7 Quick Takes 2014 vol 29: Field Trips, Friends, and a Strange Source of Peace

1. Halloween – So, last Friday was Halloween and I promised pics. The kids were adorable, as always.

Gus as Jake (Neverland Pirates) and Max as a Doctor

Gus as Jake (Neverland Pirates) and Max as a Doctor

Lily as Aurora (who was maybe in a bar brawl?) And Molly as a ballerina.

Lily as Aurora (who was maybe in a bar brawl? Look at all those teeth missing!) And Molly as a ballerina.

I’d just like to note that we have about a hundred different costumes that we have accumulated over the years. Molly chose to wear last year’s swimsuit and a tutu she has had since she was two. But she was happy and loved it.

We went to our old neighborhood to trick or treat, because we promised the old neighbors that we would. There were less houses handing out candy this year, but we still got WAY too much.

Then there is this guy who puts his fancy telescope out on his driveway every Halloween and they hand out candy and let the kids and parents look at the moon through it. It was breathtaking.

I even dressed up a little bit. Some cat ears and a tail. A few whiskers drawn on.And then my husband decided to dress up as a rooster. That was HIS innuendo, not mine.


Then my daughter Paisley, the make-up artist, did Spider-man make-up on herself. Just look at this picture! That is NOT a mask!


2. My daughter has a best friend. I miss those days… We moved into a house with kids on both sides of us. There are two boys the same as one of my sons and one girl – just like my 12 year old. They have become attached at the hip. It’ is really adorable. They text each other over every little thing, make little posters about being BFFs and have lots and lots of inside jokes.

This is the part of being grown up I hate. Not having someone to call to obsess over completely insignificant problems with. Not being able to spend hours watching movies and painting fingernails and doing hair. Not going shopping and making fun of ridiculous styles in the stores.

It is that ability to talk about absolutely nothing – that paves the way for talking about those deep and real somethings.

I read recently that there are three conditions that are needed for friendship to truly bloom: proximity, repeated unplanned interaction, and a setting which encourages people to confide in each other.

This is why friendships are so easy as children and so dang hard as adults.

3. How long can I put off grocery shopping? I am between Costco memberships. (Long story…) It strikes fear into my heart. I have been doing about 75% of my shopping at Costco for the past few months, supplementing little things from Safeway or Target when I couldn’t get them at Costco. Time is of the essence these days. But now we are out of bread, bagels, milk, cheese and a bunch of other things. I’m going to have to go shopping somewhere else. Like real, big, two carts shopping. I will have to go sometime before Monday, or I won’t be able to make 5 lunches at 6am. It’s hard enough when there is food in the house. UPDATE: I have a Costco card again! Thank you, Jay!

4. Field trips! I accompanied two field trips this week as each of my two youngest children when to a farm with their classes. Two field trips, two days in a row, one tired momma. It was very nice to get out of the house and do something with each of them, even if it meant being in a large crowd of very loud children. Don’t you live in one of those? you wonder. Not really. My kids have learned my low tolerance for chaos. They also can follow simple directions like, for example, don’t step on the carrots. Some of the adults in the group couldn’t even follow directions that complicated. Sorry, end of vent. I got some super cute pictures! (Duh!)



Which brings me to my next take…

5. Why can’t I be a stay at HOME mom? I can’t get anything done because I’m a stay in the car mom. I had a whole morning this week, it was a day when I had miraculously gotten adequate sleep and also didn’t have to run anywhere for three straight hours. Do you know what I did?

I kicked butt on this house!

If I had this time on a regular basis (and the regular sleep to match) I would be unstoppable! I could get the things done. It was enough to show me that I am not behind completely  of my own fault. While I have a certain amount of work to do, I don’t have the uninterrupted time to attack it.

I know. My mothering and being a wife is WAY more important. I totally get that. The problem is that doesn’t make the rest of it go away. The “rest of it” that slowly chips away at my consciousness because that is white carpet in there, people. It isn’t going to clean itself! And I am going to have to cook for these top priority people in my life in that kitchen that just made me go put shoes on because the floor was so gross. I have to bathe these precious ones of mine in a tub that really shouldn’t have nearly that much mildew growing in it. And the car shouldn’t smell like that. It just shouldn’t.

So the work is part of my love and care for these people who are more important. Making this work a priority is not necessarily stealing that part of myself from my family.

Part of this Take is about being overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, from caring for my family,  carting them around, and feeding them to cleaning up our home and being a good steward of our possessions. The other part of this is in reaction to a slew of pithy little guilt-milking articles about how if you really love your children then you will set aside the dirty dishes and go read them a book, in a park, with a fully packed whole food picnic. Or something like that. (Which, I would like to point out, couldn’t be done without clean dishes.)

It can’t be one or the other. It has to be Both-And. And I still don’t know how to do that consistently.

6. So obviously you will be noticing that we are in survival mode. Yes, when a kid comes home from school and points out that they need a uniform sweater and it is that one more thing that pushes you over the edge and makes you cry, you are in survival mode. And then the holidays are creeping up? Here is how I feel about that:


And I know I need to pull myself together and fix my attitude. Maybe I will go for a run…

7. Which reminds me, I had the craziest thing happen to me the other day. I was having some dental work done, and it hurt. I was all numbed up, but I was really tense and feeling a lot of anxiety. It was just profoundly uncomfortable. I was closing my eyes and breathing deeply. I tried to imagine a place that was calming and brought me peace. Do you know what came to my mind?


I spent several minutes just concentrating on running before I realized that this was me, the nonathletic, last picked in P.E. one, finding solace in my morning run. On top of that, I was specifically concentrating on a particularly hard part of the run I do in the mornings.

I just thought it was amazingly cool that running has become not just an exercise but also a source of peace and mental health. That was a really good feeling.

I hope you have a great weekend! Go see Jen @ Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes.

5 Favorites: Beauty Products


This is a fun one, complete fluff: My Favorite beauty products!

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – I have grouchy skin. The doctor calls it rosacea, but I just call it a pain in the behind. What this means is that if I am not really careful, my skin gets all bumpy and red. If I let that keep going, there can be real damage done – broken capillaries, swollen nose. Just picture a spotty, bumpy sunburn.

My skin likes different things at times, sometimes one thing that works will just stop working and I have to go in search of something else.

For right now, this cleanser is working really well.

This is what I use to wash my face in the shower. It’s not so great at taking off makeup, but I have found that it is better to take my makeup off before washing my face anyway, just so I don’t have to scrub.

2. Speaking of taking off makeup – I take off my eye makeup with Jojoba Oil and a baby wipe.

I usually just pick up some at Trader Joes or Sprouts. I smear it on my eye makeup and then wipe off gently with a (usually Costco) baby wipe. Jojoba Oil also comes in handy when my skin is between moisturizers. I can use a couple drops of this to moisturize after cleansing.

3. Matrix Biolage Exquisite Oil – This stuff is great for my out of control hair. My hair is super fine, so just about any product I put in it weighs it down. This one is nice and light and is good for adding shine.

4. Clarisonic – You knew this was coming, right? Ah-mazing. I thought it would be too brutal on my face, but I use the softest brush and only use it a few times a week.

I noticed about a year or so ago that my neck was feeling rough and bumpy, so I started using it on my neck as well. It really made a difference!


5. The best eyeshadow EVER. Lancome’s Kitten Heel. It is a fairly neutral color, even though the picture shows it looking really pink. It is like a warm skin tone with a little gold shimmer. Not glitter, mind you, just a simple luminescence. It’s really pretty! The compact lasts well, too.



So, those are my squeaky clean 5 faves.

Go see more Favorites at Call Her Happy!

A November Monday: A Daybook Post

My Daybook


Outside my window… The leaves are rustling in the trees. So may birds are singing. The sun is out and the breeze is cool.

I am thinking… about the holidays. Christmas lists and the Christmas budget are very much on my mind.

I am thankful… for the health and the vehicles to keep up with this crazy life!

In the kitchen… there are dirty dishes, a range of foods that aren’t quite enough for a meal, and lots of Halloween candy. But there is also some yummy, healthy soup stock brewing!

fall kitchen

I am wearing… workout clothes – ready to go for some personal training.

I am creating… lots of beautiful rosaries in preparation for Christmas time.

I am going… to the gym, to pick up kids, to church later to help with RCIA.

I am wondering… how this year got so out of hand!

I am reading…  Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen, very slowly, a tiny piece at a time, and A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five. The Game of Thrones books seem never ending, but I know I am going to be super sad when I am all done.

I am hoping… the by the time I slog through this one the 6th book will be out. And I am really, really hoping our house will sell this week.

I am looking forward to… quiet time to write and pull my thoughts together.

I am learning… about viruses and how they work as I listen to The Great Influenza by John Barry on Audible.

Around the house… there are still too many boxes to be unpacked. I’m annoyed with myself, both for owning this much stuff and for not bothering to put it where it goes.

I am pondering… how the simplicity of what needs to be done never seems to translate into being able to just go and do it. When it boils down to it, that is what must happen, but I am always looking for a better how. Then again, I know I use that as an excuse for not acting – I always have to do a bit of research on it first. Procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand in my muddled brain.

A favorite quote for today… With All Souls day being yesterday, I was reminded of the quote from C.S. Lewis:

Our souls demand purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, “It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things nor  draw away from you. Enter into the Joy.”? Should we not reply, “With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleansed first.” “It may hurt, you know.” – “Even so, sir.”

One of my favorite things… peeking into my children’s room after they are asleep.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Far too much! Personal training, three times to ballet, gymnastics, boys choir, the dentist, the doctor, two field trips – little kids, so I am accompanying, then lots of extra masses for my husband this weekend as he subs for another parish. It will definitely be a week to grab down time when I can.

A peek into my day… Lunches, always lunches to pack.


Thank you to SimpleWoman for hosting this link up!

What I Wore Sunday: 11-02-2014


My very first What I Wore Sunday post! I wanted to do this because it looked fun and because I can never remember what I wore last week.

Why is it that on Sunday mornings I wake up and my body is a whole different size? Holy bloating, Batman! But I always feel this way. Sunday means wearing clothes that are not as easy to move in as the rest of the week (and by move I mean lay on the couch.)

I started with a bright outfit, but then realized that this is the very first morning that it really feels and looks like fall around here. The sky is overcast, there is a bit of a chill in the air. So I decided to dress the part of fall, going head to toe neutral.


wiws2014-11-02Beige, black, brown. I know. I’m not usually a fan of browns, but it felt right today. Pearls because… do I have to justify pearls? Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend, pearls are. The skirt is a tough one, super comfortable, but my three year old nearly have the people behind me in mass a show a few times.

The shoes… what can I say about these shoes? Clarks flats that I have had for about 7 years. I keep trying to buy a different pair of black flats and just can’t break up with these.

Being a cool morning, today also brought to my attention that my little girls have a whole closet full of sleeveless dresses and one – ONE – dress with short sleeves. The changing season really got ahead of me this year!

See more Sunday outfits over at Fine Linen and Purple.

November Link Up Month!



I love blogging! I’ve been doing it now since before I knew that was what I was doing. Anyone remember Geocities? I was there, HTML-ing my way through a “personal website” back in ’98 or ’99. (Gosh I wish I could go back and see one of my old blogs!)

I am so thankful that blogging is a thing and that I get to do it! In celebration of the fun of blogging, I’m going to make November all about the Link-Up.

What is a Link-Up? A link-up is a regular topic set up by a blogger. Others write on the same topic and add the link to their post at the bottom of the host’s article. Simple as that. If you read here, you will have noticed that I do a pretty regular link up with the 7 Quick Takes posts. I will be standing on the shoulders of giants this month, letting their ideas spur me on to write about some things that I might not write about otherwise. This is also about meeting community, and finding other bloggers who post their links as well.

I encourage you to click link ups at the bottom of each post and get to know not only me, but some other great bloggers as well.