The Great Mom Jean Search

I finally waved the white flag of defeat over my attempts to wear my regular jeans.  Just because pants zip does not mean that they fit! So to the internet I went to do some shopping because that’s how I’m getting things done these days.  Before I get into the nitty gritty and you all wonder why I only shop at the Gap, let me explain why I only shop there (and Old Navy).  [I know I could find better jeans at nicer establishments, but I'm not willing to pay a lot for (hopefully!) transitional jeans!]  When I was first working and living at home (so that I could save money! Funny!) I gave into my darkest materialistic impulses and got myself a Gap credit card.  It was silly then and it’s silly now, EXCEPT, it’s actually been a really good thing in the long run.  All those insane sales that both Gap and Old Navy run on the regular, well they’re even more insane for cardholders.  And I get lots of cash back, so it’s more money I can put back into my… closet.  And Dave’s and SK’s and Gus’ closets! Anyway, I don’t recommend getting store credit cards willy-nilly, but I’ve been faithful to Gap and to paying my bills and they’ve treated me good in return so it’s all worked out.  Right? Right.

So! Online shopping!  I ordered this pair of jeans last week when they were having a 40% off deal.  They had really good reviews and, of course, they look really great in the picture so I figured I’d give em’ a shot.  Here’s what they look like on me:Photo on 8-25-14 at 9.52 AM #3 Photo on 8-25-14 at 9.52 AM #5Not bad!  But here’s the kicker: they’re really high waisted.  That was on-purpose; I need help in that wiggly-jiggly area.  Plus, high-waisted is in now, right?

Photo on 8-25-14 at 9.52 AM #6

17 year old Ellen is screaming in horror.  Look at how long that zip-fly is! All I wanted back then was for Mom to let me wear low-cut jeans like EVERYBODY ELSE!

The thing is, these jeans feel amazing.  Everything is tucked in just so.  But between the wash and thickness of these jeans and how high they come up, I’m getting a big mom jeans vibe.  Physically, I feel great in them.  But emotionally, I feel like I’ve given up. But the saga doesn’t end there…

It’s Monday, so I had a bit of a death wish anyway.  I decided to pack up the kids and the double stroller AND the Bjorn and go shopping.  I wanted to see what else they had in the store that could help me feel tucked in but not geriatric. I apologize for the fuzzy pictures.  I was trying to be quick for the kiddos’ sake.

Ok from the side...

Ok from the side…

Ahhhh!! So awful!

Ahhhh!! So awful!

I have moral reservations about buying pre-ripped jeans.  And this pair had the same crotch situation as the last pair so, no.

I have moral reservations about buying pre-ripped jeans. And this pair had the same crotch situation as the last pair so, no.


Gus likes them!

Getting warmer? These were really similar to the pair I bought online, but the waist is a little lower. Eh?

Getting warmer? These were really similar to the pair I bought online, but the waist is a little lower.


This was the best pair, I think.  They're the same as the last one except lighter/more washed out.  I think that makes them look a little more young, don't you think?  And lets talk about that sweater.  It's the same as the gray one but a size larger.  I like the color, but is it too large?

This was the best in-store pair, I think. They’re the same as the last one except lighter/more washed out. I think that makes them look a little more young, don’t you think? And lets talk about that sweater. It’s the same as the gray one but a size larger. I like the color, but is it too large? Does the gray look better? Incidentally, these jeans are the sexy boyfriend jeans that Blythe and Grace both praised to high heaven. Maybe they are magic for all postpartum bodies after all?

I need you, fashionable, lovely internet friends and family!  Should I go with the online purchase or the last pair I tried on in the store?  Please Pretty Please weigh in and tell me your opinions!



7 Quick Reasons to Smile

I’m pushing against this postpartum quicksand feeling today and actually getting a post up, by golly! I thought I’d do a combination of a Quick Takes post and a reasons to smile post, which is a happy challenge posed by my friend Annemarie earlier this week.  So, here goes!

1. Our garden is in full harvest mode, and it’s helping us to be not so unhealthy in this survival season of life.  So, while we’ve been eating a lot of freezer food lately, we have fresh tomatoes, green beans and squash to go along with it.

Tried out and loved the tomato zucchini gratin recipe found here. :)

Tried out and loved the tomato zucchini gratin recipe found here. :)

Our carrot harvest back in July was piddling, but SK was impressed nonetheless.

Our carrot harvest back in July was piddling, but SK was impressed nonetheless.

2. And speaking of farmer Dave, not only has he been busy growing veggies and helping me stay sane in the evenings and on weekends, but he also landed an awesome new job this summer.   I’m so proud of him and grateful for all his hard work for our family.  Also, on the days when I get around to pumping, he takes the first feeding at night.  What would I do without this man?

3.This little girl is growing in leaps and bounds every day.

IMG_2956 She has so much to say lately, and it’s so adorable.  The other day, SK woke up from her nap in a grumpy mood so we cuddled on the couch with some milk and some Curious George.  Gus woke up a little while later and he was in a bad mood too, and Sara said “It’s sad, Mommy! Why Baby Gus sad?” and I said he was just grumpy after nap and sometimes she feels grumpy after nap too, right?  Sara looked at me solemnly and said “No, I just happy atter nap.” IMG_2978

SK found a faint sliver of the moon outside and said “Wook ower dere! It’s da moon! It wook wike a bana (banana), yum!”

4. And this guy.  IMG_2961He has his moments after nap and his little tummy does NOT like it when I eat Mexican food (sad day!) but otherwise he is such a happy fella.  He’s much more smiley than SK was.

5. My friends and I are doing a preschool co-op this year, and we just had a planning meeting last night.  Part of me is a little stressed because I’m the teacher. But I think I’m stressed because my experience with teaching preschool was in a professional setting.  This is just friends, and we’re all there to help one another.  There are no parent teacher conferences or difficult bosses to please, just a bunch of moms dipping our toes into cooperative at-home learning.  I am enjoying flexing my preschool muscles again.  It’s going to be a good year!

6. And speaking of muscles, I’ve started exercising again!  I started doing my maternity barre dvd again and I’ve gotten out of the house for a few jogs since last week.  I really missed running.  My first run went well and I felt like a rockstar, but I’m pretty sure there was a lot of this going on:

Basically, my baby pooch kinda irritated my incision scar; I was wishing the whole time that my compression leggings had more compression!  So on my second run, I wore spanx.  (Underneath my running clothes, sheesh!) So. Much. Better. That’s right, folks, I run in spanx and I ain’t ashamed.

7. And this definitely random crazy and weird, but it’s been making me chuckle all week. O Fortuna Misheard Lyrics.

Postpartum pieces and bits

Life is really real with a toddler and a newborn.  I hope this transition to 2 is my hardest and 3 is easier.  Jinx! IMG_2895

I’m not good at doing things when I’m lacking sleep.  I know, you’re thinking “doing things” is a very broad statement.  What do I mean?  Just that folks. I mean just that.  Doing things, doing anything!  We’ll start with talking.  Words are escaping me right now in an alarming way. I’ll be telling Dave something and I’ll trail off and then completely blank and then literally bite my tongue.

Work it.

Work it.

Speaking of sleep affecting my cognitive powers, this past weekend during Gus’ baptism party I was talking to Rose and some of my girlfriends about Gus’ mysterious 3 am gas attacks.  Someone suggested that maybe I’d had some cabbage, maybe a spring roll?  Yes that was it! Then I realized, no, I was just thinking of that NBC reality show Food Fighters and how they had made spring rolls in the last episode.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And speaking of Gus’ baptism, it was so lovely and we had such a great party afterwards.  It was not Martha Stewart worthy in it’s presentation or quality of food (hello Stop and Shop deli platter!) but we had so many family and friends come and the weather held out so it was such a nice time relax and be with all the people we love.  Oh, there I go again with my brain! My sweet friends here did generously bring some food to add to the mix that was delicious and beautiful so take that Martha!

Gus and his Godmommy Jane.  I think he likes her. :)

Gus and his Godmommy Jane. I think he likes her. :)

People are so sweet and generous.  I’ve only just started being responsible for cooking dinner at night again, my friends and family are that amazing!

Probably 5 out of the past 7 days, I’ve discovered around 2 in the afternoon that I forgot to brush my teeth.  This never used to be a problem!

Baby boy poopy bums are much harder to clean than baby girl poopy bums.


Backyard pool time means no bathing suit necessary. #lowstandards

Daniel Tiger’s insistence on teaching emotional language is going to be the death of me and my attempts to raise a decent toddler.  “I’m so FWUSTWATED!”

Gus is not only a Mama’s boy, but he’s also literally clingy.  He grabs onto my hair or my necklace with such a death grip and if I try to pry his fingers open, he starts hysterically crying!IMG_2905

Can a person have a love language that comes and goes?  I am most decidedly not a physical touch person with my kids lately.  SK has always been a very independent kid, but ever since Gus came home, she’s been extremely needy, especially physically needy, especially right when the baby is nursing after keeping me up all night nursing.  I’m just a leeettle touched out.  But on the flip side, one hug or a shoulder rub from Dave makes me melt into a puddle of mush, so I guess I still do like physical affection.

When SK wants me to do something with her but I can’t because I’m holding/nursing the baby she says “Put it down! Put the baby Gus down, Mommy!”


I’m not going to lie, these first few weeks have been tough.  But even in my exhausted stupor, I find myself at least once every day marveling over the fact that I have 2 kids. I feel so unworthy and so overwhelmed (in a mostly good way!) by my blessings especially after last week.  I’m sure you’ve all heard about Sarah Harkins and how she and her unborn daughter Cecilia passed away last week.  Sarah was in my household, although she graduated my freshman year so we didn’t really know one another.  I remember her from alumni visits, though, especially how stunningly beautiful she was and her fun sense of humor.  It’s just been so devastating, I don’t know what to say or write.  Others have written some beautiful things about her though, so I wanted to share their thoughts:

Jenny’s post Sarah and the Saints

My friend Annemarie wrote 3 posts here, here and here

The Washington Post even had a touching piece on Sarah’s life.

That’s all I’ve got folks, nap time’s over.  Happy Hump day y’all.



Isn’t he just a wudge?


We are fully in babymoon mode over here and loving it.  Gus’ delivery was much more peaceful and the recovery has been such a smooth ride compared to my last experience.


 Dave snapped this picture of me with my wonderful saintly Doctor right before the c-section.  She never put pressure on me one way or the other about how Gus should come into the world.  Dave and I ultimately made the decision to do the repeat c-section because it seemed like he was going to be another big baby like Sara, and I was not making a smidge of progress on my own which, again, was just like things were with Sara.  It turned out to be a very good thing that we did the section, though, because when my big tall guy came out, he also had a very tight true knot in his cord!

[I literally just remembered that I did my first ever novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots in May because I was such a ball of anxiety over Gus' impending birth and the decisions surrounding it.  Give me a sec while I process/cry/praise God for His Mercy & Our Lady for her protection.]

Whew.  I don’t really know how to follow up that realization.  I guess I’ll just share too many pictures.


 Me & Gus at around 6:30 am last Friday,


  and later that day around noon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe siblings were a little wary of each other at first, but they’ve warmed up since then!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My mom (Mimi, as she’s known to the McGrandkids) and sister Joanie spent a week with us and basically made SK’s year.  She is still asking for Joanie and Mimi every day.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Since Mimi and Joanie left, there’s been a lot of tv consumption, but luckily that goes well with couch cuddles which is what the big sister needs from us the most.  Poor SK came down with a weird minor stomach bug thing right after Gus came home. She’s been good for the past 3 days, so we’re hoping it’s over.  Fingers crossed! IMG_2757

When we’re not watching Daniel Tiger (new episodes appeared on Netflix just in time for our non-stop watching pleasure!) SK has been obsessed with playdough.  She’ll play with it for hours! Of course, it results in hardened flecks of playdough everywhere, especially under her finger nails (shudder) but it keeps her happy and occupied.


And Gus?  He’s generally a pretty happy dude.  He’s a big eater, and while that means nursing is going much better this time around, it also means he doesn’t let me sleep much at night.  He’s an every 2 hour on the nose nurser.  This is really random, but whenever he wakes up in the dead of night to nurse yet again, I think of this obscure I Love Lucy scene:

I think that covers everything.  I’ll try to somewhat keep up with blogging or at the very least get some of my sisters to pick up my slack. Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes, friends. It means the world to us.IMG_2745

He’s here!



Just wanted to jump on the ol’ blog to let Ellen’s faithful readers know that they can release the breath they’ve been holding all weekend — Gus has arrived!

How cute is that little face? His full name is Augustine Anthony and he was 8lbs 12oz, which is nothing compared to his big sister’s birth weight (and yes, compared to any of Claire’s kids) but I still think it’s pretty good. Mom and baby are doing well and SK is hanging with Mimi and Aunt Joanie for the week. I’m sure Ellen will be back with more details soon!

Nursery Reveal

“So, whatcha doing this week, Ellen?”

Oh I don’t know, just having a BABY.

Our buddy’s eviction date is set for this Friday, so that means I have t-3 days left of being pregnant.  And I’ve been such a good girl this time around that I’m just letting myself be pregnant and eat ice cream sandwiches and pop tarts when I feel like it.  People, I’ve been craving pop tarts for almost the entire pregnancy and I only just caved and bought a box yesterday.  That’s self control!

It’s high time I showed you his nursery in all it’s (mostly finished) glory, huh?  I also have a mostly finished kitchen to show you as well, but I have all week, so patience y’all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWay back in the awful never ending winter, I looked for boy nursery inspiration on pinterest and I was so taken by this nursery with the blue gingham curtains.  I just had to have them!  I’m also a big fan of crib skirts because then I can stash sleeves of diapers and other stuff under the crib and nobody’s the wiser.  So I picked up enough fabric (way more than enough fabric because I’m really bad at measurements) at Ikea for both curtains and skirt.  I also picked up this play rug at Ikea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThus solidifying (along with the awesome lamp on loan from cousin Jude!) the nursery’s unofficial and vague theme of vehicles.  Also, blue and green.  I know it seems to be too small for the space, but ultimately, the nursing chair will go back into the room so all that will be visible on the floor after that will be the rug.  I was pretty excited when I got the idea to use the car rug for the nursery because 1. it was super cheap ($13!) and 2. It will be played with by more than one kid.  SK is already a big fan!


Here’s a better shot of the crib and the picture above the crib.  I know it just looks like a cute watercolor of an elephant pushing a rock, but it’s actually way cooler and nerdier than that.  It adorably illustrates Newton’s 3 laws of motion.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this Etsy listing.   Our friend Pat bought it for SK back in the day.  He’s an engineer and Dave’s a physicist so they both thought it was coolest thing ever.  It’s pretty fun, isn’t it?

I have to brag that I got the bumpers at Savers for $3!! I had very girlie bumpers for SK so I knew I needed to get new ones for this baby.  Is it gross that I got them used?  They’re nice Carter bumpers and they were in good condition and I washed and dried them on really high heat.  Whatever, I’m proud of my occasional thriftiness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I totally have to eat my words in a former post when I complained that chevron stresses me out.  It’s still not my favorite, but I really wanted a changing pad cover this time around and this one was inexpensive on Amazon.  It does clash a bit with the curtains, but I liked how the gray went with the gray of the mobile clouds.  To the left of the changing station…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I actually have his name up there too in stainless steel cookie cutter letters, but I took it down for the picture so it can remain a surprise for some of you. :) I’m not done decorating the shelf; I’d like one or both of his patron saints represented up there.  Spoiler alert: St. Joe up there is not one of this namesakes, but I like him a lot and want my son to be like him, so his presence on the shelf is very much welcome.  I think my favorite part of the whole nursery is that sweet pennant.  I whipped it up last night and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Turning around on the other side of the room…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI kept up the curtain with the ball fringe because it works color-wise.  And because, ball-fringe! The fun tire mirror is another loaner from Jude.  And yes, little brother’s closet is filled with his big sister’s clothes still.  He might as well get used it it.  And speaking of SK…


I’m pretty sure she’s telling me “It’s mies bed.” She’s still a little possessive of her former crib, but she does love her new room and big girl bed.  And she still owns the closet in this room, so she kinda wins. ;)

So there it is!  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I purposely made things simpler in the nursery this time around.  It’s such a small room that too much stuff just makes for clutter and mess and stress. I’m no minimalist by any stretch, but I’m starting to see the benefit of paring down all the stuff.  [For comparison, here's SK's nursery.]

I really will try to get a kitchen post up this week!  Please keep me and my littlest kiddo in your prayers this week too?


Mindy Kaling Is My Homegirl (and other takes about food)

1.  You guys.  I’ve always liked Mindy Kaling, but now I’m convinced we are soul sisters.  This segment from Jimmy Kimmel was just too funny and I could totally relate, especially when she said “It takes a lot of effort to be a normal/chubby woman.” Preach!

(Fun fact: My ob was friends with Mindy Kaling’s mom, who was also an ob in Boston.  Does that make me funny/cool by association? She’s also just an amazing woman and ob.)

2. It reminded me of an incident last year.  Dave and SK and I were at a social event with several other families, some that we knew well and several that we did not know.  One woman there who I didn’t know was trying to get her bearings in the group, figuring out who’s spouse was who’s and who’s kid was who’s.  One of my friends had just had a baby and her husband was holding the baby, and the woman I didn’t know asked if it was my baby.  Perfectly innocent question and I know it wasn’t asked out of malice or judgement or anything like that.  But my thinking was “Darn it!  I’m more than a year postpartum and I’ve been running and eating healthfully and I feel good about myself! Do I really look like I just had a baby?”  I know, this whole incident is silly and I should just let go of it. [Better yet, it's a great opportunity to grow in humility, Ellen!] But when Mindy Kaling said that it takes effort to look normal I’m like “YESSSS!!! You’re speaking my language Mindy!!!!” I really do work hard to look normal and keep it around a size 8. Thank you, Mindy Kaling, for trying normalize normal for the rest of us schlumps!

3.  Now I’ve automatically committed myself to 5 more takes because it’s Friday and that’s what everyone does.  So here goes…

4.  I’m nearly 38 weeks pregnant!  I can’t even believe it.  Remarkably, I feel really good physically.  With Sara’s pregnancy at this point, I was literally a beached whale.  I was so swollen and uncomfortable and didn’t know how I would last another 2-4 weeks.  I’m not saying I’m bursting with energy and running 5 miles a day or anything, but I’m definitely not feeling as crummy as I was last time.  Emotionally though, I’m a mess.  I’m sure Dave, my mom, and my friends are all shaking their heads forlornly in agreement.  Sorry guys.  It’ll be over soon, and thanks for being there for me!

5. I’m on a baking kick lately which totally refutes my claims in take 2 of working hard to look normal but… pregnancy!  No, the real reason I’ve been baking more is because I got a thing of buttermilk last week and I’m determined this time, THIS TIME! I will use all the buttermilk before it goes bad!  [I know, I know, I can freeze it, but then I forget about it or I don't allow myself time for it to thaw when I'm making something that needs buttermilk.  Believe me, I've tried!  Why don't they make smaller containers of buttermilk??] So, earlier this week, SK and I made this banana bread and it turned out soooooo goooooooood.  For the past few years, I’ve tried all the healthy, low sugar, low bad things recipes and I’d forgotten how delicious real, fatty banana bread is. Yummmm.

6.  And today is rainy and gloomy and SK has a bit of a cold, so we stayed in, stayed in our jammies and made my favorite Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake.

You can see some of our pretty new kitchen paint in this picture.  I promise I'll do a kitchen post next week!

You can see some of our pretty new kitchen paint in this picture. I promise I’ll do a kitchen post next week!

Do any of you have favorite recipes using buttermilk?  Send ‘em my way!

7.  Oh, and I have to share with all the other preggo ladies out there in case you struggle, as I do, with the dreaded night-time charlie horse attack.

Except it’s toes and legs!

A friend of a friend is a doula and I picked her brain over the weekend about what to do about them because mine were getting really bad last week.  She suggested coconut water, but not plain coconut water (she said plain is nasty. I wouldn’t know because I don’t buy healthy things.) but the chocolate flavored kind.  I went out the next day and got some Zico chocolate flavored coconut water and my legs have been great this week!  No charlie horses and no stiffness and soreness.  And the stuff tastes like coco puffs.  Win-win!

Linking up my 7 quick ones with Team Whitaker.  Happy Friday!

SK’s Nursery That Was

Apologies to our 5 readers for the blog-silence in recent weeks.  We have been pretty busy around here lately, but really I haven’t been blogging because I’m so pregnant and I don’t want to subject you all to my 24/7 train of emotions.  Besides, everyone else writes so eloquently about pregnancy and motherhood and waiting and pregnancy essentials and labor tips all that stuff.  I literally have nothing to say about anything, so…  I won’t.

Instead, before the world has turned a little more and completely shut the door on my first baby’s babyhood, I thought I’d do a little post about Sara’s nursery that was.  It’s now almost completely transformed into a little dude’s room for baby brother who, of course, will not use it until a few months down the road but preggo mama gots ta nest!  Once it’s done, I’ll share it with you but for now won’t you take a long, rambly, picture-heavy walk down memory lane with me?

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100We start with the basics, and very poor picture quality, of course.  Our nursery is our very tiny third bedroom which could only be a nursery or an office.  Pretty much all we could fit in it was the crib, chair, dresser and tiny rug.  From here I picked up some fabric for a crib skirt and curtain…

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

And I made a mobile based on this pin.  I really like how it turned out and it has added sentimental value because one of the doilies I used was crotched by my late Grandma Ross.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100The room filled up pretty quickly after that.  I tried to stick to a pink and green theme, but I’m not a big color coordinated theme-y person so it’s not perfect.  But I liked it. :)

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

The tissue paper poofs are so fun, but they didn’t stay for long. Dave is too tall and the ceiling is too low for things like that. Plus, it really make the room feel a little smaller, unfortunately.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

I’m a sucker for ball fringe.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Rose did this with grandparent pictures in Margot’s nursery and I loved it, so I copied it. SK loves saying goodnight to her grandparents  every night, so I’m moving them to her new big girl room so she can keep it up.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100SK loved her room too!  I remember excitedly putting the nursery together but having novice mom fears that she would never sleep in it. Luckily we never had a problem; hopefully her brother takes after her in that respect!




A friend of mine who is due with her second around the same time as I am asked me the other day if I was anxious about SK not being my baby anymore.  I had to really stop and think about it.  I am anxious about a whole-lotta stuff lately; hardly a day goes by now without me melting down into a big ugly wet mess of tears and hormones about something.  But anxious about Sara becoming a big sister?  About her not being my baby any more?

Photo on 2013-09-15 at 12.00Honestly? No.  I’m sentimental about it, of course.  I’m trying to soak in these last few weeks, knowing that once the baby comes she’s going to seem HUGE. But mostly I’m so excited for her to be a big sister and to introduce her to this nebulous presence in her life: baby brother.  She seems more accepting of the fact that he really is in my belly, I guess because the belly is getting out of control lately.  But really, she has no idea.  And I can’t wait!

Part of the reason why I’m not worried I think has to do with her personality.  Sara has an independent streak a mile wide and she gets more and more bossy every day.  SK’s got this big sister thing in the bag!  I suppose another reason why I’m not worried is because she is already two, so we’ve had a nice stretch together and she really isn’t a baby anymore.  But you know what?  I don’t think there’s some magic-perfect space between kids and frankly, I think we Catholic moms are too hard on ourselves about spaces between children.  My first 3 sisters are really close together in age and then I’m 3 1/2 years younger than Claire and 5 years older than Mary.  Jim is 4 years younger than Mary and Joanie is 4 1/2 years younger than Jim.  But we’re all really close (and have been/will be) in different ways and at different times.  The important thing is not how close or far apart we are in age, it’s that we have each other.

A little while back when I was visiting my family, I had a talk with my Grandma about her relationship with her brother.  She said that they had really grown closer in recent years since she had lost Grandpa in 2009. Now Uncle Bill is the one who has really known Grandma for most of her life. I had never thought of siblings that way before.  I had always viewed Dave as my life-partner, and he is, primarily.  But my siblings, too, are my companions on this journey.  Mary and I will always be able to joke about the PBS shows we watched as kids. Rose and Jane will always hearken back to their ridiculous fights as teenagers. Jim and Mary will be able to reminisce about the lego and playmobile creations they made. While we are all very different people, we’re all cut from the same cloth, raised by the same parents, and experienced much of the same things growing up. What an incredible gift God and our parents gave us in our siblings!

Photo 97

I hope and pray that Sara Kate and her little brother are joined by more little siblings as time goes by.  But that’s all in the future and way out of my hands.  Right now, I’m anxiously (yes, anxiously!) awaiting this little boy’s delivery and praying for his health and safety.  But I’m also joyful and excited for Sara to meet her brother and for them to have each other.  VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

{phfr} Progress

Linking up with my favorite Like Mother Like Daughter on this beautiful Thursday in May.  Why can’t it just be May all year round? It’s so easy to come up with pretty, happy, funny, real things in May!



The best time of year is when the yard looks pretty with little to no effort on our part.


I had to put this picture of SK’s morning hair up.  The volume! Oh the volume!  I’m sure it will be annoying to her one day, but her Mom will always be jealous of it!


We finally tackled the big bedroom move upstairs.  Now Dave and I are in the front bedroom (that used to be our crap room) and SK is in her new big girl bed in our old room.


I don’t know if it’s technically feng shui (and I’m not going for that anyway) but having the bed fit between two windows makes me a very happy lady.  I love all the natural light in this room and it inspires me to keep it cleaned and keep the bed made.



Our last bedroom had two windows and this one has three, but instead of buying a whole new pair of navy blue blackout curtains (because Dave demands NO light for optimal sleeping conditions), I got a pair of lacy curtains from Ikea ($10!) to go with one blackout panel on these flanking windows.  The full pair of blackout curtains that remains goes on the third window in the corner.  It works out really well because the lacy curtains really emphasize all the natural light during the day, and at night the mini blinds and one blackout panel completely block out the light.

I think I’m finally embracing the fact that I like pretty things.  I’m not super trendy when it comes to home decor and for a while I was self-conscious about that fact.  But you know what? Lace curtains make me happy.  Chevron stresses me out.  There, I said it.


SK’s big girl room so far.  As you can see, it’s nothing special.  I’m going to make simple curtains and move some of her art and wall decor from her nursery, but other than that I think I’m going to keep this room simple and strictly functional.


Before I share my funny pictures, I have to explain that I do not live in the “ghetto”.  It makes me mad when my side of town is referred to as such.  No, it’s not the expensive pretty side of town, but our community has a rich history.  Basically, it’s one of the oldest working-class neighborhoods in the country and I’m proud to live here!

(Stepping off my soapbox…)

We have a little pocket of helpful businesses in our neighborhood that are a quick walk (and even quicker drive) from our house.  Some of  our most frequented establishments are the CVS, a little hidden post office (it’s a gem, I tell you), the obligatory Dunkin Donuts, a liquor store and the Family Dollar.  The Family Dollar is a hoot.  It’s like a mini-Walmart; it’s got a little bit of everything, and it’s all pretty cheap and not very classy.  But, it’s a very useful place to have right down the road!  Need a can of tomato paste last minute?  The Dollar probably has it.  Need bread?  Well, you’re probably outta luck there.  They sell out of bread pretty early in the day. But, do you need underwear?


They’ve got ya covered.  And they have lots of options.


How about a huge neon colored teeshirt with a pro-marriage message?


While we made progress in the getting ready for baby department last weekend, we still have lots on our to-do list.  Plus, the kitchen reno is still in the early stages, and we’d really like to have it done before himself comes along.  Behold, projects and players who are waiting on deck for their at bat:


The nursery (gah!) is a hot mess.


A thing of beauty.  My dishwasher waiting for cabinets to be removed and plumbers to pull permits.  Soon my pretty.  Soon.


Fabric for SK’s curtains and for little fella’s curtains and crib skirt.  Can you tell which is for whom?


And, oh yeah, baby boy sitting large and in charge at 34 weeks.  We can’t wait to meet him!

For more {phfr} click on back to Like Mother Like Daughter!  Oh, and do pick up a copy of The Little Oratory; I’m hogging my mom’s copy at the moment and I can’t get enough of it!