Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ordinary Days

My Dad celebrated his 78th birthday.  (We missed it but love this picture my niece sent.)  I think during this time (March) he was busy working on hauling in maple syrup for a friend's farm. Yes, at 78!  The other day I went to lunch with Jeff and Janey and we had a big group of ladies next to us in their 60's I would guess. It made me think of my parents, only because I couldn't help but listen to their conversations about certain things-mostly health related complaining and the weather (and trust me I get it!) and lots of other trivial things and it was sort of depressing. And then I thought of my parents that week-my dad working every day on this farm, my mom has been in the past month in Australia, Vienna, Spain, LA, Chicago (and I'm sure I missed some other things) working as a Montessori consultant and teacher trainer.  She thinks nothing of doing all that at 77, navigating these travel plans, working so hard, helping others with her expertise.  I visited her for a day after Vienna and she wasn't even tired!  I hope and pray that I follow their example to never stop serving and to live life to the fullest because they are able to.  It is quite an inspiration. 

Still swaddling all sorts of "babies".  My toddlers all loved being wrapped up like a baby even if it only is for 2 minutes.

I was happy to pull out my brother Andy's serving platters and use them for...

a favorite Whole30 salad. (Omit sugar in dressing.)  
I finished about 102 'whole30' days and then ate a bowl of popcorn which I might do once a week. If I eat out I'm not going to be crazy about salad dressing but just choose the vinaigrette that the restaurant provides.. Other than that I stick with the plan-those are my new whole30 rules for myself. I feel too good to stop eating this way. 

Andrew had a soccer game by Isaac's college so we were able to go visit for dinner quickly one night. Isaac had just driven back from visiting Abbey and was starving. I can always tell when Isaac is staving because he turns white and looks like he is going to destroy something. Do all guys get like this? I think maybe. He had enough for leftovers the next day.  

Abbey's roommate posing next to a project Abbey did for a photo class.  I can't believe her freshman year is almost over and so glad she loves where she goes and loves her major. Always a big sigh of relief for the parent.

This is what she does the entire time I work out-treats the sofa as a trampoline and jumps and jumps and jumps. 

We went for a llooonnnngggg walk on the most beautiful day-posing down by the river.

And then ended at the park. 

This was the 9th of April and I was quite ticked off. Yes, it's pretty, but not in April. 

I feel embarrassed for not knowing how delicious plain old olive oil and vegetables roasted up could be.  This heaping bunch made 3 pans and we finished them all up. SO SO good.

Pre-exam week care package for someone. (A big chunk of banana bread will now be missing because Janey just showed me that she helped herself and I'm sure her sister won't mind? :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

March Madness, Catchup

In no order, our March:

Jeff took the boys to Slade, Kentucky to rock climb and hike and Janey and I stayed behind. They had fun and so did we.  Jeff always says, "Are you sure you don't want to come?" And I always say, "So positive."   They Face "Fimed" (Janey's term) us, in a cave with a fire going.  They didn't camp out but by the way they made their hotel sound, it probably would have been a better idea. (Gross!)

Took Isaac to get an interview suit and new shoes as graduation is a month away!  

Still doing Whole30, so now it's Whole120?  Or maybe just real life till I feel like it. I LOVE it. It has improved my health enormously.  I send Abbey pics of my meals, and she is tortured by them at college. My newest favorites are zucchini chips, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts and chicken salad with guacamole instead of mayo.  I love that I am forced to try new things and although I don't force the family, they all are willing to try "my" food.

When Abbey was home I helped her paint her room. (I told her she had to do it all herself, but could feel her pain when she had to do a second coat so I pitched in at the very end).  Gone is turquoise, now it's a light lavender.  And now she knows how to paint, which is a great skill to know.

Jeff went to camp for a week with Andrew's class. I received so many funny photos from other parents also on the trip of my husband who LOVES 6th grade camp.  This must have been a fire starting contest?

Flat Stanley.
 I owe my brother Joe big time, because he has pulled off Flat Stanley for every kid, as he has always lived in such interesting places. 

Easter break and a plank contest. I won. I really did!  Because Andrew wasn't there. And maybe some people laughed and fell. But I won, losing because you laugh is just your tough luck. 

We went to Mass early because Andrew was assigned to serve at 9 a.m.  There were some protests by the older ones but we pulled it off. We came home and found the Easter baskets and I made a huge breakfast.  It was so fun.  The night before we had a great dinner of steak, potatoes, asparagus, etc. We laughed so hard-it was one of those nights where it was just all of us, and that is rare. We discussed where we are going on vacation this summer (it was Seaside by vote, but thank you Rachel, it's now Kiawah, and I'm so excited as we have never been), and then we talked about all of our other vacation drives, and who threw up (what and where), and flat tires, and a couple times how we thought Dad might kill someone (that someone seemed to be Isaac quite a few times-think "Daddy is going to kill Ralphie" not really kill but it might sort of feel like it), and it's funny how all those moments become funny right?  Because they aren't really when they are happening, you feel like the ONLY family, and it's so nice to laugh about it one day.  It puts it all in perspective. 

SO sweet. She loves this bunny.

Easter bunny brought a new bathing suit or shorts and shirt for everyone (and a little toy for younger ones) and enough candy to eat in a day so the sugar high wasn't dragged out to far. 




I made these girls eat jelly beans in front of me, so I could feel like I was eating them too. I won't lie, I stayed strong but jelly beans and chocolate-that was a little bit of torture.  I know I don't want a few-I want an entire bag and seven chocolate bunnies and a whole tray or two of Peeps, so I just can't start. It's not worth it for a few.


She got into the baby bin and found her old carrier which she now uses for her babies.

I had to laugh at this, as it was snowing a couple days ago.  Janey looked out the window and said, "Snow go away, Mommy hates you!" I didn't realize I had been so vocal about it, or dramatic, but apparently I have.

But snow skies are beautiful.

Making apple chips. I've made sweet potato, apple, zucchini, and carrot. Sweet potatoes win, zucchini next. 

And suddenly it's April and my calendar is filled up to the max with soccer, and the play, and all the spring stuff that makes spring exciting and busy and sometimes overwhelming.  My life seems SO manageable now, with Janey being three and two at college. I remember the days well of feeling so stressed out, timing feedings with driving this one here and that one there, and narrowing errands down to one or two a week with fussy car seat babies and so much to do here. It's funny how parenting changes so much in just a matter of time, but seems endless when in the thick of the harder stages. I feel so much more peaceful now-maybe it's the calm after the storm of some tough years of baby/teenager/pre-teen etc all at once. It will all be okay. And when it's not, mothers rally. And pray. Prayer is the answer. I love my rosary, as corny as that sounds. There is nothing like Hail Mary's for me anymore, proven after the last year for sure. I swear, it's miraculous and even the littlest problem has been presented with a stellar solution after I pray to Mary.  One day I went on a walk, and my Iphone ran out of battery, so no music. and I decided to say a few decades and when I got home the very same worry I prayed about was opened up to me beautifully with guidance and direction that I could give to a child in need.  In a matter of minutes, peace and rightness.  It's awesome.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Scrap Booking Help (Or Why I Am Mad at Google and Computers)

I meant to do a lovely Easter recap but instead ended up taking our computer in once again (I think this is the 4th time in 2 weeks) to have them show me where the put all the recovery files when a nasty virus took hold and needed to be abolished.

I found out that I lost all my photos since Halloween, and would have lost another year had I not backed them up before that date. And because they had to remove all my programs the worst thing that happened is that I found I can now no longer download Picasa because some smarty computer person decided it would be a good idea to get rid of it and put in it's place a super basic, super lame Google Photos which offers none of the scrap booking features I used for years and years and knew by heart and took me a long time to learn.  I had SUCH a good quick system going with uploading my pics to the blog, or making collages and now I am frustrated because I do not want to take the time to relearn something again.  I want EASY. I want to spend about 10 minutes on this thing once a week.  I want to make scrapbook pages in a flash.

So what to do now?  Besides smash my computer with a hammer and say forget the whole thing. And get a Mac which I might just ask Santa to bring me in 8 months.  Can anyone suggest anything else to use in place of Picasa?  It must have collage features, and I have to be able to use text (not just tags or captions but write ON the photos.)  And I would love to not have to upload my photos every time I want to use it-they would just be there when I uploaded them into the computer.  And it would be free. If anyone has any good suggestions I would love it.  Thank you!

THANK YOU ALISA!  I used this site to reinstall and it worked perfectly with no extra junk attached.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ordinary Days

We have had such beautiful weather and there is much more to come I am told. It is wonderful to have any early spring!  This is what living in the South must feel like?  We've had two terribly difficult winters, so I feel like we deserve it a little.

Whole 60 over, Whole 90 going strong. 

A new salad. It's DELICIOUS. (I left out the mayo.)

Janey helped me "open" our porch. 

A gift from a friend-they are beautiful!

Andrew's team won the championship game! So happy for them as they worked so hard and are such a nice sweet young group of boys. 

Matt showing me that core strength in teens comes naturally? Not in 47 year olds.

Janey and I made these for Abbey's weekend home. Yes I made them without licking my fingers, or the bowl, or eating 12 cookies like I usually would.  It was an exercise in self-control. (They are shamrocks, just in case you can't tell in spite of my awesome frosting skills.)

A quiet morning walk, the last goodbye to winter (that is me giving Mother Nature a persuasive suggestion.)

Abbey is taking a film photography course and loving it-she took some pics of the inside of our church, which is gorgeous.



Spring night walk, 70 degrees!

Our church at night.

I cried. Can't believe it's over. And I heard Poldark is pushed back to fall, darn.

I missed this at the theatre, and was so disappointed that I did. I am re-reading the book, one of my favorite ever, Colm Toibin is a genius writer. And then I watched the trailer quite a few times. And then ordered the DVD from Amazon because I can't wait till it comes out to Redbox. Finally, SOMEONE MAKES A GOOD MOVIE!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Paint Colors

Another requested post that took me forever to complete.  Any questions, feel free to ask in comments or email.

All Trim-
Benjamin Moore White Dove in Advance Satin (with exception of kitchen which was done in Aura Satin-both water-based that went over oil.)
Benjamin Moore White Dove Flat

Living Room-
Benjamin Moore OC-7 Creamy White
This is the "perfect" color and doesn't case a too gray, too yellow, too pink cast.


SW 6119 Antique White 
A warm white.


Half Bath-
York AP7449 Silhouettes Woodland Tapestry Toile in Coral/Beige


My favorite color. It is very light blue with a hint of green.
Valspar Shallow Tide


Kid's Bath
Don't have paint name but
formula is YW-15, BR-1, TG-4, RX-1


I have this in both boy's bedrooms and love this color-the perfect light blue.
Sherwin William 6525 Rarified Air


Family Room
Valspar Subtle Canopy


Girl's Room-
Benjamin Moore 883 Shell Pink


Girl's Room-
Jetstream by Sherwin Williams


Master Bath 
another favorite-more green than blue but very calm and soft and not too minty
(Have to do more research on this color, sorry, paint can is marked with wrong name.)

Benjamin Moore 943 Niagra White
Very light white with a touch of gray.

Master Bath-
Sherwin Williams Halcyon Green


Living Room was once painted:
Sherwin Williams Believable Buff