was just "whatever" about the whole experience. But check out how cute he looked in his swim trunks.
He looks so tiny floating in the water.
One of the girls, for good measure.

Sleeping Beauty

Friday, March 21, 2014
I think I've mentioned before that Abby falls asleep in the strangest places. The other day I caught her peering into the media cabinet where we keep all the movies. When I glanced over a few minutes later she was still looking inside. I walked over and noticed that she had fallen asleep. Our little odd child. I love her.

Seven Random Quick Takes


We're headed down to Cape Cod for the night. Matthew won a night's stay at Ocean Edge, which is where we stay during the summer. It will be so nice to get away, even if it's for only one night. Hannah has had her bags packed and shoes and socks on since 7am this morning. To say she's excited to go would be an understatement.


We met with Abby's ophthalmologist this week and it looks like she's going to need another eye surgery sometime this year. This wasn't surprising to us, since we've noticed her eyes wandering a bit. It does, however, throw a wrench in our plans to move. We're thinking we can still make plans to move and simply fly back for the surgery when the time comes. We'll see.


Weight Watchers is working! Since joining, I've lost 6lbs. It's so encouraging. Only 15 more pounds to go! When I reach my first goal weight, which is just 2 more pounds away, I plan to treat myself to a facial. When I reach my ultimate goal weight, (when  I lose all the baby weight), I plan to treat myself to Stitch Fix, and amp up my wardrobe.  


Foolishly, I ate some Trader Joe's Coffee Blast ice cream last night and not-so-surprisingly, didn't sleep too well last night. It didn't help that Lucas was up from about 1-3am. Today should be interesting...


My Mothers Rosary Group has been reading Courageous Love: A Bible Study on Holiness for Women. It's prompted a lot of great discussions on the dignity of women and what it means to be a woman in this modern age. 


I swear I have the sense of humor of a 5 year old. Whenever Lucas "toots" I can't help but giggle. Why are baby toots the funniest thing?

Have I ever mentioned that Ven. Fulton Sheen is pretty much my favorite saint (or saint-to-be)? I plan to name our next boy after him. I'm reading his Lenten Meditations (Kindle price is only $.99) He has such a way with words and manages to be both incredibly insightful and funny. Take this quote on humility:
"Humility is like underwear. We have to have it, but we should never show it. Pride is what we think ourselves to be; humility is the truth we know about ourselves, not in the eyes of our neighbor, but in the eyes of God." (From Simple Truths)

And one more Sheen quote for good measure:
"The tragedy of this world is not so much the pain in it; the tragedy is that so much of it is wasted. It is only when a log is thrown into the fire that it begins to sing. It is only when the thief was thrown into the fire of a cross that he began to find God. It is only in pain that some begin to discover where love is."
~Seven Words of Jesus and Mary 


Lent 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Look at me, Mama. I'm Jesus on the Cross."

I had big plans this Lent. I forget now what I originally intended to do, but suffice it to say, I was going to be a saint by the time the 40 days were up. 

With my temperament (choleric), I tend to really thrive with goals and to-do lists, so when things like New Year's and Lent roll around, I'm usually all over the resolutions. Not too surprisingly, I tend to bite off more than I can chew.

Like I said, I had all sorts of lofty plans of prayer and penitence that I wanted to accomplish this Lent. Then two things happened. 

First Ash Wednesday happened.  Losing my temper really forced me to take a long, hard look at myself and my failings. I realized that the very qualities of my temperament that are often seen as positive (and they very well can be positive) are also those that can lead me away from holiness. The seemingly endless desire to go, go, go and the drive towards perfection can also translate into a disordered preoccupation with outward appearances. Needless to say, being so caught up in how others perceive me can often mean I neglect my interior, namely spiritual, life.

Secondly, I read a blog post by Leila at Like Mother, Like Mother. Her Lenten recommendations for mothers with young children really helped me to reevaluate my expectations for myself. She gently suggests to avoid taking your phone to bed and to choose one chore that you tend to avoid and to tackle it with determination and joy. She writes"Better than sacrifices, better than burnt offerings, will be, in the sight of the Lord, your cheerful determination to tackle a duty of yours and master it. "

It wasn't so much what she suggested, but how. Perhaps I am wrong, but I felt she was intimating that for mothers with young children, our daily lives already include a great deal of self-sacrifice and that because of this, if we simply live our daily duties well, we will live a successful Lent. Maybe it wasn't her intent, but I felt as if I had permission to go a bit easier on myself. And not easier as in slacker, but easier as in gentler.  

I loved that she added, "I know, these aren’t immensely impressive Lenten practices. Where is the hard bed in the cold stone room? Where is the bread and water? Sackcloth? Ashes? But maybe one of these little steps will result in a fruitful Lent for you." 

I tend to want the sackcloth and ashes and aspire to the "hard bed in the cold stone room." And not that these sacrifices are wrong or don't have their rightful place, but it dawned on me, that as a mother with young children, these are most likely not the penances the Lord is asking of me, at least at this stage of my life. Maybe in 20 years, but not now.

After my Ash Wednesday experience and reading Leila's blog post, I decided to actually pray about it and to actually ask Jesus what he wants of me this Lent. Novel idea to actually pray about it, I know. And I felt he was asking me to slow down, to spend more time with my children and to enjoy them. They are blessings, after all. 

So my plans for the remainder of Lent are to resist the urge to busy myself, to incorporate more daily prayer into my life and to focus on enjoying my children. (I've given up a couple of things too, but no one needs to hear about that.) I have a hard time taking the time to just sit with my children, so I've resolved to spend quality time with one of them each day and either play or read or cuddle. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I feel this is what is being asked of me right now.

And I have found the less I worry about what must be done and of what others think of me, the more interior peace I have. My soul has become more settled and more content. I am hoping this will eventually lead to experiencing more Christian joy. Joy is my "word" and aspiration for this year. But more about that another time.

It may prove to be a fruitful Lent after all. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014
"I like smiling. Smiling's my favorite."
-Buddy the Elf, aka Lucas Richer

Lucas is by far the smiliest of our babies so far. He is such a happy little guy.  He's four and a half months old now and while some mothers would say they can't believe how quickly time is flying by, truthfully I can't believe he's only four months old. It feels like he's been a part of our family for so much longer than that. 

At his four month check up, he weighed 16lbs, which apparently is around the 75th percentile. I forget his exact height, but he is tall for his age, for whatever that's worth. I was so relieved that he's growing as well as he is, considering the rocky start we had with trying to feed him. Sadly, he no longer nurses and I am exclusively pumping and bottle feeding him. I do feel like I am missing out on the breastfeeding relationship, but I am happy that he is getting mostly breastmilk. It is what it is. 

He loves his sisters, particularly Hannah. She can make him laugh like no other. He has the cutest giggle and laugh. And man oh man, does she love him. She wants to marry him and often acts out their wedding. Poor little brother. 

He can roll over, but doesn't do it all the time yet. He's not a big fan of tummy time, but he puts up with it well enough.

Poor boy, he's teething up a storm. He's constantly drooling and his fist is always in his mouth. It's actually quite impressive that he can fit his entire fist in his mouth.

His hair is turning out blonder than I expected and he has the prettiest blue eyes. He also lucked out because like the girls, he has really long eyelashes. However, also like the girls, he got my very thick eyebrows. 
I don't know if it's a boy thing, but he is constantly moving, kicking his legs or batting something with his arms. We call him "big twticher richer." He loves his bouncy seat and will kick his legs and bounce himself for up to an hour. That's a really long time. 

Some of his nicknames right now are Lukey, Lukey-lou (not very masculine), Buddy (what I mostly call him), Pal (what Matthew mostly calls him), Handsome, Frank (after his great-grandfather and his middle name) and a few others, but those are the main ones.

I hate to admit it, but he likes to watch TV. I know, I know, bad parent that I am, I let him watch television. But he really does watch it. In my defense, I do read to him and he also really loves that. He will sit rapt with attention while I read him a book. 

I love having a boy. He still feels very much like a baby and not so much a boy yet, but I really look forward to when he'll be interested in cars and trains and making noises and all the things little boys like to do. 

As Hannah says, "he is such a good baby. I love him so much." My sentiments exactly, dear.  

My Grandkids

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Hannah has been really into her dolls lately, her "kids," as she calls them. There's about seven of them and they all have names- Jack, Therese, Sally, Teresa, Susie and I can't remember the rest. (Some grandmother I am.) Apparently her baby naming style is an eclectic mix of Catholic saint and 1960's chic.  She takes them everywhere she goes and even makes sure they have a babysitter when she leaves.

It's vitally important that the "kids" are properly put to bed each night. Since she co-sleeps with her children, they take up about half the bed. Poor Aunt Abby is relegated to the edge of the bed each  night. However, it appears Mama Hannah has not quite adopted the "back to sleep" method of placing a baby on its back to sleep. Things are looking mighty dangerous for poor little Jack, who I am sad to say, wears pink.

Notice how Abby is upside down? She loves to sleep like that.

Ash Wednesday, Anger and Absolution

Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Do you like the allieration in my title? I was quite proud of myself, thank you very much.

My Lent started off horribly. Ash Wednesday was a disaster.

It started when I decided to take all three kids to the noon Mass. Fool.

We arrived a good 15 minutes late because I couldn't find a parking space. It would have been faster for us to walk. It was starting to snow and I had to carry Lucas's carseat and walk a good two blocks to the church. We made our arrival right in the middle of the Gospel reading. We slide, not so quietly, into a pew. 

Everything was going well enough until I looked over and see Abby playing with her very large and very loud airplane toy. I try to take it away from her and she screams, so I reluctantly allow her to continue to bang it on the wooden pew. Her banging is quieter than her screaming. 

I try to focus on the priest's homily while silently begging him to speed it up.  I glance again at Miss Abigail and she is now jumping on the kneeler. I try to reach around the car seat to get to her, but she crawls under the pew. She knocks down the kneeler in front of us, no doubt causing it to smash someone's foot. Meanwhile, I'm trying to keep all of our million jackets from falling onto the floor.

Hannah is behaving well enough and listening to the priest and reading her Mass books. A whopping whole minute later, I look over at Abby again and notice that she has now removed her shoes and socks. Oh, for the love.  I try to get her to put her shoes back on, she screams again and shouts, "no, mom, no! Let go, mom!" And not in her indoor voice. It's nearing the time to get in line for the ashes, so I attempt to wrestle Abby's shoes back on her, to no avail. Meanwhile, Lucas starts to cry, so I pick him up.

I'm holding Lucas and ushering Hannah into line to get our ashes. I manage to get one of Abby's shoes back on and decide to just leave her in the pew. I tell her I will be right back. She seems okay with this idea and stays put. However, when I'm halfway up the aisle in line, my one-shoed child comes running after me, "Wait Mom, wait! Mooom!"

At this point I just start laughing because really. We must be such a sight. The lady who is distributing ashes sees me at this point and signals to me that she'll come to me. Thank you, God. I don't have to walk the entire length of the church aisle with my motley crew. I get my ashes and return to the pew. 

Things are going well for a good 3 minutes when I look over and notice Hannah now has her shoes and socks off. This is when I lose it. Hannah should know better. Later she said she thought she "was at a home." Yeah right. Through my teeth, I yell at her to put her shoes back on. And I don't say it nicely.

Eventually, I calm myself down and get everyone's shoes and socks on, but at this point, I'm done. I lost my temper, it's time to go. I gather up our jackets and decide to leave. I'm not in the right frame of mind to continue with Mass and I console myself with the fact that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation anyways.

We trudge through the snow back to the car and all the while I'm telling them how awful they were and how disappointed I am with them. Taking their shoes off during Mass, what were they thinking? Once we're in the car, I really let them have it. I get so, so mad at them. I yell, a lot. It is bad. And ugly.

After I cool down, I apologize to them profusely. I feel awful for speaking to them in such a way. Where did all that rage come from? They had misbehaved, yes, but they did not deserve the wrath I brought down upon them.

On a side note, I was reading Growing Up Duggar the other night (yes, call me crazy, but I love the Duggar family). Anyways, they devote an entire chapter to anger and the damage it can cause to the parent-child relationship. They liken a parent with anger issues to a volcano. Even if a volcano only erupts once a year, nobody wants to live near one. That analogy really resonated with me because I really don't want to be that parent, the one my children are afraid of, that could lose it at any moment. That's not okay.

As ugly as the scene was, in some ways it seems appropriate that on Ash Wednesday I was forced to confront my fallen nature. As much as people try to deny it or avoid talking about it, sin is real and evil exists. I am walking proof of that.

The next morning, I called the church rectory to schedule an appointment for Confession. Although, I had apologized to my children and to God, I needed to make an official and physical act of reparation for the wrong I had done. I think I'm going to devote an entire post to the Sacrament of Reconciliation because it is such a beautiful thing and one reason I love being Catholic. Some might say frequenting Confession is unnecessary or antiquated, although I'm not sure why. It's not like the human race has stopped sinning. 

I met with the priest the following morning and he heard my Confession and granted me absolution in persona Christi. There was no way I was going to make it through Lent without going to Confession, especially after letting loose on my kids. I needed to make a fresh start and begin again. 

Thank goodness we have a God who gives second chances.

Call Me Crazy, But I Love Mondays

Monday, March 10, 2014
For the past year or so, I've been trying to "observe the Sabbath" more. Maybe it's the Puritan New England finally rubbing off on me, but on Sundays I try really hard to avoid any busyness and to simply enjoy my day of rest. 

I avoid major chores (other than cooking) and try to refrain from running errands and spending money. Being of the choleric temperament, it can sometimes be really tough for me to not compose a to-do list for the day.  I'll watch as the laundry piles up or see a mess that needs to be cleaned and have to restrain myself from tackling the chore.

However, one thing I've learned with taking Sundays off, so to speak, is that I really look forward to Mondays. Don't hate me. But I wake up Monday mornings with a little spring in my step. I know there's a lot for me to do and I'm eager to get started. Oh man, sometimes I even annoy myself.  

Mondays are my laundry and dusting day. Today I did three loads of laundry and washed the sheets for the girls' bed (yes, the girls share a bed-it's so cute). I also spot cleaned the carpet and cleaned out the refrigerator. Granted, right now we're living in a smallish two-bedroom apartment, so it's not that difficult to keep everything neat and tidy. I might be whistling a different tune if we were in a big house. 
A place for everything and everything in its place. Can you spot the toddler in this picture?
A clean bed. Ignore the artwork on the bookcase. Some day I'll get around to cleaning that and buying a headboard for this bed.
Another reason I love Mondays is because of The Bachelor. I realize my IQ has basically just dropped a few points, but so be it. Tonight is the "Final Rose" and it's being dubbed the "Most Controversial Finale Ever." The Bachelor finales are always the "most fill-in-the-blank ever," but I fall for it every time. I don't care. I've saved up my Weight Watchers points so I can enjoy some frozen yogurt while I indulge in some quality programming.

I love Mondays.

Best Chocolate Zucchini Cake Ever

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Bear with me, it's my second recipe post today. But it's Fat Tuesday, we've got to live it up while we can!

I found this Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe online and adapted it a bit (less sugar, more applesauce, added in chocolate chips-of course). It is so good, if I do say so myself.
Half eaten already.

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (I used 3 medium sized zucchinis)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (use natural unsweetened cocoa, NOT Dutch processed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup +1 Tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 Tbsp or 1 1/2 sticks), melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of applesauce
  • chocolate chips
Melt the butter. Add the sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and applesauce to the melted butter. Stir. Add in the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Mix well. Finally add in the chocolate chips. 

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. (I used a bundt cake pan.) Let cool and enjoy!

This is why I'm not a food photographer. Don't let the pictures fool you, it really is good.

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