Monday, July 13, 2015

Hazy Days Of Summer {Daybook}

Out my window... hot and humid. My flower gardens are in full bloom and looking great, but only due to the help of the garden hose last week. The vegetables are just starting in the garden and to keep everything thriving some nice soaking rains would be most welcome. Last night's downpour of rains, hail and strong winds may have done some damage to my plants, but I haven't been out to check it all over just yet.

Yesterday evening a bad storm rolled through that had us in the basement for quite a while before bedtime. Earlier, as the winds and weather started to switch, there was quite the cloud display.  We called them 'bubble clouds'.

Thinking about... making plans and baby names. I'm taking a look at what is left of the summer calendar and trying to fit in a couple more outings and to do projects, but feeling the weeks closing in. There's a lot still on there and a few more opportunities to make plans if I'm feeling up to being out and about in the coming weeks. As for baby names, I think we're set and we're trying the names out here and there. I find it most fun to hear the girls say the names and my heart melts. We found a new baby girl name to fall in love with recently, but since most votes are that this is a boy I guess it won't matter any way.

I am hearing...the sounds of electricity in full use around the house after a night without power. The washer, dryer, tv, refrigerator, etc are going full speed. It's funny how quiet the house can be without electricity juices keeping things running.

What I'm reading... a few books I recently ordered from Dynamic Catholic. After struggling to get into the last several books from the library, I was inspired to try three titles from DC. So far they are good reads to pick up when I have a few minutes while I get a chance to put my feet up.

From the kitchen... with the summer heat plus the pregnancy lack of ambition and appetite, I have been in a kitchen slump once again. Last week I made up a menu plan and went out to get the groceries for some meals so I can at least be ready to provide some good meals for everyone.

Here are a few meals on the menu:

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

Pork Chops O'Brien

Ritz Cracker Chicken

Chicken Cheese Rollups

The county fair test kitchen is once again open for business and taste testing. Lily was first up with her Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies on Friday. They were quite delicious and probably aren't doing a thing for the pregnancy weight gain. Next up, Jonah will be trying out a S'mores Poke Cake recipe for his fair entry. I'll have to keep you posted on how things go and share the end results.

From the schoolroom... school books have started to arrive. After spending over a month flipping through catalogs and looking online, Reed and I sat down last weekend to finally decide on which books to order for the kids and I got them ordered. Now once they are all here I can move on to the next task of lesson plans. I normally don't mind this process, but it's tough with the summer schedule and having a good amount of time to devote to them. Planning will be a little bit tricky this year too figuring in baby's arrival and newborn demands.

I also need to sit down and come up with what/how much preschool I want to do with the little girls. They were pretty interested last year and eager to be doing school like the big kids. I figure if I at least have things prepped and ready to go before baby it will be a whole lot easier to pull things out for them. I'm not going to push them a lot or over plan, but I do want them to have sit down school time at least some days each week.

Baby belly... 31 weeks. In some ways it's like "whoa, we're already this far" and in others more like "I still have to go through about nine more weeks?!" I humbly applaud you moms of many and those in the "advanced maternal age" category. I really don't know how you do it since this pregnancy seems determined to be my hardest and physically wearing despite me being in the best shape prior and during. I blame summer.

The toddlers are enjoying the baby and taking much more notice now that they are at just the right height for belly. They think feeling the baby move is a hoot and take advantage of hugging, poking and 'waking up' their sibling. I fully anticipate this fascination will last once he or she is on the outside as well.

The belly and toddler shot from up here:

Coming up this week...

- VBS for Jonah and Gianna. Lily will also be a helper this year. Margaret is about six months shy of the youngest age so that means mornings with mom this week.

- Lily's name day (St. Kateri Tekakwith, Lily of the Mohawks)

- 16 new baby chicks are due to arrive early this week

- Getting together with Jamie and her kiddos, plus hopefully other friend meet ups this week

Photo to share... I'm just  a little bit smitten with the four year old stage right now.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June In The Rearview

Sometimes looking back makes me realize we did more than I thought and somewhere in the crazy there were memories. Here's a look back at June since the calendar pages turned and I barely recall all the moments until I look back at the photos.

Take a look, shall we?

Earlier in the month was a mommy-son date Saturday. Months ago, Jonah and I signed up for a 4H photography class that was held at a local state park. We spent the day learning simple photography tips and tricks, analyzing photos and taking walks around the scenic landscape to see what beauty we could capture. It was a good day with my boy and we both had an enjoyable time learning.

June we became determined potty trainers and set into full potty training mode. Heck, we even survived! It must have finally been time and the little Miss was ready. Having started and stopped a couple times in the last year or so due to issues that came up, I was hopeful this time around. We're now wearing big girl undies without issues, but we're still working on that #2. It takes time and this one has some constipation issues at times as well, so it will take more effort. Having gone through this three times already, I've had to accept it can take a while before perfection is attained. I'm just so excited to have her eager to go, knowing when she needs to do it and getting there in time. 

From the Baby Files, I'm currently 29+ weeks, but last week's doctor appointment had me measuring at 23 weeks. No, this is not a miscalculation leading to an October birth, but confirmation that I've got another low settled baby. Here's some photographic evidence from a week and a half ago:

From the Cuteness File, my Gianna all smiles and letting me catch her in one of my favorite toddler phases of sweetness. 

As for the big kids, they've spent the last month wandering around wondering how to fill their days without schoolwork. ha! That was part truth. I guess more like they've been enjoying their new found freedom which I happen to think sits on the brink of laziness at times. At least the first couple weeks it was that way and now we're settling in a bit more. Or maybe I'm too tired to care half the time and have adjusted to their lack of schedule. 

They did both have their first round of community ed classes last week and both participated in an Art Class. Being that I'm not really good at the arts nor painting, this is the first class for them to follow the knowledge and instruction of a local artist. They both enjoyed it and it was a good creative outlet for four mornings last week. 

They each did a canvas at first that was guided by the teacher, adding in details as they went along as a class. The last day, they each brought in their own photos from home to do a freestyle painting themselves. Both of them chose photos from our trip to Duluth last fall to recreate. 



Lily is now eager for her second painting/art class in August and Jonah will be a part of a Lego class then as well. What was I thinking making plans in the last weeks before baby?? Oh well. I won't be going that early, I can guarantee it. 

With the big kids at classes, the little girls and I kept busy with other things like errands, trips to the park and a walk along the bike trail while we waited for the kids. It gave us opportunities for extra girl time and selfies. 

We also took in a movie matinee last week as well. It was our last outing as a family (minus the tween who wasn't feeling up to it at the last minute) with our parish priest and it was his suggestion. We went to see Inside Out and it was Gianna and Margaret's first theater movie. You guessed it, they (and we all) loved it! I think I only took the newly potty trained gal to the bathroom three times during the movie. I highly recommend the movie. I'm kind of sentimental and like Margaret with the memories. I'm also a big Pixar movie fan, so it was another good hit and the outing created another memory of time with our priest for us to lock away.

Just this past Monday, Reed took the day off work for us to take a short day away. We've tried I think three or four times in June to make plans and each time didn't get to do what we'd planned due to uncooperative weather. So off we went on Monday to Brainerd, which as any Minnesotan would know leads to Paul Bunyan territory. We enjoyed the day with its own sets of highs and lows as any family day has, plus I had a couple kids with nuisance colds bugging them. 

On the way home we stopped by Camp Ripley and the military museum there since the big kids seemed intrigued as we passed by on the way to Brainerd. Camp Ripley is a 53,000 acre military and civilian training facility where many National Guards train and enlisted MN military go periodically or monthly for continued training. 

The end to our June came with the saddest part which was our parish priest's official last days. It's been a tough month as we prepared our hearts for his leaving. While change and a new pastor are inevitable, this one is a little more difficult because he wasn't set for a move this year and only recent diocesan developments even put his name on the list. We're also having a tough go of it since he was near and dear to each member of my family's hearts, even down to the toddlers. I wish you could hear how the kids talk about him and the girls draw pictures of him, color him pictures and always wanted to talk with him after Mass. Hopefully we'll be able to make the effort to plan visits (he'll be over an hour away in his new parishes) with him and remain in touch.

Now we're sailing into July and the calendar slots are more full than I anticipated. Part of that is just life activities and added to that is my now every other week prenatal appointments. We're full steam ahead!

On schedule for this month:

* piano lessons continue every other week with a new teacher for a trial period over the summer

* two prenatal appointments with my new midwife (my regular doc recently stopped delivering babies, so I needed to switch for now leading up to and including baby's delivery)

* baby's 32 week ultrasound to check growth and development

* 16 new baby chicks are set to arrive at our house in less than two weeks

* library story hour for the toddlers

* VBS for Jonah and Gianna, plus Lily will be a helper this year

* a parish festival or two that we hope to attend at a couple of our priest friends' parishes

* a farewell/We Love Jamie party that Christine and I are putting together

* patron Saint name days for Lily & Jonah

* 4H project prep for the county fair next month

I hope that your summers are going well and you have a great 4th of July weekend!

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