Sunday, April 28, 2013

{wiws} Allergy Edition

After a couple of weeks' hiatus, I'm happy to be joining the fine-looking ladies of FLAP!

Hay fever has hit our family BIG TIME. Mostly, sneezing, runny noses and dry coughs, but I'm sporting some wicked dragon eyes despite my allergy eye drops and meds. Also, allergies make everyone -- how do I say this? -- pissy.

So, today's gospel was soothing balm to my ears: the Greatest Commandment. LOVE.

And, I hissed, "are you listening???" at my kids during our pastor's homily when he pointed out that even though Judas betrayed Jesus, and Jesus KNEW BEFOREHAND that he would, Jesus still chose to love Judas. So, even when we know someone will hurt us or has hurt us, we should still choose to love that person. And, for the bonus round, he brought up an interesting thought to ponder: why, when someone says to you "I love that song!" or "I love ice cream!" do we smile and nod , but when someone says to us "I love Jesus!" do we become uncomfortable?

And, here's why Dragon Lady wore to Mass today:

Blouse: Gap Outlet
White Skinny Ankle jeans: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Payless
Earrings: Old Navy
Bracelet: Pandora c/o school auction
Red eyes: high tree pollen count

Friday, April 26, 2013

7 QT: Water, Water Everywhere

Joining Jen and welcoming her back!

Waiting for take-off!
1) Kyle let Will and I tag along on a business trip to Cincinnati and Columbus early last week. It was Will's first airplane ride and our first trip away alone (well, almost!) since 2008. My sister stayed with our oldest 6 kids and we are forever grateful.
 2) While Kyle had to spend his days working, Will and I were able to visit the Cincinnati Zoo and the Oletangy Indian Caverns. Cincy Zoo is a must-see, but never attempt the caverns alone during the off-season. The caverns were flooding, but they saw fit to still send me down 200 feet below ground level with a baby strapped to my chest. Oh! They also neglected to mention that BATS were in these caverns. With the possibly-inbred gift shop clerk running the show, it had the feel of a Stephen King-Alfred Hitchcock collaboration. 
I'm not sure, but I think Will may have enjoyed the carousel...

Will and I with a photo-bombing giraffe!

3) Kyle did manage to spend quite a but of time with us, though, and we took some lovely strolls through the Mt. Adams neighborhood in Cincinnati, at dinner at a couple of wonderful restaurants (tapas and sangria, anyone?), and even hit an outlet mall during a hailstorm. "Tis a terrible thing to be trapped in a Gap Outlet store by ice falling from the heavens" -- I'm pretty sure that's an old Irish saying...

4) Our return flight home was delayed and delayed again due to really horrific storms in Chicago. At one point, I was sure we were spending the night in Columbus airport. But, finally the weather cleared a bit, and we boarded for a bumpy ride home. Followed by an extremely lengthy wait in baggage claim and the world's longest taxi the rain. We dropped into our bed at 1am. The record rainfall continued and the nearby river flooded like never before.

5) At 6:30, Kyle went downstairs to get ready for work in the basement bathroom. 10 minutes later, our oldest son knocked on my door and said, "Dad says to call to call school and tell them we won't be there today.". Bleary-eyed, I asked, "why? Are you guys sick?" and his reply was, "No, Mom, the basement is flooded. Our room is flooded. My clothes and homework are floating."

6) The basement that we just finished renovating from a cement nothing into a gorgeous family room, playroom, teen bedroom and full bathroom last Fall, was filled with 8 inches of water. Dudes, I
couldn't even cry. You need oxygen to cry.

7) My sainted husband and our older kids spent the entire day pumping out water, sucking as much dampness as they could from the carpeting, and bleached walls.
Now, according to the carpet cleaning guy's instructions, we waited 24-48 hours until the carpet was dry and smelled musty before he came and sanitized it. As for the walls, we bleached them in the hopes that mold won't take hold (hey! That's a depressing rhyme!).

Scary Caverns or our flooded basement?
YOU decide!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Theme Thursday: Sky

I've been absent. I know you've missed me. I have no excuses and a million explanations, as well as 3 unpublished link-up posts.


There, there. I'm here now. And, linking up to Cari for ThTh, topic: Sky!

Last week, Will and I got to tag along with Kyle on a business trip to Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.


Actually, it was 79 and sunny there while back at home it was rainy and 45. So, like I said...


Our first evening there, we walked around the Mt. Adams neighborhood in Cincy.
It was such a cool little area, very reminiscent of San Francisco --says the girl who's never been to San Francisco.

Annnnnnyway... It was very hilly and at the very top of the highest hill (Mt. Adams Steps?) was the prettiest little church: Holy Cross-Immaculata Roman Catholic Church.

With out further ado, I present to you the Cincinnati sky behind Immaculata Church:


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Theme Thursday: Boys

It's been a really crazy week and today was particularly intense, but with 5 sons
there was no way I could pass up this theme!

Each pic is littlest brother Will with one of his older brothers. They are all such good, kind, nurturing boys and the love they have for their youngest sibling is obvious.
Equally apparent is the love Will has for each of his heroes. They are so blessed to have one another and I am so honored to be their Ma, Mom, Mommy, Mama! Love you, my sweet boys!

When you're finished being amazed by my
always perfect photog skills, take a gander at the rest of the collection at Cari's!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

{wiws} Uninspired and Out of Time

Linking it up for another fine week of What I Wore Sunday with FLAP

OK, so, not as if anyone noticed, but I took a vacation from blogging this past week. Really, it was less of a vacation and more of a personal challenge: spend less time online in order to spend more REAL LIFE time. I honestly thought my house and soul would sparkle!


I made it to daily Mass twice this week and I AM proud of that. Plus, I just feel more focused and peaceful.

The house? Well, by Thursday night I considered rendering my resignation as wife, mother, chef, and chief bottlescrubber.

The fact is that I live with 8 other people.

Two of them actively try to destroy my laundry piles, mopped floors, and clean sinks.

The 3 year old and 1 year old are only slightly less problematic.

So, I'm going to try to ease back into a bit of social media during one portion of the day, and devote the rest of the time to REAL LIFE stuff.

Whew! That was long and boring!

We attended Mass on Saturday evening because Joe was a scheduled altar server. The day was spent clearing out the garage, so by the time I looked at the clock, I realized that I barely had time to change and put on makeup.

It shows.

Cardi: Target
Tank: No idea. Scratchy tag is ripped out.
Skirt: Macy's
Leggings: Target
Shoes: Dansko from
Earrings: Old Navy
Necklace: Christmas 2010 gift from Kyle

Also, Will wanted in on the fashion action.

The parts of Father's homily that I was permitted to hear were focused on Love. True, unselfish, sacrificial love: "If you love your children, you will be a good parent. If you love your spouse, you will be a good spouse. If you love God, you WILL be a good son or daughter."

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 QTs and 3 Reasons

Joining Jen for 7 QTs and Micaela for 3 Reasons, because I'm all about math.

So, my first 3 QTs will address some reasons why I love being Catholic:

1) TRUTH! I love Truth. I love getting down to the bottom of everything. I love getting my "why's" answered, and answered correctly. Guess what? Chicken Butt. The Catholic Church IS 100% Truth.

2) Tradition! I love any and all tradition. I especially love tradition that is rooted in deep meaning. I love the rhythm of tradition. I love it's steadfastness. I love the feeling that interconnectedness and family traditions create. I love knowing that while I'm receiving absolution in the sacrament of Confession, so is some other mom sitting in a confessional somewhere in Kenya. And, 200 years ago, my great-great grandma in Ireland was also doing the same thing! The Catholic Church is really and truly steeped in rich traditions. As in, 2000 years worth of traditions!

3) Parties! We Catholics know how to kick it and we have the reception of the sacraments to give us more reason to do so! Your baby's getting baptized? Great! What time is brunch? I'll bring the ham. My child is receiving his First Holy Communion, so come on over for some beer and Italian Beef sandwiches after Mass! Getting married? Ginormous celebration! Receiving Holy Orders? We are not just going to commemorate that with a handshake and a cuppa java; you get a reception! I believe it was Simcha Fisher who said (paraphrasing, here!), "If it's Christian, it's true. If it's Catholic, it's FUN!".

OK, that was fun! Now, onto my remaining 4 QTs....

4) Let's talk Easter candy. More specifically, let's talk about how to get it out of my house so I stop eating it. Leave your address in the combox, and I'll send you a tasty care package. No, really.

5) Choosing colleges is, um, not fun. The reality of loans and expenses and fiscal responsibility is hitting Killian (and his parents) pretty hard. Laying it all out on paper makes it more clear, but the clarity is not what he wanted. The disappointment of not getting to do what he wanted to do is very bitter. But, as we've pointed out to him, he still is going to college and receiving an awesome education! Just not living there next year and not the college he wanted to attend. Money, or the lack-thereof, sucks.

6) Spring? What the funk?! Where ARE you?!? When Kyle and I retire (ha!), we are totally going to be snowbirds. We'll keep the lake house for summers and spend the rest of the year at a condo in Orlando. If I still have this blog at that point, prepare yourselves for a lot of pictures of an old lady posing with Mickey Mouse.

7) I did the 40 Bags in 40 Days purge during Lent. I threw out/gave away way more than 40 bags. Apparently, that was not enough. To top it off, the damn Easter Bunny decided to bestow gifts on my kids through other relatives, besides Kyle and I, so now we have more stuff to "organize". People's generosity is overwhelming. Really overwhelming.

Have a Happy Meat Friday and a sunny weekend!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Theme Thursday: Funny

This week's theme of "Funny" was right up Dempsey Alley.

And, as I've learned, you can't ask someone to be funny and expect any good result. So, I flipped through my photo archives to see if I had any good, honest, spontaneous funny.

You know what? I have waaaaaay too much! My family -- both immediate and extended -- is laugh-til-your-sides-hurt funny. I even have way too many funny pictures to make a collage. Or, 10

So, I went with one that makes me laugh even (and especially!) when this particular child is driving me insane.

I present to you, "Faith, yucking it up.":

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

5 Favorite Things

Linking up with Hallie (and Jen!) for some 5 favorite things fun!

1) These comfort ballet flats from Payless are deeeevine! I love the look of flats, but my high-arched, wide feet do not like the feel of them. Yesterday, I wore my navy pair for the entire day and my dogs weren't barking at bedtime. Winning!

2) Baggallini purses! This is the bestest "mom" item in the history of ever. I learned about them a couple of years ago when I was planning our trip to Heaven, I mean, Disney World. They are a magical combination of purse, wallet, diaper bag, sanity saver all rolled into one stylish organizational bag! (The shoulder strap is made of seatbelt material, which is an added safety feature if you plan on being mugged.) My bag is about 7"x 11" and I can fill it with my drivers' license, 2 credit cards, 9 insurance ID cards, 5 store-savings cards, cash, my phone, 8 band aids, 2 diapers, travel wipes, 1 change of the baby's clothes, checkbook, pen, lip gloss, and a hairbrush. It barely looks full from the outside AND it's still totally organized on the inside! Take my advice, and don't pay full (or Amazon!) price; Marshall's and TJMaxx almost always have these for 1/2 price or less and Zulily occasionally runs 40-60% off sales on this brand.

3) My beloved Keurig (or, Cure-ig. Whatevs.)! Four years ago, I received my first Keurig coffee maker as a decadent Christmas gift from my beloved. This past Christmas, he bought me the latest model so I could move the older one up to the lake house. This glorious machine is another mother-saver. I wake up, stumble downstairs, open the Keurig's top hatch, pop in a K-cup, select the largest size possible, place my mug on the tray, and 30 seconds later a piping hot cup of wake-up juice is in my hands. Need I say more? Oh! If you're a tea (or hot chocolate! Or hot cider!) lover, there's a K-cup for you, too!

4) This wine:

Gives me heartburn, but so what?

5) The Betsy-Tacy series. It's been my favorite since I was 10 and it remains in that esteemed category. Now, if I could just get 1 of my girls to love it like I do, we could go on the Betsy-Tacy summer conference tour!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fiona's 7th Heavenly Birthday

Today, our Fiona May would be 7 years old.

Today, this is the 7th birthday she is celebrating with God, His Blessed Mother, and all His angels and saints.

I can't think of a better guest list!

She shares her Heavenly birthday with Blessed John Paul II the Great. For 7 years, that has been a wonderful source of comfort for me.

Another source of comfort has been knowing that she is buried with my maternal grandparents.

Please ask our little saint to intercede for you today!

St. Fiona, Pray for Us!

Monday, April 1, 2013

OTI: Easter Linkup

For the second year in a row, Kyle and I took our kids up to the lake house for Easter.

For the most part, the weather really cooperated and we had balmy temps in the 50s with sunny skies!

We kinda laid low on Saturday; made a bonfire, hung out by the lake, drank some brewskis (Lawdy! How I hate that word!)

Sunday, we hunted for baskets, consumed hard boiled eggs and peeps, got ready for Mass and snapped some semi-squinty pictures.

All 7 hoppy campers!

Wind blowing hair in my face...
Wind blowing hair allllll the way back.
Outfit particulars:
Blazer-Alfred Dunner via GeeDub
Tank-Old Navy
Skirt-Boden via eBay
Earrings-Old Navy
Necklace-I can't remember

After the 1.5 hour long Mass (really?! I skip the Easter Vigil so I don't have to lose my mind. Y U gotta make your homily 30 minutes looooooong, Padre?!), we played with our new Easter toys and some of us consumed shocking amounts of sugar.

We finished off the day by driving to the other side of the lake to a sweet little "supper club", where we had an enormous dinner and everyone behaved beautifully -- at least, that's what the lovely old gentleman at the next table told us as he was leaving. He doesn't know the trick is to spend stupid amounts of money adding the salad bar option to half of the kids' meals, so they can bring plates of saltines, dinner rolls, and bacon bits to their younger siblings.

These kids are getting so old, and it's nice to be able to get away and just be our "little" family for one or two holidays every year.

How could I not add in a pic with Will in his Easter "bonnet"?!?

Thanks, Easter Bunny! Bawk! Bawk! (Major Award goes to the first person to tell me where the above phrase originated!)

Mucho thanks to Grace for hosting. Mucho apologies for linking up so late!!